The Two Phases of Mourning: The Rational and the Emotional

Almost everyone who reads about psychopathy is able to absorb this information on a rational level. We’re able to recognize the symptoms and red flags of this personality disorder, which helps us recognize other people’s psychopathic partners and offer support. But it’s much tougher to absorb this information on an emotional level and apply it to the psychopath in our lives: meaning the person we’re emotionally invested in. This is why weeks, months and even years after ending a relationship with a psychopath, victims still experience moments of doubt, or cognitive dissonance. This may take the form of self-blame, of jealousy towards the psychopath’s other victims or of remembering fondly the psychopath’s luring phase, when he made the greatest effort to hide his deviant acts and to lie to us. Those who stay in close contact with a psychopath risk never getting over the psychopathic bond.

Although nobody gets over a psychopath while still with him, it seems that once they look up the symptoms of his disorder, victims realize, at least intellectually, that they’re dealing with a sick man. The first impulse of a woman living with such a person, once she discovers that the totality of his symptoms comprise a dangerous personality disorder, is to attempt to cure him through her love or with the help of professional counseling.

Her need to change him means that she only has an intellectual understanding of his personality disorder. But she hasn’t yet absorbed the information on an emotional level as well. By “intellectual,” I mean that having done some research, the rational side of her brain has put together the symptoms of her partner’s behavior and seen them as signs of psychopathy. She may be horrified by this discovery. Perhaps a part of her wanted to believe that he was just a regular man, who made the mistake of cheating on her and is sorry about it, who lies sometimes, or who’s impulsive and somewhat childish, but that’s a huge part of his charm, after all. Once you do research on psychopathy you finally realize, on a rational level, the magnitude of his disorder. You also see how much more severe and damaging to others it is compared to “ordinary” cheating, lying or immaturity. You realize, rationally, that you’re not dealing with someone who’s extraordinary, as the psychopath encouraged you to believe. You’re dealing with someone who’s subordinary: with a person who lacks the main qualities that make us human.

When you finally reach this disheartening conclusion, instead of accepting or admiring the psychopath’s behavior as before, you disapprove of it. You also no longer see the problems in the relationship as he presented them to you, as largely your fault. You realize, rationally, that his sex addiction has nothing to do with the fact that you’re not sufficiently attractive or sensual. It has everything to do with his malady. You also see that his constant deception is neither harmless nor normal, as he would like you to believe. It’s pathological and self-serving. Once you realize that the problems in your relationship have much more to do with his personality disorder than with your own deficiencies, you begin to mourn the death of the idealized image of him and of the special relationship you thought you had with him. You also start to ruminate. You obsessively turn over and over in your mind all the lies and inconsistencies he’s told you. But this is not enough to get over the psychopath. You need to absorb this information on an emotional level as well in order to move on.

In her article “Do Psychopaths/Sociopaths Make Choices?” published on May 23, 2008 on, Liane Leedom draws a distinction between intellectual disagreement with the psychopath’s actions, which is largely a rational process, and emotional disgust with his actions and with him. When you mourn the end of the idealized image of the psychopath only rationally, by disapproving of his behavior, you’re not likely to feel sufficiently repulsed by his identity to want to escape the relationship. You’re more likely to focus instead on improving him, the relationship with him and maybe even your own self (since for as long as you stay with a psychopath, he’ll continue to shift the blame unto to you). You therefore risk remaining under his spell and, therefore, under his thumb. Only once you pass to the second stage of mourning–that of experiencing visceral disgust–do you begin to get over the psychopath, escape his hold on you and move on with your life. Leedom states that you reach this stage once you realize that the sum of his actions is who he is. He is a pathological liar. He is malicious. He lacks empathy. He is completely narcissistic. His harmful actions aren’t normal human mistakes. They reflect the bad person that he is and that he’ll always be, no matter what false promises he makes and how much you may want to believe him.

Since the psychopath knows that, unlike him, you’re a loving person capable of empathy and forgiveness, he may look you in the eyes like a penitent puppy and tell you that the love you feel for him is unconditional. Even though he’s shown time after time that his own professed love for you is nonexistent. What he’s telling you about your own love is, once again, false. It’s a ploy intended to trap you in the toxic relationship with him.

When you go through the process of emotional mourning, you stop liking, respecting and loving the psychopath. After awhile, you no longer even experience anger towards him. Such an emotion still implies some traces of passion, a lingering attraction. He’s sunk so low in your eyes that it’s not even worth hating him. You finally see him as the trivial human being that he is. You’re repulsed by his actions, by all of his malicious lies, by his manipulation of others, by his fake niceness and conditional gifts, by his predatory and perverse sexuality, by everything he does and by everything he is. You reject him deep within your heart, as utterly and completely as one human being can reject another. At that point–and only at that point—are you finally ready to escape the psychopath and the harmful relationship with him that has been your prison.

Claudia Moscovici, psychopathyawareness

Dangerous Liaisons: How to Identify and Escape from Psychopathic Seduction


  1. Claudia: This was a very powerful article to help us come to terms with our inner emotions and what needs to take place on that level before we can let go and move on. I DO see him as a utterly disgusting person on all levels and I am quite disgusted with myself that I could continue to claim that I loved such a rotten person. He evoked these so called feelings of love I felt for him naturally under just a disguise. WE must be the ones to break the spell that was cast upon us; there is no potion we can drink that will do this, no anti venom from the bite that poisoned our minds (so to speak) its a slow process and I am always aware because of the psychological harm that I endured, it will not be an easy process. All I can do is continue to keep the truth in my favor- I will cling to that truth as the illusion slowly dies and I mourn it. x0x0 Linda

  2. Claudia, excellent and timely article.

    Linda, beautiful post.


  3. Kel and Linda, I hope this article can alleviate some of the cognitive dissonance you’ve been experiencing lately. Just remember: psychopaths were snakes, are snakes, and will continue to be poisonous snakes to all of their main targets or dominance bonds. NO exceptions. Those who feel like they’re the exception that confirms the rule are the ones who are most deceived, manipulated and used by the psychopaths: and probably also the ones who get bit by them the worst. Being emotionally intimate with a psychopath is a recipe for great and lasting unhappiness for anyone who gets close to him or trusts him. Claudia

  4. Another brilliant article Claudia and one close to all our hearts. Linda you couldn’t have said it any better!!
    There is no quick fix. I think that causes more harm than good. Just time and talking to each other and being there when we need some support.

    Love you all
    Lesley xxxxx

  5. Michael, I had been wondering what this “triangulation” meant I kept hearing about on these threads. Now I understand. My ex did that ALL the time. Boy in the beginning it sure works to make you want to be better than that dumb ex who wasn’t as patient, or loving, or thoughtful as me! You’re going to appreciate me so much more! Good golly! My ex did that all the time, compared me to his ex, compared every woman he ever came in contact with to me. “She’s so sweet. You’re sweet to, but she……” or, “I can’t believe you’re such a great cook. My ex would never cook for me”, or “Wow you are so patient, my ex would go ballistic when I would say, or do such and such. You tolerate it really well. I like that about you.” and on and on and on.

    I’m sure he’s telling the woman he’s with now. How angry and hostile I am. How insanely jealous and possesive I am. How all I want to do is hurt her and him. So, not to listen to a word I have to say.” I’m always the good guy. I’m above all that stuff. Lisa can be a really mean and angry person sometimes.”

    She’s falling for it hook line and sinker. Eventually, she’ll begin to see all the things he just accused me of being are really all of HIS qualities. Not mine.

    Kel, I’m going through the same thing. (cog.dis). I was at the school where my exes new gf works. It’s amazing how just driving in that neighborhood being giving me anxiety attacks and sending my head into a tail spin. My friend works in a classroom just next door to this other person. I was sitting in the room visiting and just a few feet from me walking in and out of her classroom was my exes new girfriend. I was so emotional over it I wanted to throw up, I was shaking. I do not understand how the experience we go through with the awful human beings wrecks such havoc on our emotional state once we realize who they truly are.

    I find myself ALL the time questioning and doubting myself if I should say something, not say something how should I say it or not say it. Because my ex’s words are still in my head. He didn’t think I aplogized enough. So, I would apologize more. Then he didn’t like the WAY I apologized. I didn’t explain the reason why I did something. So, I would then apologize and explain why. Then he’d decide I was making excuses and didn’t like the way I explained when I apologized becuased the excuses only made it worse. Therefor I shouldn’t apologize at all. Do you see how there is no winning. He’d also complain about something I’d say and when i’d repeat it and it was clear it was as innocent as “can you hand me that pen?” He’d then argue and say “Well it was the way you said it. Your tone wasn’t very nice.” To this day I’m always concerned my tone isn’t right when I’m speaking to somebody. They just toy, toy, toy with everything they can muster.

    Claudia,Congratulations!!! I’m very happy for you and excited about your book!! I’ll get to reading it this weekend. 🙂

  6. Thanks Lesley. Since, as this article indicates, we tend to see more the psychopaths in each other’s lives than in our own (since rational knowledge of psychopathy is processed so much easier than the emotional one), we can help each other whenever we experience turmoil, cognitive dissonance and other problems related to the aftermath of the psychopathic bond. Claudia

  7. Claudia and All – Speaking of snakes and being bit, I am sure many have heard this little tale about the woman who came across a sssssnake that was injured pleading for the woman to help him. The woman said but if I pick you up you will bite me – the snake promised, oh I will not bite you please nurse my injuries so that I may live; The woman picked up the snake and it bit her and the woman said, BUT YOU PROMISED you would not bite me why did you do that? The snake said, Lady you knew I was a snake when you picked me up. This little fable can also go with the guidelines of how reptilian they truly are; sssssssnakes in suits, sssssssnakes in marriages, sssssssnakes in affairs they are just that and nothing more in all facets of their lives. x0x0 Linda

  8. Claudia; a timely article and is definately the theme of some recent threads.
    Lisa I have only recently been waking up to the extent of my exe’s triangulations. There wasnt really any point in the relationship when she wasnt triangulating me with someone. I didnt always know it; I was if you like in the dark! But in the wake of what happened re her trying to draw back in her ex, and manipulating me while trying to manipulate him at the same time; then almost immediately seducing mr newbie and introducing another triangle! It’s all incredible stuff.
    Claudia, I have reviewed your book on Amazon, and if I followed the instructions correctly, it should be displayed in 42 hours, 17 minutes, and 11 seconds; or thereabouts 🙂 On a more serious note, I found it to be a comforting read.

  9. Bravo Claudia!

    I can feel myself entering the “disgusted” phase, particularly when my ex tried to justify his withdrawl from our relationship. He said it had nothing to do with me, but was a “combination of me and him”. Hmmm.

    The combination he refers to was working well for him on a physical level but the emotional “combination” he would never allow to happen. He was too busy taking advantage of his old favorite, the woman he lived with off and on with for 15 years. 3 months after she moved out for good, he decided “the combination of him and I” wasn’t working. He immediately went back to her doorstep realizing he had ruined his sweet deal with her by carrying on with me.

    I have to laugh because this time she hasn’t taken him back in as a room mate, but he obviously is missing all the benefits of their arrangement (shared expenses, someone to make him look weathier than he is, someone to cook and clean his house, someone for him to spend time with without being married or having an intimiate commitment.) He could have his cake and eat it too, all along pretending as though he is seeking a “real” relationship. The poor man has had such a difficult life. Give me a break!

    When my ex sits there and tries to make it sound like he is some “normal” individual in which “our” relationship just didn’t work out, I have to roll my eyes in my head and say “What???”. How can a grown man of 49 live with an older woman (she is now 65) for 15+ years in what he called a bizzare platonic relationship…unless he was a using the situation for his financial gain, and sexual freedom.

    He gave me the pity ploy of “poor me, I am stuck with this weird woman and I really want a romantic relationship with someone like you”. I’m sure I had to have been one of many. He is now dragging some other woman over to his “mother’s” house so she can meet her and they can all be “friends”. Ugh … I just can’t imagine why a man would desperately “need” for all the girlfriends to meet his constant old staple. The “friend”, the “roomate”, this lover from 15 years ago. The entire thing does CREEP me out now.

    I use to respect him beleiving he really wanted to change his life, now I don’t. I use to feel sorry for him and his sinking career, now I don’t. I use to hope he would go bankrupt and would have to stoop so low as to ask his old gal pal “yet again” if he can leech off her some more. Now I don’t really care whether he gets laid off, goes bankrupt, or manages to plod along in his miserable career. All I know is that I will no longer be subjected his mood swings and screwed up thinking. I’m sure he is trying to find another sweet arrangement like he had before in which it was all about him and his needs, and thankfully I won’t have any part of it!


  10. Michael

    I’m aware of the triangulations and that they don’t just do it with their romantic partners either, even though it is more fun! Mine does it with his children, his children against their mother, his ex wife with the neighbors across the street (when they were together and now they apparently hate her),………….now that he has new wife, I wonder how he’s setting up the triangulations with ex wife and kids with new wife, vs ex wife and ex wife and kids vs he and new wife, oh and lets not forget his own family that will surely triangulate with new wife over ex wife, oh and now new wife has money so he can try to get custody of son, which creates more triangulation between new wife and ex wife……….you get the picture 🙂 Kel

  11. Lisa:I do not understand how the experience we go through with the awful human beings wrecks such havoc on our emotional state once we realize who they truly are.

