Erased But Not Forgotten: Psychopaths and Emotional Memory

Please welcome a post on psychopaths and emotional memory by our guest blogger, Michael Pacitti, who writes both from his personal experience with a psychopath and from his experience as a mental health professional. This article explains a seeming paradox:  how psychopaths can simultaneously move on from previous relationships and discard their partners so unfeelingly, as if their memories of the relationships were erased, yet still continue to harass and stalk some of their previous targets, in a kind of perpetual relationship boomerang. Hence the title we chose: Erased but Not Forgotten. 

I listened to a song playing on the radio quite recently, a U2 track from their album “how to dismantle an atomic bomb”; the song is called A Man and a Woman. As I listened it took me back to a time early in the relationship with my ex when her idealisation of me was in full swing. I remember playing this song for her when we first met, and I had one of those cognitive dissonance moments as feelings of loss, sadness and melancholia came crashing over me. I had another similar moment looking at some photos of the Lake District, and one of the photos reminded me of a camping trip my ex and I went on in mid July of 2009.

We all experience many of these moments throughout our lives when we encounter a stimulus, it could be a piece of music, a place, a smell, a photo, it could be anything that triggers memories of days gone by, and the people who were or are significant in our lives. In those moments of recall a flood of emotion washes over us and it as though we relive those bittersweet moments all over again; we may experience feelings of joy, happiness, contentment, sadness, grief and so on. These are our emotional memories at play.

There is a biological basis for this mechanism that combines and connects emotion with the storage and retrieval of our memories. Psychologists who have researched memory function have noted that recall involves specific memory pathways within the brain and that these pathways interact at specific neurological locations. Pathways that give rise to the experience of emotion work in tandem with memory storage pathways, in that they are woven together, which is why recall of unpleasant events produce unpleasant emotions; likewise recalling memories of pleasant experiences produces pleasant emotions. We are far more likely to be able to access and recall memories that are associated with strong emotions, than events that are emotionally neutral or are lacking in emotional significance.

What is interesting is that our memories are by and large draped over our experience of emotion, and are stored in these pathways accordingly, with neurological cognitive recall pathways running alongside and working hand in hand with emotional memory pathways.  Our emotional memories can be thought of as a little like an internal journal that charts our growth and development as we move through life. Our emotional life forms the core of our own inner narrative and our narrative with others, whether it is family members, friends, or loved ones who have come and gone. Our experience of emotion determines how we store our memories which helps map, organise, and structure our experiences into a narrative or personal story that gives us a sense of internal temporal continuity. This also gives others a sense of temporal continuity of, and with us. Imagine the chaos and instability we would experience in our lives if it were not for this sense of continuity?

And yet this lack of continuity is precisely one of the defining characteristics of a pathological relationship, where contradictions, dichotomies, and non sequiturs continuously keep us off balance. The psychopathic personality construct is comprised of traits that fall along and make up the Cluster B continuum, and central to all of these variations of psychopathy is a poverty of emotional experience. Neuro-imaging has revealed that psychopaths have anatomical differences in the paralimbic systems of the brain which deal with the processing and experience of emotion. What this means is that psychopaths only experience a narrow, primitive, and primordial spectrum of emotion; and what emotions they do experience are very short lived. They are in other words lacking in an emotional memory, which is one of the reasons why psychopaths are notorious for having poor or selective, and contradictory recall; their neurological pathways are not working in tandem. They actually store memories quite differently to the rest of us due their lacking the emotional pegging neccesary for organising their inner experience of events and people. They are limited to stroring memories in small encapsulated packages, or what Robert Hare refers to as “small thought units” in Without Conscience.

They have no true or real consistent depth of emotional experience that provides them with an emotional temporal inner story with either themselves or others; they are quite literally empty black holes. Their own inner experience of themselves falls through them in much the same way that their experience of others does. They may be capable of cognitive complexity, but rest assured if they are disordered there is little or no sign of emotional intelligence or nuance that enabled you to follow and keep track of their emotional story with us. Their script continually changes, or is rewritten and flips in a manner that is severely emotionally disorientating for the victim, leaving us feeling as though we are plucking a never-ending daisy.

Because they are lacking a core self at the helm of their own experience there comes a point when you realise that there is no consensual narrative or consensual reality. They are in a sense lacking in a personal story when it comes to emotional relating, bonding, attachment, and intimacy. We as their partners believed of course that we were living a narrative with them. What we did not comprehend is that everything we shared with them (or thought we shared), no matter how significant has absolutely no currency with them whatsoever. I found it helpful to think about it like this: Imagine you are thirsty and take a glass, you place the glass under the tap and fill it with water, you put the glass to your lips and realise the glass is empty; I could have sworn I just filled the glass under the tap. In an erratic and dramatic manner, their stories are forever changing and lack a smooth seam that charts their transition from emotional position a, to contradictory emotional position b. Their ever changing scripts to us as victims, made us feel like we had a central role in a very important plot, only to find that the plot had suddenly changed and we were never consulted about it. Our role in the plot suddenly ends and the script we were reading suddenly and abruptly no longer apply.

One of the hallmarks that you have experienced a pathological relationship is that you can recall numerous disagreements, when all previous context, history, and emotional narrative were deleted by your partner. Welcome to the bait and switch. Their behaviours that have caused huge damage to the relationship doesn’t form part of their dialogue and narrative, or enter into the equation during such disagreements. Even to the point of talking in the third person as though they have somehow divorced themselves from themselves and their own behaviour. Psychopaths cannot sustain any consistent position over a period of time; they are quintessentially unstable of feeling, emotion and insight. While they are seemingly able to demonstrate insightfulness in the here and now, they are unable to demonstrate insight into their lack of consistent or longitudinal insight or see the bigger picture. They have no bird’s eye view of their behaviour or how their behaviour has impacted upon us. This is one of the encrypted, crazy making, and puzzling conundrums of these personality disordered people that we can become forever lost in trying to the fathom. How is it that they can appear to have such sound insight in the here and now, and yet have no insight at all into their lack of consistency around their ever changing and dichotomised insights across time?    

 The past seems to somehow miraculously disappear, along with their declared feelings for us, and commitments to us, all in the blink of an eye. In the end, we come to realise that any feelings they said they had for us were nothing more than a primitive expression of emotion designed to have whatever needs they wanted us to meet in that precise here and now moment. Once they are done with us and have secured their next victim, they can delete us as though the past never happened and we never existed.  And yet, periodically, they pop up to harass and stalk some of their previous victims, not because they miss them, but because they need those dominance bonds to feel empowered and alive. 

Michael Pacitti   

133 Comments

  1. Michael, thank you so much for your eloquent and insightful article. I’m pasting below the youtube video of U2’s song, A Man and a Woman, to which you’ve alluded in your article. Claudia

  2. Claudia: Good article. I am a bit confused though in his initial first months of idolizing me he remembered certain things about me and our relationship 25 years prior? Things like remembering the mole I had on my left left he thought was sexy, or the time we showered together, or he remembered when we were small children how is mother would buy us tenderloin sandwiches for lunch when we played together; I will say though he talked VERY VERY LITTLE of past memories and events when I would mention something I would remember he would say, oh really I dont remember. Is this due to the fact all the memories he recalled were not really related to predation at that time in the past? So what I am gathering from this article is their memory of what they said and did during the predation, masking and pretense is extremely limited because there were never any genuine emotions are feelings on their part during this process? Its just another scam and roost for them so they cant pull up this memory and remember what they once professed to us because it was never real? x0 Linda

  3. Linda, just to clarify once again: Michael Pacitti, our fellow blogger wrote this article. I only added the sentence at the end, about the relationship boomerang, since so many of us have psychopathic ex’s who come back to harass us in various ways, months and even years after the relationship is over. That means we were erased, in any meaningful sense, but not forgotten. I think that Michael’s article underscores so well the shallowness and discontinuity of a psychopath’s emotional memory. Just as they are incapable of love or bonding and all they can do is attach temporarily to hosts to suck them of energy and destroy them, so psychopaths are incapable of missing people, or remembering them in any meaningfully emotional or loving way. Due to the shallowness of their memories, as Michael explains, they remember victims only discontinuously, from time to time, and even then in a superficial and self-serving manner (as what they got out of us and how we might be useful supply again). This shallowness of emotional memory (and predatory approach to human contact) applies to how the psychopath viewed you during the idealization phase as well as how he periodically thinks of you now that the relationship is over. Claudia

  4. Claudia: How does this erased memory come into play in how the can call up their past victims months, years later out of the blue as if NOTHING ever happened sounding chipper, happy their memories MUST know they did much destruction to you – I have heard many victims report when they do contact them a year later sometimes they say, I feel bad for the way things left off and have been wondering how you are doing bla bla bla – this is strictly their way of trying to get back in to further destroy you and testing you out to see if they can x0x0 Linda

    ps that will be no problem with me hanging up the phone will tell him this is one past victim you can NEVER destroy further take your masked self elsewhere. I also believe as Kelli questioned they DO have a sense of knowing when their past victims get stronger they KNOW this takes months and months I think that is why many of them just cut you off when you have become so drained and wounded your no good to them that way -gotta get some more blood so the vampire has something to drain from ya

  5. geez I am sorry I am just so used to YOU writing these articles Claudia, I must be tired I cant even read today, ha ha Sorry Michael good article in helping us understand why they dont have much recall. You cant even call it selective memory can you Michael? x0x0 Linda

  6. Linda, since psychopaths can’t bond emotionally with anyone, as Michael points out in this article, their emotional memories are at best shallow and discontinuous. They live mostly in the present, with one obsession: how can I use people? What will they do for me? This egocentric and predatory obsession with using others determines whom they remember and how. Some psychopaths abandon their targets without thinking of them again (this is at the crux of Michael’s analysis of psychopathic memory) because they can’t think of a way to USE those targets again.

    Others periodically boomerang back to former targets–and this happens very often as well–because they feel they can still use those targets or have not yet finished them off (destroyed them, reduced them to abject dependency). It’s no blessing to be remembered by a psychopath. It only means he is thinking of new ways of using you or hurting you. But it’s equally painful to be completely forgotten by the psychopath, if you’ve invested a lot into that relationship. Either way, a psychopath’s emotional memory is shallow, self-serving and predatory in orientation. Personally, if I could choose, I’d much rather be forgotten than remembered by a psychopath. Claudia

  7. Claudia,

    You’d rather be forgotten for obvious reasons! Michael, this is a really good article! I would love it if you did another based upon your list of yesterday. That was excellent and I’m still impressed by it.

    Claudia, I’m really glad you put in that last sentence. Part of this is making sense to me. There is so much to remember insofar as what my ex did to me and the ways in which he did it. This issue of memory is very interesting. It involves brain processes and deficiencies within which help to understand the behavior of what I refer to as “acting like nothing ever happened” during the relationshit. It also makes sense with regards to the stalking aspects when the relationshit is over. They do live in an ever present state. This is why amazing sex or arguments are so easily put into the “like nothing ever happened” category, minutes, hours or a day or two later. Ask a psychopath what he remembers and often he’ll say it never happened or he never said that. They remember only what serves their purposes at the time, which I find astonishing, really. Mine could pull up memories of things we did, but most of those things were sexually related and were nothing more than NOVELTY. He could never pull up things he said or did that were meaningful, with regards to EMOTIONS involved. Why? Because there IS NO EMOTIONAL RECALL. NONE.

    I believe if mine is calling, it’s the present moment kind of thing. Perhaps he is getting bored. Perhaps he is “looking” to set up a triangulation. I knew the relationshit was coming to an end, but I one upped him and bailed on the relationshit, refused to meet his demands and talked to the first target, thwarting his plans to get her. I also called him out to his wife. He has lots of reasons to want to create damage to me. I can tell you, Linda, in all honesty, that some DO NOT come back. Some believe that when they’re done, they’re done. They move on and quickly, with new lives and personas. But sometimes, they come back YEARS later. I have one right now that is bugging the SHIT out of me and it’s been 30 YEARS. There are many reasons they may try to attempt to come back and many variables as to why, but you can be SURE it’s not because they miss you. I use to believe that, but NOT anymore. I wish mine would NOT call me. Leave well enough alone. Anyway, the memories that they are “making” with the new target are as “meaningful” as they were with the first two wives and as well with me. That’s not saying much. One of the earliest red flags I got was that he would act like nothing ever happened, and later on I realized it wasn’t just with the arguing either, it was also with everything else, including sex. I always wondered why those things were forgotten so easily. This is also why they use sex as a weapon. You beileve you’re bonding, they’re using it as manipulation, because as soon as the act is over, in their minds, it’s like it never happened. They go right back to abusing, or the abusing gets worse each time you give in. There is no bonding on his part, no emotional memory or recall or like Michael says, there is no narrative with us. Now i understand what that really means. This lack of memory means the entire relationshit holds no consistency and is completely FRAGMENTED. Kel

  8. Linda, I think that the psychopaths recall is based on cognitive schematic association, rather than true empathic emotional relatedness. Psychopaths can be in numerous relationships without ever being emotionally invested in any of them.
    I think that the sub clinical and sub criminal psychopath can tell us more about their inherent need to escape their emptiness than what criminal psychopaths ever can.

  9. Kel, psychopaths cyberstalk or call their former victims to harass them, to try to use them some more, or to intimidate them so they don’t heal and move on properly. That’s just as shallow, and reveals the same discontinuity of memory and lack of bonding that Michael’s article describes, as if they forgot you entirely. Because even when they do remember you, they don’t miss you or regret what they’ve done to hurt you. If and when they remember you, it’s to try to use and hurt you some more. That IS their entertainment and a way to relieve their chronic boredom. It’s all about living in the present and all about them. The bottom line is: you either didn’t matter at all, and were entirely forgotten, or you do matter as an object of contempt and recurrent use-value. It’s a lose-lose situation to be remembered or not be remembered by a psychopath. Their memory is as shallow as their so-called love. Claudia

  10. Michael,

    The function of the psychopaths mind is what I need to learn more about to incorporate a mindset that does not DOUBT. Right now, I doubt. It is THIS that is creating so much pain for me, as well as his subtle contact to let me know he’s still around. I’ve worked very hard to keep distance, removed all of my social networks, except email that I know he will not try because I’d immediately take it to his wife. The thing is, he knows at least THAT MUCH, and if he KNOWS at least that much, why bother calling and hanging up or with an unavailable number? They may not have emotional recall, but they DO know what will compromise their current situations and he’s certainly not going to do that. On the other hand, he was the KING of boundary violations and never seemed to care that I wanted no contact, probably because violating my NC rule was done before without consequence and that he didn’t care. Now he cares because he doesn’t want to risk losing new wife and the money and adoration she is currently giving, so back to square one, why bother with the subtle harassment? And what has this got to do with memory? Kel

  11. Kelli, it has to do with emotional memory and not memory per se. Psychopaths are lacking in emotional memory because of their inability to empathise; or rather they are unable to empathise because of their inabilty to experience the full spectrum of emotion. Even if we give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they are able to feel the full spectrum of emotion, they do not sustain any emotion or feelings for any length of time. Your ex would like all the toys in his pram if he could have his way, if he can manipulate you and take from you what he can, he will. Narcissistic supply, sex, control, manipulation, whatever else he can take from you to meet his own self serving needs. Michael

  12. Linda, once a psychopath has plugged back or tries to plug back into your persona, they suddenly recall all sorts of things about you.

