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little-red-riding-hood-gustave-dore copy What Readers Say About Psychopaths and Love

“I cannot even begin to tell you how thankful I am to have stumbled across this website. You have put an enormous amount of time and effort into helping others see the truth.” Anon

“What an amazing blog, the words on these pages have given more relief and answers to the pain I have felt and the mystery of the appalling and baffling behaviour of my Ex than anything I have found so far. Thank you to the Author, for the wonderful service that your in valuable work is providing.” A.W.

“Wow. Wisdom that creates Peace. These are stunning revelations that clicked…Not so dizzy now. A million thank yous.” E.H.

“ANOTHER BULLS EYE! I am so much wiser in just a few months by reading your emails…Because of this new-found wisdom from your emails, I see people as they are, not as my emotions color them. With each email I receive from you, my world is becomes a more harmonious place. I am able to steer clear from the worst problems that psychopaths can create in my life before I get entangled with them. KEEP THEM COMING, I AM FOREVER GRATEFUL!” Jane

“I thank you for doing this site. I found it when I needed it most. It was a blessing. Even today, your writing was perfect timing. Please keep it up. The information is and has been helpful to me and a friend. Most people do not understand emotional rape. Again, your site is a blessing. Thank you.” KT

“Thank you for providing the space and impetus for logical discussion on what is a tremendous problem for mankind.” Baglady

“I feel as though I stumbled upon this blog and the information contained it in through divine intervention. I have been in this type of relationship for almost 4 years now as a victim…I feel hope since I found this information. Thank you from the bottom of my heart…I pray your ministry helps others as it has me.” Tracy from Ohio

“It is fitting on this day before Thanksgiving to thank you so much for showing me the light! I found you yesterday and am so grateful to you. Thank you for your courage to come forward and share with the rest of us. Thank you for touching so many. May you enjoy peace and love.” Gail S.

“I want to thank you so much, this website has finally given me the strength to stand up to the person who has been controlling me for about 10 years now. I want to preface this by saying I have a masters degree in clinical psychology and have diagnosed patients at my assessment practicum with psychopathy, no one is immune to being conned in this way, especially if you have never been down this road before…it wasn’t until I read your blog that I was able to identify exactly what was going on. Again, thank you…This website is extremely well written and comprehensive. I commend your making this website, you are helping so many. I have passed this website along to my clients, as well as to my therapist.” Michele L.

“I can’t say it enough how this site has kept me from completely losing it, I honestly don’t know how I could be keeping it together now if not for the insights gained here. Thank you again for providing the only safe haven I have at this time in my life.” Rob

“I have been visiting for about 2 months, this site has been so revealing, healing and I’m sure saving lives & happiness. I wish I knew then, what I know now–it’s all about awareness & support. Thank You for offering such a blessed resource & for service through this media. This site has helped me come to terms & begin healing—hopefully have better radar now. Prayers for all those coming to terms with the reality of their situations and recovery. May you be continually blessed in this service.” EmpathicLove

“I cannot tell you how much this has helped me today. I cannot get anything done because I can’t stop reading! …My eyes are finally opened – maybe a bit late, but still opened.” SuckerNoMore

“I just want you to know what a valuable service you’ve provided by creating this site. I stumbled upon it the other day while doing some research on psychopathy in an attempt to understand how the individual I was involved with could do all the things he did. It was such a relief to realize, after reading several of your posts, that this monster who had me believing he was one in a million is actually just one OF a million… psychopaths. He’s no more than a common, predictable set of symptoms and patterns. He fits the mold perfectly. I understand better than ever now that none of this was my fault; that he targeted me; and that the mental anguish he put me through was something I could not have resisted if I tried… because I could never be someone who thinks the way he does. Your information helped me realize that fully and take that last step of discarding any last little attempt to “reconcile” the unthinkable.” L.B.

“Thank you for making me feel sane again.” Tom

“I wish I had read this years ago; it would have saved me money, heartbreak and pain. I met one eight years ago and I believed I was with the man of my dreams. It’s been a nightmare. I often wondered how I got caught up in this crap but reading about it has open my eyes.” Michelle

“I truly believe this info saved my life! I thank God I found it and I thank God you are eloquent enough to cut right through to all the things I have been experiencing with this monster but was never able to verbalize! it felt like you were speaking directly to me! Thank you again for all the incredibly insightful info.” Duped

“After countless sessions with a therapist this makes more simplistic sense of what I had been going through in marriage. Very insightful and I wish the readers acknowledged. Wellness.” Eric

“Thank you for a brilliant and concise definition of a psychopath. This information is the best I have seen on this topic…I now know I am not crazy. Thank you.” Gail

“I have no words but thank you so very much!” Anthony

♥ Many thanks and much heartfelt appreciation for your kind words

Psychopaths and love.

What do psychopaths have to do with love if they aren’t even capable of loving?

This website is for people victimized in false relationships with predators known as psychopaths.

