Emotional Rape

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Red riding hood and the wolf as psychopath predator and victim“Ours were false relationships from the very beginning in which we were targeted, exploited and betrayed.”

~Donna Anderson, LoveFraud

The quote above gets right to the heart of the matter of emotional rape. These were never normal relationships that started with love and then just went wrong. Far from it. The psychopath is a predator who completely hides his true identity and motives as he targets a victim with the intent of seriously harming her.

Contrary to what many believe, he is not out to use her for sex or anything else. His goals are to dominate, control and humiliate her so he can diminish her in every way, while he savors watching it unfold. Using her is only secondary.

He only pretends to love her — and does a convincing job of it — in order to gain her love and trust, which is what makes carrying out his hidden agenda possible. He gains power and control through manipulation tactics and uses her for whatever he desires without any remorse, while he creates an ever-worsening emotional hell. He is entertained as he watches her trying in vain to save the relationship she truly believed was the best one of her life.

The predator gets bored with her after hooking her, inflicting his intended damage and getting whatever else he wanted, and he needs the thrill of a fresh new victim. The predator ends the relationship with a stunning and completely abnormal display of contempt as his final attempt to harm her. If he is using the relationship to provide an illusion of normalcy, he can stick around long-term.

She is devastated as she may come to realize that it was never real and that he purposefully and heartlessly hurt her and used her. If she doesn’t realize it — and many victims don’t understand what really happened until years later, if ever — she blames herself, which makes healing much more difficult or even impossible.

Either way, she is left with a heart, soul and psyche ravaged by the predator.

The aftermath of emotional rape often includes rage, obsessive thoughts, lost self-esteem, fear, anxiety, the inability to love or trust, use of alcohol or drugs, physical illness, and irrational and extreme behavior such as total isolation and withdrawal or even suicide.

A lack of support from friends and family makes things much worse. Some will blame her for choosing to have a relationship with a “jerk,” because they don’t know or can’t believe he was a predator capable of hiding his true identity. Some blame her for staying with him when she knew it was going bad, because they are unaware or unwilling to believe she was controlled like a puppet by his systematic manipulation. Others who fell for the psychopath’s charisma and powers of persuasion may blame her for losing a “good catch.” Whatever the case, no one realizes how severely traumatized she really is.

The trauma is severe, and the victim should pursue professional psychological help.

“Sadly, some victims of psychopaths attempt suicide as a result of hopelessness, helplessness and the belief there is no way out. Some have reported to us that psychopaths have actually encouraged them to take their own lives or have indicated that they would put them through so much turmoil that their only recourse would be suicide.” ~ From Aftermath: Surviving Psychopathy, a website founded by professor of psychology and psychopathy researcher, David Kosson, Ph.D., to provide help as well as education to those whose lives have been impacted by psychopathic individuals.

Please read “The Emotional Rape Syndrome” if you suspect that you or someone you know has been through this horrific experience. The book describes emotional rape and its effects in detail, and contains several chapters on healing from emotional rape.

© 2012 – 2014 ‘Psychopaths and Love’ All Rights Reserved

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27 comments on “Emotional Rape

  1. eric on said:

    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.

  2. Carrie on said:

    I went through this very scenario in a non-romantic setting. It was a person who wished I was his mom and we even regarded him as our child for almost three years. Everything mentioned in this article is exactly what happened. He was also seducing my teenaged daughter while convincing me I was crazy. He even faked a suicide attempt to keep me in my place. Our family is still split in half over his damage and it was three years ago. Our daughter is still with him and they have a child together. Our relationship is now very strained because she refuses to see him for who he is. His damage was devastating.

  3. Amanda Smith on said:

    Hello, I love your blog and saw it referenced on the Abuse No More fb page. My book Toxic…No More uses my life as a framework to show how we get into, stay in and get out of abusive relationships (trauma bonds/stockholme syndrome). Ironically it was originally taken on my a major publisher who behaved abusively (psychopathically – see the book Snakes in Suits) and I was obliged to sue them at the High Court for their dishonesty and financial abuse, repping myself for nearly four years and setting a precedent which helps others have easier access to justice. And I got a settlement. So I got to save my book, the intention is to combine my experience with the years of research and to spread a message of hope to others. When I survived a suicide attempt ten years ago I believed I lived for a reason, to pass on this info and sought to use my gift of writing to do so, to try to prevent some trauma for others. Unusually in a memoir there’s a reading list at the back, books which helped me to keep safe. There’s a bit of film interest, I’m told it’s because of the truth, the humour and the learning. Getting my book to it’s readers has been a long journey and I hope it now does some good. I’m with you all the way on psychopaths and my last partner (at least) who’s now deceased, was a psychopath and I highlight in the book, behaviors which others may recognise. I won’t say much more other than to say here’s the link to the book and I’d love to hear back from you. I wondered if you may be interested to feature it/discuss it on your blog. Emotional Rape is a good description, I sometimes call it brain-rape, which is what it is; the systematic, purposeful erosion of another person, like living through your own murder, over and over again, a living death.
    You’re doing great work here and I send you warm wishes, Amanda Smith