  13. Michael,

    I understand the theory behind taking whatever he can, but there is NOTHING left to take, because this “homey” don’t play dat! I won’t play his games. I won’t RESPOND to this calls. I won’t answer them. When my son answered the phone and the caller subsequently hung up on him, it was clear. He would know that I know. Before, I would grovel. Now I WILL NOT.

    Each psychopath has their own way of operating. Deploying different tactics, as well as many other factors that play into their psychopathy. Even though the traits are the same, they DISPLAY them differently. Their modus operandi is completely different from one another. This is what i understand of my ex: He bores easily. HIs boredom is “alleviated” albeit temporarily, by spending compulsively, working in his shop, basically doing nothing, for hours, alcohol consumption, tv watching (almost in every room), sex, watching sports on tv and occasionally partying with the neighbor across the street whom I think is as devious as he. He enjoyed the triangulation between his wife and I, but more so, he enjoyed THOROUGLY hurting me. I asked him NOT to repeat the same things he was doing over and over to hurt me and it made not one bit of difference. this is when I began to realize that he was sadistic and that he would also set me up to hurt me in other ways too.

    BUT, will he do this to her? Did he do it to ex wives? These are my questions. The behaviors that I saw, that were his essence in expressing his psychopathy, with his expressions of entitlement, his bouts of rage at his ex wife, curt and abrupt mannerisms, migraine headaches and stomach issues that were constant, hypochondriacal reactions and behaviors. Snapping at me for no reason. There were times that we would just be talking about something and I’d say something that was COMPLETELY innocuous and he would take it as an insult, a narcissistic injury. He would do the weirdest things. I never knew what would set him off. One night, as I was to stay the night, he came into the kitchen before bed and opened every single cupboard door at rapid speed. I just looked at him. When he was done with this, he looked at me and said, “I know it’s weird…..”. I never saw him do this again. These moments stand out in my mind. There were also many times that he would just “disappear” on me, particularly as it was nearing bedtime. He would just go to bed and say nothing, leaving me standing or sitting wherever in the house and not telling me.

    Do these behaviors exist with the others or did they? Or was it just me that these “performances” were for? I’m very confused about that. I NEED not to doubt, but it seems as time moves forward, I’m forgetting about a lot of things that were quirky, eccentric and mean. This bothers me. Because the fading of my memories, are also being replaced with those of fantasy and projections about his life now. Michael, any thoughts? Kel

  14. BTW, everyone, I just found out that I got an “A” on my first psych exam at school. I have another huge exam on Monday. I was so excited about this, but pissed that I missed the two that would have given me a perfect score, but anyway….there was an essay required on the exam and my professor said I did good! She emailed and told me. So happy about that! Psychology is my passion! kel

  15. I think I blog too much. Anyway, I think I’ve stumbled on something here in chatting back and forth with claudia.

    I wasn’t love bombed like most of you here were. I wasn’t treated to that. I wasn’t told I was the love of his life. I was sex. That was all. I don’t know a thing about what any of you describe, other than your descriptions. My ex showed me, in words and actions, that his wife and now this one and even with stories, that ones before, were worthy of his attention, time and love. I do believe he was home with his wife most of the time. He watched her. Literally. Most of our communication was through email. It was only in the last two years that he bothered to see me at any other time other than at lunch while he was at work.

    This is the mindfuck that hurts me the very most. He knew, KNEW I truly loved him and wanted that fantasy of a life with him. He also knew the pain it caused me not to have it with him, while he carrot dangled it, spent time with me after the divorce, asked me to move in and then became more demanding and needy, wanting me to give up my kids, my schooling and my life for him. He isn’t asking this of his wife. I have found out that she works. She also has children. I don’t think he’s asked her to give that up for him. He didn’t ask his ex wife to give up her life either, but she did spend the majority of time at home with him. She spent very little time with friends. ONly at church where they both went. Whenever there was a public outing, he attended with her, very rarely did he let her go alone.

    I never got any of that. His demands of me were different. More abusive. He never treated his ex’s the way he could and did, treat me. And I allowed it. I really did love him dearly.

    But maybe it is truly possible that he did love these women more, while never loved me at all. Kel

  16. Kel, the love bombing of a psychopath is nothing more than the necessary LIES and HIDING (of cheating and other objectionable activities) in order to lure certain targets. It’s completely FAKE. There’s not a single genuine moment of love or caring in any relationship a psychopath is capable of having with anyone. Period. So you shouldn’t feel like you missed out on anything, since what you really missed out on was an even bigger pile of manure and deceit. Claudia

  17. Congratulations Kelli!!! You’re on your way to becoming a therapist, a profession you’ll excel at. Claudia

  18. Claudia: I really DO believe you and other experts when you say there is not a single genuine moment of love or caring in ANY relationship with a psychopath and this fact has helped me tremendously to put things in a realistic perspective with this current relationship; what they share is NOT genuine or healthy what she knows or doesnt know will only be her slow demise and self destruction in the end. You said something today that sent me into a spell of hysterical crying today (NOT YOUR FAULT) you said Some psychopaths NEVER recycle their old victims again if they feel they will not serve their needs. Immediately I broke down because I realized this man will never bother with me again – thats a sign I still need to dig further into why I would want FALSE validation from a psychopath trying to contact me. I will admit part of the pain is because they can forget you like yesterdays trash at the curb and the other part of this pain is having to accept as much as I loved him this man felt NONE of those things for me, even though what I loved was just a mirage I STILL LOVED DEEPLY and NO I dont think he is off loving his GF and is only shutting ME OFF Its not like he says, ok now that I discarded Linda I will go back to loving my GF because she is the one I really love, ya right Its more like Linda got boring and didnt provide me with what I wanted so I will direct my efforts elsewhere – His GF did not provide him obviously what he needed before and when I was in his life and she certainly wont be enough to sustain him after I am out of his life. Discarding me was the painful hard truth of what I knew I would face one day, he has others now he idolizes, he comes home to his GF every day but its ALL LIES -I would rather live in truth – its the only GOOD truthful thing he ever did for me to show me what he REALLY WAS all along x0 Linda

  19. Linda, I’m so sorry you’re feeling bad, but please just look at what you’re feeling bad about: that a horrible human being who can’t love doesn’t want to use you anymore. So many victims of psychopaths who are still being harassed by their ex’s dream of being in the enviable position of never hearing again from these heartless and menacing individuals. Claudia

  20. Claudia: I know and Iam trying not to go over and over and over the facts because GOD knows it wont change anything. Thats what is so infuriating for me about myself that I would take some type of solace if he contacted me; a horrible being who cant love and never loved me doesnt want to use me anymore and I cry hysterically over this; Linda needs to dig just a bit deeper to overcome this feeling that hits me. Look at Kelli we KNOW it was her x with the unavailable number (highly probable) and its very painful to the victims to have them call like this months and months later. If he called I couldnt answer it anyway NOTHING GOOD would become of it. I ask myself what do you want him to say Linda, that he misses you and he always loved you and I am going to say OH OK, I will be on the next train to see ya, so you can use my body and abuse me a little more ? Well we know that is not going to happen so I just need to work through these moments because the alternative to what I am feeling now would be 10 x worse. Sometimes Claudia I really dont think I can recover from such an experience it was just too damn much to overcome Really how strong am I supposed to be I am NOT a psychopath I am a warm and loving human being I am not a piece of stone – I have a heart or at least I once had a heart but its been so broken by SO MUCH abuse in my life – I am doing all the steps to remove abuse in my life, I am turning from within, I am NO CONTACT – I wonder when it gets better after all the work we do; they always say nothing good in life comes easy but this is beyond difficult – this is a nightmare – I am a GOOD person I NEVER deserved this NONE OF US DID x0 Linda ps I am sorry just having a feel sorry for me day I guess

  21. michael: Your article was sooo good that I thought Claudia wrote it, ha ha no wonder I fell victim to a psychopath I cant even read. x0Linda

  22. Linda, every victim of a psychopath has such bad days; it’s normal. I think it comes primarily from being so filled with the hot air and illusion of real love and then it’s all deflated by the harsh reality (of lies, of cheating, of manipulation, of everything the psychopathic bond is really about). It can leave you feeling empty sometimes. But do your best to be resilient and not let him get you down, even now. What about your life do you enjoy? What gives you a sense of meaning? Focus on filling your life with something far better and more meaningful than the hot air he used to give you. Claudia

  23. Linda,

    I understand what you mean about the contact. It really isn’t about wanting to have anything to do with them, it’s about the doubt we still have. That’s what I’m perceiving now. On the one hand, intellectually, we know this person is very ill, but on the other hand, there is apart of our hearts that still love him, or what we felt for him, even though it was never felt for us. For me, I wish I knew for sure whether or not it was him as this “unavailable” caller because then I would know for sure that he’s still the same, still sick and that his new marriage is not something he changed in. I don’t know why I think I need that proof, given all he’s done to me, but I understand it to be apart of my process. For some reason, just his trying to contact me, would give me the closure I need. i know this sounds odd, but it does. I WISH that caller was him. I WANT it to be him. Because really, who does shit like that? A psychopath, Linda. I think he would want me to believe that he’s all better now and redeemed as he projects onto the public around him, his family and friends, but logically, how does one magically get better in ten months time since our break up? Really? As long as it is taking for us to heal here, it’s doubtful that my ex has “healed” or is not a psychopath anymore because he met someone else. NOt only that, but normal people do NOT get married in five months time after having just met them on a dating site. That is the MARK of a psychopath. In all absolutes. She knows him not, and that is precisely what he wanted. Before she could figure out his MO.

    The truth is we saw the truth. We were stronger. Maybe this one won’t be as strong and will waste more years than I did, but honestly, when I look back on it now, had I not gotten out, i would seriously have been dead. I was very close to death, whether it was with my healthy or emotionally. Since the break up, although it has been very very difficult and excrutiatingly painful, there are a few good things that have happened. My relationships with my kids have improved a lot (except youngest son), I’m back in school and got an A on my first exam back. My health has improved immensely and my blood pressure is now back to normal and I’ve been told that there are some things going on with my blood work, but nothing that can’t be fixed. I no longer drink alcohol. Ten months ago, I was an absolute disastrous, PTSD, alcoholic mess. Only now, a little baby step at a time, just processing all of this. I’m still getting stuck in what his new marriage is like and projecting health into it. This is so serious for me and so repetitive when I’m triggered (and the phone calls do this too) that I need to work through it in therapy tomorrow. It’s been a really bad week with the ex’s as well as with my son.

    Anyway, being without them is better than being with him. I asked myself today, if he really wanted to see you, would you? The answer is no. I miss him sometimes, feel that i do, wish I was love bombed like all the rest, blah blah blah….but when it comes down to it, do I want to be treated like he treated me again? Naw. Almost eleven months of hell in NC, I think I can take it the rest of the way. It’s been hard work, but I don’t want to go back now. When I start to think like that, I feel better. If he was a good man, I guess I might not feel like this. It’s been said that cog/dis does NOT occur in normal relationships with healthy men. IT is so true. So very true. Kel

  24. Kel and Linda, I think you’re still feeling somewhat divided about the psychopathic ex’s because you’re still relatively fresh out of the relationships. Also when you’re not being stalked, it’s easier to hold on to positive memories (i.e., the illusion created by the psychopath during the relationship). So, ironically, the fact your ex’s leave you alone induces some moments of nostalgia and longing. But this too will fade. Personally, I don’t have one shred of a positive impression or memory of the psychopath. The mountain of lies and betrayal, plus the constant cyberstalking, removed any nostalgia, even for the illusion he created during the honeymoon phase. I can relate one hundred percent to what Liane Leedom wrote a few years ago on lovefraud, when she stated that eventually all you feel for the psychopath is disgust. Because these are disgusting human beings and their behavior is despicable! Claudia

  25. Claudia,

    So in that way, you’re lucky that he’s stalked you as much as he has. I don’t mean to be crass, but you have NO DOUBT that this man is ill. Neither do I quite frankly, lol! Yes, the nostalgia is still apart of it, but in another way it’s not too. I think for me, it’s also tied into loneliness. I need more to fill my life now. Being isolated so much, isn’t working for me anymore and I’m finding that when I’m out in the world and apart of life, I’m feeling a lot better. So now it’s time to take some steps to connect with others again. Sometimes I wonder if the ruminating, when it comes, isn’t just triggers, but also my spirit trying to tell me something. I’m more and more ready to move forward with my life, I know that, and part of that moving forward means leaving him totally behind, mainly in my heart. It’s taken me almost a year to accept that it’s finally over, even though I wanted it to be. If that makes sense. Kel

  26. Kel, yes, it makes perfect sense. You’ve mourned for almost a year the illusion of love you thought you had, not the real him. Now you’ve more
    or less accepted that, and you’re ready to live again. I told you that going back to school would help a lot too! Claudia

  27. Michael, I think U2 does an excellent job, in several of their hit songs, of capturing the psychopathic mindset. It’s a mindset that oscillates between longing for the ideal romantic fantasy and subjugating each target in reality (each target, of course, not being good enough for the narcissistic psychopath). Idealize, devalue and discard. Rinse and start all over again, as the psychopath still hasn’t found what he’s looking for:

  28. And here’s the other U2 classic, With or Without You, as the psychopath can move on and live just fine, with or without you. No target truly matters as an individual; romantic partners are interchangeable to psychopaths. And yet… the constant longing for someone or something to offer some kind of fulfillment. A perpetual insatiability, a perpetual dissatisfaction with each new target, a perpetual hollowness:

