The Real Reason You Were Victimized By a Psychopath

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You fell for a psychopath.

You were duped, and you paid dearly. You lost time. You lost faith in others and in yourself. You experienced unimaginable grief. It’s a story that will always be a part of your life.

But this story is not a story of your flaws, weaknesses, or mistakes. You didn’t make mistakes. You believed in people. You trusted people to be as decent inside as you are. You trusted people to be as capable of love as you are.  It is actually a story of your best qualities. It’s a story about being human.

Shame is not your burden to carry. Neither is blame, from others or from yourself. What is there to feel shame for? Being a decent, loving and trusting human being? What is there to be blamed for? Being victimized by a predator, one who presented themselves pretending to be the same way?

The psychopath is the only one who deserves shame and blame.

Psychopaths target the best people. It was our best qualities — our ability to give and receive love, to trust another enough to be intimate and vulnerable, to believe in the goodness of another — that enabled them to victimize us. They clearly saw these qualities in us. Within those very qualities you find the psychopath’s motives of envy, spite, and contempt. Within those very qualities you find the psychopath’s ability to victimize. That can’t be justified. No matter what. You can not and did not cause this to happen to yourself. It is beyond the realm of explainable or acceptable human behavior. It can never be justified.

Something unimaginable, something ugly, something unknown and unexpected entered our lives. A depraved imitation of a human took advantage of you, lied to you, manipulated you, used you and devalued you. Nobody ever brings that on themselves. It didn’t happen because of some fault or flaw or weakness in you — it happened because of all that is good in you, and because a warped mind took that goodness and twisted it for its’ own sick purpose.

That truth can be hard to understand.

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I once heard the greatest gift you can give someone is the gift of being understood. Understanding is a gift… and it’s one you can and should give to yourself.

Knowing why and how it happened brings understanding. With that understanding comes the recognition that you were not the one who was responsible, and the recognition that you are worthy of holding yourself in high esteem and deserving of all that is good and decent.

To learn more about vulnerabilities, please read “Why You?”

♥ Thank you for reading.

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“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.”

“Spot on! Everything I needed to know to gain closure! Absolutely 100% what I was searching for! I highlighted SO much of this book. It validated my feelings, spoke to my heart, opened my eyes and set me on a path to closure! So glad I read it!!”

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47 thoughts on “The Real Reason You Were Victimized By a Psychopath”

  1. Tanya

    Thank you for this. It is healing to be reminded that I didn’t do anything wrong to deserve OR cause my ex to treat me the way he did.

    1. Admin

      I’m happy to hear it. Thank you, Tanya.

  2. Rae

    Incredible! the destruction the psychopath leaves in their wake.
    I have a generic question for those of you affected by this kind of personality.
    How long did it take for you to dump the denial ? Personally …,this has been the most difficult aspect to overcome.
    Thanks so much for being transparent .

    1. Admin

      It took me a while. I went back and forth for over a year. It felt amazingly good once the ping-pong game stopped and the doubt was gone. It’s maddening, I know. Give yourself time. It’s not an easy truth to accept. Another thing that makes it difficult is the Jekyll-and-Hyde dual-persona we were presented with. It takes a long time to let go of Dr. Jekyll.

      Anyone else?

      1. Rae

        Back and forth?
        The percentage of those who return to the abuser is staggering!
        The longer you have been with this kind of personality type. The harder it is to stay free.
        It’s healthier to be alone than go back to the
        Abuse.
        Be strong!
        Grab ahold of God’s promises!
        To those of you who suffer from PTSD.. Face it head on.
        Don’t fear it.
        FeAr is just a feeling .
        Accepting the trauma is necessary for your healing process. You can do this!!
        Move forward.. Even if it is a step at a time .

        1. Admin

          I meant that I went back and forth in my head, not actually with the psychopath. I agree, it is by far much, much, much better to be alone than with one of these abusers.

          Thank you for your encouraging words, Rae. One step at a time, and one day you get there.

      2. Gary

        I have someone very close to me who is in this situation, all these traits could be attributed to her partner. It is really hard to watch, how she says she is done with him and then five minutes with him and his horrible manipulation works its evil spell, and she says she is giving it another go and acts like nothing has happened, almost like it was her fault.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          I remember being just like your friend. It is frustrating, Gary, because you can look at her situation objectively and rationally, while she is immersed emotionally in his manipulation. If you can, just be supportive, and gently point out the truth when you think she might hear you, while caring for your own boundaries.

  3. marianne

    Thank you so much for this post, I really needed this reminder today

    1. Admin

      You’re welcome. Come back and read it whenever you need to.