    http://www.amazon.com/Toxic-No-More-ebook/dp/B00CY4P2NU
    http://www.amazon.com/Toxic-No-More-memoir-Amanda-Smith/dp/1490532439/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

  4. I never knew such a thing as emotional rape existed until my relationship with a sociopath ended. We were only together for two years but the constant onslaught of lies, deceit, emotional swings from her, lack of reciprocity and personality shifts turned things sour in a real hurry. I was always at fault because I would react to being lied to or saw a lack of reciprocity. I’ve had the police called on me for no reason twice, almost had my vehicle stolen and house seized. You don’t realize what’s happening in this scenario because you love this person so much and will take any and all abuse to try and maintain the relationship. We’ve been apart for a month and I’m just starting to see and feel the ill effects of this toxic relationship. I have trouble sleeping, night sweats, severe anxiety and an over lack of sense of self. I was used in every imaginable way and now I feel like I’ve been robbed of my person, my soul, my mind and my being. To make matters worse, she has her masters in psychology…May God have mercy on that woman’s soul.

    • You are beginning a new part of this crazy journey…but it’s the part that does eventually lead you out of hell, if you’re determined to find your way out. You probably will go in even deeper for a while, though. Remember, the darkest hour is just before the dawn. It’s a wild ride that many, many others have been on, and most have lived to tell the tale. You will, too.

      Make up your mind now that no matter what, you will come through it alive and intact. Your determination will help guide you through those moments when you feel so bad that you don’t know what to do. Remember this: You don’t have to know at this point how you’ll get there; you only need to believe that you will. And if there are times you don’t believe it, that’s OK, too.

      Emotional rape is a serious thing, and not being heard or understood can make you feel very much alone. Keep reading and learning all that you can. And please find a therapist; severe anxiety and lack of sense of self need to be taken seriously. Find someone who deals with victims of abuse. If it doesn’t feel like a good fit, find someone else.

      Best Wishes.

  5. Most of the writings are what I went through. 27 years together, 15 married. The last 8 years I have been isolated and the last 4 years he did everything he could to break me or get me to the point of suicide. He was so arrogant he left behind notes to his atty how much fun he had coming by my house without a scheduled appointment, with the mistress, saying how he enjoyed making me freak out and the cop saw what a bi**h I was for not allowing him in the house, and a second note describing how they had planned on having a friend “Joe” to come here and drown me in my pool to look like an accident. That was the third attempt by him and her to try to kill me.
    At this point he has had no accountability for anything. He is textbook, with family background and life history, a narcissistic sosiopath.
    Now with a attorney of my own we will show the court how diabolical he was along with his psychopathic mistress. I am seeing a PTSD specialist, a psychiatrist, and I do not leave my house for anything other than appointments and minimal shopping. This fear of his abuse and his sociopathic behaviors still take my days. I am waiting for my divorce, for the final foreclosure settlement, and all I want is fairness, justice, and to feel safe. I still have days I cannot understand why I did not see what was right in front of my nose. I just believed he was going through a bad midlife crisis. Except he had always been going through some problem he caused and expected me to fix it.
    I am in a Divorce Recovery group, I do my spiritual thing which he couldn’t break, and I make myself go outside and play in my gardens. I do not cry, I don’t feel anything right now, but I have my Grace, my dignity and integrity that holds me together when times are bad. So many people experiencing this type of relationship, I swear I wish they would incorporate this information into classes in High Schools. My one goodie goodie moment was finding out that his psychopathic girlfriend was using him, blackmailing him with his crossdressing pictures, ( I didn’t know) and she chewed him up and spat him out. Toooooo bad! Of course he believes that is my fault, because she hated me more than liking him, so she played him until I had enough, when she found out I ended it all, she dumped him. Then she told him just that. Now he plays smoke and mirrors with money and addresses. He even has a group of people lying for him and hiding him?! He is classic statistics.

  6. Michelle on said:

    I met a man online two years ago through a psychic forum and he convinced me that we were twin flames, but I suspect that there were more who played along with this. I think these predators can play in groups online and prey on people. Some call them trolls, but since this was a forum about the paranormal, I saw some things that happened and experienced things that are so far removed from regular life that I can’t explain it. They said it was kundalini and astral projection.

