“Virtually all of the research done in psychopathy is on the perpetrators, and we tend to ignore the tens of thousands of victims of these individuals. And most of the victims have nowhere to turn. They talk to their psychiatrist, psychologist, their friends, their employees, their priest, and they get nowhere because most people don’t understand the nature of psychopathic people.”
–ROBERT HARE, PHD, PSYCHOPATHY EXPERT AND AUTHOR OF WITHOUT CONSCIENCE
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FEATURED BLOG POSTS
The Wizards of Id
The Self-Compassion Effect
The Psychopath: Truly and Fundamentally Different
The Game You Didn’t Know You Were Playing
Liminality, the Unsettling Space of In-Between
Invalidation: I Refuse to Have This Discussion!
Intensity or Intimacy? A Relationship Litmus Test
How to Tell if You’re Being Manipulated
How To Never Get Involved with an Abuser Again
EMPATHY: What It Is and Why You Need It
Charm and the Psychopath
Backed Into an Emotional Corner
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113 thoughts on “HOME”
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.
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.
All my respect to you and the brave souls who endured the pain of having hearts smashed to pieces, lowered self esteem and/or feelings of confusion. Even now, after reading your posts and all the comments, I doubt myself, am I just being a douchebag and accusing him of being something he’s not because he has the described symptoms? or is this actually reality that I shouldn’t deny? In Aug 2014 after knowing me 2 weeks on facebook, he texted and called me saying he loved me, wanted a relationship with me, called me his queen, called me baby, didn’t want to lose me-in fact, he was about to go back with an ex GF that he called “crazy” until he realized I felt strongly about him (I told him I loved him too, so am I at fault?) After we met for the first time on a friday in September in his state (a different one than mine)he told me the next day we could be friends but that’s it (we had sex that one time)-then he acted real indifferent towards me the entire weekend-we never even left his house and I barely ate-which he didn’t even seem to notice, he slept with his back to me and hardly said two words to me but insisted politely that he enjoyed my company when I asked him if he wanted me to leave. I put on a brave face but I was really hurt and upset, this man told me we could work anything out when I had asked him prior to us seeing each other, “what if he didn’t like me when we met?” He told me we were exclusive when I asked him, he called me his GF, he said we were soulmates..no man had said any of that to me, ever.
Im 55 y/o and intelligent too, (or at least I thought I was) Im the one who would tell other girlfriends to beware of some dude who starts with the I love yous in no time and look what I did…
Well, you know this didn’t end well, Im not a clingy needy type woman but I found myself calling and texting him even after that, he called me too, we never talked about that weekend in sept other than him telling me that we are just friends and nothing else-the last straw was him facebooking that he’s in a relationship (not with me)- after I told him I had feelings for him, that was so mean and hurtful…so its been 3 wks now since Ive had any contact with him-what stuck out to me and still does was his flat affect and lack of any emotional response to anything-that and he goes from zero to 100 in no time….thanks for listening.
I’m very sorry this happened to you.
The experience you had with him, and his behavior, makes it possible that he is a psychopath. Another way to identify a psychopathic person is to consider the effect your involvement with them has had on you. This is a good description of the immediate aftermath:
“There’s coming out of relationships, there’s getting your heart broken, and then there’s that rare and special time you crawl out of a relationship bleeding at your knees, heart shattered, brain smashed, gut splattered and wondering what the point of reality is. The first two are called stages in life; the last one is called surviving a relationship with a psychopath.” Loving a Psychopath
Feeling like that is usually what causes victims to start their search for answers, and to end up on a site like this one. It’s a feeling that what you’ve experienced was completely out of the ordinary, and that you’re more confused and distraught than you’ve ever been.
It doesn’t take long for these people to do their damage. Whatever this man is, one of the best things you can do is to end any contact with him. Also, take an honest look at yourself and consider if your self-esteem or confidence has suffered, or if you’re depressed. If you’re left with these or other effects, please don’t ignore them. Best wishes to you.
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!”
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.
I’m so glad to hear that, MK. Thank you for letting me know. All the best to you!
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?
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.
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.
HI I WENT THRU THE PAIN OF THE D&D WITH MY PSYCHOPATH HUSBAND OF 4 YEARS AFTER TELLING ME HE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT ME AND HAD GREAT SEX AND SAID HE WAS GOING TO BE RIGHT BACK HE HAS A SURPRISE FOR ME AND I WAS LAYING IN BED WAITING FOR HIM AND I NEVER SAW HIM AGAIN. IT WAS SO SICK CAUSE I WENT THRU HELL CONSTANTLY WONDERING WHAT HAPPENED AND IS HE OK AND ITS BEEN LIKE 3 YEARS NOW AND FINALLY I AM FINE . I WENT THRU ALOT OF CHANGES AND WALKED AROUND IN A FOG BUT I LEARNED THAT KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Trish, that’s a heartbreaking story. I’m so sorry that happened to you. I am very glad to hear you’ve recovered, though! I agree, knowledge is power.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.
If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.
If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
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.
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: 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.
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 !!
Those who use positions of authority and trust to victimize others are the most reprehensible and despicable characters.
Thank you for your kind words to me and Dutchess, Carolyn.