      1. Gayle

        Dear Admin, This is the one post I printed and have by my side so I may re-read it whenever I feel shame and guilt over being so vulnerable, and open. I blamed myself for being the person he could manipulate with love/belittling/love/disdain/love/discard… It was the height of emotional whiplash and abuse of power. In my case, I may have recourse. The psychopathic predator is a professional and I was his client. Thank you so much for helping me see clarity in this situation.

        1. Admin

          Clarity is a wonderful thing. I’m so glad this post helped you gain it; thank you for telling me. They’re so good at creating confusion and obfuscating the truth, but what’s written here IS the truth they didn’t want us to know.

          I hope you do have recourse! Please let me know how it goes.

  4. Kirsten

    maybe you already saw that one.. i found it very enligthening :-)
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=qklP4ThAIME

    1. Admin

      Kirsten, I couldn’t find the video using the link. What’s the title?

      1. Kirsten

        I´m sorry.. i shortened the link, but it worked when i tried it the first time.. anyways.. search youtube for : “We become codependent in our childhood. How & Why we develop codependency. The Origins. Advice”

        1. Admin

          Thanks, Kristen! I haven’t seen this one, but I will watch it. I already agree with the title 100%

  5. Thank you so much for your words – it has helped me in my struggles. I have been blaming myself, questioning myself, wondering if I have imagined this all. Trying to convince myself that maybe he isn’t that bad, but knowing deep down he really is. At the same time I am so mad, hurt, and feel totally betrayed. I know I don’t want him back, but at the same time it hurts so much to see him with someone else. Everyone thinks he is this marvelous man. He runs around with his girlfriend and we’re still not divorced, but yet everyone thinks we are. His lawyer says I am delusional and hovering over my daughter. He uses my daughter to get back at me. I am afraid to fight back because I don’t know what he will do. When I do stand up for myself, I shake with fear waiting for him to react.

    1. Admin

      I’m so glad it helped. I’m sorry you’re in such a difficult situation! My heart goes out to you, D. All the conflicting thoughts make it even more difficult, as does having another person in the picture. Ditto for everyone thinking he’s marvelous. It’s as if these people are churned out of a factory, all made from the same mold. It is deplorable how they use children as pawns. Please make sure you keep a record of everything, and find some support from other parents who are dealing with a similar situation. Also, find a lawyer who understands what you’re dealing with. You might want to check out the website One Mom’s Battle. I wish I had more resources in this area, but it’s definitely not my forte.

      If anyone reading this knows of some good resources for D, please leave a comment!

  6. Hope

    Yes, it takes lots of time. It’s well over a year for me, I still can’t believe all that happened. I believe I have PTSD pretty bad.I can’t trust people. I hope someday I can trust again Thank you for providing these healing writings.

    1. Admin

      I’m glad I can help. It has given some meaning to what I experienced.

      It’s likely that you do have PTSD, and I hope you’re getting help to deal with it. We experience is serious trauma at the hands of these predators. Even so, I feel confident in saying that one day you will move beyond it. Best wishes to you!

  7. Rubi

    As I read…all I can do is weep uncontrollably, realizing the devastation left in his wake.
    Your words are like a silver lining among the dark clouds. Thank You.

    1. Admin

      That means so much to me. Thank you, Rubi.

      The devastation is real and immense, but you will get through it. Our resilience can be quite surprising.

  8. Kristine

    This blog actually made me cry. I think I needed to hear this. We have only been separated for 3 months after a 10 year marriage and he never calls or wants to see our 9 year old boy. I still have hope for him to come around and be a great dad, but deep in my heart I know that will never happen. I keep wondering what I have done and I hate to admit it but sometimes I miss him. Its good to hear that eventually I will heal. Some days are better than others. Thank you so much for your blogs!

    1. Admin

      I’m very sorry for what you and your son are going through. It breaks my heart. I hope you have people in your life who support you. Have faith that you will make it through. I wish both of you all the best. Love and hugs to you.

  9. Ken

    Thanks for this blog. I think these folks are narcissists. No was married to one, dated one and dance with one. I always felt used and abused, they sucked all the energy out of me, but sometimes I remember the good times and want them back. I need to remember the abuse, especially after the breakup. Thanks again.

    1. Admin

      Hi, Ken. I’m glad you like the blog! Thank you.

      These people tend to be experts at having a good time and taking us along for the ride. It’s normal to look back on those times and miss them. Just don’t act on those thoughts! Maintain No Contact, and with time and space eventually you won’t have the urge to do so. You summed it up well describing them as narcissistic, energy-sucking abusers. Remind yourself of that, as needed. Best of luck to you.

