Letting the Light Shine

Many of you come to this website in the midst of a difficult and painful journey. By sharing my experience and insights, I hope to help those of you who’ve also been harmed in exploitative, abusive relationships with a psychopathic person. My goal for your visit is to leave you feeling understood, supported, and empowered, which is so important and yet too often lacking for those of us who find ourselves victimized in this way. That shouldn’t be, because it happens more often and to more people than anyone would guess. Most people, myself included, didn’t even know it was a possibility.

I’m someone who experienced firsthand what I write about: victimization by a high-functioning, sub-criminal psychopath who involved me in a sham relationship that caused a great deal of harm. A lot of people who visit this website are deeply traumatized, as I was during the first several months that I wrote it. I want to make clear that I’m not a mental health professional, and nothing contained in this website is meant to take the place of professional help. You’re probably dealing with a plethora of emotions including anger, deep sadness, loss, grief, confusion, and betrayal, and it can feel unbearable. That’s more than enough reason to seek the guidance of a qualified therapist, one who understands the trauma caused by emotionally abusive relationships and who has knowledge of disorders characterized by a manipulative nature and lack of empathy (i.e. psychopathy and narcissism).

If you are in danger, or if you feel like harming yourself or someone else, please get help. You can start here:

Some have asked me why I choose to remain anonymous. Although I would be proud to claim this website publicly, I choose anonymity to protect my safety.  Anonymity in no way changes my words or intention for this website.

I’ve had to close the site to new comments. I’m truly sorry about that. It takes time to respond to each reader thoughtfully and with empathy, time that I don’t have right now. I am grateful for all of you who shared your thoughts and feelings here. In doing so, you contributed greatly to the value of this website. Thank you.

♥ If you’re going through this experience please know that you are not alone, and know that there is life and love after this. All the best to you on your healing journey.

Comments are closed.

281 thoughts on “ABOUT THE AUTHOR”

  1. Tracy

    I feel as though I stumbled upon this blog and the information contained it in through Devine intervention. I have been in this type of relationship for almost 4 years now as a victim. I feel blessed because a girlfriend from his past after 2 years reached out to him and that was the final thing he needed to move on. She was the one he didn’t quite win or master. He was done with me after about the first month of what you call the non-stop romance period. He had me opening up right away. I read the tactics of covert emotional manipulation and if I could journal my life these past 4 years, it was right there on those pages. He has not tried to reach out to me since she showed weakness and he went for it. Had it not been for her, the prize for him to manipulate, he would still be here and I may not have been alive typing these words. He wasn’t physically abusive but I was 100% under his psychologically captive web. I’m ashamed but also feel hope since I found this information. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’m going to therapy right now and I only pray that he stays hung up on her and through w me long enough for me to heal. Should he try to come back now, I’m very afraid that I would allow it. I pray your ministry helps others as it has me.

    Tracy from Ohio

    1. Admin

      Hi Tracy,

      Thank you so much for your kind words. You’re doing the right things — going to therapy, reading, finding others who have gone thru a similar situation — and you know what? Soon, when your self-esteem goes way up (maybe even higher than it’s ever been before) you will not even entertain the thought of letting this abuser back into your life. Feeling shame is normal, but remember that you were manipulated into losing more and more self-respect. You will get it back, and then some! A BIG part of the game they play with us is humiliation. The needs to dominate, control and humiliate are the main attraction for them. Like I’ve said many times (and so have many others, including Dr. R. Hare) most people could not prevent becoming a victim; we didn’t have a clue this type of thing existed, and mistook it for something other than what it really was. But we now have a real chance not to have it happen again, if we learn about them and learn about ourselves.
      Here’s a link to an excellent video that I highly recommend. It’s a TED talk from Brene Brown, “Listening to Shame.” http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame

      Best wishes to you.

      1. Susan

        I just finished reading 30 Covert Emotional Manipulation Tactics—best ever information and I am a DV advocate by training. Ordered the follow up. Thank you for your feedback and your insightful work.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          Sorry for the delay in responding. I’m thrilled to hear that you found 30 Tactics filled with helpful info! That means a lot to me, especially with your experience as a DV advocate. I hope it’ll help the clients you share it with. Manipulators have an unfair advantage–until we’re aware of their strategy! If you would, please post a review on amazon; I’d appreciate that. Thank you Susan!

        2. Geoff Smith

          I am an Independent Mental Health Advocate by training and work with many people with a personality disorder diagnosis. I knew something was awry with my partner but my experience counted for nothing because I was in an intimate relationship. If only I’d read these books prior to my involvement!

          1. Adelyn Birch

            Hi Geoff. I’ve heard from other mental health professionals who’ve also said their knowledge wasn’t able to protect them. You’re not alone in that. As you said, the difference was that you were in an intimate relationship, and that’s when our guard is the lowest, and when we have the most to lose from learning and accepting the truth about someone. Things have to get pretty bad before we can do that. We’re human, that’s what it boils down to. Now we understand more about the ways love and trust make us vulnerable, and we know that there are those who take advantage of those vulnerabilities. It’s a hard lesson. A devastating one, really. May you discover within yourself all the strength and resilience you need to overcome it.

      2. Geoff

        Dear Adelyn

        I have returned to your website after a year or so for various reasons but, mainly because, your words resonate deeply within my soul.

        I happen to have a couple of ‘Soul Songs’ I wrote last year so I thought I might share them. One is called called ‘Metamorphosis’, and it describes the excruciating awakening one experiences in the aftermath of a relationship with a psychopath. The other is called ‘Little Soul Sister’, which describes a chance meeting with a soulful human whilst busking who provided a much needed antidote to the poison administered by my psychopathic abuser.

        Little Soul Sister

        Hey, little soul sister. I could’ve easily have missed you; I was just passing by

        Hey, little soul sister. We could’ve missed by a whisker; for the rest of our lives

        I have known you once before
        Maybe a thousand years before

        And hey, there’ll come a time for singing. It’s a fine way of bringing healing into the light

        And hey, broken hearts can surrender to a beat that is tender; In the blink of an eye

        I have known you once before
        Maybe a thousand years before

        So hey, I am your soul brother. Hope there will be many others you can meet by and by

        Well, I’ve been told. Oh, I’ve been told
        There’s a hole in the centre of my soul

        I’m growing old. Oh, I’m growing old
        With a hole in the centre of my soul

        Now I would rather be, rather be a soulful man
        But I don’t really know, really know who I am

        I’m striking out, though hope is lost
        It’s time to risk, no matter what the cost

        Hoodwinked by grief, swindled by fear
        I’m easily fooled, ‘cos they’ve been my friends for years

        Now I would rather be, rather be a soulful man
        But I don’t really know, really know who I am

        Narcissus calls when I ignore my body’s voice, so my body keeps the score

        But woken by her soft lament, nymph Echo bids farewell to my contempt


        Now I would rather be, rather be a soulful man
        But I don’t really know, really know who I am
        Yes, I would rather be, rather be a soulful man
        And now I really know, really know who I am

        If anyone is interested in hearing the music, key in’ soundcloud’ with my name ‘Geoff’ and the titles of the songs.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          I’m sorry to hear of your ordeal, but glad my words resonated with you. Thank you for letting me know. “Excruciating awakening” are the perfect words to describe what we experience.

          Thank you for sharing your “soul songs.” Holy cow, you are one talented man! The lyrics themselves are powerful when read, but the music (which is really beautiful!) takes them to another level.

          Little Soul Sister https://soundcloud.com/user-847494429/little-soul-sister

          Metamorphosis https://soundcloud.com/user-847494429/metamorphosis

          Thank you again for sharing. I may just have to write a blog post now, which would be my first in months. I never write unless I’m truly inspired to do so, and you have truly inspired me!

          1. Adelyn Birch

            P.S. I’ll send you an email when the blog post is published

            1. Geoff

              I will look forward to reading it.

          2. Geoff

            I was inspired to write to you to say thanks for the website but also because of your blog ‘Soul Songs’. When I wrote Metamorphosis, I read and re-read Ovid’s original story of Narcissus and Echo and one passage resonated with me in particular. It’s really is about the aftermath for Echo.

            ‘Now spurned, she conceals herself in forests, and, in her shame, covers her face with leaves.
            From that time on, she lives in lonely caves.
            But still her love is there and even grows from the pain of her rejection.
            Worries and lack of sleep waste her wretched body.
            Poverty shrinks her skin, and all the juices in her body move out into the air.
            Only her voice and bones are left.
            Her voice still lives.
            The story goes her bones were changed to shapes of stone.
            Since that time, she hides out in the woods.
            No one has ever seen her in the mountains, but she is heard by all.
            It is the sound which still lives on in her’.

            From book III, Metamorphoses, Ovid (8AD).

    1. Admin

      Thank you!

  2. Jennifer

    Oh my gosh. I so wish I had read this when you first posted it. I went through 4 years of hell in a relationship with a psychopath. Every single emotion, action, manipulation you described was just spot on! So very accurate. The relationship almost devastated me. I am just like one of the victim types you described; that is, an attorney. It is amazing how accurate you are about how I felt and feel. It’s simply amazing. I contemplated suicide. I drank too much. I tried hypnosis. I allowed him to keep contacting me until just about 4 weeks ago; although, he broke up with me in Nov. 2012. He kept contacting me and torturing me by leading me on and then mentioning my worst fears about this woman – oh gosh – just like you described. Thank you for this blog and just thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    1. Admin

      You’re welcome. And thank you for taking the time to let me know!

      1. Jay

        When you finally make to decision to move on but they won’t let you, they continue to push beyond what you can possibly take, then what

        1. Adelyn Birch

          If you’ve truly made a firm decision to move on, they can’t stop you. There is something else going on. When you say “but they won’t let you,” I wonder about your boundaries, unless you’re being physically restrained. To learn why you can’t leave (neurological and psychological reasons) please read this article by R. Freeman, PhD: The Spellbinding Bond to Narcissists and Psychopaths – What’s Happening in the Brain?

          Best of luck to you, Jay

  3. JSvictim

    Again…………..I LOVE and appreciate your site! I wish I could speak with yo directly but i’m sure that is right out. This will have to do. email me if you are open to speaking.

  4. Michele L.


    I want to thank you so much, this website has finally given me the strength to stand up to the person who has been controlling me for about 10 years now. I want to preface this by saying I have a masters degree in clinical psychology and have diagnosed patients at my assessment practicum with psychopathy, no one is immune to being conned in this way, especially if you have never been down this road before. It is just blinding due to the romantic intensity in the beginning. Reading the section you provided regarding the covert manipulation tactics saved my sanity. I also want to say that this person I was with was extremely talented at manipulation and it wasn’t until I read your blog that I was able to identify exactly what was going on. Again, thank you. He was never physically, or even outright verbally abusive to me, so it was so hard for me to see, but reading those tactics was a huge revelation for me as I could never put words to what was happening. I now no longer am with him and no longer engage with him in any way. This website is extremely well written and comprehensive. I commend your making this website, you are helping so many. I have passed this wensite along to my clients, as well as to my therapist. My psychologist was a doctoral fellow at UPenn, she is a brilliant psychologist, but he manipulated us both. I just want to reinforce that this can happen to anyone. I no longer blame myself but I am certainly wiser about who I let into my life and who I give affection too.

    Thank you so much!

    Wishing you peace and protection from the manipulators.


    1. Admin

      Yes, it is blinding due to the romantic intensity…and love is blind, as they say.

      “I now am no longer am with him and no longer engaged with him in any way.” I’m so glad to hear that.

      “I no longer blame myself but I am certainly wiser about who I let into my life and who I give affection too.” Me, too.

      Also wishing you peace and protection from the manipulators, Michele. All the best to you.

  5. thebreakfree

    Im Not sure about my partner be a complete psycho,but most of the signs are there.i wish i can get a job as fast i can,im Alredy in contact wit woman help org and i hope to escape soo.im Sick and tired of him and ready to move on.

    1. Admin

      I wish you the best of luck. I hope you’ll find a good job soon; I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

      1. Lily

        I am writing my book and i would like to make references to your book 202 ways to spot a psychopath but I feel that your remaining anonymous discredits your book at least you could have come up with a name like Tracey O’mally-something that sounds more credible. I loved your book don’t get me wrong I really appreciate it but I feel let down that if i refer to it people will laugh and discredit MY book.
        AB Admin? Can you change it to a pseudonym that is credible even Jane B.Jones anything so other people can make reference to your work. Thank you.

        1. Admin

          Who are all these people who will read your book and laugh? That name is on the front of each of my books, and no one laughs. If it hasn’t hurt me, I don’t think it will hurt you. Here’s a review from the book you would like to credit:

          Everyone Should Read This Book
          April 21, 2015
          Format: Kindle Edition/ Verified Purchase
          Chances are you have been the victim of a psychopath. A boyfriend or girlfriend who used and abused you, someone who sold you a bill of goods, robbed you, or otherwise manipulated you. They are only one or two percent of the population but they really get around. If I had read this book years ago I might have avoided years of pain. At least I would have seen it coming and could have chosen to avoid it. This book should be required reading before graduating from high school.

          Best of luck with your book, Lily.

  6. Daniel Wancus

    The intention of this project is incredibly noble, and you should be commended. Keep doing what you’re doing, Admin. Z

    1. Admin

      Thank you so much.

  7. Kim F.

    Thank you and God bless you for this website. It has truly validated and spoken to my experience. It has been almost a year now since I had (what I came to realize) been through”emotional rape.”. It has been one of the worst experiences of my life. I fell in love last year but the relationship would turn out to be very short lived (thankfully). The guy I had fallen in love with had suffered a terrible tragedy but he told me he was ready and healed enough to move on. He claimed that he wanted a relationship. I was more than happy to prove my love and loyalty to him. To show my support for him in his situation I babysat his son for him when he needed help. However, I had one single important boundary in this relationship. I had made it very clear to my ex friend love that I did not want to have sex again unless I was in a very committed relationship (or married!) A few years ago earlier I had told God that I did not want to have sexual relations again until I am married. God has given me the strength to honor that commitment. My (so called) friend told me that he was fine with that and that he would not pressure me in any way. For a very short time I was” over the moon.” He only pretended to go along or respect my wish. The time came (around September) when he no longer needed me everything went “dead.” I was given the Silent Treatment, Stonewalled, Cold Shoulder Emotionally raped and Cut dead. For the next few months it would take every fiber of my being toget out of bed, pray, and not doubt GOD. The holidays of 2013 felt dreadful. Depression was an understatement and I had to scramble for an appointment with a therapist. It’s been almost a year (still in therapy and having bothersome thoughts but doing a lot better now). One thing I don’t regret- I didn’t have sex with the guy. THANK GOD! That would have been a terrible bond. People need to know that this sort of thing is real and excruciatingly painful to the Soul (and the body too in some ways). I came to believe that this guy, for whatever reason wanted to control me and if he could not violate my body then he would violate my soul. I want to say again, thank you for the validation and support through your website and God bless you.

    1. Admin

      Thank you so much for your very kind words, from the bottom of my heart. I couldn’t agree more about postponing sex in a new relationship! I commend you for being able to do that even though you were “over the moon” (I use that same term to describe how I felt!). It is excruciating painful to the soul. It’s amazing that you realized the worse of what might happen, although I know it hurt you very badly anyway. Best wishes to you.

  8. Carol

    Dear Admin. I haven’t seen the readers responses to you until today. Otherwise I would have written to you sooner. I cannot describe the relief and validation your blog provided me in my time of n eed. What a comfort! I’m married and was the victim of a psychopath. I know this because of your blog. While he was a talented psychopath. He was not original otherwise I would have never uncovered the truth. My family friends and therapist all believe me. I think to the degree they are able. I am lucky in the sense that he was never my primary relationship. And. He did not destroy my family or my bank account the peeps around me dont understand why I am still trying to make sense of it. After all it’s been 8 months since I discovered the truth. I was ready to leave my family for this monster. And he also used my best friend in triangulation against me. But the good news is we have recently reunited!! Unless you’ve been through it. You simply cannot understand. Thank you for this blog. There are no words to express my gratitude I think about this everyday. It does not ruin my day but it’s there. You are a blessing. Thank you so much. If there are any married victims would be helpful to connect. Aidmi. I love you.

    1. Admin

      Thank you for sharing your very kind words with me. I’m so happy this website has helped you. I’m glad to hear you didn’t leave your family for him! You’re lucky your therapist and friends believe you — it’s so important to have that support. It takes some time to make sense of what happened, but it helps so much when you do. Thanks again, and best wishes to you!

    2. Jane

      I am also married and have recently woken up to discover that I am the victim of a psychopath. It was shocking to me that I even attempted to stray from my marriage of 15 years but as I read through this blog, I could see all the signs and stages of manipulation, including being put in a trance. The emotional abuse has been extensive and I recognize the signs of PTSD. It has been a week of researching to understand the signs. I have an appointment with a therapist next week and then I need to share this with my husband. I am terrified to do this, and wish I didn’t need to but need the emotional support of family and friends. I have faith that although people will be shocked, disappointed and betrayed, this affair has been extremely out of character for me. It points to the fact that anyone can be a victim and I truly feel like I was lured and preyed upon. I am truly terrified of the aftermath and although he has never shown any signs of aggression, I’m worried about what could possibly happen.

      1. Admin

        I hope you will find the support you seek from your family and friends. If you do, you are a lucky person with extraordinarily understanding and open-minded people in your life. Ditto for your therapist. Chances are that when you tell people you were lured by and preyed upon by a psychopath, one who put you in a trance, they’ll think you’re delusional or creating excuses as some sort of defense mechanism. The fact that we did things that were “extremely out of character” is actually the big clue as to what we were involved with, but others still may not understand that. I hope they will. And if they don’t, I hope you’ll understand that they simply *can’t* understand. Best wishes.

    3. Depressedempath

      I was married for 32 years, mostly happily. I was brainwashed into believing my marriage was over and he was “the one”. So I separated from my husband, who never gave up on me. The relationship with the psycho lasted 7 months before I woke up and managed to build the strength to get out.
      I contacted my husband the day I left the psycho and within weeks we were back together. It has been life changing for both of us. Better than a marriage councillor, we have both changed and have a new take on our marriage. I really believe that my life was meant to take that turn, it really changed my views on so many things about intimate relationships.
      It’s been hard though, I still cry a lot (it’s 4 months since I left the psycho) and think that I needed more time before jumping back into our marriage. But I feared that if we hadn’t got back together, he may have found someone else. That thought makes me suicidal.

      1. Admin

        Thank goodness you did get back together, and that he didn’t find someone else. Your husband sounds like a good man who truly loves you. It will take time to come to terms with what the psychopath did to you. I think it would be helpful for you to have someone to talk to about it, a therapist who is very skilled in abusive relationships. All the best to you.

  9. Carol

    Jane, Believe me, things, life will get better. I was reluctant to tell my husband, and in the end, he was relieved to know that HE wasn’t crazy. The P pretended to be his friend, I guess there was some extra pleasure he took in duping us both. And, even though your friends and family will never be able to truly “get it”, they will believe you to the extent they are capable. My friends and family all thought I was acting crazy and none of them were entirely surprised when I confessed to them. And they have all supported me. Yours will too. Believe in yourself, that you are still the “good person” you were before this disgusting excuse for a human being came into your life. Someone posted this on facebook the other day, when bad people get out of your life, good things can happen. So true!

    1. Admin

      It’s good to hear from someone who has firsthand experience of the situation Jane is in. Thanks so much for sharing your experience and offering encouragement and support. Much appreciated.

  10. Katie

    I just found your site and have read a bit of it and know that I have been duped not once but twice by psycho/sociopath (s). I can’t believe that I did it twice. The first one was a marriage for 7 years and the father of my 3 children. Although we have been divorced 25 years he continues to destroy me by now alienating the children from me, with his lies. He swore then that he would make my life miserable until the day I died and I believe he is going to keep his word. It has driven me to near insanity and consideration of suicide. How can my children possibly now believe his lies??? He molested our daughter as a tiny girl and she knew it, and had flash backs in puberty and rejected him totally and then 10 years later she believes his lies ‘your mom lied to you about all that so you wouldn’t have a relationship with me’…. and she believes him, and the other adult children are estranged at his hand as well. The repercussions just go on and on. It is an incredible ride too hell. The second time, this man told me he was he was going to help me battle the first husband because he was my ‘soul mate’ that turned into another trip to hell. How can your make two trips to hell and never come back??? I am able to totally separate from this one as we have no further connection. It is amazing how quickly they can turn from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. I look forward to following your blog and reading your book as well as the many others on this topic.

    1. Admin

      Hi, Katie. I am so sorry you have gone through all of this. Likewise, I’m saddened to hear your children have been abused and then alienated from you. I hope you do, or will, have good and supportive people in your life who will help you through, and whatever other help you need. You are very strong to have made it this far, and your strength and spirit will continue to guide you. Warm wishes to you.

  11. Daniel

    They will wring your neck from the top of the tree, but be the only branch you can tippy toe on for the support keeping you alive.

    1. Admin

      That’s a perfect analogy! Thanks for your comment.

    2. Older Female

      That’s right.

  12. Amber

    I couldn’t find any other way to contact you through here, but I just want to thank you. I bought the book immediately and for once I don’t feel alone. My ex fit every single bit of the criteria involved, and unfortunately still stalks me (we met in the same online gaming community and he often still follows me around). I ended it with him, because every fiber of my being screamed for me to run away, and I eventually did – I cut off all contact and ignored him, which lead to him relentlessly harassing me through every medium of contact he had with me. I eventually went to the police, and contacted his parents (who immediately took his side once he lied his way out of it) after he began threatening me with horrific things, like physically attacking me, blackmail, using my personal information and secrets against me and just general devaluation. I almost feel like I escaped just in time. I left him before the point of complete and utter wreckage of his abuse, (even though it still affects me) and this angered him because I’ve remained “unconquerable” to him, which is why I think he still follows me to this day. I felt so alone, he manipulated most of our mutual friends against me and I was outcast from what I knew best, and the people whom I thought were friends. I found myself begging and pleading with people to believe me – I resorted to sending them examples of his hateful messages, and even when they seemed shocked I still felt by myself, like nobody would truly get it – after I read this book, I realised there are others out there like me, and that has restored so much faith in me.
    He is an incredibly smooth talker, and sometimes when he sends me the occasional “nice” message (like wishing me happy birthday with “no hard feelings” or an apology with promises of change if I just allow him to be friends with me etc), I almost find myself falling for it until I’m reminded by the destruction he caused in my life. I know all too well opening contact with him is opening myself to attacks and the opportunity for him to toy with me. I keep faith that I will heal, but sometimes I find myself down and obsessing, especially when being near or around him – like some negative magnetic pull. Especially when I see how normal he acts around everyone else we mutually know, and I just WISH they discover what I know. I just wish they knew who he really is, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. No matter what I say, nothing will convince anyone – because they will never understand unless they experience what I did. I’m slowly recovering, but like I said, sometimes I still feel so lost, and I guess some part of me still blames myself for falling for his act… but as you said, “You may trod me into the very dirt, but still, like dust, I’ll rise.”
    Thank you.

    1. Admin

      Thank you, Amber, for telling me this. It makes all the time and effort more than worthwhile. It means so much to me that the book helped you understand what has happened. I’m glad to hear you’re slowly recovering, and I’m not surprised at all that you still feel lost. It takes time and effort to get through this kind of trauma. The fact that no one believes you makes it worse — boy, do I know that! I lost just about every friend I had. Not one single person would look at my website or my book. Believe me when I tell you that you and others here have helped me even more than I’ve helped you.

      Actually, it was Maya Angelou who said “You may trod me into the very dirt, but still, like dust, I’ll rise.” So fitting! Give yourself time to recover. There’s just no easy way through this. I saw a therapist for several months, journaled (350 pages worth!), started this website, and learned all I could.

      I think you’re right, he won’t leave you alone because he couldn’t conquer you. Are you familiar with the ‘gray rock’ method of dealing with people like him? http://www.lovefraud.com/2012/02/10/the-gray-rock-method-of-dealing-with-psychopaths/

      Please stay safe and stay strong. All the best to you.

  13. Denisa

    Thank you for creating this website! I found so much helpful information.
    I was involved with Psychopath and every single thing match him. I wish I read it before.
    However, I was the one who ended the relationship without saying much, I received tons of text next day from him that I was brainwashed and that I am too emotional and I should think twice.
    This was very recent (like last week recent). Should I expect any contact from him? I believed he already moved on…..on least I pray for that.

    1. Admin

      I don’t know. Some hang on, and some don’t. I hope he has moved on.

      I’m glad you find the website helpful! All the best to you.

  14. Estee

    Recently my mother remarked on my ability to manipulate the adults around me as a child. She told me about my innate understanding of how to push people’s buttons to get what I wanted. Looking back, I often befriended only those less emotionally stable and vulnerable. Malleable personality types, if you will. Throughout elementary and middle school, I was a bully. I tormented other children, often causing many of them to avoid me, staying in during recess and asking to be moved to classes I wasn’t in. Now, I don’t think I’m a psychopath, because when I think back on those early years, I usually feel guilt.
    However upon reading this article, I identified every single “red flag” in myself in every single relationship I’ve had in my adult life. I have often been accused of manipulation, and have even caught myself using psychological tactics to influence people around me, for example subconscious mirroring of body language of strangers. And one last thing. Nearly everything I’ve ever told anyone I’m meeting for the first time is a complete lie. I do not feel guilt, however I feel terror at the thought of being exposed. I don’t know why I lie.
    Could I be a psychopath?

    1. Admin

      Hi, Estee. I suppose it’s possible. There’s a good and reputable test you can take online — it might give you a little more insight: Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale

      Have you read about James Fallon, PhD, the neuroscientist who found out a few years ago that he’s psychopathic? His is an interesting story.

      Good luck to you.

  15. Jenny

    This site has helped me so much tonight. I have been searching for answers and clues to what happened to me. This describes my situation so it makes sense to me. That doesn’t make me any happier or it less painful but it is a start and an explaination. I have used many of these same words when describing to friends what has happened to me and how I feel. Most do not understand and the usual support is missing which becomes another abandonment and loss. I am learning to find people who have experienced this type of loss and truly can validate and show compassion.

    My heart is shattered. I don’t know how to deal with the fact that I love him dearly still and miss and want him to hold me. And at the same time am agree, hurt and don’t even know this new man.

    I am still left with so many questions and no closure. I just got the phone call in August that he said “I can’t do this anymore. I’m done.” No more talking to me, facing me, etc. He was even angry that I was mad, angry, questioning and wanted to talk and see him. I was with him for years. “We have something special.”

    I was arrested and got a restraining order on me for entering the house to get my stuff. This is a house I had entered on my own for years and he knew I was going to be there and I was going in. I called and texted him asking where he was. His neighbor and cousin texted him that I was there and going in. Now I have to spend $$$$ (a lot) to try to have charges dropped (unlikely) or decreased. I work in a town position so this could effect my job and future employment and pension. I just got my things and left his stuff.

