How Can I Forgive You? The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To

Almost every victim of a psychopathic predator deals with the burden of anger and resentment. We feel betrayed by the lies, by the cheating, by the constant manipulation, by the entire mask of sanity. Everything about the relationship that we considered real and based on true love turned out to be a sham. The person we thought we knew and loved was not the person we thought we knew and loved. We ended up loving an illusion, a mask and ultimately only a fantasy of love, not a real person, not a real relationship. So feelings of anger and betrayal are natural in the aftermath of a toxic relationship with a psychopath. Natural, but burdensome. It’s difficult to carry around so much anger. We’re often advised to forgive, if not actually forget the experience. Forgiveness is presented as a religious and ethical ideal, akin in some ways to the equally ideal notion of unconditional love. Dr. Janis Abrahms Spring, author of How Can I Forgive You? The Courage to Forgive, The Freedom Not To (HarperCollins, 2005), argues that forgiveness, like the notion of love, can’t be automatic. It is something earned, based on a reciprocity between a truly repentant person and the person who forgives. Since psychopaths cause intentional harm and lack conscience–and therefore also lack any meaningful sense of remorse–how applicable can the notion of forgiveness then be to a relationship with them, to what they did wrong? In the article below, How Can I Forgive You? as well as in her book and in her seminar (, Dr. Abrahms Spring offers a more meaningful understanding of forgiveness: one that is earned. Please welcome her guest post below. 

Claudia Moscovici, psychopathyawareness

Dangerous Liaisons: How to Identify and Escape from Psychopathic Seduction

Almost everything that has been written about forgiveness preaches to hurt parties as to why they should forgive: Forgiveness is good for us; and good people forgive, is the common refrain. But in my clinical practice of over three decades (mostly working with couples recovering from infidelity), I’ve found that when someone acts in a hurtful way and isn’t able or willing to make meaningful repairs, hurt parties choke on the mandate for them to forgive. This makes sense to me. Why are we preaching to the hurt party? Why not turn to offenders and ask them to earn forgiveness?

When hurt parties are pushed to forgive an unrepentant offender, I find they often react in one of three ways:

1)    They refuse to forgive and insist, “Forgiveness may be divine, but it’s not for me.” They’re then left not forgiving – hating and hurting and living in a grudge state – and we know this isn’t healthy.

2)    They’re taught to forgive, they try to forgive, but inside, they often feel cheated and disingenuous.

3)    They say they forgive, but often even those people who describe themselves as the forgiving type, actually forgive less in reality then they’d like to admit.

To me, there’s a missing option in the work of forgiveness, or in the work of healing from interpersonal wounds. Something the lies between the fluffy, inspirational concept of “pure” forgiveness (asking nothing in return), and the hard, cold-hearted response of not forgiving.

I’ve developed a radical alternative which I call “Acceptance.” Acceptance is not forgiveness. Acceptance is a healing alternative which hurt parties accomplish for themselves, by themselves. It asks nothing of the offender which is good because in this condition, offenders have nothing to offer. I say, when an offender is not sorry, when they are unable or unwilling to make meaningful repairs, it is not the job of the hurt party to forgive them. (I call this Cheap Forgiveness). But it is the job of the hurt party to heal themselves. This is the work of Acceptance and in my book, How Can I Forgive You?, I spell out 10 steps hurt parties can take to heal themselves. (One step involves choosing a level of relationship with the offender that serves their best interest. This can range from cutting off to full engagement. A second step would be de-shaming the injury).

What I call Genuine Forgiveness is reserved for those offenders who have the courage and character to make meaningful amends. Again, in my book, I spell out exactly what offenders must do to earn forgiveness, and what hurt parties must do to foster this process. Acceptance is intrapersonal; Genuine Forgiveness is interpersonal.

The work of Genuine Forgiveness operates like that of love. We can love someone alone. (We’ve all been in those relationships). But doesn’t it feel more genuine, more satisfying, more embracing, when we love someone who deserves our love, who treats us with tender regard?


  1. Forgiving a psychopath?? mmm that is an interesting question and one that I am not sure I can answer now. To forgive them almost means to excuse who they are and their behavior. At this stage of my recovery I CAN NOT forgive an individual who intentionally wanted to hurt and destroy me. A grown adult who KNOWS right from wrong but lacks the conscience to care; I realize there are two sides of the coin here to look at. I no longer have a deep seeded revenge nor do I carry hate that eats away at me. My FIRST priority is to forgive MYSELF in all this to say; hey you didnt know Linda, there is no way you could have known that he had this disorder and there was no way for me to know the extreme danger and harm these individuals cause; I had NO IDEA the psychological damage that was ahead of me. I am slowly starting to forgive myself for only wanting to be loved, this does not make me a bad person in any respect; a lost and misguided person YES, but only human!! I dont see myself EVER forgiving him but more just erasing him from my life and mind and just know that he was a disturbed person that preyed on vulnerabilities in myself I needed to fix. GOOD people dont take advantage of others weaknesses and GOD knows we all have them. I cant forgive him because forgiveness to others is for HUMAN BEINGS, and to me he was not human x0 Linda

    Good article Claudia and good question to ask ourselves

  2. Linda, that’s just it: this article supports your perspective. Dr. Spring (as mentioned, this is a guest post by Dr. Janis Spring) argues that forgiveness is dependent upon a person who has genuine remorse, who deserves to be forgiven. She argues against the “forgive and forget” advice that victims of psychopaths are often given. If forgiveness is to be earned, then it’s not a concept that applies to psychopaths, who have no conscience and no remorse. They don’t deserve forgiveness. But she also mentions the importance of healing, so we don’t carry the anger towards the psychopaths around with us every day. It’s a heavy burden. In fact, it would be interesting to see if she has a follow-up article on how to handle that anger when you decide NOT to forgive because the wrongdoer doesn’t deserve to be forgiven. Claudia

  3. The concept of acceptance, rather than forgiveness, is not a new one. I believe this was tossed around a few times on Love Fraud when I was there. It’s good to see that someone has written a book on it.
    I also think it is valid. Encouraging survivors to forgive the unforgivable or manipulate them to feel unnecessary guilt over it, is counterproductive to their healing. Unless a psychopath is attempting a hoover maneuver over a survivor of his abuse, an apology is unlikely, and even when it is delivered, it is ultimately meaningless.
    Having said that, I think forgiveness does come, but not in the way that most would feel comfortable labeling it, and that is with INDIFFERENCE once we reach the point of ACCEPTANCE
    .When this point is reached, it’s not for the person who harmed us but for ourselves. Acceptance+Indifference= Forgiveness. It has nothing to do with the unredeemable.It is a natural process within ourselves in our healing process over time. Sometimes, a long time.

    Another form of forgiveness is for our involvement. Forgiving ourselves for whatever lead us to be duped. This does NOT forego the responsibility of the disordered one and his/her behavior. It’s merely a forgiveness of ourselves each time we hear ourselves say “Boy, how could I have been so STUPID!”, looking honestly at our vulnerabilities, and healing those parts of ourselves so we are never duped again. We will come to accept that too.

    Another way to know forgiveness, again, not typically the label and definitive content that is applied to it, but when there is NO MORE anger, sadness, FEAR, hatred, love, fantasy, anxiety, etc with regards to the psychopath. I believe this is when you know you are completely healed and forgiveness has been reached. A total and COMPLETE INDIFFERENCE through acceptance. When that happens, no matter what the psychopath says or does, it will no longer have an affect on our lives and if he/she attempts to contact us again, we will know immediately what to do, to protect and love ourselves through it without bitterness, hatred and pain. Kel

  4. Kel, thanks so much for your perceptive analysis. I agree with you that perhaps part of our burden of anger at what the psychopath did to us involves our own sense of guilt or complicity (even in cases where it doesn’t exist), hence the notion of forgiving ourselves is very relevant. Forgiveness of a psychopath, as you state, is about accepting the past and moving on to not caring about him; not letting that past poison your present and future. But, as Dr. Spring states, there are people worth forgiving, and those are everyone else you care about who make human mistakes, as we all do, and genuinely feel bad about that and try to improve. The concept of meaningful forgiveness hence applies to people like us, not to the personality disordered. I think that’s the gist of Dr. Spring’s argument, as it pertains to the subjects we discuss on this blog. Claudia

  5. Claudia

    Those are obvious perspectives though. We will forgive those who genuinely ask for it and who have genuine empathy. It’s also obvious that a psychopath won’t.

    I think it’s natural for those with empathy to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. It is UNNATURAL in dealing with a psychopath, even if our innate desire is to forgive them as we do everyone else. The psychopath is not a human being in the real sense that those with empathy are.

    Right now, I need to “forgive” my dog who has just pooped on my carpet. lol! Ugh. Kel

  6. Kel, first of all let me remark that Herc definitely deserves your forgiveness, if not worship! He’s as adorable as it gets.
    I’d call this perspective (on forgiveness in general) common sense. But common sense can be rather scarce, and psychological theories don’t always elaborate or defend it. How often have you been advised to forgive and forget? How many ethical philosophies preach forgiveness? I certainly appreciate a more nuanced moral/psychological perspective that defends the common sense notion that forgiveness has to be earned by a person capable of remorse, with a conscience, who is genuinely sorry. It’s not a given nor should it be. I remember when I was in grad school, I wanted to elaborate “a philosophy of common sense” because so many literary theories struck me as mostly nonsense. I’m so glad to see a psychological theory that defends common sense and the emotions we justifiably feel (that we can’t forgive the psychopaths). Not that they care! But we do. Claudia

  7. This is exactly what I was talking about when I referenced Oprah’s comment to Kel earlier. I completely agree that “forgiveness” in the spiritual sense is without question earned!! I look at it in that there are 2 types of forgiveness. There is the spiritual forgiveness that someone has earned. They’ve repented their assault, afront, whatever wrong doing they’re asking for forgiveness for. They’ve made clear and long lasting changes to his/her behavior illustrating a change in behavior and true willingness to be and act differently. They have earnestly made strides above and beyond to redeem trust again. In this event, I think a person can spiritualy forgive, let go of any misgivings or lack of trust and start a new journey w/the offender. It’s sort of like letting go of holding that person accountable any longer. They’ve become a different person, the old behavior is erased and it’s time to move on and forget as well as forgive.

    Lord knows I’ve done some incredibly stupid things in my time, been thoughtless and self-centered. But, when I’m made aware of it, I’ll change my behavior next time. I’d apologize, and I’d go above and beyond to earn the forgiveness of the person I’ve hurt, or offended in some way. A psychopath, a person w/no remorse, no conscience who doesn’t give a damn is a completely different story. They will forever be accountable for their actions.

    In relationship to what I’ve been through with my ex, I will never forgive him in the way I’ve just described. He in no way has, or ever will deserve, or earn that type of absolution. The type of forgiveness above is healing for both parties involved. The type of healing the 2nd kind of forgiveness is, is strictly for the sake of victims only.
    It isn’t good for our mental, spiritual, or physical well being to hold onto negative emotions. Anger, hurt, resentment, jealousy they are all cancers of the spirit. Those emotions will eat the one who harbors them alive. Much like the psychopath works on devouring our spirit, these negative emotions work in the psychopaths favor to carry on the tradition of breaking us down while devouring us.
    I refuse to be the victim to my ex in any way again. If I seath away internally thinking in some way it’s hurting him, I’m victimizing myself again. I’m now his helper in my own destruction. This is where I see the type of forgiveness that is purely for myself. That is the acceptance aspect. As I mentioned in the post between Kel and I the other day, when I let go of the thinking, pining away and wanting for the past to be any different than it was, then I’m able to let go of all that emotional turmoil. Nothing can erase yesterday. Nothing. It will remain the way it is for eternity. I can control how it lives in me today however.

    I can decide to accept I was a victim. I made decisions that didn’t honor myself. I allowed someone to treat me w/out value, and I blindly loved someone who didn’t deserve, or earn it. Those were mistakes that I won’t make again. I’ll offer absolution to myself for those mistakes because I’m earning it by changing those choices for myself and stretching myself even further to be honorable to me.
    On the flip side, I accept psycho, is a psycho. Doesn’t matter if I hate him, resent him, want to do him harm out of spite, or choose to continue loving him (cough couch gag gag). He was the way he was and is the way he is. That’s just the facts. His past sins against me will be there for all eternity as well. None of my anger, or hatred will change that either. Nor, will it harm him in any way. It remains with me. Always. I accept that. Otherwise “forgive….”(cough cough….) I can scarcely get my fingers to type the words. I accept this. If that is another way of forgiving, or forgiving on a different level then that’s what I’ve done. “forgiveness” is a word. It’s a verb.He doesn’t deserve, hasn’t earned,nor will he be given forgiveness in that context. Absolution isn’t mine to give him. But, I will grant myself enough forgiveness to accept what was, was. It happened, I experienced it, I accept that and I’m moving my thoughts out of yesterday and into this very moment where I sit completely psycho free. See how good forgiveness feels!! I think I”ll head home and love my dog up who greets w/zealous joy everytime I walk through the door. I’ll cuddle w/my cat(whom psycho happened to give me. The only positive thing he ever did. It was an excuse to come over and bother me when I’d asked him to leave me alone. “Well, I have a kitten in the car for you? Can I bring it in before I leave? Me – “Sure! Now get out and don’t let the door hit cha on the way.(shove shove kick kick). lol I am very visual. ahahahaa.

    I think I”ll print this and put it in on the mirror in my bedroom to refer back to when I’m not so strong. Because this “fresh” attitude is a moment to moment cleansing for me. It’s a continual process that hopefully will become more and more a natural part of my psychie. Until one day I’ll forget what I was ever continually accepting for my own peace of mine in the first place. One day, I’ll have an “Aha!” moment and realize, OMG I haven’t had a thought about….what was his name again…..Dumbass? I vaguelly recall the fello.

  8. Lisa, I agree with you. Many people cheat and lie (though not as extensively, pathologically and effectively as psychopaths do). But most feel remorse, reassess their lives and values and don’t do it again. They improve their character and correct their mistakes. In that case, forgiveness is meaningful, though of course, the wronged person has the freedom to decide to forgive or not. But with psychopaths–since there’s no possibility of conscience, genuine remorse, or meaningful improvement in their behavior (rather than short-term improvement to get what they want)–forgiveness is not applicable and not deserved. But initially we don’t know that. They look human, sometimes they even act human. They apologize, act sincere. That’s why for many victims it takes several relationship cycles of breaking up and getting back together again to finally realize that the concept of remorse and reform is meaningless for a psychopath. Claudia

  9. Claudia: I think of how society forgives psychopaths in a judicial sense; murdering due to their lack of conscience. The judicial system DOES NOT forgive it punishes either by life in prison and in some cases execution. If you are proved “Insane” then they stick you in a mental institution or prison for the rest of your life.