      1. Ken

        Thank you. I reread this because I still feel drawn back sometimes.

        1. Admin

          Hi Ken. I’m glad it helps you to re-read it. Stay strong. All the best to you.

  10. I thought I was in love once, but it turns out that the person I loved never existed. My feelings were manufactured, manipulated, and held hostage by someone I have very recently learned is a psychopath. I now know that I was a target. He preyed on me, brainwashed me, and, ultimately, controlled me all as a game for his personal pleasure and without me ever realizing it.

    It’s been 7 years since I last had contact with him, but I have been tortured by my experience with him ever since. Understanding his true nature has been such an immense relief and everything is clear now. But he is on my mind today because it is his birthday and I was feeling so angry. Angry that of all the people in college, he chose to target me. I have been trying to tell myself that maybe he chose me because I’m not worthless (as he would make me feel) but actually a pretty amazing person. Reading your post was perfect and reminds me to stop thinking about him and focus on feeling and being that amazing person again.

    1. Admin

      LL, they wanted us to think we were worthless — but they were just projecting. They chose us for a reason. We had what they wanted, but they couldn’t get it — because it wasn’t theirs to take, and there was no way they could. That means we still have it. YOU still have it. Yes, focus on being that amazing person you still are and have always been!

      Thank you for sharing this.

      1. Thank you so much. Your words have really meant a lot.

        1. Admin

          You’re welcome. Your words mean a lot to me, too.

  11. Kiril

    it took me 10 months to recover …I was abused by a female psychopath ! AND I am a ..person that is very very hard to be maniulated and definately don’t feel love very easily.still this creature succeeded in destroying me for almost a year ! unbelievable that I went for that crap …. she destroyed me emotinally through a lot of emotional rape tactics I could not imagine exist ! the problem is that these kind of people are dangerous not for themlseves but for everybody else ! I know not 1 but 2 female Ps …they tend to go everywhere together … guess why … so they can destroy more people emotionally…..by the way it took the Psychopath a year to catch me .. I told you I am not easy to fell in love … after more than a year when she saw I was getting attached she started the tricks and lies ….before that when I wassn’t in love and she could not manipulate me there was no such tricks and lies ….everything seemed to be ok …it is when they understand that you’re hooked that your finish comes …. fast and hard …I still don’t get it how the hell I was duped into playing these f ..king mind games …what started as perfect relationship finished as emotional hell … for me of course !

    1. Admin

      I’m glad to hear you’ve recovered. But we will never forget, will we? I’m like you in the sense that it’s hard for me to find a person I’m attracted to, so when it was “off the charts” it seemed like something extremely special, very different from the usual…and it was, but not in the way I expected! They figure out exactly what we need, and once we’re hooked, we’re finished, like you said. Duped, Destroyed, and Done (my new take on the usual three stages). Nice to know you like the site and hope to see you again soon!

  12. Kiril

    by the way I forgot to mention why she chose me …she chose me because I look attractive …women tend to like me a lot ….anyway that does not stop this creatures for doing what they can best – destroying people emotionally …..I just wanted to share what happened to me 7 years ago …thank you for the great site and for giving normal people place to share …

  13. Cheryl

    I am a regular reader and fan of your blog posts. From time to time I make a comment and am always appreciative of your thoughtful replies. I preface my comment/question this way to be sure you know that I’m not approaching this topic for the first time and am just unwilling to do the work required to understand the phenomenon. It has been 5 years since my husband and I separated (we are not yet divorced – my ambivalence, his lack of need or interest) and have only very recently begun to believe there is a real possibility for love to come again in my life. It has not been a happy 5 years; it HAS been an extremely insightful and useful time – I am now in possession of self-worth that I was forced to abandon as a very young child.
    Many of the characteristics that define a narcissist, many that define a psychopath as well, describe ‘him’. But apart from short periods, I have not been able to apply either of these labels with a sense of knowing. My question is this – how can I know? How do I understand whether one or both of these terms apply or whether I was simply in a 10 year marriage with a complete and utter jerk? In case these details help shed light on my situation – our relationship ended because, unbenownst to me, he had fallen in love (?) with another woman with whom he still lives. The night we separated he cried, saying he was losing his family. The separation was agreed upon and was defined as “not-necessarily-permanent”. In hindsight I can now clearly see that a) he cried because he knew it likely really WAS over for good and b) the only way it mightn’t have been permanent was if he decided his new ‘love’ wasn’t what he’d thought her to be, and he wanted to leave his options open.