Popular media creates the beliefs that psychopaths are extremely rare (they’re not) and that they’re all sadistic killers (some are). But the very real possibility exists that you could find yourself in a relationship with a psychopath who duped you into believing s/he loved youand that if you do, the outcome will be not be good.

Psychopaths are calculating social predators who are out and about in society and who may be found living in your neighborhood, working in your workplace, or even sleeping in your bed.

This website is based on my personal experience with a psychopath and the research and reading I did and continue to do in the aftermath.

Find out what a psychopath is, how to spot the red flags of a psychopath, how to know if you’re being subject to covert emotional abuse, learn if you’re a victim of devastating emotional rape (if you’ve been with a psychopath, you are), and learn about healing after a relationship with a psychopath. Read some illuminating quotes about psychopaths that sum up the danger that they are.

There is also an extensive list of resources in the sidebar to help you find the information you need. These resources were valuable to me, and I hope they will be for you, too.

book cover, psychopaths and love

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51 comments on “Home

  1. KitKat on said:

    I’ve just spent the last 18 months of my life totally convinced that I was crazy, that it was my fault that my husband of almost exactly 16 years left us in June of 2013.

    Now, I understand that I did not even KNOW this man, and I still don’t. He swept me off my feet in 1996; it was all the usual stuff (“I’ve always loved you, I didn’t approach you because you were in another relationship, you are my soulmate, it will be forever, I’ve never loved anyone the way I love you, no one has ever looked after me like you do…..”).

    When I started asking too many questions, he became uncomfortable. Then the discoveries about his promiscuity began. The coldness, the distance, the wounding remarks and the GASLIGHTING were all too much to bear. I very, very nearly “lost it”, and had it not been for my sister as well as a very accomplished psychologist, I doubt that I would be sitting here enjoying my coffee and writing this reply today. Alcohol became a good friend of mine and, let me tell you, I didn’t count too many of the wine corks for quite a while.

    Yesterday marked a milestone in my journey. I finally said the WORD. Sociopath. I said it to my psychologist. She agrees, and she told me that I have taken a very huge step towards more objective thinking. I need to observe the events now, and try not let them re-run continuously, like an old movie. Because if I let him, he’ll bait me again, and again, and again until he drills my head into the ground. Why is he mad at me? Because I’m the first woman who figured him out. I cracked his shell. He’s horrified.

    Somehow, some way, I will get my self-esteem back. I will learn to trust the male species again. I will shore up my finances which, because of him, are now a complete disaster. I will take care of my son who, at the age of 12 just told me on Sunday night that he has no idea if his father loves him. We will help each other.

    • All the best to you and your son. Warm wishes to you both.

      • OMG,I finally had the nerve to leave my first love from high scohol 8 years after on and off abuse. I hung on to that relationship for dear life. Luckily it spawned no children but when I finally tore myself from that relationship and felt as if I severed a limb or limbs doing it and I promised myself just one year of an attempt to live without him as I didn’t understand the abuse or why I made him so angry , I said one year and if at the end of that one year I couldn’t live without him, I would crawl back on my hands on and knees. It was the only way I knew how to get out of the clenches that picked up where my family of origin left off. I was healing.I pulled up to my house where I lived with friends who I’d known for many years and a song was playing. The band was Boston and the song was The man I’ll never be . I sat in front of that house with that song cranked and cried. I had heard it a multitude of times prior but I heard the lyrics loud and clear and cried.I still didn’t get. I just knew it was him . Part of me probably didn’t want to believe it and another part of me didn’t understand it as I had no concept of psychopath or sociopath but to this day it was him .I so get it now and it ended up being the father of my child in the future of which I am fighting for my childs life against in family court.Reading this and the references just brought that all back to me. They know. They always have and they act with intent. They do know what they do contrary to he knows not what he is doing statement my mother always said.WOW!Thanks for helping that get completely through my thick my skull decades later! lolLillian,Don’t succumb to those thoughts of the ropes and such. I saw myself swan diving off the overpasses of the freeways for the first 2 years of family court and was scared to drive on the freeways. It passed and I never thought it would. I am ok and I am not recovered but I am not there anymore and it is amazing how many times we’ll make the mistakes in this life before the pieces come together but believe me, they can come together late instead of never. I am living proof. When you are in the thick of it, it seems like there’s no surviving it but there is. Food tasted literally like cardboard and I would chew and swallow just to stay alive and so I wouldn’t look too broken in court to care for my child. Somehow somewhere food tastes like food again. I never thought I would survive this. Really. But I have and bit by bit it’s getting better.Be well and kind to yourself.Eralyn

        • All the best to you and your child. May you prevail in family court.

          Yes, somehow we survive and go on. You be well too, Eralyn. Best wishes to you, and thank you for your comment.

  2. This is vary sad. One of the scars from a Sociopath is the events going over and over in your mind. Because the events are so unreal.It has been four years since a Sociopath was in my life and I still have this problem. I’m sorry for you and your son, Sociopaths don’t love any one. Love is what makes you human.

    • The years we devote our lives to the monsters out there is unbelievable. I thought my story was so unique that no one would see it.