    I have even been told by my first lawyer (got rid of him) that I was not the victim and I shouldn’t play one. Another man to abandon me and not validate my experience. There is no consequence for him for all the wrongs and damage he has done. The damage he caused has no restitution.

    The male lawyers, prosecutor, police etc all consider the relationship ended when he decided it was done. All my women friends consider it still open if my stuff is still there and we never “talked” or even saw each other to end it. It is not in my favor.

    The fact that I entered the home gave him the perfect escape. (he called it “our home” even though I lived with my kids an hour away but was up there all the time) He used that to his advantage so now he doesn’t look like a jerk who dumped me out of the blue but he has people convinced I am wanting to reconcile and am crazy for going into his house. He even said I ransacked it which I didn’t. I have a numer of emails and texts saying I respect his decision and want him to be happy and let me pick up my stuff. All statements about closure and moving on and not getting back together. Yes I want the old guy back but he no longer exists. And there is way too much damage to even consider it. None of his family or friends will talk to me as he is telling lies about me.

    And to top it off he is dating (and it looks like that relationship overlaps mine). He is dating his ex-wife’s step-sister. It’s sick. He is the Uncle to his own kids. I was sick to my stomach for a week after finding that out. i feel violated (again). It feels like I had a relationship with a sexual pervert.

    What is next? I keep thinking Jerry Springer is going to call soon.
    Does he know he is a psychopath?
    Does he know that was cruel?
    Will being a psychopath affect his kids (they are girls 10,5)?
    How does a psychopath deal with children?
    Are the children safe?
    Should I tell his counselor?
    Why the step-sister-in-law?
    Is she about getting back at his ex or just another victim for him? He hates his ex and her family so this makes no sense to me.

    “The not-happening was so sudden
    that i stay there, for ever
    without know, without their knowing me,
    as if I was under a chair,
    as if I was lost in the night,
    so was that which was not,
    and so I have stayed since.
    I asked the others after,
    the women and the men,
    what they were doing with such confidence
    and how they had learned their living;
    the did not actually answer
    they went on dancing and living,
    It is what has not happened to one
    that determines the silence,
    and I don’t want to go on speaking
    because, I stood there waiting;
    In that place and on that day
    I have no idea what happened
    but now I am not the same.” — Pablo Neruda

    “Seeing people changing isn’t what hurts. What hurts is remembering who they used to be.”

    “The biggest coward is a man who awakens a woman’s love with no intention of loving her.” —Bob Marley

    “Of all the people who could have ripped me to shreds, why on earth did it have to be you. I ask myself this on a daily basis. It might be the thing that hurts most. I never thought you would do this to me. Not you.” — Unknown

    1. Admin

      I’m sorry you are going through all of this. You have a lot to deal with — the victimization itself, the loss, the badmouthing, the legal problem, and the lack of validation — so please take care of yourself, and find a therapist who is well-versed in abusive relationships. As far as the legal issues go, it seems to me that a good lawyer should be able to straighten things out?! I hope so! I have no answers to the questions you ask, and the majority of them will probably go unanswered. This man is very vindictive, so please think twice before reporting him to a counselor, etc., if you haven’t observed any abusive behavior toward the children. I’m rooting for you, Jenny, and I wish you all the best.

  16. sue

    can you recommend a support group or therapist with background in this?? My therapist does not get it. I’m in the cambridge, MA area and having a real hard time.

    1. Admin

      Hi, Sue. Unfortunately, a lot of therapists don’t get it. Look for a therapist who’s an expert in trauma and abuse. You can try to find someone using these directories:


      I hope that helps. Best wishes to you.

  17. sarahxcerta

    Thank you so much for this blog. You’re doing such important work. I, too, am healing from a relationship with a psychopath. It is so scary. I’ve shared my stories online, along with numerous other victims of his (there are so many), and now he’s trying to sue us for libel. I know he doesn’t have a case but I need to respond anyway — I am wondering if you can point me to any legal resources that have experience in dealing with psychopaths? Or an advocate of some sort? Because most people don’t understand the severity of the man I am dealing with here…

    Best wishes to you,

    xo S

    1. Admin

      Hi, Sarah. I’m sorry you’re in this situation. You’re right, most people don’t understand. I hope you will prevail.

      You might find some legal resources in the sidebar, under the heading “HIGH-CONFLICT PARTNER/ EX?”

      Try contacting HG Beverly on her blog: http://hgbeverly.com/#blog

      Also, Joyce Short might be able to help you: http://rapebyfraud.com/

      Best of luck to you. I’ll be checking your blog to see what happens!

      1. Admin

        Try this site:


  18. Phryne

    Thank you so much for this site. Thank, thank you, thank you for helping me to see what he really is, so that I can unhook from him.

  19. David


    Thank you for this site. Those creatures are out there and they are very difficult to spot.

    I am writing six weeks after the end of my relationship with a woman who, I now see, was behaving in many of the ways described on this site. The bond felt strong and, it is now clear to me, was intended to be.

    She shifted her manner to accommodate my values and beliefs while overwhelming me with messages of love, adoration and care. She loved me and wanted to marry me within 2 weeks. ( she us 49) Despite this attempt, I found myself sensing an increasing unease that, well, that ‘there was just nobody there’ At the time, I didn’t see as clearly as I do now how hollow her words were. I did have a very strong sense that communication was missing a step somewhere (semantic aphasia, I now see, was clearly evident)

    The relationship – which lasted for six months- was difficult and I found myself increasingly not expressing myself completely- biting my lip in order to avoid the next walkout. She eventually exposed herself when, following a tirade against me and my failings, I asked, “so why are you with me?” Her response- “You were the best I could get” illustrates perfectly the parasitic, cold reality underlying her pretence. I was her next victim.

    I have realised that know little of her true biography, neither have I met a single friend of hers, although I so know that her previous partner had said that his year with her had been like the expectation of “an exciting ride at the fair just turned out to cost him a lot of money”

    I am reassembling myself. It is very difficult to accept the depth of the fiction that I bought into. ( incidentally, I am a well educated professional with advanced qualifications in business and management) I am not prepared to communicate with her in any way.

    Cognitive dissonance, which is mentioned on the site, can be our friend as well as our enemy and I would recommend to all visitors who have had an experience like mine that they firm up their sense of what is real and use that to distinguish the extent of the trap that they have become ensnared in.

    I wish you all well.

    1. Admin

      Hi, David. I’m sorry to hear this happened to you. Good people from all walks of life fall for these ‘creatures’ — you’re in good company. I think the only way to learn about them is the hard way. My relationship lasted 8 months, so I am well aware of the damage they can do in a relatively short time. Don’t be hard on yourself about the ‘depth of fiction’ you bought into — one of the things I learned was just how powerful manipulation is, and how anyone can fall victim to it. Yes, their cold and parasitic reality shows itself eventually, and none of us deserved that contempt. I wish you well, too. Best wishes.

  20. Anon

    Amazing website. Was looking for books on Amazon, and saw your well-rated e-book and then author page referenced. What a service to humanity you are providing with your books and this website. Thank you.! I am not even sure therapists are fully equipped to deal with what a person ensnared in a relationship with a narcissist goes through. Because from the outside we may have the perfect life, well-taken care of financially, perfect jobs, perfect house, perfect kids, etc, others find it hard to believe. The behavior that we may be subjected to is also very difficult to put in words, to describe, to articulate. It is one thing to say, I am dealing with a narcissist, and another to be able to describe the minute details so someone else for whom this is not a reality might get a glimpse. I have only read through some of the comments here on your ‘about the author’ page, and have not even perused the rest of your site. But as soon as I found your website, I found myself saying “oh my God, oh my God”. I could weep for joy. Having dealt with narcissist behaviors for a long time and trying to slice, dice, analyze the behaviors and maintain myself, I can offer the following: Start each day by reminding yourself that nothing, absolutely nothing that comes out of the mouth of the narcissist can be taken seriously, and especially, taken personally. Whatever is being said is only a reflection of the narcissist’s own thoughts and feelings, projected onto you. So, nothing needs a defense (as in when getting blamed), nothing needs to be explained (especially one more time). And secondly, remind yourself that that the person with the narcissistic behaviors is never, ever, going to learn, or change. Failing to heed this will make you fall into the trap of trying to educate or help him or her ‘see’ your point of view, and into the rabbit maze you go. Thirdly, having reminded yourself of these two points, visually knit this into a cloak that you put on to help you protect your boundaries. Touch this cloak regularly during the day to remind yourself of its existence for your protection.

    1. Admin

      Thank you so much, Anon. We’ve got to help each other, because help can be hard to come by. Most people can’t fathom what’s beneath that perfect veneer, but we know all too well. Your advice is perfect — take nothing they say seriously or personally. They do project themselves onto us and then they despise us, and make us miserable. Ironic, because at first they mirror us, and we’re happy. That tells you something right there…

      True, they will not learn or change. It’s futile to believe they will.
      I love the image of the protective cloak, and touching it as a reminder of protection! Is Boundaries the book you read? If so, I’m glad you got this inspiration from it.
      I hope you will peruse the rest of the site. All the best to you xo

      1. Anon

        Thank you for your reply. I did not read the book Boundaries, but now you mention it will read it.

        1. Admin

          You’re welcome. Please let me know how you like it.

      2. David

        Hi Annon,

        I was reminded by your post of the need to disregard everything that comes out of the mouths of narcissists and, in my case, a psychopath.

        I’m 3 months out of my relationship with a female psychopath and I have found myself having to do precisely what you say- remembering that every word was a lie. That the expression of deep bonds were just a tool for messing with my brain chemistry and my ability to think critically. I’ve been reading ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow ‘ by D ankle Kahneman and he alludes to our errors in perception that, I can now see, were central to my acceptance of her lies. I wasn’t looking for such an extreme reading as ‘Psychopath’ for her behaviours, so, guess what, I just didn’t see it.

        It is a daily effort to remind myself that I have to revise every belief that I held about her ( and, also, that I shouldn’t become excessively suspicious of others because of my experience.

        Best wishes,


        1. Admin

          As hard as it is to know and accept that it was a lie, it is so much better than not knowing. In knowing the truth, we have the chance to recover instead of going on with damaged self-esteem or worse.

          I’ve been wanting to read that book. It is now next on my list.

          It’s good that you remind yourself not to be excessively suspicious of others. What I do is to try to consider people’s behaviors separate from the image I hold of them. If someone does something that is clearly wrong or even questionable, in the context of ‘friend’ or ‘therapist’ or ‘pastor’ we can make the error of explaining things away that are actually significant.

          Three months is still very early in the process. It takes time to accept that the person you believed someone to be was not really that person at all. And it takes our hearts much longer than our heads, so give yourself time. Best wishes to you, David.

          1. David

            Hi Admin, this might not be a message that you want to post, I just wanted to say thanks and to illustrate that I felt my perceptions and current position/understanding to be understood in your response.
            Your comments are true. It is so difficult to view behaviour directly – rather than through a system of beliefs and assumption. I have a friend who I believed to be naive. I now discover that she has lied. ( to her husband) I currently believe that this is largely a result of her nativity but, I’ve decided to explore this- to challenge her directly rather than rush to judgement. It’s a difficult call, but I want to maintain the friendship- and maybe help her to find other ways of moving forward. My beliefs about her and her behaviour are clearly divergent. I don’t think that I would have seen this distinction so clearly if I’d not been through my own recent experience.And I’d recommend the book. Thanks again,


            1. Admin

              I’m so glad you feel understood. That is SO important, for all of us, after going through this.

              It’s daunting to consider the filter of assumptions and beliefs that we see others through. Learning about it and trying to take steps to overcome it is definitely worthwhile, although I believe we’ll never get completely past it. Or maybe that’s just one of those assumptions that needs to be challenged. Assumptions are especially tricky, because they are especially hard to see.

              About your friend — I’m in a very similar situation right now. I’ve also decided to explore it further, to see if I can find out what the truth is. Good luck with it, David.

        2. Anon

          Hello David:

          Thanks for mentioning that book. It is really so wonderful that we have so many books available these days on subjects as these. And glad my comments were helpful to you.

        3. Anon

          I thought I leave you a follow-up comment Dave. Your reply got me thinking again about so many things that I have learned along the way. First of all, you are mentioning that you got out of the relationship , Congratulations! And only after 3 months! Many of us stay much longer, and some of us are still in the relationship. It is sure easier to heal if not in the relationship. But more importantly, you did not stay. So, you noticed something that was not right for you, and acted on it. There is no shame in falling for lies, in being duped by others, in case you are feeling some shame around it. And it takes a while to realize that something was not the way it was presented to you. It helps to look at what you missed, whether there might have been some clues early on. However, they are not always there, some people change like leaves on a tree. And again, you seem to have been on top of it fast. getting out after only 3 months. You are wise not to want to become suspicious of others due to your experience. But do you need to? And, do you feel it is really necessary for you to spend energy on reminding yourself to revise every belief about her? I am not questioning you, just food for thought.

          1. David

            Thanks for your comments – and , as you rightly say, I am lucky not to have spent any more time in the relationship. In fact, I do feel enriched by the experience; less naive, but also clearer about what relationships are: a place where things like trust, growth and affection can flourish. That said, there are still some attachments. I fell in love and was beginning to make plans and build hopes on the basis that the experience was shared. That is difficult to get past despite what I now ‘know’ about her. There are still neurones firing around her memory. They will, of course, lessen with time. I have, interestingly, been demonstrating some symptoms of addiction- craving the experience of attachment. I’ve not acted on these – as it would be unfair on another person- but the ‘love bombing’ certainly had the intended effect on me. Time is, I guess the answer here.

            All the best,


            1. Admin

              Time is the answer. Unfortunately, there’s not too much we can do to rush that aspect of it. It’s a fact that they create a strong bond. And we did suffer a real loss! Many people underestimate it because they tell themselves (or hear from others) that the psychopath never really loved them, so they didn’t actually lose anything. I say that’s hogwash. It’s a loss, no matter what she turned out to be — you lost someone you loved. That person you loved is still gone, and she’s not coming back. Yes, that loss was because she turned out to be a psychopath, but what difference does it make if that’s the reason or if she were run over by a bus? It may not make sense in a logical way, but our hearts have a different way of dealing with things. Accepting it as part of the healing process can help. Here’s a post you might want to take a look at: Feelings of Loss and Grief After the Psychopath is Gone

              Sorry to get in the middle of your conversation :-0

              1. Anon

                You are saying some very helpful things here. Yes, the loss we suffer is significant, because a loss is a loss, the reason does not matter. Just like it does not matter whether the behavior was intentional, and malevolent, or unintentional (psychopath versus narcissist, etc), again, and again, the results
                are the same.
                And grieving can take a long time. I found that after suffering a great loss (love loss), even when I thought I was doing okay, when there was kindness expressed toward me, I would spontaneously burst out crying. Boy, did I hate that.

              2. Admin

                It doesn’t do any good when people try to deal with the loss by thinking it wasn’t a ‘real’ loss because the relationship wasn’t real. they end up being ashamed or perplexed, but the feelings of loss and grief are still there. When I was fresh out of it, I was beaten to a pulp by some forum bullies for expressing the feeling that I’d suffered a real loss. I never went back there; I had more than enough pain already.

                Thanks for your comments, anon. Your description, in your comment to David, of the difficulty of grasping the betrayal and the contempt explains so well what victims have to deal with.

            2. Anon

              Hello David,

              I see there was not only your reaction, but also comments from Admin. I will try to give some response first to just your comments. What I am reading contacts things I had already forgotten about, which means that you too, will be able to forget eventually. Nothing special about me. From your writing I can see that you are quite aware of your experiences, and your reflections of those experiences. This will serve you well. Because you already realize that when you are the observer of your experiences, you are already bigger than those experiences, which means that you can survive them. When you have been betrayed at the most deepest level however, or abused gravely, and have been shown contempt for your being, not just a thought, or a feeling, but the whole of you, and this is done willfully, it is very difficult to grasp mentally, and the mind will go into overdrive, re-visiting the same stuff again and again to try and make sense of it. Maybe we can call it evil, as the psychopath most likely has no conscience and perhaps we can define evil as lack of conscience. But, it goes beyond that. On a physical level, you feel assaulted too, and it can leave you dazed, confused, in a fog. Even like you have been beaten. And this feeling can hang around a long time after. Its like it is in your tissues. But with your mind, you can decide that you can do some things, like take a walk in nature, and really notice the beauty, and breathe and let the breath touch the back of your throat, activating other neurons firing, the ones that bring about a stable mood. This begins to replace what was there with something else that is positive. I really understand the feeling you were describing of almost a craving for attachment. Definitely been there. It can feel very lonely. I hope you remember though, no contact with the ex! What you are looking for is connection, just not with the ex.

  21. David

    It’s a confusing place to be. I feel like I’ve woken up in the matrix – a central part of my life was not true. The belief that she loved me; that my ideal partner had, in fact, little but contempt is sometimes difficult to accept. In fact, I have to follow a trail of breadcrumbs back to it.

    The book Thinking Fast and Slow was just the right read in that it has helped me to appreciate just how flawed out thinking can be. The point is made very clearly that we tend to manufacture stories based in limited experience, believing that ‘what you see is all there is’ WYSIATI.

    A skilled, deliberate psychopath can deliver a compelling – exhilarating and intense account. I can see now that she probed me very carefully for information; that she elicited powerful sympathy from me and adjusted her manner to suit my nature.

    In line with the comments on dealing with ‘loss and grief,’ I am allowing myself to experience the loss- accepting that my love was significant and allowing myself to move through a process which is unconscious / conscious towards a resolution. For me, (in response to your comments, Anon7 one of the signs of my progress is that my thoughts are moving towards curiosity rather than being overwhelmed by shock and devastation.

    In the end it’s all an opportunity to learn. I hope that both of you do gain from the experience and, as I am slowly doing, move towards a satisfying future.


    1. Admin

      I’m glad you’re gaining as a result of how you’re dealing with your experience. I purposely word it that way so no one will mistake it for giving the psychopath credit for the gains. Yes, I’ve also made many gains and had some huge breakthroughs.

      It is definitely soul-wrenching to realize our ideal partners had little but contempt for us. That is the hardest thing about all of this.

      You remind me of myself when I was going through it — very determined and focused, learning all you can about it and from it. That will help you avoid negative outcomes like ongoing self-blame and poor self-esteem, and enable you to make plenty more positive gains. The emotional part takes longer, but it is what it is — we have hearts, and they were broken in a unique way. I wish you all the best.

      1. David

        Thank you for those words and for the thoughts and feelings that they represent.

        My understanding of the world has changed. My friendships have become more precious and my sense of belonging to a human community has, if anything deepened since the glimpse I had of the alternative.

        I want you to know that I value your effort in assembling this resource. It helps me and others to move through the experience.

        Bless you and thank you,


        1. Admin

          You’re welcome, David. And thank you so much for your kind words. I can honestly say I’ve loved every minute of building this website. Sometimes it feels like it built itself.
          Bless you, too.

    2. Anon


      Curiosity is a life-saver. Any time I can remind myself to be curious and stay curious, I am better off. This is a much better place to be than feeling destroyed—where I have been. And your loss was significant. But it is very helpful to look at oneself, like you are willing to do also.

      1. David

        Anon and Admin- Thank you, generally, because I appreciate that you understand the specific experience. I was talking to friend last night and it suddenly struck me that she thought that my use of the word ‘psychopath’ was an over-statement. After discussion of her beliefs about psychopaths we were able to have a different discussion. It’s isolating to be unheard. I suppose that’s true of many relationships though.

        Anon; your point about a walk is interesting because it illustrates how far from ‘life as we know it’, Jim’ the experience takes us. The very words, gestures and values that express connection have been used to sever our connection. It’s a profoundly disturbing place to find oneself. I’m lucky to have good friends and I keep myself deliberately busy. Music, in particular, clears stuff out for me. That is how I’m crawling from the wreckage. Anon’s use of the word “destroyed” struck me. it’s one that I wouldn’t use personally, although it’s been a thought at times. I’m trying to find other, less global, less metaphorical language to express the experience.

        I find real value in these exchanges- so I thank both of you. The connection that you wrote about , Anon, is there.


        1. Admin

          It is isolating to be unheard, so I’m happy you feel heard here. It’s one of the main reasons this website exists. xx

  22. lyn

    I find myself taunting the p who destroyed my psyche. I am only facing the addiction and bond issues right? Have you heard of this from victims? Wanting more abuse over being ignored, mentioned here, fits what i am feeling. This concerns me because that is exactly what the p hates. I’m afraid I am so damaged I am becoming one myself. I actually start believing he is the victim and i am the p. I am fresh out of this, and I was managing the no contact. All it took was one text from him and I am again consumed with wanting him to know the pain he caused. I will maintain the blocks and start from scratch. Feeling like I have lost myself forever is the most frightening sad feeling i have ever experienced.

    1. Admin

      First, don’t worry — you are not a psychopath. You say you’re fresh out of it, and that’s an extraordinarily painful and surreal time. Strong emotions collide and confusion reins. Yet in the midst of this, you have the presence of mind to see what’s going on in your own head, and to go back to no contact. These are very good signs.

      It’s normal to want him to know the pain he caused, and I will tell you that one of the most frustrating things about this experience is that we don’t succeed with that. They are unable to understand the severity of the emotional devastation we feel, and they’re also unable to care. It’s sad but true. One day you will come to accept this.

      You haven’t lost yourself; it just seems that way now. You’re there, and healing will reveal that. It’s a difficult journey, and it takes time. You’re already taking steps to help yourself by learning about what happened and by reading the words of others who have experienced the same thing, and reaching out. You have determination and the drive to recover, and those things will get you through. Have compassion for yourself — you’ve experienced a serious trauma, one that deeply affects every part of your being and leaves you questioning everything and uncertain about the world. You are between places of safety right now, and it’s a disturbing place to be. You can read more about that in the post, Liminality, the Unsettling Space of In-Between.
      I wish you all the best on your healing journey, Lyn. Please come back and let me know how you’re doing. xo

      1. lyn

        Thank you. Your words helped me think and feel more rationally. Every day I can face my day feeling that way in stead of being consumed with emotion and dissonance is a day closer to feeling like myself. You helped me with that today. Thank you for your reply. Thank you.

        1. Admin

          You’re welcome, Lyn.
          Take one day at a time. Some will be better and some worse, but don’t get discouraged. You will find your way. Have faith in that. Even if you don’t know how, just have faith that you will figure it out as you go.

  23. candy

    I came across this blog when I was searching for answers to know how come my so called boyfriend abandoned me mercilessly. I wanted know the psychology behind it. I was shocked after reading all articles on this blog. This is what precisely he did with me. I wasn’t aware that such type of personality exists & is called as ‘Psychopath’. I am highly sensitive person and this mental, emotional, physical abuse with Psychopath tore my soul into pieces. After few unsuccessful suicidal attempts I tried to take therapies from different experts but all my counsellors said just “Forget & Forgive him” which seems next to impossible thing to me. My friends, family or my counsellors, are not able to understand the depth of the situation. They think I am exaggerating. Its been 3 years & I am sinking into serious depression day by day. Lately I have started behaving like him with others in a way he manipulated or falsely blamed me. I am scared that from victim I am turning into abuser like him. My relationships with others have turned bitter. I am neither able to die nor I am able to live. Don’t know what will happen with me. But you are really doing good job to spread psychopath awareness. This is as important as spreading awareness for deadly diseases. Thanks a lot for this valuable information.

    1. Admin

      Hi, Candy. First, I want to tell you that you’re not alone! There are many of us. Just like you, I knew nothing about the danger of a psychopath coming into my life until it was too late. Likewise, after it was over no one understood, and I got no support. But I’m still here, and I’m doing very well. There’s nothing special about me. If I can do it, you can do it. Choose life! And then have faith that you will heal, even if you have no idea how it will happen. Become determined to save yourself. Faith in yourself, and determination, will guide you and get you through. I mean it — those are ALL I had at one time. The person who did this to you is not worth anything, especially not your life!

      You’re not turning into him; you’re acting the way you are because you’re suffering from a lack of understanding, validation, support and compassion, just when you need them most. That’s why you’re turning bitter. People who haven’t been through this just don’t get it. If you can’t get support from those around you, you must find support somewhere else. Like here. And you have to become your biggest supporter, and your own best friend, and have compassion for yourself. Many of us have to rescue ourselves from this, which is hard when we’re the ones suffering, but it’s possible, and you will find strength and resilience you never knew you had. You only have to make up your mind that you want to live, and your life will start moving in that direction. I know how hard it is, but I have faith you will overcome it and go on to live a good life. Start to see that as a possibility. I hope you’ll come back and let me know how you’re doing.

      1. lyn

        Admin Candy is so lucky to have found this site and you.
        Candy, I feel your pain. I really do. Tell yourself everyday there is a way out because there is. Tell yourself, read, write, and soon little by little all the trash that loving a psychopath caused to the real you will start to go away. You will start to see a better improved you, with a new set of ideals, feel stronger and feel joy again. There was a time I didn’t believe that when people told me, there are ups and downs, but as long as you keep the focus on building you, you will see it happen too. Take each victory in your favor, validation, compassion from others and hold onto what it feels like. All of my relationships were suffering, even with my child. I felt like my essence, my being had died and also wanted to kill myself. I also felt like all that was good had died. It didn’t. It was still there. At first I saw glimpses and then glimpses turned to more and more. You will too. I am so happy you found this site. THIS is real, not what you were brainwashed to believe. It took time to get all that misinformation into your belief system and it will take time to remove and change it. Have compassion for you. You express yourself so beautifully and I hear strength and hope in your words. You are not alone.

        1. Admin

          Lyn, thank you for supporting Candy!

          Candy, what Lyn says is true.
          Under all the lies abusers piled on us is our true and original self, intact — a unique being with innate value whose life has meaning and worth, who is worth having compassion for, and worth loving and respecting.
          The Self-Compassion Effect

          If you feel like harming yourself, please call someone who will listen and help you. Here is a list of international hotline numbers:
          International Suicide Hotlines

    2. julie daniels

      Hi Candy, I am 55 years old and have been doing this very same thing you describe and I feel you! I was married for 22 years and I was young. I knew nothing about life or people or relationships. I did the best I could with whatever I had to deal with. I knew I wasnt happy with him and he was mean, cold, verbally and sexually abusive, as well as controlling. I had one boyfriend before I got married and he was surely psychopathic. I have had 4 other relationships and they were all similar. This last one takes the cake. Hes not only a registered sex offender, I believe he is an absolute psychopath. I stumbled here the same way you did, looking for answers. I feel like you described, and my heart goes out to you. I never knew these people existed either, and am still trying to pull myself out of his grasp. Problem is, He lives next door. I find myself feeling like I cant take anymore some days. I know now that I am a psycho magnet/codependent or what ever attracts these people cause Ive had more than my share. I can only take one day at a time! Im reading and learning and its painful at times. I wish you peace and strength and hope you dont give up. I believe that things will get better for me by making better choices, learning about myself and what I have been through. Learning to trust myself. I saw the red flags, I ignored my gut instincts all along, and believed what I was being told, instead of what I knew. I wish I had known 30 years ago, what I have learned in the last 2-3 years. I know what you mean about cant die and cant live. I never truly wanted to die, but I havent had much will to survive either. I try hard to stay positive, but its difficult at the very best. I know this post was made 6 months ago, I was just reading the blog and thought I would comment. I hope things have gotten better:-)

      1. Adelyn Birch

        You’re on the right track, Julie. Work on developing your boundaries. Best wishes to you.

