Reasonable Facsimile


were a reasonable facsimile.

Closer inspection revealed
Your leaking battery and rusted springs
Plastic painted to resemble flesh

And an old watch ticking in place of a heart.



Wind you up

And you smiled
You danced
You sang

Distracting me from your repeating loop
Of canned laughter
And stolen words

And cheap prizes plucked from boxes of stale cracker jacks.

Were Pinnochio

In search of a toy maker
Who could give life to your hollow wooden form.

Were the Tin Man

Tricking wizards into giving you their hearts.


Your tedious loop gave you away
Along with cracking paint

(And wisps of smoke that smelled of burning wires coming from your ears.)


You take your magic show back on the road,
And ladies sit on velvet chairs


By your reasonable facsimile

(for now)


♥ A poem I wrote about my psychopathic ex a while back. Hope you enjoyed it.

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46 thoughts on “Reasonable Facsimile”

  1. Danielle

    This poem is exquisite not only in its writing, but also in its presentatuon, id est: photos and spacing. At a deeper level, of course we know who he is, but there is no anger or bitterness, just sadeness about a very sick person and warning….

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Why thank you, Danielle! Your words feel like a gold star (the little shiny ones teachers used to stick to homework assignments).

    2. vanessa

      not angry? not bitter? about this person who ISNT what he says he is; who lavishes praises, loving, promises (most of which are NOT kept), and turns into a monster who takes what you gave him and uses it against you? how can you NOT be angry for being cheated, deceived, and lied to? For his own motives, his own ends..I WAS angry and it took me a long time to process this and let it go. This poem says it pretty well.

      1. Adelyn Birch

        Danielle was right, Vanessa–I wasn’t angry or bitter when I wrote it. I’m glad you’ve moved past it, too. Of course we had every reason to be angry, and it wouldn’t even be normal or healthy if we weren’t, but there comes a point when it’s not necessary any longer. Or not important. Or we detach emotionally and just don’t care enough to keep being angry. Probably all of those.

        1. vanessa

          sad to say, since our 3 sons have turned out a lot like their father..I feel a disinterest in their lives much like their father. I still would rather NOT encounter him..but I gave up any ‘warm, fuzzy, caring’ feelings of love that I did have, long after my divorce. Those feelings died a slow, sad, painful death.

          1. Adelyn Birch

            That is sad, Vanessa.

  2. Teresa

    I know the courage it takes to reveal your writing and your inner feelings. Thank you for sharing. I applaud your courage and your healing!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Thanks so much, Teresa!

  3. Christine

    Wow, Adelyn! That carries a punch! I loved it….


    1. Adelyn Birch

      Thank you, Christine, I’m glad to hear it!

  4. Janes aka Lady Vigilant 2

    Great poem thanks for sharing !

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Thank you, Janes AKA Lady vigilant 2!

  5. lisa

    Beautiful. Thank You for the reminders.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Thanks, Lisa! And I’m glad it serves as a reminder! Maybe I’ll write more of them… hmmm…

  6. Angela

    I love this poem. So true, so poignant.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I’m so glad you loved it, Angela! Thank you.

  7. Melinda

    Beautiful, and bitter sweet. Thank you. Only one who’s ever been involved with a psychopath can truely understand these words. It brings strength, courage, hope. Stay strong, precious Warrior.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Thank you for your kind words, Melinda. It really means a lot to me. You stay strong, too.

  8. suzanne

    that sums it up for me, and serves as a great reminder, thankyou

    1. Adelyn Birch

      You’re welcome, Suzanne!

  9. Becky

    So,so clever and so so true!!M

    1. Adelyn Birch

      So glad you find it clever and Becky. And true.

  10. Nancee T.

    You have so much insight and a true poet’s heart. WELL DONE….WELL ILLUSTRATED….and I love the pictures and they say 1,000 words!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      A true poet’s heart? I love that. Thank you, Nancee.

  11. Nicole

    Wonderful in every way. My pain from the psychopath in my youth has been greatly lessoned after reading your poem. How accurate in every detail. Had a dream with her in it a few nights ago. A born people-mover and manipulater. Very cruel and nasty. Unfortunately there are others to take her place.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I am so glad it lessened your pain, Nicole! I didn’t know it would have that effect! The power of poetry, at work!