There is now evidence on her website in the form of pictures and text message screenshots. www.kmlessing.com/evidence/ What an expose of the married “religious” leader’s hypocrisy. I wonder how many women he’s doing this to??
Thanks, Duchess, I will take a look! He probably has many victims, as they all do. I’m glad she’s brave and speaking out.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
I’ve been using “he or she” and “they” more recently, at least a couple of times in each article. I hope that helps, Pete!
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.
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.
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.
Does anyone know of Attorneys willing to stop the court systems abuse of those of us trying to get out. Though my psychopath was arrested and convicted for traveling to meet a minor in a sting operation in FL, the Mississippi judge decided that I should stay married and ordered me to sell our house (it was headed into foreclosure which it did because I was in no emotionally, mental, physical or spiritually shape to handle what was being thrown at me) (MS law: at fault divorce grounds – incarceration) I have moved to another state but can not even get a tag and insurance on my vehicle because his name is also on the title and he refuses to sign it over. I of course lost everything and don’t have the money needed to pay another attorney.
Teresa, my heart goes out to you! I’m sorry you’re in this situation. How in the world can any judge order someone to stay married if their spouse is incarcerated, which is clearly grounds for a divorce?! This legal abuse is terrible. I can give you a couple resources that might help:
This article talks about filing an appeal based on a judge’s abuse of discretion or plain error: http://research.lawyers.com/standards-of-review-on-appeal.html
Here’s a list of pro bono legal aid in Mississippi: http://www.msbar.org/for-the-public/pro-bono-resources.aspx
There is a list of recommended attorneys here, for people divorcing narcissists, etc: https://onemomsbattle.com/resources-attorneys/
Good luck and best wishes to you! xx
I ran across this in my research and thought Id share-hope that’s ok https://www.psychopathfree.com/content.php?212-30-Red-Flags
19. Suddenly and completely bored by you.
The last thing the psychopath said to me was “You bore me, and I’m done with you!”
Thanks for the list, Merijoe.
The list helped any self doubt I had as he fit almost everything listed-I’m trying to find out if P/P like/take on “supervisory” type positions (which he is, same bluecollar job for 17 yrs but has been in management for a while there) as he is very much a control freak, clean freak, and doesn’t seem to have a problem firing people-in fact he loved to confront/insult people (so he told me).
I’m glad you were able to glean some info for yourself – not that you needed any reassurance, I’m sure, but it’s always good to get more validation…I hate to accuse people wrongly-I know how that feels, but now I have no doubt. Truth is truth.
Little things he said or did, came back to me when I read this list-made me cry, very sad.
Amazing how much damage I allowed to happen to me psychologically after one single weekend in Sept 2014 face to face, meeting him the first time, making love, when he dropped the bomb on me that we could just be “friends”- as, evidently, “I’m not the one”-this after 2 weeks prior to our face to face of him constantly texting and calling me with “I love you’s” “you’re my queen” “I was afraid I lost you” I’m a lucky man” “we’re exclusive boyfriend and girlfriend” “we can work out anything”. I knew better too. Too stupidly fast, I don’t do that…what is wrong with me?
Prior to all that hooey, he told me he was getting back with a psycho ex he didn’t even want to be with then changed his mind to be with me (the ex relationship lasted one year and he had been broken up with her for the 2nd time 3 months).
He has 3 kids from a former marriage that lasted almost 20 years and this ex hadn’t even met them.
I didn’t get a chance to meet them but I knew their names and ages and sent them Christmas gifts (no response was ever sent to me regarding that either).
Top Ten Jobs for Psychopaths:
3. Media (Television/Radio)
7. Police officer
8. Clergy person
10. Civil servant
Merijoe, these and any job where they can have power and control over people.
I knew way back when the P said that to me that he was a psychopath. I told him he was, and that’s when he got bored with me.
I have a great list for you. In fact, two of them:
Identifying a Psychopath: 20 Subtle and Hidden Signs
Red Flags of a Psychopath
This one is especially important:
How to tell if you’re being manipulated
Merijoe, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DIAGNOSE HIM. “I hate to accuse people wrongly” < this is worrisome. Not that you don't want to wrongly accuse someone, but your attitude is ripe for victimization. You don't have to accuse anyone of anything. Does he make you crazy and miserable? That's all you need to know to end contact with him.
The reason it IS important to know is this: if he is a psychopath, you most likely have been seriously traumatized and could suffer ongoing problems with self-worth, self-confidence, depression etc, that will affect you greatly.
Best wishes to you xx
wow, the 20 hints link hit home, question 4…he scared me to death talking about how he broke his brothers nose with a baseball bat while the brother slept, evidently, they had a fight earlier, another incident was when some dude pulled a gun on him decided not to shoot him, went away, my P hunted him down and swung a baseball bat on his head resulting in the guy needing to get a plate in his head and there was never ever any legal/police that got involved. He also advised me that he would run after anyone right into their house if they tried to go inside to get away from him. He told me he was always getting his butt beat by parents or teachers. Yikes
I am reading the other ones you sent too, thanks….don’t worry, now that I have found sites like yours I am much more aware and equipped to know the signs I need to look for the next time and will pay close attention, promise…I am still hoping and praying for the RIGHT one this time. Thanks for all you do, M
You should take it to the public speaking tour or start a radio show…:)
I’d have to wear a gorilla suit on the public speaking tour, to protect my anonymity ;-)
He sounds like serious trouble. I hope he’s out of your life. He’s not just a danger to your mental health.
