Illustration of little red rifing hood being rescued from the wolf, for the article Healing after a relationship with a psychopath

You can heal after being victimized by a psychopath, even if you’re doubting that right now. It can take a significant amount of time and effort, as with any major trauma, but it can happen.

(In addition to this page, please see the ROAD MAP to recovery)

The illustration above shows Red Riding Hood being rescued from the big bad wolf. I think it’s safe to say that for most of us, this isn’t going to happen. Once the “relationship” with the psychopath ends, we must rescue ourselves. Healing is a goal we must purposefully pursue.

We need the support of others after this trauma, but many of us find that support is hard to come by.  Many people in our lives (friends, family, and even many therapists) don’t understand psychopathy or pathological relationships, so they may not understand the devastation we’re experiencing. As a result, they’re unable to give us the kind of support we need. Even we may not understand it at first. We just know we’re devastated; we know something happened to us that was out of the ordinary, far beyond a relationship gone bad.

What we’re dealing with is not the end of a regular relationship, so no advice about healing after a breakup will help. We were victimized by predators who betrayed and abused us. But because it may have appeared to be a genuine relationship from the outside, it can be hard for people to see beyond that. Even some victims don’t see the truth, and are left believing they lost the love of their lives through some fault of their own.

None of us was “on the lookout for someone as brutal as a psychopath to systematically dismantle” the way we see ourselves, as author Sandra L. Brown, M.A., put it in her book, The Unexamined Victim: Women Who Love Psychopaths. We never expected the person who claimed to love us would nearly destroy us with cruel and methodical psychological manipulation and devaluation. But that’s the real, abbreviated story of what happened. No wonder victims don’t get the support they need; this scenario simply isn’t comprehensible to those who haven’t experienced it.

(A helpful article I highly recommend—one that will help you understand what you’re experiencing not only from a psychological perspective, but also a neurochemical one—is “The Spellbinding Bond to Narcissists and Psychopaths – What’s Happening in the Brain?” by Rhonda Freeman, PhD, a neuropsycholgist. I also recommend her blog, NEUROINSTINCTS.).

One thing a victim needs is validation. Brown says “It is pathology websites, books, and programs that help women heal when they find their validation in other stories, research, books, forums, and organizations designed to respond to pathological love relationships. The validation you are seeking comes from others who have been through it.” From the article, “Recovering Without Validation.”

Big bad wolf as the psychopathic predator

A Word About Online Forums: In the search for support and validation, many join online forums. I am hesitant to recommend online forums for newly traumatized people, because of the potential for secondary victimization that goes on at the hands of trolls or other survivors who may mean well, but who spread erroneous and sometimes harmful ideas. It happened to me; you can read more about that in my blog post, “Fox in the Henhouse.” Even so, many people do have positive experiences in forums. There is tremendous value in speaking with other survivors. But in a forum situation, there is just as much potential for harm as there is for help. Some have suffered more trauma while participating in a forum (I was one of them).  Please keep this in mind and be very careful. If something doesn’t feel right, listen to that feeling! Part of healing is learning to trust your perceptions.

Please read about emotional rape, a fitting term conveying the depravity and traumatic nature of the experience. Understanding the depth of the injury is vital to healing from it. The Emotional Rape Syndrome — a book by Michael Fox, PhD., which is written with empathy and compassion, provides a deeper understanding and focuses on healing.

After going through such a severe trauma, help is necessary, and there is help and support for you out there, but you need to be determined to find it. Recovery is an active process that you need to take part in. In doing so, you demonstrate to yourself that you believe in your own worth and you have faith that you will heal.

Challenges for the victim of a psychopath include:

  • Finding help and support;
  • Recovering from harm to your psyche, heart and soul;
  • Dealing with challenges to your ability to trust others and yourself;
  • Breaking the ‘betrayal bond’ that keeps victims emotionally attached to their abuser;
  • Experiencing cognitive dissonance, a key element that can stand in the way of healing, which I’ll talk about next; and
  • The fact that you’re not only dealing with recovery from serious trauma, but also dealing with the loss of the person you loved. This perplexing piece of the puzzle is often neglected or diminished because the psychopath only pretended to love, but it is another important key to healing. Remember, the psychopath established an intense bond during the idealization phase; without that, the manipulation and abuse could never have happened. While it’s true the man or woman you loved never actually existed in the way you believed they did, your love for him or her was real–and that love deserves and needs your acknowledgement and compassion before you can let it go. Read Feelings of loss and grief after the psychopath is gone.

Books and websites are helpful, and by all means you should read and learn as much as you can. There are many resources on this site and listed in the sidebar. But for many, it’s not enough to overcome the trauma and it may be necessary to see a psychotherapist (psychologist or social worker) *who specializes in pathological relationships and the psychological and emotional trauma they cause. As a result of the trauma, you may be suffering from Post traumatic Relationship Syndrome (PTRS), PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), major depression, or an anxiety disorder.

You’re probably struggling with difficult or even unbearable emotions, disturbing memories, intrusive thoughts, and a sense of constant danger. Many victims describe being unable to trust, feeling extremely vulnerable, experiencing rage, having obsessive thoughts, and experiencing fear and anxiety as well as low self-esteem and self-confidence. Some turn to alcohol or drugs or develop a physical illness, or experience  irrational and extreme behavior such as total isolation and withdrawal. Some will  contemplate suicide. Symptoms are sometimes so severe that victims are incorrectly diagnosed as paranoid, delusional, or as having borderline personality disorder. The aftermath of emotional trauma needs to be taken seriously. That’s why you should make every effort to see a mental health professional who is a trauma expert if you are struggling.

You may also want to look into a support group for abuse victims run by a mental health professional. Your local domestic violence center probably has such a group.

If you are feeling suicidal, please don’t try to deal with it alone. There are people who will listen to you with empathy and without judgement. I hope you will use one of the numbers below to connect with such a person.

U.S. and International Suicide Hotlines

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (U.S.) — 1-800-273-8255
International Suicide Hotlines 
A list of Resources for suicide prevention, post-attempt survivors and their families, U.S. and International

More information on the common issues survivors deal with, on this website:

Self-blame: Emergency: Self-Blame,  At the Intersection of Truth and Lies: Self-Blame
Shame: Shame: A Festering Wound of the Soul
Difficulty trusting: Can We Ever Trust Again?
Feeling pressure to forgive: Forgiveness: The Other F-Word
Betrayal: The Unique and Powerful Harm of Betrayal
Anger: Angry? There’s a Reason for That,  Backed Into an Emotional Corner
Doubt: DOUBT:Friend or Foe?
Fear: After the Psychopath: Moving From Fear to Confidence
Uncertainty: Liminality, the Unsettling Space of In-Between
A violent ex: Advice for dealing with a violent ex

In addition, please see the sidebar and the “REBOOT” page for more resources.

Resolving cognitive dissonance is vital to healing. It resolves on its own as you become clear about what happened and doubt diminishes, but it can take some time. Understanding it can help you to deal with it. Cognitive dissonance is a psychological defense mechanism commonly experienced during and after involvement with a psychopath. It’s a form of denial we experience when the truth about something is too painful to comprehend and doesn’t fit anywhere into our expectations about life.

In cognitive dissonance, we hold two conflicting beliefs at the same time, and go back and forth between them. In our situation with the psychopath, those two beliefs are often as follows:

  1. My partner loved me, and I’m wrong to think the problems were his fault; I’m the one to blame.
  2. My partner was a manipulator who deceived me, lied to me, betrayed me and harmed me.

Cognitive dissonance starts in the devaluation stage, when the psychopath is no longer as interested in you as a victim and so isn’t making much of an effort to keep his mask on. His lies, manipulation, and abuse begin to come to the surface of your consciousness, but it’s too painful to accept. You still long for the love of the idealization phase and go in and out of denial.

According to Claudia Moscovici of PsychopathyAwareness, “Cognitive dissonance happens in those cases where there’s an unbridgeable contradiction between a dire reality and an increasingly implausible fantasy which, once fully revealed, would be so painful to accept, that you’d rather cling to parts of the fantasy than confront that sad reality and move on.”

Sandra Brown writes in Women Who Love Psychopaths that cognitive dissonance is extremely strong in a psychopath’s victim because we’ve actually had “two different RELATIONSHIPS with the good/bad dichotomous psychopath.” She goes on to say that “each one of these relationships has required a different belief system in order to remain in it. These belief systems begin to battle each other increasing the intrusive thoughts and the cognitive dissonance, each feeding each other.”

You may be unable to stay on the same page about who he is, which creates a “ping-pong” effect in your mind where conflicting thoughts constantly pop up but never resolve anything. You might be having behavioral inconsistencies too, such as making up your mind not to see him, but then seeing him anyway.

Cognitive dissonance begins to resolve when a victim finally accepts that she was involved in a pathological relationship with a very disordered person. That’s why an important part of healing is understanding what a psychopath is and how a psychopath’s mind works. There are many articles on this website on that topic. To read more here, see “Persistence of Memory: The Phenomenon of Intrusive Thoughts.”

Pursue healing as a goal. Be persistent. Find who and what helps you. If something doesn’t work, don’t give up — try something else. Give yourself time. It takes time to heal.


“I loved the author’s ability to simply and compassionately describe why, and how, I feel victim to a monster. For me, she eloquently describes the most complex, confusing, horrific experience of my life.. To the author, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

“Her writing was like discovering a mentor, a friend, a sponsor, a confident who understood, who explained in detail what happened to me in my relationship with this man. I felt like something in the universe directed me to her. Her books will help you understand the hows and whys of what you went through. Your healing can begin with her writings.”

“Invaluable. Having been in a relationship with a psychopath for many years, I desperately needed some insight into what had happened and why. I have gained a tremendous amount of strength and knowledge toward healing from years of abuse by reading this book. One of the best.”

Comments are closed. 


  1. anthony

    I have no words but thank you so very much!

    1. Admin

      You’re welcome. Good luck to you.

      1. Jess

        Thank you so much for this! You’re awesome! I am going through such a hard time right now & feel I am losing my mind. You have basically covered EVERYTHING I am going through. Forever grateful.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          I’m so glad it helps you, Jess! I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time. As hard as it may be to imagine right now, it will get better. All the best to you xx

          ROAD MAP to Recovery

  2. Zhaoliang Liu

    I wish I could have read this half year ago.. Thanks a million.

    1. Admin

      Better late than never, right? You’re welcome.

      1. Broken

        After all these years, I finally feel my experience validate d by those who can understand … I was kept prisoner,at times , bound n gagged, never knowing if each moment would be my last… The trauma n torture too much to bare at times.. Being able to understand the depth of it all,overwhelming.. Yet connecting with those who understand is comforting…
        Thank you for all you do & resources given… I can now start my journey in this aftermath.. Happy Tears!
        A Big Thank You!