  24. Candy

    Thanks a lot Admin & Lyn. Your support means a lot to me.
    What you said is right that I am not alone in this world who fell for this trap and no psychopath is worth your life.
    Now I feel pity for all those whom God gave a life of `Psychopath’. They can’t feel beautiful emotions of love and are just accumulating bad karma in their destiny. What a punishment!
    but its a relief to see that there are people who understand me.
    Thanks again to both of you.

    1. Admin

      You’re welcome, Candy. Yes, there are people who understand what you experienced and how devastating it is, and understanding that means we have great concern for you! I wish you all the best, now and always. May you look kindly and lovingly on yourself, and feel the faith and determination that will help you get through this difficult time in your life. Have faith in yourself. Believe with all your heart that you are worth saving, and have faith that you have the strength and resilience you need to do so.

      1. Admin

        And please return and let us know how you’re doing!

  25. Linda

    I crash-landed onto your blog the day I wrote my first goodbye email to the psychopath who had enchanted and entrapped me. I went online in desperation, trying to discover what had happened to me, what kind of a monster I had allowed into my life. I began to read the description on your pages and there he was, to the last detail! I felt a combination of huge relief and horror… I am not alone, but I was – and maybe still am – in danger! I fought the bond that you describe so eloquently, the nostalgia, the longing, the grief, for 3 months. Then I contacted him and returned to him, for one week. During that time he began to triangulate, something he had not done before. Once again I had to read onine to understand this evil, destructive little game. Because I have a sense of my own worth, and because that 3 months away from him had given me mental clarity, I was able to say, No. Enough. He only welcomed me back to do me more harm, to further denigrate and devalue me. Enough! And I wrote another goodbye email. I want to add that I wrote to him with elaborate kindness and affection, the first time from some God-given sense of caution, the second time out of fear, now knowing that I was dealing with a psychopath. He has made one attempt to contact me. I have no interest in him or in any contact with him. He is, in my opinion, sick, vicious and dangerous. I literally pray for the women whom I know to be in his clutches at this moment. Words cannot express my gratitude for your courage and generosity in developing and maintaining this refuge, this fellowship, on the Internet. Here is support, affirmation and information – those treasures that will bring us, together, to healing, and, God willing, empower us to help other women who fall under the spell of one of these malicious predators.

    1. Admin

      Welcome. It’s hard to find out the truth, but in the long run it’s far better than not knowing — It makes a full recovery possible. I’m glad to hear your sense of self worth and the clarity you gained made it possible to say “no more.” If your gut tells you you’re in danger, listen to it. Please keep yourself safe. I felt that same sense of danger.

      Thank you so much, Linda, for your kind words. I’m very happy you find support, affirmation, and refuge here.

  26. Linda

    The venerable saying, The truth will set you free, certainly applies here! It was horrific to realize that this man was a psychopath and a predator, but what if I never had? Thank you for your warm welcome Admin. I am so very happy and grateful to be here: this is like a sisterhood of wounded birds, learning to use our wings again!

    1. Admin

      A sisterhood of wounded birds, learning to fly again… I love that!
      There are brotherhood birds, too.

      I remember my shock at finding out he was a psychopath. It was as if I’d been struck by a bolt of lightening. I thought, “No, it can’t be!” It’s not something we hear about or are warned about. It’s just not on our radar. They’re like stealth fighters.

      Again, I’m so glad you find support here, along with information. Be sure to see the page in the main menu titled ROAD MAP. It’s a brand new page, and I think it might be helpful.

  27. Linda

    I read Road Map just recently… it is terrific – very helpful! I shared it with my “angel”, a dear friend who has walked with me through this nightmare, loving and supporting me and holding space while I have moved through all the stages of withdrawal and grief. She is getting an education in this important subject along with me. We both appreciate your efforts so much, and the fact that you are keeping this blog alive and active!

    1. Admin

      Good! And I’m glad you have an “angel.” I wish everyone did. Thank her and give her a hug for me, because what she’s doing is too rare. A lot of us face judgement and blame instead.

  28. Linda

    I will! Believe me, I know how blessed I am to have her in my life, to have this support! xx

  29. Pathwhisperer

    Love your site. Could you check your RSS feed, it doesn’t seem to be working right? Thanks. PW

    1. Admin

      I’m so glad you love the site. To be notified of new posts, would you please subscribe? I know nothing about RSS feeds! I promise not to use your email address for anything else, and I will not give your address to anyone, ever. Thank you, Pathwhisperer.

  30. Enonymous

    Just a shout out that you are doing such a great job, and write with much eloquence. I’m reading your posts with pleasure notwithstanding the serious and often painful subject.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Thank you so much, enonymous!

  31. Billy (pseudonym)

    This is not for posting, it’s a question: Is there any help for a person like me?

    About 10 years ago I came into the full realization that I am a psychopathic soul-sucking, manipulative, evil bastard. I somehow knew this deep inside for a long time before that, but I just could not bring myself to confront it and no matter how many times I tried to ask God to help me nothing ever changed. So, I just assumed that everyone must be like me on the inside and that somehow God had miraculously answered my prayer in spite of my wickedness.

    I knew I was ‘different’ very early. We always went to church, and when I was about 5 I remember asking God to help me during the invitation time at church when I went forward and tt the preacher, as I knew I was ‘weird’ even then. It didn’t work and I just ended up getting mad at God (stupid) but I did it anyhow. I still try to tt him, but nothing ever works and I do not know how to change my ‘want to’ so that it is normal like other people. I have never known how to love, or be thankful, or even be normal. Living this way has been a miserable experience, and I know I have hurt everyone I have ever been around but IDK how to fix it. I never have.

    I’ve been told I should just shoot myself and go on to hell. I am only alive by manipulation, lying and conniving. Right now, I honestly feel nothing — a walking meat sack. However, I know that if I die I certainly will have no chance to change or make things right with anyone. Everything I’ve read on your site about psychopaths rings true and is true of me. Intellectually, I wish I could change, but emotionally I am powerless to do so. I know I am sick and messed up.

    I don’t think posting my comment is necessary, but if you have any suggestions or thoughts on how I can get myself fixed please let me know. I haven’t been able to find anything anywhere else. I am wretched and pathetic, and don’t know how to fix it.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I’m sorry to hear you’re feeling so terrible, and for such a long time. I’m not sure what to tell you, but I am sure that you should NOT shoot yourself. Other than that, I’m flummoxed.

      It’s my understanding that “psychopathic soul-sucking, manipulative, evil bastards” don’t feel depressed about it, nor do they want to change. You say you’re a walking meat sack who doesn’t feel anything, but it sounds to me like you feel an awful lot of emotional angst! I urge you to find a qualified therapist and tell them exactly what you’ve told me. Maybe you’ve misdiagnosed yourself. You need the help of a professional to sort it out. Only when what’s going on with you is known, can someone know how best to help you. Best wishes.

    2. Babs

      Billy. Our prayers are with you but you need professional help. The right therapist for you is out there but it can take awhile …and no one EVER should tell you to shoot yourself. They have said that to me too. Ignore and feel sorry for them.

      1. Adelyn Birch

        Thanks, Babs

    3. Heidi

      It sounds like you know about the existence of the Good and want to do the right thing. You can do that without having the same inner life as everyone else, just ask around at any online aspie community if you want validation about that.

      I think you should accept yourself the way you are, and put your talents at manipulation, lying and conniving to good use. If you are young enough to have a career change, find one where those qualities are a virtue, maybe not an international spy, but maybe a private investigator or something. On the other hand, if you are middle aged or elderly, you could contribute to the community by organising fun games for the youth which involve those attributes in a fun way.

      That’s just a couple of ideas. But if you’re unsure about whether what you intend to do is good, then discuss it first with someone who you know to be a good person, in case there are bad outcomes that you have overlooked.

      1. Adelyn Birch

        “It sounds like you know about the existence of the Good and want to do the right thing. You can do that without having the same inner life as everyone else… “ Anyone who feels such a sense of misery and loss first has to have an understanding of what it is they believe they’re missing, so the Good must be inside him already. That is what makes me think he’s misdiagnosed himself, or he’s pulling our leg. Psychopaths don’t have a desire to change, from what I understand. They like the way they are, and even think they’re superior. Billy may have some other issue, something there’s already an effective treatment for, or at the least something that he could gain support for, along with a better understanding of himself. He owes it to himself to find out.

        I like your idea about thinking of what he considers his “wickedness” as “talents” instead, and putting them to good use. I’ll bet a lot of psychopaths are PI’s and spies. It’s exciting and they get to adopt all sorts of fake personas. Very creative thinking! He also has to make the choice not to put those talents to bad use.

        Thank you for your comment, Heidi.

  32. still in recovery

    I am not sure how exactly I ended up stumbling across your website after my special brand of abusive, manipulative, controlling hell finally came to an end, but it was the REAL beginning of my healing process. I spent so much time researching the psychopathic personality disorder, & everything finally started to make sense. I own 4 of your 5 books, as well as many others about psychopathy. As soon as I start to doubt my assessment & think, “maybe I’m over analyzing, who am I to diagnose this?” I read something else that sounds like it was take from hidden video surveillance of the con of a “relationship” in which I once found myself trapped. I cannot thank you, or the rest of the survivor community enough for how much help & guidance I have been given.
    I have been NO CONTACT with the masked one since our split, & I plan to never ever speak to him again in this lifetime or the next. In fact, I quickly sold my house & moved out of state in order to free myself from him. I have a serious dilemma with which I could really use some advice. I have the final photos of his dog before she died, & this guilt eats away at me daily for nearly two years now. If it had been my dog, I would want the photos. I feel deeply obligated to send these photos to him, just to get this off of my own conscience. But if I send them, wouldn’t that count as contact? I don’t know what to do. I truly want to stay NO CONTACT, but the guilt/obligation is really overwhelming. I can just mail them to him, no return address of course, and that’s what I’ve been thinking I should do, but I really don’t want to violate NO CONTACT either. Do you have any ideas about what I should do? Just withholding the photos altogether isn’t really an option either. I am too much of an animal lover to do that. Yes, he was absolutely horrible to me, he conned me, he controlled me, he was vindictive and abusive, he is a sadist, and he doesn’t truly even exist since everything was a really elaborate twisted scam. But it doesn’t change the fact that the dog was his, & he should have the final photos. What do I do? Any help will be soooooo greatly appreciated!!!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Fantastic! I’m thrilled to have started your healing process! You made my day. Don’t worry your diagnosis being wrong–no matter what it is, he was abusive and that’s all that matters. But the truth is you probably did get his diagnosis right. You were up-close and personal with him, and you probably read enough to put most psychology students to shame.

      About the photos–Why not open a new email account, send the photos, and then immediately cancel the account? I assume you have him blocked on the services you normally use. Then you won’t have this issue on your mind anymore. Since the contact won’t be reciprocal and you’ll never have a reason to contact him again, I think it would be just fine. If you feel compelled to include a note, just say something short, like “thought you should have these photos.” Good luck, and all the best to you.

      1. Adelyn Birch

        ***One important thing: Be sure to use an email service that does not give away your IP address, which would give away your location. Do a google search to be sure, but I think Google email and Yahoo are safe, or any of the anonymous, throw-away types.

  33. Kato

    My son met his wife 6 years ago and shortly after his relationship with me changed. After months of being criticized, blamed, and rejected by both my son and his, then, fiance, I sought professional help and was prescribed anti-depressants. My therapist was perplexed by the sudden and drastic changes in m son, but the doctor who prescribes my medication suggested a psychopathy in my son’s relationship with his then fiance, and now wife. He likened it to a joint mental disorder called folie a deux. It was shortly after my conversation with him that I found your website. (In fact, when I found the article posted on your site, “A Cult of Two,” I told him that I believed it supported his theory about the similarity to folie a deux, without his knowing a medical term for the psychopathy.) I have learned a lot, and been equally validated, by reading your posts. My only regret is that many of them do not directly apply because I am not the direct victim, rather an indirect victim (and I now have a granddaughter who is 14 months old and whom I am not allowed to meet). Furthermore, my son is not complaining and seems happy in his relationship. The only fly in the ointment is my existence, and my son seems more than happy to remedy that by discarding me. My therapist and the doctor who prescribes my medication have convinced me that there is something unhealthy, even psychopathic, in my son’s relationship with his wife that is fueling this chronic, continual, and ongoing anger toward me, which has led to our, now, 3-year physical estrangement. There is a question on your blog, “How do I know if I’m being manipulated?” What I want to know is how do I know if my son is being manipulated? Are there any posts, books, advice, for someone who is affected indirectly by a psychopath? And, are there any theories that would explain why a son who once had a close and loving relationship with his mother would suddenly scorn and discard her without rational explanation or a desire to try to resolve the problem?

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Kato. I know this has been very difficult for you, and I’m sorry to hear that it continues. I’ve heard from several other parents in your situation, and it’s heartbreaking to hear how helpless, bewildered and hurt you feel, especially when grandchildren are involved. You can read the story of another mother like you here: STORIES
      This was my response to her:

      “I’m sorry your son is in this terrible situation. I can clearly sense your pain at watching it happen and yet being unable to help, despite your efforts. This woman is a master manipulator who has been able to take control of your son and hijack his mind and his life, and as his mother you have been seriously affected by what she’s doing to him.

      Steven Hassan, M.Ed., LMHC, NCC, at the freedom of mind center, counsels people needing help with controlling relationships and rescues/ deprograms people in cults. He’s well known and highly regarded as an expert in the field, and you might want to consider calling him (617 396-4638). From his website:

      Help With a Controlling Relationship

      “There are things you can do to help a loved one who is in a controlling relationship or estranged from family or friends.”

      Also, you may want to find a therapist for yourself to help you deal with this. You say it’s on your mind 24/7, and while that’s completely understandable, this kind of stress is not good for your mental or physical health. Good luck and best wishes to you and your son.”

      Kato, my heart goes out to you. I will write a blog post for people in your situation, as best I can anyway.

  34. Annie


    First of all I want to thank you for keeping this website up. It probably is a great source of help for the many of us who got trapped in a psychopath relationship and I am glad that you’re raising awareness and try to help.

    I have a question for you, too.
    I was in a relationship with a psychopath like that and got out of there by pretty much dumping him for someone else (he and I were not really committed yet, and he likely just played with me a little because he already was in the “devalue” stage of the non-committed relationship when I left for the other guy).

    We have not had contact until my relationship with guy 2 was over, after that we had a little contact and met two times, but after that he resorted to ignoring me again to raise my neediness for him. I did not want to commit to him again so I just stopped texting him at all, and we have not had contact since that for about a year now.

    Well, now lately he texted me again, seemingly (from what I read here now) trying to go back to stage 1 again, going on and on about how great friends we were a year ago and wanting to be friends with me again now, like in good old times, etc. Later in the evening he started telling me he still had feelings for me (note: I have a new boyfriend and I told him this before) and I tried to ignore it, making him no further hopes etc. He told me over and over again that he was happy I had become such a confident person who knew what I wanted (back when I was with him I already was an insecure wreck before that), but also tried to make me feel guilty in subtle ways, also threatening self-harm and reporting prior self harm.

    I got creeped out and told him to have a good night and that I don’t want to talk to him anymore right now.

    Next day a friend of him (not sure if it was him under a fake account or if he demonized me for this friend) texted me that he went missing, that he found alleged letters to me (not sure if they exist, never saw proof for this) and that it is my fault if he did hurt/kill himself, that I am a bitch and hurt him, etc.

    I did not buy into it and told him he can go to the police if he wanted (I knew that I had nothing to fear as I did never encourage him to self-harming behaviour), but that I won’t give him my address for that purpose(I know guy one never knew exactly where I lived – and I am really glad about that right now!). I stayed calm and reserved and blocked his number after he got more and more insulting.

    Not even an hour after blocking, guy one texted me again via facebook, telling me he was sorry for what happened on the evening prior and that he just was black-out drunk and he pretty much used that as an excuse.

    He had the nerve to ask me again to give him another chance at friendship, and because he did not want to accept any reasons I gave him for not wanting to (he told me he did not understand the reasons, etc) and guilt-tripping me once again, I half-heartedly agreed to try and engage in somewhat normal conversation over text with him, also because I was really afraid of him hurting himself and that somehow I would be considered guilty for that.

    I tried to keep conversation brief, like talking to a friends mother or something, and he just kept on trying to text very normally (emoticons, long texts, frequent questions – I never asked him any question to seem as uninterested as possible).

    Now he texted me in a very accusing/guilt-producing tone something like “Are we even able to hold a normal conversation anymore or are you uncapable of this after just one week?!” (freely translated because we’re both german) and I just don’t know how to reply to that. after one day he followed up with a text just saying “Hm.” and today he just wrote “…”.

    I just ignored him since, but I am really afraid of him by now, and afraid of what might happen if I drop the bomb by blocking him everywhere completely, or just don’t react to his texts anymore.

    I am afraid that he will somehow find me/meet me unexpectedly (he doesn’t live too far away) or find out who my new boyfriend is and try to ruin the relationship, or try and ruin the relationship between me and my friends. I am so afraid of this because I know how well this guy can fake emotions, sincerety and make up very convincing lies that would destroy my arguments on the spot.

    Can you give me any advice on how to proceed here? I am literally at my wits end and I don’t want him to destroy my life, which has just recently become a fulfilling and happy one. I don’t want to lose this battle in any way.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      after that he resorted to ignoring me again to raise my neediness for him

      Good job recognizing this!

      he was happy I had become such a confident person

      I doubt that, since in his following conversations he tried to do everything he could to crush it.

      Next day a friend of his texted me that he went missing, that he found alleged letters to me (not sure if they exist, never saw proof for this) and that it is my fault if he did hurt/kill himself

      I can almost guarantee this was him, and not a friend.

      I did not buy into it and told him he can go to the police if he wanted… I stayed calm and reserved and blocked his number after he got more and more insulting


      he asked me again to give him another chance at friendship, and because he did not want to accept any reasons I gave him for not wanting to

      Your reasons are yours alone, and do not need his acceptance or approval.

      I halfheartedly agreed to try and engage in somewhat normal conversation over text with him, also because I was really afraid of him hurting himself and that somehow I would be considered guilty for that.

      This is called emotional blackmail, which is a type of manipulation. How do you know you’re being manipulated? He has you doing things you do not want to do, that’s how. Whenever someone threatens suicide or other self-harm, tell them you’re going to call the police and DO IT. If it was manipulation, they won’t do it again. If he was serious, he needs some serious mental health care, and maybe he’ll get some. Mentally healthy people don’t threaten suicide because someone they once dated doesn’t want to have a relationship with them.

      I tried to keep conversation brief, like talking to a friends mother or something, and he just kept on trying to text very normally (emoticons, long texts, frequent questions – I never asked him any question to seem as uninterested as possible).

      OK, so you agreed to talk with him, but then played a game of being uninterested to get rid of him. I understand, but a better way to go about it is to stop playing games with him, be straightforward about the fact that you don’t want to speak with him, and end all contact.

      I just ignored him since, but I am really afraid of him by now… afraid that he will somehow find me/meet me unexpectedly (etc… )

      Even if you have good reason to fear him, continuing to speak with him when you don’t want to will only make things worse. It’s clear you want nothing to do with him. What I suggest is that you tell him that, in no uncertain terms, and then do not reply at all, ever, in any way, to any of his attempts to contact you. Please save every text and email you have from him so far that threaten harm, and keep a record of every time he contacts you from now on. If you feel he’s stalking you, go to the police. Don’t worry about him saying things about you and ruining your relationship—cross those bridges when you come to them, if need be. This is your life, and you do not have to speak to this obviously disordered person who obviously cares only about himself. He’s not above threatening and guilting his way into your life, and nothing good can come of that. Be the smart, confident woman you are.

      Best of luck to you, Annie!

      1. Annie

        Thank you so, so much for your reply, it really is a great help to me.

        I would really like to tell him in no uncertain terms that I want nothing to do with him anymore, but how? And after that, should I block him?

        You said I should just not reply, but that is so hard if he is constantly guilting me. Right now he texted me that I broke my promise of trying to talk to him normally and it makes me feel like a really bad person for doing that… I am so scared and feel so guilty all at once, I just cannot bring myself to just tell him “I don’t want to talk to you anymore” and then just not reply, because I know he will guilt me again, keep on texting me demanding to hear reasons for my behaviour, etc.

        How can I block these urges to reply to his guilt-tripping without actually blocking him?

        1. Adelyn Birch

          You’re welcome, Annie! I’m so glad you found my advice helpful.

          Replying to him is the worst thing you can do; doing so will keep him in your life. See his “guilting” for the pure manipulation that it is. You do not have to have a manipulator in your life, nor do you have to respond to his manipulation. It’s your life, and therefore your decision to choose who you want in it. No one has the right to dismiss what you want and plow over your boundaries and disrupt your life. The bottom line is this guy is not right, and it’s not up to you to “fix” him, nor can you (unless you’re a psychiatrist, perhaps). You don’t owe him your peace of mind, your time, or anything at all because you once dated him. I used to be like you and I know that right now you’re worried about being “mean,” but you’ve made it clear to me you do not want this guy in your life. He is the one who is being mean; he doesn’t care what you want, which means he doesn’t care who you are and he certainly isn’t capable of respecting you.

          Please read my Boundaries book; many people have found it helpful, and some even said it changed their lives. What I learned that enabled me to write that book changed my life.

          You can ignore him completely, and the easiest way to do that is to block him. Why not? If you feel you must, tell him, in as few words possible, with NO explanations, that you do not want—and will not—continue any kind of relationship with him, and tell him that you do not want any more contact from him, in any form. Tell him your decision is final, and wish him well. Keep it very short, very clear, and strong, with NO room for misunderstanding. If he should contact you threatening self-harm, call 911 immediately. Don’t threaten to call 911–just do it. That’s the action we’re supposed to take when someone threatens suicide. That will put him in touch with professionals who are equipped to help him.

          It’s very disturbing that he ignores your wishes. In my new blog post today, I wrote about warning signs of victimization. I wrote this about not taking NO for an answer:

          Not Taking “No” for an Answer- Refusing to accept rejection. Perhaps the most universally significant signal that bad things are to come. “No” should NEVER be discounted… Of all the signs one should pay attention to, this is the one that De Becker emphasizes. He says that “no” is a “a word that must never be negotiated, because the person who chooses not to hear it is trying to control you.” Criminals and manipulators go through a “victim selection” process involving an “interview” in which they test the you to see if you can be controlled. One of those tests is to ignore the victim’s protests to see how they react. If you let someone talk you out of the word “no,” you might as well wear a sign that reads, “You are in charge.”

          The worst response when someone fails to accept “no” is to give ever-weakening refusals and then give in. Another common response is to negotiate (“I really appreciate your offer but let me try to do it on my own first”). Negotiations are about possibilities, and providing access to someone who makes you apprehensive is not a possibility you want to keep on the agenda. When someone becomes insistent on giving you help you don’t want, say loudly and in no uncertain terms: “I SAID NO.” It’s worked for me more than once. When you feel you may be in danger, forget being “nice.” Always remember this: Predators Are Persistent.

          No is a word that must never be negotiated, because the person who chooses not to hear it is trying to control you.

          Good luck, Annie. Let me know how it goes.

          1. Annie

            Thank you so much!

            I chose not to text him a single thing anymore, because even if I would tell him no, like you told me to do if I feel like I must (which I don’t really), that would only fuel this guy’s motivation again to try everything in his power to control me anyways.

            I also don’t want to straight up block him because he lives so close to me and I feel it would be very risky to just upset him more by that. I have just completely ignored his texts for over a week (or maybe even almost two?) now and I hope he gets the message or, at least, get bored by it.

            Right now he will only text me like once every three days, trying things like “I thought I could trust your word” or “Replying is not your strength anymore, huh?” and just today he seemingly couldn’t think of anything better to text me than just “Mhm”.

            I suppose he is trying to get my attention somehow by reminding me every so often that he is still there or something? Whatever, I won’t buy into it and I certainly won’t reply to anything he texts me anymore. I hope he’ll stop it and leave me alone.

            The only question I still have is: What if he happens to see me in person, like at a party or somethig like that, and tries to approach me? I’d just want to tell him to leave me alone, but I don’t want to have to explain the whole situation to my friends or something, as he may seem as nice and sympathetic as he can and they likely won’t believe me because of that… My boyfriend luckily knows what’s up, but what about other people? And what if he doesn’t leave me alone after I tell him?

            Anyways, thank you for reassuring me, and this also goes to E for the great words. The meeting him in person thing is, so far, my only fear of him anymore. I am not sorry for being mean to him anymore, as I realized how f***ed up it is that he won’t accept any kind of “NO” and tried to completely destroy my new found conficence as fast as possible.

            I will let you know if anything new happens. :)

            1. Adelyn Birch

              I hope he’ll just stop and leave you alone, too, Annie. It could go either way with a person like him. Have you told him, clearly, that you do not want to have any further relationship (of any kind) with him, that you do not want to engage in any further contact with him, and that you want him to stop contacting you? I know it’s obvious and that he knows that’s what you want, but it would be good to have a record of that if it ever becomes necessary. If he doesn’t leave you alone—in other words, if he engages in stalking behavior by continuing to contact you after you’ve told him not to—it will be a big plus for you to have a written record of it. I hope he stays away and it doesn’t comes to that, but he definitely has the potential.

              Emily Spence-Diehl, a social worker and stalking expert, gives these examples of no-contact statements:

              As far as running into him somewhere, you should say what you want to say and not worry about your friends (they’re your friends, not his, so they shouldn’t be siding with him). Be firm, strong and straightforward, keep it short, and repeat yourself, like a broken record, that you do not want to talk and you do not want him to contact you.

              Best of luck, Annie. Yes, please let me know if anything new happens. xx

              1. Annie

                Thank you for the examples, but so far I haven’t made any kind of statement yet, because right now he only texts me every few days and it’s really tame stuff like “Hey” or, like I said “Mhm” or things like that and I am pretty sure that when I give him this absolute statement he will get motivated again to try and manipulate me.