    This question caught my eye – so many have written they are with us LONG after we have left or they have discarded us, whichever comes first – I think they are still with us because there is just so damn much to sort out – we want all the answers and we WANT closure so we can say, hey its over because of this or that like in a normal relationship. But this was NOT a normal relationship because THEY were not normal in any sense. We have to accept many many things when this toxic encounter ends; its difficult enough to come to terms with the fact we were never loved because in healthy relationships you KNOW you were loved; we have to come to terms with what this person was to us was never real that we walked around loving some figment of our imagination. Its going to take me still some time to get this mans poison out of my system let alone work on my own personal issues. Lisa, I really try to erase in my memory the CRAZY things he would say and slowly in time you will come to actually FEEL and KNOW everything he said was INSANE because that is what the are in my opinion – they dump their insanity on us by distorting our own reality so they can manipulate us better and if he didnt think I saw that than he is one STUPID psychopath. x0x0 Linda

  12. Kelli, lol, their are more triangulations going on there than the star of David!

  13. Michael, I appreciate your upcoming review of Dangerous Liaisons, and anyone’s who reads and finds my book helpful.

    On the note of the psychopath’s numerous triangulations, I love your witty comment about the Star of David! I don’t think there are any geometric figures with enough angles for how many triangulations psychopaths have during the course of their lives! They sometimes may keep one main partner/supply source, but even in those cases they recycle countless lovers to enjoy pitting the women (or men) against each other, to create antagonism and competition, and just watch them squirm and suffer. When the affairs remain hidden, they enjoy the deception and taboo, of course. Either way, they play malicious games with lives and emotions at other people’s expense. Claudia

  14. Joanne, all psychopaths give such sob stories about their main partners being horrible or unworthy of them, to lure new targets and make them feel “special” by comparison. Then they turn around and criticize you in the same ruthless manner that they criticize their original partners. Nobody who makes the mistake of getting close to a psychopath is safe from his smear campaign and evil actions. Claudia

  15. Claudia and Michael : Star of David? ha ha more like the witchcraft satanic star symbol, ha ha – Their triangulation was explained to me once in this light: Imagine having followers, those that are true believers in the belief package they are selling, from their live in partners to all their hidden partners, its much like a pyramid system the more victims they have or I should say the more buyers they have that have bought into their bull crap and pretense, the better the system works for them and its not too long before these followers will be doing the work for them and the rewards just fall right into their laps. They use people because to them “Its just business” and they can sit back and watch this spiral pyramid effect work to their advantage. x0 Linda

  16. Michael,
    Yes, and if the poor wife has a dog of her own, all hell will certainly break loose in the triangulation department because of course, his dog is better than hers, oh but wait, she has children too, imagine that…………..whew! I’m exhausted! Kel

  17. Linda that’s a really good analogy to the pyramid structure, since the psychopathic bond is inherently hierarchical. It revolves around the psychopath primarily and secondarily around his most brainwashed supporters/believers, whom he needs to establish authority over others. This structure is most obvious in cults, usually run by psychopathic leaders. Claudia

  18. Linda, Claudia’s point is valid; but in a more intimate way we are lied to as a means of seducing us or stearing us in a particular direction that involves self betrayal. Psychopathic seduction involves us being systematically robbed of ourselves.
    However I think that our encounter with a psychopath is our salvation. Michael

  19. Michael, What do you mean by saying that our encounter with a psychopath is our salvation? I’d have said it’s more like our damnation. Claudia

  20. Thank you Linda. You are so very correct. I do try to erase the things he says. I know at the time he’s crazy. Even so, even when I THINK I know. I realize later that there are degrees of knowing. I come to new levels of it all the time. Then it surpises me by popping up unexpectadly. Just like my psychopath. 🙂

  21. Michael, so out of our way of thinking and knowing people to be. How many triangles can fit into a hexagon? Only a pscyhopath and my 2nd graders know. 😉

  22. Claudia, I dont wish to wax Sheridan; but I think that an encounter with a psychopath opens our eyes to what is important in our lives.

  23. lol. Yes me too Claudia.

    I do sort of see what you mean Michael. In many ways my psychopath did me a favor. It’s through trying to heal from the pain of that relatioship that I began the long road to bettering myself in a way I may not have had I not been pushed so low and had to work so hard to rise up again.

  24. Claudia, I only mean to say that there is a positive to be had from the experience of a pathological relationship. Michael

  25. For example, what about all the things we took for granted? The love someone central had for us? someones love we ignored? etc Does anyone out there know what I’m talking about?

  26. Michael and Lisa, That’s true about our experiences with the psychopaths and any serious challenge in life: it either makes you or breaks you. At any rate, you can turn a lot of horrible experiences (though certainly not all!) into something positive and constructive, but it takes a lot of effort. Because if you don’t try really hard, negative experiences in life just bring you down. Claudia

  27. Michael,

    Yes, I do.

    All- I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone, ever. This is why we want to teach others about psychopathy, to the best of our knowledge and the best that we can, so that perhaps many more potential victims will not become such. I guess my perspective is a little different here because my ENTIRE background is nothing but pathology. It puts a different “twist” on things, I think.

    I’m not to the point where I see a positive with pathology at all, with the exception that I hope someday, 1. I am healed and that 2. I can help someone else find healing as well.

    Healing isn’t fun. The psychopathic aftermath so excritiatingly painful one feels like it’s death. And in so many ways, it is comparably TO a death. Death of what you once were, death of the mirage that was created, the illusion resulting in disillusionment….mourning a relationshit, or even an entire past, full of pathology……

    I think the “blessing” in all of this for ourselves, is the reality that we are truly forced to look at ourselves in a very real, very deep and profound way. We are forced to heal, because the alternative is to sit and spin in the psychopathic poison the rest of our lives. Those that heal faster are those who have not encountered this before, have a solid support system and can get back to themselves sooner than those who have horrific abuse in their pasts or pathological backgrounds. In my case, it often means going NC with not just your ex, but an entire family and many “friends” who are also pathological. It can be a very lonely journey.

    I haven’t given up hope, even though I feel I’m facing a huge mountain of pathology to wade through and a long period of grieving over what is given to those who are and have been blessed to have had a healthy upbringing and those that love them.

    If you are lucky enough to have that, the appreciation for those relationships, mutual love, and that wonderful, precious and cherished support would mean more than anything. Kel

  28. All: There is something to be said in where I am today as apposed to where I was 6 months ago. Wondering when he would call, what he would say, when I could see him, wondering if he was lying or being truthful, OMG what I am experiencing today is NOTHING compared to the torment he did to me almost on a daily basis. I miss him about as much as I would miss being tied down and tortured to death, The horrible games he would play like pretending we had a bad connection on our cell phones and just hang up and never call back; he was such a mean rotten sick SOB and what was even sicker is I tolerated his sick behavior, ewww ya wonder who the lucky woman now is he is idolizing so he can later torture and destroy her – poor thing!!

    x0 Linda

  29. Linda, this goes to show how much becoming informed about psychopathy and finding a support group can help. You have reason to celebrate since you’ve obviously made so much progress. Plus you’re helping through your comments and support all the new victims, who are just finding out about psychopathy. The cycle of recovery lives through each victim who makes something constructive out of his or her horrible experience. Claudia

  30. Kelli, Claudia, Linda, I hope that someday I can look back and say to myself I’m a better more apreciative person having had the experience; I’m far from being there yet, but I hope to get there. If we listed all the things we took for granted, including and especially our capacity to love; and we wrote the same list now, our two lists would look very different. Dont misunderstand me, if I had been informed re red flags and these disorders I would have ran a mile from my ex rather than think ‘I’m sure this will be a valuable spiritual experience so I will stick around” !!!!

    But it’s a bit late now, the experience is behind me and logically I have three choices-
    1) I either see myself as permanently damaged in some way by the experience
    2) Once I have fully recovered, I see myself as neither having gained or lost either way because of the experience.
    3) I grow to know myself better because of the experience and become more aware. Michael

  31. Michael,

    Perhaps it takes awhile–years, not just months–to see anything positive come out of a very negative experience. As a result of my experience with the psychopath, my core personality hasn’t changed, but my values have shifted. I’ve always been a romantic at heart, that’s why as an art and literary critic I’ve focused on the (post)romantic movement. Since the horrible experience with the psychopath, however, I’ve come to appreciate far more:

    a) the importance of character over romantic gestures and words
    b) the importance of moral and personal boundaries
    c) the importance of being focused on real life rather than on romantic fantasies

    The psychopath lured me because of my prioritizing romantic fantasies over reality. For psychopaths, romantic fantasies are easy to cultivate during the honeymoon period, through lies, telling people only what they want to hear, and hiding all the vicious and depraved things they’re doing and all the ones they intend to do, to you. Romantic gestures–like empty loving words and little gifts–are facile and meaningless as well. What’s hard is having good character, matching nice words with kind actions, and being other-regarding: truly caring about those close to you. In human bonds and interactions, this is what counts most. Claudia

  32. Michael and everyone
    I understand what you are saying Michael. I fell for my ex path because of my wanting the one thing that I had never had in my marriage, passion, fun, excitement and a spark within your relationship with each other. I know that spark can go through time but my ex husband and I did not have that spark. We were great friends, supported each other, had a great great life and would have grown old together had the ex path not A. been the boy I’d been daft about since 12 and B. Homed in our marriage Achilles heel and destroyed us.
    However, I now know that it was not just my fault that my marriage failed due to this awful situation, that whatever was lacking with my ex husband and I was our downfall. And I know that in any relationship I have now yes I will want that spark, but i will also want what my ex husband had too, which was love, real love, support, friendship, we could laugh together and trust each other fully. This terrible time has made me recognise all that was good about us, though in my defence I knew all of what we had was great, it was my strong feelings for someone else and that chink in our union that failed us in the end. He moved on very quickly, I think possibly too quickly and I had tried to get him to work things out before i left to live with the ex path, but he said it was too late. It was actually only two months since we split up but he had found someone else by then and liked her too much.
    I have learned that I think too much of what other people want me to do and not about what i want to do in life, my ex husband always supported me on what I wanted, not what he wanted. And I have to continue that and remember that love and support I was given, as that is the way you should love someone – to be there for them and each other. This experience I will regret to my dying day though, as I lost someone very special to me because of not talking about my problems in my marriage and just running away.
    Love to everyone.
    Claudia i posted your article idealise devalue discard on my facebook wall..lots of people loved it! i hope you don’t mind.

  33. Lesley, thank you so much. Each of us here spreads the word about psychopathy and hopefully we’ll soon reach not only those who, like us, googled psychopathy on the internet but also those who are abused by psychopaths but don’t know it yet: they don’t know the term and the symptoms, so they don’t look it up the way we did to find psychopathy information and support blogs. Any way you can help me reach those victims will be greatly appreciated. Claudia

  34. Linda,

    Some of your posts just have me laughing. You have such a great sense of humor. Kel

  35. Lisa, , Claudia, Michael, Lesley, Kelli – (all) – Lisa again something you said here caught my attention – My counselor had told me many times that “for your sake I wish this man WOULD discard you, for you will be spared further damage if he cut you off quickly and moved on”. At first this did not ring well but he did go on to say many times the targets find it too painful to let go and face the truth and reality of who they were involved with; he will be doing you a huge favor by letting you go Linda. No matter the pain of what it seems like now Lisa NEVER EVER doubt for one second that you lost anything with him directly, you lost NOTHING in that respect, you did not walk away from love, it never would have never materialized into anything that was normal and/or healthy and this was not your fault in any way, shape or form. You gave him healthy love always remember that; it was him that was unable to return it.I am sure you are well aware of this as I was but ewwww the cog dis that sneaks up on us over rides what is reality and logic.

    On a further note to all who have posted what we have learned and how this experience may or may not affect us months or years from now I would like to elaborate. Lesley stated it so well in contrast to her marriage that had lost the spark, passion and connection; rather than seeking from within to correct those common issues in marriages(not saying Lesley we went looking for it but it just presented itself in our lives) along comes this carefully constructed persona and answer to what would SEEM to be a partner we would be happier with. I was NEVER EVER in search of some sexual fantasy for my husband and myself never had sexual issues but it was more the lack of our everyday interactions that lead to the lack of intimacy and romance in our marriage; this all ties in. If I just wanted sex, women have the opportunity for that quite readily; but that is NOT what I was seeking contrary to how the path for a time had me sexually addicted to him as this is quite common. This was my particular paths agenda since day one this is the tool he used KNOWING full well I was very lonely in my marriage. Its interesting though even as I experienced his transformation in the relationship with the path from this perfect gentlemen prince charming to this sexual monster when his mask came off I hung in there. Some of it was due to shock, trauma bonding what have you knowing I was exploited, used and emotionally raped to further this mans REAL intent. More than anything I wanted him to see me for what I was and COULD NOT UNDERSTAND for the life of me WHY he only saw me in this light and after awhile if you stay with them long enough you begin to see yourself as they see you. In the end you literally do not now who you are anymore or who you once were!!!!

    Which brings me to what I can take from this experience and what it did to me; I literally DIED in every respect the only thing living was my heartbeat; my soul, spirit, compassion, good character, standards, moral compass, pride, integrity, hope, …. all gone. And as I look at what was lost about me those are the VERY THINGS a path WANTS to take from you; matters not in the end HOW we were exploited – it could be sexually, for image, financial gain, status, its ALL extremely difficult to recover from as we ALL were targets in some form of exploitation and used for our higher emotions, which they lack. I believe with all my heart we have the power to take back all we lost in ourselves; to examine what psyche he tapped into to use for their advantage, etc..we have to remember the “predatory consciensness” we fell victim to that exists within them, its powerful and very very evil. I STILL believe in romance – a glass of wine and candles but thats about as far as it should go, and. it should be followed with SINCERE actions not empty words that have no meaning. When I regain with time all that I lost within myself to this predator she will stay with me always because with all her flaws, and weaknesses she was still pretty amazing and I know that because those are the very qualities that paths need in others to sustain them. My good human qualities were not given to me to feed a disordered person; they were given to me so that I may live a life I was intended to live. xoxo Linda

  36. Linda, I know. Psychopaths don’t present themselves as merely wanting sex, but as “the whole package”: ideal romantic partners, who love you, appreciate you, enjoy communicating with you, etc. If they presented themselves just as players and sex addicts, they wouldn’t ensnare victims the way they do. It’s with the promise of total love and understanding–which is the furthest from the reality they actually offer–that they lure many victims. Claudia

  37. Claudia, it’s strange but prior to my experience I was the romantic sort. I used to love listening to Sinatra- both the paramount and capitol days. I still do, but they don’t stir the same feelings of romance or amore as they once did. In fact when I think about the idea of getting back in the relationship saddle for want of a better phrase; would be analogous to being force fed a bucket of Eton mess after a severe case of food poisoning!
    I listened to ‘Ive got you under my skin” recently, and even that classic reminded me of the pathological relationship dynamic and cognitive dissonance- double think that comes with it. I’ll post it below, see what you and others think.

  38. Claudia, all i hear now when I hear that track is a guy singing about a psychopath during the grieve and cleave before he wakes up fully! Michael

  39. Michael, I love Sinatra’s songs too. Thanks for posting this video. It’s such a nice feature to be able to share music with others on a blog. My favorite song by Sinatra is “I did it my way”. As I was telling Linda earlier, psychopaths sink their claws deepest into those who have romantic personalities and longings. They present themselves as truly in love, understanding you deeply, caring about you–only to behave like your worst enemy, first behind your back, then, once they feel in control of the relationship, more openly. Claudia

  40. Claudia, this is so true, as thy grow increasingly bored and the relationship becomes increasingly lopsided; there is no incentive for them to impression manage you. My experience of this stage was increasing cognitive dissonance. Sinatra could be singing here about the emotional / psychological whiplash that characterises exposure to the mean and sweet cycle. Here is ‘my way’.