    Are we supposed to have the understanding such as; oh poor guy he cant help it, he didnt ask to be born a psychopath the frontal cortex of his brain was just not right, so its really no fault of his that he has this predatory existence in society dont hate him because he really cant help himself he is only living his life with the cards he was dealt. Does this justify the reasons we should try to find forgiveness. I do not totally agree with Sheridan’s theory that they are here to “teach us a lesson” what lesson would that be? To tell us SHAME ON US for believing someone loved us HOW DARE WE believe such a thing you better run off now and self examine yourself because something is really wrong with you that you wanted to be loved. THATS BULLCRAP!!!!!! YES I will examine the reasons why I stayed when he showed me his disorder under the guise of love (and even THAT is a total mind rape) but I will never believe something was so terribly wrong with me to believe someone initially genuinely loved me. I didnt KNOW I was only being “idolized” followed by what would be “devalued and discarded” x0x0 Linda

  10. Linda, thank you for your very interesting observation about how the concept of forgiveness extends to the judicial system. During the 1970’s it was all about forgiving and reforming violent criminals. I think that Dr. Hare’s significant contribution in this domain was to make it clear that a) psychopaths ARE sane (they know social rules, they know what they do wrong, and often they are extremely cold, callous and calculated when they commit those violent acts). and b) psychopaths are without conscience, so any remorse they may express is an act. I think we’ve made some progress in seeing the necessity of keeping violent psychopathic offenders in prison for life, but still, sometimes they are able to fool juries, judges, psychologists or parole officers and get a second chance in life: a chance they don’t deserve and that their victims didn’t get. Claudia

  11. Claudia says I should share this, so I will.

    Last night, I got an email from my ex’s first target that I caught him with. She’s an unbelievably wonderful person and I liked her instantly when we first spoke last year now, about him. I looked her up when I suspected he was trolling her. Well, he wasn’t just trolling her, he was TOTALLY love bombing her. He had gone to another state where she lived to do three nights of dates with her. Thank God she was in love with someone else as this prevented her from being blinded by this man and his love bombing. She was also a lot healthier than I was when I met him. She told me everything I needed to know at the time, to let go of the relationship. Everything he said to her, was either an outright lie, or a fabricated mirroring false persona of a man in predator mode. I let her know it was all lies and he never said A WORD about me or our ten years together. NOT ONE WORD. So after that, I was such a mess, and reacting that she asked not to have contact with me. Admittedly, it was true, I was very triggered and a huge mess at the time. Then last night, an email popped up while I was surfing the web about ear infections lol! It was her company name. My heart just about stopped. I couldn’t believe it! I was so happy to hear from her! She asked to keep contact and check in once in awhile, that she’d not spoken to my ex since he found out she knew about me because I told her (He didn’t want to explain me to her and therefore, stopped contacting her and blamed ME for the reason the friendship was an epic FAIL). Anyway, dumbass contacted her via text three weeks ago out of the blue. Guess whose BORED with his marriage? As if nothing ever happened and a WEIRD text that said, “There is only one Jane (not real name),…I keep running into them….they are everywhere” WTF??? ROFLOL!!!!! Not one mention that he’s now MARRIED. This was BAIT. A back up in case new married wife with money doesn’t work out, or perhaps a nice triangulation given that he visits that state because his parents live there. What a BASTARD. Now I’m certain those calls are all him. Games he plays. The text and her contacting me, was PROOF enough to me, that he’s still the same psychopathic LOSER he’s always been. Trolling and bored already. Amazing.
    This was an answer to prayer, as was the first time i talked to her. There is no more doubt. There is pity. I could feel the SHIFT within. While I still carry pain over what he did to me, I no longer carry pain of whether or not he’s changed. I felt all kinds of things, one of them was relief. I feel so so so sorry for his wife and I hope she figures it out before he’s done bilking her bank account. HIs fragmented mind through that text, tells me that his WEIRD behaviors and statements that have ALWAYS been him still exist and there is no way that they don’t with the new wife too. She’s on her way to being abused. He’s already setting it up. My ex was a patient predator. He’ll wait and be careful doing it. But I found this news interesting, enlightening and validating. She and I will be friends. I’m glad for HER that she saw through it too. She dodged a major bullet and I’m so glad she did! kel

  12. Kel, I’m not at all surprised to hear confirmation that your psychopathic ex is trolling again for victims after only two months of marriage. In fact, as his testing the waters with the Mother’s Day card to you (when he was already “serious” about his soon-to-be wife) was confirmation too. But you needed further proof, and thank goodness your prayers were answered! Now it dispels the last shred of doubt and cognitive dissonance that you had.

    Notice also the sneaky, underhanded ways these psychopaths try to reestablish contact. The message from your psychopathic ex to your friend you showed me sounded incoherent, more like he was egging her on, rather than like a normal greeting kind of message. My psychopathic ex behaves the same way, as you know. He writes me email messages with the content on the subject line (since I’ve been erasing his unwanted messages without reading them for nearly four years now) or writes on this blog pretending to be a victim, but at the same time making it obvious it’s him by alluding to aspects about our past or his life. That’s part of how psychopaths taunt their targets and play cat and mouse games which aren’t so smart after all, just transparent harassment.

    That’s what your psychopathic ex did to you with that Mother’s day card and is doing to your friend too. They don’t send regular messages because they’re trying not to be exposed to their wives or even the police by the victims they harass. But, at the same time, they can’t help themselves. They get bored out of their minds. NO partner is ever enough for them: not rich enough, not sexy enough, not smart enough; nobody is good enough for such absolute narcissists. They need more and more power; more and more targets: they are, as I wrote in one of my articles, insatiable. Claudia

  13. Lisa, I agree completely. Genuine trust has to be earned – through actions, not words – and genuine forgiveness must be earned also (again, through actions, not words). Psychopaths deserve neither. The best we can do is to accept that our trust has been breached, and try to move on. – Julian.

  14. Kelli, this is great news (of a sort). Not long ago you were doubting yourself and believing that your ex was so happy with his classy and wealthy new wife. Well, it didn’t take long for the leopard to show his spots again, did it? These people are soooo hard-wired, yet they have a remarkable ability to look just stellar in public. Let’s never forget that! I’m so happy for your that a chunk of your pain has lifted now. – Julian.

  15. Julian and Kel, if it’s any consolation to victims, most psychopaths don’t get away with what they do and don’t have a spotless image. Both Martha Stout and Robert Hare mentions that most lead looser, transient job, hopping from job to job and relationship to relationship. Kelli, your ex had two wives and God knows how many mistresses. None of his ex’s are happy with him; they all consider him a total jerk. Most are probably not aware he’s a clinical psychopath, but he didn’t maintain a spotless reputation with you or any of them.

    I know Kel you said your ex was in his current job, but he was almost fired because of sexually inappropriate conduct. So was my ex, who poisoned the atmosphere at his jobs. As far as relationships go, he himself told me his ex’s describe as a “snake”. His wife and parents know about his pathology but remain under his dominance bond, with all the ambivalence and hurt feelings that implies. Colleagues and “friends” who know him well can’t stand him; at our joint summer job he was described by mutual friends, as I’ve mentioned before, as “trash”.

    The only sense in which all psychopaths get away with their harm upon others is only in the purely subjective sense: in their own eyes, they’re divine. They’re the only worshippers at their own altar and twist reality to conform with this false impression. They don’t care if others criticize them; they feel great about themselves no matter what they do wrong, and no matter what status they have in life, be it on Wall Street or begging in the street.

    By the way, to analyze your ex’s psychopath-speak: “There is only one Jane (not real name),…I keep running into them…they are everywhere”. It sounds incoherent to a normal person, but it’s classic psychopath bait. That way if “Jane” responds back confused asking him what he meant, it means she takes the bait and engages in conversation with him. He takes it from there to see if he can triangulate a little with her behind his wife’s back when he visits his family in Arizona. If she responds with indignation, something to the effect of “I told you not to contact me again” he can say, oh sorry, I was trying to contact another “Jane” and got her number mixed up with yours. Psychopaths may seem to write incoherently, but they think strategically, to be able to back out easily out of a corner. But usually their strategies fail because people aren’t that gullible. Their strategies become transparent, as it did for “Jane” and you. Claudia

  16. Claudia, an interesting thread that stimulates some thought around forgiveness. I would have loved more than anything for my ex to have given me the opportunity to forgive through some process of closure. This is something she has always denied me and always will. On an emotional level, she really does not know what it is she should feel remorseful about. Psychopaths, as inteligent as they can be, have no insight into the emotional impact and damage that they do, because they have no inside frame of reference.

    I am in no doubt that their narcissism which is absolute, means that they were and are incapable of seeing us or anyone else because they lack of empathy. If they cannot feel us and empathise with us, whats left? A cognitive superficial image that results in us experiencing what it is like to be totally objectified? A psychopath and cluster b disordered person is incapable of any relating, other than what is toe deep. We were nothing more than sources of supply, meeting their superficial needs, wants, and desires whatever they may have been.

    With that in mind i think that there can not be forgiveness, because a forgiveness conversation can not take place. I think what binds all psychopaths together in commonality is that they are incapable of emotional expression and relatedness, its nuance, sensitivity, the full color of meaningful human relating.

    The last and final struggle they leave us with is only acceptance for what they are. After we have bounced and ping ponged between anger and resentment for how they treated and impacted on us, and our futile attempts to reach the person we thought we met which was an illusion; we struggle to know where to go.

    This is one of the elements of a toxic pathological relationship, which is paradoxically there was no relationship. Only an illusion. Michael

  17. MIchael,

    Great post!!! And so very true!
    There is a question in my mind about the psychopaths lack of emotional content and shallow affect. I know it’s whirling around in my brain and has been for weeks, but I don’t know how to formulate the question so I’ll do my best:

    With the above post in which my ex contacted a former target with a text message, the content to me, was FRAGMENTED. An illogical, off the wall statement, many, MANY months after no contact at all. My ex often spoke like this, in FRAGMENTS. That’s the best way to describe it. Just statements out of the blue that gave soooooo many WTF moments. These fragmented statements, are they a consequence of the faulty wiring in their brain? Of the disconnect? Is this what we are observing with these kinds of off the wall statements? Out of the blue? Are these statements a reflection of faulty brain wiring? And if so, this is a behavior that is hard wired, a behavior that is apart of the impulsiveness of a psychopath. A behavior that will occur with every single intimate or close contact relationship. Does this make sense? I think many people actually DO see through this shallowness. The WTF fragmented moments and statements throw us off. The love bombing blinds us, but if we were aware of red flags, would it have been so blinding?

    Your insights are so helpful to me. I believe forgiveness is possible, in a sense, as it pertains to acceptance and indifference. A distance. Where there is no more pain and no more anger. But coming from a psychopath, no. There is nothing to forgive, they didn’t ask and won’t, but how could that be expected from something that was nothing more than a mirage? These people never existed to any of us. I’m really starting to completely GET IT now. Kel

  18. Michael, thanks for your thoughtful post. You’re right, for forgiveness to happen you not only need a person with depth and conscience, but also a genuine dialogue. But, as you point out, no meaningful dialogue can exist with a psychopath; just strategic lines and lies. Claudia

  19. Claudia,

    Interesting! “It sounds incoherent to a normal person, but it’s classic psychopath bait”. Interesting way in which you further analyze this Claudia. To her, it was nothing less than WEIRD, as she termed it. Cuz to a normal person IT IS WEIRD. Kel

  20. Kelli, I think that one of the key hallmarks of a pathological relationship is fragmentation of narrative. Non sequiturs, or a lack of continuity. I truly believe Kelli that a key red flag is that we experience many of those WTF moments. This is what I mean by an emotional narrative. A healthy emotional narrative is not so fragmented if that makes sense. Michael.

  21. MIchael,

    It really DOES make sense, but trying to articulate it is another matter altogether, other than to say it’s a typical WTF moment out of psychopath. I”d like to know how the brain is influential with regards to the fragmentation.

    I agree Micheal, wholeheartedly about one of the major red flags, in fact one of the EARLIEST red flags, even during the luring stage, this fragmentation of speech and thought. Kel

  22. Michael and Kel, how do you think this fragmentation of the psychopath’s mindset, that you’ve both described and that strikes normal people as incoherent and bizarre, fits with the simultaneous strategic nature of the very same writing, which I’ve described? Because it’s clear to me that your ex mentioned several “Janes” to be able to say oups, I must have texted the wrong “Jane” if she had told him something like, I told you not to contact me again (which she had, months earlier)? Also, please notice the note is so vague that if “Jane” were to decide to show it to his new wife, it would seem innocuous. That is thought-out in advance too.

    I mean, as even this one little text from Kel’s ex reveals, on the one hand these psychopaths are so manipulative and strategic, always thinking one move ahead about how to slip away if they get backed into a corner; on the other, they have delusions of grandure and seem strange and incoherent, especially when unmasked. Their mask of sanity is very, very thin, and underneath it, we find an alien, subhuman world. As the French say: aussi étrange que bizarre! (as strange as it is unusual). Claudia

  23. Claudia, I think this fragmentation occurs primarily due to a lacking in emotional experience. Oftentimes Claudia in your articles you allude to their emotional poverty; and they are emotionally impoverished as we know. I think that there is an atrophy in their experience. Michael.

  24. Michael, I can easily see how the emotional shallowness would cause the cold, calculated, manipulative and self-serving ways psychopaths have. But how does it lead to fragmentation, which makes them appear irrational and bizarre? This would be a great subject, by the way, for an upcoming article, a kind of follow-up to your previous one. You explain really well the cognitive processes of the psychopath. Claudia

  25. I definitely did not forgive, but have accepted that everything came about because his brain doesn’t work normally (and I didn’t recognize it soon enough). His brain doesn’t work normally, not any more so than his sister’s brain with Down’s syndrome.

    I was once so angry it scared me. But now the anger and hurt are long gone.He has psychopath syndrome in my mind. He is doing very well in the world financially for a psychopath, just as some with Down’s syndrome are capable of independent living, but emotionally, of course, he is about at age 2, and he will never experience true intimacy. And he will continue to intentionally hurt and destroy, because that’s what he does. I feel pity for him, just as I would feel pity for a dog with rabies, but the world would be much safer without them.

  26. Claudia, I think that a psychopathic relationship is unemotional. I think that is the benchmark. The experience of emotional fragmentation is in some respects an illusion; and in other respects a direct awareness of their lack in emotional congrenuity. Michael.

  27. Susan, great analogy between psychopaths and rabid dogs. You are so fortunate to have reached a sense of detachment, even indifference, towards your psychopathic ex. No doubt, the world would be a far better place without psychopaths. The combination of low emotional intelligence and high cognitive intelligence and cold calculation makes psychopaths capable of immeasurable evil. Claudia

  28. Hi Linda, I felt the exact way you do for a time. But, I’ve come to the mindset that I am so far superior to my ex in every way. As are you to yours. Deep down they are incredibly miserable human beings. They suffer a lifetime within themselves. Because they have the most important piece of the human experience missing. We are human. We love. We feel. We EXPERIENCE all life has to offer. They go around pretending they exist. When in actuality, they are like walking zombies. Frankly I’m glad my psycho allowed me to discard him. The more and space I get from him, the more apparent the vision is of what a sorry existence it is to be any part of his world. He can have all the material treasure and beautiful women revovling through his door he likes. At the end of the day. He’s still empty. I and you, on the other hand are quite full, and fully capable of embracing the joys and wonders of living.

    I’m just sort of coming to this conclusion today. I’ve logically known this, but I feel like I’m “living” it now. We should all fall to our knees and thank the universe when discarded. Because it is then, that we can get to the busines of living, instead playing a lifeless roll along side a zombie.

  29. Claudia

    I think this explanation is over thinking the psychopath and his ability to strategize. I often think that their narcissism precludes a well thought out strategic attempt, Claudia. I was shocked at how careless my ex could be with these kinds of comments without thinking about the consequences, to which they care nothing about. They may THINK they’re good at hiding, and some are, but mine obviously has some issues there lol! Kel

  30. With all this talk on forgiveness, I thought you might enjoy this video. I’ve been working on this song today.

  31. Susan,

    This is an excellent post and your analogy to someone with Down’s syndrome, able to live independently with the psychopaths ability to be monetarily successful is profound one for me. So is the dog with rabies analogy. I totally agree. Kel

  32. Lisa,

    I LOVE this song and the video too. It’s creepy. Do you know how this song came to be? Kel

  33. Lisa, Linda,

    This is going to sound reeeeeeeeeeeally bad, but I think we tell ourselves that we can feel, love have joy when they can’t, at times to derive meaning from our experience with a psychopath, because truthfully, the psychopath doesn’t see his disorder as a loss, but the rest of us that have the ability to love as dupes at the service of their every wish and whim. If it doesn’t work out with us, they just move onto the next target. They get all they want out of life, because they feel nothing about obtaining it through malicious means. They actually enjoy it. So I guess that saying we can love, have joy etc, doesn’t mean much to me in the aftermath except to me, and to those that I’m close too. Along with accepting their disorder, I also accept that they enjoy being what and who they are, enjoy hurting and causing destruction, and that there is rarely justice for any of us.

    That is embracing the entire reality of them and the experience. What I feel really good about is that I can love, I can care, I can FEEL, without comparing myself to their inability not too, because they don’t give a rip that they CAN”T.. The abilities I have to feel, MEAN MORE to me than ever before. Kel

  34. Claudia

    Mine thinks he’s God’s gift to women. The sad thing is that he isn’t proven wrong, given the many victims waiting to line up during the luring phase, but what I noticed about the text is that now I can see right through it and if I had received that, being my friend, I would think it was just flat weird too and that there was something terribly WRONG with this person. But when you’re vulnerable or whatever issues are going on that allow you to ignore the red flags, this wouldn’t be viewed as abnormal, would it? And if it was, it would just be IGNORED. That’s what happens to the victims. What I am seeing very clearly, is that I was blinded, but not so much by his obvious fragmented stupidity and shallowness, but my fantasy of what I wanted him to be, needed him to be. This reality allowed me to proceed and to IGNORE my red BANNERS that were waving in the wind. Kel

  35. Yes, I do. Do you? It’s from the who upheavel over Natalie Maines statement about the president during a pretty sensitive time in our country. She and the other chicks recieved death threats among lots of other nasy awful stuff.