        1. Adelyn Birch

          I’m sorry you had to endure such a horrific ordeal! Validation is an important part of healing. I’m happy that what you find here is helping you, and I hope you will find whatever help and support you still need. All the best to you xx

  3. rob

    If you don’t do research you will always be clueless the damage will always stay with you in some way you got to learn about what happened as much as possisble to get a good understanding of it, example the more you learn a subject the better you will get. I’m sure there isn’t a magical wand to instanstly make us perfect, but as it so rightly says above you’ve got to understand accept and believe again. Its cruel what happens to the victims but forgiving what happened could be a big step forward. I’ve been with one and it was defo the worst thing that has happened to me. But imagine how they must feel there whole life they will just do that over and over just think if you had to think like them to have fun it must be hard for them so there the real victims. No wonder a lot of them have harmed themselves at some point or over. Anybody who has been a victim should leave a cooment or something maybe start a hub yourself. If I had read some of these articles sooner to when I was left to rot in hell I wouldn’t of tried to take my own life etc etc. Make others feel like there normal because I went mad well so I thought anyway and I’m sure others have done too. Let’s all stick together you know like a family were all in the same boat. Let’s raise awareness.

    1. Francesca

      Part of the reason why I stayed with mine, was because I realized that he was a psychopath, and my heart bled for this man that I loved who had once been a small boy experiencing a terrible upbringing that was the catalyst for making him incapable of feeling real emotions. It was my sympathy for him, and a desire to help him, that kept me bound to him for far longer than I should have been. He’d promise to get tested, would cry even, but he’d bail on the testing every time, and I finally came to realize that he could turn those tears, like all his emotions, on and off at will in order to manipulate further.

      So, I broke off our brief engagement (I’d always said no, because I was in a constant struggle with my conscience over who he really was), and in a matter of a few months, he is on to his next victim. Another ex of his and I want to warn her, but are terrified to do so, because of his violent Mr. Hyde alter-ego, and know that, even if we had the courage, she would not believe it for a moment, since they have only been together for 3 weeks, and he is the most romantic, sexy man in the universe as part of his game, not to mention, telling her that we’re the crazy ones.

      The new victim is also a highly intelligent, highly educated older woman (the only kind he preys upon, which I now know is because we are a greater challenge, and, therefore create a bigger high to him once he’s won us over) who, like me, would never in a million years believe that someone could manipulate her. So, in other words, she is toast. This time, though, I truly believe, that because she is a lawyer and has police association, she will be his downfall Once she sees his true colors… Hopefully, a rock bottom (like ending up in jail) might trigger him to seek help, but I’m not holding my breath.

      Nevertheless, this time, he is truly playing with fire, for he is incapable of being respectful to his partners, is verbally (and sometimes physically) abusive, is a pathological liar, is scary jealous, will isolate his victim from their friends, and is, of course, a serial cheater. A woman in her position is not going to let him do these things to her without consequences, or at least I hope. This will be the truest test of just how established he is at the art of manipulation.

      So, back to his upbringing: His father was also a psychopath, and my partner confided in me that his father had killed 3 men (not during a war). I also came to learn that his father had threatened to pour acid on his mother’s face when she left him. Furthermore, he taught his son to be violent toward woman, and even had him hold his own mother down when he was a mere teen, so that he could beat her. Horrifying, right? Th leather I found out from his mother just before I finally bailed. So, of course, his mother was (and still is) completely neurotic and withdrawn his entire childhood, so he went to live with his psycho dad, who was also abusive toward him (even stealing all the hard earned money he’d saved up to buy a car). Finally my ex knew that he just had to leave his abusive father, so with a mere $30 in his pocket and a knapsack, he jumped on a bus and headed to Los Angeles. (Ironic that; The City of Angels.) And that is where, on an ill-fated evening, I met him. He grabbed me and twirled me around a dance floor and looking me straight in the eyes, said, “You’re the most beautiful woman on earth. You’re the one.” Some part of me was smart enough to keep him at bay for 2 entire months, but he managed to charm me so adeptly, that all was lost after that, and nearly 3 years of heaven and hell ensued…

      It did not fail to enter my thoughts, on occasion, that this man, this monster, could someday kill me or someone else, but then he would show hyper emotion, like shedding a tear during cute animal videos, woo me with bouquets of flowers, little gifts, and grander romantic gestures, and he even had my friend convinced that he loved me with an intense, admirable passion, even though, they were appalled by some of the tales I’d told. They eventually began to see his true colors, but by then, it was I who was caught in the web. The torment of the soul over which way to go was utterly contradictory from moment to moment. It can definitely drive one to irrationally lash out. It was not a pretty sight or sound when we clashed, and I am utterly shamed that I allowed him to bring me down to his level.

      I almost wish there was an obligatory course on how to spot a sociopath in elementary school. Might have helped us all save our souls if we’d been wise enough. And that’s the most gargantuan damage, the self-loathing for having being duped, and worse, the part of you that still holds on, and wants nothing more than for him to come back. Oh, the great struggle…

      I wish you all the best of luck…

      1. Admin

        Yes, the “great struggle,” that’s exactly what it is. You know, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if his newest victim does some serious background checks on him, what with her connections. Of course he may not have a record (yet). You are SO lucky and so smart to have broken off your engagement. The self-loathing you feel at having been duped will pass. Anyone can be duped. Thank you for your comment, and I wish you all the best.

        1. Francesca

          Thanks for having this site.

          The part I mentioned about turning emotions on and off is something he later admitted to me when he cried and cried about knowing he was a psychopath and wanting to change. I had studied several psychology classes in college in Europe, but when I delved further into psycopathy (once the realization set in), I read that one of the therapies for helping psychopaths attempts to teach them to flip the switch to the good side and leave it on. My God, if that were only possible for my ex, I’d be the happiest woman on earth. But I’ve given up on that dream since he’s moved on, now convincing himself, once again, that it was all of his exes who were crazy, and that there’s nothing wrong with him, especially since his new victim simply adores him in this honeymoon stage of theirs.

          I’m not sure that I’m done with all the tears, yet. (I think that will be a bit of a lengthier journey than usual.) But I have a friend staying with me, so that helps, and I’m telling myself daily that this was the healthiest move for me, and, like I said, I know (never been more sure of anything in my life) that the will continue this pattern with the new woman, and so on, and so on, and so on…

          1. Admin

            “My God, if that were only possible for my ex, I’d be the happiest woman on earth.” Wouldn’t we all!

            It’s hard when we finally give up on the dream. I don’t know if you’ve seen this post; it talks about that, in particular: https://psychopathsandlove.com/loss-and-grief-after-the-psychopath-is-gone/

            It is a long and tear-strewn journey, but you will get there. I wish you the best of luck.

      2. Dawn

        This is my husband to a T!!! I never in a bazillion years would have thought he was capable of such destruction. I am left homeless, lost my business, my job and 50 years of alllll my pictures and posessions be ause he said he took care ofneverything. I don’t knownhow to recover. More devastated than i ever thought possible.

        1. Admin

          Dawn, I’m sorry this happened to you! I hope you’ll be able to recover financially during the divorce, and that you have somewhere to stay and someone supportive in your life at this time. I know it’s overwhelming, but for whatever it’s worth please know that you’re not alone, and that you will make it through, as others have who were in similar situations. It’s devastating, but don’t lose faith that you will survive and recover. I wish you all the best. Hugs to you.


      AMEN!!!! I’m Soooooo Sorry to hear that Yo did not have the proper tools to HELP You during the MOST DEVESTATING time in Your/Mine/Our Lives!!!! I’am just “STARTING” the “PROCESS” of where he is “THROWING” Me AWAY!!!
      ITS EVEN MORE DEVESTATING BECAUSE I DONT HAVE MUCH FO KEEP ME BUSY, ( I’ve been Disabled for 20 yrs. now, so I don’t have a 9 to 5 Job and or a large group of Friends which would be INCREDIBLY HELPFUL right now mainly because it would keep my MIND BUSY, plus I feel Not having a Job is really hard on ones SELF-ESTEEM!!) Anyhow!! I’m DEFINETLY going to pursue EVERY AVENUE there is out there to “HELP” ME W/ RECOVERING MYSELF EVERYTHING!!! I’m Just worried I won’t make it that far!!!! Anyhow!!! I hope that Your Life is MUCH, MUCH BETTER AND THAT YOU HAVE ALL THE SUPPORT YOU NEED!!! I’m ALWAYS HERE IF YOU NEED TO TALK!!!

      1. Admin

        Meredith, I’m sorry to hear of what you’re enduring now. I hope you’ll find the support you need to help you through. You will make it. Please take good care of yourself; you deserve it. Please let us know how you’re doing.
        Best wishes to you. xox

  4. Patricia

    Do you have some of this books or texts in portuguese?

    1. Admin

      I’m sorry, I do not.

  5. Tracy

    Honestly, I think I am still in shock. And withdrawal. I could never have understood what I am going through without your dead aim insights, so thank you. My journey started because I thought my husband was gay! I was so messed up, I had no idea how to explain his behavior (now I know it was the devaluing stage). It is all so sick. I feel sick. He abruptly discarded me, the lack of respect is UNBELIEVABLE-has now become so sexually deviant that my mind can’t even comprehend it. He is involved with a 65 yr old woman who he met through some “swapping” type website. He didn’t work for 3 yrs, yet the man had over 200 contacts in his phone! I was so dumb……. And, he struggled profusely with impotence, that I never suspected…….Perhaps that is his goal, to prove some sort of sexual prowess……it’s just sick. Again, I feel sick. Anyway, moving forward with NCEA and trying to get divorced ASAP. Really hard though. The good days (strong) and the bad days (despair). I am lonely. You’re right, the friends don’t get it. Think I’m crazy for calling it a psychopathic nightmare. They don’t want to believe this can happen. They think I am being dramatic or some sort of borderline. So, thank you for doing this for us. And, thanks for letting me post. God bless to everyone out there going through this.

    1. Admin

      Unfortunately, anyone who hasn’t been through it will never understand. Yet it’s important to feel and be understood…so that’s another hard part of the whole thing we have to deal with. “Think I’m crazy for calling it a psychopathic nightmare.” I know that all too well. Know that you can get through it without their support (but also know that some of your relationships might end because of it). There’s a saying that a big trauma in life can “re-write our address book.” It’s so true, I’m sorry to say.

      It’s not uncommon for victims to be misdiagnosed as borderline and other things. It is actually PTSD, in many cases. In time it will pass, as long as you keep after the truth (the truth about what happened to you, so you can understand that it wasn’t at all what he or she wanted you to believe).

      I’m very familiar with the good days…and the bad days. Just keep moving forward anyway as best you can. Learn everything you can to avoid being victimized by another one in the future.

      Best Wishes to you.

    2. Tracy

      I totally understand!! I read the words of people in these blogs and can see my own life nightmare. Friends don’t understand. He even referred to me as Jodi Arias! He kept googling borderline personality and tried to make me believe all that I could see from the Mr Hyde was my imagination!!! I’m giving this information to my therapist this week bc he most likely just sees me as a person of verbal abuse.

    3. marsha

      My comment regarding Tracy’s post about her partner that was a sex deviant… I was married for 15 years and lived with him for a year before that. I left him last October. He was impotent with me. Unfortunately not really impotent. He is in jail now and has been offered a plea deal of 30 years in prison. He is 65. If he goes to trial he will face life in prison. Either way it is life in prison. He has hurt little girls. I had no idea that he had any sexual interest in them. It is so repulsive. I am convinced he is a psychopath after lots of research and based on his behavior towards me, his ex wives, his children and other family members. Before I found out he had me convinced I was incompetent, worthless, and a real mess of a person! So much to work through. The betrayal, the hurt…sometimes it is too much to bear. I will not give up working through this. My successful recovery is my only revenge though he will never know. No contact with him at all. I pray justice wins. He destroyed those little girls too. And their families. He has told so many lies about me that his family won’t speak to me. I truly loved them as my own and have lost everything and everyone. Don’t let the psychopath win. Work on healing and take your life back. Wishing blessings and healing to all that have suffered at the hands and minds of a psychopath.