  29. Claudia

    I had an important reality check last night while reading about no contact. I maintain it, but when I think about picking up that phone and if he were to be on the other side of it, I’d hang up immediately. One of the things he likes to do is the smear campaign, as I’ve already discussed with you and the situation. Mine is so vindictive that he wouldn’t mind turning the situation around and telling everyone I was stalking HIM. I have this gut feeling that these phone calls are meant to let me know that he’s the one doing it, so that I’ll turn around, as I have in past, taking it to mean he misses me or wants to talk to me and call him on the behavior, to which he would deny it then berate me and tell me never to contact him again! LOL! I could EASILY see that happening. So no contact is not just important for us in that we have time and room to heal from the psychopath and move on with our lives, but also protection from the vindictive ones who would love nothing more than to twist THEIR contact into OUR stalking. I will never pick up those calls and I’ll just continue to hope that they stop soon because they are very triggering and upsetting, no matter what, it is intrusive. Kel

  30. Kel, absolutely! You’re doing the right thing to maintain NO CONTACT. Each contact with a psychopath, however brief or harmless it may seem, will give him the opportunity to turn the situation against you, in his favor, somehow. The kinds of psychopaths who stalk you are also potentially VERY DANGEROUS. I can’t tell you how many Forensic Files kind of shows I’ve seen where the psychopath persuades his ex girlfriend to see him one last time, to resolve the tension, part as friends, patch things over or any such pretext, then he HARMS her (anything from rape to murder). By far most psychopaths won’t do this, but when you’re dealing with psychopaths–particularly the obsessed, stalking kind–you can’t know in advance how far they’ll go to harm you. It may be something like a smear campaign and turning the situation against you, as you state. Or it could be far worse. NO CONTACT is not just a meaningless mantra repeated by therapists or psychopathy experts. It is the NECESSARY (but not sufficient) condition of healing and moving on with your life. And, even more importantly, also the necessary (but, once again, not sufficient) condition of protecting yourself from the psychopath. I can’t emphasize this enough. There can be absolutely NO equivocation whatsoever about the “no contact” policy with psychopaths, whenever it’s possible to maintain this (i.e., no shared custody of children, etc). Claudia

  31. Claudia, very well spotted. It’s peculiar that U2 have captured the psychopathic mindset in a number of songs. The line in a man and a woman “you can’t be numb to love, the only pain is to feel nothing at all”. Michael

  32. Michael, I think that one of the reasons why U2 remains popular as a band and why their hit songs from the 80’s and 90’s also remain popular is because their romantic lyrics are so haunting and even eerie. They are not your traditional “I love you” songs nor your traditional “love gone wrong” songs. These are songs about psychopathic seduction, with its lures, danger and… ultimately, total emptiness. Claudia

  33. Claudia and Kelli: If you were love bombed like they do to most the memories from that would be causing you more pain presently!! You were spared that because its just MORE lies and pretense and facade that you have to work through and realize none of it was sincere. My x path and I share a history going back to our childhood when we played together, its difficult for me to see how that little boy would grow up to do what he does. However I DO believe Sheridan’s theory that they are JUST BORN THAT WAY because as a child he was NOT SHY, even then I looked forward to playing with him because he made me feel so at ease. He was always so nice to me of course he was not a predator then but the personality disorder was already established at his age of 8; usually at this age boys dont like girls but I always felt like I was playing with my best girlfriend and we got along just like two little girls, he was ODD then as he surely is NOW. He used our childhood history when he love bombed me saying how he always adored me as a child and our common past together etc.. I cant even look at the pics we have together as children it really evokes such emotional reactions in me. I thought surely this was wonderful to be with someone I had known since childhood our common backgrounds of both being adopted etc… This is also very difficult for me to let go of and accept because none of this meant ANYTHING to him he cares NOTHING of family ties, history, I remember a few years back he was helping his elderly father with moving and I called him just as he was in the middle of this and as we were talking he said, hold on just a second I have to help this FUCKING IDIOT with something then he said if he was 20 years younger I would punch him in the face with my fist – how nice eh? His own father – later in the death notice I read when his dad passed it said how much he and his father shared such wonderful times together, fishing, etc. I thought mmmm followed by a punch in the face? When he called to tell me his father died his voice cracked (as if he was sad) then 24 hours later invited me to the funeral and to sleep with he and his GF at his house in the same bed – squeeze in a little fuck feast while I was paying my respects I guess. All of which would have never happened he was just playing his LOVE TRIANGULATION game to make me jealous. Of course I did not go to the funeral and he called and told me I was SHALLOW person because I did not attend – have a good laugh on me with that story, he just wanted me to go so I could see his GF as he KNEW this would hurt and destroy me further – good excuse to meet the GF afterall I am the grieving family member and she would have never suspected. This is just SICK and oh ya cant forget EVIL. Can you imagine the supply he would have gotten just seeing his GF and myself in the same room together? Knowing he plays us both? Knowing the pervert he was he would have probably gotten a hard on!!!!

    I KNOW why there are times I miss him its only because I loved this sick person and this is normal. Is my life better now without him? Well NO its not but it has NOTHING to do with HIM – I am the one that has to make my life better and that will never happen if I keep reverting back to some false fantasy of what I wanted him to be and what he will NEVER be – I KNOW you will never answer his calls now or in the future Kelli you are over that huge hurdle and your right its like a sick voice of your past reminding you he was once in your life – it brings to mind “when the demon comes knocking at your door” it also brings to mind “The beast is gone” and thats what they were Kelli they truly were not human in any sense. Its almost as if I miss an alien presence that was in my life that took on the form of a human being and thats ALL it was. I dont ever want that spaceship to land at my door again; whatever planet he lives on in his sick world will never be apart of my life ever again; the only way they can live is on that other planet or dimension you have now left the twilight zone. x0x0 Linda

  34. Claudia: I am slowly getting there viewing him as nothing but PURE disgust and despicable; sometimes I play over in my mind what he does in his life; using sex as a tool to hurt and destroy innocent and decent human beings; going through life as a TOTAL FRAUD – screwing his latest targets then going home and laughing about it or how EASY it was to get others to fall in love with him. WOW what a contribution to society what a talent eh? What a man!!!! He is just all that isnt he with his clever come backs and finely tuned social skills and WOW what a man that he can still have a wife and lead a double life doing this – and lets not forget about all of his wealthy props ewwww boy he is so smart and successful why what woman wouldnt want him with; what a deal she would get. Living with a wealthy PIMP. Strange how those smooth types always were a HUGE TURN OFF for me when I was younger and dating and I would later get involved with such a “shallow”, empty, not to mention SICK person. When all the pretense and grandioso mirage of what they play for us is gone we are left with not only the opposite of what they are but the shock of how they were able to fool us – no wonder they go to such great lengths to fool us and no wonder they RUN for the hills when we see them for what they are – I think they get such a rush and thrill from fooling and duping us because they KNOW there is NOTHING inside them therefore their whole lives are nothing but scams after scams, pretense after pretense – it was ALWAYS us that were the true gems – the greater we were the further away they run to hide x0x0 Linda

  35. Linda,

    One of the many other things I’m dealing with now is staying STILL and wondering where the ruminating is coming from. What is the DEEPER issue. This is difficult to do when in the midst of a trigger, but when it calms down, that’s when I’m better able to discern it. I figured it was part loneliness. It is also part letting go, the process of which I am still walking through. I’ve never gone this long without speaking to him or he to me. Ever in ten years. In fact, now is the longest I’ve gone since the longest time BEFORE, lol!

    It’s also the loneliness, the grieving of so many, many losses as a result of the addictive factor of involvement with a psychopath. Even almost a year out now, the constant chaos and drama that was the addictive pull, makes the void even bigger. Now I’m finding that I need to replace that void with things that are healthier for me. There is a shift going on again and I’m finding that healing isn’t just one layer but many. Each trigger brings with it, another layer exposed to heal from, or another enlightenment in which to grow more from. The process is slower than I’d like it to be and much more exhausting than I wish it was. All of these layers that are exposed, are now going way back. There is so much more to heal from. It feels endless and sometimes I just want a distraction. That’s part of the ruminating too. At least with my addiction to him, I didn’t have to think about myself or what I had to do to work through the layers, but obviously it’s important enough to me to keep my coveted NC and not let him destroy it or me. Perhaps he senses that. I was becoming a challenge. I didn’t want him anymore, even though I still suffered from the addictive pull. I wanted myself and my life more, no matter what pain I had to endure, because being with him was going to be WORSE AND WORSE. I was spiraling and school saved my life. Literally.

    Linda, i think I’ve confused some of the stories related to your ex. I knew there was a childhood connection, a funeral to which he put the moves on you, but apparently, I had the people all wrong LOL. I’m sure having that childhood connection makes it much more painful to you and a lot harder to work through. I believe it is possible to work through it, but it really is a lot of hard work, particularly if there is abuse issues in the past. It all ties in somehow. I believe you can get past this. I’m working on understanding that all the focus on him, takes the focus off of me and keeps me distracted. I notice this during times of fear when I’m uncertain about my future or feel that I’m enduring a stressor of some sort. I can usually get myself back to center, but this last week really was much more difficult than the usual stupid phone calls. It was LOTS of pathology involved. I think as we get further out, we become sooooooooooooo much more sensitive to pathology in others. If your ex were to contact you now, would you REALLY in heart of hearts, have a conversation with him and be driven to go back if he asked? I had to ask myself that question and I’ve already given the answer. I have to THINK like a psychopath when I ask myself those things. If my ex was capable of pulling a gun out before me on a bed, pointed at me while butt naked, he sure is hell capable of using it. I have ALWAYS underestimated his potential lethality and his underscored absolute HATRED of me. Keeping that in mind, makes me want to stay as far away from that man as possible and makes me feel safe to be around those that love me and keep focused on the things in life that matter. I do fear the future, what it holds, but I need to work through that because what the psychopath feeds off of, IS FEAR. Perhaps my ex senses that too. Either way, I KNOW without a doubt in my mind, that I’ll never ever speak to him or correspond with him again because I understand his lethality, emotionally,sexually and potentially physically. Spiritually too. I believe you know this about our ex as well. Kel

  36. Claudia,

    I don’t think mine is at that level of dangerous, BUT, he is capable of lethality as described in my post above, so I don’t want to take chances. His hatred of me is so pure and so real, that alone makes me want to stay away. I think it helps to understand the psychopathic motivation. It is always harm. I’m done with harm now. It’s up to me to learn about psychopathy, but I understand that there is no closure with someone like this and that contact means back to square one or worse. You don’t “reason” or “analyze” a psychopath for closure or anything else. Kel

  37. Kel, even if your psychopathic ex is not criminally dangerous, you’re right to maintain No Contact with him. Any contact would only offer him further opportunity for manipulation and abuse. Any therapist who advises otherwise or who indicates that psychopaths can be treated and/or reformed is doing his or her patients and the general public a HUGE disservice. This is simply NOT true. As Sandra Brown puts it, “Pathology is forever” and nothing good ever comes out of contact with a pathological. Claudia

  38. Linda, that is the real focus now: you are the one who can make your life better. Whenever you wait for an ideal solution, or a Prince Charming as they say, to save you from your own life you risk ending up with a pathological who initially seems nice, but who ends up destroying you and your life. What seems too good to be true usually is. What about your current life makes you feel lost? That’s also probably what made you vulnerable in the first place to psychopathic seduction. You can fix your life by looking at what you want to change for the better and taking concrete steps to do that. Then you won’t look back as much at the very disappointing fact that Prince Charming was actually Mr. Hyde anymore. Claudia

  39. Linda, psychopaths use qualities–charm, glibness, seductiveness etc–in the same way they use their defects–callousness, pathological deception, malice: to use and hurt others. That’s why it’s safe to say they have NO real qualities. Claudia

  40. Kelli, I have sent you an email; I dont know whats happening with my email server. It’s really frustrating, as i click on send it takes an average of 3 – 4 minutes to send the dam the thing, my screen just freezes ! its been like this for a week or two now. Michael

  41. Michael,

    I got your email so success??? I’m anxious to receive what you have insofar as research and other info! Thanks a bunch. Maybe it’s time for a new computer???? Kel

  42. Linda,

    I want to be careful how I approach this with you, but I see the same thing in your posts and wonder if this is much deeper, if your ex psychopath didn’t well play into a huge sexual issue for you. I see rage, clearly, but I also see the sexual component glaringly, in how you describe him and what he is and what he did to you. I think there is more to it, given the depth of feeling of rage you have about it, as well as how explicit you are when you discuss the sexual component. Clearly this psychopath tapped into a sexual part of yourself that needs healing. As if the sexual betrayal was the worst of it all. I don’t say this to trivialize or patronize the absolute rage you’re experiencing (the visuals I get when you speak of him tell me I wouldn’t want to be him meeting YOU in a dark alley!), but what is the SEXUAL component to this for you? Why is there so much importance upon the SEXUAL aspects of what he did, for you? The sexual part of this is very, VERY much apart of the rage I see. How much emphasis do you place on sexuality in general? And I wonder if he didn’t tap into that place to what you would perceive as a real, very deep exchange of love with the sexual act? I mean, it IS a huge betrayal, because it’s when we’re sexual with someone I believe that we are on a spiritual plane with that person that we would otherwise not be, I understand that. But exchanging that with evil, makes it another issue altogether and when you have a psychopath who is using a deeper sexual wound, or emphasis against you, the rage can be unbelievable. In one of Sandra Brown’s articles on her SafeRelationships magazine site, there is an article on sexual healing that needs to happen for the victims sometimes, because they have been sexually abused. It’s usually the sexual predator, rather than JUST the emotional predator, that is capable of the worst sexual abuse and what he did to you, WAS sexual abuse. Did he also create an addiction for you with the sex at the same time? I wonder how you feel about this. I see some sexual wounds within you that need a lot of healing, and a lot of work. I think it might help to address that issue with a therapist if you can, because the rage, along with the sex, I think, is where you’re stuck. I see you getting beyond this, Linda, but I think help is necessary to make it happen. This psychopath wounded you on not just an extreme sexual level, but also a spiritual level too because the two go hand in hand. Kel

  43. Claudia,

    RE: your above post: You’d be surprised how many therapists are trained to believe that personality disorders can be treated. My first therapist was well versed in this and actually shared a story of a guy he treated who was initially diagnosed ASP, but he said he “improved” under his treatment and that this showed up in his behavior because he changed his entire landscape in life. Um…..my response to this? “Well, then he wasn’t a TRUE ASP, was he?” To which the therapist responded, “I don’t know, that’s just the dx that was given to him”.