    I don’t know if any of you have heard of Linda Perry. If you haven’t I highly suggest you look her up on youtube and listen to some of her stuff. She’s is simply amazing!! She’s the lead singer from the 90’s group 4Non Blondes. But, since then she’s produced, written and created her own record label. She wrote Christina Aguilara’s song Beautiful and produced that album among many others. Anyhow, I though this next song would be a good follow up to Not Ready to Make Nice.

    Kel, in response to your comment earlier. I do believe psychs do whatever to get what they want. But, in the end they are hollow. That is why they need to toy with people and play those stupid games. Because NOTHING ever satisfies them. They are always left with the feeling that they are missing something inside. It’d be like feeling starved, getting excited over your favorite meal, but no matter how much of it you eat, that starved feeling remains. Nothing will satisifed it. I also don’t think the fact that they don’t completely realize what they are missing makes it any less pathetic. They are pathetic regardless if they see themselves as that or not. What matters for me is how I see them. They can think they are God for all I care. Doesn’t matter to me. I have the truth and know the truth. That’s all I need to know. 🙂

    I was where you were at a GOOD part of 09 -10 when we were first apart for that period of time. I worked really really really hard to clear myself of him, and get rid of all those feelings. It did eventually come to pass. I think it will for you too. It’s just going to take more time.

    I also don’t believe they feel joy or happiness when they conquer something they’ve wanted. They get a temporary adrenaline rush. But again, it’s fleeting and in the end means nothing. I really have no jealousy toward his gf, or that he’s getting what he wants at the moment, or resentment toward my ex. He’s an ass. He’s a jerk. He toys with women. Gets what he wants. Then he no longer wants it. He’s chasing a feeling to fill a void, that will never ever be filled. I know he is a miserable, sad, sorrowful, empty pit.

    I’d rather be me and be ex free than be in the pit with him, any ole’ day. 🙂

    A word just came to mind, well two. Peace. Harmony. 2 things that satisfy my soul when I embrace them more than anything he will ever get to experience or embrace during his entire existence. I’m the lucky one. We are the lucky ones.

    I simply must get to my housework now! Been procrastinating and playing my guitar all day!

  36. Kelli – This should make you feel better in some respects


  37. Claudia – Makes me remember what marriage means to a psychopath as sheridan put it – it means no more than cheeseburger – x0 Linda

  38. Lisa: I am thankful everyday he no longer calls me, that he cut me lose my nightmare is over Mine allowed me to discard him also I just one day quit calling and he hasnt called since – over 2 months now. They always search for better or prettier or this or that but it will never fill or satisfy the NOTHING they are inside. They just go thru the motions not the EMOTIONS because they dont feel them as we do. The longer I am no contact the more sicker he is to me and the more REAL I AM. I will take real any day even if it comes with emotional pain, I will get through it. Thanks Lisa x0x0 Linda

  39. Claudia: I have to ask, WHY oh WHY do they even marry or want live in partners? I dont understand marriage is nothing to them, just a word look at Kelli’s x married, robbing his new wife’s money and screwing and preying others – three day love bombing huh? Geez mine did that to me in two days ha ha got the job done. Why do some of them want to marry so much only to have it end in divorce, it was set to fail from day one x0 Linda

  40. Exactly. I was just thinking that I feel that I have moved on. Then, I stopped and thought to myself have I? I spend a great deal of my time, reading about, talking about, and apparentely thinking about psyhopaths. Is that moving on? I’m not longing for my ex. I suppose that’s moving forward.
    It’s such a new concept for me to realize that there are truly psychotic people walking around and living among us that absolutely have zero conscience or concern for anyone outside themselves. I’m intrigued by it. Shocked by it. But, also regret that I didn’t have this information so many years ago when I had my reservations but overlooked them. I just want to run and tell everybody BEWARE! 🙂

  41. Exactly! Wow, I thought I was the only one living those moments.

  42. Unbelievable! I’m glad you shared that. I think it makes most of us feel vindicated in lots of ways. I’m glad she initially believed you and listened to you. I’ve not had such great luck. They believe me at first until he talks to them. Then they’re convinced I’m a psycho, jealous gf. lol. What’s so funny is they know we are/were dating when they get involved with him. He tells them that right up front. He’s all about “honesty!” laced with lots of lies and justifications of course. That’s why it took me so long to understand what a liar he truly is. I’m sure he convinces them we are in the process of breaking up, which is usually true. LOL. Because that’s his cyclical pattern ladies. See he’s all about honesty. ;D I don’t blame them though, they’re niave and trusting and he’s an excellent player of a gentle, shy, well intended boy just looking for love. By golly they just might be the cure!

  43. Linda, it’s because they need to possess some individuals mind, body and soul. To brainwash them, to mold them, to have them at their beck and call, to have more than just physical or sexual power over them. Plus, for the mask of normalcy, a cover of marriage, of children perhaps, of a seemingly normal family life to hide the deviant sexual behavior going on behind the scenes. Claudia

  44. Linda, that’s true!

  45. Kel, It’s true that psychopaths underestimate other people so radically (because they feel so superior to them and so much in charge) that they do and say very foolish things. Claudia

  46. Linda, For my ex he talks about wanting to be married ALL the time because he is deathly afraid of being alone. Lonliness, the fear and threat of it hover over him every second of the day. I think he rarely thinks about anything else. He also laments that everytime he has someone at the point that he knows he has , then he no longer wants her and then begins acting like an ass and doesn’t understand why he does that. (These are his words – not mine). Consequently of course, he then looses said girl and never gets to the marrying stage. He never wanted to marry me, (he says) because I’m 10 yrs younger than he, that always bothered him. Thank goodness because there were many times he asked if he “asked” me to marry him would I say yes? and I said “yea I would!” Thank god it never got to that point! Oh purgatory.
    Perhaps, it’s the fear of lonliness that makes some of them marry as well.

  47. Linda and Lisa, the fear of not possessing someone, mainly. That’s what loneliness translates into for a psychopath. They need someone on hand, or even several people (not just a spouse but also “serious” lovers) to possess and control. Definitely one night stands or casual affairs don’t offer that for them. Also, and perhaps above all, psychopaths only feel truly empowered when they humiliate others. It’s not fun lying and cheating if you have nobody to humiliate and cheat on, who will feel hurt and jealous. Hence all their triangulations between wife and lovers. Double humiliations, double manipulations, double the fun for the psychopath, no matter how many additional casual sexual affairs he has on the side. Claudia

  48. Claudia, It would make a great article. I think we experience their emotion as fragmented. It is often described as their having an inability to experience more than one affective / emotional state at the same time. I kind of emotional splitting if you will. For example, we may feel angry, hurt, and disapointed with someone but love them at the same time. We experience a mixture of emotion.
    The emotional immaturity, and stuntedness, numbness, child like emotional state, poverty of emotion or however you wish to conceptualise it; this is the kind of thing we experience with them on an emotional level. In any event there is no real empathy; emotional attachment and bonding is forever out of their reach.
    Their bizzareness really shines through when they attempt to combine cognitive reasoning, and emotional intelligence, of which they have little or none. It’s like seeing the iceberg of their disorder tipped upside down, if that makes sense? MIchael

  49. Michael, this makes sense, since psychopaths can really want/desire/idealize you one moment, then, if you frustrate their desire or just merely submit to it, devalue/hate you the next. As you state, two mental states–desire and satiation, or love and anger–can’t coexist in their minds. Yes, I’d love to post an article by you on this subject with the focus being on the repercussions of psychopaths having (often) such a high cognitive or intellectual intelligence and such a low emotional intelligence. If one focuses only on one side–the low emotional intelligence–one infantalizes the psychopath and neglects his/her intelligence and danger, which is used to harmful ends and very dangerous. If one only looks at the other side– the high intellectual intelligence–one neglects his shallowness which leads him to view others as objects and life as a game. I’d love to post an article that considers carefully BOTH sides of the equation and its implications. Claudia

  50. And another-

    Click to access psycho.pdf

  51. Michael, what I find most fascinating about these articles is the fact that they distinguish anti-socials, who are notoriously reclusive and usually socially awkward, from what I’ve described as “charismatic psychopaths”: who are extremely social, charming, charismatic of course and can blend in socially and even stand out. To my mind such psychopaths are even more dangerous because of their superficial social skills and convincing mask. Of course, as we’ve been discussing, even for them that mask is very thin. A cardboard prop, or several of them. Claudia

  52. Claudia, what is also intersting is that the implication is that not all people who meet the criteria for APD are psychopaths. Many of them are, but many according to the research referred to here are not. The charismatic psychopaths are mopre likely to fall under the rubric of “succesful psychopaths” or socialised psychopaths. These are in many respects the most dangerous, and are responsible I would argue for the most frequesnt harm caused to their victims- which is emotional and psychological harm. I think this form of psychopathic harm is widespread; or more common than what is currently known.

  53. Claudia and All: Been over 2 months of NC and in just that short time I have done an incredible amount of healing. There is one element however about this whole experience that always is with me; the fact being I DID NOT KNOW; those first few years in my suffering always coming back to the same truth; I DID NOT KNOW HE WAS A PSYCHOPATH. The knowledge I have today h as and did literally save my life. It almost destroyed me to not understand WHY this person did a 100% transformation of who he once was when he entered my life and I am still VERY angry that I blamed myself for his change; I was not confident enough in myself to grasp this change in him had NOTHING to do with ME but he also tried to convince me as his mask was coming off that it was MY FAULT; I didnt give him this, or that. When you experience someone that literally changes into a different person its almost as if its not real and this is not happening like you will just wake up from a bad dream or you imagined it. At the time you dont say; WOW I got myself involved with a NUT, but instead we question ourselves and this is something I need to still work on in the future; to be secure and grounded with myself to recognize when someone else is not behaving normally; with a pathological I realize though this is more difficult because of their dangerous psychological games and their change can be very slow.

    I am not quite sure if he left because he realized I KNEW he was a psychopath or because he just got bored with me and I was no longer easy to fool anymore. I always thought he left because he gave up trying to get what he wanted from me (the perverted crap) I am just not sure Linda

  54. Linda, given the fact that it has only been two months since no contact you are doing tremendously well. I might have to get some coping tips of you. Linda I think that it is imperitive that we have a definition and they we understand cluster b and psychopathic personality. It is central to our recovery.
    Linda if he was capable of love you would know it on a heart level; your post tells me that you have been subject to the bait and switch. Best wishes- Michael

  55. Linda, you express exactly what I felt when I first found out about psychopathy in December 2007–or at least psychopathy as it applies to the man next door, not just serial killer types. Finding out about this information helped save my family and my life. That’s a big part of why I decided to start this blog to pass on this information to as many people as I can. I am so glad that it was helpful to you and helped open your eyes that you were dealing with a pathological who couldn’t be fixed. Your presence and input on this blog also, in turn, helps many other readers as well. Each of our input does. So you’re not only healing but also helping others in your situation heal as well. Thank you so much. Claudia

  56. Linda,

    Part of the reason they are able to abuse as subtly as they do, something I”m realizing now, is that we are invested in the fantasy that they create via our vulnerability. Whatever deep loss or whatever is missing from our lives, if we are not healthy or we are vulnerable in some way, they will hook that, create a fantasy, and then it’s so much harder to see through the manipulations and lies. When we do see it, we aren’t likely to give up the FANTASY, even if the psychopath is no longer putting any effort into creating one for us. This is why others can see it so readily and we can’t. Everyone that knew my ex hated his gutts. That should have been a red flag right there. But it wasn’t, because I was too invested in my own fantasy to let go. It was only when it became painfully obvious and the abuse unbearable, that I was able to somehow pull myself away. Kel

  57. Michael, yes, the harm inflicted by charismatic or as you state socialized psychopaths is very wide-spread, very little known (since the media focuses mostly on violent antisocials or high profile psychopathic criminals), and causes extensive but sometimes imperceptible damage. I hope to bring as much attention as possible to these kinds of psychopaths. Each of your input, expertise and comments help a lot to raise public awareness as well. Claudia

  58. All: I have no “coping techniques” I can only rely on common sense (if I have any left) and the understanding of this disorder, Bait and switch – yes I would have to agree this was pretty classic in my situation I fell for the bait and when he knew I was deeply in love he switched the persona to what he is more or less in other words this is who I am baby take it or leave it. I would get punished if I DARED questioned or asked why. I suppose in the end he grew tired of my little martyr games as he would call them and just let me go I wasnt worth much to him.

    Yes Kelli there are still things missing in my life that he gave me the illusion of having, but guess what I never really had ANYTHING fulfilled when I was with him only the promise of something better to come. Better to cut my losses and see I really never lost anything in the end but a sick man and an illusion of what he never was or will be. The fact he was unable to give me what I wanted was NO reflection on ME and that is taking a long time for me to understand – If I were living with him or married to him he STILL would have not been able to give me healthy love. This is a no win situation nobody is ever in a less destructive role. Still though I move forward and I try everyday to make my own life more meaningful Linda

  59. Linda, a huge part of how psychopaths maintain a hold on their victims is by making them jump through hoops and pin their self-worth on the psychopath’s opinion. So a huge part of any victim’s progress is the realization you are pointing out, that it wasn’t you, it was him and his disorder. No more jumping through hoops to meet a disordered individual’s expectations. Claudia

  60. Linda, Finding out my ex is a psychopath has made it easier to close the door on the relationship as well. Although I still have moments of denial. Had I had this information many years ago I would have gotten out much sooner. But for so long, I believed the lies, I believed the manipulations, over time I believed it must be in large part my fault, all that stuff. I now can see so much more clearly!!! It does help put it in perpective and take all the “emotion” out of it for me as well.

    However, it has only been 2 months. So, don’t be surprised if you’r emotions waiver and your thoughts go back a forth a bit. Not to mention you the reasons why he left. Most likely, boredom. On to another conquest. Nonetheless in his mind, he could only be on a quick diversion. Don’t be surprised, in fact be prepared for how you’ll react, or what you’ll do should he try to get in touch with you.

  61. Linda,

    I have a book, “The Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout. I think this is my favorite of all of my collection of books and here’s why: She words the sociopath and his/her deviations in such a way that is comforting to me. She is very clear that it’s not about us and that people like this are out there. Her way of writing is just beautiful, with a flow I’ve not seen yet in any other writing. I can’t tell you other than above, other reasons as to its comfort level.

    My daughter and I were talking about trust this afternoon. We also talked about how the world seems so influenced by money, and psychopaths are definitely motivated by money, as was my ex. It’s a way to allow them more access to more deviant behavior. But trust is another issue. My daughter and I talked about how having a good heart, has meant to give away trust without it being earned first. I’m thinking a lot about that now. I’m seeing how easy I give my trust away without thinking that the person is perhaps not worthy of that trust, as he/she hasn’t earned the title until we get to know each other for awhile. I think there is a human desire for all of us that can feel, to feel we are connected to others in the world. This is a good thing, but not so much without boundaries. I’m learning a lot about that too. My boundaries constantly need adjustment. My therapist told me this would be uncomfortable at first and perhaps for awhile because it isn’t what I’m use to and is not in my “nature”. I don’t want to piss people off, am non confrontational and prefer to work through things rather than not. To me, having boundaries means I don’t freely give my trust away. It means that sometimes people will get hurt because I insert a boundary. Lacking boundaries is also partially what got me into lots of trouble with my ex, as did my fear, as did lots of other things. My boundaries now, look rather lopsided. I’ve gone to the extreme, and still it’s probably not extreme enough. I STILL assume people are trustworthy, when many are not.

    We gave our trust to the wrong person and our boundaries were not good. I noticed in my friend who shared with me about my ex’s texting her, that she knew it was weird and that he was unbalanced right away when he was targeting her, WITHIN A FEW DAYS. That’s what happens when you have boundaries, you’re healthy, and are aware of your vulnerabilities. Psychopaths just don’t look all that appealing and if it isn’t recognized at first, it can be rather quickly if you begin to date them. She didn’t ignore her red flags. It saved her a lot of grief.