  41. MY FAVORITE – FLY ME TO THE MOON (Frank Sinatra

  42. Brilliant Linda, one of my favorites too; a little musical reminder of what our exes will never know / experience or feel. Michael

  43. Linda, found this embedded version

  44. Claudia too true; I read his biography a few years ago, and read about his connection with the kennedy election campaign and his connection with mafia boss Sam Giancano. As the story goes Sinatra, who befriended kennedy through his connection with Peter Lawford, one of the less well known members of the Rat Pack, and actor married to one of the Kennedys, became a champion of the Kennedy campaign. Sinatra helped swing the LA vote through Giancano’s union influence, and gave Kennedy the margin he needed to win the election campaign for President. However the plot thickens; once elected Robert Kennedy then wages a war agains organised crime, which pissed off a lot of mafia folk, particularly Giancano, who of course said ‘hang on a minute, if it wasnt for us the Kennedy’s wouldnt be in power”.

    According to the biography; it was recorded via an FBI tap that Sinatra was blamed and a conversation took place during Giancano was asked to send a message and put a hit on Sinatra; and Giancano is alleged to have said “hmmmmmm nahhhhh, If I do that I’ll never hear Sinatra sing Chicago again”. A chequered past indded. Michael.

  45. Michael – Makes me almost want to ballroom dance in my living room, ha ha ha TO THE MOON ALICE, or TO THE MOON PSYCHO and take the stars and everything you promised me with ya!!!!!!!! But I cant stop this little cycle of the great performers we are remembering without including this one and we all now who that shark was!!!!!! – this ones for you psycho, you’ve been HAD x0x0 Linda

  46. Michael – Since I dont feel like crying today I cant listen to MY WAY, today I am off from crying – x0x0 Linda

  47. Michael, yes, that’s what I was alluding to, the Mafia connection. Plus a playboy image with women. Claudia

  48. Claudia, I’m positively brimming with useless information 🙂 I really should get out more. Michael

  49. All – Strange how this was my fathers favorite song to dance to I should have listened to the lyrics better when I was growing up; just as the song says “There is never a trace of blood”

  50. Michael, this information is a sign that you have cultural curiosity. It’s a good thing:) Claudia

  51. Claudia, yes it went into his playboy image in some depth, and his long term off and on relationship and marriage with Ava Gardner, who according to those who knew him was the love of his life. Apparently she used to wind him up by talking about her penchant for flings with bullfighters, not that he was any better! Michael

  52. Claudia and all – Here is a thought provoking question with Halloween approaching wonder who they would go as? mmmm I imagine on the outside they could go as themselves but during the course of the evening they would change who they were many many times. Its Halloween for them everyday I guess – Linda

  53. Linda, their lives are like one big fancy dress party in a hall of mirrors. Michael

  54. Linda, give yourself a day off from crying; you’ve earned it. Michael

  55. Equating the emotional rape a psychopath does to the physical rape of other psychopaths (or other garden varieties) helped me get over wanting any contact.

    When I was young, I made the mistake of walking on a deserted beach in Mexico on my first date with a serviceman. He began to assault me, I ran to the top of an empty life guard station, thinking maybe I could push him off. I wouldn’t say I escaped unharmed, but I did escape, with him chasing me. Fast forward to me rushing into my hotel room I was sharing with some women I didn’t know that well. He came to the door, threw his hat in as a “souvenir” and said “I don’t know what is wrong with her, we were having a great time.” The women looked at me with blood running down my leg and shaking and slammed the door on him.

    Sure I had some PTSD from that. But I had NO inclination to go back to what I thought when I first met him, etc. Of course it was a quick interlude. But I realized likewise, there was no need to go back over what the p said, what I said, etc……(of course at first I did plenty of that before the truth sunk in….and in sunk in very slowly for me)….because he is a rapist. An emotional rapist….which in many ways is harder to heal from. Why would I want to care anything about what he said, or I said, or what we did? He is a RAPIST.

    I can’t understand victim’s families who want to talk to the murderer of their family member to see what the last minutes of their life was like. HUH???? Why would you believe a word a murderer said? GEEZZZ.

    I would not have believed it possible at first….but now I actually struggle to keep up any interest in reading about psychopaths.

    What I AM interested in now are all the exciting things I’m doing in my life that have NOTHING to do with me or romance. Start reading about women doing things with women. I’m planning an exciting trip with a girlfriend….one I’ve dreamed of all my life….and we are both married, but choosing to go with each other.

    And you know, once you start making your dreams come true, the p really does fade to WAY in the background. Dream for a moment of what you really would love in your life (apart from any romantic relationship). Can you think of somethings that would make all this pain suddenly not matter that much because you had so much joy?

    Even if it just something you could do for one hour ….work toward it!

  56. Susan, Your advice is excellent. You have a very positive and healthy outlook on life. Psychopaths wedge into our lives, claiming to offer fulfillment there where we sense some emptiness. And they create far more emptiness and a lot of destruction in an attempt to eliminate everything in our lives that has meaning (except for their control). When you focus on everything else that matters to you, personally and professionally, the emotional devastation they caused begins to fade into the background, as it has for you.

    I would add that some of us keep a focus on psychopathy to help others who have lived through a horrible experience with a psychopath and to offer useful information. I think that’s another way of making something constructive out of a very destructive experience. But not everyone chooses to do that. Most victims (or survivors) have other good causes and goals, where they can make a positive difference in life, as you do. Both ways are good ways of dealing with the devastating encounter with a psychopath. If you’ll be too busy, moving on with your life, on the blog that’s understandable and I’m really happy for you that you’ve healed so much. But we’ll miss you here, since your comments have been so helpful to us. I hope you have a wonderful trip with your friend. Claudia

  57. Susan it sounds like you have turned a corner in your experience. I think the ultimate goal is that we can leave the internet and stop talking about our experiences with pathology. I would say that is really our goal, when we reach a stage of no longer caring and wondering what the ex thinks of us. It just does not matter, and they never really saw us anyway.
    I recall I may have posted an article earlier around grieving and loss: here is the link again. It captures the bottomless nothing, the empty hole that was our lives with the disordered. Susan I think ultimately our experience of the relationship will always be a black whole in our lives, a kind of strange haunting emptiness.
    But we grow up and life goes on. Michael

  58. What kind words! I’ll keep checking in, and I don’t leave until December …for Africa! Remember how I said the women from Africa helped heal me with their passion for dealing with the really important problems of the world. We will mostly be staying with one of those wonderful women! No electricity, no running water, it will be quite an adventure!

  59. Susan, I know how much you love adventures and this will be one for a great cause, which is even better. Besides, when you see all the hardships people across the world have to face to survive, it gives you even more strength to cope with the challenges you face in life. By “you” I mean “one” in general. Claudia

  60. Michael – That is how I look at it, it was a huge black hole in my life that I was sucked into and found my way out of – there was NOTHING in that dark hole it was dark and empty and a very very scary place to be. I am no longer scared but still though the pain comes and goes which is normal for the most part. Susan what would erase this horrible experience for me? Just to know I can one day again find joy as I used to and have hope that I lost so long ago. Wishing you the best Susan you are a survivor x0x0 Linda

  61. Susan,

    Your post is profound for me. I totally understand where you’re coming from. Claudia and I talked about this very thing today, others leaving the blog, even before you posted 🙂

    Claudia get attached to those here that are in pain and considers them friends. Her kindness is never in question of course, nor her intentions, but I had to let her know that not everyone will stay here, because you DO move on with life. In fact, that’s what I’d HOPE for anyone who comes here, as I believe it’s healthy, unless helping others is truly a mission and comes from a healthy place, such as where Claudia is and devotes part of their lives to helping victims of psychopaths. I understand that because it will be my mission too. I’m not in that healthy place yet, but I know how it felt growing up in a pathological home, moving onto nothing but pathological relationshits. It’s difficult to talk about, there are not enough therapists or support in the world. One can make even a small difference. But for others, there are other ways to give of themselves in ways that exhibit their personal gifts and it might NOT be psychopathy or helping victims, but in another equally profound way with the pathological experience being a spring board to a new depth within. A better, healthier you. It’s all apart of letting go in more ways, but learning to do it positively and with what it really means to love and care, a selfless love, letting people move on in the way they are meant to and wish them well.

    So Susan, I wish you profound happiness, well and that your personal gifts will continue to help those human and not lol, and to share your wonderful gift of YOURSELF with women who aren’t as strong, wherever you are and wherever you go, be blessed my dear! Kel

  62. Susan/All,

    I think part of the reason why I’m feeling so hopless lately and ruminating so much, has now come to the surface for me today through a very lengthy conversation with my eldest daughter. I was in class today, (abnormal psyche) and they showed a video of a woman with Multpile Personality being interviewed and followed around in her daily life. When she sat down to describe the abuse of her by her dentist father, whether it was she (host) or her alters (other personalities), I started to cry and could not stop. It was embarrassing, but it hit a very strong, painful nerve within. There is nothing to distract from a lifetime of pain now. not alcohol, not a psychopath. I am raw with grief. I am exhausted and tired. I cannot talk about it, cannot accurately describe what this feels like other than death. It feels as bad as death.

    I realized the full impact as well, when speaking with my daughter today. she knows my history, obviously, and we are very close. We “get” one another. She is very bright and insightful. She is the eldest and knows my biological family before I put a stop to the children seeing any of them.

    For the first time, with FEELING the grief, the intensiveness of grief, I was able to spill the pain. My father, my mother, my siblings, did not love me. I was the scapegoat. No more. They knew I could love, while they could not. They knew that I knew something was terribly wrong within our family. I was targeted because of that, unprotected and blamed by my parents, from all my sexual abusers, because of that. I have been in free fall my entire life. People tell me to cheer up, move on, stop ruminating, get a life, etc, I’ve heard it all. but really, they have no idea what to say. They have no idea how to react. It is the same here too with people who have been wounded by pathology, but have loving support, or at least a healthy background to fall back on, a loving spouse who is healthy, loving friends……

    I have none of that. It dawned on me, that every single person, from the time I was aware, to now, that I loved, NEVER LOVED ME. Pathology is all I know. I do not know how to experience real joy or happiness or peace because those things were never given to me. My life was always filled with uncertainty, always. pathology is not about certainty. Ever. So now, when I have experienced MOMENTS, however briefly, of peace or sleep, or joy, it is fleeting and short lived, because the inevitable is consistent, a trigger, a hurtful word, a major life decision, actually several, that I can’t control. Pathologicals who decide they’re not ready to give up yet. The pain of the holidays this year, is almost more than I can bear to think about now. My children, are all I have left. I told my daughter today that I can’t understand how a parent cannot love their children. I’ve made mistakes, oh have I ever, but my children ALL KNOW, that I love them, as my daughter so eloquently put it, “Mom, you could call me a bitch tomorrow and I’d just think you had a bad day, I know that’s extreme with my example, but it’s important because even if you called me that, I would say, “ok, Mom’s trippin and has probably had a shitty day” but there would never be a one doubt that you loved me, I’ve never doubted that, even if I don’t do what you think is best for me, you still LOVE ME”

    THAT is not what I received. I had to do it THEIR way. And when I decided NOT too anymore, then I was disowned. And that was over money. I didn’t want the money, my father could no longer control me, I couldn’t be the scapegoat for he, nor my siblings, so it was NC for me. It’s been two years now.

    THen kicking the last psycho and anyone else in my life that was pathological, to the curb.

    It’s a damned lonely place for me right now. I’m uncertain, grieving the loss of these people, the life I should have been given with a healthy family and people who loved me. I have NO frame of reference for what FEELS happy, except fleeting moments I’ve had this past year in the healing process. It is the uncertainty that I’ve lived with all of my life, that makes trusting anything nearly impossible.

    I want to say that I will heal. That I’m not going to be a windsock outside of a beach house, blown by every wind for the rest of my life, but I don’t know who I am, without THEM. I can easily say I’m a failure, a fuck up, a useless whore, a shitty parent and a bad child, because that’s what THEY believed me to be. It’s all I KNOW of myself.

    If you were to tell me something of value of myself, I wouldn’t BELIEVE it.

    And this is what pathology DOES to a child. How I was able to survive and just “know” what was right in raising my children can only be explained as a miracle for them BY GOD, because all I knew HOW to do was LOVE. It was all I knew how to do, even though I never was. It was far from perfect and is now, but it’s all I know how to do.

    Therefore that will have to be my starting point for now.

    Perhaps with love, there can be healing. I must have some love, or i wouldn’t be on this site.


  63. HI Susan, I don’t think we’ve met on here yet. I really love your point and you are so right that finding something that is all your own with passion and giving it your all is the best way for those memories to fade and to create a new “self” outside of the psychopaths victim. I was w/out my ex for nearly 2 years. In that time I spent it learning to play the guitar. A lifelong dream of mine that I put on hold for many reasons. I tried picking it up a few times while w/my ex but he would belittle my abilities and make it seem like it was hopeless for me while he could play nearly any instrument he picked up with ease. My guitar became my friend, my lover, my passion, my world. I literally took it to bed with me, began playing first thing in the morning and would play literally until it was time to go to bed again on some days. I get a bit zealous when I’m passionate about
    Focusing on my music and letting those memories go opened up so many doors for me! In that nearly 2 year period, I became aquinted w/the Goo Goo Dolls (music group), met them several times, flew all over the US, spending NYE (New Years Eve) w/Johnny Rzeznik (songwriter)and the Goo Goo Dolls. I also purchased my first home. These are dreams I never, ever thought would be fulfilled. I couldn’t even concieve of ever meeting Johnny Rzeznik! I had the opportunity to meet Linda Perry my other musical idol as well (Songwriter, producer, singer). These never would have happened to me had I not spent that healing time focusing on my personal passion w/out the ex. Of course, I made the mistake of reconnecting w/the ex after all these wonderful opportunites and experiences. Won’t be doing THAT again. I still have my guitar. So off I go. 🙂

    I do agree with Claudia as well. Helping others and educating them so they can avoid these dastardly humans is another positive way to channel energy.