    Lots believe borderlines can be treated as well. If that is so, are they really dealing with a true borderline dx? I agree with Sheridan in that BPD is a fad diagnosis and that they’re really female psychopaths.

    It IS dangerous to give women/men the impression that the Cluster B’s can be changed in any way, what should be taught and encouraged by the therapist is that they can’t be, and rather than encouraging a patient wait for reform out of the Cluster B (forever), encourage acceptance that the disorder is not treatable and focus on the victim’s life as a survivor, rather than a participant in their own demise in continuing with a psychopath. Kel

  44. Kel, on some fundamental issues that can impact people’s lives so seriously there’s no room for relativism or disagreement. These are two of those issues: 1) psychopathy is not treatable and 2) contact with a psychopath is harmful. Claudia

  45. Linda, you are quite right we cannot really call this selective memory; psychopaths are also pathological liars, and their memories can be conveniently selective if it suits their agenda. They never actually take any accountability, or if they seem to, this is conveniently forgotton also. A psychopath (particular your high functioning successful psychopaths) are identifiable by their behaviour which contradicts their words. Michael.

  46. Michael: yes taking into account that they are pathological liars they can just conveniently pull something out of their head they claimed happened years back which was a TOTAL LIE – Its isnt until NOW that I remember him doing that SO OFTEN with me. He would speak of things with us 23 years ago and I would just dismiss it thinking I forgot but I didnt forget IT NEVER happened, it was just a lie he made up to get what he wanted at that time. Linda

  47. Linda, another peculiar feature of the psychopath, narcissist, and borderlines (all variations of the core psychopathy construct) memory recall is that they can forget seemingly what they said or how they said it only yesterday; and then on the other hand act as though what they said two years ago, as though they only said it yesterday. Weird kind of time distortions that has the feel of them being able to re-edit history at will! Again this is because of their lack of emotion, and or lack of being able to emotionally relate to another. They really do not have any emotional narrative with us at all, which is why they just hit a reset button and re edit back in our lives at any point of their choosing. Hope that makes sense. Michael

  48. Kelli, a lot of what you describe I think is part of the aftermath. During the aftermath we are plagued with mass confusion; a spinning turmoil of self doubt and blame that melds and bleeds into our own issues.
    Kelli I think if you try to hold on to the fact that he is pathological and disordered first; get your head around that first before you focus on yourself. One step at a time as they say🙂 Your dissonace may be born out of a niggling doubt that he is disordered. Michael

  49. Michael – Makes sense as if it was just a movie they will play again for us when they feel like it – explains why there is no real missing on their part of anybody Thanks

  50. Michael,

    Interesting. The weird sense of time. This all ties into the “as if nothing ever happened” and their notorious lack of boundaries as well, thus stalkers.

    Even time, along with memory, is fragmented. Kel

  51. Michael: I wanted you to listen to this, it goes into female psychopaths in quite length as well as what awaits us when we get to the other side of this. (Iam looking forward to looking 10 years younger lol) I am also looking forward to having the path erased from my memory as well, not for the reasons they are able to erase us but for reasons of self reflection that will release me to live a better and more grounded life than I ever imagined from this awakening experience.

    “erased but not forgotten” that is what I am striving for. I never want to forget this happened but I want to embrace it knowing it brought me to a better place. Linda

  52. Linda, this is a really good way of framing it: embrace those memories knowing they have brought you to a better place. Because we don’t want those memories to bring us pain, but we also don’t want to erase bad memories that make us wiser and stronger. Claudia

  53. Linda, excellent interview with Sheridan; I would settle for looking 7 years younger! Michael

  54. Claudia and Michael: The unfortunate part of this is the two year recovery period, its just gonna hurt for awhile until we work through underlying issues or what have you. I have come to the realization that I need to work on these personal issues NOT just because of the path but also because these were issues that I should have addressed long before he entered my life. TWO YEARS seems to be the general time frame of recovery that I have read, of course that could fluctuate and vary to some degree. I dont believe I have two years ahead of me but more like another year in working on my own issues; during the course of that he will be totally erased from my mind ; the closer we discover our own truths the less we focus on them. x0x0 Linda

  55. Linda, that’s about right: it takes two years to recover from the psychopathic bond and deal with the extent of lying and betrayal we’ve suffered. This recovery period can stretch to a lifetime, however, if one doesn’t maintain No Contact (or minimize the contact when it’s necessary to have it, such as in situations of joint custody). Claudia

  56. Michael and all – are you familiar with “Interactive Alignment” he speaks of? The actual re-wiring of the brain – maybe we can compare this to brainwashing techniques such as cults etc… I am going to dismiss for a minute here my own shortcomings that was the reason I became so involved and focus on another aspect. HOW TRUE when the relationshit is over we dont even KNOW ourselves and we question who the hell am I?

    Here is something quite interesting in how he speaks of the disorder just happens they come out of the womb this way just like a person who is born to be a great piano player. Well there you go; I was born to be a great piano player and he was born a psychopath and both of us were adopted – His parents adopted a psychopath and my parents adopted a talented musician. x0 Linda

  57. Linda,

    I don’t think putting a time limit on recovery is really possible in pinpointing how long, but only as a general consensus. Thomas has it as two years. I think Sandra Brown does as well, or at LEAST a year before involvement with anyone else. I don’t think that’s long enough. I think it depends upon how much work needs to be done in other areas of our lives that will surely come to light during the therapeutic process. I think if there is abuse, it takes a lot longer, potentially the rest of our lives. I don’t see that as negative, but more a series of spiritual enlightenments and emotional growth. If there is more junk in our backgrounds to deal with, I think it takes a lot longer, on top of trying to heal from the psychopathic experience. One day at a time, I guess. Kel

  58. Linda, and all, I think 2 years of no contact is a good rule of thumb for moving well into the phase of recovery and picking up our lives again. I agree with Sheridan’s point re these encounters make us grow up, and he describes his own experience of being hit with a freight train when his past misdeeds paid him a visit. We have most if not all of us behaved in ways that have caused pain to others, but the difference is we experience remorse; they do not.

    Linda, I think that after such an intense and disorientating and emotionally abuse encounter that in my case lasted over 5 years, and then her overnight depature as she cut off from (although her ever being connected to me was an illusion in the first place) instantly and moved on to her next victim; I felt like I didnt know who I was anymore. I call it the black hole effect. Being manipulated to such a degree,

  59. cont- for so long, to such depth and on so many levels leaves us shell shocked and traumatised. The allignment theory of Sheridans I think in my understanding, pertains to being emotionally and psychologically decieved in the sense that the whole relationship is one big gaslight. We are altered chemically during the idealisation, in a hugely potent way through their initial hypersexuality and flattery, worship, adoration in the shape of sycophantic compliments that plays straight to our egos. Then as the bait and switch occurs, and we are exposed to powerful intermittent reinforcement because, and psychologists know this, pair anxiety with bonding and you have a combination for a potent bond taking place. I’m really interested in this pathological and highy toxic combination that is part of the relationship dynamic.

  60. All, I think one of the harmful things about having any contact is that we run the risk of exposing ourselves to their false fronts or mask of sanity again. This triggers cognitive dissonance symptoms because we run the risk of being fooled again that they are whole and healthy human beings, when in fact they are not. Lurking beneath is their emptiness and lack of empathy and inabilty to bond and love; not to mention their callousness, lack of compassion and so on. I can recall when i first met my ex she told me about an incident when her ex had gashed his hand open accidently with a chopping knife, and he asked her to drive him to the hospital, but she told him she was off to the gym. This was a huge red flag that I didn’t comprehend its significance until I had a similar experience after my head injury that almost killed me. I told her about liquid seeping from my ear, and she said “what are you telling me for I have plans”. Michael.

  61. Michael,

    Contact from them means they are not done harming you. I say “you” editorially. It does not mean one is missed, or longed for, just simply that the psychopath is wishing to bat one around again like a cat with a ball of yarn. It’s a game. Often it’s just to see if you can play, doing the seduction game first, then another discard. It is NOT idealization ever again once it is experienced, although the psychopath will make one feel that way, it is not as intense and if so, it is very brief. They do not have to do the work involved as in the initial luring phase. Secondly, there is the contact the victim makes while experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms. This too, is very dangerous, because often the psychopath has moved on and lets the victim know in no uncertain terms that their “new” relationshit is much better than the one they had with them and will even go into detail about how much better and in what ways, such as what happened to Lesley, although her ex contacted her to let her know this, which also can happen. The psychopath gets off on watching his victims writhe, even when he is long out of the relationshit.

    this is why no contact is vital and critical to our recovery and maintaining it. This is the FEAR I have in being contacted by mine or seeing him somewhere and I avoid it at all costs. Even took down all my social networks to avoid second hand information. I don’t want to know.

    Understanding this does not in any way, preclude the psychopath from regaining an attempted contact in the future, as their concept of time, as well as their cognitive emotional deficit in “as if nothing ever happened” is again visited upon us. I don’t rule out anything, but I do have hope that what I will be is completely forgotten and will not fit into any of his skewed concepts of time or fragmented thought. Kel

  62. Kelli, this is true; psychopaths have an extraordinary and superficial approach to relationships. They can as my partner did three years into our relationship, accuse of you not being tall enough or some other crazy superficial criticism.

    Psychopaths have no concept of emotional attachment which allows them to comment on what their new victim has that you did not. Psychopaths could not avoid hurting someone even if they wanted too. Michael.

  63. Michael,

    It’s interesting about the pathological bond and intermittent reinforcement.

    I do think that victims eventually know that something is very wrong when the bait and switch occurs, but not WHAT. Many of you here got out relatively early in the relationshit. How much time during yours did you understand that something was WRONG? When did that begin? In my situation, three months in was when the “big one” hit. The bait and switch for sure. When it happened, I was emotionally devastated. I had not one idea what was going on, but when it happened over and over (as it does get worse and more frequent) I knew something was terribly wrong, but not WHAT and of all the pathology I’ve experienced this one was, by far, the MOST abusive of all.

    I think many victims do get out. It does come down to do or die in these situations. I also think that there is not ONE happy “victim” in a pathological bond. That unhappiness increases as times goes on. There is no happy endings with these people. No relationshit that works. With mine, it came down to when life entered the picture, the daily rigors of LIFE, issues having to do with LIFE, that my ex could not and would not deal with it. There was never resolution nor support. Ever. not once. On top of the constant provocations to harm and hurt. It was hell and I don’t want to revisit it again.

    This is also why education is so important. You can do nothing about what you don’t know. Information can also help victims searching for answers while still in the relationshit. I think many are looking to understand not only the behaviors, but also that it’s not THEIR fault that the behaviors continue when they’ve done everything they can to make the relationshit work. I also think that a victim’s willingness to leave the relationshit is based upon their level of health. A healthier person would not put up with it for long. someone who is familiar with toxic relationships, would put up with it for a lot longer. Kel

  64. Kel you are so right that education is so important! Had I been aware of what a psychopath was years ago, I would have gotten out a long, long time ago. In fact there were 3 or more very glaring red flags in the beginning that are clear psychopathic strategies. He was my first boyfriend believe it or not! I’m not a young woman.That’s a whole other story all together. But, I was extremely niave and boy it must have excited him so to have such a live, fresh, prey to pounce on.

    Michael/Linda, 2 years may be a long enough time, or it may not. I was nearly 2 years out when my ex contacted me. I thought I was healed enough, strong enough, saw him clearly enough to handle responding to his email. Well, they are such good manipulators it doesn’ take long at all before your back in their web again. Even having been there before and thinking you recognize it.

    Michael I like what you said about psychopath hurting people whether they try to or not. I gave my ex’s new victim a warning about him. She’s only known him about a month and she thinks he’s just dreamy. She said she’ll “talk to him about what I’ve told her” So, I have worried that this will make him be on his very best behavior maybe for a year or more, making me look a fool to this woman who is a distant colleague. The longest he has been able to sustain any relationship (me being the exception) is about 1 year and 1/2. He’s 36 yrs old. This tells me regardless how hard he tries w/in about 6 months she’ll start seeing glaring signs. I know his “cover” and who he is presenting to her now. I also know the first areas that will slip. He can’t keep them up for 6 months I’m sure. He’s an incredible slob. He likes you to clean and cook for him, but he loves to just as quickly mess up everything you’ve just cleaned, or refuse to eat what you’ve just cooked. His car is hideously dirty and I dont think he’d ever wash his bedsheets and blankets if I didn’t insist on it before staying over. At this moment his home and car are clean. Which is one of the signs that gave it away to me he was seeing somebody else. So obvious! He denied it of course! Anyhow, w/in a few months that’ll be her first clue. The appearance of who she thinks she is with will begin to blur.

    Well off to do some wonderful things for myself and push myself away from the keyboard. I hope you all do something lovely for yourselves this afternoon.🙂

  65. Lisa, psychopaths love women they can taint. They have many sexual encounters with women who are experienced whom they meet at clubs or elsewhere, but the real prey for them is inexperienced or innocent women whom they take great pleasure in corrupting. His mask will start slipping when he feels he’s got an emotional hold on her; when the novelty of the conquest wears off and he grows bored with her, and when he feels he’s tainted her. Claudia

  66. All, very interesting comments. Michael, the more you research and write, the more you provide very powerful insights. The lack of emotional attachment allows the psychopath to tell the previous victim how great the next one is. The also love triangulations, love to get them started. I think their destructive, abusive nature is such that they cannot help harming others. That is a very, VERY powerful insight for me.

    Lisa, I’m so glad to see that blogging here is helpful to you in understanding your ex and your insights have been invaluable to me as well.