    I have a tendency to think that my ex has so many people bamboozled and it is true that there are a few…but maybe not as many as I think, because none of them have anything more with him than surface dirt. As Julian says, they have a stellar public reputation. If you think about it, it’s not enough to really get to know anyone.

    Anyway, rattling today. Just some thoughts. I think there’s something to be said for taking responsibility for ourselves and our part in it. That’s so much different than saying it’s our fault the psychopath blew into our lives and tried to rip us apart, but I do believe had I been healthier, had boundaries, I would have seen through his shit immediately, if not very soon after the friendship started, because the red banners were waving then too. He wasn’t deserving of that trust. I’ve given that out far too easily. Kel

  62. Kel and Linda, I have the same issue with trust. I have a very friendly personality and open nature and make friends easily, even with people I don’t know well. But this got me in huge trouble with the psychopath. And he’s not the only case in which trust wasn’t deserved, just by far the worst. But on the other hand, I’ve also met the most wonderful people and true friends by being open and trusting. I do think trust has to be earned and friendships built in time, tested by time too. However, I also think having a friendly and expressive personality, like you do too Kel, is overall a good thing. You can’t get anything good in life, including building friendships, if you don’t take some chances. The hard part is seeing from the start who deserves a chance and who doesn’t. I agree with you about The Sociopath Next Door. It’s written clearly, thoughtfully, and with examples/stories that reel you in. A very readable book. Claudia

  63. Linda/Claudia, that’s exactly what I experienced, the jumping through hoops to keep him “pleased” with me. If I did question something or try to have a meaningful discussion about an issue he’d turn it all around and make it seem as I were so unreasonable and how dare I try to discuss that issue between “us” when the issue is clearly all ME. He’d often say to me, “See Lisa, this is exactly why we don’t work because you do ….x, y, z…..etc.”
    One of the last times we were together I was berated for 2 1/2 hrs for being 15 minutes late meeting him for breakfast. He’d even resorted to setting a timer the past few months so he could berate me w/out interruptions or responses from me until he was satisifed I’d be adequetly punished. He would change his point multiple times during his rants and talked in circles, going round and round so there was no response I could make that would apply or make sense. Because the entire point didn’t make sense. So of course then I would get “I’ll set the timer for you and I won’t speak until you’re done….go on…speak..(I’d sort of be stunned or dumbfounded at this point), see you don’t know how to communicate. You just don’t get it. Do I need to draw you a picture again? No,that won’t work because I did earlier and you still didn’t get it.”
    It seems so black & white to me now how crazy this is. But, when you’re in that relationship, by the time it gets to that point of verbal abuse, it’s become normal.

    Linda recalling this event helps remind me of what you mentioned, there is nothing to miss. We didn’t have what we fooled ourselves into thinking we had in the first place. Any memory, or recall of something worth having is a relationship draped in a mascarade. It’s not really there.
    I don’t know if it’s fortunate, or unfortunate that I didn’t really get the bait & switch. He was an ass from the get go. Well when we were friends, before we began dating he was very different. As early as the 1st date he started playing his games. But, it was so sublte I didn’t recognize those little careless thoughtless things he’d do or say were signs of how the worst was yet to come. Frankly I’ve rarely seen him truly pour on the charm. I often wonder what he does that woos these women so in the beginning. I honestly don’t think any of them woud have given him a 2nd date had he been the same w/them that he was w/me at the start. I think most of you had a different experience in that your ex was a totally different person.Mine was just a milder, gentler version of his Dumbass self. 😉

    So Claudia I love how you phrased that jumping through hoops for a disordered individual. There will never any satisfying them. Their expecatations are fleeting, ridiculous, undefined, and every changing.

  64. PS: I mentioned how the guitar was one thing that healed me during that difficult “discard.” This is the 1st song I learned to play and it was the start of my new beginning, helping me heal, & motivating me to stick with playing the guitar. It’s also through this song that I ended up meeting Johnny Rzeznik and the band eventually. It sort of has magical powers. 😉 Maybe it’ll help one of you in some way. Enjoy. 🙂

  65. Lisa, the more you jump through their hoops, the more they demand and take for granted, to enjoy watching your effort and submitting. I didn’t jump through that many hoops–just hopped out of the relationship once I sensed abuse at the end–but I know the psychopath’s wife did. And she was rewarded with momentary and rare signs of approval but overall contempt, cheating, criticism, backstabbing and humiliation for it. That is the only reward one gets for complying with a psychopath’s expectations, demands or wishes. Claudia

  66. Lisa,

    Music is a healing force for sure, but unfortunately, I’ve not been able to listen to much of it because my ex was very much into music and played a few instruments, as well as in a band at one point. Music is not soothing anymore, as much as it is painful to endure. I’m tip toeing however, and listening to classical. I also am subject to my son’s music (all the time when he’s at home as he’s particularly musically gifted), and I don’t say anything unless a song he plays is absolutely unbearable emotionally.

    Lisa about the berating. He set a timer to it? that is amazing! Mine berated me too, for hours in an absolutely calm, precise manner, as if cutting meat with a very sharp knife, right into my heart. Now that I’ve been out awhile, I cannot believe I let myself sit through that so many times. Even lying next to him in bed, he would berate me with the lights out while I was trying to go to sleep. It created a lot of fear for me, because it was so wicked. You’re right it’s those times that I remember that keep me from wanting him at all. The negative things he did are more memorable now, than any positives. I’m also catching glimpses of who he really is now too. I hope I continue to get a lot more. Kel

  67. Lisa: I have said that so many times, “what am I missing” and what are you really feeling you lost”? NOTHING, In reality he gave me NOTHING; I have PAINFUL memories of the exact behavior you have outlined. I cant tell you how many times I would say to myself, OH MY GOD if he treats his GF like he does me then she stays ONLY because he is rich, ha ha THe man was sooo strange and bizarre and he delighted in making me doubt myself and torturing me; never once did he give me a sincere compliment oh I am sorry he did tell me I had beautiful breasts, He was a complete and total ass hole who had not one shred of wisdom or compassion. I want to thank you for reminding me of that Lisa. Unfortunately I was given the love bombing, and the bait and switch I wish he would have spared me the circus act and just been the ass clown that he was because underneath the juggling act he was nothing but rotten SOB. It amazes me how much time I have spent mourning an illusion and how much time I have wasted not giving myself whats missing in my life – AND ITS NOT A MAN!!!!!

  68. Claudia: I jumped through FIRE hoops for this person and yes I got burned – but then again ONLY a disordered person would make you jump through hoops for them to begin with x0 Linda

  69. Kelli and Claudia: Yes I trusted too easily and not only in romantic situations but with people and friends in general; I have been used and taken advantage of by more than my full share. Seems I have been there for them when they need me in a pinch but they are long and far gone when I reach out to them; they are USERS and your right Kelli just because I stick with my boundaries does not mean I am trying to hurt them I am only protecting myself from further harm. I am learning to do this more and more now.

    I will have to say that I KNEW something was also weird RIGHT AWAY with the x path something just did not feel comfortable I felt very uneasy because the red flags were falling from the skies and I was ignoring them – I had tunnel vision and my focus was on what he was promising me that was MY FAULT for not saying SLOW DOWN, STOP, THINK this man is coming on WAY TOO FAST this is real life Linda not some movie or fairytale – yes that was my fault but the lies, act, and mask will always and forever be his fault and the core of his disorder. Those that are not deserving of our trust always resort to gaining that trust through deception and manipulation; they patiently wait until under false pretense until they have gained that trust – because in reality they were never worthy of our love or trust, seems to me that is even more proof of how unworthy they have always known they were of us. What does that say about someone who needs to use trickery to gain our trust? Tells me the intent was NEVER GOOD Just my thoughts tonight x0 Linda

  70. Linda, I think trust has to do with both boundaries and personality. If one’s friendly and open with people in personality, then one has to be more vigilant about setting up boundaries and watching out for red flags. But, as you imply, psychopaths get even people who are more cautious, through lies and hiding and mirroring their personalities. That’s why the issue of boundaries and being able to spot the signs of pathology becomes so important for all of us, whether we have more reserved or more open personalities. Claudia

  71. Linda, that’s true. Asking others to jump through hoops is a sign you like control. A very bad sign! Claudia

  72. Well, isn’t THIS an interesting mornin! My friend just wrote me an email late last night, telling me that my ex texted her again and said he was going to be in her state on Nov. 8th, wanting to see her. She said she would not be around when he’s there. Then she asked if he was married and that she heard he was, and he DANCED AROUND THE ISSUE, DID NOT SAY YES OR NO!!!!! the text I shared here earlier, was BAIT to see if she was open to him. She IGNORED him and then he tried again ANYWAY. UNBELIEVABLE! HE’s only been married for a few months. Why hit up another woman if you’re an newlywed and he didn’t bother to tell her FIRST that he was married again!! WOW!!!!!! Yep, this was God. Totally. What a bastard! HA! She’s onto him and told me about it! I LOVE IT! How much more confirmation can you get about a wicked SNAKE! I’m glad she foiled his plans!! He’s desperate to triangulate! ASSHOLE! No wonder I’ve been getting calls left and right! It’s nice to know, nothing has changed! Kel

  73. Claudia: i was thinking of being too trusting and not having solid boundaries and the mistakes I made during the idolization period. He was an extremely experienced predator and as I look back HE KNEW I had boundaries it wasnt until 6 months or so into the relationship that he started to slowly test them. If he had presented himself as who he really was initially I would have had NO INTEREST – I am sure some women that are completely amoral would have not cared either way but again we know that would not have been as much fun for him. I blame myself in ONE area in his predation of me; I believed that another person could give me with what was missing in my life but here is the catch I didnt realize at that time that the very things I thought he would give me were NOT the things that would have even given me happiness or filled in what was missing. Yes my marriage was lonely, yes I felt VERY ALONE at that time of my life, but what the path offered me was just a fleeting image of what would resolve all my problems. In reality I resolved HIS problems more than he ever cared about mine; I fed his disorder while my problems were ALWAYS there. I am glad I AM THE ONE who at least figured out this is not what makes someone happy internally he will never figure that out. He will continue with others to pretend to be the answer to their dreams as the bait to feed his sickness and not only with his new targets but who he lives with as well.

    I have noticed in all my connection to others this is the ONE thing that victims of psychopaths have a difficult time letting go of: Is he happier or more content now who he is with? This should not be my concern and its easier said than done. He is about as happy and content with her as he was with me IT NEVER LASTS, at most its just convenient for them and they play it out for as long as they can, just as he did with me. The more I focus on making my own life happier the less I will care about his and thats pretty damn hard to do when you are so broken, unfortunately its something I can only fix Linda

  74. Kelli: Although we never get closure from them I believe through our suffering life and/or God works in mysterious ways. They gotta have that power,control triangulation in their lives – its what feeds the predator and your predator is on the active hunt to feed his disorder BIG TIME. Their marriage and partners means NOTHING to them; in fact I think they only have marriage and partners so the symbol of a triangle is complete, their partners represent one line on the triangle, ha ha how would you like to play the role of a “triangle” married to them? Personally I prefer to have a more meaningful symbol such as a heart maybe …… x0x0 Linda

  75. Linda,

    I’ve been emailing with my now friend, all morning. She is going to contact his wife and tell her what he’s doing. Even if she doesn’t believe my friend, she said at least she has the information and to watch her bank account before he destroys that and her! She said he is very clear about wanting to triangulate with her. We shall see. But for me now, the cog/dis is completely gone and it helps that we support each other and know who he is. Without a doubt! Kel

  76. Kelli: Also remember as much as this new founded information is giving you some peace and closure its a form of contact. I would ALSO be delighted to hear of his love triangulations from other sources but I would have to be REAL CAREFUL to know when to stop in knowing what he is up to and what he is doing. Its so human and natural to want to know this. Remember those famous words, “The beast is gone” x0x0 Linda

  77. Kelli – Hope that bastard gets what he deserves but they always find a way to wheezle their way out of situations like this – She may not believe your friend but she will be watching him like a hawk any woman would …. The cheating radar will go up thats for sure I am so happy this has helped you with the cog dis and you know in your heart that there is NEVER one woman that they can ever change for, x0x0 Linda

  78. Linda,

    My friend is determined but she is constantly saying, “now you stay out of this, you’ll get hurt if he knows we’ve talked!”

    She’s trying to get in touch with her now. She probably won’t believe her, but at least that information is in her head. she’s also going to tell her that he had a ten year affair with me. She’s not afraid to tell her. GOOD FOR HER!!! WOOT!! Miserable son of a BITCH! Kel

  79. Linda,

    I AM GOOD! This friend and I will REMAIN friends. She never speaks to him. he contacted her and her telling me this is not painful, but a huge RELIEF! This is HUGE for me. The predator on the prowl. WOW, it’s just crazy! Kel

  80. Linda,

    It’s true that this helps, but I hope it helps you too. It’s a guarantee that yours is doing the same. You just don’t know about it. And that’s the difference. I needed this, and it was a very personal answer to prayer. And boy was I answered more than I could ever have hoped for. My closure was never going to come from him. But it sure did indirectly. God has used this woman more than once in my life for confirmation and validation. And I told her so too. I also told her she has spectacular radar and she said, “THANK GOD!” Yep. Kel

  81. BTW,

    Happy Halloween everyone! Have fun tonight, whatever it is you’re doing! Michael, Julian, do they do the Halloween thing in Britain/Canada? I was amazed to find out Thanksgiving was a different day in Canada than it is here. Kel

  82. Kel, you got a great Halloween present, didn’t you? Confirmation that the psychopath is as sleazy as ever! It sure helps to have the proof: not just you, but also others in similar situations reading this blog. Psychopathy and monogamy is as much of a contradiction in terms as psychopathy and empathy. Happy Halloween everyone! I’m getting ready for about 300 kids showing up at our door trick or treating. Claudia

  83. Hi Kel, YES a timer. He only started that this summer. He decided anytime I wanted to respond or reply to what he was saying this was rude and I was “interrupting”. In actuality, it is what is called having a CONVERSATION! Unless he’s doing the speaking, he doesn’t consider it a conversation. Then he started also “drawing me a picture” of what he was talking about as well as setting the timer. LOL. It’s actually funny to me now becuase he would change the point he was trying to make so many times, he couldn’t follow his own picture.

    I’m a very matter of fact, cut to chase, let’s get to the point kind of person. So, I would just say “Okay, what exactly do you want from me? An apology? A promise not to be late? Be specific so I know what behaviors I need to take a look at and adjust.” He would say you never say I’m sorry. So, then I’d apologize for making him wait 15 minutes for me. (even though I had already!) Then, he’d say “You don’t get it, it’s not about an apology!” Then change his stance on what it was he wanted. Ludicrous!

    I realize now this is about the time he began seeing the other girl.So, he was seeing just how far he could push me so I’d discard him. lol. So transparent and ridiculous and juvinille.

    He’d do the berate while I was trying to fall asleep as well. Then when he was satisifed that I’d been adequetely punished want sex. They are so infantile.


