Should You Warn the Other Victims of the Psychopath?

One of the questions victims of psychopaths ask themselves after they learn about personality disorders is: Should I warn the other victims of the psychopath? If this question is largely motivated by the need for vengeance my answer is definitely: NO. It’s not that I don’t support the idea that the psychopath, who harms others so gleefully and remorselessly, get what he deserves in life. But I can think of several good reasons why if you’re motivated primarily by vindictiveness, ultimately you won’t feel much satisfaction from warning the psychopath’s newest batch of victims.

1. It means that you’re stuck in a negative emotion, that will keep you angry and ruminating rather than focusing on moving on with your life.

2. It means that you’re still keeping up with what the psychopath is doing and with whom, when, once again, the focus should be on healing and moving on with your life.

3. Psychopaths usually have numerous simultaneous victims, at different cycles of the relationship–idealization phase, manipulation phase and devalue/discard phases–as I explain in the article Relationship Boomerang: The Psychopath’s Relationship Cycle. It would be a full-time job to keep up with the psychopath’s victims and warn all of them.

4. It’s likely to cause drama in your life, when what you need is calmness and healing. When they can’t get positive attention from you, psychopaths love getting negative attention from you. As extreme narcissists, they need to be at the center of attention, regardless what kind. 

5. Even passive contact–meaning reading the psychopath’s communication without responding to it or finding out on the internet or from mutual acquaintances what he’s doing–can set back your recovery.

6. It’s likely to be a very thankless task. Psychopaths, particularly “socialized” or “charismatic” psychopaths, tend to carefully select victims who idolize them. Such victims sometimes stand by the psychopath even in those extreme cases when they’re convicted of rape and murder. The psychology of individuals brainwashed by cult leaders, who are often psychopathic, also applies to some victims of charismatic psychopaths. Even in less extreme cases, most victims pass through a honeymoon phase–filled with lies, flattery, mirroring of their values, phony declarations of love and false promises–which bonds them to the psychopath. During that phase many victims will not listen to anybody’s warnings, even in the face of compelling arguments and evidence. Just ask yourself: Did you or would you have listened to such a warning? I know that my friends tried to warn me early on about the psychopath’s true nature, but during the honeymoon phase I couldn’t see the lack of character, superficiality and malice they saw in him. Only during the much less pleasant devalue phase, which occurred during the final few weeks of our relationship, did I start to open my eyes and recall the red flags they had spotted much earlier than me. I suppose it’s better late than never!

7. A small minority of the victims of psychopaths are disordered and dangerous themselves.

However, if you’re motivated by the other-regarding desire to warn the current victims for their sake–to help them avoid the pain you felt–regardless of whether they’re grateful for the information you gave them and regardless of the fact this will keep you at least indirectly associated with the psychopath and his current life, then it may be worth assuming the risks I enumerated above.

I’ve shown in a previous post, called  Stringing Women Along: The Psychopath as Puppet Master,  how psychopaths use women against one another to string them along as back-ups and to play puppet master. The more subtle psychopaths also use them to keep their hands clean, so to speak. If a psychopath criticizes his wife to the girlfriend (to justify his cheating and prove his trustworthiness to her) and, once discovered, the girlfriend to his wife (to exculpate himself), then the two women are too busy fighting each other to focus on his wrongdoings. Aside from the entertainment value of jealous women fighting over him, the psychopath gets the additional advantage of not having to engage directly in a smear campaign. He allows the women, who now disrespect and maybe even hate each other, to do it for him. They can spread false or selective information to family members and friends, thus sparing him the dirty job of doing it himself. He’s lied to them both and cheated on them both. In a just world, he certainly deserves to be exposed.

The tricky part is how to do it most effectively. Because such manipulative men antagonize women against each other, it becomes difficult to share information in a civil manner. Once she realizes that she’s been mistreated and that something’s seriously wrong with this man, how does the wife tell the girlfriend about it (and why would she do her rival such a favor?) or the girlfriend tell the wife? Both are likely to suspect the other of ulterior motives, such as wanting to get the man for herself or petty revenge against him. Moreover, the wife, or the psychopath’s main partner, has been morally wronged most. The girlfriend with whom the psychopath cheated on her has wronged her almost as much as her own partner (except more impersonally). She’s therefore not likely to respect the girlfriend (or girlfriends) enough to even want to communicate with her (or them).

A few years ago, I followed with interest the discussions on on this subject. Numerous women have shared their experiences of trying to tell the other women about the psychopath and his personality disorder, once they have opened their eyes. The contributors reported mixed results. Some of them were able to get through to their “rivals,” which were really fellow victims. Others received further insult and abuse, only now from the woman or women they were trying to help. Obviously that didn’t ameliorate the situation. The main reason, however, why some women reacted so negatively to the truth about the psychopath was not the rivalry he created between them, but the power he exercised over them. Victims of psychopathic seduction don’t all awake from their spell simultaneously, like in a fairy tale. They don’t all realize at the same moment that they’ve been duped and used, just as their rivals were. In addition, as we’ve seen, psychopaths generally undermine the boundaries and self-esteem of their long-term partners in a more profoundly damaging manner than they do those of their short-term girlfriends.

Trying to awake the girlfriend(s) from the psychopathic bond presents a different sort of challenge. Those women are probably being treated “better” than his long-term partner because the relationship is newer, because they don’t have to live with a psychopath day-to-day and because they’re being maintained for sex, entertainment and romance: meaning the most pleasant and light aspects of a relationship. Even psychopaths who are so stingy that they won’t spend a dime on their wives often spend lavishly on their newest girlfriends. A woman who’s been treated like a “princess”–wined, dined, pampered and romanced—is likely to be deeply under the haze of the psychopathic bond. How do you tell a girlfriend who’s apparently treated well the sad truth? How do you let her know that she’s only a temporary pampered pet who’ll soon be devalued and discarded?

In my opinion, it’s important to tell other women about what happened, but only in a way that doesn’t hurt you or tarnish your reputation further. After having suffered the trauma of being involved with a psychopath, the last thing you need is more people insulting you or machinating against you. To determine whom to tell and how, follow your intuition. Timing is key. Obviously, you can’t tell anyone about the psychopath unless they’re willing to listen. If you catch them still in the honeymoon phase of the relationship, when the psychopath’s acting like Prince Charming, you’re not likely to convince them. If you catch them after they’ve been so severely psychologically damaged by their psychopathic partner that they’re too weak or dependent to face reality, you won’t get through to them either. You’ll only get through to a person who retains enough autonomy and strength to face such devastating facts and who’s been through enough unpleasant and disconcerting experiences with the psychopath to understand what you’re talking about.

Claudia Moscovici, psychopathyawareness

Dangerous Liaisons: How to Identify and Escape from Psychopathic Seduction


  1. Nice post Claudia, As you know I thought a couple of times about contacting my ex mainly because I felt so sorry for her being left in the sh*t like me and having a pile of debts and so on. However, one of the things that stopped me from doing it was knowing how much these predators feel gratified by the fact that they have hurt people and because most are narcissistic they often would feel a sense of omnipotence knowing that their one or more of their victims would be giving them attention even if it was negative attention. They dont actually give a flying fig whether they’ve hurt one two or three victims and having the thought of them all talking about them doing them would probably make the psychopath feel like god. This is the reason I didn’t do it not because I didn’t care about his other victim i.e. wife and also another woman not to mention all the other reaosons above i.e. they might not even listen etc but because to be perfectly honest I wouldn’t want to give him the satifaction of having any more attention. If on the other hand one of his victims contact me and asked me what happened I would happily tell them. I remember once my father dumping my mother a week before my youngest brother was born because he had been caught having affair number x. Mum was rushed into hospital and had my brother early. He’d strung his new G/F along with a load of lies about my mum being crazy and messed up and decided to take her into the hospital to visit my mum who had literally had a nervous breakdown and gone into labour early. There was a big fight at the hospital and my mother begging him to stay and his girlfriend screaming at my mum. My father literally “got off” on the fact that there were two women after him. Months later he dumped the girlfriend and got back with my mum within days.

    That story alone was enough to remind me never to contact an ex’s ex partner. If however the relationship with their new toy is long over and the victim is their next peice of disregarded trash there may a small chance they might listen but even so its not worth the risk to be honest.

  2. Sarah, personally, I agree. From the victim’s perspective, the less you’re involved in your psychopathic ex’s life, the better. No contact means no passive contact either, so how would you know who they’re with and what they’re doing? The point is: it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) matter to you. The exception may be if you’re engaged in custody battles with them, if they’re hurting members of your family, if you’re engaged in a class action lawsuit against them (if they conned you and other victims in the same way). However, for some victims it’s a matter of conscience. They warn other victims out of empathy, because they too would have liked to be warned. Even in those situations I think it’s a full time investigative job to keep up with the psychopath’s endless supply of victims and try to save every one of them. The best possible thing you can do for yourself and your family and friends is move on with your own life, healthier and happier than ever. Claudia

  3. Claudia, thank you for another valuable and highly relevant article. The issue of warning other victims has probably come up at least once for everyone who has been involved in a psychopathic relationship.

    I did warn my psychopathic ex-girl-fiend’s next target, and fortunately there was no fallout. I never found out exactly what happened (and I no longer care), but she did send me a hoovering email a couple of weeks later.

    However, my warning was motivated by conscience, not revenge. Having the email address of the target, I felt very uncomfortable not doing anything. So I let you do the work, so to speak, and sent him a link to your “Idealize, Devalue, Discard” article in the hope that he would at least recognize the love-bombing for what it is. – Julian.

  4. Claudia, I think you capture the harsh reality in your article re psychopaths narural inclination to dupe, lie, gaslight, and distort facts and truth. Psychopaths never accept responsibility for their behaviour, and even if by rare chance they do admit to something there is always a tagged on the end get out clause that shifts the blame and thus diluting or dodging accountability. There is absolutley no way their new victim will be given the truth around what actually happened in their previous “relationship”.

    Thier new partner will be blinded and doped with oxcytocin during their idealisation, and experience what psychologists refer to the halo effect. New partners naturally make inferences about the psychopaths character, qualities and emotional constitution. Particularly if they are dealing with a socialised or secondary psychopath (sociopath), borderline’s (who always have a narcissistic overlay) and so on.

    Trying to warn their next victim will only make you out to look like a bitter and twisted ex partner, and some respects plays into the disordered hands “look, see what I had to put up, see how unstable they are” etc. Knowing these risks enabled me to avoid trying to warn my exes next victim, and it’s is wise I think to take the position of ‘they will sadly just have to find out for themselves’, and indeed they will. The best that we can hope for them is that they are devalued quickly; the sooner they are the better for them. The longer we are fooled, manipulated, lied to, and exposed to the relationship dynamic the more we are harmed. A psychopaths mask of sanity or false self is not in touch with their real self, so there can never be any truth. Michael

  5. Julian, if you followed your conscience not any impulse of revenge, then you did the right thing. And I’m glad to hear that there was no drama or negative fallout created by your revelations. Claudia

  6. Michael, in a lot of cases, that is unfortunately true. Besides, if you focus on or care about what the psychopath is doing and with whom, he or she still exerts some power over you. It doesn’t or shouldn’t matter what he or she is doing. Ultimately, living a happy, healthy and successful life without the psychopath and the toxic environment and constant drama he or she creates is each victim’s main goal. Claudia

  7. Everyone, I’d like to include here Britney Spears’ new song and music video, Criminal, because it expresses as well as pop music can that even victims who are with antisocial psychopaths–the obvious, criminal kind–often don’t listen to warnings from those who care about them (much less from the psychopath’s ex’s or strangers).

    Usually the dominance bond has to run its course past the honeymoon phase with each new victim, and those who have any dignity and strength left once the devaluation phase begins leave the psychopath of their own accord. Because nobody enjoys the devaluation phase; it’s not fun! Claudia

  8. Thanks, Claudia. Just to be clear, I don’t recommend warning other victims, since our intentions may be seriously confused if it hasn’t been long since we escaped. I think that Michael did a stellar job explaining what usually happens when you warn a victim in his comment directly below. So I would tentatively recommend: if in doubt, don’t do anything! – Julian.

  9. Julian, well said! As usual, you offer great advice. Claudia

  10. Here’s my take when I was first becoming involved with my psychopath, I tried doing a background search on him. I check out law enforcement and court systems, anything and everything I could possibly find on him. Everything did check out okay, but yes, I would have liked to have been warned early on before I got too emotionally invested in him. Even better if you can get to her before the ‘path has brainwashed her that you’re just a “scorned” woman.

  11. Excellent point, and I can’t disagree with your logic. I fear the current victim of my ‘path is going to be even worse hurt and abused than I was. and I feel completely helpless to do anything about it.

  12. HI Claudia, I like your article. I think you brought up some very valid points. I wouldn’t recommend trying to find his/her targets and warn them either. It is important to recognize your motivation, as well as to eliminate yourself from any contact direct or indirect.

    At this point for me, it’s important that I don’t ever inlcude him as part of my life on any level. Not in reminiscing about the past and thinking about him for any reason whatsoever. He has absolutely nothing to do with me, or my life nor I his. His life is as important to me as someone living on another continent whom I’ve never met. Out of my hands, could care less. If we are able to get to that point, and I hope EVERY one of us gets there. Because it’s a glorious place to be. 😉 We’ll get to that point faster by practicing it right now in this very second wherever you are in the discard, or grieving phase. Who he/she is dating, courting, idealizing, devaluing, or discarding has absolutely nothing to do with us, or their victim. Let them experience their own journey.

    Although, I do say that with one caveat, if you are familiar with the victim and you find out through circumstances beyond your control. Meaning you aren’t going trolling for his/her victims to be the town cryier. Rather, someone comes to you with concerns. And if it’s early on in the relationship w/in the first 2 or 3 dates/weeks. Once they are bonded, you are quite right, it’s futile.

    I ‘m just thinking of my situation. I didn’t go looking for his next victim, her best friend came to me. She was horrified because she’s my best friend as well and knows all about what’s happened between my ex and I. She was my rock to lean on, and shoulder to cry on, for a good part of the 8yrs my ex and I were together
    I know the victim casually as well as professionally, and sincerely like her. They had only been seeing one another a few weeks so I was hoping to warn her early enough (before she bonded with him) so she would at least be “on alert.” She had met him on “” Therefore, she has no foundation for knowing him in any social circle before hand. It seems to me if someone’s heading toward a cliff and you know it’s there you need to at least tell them what’s up ahead and let them decide if they want to continue moving forward at his/her own risk. Then she can make a decision for herself knowing what she knows whether she wants to continue with that journey.
    My intention was purely to save her any more pain than necessary.(of course I would have loved it if she went running for the hills. I suppose at the time I would somehow have felt vindicated to some degree).Even so, my conscience wouldn’t let me do it any other way. I was ruminating until I spoke with her. Then I just felt this humungous sigh of relief that I had done what I needed to to and it was then completely finished for me. I didn’t go into any specifics. I just gave her a print out of signs to look for and what the cyle of abuse looks like. I gave her several blogs/websites (including yours & mine) to reference if she cared to and wished her luck.

  13. Lisa, I really appreciate you sharing with us your experience and thoughts on the subject. I think in your situation, you were right to get involved. One day the new victim might be grateful, even if she doesn’t believe you (or your mutual friend) right now. In general, victims of “socialized” or “charismatic” psychopaths don’t believe such warnings during the honeymoon phase of the relationship, when they are not the targets of the psychopath’s overt abuse (but are covertly, in his cheating and lying and whatever harmful actions he hides from them). Trying to warn such a victim about the psychopath’s true nature and designs can be as difficult as trying to deprogram a cult member who worships the disordered leader. A nearly impossible–and certainly time-consuming and thankless–task. At any rate, as everyone here emphasizes, unless we share custody or have close family ties, all aspects of the psychopath’s life after our breakup are no longer our problem or concern. Or at least they shouldn’t be. Claudia

  14. Claudia, perfect song choice!

    Regarding the devalue phase, it is no fun! You are correct. Unfortunately, (speaking from my experience of course) that phase can go on for eternity. The psychopath will keep it going as long as you are willing to do that dance with them. It seems even though it’s painful, we don’t get out. It’s my belief that we become part of the mental sickness and become out of touch with reality. I still don’t think I am grasping the full scope of the dynamics of our relationship, even today. I know I’m removed from it. But, I don’t think I’m able to see it clearly yet. I’m sure I’m still in denial in lots of ways. Because let’s face it, some of what I experienced, I may NOT want to know the absolute truth regarding his motives, thoughts, feelings, or lack therof. I’d rather stay in denial about some things. However, I think it’s the degree, or depth of that denial that can keep us in that vicious cycle and relationship for a very long, long time. 8 year to me is too long. Based on how he treated me, I was in the devalue stage most of that time. I ‘d still be in it if it were up to him. The last thing he said to me was “Would you continue seeing me if you saw me around town on a date with someone else.” I said “No” That was that. A week later is when my friend phoned me to tell me about the new gf.