    Lovely post. Very positive and I thank you for reminding me of that! Your opportunity in Africa sounds incredible! You are blessed and bringing good things into your life. 🙂

  64. Michael how long have you been w/out your ex?

    This question is for everyone: Why is it harder to recover from a break up/relationship w/a psychopath than it is any other relationship. Or, is it all the same? A loss, is a loss, is a loss?
    I’m thinking, you tell me if this is how it is for you, it’s because it isn’t just the loss of the person you once loved and the dreams of a happy future w/the. Also, the hopes you had that the illusion of that person would magically come to life at any second.
    In many ways if feels like the loss of one’s dignity, and self-worth as well. Because as time and space come between me and Dumbass I better see how much I let him just walk on me and wipe his feet on the way out. I then begin to dislike myself for being, well…weak for lack of a better term.
    Third thing is, do you think it’s also because of all the trauma experienced from all the abuse and it replays in your mind when the abuser is out of your life? Like when you are still w/them you can sweep all that bad stuff under the carpet and pretend it didn’t happen. Afterall, that’s what they are doing after each episode. However, once they are gone, all that stuff you swept away begins creeping into your conscience trying to find it’s way out. Is that how it is for any of you

    (I realize that is 3, not 1 question. Sorry, I’m chatting when typing)

  65. Kel, yes, having a supportive family makes a huge difference. It gives you not only a good environment, but also more confidence in life, to brave challenges. If you’re not exposed to abuse early on, then you can recognize it quicker when it happens with a psychopath and try to escape the situation before it escalates. However, you do have a loving family: your children and Herc! You’ve cultivated your own loving and healthy environment, and you’re passing that on to your kids.

    As for how to deal with the trauma of a psychopathic bond: I think people absorb the impact in different ways and at different speeds and, probably, most of us try to help others in similar situations in some way. None of us want anyone else to live through what we have, or at least we’d like to help others recognize the signs and escape the toxic relationships sooner. But helping spread this information doesn’t have to imply devoting one’s life to the cause. Few people do that. Most have professions not related to writing or psychology, and very busy lives. Any way we can help, on this blog, on others, in our lives (if we see friends or acquaintances trapped in abusive relationships), makes a positive impact.

    A few of us will devote a large part of our lives, at least for a period of time, to this cause because our professions lend themselves to this (if we’re psychologists, therapists, writers, journalists, etc). This is my situation. The information I found on lovefraud probably saved my family from the disaster caused by the psychopath and by my huge mistake of almost choosing him. After this very traumatic experience, I couldn’t imagine not devoting a lot of my time and using my research and writing skills to helping others who are or were in similar circumstances. The challenge now is reaching those who haven’t been burned by psychopaths too, so they won’t be. Claudia

  66. Lisa, it’s harder to get over a relationship with a psychopath because of the fraudulent nature of it. What hurts most, I believe, is realizing that the person you thought you knew and loved is NOT the person you thought you knew and loved. It is not someone who ever cared about you. What’s worse, it’s someone who used you and wished you and your loved ones harm. It’s a mind-blowing, devastating experience. Claudia

  67. Claudia,

    Some of us will be compelled to do as you are doing, using our own personal gifts to do it.

    Others will move onto happier things in other areas. I do understand that sometimes this can be overwhelming though too and I do keep that in mind as I process all of this, as my youngest daughter asked the other day, “Ma, do you think that maybe you’re getting TOO much pathology?” LOL….perhaps. But guess what, with all the research and education I’ve been getting for several months now about pathology, my children speak of psychopaths like educators lol! They know how to spot it and what to look for. Perhaps another blessing in all of this. Perhaps their lives will not have to be full of pathology. What is interesting is while they have hope for their youngest brother, they SEE pathology in him too.

    Being that even ONE pathological can affect so many, I’m hoping that educating even one person, BEFORE getting into a relationshit, whatever that relationshit is, including my children, it has a domino affect on so many, many others in prevention.

    Claudia, what you’re doing, is also PREVENTION. Who knows how many are reading this blog that AREN”T with a pathological but simply wanting to learn about it for other reasons? you never know!


  68. Kel, that’s the information I wish I had: the preventive kind. By the time you look up “psychopathy” on google, you already know you’re with a pathological person and you’re in deep. You’ve already been targeted and harmed. It would have been nice to know about personality disorders beforehand… I know, for those who aren’t in the mental health or writing/journalism professions, the best thing they can do, aside from offering occasional helpful input on psychopathy support groups, is to heal and move on. Because when you’re healthy and confident your whole family, or all those close to you, benefit as well. Claudia

  69. Kel two things; Well, three; ( : D

    1. The murder story. I know that story. I’ll give you my email if you’re interested in corresponding privately. 😉

    2.I am really, really, very sorry for what you’ve had to endure w/your history of pathological people. Really, truly sorry. I can’t even attempt to imagine how that shapes a persons psychie.

    3.Have you read “The Four Agreements?” If not, I highly recommend it. The first thing the author (Miguel Ruiz) writes about is that everything you were told and taught from the day you were born is a lie. A complete utter lie. Time to write your own story. Start it today. From this moment on YOU are the incredible, articulate, caring, intelligent woman you want to be. Just tell yourself that’s who Kelly is. It’s a lot better truth than the lies those pathalogical liars tried to feed you.

    Time to get back to my guitar because it’s a better companion than thoughts of Dumbass. 🙂

  70. Claudia,

    I think there are more than just victims checking out psychopathy. You’d be surprised how many need to research it for various reasons. Lots of psych students, like me, where research is required. We are fast approaching personality disorders in my abnormal class now. The text is actually quite good in its descriptions, what with symptoms, traits/behaviors and what it does to the VICTIMS. Nice to see in a textbook actually. claudia, were you aware that there are now seminars going on in bigger corporations here with regards to psychopaths in the office or “Snakes in Suits”? I’ll have to back track and let you know who’s doing it, but I just read about it the other day and was going to share here who it was. Kel

  71. Kel, this is good news. Information about personality disorders should be mainstream. Hopefully we’ll all band together and make it more so. It’s a matter of making connections among all the various sources of information that touch upon psychopathy, not only what each source does. In fact, that’s the subject of my upcoming article! Claudia

  72. Kelli, what an absolutely stunning post earlier. Lisa, your mention of The Four Agreements was perfectly timed – I read it some ten years ago and looking back, it has had an enormously positive effect on my life and also in recovering from my psychopathic experience. I’ll transcribe the gist here directly from the book cover, in the hope that you and others will find it useful too.

    1. Be impeccable with your word. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

    2. Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

    3. Don’t make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can transform your life.

    4. Always do your best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse and regret.

    Kelli, you and I and everyone else have been “domesticated” (as Ruiz puts it) by our families and society – we’ve been fed a load of crap that we’ve agreed to and have never questioned since. Your domestication has been a particularly pathological one, yet you’ve managed to dismantle it and eject the pathological individuals from your life. It’s perfectly normal to feel lonely and confused at this point, because pathology is all you’ve ever known and it has been your “comfort zone.” You’ve discarded all those self-defeating agreements you’ve made with yourself and others throughout your life, and now is the time to replace them with other, more appropriate agreements. I think that reading The Four Agreements would be incredibly helpful to you right now.

    You must put the First Agreement into practice right away: make an agreement with yourself to never again use your word (or your unvoiced thoughts) to speak against yourself. Never even think of yourself EVER AGAIN as useless, a failure, etc. It’s just not so. There is practically zero pathology in your life right now (and that is a HUGE success in itself), other than that which you’re still harboring in your mind and occasionally flogging yourself with. It actually pains me when you do that. Take a hard look at your life right now: is there much pathology in your immediate family now? At school? On this blog? Sweetheart, the coast is clear, really clear! Put the Four Agreements on the fridge and in your phone, look at them frequently and stick to them.

    I often find the fourth agreement very helpful – it’s so easy to bash yourself for not “living up to your own standards” – and it’s a comforting reminder that we’re all allowed to have bad days. BTW, the book is small (140 pages), with big, loosely-spaced type and is a really quick read. It’s written in language a 10-year-old could understand, and I suspect that was Ruiz’s intent.

    Speaking of bad days, I must now return to attempting to resuscitate my accounting software (which has been broken for several days now). I hope to recover from this disaster soon and be back on the blog next week. – Julian.

  73. Julian

    Again, very powerful words from you. I read some reviews of the book last night and almost all were glowing about this book, it’s another on my “must have” list.

    We’ve missed your presence on the blog and I know you’ve been very busy. Thanks for taking the time to “type” here! I feel encouraged by your sharing. Kel

  74. Lisa,

    Email Claudia, with your email address and she can forward it to me. Kel

  75. Julian, that is a wonderful post and there is something in there for us all to learn from. Self flagellation is a trap we all or at least most of us walk into after the fallout of a pathological relationship. i.e. was it me, was I to blame, could I have done more and so on. The answer is of course no; there isn’t anything we could have done any better that would have made any difference. I think psychopaths are highly adept at uncovering our achilles heel and using these against us, or as a means of devaluing us, or taking a position of one-upmanship which leaves us feeling as though we are being controlled, manipulated, or dominated in some way. A balanced two way honest and emotionally adult conversation is not possible with a psychopath or cluster b disordered person. They are experts at shaming us and playing mind games.
    Vulnerability is a dirty word to a psychopath; when in reality being open and honest and facing our vulnerabilities is a strength. Michael

  76. All: It is such a difficult journey and process to remove ourselves from abusive individuals and Kelli you have done that realizing what role you played in these abusive peoples lives. This is what I am also working on in my marriage – psychopaths are the KING of abusers they are at the top if there is anything that will shake us to the core in why we seem to be stuck with these types it will be a psychopath it has forced me to examine why I never prided myself better than to tolerate such abuse at such a HIGH level. I hope I was able to help you a little bit with the cog dis yesterday Kelli; well now we know there is not a pathological relationship that exists with them that does not include abuse. In extracting ourselves from individuals who want power over others leaves us at such a lonely place we feel so rejected for reasons that we may sometimes imagine in our minds that we were not in some way good enough for them or deficient in other ways that lead to them abusing us on such an extreme level. It takes GREAT self awareness, and strength in ourselves to put our hand up and say ENOUGH, I vow to NEVER EVER let an abusive person in my life because no matter how much we loved them it will never change their behavior – our love was only the fuel for them for further abuse. I was quite emotional today thinking about him but it was a different type of emotion I had not experienced before, I was also grieving about myself and the sick role I played in his life and how mentally unhealthy and lost I was to have thought this was the way I deserved to be treated. So the cycle of abuse in my life is coming to an end; this is a day to rejoice not mourn in what we lost with this person but celebrate what we have discovered within ourselves, maybe I am mourning and saying goodbye to who I once was; that part of me that allowed the abuse. I also believe this is why NC is for the most part fairly easy for me I know I can never never be that lost person I once was I am emerging into someone new and healthy. x0x0 Linda

  77. MIchael,

    Truthfully, I struggle with that: Was it me? What was it about me that he couldn’t/didn’t’ love.

    What is painful to me is that one part of me understands him and what he did from an intellectual, logical perspective. The other is purely emotional and irrational. This latter is what keeps the cog/dis going.

    This morning, I thought perhaps I’m taking the wrong approach. It’s not in my nature to hate. I believe he is very happy with the new wife. He said he just wanted to be loved and accepted. I did that, did really love him, but apparently, I wasn’t enough. What I had to offer wasn’t enough.

    If you love someone, and they want to go, it’s time to let go. It doesn’t matter anymore what he did to me. That’s over. It’s all over, so perhaps my approach should be one in that I let him go with love and wish him well. there will never be closure or justice. Maybe acknowledging his happiness and wishing him well is the best I can do. Kel

  78. Kel, I say: a tiger doesn’t change his stripes and save your good wishes for good people. I have some good wishes too. My condolences to your psychopathic ex’s new victim! She’s got herself a real keeper… Claudia

  79. Linda, good for you! That’s a very healthy attitude. You’ve been flourishing lately. Claudia

  80. Kelli, you nor anyone else will ever be enough for your ex if he is cluster b / psychopathic. I think that our experience of recovery involves emotionally embracing this acceptance. But much easier said than done. Forgiveness for our exes is a difficult one. My experience involved moving through a process of denial, to being confronted with the harsh reality that she didnt have a “normal” emotional relationship with me.
    Part of my recovery process has involved learning to accept that she just is what she is, and just does what she does. Keli closure is something that they cannot give; and i think this is partly because closure involves an emotionally adult two way conversation.
    I think one of the hardest parts of dealing with this lack of closure is the realisation that whatever feelings we had for them was of no real consequence. We poured our love into an empty bottomless well. Michael

  81. Michael,

    The concept of forgiveness and well wishing is not for psychopaths in many circumstances for many people. While this well wishing approach may not be logical, I’m reminded that I’m not hateful either and don’t want to sit in bitterness. He didn’t choose me. Maybe it was me on some level, but either way, the end was the same. I do know that I did love him, part of me still does, I know it’s not for whom he is, but more perhaps the part he played in my life. Whether I like it or not, it was needed at the time for a reason I’m not yet certain.

    I think denying love for him is unrealistic for me. He told me he wanted to be happy, to be loved and accepted. I told this to claudia, but it’s often been said here as well as elsewhere that if an ex is happy, they would have NO REASON to contact you. I believe that’s true.

    Maybe in that way, I’m lucky.

    I would rather wish him well in my heart and try to let go in the same place. My anger, bitterness and feelings of deep pain do not change the situation. There will never be closure and many of the questions I have, because I was so compartmentalized, will never be answered. it just is what it is. It was what it was. Kel

  82. Kel and Claudia: i tend to agree with Claudia wishing my x well would be like wishing Hitler well it just “aint gonna happen” I dont hate him I just dont care anymore – he is what he is who ever he is with. I think we have to really examine not just them but who they are living with and knowing what they are the effect it will have on their partners lives.. His new wife is still a VICTIM and TARGET Kelli and she will one day learn that if not now years from now. Why do they stay for years, well we know the answer to that one x0x0 Linda

  83. Claudia?

    What’s a “keeper” ole wise one? LOL….:) hugs


  84. Kel, today you have a downright angelic attitude, so I won’t play devil’s advocate and point out the other side… But, seriously, I think that if this attitude helps you find inner peace about that psychopathic bond, then that’s what counts. Certainly bitterness and anger only bring turmoil. Claudia

  85. Kel, I was being sarcastic. A “keeper” is a man who is brilliant, caring, has good character and is rational yet warm and compassionate. The opposite of a psychopath! Claudia

  86. Linda, I agree with you, but angelic moods towards psychopaths, when we wish them well, don’t usually last. If this helps Kel find some inner peace, then fine. But, like you, I certainly don’t wish any psychopath well! I wish that they get exactly what they give and deserve. Claudia

  87. Kel, I gotta go p/u kids from recess….I think my email is listed on one or both my blogs…

    Lisa 🙂

  88. Kel, I dont know if this makes sense; but in my experience I realised that whatever feelings I had for my ex, whether they be love, compassion, anger or bitterness, just dont really matter in the final analysis. All emotional relating only matters with someone who is capable of fully emotionally relating if you know what I mean.
    We cant love them because we learned they cannot love back, we can’t feel anger towards them because they wont see the cause of our anger, we can’t express our pain due to their behaviour and expect them to do anything about it. Emotionally they just do not have any understanding to say the least.