      1. Admin

        OMG, what a terrible shock that must have been. I’m glad he will be locked up where he can’t hurt anyone else. And I’m glad you will be free. The best thing is your determination. It will get you through! Living well truly is the best revenge. Make sure you see today’s blog post — Through the Labyrinth: A Road Map to Guide You
        I wish you all the best on your journey, Marsha. Blessings and healing to you, too. Thank you.

        1. marshanewday@GMAIL.COM

          Thank you for your comment. If we were to be allowed only one piece of advice it would be NO CONTACT! For anyone trying to heal continued contact with one of these people will only lead to more pain for you. In my case my interview with the police recently was given to him as his right to “discovery” but I am able to block his calls from jail while he is waiting for the trial. In fact, they are blocked at my request and he cannot call my number. I have to send copies of two letters he sent me and he will see what I sent them. He will be livid but cannot do anything about it. Only because I chose not to allow further contact. This site gave me the courage to send this information as I have been living in fear up to now. The FBI was involved due to his hiding in Mexico. They said that he has been “slippery” and evaded prosecution on three crimes they are sure he committed. They stressed how lucky my family and I got are to have gotten out alive! They refused to say what he had done in the past saying it would give us all nightmares and they felt we had enough stress already. Your page is such a great help to me and I feel I can heal with time. Not sure I will ever be able to love again. I think of the person he pretended to be as a ghost that was never real. I waited for years for that person to come back yet it was impossible. The ghost was not real and now it all makes sense. At first when we parted and were still in contact he made me aware he was involved with two other women. He thought I was jealous. I was afraid for them! But though they probably miss him and think the ugliest thoughts about me it makes me happy to know they escaped unharmed. They can hate me all they need to just as his family does. They all believe we lied to get him trouble. Of course they believe him. He continues to manipulate and so they are also unable to contact me now. I deserve to heal and they no longer can defend him to me. Wishing healing for all that have been hurt by these human looking beings. Love yourself, grow and learn who you are again. Know you are sane and competent. Take back those feelings that they took from you. We are no longer victims, but strong survivors!! And never forget: NO CONTACT!!!! Marsha

          1. Admin

            Hi, Marsha. Yes, No Contact; and for those who are caught in ongoing custody, divorce proceedings, and things of that nature, the least amount of contact possible along with The Gray Rock method of dealing with psychopaths. I’m sorry you’ve been living in fear, and I trust your decision to turn over the letters will help to keep him safely behind bars. The warning from the FBI is serious, and I hope that means he won’t get away this time. Maybe you should have a plan in place just in case he walks.

            Your description of him reminds me of Richard Matt. His own brother and his daughter were terrified of him and asked for protection when he was on the run.

            I’m glad the site has helped you, Marsha. You will heal; trust in that, and take the rest from there when the time comes. You do deserve to heal, and cutting off contact with him and his family will give you the space to do that.

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

            Your words are strong and bear repeating:

            “Love yourself, grow and learn who you are again. Know you are sane and competent. Take back those feelings that they took from you. We are no longer victims, but strong survivors!! And never forget: NO CONTACT!!!!”

  6. Mother of a victim

    Back in May of 2005, my son, who was in his early 40’s, became involved with a woman we will call Laura. She charmed him. He and I had always been very close. He is the youngest of my four children. He was an ideal man: honest, with a religious background, hard worker and had everything that made him a good man. He is very successful career wise. He had been divorced for a few years and had a house full of room mates in a house that he owned.

    Slowly I noticed that his roommates were leaving. One just didn’t want to leave. I had to sell my home as I was no longer able to pay the taxes and in July I moved into his place until I could decide where I wanted to live. To my surprise Laura moved in a week before I was due to arrive. Before Laura moved in, my son had called me to speak to the roommate who did not want to leave as he didn’t think Laura was a good person and didn’t want to leave my son with her. I was called by my son to please verify that I was indeed coming to stay. The roommate agreed to leave. There was a strange tone to my son’s voice as well as the request. I brushed it off. To make a long story shorter:
    Within one day I was given a set of rules regarding my kitchen use and within 10 days, through email, I was asked to leave the house. From the time I arrived, I was not able to spend one minute alone with him. If we decided to go to the store, she insisted to go along. I told my son that Laura was very strange and acted rude toward me when my son was not present. I didn’t think she treated my son well either. Laura wanted me out as I was interfering with the control she wanted over my son. I had no idea how much control she had already. I could have sworn that the first and only meal I had with them, my son fell into a trance. I thought he might be playing or joking around. He had dropped his head, turned toward her and stared at her through the whole meal. Never, said a word. I ate my dinner and went to my room.

    Today my son has turned over his finances to her.
    He tells me the church is a cult.
    He takes on a different personality when he talks to me.
    Parts of his memory seem to be missing.
    I fear that he might commit a crime if she asked him to do so.
    She uses hypnosis and has books on her shelf about mind control.
    He was a conservative and is now a Socialist person.
    He used to be the executor of my estate, but asked to be removed.
    We used to have great conversations, now not so.
    He didn’t want a dog, but now has one. She always gets what she wants and always has to right.

    She has destroyed everything that is good in my son childhood and replaced it with seedy memories of me.

    I am the only family member that is aware of these changes in him. He appears to be amiable around all the rest. He lives three hours away from his brother and sisters. I live two states away, and I feel very responsible for this condition. It wasn’t until I left my home state to find a more affordable residence that I realized how devastated he was must have felt. He called me a few times to tell me he was being asked to do things that were against the way he was raised. He did not go into detail. I told him to put her out of his house. He said he couldn’t do that, but he felt that she would drive him crazy. He told me she had no friends or family. That was a lie. It was true she had no friends but she did have family and even shared with me the first time I met her that her father had molested her. At that time I told my son that she was damaged and not a good person to get involved. Our family didn’t and still does not like her, but no one but me said or says anything about it to him. I think they did him a disservice.

    Now 2013, my son married her two years ago. He didn’t want to do that, but said he could not stop it. None of our family was invited. He accepted that blame also and said he didn’t was a big wedding. However, Laura invited all her family and friends. My son knew it was wrong, but said he cold not stop it. He told us he didn’t want to have a big wedding. However, our family was fairly close and we decided to not make big waves. We did not know who she really was

    I have been to two lawyers, one psychologist, one mental health group and spoken to one psychiatrist. The lawyers say that unless he comes to see them, they cannot help. They also said that without physical abuse, showing mental abuse is hard to prove. The psychologist said she could not help because she did not deal in personality disorders, and I think a dual personality is a disorder. Once again he would have to come in for help on his own. The mental health group told me that my son is in for a very long healing process, if he would ever begin and recommended a very large teaching hospital. The term brain washing was used here.

    They have taken out a large insurance policy and this frightens me.

    Laura is a sociopath/psychopath and I fear my son will commit suicide or lose his whole sense of reality. I am now feeling like I could lose my own sense of stability. My son is in my thoughts 24/7. I had a ray of hope a week ago. I called my son on his cell on Sunday morning. He picked up the phone and his voice appeared normal. He was doing the wash. We talked about football and I told him I missed him and loved him very much. He told me the same. I think Laura was out of the house.

    I do not know how to help him. Where would a person in my position begin to end this abuse and stop the transformation happening before my very eyes?

    I fear that Laura also has access to drugs as she told my son when they first met that she takes meds of ADD.

    Has anyone faced this situation?? Sorry this is so long. This is the first time I have attempted to write my thoughts.

    1. Admin

      First, I’m sorry your son — and you! — are caught in this situation. I can clearly sense your pain at watching it happen and yet being unable to help, despite your efforts.

      Mental abuse/ manipulation is hard to prove, especially if the victim appears to “choose” to stay in the situation. This woman is a master manipulator who has been able to take control of your son and hijack his mind and his life. And you have been very seriously affected, too.

      I wish I knew what to tell you to do! Your description brings to mind a need for an “intervention,” like those sometimes done with people who are in a cult or addicted to drugs. But although *we* know his situation is on par with those things, I have no idea who would support such a thing. I mention it only because I understand what you’re talking about and I hear your desperation to help your son.

      Keep looking for a way you can help your son, but realize that maybe you won’t be able to do anything about it.

      Hopefully she will leave him, or he will surprise you one day and leave her first.

      I just did a search and found that Lovefraud has a list of legal and mental health professionals who at least claim to deal with the victims of these “relationships.” Maybe an expert in this field is necessary and will be able to advise you.


      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. Please let me know what happens.

  7. Afraid to leave name

    I am the mother of a psychopath. His younger brother and I have been his victims for over 30ty years. As a Mom I gave my all and then some. I believed until this last year that if I always protected and loved him and was a perfect Mom that I could save him. He almost destroyed me and his brother. I worry everyday about the emotional harm he is doing to others. The hardest part and the beginning of recovery is when you are seeing the reality and danger when the psychopath takes the mask completely off and then you dare tell some things you know trying to protect your other son, daughter in law and grandchildren from being further victimized. Then when you survive and you have to face a lot of reality about the psychopath you know to really really fear him. You have puzzle pieces that suddenly click in place. The best contact is no contact. It is also hard to have the burden of knowing just how dangerous and intelligent he is. I will survive everything only because I understand. Your website is so dead on it just made my hair stand on end. Knowledge is power and to understand means no longer being a victim. I am no longer blind and faced a lot of truths but now live with how scary a person who is a true psychopath really is. Still better than continuing as his victim.

    1. Admin

      It sounds as if you have accepted a hard truth about your own son. That must be a very hard thing for a mother to do. I hope you and his younger brother will do well and stay safe. There is probably nothing you can do about his emotional harm to others, so just take care of yourself as best you can. Best wishes.

  8. Sherry

    I am numb. I am in the second time around, with another one. Just recently, he blindsided me, turned cold and cruel, and I haven’t heard from him in a week. I have not tried to contact him, and I am trying to stay strong. Need help!!!

    1. Admin

      No contact is the wise thing to do. Make up your mind not to date anyone until you re-build your self-worth and self-respect, which are probably in short supply right now. Make a priority of learning as much as you can about how to avoid this scenario in the future. And learn all you can about yourself — because when someone who wants to victimize you knows your needs and motivations better than you do, you’re in big trouble.

      Best of luck to you.

  9. Faith

    I am doing better. It has been months since I left him. Yes I think I still have come cognitive dissociance. What I dont get is that I used to be a food lover but now I have totally lost all my appetite, my hair are falling, I have lost weight and I look older. I am not depressed. Why is this happening to me?

    1. Admin

      Are you sure you’re not depressed? It wouldn’t be surprising if you were, after all. Please read this article, “Could You Be Depressed and Not Know It?”

      Your symptoms could point to malnutrition from not eating enough or some other serious physical problem, so you must go to see a doctor.

      Best wishes to you.

  10. Janice Kirby

    Falling for a psychopath . ruined my life I don’t want to go out side .I don’t want to be with my friends I still live in a fantasy world. My family is going crazy my behaviour is un ordinary .

    1. Admin

      I’m sorry you’re going through this. Please find a counselor who is familiar with trauma and abuse. Best wishes to you.