      • It’s far from unique, yet it came as a surprise to each of us. It doesn’t matter who I talk to or what I write — those who haven’t yet been victimized will remain vulnerable. Their seems to be some great, unbridgeable divide between those of us on this side, and those still on the other side. Some of them will inevitably end up here. All I can say is that even if I received all the warnings in the world, I still would have thought I’d met the love of my life. Now we know, and we can devote our lives to things a lot better than monsters.

  3. Confused on said:

    DAV, I agree with you! Love is what makes you human and because we have the ability to love, we cannot fathom their behavior or how they not know what they do is evil, nor care for that matter. It hurts me for them. For their families and for myself because I still tell myself my love will save him. Just put a wrapper on my head and call me SUCKER!

    • No one is going to put a wrapper on your head and call you sucker. But I will share a comment I got today from another reader:

      “…I was married to him for 39 years, have two beautiful children, and loving grandchildren. I applaud anyone who makes the move and gets out of the situation. I was so very browbeaten. I had nothing of myself left–I had to leave, because I knew the real me was buried under that pile of crap so very deeply. I didn’t know if I could afford to leave; he had control of the finances, he had everything in his name, nothing was “mine”, but God helped me, and I got out; I put the down payment on a house, I moved to a small town close by because I had a job there, I became independent. It was a hard struggle–make no mistake on that, but I am worth it–I truly am! I learned how to pay the bills, how to manage finances, how to stand up for myself, how to make good friends; I’d love to help anyone who needs to find the backbone to leave. I am a walking miracle! I have this on my bulletin board: Don’t waste one more day! Take care of yourself. You are worth it!”

  4. A year ago I found this site and realized I had been involved with a psychopath. It was after learning about him through what I read here, that I was finally able to leave him. I am forever grateful.

  5. I have been in an abusive relationship for nearly 15 years. Even in the early stage, he showed signs of being controlling. He would call 10 times within an hour on my landline looking for me. Soon after, if I did not answer my cell on the first ring, he would swear at me and be accusatory. I had to give up my girlfriends and could not talk to any male friends. By then, I moved in with him. He kicked me out when angered. He was even more controlling. Mothers Day, 2004, he calls and don’t hear the phone as I am having lunch with my daughters. When I finally pick up, he swears and I put my daughter on the phone so he knows I am with them. That night, my daughter comes over and grabs my belongings and tell me,”you need to get out.” Of course, I still love him, so during the 1 1/2 year we broke up, I continue to see him on his terms. I go back and live with him, and he doesn’t use his initial controlling antics and I think he’s changed. Now, it’s the blaming, the mind games, the isolation, the silent treatment, the punishment, cruel devastating harsh words, angry looks, telling me to get out of his house and that I just won’t leave, which he always kicks me out. I’m scared of him, he’s not approachable, I have to carefully choose words when talking to him. Years go by, and the treatment and punishment gets worse and I am miserable, so quietly leave on November 12th, when he’s not at home, still thinking if only I did not do this or that. I have left this relationship about 5-7 times before but I initiated the calls to him and everything was on his terms. Although I’ve read this incredible article and learned the characteristics of the abuser and other info that I was not aware of, I’m stuck in denial and grief. I’ve gained the knowledge, see a therapist and attend a support group, and am so depressed that I’ve lost an incredible amount of weight, still miss him despite knowing he’s an abuser, have no drive to do a thing but stay in bed all day, and afraid that I can’t get over him. So, now that I understand his innate and insidious character, what else must I do to severe the bondage I let him hold to me?
    Thank you.

    • Alison, you took an incredible step on November 12th (my birthday, by the way!) — You left. You’re seeing a therapist and going to a support group. You’re reading. You understand his character. Before you do anything else, please realize how amazing this is after only five weeks away from him! You’re determined. Your logical mind knows what the answer is, but you’re fighting your addiction to him. This is good. Don’t give up — you’re half way there.

      The most important thing is to have NO CONTACT at all with him. Yes, it is exactly like going cold turkey. You do it to save your own life. Block his number, his email, his facebook, everything. Doing this will give you the time and space you need to gain clarity and strength.

      The bondage you’re experiencing is known as a Trauma Bond. If you haven’t already, please learn about traumatic bonding. Here are a few links to get you started:

      The Addictive Trauma Bond

      The Betrayal Bond

      Love and Stockholm Syndrome: The Mystery of Loving an Abuser

      Give yourself time — It takes time. Please come back and let me know how you’re doing, OK? I’m rooting for you. Best wishes.

    • Sarah on said:

      For everyone who is worried they will never get over their psychopayh, and for everyone who is trying to move on please realize that you are OK. At least he didn’t put you in jail by manipulating law enforcement. If you have been broken up for a long time or the relationship was short, my advice is this: just keep the aura that you are focused on something else and look peaceful. He’ll get bored think he really didn’t know you well enough either.. Because you aren’t falling for him anymore. :-)

      • I’ve heard of those who have their exes framed and put in jail. What a nightmare. Did that happen to you? I decided early on the best move was to be no threat, especially since I wasn’t one. I know when to cut my losses. Thank you for your comment, Sarah. Very good advice.