    The sad thing is that I think he hated me from the beginning and I remember having that gut instinct but I ignored it because I wanted to believe him. I was isolated and depressed at the time and not in a healthy relationship and I was on this forum for support but actually wound up in heated debates with people over politics and there was this one woman who really hated me and put up bloody bunny pictures after my posts and others laughed with her. This man was on there too and he seemed to pander to her but when I questioned him he said I was insecure and judgmental and pretty much made me feel guilty and crazy.

    So my problem is compounded with the fact that this relationship was internet based and he may be into black magic as well.

  7. Lady32 on said:

    Great website, straight to the point, clear and honest. Tells it like it is. All so very true. Having just come out of all this mess my heart sinks as I read it, one of the hardest things i’ll ever have to go through somehow accepting this has happened to me but it has, down to a T. A lot of inner strength and spirituality needed to get through it and I’m very determined to get my sleep and peace back for me and for my six month old boy who he disguarded, we are both worth so so so much more than what he had us go through, very sick twisted people and sending love and strength to all those out there who have been involved with such a person (if you can call them that.) Love yourself, you are NOT what they had you believe and others believe you are.. it’s all LIES! xx

  8. Great website, very clear, honest and straight to the point. All so very true. Having just come out of all this mess my heart sinks as I read it, but i’m aware of what has happened and I will get my sleep and my peace back for me and for my six month old baby boy whom he disguarded. We are worth so so so much more than what he has put us through and how he has treated us. I hope that anyone else who has had the misfortune of being manipulated by these sick twisted individuals does not believe what the manipulator has made them and others think about themselves – it is all LIES!! These people can’t truly get close to anyone because once they do they will be exposed for what they are, their “friends” they will use to manipulate against you aswell, and sit back looking at their “success” that they got people against a such a good person – (and while you’re going through hell you can expect them all to be giving the manipulator all the consolation in the world for having been with such a ‘horrible person who has wronged them’) big time losers, the one I know has a wife (who I believed was an ex wife) who agrees with anything and everything he does, I think she has been a huge enabler of his disgusting behaviour and has huge issues of her own.. toxic, toxic people in disguise who a minute of happiness with can bring months worth of pain. Love and strength to anyone going through it. xxx

    • “We are worth so so so much more than what he has put us through and how he has treated us.” You most certainly are.

      “I hope that anyone else who has had the misfortune of being manipulated by these sick twisted individuals does not believe what the manipulator has made them and others think about themselves – it is all LIES!!” This is the crux of the matter. Too many are left beaten down by it because they believe it.

      “…while you’re going through hell you can expect them all to be giving the manipulator all the consolation in the world for having been with such a ‘horrible person who has wronged them’” This is a common experience. They make us look like the crazy ones. They manipulate us and everyone else. We know it now, but the others are unaware they’re being taken as fools.

      I am hoping he will stay away from you and the baby. Stay strong!

  9. JS victim on said:

    I have a problem with the term “emotional rape” BECAUSE…..the way I see it,,,,, it is also, and even more so in my case, physical rape. There is no difference in my opinion between someone putting drugs in your beer and then having sex with you and someone deceiving you into thinking they are someone different than who they really are, that their intensions are other than what they lead you to believe they are, their “feelings” are different than they pretend they are, etc. etc. etc….ALL THE WHILE, enjoying the bennifits of a sexual relationship that would NOT be taking place if they were being honest.

    • I agree with you. In both cases, the motivation is power and control; sex is only a secondary gain. Victims are all left traumatized. But one difference is this: physical rape can be proved Today I got a comment from a reader regarding the post on emotional rape:

      “I have a problem with the term “emotional rape” BECAUSE…..the way I see it,,,,, it is also, and even more so in my case, physical rape. There is no difference in my opinion between someone putting drugs in your beer and then having sex with you and someone deceiving you into thinking they are someone different than who they really are, that their intentions are other than what they lead you to believe they are, their “feelings” are different than they pretend they are, etc. etc. etc….ALL THE WHILE, enjoying the benefits of a sexual relationship that would NOT be taking place if they were being honest”

      I agree with you. In both cases, the motivation is power and control; sex is only a secondary gain. Victims are all left traumatized. But one difference is this: physical rape can be proved (I’m not delving into the many issues that get in the way of that here) but emotional rape is impossible to prove, and even if you could prove it, it’s not illegal. Once again, it sounds to all the world just as it did to those close to us — we fell for someone and had our hearts broken. Quite different than someone putting drugs in our drink or breaking into your home…and yet not different at all, if you know the truth.