  11. Mike

    There are an equal amount of female psycopaths out there as male ones. Females tend to fly under society’s radar as they are less likely to commit criminal offences, just moral ones. I have 2 children with a female psycho which she has used as tools to dismantle my live and my soul and greatly enjoyed herself in the process. This enjoyment of cruelty is the hard fact to come to terms with and baffles us all.

    Born as the product of a gang rape on a retarded woman she was adopted and created a nightmare for her new parents. The new mother went insane and the father had to throw his pyschopathic daughter out at 16. During school life 2 of her ‘friends’ commited suicide. She loves to create ‘bad’ situations and watch them unfold, pitting one against another or usually many against one individual. Softly spoken and very feminine and charming she is highly manipulative of men and woman and totally without remorse and dishonest to the core. It’s all about control. They enjoy ‘being the cause’ and ‘having and an effect’ whether it’s making you laugh or cry.

    A great tip for spotting psychopaths is the way they muddle words up especially in ‘sayings’. Eg Running around like a legless chicken. Conversations with a pycho can be disjointed, rapidly changing topics. They often say a sentence that contradicts itself. They talk a lot with excessive hand movements.

    They are very good at creating a good impression of themselves and portraying their victim as the real culprit. This is what really gets me. I’ve been in hell and evrybody thinks I’m the monster………..except a few who have had experience themselves.

    1. Admin

      Yes, there are just as many female psychopaths as there are male…and maybe more, if you look at the relatively new theory that female psychopaths present differently and have possibly been misdiagnosed as having borderline personality disorder. When I started writing this blog, I knew nothing about female psychopaths so I just stuck with what I had experienced. But now I see that many men are victims as well.

      To think of this woman using your children to “dismantle” your life and your soul is sickening. Yours is a heartbreaking story. You really have been through hell, and I hope she is out of your life. I wish you and your children all the best.

  12. Rachel

    Hi. I had a relationship with a psychopath for 3 and a half years. During the first 6 months I thought if met my soul mate. Then he revealed his true self and was violent would go drinking for days and cheated on me. Would always come back to me and tell me it wouldn’t happen again, just wanted somewhere to live. Told me he loved me then would treat me with indifference and I would believe it was my fault. 6 weeks ago he met another woman and moved in with her immediately. Within 2 weeks he was violent to her and contacted me again. He told me he loved me again. I thought he was my soul mate. Then we had row. He was still living with the other woman. He then got stabbed by his friend. I told his new girlfriend to be very careful but she didn’t believe me just believed his lies. I am a very strong person and do not want him back but sometimes I miss him so much it’s so conflicting. I know I’ll get through this but his family live a mile down the road and he’s there every weekend. It’s so difficult. I can’t explain it to anyone as every one that knows him dislikes him and thinks I’m crazy for ever loving him. Reading your website had helped me a lot to reconcile my feelings. Thank you so much for all the info here. It had set me on the road to recovery, I just wish his new victim had listened to me and saved herself the heartache that she will experience

    1. Admin

      Unfortunately, his new victim will believe him just as you did so there is most likely nothing more you can do. I understand you are feeling conflicted, but please act upon the feelings that put your own well-being first. I’m glad the website has helped you. Take care of yourself.

  13. Livi

    I want to thank you for doing this site. Things finally make sense. I was in a relationship with a one of these sick people. It was always my fault. And my address book has been changed. Not many get it. Its so hard to loose someone you actually thought you loved and at the same time realize it was never real. I ended up going to jail, loosing a big chunk of savings to defend myself, lost close relationships due to depression and some of my own self respect. A good chuck of time….Im still healing. I do have hope that Im on the right path. Thank you again. This will help me in the right direction.

    1. Admin

      I’m so glad you feel this will help and I wish you the best. You’ve been through some very tough times, and I hope life will change for the better in a big way!

  14. Alice

    Thankyou so much for the incredible words that are written here . They speak volumes and resonate deeply with the very painful and baffling experience I am currently enduring- having been dropped ( dumped ) from a great height, by someone who can only possibly be described as a Sociopath . The healing and relief I feel has made a profound difference, so many thanks. Thank Goodness for the internet too !

    1. Admin

      You’re so welcome. Thank you for letting me know this helped you. Best wishes to you.

      And yes thank goodness for the internet!

  15. Nelson

    First of all, I would like to thank you so much for this post. It pretty much took all the thoughts I had about my situation and organized them into column form. I had never heard of cognitive dissonance but that term and the definition hit the nail on the head of what I have been feeling/thinking.

    I started dating a sociopath a little more than two years ago, the summer when I was 18 and she was 17. We met through a mutual friend, and she rushed the relationship while I wanted to take it slow. For the longest time I considered that one of the best summers of my life because of how euphoric she made it all out to be. I stopped hanging out with pretty much all of my friends, and started neglecting my family, all the while just spending more and more time with her.

    Then I started college at a university about an hour and a half away from where I live, and she started her senior year of high school. What I didn’t know was she had already reeled me in. Things were fine at first, we thought we could make it work for a year until she graduated. But everything changed about midway through the semester. She became distant, and never wanted to talk anymore. But I had been home to see her every damn weekend and most Wednesdays we met inbetween to eat and do other things. She blamed me for our relationship being so awful. She said it was my fault we were so far apart because I went to a school an hour and a half away, when there was a community college I could be going to about 30 minutes from where she lived. I tried to explain to her I made the decision to go there months before I even met her. She didn’t care.

    Then I would finally make it home for the weekend and things would be fine. Until Sunday night. When it was time for me to leave she would cry and pitch fits, not letting me leave until 1 AM or later, with an hour and a half drive to my dorm and an 8 AM class. She didn’t care. It was all about her.

    Then her crying and sobbing on Sunday nights got worse. She began to start fights and try to leave me over stupid things, but because she knew how much I cared for her she knew I wouldn’t leave until I “fixed things”, which involved sitting there telling her how amazing she was and how ugly, stupid, and annoying any girl I had ever been with in my past was.

    During the week, all I did was lay in my dorm and wait for her to call. I pretty much had 2 friends my whole freshman year of college: my roommate and my cousin who lived in the area. This was strange for me because in high school I was a very sociable person. (I played varsity football, basketball, and baseball, and received an academic scholarship to the university I attend). She completely changed who I was. I hated myself but I loved her. I had no idea that there were people like her in the world. (A small fun fact: there were 34 weekends in the two semesters I dated her while I was at school. I went home to see her all but 2 of those. That’s over 140 miles round trip 32 times.)

    My dad finally intervened the summer after my freshman year. He told me he would kick me out and never help me out financially again unless I ended it with her. I knew he was right, but I just couldn’t explain the hurt of when I tried to leave her and he and the rest of my friends and family just could NOT understand. I finally left her, butLook.. I was gonna go easy on you not to hurt your feelings, but… I’m only going to get….. this one chance. I went into a rampant alcoholic stage, only at the age of 19. Things started to get better and I started getting off the bottle until (at this point it had been about four months since I had talked to/seen her) we got back in contact. A stupid and life changing mistake that was.

    We dated in secret until February of this year, until I found a strong core of new friends who helped me end it. She had actually taken an attempt at my life, which just totally blew my mind. I realized she was mentally sick and unhealable. I told my dad of our secrecy and he was pretty pissed, but understood. I was finally done with her for good.

    Until she came to me a month later with a signed piece of paper from a doctor saying she was 2 months pregnant. “I thought you said you were on the pill!! What the hell?! How did this happen?” “I lied.”
    Such a simple, yet life changing statement.

    My daughter is almost a month old now. I am still not with her, and she is engaged to some other poor soul now. We are about to start an extreme custody battle. I feel like I’ve been through the hell of a lifetime, but the hell has only just began. It’s just so much to handle, yet I do my best to stay positive. How can I deal with all this? And by the way, I’m 20 now and still in college. So I’m cursed to make that Godforsaken drive every other weekend to see my little girl, with the sociopath who changed my life.

    Pretty much all I have to say about this post is that it helped me realize that I really f***ing need professional help. I can’t stop doing drugs and I’m going to ruin my daughter’s life. Thank you so much again for the little push I needed in the right direction. You make have just saved me.

    1. Admin

      “She completely changed who I was. I hated myself but I loved her.” This sums it up well, Nelson. I am astounded that you’ve gone through all of this at such a young age. You’re aware now of what she is and that will help you in the times to come.

      I’m so happy I’ve given you a little push in the right direction, but you definitely need some professional guidance to deal with this, both psychological and legal, if possible.

      There’s a website that might be of help: http://onemomsbattle.com/ Also, see the resources in the sidebar of my blog under “Dealing with a violent partner/ex.”

      Best of luck to you and to your little daughter.

  16. Alice Ana-Maria Wells

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

    1. Admin

      You are so welcome! Thank you for letting me know.

  17. Empathic Love

    Thank you so much for this. I originally read your blog 2months ago, as healing progresses with no contact, withdrawl and continual fog lifting and truth revealed–I have felt quite vulnerable. It has been quite frustrating as I shop for appropriate counselor– how misunderstood I am– I am so grateful that I can direct people to this site and then they get it! Also, one counselor ( I am also a counselor/wounded healer) tried to suggest I was borderline–after one brief meeting– I was completely miffed— but realize there is much ignorance even among counselors– I knew nothing about this until I experienced it. I meet with 5 different counselors as you must be cautious and find the right fit. I think I may have finally found one but will go slow– and have been finding 12 step meetings amazing source of support and healing– but your site is very well organized and has helped me sort through the craziness and disorganization of my body, mind, emotions and spirit — so I can rescue, recover and move forward with truth and no contact. THANK YOU

    1. Admin

      Thank you for letting me know! I’m so glad the site is helping you, and I’m happy you may have found the right counselor. It’s true, not too many know about any of this and I have to wonder why. Borderline is a common misdiagnosis given to traumatized victims, btw.

      I’m happy to know that you’re sending others close to you to this site to help them to understand what happened to you. “Helping a freind who’s been traumatized by a psychopath”

  18. rani

    Thank you. I have been looking for help and answers. I was with my ex for 3 yrs. Recently ended. We met I thought he was amazing. Good looking charming and romantic. I moved in with him 3mnths into the relationship, crazy but I didn’t think so at the time. Cracks then started to appear. The women he had been with, collection of underwear he kept from his conquests. The porn. The lies and the cheating in which he had denied. Everytime I thought it was me with the problem. He used my past my insecurities against me. Tried to leave but would have the police called on me. I felt like I was going mad. He took me away from my family and friends. Im still on my own with my three children. Two of which are his. They are both babies. I wont allow him to see
    Them. If he can hurt me he will them. It was a hard choice but he is not good. I feel no self worth left. I felt ugly and worthless. Now im trying to heal but no one seems to understand. There are no groups where other people have gone through it. I can’t find any. So instead I read up I try and find answers. This is the worst thing that has happened to me. He tells people I have a personality disorder. I dont. I have been through hell and struggling to get through it. Its so hard to heal. Did I do the right thing for him to have no contact with our children? How long will it take to heal? He never loved me not really. I feel I have been raped. Why does no one understand? I want to heal and be happy again. …x

    1. Admin

      Know that my heart goes out to you, Rani.