    I have great admiration for you for seeing the light of day so quickly!

  15. Claudia, Exactly! 🙂 None of my bees wax. 😉

  16. Lisa, it’s true, often with the main targets the devalue is not a simple devalue, but a dance, where he emotionally abuses his partner but also acts loving, buys her gifts, or indicates signs of commitment and warmth, to keep her on the hook. Also with their main partners, psychopaths tend to hide their wrongdoings for as long as they want to keep them. Once they have found a more promising target (a new partner), they tend to be more obvious and overt in their devaluation and abuse. So it’s pretty much only when they’re ready to discard you, not merely devalue you, that you get to see the callousness and cruelty of the psychopath applies to everyone, not just his ex’s: to you too, as you’re about to become his next ex. Claudia

  17. This process probably works well in identifying criminal psychopaths (antisocials in general), but not as well in identifying sub-criminal psychopaths (also known as charismatic psychopaths or socialized psychopaths), who may not commit crimes, but who chronically manipulate, cheat and lie to everyone they get close to, leaving behind them, as Robert Hare puts it, a trail of broken hearts and broken lives. Claudia

  18. She is not likely to listen to your warnings even if you tried. Claudia

  19. I did the same thing. A restraining order did come up. HOWEVER! He had a very logical explanation for the “misunderstanding” even the police apologized to him (on scene) as did his wife at the time apologize to him later. Not to mention, mine’s a school teacher, which means background checks are mandatory for employment. But, domestic violence isn’t related to career. AND, I worked with him daily. He “seemed” so gentle, which he is. UNLESS you are intimate with him. All bets are off then. So, even THEN we don’t listen. Denial, denial, denial

  20. Lisa, “socialized” or “charismatic” psychopaths find it very easy to keep their mask on in casual encounters. In a very extreme case, even Drew Peterson’s acquaintances thought he was a great guy. A great guy who murdered two of his wives! It’s such a huge relief to be out of these psychopaths’ lives forever. Claudia

  21. Claudia: This article is exactly why I have never had any burning desire to contact his GF and warn her. Warn her of what? She has been with the man for 8 years she KNOWS in her heart what he is and if she wants to continue living a lie with him thats HER life. I cant warn his other victims because for one I dont know WHO they are and two it NEVER ends with their predation of others – ITS ENDLESS – I have to focus on MY life and I really DONT CARE what he does in his life I am just trying to recover from what he did to MY LIFE. If someone were to call me wanting to know what he did I would most definately tell them to RUN and never look back he is very dangerous but I would NOT get into any details of what he did to me, just advise them that he is disordered and he will destroy your life that is all I would say. I want NO PART of him or what he does I DONT WANT TO KNOW it would hurt too much to know I just want the memory of him to fade as I move on. x0x0 Linda

  22. Linda, that’s right. Telling other victims about the psychopath’s predation is endless, hopeless and ultimately pointless, as you state. Endless because psychopaths never run out of targets: both former girlfriends they recycle and new ones. Hopeless and pointless because victims usually don’t listen to facts or reason until the devalue and discard phases and by then it’s usually too late. The harm’s already been done. Claudia

  23. The harm is done at the idealization phase. It’s the most critical because it’s when the psychopath has “hooked” or “secured” his/her next victim. The psychopath knows that the idealization is what sucks in his victim and pretty much keeps her there. Like Lisa, I stayed far longer than I should have, even when after the first three months the first act of abuse was blatant and obvious. I was being tested as to how much I would take. Well, I took nine years, seven months longer. Part of the hanging on wasn’t him at all, but the fantasy he hooked me by. That’s the hard part.

    This*warning the victim* happened to me recently when first target of ex emailed me. There are more details, but I don’t need to say anything more than that newly married, he’s already targeting again and she is the target. I shared with her, again, what I already know. I had to go no contact with her, even though I like her, because I can’t have ANY ties to my ex at all, nor hear about his antics, this last one was way way too painful. Sometimes, even if the new victim contacts a prior ex, it’s not a good idea. It may be too much for the prior victim to deal with if they are relatively new to recovery. What I hope for this woman is that she will be able to stay NC with him and not buy into his crap. He is persistent though and will probably show up at her house. He’s her and his new wife’s problem now, I just need to stay on the road of my own recovery.

    There may be other situations where a warning is necessary, with regards to psychopaths and not limited to intimate relationships. This could be with a co-worker, with a friend, with an acquaintance, etc. Speaking out about them in general is also a way to warn others, not just limited to the new victims. Kel

  24. Also, another thing that is so important, I’d like to share it as a reminder, and I think it was eluded to above, but can’t be understated: Just because someone you are dating or considering marriage to someone doesn’t show up on a background check means absolutely NOTHING. Many psychopaths are socially adept and high functioning. What it really comes down to is us, how to tweek our radar and TRUST OUR GUT! Trusting your gut, intuition, or however you want to label it, will be your BEST “background check” into a psychopath. It’s when we IGNORE those internal voices that trouble bodes. Kel

  25. Kel, you made the right decision not to stay in touch with the new target who is the main triangulation of the psychopath’s new wife. What a mess. Complicated lives! I also believe that the best and most effective way to help others is to offer information about psychopathy in general, so that the victims who want to be saved can find it and those not yet victimized can recognize the red flags. Claudia

  26. Kel, Most definitely you did make the right decision. I’m sure it wasn’t easy. Knowing something is bad for us, doesn’t stop us from wanting it. I’m sure a part of you would have liked to sort of know what he was up to. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, so tell me if I’m wrong. If it were me, I would be tempted to want to know. Utimately, it will destroy you and keeps you in his web. Self preservation and protection should and did win out. Good for you for setting healthy boundries for yourself Kel!

  27. Claudia, I think the challenge is what information around psychopathy do we need to convey and spread. How would you desribe psychopathy to someone who has never experienced (at least knowingly) a psychopathic personality? Michael

  28. Claudia, You can say that again! For me it feels like I actually had a drug or chemical in my system that had to work it’s way out before I could be totally rid of him. I feel clean and clear in a way I never did when I was with him. Sort of like living in a permanent fog but not being aware you’re in the fog. You just know your space doesn’t feel quite right. Now the fog has lifted and I can see my environment for what it is. I sort of think in metaphores so those visuals help me. Nontheless I’m convinced that when you’re in the relationship you are part of the victim/abuse mental illness which perpetuates your remaining in a bad relationship. Your thinking is clouded and unrealistic. Point is YES Claudia it feels very good to be out of that crazy chaos.

    The idea that it’s easy for them to keep their mask on in public hadn’t occured to me. I often wondered how he managed to be so unlike himself so much of the time in public Guess that answers that question. Lisa

  29. Claudia, Yep. Not about to. I am his ex. 🙂

    Incidentally, I am mortified that my niece is back seeing “having drinks” with her psychopath suitor. Every contact she has with him I see the exact same pattern as with my ex. She always hated my ex! She’s the one who gave him the nickname “Dumbass” in the first place. Well, he may be a DA, but he’s never drugged and raped a woman. I hate this for her and it scares me for her.

  30. Lisa, the reason that psychopaths manage to maintain such a stellar public image is that they only have to deal with specific individuals for a couple of hours at a time at infrequent intervals. My ex was a personal trainer, and she only dealt with her clients for 50 minutes at a time, and of course they all thought she was amazing. She had a couple of frumpy friends (that she used to look good by comparison) that she saw maybe once or twice a week, again for just a couple of hours at a time. They thought she was great also. There’s no way I could ever convince any of these people otherwise.

    However, it’s a completely different matter to deal with a significant other on a daily basis, day in and day out. Psychopaths just don’t have the energy to maintain their mask on such a consistent basis. Furthermore, when their mask slips, they learn that they can usually get away with it and so they let the mask slip more and more. Not so with their public image, however. – Julian.

  31. Julian, that’s true. This is why, at least for some of them, when they choose spouses, they tend to select people who idolize them and follow them blindly. That way they don’t need to work so hard, day in and day out, to maintain the mask. Claudia

  32. Lisa,

    I don’t care what he does. It merely put into perspective that he hasn’t changed. I don’t WANT to know what he does. And that is an incredibly healthy sign. I have no desire to know, have no curiosity whatsoever. Knowing he is still the same with any new targets was enough for me. Kel

  33. Michael,

    I’m learning it isn’t necessary to have experienced it to explain psychopathy to anyone. I think Sandra Brown does a nice job of that with her book, “How to spot a dangerous man”. Any number of the points she makes in the book, is enough to explain. It all goes to heeding the warning signs (red flags) but above all else, to trust your intuition and your gut. I think it’s safe to say that all of us ignored it. Kel

  34. Kelli, this is a truly excellent point. I’ve worked on many projects that required USA or Canadian or NATO-level security clearance, and I know quite a bit about “background checks” as I’ve had them regularly throughout my career.

    I say this and I say this emphatically: all the websites that claim to provide “background checks” are almost worthless. They can only search public records, and most of the interesting information is not in the public domain because it is protected by privacy legislation. Do you really think that the FBI provides criminal records to just anyone? Nope, only if YOU yourself request it, or YOU authorize your employer to request it, or a legally mandated law enforcement agency that has your fingerprints requests it. That’s right, the FBI looks up criminal records not by name or SSN, but by fingerprints in IAFIS (remember, criminals like to have many aliases and multiple SSNs, so fingerprints are the only way to go).

    See if you’d like to learn more about this issue.

    Like Kelli says, your own intuition is your best radar, far better than any bogus “background checks.” – Julian.

  35. Michael, I think the key information about psychopathy is very easy to transmit and readily available on informational blogs and support groups. Hare’s list of symptoms is an absolute must and many blogs include it. Joe Carver’s article on how to identify a Loser also conveys this information in a catchy way, as I explain in my own article on spotting the red flags in the psychopathic bond:

  36. Kel, it’s very perceptive of you to state that it’s the idealization phase that is the most dangerous of all. That’s when the brainwashing occurs; that’s when the psychopath persuades each significant victim that they have the most special, perfect love. This is also what takes most time to deprogram out of your system. Nobody likes to be devalued, much less discarded. Psychopaths sink their claws into their targets with the declarations of love, promises of commitment, sensual and sexual passion, and flattery of the idealization phase. It’s the most toxic phase of all because it’s the most effective and where the psychopath’s dangerousness is most hidden. Claudia

  37. All, i think it is a valuable question that is worth asking; how would we decribe a psychopath based on our own experience? I just feel strongly that there is so much value in breaking down the stereotype. I watched a movie recently called fishead; its well worth a watch. The movie looks at peoples stereotypes around psychopathy….you can imagine? – stabby stabby, killer, mad, frenzied, criminal, foaming at the mouth etc. I think I am asking a valid question here: are we really helping to raise awareness, if we always make reference to the extreme, and exceptionally rare manifestations of psychopathy?

    In past threads, lots of interesting themes have emerged, thought provoking perspectives which all have equal value. One of these themes has been around the issue of the psychopaths intent (or not) to cause harm from the onset. Many do, some are sadistic and attempt to dominate and control as a means of harming someone; and they enter relationships with this sole purpose. But most do not; but I believe their sadism and lack of compassion reveals itself eventually. Most psychopaths are not interested, or at least not able to sustain any interest in how we feel at all. They just dont give a dam one way or the other. Michael

  38. All, control and manipulation is a common (a very common!) manifestation of a pathological relationship; stick around in one long enough as most of us did, and you find yourself jumping through hoops, trying to please, trying to hold it all together, while at the same time resisiting being manouvered into a position where we meet their needs while our needs dissapear off the agenda. The ultimate no win scenario. Put downs, splitting, gaslighting, devaluation, distortions, emotional chaos, lieing, projecting, etc.
    Most psychopaths actually couldnt give a shit how you feel, in fact they are inacapable of even knowing how we feel. Their objective is to manipulate you into meeting their needs. Michael

  39. Michael, it’s true, with psychopaths it’s all about manipulation to get people to meet their needs. During the idealization phase the manipulation takes form of flattery, declarations of love, promises, mirroring. During the devalue and discard, it takes the form of implicit or explicit threats, criticisms, undermining your self-confidence, isolation from others, constant monitoring and control, interspersed with some of the strategies that worked during the idealization phase, so you retain some false hope and stay hooked. But the whole process, from beginning to end, is about brainwashing and manipulating victims to attain control. Claudia

  40. MIchael,

    You and I will always part ways on this one. I am convinced without a shadow of a doubt, that psychopaths, borderlines, narcissists, you name it, do what they do with the purpose and intent of HARM. Your assumptions, while understandable, do not add up intellectually with what is the idealization phase. They target their victims for a reason. They get HIGH off the pain they cause. As Sandra Brown states “They are emotionally rewarded by the HARM they cause” This IS their intent. To suggest that it’s something else, opens the door to the possibility that the Cluster B had a fleeting moment of good intention when they absolutely did not. They are very well aware of what they are doing, very well aware of their targets vulnerabilities. Very well aware that they are going to cause harm, they just DON”T CARE. Kel

  41. Julian,

    Excellent information! While I pretty much guessed that the online paid for background checks were worthless, providing only basic information or public information, there are legalities with regards to permission by the individual to release of information. This is critical to understand because you can NEVER assume that because a background check comes “clean” that he/she ISN”T psychopathic. One might look at it another way too: If you’re desiring to do a background check on someone, isn’t it clear already that your radar is already functioning at a high rate and alarm bells are going on? Don’t spend the money. Listen to your gut, there are many more BEAUTIFUL fish in the sea 🙂 Kel

  42. Michael,

    Your last paragraph really explains itself in how the Cluster B does everything with the intent to harm. Kel

  43. Claudia

    You’re right about Joe Carver’s information regarding the “loser”. There is MUCH information out there. The issue is less the information, I think, that really is there in abundance, but more so about how to get the information into a bigger public forum BEFORE there are more victims. Having said that, even with all the information available, there will always be victims. I’m also seeing a pattern evolving that I’d not noticed before: Domestic Violence Awareness organizations do an excellent job of helping victims understand their abuse. All the abuses described by the abuser correlate with the psychopathic bond, it’s just that the personality disorders are not integrated in helping victims understand who the abuser IS. There is something about understanding that it absolutely had nothing to do with the victim, but was the result of a disordered mind, that helps her let go of him more permanently than the nagging doubts that it was her that somehow was at fault for the abuse. Kel

  44. Hey MB! You soapergirl rings a bell! Do I know you from another blog of the past? Glad you’re here! I understand how you feel, as I’m dealing with something similar and it’s incredibly frustrating if you somehow are privvy to information of what he’s doing to the new victim/target, but ya know what? For your kindhearted peace and sanity, its wise to let it go. I’m learning that no matter how much you talk about or try to help or think about what the psychopathic ex is doing or going to do, they will either listen or they won’t. If they don’t, the best hope is that they remember what you said in the future when the devaluation kicks in. But I think it’s best for YOUR sanity to avoid hearing anything altogether if you can help it and say a prayer or light a candle and send good thoughts for the present victim 🙂 Kel

  45. Michael,

    Something else in your above post caught my eye and is something that I DO agree with lol!

    Emphasizing too much of the sensationalized psychopaths, removes us from the charismatic or high functioning psychopaths in society that never commit any crimes, but SHOULD be crimes nonetheless, ie: Crimes of the heart, pocket book, sexuality, psychology. I think Claudia brings up Drew Peterson, as well as Scott Peterson, etc, because she watches lots of Investigative Discovery about psychopaths lol! Anyway, while drawing some correlations to the sensationalized psychopaths has some merit in saying: This too can happen to YOU, more often than not, it doesn’t lead to murder. It stops just short of it. The other side of this coin is how the psychopath can push a victim to suicide. I would like to see if there are any stats on this as Thomas Sheridan mentions it multiple times. My ex tried to drive his ex wife to suicide and she was pushed to the brink. The depression, pain, daily chaos, confusion, lies and manipulations are so overwhelming, that victims feel there is no way out than to commit suicide. To say that people don’t die as a result of these relationships would be inaccurate. But the ways in which they can, are not as sensational and do not make the daily news, the way the Drew Peterson’s of the world, do. Kel

  46. Kelli, “This IS their intent. To suggest that it’s something else, opens the door to the possibility that the Cluster B had a fleeting moment of good intention when they absolutely did not.” If borderlines are secondary psychopaths and have the occasional brief bursts of experiencing some higher order emotions, rather than the primitive animalistic emotions of the primary psychopath; then it is possible that they “had a fleeting moment of good intention”; but that doesn’t change their lack of capacity to emotionally bond.