      I once thought of it like this: A rapist may consider drugging a victim at a party or breaking into her home…but then the rapist got the idea that it would be much better to dupe the victim instead and have them over and over again, instead of just one time. In one case, the violence and trauma comes all at once, often unmistakably, and in a relatively short period of time; in the other, it happened covertly and repeatedly over time, only to be discovered later. Both scenarios are rape. Both seek to damage the victim through gratification the rapist’s desire to dominate, humiliate and control the victim and to leave her feeling powerless, humiliated and fearful.

      Thank you for your comment.

      *I welcome your thoughts, feelings and ideas on this topic. Please leave your comment below. but emotional rape is impossible to prove, and even if you could prove it, it’s not illegal. It once again sounds to all the world just as it did to those close to us — we fell for someone, and had our heart broken. Quite different than someone putting drugs in our drink…and yet not different at all, if you know the truth.

      I once thought of it like this: A rapist may consider drugging a victim at a party or breaking into her home…but then the rapist got the idea that it would be much better to dupe the victim instead and have them over and over again, instead of just one time. In one case, the violence and trauma comes all at once, often unmistakably, and in a relatively short period of time; in the other, it happened covertly and repeatedly over time, only to be discovered later. Both scenarios are rape. Both seek to damage the victim through gratification the rapist’s desire to dominate, humiliate and control the victim and to leave her feeling powerless, humiliated and fearful.

      Thank you for your comment.

  10. JSvictim on said:

    He Tried to make me look/ feel like some crazy wacko for dropping all his shi* off in his mother’s driveway!! LOL……Hello?? What planet do you think I’m from?? One that has women who don’t “act out” when they’ve been wronged?? He’s lucky that’s all i did! Another woman would have had his gonads in a bait bag.
    I guess it’s just aggravating that there is absolutely NO justice! there is no holding them accountable for their heinous games, their pathetic life destroying existence. No rape kit, nor police report…. I HOPE I’m there if and when karma catches up with him. I’d be lying if I said that it wouldn’t make my day seeing him pulled over by the sherif doing a field sobriety test. I’d just have to circle back around to ask him if there was anyone he’s like me to call for him…..maybe mother?
    So I’m supposed to forgive him……not for his sake but for mine. I guess it’s just WAY too soon.

    • You don’t have to forgive him; that’s just another load of crap dumped on victims. You were victimized and all that went with it, and now on top of all that, you have to find it in your heart to forgive? If someone has no remorse, you don’t have to forgive. Just let time go by, and one day when you feel *indifferent,* there will be no need for forgiveness. It’s over-rated, and in most cases undeserved. Read here: http://philosophy.cah.ucf.edu/fpr/files/10_1/stanlick.pdf It is way too soon, and I suspect that in many cases “forgiveness” is indifference.

  11. AngelJ on said:

    to all of you who feel it is sexist. It is not sexist at all. the majority of emotional rapists are men. In some societies emotional rape is encouraged and taught to young boys/men as the way to treat women.

    Men are more prone to becoming emotional rapists because generally men do not cut friendships and association with another man for his sociopath lifestyle choice (And It Is A Choice) and treatment of their partners male/female.

    Women emotional rapists also tend to attack women, why? simple as a whole despite all the equal rights society is society and in the global society women are raised to be more forgiving, give second chances, be more tolerant. Men on the otherhand are raise to be tough be a man go for what you want at all costs (excluding crime + remaining polite) ineffect men are mostly raised put themselves first and women to put themselves first…with a great big…but make sure everyone likes you. Women who go about life like men are (majority) raised to, are called bitches. Men who go about life like men (majority) raised to are called strong men.

  12. Malevictim on said:

    I now know that I was the victim of such a Psychopath. I am a man recently divorced and dealing with depression which has left me pretty vulnerable and open to abuse. I met this new woman on a night out and ended up back at hers that night on her insistence. She is a very confident, charming, intelligent and beautiful woman who had no problems socialising or reeling me in with her patter. The new “relationship” lasted just over two intense weeks where I found myself smothered with affection, adoration and intense sex. My “great qualities” were many and she was “falling” for me so easily that I missed the initial red flags until one night something clicked in my head and nothing made sense. Everything about her became improbable and her stories sounded more and more exaggerated. Red flags were popping up everywhere and her intimate behaviour and demeanour was starting to make me feel really unsettled although I tried to ignore it. The Love Bombing, Triangulation, the way she talked intimately about her past and other people so quickly, the questioning about my ex’s, her behaviour out of context etc. It was all there. I believe she saw a little of the turmoil in my head so she embarked on a new course of action to end the relationship, blaming her crazy ex for throwing a spanner in the works. At the end of a long and “deep” final conversation she acted so coldly and behaved so unconcerned in comparison to her conversation that I knew I had been duped. Now I feel emotionally raped and unsettled. I am now questioning my own sanity and feel so upset that I have allowed this to happen to me just when I thought I was getting over my marriage breaking up. It sounds crazy that a two week thing could be so intense and wrong but it was. Women are just as capable of being psychopaths as are men and if possible could the site reflect it in its wording as most of the writing gives a woman’s point of view.