  12. vanessa

    that’s what these people are, fakes, phonies..not real at all. its taken me a lONG time to process being angry over being deceived, lied to, blamed and abused, by someone who’s not real at all.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      It’s an awful lot to deal with. I’m glad you were finally able to process it. It’s so good to feel peace inside again when it happens.

  13. Victory2016

    Brought me to tears with truth. Thank you

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I’m glad the poem touched you, Victory. I like your name, BTW. Very empowering.

  14. stripped

    It’s so amazing how the same metaphors for psychopaths always come to mind: Mine called himself “Pinocchio” and I wanted to be his Blue Fairy and help him get real. Unfortunately he had a different idea…he wanted to turn other people into wooden puppets so could just play with them! Also, the words “magic” and “velvet” were two of his favorites. Thank you for this amazing poem!!!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I think you’ve hit on the reason the poem resonated with so many people—they’ve used the same metaphors to describe aspects of their experience. I’ve heard so many people say that it seems like psychopaths were all made from the same mold, as if they were made in a factory. That’s just the way I felt, too. I could even picture it as it belched black smoke into some desolate and dystopian industrial landscape. “Magic” and “magical” were two words the P I knew loved. No surprise, since he was a magician (meaning: manipulator). Interesting yours liked the word velvet, and also interesting he wanted to turn other people into wooden puppets.

  15. Robin

    What a gift you have with words. True words. Mine just swooped in at work yesterday after not seeing him since March. He was picking something up from a past resident. He caught me off guard when I walked him to the room, grabbed me and kissed me. I think someone saw it and I keep feeling I may get fired over this. I think that is what he was going for, to get me fired. He sent me a text a month ago and we were going to meet but I changed my mind and said no. I think he is trying to get back at me. I’m so afraid of losing my job.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Thank you, Robin. I love words, always have—combining them, playing with them, and getting them to express thoughts and feelings the way I want them to (which doesn’t always work!). I’m really sorry to hear what happened to you yesterday, and I hope you won’t lose your job. There’s no real reason you should; it wasn’t your fault he grabbed you. Best of luck with it. Stay strong.

  16. Lori

    I so much identified with this. I realized when I left my psychopath that I was a reasonable facsimile for him. It was never me he wanted. He needed a woman and it was as if he had a play running all the time. There was a stage and there were parts that were to be played. The woman comes onto the stage (she doesn’t know this) and the play continues. It always ends with heartbreak. Then he would take the play on the road again and he would find another woman.

    You know, this happened to me three years ago. Since I left him, he has committed suicide. Yet it all still haunts me and I despair at times of ever really moving on emotionally.

    Then I thought, just yesterday, maybe it changes you permanently and you never really get back to who you were but rather you learn to live with what happened?

    I apologize. I am sometimes overwhelmed by how large it all still looms for me. I have not been able to get involved with another man and probably never will. I just can’t get over why I did not leave. Why I stayed.

    That is what scares me the most. How much I betrayed myself. Embarrassed myself in front of my family.

    Ironically, in the beginning of the relationship I felt I’d finally gotten it right. I’d finally met a man who loved me as I was.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Lori, your description of the experience as a play, on a stage, with parts to be played, was spot on! That’s exactly the way is was for me, too! He was formulaic, in hindsight. There were times I got the feeling his lines and reactions were very well rehearsed (and of course he always managed to move me past those perceptions). In my blog post, IDENTIFYING A PSYCHOPATH: 20 SUBTLE AND HIDDEN SIGNS, I wrote this: “If someone makes you feel as if you’re watching a play, think ‘psychopath.\'” You’re right that they make us take part in that play, too.

      I’m very sorry you’re having trouble moving forward emotionally. Yes, it does change you permanently, but not into someone who goes through life feeling despair. In fact, the changes many of us are left with when all is said and done are very positive ones, like a firm belief in our own self-worth. Please don’t accept any less for yourself. If it still looms so large over you, it’s a matter of figuring out what’s keeping you stuck so you can move past it. Don’t stop there.

      I just can’t get over why I did not leave. Why I stayed. That is what scares me the most. How much I betrayed myself. Embarrassed myself in front of my family.

      If that’s what scares you the most, Lori, I think you’re going to be fine, because there’s a reason for it. It’s the answer to that often-asked question, “Why did she stay?” that leaves everyone so flummoxed, including us. The feeling of self-betrayal will also resolve when you know the answer. Part of it is exactly what you said—feeling you’d finally gotten it right. That’s the way so many of us felt. We finally met a man who loved us and truly appreciated us. When you start out with that image of someone and of a relationship, you’re not going to walk away from it easily! You’re going to try to fix it when things go wrong, especially when you were made to believe the problems were your fault.