    “To suggest that it’s something else, opens the door to the possibility that the Cluster B had a fleeting moment of good intention when they absolutely did not”.

    Past the idealisation stage with borderlines; they then manipulate- not as some grand plan in order to systematically harm and destroy- they actually do not really care, or in fact know how you feel (not in any sustainable way, they may have little fleeting moments). When borderlines / narcissists recognise that they cannot manipulate you anymore, or even if you fall out with over something they have done (not that they ever admit it or take ownership), they withdraw all interest, care, and they do this totally. This is their callous hallmark. I’m wondering if what you write above opens the door to suggest that even if a borderline (for example) did have one fleeting moment of good intention that this opens the door to them not being disordered? Borderlines, when they feel they are losing or have lost control (of you), they become abusive angry little children.

    My ex thought i was either all good, or all bad, there was never any shade of grey- I was either totally valued- or totally devalued; and being devalued is so awful because they begin to treat and relate to you as though you are the distorted image they have of you inside their heads. It’s quite shattering when this devaluing episode happens because no matter what you say you can’t encourage them to recognise the difference between their feelings, and who you are as a person, if that makes sense. They base reality on their feelings and lose the capacity to reality check. But this can pass very quickly and they flip back to ‘your all ok’ again.

    A borderlines objective is securing and maintaining narcissistic supply; if you fail to deliver, they forage for new supply and make the switch- devalue you, and move to idealising someone else. This is how you are so easily replaced. Michael

  47. Thank you for this post, Claudia. I have been struggling lately with feelings of sadness and sympathy for my ex’s new woman. I was even feeling some envy – here is the trophy he shows off in public while I was kept hidden from almost everyone. But then I learned he already apparently called her a bimbo to his friends when she wasn’t around.

    Thinking about these two isn’t helping me a bit. I’ve got to let go and work only on myself. She’s got to find out on her own, and I don’t have the energy to save the world from him.

  48. Dawn, when the best a psychopath can offer anyone is viewing them as a possession and a trophy–which is, indeed, the best psychopaths can offer you, and only during the idealization phase–then you are in for deep future pain afterwards. Because trophies are accumulated like any prizes and one trophy is exchanged for another, of perceived better value. It’s a pattern that repeats itself over and over again during the course of a psychopath’s entire life. To feel better, Dawn, you can’t focus on each relationship cycle of this psychopath. You’ve given yourself the best advice possible: to let go of this nightmare. Because it is a nightmare, for you, for his ex’s and, eventually, conquest after conquest, time after time, for any partner the psychopath targets. Focusing on their lives instead of ours would be a big mistake. Claudia

  49. Dawn, Lesley and everyone: another pattern of new victims of psychopaths is, even once the honeymoon phase is over, to depend upon the highs, the sensuality and the validation offered by the psychopath during that period and do everything possible to please him in the hopes of regaining it. Often psychopaths will frame even degradation as flattery during that phase. Lesley and Linda (if I recall correctly) both mentioned the psychopaths suggesting threesomes or other such demeaning acts in (positive) terms of preferring them to the other woman in the triangle. If there’s a triangle, a quadrangle, an octagon, or any such geometric figure in the romantic and sexual relationship it’s a sign that the psychopath lacks love, respect and commitment for you as an individual. No matter how he justifies his perversions, that is all they are. Claudia

  50. Michael,

    Sandra Brown refers to boderlines as “borderpaths”. While I agree that they appear to be “emotional” or having fleeting moments of emotion, I think it’s more mania than anything else. Did she lie to you at the beginning or do you believe you weren’t a target? Did she manipulate you to suck you in? Or do you believe her “intention” was genuine. Borderlines follow the same line of “reasoning” (Harm) as the psychopath, narcissist. Narcissists, I think is not a disorder on its own and I’m happy to see it withdrawn from the DSM, I think it is a core trait of psychopathy. Narcissists also target their victims for the intent to harm. There is NO moment AT ALL of genuine emotion with these people, which leads me straight back to square one. No matter how apathetic or manic the “paths” are, they all do the same thing during the idealization phase: THey target, they lie, they manipulation, the rewrite history even in the beginning, from THE very beginning and they know EXACTLY what they’re doing. All of these elements point to the intent to harm. They are aware that they are lying and manipulating. Even borderlines are rewarded by the harm they cause, michael. Kel

  51. Claudia

    Having understanding about my ex’s pattern of getting married and then quickly setting up a triangulation, is very interesting. Why psychopaths do this? I realize it is impulsive behavior, however, I wonder if this isn’t part and parcel of their addiction to hurting others and thus, sucking in more victims for the kill. ALL of the psychopaths triangulations are hurtful. But I noticed with my ex, that he enjoyed it. Infidelity is an extra curriculur activity and I’m further convinced that just because you don’t know about other women, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. A psychopath will always find a way to cheat. Right under your nose Kel

  52. Kel, absolutely. Fidelity and psychopathy is a contradiction in terms. The psychopath I was with would leave my books on the counter for his wife to find them, as trophies and to play cat and mouse games with her, see how close he can taunt her about his infidelity without her catching on. He did the same thing to me, drawing my attention to a bottle of shampoo in his shower and telling me it was from his long-dead grandmother. It was from his live-in girlfriend, with whom he was with during his long-distance relationship with me while his wife was in another state. I found that statement so weird, as well as the fact he drew my attention to the shampoo as a “clue”, that I still recall it, years later.

    That’s why I mention the fact that for many psychopaths, particularly for sexual predators like my ex is, it’s not just one triangulation, but numerous and with each triangle they derive great pleasure from duping women and inflicting harm, both directly and via using one woman against another. They cannot derive any pleasure or satisfaction from monogamous relationships because the pleasure comes from the cheating, the lying, the humiliation of the women they are with. With their main targets the humiliation is more masked by lies and flattery; with their secondary and more casual targets it’s much less masked. But it all boils down to the same chronic mistreatment, underneath the games and the facade. Claudia

  53. Dawn, Claudia is right. It’s only a matter of time and she will be as miserable as you were. She’ll be wondering where that man she first met is, he’ll be lieing and cheating and her, discard her, then she’ll be the ex that you are now. Nothing to envy.
    I think the envy comes from romantacizing the indealization phase as reality. It’s wasn’t. Where you are now and who has shown himself to be afterwards are the reality. You’ll have much, much happier fulfilling times now that he’s out of your life. That’s the guarantee. As is if he were again in your life you’d have nothing but suffering, pain and misery back. Doesn’t sound too romantic does it? YOU are the lucky one. She is the sorrowful one. Lisa

  54. Lisa and Dawn, after we asked our spouses for divorce to marry each other and our spouses communicated to get the scoop on what’s going on, my husband was understandably very angry. But after a few weeks of getting information on the psychopath I was about to leave him for–and his wife didn’t even tell him everything she knew, and at that point she didn’t even know more than the tip of the ice berg–my husband’s attitude changed from anger and sense of betrayal to incredible pity for me. Pity, obviously, not sympathy. He told me words I’ll never forget: “If you leave me for this piece of shit because he momentarily idealizes and flatters you, you will be unimaginably unhappy. This man will destroy you. Everything you’ve worked for in life, your relationship with your children, your dignity will be trampled upon. This man is the worst human being any of us will ever know. If you leave me, there’s no turning back. I won’t be there to save you.” Every single word of admonition from my husband came from his deep love for me and our family and his lucidity. Every single word would have come true if I had not finally opened my eyes to see the evil predator for what he is. Those targets who didn’t or won’t open their eyes will live the nightmare my husband predicted for me, had I made the monumental error of leaving such a wonderful man for a worthless psychopath. Claudia

  55. Michael,

    I have a question for you: I know a lot of us have really struggled with the idealization phase. You wrote the following:

    “Past the idealisation stage with borderlines; they then manipulate- not as some grand plan in order to systematically harm and destroy- they actually do not really care, or in fact know how you feel (not in any sustainable way, they may have little fleeting moments). When borderlines / narcissists recognise that they cannot manipulate you anymore, or even if you fall out with over something they have done (not that they ever admit it or take ownership), they withdraw all interest, care, and they do this totally.”

    PAST the idealization phase? Michael the ENTIRE idealization phase IS manipulation. It IS a lie. IT IS PREDATORY BEHAVIOR. NOTHING about the idealization phase was TRUE, FELT GENUINELY. You were a target. you were manipulated. You were endlessly lied too. There is NOTHING in any of that that says it was unintentional or REAL by any stretch of the imagination. No matter what kind of “psychopath” it is, charismatic, primary, secondary, etc, they ALL do the same thing for the SAME reasons. THE IDEALIZATION PHASE IS THE MOST DANGEROUS PHASE OF ALL.

    Michael, I just wonder if this is an issue for you in which you are stuck in cog/dis. somehow trying to find a way to validate the idealization phase with your ex, that even a tiny portion was real. It wasn’t. That is not possible with a psychopath, borderpath or narcissist and I think the most difficult to accept wholeheartedly in the aftermath. Her idealization had nothing to do with you, nor did the devalue or discard. ALL of it, was a lie and ALL of it was intent to harm, and the reality is, that that is exactly what happened. Kel

  56. Claudia

    That really is a beautiful way of showing you how much your husband really loved you. He had empathy in huge amounts despite the betrayal. You’re so very blessed to have a man who is healthy and that loves you this way. His words helped you avoid inevitable harm and disaster. I’m truly impressed with the love and care he shows you. Kel

  57. I warned a few. I told them how I got their name, told them I would never contact them again, told them I would never see or talk to the p again. Said I was just contacting to tell them he is a seducer, targets mostly married women of great values, and will take years to seduce if necessary and then dump. Told them one or two things he had said about them, and said I deeply regretted ever being involved with him and I hope my note at least tells them to be careful.

    They each actually wrote back and thanked me for my courage in contacting them and said they would keep it in mind.

    Maybe I should have said psychopath, but I thought I would sound like the crazy one. I concentrated on sounding respectful of them.

    Now I don’t keep track of him, so no one to warn.

  58. Kelli, as you know I count my blessings every single day for having such a husband, who not only adores and appreciates me, but is talented, brilliant and with moral character and compassion. Claudia

  59. Susan, your behavior is commendable in every way. First that you warned the victims that you knew of, second that you moved beyond that phase and don’t even check anything about the psychopath’s life anymore. In my situation, I couldn’t warn the victims even if I tried. My psychopathic ex is a sex addict who has dozens and dozens of sexual liaisons. It’s impossible to keep track of that even if I tried. Beyond that, the women he chooses as his main partners are always extremely emotionally dependent on him and his validation. They are hooked on him to the core. They also tend to believe they are special and that the harm he’s inflicted on others was those women’s fault. It will never happen to them. Such victims rarely are able to see the harsh reality and by the time the devaluation phase sets in, they are left only with a sense of emptiness, devastation and pain. I think there are some victims who are especially prone to psychopaths, be it in personal relationships or in cults. Those are very difficult to “save” and those are the kinds that my psychopathic ex goes for, at least in his most intimate relationships, if not in his flings and affairs. In my case, he made an error in believing I was that type of person and a slight miscalculation in showing me his true colors before the divorce. Claudia

  60. Lisa,

    Let me explain where the envy comes from. P admired my intellect but never beauty. He kept me hidden from public viewing almost always. There were many, many times that I felt I was too ugly, too fat, too old, too whatever and he was ashamed of me. Now he has this pretty young thing and he shows her off to everyone! He did a number on my self-esteem and it is going to take a long while to recover my faith in myself. It isn’t like I haven’t had people tell me lately that I look fabulous — I just don’t really believe it yet.

    I know intellectually that she will receive the same treatment. She already has received abuse in him calling her a bimbo behind her back. That is where my sadness for her comes into play. There’s a part of me that wanted to warn this young woman that she has entered the viper’s nest! I never did it though, and I never will.

  61. Dawn, I think it would help you to read again the article on Drew Peterson. Each time he was involved with a new young mistress who became his wife, he moved from the mad romance, flattery, charm, fun to the devaluation. Even Staci Peterson, who was decades younger than him, got the brunt of that after he married her. It progressed slowly, but by the end she was not only physically abused but also constantly criticized as too fat, too ugly, too something. She had plastic surgeries to improve her looks. Psychopaths may hook each victim by making her feel beautiful, brilliant and special, but eventually, to acquire control over her, they will criticize each victim as unattractive, dumber than them, and too fat. No matter how attractive and intelligent they may be objectively. That is the psychopath’s only method of acquiring power over the women he owns, who allow themselves to be treated like that. Each victim has, in theory, the power to assert her dignity and not allow such mistreatment by leaving the psychopath. For some their circumstances make it excruciatingly hard. For others their emotional dependency on the psychopath makes it even harder. But most can do it. It’s a matter of facing reality and standing up for your dignity. You and every victim here has fortunately done that. Claudia

  62. I should probably add that my ex wanted me never to wear makeup and to stop coloring and cutting my hair. My therapist thinks its because he wanted no men to ever look at me. He also kept hounding me to eat whenever he did and he ate a lot! When it was finally over, I looked like a beat down old woman carrying 20 more pounds than I did at the beginning.

    I’m 43, for crying out loud.

    First thing I did was cut and color my hair, buy new makeup. I look 10 years younger than I am. I still feel like shit.

  63. Kel, I’ve just been reading some articles on cassopeia by George Simon. He talks about the danger of believing that all people are fundamentally deep down the same. This belief renders people vulnerable to endless manipulation by covert and overt agressive individuals.

    I know it feels like were going around in a loop here; but I think my issue here is that accepting that she may have lied and manipulated her way into my life through a conscious decision to harm me, means that I have to let go of a fundamental core belief that all people must have some good in them somewhere. To be honest with you letting go of this belief scares the bejesus out of me because of what this means. Particularly since because of my experience, I ive lost confidence in myself to be able to judge others. I hope that makes sense?

    My trust in others has been shaken. So, I stubbornly and arrogantly hold onto my belief, perhaps as a defense mechanism; I know core beliefs are difficult to shift and undermine anyway. I’m not confident to have this core belief torn away (by my own doing), not until I can replace this core belief with a new one- it’s a process if you know what I mean. I think the best I can tell myself right now is a form of comprimisation- which is- yes she lied and manipulated me from day one, secondly she continued to lie and manipulate me to get from me what she wanted- and yes at times used me as a toxic dumping ground for her own sludge. But- It’s too much for to accept right now that she deliberately set out to harm me from day one.

    I think I’m needing to work on myself and learn to rebuild my confidence in my ability to trust my own senses again. I shed a few tears for the first time in quite a while because I got in touch with the wall ive been building around myself since my experience. I dont know if this makes sense and if any others have had a similar experience: but I feel like ive been a blindfolded fish swimming around in a shark tank and I’ve suddenly had the blinfold whipped away. Michael

  64. Claudia thank you for the reply. I’ll go read that article again.

    My ex never criticized my appearance – the only thing he told me is that he didn’t like hair color or makeup so I stopped using it to make him happy. He did make fun of my age frequently, always saying he was “just kidding”. He bought me a cake for my birthday that said “Happy Birthday, Granny”.

    *I’m* the one who latched onto “I must be too ugly” and ran with it. When I expressed it to him he told me that it wasn’t true. But he still wouldn’t take me anywhere, and it was the only reason I could come up with at the time.