      Some resources which might help you:






      Best wishes

  19. Kristine Slough

    I finally awoke to the disturbing fact of my soon to be ex husband being a psychopath. We were a textbook case of the 3 stages. It was wonderful for the first few years until he left his email open and I saw that he was cheating on me with an ex girlfriend. Of course he denied it and actually was having an affair with her while I was pregnant. Every time during the next few years that I would suspect an affair I would threaten to leave him and he would be “good” for 6 months or a year, then would do the same things. I finally realized what he was earlier this year. Then he fully discarded both me and his now 9 year old son. When I filed for divorce a few days ago I felt better, but now I have to come to grips with the fact that he does not seem to care anything about me or our son. I think that’s the hardest thing to do. He did cry but I think it was because I filed for the divorce first and he lost control of the situation. He was crying for himself. I can’t even begin to think about healing. The pain is just too much. Why is it so easy for him and not for me?

    1. Admin

      I’m sorry you’re going through all of this. If your ex is truly a psychopath, it’s easier for him because he doesn’t have any real emotions. They do get upset when they lose control. You will begin to heal in time, even though it may not seem like it right now. I wish you and your son all the best.

  20. Ann

    How’s this one for a doozy of a story…and please…no judging.
    My relationship with my psychopath started out as an affair, for both of us-15 years ago. I knew in my gut something wasn’t right, but it was very exciting, and I thought I was in love with him. Still I didn’t let him in 100% which is why he stayed around and THOUGHT he was in love with me. I ended up moving 2hrs away and eventually ended things which devastated him, but not once did he ever tell me he wanted me and my children. He was into me because I held the power. 13 years go by; my husband had a 2 year affair that I found out about when I was 8 mos pregnant, and a couple ‘hook-ups’ since, and my ‘man’ has since divorced. Needless to say, the years haven’t been that great and I have grown increasingly unhappy in my marriage. Through the years I remembered (selectively) how happy I was with my ‘man’, and eventually the opportunity for us to be together again presented itself. This time though, I let my guard down, and thought that this was my chance. I had nothing to lose since I was unhappy in my marriage anyway. I gave my ‘man’ all of me. I let him in completely…and over the last 2 years he destroyed me. Not one time in 2 years did he ever ask to see me. I thought it was because I was still married and he wasn’t and I had to ‘tow the line’. Now I think it was all by design….he also used to brag that he never gave his ex-wife a birthday card- and I still stayed with him; boy was I nuts. One morning after his birthday, he asked me when I was leaving, and whether I needed to shower. Seriously…who does that? He used to say the weirdest things during our deep conversations that I now know was gaslighting. During the devaluation phase, he knew I was distancing myself because of our problems, so just to keep the carrot dangling just a little bit more, he made comments like, ‘hurry up and get a divorce so we can be together…and, ‘I can’t wait for you to meet my niece. After all she’ll be your niece someday’. The end was when I was ‘accidentally’ on a text thread between him and a female coworker I now know he has a crush on: She had called me a hussy…and his reply was ‘hussy, I love that’. 8 hrs prior he was telling me he wanted a future with me. I told him never to contact me again. He texted me a couple of times the next day to which I didn’t reply, but he never called. Not once. Some guy, huh? The aftermath has been nothing short of horrific. My marriage has sank to new lows…I am now teetering on divorce, but my mind isn’t in it’s right place and I can’t make any sound decisions. Any affection from my husband makes my stomach turn. We haven’t been intimate in almost a year, and to make matters worse, he has a crush/friend at work…he says they are just friends, but hey, who can blame him, right? I barely make it through the day sometimes, and I can’t remember a day that I haven’t at some point had a cry. I’ve been to therapy, but no amount of therapy takes the pain away. I feel like someone has died. I really, really loved him, and had fully accepted all the ‘oddities’ that went with him. He really, really loved the chase and the game.

    1. Admin

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this, Ann. You’re right, what they love is the chase and the game. And they are ruthless players. From what you’ve told me, you’re correct when you say your mind isn’t in the right place to make sound decisions about your marriage. If it’s possible, your marriage needs to be considered as a separate issue from your feelings about your ex-lover. It will take time for you to be able to do that. Therapy is good if you have a good therapist who is empathetic and who supports you, but it’s only a part of the healing process. A big part of it is time. Another important part is learning about manipulators, and finding out how it happened and what really transpired. I wish you all the best on your journey. Warm wishes to you.

  21. Torn

    WOW , All i can say is Thankyou.
    I am so thankful that I happened to come across your website , I have been beating myself up wondering if there was something terribly wrong with me.
    My story started over 12 mnths ago now.
    Everything you describe , is what happened……..Everything to a T.
    It took him 6mths to get my attention at my place of work , I really didn’t find him attractive , I wasn’t giving him my full attention and I think that made him try all the more.
    Everyday , he would come into my work , he was a contractor there and always turned up when i was having my break. He would always smile and say hello, over time i started to actually look forward to his arival. He would say little things ,like , I only come here to see you , you know. At this time i thought he was married so i didn’t really pay him any special attention.
    Until one day he asked me how to use skype on his phone , he was meeting up with a woman on the weekend and I actually felt a touch of jealousy , I asked him , arn’t you married , and he told me that he had been seperated for over 6 mths but still lived at home for the sake of his kids. Alarm bells should have rung then and there , but instead i started to let down my guard and get to know him better. Big mistake.
    He told me that the very first time he saw me he was smitten , he said that I was the only thing on his mind day in and day out , and i beleived him because it seamt any time he had available he would be there at my work wanting to spend time with me.
    Once we had exchanged phone numbers he would message me constantly , telling me he was thinking of me , telling me i was beautiful , calling me his true love ,my baby , my beautiful flower everything a woman would want to hear , he said it. He almost always ended the message with I Love You. He went out of his way to do thoughtful romantic things for me , buying me small gifts leaving romantic poems and working his charm and magic. And Yes , stupid me fell for it.
    It took me only 4 weeks to fall in love with him from the time we exchanged phone numbers , but i didn’t tell him , until he asked me (by text message)why i have trouble answering him when he says I love you.
    I was so worried that i would loose him that i told him then and there that i loved him (by text message) He was so happy that i had fallen in love with him , it was like he had finally found and gotten the love of his life.
    Thats how he made me feel.
    It took me about 6 weeks to start a sexual relationship with him. And he treated me like I was the only woman on this earth , and the sex was the best i have ever had , and he claimed the same thing.
    Over the next couple of months , the messages,calls and visits became less frequent , he ended it with me on several occasions , saying that he felt bad that he couldn’t give me everything i needed as his buisuness took up too much of his time. By now i was basically obsessed with this guy , and begged and pleaded with him not to end it , each time he would lure me back in and i would accept less than i did the time before.
    He would get very jealous if i spoke to other men at work or if i gave them a smile , i was a very happy go lucky person at work , and it got to the stage where i was avoiding men so i wouldn’t upset him , he even got angry with me for leaving a smiley face at the end of a note i left for one of the bosses.
    But it made me feel special , like he loved me so much.
    As his time for me got less and less i would wonder what it was i had done , he would ALWAYS put the blame back on me for everything , I was a total mess. One day it would be like he is totally in love with me and then he would have me thinking that he isn’t afraid of loosing me.
    This went on for 6mths , He had me to the point where i was doing things that i wouldn’t normally do , I thought i was doing it because i loved him so much and i was afraid of loosing him. And i thought that he loved me.
    I stopped going out with my friends , I stopped my passion which was photography , I stopped talking and smiling at the men at work , I waited home for him , and was happy to have 30mins of his time (usually ending with sex and then he would leave) I can’t beleive that he talked me into doing sexual things while at work , that is not me , but he did , and i feel ashamed of myself.
    It is only this weekend that my gut feeling finally kicked in , when i heard him take a phone call from somebody , after he got up and walked away to take the call , I just had this feeling that it was another woman. When i questioned him about it , he said it was his daughter.
    I didn’t message him or call him for two days after that,and i didn’t hear from him either.
    Monday night i sent him a text to say that i was just a game to him that he never loved me.
    His reply as usual……..Iv’e done nothing wrong.
    It was my fault for not messaging him or calling him.
    I told him I was a fool , and that i beleive i have been played , and to stay away from me.
    He said to me that i don’t truly beleive that , (as he always does) and that i AM a fool if i think that is true.
    All weekend i have been fighting with myself , wondering , does he love me , is it me , is it him.
    Until I came across your website………It has made me realise that yes, there are people out there that prey on people like me.
    I have finally made the connection , and finally come to the conclusion that is was all a game to him , he didn’t love me.
    And I don’t know how to deal with it , It’s like my perfect man was just a dream , even though i know he wasn’t real.
    And i feel i need to tell him that what he is doing is wrong , I feel the need to message him to tell him how he has manipulated me into loving him , I want to hurt him like he has hurt me , but I don’t want to stoop to his level.
    I know I will see him at work. What is your oppinion on how to deal with him when i see him at work?
    Every other time when i saw him (after we had broken up) , it was like he was a magnet drawing me to him , It was like he had cast a spell over me , it was like i had no control over my feelings , over my love for him , I can’t let that happen again , although at the moment I feel much stronger and my love is turning to anger and bitterness , but when i see him , i’m scared that I may fold.
    Please help.

    1. Admin

      From what you say, it seems you found this website for a good reason! He sounds prototypical, as does the relationship.

      He’s made you doubt yourself by telling you that it’s you and not him, etc., but remember this — actions speak louder than words. Actions point to the truth. And you already know the truth. If you do fold, it will only be more of the same. Actually, it will only get worse — you’ll get less and less of his time, but you’ll have more and more questions and doubts, and more of your thoughts and your energy will go into this big, black sinkhole he’s pulled you into. It’s amazing when you find the love of your life and he feels the same way! And that is hard to let go of. It’s what keeps us hooked, what keeps us believing the words instead of the reality.

      You say you want to hurt him like he’s hurt you, but if he is truly a pathological manipulator, there is no way to hurt him. He will only deny everything you say and give you even more doubts. Telling him how you feel is simply an opportunity for him to change your mind.

      You need to cut off any and all contact with him. Except of course that you will have to see him at your job. That’s tricky. I didn’t have to deal with that, but many who do use a technique they call “gray rock.” You can read about it here: http://www.lovefraud.com/2012/02/10/the-gray-rock-method-of-dealing-with-psychopaths/ Basically, you will become like a gray rock whenever he’s around or contacts you in any way — meaning you’ll give him boring, monotonous, and emotionless responses, no matter how he tries to provoke you. Why? He needs stimulation, but this will bore him and he’ll move on.

      It’s not easy, but if you are committed to regaining your peace of mind and self-respect, and committed to getting him out of your life, you can do it.

      I wish you the best of luck. Warm wishes.

      1. Torn

        Thankyou so much for your reply , I have been desperately looking for answers , you don’t know how much this site has helped me in the last 24hrs.
        I was reading about covert emotional manipulation tactics , and he fit every single one of those tactics listed there……every single one.
        It was like I was reading about my life for the past six months , well , it was my life for the last six months.
        If I didn’t find this website I would still be doubting myself on whether he loved me or not.
        Before I received a reply from you, I had contemplated on sending him a message to tell him how I felt , and unfortunately I did.
        I will share with you what I wrote and his reply.
        ME: You know, I really hope that some day you get to experience the pain and hurt that you unashamedly inflict on us woman,i am so glad that I finally realised that it wasn’t LOVE that I was feeling,and I could finally open up my eyes and see you for what you really are.
        How a person can get enjoyment from watching ones pain,is beyond me.To manipulate somebody into thinking they love you is sickening.
        I know you will refuse to accept the truth as you are never able to take responsibility for your behaviour or actions and always make somebody else responsible for it.
        You always said to me that you are not worthy of my love,you were right.
        You should be ashamed of yourself.
        But your probably sitting there,smiling to yourself,planning your next move.