  6. I am recently out of a 3+ year relationship with my fiance. I am a mother of two (from a previous marriage) and in therapy now. Everyday is a struggle. My kids loved him and like all of you, I believed he was my soul mate. I was the perfect victim…lost my sister to cancer, then found out my son has muscular dystrophy and finally divorced my alcoholic husband of 17 years. I was vulnerable and looking for someone to love me. This man comes into my life and all my friends and family are so happy for me because I am a good person to EVERYONE and I deserve happiness. Everyone loved him, he was such a great guy and does so much for charities. It was pure bliss in the beginning until I discovered his infidelities…then the emotional, sexual and sometimes physical abuse began. I blamed myself, I was stuck because I didn’t want it to end. Now it’s over, he has moved onto his next victim. I am broken and afraid. I have blocked him but he lives in my community. His relatives are all around me. I fear he wants to destroy me when all I’ve done is love him. How do you reach out and talk about it? I feel trapped and alone because if word gets back to him, he’ll target me. His own sisters fear him. His ex wife is hiding from him…I can’t move away. I am a teacher in the community. What do I do?

    • My heart goes out to you. I can tell you’re in the thick of it right now, and I want to reassure you that things will get better. You’re wise to be careful about who you speak to. Even though everyone should know the truth about these people and they should be driven from the community, that isn’t realistic. The important thing is YOU — your safety, your children, your job. Remember that most people will not believe you if you tell them he’s a psychopath anyway, so limit that to a very select few. Only speak to people you absolutely trust. Your therapist, a sibling, a long-time best friend. Instead, speak to people who have been through a similar experience. Tell your story here, like you’ve done, or chat with others on Lovefraud or a similar site. Please be very careful if you do; not all the advice is helpful, and it is possible to be re-victimized. But many people have found the support and validation they need online, so it is an option. In my case I wanted him to stay out of my life, first and foremost, so I could regain my peace of mind, and that meant not being a threat to him. I realized the futility — and possible consequences — of talking about him or warning others. All the best to you and your children, JL.

  7. Duchess on said:

    One woman has recently come out with her true story about how she met a man who pretended to be “just a normal guy.” He told her he was single and a virgin, he loved her and wanted to “lose his virginity” to her. Turns out he is a married religious leader public figure…and psychopath. Story here: http://www.kmlessing.is She talks a lot about topics that are rarely discussed: men’s accountability for their sexual behavior and the abuse of spirituality to seduce women.

    • Thank you for sharing that — I’ll take a look at it. Abuse of spirituality is more common than it seems. In fact, one of the top 10 professions for psychopaths is clergy.

  8. Carolyn on said:

    I ONLY WISH I COULD GIVE YOU A HUG!!! thank you for sharing about the amount of ABUSE suffered from the CLERGY! The victims who come forward are COURAGEOUS ! I am a Christian and sadly, ADMIN, those statistics are “spot on” about the higher rate among Clergy! BRAVO TO YOU ADMIN !!

  9. I have intensely researched psychopaths since I left my psychopathic relationship almost two years ago. I applaud you and this amazing site. The information you provide and the way you deliver it is so accurate and helpful. For example: I had never read about the psychopath’s “purification process” and why it is essential for the psychopath to restore his sense of being superior. You have newly enlightened me! Also, you are so accurate when you speak about certain psychopath forums that invite open discussion. I have witnessed participants being devalued and discarede on these forums for not “toeing the line” and acting in complete accordance to the dictate of the moderators. The sites compound the psychopathic abuse! Other participants. on these sites, bully as well. Anyway, thank you! I appreciate your wisodome and research enormously. You have helped me in my healing from psychopathic abuse. PS. I am trying to subscribe, but the promts are not working.

    • Thank you, Dee! I’m so glad the information here is helping you! The info about psychopaths restoring their grandiosity, etc, comes from The Psychopathic Mind: Origins, Dynamics, and Treatment by Reid J. Meloy, PhD. (If you’re interested in reading it I suggest you try to get it from a library, because of the price.)

      Sorry about the problem subscribing — I’ll try to figure out what’s going on. I usually write a new post about once a week or so.

      Thank you for your kind words; they are sincerely appreciated. I wish you all the best in your ongoing recovery.