                Right now I pretty much feel like he hes run out of things to say/ideas of what he could text me that might turn me around, so I take this as a good sign and probably his last resort of telling me “hey I am still there give me attention”, or something.

                I will keep it that way, but I decided that if he texts me something guilting/threatening again, I am giving one of the responses you told me to. If he tries to argue with me I will backup save the conversation and block him absolutely everywhere he can reach me.

                I hope this will help, do you think this is the right course to take?

              2. Adelyn Birch

                It does sound like he’s losing steam, so yes, I think it sounds like you’re doing the right thing. If it does come down to a time when you feel it’s appropriate to use one of the statements, back it up; don’t do it only if he argues with you. It could be important for you to have, in case it were ever needed. I hope it will never come to that and that he’ll just give up. Stay strong, and good luck to you, Annie!

            2. Dear Annie:

              ‘your only fear is that you might meet him in person, like at a party—‘

              It might be good to get in touch with that fear. It will teach you a
              lot about who you are and what you need to do for yourself for your own sense of power. It took me a long time to figure this out for myself, and longer to practice. It may take you a lot shorter. The fear seems to be about what he can do to you, but in the end, may have a lot more to do with how you feel about how you can protect yourself. Can you protect your own boundaries is the question. And that is your work., and is about you. This goes back to no means no. A.B.’s sample responses are great, esp. because when we are scared we forget what to say and do. I would suggest memorizing your favorite one. At a party, you are in a great position to have others hear that you don’t want anything else to do with him. Consider adding this phrase to one of the sample responses: As I have told you before, —(I don’t want you to talk to your anymore, or whatever resonates with you.) If you meet him alone, walk away. Say nothing. You have already said everything there is to say. Practice being a stone. No expression, no reaction, means the other person has nothing to go on. This person will feign closeness and friendship in the way he speaks to you. When in public, or at party, this will give the impression that the two of you are close friends. Set the record straight immediately.
              Annie you got this, but stay in the study of these materials and practice. Practicing in front of the mirror is especially effective. And please re-visit and drop a line. There are more people rooting for you than you know. And A.B., as always, keep up the good work.
              Your admiring friend,

              1. Adelyn Birch

                Thank you, E. I will do my best!

              2. Adelyn Birch

                I want to add this: Sometimes, no matter how good our boundaries are, there are people who won’t respect them. Stalkers do not respect boundaries, and that’s precisely why they’re feared. In fact, in many (if not most) places, the victim MUST feel fear in order to have a case against the stalker. Part of the reason is that many things the stalker does–texting or calling repeatedly, for example–aren’t illegal, in and of themselves. Boundaries are wonderful and necessary, but we can only control ourselves, not other people. We can tell them what our boundaries are, but it doesn’t mean they’ll be respected by people that have real problems. You can decide you don’t want to see a certain person anymore because of something they do, but if they keep pursuing you when you tell them not to, then you need more than boundaries to protect you. Stalkers, robbers, rapists, murderers—they do not care anything about our boundaries.

                I wanted to clear this up because I don’t want Annie to feel that she is the one to blame for her ex’s behavior.

              3. Adelyn Birch

                ETA: I wanted to clear this up because I don’t want Annie to feel that she is the one to blame for her ex’s behavior or her fear of him.

              4. I am glad you thought to add that AB . Our fear also alerts us to ‘danger’, as when our boundaries are not respected. And certainly, we are not to blame for feeling fear or fearful of others, or for being victimized.

              5. Adelyn Birch

                I didn’t want there to be any confusion; I wouldn’t want Annie or anyone else to take it the wrong way, since I try and help people get past self-blame. Not everything is under our control; basically, we can tell someone what we want, but then it’s up to them to cooperate.

              6. Annie

                Hello Adelyn :)

                First of all thank you again for the great things you have done with this website.

                There is still not much new about “my” creepy guy, he’s losing more and more steam. He sent me just a few texts (of which the longest just said “Hey annie”) over the period of the last few months, and between the last two texts were one and a half or even two months, soo… I am pretty chill about it by now, if a new text comes in I’m just like “meh” and don’t even read it. He kinda switches it up a little by sometimes using SMS, Whatsapp or Steam to text me, but all of that just leaves me cold as stone by now.

                I will soon get a new phone number with my new phone contract, and when that happens I am just going to block him on Steam and delete my facebook (not just because of him, but because I barely even use it anymore and it basically bores me anyways).

                So then he won’t have any way to contact me ever again, at least that I know of. Like I said he doesn’t know my exact address or my home phone number, so that’s all good.

                I also avoid going to parties that take place in the small town he lives in, and at other parties I just stay close to my friends as always, because they (especially my boyfriend since he knows the story, and I also told him I suspect he could be psychopatic (thank god he took that concern seriously!)) would likely be happy to tell that guy to just f*ck off.

                Conclusively, I’ve got nothing special to tell you about, I just wanted to let you (and all the other wonderful people that replied to me here) know that I really appreciate it and that I am more than fine again right now! :)

                I wish all of the people still struggling with psychopatic boyfriends, exes or even stalkers the best to get out of this situation and feel safe again.

              7. Adelyn Birch

                Oh good, I’m glad to hear he’s losing steam! It sounds like you’ve done all the right things. Thank you for coming back to let me know. And thank you for your kind words, Annie. Much appreciated. I’m happy to hear you’re more than fine! All the best to you xx

  35. Adelyn, excellent posts.

    To Annie and all victims, read Adelyn’s book on Boundaries, and everything else. Look at your beliefs. What do you have to believe about yourself to still feel like throwing yourself under the bus, reply to threats, unwanted texts? What keeps you from accessing your own power and exercise the word NO, or say to yourself enough? Are you still wanting to be a nice good little girl, who is only good if she is not in touch with whats she wants, and agrees with whatever others want for her? Are you still afraid of upsetting someone else more than that you are afraid of living your life on your own terms? It’s your choice. STOP talking about stuff, START ACTING. CHOOSE YOURSELF. STOP communicating with people who are not good for your health or diminish you in some way, and especially stop explaining yourself. No more communication with people who are creepy. Got it? Did I get your attention? Good. Now place this attention on something worthy of you, something that you like to achieve, or a passion that you want to live.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Brilliant, E! Thank you. You’ve summed it up beautifully. Words to live by.

      1. Thank you Adelyn! But please anyone who is already feeling sorely bruised from hurtful behavior inflicted on them, please don’t get into a fresh round of beating yourself up. It is what it is. But start practicing STOP.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          Good point, E. Accessing your power isn’t about beating yourself up; it’s about learning and growing from your experiences, without shame and without self-blame.

    2. Linda

      Yes! Well said! Annie, many of us have been there, where you are, at the crossroads of our lives. Thanks to Adelyn’s wisdom and advice we have chosen to claim our power and cease all contact with the predators who wish us only harm. Easy? No. Worth the effort and the pain? YES! We are with you, stay close, and reach for your power Annie! You will find it, and you will be free! – xx

  36. Sweetescape

    I am indebted to this site. The useful, knowledgeable, intelligent content is invaluable. There is hope after devastation. Thank you.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Thank you so much, Sweetscape! I’m glad to hear the site is so helpful to you!

  37. Julie

    I just found your site about 2 weeks ago, and my favorite blog was “Narcissist or Psychopath.” 2 years ago, my marriage to a narcissist pastor ended with his arrest. I experienced the smear campaign at its finest! Then I met the “love of my life”. But when he discarded me 9 months later, I was blind -sided and devastated and believed that since he wasn’t a narcissist, it was my fault and I had pushed away the love of my life. For 7 months, I chased after him, pleading and begging, promising to change. And I got morsels of affection, then contempt. Finally, the last straw was when his ex of 20 years bought him a plane ticket to come stay with her and have a vacation with their son over the 4th of July. Amazing. I had been beaten down emotionally to the point of wanting to give up. When I read your blog – it ALL made sense. Finally, I see. I was a victim of a psychopath. And I should mention that I am a successful business owner, financially independent, and smart. He on the other hand, flat broke, hasn’t filed tax returns in years. No retirement plan or health insurance. Lazy with grandiose plans of wealth. So I’m lucky – I dodged a bullet. I am now in the healing phase again. I bought two of your books and they arrive today. Because of your site, I was able to frame my nightmare, stop blaming myself and begin to work toward healing. I share your blog posts with my hypnotherapist. And I plan to heal and fight my way back up, but some days I wonder if I’ll find the energy.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Sorry to hear you had these two traumatic relationships. It’s fantastic that the website has helped you as much as it has! I’m so happy to hear it. Getting past self-blame is so very important; it removes a huge obstacle and allows you to move forward. It takes time to heal. It also takes a lot of effort, which can be exhausting. You will get there, though, and it sounds as if you’re making good progress! I hope you love the books and find them helpful. Best wishes to you, Julie.

  38. Eliza

    This is excellent information, Adelyn.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Thank you, Eliza.

  39. Hi Adelyn,

    How can we stop Cognitive Dissonance? I’m exhausted of going from thinking this person is good and he’s my twin flame to thinking his a psychopath. I met him in person and he was nice, for me he was everything I ever wanted, I thought he was my friend, he had to leave to his country of origin and we began talking on facebook, one day he told me he spent all his money cause his brother had a heart attack, so he could not come to visit me then he told me he got sick, so he could not come to visit me, that’s when the abuse began because I began to think he was lying, until now I’m not sure, all happened on internet, I just want to know the truth and be sure about it, so I can have peace, I was a very happy person and now for almost 7 years all I have done is cry, suffer from depression, is hard for me to think I never going to see the person I once met again.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, BB. It’s exhausting to have those ping-ponging thoughts, and to have your emotions ping-pong along with them. It’s like a little game we used to play as kids, pulling the petals from a daisy and saying, “he loves me, he loves me not,” and when we pulled the last petal, we’d have our answer. But with cognitive dissonance, the petals never run out. You just keep pulling and pulling and you never get to the last one. You never get an answer.

      The daisy doesn’t have the answer. You have it, but you can’t see it because this person left you so confused.

      You loved him and trusted him, and believed he felt the same way about you, but then he acted in ways that weren’t trustworthy, and when you questioned him (which was a perfectly normal and reasonable thing to do), he told you he was trustworthy and even told you that you were the one at fault for questioning him. Then, he stared abusing you. You’re worried that your doubts about him might have ruined a good relationship with someone you loved.

      My feeling is that he wasn’t the loving, trustworthy person you believed him to be. If he were, he would have understood why you doubted him. He wouldn’t have stopped loving you because of it, and then blamed you for ruining the relationship, and then begun abusing you (there is never a good reason for that). From what you’ve told me, I believe this is the truth.

      It doesn’t end when we find out the truth. We have to deal with the feeling of betrayal and all the rest. But even so, it’s a step forward. You can only move forward when you’re unstuck. I hope I’ve helped to get you unstuck, and I wish you the best of luck as you take those steps forward towards freedom from the emotional turmoil you’ve been in for a long time xx

  40. Thank you so much Adelyn! you and your work are amazing! it’s the only place I’ve found where I’ve felt understood, secure and peaceful. This person’s actions as you said were not trustworthy, but because the image I had of him was so powerful I doubted myself, I spent years asking him: why don’t you come to visit me? what illness do you have? why don’t you go to the doctor? and I never got a normal explanation, only thing he said was I’m sick and while he hurt me so much as I never had been hurt in my life he also said he loved me. He always sent me pictures of him at his home looking sick and sad, but one day after he discarded me his sister posted on facebook a pic of him well dressed and he was visiting his parents who live far away from him, he had told me he could not go out from his home. It was the first time I had a relationship, it was the first time I had loved someone and I thought I had found the love of my life, but this person destroyed my heart, my whole life dreams with my first love and love of my life, my health cause I’m not able to sleep, my studies, my happiness, etc. I don’t understand what happened to my life, I had never met a bad person before and I had no bad memories, but now my life is like a long night, I feel this person was the devil who was waiting for me to destroy everything I had built during my whole life. We are the ones who suffer the most because we did truly love, but they didn’t, so now they are happy with someone else and we are feeling so bad. What is the best way to deal with this during this times of social media? it is like it can never goes away, we can see pictures of them, etc. Thank you again Adelyn for your amazing help!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Feeling understood is important, and I’m glad you found that here. As far as social media goes, you have to stop yourself from looking at anything that has to do with him. Spend your time on things and people who are worth your time. I’m very sorry to hear this was your first relationship! The good thing about it (yes, there is some good that comes from it!) is that what you’re learning now will enable you to have healthy relationships in the future with people who value and care for you. This is an exceptionally painful learning experience. You will heal, though, and you will get your life back on track. I hope you have some supportive people in your life. Please read the blog post, How to Never Get Involved with a Psychopath, Narcissist or Sociopath—or Any Abuser—Ever Again
      Best wishes to you, BB!

  41. Lillit


    I have read your blog about asperger and it is really a relief to read. I have been in a relationship where my boyfriend with AS has accused me of abusing him, threaten and punish him, I have a diagnose that I will not acknowledge , I can’t communicate and much more. About a month ago he suddenly broke up with me just after saying that he loved me. Broke up over facebook and wouldn’t see me for the explanation that he promised me, wouldn’t see me to a dialogue, wouldn’t see me so I could have the things from his appartment, that I had forgotten after the day two days before where he just wanted my things out, he has blocked me on every social media after my words to him in love for him and confusing. I have been called a bitch by ham: “You bitch you are abusing me!” and accused for many other things.

    Så thank you SO much for this site!! I would like to make a comment on the asperger site, but I can’t see anywhere to make one?

    Keep this site running please!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Lillit. I’m glad you found relief reading the Asperger post. It’s difficult to get that info out there—there’s so much resistance to it. I’ve had to limit the comments due to a lack of time, so I’m glad you were able to find me here. I will definitely keep this site running! Best wishes to you for good relationships in the future.

  42. Adelyn, what do you think about the concept of twin flames that is around internet? it has almost same stages than psychopathic relationships: aha moment when you meet your twin flame, white light around the person when you first meet them cause your soul recognize them, honeymoon phase, then ego problems and fights and then separation phase and then reunion. There is a whole community on internet talking about it, but it is confusing, I spent a lot of time thinking this person was my twin flame cause he’s physically similar to me and also what I felt for him at the beginning was like my soul recognized him and I saw a white light surrounding him when I first met him and we met randomly multiple times, it seemed like destiny. Thank you Adelyn!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      To tell you the truth, I don’t know anything about it.

  43. Michelle

    Hi… I meant to leave a comment under the Aspergers post but can’t find a way to do so. Perhaps you closed comments off for that particular section, and I wouldn’t blame if you if you had–what a nightmare.

    I came across your post while looking for information on AS because I have recently been diagnosed as Aspergers (at the ripe old age of 45), and I have to admit that I was terribly surprised, both by your post and by the reaction of those in the AS community. I would apologize on behalf of all of us, but I think those would be empty words to someone who has already heard far too many from “us”.

    I will admit that I don’t know your story, but it is obvious that you have been through hell. My ex husband is bipolar, an ex boyfriend a raging narcissist, so I’m afraid we share at least that much and I can understand your vehemence and anger.

    I am concerned about blanket statements regarding AS, however. While no one can be “a little bit of a sociopath”, the “spectrum” part of autism spectrum should be considered when dealing with someone on it. There are different types of empathy; I am overly emotionally empathic, but sometimes struggle with cognitive empathy. If you cry, I cry. If you are happy, I am happy with you. I’m like an emotional sponge in that regard–which is not at all the same as an emotional vampire who will suck the life from you.

    I more than understand and engage in reciprocity, to the point I am often taken advantage of. Manipulation and exploitation are so foreign to my nature that I have a hard time recognizing when it’s happening to me–which has made me the perfect prey for a good portion of my life.

    Cognitively…well I sometimes have a hard time remembering that people don’t see the same things I do or perceive things the way I do and that can cause problems. Being diagnosed as AS has given me the understanding that I need to make a concerted effort to make sure I’m on the same page as everyone else. That’s all.

    A diagnosis of AS or autism is NOT an excuse for bad behavior–social, emotional, or otherwise. You NEVER should have been treated like that, by anyone, and for that I am truly sorry. Your opinion is yours, and no matter how much I disagree with it, it is not my place to try to silence it. It is my place–as a woman, as a survivor, and as a human being–to support you with love and understanding. You have obviously endured enough pain.

    My intent with this post is not to sway your opinion, or tell you that you are wrong–it’s been my experience that rarely works anyway. My only intent was to give a little insight into an Aspie that you and your readers may not have seen before, and to perhaps open an exchange of thoughts and ideas. You are more than welcome to contact me if you’d like to open a dialogue, but I will more than understand if you choose not to.

    Many prayers of love and peace for you…

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Thank you, Michelle, for your insight and for sharing your personal experience, and thanks for your apology on behalf of your cohort. It’s not possible to apologize for them, of course, but the important thing is that you wanted to. I appreciate that more than you know. We actually have a lot in common; seeing someone cry makes me cry, and seeing them happy makes me happy. I knew nothing about manipulation, either, and was easy prey. I’m sorry to hear you were victimized; I know how awful it is. I’m sure having a bipolar husband isn’t easy either.

      It’s good that learning your diagnosis helped you. That’s not always the case; as you said, it’s a spectrum. Just to give you an idea of what I experienced, with people who didn’t have the self-awareness that you have:

      I not only had a BF with Aspergers, but also a female friend who bewildered me for two years (she didn’t tell me her diagnosis). I was going to have major, major surgery, and was going to be discharged from the hospital on a Friday. My mother couldn’t be here until Monday, so I asked my friend if she could help me and she said of course she would! She said she’d bring me home from the hospital and stay the weekend. The night before surgery, she called and said she’d met a guy online and was going away for the weekend with him instead. To say I was stunned is an understatement. All she could say was, “Why is what YOU want more important than what I want? What are you, a narcissist?” Needless to say, I wasn’t going to continue the “friendship,” but she simply could not understand that she’d done anything wrong. She still considered herself to be a good friend. I figured out she had Aspergers and asked her why she never told me, and she very angrily told me it wasn’t any of my business. When I had to scramble to find help after my surgery, and deal with the bewilderment and hurt of being treated like that by a supposed friend, it certainly was my business.

      I could give you dozens of other examples. The people with Aspergers I knew—and the people who attacked me after writing that post—were much farther down the spectrum than you. What gets me is that all the people who left those nasty comments never saw the opportunity they had to change my mind. All they did was prove everything I’d written.

      Thanks again for your comment.

      I’ll try to copy this to that post’s comments.

      1. Heidi

        ha ha, that’s aspergers + narcissism! I think it may be the narcissism rather than the aspergers that’s the problem. With aspergers, you tend to miss the little things, like (I can’t even give an example because I don’t get them) but it’s a narcissist thing to trivialise the big things. But if we do overlook the elephant in the room, as we sometimes do when our common sense slips, and you bring it to our attention, we will at least say “oops” and try to fix it up instead of calling you a narcissist!

        1. Adelyn Birch

          I don’t see it that way, Heidi. People with Asperger’s are narcissistic because of their issue with cognitive empathy. Think about it; if someone can’t imagine themselves in someone else’s shoes, they can’t see things from their point of view, which means they’re going to be focused only on themselves. It’s not intentional selfishness or meanness; it can’t be helped. I brought it to my friend’s attention, to say the least, but she couldn’t grasp it. Being a spectrum disorder, each person will have more or less ability to empathize. I think my friend fell into the latter category. Yet she said, emphatically, “I care about you! You should know that!” A good example of actions speaking louder than words.

          People who are narcissisticly self-centered, for whatever reason, are the last to know. That’s why they blame others who express being hurt by things they do or say. They believe the person who’s hurt is selfish, needy, or a narcissist themselves. It’s a vicious cycle. First our friend or partner does something that is stunningly self-centered, and then they tell us there’s something wrong with us for being upset about it. Being treated callously is bad enough; being blamed for it, and then invalidated, takes it to another level. In a relationship with someone narcissistic, this happens over and over again, in ways big and small. Bringing it to their attention, as you suggested, does no good. It can’t. The narcissistic will always believe they’re right, because they just don’t get it.

          This is from “Dr. Psych Mom” Samantha Rodman, PhD, licensed psychologist:

          “With Asperger’s and NPD, a lot of the criteria overlap. The difference is that while all people with Aspergers are narcissistic (not NPD, but self-centered; it’s a central trait), all people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are definitely not aspergers, and can be the total opposite: super smooth and charming.

  44. Hi Adelyn,

    I have spent a lot of time reading your website and other sites about psychopaths and I’m finally realizing I was involved with a psychopath, I always felt something was extremely wrong, but I could not be clear, I always thought I had done something wrong, but I read the article “Backed Into An Emotional Corner” and that’s exactly what happened to me, never in my whole life I had met a bad person until I met him, so I feel I went from the most pure life to the most evil life, he told me he was sick, something inside me told me it was weird, but I could not escape, I stayed for 5 years just fighting every day, listening to the worst things and receiving the worst treatment, zero compassion to my pain, zero empathy. For the first time I’m feeling this person didn’t love me, actually he hated me, felt envy for me and wanted to destroyed me, I saw some pics of him that I had seen before and saw pure evil for the first time and it feels so horrible. It hurts me all this person destroyed about me, I liked the person that I was and now I don’t like anything about me :( he destroyed the pure way I used to see the world and people, now and I’m worried about it I feel I’m a psychopath myself because I feel no interest for anybody and inside me I have feelings I don’t like, I don’t know if it is cause of the hurt and pain I feel, is it normal? I’m worried :( I wish I could unseen and unheard everything I saw and heard from that person, I feel right now repulsion while my feelings are dying, is it normal? I’m so angry about how that person used my innocence to play, sometimes I remember I called him crying and I heard his laugh, but I didn’t get it at that time, anyway nobody should go through this.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Oh, BB, it’s so hard when you realize they didn’t love you, and worse. I’m sorry you’re going through it now. No, no one should have to go through it, but unfortunately that’s not enough to stop it from happening. Don’t worry; you haven’t become a psychopath. That’s not possible. It’s the hurt and the pain, and you’re probably wishing all kinds of bad things on him, and that’s normal. So is all of it, the anger and repulsion and numbness. Feeling a loss of innocence is something many of us felt, too. Remember though, that he didn’t make the world any different than it really was; he just made you see what you’d rather not have known about. As you heal, you’ll build a new context for yourself, one that fits all the new things you’ve learned about the world, and people, and yourself. It’s like being a turtle who needs a new shell because the old one doesn’t fit any more. It’s a long road, but I’ll bet at the end of it you’ll like yourself again, and maybe more. Some surprising things happen along the way. I know how hard it is to believe right now that you’re going to be OK, and even better than OK, but you will. Good luck to you. I wish I could give you a hug xo

  45. Thank you very much Adelyn!!!!! You help us so much!!!!! It is just unbelievable what happened, I feel so much sadness and anger cause my whole life I took care so much of myself for this to happen, why didn’t I realize before? Since the beginning he did to me the silent treatment, always cause I asked him: why don’t you come??? what illness do you have??? why don’t you go to a doctor??? (which I think are normal questions and more when you are in pain cause you were told you were loved and then everything became confusing and a lot of excuses, etc) I spent 5 years in the most horrible emotional pain cause he said he was sick and at the same time told he loved me, but pushed me away, said thousand excuses, lot of drama, was sick but he never went to a doctor. The fight after which he discarded me he told me I don’t love youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu, I hate youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu, I don’t like such a crazy woman, I’m not a crazy woman I just was in so much pain and I needed his help, but he said that. He told me I deserved my dad abandoned me, he said he liked my sisters, etc. I always thought because we were on distance and we talked on chat he could not understand me, anyway I don’t understand why God allows this to happen to good people, he most probably is going to be happy and anything bad will happen to him.

    And after 5 years of waiting for him he told me to don’t wait for him cause he will not come.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      You’re welcome, BB. All of us were blindsided by it—that’s why it worked. We knew nothing about it, so we didn’t even know it was possible. And then all of us looked back on it and asked how it could have happened. There’s a lot that goes into it (I’ll put some links at the bottom) but basically it comes down to emotional manipulation, brain chemicals, and our natural tendency to give people the benefit of the doubt. Most of us we were told we were crazy, but we were just reacting emotionally to their lack of empathy. I’m so sorry this person did and said such terrible, hurtful things to you, and that he kept stringing you along for such a long time. I can’t answer your question about why God lets these things happen because I’m not a believer, but even if God does exist, it seems he lets all kinds of bad things happen, so preventing them might not be what he does.

      I don’t know if this person you knew will go on to be happy and if nothing bad will happen to him, but one of the things we have to deal with is the lack of justice; they just walk away, unscathed, and we’re left with the trauma. But remember, their emotions are blunted and they lack empathy, so they don’t suffer, especially not when leaving us, the people they intentionally manipulated and came to despise. The important thing now is to focus on yourself and take care of yourself.

      The Most Powerful Motivator on the Planet ~ Intermittent Reinforcement

      The Spellbinding Bond to Narcissists and Psychopaths – What’s Happening in the Brain?

      Why You? And How Did You Get Trapped?

      “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

      ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

  46. Thank you so much Adelyn for all your help, if it wasn’t for this website that I don’t even know how I found it I would still believe in this person, but thanks to your website I am even realizing I never loved this person, it was just a trauma bond and at the beginning his charm, and also in my case I’m not a person who falls in love quickly neither I care about having a couple, so it makes it even more weird that I felt head over heels with this person, is the only person to this day I have ever liked, but now I realize why, it was not cause he was special as I branded him, it was just cause he was a manipulator and also because I thought he had same good qualities I had and that’s why I suffered so much when he behaved in bad ways cause I thought he was someone else, I thought he was a good person, but the way he behaved is who he really is, so now I’m seeing him for who he really is and if I had known that type of person I would had never wanted him to be part of my life.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Once we have an image of someone as loving and trustworthy, even clear evidence that they’re not is not enough to get us past it. You can read about it, and some other strange things our minds do, here: The Hidden Vulnerability We All Have, Revealed When who someone really is is different from who you believe they are, it leads to a lot of suffering. I’m glad you’re learning and realizing so many things about what happened and why. I know how hard it is to learn the truth, but ultimately it will enable you to go on and have healthy relationships in the future xx

  47. During the time I saw him in person as a friend I saw weird things he did, but I remember they were like a fog and confusing, I could not see clear, for example: once I put a music I liked on my phone and he in rude way told me shut up that I stopped the music and stayed in silence, another day I was moving to another city and I asked him if he was going to miss me and he answered: if I get something I don’t think so, he said it with a smirk or some weird expression on his face (he was trying to get involve with a woman, so I think he meant if he could get her he will not miss me), another time I screamed cause there was an animal on a tree and he said again in rude way: are you a coward?, he did all those while we were just friends, but when he was trying to get me to like him he began to offer himself to do me a lot of favors. When he was dating another woman who rejected him I saw him two days in rage mood, he told her violently to eat and also violently took her by her arm. Now I realize, but for some reason at that time I did not see clear. He was not normal.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      When we look back, the confusing things we saw finally make sense. When they happened we gave the person the benefit of the doubt, or we found some way to explain them that made some sense. Now we’re likely to see these red flags in the future.