  84. Claudia, Kelli, Julian, and all. Happy Halloween.

    Linda and Lisa, it is so true that we found ourselves continually jumping through hoops. It is almost as though they are not satisfied unless they are creating a dynamic that resolves purely around them; and that they are the centre of attention. Their objective, whether they are conscious of it or not, is to suck every bit of emotional energy from us that they can before they spit us out like a fish bone. MIchael

  85. Kelli, I can relate to your avoidance around certain stimuli; music for example. I think this links into cognitive dissonance triggers. Michael

  86. Michael, what an apt analogy! In a very similar vein, in my novel The Seducer I describe the psychopath using his wife like a tube of toothpaste, emptying out every bit of her energy before tossing the empty tube into the garbage. Whichever metaphor we use, the concept–and reality–is the same: psychopaths use, drain and then discard their targets. Claudia

  87. Claudia, it’s interesting; one aspect of my research, my own experience, and talking to other people who have experienced a pathological relationship is that they felt drained of emotion, their vitality, and were left feeling like shadows of their former selves. This is a theme running through bordrline, narcissistic, and psychopathic pathology. Michael

  88. HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE: My friend saw her x path for the first time in over a year, she ran into him at work and she said it was like seeing “The night of the living dead” ha ha no expression at all, said NOTHING to her the only thing he said was YOU DUMPED ME you started dating others, I told her to tell him well I wanted to start dating the human species again vs a reptile ha ha She said he had a stone cold facial expression and it was rather creepy to witness. I am going to LMAO if I get any vampires knock on my door tonight and if I get a lizzard well…. that would just be too much to take in. Kelli do keep us posted when the lovely wealthy MRS is informed; maybe he wont have access to his instant cash partner in the days ahead? So happy “HALLOW” to all the paths out there x0x0 Linda

  89. Kel – Oh I have no DOUBT my x is doing the same he was doing it on the same day he idolized me right to the very end when he discarded me he NEVER STOPPED his poor GF has probably been discarded over a million times during their relationship and she didnt even know it – he is probably sexually spent 3/4 of their time together and I am sure the old reptile just blames it on being too tired from work or what have you – I am surprised he doesnt shed his skin like snakes do around the house ha ha ha This is great what a “Hallow weenie this will be for your x tonight!!! Linda

  90. Michael, Linda and Kel, I can’t resist! Here’s the passage of The Seducer where I make the toothpaste tube analogy. It’s about a similar situation to the one Kel found out about her psychopathic ex, where he drains his wife of money and emotion, has already drained his mistress Ana of love, her family, etc.–got a nice triangulation going–plus has numerous other sexual flings on the side. Claudia

    “Because once you become more comfortable with your own body, you’ll also be less inhibited with me. And that will make us both happy,” he pursued, still wishing to squeeze out, like from a nearly empty tube of toothpaste, the remaining sexual use-value of his fiancée.
    “I hope so,” Karen replied, her tone not quite matching his in optimism. When they hung up the phone that previous evening, he really needed a pick-me-up. Or rather, a pick-her-up, he thought, easily amused, as usual, by his own puerile play on words.
    Later, as he looked into the mirror and combed his dark, shinny hair away from his forehead, Michael felt satisfied with himself. The reigns of power are back in my hands, he observed, feeling like he had handled the breakup with Ana pretty well. No depression, no mourning period, no nothing. He had jumped right back into the saddle. This thought reminded him of Hallie, or Hollie, or whatever her name was, who was probably still waiting for him in the bedroom.

  91. All – Halloween reminds me of something he said to me when I asked him if he received many trick or treaters he said, I dont pass out candy my gf does that because if it were me I would hide behind my bushes and throw shit at them. I remember saying how would you have liked some mean sob to throw shit at you when YOU were a child trick or treating and he laughed – great guy eh? and to think this was the guy who wanted to have a child with me, what a joke I will never forget that NEVER nobody NORMAL even thinks of saying such things Linda

  92. Claudia, I haven’t read the Seducer (yet!); but this captures their ability to move seamlessly and emotionlessly from one relationship to another. Michael

  93. Yup, we do the Halloween thing here in Canada too. Thanksgiving is several weeks earlier than in the USA because of our colder climate; the harvest is earlier as a result. – Julian.

  94. Lisa, by ex would berate me also late at night in bed. And when she was satisfied that she had thrashed me enough, she would want sex – which at that point, was the last thing on my mind. It seems to be a characteristic of psychopaths that they cannot grasp the fact that abuse is not an aphrodisiac. – Julian.

  95. Michael, I could not have expressed these sentiments any better. They leave us feeling so drained and weak, and it takes a long time to recover from that. – Julian.

  96. I was thinking the same thing Linda, about the contact. Maybe I’m missings something, but I’m also wondering why she’s engaging him at all? Why even answer his calls? Now that she does have info to give the wife. But, he’ll have a good excuse and a way of denying it that’ll satisfy her enough that she’ll go into denial and accept it most likely.

    The first girl who Dumbass started seeing while we were together didn’t believe me when I warned her about him.She knew all about me though. She was very aware he and I had been together several years and were still together. Somehow he managed to convince her I was psycho and only trying to hurt her. No doubt he’s told the new one the same thing. He has this very boyish, gentle soul, charming way that you couldn’t imagine he would be anything but tender and kind.

    It is great for all of us to know the cycle does go on and continue whether we are in the picture or not.


  97. Most definitely!

    There is a piece of me still that is in denial though. Denial that I meant and mean absolutely nothing. As important as yesterdays news. A bit of interest in the moment but today’s a new day and time to get on with current affairs. We just have been through so many, many, years and moments of intense emotion together. I just choose not to let those thoughts enter my psychie. When they begin I divert myself to all the negative, or just think about all the wonderful opportunities I have in my own life this moment. I think that is the key. To spend less and less time on them & the past, and more and more thinking time on ourselves in the present and future.

    Think of where we have to go from here! It’s got to be up right? Just about anyone would be better than who we had.

  98. Lisa, this is not an easy song to learn, so you must be pretty good with your guitar! It’s nice to meet a fellow guitarist on this blog; I play both a Fender Telecaster electric and a beautiful rich-sounding Takamine acoustic guitar. One thing I’ve found is that my ability to play is directly correlated with my level of healing from the psychopathic experience. I think that music comes from the heart and soul, and if they’re hurting, the music suffers as well. BTW Michael, I’ve been working on Sultans of Swing for some 20 years now, and I can finally do a half-decent version of it. Another song that I often enjoy is Sarah McLaughlin’s “Building a Mystery” which works equally well in acoustic or electric versions, and. Is somewhat psychopathic in nature. – Julian.

  99. Michael, I know! For my ex he definitely found my suffering a great turn on. The more I was suffering the more sex he wanted.

    I feel so foolish. In the beginning of our relationship, w/in the 1st year. He even told me, “You know I”m kinda hard on you. But, sometiimes I just hurt you on purpose because I like the challenge of seeing if I can win you back.”

    If I’d of known then…….

  100. Julian, Nothing can move my soul like music. It’s my life’s blood. 🙂 There were times in the beginning of our first long break/discard, that I couldn’t listen to music because it was simply too painful. Then I could listen, but not to certain songs. I still have a hard time w/particular songs.

    What I found so interesting, is that it had been nearly a year and I just couldn’t heal, I was still in so much pain and ruminating over everything I’d been through w/Dumbass. Then I started learning this particular song, and another called Sympathy. At first I couldn’t get through them w/out breaking down. As you may know, when working on a song it requires lots of repitition to get all the parts down and flowing nicely, timing, rhythm all that. Then add the vocals which are equally as challenging for me. So, I would literally be working on these songs 100’s of times. Well, that became my therapy. One day, I suddenly realize, I’m no longer crying. This piece didn’t break me down. I’m no longer ruminating. Aha! I found the cure. Music can be very, very theraputic and healing in that way. Incidentely both those songs Sympathy and Here is Gone were both written when he was going through a divorce that was devastating for him.

    Wow, a Fender Telecaster and a Takamine?!!! Both great guitars! My uncle has one of each of those as well as a 1965 Moserite! One of the original prototypes, worth some 56,000 or something. He let me play it a couple of times before I really had any appreciation for it’s value. Now, I’d be too afraid. I revere it too much. 🙂

    A good friend of mine, who is an amazing guitarist. I think one of the best there is. Said it took him 10 years to learn that Sultans of Swing piece. He’s still “perfecting” it. 😀

  101. lisa – a Thug would have been better than what I had ha ha well not really but even a supreme ass hole would have been better!!! Its takes SO MUCH time to come to terms with the fact we meant NOTHING, but you know what Lisa in coming to terms with that it also means we come to accept that NOBODY ELSE means anything to them either that is the beauty of it when its all said and done x0 Linda

  102. Claudia,

    300!! Happy Halloween to you too Claudia!

    I can’t believe how shocked I was when my ex actually did begin dating someone else. I thought he was the type that would never do that even after spending 3 years with him. I still have a hard time thinking of him cheating once he’s married. He’s so good at faining being a loyal man. I know that is so completely strange. Hmm…well not going to give it another thought. Going home and getting ready for my trick or treaters too.

  103. All, through all of this, I’ve learned some lessons from my friend who is currently being targeted by my ex: Not everyone thinks that your ex is that great, in fact, they CAN see right through them. What is so OBVIOUS to her, took me years to accept. Her radar is excellent. His asshole-ness didn’t take long to see at all. I wonder how many others see the same thing now, but because I was idealizing HIM, I thought he was so good at hiding. He’s not good at hiding to those who are healthy, understand unhealthy and how WEIRD he is upon meeting or dating. They will always have victims, always, but I would venture a guess to say that most are not in a good place when they encounter the psychopath, which makes him look appealing, rather than the repulsive creature that he/she is. When I think about it now, everyone around me saw his shallowness and knew he was an asshole. On another site, a blogger said this “REMEMBER THE ONE YEAR RULE”, even the best psychopaths can’t keep their mask on for that long. Don’t get married, committed, anything, for AT LEAST one year. Good advice. they’re sure to screw it up, and mine did, with each one of us,within the first six months. Kel

  104. Linda, psychopaths are thugs:). Kel, the one year rule is great, but psychopaths can be very patient. Didn’t your ex court you as a friend for one or two years? However, in very close and intimate contact they tend to wave quite a few red flags over the course of a year. If you watch carefully, without becoming too attached or blinded by love, then they become very obvious. The problem is that most victims are either not close enough to the psychopath (just acquaintances or casual affairs who don’t get to know him well) or too close (blinded by love and attachment). It’s difficult to maintain the right distance to see the truth. Claudia

  105. Lisa, they move on so easily because they never bond to begin with. And their attachments are multiple and simultaneous. They line several options, rank them in terms of which are their momentary top priorities, and go through them. Usually, by the time the relationship is shaky or over, you’re already very low on their priority list. Claudia

  106. Michael, I’ll let everyone on the blog know when it’s out in print via a post, just as I did with Dangerous Liaisons. Claudia

  107. Claudia

    I was friends with him for two years. Yes, there were red flags. I ignored them. Had I been healthier, it would have been much easier to identify. Kel

  108. Claudia, Linda, Kel, Michael, All, Today, in particular tonight, has been especially difficult for me because I wasn’t only a part of his life, but his kids were a big part of my life as well. I was essentially their stepmom for the better part of 6 years. I bonded with them as if they were my own, especially his daughter who was 2 when we got together. Dumbass is very codependent (I suppose they all are right?) So, there wasn’t a day for many years that I wasn’t w/the kids the same amount of time as he was. In fact, I think I was more involved with them because I was the main care taker when they were with their dad they were really with (me). So, a night like tonight, Halloween, is a night when I would be very involved with getting his daughter ready for trick or treating, carving pumpkins all those wonderful things. She and I spent a great deal of time together this summer as well. She had many sleep overs with me w/out her dad this summer.We are like mother & daugther. It’s been tremendously hard on her having this revolving door of women in/out of her life. He uses her for bait by introducing his women to her w/in the first 3 dates to set up the “good dad” appearance. Then she has to lie to me and not tell me about these women. I’m rambling, sorry. The point is this is a night that holds many special memories for me with his kids. I did an incredibly stupid thing tonight and looked at his fb. Not sure why I even did that. Well, of course he just uploaded photos of his daughter carving pumpkins and baking cookies with his new gf. I have no doubt he did it specifically hoping I would see it since I unblocked him a few hours ago so I could look at it. He loves to taunt me in that way. I know, my own fault for letting curiosity get the best of me.

  109. Lis

    For your emotional well being, you cannot look at that stuff. If you’re that tempted to look at his FB, then disable FB altogether until you are not tempted to look. I had to do this too and it was enormously helpful. I wish you hadn’t seen that. You’re right, this is exactly what he’d want you to see. While your pain is very understandable, try to think of it in this way: The new gf is YOU. She is now you. This will not be the only woman either. I know it’s hardest on the children. My ex used his daughter too as bait. His son not so much, who is just like him. But his daughter is sweet as sweet can be. It’s very sad when the children are used in this way. You, unfortunately, have no control over how he uses people, including his own children. It is a grieving process that you have to go through. I’m so sorry about this for you and for this child. Take the FB down for awhile, looking at this stuff is very, VERY unhealthy for you. Kel

  110. Oh PS: I meant to post how helpful your comments were for me, all of your comments, Linda, Kel, Claudia, Michael & Julian. That’s the reason I started the last post,but sort of got off track. So thank you for helping me keep things in perspective when I have times like this. 🙂

  111. Lis,

    You’ll be good. It’s just the cog/dis, but you make it much worse when you CHEAT AND PEEK! UGH! STOP THAT! 🙂 Kel

  112. Lisa, It’s all to easy to have these moments of weakness. I think for me these moments of weekness became fewer and far between as I recovered more. Getting over the shock that you were so easily and quickly replaced takes some getting used too (to say the least!).

    I can empathise with you re with the children scenario. My ex had one son, and I bonde with him, and he used to love playing football on the field at the back of her house. He often asked if I was staying or when I was comming back. This like all else had no currency with her at all. I supported her in court over issues with child care arangements with her ex; I did so relectantly because I knew she was being unreasonable in many respects with her ex and holiday arangements. The mediator who attended asked me to sign a form as a responsible adult in his life and his mums partner. Mean while she was seducing someone on facebook at the very same time. I was dumped 6 weeks later and she plugged immediately into him. I was literally deleted.

    The problem with moments of weakness is that it can exacerbate cog dis symptoms. Michael

  113. Michael, Kel, Thank you! Wow, Michael what a b*tch! lol…that’s the first thought that came to mind when I read that. I too helped him get custody of his kids 8 years ago. He wouldn’t even HAVE them had it not been for me. He was court ordered to take a parenting class before they could even consider allowing him to file for joint custody or more than every other weekend visits. He was allowed to choose the class. He chose an online class and duped me into taking it for him because he’s a shitty writer. I see now it’s because he wasn’t able to make sense of the “common sense” parenting issues that deal with pesky things like emotions, feelings and sensitivities to others.

    He was ordered to take it because at the time his daughter was just 2 and he’d been seperated, I’m not sure exactly how long, less than a yr. Anyway, he took the kids camping and she fell into the campfire sustaining 3rd degree burns. He refused to take her to the hospital because he didn’t want to “look bad” to his ex wife. I don’t get that logic unless he thought in 24 hrs it would heal? Idiot.
    The forest ranger at the campground made him leave because he wouldn’t get medical treatment for her. I recall when he first told me the story he expressed annoyance at her for “screaming” so much it scared the other people at the camp ground so the ranger over reacted. Good grief! She’s 2!!!!! She fell in a fire.It wasn’ t even about the other people he could see her severe burns. Efin idio! I get mad just recalling this event.
    There are multiple stories of him neglecting his kids medical needs. I’m just glad I was around during those years when they were younger because I would just take care of it. Now, they’re old enough tohandle it themselves, or call their mom if they really need something while with their dad.

    Thankfully, I’m doing better about it. Kel set me straight by reminding me not to attribute “human” qualities to him. I don’t know how to deal with missing the kids. The daughter mainly, his son’s a junior in HS and is rarely around anymore. So, I haven’t seen much of him the last few years. He avoids his dad as much as possible. I’m sure I’ll get an email or phone call or txt from him at some point telling me she misses me. He does that each time I’m “discarded” to bait me. Ass!

    (I never used to curse either. See how they infect us. 🙂

  114. Lisa, Michael and everyone, psychopaths use their own children the way they use everyone else: as possessions (to boast “Daddy’s little girl (or boy)”; to have the appearance of normalcy and being a family man; to lure women into thinking they are kind-hearted, dependable and capable of commitment and caring towards others; to have yet one more person, more impressionable than all the rest, a child, to control and manipulate and exert power over; and, last but not least, if you have kids with a psychopath (which fortunately you don’t) to maintain power over you. Gary’s ex is doing that to him. Gary, if you’re reading this thread, we’d love to hear an update about the custody battle from you. And we hope you have some good news about it.

    Lisa, I’m sorry to hear that Halloween was triggering for you, but am not surprised. Those who aren’t disordered truly bond with children, who are the innocent victims of their parent’s personality disorder. But if you’re fortunate enough not to be stalked or cyberstalked by your ex, don’t bring up the memories by yourself by looking him up on Facebook or anywhere else. I know it’s tempting and curiosity can get the best of you, however, Kel is right that it sets you back in your recovery. Claudia

  115. Kelli, no offense to your friend, but I beg to differ. My ex fools absolutely everyone on a daily basis, and no one suspects that she’s a dangerous psychopath. It’s only the potential victims who are targeted by the psychopath that need to keep their “radar” well-honed, and frankly, your ex – a newly married man actively looking for flings – is just a jerk, and you don’t need particularly good radar to spot jerks. I’ve had married women make passes at me, and I find that irritating and repulsive. Absolutely no radar required; it gives me the creeps!