  65. Michael, that’s a very good analogy. I think it takes awhile to rebuild one’s trust in humanity, particularly for those of you who are single. Because the horrible romantic experience with the psychopath shortcircuted your radar. It takes time to regain it, but I believe you can do it and find love again. Claudia

  66. Dawn,

    As to your post below saying your ex never criticized you. Yes he did. What you’re describing is GASLIGHTING. He wanted you NOT to wear make up and do your hair. This is why he said what he did. He knew you would not. Although you believe this was your choice, and it was, it was also his subtle way of emotionally abusing you. He did not want you to look good in public. Insofar as the cake, that is disgusting. One of the classic things a psychopath does is say “Just kidding” his “jokes” masquerade emotional abuse. The cake was not a joke. It was a way to put you down. He criticized, belittled and robbed you of your self esteem using these tactics. He manipulated you. It is CLASSIC psychopath! Another thing I saw in your post: He didn’t want to take you in public because it’s what you wanted. Anything we want, they will not provide. He set you up to feel as you do about yourself now. This is why we often blame ourselves and not the psychopath. He makes us believe all these things are our idea. If it was, you’d not be so low in self esteem, feel like shit about how you look, etc. His intention was to hurt and destroy the things about you that you once felt good about. No one deserves that. Read up more about emotional abuse. You can google this on the internet. I think it would be a good idea for you to have a frame of reference in which to compare what he’s really done to you. Kel

  67. Michael, you don’t need to throw out your core beliefs, only to adjust them: not *all* people are fundamentally good. I’m reminded of the Star Trek: Next Generation series, where the default assumption when encountering a new race is to assume that they are friendly. But when they power up their weapons, it’s “shields up!” and warp factor 9 to get out of there!

    What doesn’t make sense to me is that you believe that everyone has some good somewhere in them, yet you say that you’ve lost faith in your ability to judge others. It appears that you’ve never judged them at all. Perhaps it’s time to watch a few episodes of CSI: Miami or Law & Order UK – there are indeed many people out there with intent to do harm to others, and it is naïve and very dangerous to think that we should be “non-judgmental.” – Julian.

  68. Claudia,

    I hope someday, that I will find that love with someone. It’s ok if it doesn’t happen, but the picture it is in my mind now, what love really looks like, is far different than it did within my family or origin or any of my ex’s. Kel

  69. Susan,

    I truly admire and respect you and your personal growth. You’re one of the healthiest people I know. I’m so happy for you. Kel

  70. Michael,

    I understand this more than you know. I think this is why when we post to one another, it seems either one of us has an epiphany and that’s good.

    But it doesn’t take the pain away, does it? 😦 It’s another layer you’re uncovering. I do realize how difficult it is to fully accept that there isn’t all good in the world. I often wonder if this doesn’t derive from our abusive backgrounds, in living the all bad. After all of that bad, there just HAS to be some good in the world, right? It is a disappointment and a deep grief to discover reality on this level. While you may not be able to accept that her intention was harm, when you process this huge revelation, it will become apart of your understanding, rather than just an awareness, does that make sense? We are always having to work on ourselves, Michael, peeling all of those layers. What you’re doing it HUGE in personal growth. I wish I could give you a big hug!!! I completely understand the pain you’re feeling. Be gentle with yourself now. This is one of the biggest revelations that you will process in recovery. Kel

  71. Micheal I think what Julian and Kel sounds like excellent advice and tears are good for healing. Iits onwards and upwards from now on. x

  72. Michael,

    Another thing that just dawned on me, part of the acceptance of your new awareness: If we don’t embrace the reality that there are people in this world, who are truly evil to the core, who balance out those that are so good, we are open to more psychopathic seduction in the future. Really integrating that knowledge, that there are people who do intentionally want to hurt you for no other reason than that they are emotionally rewarded doing it, allows you to implement tighter boundaries, while also maintaining your sense of self and compassion for others. There are those that truly are deserving of our compassion, despite our experiences with those who are not. Becoming enlightened on this level, not only brings new growth, but also helps you define your own personal boundaries better, as well as being keen to red flags that may pop up in others later on. NEVER give your trust before it is earned. This doesn’t mean you need to be cruel or cold, just cautious. It’s a new way to learn to live, but it’s worth it. What I’m finding now, on this journey, is that I’m attracting healthy people into my life and that those that aren’t good (toxic) I feel an immediate sucking of my energy. You will notice that too as time goes on and you embrace this awareness.

    Michael, I also do believe that we don’t want to think that the person we were so in love with, would intentionally wish to harm us. It’s more than just recognizing that there are genuinely evil people out there, it’s the most astounding level of betrayal when it happens by someone we deeply loved and cared for. To admit too or even think about the reality that we were never loved by this person AND that they targeted us for harm, is beyond comprehension. I still feel that pain. But you do reach a point that even while you are grieving yet another layer, it somehow integrates emotionally and your thoughts about your ex change. I don’t quite know how to describe that, but the reality cuts short the fantasy of the person in your mind. I’m not sure that we ever stop thinking about them from time to time, but it will be in its proper place and a source of pain that is merely vague, but a reminder of who and what we are now because of it. Hang in there. Hugs. Kel

  73. Sarah,

    You bring up another very important point and one that I’m dealing with in reality. Simple really. It’s okay to cry and feel the pain. It brings healing. (((Michael))) we are here for you. Kel

  74. Julian,

    You are always so good with your advice, but to help you understand why Michael and others from abusive backgrounds, have a belief that everyone has some good in them, stems largely from having grown up in an abusive environment. When the abuse is severe and unrelenting, we are merely surviving it at the time. The fantasy then becomes entrenched in the subconscious that if it’s THIS BAD, there just HAS to be some good out there! This transitions into adulthood and whom we choose as partners. It’s also ten times more difficult to get out of said psychopathic relationships because of that belief. You’re right, that it is a very dangerous belief and it does need dismantling, but it takes time, and the level of grieving that is required is much more than just grieving the psychopath, it is grieving a childhood lost as well as a major fantasy adopted to survive abuse, again: there MUST be good out there, because nothing can be this bad! I hope that helps with understanding. Kel

  75. Julian, a fellow treckie fan perhaps? I think with my counselling background non judgementalism became my prime directive if that makes sense- always work on the default position of trust in everyones capacity to grow and become more than what they are (another Picard analogy!).

    I know what you mean,but out there in TV land it all seems to be….well…out there in TV land I guess. Then I had 3 events that have dramatically changed all that for me. One was having my career sabotaged by an ex NHS manager of mine because of my involvement and defense of a friend and colleague who was a high profile UNISON branch secretary and activist who was victimised and dismissed by the Trust for trade union dutys (he won his employment tribunal and I gave key evidence on his behalf). This ex manager is now sitting in a jail cell for his involvement with a child pornograhy ring (which in my book makes him a sociopath). Back end of 2008 I suffered a serious head injury by three guys who tried to rob me on the way home from work (you can read the story in the paper if you google MIchael Pacitti ‘almost killed for a £5 mobile) then my ex of course.

    Julian Ive felt like Ive been Q’d upon and suddenly whisked to a different galaxy — Borg territory. I’ve got to find my way home. Michael

  76. Kelli, thankyou so much for your comforting and friendly words. I think my dad trained me well, to tolerate behaviour that folk from a non abusive background would ever tolerate. being young, I guess our survival depends on loving our parants – it reminds me of a line from the movie paranthood “you need a licence to have a dog, but they will let any but reaming assehole be a parant”! Michael

  77. Michael,

    Wow. Just wow. I”m assuming this career sabotage is recent news. Michael, you will find your way back home. I guess it goes without saying that, other than the original episodes of Star Trek, I’m not a big fan. Ugh. Kel

  78. Sarah, thankyou for your kindness; and I would like you to know that our conversations have been so helpful over these last few days. Michael x

  79. Michael,

    You’re welcome! And your right, we did tolerate behavior that those from a healthy background otherwise would not, some of us for far too long. I struggle with not feeling tainted and like damaged goods, but that’s another story.

    From what you’ve shared here, your Dad set you up to tolerate your ex’s behavior and it sounds as if his abuse was rather severe in nature. You’re right, our survival does depend on loving our parents, even though the reality is, that they were incapable of loving us in return. Another heart wrenching reality. You’ll be okay and I believe that. It’s just going to take time. Kel

  80. Wow Kelli, thank you. I have read a lot about emotional abuse and gaslighting in particular. I’ve gone back thru conversations I had with him and picked out the gaslighting. Somehow I missed it in this instance.

    “He didn’t want to take you in public because it’s what you wanted.”

    Yes, absolutely. If I complained he would make some comment that he guessed he would have to take me out on a real date and then he never followed up. Or else he would make up some BS about how I needed to stay home and take care of my kids, that he would never take a woman to the bars he went to because they were dives. I’m thinking now it was probably twofold–hurt me by not taking me places where he always goes and also remove the chance I would find out about his other women.

  81. Kelli, no this was a job I was due to start last January. He sabotaged my position by providing me with a reference in which he stated and I quote “I encouraged michael to use his nursing skills but he didnt”!!!

    This is a guy who sabotaged me at every turn when I worked under him. I tried to set up a forum for raising awareness and the use of solution focused therapy in inpateints wards. I succesfully set up a forum at my previous hospital before I rotated. He was a control nut- he told me there “would be no CBT happening on his ward”!!
    he took a dislike to my colleague and UNISON mentor – you can read about it if you google Michael Pacitti and socialist worker.

    Kel, I’ve worked in dementia care since then, but I have recently been suucesful in getting a new job back with working age adults for a not for profit organisation- so I’m slowly getting things back on track. Michael

  82. Michael,

    I will do that, but I don’t understand why the position he was taking against CBT?

    Things work differently there in the mental health field than they do here. I’m glad to hear you’re moving forward! Kel

  83. Kel, I’m in the process of taking legal action against the trust, however the sick **** who lied in his reference is unavailable for questioning !!

    In regards to my UNISON colleague, his case was recently debated in parliament because the trust breached a directive of the employment tribunal judges who decreed that they reinstate him. The battle goes on!

  84. Kel, I think he couldnt stomache the idea that someone might set up something that he wasnt trained to deliver. He suffered from queen of hearts syndrome “all ways around here are my ways”! Michael

  85. Micheal your welcome and remember what I said about what Neurotics DON’T get about disordered characters alt psychopaths, narcs, borderlines etc

    I’ll also leave you with these links on victims. hope they help to keep your blinkers off 😉 feel free to replace she with he

    once you put ALL that energy you have been putting into why your ex did this or that or why your boss did this and that or why those vile guys stamped on your head and empower yourself by changing your own core beliefs and realising that some people are good and some are just plain EVIL ! Then put all that energy into yourself and invest in your healing its upwards all the way! x

  86. Dawn, psychopaths compartamentalize their women to lead double, triple, maybe even quadruple lives. My psychopathic ex wouldn’t take his wife to office Christmas parties–and told me explicitly he encouraged her to feel insecure so she wouldn’t go there–because that was one of his trolling grounds for fresh victims and he had to compartamentalize his marriage from his trolling of other women. That plus, as you and Kelli state, after the honeymoon phase psychopaths no longer fulfill your wishes. They go out of their way, in fact, to thwart them. Claudia

  87. Kel, Claudia, and all; In spite of it all I refuse to let these experiences get the better of me: and as Sarah said above – the only way is up. Julian there are many good people out there. I’m grateful for my true friends, and the good bunch of people here who contribute to Claudia’s blog. I get you Kel re the epiphany thing- because in so many respects I see, value, respect, and cherish the good around me in a way I never did before. I just need to now learn that the vast majority are not sharks in the tank; just fishies like me who through experience, are learning to tell the difference between a shark and a fish. Blessings to you all out there fellow travellers. Michael.

  88. Michael, great analogy, because many of us had relationships with many p’s and only realized it when the blindfold came off.

    I really think we are very biologically based. If my mom had done drugs and alcohol when I was a baby, my brain wouldn’t be what it is today. If I had received major head trauma in some auto accident, I might not have the same personality I do now. We know these things are true. We know diseases like Alzheimers can change a person dramatically. So can some people be all evil? Why not? It may be beyond their ability to be anything else.

    I really do believe that psychopathy is a malfunction of the brain. I’ve seen a relative or two that I believe demonstrated the traits even as a baby and toddler. (going rigid at human touch, etc.). I’ve taken care of foster children who seemed to have missed the window of opportunity to develop a conscience. (Just as some feral cats miss the window of opportunity to learn as kittens to trust people…some never do .) There may be multiple causes. But as surely as a child with Down’s syndrome will never do calculus, no matter how much schooling that child has, I believe psychopaths will never learn to empathize, to feel remorse, etc.

    I think the important question is NOT whether or not they INTENDED to hurt us, but whether or not they did. It really doesn’t matter to me if a rattlesnake struck me in self-defense for protection (or even if the FIRST strike was for that reason) or because my foot looked tasty and death was the intent all along. Either way, the snake is toxic and I don’t want to encounter it again. And know that I know there are poisonous snakes out there, I wear high top hiking boots and let a hiking stick lead the way. I swerve away from rock piles. I’m careful. But I don’t give up the joy of hiking and seeing all the beauty in nature, just because I learned about snakes. Nature is still beautiful. So is life, despite the suffering that comes with it at times.

  89. All, somehow this seems to be an aproppriate article to post right now.

  90. Dawn, my ex did the very same thing to me. In fact the very DAY, the exact day we went from becoming friends to “dating”, he told me he wasn’t attracted to me. He repeated this numerous times a day, while we were in bed together, in the morning, during dinner, just whenever the mood struck him. I am 10 years older than him as well. However, I freely admit I have my flaws, I also am aware that I’m a fairly attractive woman. You can judge for yourself on my personal blog ( Every day, all day he’d also make comments about every and any woman he could think of. If we were at a restaurant, it’d be a waitress. “Boys, she’s really cute.” “Wow, she’s kinda sexy.” “She’s got great boobs.” If we were getting coffee, he’d say about the barista, “Wow, she’s hot.” or, “She really has an electric smile.” “She’s the kinda girl that really lights up the room. You are cute, but she’s just lights the room up with her smile.” He’d continue with this at night about his coworkers. When we were in bed together he’d want to talk about the waitress he saw that afternoon and so on. It’s just another tactic to manipulate, dominate and control you by keeping you down, self conscience and insecure. Truth is the rarely notice or care about anyone other than themselves.

    Don’t forget that you are also allowing another person to set the standard for you on whats attractive and what isn’t. Being attractive is subjective. I personally don’t think Angelina Jolie is attractive. Some think she’s the hottest woman alive. I think John Rzeznik is about the hottest man alive. Some don’t find him attractive at all. The point is beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I have no doubt you are a beautiful person. You just need to believe it. He, (ex) is an extremely ugly person I can see that from never having met him. He hasn’t the mental capacity to decide what’s beautiful. He wouldn’t recognize it if he saw it.


  91. Michael,

    Typical, eh? Ugh. Push forward my friend. You WILL be OKAY! Better than ever! Awesome! Great! Fabulous!


  92. Michael,



  93. Oh Dawn, Mine wouldn’t take me anyplace in public either. At least if it was a place he knew his exwife or coworkers would be. He said he didn’t want his exwife making any trouble for him w/custody of his kids and she was highly jealous. Then when she remarried, he still kept to that story. He wouldn’t allow me to go to his kids games, functions, or events. Sometimes he’d tell me he’d meet me there. Then he’d drop the kids off and say he had something to do and make me take them alone. Complete arse!!! Please don’t for one second think it had one ioda to do with you. It was all another form of manipulation and degradation. Classic!

  94. Julian & Claudia, your little p’s were a bit more successful and clever than mine. It sounds like yours could maintain some sort of friendships on at least a semi casual level. Mine has no friends to speak of. Certainly no male friends. He doesn’t relate well to males. In particular male peers. They can see right through him I can imagine. But, he does have many female friendship at work predominately. They don’t see him outside of work with the exception of a xmas party or some special occasion once or twice a year. So, when he’s latched onto you, you truly are his entire world. Until he’s gets bored of course. They he begins searching in his small pool. Asking coworkers to set him up, going on match. I seriously can not figure out how he manages to meet these other women. He has such a limited social life. I suppose where there is a will there is a way. Well, it does help that as an elementary school teacher he is surrounded by women. Lisa

  95. Lisa, my psychopathic ex has no friends either. He only befriends people much younger than him, his students, whom he charms and dominates. Of his acquaintances of the same age or older, he only befriends very sleazy and narcissistic men who cover up his cheating and lies. Plus a whole slew of “friends with benefits” whom he uses for sex. He has no real friends in the sense of any loyalty and caring. Just people he uses and whom he charms, to feel more powerful and “special”. The lack of any caring friendships was another HUGE red flag I should have seen, but didn’t. Claudia

  96. Michael, thanks for this link. Narcissism and psychopathy are very closely related!

    Dawn, I’m not surprised that your psychopathic ex asked you not to color your hair and not to wear makeup. My ex also asked me not to wear makeup, and he’d kiss it off my eyelids when I wore eyeliner. It was not out of affection, as I thought then, but like you said, to not enhance our natural looks. He also told me that I shouldn’t care if other men found me attractive: all that should matter was that he finds me so attractive. I took that as the usual words of love, but they weren’t. What he meant was exactly what he said: that I should pin my self-worth on him and his opinions of me. His partners do that but fortunately I didn’t. Nobody should pin their self-worth on another person. You know who you are and what your value is. Like I said before, a healthy self-esteem and self-respect–neither too high nor too low–are our biggest defenses against disordered personalities. Because pathological individuals always try to control those around them by giving or withholding approval. Claudia

  97. Claudia,

    Yes, it should have been a red flag for me. I made the assumption that since our coworkers had known him a couple years that he was a safe bet. He also was fairly new to the area. Had only lived in the state a couple of years, I cut him some slack in that area.