  10. You know the lightbulb that comes up above the head in cartoons? I just got it and I’d like to share it if it might help someone. I had a relationship with a psychopath and that’s how I found this site, of course. I’ve read and re-read it and thought about it, it helped a lot. I’ve gone through a lot of emotions as all of you. I’ve been thinking about all the bad things he did to me that I couldn’t figure out. It went on and on in my mind and I hated it, ’cause even if we don’t have any contact, I’m scared of meeting him in town and of course I want to tell him off. I told him everything that was wrong, in a grown up way, but he never agreed of course. When he realised that he was about to lose me he said he knew that things had become the way because of him. He knew that it was the only way to make me want to stay. I asked him, what exactly was his idea of what he had done wrong. His answer was “he made big things of small stuff, like things in the home n stuff”. Conclusion is, he had no idea… And it doesn’t work to say you’re sorry if you don’t say what you’re sorry for! At least not for me.
    What I’ve realised now is about the beginning phase. They mirror you, right? They mirror your dreams, love and hope. And THAT’s what you fall in love with. You fall in love with yourself, but the psychopath tries to fool you that it’s them.
    Now I’ve been angry with him since I left him, ’cause I couldn’t understand how a person could be that mean and treat me like that. Then I realised that a big piece of that anger was that I was missing him and all that beauty he showed and promised me in the beginning.
    Here it is: If he was my mirror, trying to break that self-image of me and I was about to let him. But just figured out that all the beauty that he showed me in the beginning was… drumroll…. ME.
    So I was actually just falling in love with myself. That other person was him. In the beginning he treated me with love and respect, ’cause that’s how I treat myself. I buy myself flowers, so did he, in the beginning and when it was time to kiss ass…
    So what I was actually angry with I thought it was the beauty of what he promised me in the beginning. But it was not, I was missing that beautiful love to me. So now I think of all the beautiful things he did to me to catch me and realise that I fell in love with myself all along. The beauty was me all along and nobody can take that away if I don’t let them.

    So it was two people you’ve dated. First it was you, that was amazing. Then it was the other one, that was a nightmare. But you are still with you and you are amazing!

    So, of course you fell in love with yourself when you met you in someone else. The benefit now is that you can fall in love with yourself all over again, without someone else around.

    This is what I’m doing and I have every intention to make this a life long commitment.

    Hope this perspective helps someone to move on.

    • Lo, you have so touchingly articulated a basic truth of our entire ordeal. I love it and will publish it as a blog post, giving you credit of course.

      We finally met our match — someone who was just as loving, just as open to intimacy, just as affectionate, just as romantic, just as sweet and kind and caring as WE were…we met someone PERFECT for us. We met ourselves, and now that we know that, we realize just how wonderful we are. Keep loving yourself, Lo, and seeing all the love and beauty you have inside. Thank you XXX

      • Lovisa on said:

        I had to go pretty far down to get the idea, but I wouldn’t have done it without your page and information. So thank you!

        It feels really great that you’re going to blog about my thoughts. It’s giving me even more confidence and makes me proud of myself and my brain! :) You may use my whole first name, which is Lovisa.

        Positive spiral, that’s what we’ve looking for! Mirror, mirror on the wall… Well, it was never the evil queen that was the most beautiful of them all in the end, right? ;)

        • You have every reason to feel confident and proud, and I will use your whole first name. Stay tuned, I’m almost ready to publish it.

          • My biggest aha! moment was this past summer. I’d just ended a “normal” relationship, because things just didn’t work out. And it really made me think about how far I’d come, being able to trust someone again, and going through a “normal” breakup. It was almost a relief. But the aha! moment was when I suddenly realized that the reason we’re all told to love ourselves is because we so often neglect ourselves. I realized that with all my flaws and faults I was absolutely perfect in that moment. I could love myself more deeply and unreservedly than anyone else in the world – because I know ALL of myself. Having seen the darkness in my own soul, and then finding the light again…well, if you can’t love that beautiful, strong, brave person, who can you love? :) Thanks for sharing. I hope someday all of us learn to love ourselves as we deserve.

            • I, too, hope everyone can get to the point where they love themselves. It’s an unconditional love, and perfection is not required. I’m happy to hear you’ve achieved that. Best wishes to you.

  11. Jack Lewan on said:

    Hi & thank you so very much for the fantastic work you are doing here on this site :-)
    I have only recently come across this site and am still making my way through it, however I believe that you are possibly omitting a very important subject and possibly an extra stage in the relationship cycle. I call it simply Isolation. My interpretation of the cycles is Entrapment, Isolation, Dehumanization & Discardment. Although, and this is how I experienced it in my relationship with a psychopathic ex-girlfriend, the process is a continually ongoing one, overlapping into the other stages, it comes immediately after the big Entrapment (Love-bombing as you put it) and is quite an intense process/stage, entailing breaking off friendships, acquaintances & even severing family ties. It is an integral part of the psychopaths manipulations for power and domination over their victims.
    Kind regards.

    • Thank you, and I’m glad you found the site!

      Isolation is an important part of their victimization process, although I’d always thought of it as a ‘tactic’ (rather than a relationship stage) since it tens to get worse with time. I like the names you’ve given the stages — they are MUCH more descriptive of what actually happens; they really capture the heinous nature of what psychopathic abusers do. I think I will (un)officially change them.

      Thanks for your comment, Jack. I hope you’re doing well.

  12. Thank you. I had no idea there were so many of us. I consider myself lucky – I got out. I celebrate my five-year anniversary of being *me* this year, and I love the life I’ve built for myself. I have worked very hard to get here, but I never took the time to research psychopathy. Knowing that’s what it was…well, that was enough for me, until I was strong enough to be able to look back at the beginning of the relationship. Now I’m ready to try to understand that part of my life, and I am so grateful to have found such a clear and compassionate voice here. There is no judgement, no preaching here. Just information on a shared experience, and resources to help us along the way. Thank you.