    Claudia, you also make a very good distinction and point with psychopaths and the sexual realm. The real prey is inexperienced or innocent women whom they take great pleasure in corrupting. In an article by Sandra Brown on Safe Relationships magazine she discusses sexual healing after the psychopathic relationshit. They often expose victims to sexual deviancy cloaked as normal, but fun sexuality, sex games and such. I’m not speaking of this article verbatim, but that’s the gist of it. Anyway, this fabrication about sexual deviancy out of the psychopath is often used on women who are sexually considered to be liberal, but the psychopaths deviancy often is much more than of the “sexually liberated” kind. It is sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is also using a human being as a blow up doll or object. This is what all psychopaths do. So in a sense, we are all sexually abused by him/her and all need sexual healing in the aftermath. Most, if not all of us, are also exposed to the reality of STD’s and numerous sexual encounters the psychopath had that we will never find out about or find out about in the aftermath or that this was the reason for the psychopaths leaving in the first place, as is in an affair situation. kel

  67. Michael,

    I’m curious as to whether or not you noticed any behaviors out of your ex prior to your criticism, as you state above, at the three year mark. Kel

  68. Claudia/Kel, that is exactly the type of woman my ex targets again and again and again. I know his ex wife, I know a lot about the other woman he was with while we were still together. And I know the new woman he is currently dating. All of us had relatively little dating experience before him. We are all kind, thoughtful, empathetic women w/ moral integrity. That is who he likes to capture and destroy. He likes to brag about how “sweet” we are.

    Kel, I don’t think my ex was deviant sexually. Domineering yes. Controling absolutely! Self centered, self absorbed, self serving and complete lack of thought to anyone’s needs other than his own. In fact, he’ll be sure to not only NOT care about you, he’ll go out of his way to ensure you do not get anything you might want. Blow up doll reference is perfect!

  69. Kelli, There were red flags at the beginning, I didnt find this out until 3 years into the relationship but she had only been seperated from her previous partner for 4 weeks when i met her; she told me it had been 9 months. The incident with her partners accident when he was cooking dinner and gashed his hand she told me about 2 weeks in to the relationship. There were also 2 – 3 occasions during the first year she became vitriolic and belittling, out of the blue. She asked me to sleep with a prostitute in Amsterdam while she watched, and offered to pay. She asked me about the prospect of us living together about 5 – 6 months in. She not once throughout all the 5 years verbally told me she loved me; but idealised me big time during the first year. She would write it, txt it or email that she loved me but never said it. She asked me 3 years later how she would know if she felt love. After she ended it after year 1, she rang me half an hour later in frantic floods of tears and disclosed that she had ended it because she felt ashamed about her issues with bulimia and the last thing she wanted for us to end.
    Her ex partner then ccd me into an email 3-4 days a copy of an email she had sent to him making it very clear she wasnt interested in her relationship with me. She was highly / hyper sexual during the first year.
    In total she dumped me 5 times. After 3 years she told me 10 days after getting back from Paris that her ex was the love of her life, after she told me she could only see me once per fortnight. By then I was regularly being idealised and the devalued; she was cycling rapidly. 2008 was unbelievably chaotic; she tried to hoover her ex back in when she learned he was seeing someone else and getting on with his life. She wrote him a reconciliation letter and forwarded a copy to me; She said she wanted to be with me and not him and she had made the biggest mistake of her life, then on and on this went for months. Me than him than me, and then she joined a dating site. When ever I told her I had enough she would push my buttons, including telling me she was pregnant and would have my child. She met her ex to talk and he wasnt the remotest bit interested in reconciling. This went on for about 8 months, as she manipulated both of us while joining dating sites. She told me I was the second love of her life, while lining up dates at the same time. Then I wasnt tall enough, and there is so much more I could tell you but this getting lenghthy.
    Then when I had my head injury; she wrote me a note in a valentine card in 09 which read “what ever life has to throw at us my darling we will face it together, I love you very much”. Then ended it again 2 months later, joined a dating site, but emailed me telling me she was just “window shopping”; then we got back together, and she seduced an ex OT student of hers. I challenged her about the emails, and she told me she doesnt fancy him, and “hes not my equal”! The email was a whole paragraph of sycaphantic flattery (think Sheridan) it said – “You are the most handsomeest guy this side of the river, your amazingly handsome, I will be checking in your handsomeness regularly mr handsome” the whole paragraph went on like this. She denied there was anything in it. Then she deleted me from her life and started seeing him; a straight forward swap. This lasted a short while as she devalued him very quickly. Early 2010 not long after she had discarded me for the 5th time while recovering from my head injury; she told me she was seeing someone else, this was about 4 weeks after I broke contact with her (we still saw each other regularly after the final discard, she hadnt told me about him yet). I helped her shop for a tent and kugged to her car for her. Unbeknowest to me the tent was for a camping trip with him, the same guy she seduced right under my nose, only I didnt know it. Anyone reading this could be forgiven for thinking my god; what a fool he was. I feel follish just typing this. Michael

  70. should read above “shop for a tent and lugged it to her car for her”!

  71. Kelli, during the chaos of 2008 i spoke with a friend of hers and her ex. I told her what had been happening, and she stopped me in mid sentence and told me that her ex had told her that “she was narcissistic”. I didnt really know what that meant.
    Another major red flag came from her sister who wrote to me saying that she is “incapable of compassion”.

  72. Claudia, Kel; All I can say was that each time she gave me hope, made pomises of a wonderful future she never kept, telling me that she could never have the level of intimacy with anyone else that she had with me- She was 100% convincing each time. And I never believed that anyone could be capable of manipulating someone in such a profound way in order to have her needs met. Whether it be sex, narcissistic supply, or whatever. You dont get this until the relationship is over, the extent to which you have been lied and manipulated.
    Sheridan makes the point about its nothing personal its just buisness with a psychopath. Is this the case? Its not about deliberately causing harm, the harm is just a by product of their devious, callous, self serving needs, and any damage caused to us is just none of their concern. Claudia, or was part of her manipulation strategy all part of deliberately causing me harm for its own sake? A friend and survivor of a path rel told me that she knew what she was doing every step of the way; and I believe she did. But, did she emotionally know? No is the answer to that because these people are not capable of emotionally knowing anything about the damage they cause others. Because this requires empathy, which is born out of normal human experience of emotion which they do not have; hence no remorse.

    Gor so long i was consumed with anger, and hatred, and disbelief for how she behaved; and then I realised that you cannot make a psychopath get it through getting angry, talking to them, shouting at them, or writing them a letter or any other medium. This was one of the hubs of my turning points when I finally began to get it- psychopaths are not human in any sense of the word. There is no emotional relationship with a psychopath; and what I thought was the most special relationship of my life, as it transpired turned out to be the most meaningless relationship I have ever encountered in the most literal definition of the word. Michael.

  73. Michael, thanks for sharing with us the details of what happened to you. It sounds like you put up with a lot from your psychopathic ex, several cycles of relationship boomerang. I suppose when you invest completely in the psychopathic bond, that’s what happens. You first treat it as a normal relationship that requires work and forgiveness not as the pathological dominance bond that it is. Most of us here have been through this and it took a lot to finally open our eyes.

    Kel and Lisa, my ex had an explicit pattern, which he described as the one he followed before his marriage, but it became clear to me later on that it’s the one he followed during his marriage as well as during our affair: his pattern, period. It was to sleep only one or twice with as many women as possible–whom he picks up at clubs, bars, dating and adult websites, craigslist, beauty schools, anywhere he could find them–and simultaneously secure a triangulation between two main partners, who became rivals for his “love”. He gets extremely bored with life if he doesn’t have at least two “serious” dominance bonds along with all the loose sex. Casual sex isn’t sufficiently psychologically challenging for him, although he needs it of course to satisfy his sexual addiction.

    Kel, that’s why I feel quite confident your ex, despite his seemingly “happy” new marriage, is still looking to triangulate once again, perhaps with you (the phone calls) or others. He’s not going to give up a ten year pattern of triangulation that kept him so busy and provided so much entertainment.

    Lisa, if you’re interested in the subject of how psychopaths sexually taint inexperienced women, I recently reposted an article about this:

    https://psychopathyawareness.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/psychopaths-as-lovers/

    Claudia

  74. Michael,

    Thank you for posting your story. I was dizzy reading it! It’s interesting that others in her life called her, “narcissistic”. That’s pretty profound. You had some validation about her behaviors, particularly with regard to its long standing.

    I don’t agree with you however, about harm. They do not have to have empathy to know that they are causing harm nor that they do this on purpose. Psychopaths operate on a reward system that is fossilized. The reward for them is EMOTIONAL HARM THROUGH VICTIMIZATION. They DO know exactly what they’re doing. Their impulsive nature also implies immediate and fast rewards. They’ll do anything for the GLEE that they DO get and feel after victimization. They feed off of relationships to uphold a sense of superiority, which expressed their narcissistic side. This is also in Sandra Brown’s book.
    In thinking about my ex and his antics, whenever I asked him to STOP hurting me, he would do it MORE. They cannot RESIST a temptation for HARM. This is why they are so dangerous. Whether that harm inevitably befalls upon themselves or, mainly, others, they live to cause pain. Kel

  75. Kel, and everyone: there’s no question in my mind, based on everything I’ve read and personal experience with a psychopath, that psychopaths greatly enjoy causing harm and machinate at length on how to cause it most effectively. They can scheme for a year or longer with certain victims to ensnare them in order to harm them as much as possible. In my situation, my psychopathic ex schemed for over a year to separate me from my family and friends in order to dominate and degrade me for a little while, then dump me. That was his plan. Fortunately I escaped this dire fate because I woke up on time. He let his guard of lies down a little bit when he thought I was under control and asked me to join with him a dating website, as I’ve mentioned several times before. At that point, I woke up from the psychopathic spell and started researching his symptoms: just in the nick of time, before I destroyed my whole life. It became very obvious to me at the end, when he began to unmask himself, that destroying me and my family was his goal all along in the year long pretense of love and game of seduction. Psychopaths can be extremely calculated and patient in these games whose objective is to derive the greatest pleasure by inflicting maximum harm upon their carefully chosen, “prize” targets. The closer you get to a psychopath, the more you have to watch your back, because he will backstab you. Claudia

  76. Kelli, Claudia, do you think a psychopath harms us so that they can relish in feeling our pain? Michael

  77. Michael, absolutely! All psychopaths are at the very least psychological sadists (and many are sexual sadists as well). Their top pleasure in life is causing others pain. If they target in particular decent people it’s because they can bring them down from higher up (successful careers, good relationships with others, a network of family and friends). It’s more fun for them to cause and watch the demise of people who are relatively well-adjusted and successful in life than to mingle exclusively with those who aren’t (although, as mentioned, they do quite a bit of that as well).

    Machinating to cause others maximum intentional harm in order to experience sadistic pleasure at their expense is the name of the game for all psychopaths. That’s the core of their personality disorder and why they’re rightly considered evil. Claudia

  78. Kelli, if you reread my post that you commented on I’m asking a question rather than stating a position. I have been reading about what are known as secondary psychopaths; which may be closer to the association with cluster b comorbidity or overlap than primary psychopaths who as you say Claudia are premeditated in their ruthlessness. One theory is that secondary psychopaths may make up the borderline and APD catergories. In other words they may be able to experience some higher order emotions and occasionally be able to demonstrate some empathy and transiently attach to others. But they have a tendency to dissociate and shut down giving them a psychopathic and antagonistic feel to them- secondary psychopaths may be more associated with neurosis (you may have been right Claudia). On the other hand there was a distinctly controlling theme in my exes behaviour; in that she manipulated and lied to me as a means of controlling me.

  79. Claudia, I hope you dont mind me playing devils advocate as this helps me get things clear in my own mind. But in oder for a psychopath to relish feeling our pain they would require a sense of empathy? Michael

  80. Claudia, although I must say- how anybody can disassociate and shut down their emotions in such a wholesale and complete way seems to go way beyond simple repression.

  81. Michael, the same logic that applies to sadists applies to psychopaths who are, among other things, highly sadistic: they can empathize with others only enough to greatly enjoy causing them pain. I think people understand this logic quite well about sadists but seem not to understand it about psychopaths, whose key psychological feature is sadism. Sadism is a perversion of empathy; also a very superficial form of empathy because they can’t really put themselves in the position of the people whom they hurt. If they did, as normal human beings can do, they wouldn’t want to hurt them.

    As for shutting one’s emotions down, psychopaths don’t need to do this since as you’ve pointed out a number of times they don’t have that depth and range of deeper human emotions. To them, human beings are objects they can use, cause pain to and discard. Nothing else. They never place themselves in the position of those they hurt; they never consider others human in the same way that they are. Just inferior beings whom they can manipulate, use and watch suffer. This is the extent of any psychopath’s so-called “empathy”. Claudia

  82. Michael,

    I do not, in any way shape or form, believe that psychopaths experience empathy on any level, or any cluster B for that matter. It is contrived and that’s all it is. Faked. Whatever “emotions” are there, they are fleeting. With regards to your ex lying and manipulating, this goes directly to what I’m saying here. Empathy would require that one does NOT manipulate and lie. They know exactly what they’re doing, even “secondary” psychopaths (I find this inaccurate), but this applies to narcissists, borderlines, ASP’s etc. Lying and manipulation is what a psychopath does. There is NO in between and because they know they are doing it, it is INTENTIONAL HARM. This is, again, a fossilized reward system from which they gain pleasure at causing others pain, this IS the reward. Having even a remote sense of empathy or feeling it, would not generate the intentional motives in manipulating and lying to HARM. I feel empathy. If I’m lying to you and know it, as a person with empathy, for whatever reason, I’m going to feel BADLY about that and it would eat at my conscience, something cluster b’s also LACK. They do not harbor any remorse, guilt or regret for the harm they cause. They can easily move from one target to another without feeling any empathy at all.

    With what you’ve shared, your ex felt no empathy. AT ALL. Her intention was full and total harm and destruction. It was either manipulation or lying. No in between. Kel

  83. Claudia,

    I disagree with the notion that psychopaths can feel empathy enough to enjoy pain caused to their victims. that is NOT empathy and to say it’s empathy in a different way or distorted, means empathy loses what it means in the first place. TO BE ABLE TO STEP INTO THE EMOTIONS OF ANOTHER. There is NO empathy in sadism, Claudia, on any level. They don’t derive “joy” or “happiness” from hurting others in the sense that we know what that means, they are GLEEFUL, they feel POWER. And none of those “emotions” has anything to do with empathy in the slightest. I often think a victims pain is a projection of their rage, envy and hatred, whatever the victims reactions, it is REWARD time for a psychopath. He is provoking emotions out of the victim that he himself cannot express, again, rage, envy and hatred. Kel

  84. I think it would be good to term a psychopaths glee in different terms than empathy which have nothing to do with the rewards they get from the suffering of their victims. it is sadism, pure and simple. They know they are causing pain. To have empathy would mean that they would not, or realizing that they had, feel guilt, remorse or regret and they do not. Kel

  85. Kelli, interesting perspective; what do you make of sheridans “its only buisness” notion. Not that Sheridan is a complete guru and has the final word. Re cluster b’s, the handbook of psychopathy ive been reading isnt clear or certain if cluster b pathology is more on the neurosis scale than primary psychopaths. I think I’m feeling a bit overloaded with information; some say cluster b’s are at their core psychopathic, other researchers say hmmmm it’s a bit unclear. The central debate in psychopathy research is “what is at the core of psychopathy if it can be defined as a core personality construct”> I think these people who research psychopathy should try living with one or being their partner for a year or few!
    If a psychopath behave themselves as sheridan states some of them do, does that mean they are not psychopaths?