Take good care of yourself, Merijoe.
All that physical stuff I mentioned was years ago and he professed he would never do that again, but he does currently have one of those verbal angry things that goes from zero to 100 in no time (even if the problem is just imagined) and clears up in a matter of moments-that one I have experienced and THAT was scary too, of course it was not directed at me (so he said), I was just the dumping ground. That was enough violence for me, the fact that he was physically violent and claims he could be again, shows me he IS criminal-you don’t have to be caught to be criminal, right?
Yes, indeed, no contact with him for going on one month, and there doesn’t seem to be any great chance of him showing up for me again, especially since he’s in another state.
If you came out in a gorilla suit, no one would remember what they came to the seminar about, they’d be laughing so hard!
Maybe the gorilla suit would just make the whole thing more memorable.
You’re very lucky he’s been gone for a month, but it worries me when you say “there’s no great chance of him showing up for
me.” I might be interpreting it wrong, but it seems to me that it’s up to him… ? This man is a loose cannon. Even if he never touches you, being a dumping ground for violent rages is not what anyone deserves. That’s another sign, by the way — one emotion P’s CAN feel is rage, but it’s very short-lived.
One reason we stay with them is because they damage our self-worth enough for us to do so. They know that anyone with enough self-worth wouldn’t give them the time of day. They drag you down for a reason. Please make a commitment to yourself to stay away from this man.
I promise to myself and to you to stay completely away from this P and no contact ever.
The last phone conversation with him was a month ago after he posted “in a relationship” (not me) on his facebook (not that I give a crap about FB and knowing him, I’m sure this was fake designed to get people to leave him alone, but he never advised me he was putting this up which was rude and devastating to me, especially since he knew how I felt about him and have been nothing but very kind/respectful to him) was me telling him-patiently, to have a nice life and he said the same to me so that’s why I say it’s doubtful he will ever come calling again.
Thank you, Merijoe. I will have less gray hair now. And so will you.
Take some time off from dating and focus on yourself for a while. These people do a lot of damage, and taking time to heal is important.
yes, I don’t think I could do the dating thing right now and be useful, anyway, Im so tired emotionally. Thanks for understanding
You’re welcome, any time.
Hi, I’ve made a few comments on your arcticals, mainly on the aftermath and recovery, as you know your site has helped me tremendously and I believe it always will be my 1st port of call when I feel myself slipping into the darkness of the Ex partner.
Today I’m falling, falling hard….the Ex was married, I knew this after we had gotten together and as you know even by that early stage it’s too late to walk away. I was with him for 10 years, 10 years of me feeling the crazy one, feeling thankful that he put up with my madness, depression and suicidal attempts to get away from my madness. Little did I know at the time that it was not my madness but his. Eventually I got away or rather I crawled away from what felt like hell on earth, I was totally damaged, mind, body and soul. I became homeless and penniless, not knowing where I was going, how I was going to survive or even where in God’s name had I been.
If it had not been for my deep love for my daughter and my dog I would not be here today. I clung onto not just the love but my responsibility of having to be here for them. I learnt how to exists rather than destroy their lives by ending my own. I placed myself into truamer therapy and spent nearly 2 years with my therapist, I have only just begun to let go of her support, but we still keep in contact now and then, mainly due to my abandonedment issues, but I know given more time that too will cease, my therapist has been amazing and truly believe she was heaven sent.
During the time the Ex and I have been parted, he still kept in contact with my daughter, I knew what his game was and I would never ever allow him the satisfaction of how much this has hurt and never would I place my daughter on the chess board of his manipulation. I told her I never want to hear his name or what he is up to, I didn’t want to know anything.
Today, she broke that rule and told me she had just received a text from him to say his wife has passed away. Yes he has managed to get to me through her after 2 years of me not allowing her to pass on information via him.
I asked her to show me the message and when I read it, it has made me feel so sick I want to throw up, the feelings of hatred has come upon me like a giant wave and I feel caught up in the crushing sound of it all, so much anger is engulfing me right now, as he pulls me back to memories. In this message he tells my daughter how his wife was very proud of her….wtf!! His wife never met my daughter and what does he think my daughter would say or do with that knowledge. But that’s not his game is it, to praise my daughter through his emotional tangle, it’s to suck her in so that she will go to the funeral to stand by his side in his ultimate point scoring over me. To show people that it was not him that was abusive but me, because if it was him then my daughter would not be there with him would she!!!!
I told her that under no cercumstancese is she to go to the funeral, she tells me she has no intention of going but how am I to believe this? I know his aim is to destroy the relationship between my daughter and I and if she goes then I could not no longer put myself aside due to her actions, and I know he knows that it would destroy the bond between my daughter and I.
I seriously do not know what to do, I can’t keep putting my feelings aside in order to hang on to my daughter (she is 24) yet I do not wish for him to achieve his ultimate goal. I’m feeling devastated and helpless at this moment.
Hi, Debbie. I’m sorry you’re feeling devastated and helpless! You are in a crisis, and reaching out to that therapist is what I recommend. I don’t know what to say that might help, except that I care and I’m concerned for you.