    I suspect that most of the psychopaths we encounter in our daily lives are not such obvious jerks, or at the very least they keep their philandering out of the public eye. That makes them a lot more dangerous than the “obvious jerk” kind.

    I think many of us were simply lonely and vulnerable when the psychopath targeted us, and that’s why we fell for the bait (and this is where good radar is necessary!). If I’m not mistaken, your new friend is interested in someone else, so she’s likely to be even more immune to the panderings of your ex because she isn’t lonely and vulnerable.

    As Claudia has pointed out in numerous articles, it’s much harder for those actively engaged in the psychopathic bond to see the disordered behaviour. It’s inconsistent with what we fondly recall from the earlier idealization phase, and so we excuse it or rationalize it away. Your friend was never in that bond, so it was very easy for her to see the behaviour clearly.

    Kelli, I’m worried that you’re comparing your friend’s “good radar” with your own “bad radar” (please don’t do that!) – when radar has very little to do with the her situation.

    I too think that the “one-year rule” is really good advice; thanks for bringing it up. Psychopaths like to rush everything, and they get frustrated and impatient when forced to wait. Once they get frustrated, the mask immediately slips and the red flags start flying. So the one-year rule is likely to make the psychopath show his true colours sooner rather than later, I would think. – Julian.

  116. Lisa, I’m so happy that playing music works for you. I find that it requires my full attention – mind, heart and soul – to play properly, and that can shove all the swirling thoughts away, if at least temporarily. And yes, I’m still “perfecting” Sultans of Swing and a bunch of other classics also. It’s a lifetime effort. 🙂 – Julian.

  117. Lisa, like Claudia says, psychopaths will use anyone and anything to achieve their nefarious goals. My ex still has one of my two cats – after two months of trying to make arrangements to pick up the cat, it became painfully clear that she was using my cat to yank me around, and I decided to go no-contact and sadly had no choice but to leave my cat with her. Then about three months later, she sent me a photo of my cat as a hoovering tactic. The creep. – Julian.

  118. Julian,

    Thank you for your post! On the contrary, about this time last year, my friend was going through a difficult time in her relationship with her lover. She went to high school with my ex and met him again at a high school reunion. Right after this, he love bombed her for two and a half months, before suggesting he fly down for “three nights of dates” while he was going to be in town visiting his brother. So she had three dates with him. It was during those dates, as well as the last day, when they really got to talking and he lied to her (about everything), and he was demanding (showed up to her house to take him to the airport when she didn’t say she’d take him), as well as ignored her children (they didn’t like him), that she knew something was VERY WRONG. It wasn’t until after he was home, that i contacted her through FB and found out what had happened. She realized she was VULNERABLE as a result of her difficulty with her lover which made her an open target to a personality disordered person. It took her three days to see it, after dating in person and after two and a half months of flowers, gifts, wine, calling and singing to her on the phone, texts, emails, fb chats, where she said he played games and would not answer direct questions. It all added up to her, but not UNTIL she saw him in person. SO yes, her radar was very good. Had I had my eyes open, i would have seen this man for what he was. I did not. My vulnerability was much more than just loneliness, it was outright fear. But that’s another story.

    I don’t compare myself to her with our radars, with the exception that I wished that mine had been that good at the time I met my ex. but it is what it is. My radar is pretty sharp now. I am seeing where I need work though on my self esteem. This friend of mine owns her own business and is quite successful. Apparently, my ex finds that very appealing. Something that I’m not. Kel

  119. Kelli, thanks, I stand corrected! Your friend did certainly have good radar and withstood the love-bombing despite her vulnerability. It’s great that you compared notes with her and averted a potentially disastrous situation. Him showing up at her house expecting a lift to the airport was a pretty extreme example of complete disrespect; I’m surprised that he displayed such radically bizarre behaviour so early on. – Julian.

  120. Julian, interesting you mention cats. My ex gave me his cat this summer. It’s a lovely cat with good manners. Nonetheless, I didn’t ask for her,not quite sure why he even brought her over to my house when he did. Now when I look at this poor sweet cat I have to fight the urge to not like her because I associate her with him. Ug. My ex also would refuse to return things not only my things, but when he would “discard” me for this brief liasons with others, he’d often hold onto their things as well and refuse to return them. Such a studid controlling manipulative waste of time. I knew this about him though and also knew where he kept his key. So, I simply went in one day and got my stuff. I had my own key for a while, so I didn’t think of it as too big of a deal.

    Kel/Julian: Most people who know my ex, (coworkers mainly) he doesn’t have friends outside of work, (even those friends aren’t necessarily close). Most think he’s just this sweet gentle guy. But, others think he is odd and socially awkward. When I recentely told one of my coworkers, whose ex husband is a psychopath and serving time in jail now for molesting young children! Her and I both worked with my ex, which is how we met. Now she and I are together at another school. When I mentioned to her my suspicions about my ex, she immediately, said “OH!” that makes sense! He has very little affect.” He rarely smiles and sort of slowly muddles about. He reminds me of Eyore from Winnie the Pooh. lol. At first some take this as shy, gentle, & sensitive. Actually, its distant, removed and cold.

    Gotta pick kids up from PE. 🙂

  121. Lisa,

    Mine was “calm, cool and collected”. that’s how I read it….TOTALLY WRONG, he was cold, unempathetic and EMOTIONLESS, no anxieties whatsoever. It didn’t dawn on me until the last three years of the relationshit when a few of his coworkers passed away and he felt NOTHING that I realized just how UNEMOTIONAL he was. Never shed one tear and he worked with these people for over twenty years. Amazing shit. UGH! I so get what you’re saying. I’m sorry about the cat though. I begged to take my ex’s dog, because I believe he neglected her, until his kids came home on “his” week. It would have been far better for her, than it was with him. Kel

  122. Julian,

    that was just her way of getting a “dig” on you. It was MEAN. Kel

  123. Julian,

    Disgusting, isn’t it? Yep, he displays this behavior wherever he goes. Kel

  124. My ex neglected his cat as well which is the reason he used to give her to me. But, he doesn’t typicallyt give a hoot about anything unless it directly affects him. I think it was more an excuse to come over that particular day when I’d asked him to leave me alone.

  125. Kelli, thanks so much. Yeah, it was so MEAN! When I told my mom about that, she exclaimed “swinia!” (“pig!” in Polish). There’s just no limit to how low these pigs will go to get a “dig” on us, as you put it. – Julian.

  126. Lisa, I’m a big-time cat lover (I used to have three, and have fostered many more), so I sincerely hope you’ll find it in your heart to overlook the association with your ex. Your little sweetheart is just another innocent pawn in your ex’s games and certainly deserves better. Just love her and she’ll love you back thrice. Cats are wonderful at that.

    I wish I could have done as you did and just raided my ex’s house to retrieve my cat and my other belongings, but we live 400 miles apart with a USA/Canada border crossing in between. I’ve seen my ex’s rages and vengefulness, and I was deathly afraid that she’d report me to the police and tell them to arrest me when I crossed the border. So I really didn’t have a choice.

    As to why he gave the cat to you, that’s anyone’s guess. Like me, you’ve experienced a cycle or two of Christmas and birthdays, and you’re probably confused about the psychopath’s gift-giving (and receiving) abilities. They stem from an utter lack of empathy. My ex was a wine aficionado (I’m not), so she gave me a set of fine wines for Christmas (so that she could drink them, of course).

    Gift receiving was even more bizarre. For her birthday, I booked a romantic dinner cruise on a fancy floating restaurant ship. She freaked out because I had not consulted her about it beforehand. Control freak or what?

    Your comparison to Eeyore really made me laugh! So descriptive!

    One final caveat: don’t try too hard to understand your ex and his motivations. Without empathy, compassion or remorse, he’s really, really twisted. It’s really hard for us to get into that frame of reference, and a lot of unnecessary rumination can result if we try. – Julian.

  127. Claudia, Yes, it certainly did. Not sure who tortures me more at times, him, or me. Well, this was a lesson learned. No good can come of it. I’m so very glad I have this venue and all of you who know first hand what I’m going through. This is where I’ll come next time I have that urge. I know it’s fleeting and it’ll go away if I wait it out. I just need reminding of that from time to time.

    I was talking w/Julian,(I think on a different thread) how at this moment I am no longer ruminating, but more like vascillating between the varying emotions, of anger, pain, sadness, indifference and even humor now. I am finding some of the ridiculous things he would say and do comical now. That’s a great place to be. :0

    I am so very fortunate I am not being stalked. If that were the case, I don’t know how strong I would be. I may or may not have the courage to resist temptation. I am very sorry for any of you that are currently being stalked or contacted. I admire you courage and strength in taking care of yourself and protecting yourself above all else.

    Yes, I ‘m also thankful not to have children with him. Can’t believe I seriously wanted to at one point.

    I haven’t met Gary yet, but do hope he’s fairing well.

  128. All, this is a very good little article, very succinct and yes; always good to be reminded. This captures my exes behaviour perfectly! Michael

  129. Michael, this article is by our friend and fellow psychopathy blogger, Sarah Strudwick. She’s the author of the book Dark Souls, which I reviewed on this blog. Claudia

  130. Lisa, it’s very normal for victims of psychopaths to first ruminate, as we spot retrospectively all the red flags we ignored while with the psychopath; then, once we absorb this information, to oscillate as you do between anger at the psychopath for such deceit and manipulation and frustration with our own selves for going along with it for however long we did. Yes, you’re incredibly fortunate not to have children with him. Often psychopaths have children with their targets just to maintain a hold on them for life and also to show off their virility/sexual prowess. Claudia

  131. Michael,

    This was a good post, although I didn’t know it was Sarah’s. I love her blog.

    Funny, I wonder how long, on average, the honeymoon phase lasts. I was never idealized the way a lot of you were. Now, three months into marriage, mine is trolling. It’s been eight months since they met. It’s interesting to me because this was about as far as he could “fake it” (eight months) before the mask would slip. Kel

  132. Michael and all: This was a good article, again reiterating their TOTAL lack of ability to love another human being. I cant speak for what you are trying to process at this stage (but I sense you are trying to understand and accept these creatures for what they are) but personally speaking on my stage of all this I AM DONE with all the self examination (so to speak) of all this. I have CLOSELY examined internally the reasons why I was a PERFECT TARGET and I will always in the future guard myself and this will NEVER happen to me again. Was this MY fault? Absolutely NOT!!!! There is not a person alive who has a conscience and can love that does not have weaknesses and/or vulnerabilities that these individuals can prey on. This sick relationshit was HIS FAULT and I was just another human being that he used to feed his emptiness. I fed his disorder because I loved passionately, I FEEL passionately, I believed he had the capacity to love me in return and quite frankly I am sick of this self blame because I fell victim to a psychopath; when its said and done how the relationshit turned sick and. unhealthy was THEIR doing, NOT OURS!!!
    They were the individuals that wore masks to hide their TRUE selves, NOT US, they were the ones with the invented personas and mirrors NOT US; I was always real and had the capacity to genuinely love another person – I am NOT THE ONE who faked this and emotionally raped someone – THEY WERE.

    In the article it states how the victims cant understand what they did wrong – I DID NOTHING WRONG, NONE OF US DID. We were just victims of this dangerous and damaging personality disorder and today I think I have earned the right and priviledge to blame this sick SOB in every way possible. I LOVED and was punished for it and that is about as sick as it gets x0x0 Linda

  133. Kel – The average honeymoon phases lasts until they KNOW you are hooked and you are in love and/or until they just cant fake it anymore which ever comes first I suppose – but they can fake for a lifetime because that is all they have known so it comes natural to them since they lack any true self. – WOW 8 months then already married, gotta get em while you can I guess – this is so typical once they marry you what they were is OVER instantly almost – many of them drop the mask on their honeymoon night x0x0 Linda

  134. Linda, I share your sentiments that we are definately not to blame. I personally have an issue with us as victims being labelled with codependency issues etc. Blame for what? Hello! I dont recall cluster b pathology and how to look out for these whack jobs being part of my school corriculum! Can you imagine Linda? “toady children we are going to learn about cluster b disorders, borderline, narcissism, and psychopathy- now these people come in the guise of the most perfect partner- only they are not, they are emotional blood sucking parasites who will suck the life blood out of you, then walk away saying over their shoulder- ‘you want closure for what!’. Turn to page 666 of your text and read the section on prolific mind games of the empty black hole”! Michael

  135. Linda,

    I think self blame is the wrong term, although I understand that sometimes we use it and/or flog ourselves for being in the relationshit at all. I know I flog endlessly, but in doing so, I don’t think self blame is the right word for what needs to be done with ourselves after the relationshit is over. The truth is, we WERE vulnerable, for some of us, it was simply loneliness, being single a long time, for others, it was troubles in marriage, for others yet maybe the death of a loved one, or the many victims who come from abusive homes, so the psychopath feels “familiar”. To acknowledge our vulnerabilities, isn’t self blame for what they psychopath did. It’s the opportunity to work on ourselves and what made us vulnerable in the first place, which for some, the revelation is rather simple, for others with backgrounds of abuse, it can be complicated and requires a lot of work. In my case, I was hooked on a fantasy, that came from deep in my childhood and is closely tied to my father, who is also a psychopath. There are many sexual abuse issues as well. Addressing those in therapy now is not fun, but it does help me to understand why I was vulnerable to my ex in the first place. It also creates an awareness so that I can come up with new boundaries and write a new narrative about my life now. My friend has that is currently being targeted by my ex, teaches me many lessons about this. She was married to a Narcissist and knows what it’s like. The scary thing is, that she was LONELY when my ex was targeting her last year and going through some issues with her man. After meeting my ex it took her only three days to see what was going on and that something was wrong WITH HIM, but also WITH HER. She was able to see it, after having spent years working on herself. Because she had done the work, learning to see quickly was a plus for her. It just meant, to her, that there was a little more work to do. I think that’s a healthy attitude. Truthfully, I can’t blame my ex completely for what he did to me. I stayed far too long and put up with far too much shit when it was clear he was abusive. I saw the red flags and IGNORED them because I wanted the fantasy. Granted, he held the carrot and dangled it with glee, but I chose to keep trying to grab it. I CHOSE. I was also addicted. No one makes a person drink alcohol, right? The only person who can stop the alcoholic from drinking, is the alcoholic. The only person who can stop being involved with a psychopath, is the victim. It was a choice to be in it, it was a choice to get out. This does NOT remove his responsibility in the slightest for being the predator that he is and the massive damage that he did. Not just to me, but a trail of victims. I wasn’t the first, I am not the last, as you can see. But now that I’m free, I can work on the vulnerabilities so that if I DO run into this again, I’ll see it like my friend did and breathe a sigh of relief and pat myself on the back that I spared myself yet another many years in a toxic relationship.

    Yesterday, my therapist told me that time and time again, the victims of trauma that she sees, when they choose to go through the grief and pain and push forward, no matter how slow, they ALWAYS come out as better people. Happier, healthier. When they choose to see THEIR part in what happened, ie: what made them vulnerable and work on those deeper issues or to learn new boundaries or both, they know what to look for and simply won’t allow it again in their lives. If they wind up with it, they know how to get rid of it immediately without a second thought to it, because they have learned to love themselves.

    Having been with a psychopath can be a gift in the end. A blessing. It’s all about perspective. Blaming him for everything keeps me stuck in his web. I just don’t want to be there anymore. I’m learning a lot about personal responsibility. It means far more than flogging myself, or self blame, it means something entirely different now. Kel

  136. Michael,

    Have you read “women who love psychopaths”? I realize it’s target audience is women, but it does apply to men as well. She outlines the super traits of women that are targeted by psychopaths. It’s our super traits on hyper drive, really.