    Little did I know about a little thing like absence of conscience, or lack of empathy, or that a syndrome of manipulation and abuse existed via people walking around seeming like every day Joes. I honestly believed we all had the same general make up in terms of conscience and that people who did bad things like murder had just learned to overlook and suppress theirs. But, that really deep down inside they were suffering and very sorry for their bad deeds. Oh the niavety!

    How would any of us, before this experience ever have concieved of such awfulness walking around mascarading as human beings? Someone w/out conscience, or empathy? Never would have even concieved of it!

  98. Kel & Claudia, Yes we all would like to find someone like that. Well, they say we attract in people things we possess ourselves. So, it must also mean that you Claudia have great capacity for love as well. 😀 What a gem of a man ya got yo-self there. 😀 Lisa

  99. Thank you so much Claudia and Lisa for helping to explain all this to me. This one thing has bothered me a great deal, more than I ever realized before I posted here about it! Now I think I can say to myself again, “It wasn’t me – it was him.”

    I’ve got an appointment today with my therapist. I think I’ll ask her to help me start tackling this self esteem issue.

  100. Lisa and Dawn, all psychopaths can have is people they use for sex or other purposes and casual acquaintances, on whom they exercise their charm, especially if they’re in an inferior position to them professionally (like their students, patients, etc). I thought that his colleagues and boss disapproved of my ex’s conduct because they were jealous of his popularity, as he stated. That wasn’t the case. They disapproved of it because his conduct was very inappropriate. I also couldn’t understand why all his male friends were not only narcissistic, but also very sleazy men: chronic liars and cheaters. The answer was obvious, but I refused to face it: birds of a feather fly together. Finally, he once told me that he can’t have any female friends without screwing them. That was also a glaring red flag, needless to say. It means he regards all women as sex objects–or far worse, sexual prey–to be used for his gratification. Psychopaths can’t have any kind of functioning relationships that take caring, bonding or empathy. Just usurious dominance bonds. In some of those they exercise their charm to maintain them, in some they don’t. It all depends whether or not they still find them useful for their image.

    Dawn, I’m glad to hear you will work with your therapist on the self-esteem issue. That’s a psychopath’s MAJOR hook: first he inflates the victim’s self-esteem with excessive flattery and declarations of love; then, once she’s hooked, he starts making either subtle or overt criticisms, to get her to try harder to please him and pin her self-esteem on him. Over time, his criticisms become more pervasive and damaging. That’s why it’s important not to depend on others for your self-esteem as much as possible. If they flatter you too much or find you to be the most amazing person in the world, watch out. Those are the individuals who are most predatory and dangerous, since normal people, without ulterior motives, don’t act like they idolize anyone.

    If someone is too positive and flattering and gives you too much attention, it generally means you’re in for a very bumpy road later on, filled with criticism and manipulation. The main question to ask when someone lovebombs you is: what does this guy want from me? Like Kelli said, the idealization phase of flattery and love declarations is the most dangerous because that’s when a psychopath conditions you in a positive way to pin your self-worth on him. Once you do that, he gradually and steadily conditions you to accept his increasingly negative criticism, to chip away at your identity and self-esteem. This eventually happens in every psychopathic bond. Nobody proves to be a psychopath’s one true love, the single exception that confirms the rule, no matter how much he flattered them and said he loved them in the beginning. Claudia

  101. Claudia and all: I guess this is a good place to insert my recent realization on “triangulation” I am a bit behind on the blog so I have some catching up to do, at any rate Claudia wanted me to share something: When I shared a weekend with him at his mansion of ill repute (I can only imagine) he left two pictures of he and his GF out by his nightstand it was a pic of them together on some tropical vacation under a waterfall awwww how romantic huh – ANY NORMAL person would have put them away but NO NOT MR TRIANGLE himself he had to leave them out for my viewing. I TOTALLY IGNORED THEM like they didnt exist. They were left out on purpose to stir jealousy and hurt for me BUT there are TWO sides to this and at the time It never ever dawned on me; What person who supposidly loves his GF would leave their pictures out together 6 inches away from where he is screwing his mistress? He was telling me hey look I HAVE a GF see us together? but what the asshole was forgetting is it told me just how special she REALLY was in his eyes’ any NORMAL person would have felt guilty and bad but as I told Claudia he probably even looked at the pics while he was with me and it got him off even further. WHAT A JOKE!!! She is just an object and a prop and only one line on the triangle and his other targets are the other lines. Your husband could not have spoken truer words Claudia “what a piece of shit and the example of the lowest form of a human that could exist” Your husband has “compassion and wisdom” and I believe in the end that is what saves us. xoxo Linda

  102. Sarah, thanks for these three links; they should be required reading for all. I’m finally beginning to understand what Michael and Kelli have been trying to express all along.

    The “Scapegoat” article in particular actually made me feel ANGRY. I’ve worked a lot with kids, and it horrifies me to see parents mistreat their innocent children. But I’ve never seen anything as emotionally devastating with prolonged effects as what’s described in this article. – Julian.

  103. Kelli, thank you, yes this helps very much along with Sarah’s material above. I’m beginning to understand where you and Michael are coming from, and I wish you both the best! – Julian.

  104. Michael, I get it. “Q” sent the Enterprise into the Delta Quadrant, which I believe is a 25-year journey back to Sector 001 (the Earth) and that region is heavily infested with the Borg (who assimilate everything they encounter, and Resistance Is Futile).

    However, in one Voyager episode I believe they overpowered a Borg ship and managed to extract a trans-warp coil, which they fitted to the Enterprise’s engines and thus shaved years off their journey.

    May you be fortunate enough to find such an accelerating device, my friend. – Julian.

  105. Sarah, thanks for the links! All manipulative personalities–Cluster B’s–are incredibly effective and therefore also very dangerous. Claudia

  106. Linda, psychopaths enjoy playing catch-me-if-you-can games and waving trophies under the noses of their victims. A picture, trinket, book or shampoo bottle of one victim under the nose of another. The psychopath is playing the game: can she catch on? How close can I come to waving my infidelity under the nose of this dupe without her seeing it? They (erroneously) conclude: She’s so dumb, I’m so smart. The usual psychopathic conclusion. We know the answer to that: anyone who plays such stupid games with others is inherently dumb, emotionally retarded. These games are a waste of relationships, time and lives. Claudia

  107. BTW, Michael, I did google that 2008 news story, and it answers a long-standing discussion between you and Kelli: “is their intention really to do harm?”

    After they beat you, the hoodlums did NOT take your mobile or your wallet. That obviously wasn’t their real intention.

    I’m so sorry you had to endure all that suffering. – Julian.

  108. Julian,

    LOL! I SWEAR I’m sitting right in the middle of a conversation that my eldest daughter would have with my fifth son! They LOVE Star Trek Voyager episodes **gag** Kel

  109. Michael,

    Me too, my friend. 🙂

    Julian, very interesting point about what the criminals did not take. Kel

  110. Sarah,

    I was the scapegoat in my pathological family. Your article was a powerful read for me and described exactly what happens when a child is assumed this role. I thank you for bringing this to light. The shame that the scapegoated child feels all through life until they find healing is immeasurable. It’s not something that can be easily discussed in therapy, or anywhere else for that matter, because when it is discussed outside therapy, people think you’re doing the pity play and that nothing could be that bad. It can be that bad. And it’s a bitch to work through. Thanks again for bringing this particular role to light without shame attached to it. It was remarkably validating for me. Kel

  111. All,

    I have really thought about what I’m about to share here. A few of you are my personal friends and are aware of my situation. I hesitated in sharing this news, but feel it’s important.
    Yesterday, I visited my doctor for lab results regarding some major symptoms I’ve been experiencing over the last several months, that have gradually worsened. I already have Fibromyalgia, and several other chronic ailments diagnosed in 2003. I’ve learned to live with those and while I was very ill when diagnosed, it took two years to be fully functioning again. My results, coupled with my symptoms laid the groundwork for a diagnosis of MS and Systemic Lupus. My appointment was long and tearful for me. In going over my past medical history with my doctor in brief, many of my symptoms began in childhood around age 8. I literally begged my mother to see a doctor because I was in such pain, that grew worse over the years. She refused me medical care, believing I was just play acting to “get attention” I had a huge light bulb moment in that I realized the reason she did not provide me medical care was, I truly believe, that she knew that I was being molested by my stepfather and did not want it to be known. At this time, my pain had been on and off for about three years and I was eleven years old. This has been a very painful revelation for me. It also set me up not to seek medical care as I went through my teen years. It wasn’t until I had my first child prematurely (1 lb. 13 oz at birth) and had a systemic illness that caused me to go into labor, that a doctor started to pay attention. I was very ill for three months after her birth, and on and off since. It wasn’t until 2003, extremely ill and nearly bedridden that I sought help from a doctor who would not tell me it was all in my head and who diagnosed me properly and set my feet on a path to wellness again, dealing with one issue at a time. These new symptoms developed last year, at the end of my relationshit, when the chronic stress had reached its peek. I have been flight/fright all of my life physically.

    And this, my friends, is what pathology DOES. There are many elements that pinpoint my diseases. I have MS in my family and other autoimmune disorders, but chronic stress can trigger them. In agreement with my doctor after going over history, we believe this is just what happened.

    Pathologicals can make you very ill. There is undoubtedly a mind/body connection to trauma and many studies bear this out now.

    God must believe me strong. I have a tremendous faith. While that is deeply personal to me, and while I’m in tremendous pain because my diseases are active right now, I know that God truly loves me, my family. I will stand up to the challenge of this as I move forward in my healing process. I won’t let it get me. Next on the priority list is to see a specialist for more testing, and to pinpoint the onset as well as progression as much as is possible. These diseases are rather elusive in some ways. In the meantime, my doctor told me NOT to quit school (I”m only part time right now and he won’t allow for more than that), and to do my best to take it easy while we’re in active phase. that’s hard for me, as I’m pretty active!

    Learn to take good care of yourselves. Know that being with a pathological can make you very sick. It’s not worth it. And it hurts those around you that love you. It has been excrutiatingly painful to see my children hurting after sharing this diagnosis, but they are strong, as I have raised them. No more pathologicals!!!


  112. Kel, we are all here for you. I know that these illnesses will make it tougher to deal with school and life in general. However, I agree one hundred percent with your therapist (we’re always on the same wavelength, it seems) that it’s best to continue with school and accomplish everything you possibly dreamed of doing with your life. You provide so much wisdom and solace for everyone here, and you would do so as a therapist. Your friendship means so much to us. Claudia

  113. Susan

    I completely agree with you about the biological factors at play. I see this within my own biological/pathological family.

    I do not agree that the emphasis regarding psychopathy should be anything what it is with intent to harm. This is critical when dealing with the immediate aftermath, as well as getting out information about psychopathy. We all know that “toxic is toxic” but that does not help a victim put a label to her/his pain, nor to help her/him understand what just happened. Knowledge is power, to say that someone is toxic is not enough.

    I think when survivors get past the healing process, the view you describe is the ultimate healthy view. Toxic IS toxic, but I realized that that is because the person who has healed is now well removed from the situation. I hope that happens for all of us, but in my quest to help other victims, the emphasis on intent to harm will not go undisclosed or shadowed as just simply toxic applied to the most dangerous person on the planet! Kel

  114. Kel, if anyone can overcome this you can; your inner strength always shines through in your posts and your emails. Keep on keeping on with the college work; you will make a cracking therapist particularly in helping victims of pathological relationships. Michael

  115. Julian, thanks- apparently during my close encounter with the three unkind they were disturbed by a passer by and made a brisk departure.

    Re the voyage home, perhaps If I can create some kind of temporal rift by modifying the deflector dish, i can sling shot home and shave some time off the voyage. Care for an anorak anybody? You do have anoraks in the states don’t you 🙂 ?

    Julian my friend, I dont know if you have seen this article- I have posted it before a wee while ago- I’d be curious as to what you make of it in relation to your story with the ex. Michael

  116. Dawn, Claudia makes a very important point here re the idealisation stage. This is in some respects the most dangerous stage paradoxically enough, in spite of the fact they are as sweet as cherry pie and very attentive and so on. But everything about these relationships is paradoxical- and during this phase you are in a sense being drugged up on love and fattened up for the emotional kill later on when the games begin. It’s as though they train us to believe this is their baseline self – when it actually isn’t. Who they really are is revealed later on, and you eventually come to see that they are like a camera negative of who they sold themselves to be at the beginning. Very confusing! Michael

  117. MIchael,

    This is something I’d mentioned above in that the idealization IS the most dangerous stage of the relationshit. You’re so GETTING it and the analogy you gave fits so well as to what it truly is in the beginning. It is so hard to wrap ones mind around the reality that the psychopath is merely priming you for further hurting. I believe that this is the biggest hurdle in the healing process. Just that thought alone is very traumatizing and very painful. It is their addiction. If we can somehow focus on that, we learn to see that it had nothing to do with any of us at all, and pieces of the puzzle come together and start to make sense. Perhaps an emphasis in educating others about psychopathy, is this very important point with regards to the idealization phase. Not only as the most dangerous time, but the signs that are clearly there, that we all missed, during the luring. Kel

  118. Michael,

    Thank you. I plan to make the best of it. Specializing in treating the victims is my dream and I won’t give up! Thanks for your support! Kel

  119. I’m so sorry Kel, a friend of mine has had lupus a long time. Also reoccuring brain tumors. Her family sounds like it was pathological to me, especially her sister. But she carries on, sometimes on crutches, and travels to other countries as part of her full time job. Each person is different, listen to your body and also your inner voice and you will get through this. Your inner voice just earned a phd with all you’ve been through, so you can trust it more and more.

  120. Linda, that is a wonderful bridge between these two positions of intent. I like that very much. Michael

  121. Kel…i just think some people (including myself when I was going through it) can get stuck in rumination about “did the p EVER love me?” “did the p ALWAYS mean to hurt me?’ Or as Sandra Brown puts it (paraphrasing) ” is there a nanosecond of sanity in his behavior that I can grasp on to, to justify in my mind that he is really NOT totally psychopathic?” “Is he maybe “JUST” a narcissist?”

    The only question you need to answer is something like “has he harmed me repeatedly, emotionally, physically, financially, etc.?” Part of healing I think IS realizing the other questions like “Can he be helped?” don’t matter even if the answer is “yes”.(which of course it is not, but even if it is yes, why is it MY job to help someone who has repeatedly HURT me?)

    Most of us are very forgiving, giving, self-sacrificing types, out to help others and make the world a better place. We are also very relationship committed.

    Part of healing is to hold fast to the TRUTH that your FIRST responsibility is to yourself. If someone is hurting you, you owe it to yourself to cut off that relationship and not look back.

    and if someone you love, who has been good to you, needs you, you won’t think twice about forgiving them, sticking with them, etc…because in that scenario it doesn’t hurt. Well, end of life care is painful, but not because the person is being brutal.

    I actually think psychopathic awareness is terribly important. But at some point, all that is academic and what you really need is so much respect for yourself and to be so firm in your values, that it doesn’t matter what dream, what person, what story or what explanation is dangled in front of you, you KNOW the “means” matter, not just the end goal (the end does NOT justify the means), and your boundaries are clear and enforced. And if someone is causing you pain you get them out of your life, and if you can’t, you put an emotional shield around yourself, so that what ordinarily would hurt, instead bounces off and you are not “real” around them. You talk like you would with a stranger you didn’t want contact with, in the grocery store. Short, minimal, non-encouraging answers delivered without a smile.