This news from him, via your daughter, has brought up powerful memories and fears and very strong emotions, and your thoughts are following in their footsteps. These fears you express — that your daughter will go to the funeral, that others will conclude that you were the abuser if she goes, and that the bond between you and your daughter will be broken — are simply fears. That means they are not happening right now, at this moment, except in your thoughts.
You’re anticipating threats and worse-case scenarios as their outcome. What are some other possible outcomes? Maybe your daughter will not go to the funeral, as she said. If she does, it does not mean the bond would be broken — it will only be broken if you give it that meaning. You’re afraid he wants to break the bond, so please don’t let him do that vicariously by turning you into the one who does it. Making it into an ultimatum removes your choice to be flexible in your reaction and to be able to see other options.
We have no control over other people. All you can do is tell your daughter how you feel, and the rest is up to her. Have you shared your deepest fears with her? Maybe a heart-to-heart talk would help. We never know what other people are thinking, unless they tell us. Hearing her thoughts could be helpful as well.
I wish you all the best. Let me know how you’re doing, OK? xx
Thank you, I’m calmer, although still feeling some anger.
I’ve been keeping myself quite busy and reminding myself how strong I am and once again I will rise above all that he could attempt to do to destroy the bond between my daughter and I. I will have faith in our bond, I don’t know why or how I could even imagine the likes of him being able to break that..
Your so right about choices, I needed that reminder and I can’t allow all my hard work in my recovery to go to waste, it has been a hard slog to get to the point where I am now and I cherish it so much, I think I would be angry at anyone who I felt would attempt to destroy that in me.
I have spent some time today with my daughter with no mention of him and a close friend and then this evening went and joined a walking group which has been fabulous, he has not been in any of the conversations that I’ve had with anyone. I have to and I will keep moving forward rebuilding myself and my life, it is all far too precious.
I’m glad I let off steam this morning and I thank you for creating the space to do that here.
I can see all the blessings in my life and will continue to cherish them, I am not the person I was, it was that person he was able to manipulate not the person I have become. Thank you so much x
I’m so glad you’re feeling better, Debbie. It’s good to take time to vent, and it’s good to take time to do other things. Your life is precious, and there are many things to cherish. One of those things is the progress you’ve made despite what this man did. Another is the bond you have with your daughter, one that will never be broken, no matter what. xx
Thank you so so much for your blog, the books. I feel so good! Its been a good year since I felt like my truth self! Thats irreplaceable! I found myself rehashing and reliving what i think were injustices done to me, I had to take a stock of what i lost and what Ive gained. To wake up and realize that I control my own happiness and determine what and who I want in my life there is no other power. I guess residual anger is necessary, but the most important thing that I did was take away the delusion of expectation. I will never get a apology, never get the things I lost which was dignity and trust and genuine love and concern. I hope that you continue writing and reaching out to victims. Thank you so much! I love me again, I like who I am again, and I want to keep her safe. Thank you so much. Im sure that you would make a great therapist. Thank you thank you! Im so happy!!! Enjoying things again, you should have seen me last year!!!
You’re welcome! I appreciate your kind words, and I’m so glad I can help.
I’m so happy to hear you say “I love myself again.” I think we really come to appreciate ourselves through this experience, and end up with greater confidence and sense of self worth. You’re right when you say that we have to accept that we will never get an apology for the injustices we suffered, and it makes no sense to expect one from someone who can’t feel remorse. It’s normal to be angry about what happened — anger is a natural reaction to injustice, and it’s actually a positive form of emotional energy. It enables us to protect ourselves from unscrupulous or evil people who are trying harm us, and it enables us to assert ourselves and protect ourselves with boundaries.
I’m glad you’re enjoying life again, Nikki!
Is there a way to edit before publishing?
Yes, I can edit something if you like. Just let me know. I’ll make the edits, and then delete the comment that requested them.
I need your help. My husband had a 4 year affair with a woman I am convinced is a sociopath. We are reconciled but her specter is everywhere. I always thought sex was just sex. What do you have to add a with regards to sex with a sociopath? Can he truly go back to regular married sex or am I just too boring for him now? He seems to enjoy it and so do I but it isn’t as frequent as I’d like and sometimes I feel I have to beg for it. Like it’s just not exciting enough for him to work that hard. Any advice will be appreciated
My advice is to be true to yourself. Do what you’re comfortable with and genuinely feel like doing, and not what you think you ‘should’ do. Don’t let the ‘ghost’ of this sociopathic woman determine your thoughts, emotions or actions. The only way you can truly know what your husband is thinking is to talk with him about it. It takes vulnerability and honesty to create true intimacy, and there’s risk involved with that, but if it goes as you hope it will, it’s more than worth it. I wish you the best of luck with it, and I hope your reconciliation will be successful.
Here’s a wonderful video about vulnerability I hope you’ll watch: TED talk on the POWER of vulnerability. It has over 20 million views and is one of the most popular TED talks of all time, for a reason.
If you can’t watch and need the transcript, you can find it here.