    I’m in no way saying we are responsible for what they are and how they do it. These people are predators. But if we educate ourselves and do some self examination, there is usually a vulnerability there that the psychopath hooked into. It’s an opportunity to learn more about ourselves so that it doesn’t happen again. Putting the blame entirely on them, takes the responsibility off of ourselves and, I believe, keeps us further VICTIMIZED by our experience and by them. Truthfully, if you were as educated about it, as you appear to be now, would you have acknowledged the red flags from the very beginning? Once you recognize it, firm up boundaries, double check vulnerabilities, psychopaths become pretty transparent as well as predictable. Blaming them entirely, prevents us from seeing the truth about ourselves, and how we were vulnerable, and ironically, what this does, is to make us MORE vulnerable in the future. Kel

  137. Kelli, yes i have read sandra’s book several times. And yes I agree it applies equally well to men. I agree with you Kelli that we can through the process of education and awareness and learn how to spot these disordered people. Re red flags Kelli and spotting them now given what I have I learned? If I could rewind the clock to nearly eight years ago, my ex would have not got passed my first call after one date, when she said “oh thank god its you”! Idealisation!! nobody bonds that quickly. There were many other red flags that with hindsight should have raised alarms- but thats hindsight for you.

    Kelli I think there are so many things that we learn about ourselves as a direct result of a pathological encounter. I cannot and will not subscribe to any victim who was naive to these disorders being even slightly to blame for the pathological relationship dynamic. Only afterwards Kelli do we (in my view) become aware, and begin the process of self reflection, our pasts, familys, or any other influence in our backgrounds that rendered us vulnerable to victimisation. I can hold my ex, and indeed I do hold her completely accountable for her behaviour. I cannot hold myself accountable for someone who chose to decieve me at the level she did. I hold myself accountable for how I chose to deal with those awakenings, and how I chose to overlook the abuse and respond to it, and so on. My encounter Kelli has taught me so much about me, and I have so much more to learn; my journey is just beginning.

    But the way i see it kel, our encounter with pathology ultimately saves us from our own naivite that all people are intrinsically good and capable of love, and therefore equips us with a more knowing and informed position to be able to take care of ourselves and keep an eye on the ball and our vulnerabilities. Proportioning blame is a word that belongs in non pathological relationships; not pathological relationships. They are exploitative, liars, who lack those things we know to be the foundation of humanity. They are disordered, we are not. Michael

  138. Kelli, I would just like to share that if my previous post sounds bitter, that’s because I am bitter. But having said that, I now recognise that I’m at a stage in my own recovery that even my feelings of bitterness do not belong in my own experience of a pathological relationship. Any emotion we have doesnt belong; because that is our emotions still fooling us that we were in a relationship with someone who does not have the emotional disorder that is cluster b and psychopathy. I hope that makes sense. There was no relationship, not at all; and that is traumatic to grasp. Michael

  139. Michael,

    This is correct, which is why, in the aftermath, we are able to afford ourselves insight and perspective on what happened, by educating ourselves about the disorders, as well as delving into our own vulnerabilities and correcting them, along with our boundaries which is PRECISELY what makes us different from them. They are UNABLE to do this. It’s why every single relationship will end up the same way with a pathological. There is an article that Sandra wrote on her magazine site and I read it often titled “The other woman: now he is so happy with her!” She writes “If I were a gambling girl, I’d put my money every stinking time on the consistency of pathology and his inability to ever change in ANY relationship–the previous one, yours, or the future ones. She’s not getting the best of ANYTHING. She’s you. And in a short time, she’ll be another statistic. If pathology doesn’t change, this relationship is wired for destruction.”

    Now, why does she say this? because pathologicals are NOT able to have insight into their behavior, and cannot sustain positive change!

    But we ARE able too. It takes a lot of courage to look at yourself in such a deep way and acknowledge a vulnerability and CHANGE it, but it’s always for the better. They will go on and continue to be what they are, if not WORSE than before as they learn to hide better. But we become better. While they have no boundaries at all, we learn that we need to tighten up ours and learn to say “NO”. We learn to love ourselves, while they move on in hatred, revenge, envy and destruction of other lives.

    I don’t blame ANY victim of these people. And that was not my intent. I do however, believe that taking responsibility for ourselves and a deep reflection as to why we wound up in a relationship with one, helps us to grow in many fundamental and important ways all across the board, and after a time, it also takes away the power of the person who hurt us, the thing they would love is to know that we carry bitterness and hatred towards them. My goal is INDIFFERENCE. Acceptance and working on me. He doesn’t deserve that power from me anymore. When I work on myself, he doesn’t get it any longer. Kel

  140. Kelli, I agree with all you wrote in your previous post with the exception of one thing. The only reason we wound up in one is because we were not informed; not because we failed previous to our encounter to engage in some kind of hyperbole of self reflection. All the self awareness in the world wouldnt have prepared me for being broadsided for a psychopath. Being broadsided by a psychopath is the only thing that can illumiate us about how to avoid being broadsided by a psychopath. Having said that I also believe there is much scope for preventative measures through eductaion and awareness raising strategies. Michael

  141. Michael,

    I agree with you, learning about the pathology is key and central to prevention in the future in running into another. But it’s not JUST that, it’s ALL the elements, learning about Cluster B’s, looking honestly at our vulnerabilities and tightening up our boundaries. It’s a combination. And if you disagree with that, then we will agree to disagree! I think putting all the blame on the psychopath IN THE AFTERMATH, while NOT looking squarely at ourselves, makes us vulnerable still. In Sandra’s book, it’s said that the survey they did with women in the aftermath of psychopathic bond, FEW were completely healthy and satisfied in their lives. I believe that is very true. When you are living life to the fullest, satisfied, self aware and other aware and have boundaries and self reflection, which leads to personal growth, the chances of another pathological bond will be ZERO if not greatly reduced and/or, such as was in my friends case, you’ll see it right away and DUMP it completely! Kel

  142. Kelli, I’m curious; do you hold the position that the latter, i.e. looking honestly at our vulnerabilities and tightnening up our boundaries is a prerequisite to our recognising and avoiding cluster b’s? MIchael

  143. Which is an ok position; but i guess what I’m curious about is whether a prerequiste for the former is to have had experience of the latter? Sandra’s study also demonstrated that many of the women in her cohort where strong, self sufficient, and succesful women (which is not to say that they were infalibale and did not have vulnerabilities). Michael

  144. MIchael and Kelli, I agree with the point you each make that we are, and we aren’t responsible for the abuse we endured. We are in the sense that we each at some point saw red flags yet made choices to overlook them. On the same token, the dual msgs we received from the predators made it extraordinarily difficult to make good sound decisions for ourselves. In hingdsight I can defintely see where I made the first couple of mistakes and overlooked some red sirens that should have been paid attention to. Once I was in the relationship for, I’d say or year or more, is when I wasn’t prepared for how my ex would NOT let me go. For how he would play with my mind and keep extorting my emotions and affections for him.

    The first time I ever met my ex we went with group of coworkers to take a weekend beach retreat. He brought his kids. He and his kids were staying in the same house I was. From the minute he walked in the door and then sort of took over the house with messes and didn’t bring much food, yet expected me to prepare and provide meals for he and his children as well as to keep cleaning up after them. It seemed to me even then, that he was intentionally making the house as messy as possible to make me have to work harder to keep it clean, this annoyed me from the get go. Later that weekend we all went out to dinner and he “oops” forgets his wallet. My coworkers were just saying “oh, too bad what are you going to do?” I pipe in, “I’ll get your meals don’t worry about it. Pay me back later.” I think from that moment on he knew he had a victim lined up. Then on the drive back to the house he pulls up to Mcdonalds and wants dessert for he and his kids. We all knew he had no money and none of us were hungry, we had just finished a big meal at the restaurant. We each expressed a lack of interest in getting dessert. Because he was driving, he went through the drive through anyhow. I don’t recall to this day who paid for those desserts, me, him, another coworker, can’t remember.

    However, he was also completely dialed in to me. Wanting to spend every second of that trip, right by my side. Flattering me, sharing everything about himself to me. Flirting with me. It felt like we were a couple even though we had just met with how intimately he was speaking to me, with his low soft voice and subtle gaze, leaning in really close to keep our conversations secret and private from those around us. Every evening wanting to light a fire at the beach and sit next to me with a bottle of red wine and a blanket. Of course the beach is very windy so he’d want to share his blanket, or jacket with me as well.

    Not long after this, a month or two, he invited me to go camping with he and his kids. It wasn’t until we were on our way and had stopped at the store to fill the basket with food for the weekend and it came time to pay for the food that he mentioned he didn’t have any money. This was the defining moment for me. I realized at this point that this guy was less than forthcoming to say the least. I had decided to never go out with him again. My sister, however convinced me to give him the benefit of the doubt that maybe he did just “forget” to tell he had no money and wait to see if he ever paid me back. He did get the benefit of the doubt from me, but I of course never saw the money again. I was also unemployed at the time and he was gainfully employed. This is again the blaring red siren that I knew within my soul was wrong. I chose to listen to other people though and not trust myself. For that I am completely responsible for.

    As I reflect back I can see the mixed msgs already setting in from the very first time we met. I can also see how I was much too trusting and not nearly as as discerning as I should of been. The point I’m trying to make is, we are responsible for our choices. But, at certain point the mixed msgs we get and Jekly/Hyde personalities make our job of discerning right/wrong, what’s true, what’s not, very difficult. For that THEy are responsible for keeping us in the state of limbo not knowing what’s up or down, left or right.

    (This was many years ago and he has since perfected his charm a bit. I don’t believe he would be so blatantly inconsiderate from the get go with women these days.)


  145. Michael,

    It does, but why nullify that feeling by excusing it because what the psychopath felt wasn’t real? What we felt WAS real, every single emotion during the relationshit AND after. That’s what makes us human. Even though it hurts like hell, I want to embrace these emotions, many of which I wasn’t “‘allowed” to feel during the relationshit. My therapist says MOVE THROUGH THE EMOTIONS. Yep, you can’t go around it, but as time moves on, those hurt and angry emotions will fade, as long as we do the work of feeling them. They are REAL. Just like we are. Just like the psychopath is not. Kel

  146. Michael,

    I do. But sometimes, it’s the experience of being in a relationshit wtih a Cluster B that actually awakens us to that need. I think that the less vulnerable we are, the tighter our boundaries, satisfied and happy with our lives we are, the healthier we are. This is not to be mistaken as a utopia of some sort either. I know plenty of healthy people out there who would never have looked twice at my ex, or did and hated him. Look at it in this way, Michael, Perhaps you’re having gotten out sooner than a lot of us, was a sign of your good health underneath, just needed some tweaking to fix, that’s all. It doesn’t take away the pain or the responsibility of what they psychopath did in the relationship, but they are what they are. They can’t change, but we can 🙂

    It’d have been nice, I’m sure to have seen it right away in your case, as you say, had you been educated. There are other emotions too. All play a central role in shaping our lives and ways in which we can protect ourselves from another relationshit full of harm. Kel

  147. Michael: Yes Michael can you imagine as a child (especially little girls) being read the fairy tales then having your parents say but be careful the prince or princess could be a psychopath my little “toady child” and he/she could be only out to destroy you and just giving you a persona – I am not saying that I didnt have things about myself that I didnt need to address and correct but what is so horrible about believing someone loves you I wont hit myself over the head and say you IDIOT, how dare you be codependent or believe you are being loved – I will NOT punish myself for that. I will put the blame where it belongs and that is on the disordered person that emotionally rapes others; a sick individual with no conscience that exploits and destroys others for their humanity. By the way I am FAR from codependent; I have been a very independent woman in my marriage, I have learned to always count on myself because I certainly never received any type of emotional support from my husband!!

    Thats funny the page of the devil himself 666 Damn why didnt I check for those numbers on his head when he was sleeping. x0 Linda

  148. Michael,

    Correct. Take my friend for example. VERY successful business woman, but underneath all of that success, are characteristics that the psychopath feeds on. If we are vulnerable in any of those areas, they will pounce. In my friends case, she was having issues with her man and was LONELY. Her brush with my ex, woke her up in that she needed to keep paying attention to these vulnerabilities. It saved her a world of grief and pain. So, she fixed what was wrong. It’s a learning process. Taking responsibility for that and ourselves, means not that the psychopath isn’t responsible for his/her actions, but that it removes his power and that of future psychopaths who might hit on us, It’s true that they can fool even professionals, but even that relationship is different than one that is intimate with a psychopath. If we are aware of our vulnerabilties, work on ourselves, learn the red flags of psychopaths, education, etc, next time we run into them, we’ll know just what to do. Kel

  149. Kel, I agree, we will know exactly what the warning signs are. Admittedly, beneath my own professional confidence, I had a tendency to see others perceptions as being more valid than mine. I too came from an abusive family backgound, my father, he was an extremely abusive man. In a sense I was primed for a high tolerance for abusive behaviour. Michael

  150. Lisa,

    Was it you that said you weren’t love bombed? Indeed you WERE, if you reread your post here, you’ll see it. That’s the lure and what got you sucked in. That’s what they DO. The intermittent reinforcement that you’re referring to, with the mind games, is the point we are already way in deep. Once you are in this cycle, it is very difficult to get out. We all managed it, which does speak to our level of health in not only having survived and getting out, but also recognizing that something was so severely wrong and that if we didn’t get out, we’d continue on a downward spiral.

    If you had adhered to your red flags, and ignored your sister’s comments, you would have avoided disaster. I’m guilty of the same, which brings me back to my original thought, what made you vulnerable in that you didn’t trust your own instincts? You make a very valid point in that perhaps the biggest vulnerability is to give trust immediately away before someone has EARNED it. Jumping into any relationshit, friendship or intimate or even business is a risky venture without knowing the people or person involved. It takes months and months and months to get to know someone. years. A psychopath doesn’t have that long to WAIT, even while some are rather patient like mine was, there were still GLARING red flags that I ignored that would have had me out of there from the very beginning or at least month three when the bait and switch started with the biggest abusive episode. I IGNORED THAT TOO. From that point on, the mindf***Ing was unreal. But looking back, I also see how MY fantasy of what I wanted with him, was creating a trauma bond to him. He dangled that carrot for as long as he could, and for as long as I chose to try to grab it. The worse time I had, was letting the fantasy go. Only when I did, could I see him for what he was. He wasn’t going to provide that fantasy for me and my hanging on so tightly to it only caused more pain, more harm and damage. Kicking myself over it, is something I’ve done a lot. I don’t want to do that anymore. I see how taking responsibility and loving myself through it, takes his power away. But all of that comes with time and patience. Kel

  151. Linda, how true! Psychopaths have a relationship thermometer, as Sandra Brown aptly phrases it, and sense when you have fallen in love, and when it’s therefore time to push the envelope, to see how much you will do for them and how much power they have over you. The more you give in, the more they demand until they treat you like a doormat. Claudia

  152. Michael, I think it’s very important to put these Cluster B together as you’re doing in your comments, articles and future book, as part of the same family of personality disorders, based on lack of empathy, the empty black hole you mention. Claudia

  153. Kel, psychopaths always sense and target our vulnerabilities. Any of us can be targeted. Some people have more vulnerabilities than others at certain difficult moments in their lives, but we all have them and thus nobody can consider themselves completely immune from their targeting. That’s why spreading information about personality disorders is so important for everyone, not just those with a history of abuse or who have already fallen prey to psychopaths. Claudia

  154. Michael, that’s true. The fact that nothing was meaningful, genuine or real about a relationship with a psychopath takes the longest time to absorb. When we grasp at the “tender” or “happy” moments, we’re just grasping at further manipulation and lies. Claudia

  155. Lisa and Michael, it’s amazing how many victims of psychopaths go through several relationship cycles before they realize something’s seriously wrong and the remorse, tears, etc, are just a charade, an empty act to regain control. Victims give psychopaths chance after chance after chance, none of which they deserve of course. Claudia

  156. Claudia, I think there is something to be said that people who have experienced abuse in their past, combined with their traits, and a combination of both; definately constitute vulnerabilty factors that had an influence on their staying in the relationship longer than what maybe more emotionally “healthy” people would have. But let us not forget that psychopaths are natural when it comes to the charade. Many of us gave them chance after chance after chance; because it never entered our consciousness that they are devoid of those human loving qualities. Michael

  157. Linda,

    And that is part of what made you vulnerable to a psychopath, that lack of emotional intimacy in your marriage, something that is suppose to BE in a marriage. As well as a background of abuse.