  14. Cheryl

    Sorry – I hit the send key in error.
    I’ll add that I appreciate any feedback you can provide – and Merry Christmas!

    1. Admin

      Hi, Cheryl. First, congrats on reclaiming your self-worth! And it’s good to hear the past five years have been insightful and useful, and you’re feeling ready to move on.

      As far as the “is-he-or-isn’t-he” question…how you can know for sure…One of the best ways might be to look at yourself, and think about the effect he had on you during and after the relationship. While you were together, how much of an emotional wreck were you? Read the post, “How to tell if you’re being manipulated.” See if those signs describe your thoughts and feelings. Afterward, how traumatized were you? I know that whenever a marriage ends because a partner leaves for someone else it is always very traumatic, but how extreme was it? Did you experience rage, obsessive and intrusive thoughts, generalized fear, panic, the inability to love or trust, use of alcohol or drugs, physical illness, irrational and/or extreme behavior, complete isolation and withdrawal, PTSD, or thoughts of suicide?

      Another good indication is feeling a sense of confusion when you think about who he really was. Does it seem as if he was two different people? Was/Is it impossible to feel he was one or the other with any certainty, or for very long?

      One more thought: Did you feel that no one understood what you’d been through afterward? Did you feel they were treating it like the end of a normal relationship while you felt it was something more?

      The real importance of knowing whether someone is a psychopath is this: If they were and we don’t know it, we won’t be able to understand what happened, which goes a long way in the healing process. If a person who was victimized buys all the lies they were fed about being responsible for everything that went wrong and believes all the things said and done that crushed their self-worth and their spirit, they may never recover. It’s a serious trauma with potentially deadly or lifelong consequences if it’s not recognized and dealt with.

      If you’re doing well at this point, that’s the most important thing. You may have to live with the fact that you’ll never know for sure. I tend to think that if someone seriously considers their partner may have been a psychopath, then it may well be true. Most of us were blindsided by this. We didn’t know anything about it. We’d had relationships that failed before this person came into our lives, but we didn’t come to the conclusion those people were psychopaths.

      I remember my ‘aha’ moment when I stumbled upon psychopathy when looking for an answer for his behavior and my reaction to it. I came upon this description, which I saved in my journal: “Psychopaths show a stunning lack of concern for the devastating effects their actions have on others. They do not feel remorse, guilt or shame. They are not able to care about the pain and suffering experienced by others due to their complete lack of empathy, which is a prerequisite for love. Psychopaths are always takers and never givers in spite of appearances and the illusion they create.” It hit me like a bomb. But it’s not always that clear (and even though it was, I couldn’t believe it and I spent another two months with him). If you’ve gotten yourself together and now feel strong and confident, that’s what matters.

      Hope that helps. Merrry Christmas to you, too, Cheryl.

    2. Hi Cheryl. It was super helpful for me to see a therapist. It had been years and I still hadn’t recovered from what I thought was just a traumatic relationship. Once I told her the full story, she explained that he was a textbook psychopath and was able to break down each piece of the story and shed light on what actually was going on. It was the best money I have ever spent.

      1. Admin

        Great idea…if someone is lucky enough to find a therapist like yours. My therapist barely knew what it meant, and couldn’t accept that anyone like that could actually exist. Now she knows, but so many of them don’t. We have to be careful because if a therapist doesn’t know we’ve been with a psychopath, they will not understand what we’ve experienced, how traumatized we are, or know how to treat us. I’m glad to hear you found a good one!

        1. Kiril

          the question is how therapist are able to help you ..if they don’t know and haven’t experienced emotional rape by a psychopath themselves….. it’s very hard if they don’t understand what it is …I didn’t go to a therapist …I am just curious what the therapist can do to help you in such situation …I don’t think that most therapist are much of a help …especially those that don’t understand the psychopathy diagnosis and behaviour…. By the way , just to ask – Is it officialy a mental disoder or it is considered something more light like brain disfunctionality ….for me it is a mental disoder not just some problems with the brain ….and it is vey serious condition in my opinion …the question is that this mental illness concerns people around the Ps but not them because they don’t experience any emotions whatsoever …

          1. Admin

            I look at it as a neurological disorder. Right now (and I say this because it changes from time to time) psychopathy is lumped in with/diagnosed as Antisocial Personality Disorder. This is a huge mistake. They did this because psychopathy is so hidden and therefore nearly impossible to diagnose, so the powers that be argued that the diagnosis should be based mainly on observable patterns of behavior (meaning based on criminal behavior) rather than psychological constructs. So all the sub-criminal psychopaths aren’t even acknowledged…although they are deeply antisocial. That means those of us victimized by them aren’t acknowledged, either. You can read more about this here: Falling Into a Parallel Universe and here: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2008/11/10/suffering-souls

            As Dr. Hare put it, “Virtually all of the research done in psychopathy is on the perpetrators, and we tend to ignore the tens of thousands of victims of these individuals. And most of the victims have nowhere to turn. They talk to their psychiatrist, psychologist, their friends, their employees, their priest, and they get nowhere because most people don’t understand the nature of psychopathic people.”