I agree and thanks for your reply. LOL I hardly think my husband is going to say “yeah sex with her was the freaking best I ever had!!” I never really thought about it until I read in some Sociopath reading material that this refrain with regards to sex with a sociopath is over the top. We are doing good so far actually better than ever. Maybe he’s so relieved about being away from the sociopath his is just grateful, best sex be damned. Dunno :) I’ve seen that Ted Talk and it is inspiring. Thank you for your efforts.
You’re welcome, and I wish you all the best getting your marriage on track. And while he might be thinking “best sex be damned,” he just may be thinking that the ‘best’ sex is with the woman he loves and who loves him :-)
There is a great article called “Fifty Shades of Sadism: Psychopaths as lovers” which can be found at www.psychopathyawareness.wordpress.com. It shines light on the so-called sexual prowess of many psychopaths. The sex that seems so wonderful is really just a lure to get you into the gilded cage and is the glue that ‘seals the deal’ and bonds you ever more deeply to your jailor. It will quickly sour over time. While they may be sex addicts, psychopaths are not good lovers in the sense of sex being an expression of true love. Hopefully this article will be helpful.
That’s a good article, Lily. I’m going to add it to the sidebar in the category, “sex and the psychopath.” Sex certainly does seal the deal and strengthen the bond.
Seems like so much I read about Socio/Psychopaths is about psychopathic men and the females point of view from dealing with those men. Men are tough enough without being psychopaths!!! And they certainly view sex differently than women but I’m learning not psychopathic women. Seems they are more like men in that regard. They don’t tie too much emotional attachment to it I’m guessing??
That article was very good and thank you for referring me to it. This particular psychopath is a woman. I know her personally and her family members and I have no doubt she is a real sociopath. That said, I guess I’m wondering about is, what kind of lasting effect did the sex and relationship have on you? I mean the love bombing and attention and great mind blowing sex it’s kinda like the old saying from WWII, “how do you keep them down on the farm after they’ve seen Paree (sp)?”. Yeah I always thought I was pretty good and adventurous sexually and fairly uninhibited but gee after reading all this literature about sex with psychopath I’m beginning to wonder if I should be self conscious about my sexuality now with my husband and even if I’m stark raving mad for continuing a relationship with a man who has been in a relationship with such a woman. LOL Don’t answer that question :) What ever you can add I’m grateful for.
Here’s another strange thing that happened. When he broke it off with her she just disappeared. Trust me I checked, I’m pretty tech savvy. I can understand him going NC but not her and she didn’t even try contacting him except once and I shut her down. I would think in true sociopathic nature she would have loved the competition with me and been pissed about being discarded. It got pretty ugly and I may have scared the crap out of her. Don’t know but she disappeared like a good little cockroach that she is.
Bleck, it’s all so tacky. Thanks again and any info is appreciated as I said before. Good wishes to all my fellow sufferers of those who’ve been victimized by psychos!
There’s no emotional attachment for them. Also, both males and females have high testosterone levels, which causes a strong sex drive.
The lasting effect sex with the psychopath had on me was that I never want to have meaningless sex again, but not for the reason you might think. The reason sex with him was so great is that I was very much in love with him, and he acted like he felt the same way about me. He didn’t do anything especially memorable or adventurous sexually; it was the feelings that were involved, or at least seemed to be, that worked.
I wouldn’t worry if I were you. Your husband broke it off with her, and he probably appreciates your relationship much more now. That’s what I hear from several women who visit here, although in their cases they were the ones who were involved with a psychopath. After experiencing what love ISN’T, they are very happy in their marriages now. And no, I don’t think you’re stark raving mad at all, as long as he expressed some real remorse about what he’d done.
Psychopaths don’t always stick around after it’s over, contrary to popular belief. One way for them to hurt someone is to abandon them completely, like a ‘silent treatment’ that lasts forever. Of course, it actually only lasts until you’re glad they’re gone and never coming back. And even if they’re discarded, if they have another target on the hook, they can disappear and not look back. Especially if there’s a scary wife involved ;-)
Best wishes to you, too.
You are very kind to say that. I enjoyed reading your books. You did a great job.
I appreciate that, thank you so much!
Hello to admin,
I cant find my posts here, can you please tell me why? Thank you
Hi, Kat. I see two comments from you on the post, The Psychopath: Truly and Fundamentally Different. Were there more? I haven’t deleted any. Let me know if any are missing, please.
Hi Michelle. If you’d like to leave a comment, please do!
I am just out of a 10yr relationship with this guy, at the beginning he showed me nothing but warmth and love and treated me like a princess. WE had the most amazing time together but I found him different to others in so many way.
We met at work whilst I was going through s divorce so I was most vunerable he knew what I had gone through and offered me a different life. Texts and calls were constant and at times too much especially he I wasn’t at the end of my phone he used to say its the one thing you know makes me mad, if you ignore my calls I will just do the same when you call me and see how you like it, I couldn’t get over his childish games it was like being with a 5yr old and no matter how much we talked nothing went into his head, he knew what upset me so he did this more.
we would split up constantly mainly if I had to go away with work or I was at a conference he acted jealous and I felt that al I did was re assure him that we was fine and that I loved him. Eventually I realized that the more I loved him the more he would abuse me. I found myself lying if I needed to be with friends or go to the gym as I wasn’t allowed, not even to nip to the supermarket, once he went for me as he said it would save me ad I noticed how little I was starting to go out and be around normal people.