  89. Kel I think what I’m struggling to express is that we cannot have an emotional relationship with them. Michael

  90. Michael, agreed. The only kind of relationship psychopaths are capable of having is the predatory kind, where they’re the (social) predators and we’re prey. No thanks! Claudia

  91. Claudia, I agree; their agenda is always what does this person have that I want, and what do i need to say to ensure they give it. That is as deep and as far as it goes. Michael

  92. Michael,

    Then how to reconcile the feelings WE had? I can’t say that what I felt wasn’t REAL, even if his never was. My narrative with him was real, his was not. Therein lies the pain of it all. Kel

  93. Kelli, I think that the only emotional reconciliation that we can have is that our feelings were real. Theirs may have been real in the moment when they needed something from us. Whatever their feelings were they certainly did’nt last in spite of everything they may have said. I think this is what I mean by saying every emotion we have for them disappears down a black whole Kel. Any feeling, whether it be love, hate, bitterness, resentment and so on. Emotions are at the end of the day only meaningful to those that feel and empathise and have an emotional story with us. Michael

  94. Michael,


    I’ve had more emotional narrative with my dog.

    I have a question for you. My ex had a photo in his office of he and his ex wife behind his desk. It was she sitting on his lap and they were both laughing, as they were at a party of some sort. I asked why he kept that photo and he told me that it was a special time in his life with her. It meant something to him. There was another photo I saw too, once at his house, of his standing there with her in his arms. Laughing. During their dating period. The other was in the first year of their marriage. I have no pictures. None of us. None of him.

    I was left behind not only as if I never existed, but I never really did, even in the real and most truest sense. Why do those things have meaning for him as he said? The oddest thing was that there wasn’t a picture left in his house of her, except in his nightstand drawer and his response to my finding that, was to pull a gun on me.

    I’m still feeling all of that hatred. He hated me more than any woman in his life. I still feel that hatred. Is it possible that he truly has emotional memory connected with his ex wives? Kel

  95. Kelli, sorry am I reading you right here, he pulled a gun on you? Michael.

  96. A central thread to this recent discussion has been the feelings of love, and whether they were real or not. Well, in my opinion, the only true feelings of love are those that you generate yourself, and they are indeed very, very real. With a psychopath, any “reciprocated feelings” of love are just words and manipulation, not true feelings. I’d like to transcribe a passage from don Miguel Ruiz’s book, “The Mastery of Love” in support of this statement, and as a springboard to deeper understanding. Chapter 6, “The Magical Kitchen” begins on page 91 of the paperback edition:

    Imagine that you have a magical kitchen in your home. In that magical kitchen you can have any food you want from any place in the world in any quantity. You never worry about what to eat; whatever you wish for, you can have at your table. You are very generous with your food; you give your food unconditionally to others, not because you want something in return from them. Whoever comes to your home, you feed just for the pleasure of sharing your food, and your house is always full of people who come to eat the food from your magical kitchen.

    Then one day someone knocks at your door, and it’s a person with a pizza. You open the door and the person looks at you and says, “Hey, do you see this pizza? I’ll give you this pizza if you let me control your life, if you just do whatever I want you to do. You are never going to starve because I can bring pizza every day. You just have to be good to me.”

    Can you imagine your reaction? In your kitchen you can have the same pizza – even better. Yet this person comes to you and offers you food IF you just do whatever he wants you to do. You are going to laugh and say, “No, thank you! I don’t need your food; I have plenty of food. You can come into my house and eat whatever you want, and you don’t have to do anything. Don’t believe I’m going to do whatever you want me to do. No one will manipulate me with food.”

    Now imagine exactly the opposite. Several weeks have gone by, and you haven’t eaten. You are starving, and you have no money in your pocket to buy food. The person comes with the pizza and says, “Hey, there’s food here. You can have this food if you just do what I want you to do.” You can smell the food, and you are starving. You decide to accept the food and do whatever that person asks of you. You eat some food and he says, “If you want more, you can have more, but you have to keep doing what I want you to do.”

    You have food today, but tomorrow you may not have food, so you agree to do whatever you can for food. You can become a slave because of food, because you need food, because you don’t have it. Then after a certain time, you have doubts. You say, “What am I going to do without my pizza? I cannot live without my pizza. What if my partner decides to give the pizza to someone else — MY pizza!

    Now imagine that instead of food, we are talking about love. You have an abundance of love in your heart. You have love not just for yourself, but for the whole world. You love so much that you don’t need anyone’s love. You share your love without conditions; you don’t love IF. You are a millionaire in love, and someone knocks on your door and says, “Hey, I have love for you here. You can have my love, if you just do whatever I want you to do.”

    When you are full of love, what is going to be your reaction? You will laugh and say, “Thank you, but I don’t need your love. I have the same love here in my heart, even bigger and better, and I share my love without conditions.”

    But what is going to happen if you are starving for love, if you don’t have that love in your heart, and someone comes and says, “You want a little love? You can have my love if you just do what I want you to do.” If you are starving for love, and you taste that love, you are going to do whatever you can for that love. You can even be so needy that you give your entire soul just for a little attention.

    Your heart is like that magical kitchen. If you open your heart, you already have all the love you need. There’s no need to go around the world begging for love: “Please, someone love me. I’m so lonely, I’m not good enough for love; I need someone to love me, to prove that I’m worthy of love.” We have love right here inside us, but we don’t see this love.

    Can you see the drama humans create when they believe they don’t have love? […] They cannot live without the provider, the one who provides them with the everyday doses.

    Don Miguel Ruiz’s wise words are certainly food for thought, and worth reading twice and sleeping on tonight. I certainly will. – Julian.

  97. Julian, what an excellent analogy Ruiz makes! It certainly is food for thought, to use your pun. Psychopaths target neediness. We all have needs, but they sense neediness the way sharks sense blood. If you are needy at some point in your life, you will attract psychopaths like flies. You will also be more prone to violate boundaries, meet the psychopath’s demands. The sad thing is that I was needy at that point in my life even though I had everything, true love. I just couldn’t appreciate it enough because of my romantic fantasies. I’d say in life you have to be self-sufficient but open to bonding. Self-sufficient and independent yet social, not solitary. Same thing in love, if you’re single. You have to be happy with yourself and your life being single, but open to bonding and romantic love with the right persons. If you’re too desperate, you’ll draw psychopaths who will use and abuse you. If you’re too closed, set in your ways or fearful, you’ll miss out on some of the best aspects of life. Claudia

  98. Claudia, yes, I think Ruiz’s analogy is just brilliant. I’ve rarely been particularly needy myself, but at the time I met the psychopath, I was living and working 400 miles away from family and friends and my father had recently died. Like you, I freely admit that I was vulnerable and needy at that time. And I fully agree, you have to be self-sufficient, self-loving but still open to bonding with a compatible partner (and honest enought to say “no, thank you” to incompatible ones). One of the other pearls of wisdom in Ruiz’s book is that we’re all like keys looking for the lock that fits. But we’ll never find that fit if our hearts are closed and we’re starved for love and we’re willing to trade our souls for meagre crumbs of counterfeit “love.” – Julian.

  99. Michael, thank you very much for the kind comments; I appreciate them very much, as I do your enormously valuable input to this blog. I’ve always found your comments very insightful and extremely well written.

    If I may indulge a little, your writing style is particularly fascinating to me. I tend to be rather straightforward and factual (probably as a result of a long career in engineering), but your style is equally informative, yet… well, the best comparison I can draw is to the fluid, graceful feel of Mark Knopfler’s guitar solo in the middle of “The Sultans of Swing.”

    I wish you great success in publishing your book. It will definitely be very, very readable. – Julian.

  100. Michael,

    Yes. Scared the shit out of me. I was completely vulnerable, we were completely naked and this was just after sex. I found a picture of his wife in the nightstand drawer and asked him about it, told him that I was so sorry for contributing to the reality that his marriage was over. He jumped out of bed, pulled out the loaded pistol from the second drawer down in the nightstand and put it on the bed pointed at me. Kel

  101. Lisa, thank you very much for bringing up the work of don Miguel Ruiz. It’s been a long time (like 10 years!) since I’ve read his work, and it’s had an immensely positive impact on my life. As you can probably tell by my recent posts, you’ve helped me push the “rewind” button on my life and helped me a lot to understand why my life before the psychopath was so much better than it is now. In the last 24 hours, I’ve recovered much of that sense of well-being from two years ago, thanks to your reference to Ruiz. That’s a wonderful side effect of blogs – you never know how much good your comments can do, and it’s sometimes quite surprising! – Julian.

  102. Kel, those pictures your psychopathic ex kept of himself and his wife were probably trophies used to taunt you and make you jealous. That way you’d compete with her for his love. Triangulation. It’s the psychopath’s favorite geometric figure. Claudia

  103. All,

    First of all, this completely blows me away. Julian, what you posted was absolutely mind blowing to me and I was in tears after reading it, so many things going through my mind and touching my heart.

    About love. You’re right, it isn’t too desperate, nor too closed. I don’t know about the happy medium. And I don’t know about it without it being attached to success, money and/or power and dominance in a relationship. My last ex was very successful.

    I, however, am not. I have nothing to offer and never have, BUT love. What does this mean? Well, not what society believes it means. I’m poor. I’ve not worked in twenty years. I’ve been raising children. I’ve been going to school part time for ten years. I currently live on assistance and I HATE it. This isn’t considered autonomy, is it? I know the reality of all of this. I’m not “successful”. Mothering six children alone is not considered to be an “honorable”, nor “paid” position anymore. I’ve lived for ten years WITHOUT the support, financially or emotionally, from the ex psychopathic ex. Is that love?

    Here’s what love has meant to me: Giving of myself to others. Giving what I HAVE, which isn’t much to others. Taking care of two additional children that were rejected by an addicted, mentally ill mother. Sitting and listening to two teenage boys, friends of my son’s, that revealed for the very first time, that they were gay. One told his mother, she rejected him. The other was already homeless. I loved them. Just as they were, and still are. Feeding the kids that come here, that don’t have food at home. Even when I could barely feed my own. Loving a dog so damned much that I blew all my rent and utility money for a month and then some, to see to it that he lived. Is that love?

    Romantically, I’ve completely blown it. I gave “him” whatever he wanted. Wasn’t enough. He came into my intimate life at a time when I was very sick, as yet undiagnosed and was in the middle of a stalking nightmare trying to get away from my ex spouse. Yes, I gave him everything he wanted. Everything he had no right too. I was more than needy. When i became stronger, he didn’t want me anymore. My “love” and giving him everything wasn’t enough. Loving my bio family meant something entirely different.

    Part of me hates where I’m at right now. I’m a social pariah, being on assistance, still in college, with about three years left to go for my Master’s and unemployed. My son will graduate in June. Part of my identity is tied up in this “failure” of not being successful. Leftovers from my highly successful bio fam. When my son goes off to college, it’s just me. Part of me ties love to money and success. Meaning the only way to be loved, is to be successful. That’s what I learned and understand.

    For me, personally, that’s not what it means. It’s not where I put my love investments. Those don’t pay with nice homes, cars, nice clothes or Danori. It pays in small ways, that my kids know love, that my dog is alive. That the pathology is gone. I could have hung onto my bio fam, all that money and doing whatever they told me to do. Just like in that story and there were many times when we were “starving’, but I could not and would not, do it, because love is what was important to me and money wasn’t going to do that, my family was not going to do that, and a man wasn’t either.

    My choices now are to not be open or closed. truthfully, at least romantically, I don’t know WHAT a healthy relationship looks like anymore. I just know what a pathological one looks like and frankly, I’d rather be where I’m at right now and free of abuse and constant pain, then being with someone for money, power, dominance and sex, even if I didn’t have the money part to offer, it was the rest that was wanted out of me. I’m sooooo done with that. It’s either accept me as I am or don’t. Despite my situation, I’m determined to make things happen in my life, to heal and find peace. If that means I’m alone the rest of my life, so be it. Maybe what I’m learning is that I love myself just that much. Enough to be alone. That’s not such a bad thing when considering what my choices have been and what seems to be the alternatives, which have approached me, but without my slightest interest. I’ll take love as I have it now.

    I realize I’ve been very self absorbed lately, my posts amounting to novels. I apologize. I feel a tremendous overwhelming amount of pain right now, while also trying to sort through all kinds of emotional/academic transition. I don’t mean to seem lacking in compassion for anyone here. I appreciate all of you and your presence here and it does help. I’ll sort this all out, but I guess lately my contributions are more venting than helpful.

    Hugs to all.


  104. Kelli, I know Im British and in accordance with British gun laws we tend to not have guns lying around the place in draws and the such. That is some scarey s*** Kelli! Michael.

  105. Kel, thanks so much for sharing so honestly and openly so much about your life and yourself. You help so many of us here by just being yourself and speaking your mind, as bluntly as you do some time, as movingly as you do at others. Or, rather, you manage to be both at once, blunt and emotive. I really do hope that you will heal, help others and discover romantic love again, only real love this time, not the psychopathic sham. You certainly deserve it. Claudia

  106. You are so welcome Julian. Yes, it is a wonderful side effect of blogs. It’s what I love most about them. I’m glad you’ve found something to inspire you to find a well light path to follow. 🙂 Ruiz does a great job of helping the reader to see, or rather create his/her own perspective.Thereby telling whatever story they choose to themselves. It helps remind me as well. Sometimes I need that about every 3 or 4 seconds. 🙂

  107. There’s a companion that goes with the 4 Agreements that actually gives you exercises to help carry out the agreements and allows them to become a part of your new self you’re creating.