    It’s easier to blame the psychopath than it is to do the painful job of recognizing that our vulnerabilities led to his/her entrance into our lives, because truly, that’s where all the hard work really is. In ourselves. Kel

  158. Claudia

    We all have vulnerabilities and we are all open targets, the idea is to be aware of the vulnerabilites we have, work on those and the next time, if ever, we are approached, we will know what to do to avoid it. Kel

  159. Michael, but most of us are aware of what abuse is and looks like, yet I’ve also been shocked and amazed that a lot of women thought that abuse was limited to the physical. Education is very important, but when this experience happens, self examination is also important, some people don’t need to examine that much, but rather tweek their vulnerabilities and boundaries, others may need to fix a marriage that was broken, others need to work on abuse history. Whatever the vulnerability is, the psychopath will certainly introduce us to it. It’s a welcome home to yourself. And ultimately, we will all be stronger and happier as a result of the experience, even if it doesn’t feel that way right now. Kel

  160. Kel, Julian, Linda, Michael, Lisa, Dawn and everyone, I think it’s true everyone has vulnerabilities and being aware of them can make us more aware of predators zeroing in on them. Initially social predators hone in on those vulnerabilities via flattery and promises. They seem to fill that empty space in our lives. Then they dig into those vulnerabilities and deepen them. They get us dependent by making vulnerabilities into deep-seated dependencies and weaknesses. I’ve noticed this up-close in how my psychopathic ex focused in on his wife’s poor self-image to first, during the luring phrase, flatter her physical appearance, then during the manipulation phase, plant in her mind that she’s overweight and should join Overeaters Anonymous, third reduce her life and self-worth to this poor self-image by getting her to focus constantly on exercising, diet, and pleasing him. It’s as if psychopaths follow a three-step process in targeting our vulnerabilities: 1) focus on them 2) flatter them, promise a quick solution to eliminate them 3) deepen them to create more insecurity and dependency on them. This, in fact, will be the subject of a future post. Claudia

  161. Kelli and Claudia
    It’s easier to blame the psychopath than it is to do the painful job of recognizing that our vulnerabilities led to his/her entrance into our lives,

    Sorry I DONT AGREE! I have DONE THE WORK and I FULLY recognize why I was vulnerable to such a predator. Knowing that STILL puts the blame on him and its EASY for me to blame him for taking advantage of someone under the guise of a friend or what have you. A healthy and good person would have NEVER EVER done that to another person whose life was troubled and/or unhappy to use those vulnerabilities and unhappy circumstances to their advantage to further emotionally rape them and you bet I EASILY BLAME HIM FOR THAT and always will Linda

  162. Linda, you’re right to blame the psychopath. He cheated, he lied, he manipulated and he targeted you and others like the social predator that he is. If victims had the information about these social predators, if they didn’t hide and lie in the beginning, none of us would have willingly entered any kind of relationship with them, be it friendship or romantic. I think all that Kelli was saying is looking within not to cast blame upon victims, but to strengthen our defenses so that this will never happen again. Claudia

  163. Michael, it’s true, we can’t operate with normal human assumptions when it comes to psychopaths. If we do, we get dragged on for much longer in their games, manipulation and lies. Claudia

  164. MIchael,

    I understand the abuse component well. I just wish there was less shame behind it, as I think a lot of us carry that into adulthood, something entirely subconscious, but sort of “acted out” with our high tolerance to psychopathic behavior. I can no longer say that what happened in childhood did not have a direct impact on my choices. That’s the hard part of acceptance. I have seen women who have had an experience with a psychopath coming from healthy backgrounds. Not only do they tend not to stay as long and see the symptoms right away, if not early on into the relationshit, but in the aftermath, they have great familial support, again, they do a lot of soul searching into their vulnerabilities, etc. Unfortunately, for those of us with abuse histories on the severe end, particularly with pathological parents, it can be the wake up call to understanding not only what made us vulnerable and finally have to deal with the abuse of the past, which is very painful, but leads ultimately to a new level of insight, growth and perspective about our choices, and as you so eloquently state about the lack of narrative with the psychopath, we can create a new narrative with ourselves that takes into account self responsibility, implementing new and healthy boundaries, that is a departure from the past and our abuse histories. I think, unlike those without abuse histories, there are many layers of grieving to deal with, processing to do. It takes time, but I find it somewhat freeing to make healthier choices, to have this awareness, to walk through the process. Ironically, it’s also freeing to take responsibility for my part and my choices in the relationship with my ex and know that I will NEVER allow that to happen to me again.

    In learning about this more, I do believe that abuse has an addictive quality to it, and, like an addiction causes brain changes. Intermittent reinforcement is certainly a way to make that happen and a psychopath is good at it. I believe this is why it becomes increasingly difficult to get out of the relationship as time goes on. Why some of us choose to go back, that addictive pull. Even when we don’t WANT to go back. I do compare it to an addiction like alcohol. For those of us with abuse histories, I’ve learned that it doesn’t NEED to be a chemical to produce an addiction, relationships can be addictive too. Even so, it’s much like an alcoholic. Take away the bottle, and you’ll find that recovery has many more layers than just staying away from the alcohol itself. There was a reason it was picked up in the first place. In alcoholic circles, not dealing with the underlying issues, is referred to as “dry drunk”. You can be sober, without the alcohol, but still have serious issues because the UNDERLYING issues have not been addressed. An entire life change has to happen. If the person who is sober does not deal with the underlying issues, it is almost guaranteed they will be vulnerable to alcohol again. Awareness+change=new improved you! I like seeing it that way. Taking responsibility and dealing with my issues, takes away his power, not what he did to me, but his POWER in my life. I get to be in the driver’s seat of my life now, not my past abuses, not my ex’s, just me. No one else is responsible for my pain now and dealing with it, but me and the first step is walking out. It takes great courage to do it, and I believe that. I think that says a lot about all of us here who are working hard on our lives and processing this so that it never happens again. Kel

  165. Kelli, it is most definitely addictive. I have no question in my mind about it. The “withdrawal” phase for me has always been excruciating.With each discard/makeup the withdrawal got more and more difficult. I was miserable with him, yet without him I was even more miserable and I would crave his attention again as if it were a drug that I couldn’t function without. I often told my friends it felt like an appendage was missing. As if I had lost my arm but could still feel it there with me at the same time missed it and longed to have it back with every breath. Feeling as if I were incomplete without it, and unable to function. I seriously felt as if I needed that fix to go on. It would be all I could think about. My head was never anywhere but with him every second of the day. In particular if I had a bad day or something else in life was weighing on me my remedy was him. Without that I didn’t know what to do with myself. My brain had gotten so used to that adrenal rush and level of chaos that it felt emtpy to be without it. I’m still at this moment learning to live w/out those ups and downs. I hated them, but my brain seems to have become accustomed to them and is “craving” them in it’s absence.

    I don’t know if all psycho/victim relationships are like this,but I sense they are. We, as a couple we were hypersexual. Psychopaths in general are hypersexual, so it makes sense that as a couple that would also be the case. It was a huge part of our relationship. Year after year, when I assumed that part of our relationship would have tapered off, it never did. So, I felt addicted to him in that sense as well.
    He was also controlling in the way we slept. He would hold me, holding both my hands all night long(one arm extended under my neck and the other around me) and wouldn’t allow me to get out of bed or turn until he had given me permission. He would tell me “rotate” when it was time to change positions while sleeping. If I had to get up to use the restroom it was only when he had decided I could. Unless I wanted to get into a physical struggle and argument and suffer his punishment afterwards, I had to wait until he was ready to “release” me. Only then was I able to get up. It’s making me tense just recalling it.

    As I am typing this, I’m actually holding my breath. Its amazing that at first I saw this as affection, he just wanted to be close to me every second, literally. It is so clear to me now how this was just another way of him having complete control and dominance over me, further building the addictive bond.

  166. I did mention I didn’t feel like I’d been “love bombed” He never promised me a “relationship” He always made it clear “verbally” that he didn’t want to marry me, therefor would never make our relationship “official”, thereby absolving him of any requirement, or expectation of romancing me, or treating me with any sense of sensitivity. (this was his explanation in so many words)
    Yes, in this case, I WOULD judge his actions. To me, we were esentially living together, year after year, spending nearly every waking moment together, to me that meant we WERE a couple regardless of what he “said.” How funny we justify whatever suits our inner needs or wants. In that sense, no I wasn’t love bombed. However, he always played with my head (like they all do).. I love this about you……most women wouldn’t/would but you….I don’t know why but I feel more comfortable with you than any woman I’ve ever been with……I never hold women (while sleeping) except you, there’s just something about you….on and on and on. If that’s love bombing than I guess so. However, 2 of the 3 women he’s been with during our relationship, he did eventually “discard” me and promise them NOT marriage, but “girlfriend” status. Thereby making him more accountable for romancing and respecting them on a different level than me. I read someone else mention “sex bombing” I’d definitely say that was the case. Of course, I was fed all the lines you can imagine in that arena to bomb me.

    Don’t be too hard on yourself Kel, as we’ve been discussing on this thread, the relationship is addictive. Lots of variables making getting out difficult to say the least.

  167. Claudia,

    Yep! That’s what I did. I couldn’t even tell you how many make/up break ups. I remember the first and the last. The rest blend together in a blur. The first I recall very distinctly because I was so confused and shocked by how we had said “goodbye”, made it very clear that we weren’t going to continue our relationship. Without question, it was over. I thought over, meant over. Much to my surprise, I don’t think he even made it all the way home before phoning me with “I miss you.” msgs. I suppose to him “over” meant, “suffer” a bit of time, then I’ll come back and rescue you from that suffering. And so it begins…

    How many years did you say you were with your ex Claudia?


  168. Michael I really loved the article you posted earlier. It was the first place I can recall reading that mentions how they say something and then completely deny they said it. My ex did this all the time and drove me mad. Then he would so emphatically deny it, I would comment how I wanted to record our conversations because I was so sure I heard a particular thing. He would then throw that comment in my face frequently to emphasize how ridiculous my thinking is. Thank you for sharing that article.

  169. I look forward to that post Claudia. Learning more about what creates the dependency, or I like to think of it more of an addicition. Well, I suppose it’s the same thing isn’t it? The dependency/addiction aspect of the victim is very interesting to me. I don’t fully undersand my own dependency, or addiction to him.

  170. Lisa, turn to page 666 of your text (the chapter on “Prolific Mind Games of the Empty Black Hole”) and you’ll find an entire category of manipulation techniques collectively called gaslighting. The specific one you’re referring to is called rewriting history and is one of the most powerful tools in the psychopath’s arsenal. Not only will psychopaths flatly deny having ever said something, they may claim that they actually said the opposite. Or they may insist that YOU said something that you never actually said. Even worse, they might deviously word it like “But you promised…” and then try to make you feel like you’re a liar or reneger (thus folding some projection into the mix also). Rewriting history offers tremendous creative opportunities for the psychopath, all cleverly designed to drive you crazy. – Julian.

    P.S. Michael, thank you – I couldn’t help but to paraphrase your hilarious earlier comment.

  171. Lisa, some of the dependency/addiction is created through trauma bonding (oscillation between emotional abuse, denigration and small favors/reverting to flattery), which I addressed in one of these articles. Claudia

  172. Lisa, from what you describe you suffered “trauma bonding” in a pretty severe manner. Please look it up on this blog and on the internet in general, because it may shed light upon your experience. Claudia

  173. Lisa, for the psychopath it’s not about respect at all, but about getting what he wants. My psychopathic ex promised me marriage and asked his spouse for divorce because he sensed that was the only condition in which I’d ever live with him. They give you the minimum necessary to have a hold on you, nothing more. And then that minimum necessary becomes less and less and less after the honeymoon phase because you, the victim, gets used to increasing dosages of abuse and puts up with more of it. They push the envelope in every respect that involves more power for them, less for the victim. Claudia

  174. Everyone, I just posted a new post on working together to spread information about psychopathy. Claudia

  175. Julian,

    “Prolific Mind Games of the Empty Black Hole”. Did I miss something here? Is that an actual book? Kel

  176. Kelli, you did certainly miss something here. Scroll way up to Michael’s comment of November 2, 2011 4:57 pm and you’ll find his original humor. – Julian.

  177. Julian, Oh those clever little deviant pschopaths! Mine didn’t do the promise thing (“but you promised…”) often. Though I can recall a few times I’d hear that and had no recollection of such promises, but trusted he did. He actually has a really good memory for remembering certain things and I do not. So, I trusted his memory over mine. But, the other piece when he would say something and then deny having said it, he’d do that seconds after saying it. So, I’d certainly remember! Sometimes a day later, but typically immediately afterwards. These were always incredibly hurtful comments that I could never forget regardless. As soon as I would react to the cruel things he’d said, he would immediately deny it, tell me I was over-reacting, tell me I didn’t hear it correctly, or that I didn’t understand how he meant it…..and so on. Stupid little psychos.
    I’m going to have to scroll up for this “prolific” comment as well. 🙂

  178. Julian and Michael, ahaaahaaa!! Yes, I recall reading that comment now. 😀

    Claudia, I’ll look into the trauma bonding issue. Thank you for the suggestion.

  179. Lisa, Wikipedia defines gaslighting as “a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory and perception. It may simply be the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, or it could be the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.”

    Since psychopaths are pathological liars, they can deny they said something hurtful only seconds (or months) after they said it, just to put you off balance and doubt yourself. I’m sure you’re familiar with that “what the f-ck?” feeling; it’s the classic indicator that you’re dealing with a psychopath. – Julian.

  180. Claudia, wow trauma bonding is precisely what my ex would do. That and gaslighting which I just learned from Julian. Day after day, it is dispelling any doubts that may be remaining in the back of my mind because all the things I’m learning here, describe my little Dumbass so very well. 😉

  181. Julian, Had more “wtf” moments than I can recall. They seem to come flooding back as I’m reading other’s stories however. Yep, no doubts here. Classic psychopathic behavior all over the place w/ex!!

    Random thought: Did you say you were working on Building a Mystery? It’s on my list of new ones to learn. Youtube has at least one great instructional video that I intend to try. Have you started working on it yet?

  182. Lisa, I’m so glad you found us. Having the information about personality disorders dispels any doubt about the fact you were dealing with a sick individual and nothing good could come out of a relationship with him. Claudia

  183. Claudia, Me too! 😀

  184. Lisa, it’s a very, very good thing that the memories of your experiences with the psychopath come flooding back as you read the stories of others here. Now that you’ve digested many of Claudia’s articles and the comments of the bloggers, you’re processing your experiences in an entirely new (and much more healthy) context. I’d be willing to bet that when those experiences come flooding back, you’re thinking “wow, was he ever sick for having said or done that” instead of wondering what you did to cause the painful experience. The truth is that you (and everyone else here) did nothing to cause the perverted reactions and resulting pain – we were just trying to cope with a very disordered partner. And if that’s how you really feel, you can take great solace in knowing that you are making huge strides in your recovery! Kudos to you!

    Regarding “Building a Mystery,” I started working on that a couple of months ago, and can do a reasonable rendition of it now on both acoustic and electric. I particularly enjoyed googling “building a mystery tab” and checking out all the sites that provide lyrics, chords, tablature and more. Also Wikipedia’s entry on “chords (music)” which provides further insight into the more esoteric chords like “Asus4” (A suspended 4th) and “Gmaj7” (G major 7th). I recommend that if you’re interested in a deeper understanding of the of the underlying musical theory.

    But the thing I love most about the song is that it’s so naturally open to re-interpretation and jiggling this and that to make a more personal version. The only other piece of music I know that’s so open to “adjustment” is Pachelbel’s Canon in D – a 350-year-old classic that has been re-interpreted so many times, my favourite being George Winston’s goose-bump-raising jazz-piano version on his album “December.” Every now and again, I see what I can add to it on my Telecaster – I’m just blown away by the fact that such a “classical” piece lends itself so well to electric guitar.

    To the other readers, I apologize for my musical digression, but as Lisa posted further above, for those who enjoy music and have made some effort to learn and practice, it is indeed a lifeblood. – Julian.

  185. Julian, you are absolutely correct. When I recall events now, which I try not to. But, they are there in the dungeons of my recollections and they do escape from time to time. Whenever one does manage to escape it’s chains, I recognize it now as a prisoner of my ex, not of mine. lol. Those are his monsters and demons that I was associated with by devault. I no longer think “If only I would of………could of……..should of……..”

    Who gives a hoot. He’s a dumbass with a miserable future. My future on the other hand is unknown and unwritten. I”m an empty palate just waiting for splashes of color and wonder. DA’ s has a a black palate. No color has a chance on his. 😀

    Sounds like you’re in a good phase in your healing now as well?

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