  86. Kelli, my ex never hit me, cleaned out my bank account, or sexually abused me in any way; she did in the end use sex as some kind of control mechanism, claiming to be non sexual and could live the rest of her life without having sex!!! Yeah right, this is disorder speak for I’m bored with sex with you i fancy a new sex partner! After she had done the deed with the guy she seduced under my nose, she then tells me “he’s crap in bed compared to you”! manipulation, manipulation, manipulation!

  87. Michael,

    RE: Your above post. First, you’re writing a book and doing a lot of research into the various disorders, which can be, after a time, overwhelming to say the least and seem to bring more questions and cog/dis, than answers. I often have to take a breather. I’m taking two psych courses right now and we are into the axis one disorders, haven’t hit the personality disorders yet and my mind is already on overload. So normal, in other words.

    Secondly, as to Sheridan’s, “it’s only business”, I believe this goes to his assertion that the underlying motivations of psychopaths is survival, thus, “it’s only business”, nothing personal. This is the psychopath perspective and given what they do and how they do it, it is accurate to some degree, however, Sheridan’s assertions in this manner, I believe, miss the fundamental aftermath symptoms that most victims face. It’s quite easy to say “it”s just business” as to help the victims understand that it’s nothing personal about them, it could and will happen to anyone who falls for the psychopaths manipulations and lies, but it understates the victims perspective, because it is HIGHLY personal, as the psychopath hooks us via our deepest fantasies, as well as dysfunctions, if there are any that could be exploited (abuse backgrounds is one such dysfunction).

    Psychopaths that “behave” themselves, oh, you mean the successful psychopath? LOL! Yes, the ones that have jobs and marriages and families? that don’t commit crimes? They are MORE dangerous and their abuse is more covert and insidious. They hide better, are perhaps a bit more intelligent and use this to their advantage to hide better. It is possible, MIchael, that your ex was not only narcissistic/psychopathic but also histrionic. that may be confusing the issue for you as histrionics have a tendency to the wild swings in behaviors that you describe, but are still of the dramatic disorder variety. I wonder how much of borderline is not really histrionic. I do believe psychopathic disorders overlap, or perhaps can be put into sub categories based upon psychopathology as the main dx. The reality that your ex didn’t do anything with regards to you as far as financial abuse, physical abuse, unfortunately does not discount the severe psychological abuse and I would go out on a limb here in your situation and say even sexual abuse, as it was used as a weapon against you. She was also very sexually somatic, and cheating endlessly on you is also sexual/psychological abuse. It is also spiritually abusive as it tears at the core of the self.

    As far as the core of the personality disorder, all across the divide here, it is clear that lack of empathy, remorse or guilt, leaves a mile long trait of behaviors, exhibited differently by each individual psychopath. Even when the victims become aware of such deficits, they discount certain traits/behaviors because one was not more than another. it doesn’t mean they are LESS psychopathic, or that the sub categories don’t apply. Pathological lying, manipulation and purposeful victimization are also core and key to the personality construct. I have yet to witness ONE pathological that did not exhibit the above in one way or another, When we discuss behaviors that we recognize as familiar and similar within our experiences such as emotional memory deficits (as if nothing ever happened), SEVERE lack of boundaries (stalking, begging, pleading, when one wants to leave the relationship as well as boundary violations in the luring phase with pushing the partner to acquiesce), all of these go directly to LACK OF EMPATHY, first and foremost, LACK OF GUILT, about boundary violations or any of the abuse and LACK OF REMORSE about the inevitable pain and harm that befalls every single one of the victims in the aftermath. I have a major exam now. This discussion has been interesting. Kel

  88. Michael,

    Saying this to you was not just manipulation it was meant to hurt you. Intentional harm. she could not resist that temptation as reward in your reactions and responses. this is why the psychopath, like lesley’s did to her recently, loves to tell previous victims that they are happier with their new partners, or to drop some ridiculous manipulation such as yours did, it”s also a lie. No one is better in bed to a psychopath than another. If you think about it, ANYONE is capable of good sex. With a psychopath, this doesn’t last very long. I believe they get bored with their main supply sources. This is also why extramarital affairs, serial cheating and other sexual deviancy is mandatory to a psychopath. Kel

  89. Also what you saw with this comment, was a glaring example of her lack of empathy, remorse or guilt. Kel

  90. Kelli, very interesting indeed. I propose that one of the key defining core traits of psychopathy whether it is a taxonomy, or a continuum, can only be captured qualitatively. By this I mean one has to have lived a pathological relationship to truly understand. I am aware that this will come across as quite clinical or in some way detached; but at heart I’m a social constructionist, and believe that in order to understand a phenomena truly, one must live it in an anthropological sense. My article I hope captures some of the flavour of what living through a pathological relationship with an individual who is at their core psychopathically personality disordered is like. Which is no emotional narrative, or memory, or emotional bond. Michael

  91. Kelli, dont be too suprised if you during your axis 2 elective presuming there is one, you receive only cursory information around cluster b pathology that will not include or cover the impact on victims. Michael

  92. Kel, you’re right. It’s a distortion of the concept and meaning of “empathy” to say that sadists and psychopaths feel empathy. What they feel is a sense of power at causing others distress, pain, sometimes even death. They feel in control of other people’s life and death when they see others suffer at their hands, either directly or through their various machinations (as mentioned before, they love antagonizing their pawns against one another so that others do their dirty work: pitting target against target, victim against victim). Claudia

  93. Claudia oh my god! I’m having one of those light bulb aha moments. She attempted to manipulate her ex partner and manipulate me at the same time. I fell for this for 3 years, totally unaware that this was what she was doing. And when her ex wasnt playing because he had moved on; she then introduced this new guy into the equasion! There is a part of me that doesnt want to accept that she lied and manipulated me to such a profound level! Michael.

  94. Michael, because psychopaths are so different from normal human beings–so manipulative, deceptive and malicious (evil is the only term that truly captures them)–it’s impossible not to experience a whole lot of cognitive dissonance. Some victims of psychopaths experience the most extreme form of it: total denial. They excuse, rationalize, close their eyes to the psychopath’s wrongdoings and cast blame on everyone but him in order to maintain the illusion that the psychopath loved them and that they’re special in his eyes. Their denial is so extreme and the psychological damage so profound that they remain the victims and pawns of the psychopath for life. There’s no escape when the denial is that total and when you can’t face reality, however devastating and horrible it may be.

    But most victims, particularly those who read and comment on this and other psychopathy blogs, experience only partial denial: under the form of the psychopath used to love me, or there was some ounce of true feeling in her or him during our relationship, at least at the beginning. NO. There wasn’t because for that to exist the psychopath had to have been capable of empathy and love, which NO psychopath ever is. The horrible psychopath who manipulated and used you at the end of the relationship, when they showed their true colors because they had no more use for you, is the same horrible psychopath who lied to you through flattery, false promises, or declarations of love.

    From beginning to end of the psychopathic bond you were dealing with the same manipulative, sadistic and pathologically deceptive individual. The only difference is that in the beginning he or she put more effort into luring and deceiving you and later on, when your use-value diminished, much less effort into creating that mask for you. From beginning to end you were manipulated and emotionally abused. It’s very difficult even for the best informed victims to accept the basic fact that Dr. Jekyll is always, underneath the mask and the lies, Mr. Hyde. That is the real identity of any psychopath, not just with you, but in every intimate relationship they have. Claudia

  95. Michael – I can testify to that YES YES YES and again YES. His favorite little line was ” you know me I just have to poke the grizzly bear” When I cried he would LAUGH, yes LAUGH – thought I was much to dramatic and emotional – he LOVED knowing I was in pain x0 Linda

  96. Michael: RE: your ex and her ex and yourself = TRIANGULATION. Psychopaths love that.

    As to your presumption about my text with regards to Axis 2, I can assure you that there is MUCH in the text about the affects on victims. This text is relatively new. It also goes into detail about how treatment is INEFFECTIVE and that the MOST talked about personality disorders, socially, is ASP’s and BORDERLINES. Interesting, isn’t it? While it goes into great detail, about the disorder itself, how it manifests, dx and “treatment” options (few), it is relatively short in comparison to other chapters. What can you say about disorders that are incurable? Not much.

    It is different when one experiences the disorder, rather than never having experienced it, HOWEVER, we must find an approach that is UNDERSTANDABLE and that potential victims of these people will recognize the red flags. this requires more detail than lack of empathy, remorse or guilt, these distinctions dont mean much UNTIL the aftermath. These are not distinctions used on a daily basis, but in the aftermath, we use them OFTEN. I also think that taking these terms and DEFINING them with regards to the psychopaths behavior in terms of abuse, how the abuse is inflicted in EASY TO UNDERSTAND, rather than scholarshit or clinical terms, will reach many more victims or potential victims of the psychopath. Knowledge is power, but in this case, it absolutely MUST be in the easiest of terms to understand. Kel

  97. Claudia,

    I agree with you about “partial denial”. In one way it’s a GOOD thing that we can’t really understand how someone could be so evil, on the other we need to try to understand it so we can heal. The most painful thing about recovery is embracing the full impact of how much we loved and that we were not loved in return. It is very easy to ask, “Was it ME?” Because sometimes the alternative of evil is too hard to digest. It takes a lot of time. This very truth is what makes them so incredibly dangerous. It can literally destroy a person’s life. Even in the clinic I go to, psychopaths have victims on the verge of suicide. Living with a psychopath means a death sentence and a miserable existence the rest of a victim’s life, if they choose to stay and some do. It is very, VERY sad. Kel

  98. Kel, it is sad, but you’re right that the saddest alternative is not seeing the psychopath for what he is and continuing to stay with him, despite his constant manipulation, lies and–above all–machinating to destroy you. I think for some victims reality is too painful to bear. They prefer to cultivate, with the psychopath, the illusion of real, special love. I think that’s whom psychopaths sink their claws into most. Those who need the illusion most; those who can’t function without it. Even if they don’t kill them physically, they leave such victims without an identity, psychologically gutted. Kind of like in the movie Coraline, which I just re-watched with my family this weekend in anticipation of Halloween: a movie that’s definitely worth watching by adults as well, and anyone interested in how evil works. Claudia

  99. This joke seemed fitting for this site!

    The bride was escorted down the aisle and when she reached the altar, the groom was standing there with his golf bag and clubs. She said: “What are your golf clubs doing here?”
    He looked her right in the eye and said, “This isn’t going to take all day, is it?”

  100. Patty, that’s funny, but I thought the punch line applicable to a psychopath would be something like: “The better to clobber you, my dear!” Something more sinister! Claudia

  101. Okay, here is one more to your taste about a female psychopath.

    Police are called to an apartment and find a woman holding a bloody 5-iron standing over a lifeless man. The detective asks, “Ma’am, is that your husband?” “Yes” says the woman. “Did you hit him with that golf club?” “Yes, yes, I did.” The woman begins to sob, drops the club, and puts her hands on her face. “How many times did you hit him?” “I don’t know — five, six, maybe seven times…just put me down for a five.”

  102. Susan, that’s more like it. Except I’d change the last line to something like: “It was self-defense! His head hit my golf club!” It’s tough to make up psychopathy jokes since the reality of psychopathic behavior is so warped and sinister. Nothing, not even dark humor, can compete with it. Claudia

  103. True, but I think both jokes reflect a psychopath’s total disconnect with the normal emotions that go with getting married, or being caught after bludgeoning someone. The woman’s sobs are obviously not about what normal people’s sobs would be about, (probably about herself or just what she things she should do) as she equates what she did to a golf game.

    And both illustrate how a psychopath’s words and behaviors make your jaw drop…..if these were true incidents. And how psychopaths see absolutely nothing wrong with their jaw dropping statements.

    I remember one woman on love fraud saying her p lover complained that she didn’t “walk sexy” when she got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. P’s all say those statements that make you wonder if it is a joke….but then you realize, no, THEY are perfectly serious about what they just said.

  104. Claudia: What you describe is truly nothing but an internal predatory conscienceness as Sheridan keeps stressing and stressing. Being the OW (or one of MANY other women) its much easier for me to look at him as a predator in how he lured me but I fail to understand how they are predators to their partners; yes of course their predatory techniques were used for them also initially but after being with them for years and years their relationship changes drastically I am sure. Maybe it just comes down to the fact they are predators to their partners because the whole relationship is under a guise of some sort and as he is using her for what he needs her for imagine, stability, paying partial mortgage, he is a predator to her because of how he exploites her behind her back. All the great writers (such as yourself) and doctors state “there are no happy endings being with a psychopath, in the end you are utterly destroyed” Kelli stated that some of the victims in her group sessions were suicidal from the experience. I really have to wonder how many psychopaths keep life partners as I simply can not imagine with all their harmful psychological games they play how ANYONE could endure such torture until death to us part. x0x0 Linda

  105. Claudia, your comments I found to be soothing; cognitive dissonance haunts me from time to time, and comments such as the ones you make are very helpful. I recall in the midst of the chaos of 2008, I told her I cannot do this anymore I have enough. She replied- “clever move Michael, it’s a little like a game of chess this isn’t it”. I asked her what she meant, and told her that I carn’t stand this pain and torment anymore, “I dont know whether I’m comming or going”, she told me that the bottom line is If I didn’t stand by her then that would prove that “you dont really love me Michael”.