    • Thank you, Red! I’m so glad you find it helpful. There is no judgement here because there is no need for any. We’ve all been wrongly blamed more than enough by psychopaths, and then unfortunately by friends and others, in some cases. There’s a reason that not only doesn’t help, but adds to the harm.

  13. After reading the main pages on this website a few hours ago I am pretty convinced my ex is a psychopath. I had been wondering about this possibility over the last few weeks, but initially thought psychopaths were necessarily violent or obviously disturbed people. Most of the descriptions of psychopathic behaviour on this website are chillingly familiar. My ex’s behaviour has never made so much sense! This is a great relief. It helps to know why I feel so traumatised and I feel I can start to recover at last.

    Thank you so much :)

    There are, however, some aspects of her behaviour that do not match descriptions on this website. It repeatedly implies that all psychopaths intentionally manipulate and abuse their victims, e.g. in Stages of the Psychopathic Bond: ” the whole idealisation stage is a sham the psychopath creates in order to make you vulnerable to the manipulation and abuse that will follow”.

    A few times my ex acknowledged she treated me poorly, e.g. she once described this as her “bad behaviour”, she once said “you are being so nice to me even though I’m being so horrible”, and “you’ll just have to decide whether it’s worth it [i.e. staying with me]”. Obvious lack or remorse in that last statement.

    A few times I asked her if she knew why she treated me the way she did, with a view to working on the problem together. She always said she did not know why, and this seemed genuine at the time.

    This leads me to my question: Is it possible that some psychopaths don’t understand what they are doing or why and do not consciously plan their behaviour to a great extent, but that they simply have an uncontrollable urge to behave the way they do?

    • Hi, Pete. Yes, I do think it’s possible that some psychopaths don’t consciously plan their behavior. My knowledge and thoughts on this point are evolving. Although after a certain age, they know full well what they’re capable of or not, so they really can’t go into a relationship thinking it’s going to turn out well. The one I knew was nothing but a well-practiced predator, but I realize other forces may be at play in others.

      They all have an uncontrollable urge to behave the way they do, according to one expert:

      Psychopaths are driven to play this “game,” over and over, throughout their lives. It’s all about devaluation.

      Devaluation is driven by unconscious greed and envy, according to psychopathy expert Dr. Reid Meloy. When the psychopath is envious, he loses his much-needed feelings of superiority and grandiosity. The psychopath’s greed and envy causes hatred, and that hatred creates wishes to destroy the object of his or her envy, which in turn eliminates the envy. When envy is eliminated, superiority and grandiosity are temporarily restored.

      The Game You Didn’t Know You Were Playing

      Best wishes to you :-)

      • Thanks. That makes sense. By the way I’m grateful that you acknowledged that both females and males can be the victims of psychopaths, although most of the text refers to “him” as the psychopath. As a male I found that made it harder to read and digest the text. Could you please consider using the androgenous term “them” or “they”? I know this is not common practice in the US yet, but it is in other parts of the Engligh speaking world. At first it may seem gramatically incorrect because it appears to be a plural, but it is valid to use those words in that way and gets around the problem effectively. Please see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singular_they

  14. Do you have any thoughts on Kevin Dutton’s book titled “The Wisdom of Psychopaths”?

    • Hi, Pete. I liked some aspects of the book. It was an entertaining read for the most part — Dutton is a good writer and he’s very humorous. I loved the chapters where he visited Broadmoor Hospital and when he underwent transcranial magnetic stimulation to become psychopathic for a short while (is that even really possible?!). It was helpful in gaining more understanding of the psychopathic mindset.

      The thing that doesn’t sit well with me is labeling some characteristics of psychopaths as “wisdom.” It’s just the way they are. Sure, most of us would love to be less fearful, more bold, more carefree, and less restrained. But this book will not help a neurotypical person achieve any of that. And while most psychopaths are not killers and have the potential to be successful in life, like the one I knew, I know all too well the ‘soul murder’ they commit in their personal relationships on a day-to-day basis. Dutton didn’t include that in his book. It’s obviously a huge problem, and it’s why websites like this one exist.

      What did you think of it?

      • Thanks for that analysis. I haven’t read the book. I’m not sure I could bring myself to read it just yet because of the suggestion that psychopaths are wise in some way which, as you say, is questionable. I’m finding it difficult right now to think about psycopathy in a positive light! Maybe when I’ve healed a bit more.

        It’s a simple but good point you make that psychopaths are just the way they are. I guess we could add to that that they like the way they are, feel no need to change and perhaps couldn’t change if they wanted to. This reminds me of when I (very diplomatically) mentioned neuroplasticity to my partner well before we broke up, in the context of trying to solve our relationship problems. She was utterly disinterested in the idea. I realise now that if you’re missing parts of your brain, or if they’re completely or nearly completely inactive, it’s difficult to change them!