        His reply: You should be ashamed of yourself for thinking my love for you was fake.
        Don’t talk to me again.

        Me: I have no intentions of doing so
        Wouldn’t waste my time

        His reply: So be it

        I understand now that sending the message would have no emotional effect on him at all.
        But it did make ME feel a bit better. I don’t know why. Probably because any normal person would be effected y those words.

        And one thing I did forget to mention, just in case anybody was wondering , is our age , this man is 51 and I am 46 , and I have never experienced this type of person throughout my life, ever, until now.

        I appreciate the link to the technique of “The Gray Rock” and I will deffinately be using that on him.
        I feel very anxious at the thought of seeing him at work tomorrow if he is there (I havn’t been into work since Saturday for this reason) and am hoping I can pull this off.
        Once again , Thankyou for your help, your kind words , and the site.

        1. Admin

          Now that you know what he is, you know there is nothing to go back to. Stay strong! I wish you the best of luck.

  22. leana mitchelle

    I actually found your blog after googling, “how to tell if you being manipulated”. I found out earlier that my fiance had been forwarding my mothers calls to voicemail(which he completely denied). Im only 23 and I honestly thought I was loosing my mind, but its all in your blog. I feel like ive been living in hell since we moved out of my granny’s house 3 months ago. Everything started out so perfect. He did things id never had any man do for me. Honestly he still does(only less enthusiasticly now). He goes to the store when im tired or sick, buys me food or medicine, rubs my tummy when im cramping, sings me to sleep, takes me out when im bored, everyone know were together(accept of course the women he keeps talking to behind my back). Until last week when he lost his job he’s been completely supporting me as he promised he would take me away from home 1 year into our 2 1/2 year relationship. He calls me his wife to everyone we meet but guilt trips me when I say I dont have to stay forever cause were not married yet. He cries and holds me down so he can rub my stomach when we leave(he believes our babies are inside waiting to be born).he gets so mad when I say im leaving. When I pack my things he dumps out my bag and purse or threatens to throw me out without anything. The last time he cheated(he claims he never slept with another women but its kinda hard to believe when he’s made multiple ads on craigslist for sex). I was depressed for days until I had a break down and started breaking everything in the house. I just felt like it was all a lie. Why should our house be so perfect when our relationship leaves us with a broken home? He got so furious with me he ripped of all my clothes and tried to throw me out of the house naked(after pushing me into our fridge and knocking my head into a few walls). I started scratching my arm in secret because I didnt have the courage to cut myself. When he saw this he tired me in the closet naked and left me the for a while(we enjoy s&m so I didnt take it as such a scary thing at the time). Only now I dont know what real and whats not. I made the fatal mistake of saying I wanted to die once and he dragged me into the kitchen naked and threatened to slit my rists with a knife. Later he told me he only put the back (dull) end of the knife to scare me into not wanting to die. Even now as im telling you this it doesnt seem real. It all seems like it happen to someone else or he was just being dramatic. Im afraid though. Its 4:24 in the morning and I cant sleep. Im afraid the because I told him I wont believe his manipulations anymore he might hurt me. I cant go home, my family loves him. And the shame of going home only 3 months after we left with nothing. I have a job interview in the morning ant 11:15 and im awake staring at him sleeping peacfully on the floor afraid he wake up in the middle of the night and stab my stomach. Worst of all I still love this man deeply. He built my confidence to an all time high and then proceeded to tear me down again saying I look prettier without makeup or hair extensions. All the while chasing the girls who have the hair and makeup caked on like sluts. I do feel more in power reading your blog though. I pray I find a way out of this alive and not with his blood on my hand in the middle of the night. No one know my stuggle. All our freinds envy us and say we are the perfect sickoning couple. My only confidant is his ex with whom I am now friends with. Amazingly she’s engaged to another sweet guy but says she still battles with what my fiance put her through mentally with his cheating in they’re relationship. She still hangs out with I and my fiance and her and even says she longs to have my fiance’s friendship again. Im so confused and I just pray I find some help soon. Thank you for your blong and alowing us to vent here and find guidence. YOU ARE AN ANGEL. <3

    1. Admin

      I hear the pain and confusion in your words, and my heart goes out to you. I’m sorry you’re enduring this.

      You CAN go home, and you MUST, immediately, today. You must put pride, shame, and anything else aside and get away from this creep immediately. What people think is not important. Living in a lie to uphold the image your friends and family have is no reason to stay with him. He’s destroying you. You say you don’t know what’s real, but it sounds to me you know exactly what’s real.

      This man you’re with sounds like a very disturbed character. Is this what you wanted for yourself, what you imagined for your life? You are not able to see clearly now. You need to stay away from him — no contact — and then you will be able to see things clearly, and when you do, you will be so happy you walked away, and so shocked at what you became willing to put up with.

      I’m glad the blog is helping you. Thank you for your kind words. I’ll be rooting for you, and I wish you all the best. Warm wishes to you.

  23. valerie

    I am free from a obsessive psychopathic stalker, thief, liar– although he is still hunting me down. I wanted to ask you what is wrong with people like me who get in relations like these? Yes, they are very clever and hide who they are but what attracted me to him? You must know something about this. I think not every woman would fall in with a man like this. What am I not seeing? What is wrong with my gut feelings that I do have? How could this happen? I am a really good, kind person– I must be a dupe though. He almost ruined my soul, my child, and he did take everything we owned away– the police sadly do not know how to help, and they clearly are not interested — going that route was a waste of time–one judge told me, and I kid you not, “this is why we get married.” I lost my tongue– get married?– oh, that would have made things even harder to get away — the victim witness lady told me, “take you child and get out of town, I have seen his record.” I said, “I have done nothing wrong, I own my home, make him leave, he was arrested, he is the crook.” She went on to say that he was dangerous but could not reveal what he had done?– she said she did not want to read about me in the papers, once ‘it’ was all over, nothing anyone could do then. He has more rights than I do– I think I have a right to know what his record was. Is there any legal aid for this kind of problem? He forged his name on so many of my checks—he got rich and I am ruined now–isn’t there anyone who could help me? Isn’t there any hope? Surely there are thousands like me out there—the DA dropped the case, there were other women in court at the same time, it wasn’t just me — he had a good criminal attorney, he was a good at being the good ol’ farm boy– anyway– I can’t believe that there isn’t more understanding of these types and more help for the people wounded by their unstoppable force to hurt and destroy anyone who comes into their vision. How sad- PTSD makes it hard too, hard to move forward with clarity–anyway I need legal help– wish an attorney angel would appear–thank-you, any info about these freaks helps the people who have been touched by their evil ways.
    He won, he got everything we had, he got free money all with a stroke of his pen, and the legal system dropped the ball on me– I wish I had paid bouncers instead– forget the DA — forget that sort of help–my advice to women is take care of it yourself! In fact going the legal route exposes you more–I had a stalking order– so what the victim witness lady says to me, “that piece of paper isn’t going to save you, move now while you are still alive.” Gee thanks some support system!— and yes I did move—

    1. Admin

      I’ll tell you what’s wrong with you, and me, and all of us — we had the all the qualities a psychopath needed in order to victimize us. You were loving and trusting and forgiving. You wanted to share your heart with someone. You believed in people. You trusted that they are as decent and kind as you are. It’s not about what’s wrong with you — it’s about what’s right with you, and what’s human. “The Real Reason You Were Victimized By a Psychopath” Those are the primary things that make us vulnerable to them. There may also have been other things, such as loneliness or loss or a wound from the past. But all they need are our best qualities. “Traits of the Psychopath’s Victim”

      What attracted you to him? He pretended to be that decent, kind person that you are. He pretended to be capable of love, and he pretended to love you and want to have a relationship with you.

      What’s wrong with your gut feelings? Absolutely nothing. What a psychopath excels at is disarming our gut feelings. And people give too much credit to ‘gut feelings,’ when in fact they’re unreliable at best. “Never Trust Your Gut…Unless it Tells You to RUN”

      You must be a dupe? You, and everyone else. Everyone on this planet is capable of being a ‘dupe.’ Every single one. It comes with being human. “Emergency: Self-Blame”

      I agree, it is startling that there isn’t more understanding, especially among those in the court system as well as in the mental health profession.

      What the victim-witness woman said is true. A restraining order only stops someone who isn’t truly dangerous. >>> The number one priority now is your safety < << I'm glad to hear you moved, but alarmed that he's still 'hunting you down.' “Advice for dealing with a violent ex”

      I’m sorry to hear of the injustice you’re experiencing. Yes, there are thousands who also experienced the same thing. I agree, you need some good legal advice from someone who is an expert at dealing with these manipulative, character-disordered people. You can start a search for one on one here:


      Valerie, I hope you’ll find the help and support you need. Please stay safe. I wish you all the best.

      1. Debra

        All I can say is ‘Finally!’ Finally I have found a place where people truely understand what it’s like to have your life enexplicably and completely destroyed by these monsters that look human.
        I cannot thank you here enough. This is handsdown the most informative and helpful site that I have been lucky enough to stumble upon.
        I don’t need to share any of my horrific stories ….it’s all here, and I’m comforted to know that I really am not alone in my struggle to recover.
        I responded to this particular story, because the writer asked the same question that has been haunting me for sometime now. How did this happen? What flaws or weaknesses did I have that allowed me to be a victum? How can I protect myself from this ever happening to me again? My self esteem has been devasted to the point that I wonder if it was ever truely intact.
        I must have hidden a crumb of it somewhere though, because I finally found the CONVICTION within to get this CREEP out of my life a year ago.
        The NO CONTACT thing is an ABSOLUTE MUST! I know because I’ve been down this road only to have my life and my mind ripped apart by allowing him back in.
        These people are not normal and they can’t be fixed or rehabilitated. They are missing a conscience and there isn’t enough love in the world to fix something that just isn’t there. The only choice a person has is to RUN AND DON’T LOOK BACK!!
        Thank you so very much for this site, for sharing so many stories to help us all to know that we are not crazy, and that we are not alone, and for all the important and helpful information that can help every victum become a survivor.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          Thank you, Debra! It makes me very happy to hear that my website is so helpful to you! You made my day. I predict your “hidden crumb” will grow until it’s bigger than it’s ever been before. You’re on your way. I wish you all the best on your journey to freedom.

  24. suzanne o

    one of the many problems , suffering psycho abuse from psychopaths – how & where & who to find that can & will really actually heal ALL the damages, injuries physical & spirit/element etc – every time it happens . one can find some counseling & lots to read – but have not found 100% total healing manifestations . & more worrying , the psycho abuses is now more widespread & part of the home &the town & the tourism & some actually almost endorse this – hope it will change . & – can one heal the pets & animals & environment geometry ? we have lost our wisdom & ar so ineffective -this is part of the problem .thank-you.

    1. Admin

      When you say “every time it happens.” are you speaking of yourself or of everyone who is victimized? I hope you’re not saying that you’ve fallen prey to them repeatedly.