Eventually the abuse starts, he was getting in a rage over the slightest things and I became frightened of his anger outbursts. I caught him on dating sites, he denied it was him even when I sent him a photo of it, he said that’s not me. I found a woman’s magazine in his car he said he bought it to read, he received texts with kisses on he said it was a customer who had the hot’s for him and if we ignored it she would go away. We went looking at houses and he had women calling him, he tried ignoring the calls then his phone showed no missed calls, the lies got worse. I found myself working round the clock to catch him out and it was eating me away. The cleverer I became the worse his abuse and name calling towards me.
Eventually I sold my house and had to get away from him and planned my escape like in the film sleeping with the enemy, he was my enemy everyone could see the evil in this man but me but he tried to get me to keep things to myself saying why are you talking to people about our problems. We went on holiday together to New York and then to la manga where he had a timeshare and we had an amazing time. Once home that was the last I saw of him he said we was over he couldn’t have a relationship with someone he didn’t trust.
A year has passed and although we had a couple of meet ups in that year his abuse towards me became worse, name calling and demands to know where I was all the time he was messing with my head and it was awful, at first I thought he cared and wanted to get back together but all this was a game as he had someone new in his life and I was being treated this way to give him the kicks he needed.
I have since seen him with this woman and at first I was jealous but after searching the web for help with what I have gone through I see now I was dealing with psychopath and so she is welcome to him as now there is even his 25k worth of debt that he has got into that she will know nothing about until its too late, perhaps they will get a place together but then at least I now know the abuse from him will start all over again…..
Petts, I’m terribly sorry you’ve been through such a dreadful experience with this abusive man. I hope you’re getting help in dealing with the aftermath of so much trauma. If you haven’t yet, find a therapist who specializes in trauma and abuse. Your local domestic violence organization will be able to assist you. It takes quite a while to recover from these victimizations. There are many challenges ahead, but have faith that you’ll get through them. Take a look at the page in the main menu, “Road Map.” Please take good care of yourself. And it goes without saying, do not let him back into your life. Have no contact with him at all, including checking social media — you need time away from him, completely, to break that bond. I wish you all the best.
Five nights ago I had the OMG moment reading this website. I was at the point where I was being convinced “I” had the problem. I now know it is HE who has a serious problem. How can there be nothing available to us in society to stop him doing it again or even to discover his previous targets. And I know he will do it again. We are the victims who are forced to be silent – so far I don’t think anyone wants to believe me that I have been a victim – a victim that was able to pull the plug before he did. They seem to see me as – ‘well you entered into it knowing you shouldn’t so it is as much your fault’ I will say – come and stand in my shoes and say that!
Thanks to what I read here I was able to explain every emotion I have experienced over the past 18 months. I now can identify I was up to the triangulation stage so not far off the dumping and heaven knows what he had planned for there. I have had a very lucky escape!
Is there anyone who studies /investigates/ logs cases? Im not looking to avenge, just a way to stop him doing it again.
If only those around knew the truth about the charmer they see! Some of my friends are still associating with him on social media as he knows I will see it – and he must be loving that! Do they realise they are still fuelling his narcissistic ego despite some of them knowing – one being another woman a victim of an ex herself? Ive gone NC with him but I refuse to go NC with my friends just to avoid his interactions – he isolated me enough during his hold and I now want to get back to as near normal as I can.
Thank you for your reassuring help – and thankfully I have found a good source of help locally.
Thank heavens for my good husband and my good family
Congratulations on your escape, Ailec, and I’m happy to have been a part of it. I’m sorry no one believes your explanation and that you’re being blamed. I know it’s disappointing, to say the least, but that’s how it goes for most of us. What’s more important, though, is to be able to explain it to yourself, and you’ve done that. I don’t know of anyone who logs cases. I share your frustration knowing that they’ll repeat what they’ve done with others, but without evidence, without a ‘crime,’ it’s all hearsay. It can’t be substantiated, and even if it could most have broken no laws. They commit a moral crime, and do a lot of damage, but I know of no way to stop them. Even if there were a place to log names, what’s to stop them from putting our names there?
No one who hasn’t experienced it will ever understand. Your friends have no clue they’re fueling his narcissistic ego. I’m glad you decided to break all contact with him, but that should include checking his social media. If your friends are supporting him instead of you, you might want to take a break and give yourself some time and space to figure things out. I understand wanting to get back to normal ASAP, but it may take some time. Be patient with yourself.
I’m so glad to hear you have found a good source of help, and that you have a supportive family. Those are invaluable. All the best to you, Ailec!
Just as I thought I was going to cope – in the last few minutes he sent me an email as I can’t block that route.
A typical hoover “Why the sudden blanking” “You were never a social media connection that could be replaced by another you are so much more than that”
I sooo would love to say – go take a look at yourself but I know I must stick with NC or he will win again.
Crikes this is hard!
It’s incredibly hard, but it’s worth it. Stay strong, Ailec.