        From reading the website I see the book identifies roles that psychopaths might be able to excel at like surgeons, lawyers and special forces. I’m not sure how valuable that is to psychopaths or society. Do any psychopaths care about they way they are and the effects they have on others? Is there any capacity for them to change? Wouldn’t it be more valuable to write a book for psychopaths about how they can change and why they should? (Being a “soul murderer” means one has not been successful in life! I realise you were just referring to other aspects of your ex’s life though). Would such a book be impossible to write/a complete waste of time? Do you think all psychopaths have zero emotions? Is it that simple?

        BTW I’m not asking these questions because holding out hope for my ex to change and for us to get back together. I know I’m better off without her (but have to admit I still love her, somehow). It’s just that getting a better understanding of what happened is helping me to heal somehow – and think more positively about the possibility of a future relationship.

        I feel like I turned a corner on the road to recovery when I discovered this website last week and identified what the problem was with our relationship. However, it also hurts to have a better idea of what she was playing at, though I don’t know the details and am not sure I want to. I guess I need to let go completely and focus on myself, but it’s so hard to detach from these recurrring thoughts. I spent so long hoping for things to be good between us it’s hard to stop. I’ve been so full of adrenaline I’ve been suffering chronic muscular pain, spent a month on crutches and need a lot more muscular therapy. I’m having counselling too.

        I appreciate your responses to my rambling comments and hope I’m not burdening you with too many questions about things you’ve probably been asked before. It is a great comfort that I’m not alone.

        • It’s not a book to read early on, or even at all. A book for psychopaths about why they should change and how they could do that would be more valuable, but they don’t want to change so they wouldn’t read it. No one knows (yet) how to change them anyway. Neuroplasticity is a fascinating concept, but like you I have no idea if it could apply to the specific abnormalities in a psychopath’s brain.

          As far as psychopaths and emotions go, psychopathy exists on a spectrum, so their capacity for emotion must vary as well. A psychopathic person experiences shallow, fleeting emotions that are very limited in range, and can be limited to rage and ‘boredom’ (frustration, restlessness and a sense of emptiness, without the depression we would assume comes with emptiness).

          You said, “psychopaths might be able to excel at like surgeons, lawyers and special forces. I’m not sure how valuable that is to psychopaths or society.” I agree with you. Here’s something Dr. Hare said about psychopaths in the military: “Some psychopaths earned reputations for being fearless fighter pilots during World War II, staying on their targets like terriers on an ankle. Yet, these pilots often failed to keep track of such unexciting details as fuel supply, altitude, location, and the position of other planes. Sometimes they became heroes, but more often, they were killed or became known as opportunists, loners, or hotshots who couldn’t be relied on – except to take care of themselves.”

          The words in the last few paragraphs of your comment are very poignant. I’m sorry you’re going through this, and I understand how awful you feel. As far as your recurrent thoughts go, it takes a while for those intrusive thoughts to diminish. It’s maddening, I know, but in time they will subside. I’m glad to hear you’re in counseling, and so glad this website is helping you. Thank you for leaving these comments and for letting me know that. Hearing from readers is what gives me the motivation to keep this website going.

          I’m writing a blog post about betrayal today, so be sure to check back.

          • Thanks for all that. Interesting re psychopathic WWII pilots. Makes sense. Several months ago I concluded that people generally make decisions based on emotions, rather than logic or anything else (I was thinking about this in relation to my work, but I think it applies equally in social settings). I could be wrong about that, but it makes me extra curious about how psychopaths make decisions given that they have zero to minimal emotions.

            On the “What is a psychopath?” page you say “Self-gratification is the only thing that motivates them and all that they live for”. Sadly that rings true for me. But apparently that cannot be because it makes them “feel” good or happy in the way normal people do. Perhaps self-gratification is just the closest they can get to feeling good or happy. I think I can see how that might generate a very strong urge for them. Perhaps strong enough to do things they know are wrong (easy to do when you feel little or no guilt). I think I may be beginning to understand this thing.

            • When psychopaths feel ‘good’ because they put one over on someone and got what they wanted, it’s known as “contemptuous delight.” That’s a very descriptive term. That’s the only ‘positive’ emotion they have, and there’s only one way to get it — by devaluing someone else.

              Psychopaths are coldly rational and calculating machines. They are not impeded by emotion, morality, or a conscience. The way they make a decision is this: “I want ______, and nothing will stop me from getting it.” After that, it’s full speed ahead, while focused intensely on what they want.

              Psychopaths are so completely foreign to our way of thinking that it takes some time and effort to “get it.”

              We are most definitely ruled by our emotions. It takes a concerted effort to think logically at the same time, especially in the face of a strong emotion like love, which produces all kinds of feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters. We become chemically impaired. Even so, I believe it’s possible to keep a discerning and logical eye on things at the same time.