      I don’t know of anyone you can turn to who can heal 100% of the damages. I believe your best bet is YOU. I know that if I waited for someone else to heal me, I’d have been out of luck. I was determined and I became my own advocate. I had faith in my power to heal and faith that I would find a way. I got help from others as I could find it, but most of the help I got came from within. I mustered up strength I never knew I had, and developed the resilience I needed as I went along. I also found help in a therapist, a shaman, and fellow victims. I developed boundaries and self-confidence, while resolving old and ineffective behaviors (e.g. people pleasing) and beliefs (thinking my contentment and happiness were dependent on someone or something outside of myself). I did, and continue to do, work that enables me to act with compassion and help others. Doing that is a powerful affirmation of the spirit and is a negation to the psychopath’s way of callous disregard. I highly recommend it, because in doing so you’ll see your heart and soul are in working order, while healing them even further. And don’t forget to extend your kindness and compassion to yourself! That is so very important.

      Each of us has the ability to overcome great adversity, and that adversity has the power to be the catalyst of incredible self-growth.

      I know psychopathy causes many of the problems suffered by humans, animals, the environment, etc. but I know of no resolution to this problem. Psychopathic thought is gaining ground, while compassion lessens. Psychopaths stay hidden, but they hide in positions of power and influence, in the community and on a larger scale. Government and the media are controlled by them and those who benefit from them, and together they manipulate and control the narrative and the focus of our attention.

      It has to become a conversation first before anything can happen. But if you go out tomorrow and tell everyone you see that the world is being ruined by psychopaths, I guarantee 99% of them will look at you funny. It seems to be a conversation most aren’t ready to have, nor do they even realize the need for it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

      Each of us has to do what we can to raise consciousness around us and try to help others who’ve been victimized. We can act within our own spheres of influence, no matter how small. This world is in dire need of more compassion, and we can offer that to others every chance we have.

      I wish you all the best on your healing journey, Suzanne!

  25. Eva

    I’ve just found this website after breaking up with a psychopath. I didn’t know this is how it is called I just felt something was wrong with our relationship. I reread my diary and interesting that after one month being with him I already wrote I didn’t think he was the one but I chose to ignore this. Luckily I had some common sense to postpone moving in with him. He wanted me after a month but I said it depends on my financial state.
    After two months he started pushing for threeways and made me feel really insecure and confused. IF he had really loved me he wouldnt have wanted to have sex with other people so soon but he wrapped it so nicely I actually thought I was not good enough, not open minded enough. Whatever I tried it was always my fault, he never offered to change anything.
    But I kept asking myself why would I stay with him, I knew I wasnt happy, just in the initial first month so at the end I had to break it off after seven month, a week ago.
    I am really proud of myself having the strength to walk away just worried a bit about unseen wounds in my soul.
    So thank you for your website it helps me a lot to understand what really happened.

    1. Admin

      Hi Eva. That’s how we all end up at sites like this one — we know something way out of the ordinary happened but we don’t know what. You are very strong and deserve to be proud of yourself, and you’re very wise to be concerned about hidden wounds. Time will tell. It sounds like he didn’t get the control over you he would have liked to have had. Pay attention to how you feel about yourself, meaning if you feel in any way ‘less than’ you did before. Also, watch for obsessive thinking and intrusive thoughts about him and what happened, especially when you’re trying to keep your attention on something else. Those are signs of wounds you may not be aware of.

      I also kept a journal, which I started a couple of months before the P was gone. It’s interesting to see all of my conflicting thoughts. I’m glad to have a record of it.
      Thanks for your comment, Eva. I’m happy to hear the site is helping you understand.

  26. Penny

    It has been years since I have been separated from my husband that I have just recently learned is a psychopath. He had lied about everything. I am now taking him to court for being a bigamist.

    I have had other woman contact me throughout the years. I really didn’t know how to handle having them in my life because I was all so overwhelming – so I shut them out. But within the past 3 months I had others contact me. One woman was the most recent girlfriend and then two woman that were friends or family of his new wife. I felt I was stronger now and at first comparing stories and having each others support helped. A private FB page was created and we all compared our stories. My goal was to make him come up in google searches and to help the woman that is still married with him. The most recent girlfriend helped with putting up a blog. But there was nothing we could do to help the wife. This killed me because I knew what type of life she was living. He lied about everything. When he was with me he even lied about dying. She probably knows something was off as I did – but was stuck under his trance.

    The woman in the group supported me enough to get me to file a bigamy case. The hope was to get him to do jail time so possibly his current wife would wake up and leave him. But after many months of the case being postponed because he was lying to the court about things – we finally went to court. The court never dealt with a bigamy case and need to reschedule to research. He wanted me to send in all the supporting evidence.

    It was very hard seeing him again after years. Feelings I had buried started coming back. I did feel empowered because I went through with it – but it was very hard. After the court hearing – I started to feel anxiety when trying to get all the documents to send to the court. But I did it.

    Then a reporter who was going to cover the story finished the article sent me a release form giving my approval to post it on her site because her company did not approve it for release. I did not feel comfortable to sign it.

    I told the fb group I was not signing the consent because I didn’t want my name to be googled and the story come up and I was advised that with the case still being opened nothing should be posted. I also found errors in the story that needed to be fixed. I guess my comment rubbed a few people the wrong way – the same people that told me they would be there for me – did not comment to my post – that bothered me. Then in a few days I see the article was released without my consent. She did take out my first name so I will not come up in google searches but she did not get the errors fixed or approval to post it. I felt so betrayed. So I emailed the reporter that I want the story pulled off the site. She responded that having the article will help with the bigamy case. Which confuses me because the case is about bigamy not about his lying and betraying woman.

    I decided at that time I was removing myself from the group and going to seek help on my own. That is when I found your site which made me very happy. It is the first one I found that gets right to the point, helps you relate what is going on with yourself is true , and see that what is going on with you is not crazy. All of the woman except for a few – have been very supportive about my decision to leave the group and get help on my own which I am grateful. I am also planning to go visit the current wife to see if she will talk to me. I just feel like I need to try something to help her wake up.

    I am confused on how a woman – the reporter – who also had a husband that was a psychopath lose site of understanding what I am going through – and try to help me who was right in front of her. I also feel betrayed. I felt like it didn’t mater what I had to say. Shouldn’t she have cared more about my feelings than just posting the story? Am I right that reading my story only helps woman find comfort – but can not help them deal with being with a psychopath?

    The most recent girlfriend that helped me get the blog and me taking him to court for bigamy – also seemed to turn her back when I didn’t want to sign the release to release the article. This makes me feel like the article was more important than our goal as a group. I have had a few emails back and fourth and she still is not being understanding and compassionate. We are on different pages so I told her best I finish my journey on my own.

    I go to court next Friday. I don’t know what to expect which makes me anxious. I know I am strong enough to go against him. I just know that regardless what the court says – I need help.

    Do you know any support groups in NYC? or where I can search to find them? Once I am stronger – I would like to start educating woman about men like my husband. But I now if I don’t have the correct tools I will be no help to someone.

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to post to your site. I believe it is very helpful to talk about what happened. I can not wait until I am free from this.

    1. Admin

      Hi, Penny. I’m so glad to hear this site has helped you.

      You’ve been through a lot, and support and understanding are vital. But I think you were very wise to have left this group. It seems to me they wanted you to fulfill their agenda, not do what was good and right for you as an individual. They wanted you to seek their ‘revenge’ for them, but you are the one who is personally on the line while they get what they want vicariously, without cost to themselves. Sounds like the reporter did the same sort of thing. Yes, she should have cared more about your feelings than her personal gain from publishing the post. She did betray you, and I’m sorry about that; the last thing any of us needs is more betrayal.

      I wish I knew of a support group for you. Being that you’re in NYC, there must be some available! You might try doing some searches for support groups. Do you see a therapist? A good one who is expert in trauma and abuse is something to give serious consideration to.

      I have more to say, and I will be back later today to add to this reply. Thanks for posting your comment!

      1. Admin

        Please be careful about warning his current wife. If you think there’s a chance it might put you in danger, you may want to reconsider. I wish you the best of luck at the trial — please let me know how it turns out. Best wishes to you as you move forward, Penny!

  27. sharyn

    Thank God that there others who are in this situation. What can we do as a collective to warn people about these sick individuals so they dont keep harming

    1. Adelyn Birch

      You’re not alone, Sharyn. There are plenty of us, too many! Your question is a good one, and I wish I had an answer. None of us were warned. Everyone feels like they were blindsided because it was no where on their radar. That makes me wonder. I tried to warn my friends afterward, and not one of them could grasp what happened but whatever it was, they said, it would never happen to them. Of course it could, but they’d never know until it was too late — they would just think they had met the most wonderful person, just like we did. It make me wonder if it’s just something people can’t really ‘get’ until they’ve experienced it for themselves. But maybe they can, or maybe at least some can, so we have to try. Websites like mine are found after the fact, not before, so they don’t do much in the way of prevention; they exist to help those who’ve already been victimized. It will take something else, and it will take a lot.

  28. Gabbie

    Since age 13 I’ve been involved with a serious psychopath. I’m now 18 and it has almost completely broken me. He is the only person I’ve ever even kissed or held hands with – I cannot bring myself to be with anyone else. Our relationship is an endless cycle, kind of like a disease that goes into remission but frequently comes raging back. It starts with constant communication. Texts and calls throughout the day, even into the dead middle of the night. He misses me, he says. He wants to see me. He thinks about me all the time. Haven’t I thought about him? He can’t just not talk to me anymore. Then we start meeting in person, hanging out, doing normal relationship-y things. The next step is, of course, he wants to get physical. He constantly tells me he has always planned on marrying me. He’s in love with me. He’s planned our honeymoon. He can’t wait to live with me. He can’t stay away. But… apparently he can. After a while the communication starts to lag a little, but I tell myself this is normal. I don’t want to suffocate him, after all. He gets busier. He’s always working, he’s always going here or there. He starts telling me to meet him places and then just doesn’t show up, claiming he forgot. The texts and calls steadily slow, until I can see him blatantly reading my messages and not responding. I am left a disaster. On a few occasions he has acted very affectionately for months and then I randomly find out via a friend or social media that he’s now in a relationship with someone else. He is so ridiculously handsome and attractive and sexy, and he knows it. He tells me everything I want to hear. I am completely addicted to him. Nothing ruins me more than his attention, when it stops I go crazy. I don’t sleep for weeks, I can hardly eat. I don’t know what to do. This has continued on for 5 years, but I don’t think I can stop seeing him. I’ve tried. I want to move on, but I don’t know how to stay away. Send help.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Gabbie, I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this, and when you’re so young! The good thing here is that you know what’s going on. You know this guy is a manipulator. And you want to get away from him. Half the battle is already won!

      Now for the other half. You said you were completely addicted to him. You are, and I mean that literally. You are actually, really physically addicted to him.

      “Classic hallmarks of addiction include impaired control over substances or behavior, preoccupation with substance or behavior, and continued use despite consequences.”

      That’s exactly what you’re experiencing — you want to stop seeing him but can’t (impaired control); you are preoccupied with him; and you continue to see him despite the consequences.