  48. yes Adelyn, it is so clear now his personality, i can not thank you enough for this website, hope u keep writing, it is amazing.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      You’re so welcome, BB! I wrote a new blog post today; you should check it out. https://psychopathsandlove.com/grief-very-real-and-very-complicated-in-the-aftermath/#comment-44877

  49. indi

    Hi! Couldn’t figure out how to leave a comment on the article I was just reading, but I wanted to say, THANK YOU. Your site is one of the best I’ve seen on this subject. Blessings!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Thank you so much, Indi! Sorry about not being able to leave a comment. I was getting too many to keep up with and have left them open on only a few posts. Blessings to you, too.

  50. John

    Great website! Along with Gavin de Becker (Gift of Fear) and Martha Stout (Sociopath Next Door) does much to strengthen those who are being or who have been abused. The website is so extensive! Lots of great information on protecting oneself in the future. Is there any blog entries or resources on how to recover from past traumatic heartbreak caused by psychopaths (therapies? meditations?)?

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Thank you, John! Other than the website being all about recovery, there isn’t anything about specific types of psychotherapy. I tend to stick with what I know, and do what I can. I hope you’ll find the support you need.

      You may want to check out NEUROINSTINCTS: Men’s Corner Lots of good info there, especially for men.

  51. Jake

    Hi Adelyn,

    As a 30/yo man who is just discovering my AS and coming to terms with myself after yet another heart that i’ve crushed for the most stupid, selfish reasons.

    I want to say thanks for your article on psychopaths and aspergers. After 30 years of me destroying all the good strong women that loved me i’m finally understanding who I really am for the first time. You are 100% absolutely correct about your article and statement. The affect I have on people in my life is no different than a psychopaths affect on them.

    I’m not sure that i’ll ever be able to have any real relationship with any human. However now that I understand who I am, I want to say that I could try harder the next time.

    But I do know that I will never get into a serious relationship again without disclosing my AS. Its not that I hid it before, I just didn’t know. But i’m really tired of dragging down other souls with me in an attempt to save my own.

    Thank you.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Jake. Ummm… I’m a bit skeptical. But if what you say is true, then I’m sorry, and I’m glad. I’m Sorry it made you feel bad (which is not my intention, believe it or not), but glad it helped you to see things more clearly. I agree, please disclose your AS. Your relationships don’t have a chance without doing that. They will only die a slow and painful death. Have you ever considered meeting someone with AS? I say this because I’ve read that people with AS have very successful relationships with each other.

      I wish you all the best, Jake.

  52. John

    Has anyone ever heard of gaslighting? Someone told me that gaslighting is the phenomenon that I may have experienced in my relationship. It was described as: 1.) often second-guessing yourself and your judgment about the relationship, 2.) being made to feel overly sensitive and emotional by your partner, 3.) being made to feel crazy by your partner, and 4.) manipulated to explain away glaring problems in the relationship. I guess there is a movie, Gaslight, that shows it occurring. Looking for it now on iTunes..



    1. Adelyn Birch

      I’m sorry this happened to you, John. Yes, we know about gaslighting around here! All too well!


      Using the tactic of gaslighting, the manipulator denies, and therefore invalidates, reality. Invalidating reality distorts or undermines the victim’s perceptions of their world and can even lead them to question their own sanity.

      “I don’t know where you got that idea.”

      “It’s all in your head.”

      “You’ve always had a bad memory!”

      “That never happened. Are you crazy?”

      “You must be trying to confuse me.”

      “You’re imagining things.”

      “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

      This kind of deception seems like it would be obvious, but it usually begins very gradually and increases in frequency and severity over time. It leads to anxiety, depression and confusion. Victims eventually question their ‘version’ of reality. When they no longer trust their own perceptions, they rely on the manipulator to define reality and can no longer function independently. Having rendered the victim completely helpless and lacking in any self-esteem, the manipulator is able to exercise total domination and get whatever it is they want, whether it is a feeling of superiority, financial control or sexual benefits.

      Examples of gaslighting:

      A manipulator claims that the victim is mistaken in her belief that he wanted a committed, long-term relationship, even though everything he did and said created that belief.

      A manipulator says something in an angry tone of voice, but when the victim becomes upset the manipulator denies having used an angry tone.

      A manipulator deliberately upsets a victim, and then mocks them or puts them down for “overreacting.”

      A manipulator purposely withholds certain details, and later tries convincing the victim that they did indeed tell them the missing details.

      A manipulator moves items from one place to another and then denies having done so.

      A manipulator asserts something untrue with enough conviction and intensity that the victim believes it.

      You might be a victim of gaslighting if you apologize often, have trouble making decisions, have changed significantly over the course of the relationship, feel you’re in a constant state of bewilderment, or have become reclusive and withdrawn.

      Gaslighting is a big part of many of the techniques of manipulation, most of which include the element of denying a victim’s reality.

  53. Heidi

    Hi there Adelyn, I’m responding to your article “psychopathy… or aspergers syndrome?” because it’s an interesting question. I understand that your point is that it doesn’t matter what the cause of the broken empathy is, whether it’s the affective or cognitive empathy that is missing, the end result is still the same, that the spouse or child gets emotionally/psychologically damaged. I’m an aspie and I think the aspies who responded took it all a bit too personally. I would like to discuss the myriad of ideas that can come out of this question, without the background noise of “You lack empathy! No, you lack empathy! See? you lack empathy!” Questions such as: Is lack of empathy an absolute or a matter of degree? Can empathy be learnt? Can affective inform cognitive or vice versa? What do you call someone who lacks both kinds? Are there other ways that the empathy chain can be broken? And so many more. Can you please email me, so that we can either email privately, or arrange to meet on an online forum to discuss it? Preferably somewhere that accepts google login, if the latter. Thank you.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      “I understand that your point is that it doesn’t matter what the cause of the broken empathy is, whether it’s the affective or cognitive empathy that is missing, the end result is still the same, that the spouse or child gets emotionally/psychologically damaged.”

      Correct. So far, so good.

      But this:

      “I’m an aspie and I think the aspies who responded took it all a bit too personally.”

      The reason they “took it a bit too personally” is *precisely* what the article was about: their lack of cognitive empathy, which makes them narcissisticly self-centered. They aren’t aware of that, even though they make the people around them painfully aware of it. The very thing that makes them so self-centered—their lack of cognitive empathy—keeps them from ever being able to know about it.

      People who are narcissisticly self-centered are the last ones to know it. That’s why they blame others who express being hurt by things they do or say. They believe the person who’s hurt is selfish, needy, or narcissistic themselves. It’s a vicious cycle. First our friend or partner does something that is stunningly self-centered, and then they tell us there’s something wrong with us for being upset about it. Being treated callously is bad enough; being blamed for it, and then invalidated, takes it to another level. In a relationship with someone narcissistic, this happens over and over again, in ways big and small. Bringing it to their attention, as you suggested, does no good. It can’t. The narcissistic person will always believe they’re right, because they just don’t get it.

      This is from “Dr. Psych Mom,” Samantha Rodman, PhD, licensed psychologist:

      “With Asperger’s and NPD, a lot of the criteria overlap. The difference is that while all people with Aspergers are narcissistic (not NPD, but self-centered; it’s a central trait), all people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are definitely not aspergers, and can be the total opposite: super smooth and charming.”

      It’s not immaturity. It’s simply part of the disorder.

      1. Adelyn Birch

        Thank you for your invitation to discuss empathy, Heidi. I will politely decline.

  54. John B.

    Dear Adelyn,
    Great blog post titled “Topsy-Turvy World”! It was timely, accurate, and empathic to both those who are celebrating the election and those who are justifiably worried. Most of the commenters were great, but there were a few that missed your points. You do a lot for others. Be sure to take care of yourself during these trying times. Surround yourself with people who love you and support you. Together, unified, we can all weather this (hopefully) short-lived storm. You are too valuable to the world!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Thank you so much for your kind words, John. I’m glad you found your way here. It was important to me to write that post, even with what I knew would inevitably happen due to the deep divide this election has created. I had to close the comments sooner than I would have liked, but like you said, I have to take care of myself. I hope you’ll take good care of yourself, too, as we ride out this storm. Each day seems to bring a new deluge! Some of it is purely drama, meant to provoke for purposes of distraction. It keeps many people reacting instead of thinking.

      PS Keep an eye on Bannon. He’s well on his way to turning DT into a ventriloquist’s dummy.

  55. Nayala

    I am happy to have found this information….because I am suspecting I am currently in a relationship like this. I don’t know if my paranoia is acting out (I do have a serious form of paranoia from anxiety issues). It has been two years, and he has not shown any form of abuse but has acted the way you had described a psychopath- a mysterious, calm and alluring figure that found my vulnerability too irresistible. I pray that this is not the case…..but I see certain signs, and can’t tell if I should run. This information really has helped me. Thank you so much.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Natalya! To find out if manipulation is at play, read the blog post, “How to Tell if You’re Being Manipulated.” I feel that if you’re searching for answers and you ended up here, and you think you’ve found a good description of your partner, there is something seriously wrong with the relationship. I understand your anxiety issue adds confusion, but if this person is having a detrimental effect on you, then you should trust your own perceptions. Another good post for you to read would be REBOOT, which will help you see if your needs are being met, and your rights are intact, in this relationship. Best of luck to you.

  56. Heartbroken

    Thank you very much for the website, it helped me so much I am going to read all the articles and even buy the books. I have again and again dated and get involved with this kind of men, and it is so shocking to see life written by complete strangers on the internet! I just broke up with someone who I met who told me he loved me and liked me so much and wanted to be with me etc but the next day treated me very cruelly. And he felt no remorse at all, and still wants me to be with him. I thought I couldn’t put up with it. I am also dealing with cognitive dissonance as well-the “love” was very intense, it felt so real, he always seemed so caring and gentle and sweet to me and we felt like a cute couple. I still refuse to believe that the “love” wasn’t real, that he didn’t felt the same way…at the same time it is obviously from the way he acted he didn’t care AT ALL about how I feel and how his actions affect me which is psychopathic. I’d be lying if I say I don’t have the faint hope that someday he will apologise for me and change back to the person I used to know. It’s almost like this kind of people are Jekyll and Hide. Anyway I am writing for validation for myself AND other readers, I am sure you have all experienced this and we are NOT going crazy! I hope we can all deserve TRUE love and real men who would respect me, not crazy emotional roller coaster rides and tangled in cobwebs….Love, heartbroken.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Heartbroken, you do deserve true love and a real man who respects you. So does anyone who has been victimized in this way. Having this kind of thing happen says nothing about your worth or what you deserve. What it says is that there are heartless predators who take advantage of our emotions and our normal desire for a relationship. Take some time for yourself. Heal, and learn, and when you’re ready, good things will come xx

      PS Read the Boundaries book

  57. Joe

    Thank you for your insightful book ‘Boundaries After a Pathological Relationship’ I found it extremely useful to set my boundaries with my partner.

    I then purchased 30 covert emotional manipulation tactics, and I must say that reading this caused me to feel the opposite to what I was expecting. Many examples in this made me feel that I’m the manipulator, as I know I have said similar things. I do believe my partner display unstable behaviour, and I am tired of the constant drama of our relationship, and I have stated we should end the relationship. All things described in this book as methods of manipulation, it has left me confused and concerned.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I’m so glad to hear the Boundaries book helped you, Joe. As for your concerns about manipulating your partner, is it possible that not being able to communicate with him/her in a normal manner, and not having your emotional needs met, pushes you into finding another way? Constant drama is mentally exhausting. Don’t wait for your partner’s agreement to end the relationship—your reasons for wanting to do so will always be invalidated. I wish you the best of luck xx

  58. Catherine

    I thought my rape began upon my divorce, but it was masked from the moment I met my ex-husband. Then, I had never heard of emotional rape. It was one day at work when i could hardly lift my head up off my desk due to the weight of his abusive actions that I felt raped emotionally. I was used sexually through emotions for his gratification. To cope, I read the book of Psalms, took pictures of “hope”, and wrote poetry much like you. The exposure was unbearable at times to the point of suicidal thoughts. Emotional rape lasts for decades and some never escape. To this day, my rape continues through stalking and the court system. I pray to be free, but he holds my heart hostage by keeping my children from me.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I’m sorry this happened to you, and that it continues by him keeping your children from you. I hope they’ll be back with you very soon. You are stronger than you know, Catherine. You will pick up the pieces and find peace. That may take some time, but you will get there. Lots of love to you.

  59. Penelope Pitstop

    Thanks for this site. I’ve ordered 3 of your books. I am a couple of years out from the end of a 30 year marriage, and I’ve gotten past the painful part and am happy–but now I’m really wondering about the details so I don’t do this again. I am frustratingly still partly in love with him though I don’t really want to be and don’t plan to go back. I don’t know what he was/is and maybe never will, but many of the descriptions here seem correct. I keep thinking of this game he played early on, where he would wave his hand across his face as if wiping the expression away. It would go from friendly to cold and back. We laughed at how my smile so quickly turned back on when his did– the cold face freaked me out. I think now— I was young, only 19 when we met– how did I think that was funny?? I never thought the cold face was the real one. Now I don’t know.

    Here is my question: would a psychopath ever warn off a victim? After he left me, got arrested for a drug crime (I didn’t know), and was out of rehab, I told him I would reconcile if we could go to counseling. He sent me a dear Jane let’s be friends email with a warning that my sense of fear was accurate, that I had mistakenly thought I was in physical danger but instead he was a threat to my soul and happiness, that there were reasons to fear this kind of darkness, that it was my reptile brain warning me away and I should listen– because he knew about the reptile brain. That he loved me deeply but that we should never be married again. That if I failed to heed this warning it was my ox which would be gored. I haven’t figured out if he was just ashamed and having low self esteem or giving me accurate info. Why would he protect me from himself– does that ever happen? That’s actually the single detail I can’t reconcile with understanding what happened to me.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Penelope. I’m so glad to hear you’ve found happiness again! You’re a woman of great courage, strength and resilience!

      Wow, what a warning he gave you. I don’t think I’ve heard of anything like this, but there’s a first time for everything. How long ago was this, and have you heard from him since? I’m thinking that either he became more self-aware in rehab (unlikely) or that it’s an attempt at manipulation.

      If he is a psychopath he’s not capable of “loving you deeply,” but he would be capable of trying to lure you back by saying he loves you, and then making you take the blame since you’re aware of the darkness and danger. He would also be capable of trying to change your impression of him from negative to positive by making you think that he’s honest and concerned for you and loves you and he’s too good to hurt you anymore. Or he may have wanted to give you something to obsess over, as a way of disturbing your peace of mind. There’s so much that can be read into his words, and all I can do is make some guesses. Of course there’s the possibility that he’s not a psychopath, but whatever he is, heed his warning (especially if whatever he is fits the descriptions on this website). You may have to accept that you’ll never know the real intention behind his words, instead of knowing for sure.

      I hope you’ll find the books helpful, and I sincerely appreciate your support for my work!

      1. Penelope Pitstop

        Thank you! This was 1 1/2 years ago that he wrote it. I’ve seen him occasionally since then at family gatherings– we have two adult children, and I wanted to make things easy for them. At the time, I thought it was a midlife crisis and that he might get over it eventually. But I had determined to go ahead and proceed with my life as if he would not, instead of waiting for something that might never happen. I didn’t consider psychopathy until recently. I had just a profound sense of bafflement. I was actually reading about it because of a public figure, and as I was reading I thought, well holy cow. This was my marriage, for 30 years.

        When I’ve seen him since then, I still get a sense of utter safety which I know now to be as far from the truth as possible– not just from reading but from the severe danger he put me in, which he never apologized for. All he has to do is touch my hand, and it’s as if I didn’t know I felt unsafe until he put out that “you are completely safe” vibe. That has confused me. I went back and read his dear Jane email and thought wow. He may or may not be a psychopath. If he’s not, he impersonated one pretty darn well! I’m going to practice noticing those kinds of clues just in case.

        I told my daughter today that I would no longer have any contact with him at all, so I could finish the last bit of getting over it and maybe one day in the far future have a normal relationship. She said, “Mom, I completely agree with that plan.”

        1. Adelyn Birch

          That “profound sense of bafflement” is key. I’m so glad to hear that your daughter supports your decision. So do I, Penelope, and I wish you the best.

  60. mary

    Hi Adelyn,

    Adelyn have you thought about translating your books and website to spanish?

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Mary. I have thought about it, but can’t afford to do it. Why do you ask???

  61. Giovanna

    Hi Adelyn…the past 6 months since he discarded me have been almost sheer hell with some brief moments of peace and clarity here and there. Of all the articles and websites, your words ring the truest and echo the deepest levels of my pain. When i feel lost without him or think i must be completely crazy, your words ring true, the kind of truth no one could make up, that screams to be brought into the light of day. Thanks for your dedication. The depths of your hell must have been severe to inspire you to create your website, but it has been a gift of sanity to me and so many other lost and tormented souls. Your pages are so thorough and clearly laid-out, and your Little Red Riding Hood motif couldn’t be more fitting as i have often thought of him as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He changed so much from idealize to devalue/discard.

    Yesterday, i felt hopeful since i was all set to receive my first phone call from a new man. 2 hours later, i was crying myself to sleep because i missed my psychopath dearly. This new man seems honest but completely lacks passion. I feel sick for preferring a man that would play games with me only to have me beg for him back (my merciful tormenter) rather than be bored. All i can say is that my psychopath knew me and understood my very being. He could see deep into the core of my soul effortlessly and made me feel passion like i have never known in my 35 years on this earth. I have never allowed myself to fall so deeply in love as i did with him, and fear i never will again. If he is such poison to my heart, why does he feel like my only home? How was it never REAL? How could my instincts deceive me so much ?

    As for you, i hope you have found a TRUE love-of-your-life. Please tell us it will happen for us too and how to forgive ourselves for loving a snake and have lasting peace instead of bouncing back and forth between hating him and hating ourselves?

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Giovanna. I’m so glad to hear my words resonate with you. It’s so important to feel understood, and to know you’re not alone. Yes, I went through the depths of hell–and I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through it now. It’s a dark time. Please give yourself time to heal before getting involved in another relationship! I can tell you’re nowhere near ready. It takes time, there’s just no way around that. I felt the same about him, and asked the same questions–how was it never real? How could my instincts deceive me so much?–and feared I would never feel the same way again. One of the hardest things for me was realizing there was no way back, and struggling with accepting the finality of it. It’s a loss, and you’re grieving. What makes it confusing is feeling this way but telling yourself you shouldn’t, because he wasn’t real. It doesn’t help, and there’s a reason for that, which I explained it as best I could in this post: In the Aftermath: GRIEF. I hope it will help you.

      You don’t have to forgive yourself, because there’s nothing to forgive yourself for. You fell deeply in love with someone whom you believed felt the same way. Being manipulated isn’t a reflection of personal weakness, nor was it your fault. He did the deceiving and the manipulating, not you. You didn’t do anything wrong. We had no idea this kind of thing was even possible, so we were defenseless. A big turning point in healing is when you stop blaming yourself, when you realize there’s no reason to do so. These posts on self-blame might help:
      Emergency: Self-Blame
      At the Intersection of Truth and Lies: Self-Blame

      One of the most healing things of all is to go from a mindset of self-blame to one of self-compassion. It’s truly transformational after this kind of trauma. The Self-Compassion Effect

      Our brain chemistry also plays a big part in exploitative and abusive relationships. The bond they create is actually STRONGER than a normal bond. It helps to understand how that works, and Rhonda Freeman, PhD, a neuropsychologist, writes about it here: The Spellbinding Bond to Narcissists and Psychopaths – What’s Happening in the Brain?
      Another good one: WHY NO CONTACT, INTENTIONAL DETACHMENT, AND SUPPORT HELP BREAK THE TRAUMA BOND. She also writes a blog for people victimized by psychopaths: NEUROINSTINCTS

      You will find love again one day, but don’t even worry about that now. Take the time you need to heal. All the best to you, Giovanna xo

      1. Giovanna

        Hi Adelyn,

        Thank you for your thorough reply and valuable links. I was so excited to hear back from you. You have been one of my heroines during this dark time. Your response really hit home and had me in tears.

        I got some new information about him this week…so hard to accept a side of him that I didn’t think even existed. I’ve been processing everything in my mind while sometimes
        crying to release the pain and even praying for truth to reveal itself.
        I was trying to sort through so many thoughts before replying to you. I know my ex is an emotionally-manipulative pathological liar (or as my aunt says, “buon viso, cattivo gioco”…good face, bad game) but could you comment on a good rule of thumb for distinguishing between a psychopath, a sociopath and a somatic narcissist? Also, contrary to popular belief, a commitment phobe is not someone who immediately says they never want to marry, but rather, they ardently pursue commitment until securing it, at which point they create distance in the relationship via “unnecessary” lies, game-playing and other women. However, the root cause is fear based on family of origin dynamics and childhood abandonment issues, but the resulting behaviors are strikingly similar to those of the conscience-less, including an unexplainable discard and rapid, intense involvement with a new target.

        Was I ? …………………….. Was he?
        A) Co-dependent……..Narcissist
        B) Empath………. sociopath/psychopath
        C) Love-Addict………Love-Avoidant (aka Commitment Phobic)

        Most days, I still blame myself for the discard, thinking it could have been avoided if I had handled the devalue differently. Some days I’m jealous of his new supply being in the idealize/lovebombing/seducingphase that i worked so hard to get back to (it only lasted for months 1 through 4 out of 15, with a re-hoover for months 12 through 15, immediately preceeding a shockingly-abrupt discard).
        Other days, I pity her unawareness of the hell that awaits her as she enters devalue/gaming and eventually discard/ruining/smear-campaign, which I’m in now.

        Also, any in-person (not just online) support groups or specialized counselors in my area ?
        -Giovanna near _____________

        1. Adelyn Birch

          Hi, Giovanna. You’re welcome, and I’m so glad I could help. I’m sorry you’re in such a dark place.

          “could you comment on a good rule of thumb for distinguishing between a psychopath, a sociopath and a somatic narcissist?” I’ve never heard of a somatic narcissist, so I can’t comment on it. Here’s a link to an article that might help with sociopaths and psychopaths: Psychopath Vs. Sociopath: What’s The Difference? Really, you don’t want to get involved with either one, so there isn’t a need to make a diagnosis. But read and learn as much as you can to avoid future victimization. You said “I know my ex is an emotionally-manipulative pathological liar” and that’s what counts.

          You also said “I still blame myself for the discard, thinking it could have been avoided if I had handled the devalue differently.” DEVALUE means not being valued. Why would you want to continue being devalued? What would you have had to give up to accept being devalued, and why would you give up anything to be with someone who can’t see your value? You deserve a relationship with a man capable of having one, and who values you and loves you. As for being jealous/pitying the new target, I went through it, too, and all I can say is that it takes time to get passed that.

          Because your ex had a disorder, it doesn’t mean you had some opposite disorder. Anyone can be targeted and abused by these people; you don’t need to be a love addict or co-dependent.

          Here’s a link to what I believe is the best post on this site. If I could have just written one page, this would be it: Never Get Involved with a Psychopath, Narcissist or Sociopath—or Any Abuser—Ever Again

          I’m sorry, but I don’t know of in-person support groups where you live. Call your local DV organization–they might have a support group or know of one. Take good care of yourself. I wish you all the best, Giovanna!

  62. Hi Adelyn,

    I met a man in 2008, the 1st time I saw him I saw a white light around him, during our time studying in the US he always called my attention, his voice, the way he moved, his arrogant way of standing, his kind of aggressive hand gestures, etc. to me he was the most beautiful and attractive man I had seen, now I see as If I was under a spell, I had never felt that way about anyone and I have not felt that again, it has happened just with him, I’m a believer in God and I even forgot God existed, this man became my God. He left to his country and I left to mine and he began pursuing me, texting me, sending me songs, calling me, told me he loved me, told God helped him found the woman to him, talked to me all the time, etc. My heart opened for the 1st time in my life to someone, it makes me so sad cause I always took care of myself and my heart so much. I sent this person all my pics since I was a child, I had never done that with anybody and now he has all my pics. After a year he told me he was sick, sent me all his pics as a sick person, he said he was not going to work, I always asked him what illness he had, he never told me, he just said he was sick, he did that for 5 years, all that time I waited for him, I never even went out with someone else, even though he became so abusive to me, he made me silent treatments, told me: you deserve to be abandon by your dad (I had told him my dad had cheated on my mom and has left my family), told me all men will cheat on me (I once told him that women decide when they have sex even with their husbands, the men don’t decide that), he confused me, etc. I went from a 26 years old woman who was happy, at peace, and proud of herself to a miserable woman, who cried every day, could not sleep, was always afraid, felt worthless, etc. The pain I have felt is indescribable, he destroyed me and my life. In March 2015 he told me he hated me I guess cause I was always trying to get the truth from him, cause I felt something was very weird, he told me to dont wait for him. In june 2016 I talked to him last time, he sent me his sick pic, he told he loved me but he was sick, and I found out he got married in march 2017, i asked that time if he wanted to have a girlfriend and he said no. Now I wonder since when was him this woman?
    I dont understand…my life is a nightmare, he destroyed the person I was and I loved to be, now i dont like myself, I feel he is the devil himself, he enter my life with the purpose of destroying it.

    Now I am beginning to see his true colors, but is still confusing cause he seems to have a perfect life, so I feel i was the crazy one and i feel so much guilt, if he found someone to love him

    thanks adelyn

    1. Adelyn Birch

      e, I’m so sorry you went through such hell and that you’re suffering so much now. I know what it’s like to feel you’ve been destroyed, and having it made worse by knowing they’ve moved on and are living a seemingly happy life. This is what they do. They’re like tornadoes, leaving a path of destruction behind them while they themselves remain unscathed. The reason they can do it is their lack of emotion, their inability to love or to bond or to form anything close to resembling an actual relationship. There is no real happiness in that way of being; only the smug satisfaction at having the upper hand, and the temporary high that a new target brings, which can never last and always turns into devaluation, abuse and contempt.

      They plunder and pillage every part of us, even our souls, and healing from that is no small matter–but it is possible. You feel the person you were was destroyed, but I promise you that you’re still there, under the rubble but there nonetheless. It takes time to dig yourself out of that, but know that you will. Be determined and have faith that you will heal, even if you don’t have a clue right now as to how it will happen or are wondering if it’s even possible. Many of us have gone before you, and we have come out the other side. We’re with you in spirit, with a hand extended to you to help you through. You’re not alone. I wish you all the best, e.