I have had a lucky escape from a predator on social media who almost convinced me to leave my husband to be with him. At the final hour, help came and now I’m trying to sever the internal bonds to him which I’m finding are strong. I’ve cut all contact, needless to say. I find myself constantly mulling it over in my mind and trying to fathom whether he ever meant a word of what he said and shared with me. Reading the guidance on your site and in books, I can be no doubt that I was victim to a classic psychopath. He and his victimization of me fits the profile 100%. What I feel though, is that my constant need to try to determine if he sincerely had feelings for me (albeit false, obsessive, possessive, psychopathic feelings), is somehow evidence of the psychopathic bond I was bound up in for all those months. Why am I even giving any validity to his ‘sincerity’ or his ‘feelings’ for me? I have a constant pull within me to try to work out if he was a conscious conniver or a deluded individual himself. Rationally, I know it makes no difference. In either case, he was the source of great harm which was only going to get a lot worse. My husband, who is now aware of the whole thing and has been a great source of support, says I should disregard and distrust anything and everything he ever said, on the basis that nothing about him can be trusted. But I am finding it almost impossible to accept that he was totally insincere and deliberately set out to deceive me and destroy my life and my family, even though his intentions were so evident and he was hell-bent on what he wanted, regardless of the cost to anyone else. Do you agree that I am still on the hook to some extent, to even be wondering this? And do you think the best thing is to try to abandon those thoughts as best I can (though they pull strongly) and not try to fathom it?
But I am finding it almost impossible to accept that he was totally insincere and deliberately set out to deceive me and destroy my life
Lily, maybe he was “enamored” with you, something psychopaths are supposedly capable of. Even if that was the case, it follows the same pattern of idealization, devaluation, and discarding. Either way — whether enamored or purposely harmful — a psychopath is not capable of love and does not have a conscience. The intention may be different, but the result is the same.
You probably won’t be able to figure out his intention. We can’t read people’s minds, after all. But what we can see are their actions, and the effect those actions have on us. That’s all that really matters.
Maintain No Contact. With time and distance, the obsessing will diminish and finally come to an end. Best of luck to you.
Thanks for your reply. I will keep working away to maintain the separation and cut the ties. What you said is right: I know it is; that if he believed himself to be enamored, it is exactly the same outcome as though he were consciously setting out to do harm. He is miles and miles away from being able to understand, feel or share love. It is a strange, confused world you find yourself in after an encounter with such a person. I don’t want to have any drawing to him or any allegiance and I know he has not earnt it….but it feels like he stole a part of my heart or hijacked it. He has sucked me in to a great extent. It’s like a strange type of spell where you find yourself drawn to someone who you rationally know you don’t belong with and wouldn’t really like in your normal frame of mind. But after being sucked in to a psychopath’s ‘spell’, you are no longer in your normal mind in many ways. Your blog is wonderful and I so appreciate your help and advice. Thank you.
If logic could break the bond, it would be easy. It does help, but it takes a while for our hijacked hearts to catch up with our heads. The addiction (yes, actual addiction) aspect is strong, and it plays a large role in ongoing longing and obsession. You can read about it in the blog post, “Intensity or Intimacy?” Another factor is the betrayal involved. It’s very hard to comprehend and then to accept that level of betrayal. Take a look at the page titled “Road Map” in the menu above. It’s about all the things we deal with during this experience.
I’m so glad you like the blog, Lily. Thank you.
The road map is very comprehensive and helpful – thank you. Regarding what you said about psychopaths being capable of having an infatuation for a victim: I have come to a realization that the emotional quality of their infatuation is similar to that of a hunter as he stares down the barrel of a gun at his prey. It is a strange type of fixation; an anticipation of relishing a feeding frenzy. It is simply so sinister. It is not fully human. As a normal human being, you simply do not imagine that their ‘love’ and desire for you is so depraved. But for them, these driving desires are completely normal. They have no perspective that they are not. Seeing the true nature of all this has helped to break the spell to an extent. I was never desired and loved by this man for me: I was hunted as his prey and he relished the anticipation of my destruction.
I’m glad the road map was helpful, Lily.
Here’s a post that might interest you:
Shiny Objects: A Deeper Look at Idealization and Devaluation
Thanks for that link to a very very interesting and helpful article. Every insight into the twisted workings of his mind helps me to see the reality a little more and helps to break the spell.
You’re welcome, Lily. I’m so glad it helped.
Hello, First I’d like to thank you for putting together such a good site and for all your dedication and hard work.
I originally wrote a rather long message which wouldn’t send and the site wouldn’t allow me to copy and paste either so I decided to make this one short in the hope that it will send.
I have been trying to heal from 2 relationships. One with a sociopath and one with a narcissist. Both very damaging. The Narc relationship came after the Socio one and only happened because he was so determined and convincing. The experiences led me to study Psychopaths in depth.
I am at the point now where I am finally coming face to face with the trauma from the first relationship. I never did heal from it. Therapy didn’t help. I had a nervous break down and then PTSD. I have flashbacks. He is responsible for the death of my dogs which he decided to blame me for. He is very sick in the head yet everyone around him thinks he is such a great person.
I do not trust people anymore and have become completely alienated from all my old friends because no one understands what I have been through. It is so hard to act normal after trauma and I feel safer staying away from all social situations as I just don’t know how to interact in a normal fashion anymore. This happened 4 years ago and I am still suffering. I ended the Narc relationship a year ago.