    Another good one by Ruiz is Master of Love.


  108. Yes, great choice for yourself Linda. That takes great courage and determination!!!

  109. Julian,

    This is truly beautiful. Yet another book for my list. I can’t tell you how simple, yet moving this is. I can’t stop thinking about it. Kel

  110. Hi Kel,

    I agree with Claudia. I appreciate how honest and open you are. I too am like you in that I believe loving someone is giving them your all, giving them your best. That is one trait psychopaths look for! Because they know we will give them the benefit of the doubt. We will be forgiving and tolerant because we come from a place of thinking everyone is coming from the same genuine authentic place we are. Hard truth is, they are not. This is one trait that maddens and saddens me the most about what psychopaths attempt to destroy in us. It’s our goodness, our humanity and our ability to love selflessy. They hate that about us because it’s what they’ll never be. So, they then set out to make sure we won’t be that either but destroying that part of us. Those are your wonderful good qualities. Keep them. Appreciate them about yourself. But, also add a little dose of discernment to the mix and step outside of your “comfort box” to acknowledge there is evil in the world. Not everyone has our best interest in mind. Judge by actions. Not words. (I’m speaking to myself here as well. Because I have struggled with all the same things. And still do!)

    Regarding not wanting to be a hateful person. That is the thinking that kept me tied to my ex. Well I say “tied” to him, but what I really mean is kept me from lashing out at him when he would do and say horrible things. I didn’t want to be this angry hateful person. Of course that is who he was always accusing me of being, when in fact it was/is HE who is angry and hurtful. Loving yourself enough to defend your self worth when someone is fucking with you isn’t hateful. It’s love. It’s loving YOU! (again I’m speaking to myself as well.)

    Oprah said on her program a couple years ago, that forgiveness doesn’t mean excusing the persons bad behavior. It doesn’t mean forgetting what happened and turning a blind eye. What it means is you’re giving up the notion that the past could have been any different. In a way it’s more like acceptance. Accepting we can’t go back in time. We can’t make different decisions for yesterday. Therefor we can’t hold onto images, thoughts, feelings, from the past. We can accept what happened is the past. And let it go to move forward to the present.

    I no longer forgive my ex in the traditional sense that he’s absolved of all he’s done. He’s not. I’ve judged his character and it’s despicable. Neither am I holding onto “hate” or harboring anger.
    I Instead I look at his ACTIONS. They are deplorable, heartless, cold, callous, manipulative, strategically orchestrated to do the most damage to my soul. I don’t hate him. I accept the truth of who he is and work on indifference. I’m working on it! It’s an ongoing process!!

    I apologize for my long rants as well. Once I start writing my brain just takes off! I tell my students that when they are writing the engines of their writers brain is reving at high speed. Mine certainly does that. 🙂

  111. Michael,

    It was the first time I realized the potential lethality of this man. Who does something like that? After he put it down on the bed pointed at me, he asked me if I knew why he had the gun, that he knew how to use it and that he had it to protect his girlfriend and his family. WTF? He had never, EVER done that before and I’d never seen that level of evil as I did in that last year. It got worse and worse. Kel

  112. Lisa,

    You have an excellent way of expression! I completely relate to everything you’ve said.

    One of the things my ex HATED about me, was that I WOULD defend myself, consequently, I turned into a raging, lunatic, blowing up his phone, screaming at him for hours….it took me forever to realize that he enjoyed this. And I’m not kidding. He would provoke and provoke me, do mean and hurtful, evil things INTENTIONALLY, just to see me REACT. To piss me off. Since the relationshit has been over, I’ve not reacted like that, exception early on after it was over and I was full on PTSD. Life is a lot calmer now, in that way, but you’re right, his actions were and are, deplorable.

    I guess I want to get away from my feelings of anger. It seems that it’s all I am lately, is just flat angry. I’m angry that I”m angry LOL! UGH! I so do NOT like being angry. I’m angry at this process too. It’s very frustrating when I just want to be HEALTHY NOW. Patience is something I need to learn.

    I don’t mind your rants at all, Lisa. I find them helpful and I don’t feel so alone! How are you doing about your ex now? You seem to be much better about the ruminating? That’s a GOOD thing! Kel

  113. Julian: This truly describes one of the major reasons I became so eager to please him STARVED FOR LOVE and in return given crumbs or tossed a bone now and then. Starved for love because of something internally I lacked in making my OWN life full and whole; once we find that internal healthy well being the paths will no longer find us useful, but that works both ways they also start to look utterly disgusting you see them as parasites that feed off of others weaknesses you begin to see they REALLY CANT LOVE x0x0 Linda

  114. Julian, that is a wonderful comment and I appreciate the feedback; that is one hell of a guitar solo isn’t it. Michael

  115. Julian, your citation and analysis of Ruiz’s “The Mastery of Love” really hit a chord with so many of us! It’s good to keep in mind, as you point out, not to take psychopathic provocations personally. I try to keep a cool head but am an inherently emotional person and get triggered too, particularly when I see defenses of psychopaths or glorifications of their behavior. Usually, when that happens, Kelli calms me down.

    Kel, what you said to me about triggers makes sense. Speaking of triggers, there’s no shortage of them in the daily news. Here’s the latest, about a psychopathic professor:


  116. All, Have you watched this?

  117. Claudia,

    My first article will focus on this, what’s going on within the victim, the reactions from the victim as well as those who witness the reaction, which can appear to be neurotic and drama seeking on the low end, to full blown panic attacks on the other. Kel

  118. Michael,

    Interesting video. I’ve seen quite a few of Sam’s videos. His was the first book I ever read about personality disorders and I held onto it like a bible. But that was before I discovered Sandra Brown. I wonder if you notice that videos are very powerful in describing the disordered ones, as well as combined with reading about them? Kel

  119. Linda, somehow I missed your response earlier. Thank you for the things that you said. I understand exactly what you mean when you talk about starting to see yourself as the psychopath sees you. It becomes another type of mirroring I suppose. In the beginning they are mirroring us to snare us. Then as time passes, before we are even aware of it, we are mirroring them because we’ve learned it’s the only form of communication they relate to or understand. Not to mention their behavior is meant to bring those sides of us out. That is the entire agenda!
    I started to realize anytime I wasn’t with my ex I was a different person. I laughed. I was happy. I had enjoyable,NORMAL conversations. A lot of times I would feel myself starting to brace for an arguement brewing and then just slowly exhale and recognize that EVERYONE doesn’t decide to verbally assault and abuse me because I ordered fries instead healthy rice with my dinner. It’s when this started happening that I began to think maybe the problem wasn’t with me. Hmmm………..

  120. Thank you Kel! What a nice compliment. I’m glad something I’ve said has been of some help to you. We need all the help we can get some days don’t we?

    I am doing much better about my ex. I have moments when I just need to cry a river, and others when I want scream at the top of lungs, others when I want to hurl profanities in his face. lol. But, most of time I work on indifference. That is the best place to be. I make mental pictures in my mind. Like if I start to compare myself to the girl he’s with now, or get jealous – I then picture her as a victim, like a deer being stalked by a hunter who only sees the deer as his next meal and nothing more. Meanwhile the deer is oblivios just enjoying the great outdoors. When I start to miss the things I liked about being with him, and lets face it, in the end (at least for me) there was very little I liked about being with him. Maybe sex? Even that was waining. I move my thoughts to how much I laugh when I’m not with him. How much I feel joy about all sorts of things throughout the day that he would never allow me to feel or express. He’d squelch it, stomp on it and mutilate it, anytime he thought I was enjoying something. Could even be as simple as, a candy bar, or wanting to tell a story about something at work. If there was any sort of enjoyment on my part he’d take it and squeeze the life out of it. So, when I am moving into denial and wanting to focus on the illusion and lie that I once had hope for being real. I remind myself of all those things. 🙂

  121. Lisa,

    I’m really glad you’re doing so much better. You’re a big help to others here on the blog in sharing your journey with us. Kel

  122. Kelli, I’m sorry that you’re in so much pain. Perhaps it might help to realize that 50 years ago, there was absolutely nothing wrong with a mother being unemployed and staying at home and raising children – in fact, it was considered perfectly normal. Now, just two generations later, two incomes are considered a necessity for most couples. The important thing is that it’s a “social norm” – it’s not reality, it’s just what most people have agreed should be the norm. I think this “new” norm is really, really sick and amounts to nothing more than a sly tactic to divert attention away from the fact that our economy has disintegrated to the point where a single income can no longer support a family.

    So please don’t hate yourself for being unemployed and on government assistance. Remember that note to Agreement #2: “When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” – Julian.

  123. Linda, Kel, Lisa, Michael, Julian, Lesley and everyone who has discussed the theme of anger and resentment for the degree of psychopathic betrayal the past couple of days, I have just posted a very helpful article on the subject of forgiveness by Dr. Janis Spring. It is not about the usual “forgive and forget” advice victims tend to get, which we find derisory. You can take a look at her article on the following link. Claudia

  124. Lisa, it’s funny that you mention laughing. In the beginning of my relationship with my psychopathic ex we laughed together a lot. But by the end, there was no more laughter. Even humor was part of the lure, not part of our bonding, as I had thought. Same thing with affection, sensuality. All of these dimensions I valued so much in our relationship were pretty much gone during the last few weeks together, just as you describe. I’m glad to hear that you’re laughing and feeling better again. Claudia

  125. Kelli, yes absolutley; hearing Vaknin talk about it, re supply, the nature of narcissism, and the impact on victims etc brings the whole issue to life. Michael

  126. Michael and Kelli, this vlogging–video logging–that the Huffington Post started a few years ago is really taking off. I do think it’s a very effective way to talk about psychopathy, as if you’re having an informational (as opposed to a dialogue) session with a therapist face to face, yet it’s free. Claudia

  127. Michael,

    I do think it does bring the issue more to light. It’s another reason why I believe public awareness needs to happen in a public forum in the flesh, so to speak. Something about seeing and hearing someone talk about psychopathy that has a very powerful impact. It makes it more REAL. Kel

  128. I’m jumping in way late, but love the pizza analogy and think it is so true. That is why for healing I think it is so important to figure out what you long for and find a way to make it happen, WITHOUT a romantic partner.

    And it is also useful to note that the REAL problem is the pizza guy and what deal he is offering. To take advantage of someone’s needs to gain control over them is evil.And their “need” can be something as innocent as wanting to believe that everyone deserves forgiveness and a second chance. You don’t have to be on your knees to accept the deal.You might be thinking the pizza man needs help, you might be thinking he’s kidding, you might think the deal is a bit of a red flag but love everything else about the pizza guy.

    Everyone, with issues or without, is vulnerable to the pizza man….and actually I was wrong in the above paragraph about the real problem. It goes deeper than that. The REAL problem is NOT the deal, but the fact that the pizza and uniform, etc. is as unreal as any ghost showing up on your doorstep at Halloween. In both cases, they just have on a mask and costume to get what they want from you.

    Cause what really hurts later is not that you made a bad deal, but that the person you made it with really never existed. He never really was a pizza guy.

  129. What makes us keep insisting: but he WAS a real pizza guy….because ONE time he gave me a really good piece and ……and so on and so on.

    The betryal bond says you can be very clear about everything intellectually, but still have “cravings” ….they don’t go away simply because you understand.

    The author says we can get pulled back in until we understand how the following were used in the relationship (one or more are always present he says): emotional reactivity, arousal, blocking, splitting, deprivation, shame and/or repetition. He defines each of those, and then helps the reader develop the skills to cope, to prevent relapse.

    So he says it is not enough to understand the nature of the abuse, betrayal, etc. You need to examine what keeps you from having the emotional distance you need to really not be triggered by this person anymore. That is Chapter 7 in The Betrayal Bond. It helped me a lot.

    As did Claudia’s fictional story….because you see what the woman is thinking, and then you see the truth about what the psychopath is thinking and doing.

    And the reason we can see the “truth” so easily about the relationships others are describing here, is that there are no cravings attached to the story for us.

  130. Susan,

    very profound post. I think too, that you can understand the cravings and yet still have them. I think that, like an addict, those dissipate with time. Kel

  131. Susan, excellent point, vulnerability can mean vulnerability to the psychopathic pity ploy or lies, not just desperation or being starved for love. Claudia

  132. Hello to you Claudia and all the other survivors on this site.

    I am also a survivor of a relationship with a psychopath. My therapist uses “sociopath” and that word kind of stuck with me.

    I was with him for a short 16 months. I left him on August 2 after finally confirming he was a pathological liar and cheater. The list of other nasty behaviors is long, too long for one post. He has most of the characteristics found in DSM-IV., I started therapy after my two week “Quest for Truth” literally devastated my psyche. I found out that he had lied about himself from the very beginning so that I would accept him into my life. I would have never been with him knowing what I know now, and he knew it.

    I was no contact for 10 weeks, then the text messages started along with a phone call. He desperately wants me to not “hate him”. I believe this is an effort to shut me up, stop telling people I have been emotionally and physically abused. I denied him, and I’ve been non contact since. I’ve blocked him from making calls but he can still send messages. I don’t read them, don’t answer anymore.

    I’ve been feeling sorry for him because I know he didn’t ask to be this way, that sometimes he seems to hate himself for the things he does. I’ve also been doubting my own perceptions because I was never lovebombed as many of you were. Truth is, he was kind of standoffish in the beginning and desired very much that I do the chasing. His hook was sex and what appeared to be a very intense admiration for my intellect. He still tries to play on that one.

    So, what I really wanted to tell you all is that this post had a profound effect on me and my feelings about him. This post helped me find the “visceral disgust” necessary for my own healing. He pulled a fast one on me (ok, many fast ones) but I’ve come to realize this is no big accomplishment and nothing for me to be ashamed of. He took advantage of a woman who only wanted to love and care for him. He is indeed subordinary and he was never worthy of me.

  133. Kelli, I have also had a gun pointed at me — twice. It was an utterly lethal sawed off shotgun at close distance. He would pretend to hear noises outside and start swinging this gun around. He was intoxicated both times. Somehow the gun always got pointed at my chest. I think he enjoyed seeing me display fear, then he would tell me not to be silly, he would never ever hurt me. I think I’m lucky I’m alive.