              • Thanks. That all makes a lot of sense too. I feel I have to get my head around this thing but I have to say it is quite an intense mindf**k on top of the past 3.5 years. I’ve got a bad headache, but I feel I’ll be ok

              • You don’t have to push yourself to understand it — it will come when it does. The whole thing is, indeed, a mindf**k. I’m sorry that you and the rest of us fell victim to it.

  15. Jocelyn on said:

    Wow, superb blog layout and beautiful design! You make running a blog look easy. The whole look of your site is fantastic, as well as the content!

    • Thank you very much! I designed it myself. Having a blog takes a lot of time and effort, but it’s most definitely worthwhile. I love it.

  16. Anna Singleton on said:

    Most of the posts I am reading or involving people who them, themselves have been involved with a psychopath type person. My situation is a little different, but nonetheless, as devastating and destructive. My ex-husband and I were married 18 years and have 5 children together. We divorced actually as best friends and even went out to lunch after the final divorce hearing. There were many reasons for our divorce but it was important to both of us to keep everything civil for our kids and to remain friends for their sake and we were both capable of doing that and did it perfectly for over a year. I remarried and my ex would come to visit the kids and actually stay at our house so that the kids toys and such were there. (my new husband and I would go to a hotel on those visitation weekends). Anyway….my ex met some lady on a dating sight and kept it completely secret for some reason from me and our kids. (the kids were 6, 8, 11, 14 and 16 at the time). Suddenly out of the blue he emailed me and cancelled a visitation weekend and told me that he was getting married. I asked him how he was getting married without any of the kids or without them even meeting her but he said “she” believed it would be better that way and that their life was about them…not anyone else. (red flag too me right there). The SECOND time they ever saw each other was the day they got married at a courthouse. Within literally 24 hours of their marriage…..my ex was accusing me of keeping his kids from him and SHE got on the phone and attacked me and told me to shut up when I said it was not her business and it was awful and completely shocking. They showed up secretly the next weekend to get my kids and only HE picked them up at my house…she stayed back at the hotel. He took them there for the night and the two of them spent the WHOLE night telling my children that they were going to take custody of them and that I was possessed by Satan and told them any and every sin I have ever done in my life that my ex knew about and that my children had no reason to know, etc. They all came home scared they were going to be taken from me and it was a very long night! I was freaking out because this was NOTHING like my ex husband….and I had no idea where any of it was coming from. I tried calling him to ask him what the hell he was doing and saying and SHE answered the phone and would not let me speak to him. They ended moving to another state and the visits to my kids got fewer and far between and became once every 7 or 8 months he would just show up and say he was taking them for the weekend and then the two of them would spend the weekends attacking me. My kids finally said they just wanted to see their dad and not hear bad things about their mom and BAM…..their dad stopped all contact and I got several HORRIBLE attack emails from his wife telling me that she will see to it that my worthless children never hurt their father again or have any contact with him, etc. My daughter, especially was very suicidal and upset and frankly devastated. About 2 years after NO contact with them at all…I randomly received an email from HER with a picture of three little girls and the title…”adoption day”. She said they have their own family now and have adopted three little girls and so he doesn’t need my worthless children. I was never able to talk to him about of this…if I call or email…SHE is the one who responds or answers the phone and will not allow me to talk to him at all. We have found out recently that she has also pulled him away from his immediate family as well and he has no contact with his two brothers or their families or even his mother who is dying in a nursing home. He and his brothers were best best friends the whole time we were married and not ONCE did they ever have a fight and now….she has my ex mad at his whole family and no contact with anyone. They are all devastated and confused and have no idea what to do. One of my boys who just turned 20 tried reaching out to his dad a few weeks ago after 9 years and the day after they talked on the phone…his wife called my daughter and told her that none of them are allowed to contact him again and she has changed their phone number and email addresses and they will never find them and that he doesn’t even believe now that they are his kids!!! WHAT!!!

    Anyway…..if there is anything I can do to stop and destroy that nut case who has caused so much pain to my children…please let me know!! My ex was also a very weak minded trusting person but this is soooo ridiculous and crazy…I can’t even fully explain it!!

    Thank you for your writings…..I just feel lost.

    • OMG, just when I thought I’d heard it all…I am so sorry you and your children are dealing with this. I’ve heard of cases where someone’s mind and life were taken over completely, and this is one of those. It’s no different than if he was brainwashed into a cult. This woman is truly evil — what she did to your ex, and to your children, is beyond despicable. I feel very sorry for the girls they adopted. Anna, I have no idea what to tell you to do. If I were you, I would contact a professional who deals with cult victims and their families — I think they could advise you of your options, if any. Some also deal with controlling relationships. Here’s one I just found:

      Freedom of Mind Resource Center https://www.freedomofmind.com/ Steven A. Hassan, M.Ed., LMHC, NCC is available for consultations. I don’t know anything about him, but here’s his bio and number: https://www.freedomofmind.com/Services/ “There are things you can do to help a loved one who is in a controlling relationship or estranged from family or friends.” https://www.freedomofmind.com/Services/help3.php

      Best of luck to you. I hope you will find the answers you need.

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