      For the rest of the answer to your question, please read this article by Rhonda Freeman, PhD, a neuropsychologist who helps abuse survivors understand their experience:

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

      If you do, you’ll know why you stayed. If you find you’re still stuck after digesting the info in the article for a while, please find yourself a competent therapist. You don’t have to go through life feeling miserable. All the best to you, Lori xx

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Thanks, Carrie!

  17. Sweetescape

    An incredible way to perfectly describe the whole nightmare, the involvement and the earth shattering ending…..that doesn’t actually end for a very long time. Still reeling years down the line. Thank you Adelyn, executed brilliantly. Well done to everyone of you that has found a way out in one piece. You all deserve something special in life after this. It fair broke me and I’m far from out of the woods yet.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Thanks so much, Sweetscape!

      You deserve something special, too. Do you know what it is that’s keeping you in the woods?

  18. Lori

    That article really helped, thank you. I never, not once, looked at any biological aspects. My mother had Borderline Personality Disorder and I suspect, obviously, that it had a lot to do with the men I chose in my life. The narcissist was the worst because of all of the relationships I’d had, I really thought finally, FINALLY I met a great guy. I saw the cracks, I did, and a couple of times I sat him down to tell him I didn’t think it was working but he’d convince me everything was fine.

    Something I never did figure out is he had family and a couple of friends who all saw what he did to women. They all saw it but nobody said a word. Why was that? Why did nobody warn me?

    If I hadn’t found your writings, if I had not gone in search of why, I would never have come this far.

    The work you do – words cannot describe my gratitude.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Lori, I’m so happy that I’m able to help you. Thank you for telling me. Being able to help people going through this kind of hell makes everything that happened to me well worthwhile.

      Growing up with parents or siblings who have low-empathy disorders, like BPD, N and P, definitely paves the way for others like them to come into our lives. My sister had BPD.

      I think the reason we aren’t warned varies with the situation and with the relationships people have.

  19. Sweetescape

    Thank you Adelyn. Well, not 100% sure. I assume because we share a child and still live reasonably close, it means there is no, no contact. Though there is very little to hardly any now, stupidly for the first 2 years after parting, we still had sex.
    I was so obsessed, addicted and thought I was in love! I thought it was ok…..until I started to learn who/what he was. So I suppose it is only really in the last 6 months that I’ve been able to start my healing journey. I’ve no family here as I live abroad and his mother regularly visits and spends time with us more than him…….but she is not good for me and triangulates.
    He wants nothing to do with me and if he had his way he would have had me leave to go back to my family a long time ago. So he can live a guilt free (start all over again) life.
    He has also recently began a new relationship and I’ve really struggled to come to terms with it.
    I’m well aware he’s no good for me (or as a father for that matter) so I am slowly moving forward and recognise the cognitive dissonance.
    But wow I feel like I just lost 12 years of my life in a flash.
    It’s this crazy notion that they are absolutely no good as a person, no good for you, but at the same time you really believe they were the best thing that happened.
    Most days I’m acutely aware of his psychopathy……but just occasionally I break down like nothing on earth and just cry and cry and cry. I find it so unbelievably hard to raise my child alone, because he gives zero financially, just refuses and says I’ll never see a penny and only wants access once a week. That has also broke my heart. This wasn’t the man I decided to have a baby with 8 years ago.
    I find it hard to even believe this is what my life became.
    I’m not young anymore and feel I’ve lost my chance for a good life, as he took my best years.
    Maybe I choose not to move on?
    Even though logically I know I have to.
    I’d love to meet someone else, I’m just not ready.
    What a mess.
    Sorry for my little ramble.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Sweetscape, I think you’ve described well all the reasons for not being out of the woods yet. You’re not really stuck at all—“I suppose it is only really in the last 6 months that I’ve been able to start my healing journey.” I don’t believe it’s a matter of you choosing not to move on; you’re just nowhere near ready for it yet. You will get there one day. I hope you’ll find the support you need in the meantime. I think as long as you’re alive, you still have a chance for a good life. Maybe your best years aren’t over—they might not have even started yet xo

      1. Sweetescape

        Thank you so much Adelyn, very comforting words. You maybe right :-) I have hope xx

        1. Adelyn Birch

          You’re welcome, Sweetscape!

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