  122. Hi Kelli, I really am so very sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis! You are an extraordinarily strong woman to have sustained yourself with fibromyalgia thus far including during your relationship with ex and prior to that stepdad. LIfe throws some sucky curves our way at times. It doesn’t seem fair whichever way you try to look at it. No doubt pathology has played a very active role in your physical health. I truly believe our bodies hold onto hurts and pains that our minds are not ready or able to face. I too have fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and Lymes disease. So I do have some perspective of what you’ve gone through.

    I don’t know if my father is necessarily pathological. He could be. At the very least, he’s a less than ideal husband and has very low opinion of women. In particular women close to him, thus spouse and daughters. Mainly spouse. He is highly abusive to his wife, verbally, emotionally, and mentally. I’m sure physically to some degree. Though we(children) didn’t witness any direct physcial violence. I think your assessment of how these relationships affect our physical health is quite accurate.

    I made the decision to return to school while I was in the acute stages of my lyme disease. I had reservations and was reticent. Even so, I knew I had to at least try. Much to my surpise, rather than getting sicker – I actually grew stronger as a result of attending school during that phase. There is a fine line between doing just enough and doing too much and setting yourself back. So, just do what you’re comfortable. Don’t push yourself too hard and listen to your body. It’ll tell you what it needs.

    I’ll certainly keep you in my prayers. 🙂


  123. Susan,

    Thank you. This is all new to me, but not. If that makes sense. I’ve been living with chronic illness a long time. It’s very frustrating to have symptoms and not know what’s wrong. Well now I do, so just like fibro, etc, it means learning another balance. It takes time, the good news is that even though these new symptoms TOTALLY suck, and as a result of monthly doc appts, I’m not nearly as sick as I could be/would have been had I not been monitored regularly anyway. I don’t do “slow down” well, but my body is directing me too.

    Susan, yes, listening to the inner voice. Even while listening now, it’s still the devil on one shoulder, an angel on the other, battling back and forth. It’s self doubt. I do believe that pathology plays a major role in illness. With all of that stress, how could it not? It’s very hard not to be angry. Kel

  124. Kelli – I am sorry you have to battle this illness. I know however we can than GOD for modern medicine and how much they can do now for these type of illnesses so you are able to live a fairly normal life. These paths can literally destroy our health as you stated. You will heal now physically and mentally Kelli now that this toxic person is no longer in your life and hasnt been for quite some time; we gave them so much as they deserved NOTHING of us x0x0 Linda

  125. Linda,

    I worry about you because I don’t see you posting much. How are you doing lately in your recovery? Kel

  126. Kelli: I posted yesterday but … well…. Claudia replied to it. I DO read the site everyday. I am struggling with many things in my marriage now that I never saw before until just recently. I am starting to see just WHY I have been so unhappy and VERY lonely in this marriage; now that I no longer have the diversion and/or fantasy illusion of the psychopath I FELL HARD, extremely hard to the realities of what I married. I married someone who treated me like an object or simply gave me a role; that role being keep my house clean, prepare my meals, generate a little income to contribute, you just exist to serve my needs. Seems I have spent most of my marriage trying to please someone that is NEVER satisfied ITS NEVER ENOUGH. What I got in return was a person who shuts himself off to MY needs, self absorbed in his sports 24-7, lack of emotional support in EVERY way, lack of any type of care or concern in ANYTHING that concerns me. That has been my marriage. I am not blaming him because I realize more than ever this is the way he is, this is who he is and for the most part he cant help it or change – he is just a HORRIBLE partner to have in a marriage and whoever would marry him is going to have a LONELY marriage because of what he is incapable of giving; he doesnt know HOW to give the things that is needed to have a TWO WAY healthy marriage. Does he love me? Yes I am sure he does he loves me the only way he knows how to love but there are underlying deep issues with him such as extreme insecurity, the need to control, the constant criticism and the lack of recognition he gives me for the thoughtful things I do for him; Its as if it just KILLS him to pay me a compliment or recognize what good deeds I have done. I dont think he likes to acknowledge anything I do because of HIS own personal insecurities – GOD FORBID if I ever felt good about myself, he cant have that, he has got to have me feeling bad about myself ALL THE TIME. Example: last year I spent a good day putting up or christmas decorations, the tree and trimmings and what have you thru out the house; the man comes home from work walks in the door and does not say ONE word about it. NOTHING. What person does that? Normal people would say, oh the place looks nice with all the christmas things; not him he just walks in gets his dinner opens a paper and starts reading I mean W T F ??? HELLO? The place looks like santas workshop., I have spent all day decorating with time and love making it look nice for my family and the holiday traditions and he says NOTHING? When I finally asked, WELL asshole ( I wanted to say asshole but I didnt) doesnt the place look different than when you left this morning, he said to me; oh yes Linda we know you are a little baby and need recognition for what you did and how hard you work. What the hell are you you talking about I replied. A few years back I repainted every room in the house (I love to paint) and he told all his friends how nice it looked and how professional it was but what did he tell ME? ” You fucked up every room in the house”. I know this because his so called sports friends told me I hear you are quite the painter. I was SHOCKED and I said, mmm thats interesting because that is not what he told me.

    I really didnt want to post my problems in my marriage but all this is the direct result of why I become so easily snared by the path he NOTICED ME, I EXISTED, (of course it was all a pretense) My husbands horrible neglectful behavior towards me left me CRAVING to be appreciated and recognized. I am slowly coming to terms with the fact my husband also has his little mind games he has done to me thru the years projecting on to me that I was always the needy and insecure one when in reality I think it has always been the opposite; he is an abuser and he is good at it. He abuses to hide and cover up his own internal inadequacies; correct me please if I am wrong but I think I have studied enough pathology and psychology the past three years to recognize my husbands unhealthy games and abuse. Sorry this post is so long but I am really starting to come to terms with how in many ways I never recognized my husbands behavior until AFTER the path experience. I may not ever have closure with the path but I certainly am getting closure with my marriage I WANT A DIVORCE!!! x0 Linda

  127. Claudia, Michael, Kelli – thank you so much for your responses. The reality is still painful for me even though I have found acceptance that he is a psychopath who will never change. I do experience the “visceral disgust” of his actions in the past and present.

    My therapist and I decided first and foremost that I must stop beating up myself in order to work on my self esteem. I have to come to the realization it is not my fault that I was targeted by a psychopath. No amount of physical beauty would have changed the outcome. I am not a troll who can’t be seen in public. It is no great prize anyway to be shown off in public by a psychopath who speaks badly of you when you aren’t around to hear it. I know I have to start working on myself solely for ME, and not for the approval of other people. If I continue to do this then I am always going to feel like a failure and I’m always going to be that beat down old woman he left behind.

    That’s just not acceptable.

  128. Dawn, No YOU are not a troll. Your ex would have refused to take you in public regardless if you were a troll or a supermodel. Truth is it had absolutely NOTHING to do with you, or our attractiveness, or percieved lack therof. It is about his need to have the ability to continue trolling for new victims. If anyone is a troll in this scenerio, it is said ex!

    Right on! That is not acceptable. Opinions are just personal perceptions based on everything about the persons history who holds the opinion. The only perceptions that matter are yours. My perception of a chihuahua is that they are annoying rats! (lol..I do apologize to chihuahua lovers!) However, many people think they are simply DARLING! I only care that I never own one. Another person’s dream may be to own one. It’s all percpetion. ;D

  129. Dawn,

    I’m the Queen of “Self Floggers” Ask Julian. He’s proud of me though,because I haven’t flogged myself this week lol!

    Anyway……’s what we do in the aftermath. He wanted you to focus on your low self esteem in the physical sense, as well as emotional sense. He projected that onto you so you’d take what he was saying and internalize it. Congratulations! As with all psychopath’s victims, it worked! Now your job is to turn that around and begin to tell yourself something different. Purge his garbage. Work hard in therapy to figure out WHY you feel the way you do and why you allow him to continue to make you feel this way even though he’s not around anymore. One of the things that woke me up (there were several things really), was that the women he was trolling for were the opposite of what he said he was attracted too. I inevitably found out that it wasn’t what the women looked like, it was what they had to offer him. Money was his next target, so he got one with money. The last one was for image. We all look incredibly different from one another. We all come from very different backgrounds. None are the same. None fit his descriptive notions about what he “likes”. That too is a lie. Everything he said, positive/negative to you, is a lie. Just work on your self esteem and stop beating yourself up. NO bueno! Kel

  130. Kel, I think we are actually agreeing, now that I reread it. The first big step for me and for most toward healing is understanding what a psychopath is, and what happened.

    However, I spent almost two years in that ruminating stage after I had the knowledge….something like that. And I ruminated pretty full time for quite awhile!

    The therapist(s) said things like I wrote above, but it took me a long time to internalize that.

    I encounter a lot of manipulators and bad people in my work, and I have no problem cutting them off. Now I’m working on emotional sobriety…so that the encounters don’t get my adrenaline going. The more I trust myself, the more I can remain centered, no matter what is going on around me.

  131. Linda,

    This is excellent! EXCELLENT! This is EXACTLY why the the psychopath was so attractive for you. After all of that, who wouldn’t be hungry for love?? Attention and affection???

    You husband sounds like a narcissist. Pathology is pathology is pathology, dear. Some are worse than others, but the lack of empathy, guilt or remorse is there.

    I support you on your divorce. I hope you get it soon and set yourself free. I think you’ll find, that while it’s very scary, you will feel so much better!! It’s better to be happy and poor, Linda, working on yourself than to live like that.

    I’m so proud of you. I understand how hard it is to look at your marriage for what it is. I’m really, REALLY proud of you! Kel

  132. Linda, I totally agree with Kelli, your husband is definitely highly narcissistic. I initially thought my ex was a narcissist also, and perused many NPD sites on the internet. But the pathology label doesn’t really matter – abuse is abuse is abuse, and it’s very damaging.

    I can really relate to your situation; I paid the lion’s share of the expenses and did 95% of the work around the house. I once told my ex “you seem to treat me like a tenant with benefits.”

    For your own sake, I hope you can get out of your toxic marriage quickly.

  133. Michael, yes there are a LOT of really good people out there. But there’s a feature of our thought processes (I don’t know what it’s called, maybe someone with a background in cognitive psychology can help here) that works like this: Once you learn to recognize something and give it a name, you see it everywhere!

    Let’s say you go out and buy a new car, say a Mazda. In the first few days you own it, you’ll be amazed by the number of Mazdas on the road. Before, they were just “cars” indistinguishable from other cars, but now that you know what a Mazda is and how to recognize them, you see them everywhere!

    So it’s not surprising that you feel as if you see “sharks” everywhere. It’s because you’ve learned to recognize them. And in my opinion, they comprise maybe 20-25% of the population – that 1-4% figure that we hear so often is those that are clinically (i.e. severely) psycho- or sociopathic. But even moderately disordered individuals can be extremely toxic in relationships.

    The good news is that after a few weeks of driving your new Mazda, all those other Mazdas on the road will fade away into oblivion again. That’s just how our brain works. – Julian.

  134. Michael, that’s an interesting link. My ex was definitely a psychopath, but the article refers to borderlines, who are distinctly different. I saw a lot of common features, however, with my favourite being: “Having a serious adult conversation with a Borderline, is like trying to get a three year old to comprehend and rationally respond to the issues at hand.” Whener anything didn’t go the way my ex wanted, there was just no possibility whatsoever of a calm and rational discussion. It was a temper tantrum worthy of a five year old.

    Try re-routing the transporter beam through the main deflector dish. That should significantly increase its range. – Julian.

  135. Julian, good analogy! When you recognize the distinguishing features of something–be it a personality disorder or a car–you can spot it more easily. All the more reason to inform people about personality disorders! Claudia

  136. Kel, you know what I think put a stop to your self-flogging? Becoming a Danori Diva like me! LOL. A little comic relief… Claudia

  137. Linda, the fact you were unhappy in your marriage led you to your affair. There are two main reasons why women looking for true love have affairs:
    1) They’re fundamentally unhappy in their marriages, as you were or
    2) They take their good husbands for granted, like I did. Point 2) is fixable if you shift your attitude and learn to appreciate everything and everyone wonderful in your life. Point 1) is not fixable. Recognizing that is the first step to divorcing, moving on, dating again and finding a better romantic partner in life. Claudia

  138. Claudia

    LOL! To your Danori comment above. We ARE the Danori Divas thanks to YOU, Claudia. I got your gift in the mail and I promise not to open until b’day! I love you, ya know! HUGS! Kel

  139. Kel, I’m glad to hear you got the birthday gift and thanks for not opening this one too soon:). Danori Diva

  140. Julian!

    Excellent analogy! lol! Funny one too, because that’s exactly what happened to me when I first got my car a few years back. Now I STILL see them all over the place, same car, same color, same style, **gag** It is the UGLIEST car on the planet! Kel

  141. Claudia,

    LOL! Forgive my memory lapses! I forget everything now. But this time I remembered!

    I’m feeling a little sad about the b’day this year. Another of the firsts without the ex. I know I should feel more celebratory, but I don’t. He use to give a dozen roses every year. I’ll miss that, but not him. Or maybe I will. Dunno. Kel

  142. Kel, yes, your mood should be very celebratory! Your first birthday in ten years without that toxic influence, without that plague. My take on the flowers is: they smell like shit when they come from a psychopathic Loser. Claudia

  143. Claudia!!!

    ROFLOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! True!!!

    I don’t know if I’ll ever have another relationship again, or see a dozen beautiful red roses, but if I ever do, I hope it has the meaning it’s meant too, rather than the meaning that it did. Actually, Claudia, I’m kinda down too cuz of all this illness shit, seriously. It just adds more to my feelings of loss, and that if a relationship was possible, it isn’t now. Who wants a sick girl? 🙂 (No, Julian, I did NOT just flog myself 🙂 Kel

  144. Kel, yes you did just flog yourself. And yes, you will have true love again, when a bouquet of roses will actually mean something (rather than just: here’s this gift so you can swallow some more of my abuse and b.s., as they do for psychopaths). The illnesses are real reasons to be down, but please try to focus on all the good in your life and to minimize the stress. Claudia

  145. Happy birhday Kel x and remember you wont be sick forever. btw talking of roses smelling like shit from a psychopath LOL I remember a birthday a couple of years back and my daughter buying me a beautiful bunch of flowers. My ex bought some too. I was tidying both vases up and his ones had completely strivelled up within a few days and my daughters were still in bloom. My son commented on the state of the dead ones and I said “but I got them both the same day” he replied” the difference is mum that Laura loves you and XXXX doesn’t. Out of the mouth of children LOL x. Incidentally the ones my daughter bought stayed lovely for weeks. Have a lovely birthday x Sarah

  146. Dawn, it’s true that Kelli was once The Queen of the Self-Floggers here, but it’s now been almost two weeks since she’s done that. I’ll keep an eye on you too, so be forewarned 🙂 – Julian.

  147. Claudia, I’ll have to disagree with you on your opinion. I believe that Kelli displayed a very healthy sense of reality there; although a “sick puppy” relationship can be very soothing for both involved, it’s not a very stable foundation. I think it’s best for all of us to give Kelli as much support as we can in her efforts to improve her overall health, and thus make her a much more suitable partner.

    Kelli, congratulations on STILL not flogging yourself and having such a healthy and realistic view of you situation. – Julian.

  148. Sarah, your son really hit the nail on the head. I have a particular interest in flowers, and I’m fairly certain that your daughter went to a florist and bought a fresh bouquet custom-made just for you – out of purest love – and your ex went to the grocery store and grabbed a bunch out of the bucket for one-quarter the cost – out of nothing more than a sense of obligation.

    Therein lies the difference; love always subtly shines through in everything we do. Thanks for your beautiful story. – Julian.

  149. Susan, your rattlesnake analogy really struck a chord with me. Back in my Scout-leader days, I taught the kids wilderness survival skills, which amounted to “Be Prepared” (the Scouting motto) and all the red flags to look for. Rattlesnakes will always rattle before they strike – step back! Clouds move in and the wind changes before a storm – take shelter! Never get between a mother bear and her cubs – go around them! Always bring a first-aid kit – just in case! I could go on and on…

    Your comment says a lot about all the wonderful people out there that we haven’t yet met, and how we should remember to appreciate the value and beauty of humanity (as well as nature). And you stress that we must be educated and wise, not naïve. Thank you for a terrific post! – Julian.