    Your book has arrived; I’m going to put the kettle and start your book. At just over 200 pages I will have read it by the weekend. I will post a review on amazon, Michael

  106. Linda, the closer you are to a poisonous snake the greater the chances you’ll be bitten by it. In fact, their own partners are the biggest targets of most psychopaths. It’s the people closest to them that they manipulate, pathologically lie to, make feel inadequate and inferior, control, and ultimately destroy, every day of their lives. If people who have had less contact with a psychopath–a very toxic, predatory individual as you state–come out of the relationship with so much damage, you can imagine how much more damage is endured by those who are closer in proximity and emotional intimacy to the psychopath: not to speak of having children with him! Those individuals find it a lot harder to get out of the psychopathic bond. For some, there’s no escape whatsoever. They’re too enmeshed in the toxic relationship; too much under the psychopath’s control. It’s the psychopath’s partners that have the hardest time overcoming the dominance bond, plus their own denial, about the dangerous relationship. Claudia

  107. Michael, I hope you’ll enjoy reading Dangerous Liaisons and appreciate your reviewing it. The analogy to games is very common for psychopaths. In the absence of any deeper emotions, all they can experience is a sense of power and the temporary satisfaction of game moves of manipulation and deceit with people. That’s all they’ve got in life. I know I’ve written about cognitive dissonance before, but it seems to come in waves. Some of you seem to be experiencing that a lot lately. What I find intriguing is this: why victims process information about psychopathy so well, so deeply, when it comes to other people’s psychopathic ex’s, but not when it comes to their own psychopathic ex. Everyone on this and other psychopathy websites is very well-informed about this personality disorder. Everyone offers great advice to others and a lot of emotional support. But it’s so much more difficult when it comes to applying this information to one’s situation or psychopathic ex. Clearly it’s because of the (past) emotional investment in one’s own psychopathic ex. But this begs the question: why? What is the biggest stumbling block in your experiences of processing this information about personality disorders emotionally? Claudia

  108. Susan, you’re right about that! They’re so callous and superficial that it’s absurd. Claudia

  109. Michael and Claudia and everyone
    Michael, great article and again so true of one of the many tools that these types headf*ck their partners with.
    It is so difficult to imagine what it must be like to have no empathy, no emotional recall, no memory of care and love. In the times I have spoken to my ex I always forgot that fact hence he still managed to upset me and make my brain feel like it was being twisted like a sponge.
    However having said that, in the months after we split up when I did speak to him and he was trying to get his own way he could miraculously remember “our connection”, that he still “had feelings for me” although when I said to him “you don’t love me” there was just silence. Also, if he was trying to use me I could actually hear (if you understand) his mind click over and he would change tack, pull out any saying, word, sentiment, from his brain that he could, and clearly not making any sense. Like punching in random numbers until the managed to open the safe of use categories. When you are not conforming then they do mentally malfunction.
    Another thing your post reminded me of was when we first started seeing each other he would send me emails saying he missed me, texts saying that he wished i was with him etc. However once I started living with him and I would go home to Scotland to see my family for a few days, if I text him or said on the phone “i miss you” he would say “Lesley listen to me, why do you say that to me? Please don’t say that as when you say it then I have to then think about if I am missing you and I am quite happy in my own company. You are being too needy and really do you really miss me? Can you not go and just have a nice time with your family and not think of me” – at the time I was totally confused by this statement. Why on earth look into something so deeply?? Don’t all partners miss each other sometimes when they are apart?? I know me and my ex husband did. But of course, this was another glaring sign that my ex was mentally disordered, a classic psychopathic red flag. He didn’t understand the concept of missing anyone as he quite frankly didn’t care unless they were in his mind right at that given moment in time. I could not get my head round why on earth he was analysing such a nice kind thing to say to someone. How ironic that analysing was one of the many faults he listed as being mine when we split up.
    They only “remember” you when they want something out of you, they do not think about anything that has gone on between you, what you did for them, anything. No matter what it is and they will never ever care for anyone or the harm they do you, your life, and your loved ones. No one makes an impression on their lives. So so harmful.
    Sorry not having a good day today….its a year on 5 november that he told me to get out his house and that following week was hell. Its just the emotional pain of remembering all you did for them and those you hurt and all that you lost for them and it was all for nothing. Its days like this i wish i had no recall too.
    Love to everyone
    lesleyxxxxxxxxx

  110. Lesley,

    I so understand the “anniversary” of stuff. I’m headed that way too as mine is December 4th. My cog/dis has been excrutiating the last week or so.

    I have no idea what to say to you on this level right now, except that I really do feel for you. I understand the pain of which you speak. I wish I had no emotional recall either. Kel

  111. Claudia, several pots of tea and a significant dent on a pouch of tobacco later, I’m almost finished your book, I was able to skip one or two small sections that I’ve read here. I’m posting my review now on Amazon.
    Claudia, for me personally, and I write about this in one of my chapters, these relationships do far more than challenge us to think outside the box; we are challenged to think outside our own humanity. I’m still in the stages of recovery and cognitive dissonance, as Sandra identified in her seminal study is the most deep and pervasive symptom of the pathological relationship. What troubles me most is the intrusive memories of the good times, when she appeared, “normal” (of emotion) and caring, particularly when she recounted the story of the head injury speacialist nurse who told her and my sister I may not pull through.
    I knew quite some time before that as her mask started to crumble that she was emotionally impoverished. I was compared to her partner in a multitude of ways (triangulation as kel notes above) “Your not as tall as” her ex “your equal on the domestic front, he wasnt”, “you tick more compatibility boxes than him”, “we communicate on levels I couldnt with him”, “You never came close to him, sorry, never loved you, never will, a few nice shags and good company but that was it sorry”! (this was in 2008 when I sent her a dear John email telling her how much pain I was experiencing, and I didnt see the point as I clearly wasnt shaping up or she wouldnt be trying to reconcile with her ex, who incidently had ran a mile!). Of course later she would write to me about how much she did love me and how much she wanted me. She went on with the comparisons and did the same thing with the guy she seduced under my nose “hes funnier then you, he doesnt smoke, it’s nice to have a normal conversation for a change (referring to my insecurity and doubting her trustworthiness)! “your better in bed than he is”, “he has an unfortunate name like a bin man”. I went from being an interesting guy who loved talking to; and after all the intensity and litsening, and love and understanding I gave her- last year when I had brief final contact she said “I could accuse you of being a boring fart”. Of course I had to bite my lip and not blurt out “dont you know that psychopaths become bored and discard for someone new which is what you did with me, only to become more bored with mr newbie more quicly and so you devalued him more quickly”!

  112. Michael,

    My ex did the same thing. The constant comparisons. In words and in actions. It was excrutiatingly painful to me. I smoke too and he didn’t. That was a constant comparison. That alone created comparisons for him that helped him feel “superior” to me. His kids were better, his house was better, his ex wife was better. What caused him to pull a gun out on me was finding a picture of his ex wife in his drawer in the nightstand next to his bed.

    I felt hatred towards me. Absolute unbridled hatred.

    The comparisons create the extreme cog/dis I’m experiencing this week not to mention having seen his new wife as the grocery store.

    The women he chose, were all the same in that they were extremely religious, upstanding women. They weren’t in a place of disrespect as I was with my ex. I disrespected myself, so it was easy for him to disrespect me and I was treated far WORSE than the wives. He was able to dump more poison into my container, which spared his wives the poison that he may have otherwise spilled in theirs.

    Cog/dis reigns for now.

    BTW, Claudia’s book is very good. I’ve finished it as well. Amazon, here I come. Kel

  113. Kel, I really appreciate your nice words about Dangerous Liaisons and the review, as I do Michael’s. As for the fact you’re focusing on how your psychopathic ex treated his wives, it’s major cog dis as you can see yourself. You’re not applying all the information you know about psychopaths and that you advise others about to your ex, because you’re still emotionally invested in him. He wouldn’t be divorced from two wives and now on his third if he treated his ex wives well. As for the smothering, psychopaths spend a lot of time with their main targets in order to monitor their activities, isolate them from others, get them to have a total focus just on them. It’s easier to control emotionally individuals who already are completely focused just on you. But they find time for other affairs and other dominance bonds, don’t worry. Dominance bonds are never exclusive. So the love bombing and constant focus that seem to be so positive and flattering in the psychopathic bond are actually huge RED FLAGS of a very pathological relationship, as I explain in the article about this:

    https://psychopathyawareness.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/red-flags-how-to-identify-a-psychopathic-bond/

  114. Michael, Keli, Linda and Claudia
    I have been reading all your posts. Michael you say this in one of your posts:
    All I can say was that each time she gave me hope, made promises of a wonderful future she never kept, telling me that she could never have the level of intimacy with anyone else that she had with me- She was 100% convincing each time. And I never believed that anyone could be capable of manipulating someone in such a profound way in order to have her needs met. Whether it be sex, narcissistic supply, or whatever. You dont get this until the relationship is over, the extent to which you have been lied and manipulated.
    How incredibly true and emotive your above statement is. Actually Kel, Linda and Michael all your comments have been so incredibly full of feelings, hurt, loss, pain, you all hit the nail on the head with all your descriptions of the many awful upsetting situations we have all been faced with. The confusion, Michael your recount of the total messing around with your feelings and life, Linda with the sex part and the way you feel abused to an extent (or more than an extent) even if you are sexually liberal, Kel the no contact, the underlying wish that is them that is contacting you as it makes you feel better and stronger. Because if you ignore THEM then it does make you stronger, but for me it makes me feel stronger because I think “you see he still thinks of ME and i am ignoring it! I am victorious!!” – and to a degree we are. But underneath we still care. Its the feelings and care we all have to slowly get through. And why I think we can all help each other and be strong for each other and give good advice, but what it is in our hearts is not as easy to rationalise. And takes longer as does emotional hurt and pain. We all know what we have been hit with there is no doubt and i think we are all doing pretty ok. I find when I am hit with more bad news or things get even worse for me that I get more upset about the ex path, but that is because the mess of my life I can and will to my dying day blame him 100% for. I am not bitter, just very sad and very very worried. But as this blog is about memory and their lack of it, what gets me the most is that he does not care one iota or even actually remember any of it. Actually the final kick is that when they do tell their new partners they blame it on you!
    Love to everyone
    lesleyxxxxx

  115. Claudia: How TRUE that we are so easily able to recognize the pathology of other’s experiences and yet when this same pathology applies to our personal situation we are RIDDLED with Cog dis; just as the question I asked you, I am able to determine without a doubt he was a predator to me yet I wonder how is he a predator to his GF. Even with a few other women I remain close in touch with we support each other, work through feelings we are processing etc.. others are able to say WOW Linda this man was soooo sick – and I am in return able to help them with their doubts yet when we try to process this internally and apply this to our own personal encounter its not the same, we dont seem to accept it and recognize it as readily. Personally speaking in regards to the cog dis, its almost as if I almost believe this person was only pathological with me and he is off living his life with someone else being “normal” this is SUCH a distorted picture of reality my common sense and mind knows this but my heart and emotions thinks there was something about me that he chose to treat me this way; when in truth psychopaths tap into their targets weaknesses and vulnerabilities; they use, exploit each and every partner according to how they can manipulate that particular person.

    For so long I was focused on the horrible fact I was rejected and/or discarded but this is NOT a horrible fact it only emotionally FEELS horrible. I was VERY fortunate to have escaped and there was enough of me left that I was able to find that part of me to still rationalize something needed to be fixed and addressed within myself to escape such a toxic bond. Oh but he’s with her now sharing this wonderful life, bla bla bla WRONG, NO, STOP this is distorted thinking and its NOT the reality of what it is. The recovery is a HUGE undertaking we are left not only with our own reality that was distorted, we are left with much to repair within ourselves from the path himself. This is our personal victory and reward to be among those that found the courage and wisdom to ESCAPE from an almost cult like experience. They will always have followers; some will be able to escape and others will cling to him desperately for the false guidance and false security he pretends to give them and thats about a real as the love he had for me; it never exists. x0 Linda

  116. Kel, Michael, Lesley, Lisa, Linda and everyone. There’s been a little bit of cognitive dissonance lately. I’m sure there are many triggers, but the main reason for it is the fact that the information about psychopathy is so much more readily absorbed on a rational level, cognitively, (and thus applied to other people’s psychopathic bonds) than it is on an emotional level. That is normal, and absorbing this information emotionally can take months, sometimes years. Moreover, it’s not a linear process. There are strides forward and some steps backward. So remain patient with yourselves. I just posted an article about this on the link below. Claudia

    https://psychopathyawareness.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/the-two-phases-of-mourning-the-rational-and-the-emotional/

  117. Linda, Kelli’s experiencing similar doubts and cognitive dissonance. It’s a normal part of the healing process, even if it feels discouraging. I just posted a new article on the blog about mourning which may help. Claudia

  118. Thank you for that reminder Claudia. I was just pondering a similar idea this morning. I was journaling on my blog and just expressing the dichotomy between seeing a psychopath as human versus inhuman, as a biological malfunction of creation,or as pure evil. I was asking myself if we can on any level truly understand their motives at all? Is it as simple as they are the devil incarnate? Is it something more complex, a mental illness they are as much a victim as as we are, or even a slave to?

    I’m a musican and last night I was working covering the Dixie Chicks song Not Ready to Make Nice. Suddenly this line in the song just struck me and made me begin to wonder what it must be like to be living in a world since birth that you don’t understand and noone understands you.
    The bridge of the song starts off with: “I made my bed and I sleep like a baby, with no regrets and I don’t mind saying it’s a sad sad story when a mother will teach her daughter how to hate a perfect stranger….”

    It’s that line that struck me. “It’s a sad sad story when a mother will teach her daughter how to hate…” that made me realize how our entire existence as a human race and the survival of it is built on teaching one another right from wrong, on learning how to empathize, love, and care for one another. Every love song, every movie, book, commercial, whatever we are saturated with the beauty of caring for one another. With how incredible love is. How love can conquer anything and change everything. Everything that is except for a psychopath who is completely disconnected from all that is good.

    Therefor from the very moment you realize you exist – you also come to realize how very different you are. Sort of a freak of nature in a way. From that moment on you also come to the conclusion that to blend in and be a part of the human race you must quickly learn how to disguise yourself as human. At that very second you begin pretending and creating all these different characters and faces. Finding the ones that work best for you, the ones you enjoy the most, the ones you’d rather not pretend to be. Then you start to gain this sense of power over all the people around you whom you’ve fooled and tricked so well. This is so exciting for you. For the first time you start to sense this adrenaline rush, the glee of having been a master of disguise. Now each and every moment of your existence you are honing this craft, fooling more and more people, garnering deeper and more dramatic reactions from the humans you now see as puppets. You are the string master and this world that you felt such a freak in, you now get to be the creator and director of. Every breathing moment a new discovery, a new thrill from a new reaction you’ve managed to get from somebody. These discoveries are building your confidence and giving you such a sense of power. It is intoxicating.