      1. Giovanna

        Hi Adelyn…i loved your response to the lady who wrote to you on April 22nd…Tornado is a PERFECT analogy that i had never thought of…i especially love the observation of their being “unscathed” by what they leave in their wake. I have often thought that if i ever came face to face with him again, i would say just that, “you destroyed me and you know it”…don’t worry though, i have not contacted him since 2016 nor do i intend to for the rest of my days, and something tells me that our paths will never cross again. I suppose it is only natural to fantasize about confronting someone who hurt us so deeply.

        Thanks for your very helpful reply to me above. I did review the resources you recommended, and as with all of your information, they are sanity-savers. I have been doing SO much thinking since then. I got more news about him on April 12th that rocked me to the core and further twisted the dagger in my heart, which March’s news stabbed me with, compelling me to write to you in the first place.

        I have not seen his face or heard his voice since October 2016 and yet i still wake up in the middle of the night wholly unable to fully “wrap my head around” this entire situation. Traumatic and “emotional rape” are not exaggerations, and you are right to say that family and friends underestimate the devastation we are experiencing, chalking it up to a regular break-up.

        How a human being can change from being smiley, dopey, seemingly pure-hearted, and completely attentive and receptive to my every need, almost anticipating my every word and thought to being a miserable, dark, calculating, diabolically-sneaky indifferent individual who uses his intimate knowledge of me to hurt me in the ways that would sting the most sharply.

        He knew i had been hurt before and that i was only looking for that forever kind of love. Overriding every doubt, he convinced me that HE was my Mister Forever. He worked tirelessly to gain my trust and made me feel 100% safe with him–right up until he got my heart, that is.

        I have come to realize that when i grieved the loss of the relationship, i was really grieving the death of my dreams for “us”, the ones i had planted in his eyes and which he took with him when he left.

        I have a new dream now. That “Idealize Devalue Discard” will become household words. That no one should ever again be blindsided by this horrific concept well into their thirties only after it shatters their self-image and ability to ever trust themselves or others again.

        I’m working on a project, which i feel is my current life mission and gives purpose to my pain, that i did not undergo it in vain.

        Fellow Survivor and Grateful Reader,

        1. Adelyn Birch

          Hi, Giovanna. Glad to hear you found the resources helpful. I’m sorry you’re dealing with confusion and intrusive thoughts. “Trauma” and “emotional rape” are no exaggeration, as you said, and at seven months out, you’re still in the earlier part of the healing process. And you’re doing the right things–reaching out for support and advice, asking questions, finding things that help you move forward. It takes determination and effort to recover, understanding what you’ve been through, being heard and understood and knowing you’re not alone. I’m sorry you got more upsetting news about him; is there any way to stop getting it? If it’s through a person, tell them you don’t want to hear about him. If it’s through social media, block his accounts.

          You will trust yourself and others again. I know that might seem impossible now, but with healing it will happen. There’s a feeling of having been destroyed that goes along with this, but one thing we discover is just how resilient we are. I feel confident you’ll make the same discovery. There’s a theory that we develop resilience as it’s needed, and that was true for me and many people I’ve heard from.

          I’m really glad to hear you’re on a mission to teach and help others. It will help you, too. I started this site just two months after he was gone, and writing about the ideas and insights that helped me was useful to further clarify them in my own mind. Even if someone doesn’t write for others, I highly recommend keeping a journal; it has the same effect of organizing your thought process and it’s a place to express emotions, which is so important.

          I just want to add that no one who goes through this has done so in vain. There’s a tremendous amount of personal growth that comes from it: wisdom, self-knowledge, self-confidence, self-worth and self-compassion, along with a greater understanding of others.

  63. Giovanna

    Also, i would like to buy all 5 of your books. What is the best way to do so ?

    1. Adelyn Birch

      You can buy them on Amazon; it’s the only place they’re available right now. Thank you.

  64. Cora

    I am from germany, and I try to find answers, have come across your page. I am undecided whether I stumbled over a psychopath 20 mths ago, or not. Could you help in sorting out my experiences?

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Cora. I understand your need to comprehend your experience. It’s important, and I’m glad you’re pursuing it. What I can tell you for sure, not even having heard the details, is that if you’re suspecting he may have been a psychopath because of the way he acted and treated you, and how he left you feeling, then he has some disorder–yes, maybe psychopathy–that makes him manipulative and prevents him from having empathy, which is necessary for an emotional connection. It’s not really necessary to diagnose him, though.

      “It’s easy to get obsessed with, fixated on, labels and diagnostic categories like sociopath, psychopath, malignant narcissist, narcissist, etc… Does it really matter what precise label — accurate or not — you affix to an individual when he’s proven to be emotionally unavailable, or a compulsive liar, or an abusive personality, or a chronically selfish, self-centered partner, or a chronic, comfortable manipulator and deceiver?”
      ~ Steve Becker, LCSW, Lovefraud

      But I understand your desire to know, and I believe the following blog posts will help you to figure it out.

      Never Get Involved with a Psychopath, Narcissist, Sociopath—Or Any Abuser—Ever Again. This post details manipulative behavior and lack of empathy, which you can use to compare his behavior.

      Was the relationship based on Intensity or Intimacy? A Relationship Litmus Test

      Did you sometimes witness facial expressions or emotions that didn’t seem genuine or even downright fake? Walking in the shadow of the Uncanny Valley.

      Check out three lists of psychopathy characteristics (Cognitive (thought), Affective (emotion) and Behavior). Start here: The Big List of Psychopathy Characteristics, Part One

      I hope that will help you to find answers, Cora. Trust your perceptions. Best wishes to you.

      1. Cora

        Thank you Adelyn.
        I’d like to tell, after many months that I noticed something was very wrong (which turned out to be the performance of the always-same-and-common-pattern-of-abuse), I then, for the past weeks, did behave ‘stubborn’ – as far as the P. would probably describe it. Recently I started to ask questions, like “Whats up with the strange r/ship with your mother”, “Did you cheat”, “Have you ever tortured animals” etc. , then more questions connected to the r/ship.
        I was asked: “Do you love me”, which I answerd “I don’t know, and you?”. He thinks “yes” because he loves to have me there, always. I asked “Have you ever loved somebody”, answer: “I really don’t know. I think so.” Short later: ” Yes I am a narcississt.”
        I never mentioned that word to him. I was more thinking of a psychopath. However,
        I wasn’t expecting this and did not know what to think, or to answer.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          Hi, Cora. The abuse usually becomes obvious at some point, but if you question them it’s impossible to take their answers seriously because they lie so much. He may very well have been honest about being a narcissist; it’s hard to say. But both narcissists and psychopaths cause trauma in exploitative relationships. I hope you have the help and support you need.

  65. Payton

    I survived an almost 5 year lesbian relationship with a female psychopath (secondary subtype). I figured her out 2 years before i was finally able and healthy enough to break free from the vortex of hell that she was. I had tried breaking up with her several times but she always sucked me back in and I was not healthy enough. This website and your books (i’ve read all of them at least once) are some of the BEST resources out there! Some of the resources that truly saved my life! I have so much information that i’ve gathered from my experience (her words, audio recordings, etc.) and i want to write a book about it because female psychopaths are not fully understood and there isn’t as much information out there. i may not be a PhD but the information I gathered over this 5 year period is vital to understanding how sick these women can be. What suggestions do you have for starting the process of writing a book about something like this? i have SO much information and examples that organizing it alone is an overwhelming thought. Any suggestions, guidance or resources would be greatly appreciated! This information needs to get out there because these people leave a trail of destruction and no one even notices!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Payton. I’m so happy you’re free from that “vortex of hell” (a perfect description). And I am so glad to hear you were helped by my work! You made my day. Thank you for letting me know.

      I agree, you must write your book. Not enough is known about female psychopaths, especially in lesbian relationships, but it is a clear and present danger. I know from my lesbian friends that it’s even harder for them to meet a partner, so when they do they tend to get very serious right away, which increases their vulnerability even more.

      Don’t worry about a PhD. I don’t have one either; you only need to have something important to share, that you feel you must share (and you have those).

      Believe it or not, I have never given much thought to the process of how all of this came about. I felt had to write it, almost as if I had no choice in the matter. I would get struck with an idea and have to push everything aside and write nonstop until a blog post was finished. But now you’ve got me wondering… surely there must be some underlying process I can share with you. Give me a chance to mull it over and I’ll send you an email, OK?

      Thank you for your comment and your kind words.

  66. HT Goh

    Hi Adelyn,

    I noticed that I’ve been quoted in an article, titled “Convicted, Diagnosed and Institutionalized.” To be honest I can’t recall if I’ve given permission but may have forgotten. Could I please speak to you about this?

    The email I’ve used isn’t real but Simple Comments has an error if I don’t supply any. Would it be possible for you to contact me via Twitter at my account @huantzingoh ?

    Thanks a lot in advance, sorry to be a bother!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi. I don’t use Twitter, but please contact me by email: pathsandlove@gmail.com so we can talk about it. Thank you!

      1. Adelyn Birch

        I have not heard from you, so I removed your quote until I have your permission to use it. I hope you will grant it, and if you do, I will truly appreciate it. I wasn’t aware that I needed to seek your permission. My apologies. I feel your quote was an important and meaningful part of the blog post, as it not only pertains to the topic at hand, but also applies in a broader sense. Thank you.

  67. Liliya

    Dear Adelyn,

    I am very grateful for your book, which I read, and for this site, which was the best help in overcoming a breakup with a psychopath. The book has a healing power than non of the therapists could offer.

    I have a question to you and to others please:

    What do you do when you know you will be meeting the same psychopath again after a breakup? What do you say, do, when you stumble upon them, perhaps repeatedly? I know they do not care. And we should be stronger. But sharing ‘best practices’ would help :)

    Thank you very much

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Liliya. I’m so glad to hear one of my books helped you. May I ask which one it was?

      I’m sorry you anticipate having to run into the P. I never saw mine again (at least not yet), but in order to do that I gave up going to some places I enjoyed (I realize that may not be possible). I knew I still might run into him somewhere, so I planned in advance. It was empowering to have a plan in place, at the ready if I should need it. I decided that if I saw him and he approached me, I would keep a poker face as best I could and tell him I didn’t wish to speak with him, excuse myself, and walk away. I kept it simple so it would be easy to remember under stress. Even that very simple plan allowed me to go about my business without so much anxiety about running into him and reacting in some way I hadn’t expected and might regret later. My advice is to come up with a concrete plan. Best of luck with it, and with not crossing paths with him.

  68. Sick of BS

    Thankfully, the word of psychopathy & functional sociopathy is finally getting around. These monsters (sexual predators & backstabbers) – 4% population – 3/4 men…have been abusing the internet & social media for yrs. They stalk ur dog parks & linger at ur social bars & clubs – always on the hunt. Any person that wants to believe in polyamory groups…they thrive in numbers. The biggest thing I read on this site is about SELF-BLAME….STOP IT!
    U can’t balme urself for running into a person with a serious brain injury…& U were never told they had it. Yep, they look normal, even look great, dress fab, well spoken, poss been to Uni & may hold a very good job (I believe there are a few politicians in this area)…but there is a BIG serious problem, with the brain-wiring upstairs…these ppl don’t care or have feelings , AT ALL. They FAKE everything. This isn’t bad talk…it’s MENTAL health recognised.
    However, what we are ALL learning is they have a very similar approach to romantic situations…they have to FAKE it. They’re impulsive & bore easily…so, if U don’t take them up on their fast approach…they’ll soon be snobbing U.
    That’s the difference with s/o that is genuinely interested in U. And, U do have to keep asking that question as u’r being dragged along: does this really FEEL like this person is into me?…coz, I’m picking up some rudeness.
    Yep, initial stages seems like lots of contact…but, contact lack of respect & often stonewalling when it suits.
    SO, as lonely as some of U may feel…don’t be tempted to let the CIRCUS in. Let the circus leave town ppl…coz, that is exactly what U will be dragged into.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      “They’re impulsive & bore easily…so, if U don’t take them up on their fast approach…they’ll soon be snobbing U.” Yes. Take it slow–if someone is truly interested in you, they’ll stick around. The problem is these ‘relationships’ very often seem like the kind where it’s perfectly safe to throw all caution to the wind. Unfortunately, the opposite is true.

  69. Sick of BS

    MOST of all…if U think the relationship is serious. STOP the txting…it’s informal & damn rude.

  70. Tim

    Hi I have a friend who I have known for my whole live that is going through some heavily manipulation from their spouse. They have stopped talking to me and I am looking for a way to help. It’s an extremely difficult situation and I would appreciate some help with it. It is a long story so I would rather email you about it. Could you give me a way to contact you about it?

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Tim. Sorry to hear of the problems with your friend. I’d prefer to discuss it here, if you don’t mind, so other readers can benefit from it.
      Talk with you soon

  71. Brit


    My ex boyfriend is a Sociopath. He lied, cheated, manipulated me, judge me using my past to cover his mistakes…
    He has sent me testimonias of the real “truth”.
    All details in a chronological order. Also mentioning reasons why he loves me and why i should forgive him.
    After i emailed him rejecting everything, making clear that he lost control, that I do not love him anymore and I will make it legal if he tries to reach out to me. He sent me 4 voicemessages from different number in 2 days.
    Saying how much he needs me to forgive him, that he doesn’t want anyone else, that i should give him 5 minutes to talk, that we should try again.

    I need help because i still love him, but im afraid he wont change or he will manipulate me again, and that i will be trapped in a toxic relationship.

    Should i give him a chance? What should I do?

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Brit. My best advice to you is to trust yourself. Trust your own perceptions. You believe he’s a sociopath, because he acted like one–lying, cheating and manipulating. Relationships like this (with intense emotional highs and lows, instead of emotional intimacy) create what’s known as a trauma bond, a very strong but unhealthy attachment to an abuser. Don’t let it sabotage your effort to be free of him.
      A post for you to read: Intensity or Intimacy? A Relationship Litmus Test
      Best of luck to you, Brit.

  72. Anna

    I think that I’m having withdrawal symptoms from my psychopath. I don’t know if he really even is a psychopath. I swing from believing that he is one to thinking that I’ve got it wrong.
    I’m not in contact with him, it has only been a few days, and I don’t know if I can keep it up. I’ll try not to contact him.
    I just feel like dying. I won’t though, I’ll keep going.
    This isn’t the first time this has happened. I’ve been reading on a lot of sites, but no one seems to talk about this happening to them before. I was married to one a few years ago; I have children with him. I was also friends with one, a woman. I must be doing something wrong for this to repeatedly happen, or maybe I’m imagining it, I don’t even know.
    Thankyou for your site. It has helped me tonight.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Anna. I understand the painful and confusing place you’re in right now, and I’m sorry you’re going through it. You’re going back and forth between thinking he’s a psychopath to wondering if you have it all wrong, which says to me there were some serious problems in the relationship. You don’t have to diagnose him; what really matters at this point is whether or not he’s capable of having a healthy relationship, or only a toxic one that fills you with turmoil, uncertainty and angst. Is he honest? Trustworthy? Does he consistently respect, value and love you? What effect has being in a relationship with him had on you? We really need only to look at our own emotional state to find the answer. Pathological people are very good at getting us to doubt our own perceptions. Trust yourself, Anna.

      You say you’ve had a string of relationships with pathological partners. You’re not alone in that, and many people who’ve had the same thing happen had a mother, father or sibling who was pathological. If so, that can pave the way for more. Not only does it beat down self-confidence and self-worth, but can leave us thinking that’s just how relationships are. My advice is to find a good therapist and examine your relationships from the beginning (that made a world of difference for me), and also to learn about boundaries and develop yours. They truly will enable you to protect yourself.

      I’m glad the site has helped you, Anna, and I wish you all the best. May you find some peace in the midst of this difficult time.

      1. Anna

        Hello Adelyn,
        I did contact him again. He was being kind and sweet to me, so I thought that I was wrong about him. I stayed on guard during that time. I had a feeling that things would change, and they did. He showered me in love for 2 weeks, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, the abuse started again.
        It’s been difficult, but I’ve had no contact with him for 2 weeks. It’s hard, but I know that I’ll never have contact with him again.
        I have up days and down days. Yesterday was a weak day, but I took each hour as it came. I distracted my self by doing things that I love, things that I now have time for because he isn’t dominating every millisecond of my time. In some ways, it felt wonderful. Even though, it was a weak day, I kept my strength right up until the end of the day.
        Today is a stronger day.
        Everyday, I spend some time on your site and some other sites, just to keep reminding myself that I’m not imagining everything, and to stop him from getting to me. Once I have done that, I go and do something that I love.
        Just before I severed contact, he told me and other people that I am the abuser. I tried to defend myself, but have since given up. I’m no match for him, and defending myself seemed to be hurting me more. I can’t change other people’s opinions of me. I know that those who really love me will know that I’m not the person that he says I am. Keeping quiet is easiest. I’ll just keep writing, drawing, reading and relearning to love life – if that is possible.
        Your site has saved my life.


        1. Adelyn Birch

          Anna, it sounds like you’re beginning the process of acceptance, which brings you further along the path to healing (even though it sometimes may not feel that way).

          Acceptance is simply the acknowledgement of reality, not the final stage in the healing process. It helps you move through the process. Too often people think that if they’ve recognized the truth of the matter, that should be the end of it, but it doesn’t work that way. You’ve accepted that he isn’t going to change, and while that’s a big step, it brings with it the stark and painful knowledge that there’s no longer any hope for the relationship you believed in and cherished, and that often brings on a whole different kind (and level) of heartbreak, to say the least. That heartbreak is normal, and acknowledging and accepting those feelings (instead of suppressing them or faulting yourself for having them) can allay self-judgement and self-criticism, which perpetuate depression and even PTSD. Be conscious of meeting those emotions with self-compassion, which means bringing kindness, care, empathy, tolerance and patience to your own experience. It is such a vital part of healing from this trauma. I will never forget the shift that happened when I went from blaming and berating myself to feeling genuine self-compassion. It was as if the dungeon door was finally opened, and light shined in on my soul. I still had a way to go until the end of the journey, but I was free to get there.

          It’s unfortunate but true that there will be people who don’t know the truth of what happened, and those who do but fail to understand it, and that’s yet another thing to accept. It sounds like you’re doing that. Acceptance isn’t an end point; it weaves through the healing process and happens in stages and layers. You’re getting there, Anna. It’s good you’re writing and drawing and reading. In doing those things, you’re affirming yourself and your life—which you will one day love again.

          1. Anna

            Months later, I still wake up with nightmares. I’m still in deep shock, but I’m moving forward slowly. I now take antidepressant medication, and it is helping. I tried to resist doing that, but the lows were becoming too frequent and that frightened me.
            I still don’t talk to him, but I did find out that there was a new woman lined up to become a victim. I told her everything, and she believed me. She knew there was something ‘off’ about him. He must have realised that her and I knew each other, possibly saw our connection over social media. He did contact me in rage and told me to stay away, but I stayed quiet, didn’t respond. He didn’t seem that bothered, and switched to someone else almost straight away.
            I feel sick to the core of my very being that he will continue to pursue and ruin the lives of other women. I wish I could help them all, and the newest woman, but I’m tired. I know I can’t find any peace if I continue to warn every woman that he ever comes into contact with. So, for my own sanity, I have to walk away. I feel terrible. The guilt and turmoil is overwhelming.

            1. Adelyn Birch

              Hi, Anna. It’s hard knowing they’ll victimize others but realizing the personal cost of trying to stop them is just too high. I made the same decision, for my own sanity and my safety. Around two years ago I was stunned by this comment from a reader warning others about what happened to her when she warned a future victim on facebook:

              “Colorado law (where I live) has hideous domestic violence laws, and me sending a message on facebook to one of his “girlfriends” is considered harassment. And yes, domestic violence is prosecuted in criminal court (not civil). I now have a record as a violent criminal in the state of Colorado for simply trying to warn one of his victims. I gave a written statement to the police about his predatorial behavior of women and using them for money and a place to live – they still arrested me, not him. As far as I can tell, police have no idea about sociopaths and how they victimize women. Even the counselor in the domestic violence group sessions wouldn’t acknowledge him as a sociopath. We are truly isolated in our suffering.”

              This is (I hope) an unusual and especially unfortunate example. Each of us has to make our own decision. I understand you feel guilty, but sometimes we have no choice but to put ourselves first. You’re deeply traumatized right now, and dealing with that is more than enough. I don’t think any of us is responsible for policing social networks for the next 30 years. There is no stopping them, unless they can be charged with a crime and jailed. When you’re up to it, you can help to prevent future victims by finding a way to educate others. Don’t worry about that now; just take care of yourself.

              I wish you the best, Anna.

  73. Betty

    Hello Adelyn, we’ve had a conversation in the topic “malignant narcissist”. I was reading your last post. Recently something happened to me and I was speachless about the things I had found out. Like two months ago I had fallen for a guy on YT who has his own channel and claims to be a psychologist, a victim of narcissistic abuse and now a devoted life coach, providing information and techniques/books that would help other victims of narcissistic abuse. His name is _________________ (please, if possible, don’t publish his name) and is active as Sp*art*an Li*fe Co*ach (I’m intentionally putting asterisks, so that it wont be found easily by search engines). I was watching one of his older videos and I literally fell for him. Not just that I liked the way he talks but I was also laughing so much. I didn’t realize that I was hypnotised or even put in trance. I kept watching few other videos that where related to my personal experiences. I have also felt that my personal injury simply vanished and I kept asking myself how did he do it. But very soon, after watching more videos I started to get red flags. I did research on him and could only find things that I didn’t like at all. He is an NLP master practitioner trained by the co-founder Richard Bundler, whos biography and past give strong suggestion that Bundler might be a psychopath. He developed a questionable method called neuro linguistic programming that is all based on charm, persuasion, deceit and even occultism, black magic, shamanism, sorcery…you name it. I don’t know how familiar are you with this subject but it would be great if you could do some research or even write about this. RG is also a drug addict and has led an unhealthy lifestyle, similar to that of RIchard Bundler, his mentor. Some of his followers have noticed that he has changed a lot after meeting Sam Vakin. I cannot personally diagnose RG but he is definitely someone who should be avoided. He claims that his father was a corporate psychopath and that his family members are narcissists. Regarding NLP I had found a blog post 10 ways to protect yourself from NLP mind control written by by ultraculture.org Perhaps this blog will help you to understand what’s behind the media & social influence and how it works also in other areas (politics, marketing, business and even health care). Maybe you’ll notice also how much it clarifies all the points you had written in your last post.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Betty. One of the last lines of that article gives very good advice: “If your gut tells you somebody is fucking with you, or you feel uneasy around them, trust it.” I want to add that if you feel the opposite—a sense of “clicking” with someone, of really good rapport, a near-instant connection—you need to take notice, as you did with the dangerous-sounding man on YouTube. I’m glad you saw it for what it was and disengaged.

      NLP/hypnotic language may or may not stand out, and mirroring might not either since we all do it subconsciously, so the easiest thing to watch for are *your own reactions* to another person. If you feel a special rapport with someone new, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing (unless you have a bad feeling about them); it might be that you met someone you get along with. But it is definitely something to be aware of, and then stay alert and in control of your conversation and your boundaries while learning more about them.

      A little story as an example. About a year ago I went to this dumpy car repair place nearby for my yearly inspection. I got out of my car and was approached by a very scroungy looking man; I wondered if he was homeless and was going to ask me for money. He said good morning and handed me a business card, and it turned out he owned the place. A mechanic came and took my car in, and it was a gorgeous day and I didn’t want to go sit in the office, so there I was in the parking lot with this man who looked like he didn’t own a comb or a toothbrush, let alone a car repair business, and it turns out he was very friendly. He was very easy to talk to. We talked and laughed, and since I’m a student of psychology (my own as well), I noticed the rapport right away. And I noticed something else—the scroungy man was transforming before my eyes into an attractive, intriguing man, so charming he was! I wanted to study him to figure out what was making this possible so I kept talking with him (“curiosity killed the cat” works well here). And then I noticed something else; he reminded me very much of my ex-P. Not that he looked like him, but his demeanor was so much like his. Naturally this put up a red flag. He was asking me a lot of questions, which I was careful to answer vaguely and then direct back at him. He was definitely “interviewing” me (many predators–robbers, rapists, manipulators, etc–will “interview” potential victims, meaning that they ask questions, violate distance, test boundaries, and then watch to see how the target responds). (*Google “pre-attack indicators”). I didn’t feel like he was going to attack me, but I knew the conversation had a purpose. He ended up asking me if I wanted to come over his house some evening and smoke a joint in the hot tub with him and his wife. Of course the answer was no. Maybe he was just trying to pick me up, but who knows what would have happened if I was foolish enough to accept his invitation. I went to a different place to have my car inspected this year, BTW.

      Betty, as I was reading about NLP training in that article it sounded to me like they teach people to be psychopathic, at least as much as a non-psychopathic person can be. It’s definitely a fascinating subject, and one we all need to be aware of. Thank you for sharing it with me.

  74. Betty

    Hello Adelyne, thank you for your reply and for sharing your personal experience. I was astonished how my brain would start automatically to erase any first red flags about RG. I guess I had fallen for his deadly boyish charm, like a fly who’d fell into a honey jar, so with my head first….Geezzz, and for the first time I really understand what other victims have reported about that psychopathic or narcissistic charm. I was disarmed within seconds. Boy, I’m so glad that I have disconnected right in time. Unfortunatelly, I have another problem. I have also started a trauma yoga therapy with a female psychologist and yoga techer. Guess what, she is also NLP master practitioner. I’ll have to discuss this with my therapist, who suggested her to me. He didn’t know anything about NLP or the guy from YT, so I guess he doesn’t know much about the yoga teacher as well. She is a real snake. Geeezzz, my all this end good.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      It’s true, we can be disarmed in mere seconds, which is why it’s so important to notice when we are! I’m sorry the trauma yoga teacher turned out to be a snake. Scary to think of her treating unsuspecting people. It’s good you’re awake and aware and able to protect yourself, Betty.

  75. Ava

    Hi Adelyn, I just found your blog and I love it! Lots of great info.

    I have a question for you:

    I work with someone who I think may be a narcissist or psychopath but i’m not sure which. He has been making my work environment uncomfortable and hostile but i’m not sure what to do.

    I am the supervisior of a small children’s daycare inside of a larger gym (the gym members drop off their kids while they work out). The gym has a sales department where people buy their memberships. The manager of the sales department is who I am concerned about.

    He is married, but has attempted to have affairs with several women at work (including me, but I rejected him). He also lies constantly. He claims that he has a masters degree from harvard but I did a background check on him and found out he never went to college. I also know he abuses drugs.

    My main problem with him began when he started bringing small toys into the daycare. I did not realize who was doing this, I figured it was one of the older kids and threw the small toys away because our daycare has mostly young kids under age 2 and I was worried they might choke on the toys.