  150. LOL at Julian he probably did ! Having said that after my therapist taught me healthy self respect and that we down need others to make us feel good I often buy myself out of the bucket flowers every now and then to make the flat nice and they last for ages. But your absolutely right love always shines through.

  151. Happy birthday Kelli, my birthday is close to yours coming up the 17th UGH another year older – I have suspected my husband had narc tendencies but I didnt want to go around thinking EVERYONE is a narc just because of the experience I had with the path – a narc is a damaged person and there is no changing them, they CANT change and they damage everyone who is close to them; my own children have suffered with my husbands abusive outbursts especially my daughter. My husband was never set out to destroy me as the path was but his abuse stems from his internal conflicts he has resulting in me, his wife being the brunt and whipping post for his abusive disorder. This answers so many questions in wondering WHY my husband does not at least TRY, the answer is simple HE CANT, he is not capable of changing he may love me all he wants but that wont change what he is. My husband does not know how to love or to truly share himself with another person – Unlike the path I believe my husband CAN love but not the way I want to be loved and I fail to see how anyone else could be happy with that type of love either. I am so tired of this constant emotional pain in struggling to make my life better – that is exactly how I feel Free at last, just a room mate or tenant with benefits with no emotional connection what so ever, I got out of the fire with the path but I am still in a BAD and toxic place that is not healthy for me. I am just so tired and worn from the constant uphill battle this has been x0x0 Linda

  152. Sarah, I often buy flowers for myself too, just to brighten up the place. I prefer the local Costco buckets because their flowers last so much longer; they seem to buy from the same suppliers that the florists do, rather than the grocery stores. Perhaps the most important thing about buying flowers for yourself is that it underscores the fact that you can indeed do things to make yourself feel good without relying on others for that feeling. – Julian.

  153. ((( ms. Sarah ))) xxoo thank you! I love your stories about your ex. You’re so humorous about it! Cheers me right up! I wonder if the flowers dying before your daughter’s is that energy thing, ya know? Their energy is DEF negative!
    Linda, thank you! Happy B’day to you too!!! WOW, I wonder if we were born in the same year?

    Linda, I do understand what you’re saying about an uphill climb. I get that and there are so many emotions that come with it all. It’s a transition time in your life. It’s another peeling of the layer of onion, and this one is a big one. But the good news is that you’re doing it. I feel your pain about it though. Seems, at least for me, that the birthday thing, holidays, bring more pain and not joy, at least not yet. It’s more, for me, about grieving losses. Everytime I see my therapist and tell her how many times I cried this week, or that I’m feeling this overwhelming depression she gets all giddy, “GOOD” she says, “that’s just what I want to hear is happening!” Ugh. I know what she means, but it’s hard because a lot of people around you don’t. And that is an enormous frustration. In reality, everyone has their own lives to attend too. It’s not possible to express the deep levels of pain and loneliness, particularly when you realize that there is a lot of pathology in your background. It’s possible that your psychopath was also a bit more charismatic than your husband, which made him all the more appealing. I get that too. Mine was polar opposite of my husband too, but we were separated when I became intimate with douchie. Now I wish I’d waited and had given myself time to grieve it. But going from one psychopath to another is not uncommon with an abusive childhood in your past. I also understand the anger it provokes too. I SHOULD HAVE HAD PEOPLE WHO LOVED ME AS A CHILD! Yes, i should have. Try to explain that to someone who was loved and they will look at you as if you’re making up a huge story or doing the pity play. It’s why I don’t talk about it with anyone other than those very close to me that I trust, but after awhile, they get tired of it too and wonder why you can’t just “get over it”, “put it behind you”, “get off the pity potty” and a whole plethora of other cliches that are used when you share. I believe we will work through it. So you have my email address and anytime you feel like you need to just vent, you have an ear here. 🙂
    We WILL get past this, but getting it out is part of it. I’m learning that that can only be done with certain people who have been through it. You’ll process all of this and I hope that for us both, things will begin to look up.


  154. Sarah,

    I don’t buy myself flowers, I am, however, a bonafide candle whore. 🙂

    I love scented candles. My kids think it’s hilarious. It is SO HARD for me to go into a store and not pick more up lol! There is just something about candles that are very peaceful to me. Maybe I’ll pick up some flowers for myself for my b’day. It’s a great idea! Kel

  155. Claudia,

    I disagree with both you and Julian lol!

    First, I just got my dx. It’s going to take awhile to absorb it. Who gets slammed with two autoimmune dx’s in one day when you’re already dealing with a couple more? lol. I’m angry about it, really. That’s the pathology piece, I think. I’m really pissed about the pathology part in all of this and I’m convinced that it made a VERY huge contribution to all of this. It’s hard to describe what it is to live with chronic stress to begin with, the best comparison would be dealing with a psychopath on a daily basis. Try that on a daily basis for 47 years. I’m tired of trying to explain what that’s like. Sarah did a great job of it with that article she posted.

    Julian, I don’t agree with that about a sick puppy relationship. As we age, illness is unavoidable. Sure, it’s a lot to deal with, but from my perspective, it’s about love. It would take someone damned special to love me and deal with all of this. And I don’t mean special in a narcissistic way, but someone who can deeply love and see past all of the “illness”, past pathology, and see my heart. And until if and when that happens, I’ll be by myself. It makes ever having a relationship again far more difficult, but not because I have these illnesses, but because, in truth, the perspective of men towards women who are “sick” means they aren’t taken care of by her. Sounds shallow, doesn’t it? but unfortunately, for most men, it is the truth. Kel

  156. Sarah,

    I’d like not to be sick NOW! I have a naturopathic doc. I’m happy about that because we’re talking about alternative therapies. Steroids seems to be the drug of choice in dealing with this, but I can’t take it and my doc won’t put me on it. Adjusting will take some time, as well as finding out what works. I know that one with the fibro issue. Kel

  157. Kelli – I was born in 1958 – The difference between my husband and the path was the path was VERY good looking and charismatic my husband is NOT a good looking man and he is about as charming and romantic as a dead fish; the path had everything; looks, charm, perfect 6’2″ frame while my husband is an inch shorter than I am. I suppose at one time my husband was attractive to me but the more he abused me the uglier he became now he has a mustache and reminds me of a little dictator. Hitler sort of comes to mind. It matters not though outside appearance but at the same hand there is an element of some importance of being physically attracted to someone. Even though he was a psychopath he still remains a very handsome man in appearance but handsome is as handsome does they say.. I would take an average looking man any day that treated me with kindness and respect that some good looking ass hole or psychopath.

    I cant come to terms with why I have spent 20 some years trying to love a man who talked to me like some farm animal I dont understand WHY I allowed this; oh if I just did this better or that better or was thinner for him, but it never ends with an abuser, abusers are never satisfied – Here is a good one for you, when I was with the path I lost 30 pounds THIS WAS MY HUSBANDS DREAM COME TRUE, this is all I heard all my married life to be thin, more sexy but it came at a high price for my husband. Better be careful what you wish for I was thin but it wasnt for HIM. I had lost the weight mostly from PTSD and the trauma of the path just quit eating, I had no appetite had to force protein shakes down me. There was a huge anxiousness in my stomach and that was MY instinct Kelli telling me something was not right with the path. I was also high on that sexual hormone so that might have attributed to my loss of appetite the feeling of being in love.

    Thank you for your words of encouragement I am trying not to feel sorry for myself but sometimes we SHOULD feel bad for the abuse we allowed ourselves to tolerate especially when we open our eyes to the reasons why and try to do something about it. I am not doing very well this evening – its so much to process x- Linda

  158. Julian, so very true. Joe Carver estimates that approx 7-9% of the population have a psychopathic Cluster B disordered emotional spectrum. When you add the estimates around the prevelance aroung psychopathy, and Borderline, and the other cluster B’s- hes probably not far the mark.

    But recognising these signitures becomes easier. Ther are many red flags; idealisation, and also a breach of personal boundaries- the latter often being expressed in the shape of someone who belittles, and emotionally assaults us in the guise of “its for our own good”. This is a not to be underestimated clue that we are dealing with someone whi is toxic. Michael

  159. Linda,

    I understand. The reasons that you put up with it go way back. We have shared that privately and it will stay that way. 🙂

    I don’t know what to say to you here. I’m completely without words to express to comfort you right now. I’m sorry. I’m not in the same boat in the way that you’re expressing, but in another. The pain right now is excrutiating.

    Hang in there, honey. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Promise 🙂


  160. Sarah, that is quite a story. Even the flowers from the sicko shriveled up:). Claudia

  161. Julian, I’ve seen Kel make enormous strides since I’ve known her in February. It will take all her strength–and she has enormous strength–to deal with the illnesses and all her friends will support her, both here and off line. The rest is speculation, about meeting Mr. Right or not. The focus that is real, not speculative, is being supportive of her, helping her through tough times, and mostly about her finding further strength to move past the abusive relationships with the psychopaths, finish school and make the most and the best out of her life. Kel, I’ll be there for you. Claudia

  162. Linda, it sounds like you’re ready to take flight to a better life, without the man with the little mustache. The first step you took is seeing and facing the problems in your marriage. Claudia

  163. Linda, I can so relate to your post above. The accusation of being needy and so on is the mantra of the cluster b. But we could potentially get confused here; we all have needs. This is the way Custer B pulls this one so well. They try and convince that we are needy, and if your an open minded person you may think to your self “perhaps I am, perhaps they have a point”! Thus your expectations of having any needs met in the relationship are chipped away one at a time.

    One of the revelations that broadsides us is that not only are they the most in need of stimulation on the planet; they are quite literally the most neediness of people because they have to use us to fill their own emptiness. Welcome to paradox city! Michael

  164. Julian and Kel, I have followed your discussion about love. I think there’s a lot of validity in both your perspectives. Julian, I appreciate your sometimes brutal honesty: I know it’s never with any bad intentions and comes from the heart. But on this issue, I side with Kel and here’s why. Sometimes people become overly cautious after being burned so badly by a pathological. They wait for a perfectly healthy state of mind; they wait for a perfectly healthy new partner. A perfect mental health doesn’t exist. Unlike pathology, which is real–with a precise list of highly destructive symptoms and behaviors–normalcy is a construct, an ideal. We can aspire to it, like we can aspire to goodness, a moral ideal, but we’ll never completely attain it. Ironically, it’s when I sought a romantic ideal and found fault with a wonderful husband who has human flaws like we all do that I got into trouble. The only people likely to simulate perfection (initially) are, as you well know, sociopaths. Kel you’re as strong as anyone could be given all the hardships you’re facing. Claudia

  165. Michael,

    I’m beginning to hate the term “healthy”. I see this in the same terms as “normal”. Normal is a setting on a dryer. “Healthy” is on a spectrum. Everyone is very different. The difference between “healthy” and “Pathological” is in EXTREMES. Like my therapist said to me last session, I could pull out a DSM or textbook on abnormal psychology and see myself in ALL of it”. Excellent point she made and I’ve been thinking about it. In context, she was concerned that I was pathologizing myself too much, rather than seeing that I was much healthier than I believed. We all go to extremes SOMETIMES, we all get angry, we all sit on a pity potty, we all have hurt feelings. ALL of us feel those things, but when it comes to a psychopath, those things are in the EXTREME. The behaviors are consistent over time. The elements of being a basic human being are the desire to be loved, cared for, needed, desired as well as giving those things in return.. It’s really pissing me off that this is being pathologized as being “needy” or “unhealthy” or “abnormal” and that the KEY to being truly healthy is to love yourself FIRST. Ok, I get that. And to a degree I believe it to be true, HOWEVER, to ignore or neglect the other human NEEDS, is DENIAL. It seems to me that pathologizing the basic human desires, needs, etc, is the “new” psychology to aspire to in order to be “healthy” or “normal”. And all of it is nothing but BOGUS. Read Maslow’s hierarchy of NEEDS. There is something to it.

    BTW, Michael, you are absolutely correct in your above post and I believe that point is critical: Psychopaths will take our basic HUMAN desire for love, care, to be NEEDED/WANTED and twist and exploit it to a point where we don’t even recognize what “healthy” or “normal” is anymore. They have taken US to the EXTREME with them.

    Well, I’ll tell ya all what! I’m not going there again. Ever. I want to be a human being and feel and be REAL about all the things that human beings need in this life. No one is perfect. There is no “soul mate” out there. that’s bogus too, but there are other HUMAN BEINGS that are flawed and SICK sometimes too, that are just as worthy of having their needs met as well as the desire to meet the needs of others. What a selfish, narcissistic world we occupy. I’m sick to death of it. Kel

  166. Claudia,

    I appreciate it. I have a new mantra: Having a lifetime of pathologicals in a person’s background should not be a lifetime handicap. This is part of why people don’t discuss psychopathy much and i believe it. Someone with an abusive background is stigmatized STILL. I’ve been very open about my background. It is what it is. It’s sad that there is an element of shame across the board for any victims of abuse. The Penn State scandal is a very good example of what happens to victims when money is at stake, millions, and also, I believe that stigma these victims will have to deal with, the blame they will take, upon themselves and from others for the firing of a beloved coach. Make no mistake about it, this is a reflection of our society now and it isn’t the only place it’s going on. The MILLIONS of voiceless victims out there go UNHEARD, and when they dare to speak up, they are branded for life as being emotionally handicapped in some way. The abuse always stays with you. It becomes apart of you, but it doesn’t have to BE you.

    This is how it is with victims of psychopathy too. It’s very sad and it doesn’t help the victims heal either. Where would any of us be that NEED each other to heal. We NEED this blog and the many bazillions of others out there that help victims every single day. We NEED a support system, people who love us to get us THROUGH it. The people I’ve seen heal quicker are those that have solid SUPPORT systems when they NEEDED them.

    I’m pontificating here I know. I’m so pissed off at the callousness of this world SO PISSED OFF! Kel

  167. Linda,

    Don’t apologize for feeling what you feel. vent all you want. that’s what we’re here for because you NEED that. I’m there with and for you all the way WITH LOVE. YOU WILL get through this and when you do, you will be a much HAPPIER person because you’re being true to yourself and I hope that the next man that comes into your life, when it’s time, is someone who accepts you for you, ALL of you, inside and out, flaws and ALL. Our ex’s and our past abusers might have caused pain, but what we have left and what we know how to do is LOVE. LOVE LOVE LOVE! THAT is the ANSWER DAMMIT! Kel

  168. Claudia,

    After everything that has taken place the last couple of days, i think you’re right, yet another light bulb moment. thanks for your friendship and insight. Kel

  169. All, A lot happens here in a day! Feel like I have plenty to catch up. I’ll try to get up to speed.

    Kelli, Happy Bday!!! I know you mentioned not feeling the most celebratory for a host of reasons. All valid reasons that would get anybody down. Don’t try to force yourself to put on a smile. It’s okay not to feel celebratory. You’ve just been given a lot of information that takes some processing. Give yourself the freedom to feel sorry for your situation and be sad for a bit of time. Have a good cry, throw a tantrum, buy yourself a dozen red roses, light some candles and take long bubble bath then curl up with a good book and a cushy bathrobe. Now, that sounds like a bday!!

    I know times like these can make you mix the ex. Today, I had a mixed emotional day from one extreme to the other in regards to my ex. First I met a gf for coffee and we were looking at her personal ad on a singles website. She convinced me to at least look to see what was in my area and age category. Low and behold who do we come across? Yeps, my exes ad!! Dumbass!! Of course this got my friends curiousity going, (I didn’t want to give him a seconds thought). But, she wanted to know all about the new girl and see HER ad and photo. This did set me back again. Mainly in terms of comparing myself to her and remembering what the honeymoon/idealization phase felt like. Even some of the most recent times that were good. I missed them a bit. But, did remind myself how fleeting they were and that they weren’t real to begin with.

    Then, I had my sister and niece from out of state visit. I had my other nieces, great niece and mother over for a dinner and a visit. We had such a great time. I was reminded if I were still with the ex, he’d of been here monopolizing my time and/or trying to cause a fight with me before they arrived and then storming out leaving me with a knot in my stomach and stressed out for their visit. Fortunately no such drama occured. Just a very nice fun, friendly, hassle free family day.