      I understand what it’s like, Gabbie. I couldn’t end it. He did it. It was terrible at first, but eventually I realized how lucky I was. I got my self-respect and my self-worth back, and I regained my freedom and my peace of mind. What you have with him is not love. You will not be losing love. It doesn’t matter how many times he says he loves you and wants to marry you; his words are meaningless. His actions are the only things that count. He is not acting like a guy that loves you. He thinks nothing of using you, stringing you along and tormenting you. That says it all about his character, or lack of it. It is not important to him to treat you with respect or to be honest with you. The great times you have with him are really amazing. I get that. I hung on for that reason, too. They’re intoxicating, a potent drug that relieves the unbearable pain and anxiety you feel when he’s absent. But then he leaves again, and your anxiety returns, and he is the only thing that can take away that pain. It’s a vicious and destructive cycle.

      OK, so what can you do about this destructive, intoxicating addiction? First, you have to make a commitment to value yourself enough and love yourself enough to do whatever’s necessary to save your own life. I’m not being dramatic here — this guy, who does not value or respect you, is ruining your mental and emotional well-being and he’s wasting your time, the precious time you have to be alive that does not last forever. You need to make a commitment to go cold turkey, to end all contact with him, with the knowledge that it will feel unbearably painful for a while but that you will live through it. If you can get help, do so. A therapist familiar with abusive relationships, a good friend that will support you, etc.

      It will be worth it, well worth it. When you come through the worst of it, you will start to grow stronger than you’ve ever been. And happier. You’ll be a force to be reckoned with, a force for good. I wish you all the best, Gabbie. Please let me know how you do.

      If you haven’t read the following blog posts, please do. I think they might be helpful to you:

      Your Basic Human Rights

      Intimacy vs Intensity

      Freeedom: The Ultimate Relationship Litmus Test

      The Most Powerful Motivator on the Planet ~ Intermittent Reinforcement

      1. Gabbie

        Thank you so much. Friends and family constantly tell me they don’t understand why I keep staying with him, so hearing this from someone who’s actually experienced this real addiction is really reassuring. I won’t communicate with him anymore! I sadly have to spend an entire week with him on a vacation with a few friends coming up in a month… so pray that I can stay strong through that, even though that seems very very unlikely. It’s one thing to be able to not text or call someone, but staying away is a lot harder if they’re right beside you.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          I’m so glad to hear you won’t communicate with him anymore. The vacation will be a challenge; it’s worth cancelling. Whatever you choose to do, I wish you all the best, Gabbie. Be strong! I have faith in you.

  29. pauline

    I live in Vancouver Canada. I need help. Through a recent set of events I have realized that my sister is a highly intelligent sociopath. I am an Empath. A perfect target and for 35 yrs shes been destroying me and i didnt even see what was going on. My family would be so cruel to me and I have come very close to losing my sanity. Over analyzing situations always crying WHY! Ive bit off all my nails, including toenails and i mean off, not short. Ive been crying most of my life. My hair started falling out about 3 months ago. I wear a hat every where. When i finally did the research and realized what my sister was and what she is doing it was like someone set me free. It was as though i had been validated and toasted with a cup of confidence i had never felt. But its been fleeting. I remember things from when we were little, strange things that now make sense. But i feel stupid. I always thought if i just kept forgiving her and loved her more she would start to like me. 35 yrs of my life i did this. I need someone to talk to, i need help I’ve been crying for days. Everything is so complex. I often wonder what kind of person I would have become if someone wasn’t in the background sabotaging my whole life and all my relationships. What it would have felt like to be able to represent myself, and have some control over how people perceived me. The more I spoke out about the cruelty and unfairness the more i was seen as crazy. I need to find someone professional who can help me and not judge me or my emotions.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Pauline. I’m terribly sorry to hear that you’ve been abused by a psychopathic sister! It’s very good that you finally learned the truth. As difficult as it is, it’s the first step to healing. You’re shocked and grieving right now; everything finally makes sense, but it’s not a truth that any of us wants to hear. It’s overwhelming, really, as you know all too well. You’re in need of someone who will listen, validate your experience instead of deny it, and understand the trauma you’ve sustained. It’s very important that you pick a therapist carefully! You need one who is knowledgeable about character disorders (psychopathy and narcissism), and understands the harm these people inflict on others; they must be expert in abuse and relational trauma. So, how do you go about finding such a therapist? You can start by trying these:

      Find Counselors and Therapists It talks about finding the right kind of help, and includes links to online therapy directories.

      Google search: Vancouver Canada psychotherapists relational trauma abuse

      Also, contact your local domestic abuse organization and ask if they can refer you to someone; also find out what therapy services they offer.

      Pauline, I wish you all the best as you move through this. Be well.

  30. Pete

    One thing I find very hard to deal with is when friends who also remain friends with the psychopath fail to understand, accept or even consider the possibility that she is a psychopath. Not that I’ve really tried to convince anyone, but I realised the truth the hard way and I think it’s important for significant people in my life to know it – so they can support me appropriately. It’s hard to explain though because most, if not all, examples of the emotional abuse was subtle and arguably falls within a normal range of behaviour in a relationship.

    I would have to tell people the whole story to get them anywhere near understanding. That would take too much time and produce too many triggers. Generalising isn’t an option. I have thought about directing them to this website, but there doesn’t seem to be a page designed for this purpose and I think the existing pages would turn them off before they read enough to begin to understand.

    I don’t expect people to understand or accept what I’m telling them about my ex readily. It’s so far beyond most people’s awareness of human behaviour/psychcology and my ex does a pretty good job of appearing to be normal to most people most of the time. But when people doubt me, don’t take me seriously, talk about the relationship as if it was normal, or talk about my ex as if she is normal I get pretty depressed, frustrated and confused, emotions I’ve experienced enough of already.

    I do have a good trauma therapist and friends who understand. Interestingly those friends are all people who have either experienced a relationship with someone with a similar disorder or they have studied psychology professionally. So I do feel supported. I just want to avoid more suffering and avoid losing my other friends if possible.

    Is there a useful source of information I can direct friends to to help them understand?

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Pete, I feel your pain. I went through the same thing, and many others do as well. There is a dearth of information on the subject, but I’ll give you what resources I can. I have a some posts that may help; you can find them in the category titled “Help a Friend,” but they aren’t exactly what you’re looking for. You’ve set me on a mission to create such a page! Thank you for bringing up the idea; I’d given up on it, because I feel that people who haven’t been through it, or who haven’t studied psychology, will never understand, but maybe I should re-think that.

      In the meantime, try the resources listed below:

      Rhonda Freeman, PhD, a neuropshychologist, has an excellent website for people who’ve been victimized by Ps and Ns called NEUROINSTINCTS. It focuses on understanding what a psychopath is and how they operate and cause harm. Because she’s a credentialed expert on the topic she could lend more credibility to the information, and that might bring your friends around. She makes it seem “normal,” in the sense that it happens everyday, that these types of people are everywhere and of course they date, and cause a lot of damage in the process. She also has a section especially for men called “the men’s corner,” which you might find useful. You can start here:

      What is a Psychopath?

      Lingering Pain After a Relationship with a Psychopath or Narcissist

      You might also try the site “Aftermath,” a venture for victims that was created by Kosson, Hare, and others in the field. I wish they would maintain the website better than they do and make it easier to navigate, but it could provide you with some useful info:

      The aftermath of psychopathy as experienced by: romantic partners, family members and other victims

      I hope that helps you. Good luck with it, Pete. I wish you all the best.

      1. Pete

        Thanks, you’re such a breath of fresh air :) Secretly I hoped my comment would set you on a mission to prepare info specifically for friends/family of victims. I think this will be a challenging task that will take a while to get right, but would be extremely valuable (and satisfying to achieve). I’d be happy to help if you want to discuss via email – I’ve got quite a few thoughts re this & I’d like to help others heal having made reasonable progress so far. I sure have my ups & downs though.

        This reminds me, I’ve been criticised for referring to myself as a victim and, but I think it’s healthy to provided as we don’t dwell on that too much.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          So you’d hoped to send me on a mission, did you? Such is the difference between positive influence and manipulation. Even with all I’ve written here, it does feel like a challenging task so I welcome your help with it. I’ll be in touch with you shortly.

          Many people have a knee-jerk reaction to the word “victim.” The simple fact is that sometimes people are victimized, and in that case they’re a victim. And that means a victim in that particular circumstance, not in life in general! Often, people who object to the use of that word live under the delusion that they have control over everything in their lives, which means they’re “responsible” for every single thing that happens to them. They believe they’re just too much in charge of it all to ever be a victim, which implies some kind of weakness to them.

          When did victim become a bad word?

          1. Pete

            Yes I did hope to influence you in a positive way, while trying to avoid putting you under any pressure. Tricky, but I think it pulled it off! I appreciate your thoughts re “victim” & look fwd to hearing from you :)

  31. Sasha Cohen

    This is such an insightful port. Thank you for sharing this info. I have been dealing with personal issues due to being a survivor of domestic emotional abuse. It has affected me for at least 1o years. I am now slowly recovering and I have found that reaching out online to others and professionals has helped me so much. I started to follow the advice of Dr. Robi Ludwig and she has helped me out so much. I follow her on twitter at https://twitter.com/drrobiludwig?land=en

    1. Adelyn Birch

      It’s good that you finally reached out for help and that you found something that works for you. Best of luck to you, Sasha.

  32. Juliet

    This site is wonderful! For about 4 years I’ve been involved with a married man (I am married too), My bad! But he swept me off my feet, was the life and soul of the party, attractive (but pretended he didn’t know it), he and his wife friends of ours, and just generally a very positive, intelligent and charming man. He swept me off my feet with attention, text messages, covert meetings, compliments etc. But funny thing is he never spent a cent on me! Absolutely nothing. He never called, only ever texted. The physical side of our relationship was dynamic and he was my best lover ever. He was a very skilled lover, but after the lovemaking, his conversation would be “back to business” and I would be wondering how on earth he could go from warm and loving, to discussing business within a minute of orgasm! But he ticks every single box of a sociopath and I dont think he even realises he is one. The erratic text messages, taking hours (if not days) to “open” the texts and reply, the excuses, last minute let-downs, the monosyllable texts, the “huh?” when I used to text him to say that things weren’t working out and that I was missing him. Could never engage him in an honest, heart to heart conversation. He would duck and dive incessantly and make me feel like I was being needy, insecure etc. The humiliation, the racing heart, the anxiety, insecurity, the highs and lows. Honestly, what a Prick! I will not beat myself up for having been taken in by him now that I know I’m not the only one to have suffered through loving a person like this. I dread going through all the stages of grief, but it can be done. I do wonder now whether, when people have affairs, the woman is usually the one who gets really hurt. I bet they’re getting involved with sociopaths and dont even realise it! Anyway, chins up, all of you, men and women. Millions of us have been through something like this and we will finally see the situation for what it was and stop blaming ourselves for our blindness and stupidity. Kick that drug, no matter how hard it is to do so. We have to!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      The one I was involved with was also married. Married psychopaths aren’t faithful to their spouses, and they are just as charming, persuasive and manipulative as single psychopaths. I say this because I got a lot of flak because he was married, as if that could have stopped his psychopathic lie-filled pity play from working. I agree, I’ll bet plenty of women (and men, too) are getting involved with married psychopaths and narcissists. I’m glad you’re away from him, Juliet, and I wish you the best of luck as you move forward.

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