    So a few weeks ago I get a text from the sales manager on a saturday, which is my only day off. Somehow he found out I threw away his toys and he went ballistic on me. Apparently he was adding toys in there to make the daycare more “sellable” to potential members. He tells me, “I can’t believe you threw away those toys! I spent my own money on those toys! Don’t throw them away!!!”

    I calmly explained to him that I got rid of them because of the choking hazard, but he was still angry with me. He told me I wasn’t good at my job and that I needed to work harder to make the daycare look better. I was calm, yet assertive and told him I wasn’t going to discuss this with him on my day off and that we could have a conversation during the work week. He never responded to my last text.

    So the next week goes by and he actively avoids me at work. It was really awkward. Then late on friday night he approaches me as i’m about to leave and says, “we are cool, right?”

    I say, “I don’t know, are we? You seemed pretty angry when you texted me last week.”

    Then he says, “I was just trying to help you but you got really upset. I’m sorry you got SOOO upset!” (He said this in a very mocking tone).

    I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t feel like my responses to him had ever come across as upset.

    I don’t know how to deal with this coworker. He continues to bring small toys that are choking hazards into the daycare even though I have repeatedly told him it is dangerous, and he just ignores me. I have spoken to my boss already, but my boss doesn’t think it is a big deal.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      You’ve handled him perfectly, Ava. Good job. But wow, he needs to go! Did you tell your boss everything you wrote here? About what sounds to me like sexual harassment, the fake degree, the drugs, the lying? If some of your coworkers feel the same way you do, it would help if they shared their concerns with the boss. Be sure to tell your boss each time he leaves small toys in the daycare and keep a record of all of it, because if your boss won’t act, you may need to go higher up the chain of command (if there is one). I hope you saved the text messages. Other than that, I don’t know what to tell you. It seems to me that he WANTS you to get upset, but don’t fall for it. Just continue being cool, calm and assertive. Good luck, Ava.

      P.S. A great book on the subject of psychopaths at work is “Snakes in Suits” by Babiak and Hare. “A revealing look at psychopaths in the workplace — how to spot their destructive behavior and stop them from creating chaos in the modern corporate organization. Snakes in Suits has become the definitive book on how to discover and defend yourself against psychopaths in the office.”

      1. Ava

        Thanks Adelyn, your feedback means a lot.

        I have been feeling like I didn’t handle the situation very well.

        When he accused me of being upset, I didn’t say anything because I was shocked he said that and I didn’t know how to respond. I have saved the text messages and I have read my last text over and over again trying to figure out why he thought I was upset.

        Do you think he was just trying to gaslight me? To manipulate me into thinking I am the problem?

        I showed the texts to my boss, and he told me that I should have not responded to his original text. I disagreed with my boss and told him that this guy needed to know 1. why he shouldn’t be putting small toys in the daycare and 2. He should discuss things wih me at work, not on my day off.

        My boss’s attitude about the whole thing is “I don’t work in the daycare so it’s not my problem.”

        I have told my boss about the other times he has tried to put toys in there, and my boss always says he will handle it but I don’t think he does.

        Last time this guy put toys in the daycare, I caught him in the act because he did it at a time when I don’t usually work. I was covering a shift for someone else when I saw him and I said, “What are you doing?” When he heard me, he didn’t even make eye contact and then ran out of the daycare like a scared little girl! This guy is in his 30s, by the way.

        As for the sexual harassment, I haven’t told my boss because I don’t think it will change anything. I have dealt with sexual harassment from pretty much every male who works here and complaining about it does absolutely nothing so i’ve just learned to deal with it on my own.

        Believe it or not, the sales manager guy and I were friends when I first started working here. He was really nice and talked about how much he loved his wife. I thought he was the only man who worked here who wasn’t a sexist pig. But then he started asking me to have drinks with him and to smoke pot with him, he even invited me over to his house when his wife wasn’t home. That is when I knew to keep my distance from him.

        The last time he asked me out I told him, “Don’t you have a wife? Why don’t you go out with her?” I think that made him angry because after I said that, his demeanor towards me changed.

        The day after I rejected him, he came into the daycare while I was working and in front of all the kids he said, “Just because you’re attractive doesn’t mean I want to have sex with you!” I didn’t know what to say, so I said nothing. I thought it was an odd thing to say. Maybe he was trying to hurt my feelings? I don’t know.

        Then a few days after that, we were having a work-related conversation and he says to me, “You’re really awkward. You have an awkward personality”. Now THAT did hurt my feelings because I know I am an introverted person but I try to be friendly and outgoing at work.

        As for the fake degree, lying and drug use, I have never said anything to my boss because my boss and I have nothing to do with the sales department so I don’t feel that it is my place. I don’t even think his job requires a degree. I am also afraid that if he did get fired because I said something, he would figure out it was me and try to get revenge.

        Luckily this guy has been talking about wanting to transfer to another gym, so I am hoping that he just goes away and I don’t have to deal with him ever again.

        Thanks for the book suggestion Adelyn. I have been reading a lot of books about psychopaths, narcissists and the like and how to deal with them for a while now. I’m in my early 20s and have been working since I was 16 and i’ve dealt with a lot of bullying at work/school but i’ve been trying to teach myself how to stand up for myself. Most of the time I worry that I am not doing enough.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          Do you think he was just trying to gaslight me? To manipulate me into thinking I am the problem? YES. That’s exactly what I’m thinking.

          This guy is creating a hostile work environment for you, and I’m truly sorry you have to deal with that. It’s stressful. Unfortunately, bullying doesn’t end with school.

          Does your company have a harassment policy? If so, read it so you’re clear on what steps you should be taking. Is there a Human Resources department? If so, you need to pay a visit and fill them in on what’s been happening. HR is specifically designed to handle these kinds of complaints.

          I understand you being afraid of him getting revenge if he’s fired, and I have no way of knowing what he’s capable of, but you must assert yourself. If you give this guy an inch, he’ll take a mile. He’s testing your boundaries. Assert yourself in a matter-of-fact way, and in no uncertain terms. Be clear and specific about what you want, and use “I” statements: “I want you to ________” or “I don’t want you to ______ anymore.” This makes it difficult for a manipulator to distort what you’re asking. Keep a record of it. Don’t try to be nice to him. Just be neutral, as if you’re a gray rock. There is something called the “gray rock method” for dealing with psychopathic types, and that’s basically it. Be boring and unprovokable, and assert yourself clearly and calmly as needed.

          I hope he’ll leave and go work elsewhere, Ava. If not, I hope he’ll give up and let you do your job in peace and that you’re not the one who ends up leaving. If it comes down to that, you’ll be far from the only one who decided to find a new job to keep your sanity. Let me know what happens, OK? Best of luck to you. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  76. Emmy

    Can manipulation by a psychopath have long-term effects? I am a young female who suffers from anxiety related “episodes” and I am not sure how much of this is caused by a terrible, emotionally manipulating experience that I had about 5 years ago.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Emmy. I’m sorry you’re suffering from anxiety. Yes, it could very well be related to unresolved trauma; this kind of experience is usually deeply traumatic, and therefore capable of having lasting effects. It’s called “emotional rape” for a reason. Our homes and our selves are our basic places of safety. When our self is violated, we have nowhere to go to feel safe. The fact that this kind of violation is perpetrated by someone we thought we knew and trusted leaves us shaken and fearful. Our feelings of certainty, security and safety can be pretty well shattered and we’re left feeling vulnerable and afraid, and this fear is existential and primordial and reaches down to our core. It’s a lot to overcome–but it is entirely possible. Many of us have done just that. It takes time and effort, but it’s well worth it. You deserve to heal completely. Be determined. My advice is to see a therapist who has expertise in abusive relationships and character disorders. Seeing one without this expertise may not help, and can even harm. I’ve also heard good things about EMDR from other readers.

      Also, check the sidebar under the heading “Healing,” and take a look at the articles in the blog category “trauma” and see if anything resonates: https://psychopathsandlove.com/category/trauma/

      I wish you all the best in finding relief from your anxiety. And in every other way, too.

  77. Rachel

    I’ve suffered for a long time after breaking up with my ex. And only recently, I learned about this whole psychopathy thing and things began to make sense to me so much.
    However, there are still unresolved parts too.
    My story is quite long and complicated, so it’s a little difficult to ask them through this comment section.
    If it’s alright with you, may I contact you in person? perhaps through email?
    Or are there any Q&A section on your blog?
    It seems like your blog has the most useful resources amongst communities for psychopathy victims.
    I’m writing this comment all the way from S. Korea because there are not many online sources on psychopathy issues in Korea.
    I desperately need your help.
    Thank you!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Rachel. I’m sorry that you’ve suffered so much. When you figure out what really happened, like you have, it’s a major step because you can start making progress toward recovery. I’m so happy to hear you find the website useful! I don’t have a Q&A section, but I think it’s a good idea. What questions might be helpful? I’m very sorry to say that I don’t have the time now to give you the personal attention you would deserve in a one-on-one conversation. I hate having to say that, because I know what it’s like. I hope you will find the support you need, Rachel, and I wish you the best on your path to healing. You’ll get there. Remember to be kind to yourself along the way–it makes a big difference.

  78. Littleflower

    Thank you so much for this website, Can’t even begin to explain how helpful it has been. I found out in December that my husband of 28 years had been having an affair with a neighbor…. to say that I was devastated would be an understatement. My husband is the kindest, gentlest man with high moral standards and integrity, it did not seem possible. And, we truly had a good marriage. Initially, all he could say was that she was very powerful and talked about the flattery. I could not imagine how this sweet man could risk his marriage and family over flattery. Over the next weeks, and after hours and hours of talking, I realized that she was a predator; Unbeknownst to me she was aggressively pursuing him. Eventually, after scouring the Internet, we both came to realize that she is a psychopath. I do believe she was practicing mind control…manipulation, guilt, reciprocity, etc. in order to suck him in…., initially it was several months of snap chatting, and then she blindsided him when it became physical. It’s been almost 4 months since the “ relationship” ended, she continues the smeat campaign.. My husband is really struggling, not only with remorse, guilt, and shame but also with the fact that he was controlled and did things that he would never, ever do! He is an airline pilot, very much used to being in control, so initially he didn’t even believe that this could happen to him. We both have a lot of anger and hatred toward this evil person, but will not hold onto this forever. Thanks to your website, as well as a few others, I understand what happened, which is helping tremendously with our affair recovery.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      You’re welcome, Littleflower, and thank you for letting me know my work helped you and your husband. No one wants to believe they’re vulnerable to manipulation, when in fact everyone is. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but I understand the feeling. I think it’s really wonderful that you’ve worked alongside your husband to figure out what happened, and that you’re not going to let this difficult and unfortunate experience ruin your marriage, which no doubt she’d be happy to see happen. I wish you and your husband all the best as you recover. Hugs to you both.

  79. Sophie

    Hi Adelyn,

    I have just stumbled across your website yesterday and I am stunned, absolutely stunned. Not only by your writings, but by the comments left by your readers.

    I don’t know how this is possible, but it is as if you have been a fly on the wall throughout every phase, and every single interaction and word spoken throughout my relationship.

    I have been reading through so many of your blog posts and through each word I find myself exclaiming “yes!” and “oh my god!” and searching through all of my text messages with wide eyes and seeing it all right there, in black and white. He actually laid it all out for me, even during the lovebombing phase. It was all right there.

    He even once accused me of intermittent reinforcement and explained to me what it is! That is actually how I found your site, I went back and read that exchange, in retrospect, and it clicked…I finally said to myself – wait! That’s what he did to ME! And here I am.

    Since you have described so exactly, with such precision, what I have been experiencing, and your readers have been echoing the same thing…how is it that so many of these psychopaths follow the same exact template? Follow the same exact formula, to the tee? Not just sharing tendencies, but follow the same progression, use the same tactics, it is all the same. Do they have a psychopath convention where they share their strategies? I’m only half kidding. It is all so specific!! I am really asking, how is it that all of these people don’t merely share traits, but they individually and independently follow such an exact and specific template?

    Anyway, as for me, I am currently trying to extricate myself. I am only a few months in. It seems like so much longer, like time as slowed down. This relationship has proceeded with such an intensity and voracity, with so much daily interaction, that each day feels like we have squeezed in what would transpire in a week within a normal relationship.

    I finally figured out what was going on, who he is, and what he was doing. That he was savagely manipulating me, that it was a game, and I realize that what I felt for him was not true affection or even love, but addiction and obsession. It literally feels like a drug addiction, and I have recently said as much to a couple of close friends before even doing any research on this. And the worst part is, he is such a master manipulator, he knows how to do it with such laser precision, that I can consciously see exactly what he is doing, how, and what result he is trying to achieve, and still fall victim to it somehow.

    We have recently broken up. Once I finally figured out what was really happening, I was going to end it. He recognized this and immediately went back to lovebombing, went into kindness mode. And then he beat me to the punch. He discarded me in the most painful way that he possibly could, knowing that it would be the most painful way specifically to me, because a past boyfriend had done it. And I knew he had done so in that way purposely, and I knew that he probably planned to crush me like that before he went into kindness mode, and somehow, I found myself clamoring to stop it. I mean, really clamoring, begging. Stooping. Even though I wanted to end it in the first place. And he knew I would. He arranged it that way on purpose. Because he knows I am addicted to him. He set it up that way from the very beginning.

    And something that really just knocked me off my feet is that immediately before he transformed from that last bit of kindness to the extreme cruelty he dished out in the process of ending it, he texted me a selfie. I was just reading your blog post about the trance and the comments beneath and there was discussion of the Heath Ledger “Joker grin”. I’d be interested in a photo of what exactly you mean by that Joker grin, because I could swear that’s exactly what his facial expression was in that photo. I had never quite seen him look that deranged, and he knew that in a few minutes he was about to wreak absolute havoc and destruction.

    Anyway, he dragged that process out for about a week, and in the interim, began dating someone else before finally ending it. As if I meant nothing. As has been described, I was disposable and I was discarded because I meant nothing.

    And he is still dating that new woman, and he is hoovering me. And I know that’s what he is doing, and I know exactly what all of this is. And yet, because I am so addicted to him, I still hope that this new woman doesn’t work out and I desperately want him back. I know that I should not feel shame about this and that it is a normal response, but it is hard not to. I am trying to keep reading to remind myself that I cannot go back if the opportunity arises. I’m not sure that I would be able to resist yet. He has that much power over me and he knows it. I feel helpless.

    I feel like I could go on for days, point by point, respond to each individual blog post with examples of one interaction after another that exactly describes what is written. Although it seems that submitting comments isn’t possible on those? But it is astounding how everything I am reading yields an additional drop of the jaw and a “how did she know???”

    Thanks for this website. Seriously. This may give me the strength I need for when he inevitably comes around to prey on me again because I was so compliant despite being a strong-willed and intelligent woman. I think he has the ability to love. He loves that conquest.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Sophie. I’m so glad you were able to find answers and understanding here. I’m sorry you’re going through this! I know what it’s like to be at the point where you’ve figured out the terrible truth, but still doubt your will to resist him. Right before it ended, the P I was entangled with looked at me and said “I know how detrimental this relationship is to you, but I’m not going to end it. You have to do it. But you can’t, because you’re madly in love with me” and then he laughed. And I just… sat there. Good grief. He was right. I was lucky, though–when he finally did end it by telling me he was “done with me,” he meant it. I didn’t feel lucky at the time, of course, but I realized later how hard it would have been not to do something I’d live to regret. My advice to you is to block him in every way you can. Phone, email, facebook, all of it. You’re right to say that you feel addicted to him, because that’s exactly what it is, and blocking him will help break it. Rhonda Freeman, a neuropsychologist, wrote an excellent article about it and what you can do, The Spellbinding Bond To Narcissists And Psychopaths – What’s Happening In The Brain?

      How is it that so many of these psychopaths follow the same exact template? They all do the same thing because they can’t do anything else. This blog post explains the phenomena: It’s Not You, It’s Me and My Hyper-Reactive Dopaminergic Reward System

      This is the joker grin I was referring to. It’s just so sinister and insane. I can’t imagine he would want anything like this captured in a selfie.

      Good luck to you, Sophie. Be strong and take good care of yourself.

    2. Geoff Smith

      Hello Sophie

      Needless to say, your story could be mine (excluding our own unique personal contexts) so I wanted to pass on my sincere best wishes to you. I think Adelyn’s blog strikes just the right balance for those of us who have been dealing with behaviour that is utterly alien and impossible to manage without foresight. So, in my opinion, you are in excellent company with her writings.

      What you say with regards to the intense feelings of shame and addiction resonates with me, as does the desire to forensically dissect what has happened because of the cognitive dissonance that is generated by contact with such individuals.

      However, irrespective of the pain I experienced in my ‘awakening’ to the insidious abuse, it was precisely my capacity to self-reflect that separated me from her. I knew she lacked this insight from the start and it saddened and scared me but I was hoodwinked nonetheless. Self-reflection allows me (and most of us) to develop and grow as human beings. Self-reflection allows me to feel for others, to sense true wonderment at the sun dropping into the sea or to rein myself in when I am being hurtful. Someone with a significant psychopathology is devoid of this quality and, so in my opinion, this could be one of the reasons why our anecdotes with regards to our experiences of abuse are so similar.

      When I was able to gather my thoughts amongst the chaos and drama and fleetingly self-reflect, I viewed my ex-partner as a fifty year old stuck in the narcissistic phase we all know toddlers have to pass through. I mused that she had not individuated. Sadly, I had forgotten to look after myself because, although, self-reflection was beyond her, her abrogation of responsibility towards me was uncompromising and she was completely cognisant of it. She was dangerous and destructive beyond belief but she cannot grow and change as I can.

      All the best


      1. Adelyn Birch

        Hi Geoff! Thank you for your insightful comment. True, psychopaths don’t self-reflect, and even if they could, why would they when they feel so grandiose and superior?

        But as you pointed out we do have the capacity, and an experience like this often serves as a powerful catalyst. I basically took a backhoe to that pile of rubble I was left with (it felt as if a bomb had gone off and blew up my life) and kept going, deep into my past. Some of what I unearthed was difficult to look at and a lot of it was unexpected and surprising, but ultimately it was a treasure that revealed gems of insight, wisdom, peace of mind and self-compassion. I hope everyone reading this will search through the rubble and find the gems waiting to be discovered, whatever they may be.

  80. Linda

    Wow! This webpage is amazing! I just got dumped by a psychopath and the stages just exactly describes everything that happened to me. Thank you so much for putting this together and for everyone that shared their stories!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      You’re welcome, Linda. Something to keep in mind as you go through this ordeal: self-compassion is key. It may take some time before you can actually feel it, but when you do, you’ll understand. It has the power to heal. All the best to you.

  81. Cornelia

    I love your book on Boundaries. Great job! All the best to you and thanks for all that you do, Cornelia

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Thank you, Cornelia. Glad you stopped by to say hello and that you found the Boundaries book empowering. All the best to you, too.

  82. acrylnagels

    After I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are
    added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I receive four emails
    with the same comment. Is there an easy method you can remove me from that
    service? Kudos!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi. You can unsubscribe from getting comments by going to the email you got after clicking “notify me.” The subject will be “(subscribe) comments on Psychopaths and Love.” At the bottom of that email is the link “subscription options.” Click that and it will open up a page where you can unsubscribe. I have no way to do it from my end. I hope that works.
      Take care.

  83. Logan

    Really glad to have found this site. I wish the information had been available when I was much younger. I grew up in very toxic environment and it would have been so helpful and I would not have felt so alone in my perceptions and beliefs about what was going on around me and to me. It did cause me to question my own perceptions and sometimes see myself as the bad person. Which is exactly what “those ones” wanted me to feel. Yes there are, and have always been a lot of them. A whole lot in them were in the neighborhood I was trapped in for so many years. Considering this and other things I was dealing with I still don’t know why I didn’t kill myself. I found out later in life there were bets or at least remarks that I would probably be the most likely. That was what “they” were like and perfectly fine with encouraging such self destruction in another.
    I know that psychopaths are extremely intelligent and can mask themselves well. But I’m beginning to believe that there are many persons in society that are psychopathic and are not that intelligent and perhaps are not even aware what they are. They are fooling(deluding)themselves to a great degree. You can find a lot of them in the front pew of the church or often on the pulpit, to use a literal truth and metaphor. They seem to not even be aware that they are mimicking caring behavior and are devoid of genuine feeling or empathy. They’ve been putting on the act so long that they have convinced themselves that they really are loving caring people. But they are solely focused on what they want and know enough to know what they have to pretend to get it. Giving a lot of appropriate lip service and action to get what they want. I know this description can apply to those that are only self absorbed or narcissistic but more and more there seem to be more people that are revealing more than that. If you’re around them often enough, or especially living with them, you will see. As they are not the more intelligent ones the facade tends to crack more often and you can see through it. Again I think it is seen because they are not the more intelligent ones and/or are not capable of facing the true nature of themselves.
    Just my opinion from the many years of my young life standing on the sidelines and closely watching behavior of others for the sake of my own protection and survival,

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi Logan. I’m sorry to hear of the toxic environment you grew up in. Your ability to survive it speaks to the strength of your spirit, and to the development of the resilience and wisdom known as post-traumatic growth.
      You’ve become an insightful and astute observer of character. I agree with everything you wrote. Not all psychopaths are smart or self-aware. Toxic people run the gamut from the self-absorbed to the narcissistic to the psychopathic. I hope that you have some good, trustworthy, genuine people in your life now, people who nurture your heart and soul instead of trying to tear them down. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I wish you all the best of everything.

  84. Chuck Cochems

    Nice site. but you really need to mention the Pick Up Artist connection more.

    Just get some materials from ________, ________, ________, etc, and you too can be a psychopath.

    Read your own articles about the psychopathic charm. then read over some PUA stuff.

    Your jaw will DROP.

    Eliciting values. (finding out what she really wants in a guy through seemingly normal conversation. requires actually listening to her answers.)
    Trance Words (carefully listening to see what words are emphasized in her answers to the eliciting value questions. yup. that’s the psychopathic focus. intensely listening to her answers)

    It’s all super manipulative. And to make it work for you, you have to silence that little voice in your head that’s telling you “This isn’t nice! This is just WRONG!” Once you’ve freed yourself from your pesky little conscience, you can then do this stuff like the psychopaths, who already have freed themselves from their conscience a LONG TIME AGO, can. And it’s not that hard. You just tell yourself that the ends (awesome sex) justify the means (manipulate the heck out of her).

    The more ethical of these players make sure NOT to hold on to the people they snare in too long. Because they aren’t trying to get dopamine highs. They just want to get laid. They don’t need to keep you. there’s always someone else. They aren’t telling you you are the love of their life. But they are taking many plays from the psychopath playbook to do it. They don’t want to leave you broken. The more clever of the ethical ones will manage to maneuver you into ending it with no bad feelings.

    But note that a number of high profile pick up artists have had second thoughts about it. ________ has completely denounced he community. ________ has had a breakdown. Remaining a pick up artist too long makes makes you perpetually unsatisfied… just like the psychopath, who will never be able to keep a relationship. Style did manage to come back from the brink, and is no longer addicted to sex and cheating on his wife, but it took therapy to get there.

    I think you should write an article. “Pick Up Artist: Psychopath lite?”

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi Chuck. Thank you very much for sharing this info on “pickup artists.” I am aware of them. I agree, the whole thing is a reprehensible attempt to teach men to behave like psychopaths. Although there are plenty of guys who manipulate women into having sex with them, I’m not so sure they’re the same guys who read the how-to books. I actually asked the psychopath I was involved with his opinion on the whole pickup artist phenomenon, and he laughed and said that it was just a way to “get rich off of losers” and that it “doesn’t work” because “you’ve either got it or you don’t” and “you have to be born with it.” Yes he was quite smug about having been born with “it” himself, but I generally agree with his theory. I think that anyone who’s successful using the program (if they exist) is already short on empathy and a conscience, because having those qualities would make it impossible. The information on this site on protecting oneself from psychopaths and narcissists should work for pickup artists as well, and because of that I haven’t written a post specifically about them. I wrote about what makes psychopaths successful in the post, PSYCHOPATHIC SEDUCTION SECRETS, REVEALED!. I don’t believe normal men can simply be taught to act like a psychopath. If you read the list, you’ll see what I mean. Thanks very much for your comment.

  85. Chuck Cochems

    Huh. So it is there. I didn’t see it.

    But i disagree that this stuff is not learnable.

    It totally is.

    Nice guys who have been rejected one too many times (as in 50 or more) tend to have an easier time turning to the dark side. I’ve been there myself. I was severely tempted, though i did not turn. People can just snap and decide that playing by the rules isn’t getting them anywhere, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and getting different results.

    Yes, the true psychopath has a lot of the traits needed to do this for free. The lack of fear gives the perfect confidence. The lack of conscience give them the ability to lie smoothly. That’s why they take to it like a fish to water. But it’s not impossible to silence your conscience. There are many possible arguments.

    “Women are manipulative by nature, with their refusing compliments and doing shit tests it’s only fair that you manipulate them back.”
    “They want great sex, just like we do. Is it wrong to give them what they want?”
    “Being nice just get’s me in the friend zone. if it is evil to do what’s needed to keep out of it then let me be evil!”
    “You will be happy. She will be happy. what’s the problem?”
    “They are at the bar looking for sex. it’s a game. What’s wrong with playing it better?”
    “If you don’t enslave her properly, some psychopath could pull her away from you.” (this is a particularly insidious argument)
    “Is it really wrong to find out what a woman wants and be that for her? Is it wrong to get her wetter than Niagra Falls? Of course not!”

    You aren’t going to have perfect confidence like someone who’s truly fearless. but you can get close enough, with practice. And this stuff is addictive.. for the doer! You manage to pull off one of these psychopath tricks even once and have it work, and you never want to go back. You wish you had figured it out sooner.

    Conscience can be bent all too easily. __________ is at least 100% honest about how totally manipulative this stuff is. He outright tells you that if you don’t have the stomach for it, it won’t work. Most of the others do not admit this.

    A woman decided to try a little manipulative pick up artist trick for herself. her conclusion? “Negging rules.” that article is “I tried being a total bitch to guys, and surprise! They actually loved it” This isn’t even one of the sociopathic ones. From there it’s pretty easy to jump off the slippery slope.

    Also, in principle there’s nothing wrong with many of those tricks individually. Successfully eliciting values does help you find out if you want to be with someone, after all. If you are, or want to be that way, you’ve done no harm. It’s a small jump from there to “speed seduction isn’t bad or harmful it’s just cutting through all the bs. why go slow when you can move fast and still have the woman want it?”

    Most people can’t make themselves into a sociopath/psychopath. But they can learn the tricks well enough to get results.

    All you can do is learn the tricks yourself, decides which ones you are ok with having them used on you, and, as you teach, SET BOUNDARIES AND DON’T ACCEPT PEOPLE CROSSING THEM. This is hard to do when someone turns on the charm because they want to get past them.