            Dr. George Simon has a lot to say about traditional paradigms in psychology that don’t for allow mental health professionals to understand psychopathy (which means they don’t understand the trauma they cause in their victims): “Serious Abusers and Psychology’s Failure To Understand Them” and “Getting the Right Kind of Help.”

            A therapist who doesn’t know about psychopathy is generally useless to a victim. How I ended up with my therapist is the simple fact that my health insurance at that time did not cover mental health at all (don’t even get me started on that!) and there was no way I could afford it, so I was referred to the psychology department at the local university and paired up with a grad student. When I told her I believed my ex was a psychopath, she said “Don’t you think that’s a strong word?” and I said “Yes, it sure is.” She wasn’t buying it because she believed it’s impossible for someone to be without a conscience, etc. Well, there’s that maxim “Show don’t tell,” so I dropped the word ‘psychopath’ for the most part, and instead she got to see for herself how traumatized I was and she learned of the Truly Amazing and Heartless things and he said and did that clearly showed this guy did not have a conscience. Since the experience dredged up my entire past, I focused on working with her on family relationships, etc, and that was extremely helpful. She was genuine and empathetic, which is what I needed so badly at the time. After our sessions, a group of professors would review the recordings with her, and after several months the consensus was that yes, indeed, this person I knew was psychopathic. You can read more here: “Do you make this mistake about the psychopathic mind?”

            So there you have it, Kiril. I should turn this into a blog post! I’m in a writing mood this morning. Thanks for your comment.

            1. Kiril

              nice post … well , you found your way out of the fog with this friend of yours … I had to figure it all out without any help because nobody would understand what was happening ..it just blows my mind how much emotinal damage such people can cause to normal people around them …it is also very interesting to understand why some Ps commit crimes and murders while others don’t …that’s very odd to me …the other strange thing is that this is in the group antisocial personalty disorder which for me does not seemequite right …I’m not a professional psychologist but this is not a antisocial disoder at all …may be we as survivors may give better explanation for this kind of disoder ….I think psychopathy needs entire sub-category in psychology …it is just different from the others ..it may have common traits with hiostronics especially in females and narcissism in men but it ‘s not the same !

              1. Admin

                I agree completely. I’m sorry you had to find your own way out. Just when we most needed support, there was none. I had to find my way out of the fog myself, too, and I had to help my therapist out of her fog as well. At least she came around eventually; she was the only one who did. No one believes us because of the thoroughly ignorant (or malicious?) way psychopathy has been handled by the mental health community. It’s a devastating disorder that affects countless victims, individually and as societies. Dick Cheney and company, ISIS, and crooked judges and lawyers are just a few examples of the societal impact, and people like us are some of the examples of the individual impact.

                Society itself is adopting psychopathic attitudes because it’s becoming the ‘norm,’ as modeled by our leaders. Just look at what’s become of the U.S. Might does NOT make right and the means do NOT justify the ends — those are psychopathic constructs — yet they seem to sum up its way of being in the world now, and within its own borders.

                When a person, an organization, or a gov. entity believes the rules/ laws/ morality doesn’t apply to them, it’s a big red flag.

  15. The Plummer

    Where were you when I met the emotional vampire that has nearly destroyed my life.

    JK, Really I like what you’ve written so far. Especially about female P’s.

    You never really get them out of your life. She finally ended the marriage, after I stood up to her and laid down an ultimatum. Either we fix this or your gone.

    She chose “gone”. Now, she played victim In court, lied and got the children.

    Now her rage is unbridled. She uses the legal system and family courts as her proxy weapons of choice.

    You could make a career out of expert witness to enlighten “white knight” judges to the manipulation masters.

    Thank you for this article, I know her behavior isn’t my fault, but I still have those guilty emotions. This helps quite a bit.

    1. Admin

      I’m terribly sorry to hear of what you’re going through; it must be incredibly difficult. So many of them use the legal system to continue their abuse. I’m so glad to hear the website has helped you, and I wish you all the best.

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