  134. Dawn, welcome to our support group. I’m so glad that the post on mourning helped you. Your sociopathic ex was calling you desperately a) to maintain his mask of sanity (the fact you saw through him started to chip away at it even if you didn’t criticize or expose him to others) and 2) to try to reestablish power over you, and get you to believe his mask of sanity. My ex did the same thing in the aftermath of my breakup with him, back in December 2007, when I wrote to him letting him know my therapist and I were discussing the fact he’s a psychopath. He tried to say that my husband, his wife, our families and my therapist were feeding me lines (only he used vulgar terms) and even accused me of having an affair with my therapist (who is the most professionally ethical person I know). Psychopaths need to have their previous targets still think well of them in order to be able to use them again, when they so feel like it (please take a look at my article, Relationship Boomerang: The Psychopath’s Relationship Cycle) and in order to protect their public image, so their ex’s don’t criticize them to others. I’m so glad you’re not falling for this and if you ever have doubts, we’re here to support you. Claudia

  135. Hi Dawn,

    Welcome! I’m sorry it’s under the current circumstances for you. Sixteen months? Wow, you are LUCKY in one way in that you got out relatively early. Some of us were with our disordered ones a lot longer. This mean you have good instincts! You are unlucky in a sense, in that you had a relationship with a psychopath. Everything you’ve described is very familiar to me. I hope you feel comfortable here and will post as often as you need too. We’re here to help in your recovery! Kel

  136. Dawn, hello and welcome. I’m a guy who had an 18-month relationship with a psychopathic woman (yes, there are a few guys on this blog also). I can relate to the “quest for truth” – at about 14-15 months, things got just too crazy and I had to start figuring out what was going on before I lost my mind. The truth was pretty ugly; nearly everything about her was a complete lie.

    May I suggest that you don’t feel too sorry for your ex? He has a foggy notion that he’s different from other people, but can’t understand why (because that would require empathy) and can’t ever change his behaviour as a result.

    You’re not the first person to have not been love-bombed. Psychopaths are incredibly lazy creatures (although they’ll often project an image of being hard-working), and if they can ensnare you without a lot of effort, they’ll just skip the idealization phase and let you idealize them.

    I wish you luck in your continued recovery. – Julian.

  137. Hi Kelli,

    I don’t think it was instincts that got me out of it. It was his own stupidity. I had suspected sometimes that he wasn’t truthful about small things but I didn’t know the scope of just how much he lied. He had kept me isolated from everyone except for a few people who visited him at home. We rarely went out on dates because he said he was tired from working so hard (manual labor) and I was never invited to his favorite haunts (2 bars in town). He could keep his secrets because I didn’t live with him and wasn’t there all the time. Finally, all I had to do was ask and people told me the truth. He’s just that disliked. Facebook also blew his cover. He doesn’t use it but the people who visit the bars do, and they post photos frequently. He got busted.

    I know intellectually that 16 months is a very short time compared to 5 – 10 – 20 years but the effects just demolished me. I hadn’t dated for 10 years following my divorce and he portrayed himself as everything I could want in a man. He sexbombed me and I was hooked. I know, it happens to all of us. To find that he had lied from beginning to end did so much damage to me emotionally that I had to seek help immediately because I lost my mind with grief. Luckily, I’m finding it again. I have a great therapist who helps me a great deal. I come to websites like this because she doesn’t have much experience with psychopathy and its effects on others. She approves wholeheartedly that I get together with others to talk because you all have firsthand knowledge.

  138. Hello Julian, its good to meet you. I knew since I started visiting websites that there were men out there who had experienced relationships with psychopaths. I know there are experts and laymen who don’t believe the idea that women are a small minority of psychopaths and that the percentage is probably closer to 50/50. I’m glad you have a place to talk with others, as I know a lot of sites are made up almost entirely of women and it might be difficult for a man to write freely.

    I don’t feel sorry for my ex at all now. People who don’t realize they are lying never try to cover it up. People who don’t know they’re abusing don’t abuse only behind closed doors. People who cheat and work very hard to hide it know full well they’re doing something wrong. I don’t feel anything but contempt for the man who did all these things. And I’m glad for it, because now I know 100% that I can’t be talked back into that horrific relationship.

  139. Hello Claudia, it is very good to meet you online. Thank you for putting so much effort into this site. You’re doing a wonderful thing to help so many people find themselves again.

    Thank you also for the explanation of my ex’s behaviors. My therapist and I were a bit confused at the notion of a sociopath needing so badly for me to stop “hating” him, as he puts it. I couldn’t understand why he even thinks about that at this point. I know for certain that he doesn’t want his reputation damaged any more than it is. I refuse to keep quiet, and any person of my acquaintance who asks why I now have a scar on my face will get the truth. I hid it for months like it was my cross to bear, a dirty little secret. No more of that.

    My ex and I spoke on the phone and I did tell him I believe he carries most of the diagnostic characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath. I told him I would not spend another day with a person who couldn’t love me and doesn’t care who he hurts. He sent me a text message the next day accusing me of “***king with his head” and told me he wouldn’t do that anymore. I got discarded. Yay me! Now if he could just hold that thought for more than a day or two at a time things would be just peachy for me.

  140. Dawn, I would suggest that you not engage with the sociopath anymore. Each contact allows him to play games with you (psychopaths have no real deep emotions or attachments) and try to control you again. Even if he can no longer succeed in this goal he will succeed in getting you to ruminate about him, what he says, his motives, etc. for as long as you maintain any kind of contact with him. Please read the article I wrote on the importance of maintaining no contact. You’ll heal so much sooner if you don’t let him into your brain anymore. Claudia

  141. Claudia,

    Thank you for the reply. I’ve done everything short of changing my phone number and that is next on the list because I can’t block his text messages. I’ve been using free youmail voicemail and it only blocks phone calls. The idea of sending my phone number to all those people and companies has been distressing to me but its something I’m going to have to break down and do very soon. It’s been a couple of weeks since he called me. It’s been 7 days since he sent a text message. When I spoke to him it was as if I needed to hear his lies and obfuscation one last time with full awareness of his tactics to fully validate my thoughts and feelings. It had the desired effect, and I’m glad I did it. I have no inclination to have him in my life in any way – not even the “friendship” he has extended to me. I truly don’t wish to speak with him again. I do find myself trying to figure out his behaviors sometimes and I’m tired of it. I have better things to do.

  142. Lisa, I think Claudia has hit the nail on the head: it’s the fraudulent nature of the relationship that makes it so much more difficult to get over than a normal one. I’d like to offer a parallel story that might help illustrate this more clearly, outside the realm of psychopathy.

    Three years ago, my father died of natural causes. Yes, it was difficult for my mom and I and my brothers, we grieved deeply for a few weeks, but then life gradually returned to normal for all of us. You see, my dad had lived a full and productive life, but was aging and becoming more frail, and we were all expecting that he would pass away one day. Well, “one day” can be very, very unexpected. Even three years later, “triggers” like his birthday can be painful.

    Two years earlier, one of my beloved cats died at the very young age of six, a mere 72 hours after routine dental work at the animal hospital. According to both the surgery records and the pathology report, the veterinarian had used a painkiller meant for dogs that was known to be extremely dangerous in cats. Further inquiries yielded evidence that the vet was conspiring with the drug company in what amounted to a covert drug testing program using client-owned animals. My cat died as a direct result of this secret and criminal collusion.

    It took me much longer to get over the death of my cat than my father’s passing, a fact that some people occasionally remind me of (implying that I loved my cat more than my dad, which isn’t the case). But as Claudia points out, it’s exactly that heinous fraud that was perpetrated by a trusted person, a respected member of the community, that makes the situation so utterly horrible and difficult to accept. Even worse, they get away with it unpunished and continue to inflict more harm. The sense of injustice can be debilitating at times, and the mind literally swirls trying to figure out how this all happened and what could be done about it.

    Until one experiences such a sickening nightmare, one just cannot appreciate the depth of the trauma to one’s soul. That’s why people cheerfully say, “oh, you’ll get over it” and “time heals all wounds” and then say “what’s wrong with you?” a month later when you’re still not over a psychopathic relationship. They just can’t understand, and probably never will unless it happens to them. – Julian.

    P.S. You can visit for more details if you wish. Check out the scary “Financial Motivation” paragraph. If you take the time to inspect more of the sad stories, you’ll find that affected cat owners express the same feelings of betrayal and frustration as we do here.

  143. Dawn, psychopaths cause great damage whether they’re with you for a year or twenty years. What’s toxic is an emotionally intimate relationship with them, not so much its duration. I think informational websites and support groups, like this one, are great supplements to therapy: needless to say, not substitutes for it. Most therapists probably have a cognitive approach that doesn’t focus in particular on personality disorders, so informing yourself as much as possible about psychopathy and other personality disorders can really enhance your experience of therapy as well. I’m glad you found us. Claudia

  144. Dawn, it’s hard to say what’s better or worse – a relatively short relationship where you crash like the World Trade Center, or a long psychopathic relationship where you’re gradually worn down by the abuse over many years until you become “comfortably numb” (to quote Pink Floyd). In my view, both are absolutely horrible.

    You’re fortunate to have an open-minded therapist that approves of your talking to others with similar experiences – there’s an enormous wealth of knowledge and experience here, particularly Claudia’s extremely insightful and well-written articles. And of all the sites I’ve seen, this is the most accepting and genuinely helpful of all of them.

    Like you, I was lucky to discover my ex-psychopath’s deceptions quickly and definitively. Our 18-month relationship ran in parallel with her divorce proceedings, and towards the end I learned a lot of ugly truths reading the sworn depositions that she and her ex-husband had to file. Not that it was any less painful, but at least my Quest for Truth was swift and got me out of there sooner rather than later.

    Keep up the no contact, and I’m sure you’ll do well! – Julian.

  145. Michael, that’s a very good analogy, (cat/dad story). I will check out that link you posted. I am still surpised how one day I’m doing fine, one minute I’m not, the next I’m over it, than back to ruminating again. Today I am just extraordinarliy ANGRY. I am so spittin’ mad! I just want to spit in his face and tell him what a pathetic loser and worthless piece of flesh and blood he is. He did so many horrible things while we were together, then I finally worked so hard the past 1 1/2 yrs to work all that anger out and jealousy because he was in a seemingly happy relationship all that time. I could never understand how they managed to remain together. I always thought I was the only fool that would look past his tremendous deficiets. Then of course, they didn’t remain together and here he comes my way again. I was really, really reticent to let him back in my life again. It was only after days on end of being on the phone with him morning and night hearing him tell me how desperate he is, suicidal, wants to walk in front of a trian and just end it all. Of course apologizing every second of the day for the past,hating himself, promising to never, ever, ever to do that to me again. I give up my entire life for nearly 6 months to care for his aching heart. Then he does the exact damn thing to me! The same day he’s promising he wouldn’t do it, he’s going on a date with somebody and lieing to me about it. I want to yell at him and tell him how horrendous he is so badly today. I even want to tell his current gf every horrible awful embarassing humiliating thing he did to me and his ex wife. She’s making me angry now too. She’s now treating our mutual friend & coworker as if she’s a spy (they used to be friends) and has staff members doing the same. I hate that they seem to win when when they are clearly deceitful evil people.

  146. Dawn, my ex did and does that too. He ruminates if someone doesn’t like him, even me. He’d do the “I don’t know why I do what I do, I hate myself, I just want to kill myself. I’m such an ass and I don’t know why I do that….” bla bla bla…it’s all a sympathy ploy. Getting your sympathy lowers your level of discerment and skeptisism. Plus it helps them appear human. Nothing they do or say, is ever a natural human reaction or response the way ours is. Every breath, twitch, move, action, word is well thought out and orchestrated. I am absolutely convinced of that.

    I’m sorry for what you had to go through and yes it’s devastating whether its 16 months or 16 years. I think the only thing perhaps you have over a longer term relationship is that over time it becomes clearer and clearer how truly mentally ill these individuals are. At least for me that’s what has happened. Plus, my own self loathing, not that I sit around loathing. But, when I have difficult days, like I am today. I so badly want to roll back time and stop the insanity much, much sooner than I did. I dislike the person that accepted all his bs more intently now. Where as before I was just plain pissed off and hurt. Now, I”m equally pissed off at myself as I am with him.

  147. Lisa, actually it was me (Julian) that posted the cat/dad story. I posted it because I realized that I had gone through the same cycle with the death of my cat as with the “death” of my psychopathic relationship.

    I certainly understand your anger. It’s rooted in those deep-seated feelings of injustice and unfairness. No, it’s not just and it’s not fair. But it hurts like hell anyway, doesn’t it?

    The good news is that for you, it now comes and goes. The cycle that I’ve now been through twice leads me to think that first you get stuck in ruminating constantly, next you vacillate in and out of the rumination (good days and bad days, if you like) and then finally the good days dominate and the bad days are few and far between, usually triggered by some reminiscent event.

    I hope you find this helpful. – Julian.

  148. JULIAN!!! I’m sorry! Thank you for your words that does help. Yes, I am vascillating and that’s a good thing over ruminating. You are right. Well, you being the fellow music lover here with me may appreciate these videos/songs.

    I actually think many of you will. This is Linda Perry again. I think she is amazing. Her recent album is all about a recent toxic relationship she got out of. Her songs are full of the anger, the pain, the suffering that we go through during these relationships. So, I thought maybe some of you may find the songs cathartic. I sure do. (fyi: She is blunt, so if cursing bothers you bypass the more aggressive songs. 🙂 Also, she is openely gay so she’s singing about a woman. But, love is love, pain is pain. The
    sentiments are the same and help me. Hope they will you as well.)

    I don’t know in “you mean nothing to me” I think she may be singing about a psychopath it seems pretty accurate. 🙂

    Off to walk my dog , then home to play some lovely music, light some candles and curl up with my dog or my guitar, or both.

  149. Lisa, I just thought I’d copy and paste something from up above in the hope that it will comfort you…

    4. Always do your best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse and regret.

    It’s OK to have bad days. It just makes it harder to play guitar. – Julian.

  150. Dawn,

    Your suspicions were your instincts about his behavior. You’re right, even five minutes in a room with a disordered one is disorientating. It’s great that you have a good therapist. I’ve found this instrumental in my own healing process. My therapist also appreciates the blogging I do here and I’ve shared all about it with her. There are few who get the personality disordered. It’s a relief and very healing to find those that do. Kel

  151. Lisa, I’m so glad that my words helped. Thanks for posting the Linda Perry videos; they’re really great. Funny how they’re sponsored by The Guitar Center – I bought my Takamine a couple of years ago from a Guitar Center store in New Jersey. Kind of like a Costco of musical instruments – the place was just enormous!