    I will leave a few warnings on how to spot people trying their hand at the psychopaths playbook.

    If someone says they dislike a good trait of yours, or likes a bad one, that’s “Once Sentence Fractionation”. Say something like “I’m appalled by your good manners.”

    If someone asks you to talk about a time you were happy, then a time when you were sad, this is again Fractionation. It’s the big stealth hypnosis trick. They are trying to put you on an emotional rollercoaster, and each time you feel happy again it gets stronger.

    If someone keeps giving you backhanded compliments, that’s negging. If it happens only during the initial approach, you are most likely not even going to be offended. If it continues past that, this person is manipulative and toxic and you should get the heck OUT!

    If someone has you pouring out your deepest secrets to them IN PERSON during the first meeting, it’s a trick! This happens quite by accident during online conversation, due to the online disinhibition effect, so don’t freak out over that, but if it’s happening in person with someone you just met…

    And the biggie. if someone ever asks you “what’s that over to your right” and the answer to that question is “umm, a door.” for gods sake get AWAY from this person! This person is now officially TOXIC CONFIRMED! That is the start of a VERY notorious and cruel emotional control pattern, used to make you stop doing things he doesn’t want you to do. This will be very hard for you to do, as the first time this question is asked is nearly always right after some great sex. Even ______________ says dear gods, don’t use this ever! Some jerk leaked it into the Lay Guide.

    Note that there is an ethical place to do the roller coaster stunt. in bed. the up and down does make things more intense, and applied to the sex itself is actually a good thing. The pick up artist/psychopath will apply it outside of the bed. constantly.

  86. Chuck Cochems

    Some more stuff that i want to say elsehwere.

    1) Warning NEVER works in matters of the heart. at least the first time. EVER EVER EVER. If you listened to someones warning the first time its’ because they manipulated you into doing it! If you are earnestly trying to warn someone that they are datign a psychopath, it’s not gonna be believed. “You’re just jealous! Do you WANT me to be unhappy?!? Stop trying to sabotage me!” The other person will only be receptive to your warnings after they’ve came crawling back to you and said “you were right. oh god, you were right. I should have listened to you..” AS sad as it is you really MUST experience it for yourself.

    2) But note the exception. If someone is manipulated into believing your warning it works. I’ll give an example. Me, a non psychopath. “Okay. fine. ignore my advice, but he’s going to (insert evil and cruel manipulation tactic here he did to you) this to you within 3 months.” This is a covert manipulation tactic called Prophecy. Is it in your book? And you know what? it’s in the psychopath manuals. __________ talks about this trick. Slimy salesmen do this trick too. “You can try and shop around but all you are going to find are higher prices.” Now when it happens to the other gal she goes “omg, my friend said he was going to do this to me.. and he did it.. my friend was right!” And guess what. the person is able to break away. You’ve prevented a lot of emotional damage right there.. by running a Boyfriend Destroyer. Your completely underhanded manipulation trick… caused a positive result. How can this be?!?! Also, did you even realize this was a trick? “It was an honest warning! It’s not a trick!” No it’s a manipulative warning. But it works…

    Still believe this stuff can’t be learned by non psychopaths? What you do is good work… but it helps people AFTER they’ve been victimized. You want to help them before then? You have to bust out with the manipulation, because honest non manipulative warnings NEVER work the first time in matters of the heart.

    PS. there are leaks of _________ stuff if you know where to look. The first step of “enslavement?” Emotionally Isolating the person from their friends and family. He straight up admits it’s a CULT TRICK! and now it’s your trick. here’s how to do it and not get spotted. After you’ve done that, she’s now vulnerable to a full personality rewrite with the Black Rose. Just.. please be sure you want to spend the rest of your life with this woman first, because not doing so will BREAK HER at that point, creating a psycho stalker that’s very difficult to deprogram. Email me if you want to see some of what I’ve found. I’m sure as hell not gonna post links where bad people will find them.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      You have a point when you say the conscience could be silenced by a convincing argument stemming from repeated rejection. But you also say that you yourself were tempted but couldn’t “turn,” and I believe you should be proud of yourself for that. I hope your luck has changed. After my experience with the psychopath, I’m much more appreciative of men who aren’t smooth. I’m anything but smooth myself, and constitutionally unable to play games, so I have no choice but to be honest and be myself and if someone doesn’t like it, that’s fine because the purpose of finding a relationship partner is finding someone who actually likes you and wants to be in a relationship with you.

      One thing that stood out to me in reading about this “pick-up artist” stuff is that these guys are all after “hot” women. It’s very objectifying, which reveals an inherent lack of empathy, in the sense of being dehumanizing. Men who see women as a collection of body parts and stereotypes are incapable of the emotional intimacy that actual relationships require. That inherent lack of empathy/objectification is what allows them to play the “game” (manipulate), as I said in a previous comment.

      Helping people after they’ve been victimized might be all I’m able to do, but it’s enough. My work could, in theory at least, also help people who read it prior to being victimized — but if a person believes they’ve met their soul mate and the love of their life, why would my work, or anyone’s, even cross their mind? It wouldn’t, at least not at first, but it could potentially help them to recognize what’s happening when things start going wrong. Actually it has done that. Plenty of people come here while still involved in pathological relationships because they know something is terribly wrong and they’re searching for answers. I did that myself, and after I found the truth of what was happening, things fundamentally changed. He lost control of me, and soon after he realized that he was gone.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Wishing you all the best.

      PS I removed the names of the pick-up artist promoters because I don’t want to give them any publicity on this site.

  87. Charles R Cochems

    You forgot to remove a name. :) Starts with R.

    Different people have different standards. the big bad psychopathy one is not actually advocating pickup. He advocates keeping a relationship. (and yet many of the tricks he mentions are on pick up pages, funny enough)

    Many of them do advocate going after the hot ones, and many of the tricks are geared towards that. But that’s what men tend to do anyway. Negging is the big one for use on 9s and 10s (some call it teasing). With people who can’t take a neg without a self esteem hit, actual compliments (and cheesy complimentary lines) are recommended instead.

    There are three reasons i didn’t turn. One is simply my lack of hate. Another is simply me not wanting sex without a real relationship to go with it. If i had actually wanted that, I would have certainly given it a try. If i had found the censored guy’s stuff earlier, i might have attempted to use it for good. The third is that i managed to lose my virginity without it. There’s no need to say how, except that it was completely honest, ethical, and legal in all 50 states. Had that not happened when it did, i may well have turned to the dark side. As a simple test, I once busted out with a certain “awesome get laid poem” that had a 1 word 11 letter title starting with F and typed it in communication with a woman. She totally loved it.

    Another fun fractionation trick to watch out for. Intentionally engineering a somewhat negative experience and then escaping it with your partner. “Accidentally” forgetting the piece of paper with the directions. Or the wallet. (negative) Then solving the problem and getting back home okay. (positive) Not telling your partner that the concert was cancelled (negative), and then figuring out something else to do after going there (positive)

    Oh, and we can’t forget the argument (negative) and make up sex (positive) trick. this event naturally happens at times. but the psychopath will set it up on purpose.

    Incidentally, the guy you did censor is totally aware of you. The yang to his methods yin.

    A small amount in defense of the psychopath. Not all of them will discard just anyone. While some of them will just try to keep you under their thumb forever (these are the sort of people you are rightfully against), others (many of the more intelligent ones) have realized that keeping a normal enough long lasting relationship keeps them from being exposed. Essentially they perfect their mask and just keep it up around you forever, and you never even find out.

    Oh, and the no empathy bit? It’s actually wrong. Most of them can do it. its just something they have to consciously do. While you have the affective empathy switch on by default, a psychopath has it off. And it shuts off on it’s own after they turn it on. Their own emotions are blunted. with some more blunted than others. Then how do they fake powerful emotions? Here’s the trick. They force their empathy switch on, and pick it up from someone else. Having experienced the emotion, they then call it back up later as needed. Since they copied it from an empath, it feels real to another one! That’s how your “gut” is bypassed. They project the correct emotions, which you then as an empath pick up. It’s a key component of the legendary psychopathic charm that sucked you and many others in. The other is their mirroring. The ones who don’t work out this trick? Those are the ones that creep you out at first sight, and end up in prison.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I’m aware psychopaths have cognitive empathy but not affective (emotional) empathy. They know how you’re feeling, but instead of caring, they use that knowledge to manipulate you. I’ve read about the “empathy switch” theory. It’s possible. Or maybe they just mimic emotions they’ve witnessed so many times. Practice makes (almost) perfect. Here’s what one psychopath had to say about it:

      “Psychopaths aren’t half as good as people think we are. The advantage we have is people assume everyone is like them. If an empath was analyzing my emotional response with the knowledge that I may be full of shit, I might have a harder time being convincing.” (ZKM)

      (You can read more like this in the post, Down the Rabbit Hole )

      Psychopathy exists on a spectrum, so of course what one says doesn’t go for all of them (if in fact the few who do speak out are actually psychopaths, although it sure seems like it if you delve into their writings).

      Yes, plenty of psychopaths use normal-appearing relationships as cover. Duping someone into living a lie for decades is beyond despicable. Many of my readers were victimized and severely traumatized in this way.

      Thank you for sharing your knowledge and warnings. It’s always good to hear from one of the good ones.

      All the best to you, Chuck.

  88. Charles R Cochems

    They turn it on ONCE to replicate the emotion in themselves, and then play it back like a tape recorder.

    And with their own emotions shut off, there’s very little noise. So the recording is very high quality. They have superb emotional mimicry skills. It’s realer than real. SO INTENSE.

    As i said, others can learn this stuff. It’s just that the psychopath gets it all for FREE.

    You know. The absolute biggest red flag is emotional isolation. It’s hard to catch it because it’s only used after you are attracted. But a true lover will be okay with your family and friends, if you are also okay with them. This is also in that guy’s playbook. After the emotional isolation comes them ensuring your dependence on them. If you can avoid being isolated, you won’t get broken. If the other person has not isolated you, things are likely to be real. If you learn to spot ONE thing, learn to spot emotional isolation.

    But on the other hand, wouldn’t you want to isolate someone from her psychopathic boyfriend? After all, normal warning simply does not work.

  89. Charles R Cochems

    If you find yourself feeling that “this person is all i need”.. You’ve ALREADY BEEN ISOLATED. If that person was truly the one, you wouldn’t feel this way.

    If someone pulls away from you because you tried to warn, that person has already been isolated, and all you can do is wait around to pick up the pieces.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      The psychopath that victimized me isolated me by taking up all of my time, and then all of my mental energy once the ‘games” began. When you can’t think about or talk about anything else, it’s a form of isolation. Your world becomes very small. In my Boundaries book I advise making a point of maintaining your activities and relationships. A normal, genuine boyfriend or girlfriend will not be put off by it and will recognize it as healthy.

      Isolation is a red flag for any abusive relationship, and it can be obvious or proceed in a gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effect (insidious). From a very young age I found jealous and possessive guys so alarming that I’d stop dating them. I remember one guy who, after I broke up with him for becoming disturbingly possessive, jumped out of my bushes with a paper lunch bag filled with photos of us. I knew then that I’d done the right thing. With the psychopath, his possessiveness and isolation (those two always go together) was so insidious that I didn’t even notice that my life had been taken over.

      Of course we’d want to get our friend away from a pathological partner, but why would they listen when they believe they’ve met their soul mate? Therein lies the problem. I read Without Conscience and The Sociopath Next Door just prior to meeting the psychopath, but nothing in those books crossed my mind in relation to him. I’d met the love of my life, why would I be thinking about anything written in those books?

      There are no easy answers, and unfortunately it seems that to really understand it, you have to experience it. But knowledge can’t hurt, and might even be able to help a lucky few before the fact. You could be one of them, Chuck, because you’ve obviously studied this subject in detail. Still, you may want to read the post THE TRUTH ABOUT FEMALE PSYCHOPATHS, FROM THOSE WHO KNOW. Truly heartbreaking accounts of men who were victimized.

  90. Charles R Cochems

    I’ve studied it all of two months. No Joke.

    But i have looked over the PUA stuff long before i saw your website.

    Experience? The sheer number of metoos are more than enough to work this out. That’s why i saw the connection with this and pickup.

    We have the low functioning psychopath. Those are the ones that go to prison mostly. The killers. (but not all killers are psychopaths, even serial killers). They make headlines.

    Then we have the subcriminal/high functioning psychopath. These are the ones that cause most of the pain to people who have flocked to this site. The ones you are talking about. The one that got you. The one that walked away from you and discarded without even holding any malice. Narcissists Hoover. Psychopaths discard. Some are self aware, and some are not.

    Finally, we have the ACTUAL pro social psychopaths. The smallest group. These are the ones that you consider not a psychopath. They use their abilities to benefit society. They get appropriate careers. They still have their mask, but it’s out of a genuine desire to blend into society, not just to help them manipulate. They set themselves a moral code that’s a decent substitute for an actual conscience. In fact, it may be better than a real one because ti doesn’t bend, though some will disagree. Even though it’s fake, it still governs their actions just like a “real” conscience. They sometimes don’t even realize they are one.

    Psychopaths simply cannot be cured or rehabilitated. Just aimed in a more productive direction. How do you do that? The best way to manipulate a psychopath is the win win situation.

    I realize if i keep giving out these tricks, no one’s gonna buy you books. :)

    Oh, btw. I most likely (though this is not confirmed) have aspergers. You are most likely sure i do not have it. Does it make things difficult in a relationship? Yes. Is it right for you to leave a relationship if those difficulties are too much as a neurotypical? YES, it is. People with the condition who aren’t bad people know this. Have people been hurt by others with aspergers? Yes. But see, here’s the thing. Just because you have a disability doesn’t make you bad. But it doesn’t make you good either. Those horror stories and violence? I absolutely condemn those people. But mentally ill people don’t have a monopoly on bad tempers. And let’s not forget that there are a lot of falsely diagnosed people with aspergers. And not all of them are self diagnosed. Aspergers is not a get out of jerkass free card. Many people (self diagnosed in particular, and many of them falsely) are laboring under the mistaken impression that the condition is an excuse.

    Just as a dyslexic peson can learn to read, so can someoen with aspergers, with great effort, develop and work on the skill of cognitive empathy, which psychopaths have absolutely NO trouble with.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      “Narcissists Hoover. Psychopaths discard.” BINGO. “Some are self aware, and some are not.” The one I knew was very self-aware, although I don’t know if he realized he was a psychopath. Younger psychopaths are online looking for answers about their unusual way of being. He barely knew how to do a google search. But he was definitely aware that he couldn’t love, didn’t feel stress or fear, and was a skilled manipulator, whether or not he had a name for it.

      Your mention of pro-social psychopaths brings to mind Dr James Fallon, who “found I had the brain imaging pattern and genetic make up of a full-blown psychopath while conducting research – and yet, I turned out to be a successful scientist and family man.” OK, he’s not a killer or serial life destroyer (as far as I know), but he put his family in some potentially deadly situations without telling them. “One thing pointed out to me was that simply taking on highly risky behaviors by myself was hardly psychopathic. It was when I endangered the lives of others, unwittingly sucked into my games, that they started to resemble psychopathy… This pattern of dangerous behavior throughout my life was a telltale sign. I had justified it, and still do, by pointing out that I always engage in the same activities as those I put in danger.” But he is trying to do better: “I decided to try to treat my wife and other loved ones with more care. Each time I’m about to interact with them, I pause for a moment and asked ‘what would a good person do here?’ and notice that my instinct is to always do the most selfish thing at that moment. My wife started noticing this and after two months said ‘what has come over you?’. When I told her that I was trying to use my own narcissism to show that I could, against all odds, overcome my psychopathy, she said she appreciated the effort even though I was not sincere. I still don’t understand how she can accept that insincerity. Perhaps people just want to be treated with respect and kindness. I find that astonishing.”

      I wouldn’t have guessed you had Asperger’s from our conversation. It isn’t something that’s readily apparent; you have to get to know someone. “Just because you have a disability doesn’t make you bad. But it doesn’t make you good either.” I agree. Everyone is an individual. If you can teach yourself to have cognitive empathy, more power to you. I’m sure the people around you appreciate it, although they may not realize how much effort it takes. That effort is worth it for you too, of course, because it enables you to have better relationships. I wish you all the best, Chuck.

  91. Julie

    I cannot thank you enough. Three years ago I left my husband of 30 years. His father also lived with us for 12 of those years. I first discovered that his father had antisocial personality disorder. Then I understood that my husband was also an ASPD person. By this time I was severely depressed and had seriously contemplated suicide several times. Fortunately I had family and friends, and an outstanding therapist that was there for me. In addition, I had this website. At that time, daily I was referring to this website. I read every single word. It helped me to understand what I was experiencing and to validate my experiences. Your ability to articulate the experiences and feelings is outstanding. I have learned that when you can put words to an experience, it helps you to process the experience. Otherwise the thoughts just “float” in your mind. And you helped me to do this.

    My story is actually “unbelievable.” I have been told many times that I should write a book or create a movie series. Something that I am giving serious thought to. I think that this is a lofty goal, but it could be so very helpful for someone to see the subtleties of the angles of multigenerational ASPDs. Most times I didn’t realize that I was set up until several years later.

    I can tell you that this website was instrumental in my recovery. I would read through the index and if a word would illicit an emotional reaction I knew that I needed to work on that concept. I needed to allow myself to experience that pain, to think about what caused that specific pain, and to let it go. The last few words that hit that cord with me were; emotional rape; betrayal; and, dehumanization.

    I currently am looking to move away from my small town for security reasons. I am not sure where I am going, but I will figure it out. But I do know that I will become very involved in human trafficking. Helping others that have been dehumanized is so very important to me. I need to make my life into what it should be. And I need to leave a legacy.

    What do I cry over now? When I think about how fortunate I am to have friends, family, a therapist, God and this website which helped me through this horrific experience. And when someone is kind to me.

    To your readers–keep reading. Don’t give up. YOU are worth it.

    To Adelyn–Thank you. From my very soul. Something that I though that I had lost, but you helped me to find again.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Julie. I’m sorry for the delay. You are so welcome, and thank you for sharing all of this with me. Writing this website enabled me to put words to my own experience, and I’m happy to hear that reading those words helped you do the same. You’re right; it’s so important to get clear. I was forced to be as articulate as possible knowing others would be reading what I wrote, and doing so helped me as much as it does anyone who reads it. I’m so sorry you went through such hell, and for so long a time. You were fortunate to have a good therapist, which can be hard to find, and supportive friends and family. Hearing that I was instrumental in your recovery makes my heart glad. You made my day.

      You should write that book or screenplay; no doubt there’s a need for it. I don’t think I’ve come across anything on the experience of multigenerational ASPDs. Sometimes getting started is the hardest part, but once you do the rest flows. Keep in mind the first draft doesn’t have to be anywhere near perfect; that will free you. You’ll add/subtract/edit later.

      I wish you all the best with finding a new home, your future work helping the victims of human trafficking, your book, and everything else. You deserve a good and fulfilling life surrounded by kind and caring people.

      What makes me cry? Reading your last sentence. There are no words.

  92. Charles R Cochems

    Just saw the NLP comments.

    It’s been mostly “discredited”. Yet it keeps working. It’s not black magic. Just observation and sneakiness.

    Interviewing and mirroring are very common tricks. And it’s what does most of the work. The interview is where they find out about you. If they get to know you better then you know yourself, it’s game over. Eliciting values is what the PUAs call it.

    That and the ability to shut off you empathy so you don’t pick up your targets insecurity. This then allows you to project your own confidence to overwrite it. That’s how the charm works. That’s what perfect confidence IS. PSYCHOPATH used CHARM. It’s Super Effective! But anyone with sufficient confidence and the ability to cut out their empathy even temporarily can do this. And the really funny thing is, it’s not even wrong to make someone feel less insecure. Confidence and enthusiasm can be infectious. But it seems shutting off empathy is the big secret to being really good at it.

    This is why that super charm is a HUGE red flag. Because to be that charming, you have to have turned off your empathy to cut out the interference from surrounding people’s emotions. And some who can do that can also very convincingly fake emotions. Good enough to fool a brain scan.

    If something seems off after a while, that’s a big red flag. It means the mask is finally starting to crack. But things being awkward at the start is not a red flag at all. in fact, it’s the opposite, especially if you are nervous yourself. Someone with a normal level of empathy will be somewhat affected by your own insecurity.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi Chuck. Yes, charm is powerful. Have you read my post, Charm and the Psychopath?

      You wrote, “Psychopaths use charm… But anyone with sufficient confidence and the ability to cut out their empathy even temporarily can do this.” Who else but a psychopath could do that (if they even have any emotional empathy to begin with, which I doubt)? I can’t turn off my empathy. Nor would I want to, especially not in order to manipulate someone, because I don’t want to manipulate anyone, because I’m not psychopathic. I do agree that awkwardness isn’t a red flag, and in fact I’ve come to appreciate it.

      Peace to you and to us all, in this holiday season and throughout the year.

      1. Chuck Cochems

        I can give a long list of non psychopathic reason to turn it off temporarily.

        1) someone is using your empathy to manipulate you. Psychopaths are the most infamous group of people that do this, but it’s not exclusive to them. Wouldn’t it be nice to not be fooled like that?
        2) you really need to concentrate on something and you can’t just remove yourself from other people to do it. Surgery is an example.
        3) all the negativity you are picking up is stressing you out and affecting your health.
        4) you are too worried about what others are thinking.
        5) someone really insecure needs a pep talk, and you need to stop it from affecting you so you can help them out.

        once you have removed yourself form the situation or doe what you need, you can turn it back on. there are plenty of non manipulative things you can do by turning it off.

        Having it off nearly all the time does tend to stop you form developing a conscience though. so you need to get a conscience first before you can then turn it off without being a psychopath.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          Hmm… Some of your examples seem plausible. I can even think of a possible example from my own experience. I’ve always been hyper-empathetic; at times I wish I could dial it down because it can be a painful way to live. Yet I managed to be a hospice nurse for several years without being incapacitated by it, instead focusing on the positive difference I was able to make. I didn’t “turn off” my empathy, but did somehow keep it at a level where it enabled me to do the work without becoming depressed. Sometimes a new nurse would start and then have an emotional breakdown after a few days, which was a normal reaction, really, but not a reaction compatible with an ability to do that kind of work. A total lack of empathy would also be incompatible (and is chilling to consider).

  93. Richard

    Thank you for your wisdom in the book “Boundaries after a pathological relationship”, which I purchased and read recently. I felt a certain frustration, however, in that the book assumed everything was just one-way, i.e. there is one victim with weak boundaries and one perpetrator who violates them. I have just exited a relationship where we undoubtedly violated some of each other’s boundaries – this is a more complex situation, two-way, where neither partner has a monopoly on ‘bad behavior’…but no less toxic and ultimately damaging to both. I am acutely conscious of the hurt I caused her and myself by not making clear what I truly wanted (a weak or non-existent boundary in me), so that I went along with her purposes for the relationship (another weak boundary in me). At other times she would protest at my setting her aside, but still take me back when, in terms of maintaining her boundaries, perhaps she should not have done so. Equally, I should not have gone back to her after two occasions when she physically attacked me, and the countless occasions of extreme verbal abuse I suffered.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi Richard. Forgive me for the delay in responding. First, I’m very sorry to hear of the abuse you experienced in your relationship. I hope you’re on the road to recovery. Second, you’re right; it’s not always one-way when it comes to boundaries. I myself have been in relationships where we both had weak boundaries, making for frequent arguments, ongoing resentment, and general misery. My book focuses on pathological relationships, which often entail on one person violating the weak boundaries of another. Even so, I think that learning about boundaries in general can help people see how boundaries are playing out in their own past or present relationships. Boundaries affect every relationship, whether pathological or not, no matter what type of relationship, yet most of us aren’t aware of that until a problematic situation sends us on a search for answers.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I wish you all the best.

  94. Meredith

    What kind of repercussions did you have for speaking out so boldly? Narcissists will not let you go to get strong, so I’m sure the legal attacks were vicious. How did you protect yourself from this?

  95. Shayel

    Hi Adelyn,

    Your work is so powerful and urgently needed now. Knowing the Red Flags in particular and setting Boundaries. I’m hosting an upcoming summit series on emotional abuse and would be delighted to interview you as I know many would be awakened and healed through it.

    Would you be interested in participating?

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Thank you, Shayel. I’ll send you an email later this afternoon.

      1. Glad to hear about the interview. Will you share the link for the interview when this is happening?
        Thank you, E

        1. Adelyn Birch

          Hi E. Good to see you again! How are you? I don’t know anything about the interview yet, but if it does happen, I’ll share a link in a comment attached to this one. I hope you’re doing well.

  96. Charles R Cochems

    On one comment you made, you asked “why don’t psychopaths go after sociopaths?”

    You then state that it’s because sociopaths cant’ be victimized the same way normal people can, and that their tricks don’t work.

    That’s not exactly true, though.

    In fact, some people (including one very infamous person i’ve mentioned before) actually advocate combating sociopathy with psychopathy. fighting fire with fire, so to speak. You think it would be impossible, but heavy duty emotional manipulation can be used to change a sociopath’s behavior just as much as a normal person. While not falling for the sociopath is usually a better option, turning their games back on them is also quite effective, and totally unexpected, and something he advocats doing if you’ve already fallen for one.

    You just don’t hear about it, because they rarely come seeking support afterwards.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi Charles. I now agree with you, on one of your points: sociopaths can indeed be manipulated. Sociopaths are coming out of the woodwork now, for a reason. They’ve been manipulated to do so, activated to carry out the agenda of the pathocratic governments in power in several countries, including the USA.

  97. Ove

    Hi! Thank you for an interesting blog on a rather difficult topic. Also wants to share this article, which potentially could be interesting for this blog. https://www.hjelptilhjelp.no/English/50-characteristics-of-a-psychopath

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi Ove. I’m glad to hear you find the blog interesting! Thank you for letting me know. And thank you for the article. I’ll be reading it later today.
      Regards, Adelyn

  98. Hi Adelyn, last night I dreamed about my psychopath ex showing remorse to me. Waking up disturbed since I know this is not possible irl I decided to take the cue my subconsciousness wanted to give me – (that he’s still (!) in my system after two years of very active introspection as well as consistent acts of (self) forgiveness, letting go, and gratitude) – and started some further digging into the topic.

    For the first time ever, I came across insights that truly covered the emotional rape that I experienced – in many more ways than past youtube videos ever did. You made it possible for me to recognize and actually understand the “un-understandable” grief and trauma bond that sometimes still get the best of me (while already seeing the light at the end of the tunnel).

    Long story short: Thank you. Thank you for creating this website as well as all of your contributions on the topic. It will undoubtedly help many people on their road to recovery, just like it did with mine.

    All the best

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi. I’m so glad you found what you needed to continue healing. Thank you so much for letting me know. You made my day. I wish you all the best, my friend.

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