    • Actually, it doesn’t sound crazy AT ALL that a two-week involvement with a psychopath could be so damaging.

      “I am now questioning my own sanity and feel so upset that I have allowed this to happen to me just when I thought I was getting over my marriage breaking up.”
      Many of us (if not all of us) felt exactly the same way when it ended and we realized we’d been duped. But the truth is, you didn’t “allow” it to happen. I’ve said many times on this website that I don’t think there’s anyone who couldn’t be victimized by one of these manipulators. Emotional rape is a very serious thing, and blaming ourselves for it only makes it worse and does nothing to help us. But even so, it’s a phase we all go through. In time, as you gain more understanding of what happened, you’ll be able to resolve these feelings.

      As far as writing from the female point of view, I do have some disclaimers here and there saying readers are free to replace ‘he’ with ‘she.’ I realize my male readers are sensitive to the “he’ point of view, but it is exhausting and very distracting to write using ‘s/he’ or switching from ‘he’ to ‘she.’ Please keep in mind that I’m a fellow victim, not a journalist or a psychologist. It’s quite natural for me to say ‘he,’ and if writing this website were a tedious experience, it would never have existed. So I hope you will understand I never meant to exclude or be insensitive to men. The writing was simply flowing, and naturally it came from my experience.

      Warm wishes to you.

  13. After 15 years of friendship, and the four years of dating that followed, have listene to that quiet voice that told me to run.

    Psychopathy is a spectrum however, which in no way eliminates the trauma I have endured with someone I belived in. Thought all rational facts had led me to the right choice–even though 15 years later I found myself feeling no physical attraction to him. His passionate words, and actions,( short lived with am egotistical “your not good enough attitude” soon to follow) I fell for all the trappings- those were his words! After he coldly dismissed me with the emotional connection of a dead man, he no longer loved me. The day before- I was the woman of his dreams. Made up bullshit about searching for me all those years, but woops! Accidentally knocked up a girl at a bar? Got married an had 3 kids.

    Of course that was his mothers fault;) needless to say we dyed through the divorce, I became a maid and a place to test his D;** and his rag doll.

    I used to admire his ability to cut off his emotions, and in a sick way–I still do. Because after all is said and done, I lost 4 years of my 30’s, had a nervous breakdown, lost the especially of all my family an friends, and began cutting myself.

    Oh well- better luck never again time;) thanks for being a place to let the pain out, and not be misunderstood, especially since I’m sounding cynical.

    • So sorry to hear of what you’ve been through. You will make your way through it eventually, and come out the other side to a better life. Have faith in yourself. Warm wishes to you.

  14. I’m still with him, but I’m waking up. All of this if very helpful. It is horrible how this person has taken from me my self esteem, my dignity and practically everything else. My wake up call came about six months ago when he started putting his ex back into the picture. The one woman on earth that was the craziest b**** ever, or so I was told when we first met. Now I just have to find enough courage to walk out.

  15. Thank you for taking the time to create this blog. I’m currently experiencing this situation and I feel so lost, confused and frightened. As a result my physical health has been deteriorating and I’m constantly getting sick. I’ve been married for 8 years but we’ve been together for 11, our relationship didn’t necessarily start on the right track and it has always follow a bumpy road. Now after 11 years we have 3 year old son which makes my decision of separating from him more difficult. I just feel so guilty for causing the separation between them two and I’m afraid as to how this may affect my son in the future. I have full support from my mom, she has always seen things in him that never register with her, however she has always respected him and the relationship and always maintain a distance. But whenever I’m down or going through a rough patch she always says ” I know you’re not happy, just know I’m here to support you and take care of you whenever you need me” she is definitely my hero and a blessing in my life. Him, on the other hand can be so charming and change everything around in a blink of an eye. I feel so lost I just pray to God that one day I have the strength to put and end to all of this and give myself a second chance in life. For now, I’m grateful I found your blog I will continue reading and finding validation, perhaps that will help me make up my mind.

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