    I agree, on the “You Mean Nothing to Me” song she does seem to be singing about a psychopath. Gay, straight, male, female – it doesn’t make any difference at all. The pain of psychopathic abuse is an absolute constant. – Julian.

    P.S. Michael is also a fellow music lover here (not to mention a highly respected contributor), so I’m not at all surprised that you got us confused. Think nothing of it.

  152. Speaking of the confusion, Julian and Michael, we’re so lucky to get male input about female psychopaths on this blog, especially such thoughtful input! Claudia

  153. Dawn, thanks so much for your understanding. It is indeed a little more difficult for men to recover from psychopathic relationships, as the social norm seems to be that nasty men often screw innocent women, but men who get screwed over by women are seen as complete idiots who were too stupid to have seen it coming.

    The first couple of recovery sites I came across were indeed occupied primarily by women, and very sadly, they were largely engaged in male-bashing so I didn’t even bother to post anything. A telltale sign of a perverted “support” site is when the moderators start engaging in male-bashing too.

    This site, however, is radically different. Both men and women peacefully coexist here and support each other regardless of sex or sexual orientation. Claudia’s dedication (and the efforts of the contributors) to the understanding of psychopathy, its effects on people and strategies for recovery make this site a truly unique resource, head and shoulders above the rest. I feel very comfortable here to express my deepest and most personal feelings, and I thank Claudia and everyone who contributes here for that. – Julian.

  154. Claudia, it is Michael and I (and Gary and the other male contributors) that are truly fortunate to have a venue to express our experiences in a kind and understanding environment. Your blog is very special because everyone here is non-judgemental and don’t engage in male-bashing, as so many other sites do. – Julian.

  155. Julian,
    Love Miguel Ruiz. Thank you. I’m actualy laughing a bit now because this summer when Dumbass was so downhearted and I was trying to encourage and support him I gave him the companion to 4 agreements and talked about this very agreement!He was then constantly quoting Miguel. But, he was of course using the words and context incorrectly trying to apply it to excuse his decietful ways. In his words (Dumbass) “You just don’t get it!”. No, I don’t. Because you’re emotional understanding and use of this is infantile and of context Dumass. lol.

    Oh, see the vascillating, gone. No more spittin’ curse words. Just thinking his Dumbass is comical now. 🙂 The walk, the wine, the dog and music did me lots of good.

    Glad there’s a place for you boys to get support as well. It does seem people here are genuine and we all understand the suffering regardless of gender or orientation.

    Claudia, thank you for having this available for us and for being such an amazind and inspiring voice of reason for us. You are incredibly strong and resilient!

    (“Am I so addicted to how I mean nothing to you? It’s like the same thing happens each time, you pull me in then you ‘mess’ with my mind.I won’t pretend to be okay. It f*ckin hurts to feel this much pain.”) From “It F*ckin Hurts” – it’s pretty accurate as well. She must of been with a psychopath. Seems pretty spot on.

    I think collectively we all need to collaborate on a song titled Boomerang! I can almost hear the chorus now.
    “Boomerang! Boomerang! Dang! Is that you again? Boomerang! Boomerang! Dang! Why won’t you just efin go away and stay. Boomerang, Boomerang Rang. 🙂

    With that, I’ll bid you all Gnigh! 😉
    Well, like I said I’m better now. I hope your vasciallating days grow to stronger and stronger days of freedom. I’m getting there. I was there 6 months ago. I can get there again. It’s possible! And wonderful when we arrive.

  156. Claudia mentioned to me that I can attach a link to one of my blog entries if I felt it pertained to a discussion thread. I defintely think this was does tonight. Since I’ve been vascillating between emotions of angery, pain, acceptance, fear, all of that and it seems most of us, well likely all of us are as well. In addition The Four Agreements and Mastery of Love concepts have been a common theme here. I wrote this blog after reading a bit of Mastery of Love and another text called True Love. I felt inspired on evening when reading these and this is what came up for me. When I have bad days like the last two for me, I read this again to myself to remind myself where my head needs to be focusing and on what is REAL versus what is made up in our heads from fallacies. If someone gets a bit of healing, or is able to refocus themselves on a bad day, super! I hope it helps.

  157. Lisa, excellent article about how the victim feels, from the inside. Also quite a literary essay! The name of your blog is great too, simple and descriptive, to show up well on google search engines. Claudia

  158. Julian, I regard this blog in the Aristotelian fashion, as a group of friends–not just victims of psychopaths who share similar life stories–which is what we’ve become as we’ve gotten to know one another. Claudia

  159. Lisa, my ex told me the last time I spoke to him that he knows he’s a monster, and he apologized repeatedly. There seemed to be a lot of anguish in his voice. I felt unmoved by it because the rest of the conversation was nothing but lying and obfuscation so that I would come back to his horrible world.

    I appreciate so much that people here understand that a short term relationship like this can be so damaging. I can’t say that I beat myself up anymore over this. I entered into a relationship with a man who portrayed himself as an upright, honorable gentleman. He encouraged me to trust and care for him. It isn’t my fault that it was all a pack of lies. My flaw was wanting so much to believe that he was who he portrayed himself to be in the beginning, a good and decent hardworking man, that I didn’t know to leave when his mask started to slip. I had to abandon the belief that everyone deserves a second chance, that we all have redeeming qualities. I am sad to see my faith in humanity take such a hit, but its better for me to know now that there are people in this world who are rotten to the core. I’m a much more enlightened person now.

  160. Julian, I’ve been thinking its much better that the relationship was shorter term. I don’t think I would be here to talk to you all if it had lasted for years. His former wife attempted suicide. I think its very possible I would have been driven to do the same as more time went by.

    I do very much appreciate my therapist. It was she who first used the word “sociopath”. I’m very grateful that she told me to go home and Google the word. I wouldn’t be as well as I am right now if it weren’t for sites like this.

  161. Dawn, the apologies made by a psychopath are just one more rhetorical tool, part of the game of getting what he wants. They’re completely meaningless on an emotional level. Claudia

  162. Dawn, I’m so glad you googled the term. My therapist used the term psychopath, plus I had a whole slew of puzzling symptoms manifested by my ex, which is how I came upon websites about psychopathy and finally woke up. Until you see that your ex has an unfixable personality disorder and fundamentally lacks heart and empathy–nothing and nobody can change that–you may be willing to give him chance after chance after chance, wasting and destroying your life for an irredeemable human being. Many who don’t find out about psychopathy/sociopathy do that. Claudia

  163. Linda, you’ve started quite a discussion here! Michael and Kelli, it’s interesting to read your disparate points of view. I’d like to chime in here and try to integrate your comments, as you’ve precipitated some really deep thinking here. But let’s be on the lookout for flaws in reasoning.

    The biggest flaw I see is the following thinking: “If it’s true for me, then it must be true for everyone else,” followed by an even more insidious one, “If it’s true for Sandra Brown (and supported by a dozen websites), then it must be true for everybody.” This is simply not so. A relationship takes TWO people; two different personalities, two histories, two sets of individual circumstances – and the permutations and combinations are endless. Yes, there are always common threads to the psychopath’s behaviour, but the specific relationship dynamics vary immensely from one couple to another.

    In the past, I’ve warded off two psychopathic women (after the first and third dates, respectively) with just my gut instinct and no knowledge of psychopathy, red flags, boundaries, self-examination, etc. Kelli, that does not shoot down your argument that self knowledge is necessary to prevent being seduced by a psychopath, nor does it invalidate your position Michael that an awareness of red flags is required – but it does strongly support the statement that just because its true for me doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s true for you.

    Kelli, I agree that self-examination is a good thing – but done appropriately. Like Michael, I’m irritated with self-styled “experts” who insist that months of useless navel-gazing into my deeply rooted co-dependency issues are required. How incredibly arrogant of anyone to say such an incredibly ignorant thing! Especially not knowing my character, history, situation at the time, etc. – just because “if it’s true for me, it must be true for everyone.” I hope you can see the flawed thinking now.

    Do you have any idea how lonely it is spending an entire YEAR in a shitty hotel in a crappy city (Newark, NJ, where someone gets shot downtown at least once a month) and trying to comfort my recently-widowed mother over the telephone? Yes, I was vulnerable, and yes, the psychopath seemed like a godsend, and yes, I was fooled and lured in. End of story. There is no need to examine “deeply-rooted co-dependency issues” here. There aren’t any. I was lonely and vulnerable. Period.

    [sidebar: Granted, it’s not quite that simple, and I did do further self-examination about why I stayed in the relationship for months after it began to sour – and it had nothing to do with co-dependency, and everything to do with accepting responsibility for much more than my half of the relationship. I won’t do that again. You’re absolutely right Kelli, there’s always something to be learned through introspection.]

    Of course, what’s true for me isn’t necessarily true for everyone else. Some people have a consistent track record of abusive relationships, and that’s often an indicator of deeper underlying issues that necessitate a far higher degree of self-examination.

    So I say, “to each his/her own” and ask that we all try to understand that everyones’ experiences are different and equally valuable in trying to understand psychopathy and its effects on the victims. – Julian.

  164. Perhaps I should also add that we are all, to varying degrees, somewhat accountable for what happened to us. Some of us less, some of us much, more more. So let’s not take strong positions on that. – Julian.

  165. Julian, I agree. The degree of responsibility depends upon how much you knew about the wrongdoing and how much you colluded with it. But to recover from the psychopathic bond you have to not only acknowledge your share of responsibility but also, and primarily, focus on reform and regeneration. Not the psychopath’s, of course, since he or she will never change, but your (one’s) own. Claudia

  166. Dawn, after thinking more about it, I tend to agree with you. The amount of emotional damage that a psychopath can incur in just a few months is so frightening that I can’t even imagine what I’d be like if I had tried to tolerate the abuse for years or decades. Suicide might well be a viable option in that case.

    One thing is very certain, though. Having a relatively short-term relationship crash and burn quickly ensures that you don’t waste years of your life in it, and thus you can use your energy towards much more productive pursuits. Trying to keep an abusive relationship intact is about the most unproductive thing I can think of. – Julian.

  167. Julian, as usual, you bring up excellent and well-thought out points. It’s true, many people sense red flags intuitively. Most people who sense warning signals aren’t necessarily educated about psychopathy, but sense something’s wrong with a person who, for example, says one thing and does another, or comes on too strong, or is caught in lies and inconsistencies: the typical psychopathic behaviors. The problem is that without information about psychopathy and other personality disorders you are more likely to miss or ignore red flags or to be fooled by more subtle and skilled “charismatic” psychopaths. Also, while some psychopaths may set off your warning signals intuitively, you may miss others. Intuition is the healthiest and most visceral form of self-defense. Information, however, strengthens our intuition and deepens it, so that we have a better radar and know what to look for (and whom to avoid). Claudia

  168. Julian, Amen! I couldn’t agree more. Claudia

  169. Claudia, thank you so much for your kind comments. It is truly a privilege to be able to speak openly here and be appreciated for it.

    I agree that intuition is truly our most valuable and visceral form of self-defense. But perhaps the most valuable lesson that I’ve learned is that our natural gut instincts can be seriously compromised by our current life / work / family situations. Vulnerability is neither an innate nor constant characteristic – it varies greatly due to our circumstances. We can be stronger one month and more vulnerable the next.

    Because we are all subject to changing life circumstances (and thus much more vulnerable at times), I believe that it is imperative to spread a wider understanding about the dangers of psychopaths. – Julian.

  170. Julian, I surely agree with that! That’s why I’m planning to devote so much of my life and time to this worthy cause. I’m so glad so many of you are helping this cause despite having such busy personal and professional lives, by contributing information, sharing your experiences and helping others on this and other blogs. Claudia

  171. Well thank you so very much Claudia!! That is quite a compliment coming from you. If anyone knows literary essays it is you! 😀

    I, like you would just like to cry it from the mountain tops about who these predators are in hopes of saving someone else from the experience I’ve had.Really, I can’t say it enough “If only I’d known!”

  172. Lisa, so many of us who have had encounters with psychopaths feel that way, so any way we can reach out to others and inform the general public about psychopaths will help, one person at a time. So many people are dealing with psychopaths, but they don’t know it yet, so they try and try and try again to fix such unfixable relationships and to adapt or please the pathologicals. Claudia

  173. Thank you for that insight Claudia. I have to remind myself sometimes that everything he said and did was part of the game. It’s easy to lose track of that and think that the few “emotional” moments were real.

  174. I’m glad I did too Claudia! He has a handful of women he keeps on his back burner and he calls them when he’s bored or lonely or wants to pick an argument. I don’t want that for me! I’m looking forward to the day when I will be whole and well and can hang out the “vacancy” sign for a good, healthy relationship with a man.

  175. Julian, I have to remember your words when I’m feeling down. I did not lose years of my life – and I got out as soon as I could.

  176. Good grief, yes you are right. I remember trying to keep up with just his words via text message and I was always so disoriented. In person it was even worse. My head was so fogged that I couldn’t realize the mind games–until I finally could!

    I’ve become a firm believer in therapy and that my mental health is every bit as important as my physical health. I do share a great deal with my therapist about my online experiences, especially the terminology that survivors use. “Hoovering” absolutely cracked her up.

  177. Dawn, you made a great decision. When the honeymoon phase is over with a psychopath, he keeps you as his “poison container”, as Kelli puts is, to abuse and experience a sense of power while he lures and goes through the honeymoon phase with a new target. What benefit is there in being a poison container for such a loser? None. There’s no benefit whatsoever, only incredible harm, in being with a psychopath period. However, the harm becomes so much more obvious and overt when you become his backup or poison container. Claudia

  178. Susan, I’m playing a bit of catch-up here. Which book are you referring to in this post?

    I really like your point that the lack of craving gives us a detached perspective which allows us to see the truth in whats happening in a real way. Whereas when we are intimately involed and in that addictive phase we may see what’s happening intellectually and undersand it’s wrong and not good for us. But, emotionally we cover it up and wrap in pretty stories that justify it for our sanity is the way I see it.

  179. Lisa, Susan was referring to “The Betrayal Bond” by Dr. Patrick Carnes, $11 at I’ve not read it, but many on this blog have and think very highly of it.

    I wholeheartedly agree that once we intellectually understand what the hell was going on and lose that addictive craving, our perspective changes completely, and we’re ready to begin the emotional healing. – Julian.

  180. Julian, Thank you. I’ll look for that book. Just another to add to the arsenal.

    Let the healing begin!


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