    Kel, it just goes to show you, that what we think we miss, we really don’t. What we DO have is infintely better than the image we thought we had. Hope that makes sense!!! Happy bday and please pamper yourself a bit.

  170. Sarah, Julian, Kel great idea about having flowers and candles. I buy myself flowers and candles. It’s important to have fresh flowers fill your space and candle. I, like you Kel can not live without candles.

    Give me flowers, candles, a glass of red wine, bubble bath, soft bathrobe, soft music and I’m completely satisified with or w/out a
    man. Of course, I’d prefer the with, but not necessary.

    (now I can’t wait until tomorrow night. I’m going to give myself a romantic evening w/all the above things I mentioned.)

    Hope you all are good to yourselves too!


  171. Kel, that’s true, people hide and cover up ugly realities if their or their institution’s reputation is at stake. How many schools have teachers who rape or have sex with their students and all those schools do is cover that up or lay off their teachers and cover up their crimes? This happens in prep schools, high schools, at universities, even in churches. As if a false good reputation is less important than all the people–children and parents–victimized by those pathologicals.

    The victims shouldn’t be stigmatized, of course, as you state. It’s the sociopaths who commit such crimes who should be stigmatized. Ironically, the only place where they are is in jail. If they ever get convicted for their crimes, particularly if it involves the rape of minors, they are at the bottom of the food chain in prison and become everyone else’s prey. Kel, I’m so glad that you are not accepting the victim status as an identity and refuse to allow your past with pathologicals determine your present and your future. Claudia

  172. Lisa, that sounds like quite a pampering! And you’re right to do it. Claudia

  173. Lisa, I send your psychopath’s ex new victim my condolences! But since it sets you back, don’t give in to the curiosity impulse to check out what the Loser is doing and whom he’s targeted as his new prey. It’s not worth it to open your still fresh wounds. They should have before and after pictures of these losers’ victims. It would show a radical shift from the “before”–during the honeymoon phase filled with false promises, flattery, love bombing and lies–to the “after” or the devalue, manipulation and discard phases, when the victims look completely dejected and shocked. How can any normal person not be when confronting the pathetic reality of a sociopath? Those “before” and “after” photos of victims of sociopathic conmen (and women) would be the most effective warning to potential victims. Like in the anti-smoking or anti-drinking and driving campaigns. This would be the anti-sociopathy campaign. Claudia

  174. Thank you again Kelli, Lisa, Julian, Claudia.

    I won’t be flogging myself today. 😀

    I woke up this morning and considered the positives!

    I am a much wiser person today than I was a year ago. There is no person in my life who will spoil my birthday today with cruelty. And no matter how much he tried, he could not break a mother’s love for her children or lifelong friendships. Those are the people I’ll be spending the day with. 🙂

  175. Claudia, you raise a very important point; searching for “perfection” can really get us into trouble, and at a minimum, is a recipe for frustration. We all have human flaws.

    Note that the words I used earlier in my reply to Kelli were “more suitable partner,” not “perfect partner.” I’m still recovering, and I feel that I wouldn’t make a suitable partner for anyone until my emotional and physical condition improves some more. But that’s just me, and I was raised to value self-sufficiency. That’s what prevents me from expecting a partner to shoulder some of my burdens, and makes me so grateful for the support I find here. – Julian.

  176. Lisa,

    That sounds WONDERFUL, exception the wine. lol. But all the rest, yep! I hope you enjoy that gift for yourself FULLY. Kel

  177. Julian, you might be pleasantly surprised about how many imperfect but wonderful women would find you a “suitable partner”. My philosophy remains: give love a chance. Claudia

  178. Everyone, Kelli’s first post, her inspiring note from the heart, is now up on the blog. Claudia

  179. Julian

    We shoulder the burdens of others when there is love. Part of loving ourselves is accepting our limitations. This could manifest in many different ways. Just because I don’t have the glowing health that others do, doesn’t mean I’m still not capable of love or a partnership. If I was, I might as well throw out the friendships I have now too because I’m not “suitable” enough.

    I understand what you’re saying about self sufficiency. I believe that derives from pride, not love.

    I know I will never be at “full capacity” with my health. I’m making the choice to be ok with that and make the best of what I DO have. And what I have is love, and that love is present with others and in everything I do. My children, my beloved Herc, my beautiful and growing new friendships, my work at school. And should my illness become disabling someday to the point where I have to be cared for, well………love will do that too. For me that is always present. I see self love in the choices I’m making too, and in doing so, storing up more energy to give more love, but understanding who can receive it and who cannot. And if one cannot, then I’m still ok. No matter what condition I’m in. Kel

  180. Kel, Michael, Julian, Claudia,

    I’ve liked reading your perspectives from yesterday regarding neediness and partners.

    Julian I was also raised to be self sufficent as well. My siblings and I joke that we were/are so self sufficent that we’ve literally raised ourselves. In some regard that is true.
    Our parents were very, very young, just 14 and 17 yrs old when they got married. IT stands to reason that they were busy trying to grow into adults while raising us. Consequently we were busy just trying to raise ourselves since our parents were a bit preoccupied and overhwelmed.
    The byproduct of that is that I tend to be so self-sufficient that I need to be in control of everything around me. A perfect partner for a psychopath who wants EVERYTHING done for them.
    At one point in our relationship when my ex was seeing his first ‘fling’ outside of our relationship,I was upset with him for running out on me so frequently to do things that didn’t make sense. I would make plans for dinner or something and he’d come over and eat and then have to take off. This was a complete turn around from him clinging to me for every breath he took and me trying to find ways to get rid of HIM for an afternoon to have a minute to myself or visit friends. I’d sometimes secretly call a friend or family member and ask them to come over because that would make my ex uncomfortable and he’d typically leave for a few hours. All the while phoning me about every 10 minutes though.
    I suspected he was seeing someone else because of the total tranformation in behavior. On this one particular evening I gave him a hard time about having to “run” right after eating. I wanted a valid reason for what was so important,(mind you he always came back at 9:30pm. No matter what. At 9:30 he’d be on my doorstep. Must of been her curfew or something). Anyhow, I will never forget how horrified I was when he said, “Lisa you are suffocating me! You are too needy and you just need to let me go.” Our relationship had always been based on HIS neediness andf MY need to be needed. I was the strong one that could take him or leave him. He was the clinging one that held onto me for dear life suffocating me. Now, the tables had turned. This has bothered me ever since. He has also said this to me numerous times over the last year or so we were together. It is like my worst fear of myself coming true. Therefor, I’ve really been enlightened reading your perspectives on neediness.

    Michael, your words have given me a new perspective that I LOVE. Of course everyone wants to be needed on some level. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. We are humans whose survival depends on us needing one another. I think of those orphanages in Romania where the babies were literally dying of failure to thrive because they needed human interaction and were deprived it. You’ve really helped me put the past events with my relationship and horror of feeling like I’d become needy in new light. Thank you!

    Claudia you are so right about your comment to Julian. Julian, obviously we’ve not met in person, but I have learned a great deal from your wisdom personal growth. I suspect you may not be giving yourself enough credit for how sufficent and healed you are. Because of your background your bar of self sufficeny may be fairly high. I guess the word of the day is perpective. It’s about what you percieve to be attainable and expected rather than what might be acceptable in terms of the general population.

    I am at this moment having another revelation. lol. My ex’s new gf is “in her words” extraordinarily independent and self sufficent. In so much that she feels she’s immune to anyone’s manipulations, or neediness.This is what she told our mutual friend when our friend discovered who she had started dating and warned her about him. I suspect this is one of the traits that has drawn him to her. All the more fun to knock her off her sufficency pedestal to watch her tumble to the ground.

    I apologize that my posts tend to ramble on into oblivian. I’m sure at least Claudia can relate if not all of you. My brain just starts processing like crazy when I begin writing. lol. Feel free to peruse, skim, or jump to the end and don’t feel obliged to indulge all my text!:D You do have lives I’m sure.


  181. Linda, I am so very sorry for what you are going through. I don’t have any special words of wisdom for you either. Other than this: I believe everything in life happens for a reason. I feel very little of life is random. Life teaches us the lessons we need to learn whether we want to learn them or not. I wouldn’t doubt that it’s no coincidence you got involved with the ex psychopath. Perhaps it was that experience that is the catalyst you needed to help you see the light of day in your marriage. It wouldn’t surprise me if that prior relationship wasn’t intended to help you understand your current situation in a new way. Maybe it is this new enlightenment that will give you the strength and courage needed to do what it is you need to do to save yourself. Your first responsibility is to take the best possible care of yourself and love yourself above all others. If you don’t, who will? You are the only person who knows what that means. I do hope you are able to make the changes in your life needed to allow yourself the best this life can give you.

  182. Lisa, that’s TYPICAL behavior of psychopaths. My ex clung to his wife for years, then once he found me (as well as others), he shipped her off to another house, another state to have more wiggle space. Then he was always clinging to me (and it was mutual, while I believed he loved me). Psychopaths cling to their main targets in order to monitor them, render them dependent, create a sole focus on them and the relationship, and ultimately control them. It’s never out of love, as we all found out. Claudia

  183. Lisa,

    Kinda depends on how one defines self sufficiency 🙂

    I guess when it comes to a psychopath, we aren’t just talking about financial/career self sufficiency, are we? there are the cons out there that choose women and their “self sufficiency” monetarily to live off of.

    Psychopaths choose victims based on their personal characteristics. While in relationship with him, it doesn’t reflect our “self sufficiency”. As noted above, they take our human needs and personality characteristics and TWIST them. So much for self sufficiency, it’s contradictory based on what happens to us during the relationshit, as we become more and more addicted to them. We lose our autonomy in the relationship which can be defined in many different ways. There is a lot of pride associated with “self sufficiency” to which the psychopath hones in on. Just like he does everything else. I feel sorry for your ex’s girlfriend, Lisa. Her autonomy will be lost. Self sufficiency doesn’t mean much in a psychopathic bond. It’s just that while we’re in it, we don’t recognize it right away.

    I think self sufficiency is an obligation and responsibility we have everyday and isn’t something that others are going to give us a blue ribbon for. It’s what we’re “suppose” to do to take care of ourselves in being apart of this world. Just like being a parent. I’m obligated to take care of my children, to provide for them, but there’s no kudos for it in society and there is so much more underlying what it means to be a parent as well as “self sufficient”. It’s only one part of ourselves. Your ex’s gf has attributes that he believes he can take from her that are completely different from yours. One thing I can say for sure, after the psychopathic bond, it forces us to a new level of humility as well as forcing us to see where we need to correct our own narcissism and bring us back to a more realistic level.

    Perhaps she is more self sufficient than you are LOL! I don’t mean that in a cruel way, but to help you to think about it differently, with a different perspective: It’s just all the more for him to break down. The stronger the woman, the more FUN he has breaking her down. Each of us had qualities, good and bad, that the psychopath exploited and used mercilessly. I think in the aftermath we learn to find a balance between the two within ourselves, ya know?

    Insofar as growing up in a pathological home, you’re onto something I think. We’re forced to be “self sufficient” (do not like those two words), INDEPENDENT from an early age. It’s called survival. that’s really what we’re required to do and that does mean an independence at a young age that we otherwise would not have with an appropriate level of childhood development. Everything is skewed and off balance in a pathological home. I’ll be thinking about that.

    With regards to your comments to Julian, that is somewhat my perception of him too, perhaps further along than he may believe, given his posts that are full of wisdom, intelligence and compassion, but I also think that only Julian really knows Julian and how he feels he is progressing or not. I know i’ve been guilty of projecting my feeling that someone is “more healed” than I on this blog, or assuming that their further ahead than they may feel they are. That’s holding them to our standards and not their own. I’m working on that one.

    Lisa, you have brought much help and healing to this blog and I am grateful for your presence. Kel

  184. Claudia

    TRUE DAT! Kel

  185. Lisa, your posts are wonderful, and we can all relate. They’re sometimes long but always coherent, and I truly appreciate that.

    Regarding self-sufficiency, for me it’s not just an issue of where I “set the bar” – it’s deeply ingrained in my character. If I understand the distinction correctly, personality is something you develop, whereas character is something that you’re born with. I have a calm, patient and self-sufficient character, and I can’t change that any more than a zebra can change its stripes.

    To this day, my mom STILL tells stories (sometimes when I’m present!) about how when I was a toddler and she would give me a couple of spoons and forks to play with. I would quietly play with them for hours, and rarely cried or demanded attention. She had trouble understanding why her friends were so frazzled with their own toddlers, but she certainly understood after my other two brothers were born. 🙂

    I believe much of it comes from the fact that my father was orphaned at the very beginning of World War II and spent his entire youth in labour camps and refugee facilities. Without parental guidance, he had no choice but to become self-sufficient (and very practical, I might add). He passed away four years ago, but he’s always very much in my thoughts.

    Thanks very much for your appreciation for my posts. – Julian.

  186. Kelli, thanks so much for sticking up for me! 🙂 To paraphrase what you said, I think we each need to reach a level of healing that we’re individually comfortable with. There isn’t any universal gauge calibrated from 0-100% that can be used for everyone. Each of us was at a certain point in their own personal development when the psychopathic tragedy unfolded, and I think that each of us wants to get somewhere back to that vicinity to feel comfortable.

    I think that by far the most important point that you’ve made, Kelli, is that we should be careful not to apply our own “healing yardsticks” to others. – Julian.

  187. Correction, my dad passed away a little over three years ago. I’m so bad with dates. – Julian.

  188. Julian, I agree with your point too. There’s no calibration of healing that applies to everyone. It’s partly–if not largely–subjective. You feel it when you’re ready for some many kinds of rebirths in life, not just in love. Claudia

  189. Julian,

    I completely agree. Clearly, our pace nor perspectives are the same. Kel

  190. I seem to be rather pensive tonight, and all this talk about healing yardsticks has prompted further thought. I’m tentatively thinking that there is one “universal” landmark in the healing process that can be applied to everyone. Claudia, Kelli and Michael have all mentioned it at various times: the point at which you realize that the whole idealization phase, that whole soul-mate persona that your former partner claimed to be, was a complete sham and fraud. This realization, which I had only around three months ago, was absolutely devastating to me. I had no choice but to figuratively drive a stake through the heart of someone who I had deeply loved, respected and trusted, and it was excruciatingly painful.

    I coined my moniker “Free at Last” in March, when I first started searching for an understanding of what I was going through on the Internet. It was inspired by the fact that I felt so much relief after moving out of my ex’s home just weeks before in February. The mere escape from the daily heaps of intolerable abuse was indeed soothing. But foolishly (as I now see) I remained in contact, trying to sort things out and get some closure with my ex. Since late April, I’ve been 100% no-contact.

    The period between disconnecting from the disordered one and realizing that the whole idealized persona was a fake, to use ER terminology, might be referred to as “critical condition.” You’re still trying to figure out what the hell happened, and you’re still highly vulnerable to hoovering, because you still believe that your soul mate really existed. Although I felt “Free at Last” due to the reduction in abuse, I certainly wasn’t, as I was pining for the woman I had loved.

    Once I had driven that stake through the heart of my beloved and recovered from the trauma and confusion of doing so, in retrospect (and again using ER terminology) I was in “stable condition.” Not at all healed, and in fact sometimes feeling even worse than I had felt while enduring the abuse. The old saying “out of the frying pan and into the fire” comes to mind; surviving the fire is the key issue.

    The most important thing is that I was out of danger and now stable, and finally ready to begin healing. This is the point where you get onto your “personal yardstick” and actually begin healing.

    I’ll be away working for most of the day tomorrow and unable to reply, but your thoughts on this topic are most welcome. I’m sure that Claudia will be most interested also, and with your comments this might become a future article. – Julian.

  191. Julian, that’s true, there are more or less objective landmarks in healing, or at least in gaining lucidity about the psychopathic bond. Seeing that the idealization phase–with all its mirroring, flattery, gifts, false promises and declarations of love–was a sham, and the most dangerous part of the relationship is one such landmark. There are others too, like seeing enough red flags in your deranged partner to look up the symptoms or names of psychopathy and other personality disorders. Another one is not caring what he does, who he’s with, what happens to him or her. But all of these stages of healing are still relational: with respect to the psychopath or the psychopathic bond. The most subjective phase of healing is when each person is ready to move on and explore exciting aspects of life and love again. That phase, as your discussion with Kelli made it apparent, nobody can dictate from the outside and it’s as subjective as anything can be. Claudia

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