I spend a lot of time blaming myself and trying to figure out what to do to improve myself so this doesn’t happen again but so far I have concluded that staying away from people is the best I can do for now.
Thanks again for all your great work
Thank you for your kind words! I’m always happy to hear from readers who find the website helpful. It keeps me writing. I’m sorry you had trouble submitting your previous comment, Ceris. There’s no limit on the length, so it must have been a glitch. They happen every now and then, unfortunately.
I’m very sorry to hear of the trauma you’re experiencing, and I’m awfully sorry to hear that you lost your dogs! I went through the same things you’re going through now — I felt alienated from friends who didn’t understand (which was all of them), I didn’t know who to trust and I became a virtual recluse because I only felt comfortable at home. I needed to build my confidence before venturing out again.
Click on the Road Map page in the main menu above; you’ll find categorized links there to articles on this site and others that address self-blame, trust, why we were victimized, and a lot more. You might also want to consider seeing a therapist that specializes in trauma and abuse. I wish you all the best as you move forward, Ceris!
Hi, thanks for your reply. It was validating to read your experience, and I am sorry to hear yours too, but so grateful that you are using it to help others like me.
Yes, none of my friends understand either. I feel like grabbing them and shaking them, and screaming about how much pain I’m in but I’m glad I’m not crazy enough to do that.
There’s no point in seeing anyone because I resent their normality which sounds terrible I’m sure. It’s hardly their fault. I get the “Oh it was so sad when I had to have my dog put down, I know how you feel”. Um, no they do not know how I feel. It is not the same as traumatically having your dogs taken from you. Or worse I get things behind my back like “Y’know it was just dogs, I think she needs to get a grip and get over it”. Or they try and relate to the break up “It took me a long time to get over such and such too. You must have really loved him”, or “You obviously just weren’t right for each other”. Seriously?! I honestly feel like I have been dragged through hell and seen things that most normal people have never seen and can no longer exist in this world, as overly dramatic as that may sound.
I need to share, and I need to be understood, but it can’t be my friends. I shall look for therapists. Thank you so much for your help.
JUST dogs?! No.
When I was going through it, I realize that a lot of people don’t have very much empathy. I had more than enough of that already from the psychopath. I know it’s very hard for people to understand if they haven’t been through it themselves, but the way I felt was that they could at least try to understand instead of invalidating me. Make sure you read my blog posts about empathy and about invalidation. What we went through had nothing to do with the break up of a normal relationship. This is true betrayal we experience. The way my friends reacted added immensely to the trauma. When the going gets tough, you find out who’s really capable of being a friend. Just take the time you need to get yourself together, and then make new friends if you feel those relationships aren’t salvageable.
We certainly do find out who our real friends are after something like this.Friends do not avoid you when you’re sufferring, and I agree that they should at least try to understand. It contributed hugely to my trauma also. There’s a part of me that wants to tell them but there is no point. There are only 2 friends that I stay in touch with. I absolutely want to seek out new friends who are more in alignment with my values. I want sisters and brothers, not superficial friends who are only around for the good times.
I got in touch with a therapist who I’m meeting this month. It’s so good to have the motivation from this site. It inspired me to get moving. Oh, and she has dogs! She understands. X
You will find new friends, although there are bound to be some more duds along the way. I’m so glad you’re going to try therapy, and I wish you the best of luck with it. X
How can we best help, empower, protect our children?
My story is classic – 9 years of ‘perfect’ marriage – him a business executive and me a part time nurse and homemaker; known by everyone as the best couple and family. Then suddenly he’s having an affair with another woman with 2 kids fully playing Dad and he immediately asks for Divorce once I find out. Immediately his interactions with me are hatred, blame, violence, isolation, apathy, etc. This led a friend to suggest perhaps he’s a psycopath. After reading your website and several books plus rating him at a 88 on the Hare scale, I came to begin to understand my tragedy. During the divorce period he conveniently quit his 6 figure job where he was an executive VP then after the divorce had his job back – Convenient! And as such our divorce agreements were based on him having nothing and in the meantime, he ‘moved’ (hid) our entire life savings and assets, leaving me and our daughter destitute; he moved in with his mistress and our house went into foreclosure, leaving me and my daughter to rent an efficiency apartment nearby. During and after the divorce, I had full custody of our daughter. After 1.5 years, he has now filed a motion to get 50/50 custody. Meanwhile he has forced (manipulated, coerced) our daughter to have overnights this past year which began her journey of ‘splitting’.
My biggest issue is how his behaviors has, will, and can continue to impact, imprint, and influence our 9 year old daughter? She has been ‘splitting’ since the overnights at his residence started, despite being in weekly counseling since the day her Dad left me in August 2013.
Can you share any HOPE for my Daughter’s path?
Tanja, I’m so sorry to hear about your terrible ordeal. First of all, you need a good lawyer, one who is wise to people in the dark triad. Many psychopaths try to alienate their children from the other parent. Please take a look at the resources in the sidebar under the heading “Parental Alienation,” as this subject is out of my realm. I hope you have supportive friends and family in your life, and if you can see a therapist it would be a good idea (but please be sure to find one who is expert in abuse and trauma). This is a lot to deal with, and not only the court battles but healing from the betrayal, too.
I wish you and your daughter all the best. Never doubt yourself, or that you can prevail!
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