    Those are the visions I was having and the direction my mind was taking me.Then, I started to think how they(psych) are completely cause and effect motivated. Every thought, every move, every action is carefully orchestrated for a particular anticipated outcome. Almost like robots. Input in, input out. That is the only think they can understand. My mind then came back to reality and I realized I am thinking from a very empathetic human emotional brain. My thinking doesn’t apply to psychopaths. Their world is their own. They can’t comprehend mine, I can’t comprehend theirs. But, I do know they give no creedance, attention or thought to my world. They are solely focused on their own. So to understand them, I need to switch gears and start thinking very mechanically, not emotionally. Mechanics and operations, point A leads to point B is the way I need to be thinking if I’m to understand them.

    I took a long route to get here as you can see. lol. But, I’ve now arrived at realizing that when I remove all emotion from analysing my psychopaths actions, then yes each and every move is carefully orchestrated like a chess game. His favorite game, not big surprise!

  119. Lisa, a psychopath is human in the sense of being flesh and blood. But in terms of depth of emotions and being who he seems to be, that he’s not. He is pure evil, no matter what mask of sanity he dons and whom he manages to dupe. Claudia

  120. Claudia that statement sums it up so well. End of Story. Book closed. Is there anything else to know about them?

    The trouble is we the victims, are filled with emotional memories that linger long after the robot of destruction moved on to destroy their next target. It’s those lingering memories that I’m at odds with so often. I can clearly see how his current victim is dupped. I’ve known him 8 years. I think I know him as much as anyone can know a psychopath. I know all his evil and all his seemed goodness.I have a difficult time dismissing his ‘gentel sensitive’ facade, even in the face of every evil, cruel deed he did or malicious word he said. I’m living daliy with the after effects. He’s moving on in the blink of an eye living this new life onto his next thrill w/absolutely no thought of me. Perhaps other than wondering if he might be able to somehow come back for a fix of dominance on occasion.I am left to wrestle with the past emotional turmoil alone.

    I really do have sympathy for this new gf and whats in store for her. I also have a bit of, I don’t even know the word. If it is jealousy, disrespect, anger or what label to give it. But, I feel in a way discounted by her and see her as a bit arrogant thinking she’s so much smarter than I, or more clever than he that she can either change him, or spot him better than I could. Maybe even she’s thinking I’m a total lunatic and just trying to cause trouble for him via her. Who knows. I am aware that any anger, or bitterness I’m trying to cast her way is all for my ex and not for her. It just gets diverted sometimes.

    I often supsected, but never even allowed myself to follow through with this thought because it seemed unreal to me. But, now I see it as compeltely and totally valid. My ex married his ex wife for the sole purpose of hurting her and getting even with her.

    They met as teenagers and w/in 2 weeks(he’s changed the story a few times, 2 weeks a few months give or take) they decided it would be a great idea to have a baby! He says she used him to get pregnant.Yet he also says it was both their idea. Anyhow, she got pregnant very quickly in their courtship. Only weeks later he said something, he doesn’t recall what it was (according to him), or she just on a whim decided she had used him for his sperm and now she was off in hiding with his child. She disappeared for 3 years. He claims to have looked for her all 3 years, but wasn’t ‘able to explain how he went about doing that. Anyhow, 3 – 4 years later he and his brother are on an airplane flying back from college to their hometown. When suddenly a little boys head pops up from the seat in front of him and looks back at him smiling. His brother mentions how much that child looks like my ex and says to him he thinks that is the child his previous girlfriend had. Low and behold he peeks around the corner and there is the ex gf sitting on the same plane, same flight heading to the same place with his child. This is one of the 1st stories he tells his victims to establish what a sensitive dad he is. He tells it with great emotion and sentiment. I’m sure I recall a tear or two during his story telling with me. Well, not long after they begin dating again. He told me once, he had forgiven her and years later that he hadn’t for running off with his child. They courted. (HIS explanation) He never loved her, but she planned this wedding. He didn’t’ propose to her. She didn’t propose to him. Not really. She just planned the wedding and he just showed up. Oops. He got married and didn’t know what happened. (again this is HIS version) so here he is married to a woman he didn’t even love. But, to be a good dad and do the right thing he did it. He chose to stand her up the night of the rehearsal dinner. He doens’t know why. He just thought it’d be fun to go gambling instead. Then he didn’t kiss her on their wedding night because he was still mad at her for running off for more than 3 years with their child. Oh, he did have sex with her. He needed sex. But, she didn’t deserve to be kissed. Besides he didn’t love her. Kissing is too special to be wasted on someone you don’t truly love. Even your wife. Moving ahead, she gets pregnant again. Using him again, poor duped fellow because she wants a sibling for their son. Well, w/in a yr 1/2 she’s had the second baby. But by now, they are in seperate bedrooms, hers with a lock on it to keep him out. He’s shocked that she’s asked for a divorce.
    Because she’s working and he’s a stay at home dad but she wanted him to make some $ as well. Such a demanding witch. He being the “good guy and good dad” decided to make her happy and begin substitute teaching. But she still wasn’t happy. He didn’t make enough $.See how demanding she can be? Now she wants a divorce. Therefore he’s decided she’s a lesbian, has post pardem depression and is bipolar Why else would a women married to him be unhappy? (Gosh I should have written the story up when I first heard it. It all seems so clear to me today, seeing here in print!)I’ll end there.

    The story continues through the divorce and custody battle which is when I met him. I’m now clearly convinced he married her strictly to imprison her. Inflict the most amount of torture he could, force her to leave them then attempt to take the children from her through a custody battle. It is so obvious!! I even helped him get custody (joint). What an efin fool I was!!!! He was court ordered to take a parenting class before the courts would consider granting him even the opportunity to apply for joint custody, which he chose to do on line. Well, all that caring parenting stuff was too difficult for him to make sense of. I was a smart woman and such a great writer who could do a much better job taking that class for him so he could get custody. He buttered me up into taking that stupid class for him.

    Claudia this story just illustrates your comment so well in my mind. He had no other motive but to make her suffer as greatly as possible. Marrying her, torturing her and taking the one thing she loved more than anything, her children was his perfect solution. I always found it odd that he spoke so much about how important being a dad was to him. Yet, the weeks he had his children, I was the only one there taking care of them. He was off doing other things. Even when he was home, he was checked out. I spent time with them, tucked them in, read them bedtime stories, held them, fed them, did their homework with them as they got older.When they cried in the middle of the night it was for me, not for him. It felt like the custody was between his ex wife and me not him. I was so niave!!!! Yes, you are right Claudia. Pure egocentrical evil.

  121. Lisa, any conclusion–and the statement “get over the psychopath, he’s not worth thinking about”–is just that, a logical conclusion to the set of premises we know about psychopaths (they are heartless, pathologically deceptive, without empathy and conscience, etc). But the problem is that our emotions don’t operate in the linear fashion that our reason does and don’t absorb rational information the way our reason does. If we were like that, we’d be akin to machines, thinking in algorithms. We’re not machines. That’s why it takes so long to absorb this information emotionally, why it hurts for so long and why we ruminate about it. You’re ruminating right now, in fact. Recalling all the details about how your ex treated not only you, but also his wife. It’s normal that you feel ambivalent about the new target: a mixture of compassion, since she’s being duped and she’ll be soon hurt by him, and envy, because you still care about him and sometimes miss him. There’s no shortcut to working through these normal emotions–the aftermath of the psychopathic bond–except through the process of informing oneself and others; helping oneself and others, which is what you’re doing. Gradually, in time, the rational conclusion will make its way into your more complex emotions as well.

  122. Thanks Claudia. You’re right, I am ruminating. I ‘m angry today quite honestly. Angry about the last time I saw him and what an ass he was. Angry that we had sex that day, me being unaware he was going on a date w/someone else later. That was the last communication we had. I sent him angry txt msgs when I found out he was dating somebody else. I supposse I wish I would said it to his face, or even on the phone rather than txt. I feel like I have this….well anger that has no outlet. I want express to him all that I’m holding in. But can’t. He had so many, many, many opportunities and took them to sayand do all kinds of mean, cruel things to me. I would just like one time, one chance to say cruel things to him. I know, it’s petty, it wouldn’t phase him, he’s not worth it, all that. Nonetheless I want the chance to let him have it. (verbally speaking)

    I think, well I know I am jealous because even though I know her future and his true colors will show. But, she’ll never know the extent to how mean he is the way I do because she won’t give me 8 years, 8 months maybe. I know at least for now, she has a better “fake” man than I ever had because he never made our relationship public to his circle of friends.He said unless we were going to be married such titles weren’t necessary. I heard he’s announced he has a gf now. So, that is a really sore spot with me. Believe me logically I know I need to let this go. But, I’m also angry at myself for being so incredibly stupid, niave and trusting for so many years.

    I’ve been home from work the last couple of days, so I’ve had entirely too much time on my hands to ruminate. I’ll be back and work tomorrow and have the opportunity to fill my mind with more important things and people.

  123. I just reread this comment. It does make me feel a bit better. Now that he’s made her officially his girl friend, he’ll start unveiling himself. He gets bored incredibly easy. He’ll use sex for a bit of time to keep things from getting boring and she’ll think it’s because he’s so into her. Soon too, though she’ll realise the way he is sexually, totally narcisstic, is the person he is at the core.

  124. Lisa, I hope it will make you feel better when I honestly say that no matter how eloquently you’d have expressed your indignation to this psychopath in person it would have made no difference whatsoever to him. I’ve expressed my feelings for years on this blog and my psychpathic ex, who stalks me, still sends me messages in the subject headings of emails (he doesn’t put his messages in emails because I haven’t opened his emails in almost four years) making threats, or declaring his love, or saying “let’s stop playing games” or “no more games”. Meanwhile, all he does and is capable of doing is play games. I’ve shown Kelli and others in private emails how he also writes on this blog pretending to be a victim. Psychopaths are evil buffoons. There is no way to get through to them with any real emotion because for them life is just a power game whose object is manipulation and control. That is what entertains them. There’s nothing behind words to them except getting what they want at the moment and having a bit of fun at others’ expense. So don’t feel like you didn’t get the chance to express yourself. Nobody gets through or has any real human communication with a psychopath. To them there’s no real emotional meaning behind the words. They’re just tools to achieve their empty goals. Nothing else. When you keep all this in mind, you’ll see that any of the psychopath’s new girlfriends are just targets and victims. You will feel sorry for them, not jealous. There’s nothing to be jealous about because there’s nothing desirable about a psychopath and what he has to offer anyone. Claudia

  125. Lisa,

    One thing I can tell you that will help you immensely is to have NC with him on every single level, this includes indirectly. Going to see your friend with your ex’s gf in the next room (they’re school teachers, correct?) was a mistake! Is there any way you can spend time with your friend again somewhere else? Avoiding him and her as much as possible is going to be the only way you can really heal. The cog/dis will continue over and over and you will ruminate forever about her if there is contact, direct or indirect.

    I think when you get to the point where this is THE single most important thing to you, staying away from him and anything to do with gf as much as humanly possible, is what’s going to help you process and get past all of this, but as long as there is indirect contact, ESPECIALLY with gf, this won’t stop.

    Kel

  126. Claudia, Very well said. Thank you. I am much better today. Back at work which is nice. It’s in evenings when I’m home alone when it gets the worse. You’re right, there are no meaning behind words for a psychopath. I remind myself of that often. I’m glad you brought my thoughts back that direction.

    I started my blog as a way just to process through my thinking. I’d rather type than handwrite my thoughts. It was/is a way for me to do that, which is what brought me to your site. I truly had no idea there are so many victims and people duped the way I was. It is comforting as well as saddening to know I’m in the company of many, many, men and women of all walks of life who were also duped. Makes me a feel a little less like the biggest fool ever born.

    I can’t believe yours still stalks you to such a degree. I think mine is too lazy for that. For, while he does get bored easily, he’s also extremely lazy and prefers everyone around him to do everything for him. The only energy he manages to expend is energy to conrol his victims, court new ones, and torture the current ones.

    Kim, I did think I had “let it all go” enough to be at that school. Obviously I hadn’t. I still am surprised at the roller coaster of emotions and thoughts I go through. One minute I’m thinking I see it all so clearly and I’m completely removed. The visual for myself is to think of him as a robot. That helps me remove any emotional attachment for me. But, then something will strike me in some way out of the blue and there I go ruminating again. Thank you for the advice.🙂

  127. Lisa, writing your ideas/emotions helps you process them and, when you blog publically, your writing may help others going through similar experiences as well. Maybe you can share, from time to time, some of your posts on psychopathyawareness. Starting with Michael Pacitti’s article last week, I’m planning to have occasional guest bloggers even though I’ll continue to write most of the posts. Kelli has mentioned she wants to write a post soon too. It’s nice to also have different angles and experiences along with my articles. Claudia

  128. Hi Claudia, Well that is the goal! If only one person reads it and becomes aware saving themselves what we’ve experienced, then it’s been worth it. I enjoy writing anyways. So, it serves several purposes for me. I’d be glad to share something. Just let me know when is a good time and if I have an idea I’ll work it out. 🙂

  129. Lisa, this sounds good. I’d love to take a look at your writing. The only thing I ask of article contributions is that they be well-written, about the psychopathy theme, come from the heart and are thoughtful and helpful to others. Claudia

  130. Michael, the p I was involved with would say “doesn’t this hurt you?”. I’m good at not reacting in the moment (from living with a p as a child, where reacting in the moment could be very dangerous). Point is, if I was not doing the normal things humans do when hurt (like crying), he had a hard time figuring out if he hurt me or not. He wanted the answer to be yes; that what he just did hurt me. He was extremely sadistic but I think what he got off on was feeling he was controlling me, and my feelings. He loved control, he loved winning. Gleeful….like a kid who just stole some candy.

  131. I’ll send you some of the posts I’ve put on my blog. You can tell me what you think.😀

  132. Susan that is exactly what mine would say too!! “That doesn’t hurt you does it?” The way he said it was almost w/excitement, oh so hoping it had!


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