Psychopaths aren’t capable of love. But that doesn’t stop them from involving unsuspecting people in false romantic relationships that have devastating consequences.

Spot the early red flags of a psychopath to avoid the serious harm they will inevitably bring to you and your life. None of the signs on the list below can stand on its own, but together they paint an overall picture that serves as a warning you should heed. 


Red Flags

  • He or she is incredibly charming, in exactly the way YOU find charming. Need someone confident, outgoing and warm? The psychopath can do that. Need someone sensitive and a bit bumbling, but with a heart of gold? He can do that, too. This charm causes you — his target — to fall under his spell while he focuses intensely on you. His focus is very pleasing to the mind and senses, and it disables your personal boundaries, your gut instincts and your self-protective behavior (just when you need them most). It induces a trance-like sate — a pleasant, relaxed and focused state of mind that leaves you open to suggestion. You will find yourself wanting to be back in the focus of his potent charm again and again. This superhuman charm is often one of the first and ONLY early red flags of a psychopath, and it is exactly what makes it hard to walk away. This charm stems from the psychopath’s ability to be completely present as they focus on you while they figure out what makes you tick, what flattery you long to hear, and what buttons to push. You’ll feel like the two of you are the only things in the universe, and that you’ve finally find someone who appreciates you and understands you and sees the good qualities in you that others overlook too often.
  • He or she is very much at ease; he may have a demeanor of being anxiety-free and without any social awkwardness. Absolutely comfortable in his own skin. His ease puts you at ease — you feel comfortable with him, like the two of you have known each other forever. He’s not necessarily attention-grabbing or the life of the party, but he is very socially skilled. May come across as unassuming and soft-spoken while still maintaining a distinct aura of confidence and presence. Especially watch for someone who exudes a black-leather toughness and a childlike innocence at the same time.
  • He or she is a glib, smooth talker. Never runs out of amusing anecdotes, and can make the most mundane topics seem interesting and entertaining. He does most of the talking most of the time.The purpose of this is to relax you and make you comfortable with him.
  • He or she will quickly divulge personal details and stories about his past and his life. This will create a false sense of intimacy that causes you to reciprocate with details about your own life so it seems like you two are getting close. After all, you’ve both shared personal things; you’ve both risked judgement and rejection by being vulnerable, yet you’ve supported and accepted each other…
  • He or she is fun-loving and fun to be with. Playful. You have never had so much fun with anyone. You do things you never did before, just little adventures that take you away from the mundane, and you realize how small and boring your life had become, and how stale the world had seemed. You’ve come back to life, and you didn’t even know you needed to. Or maybe you did know it, and now along comes the perfect person to help you do it!
  • He or she claims to be a happy, easy going person, and he sure seems like one. He may tell you nothing gets him down. Since a psychopath has no conscience and no anxiety it’s probably true, but you’ll see it in a different way and just be happy you haven’t ended up with yet another neurotic mate weighed down by a crapload of emotional baggage.
  • He or she is a very active person who is always on the go. He needs a lot of stimulation and can’t tolerate boredom, so he can’t stand being alone or sitting still.

A psychopath is easily bored, but seldom boring.

  • You feel very special in his presence and feel that he’s very special, fascinating and unique, and not like anyone you’ve known before.
  • You find yourself becoming deeply enamored with him very quickly, in a way you haven’t previously experienced. You’ll attribute this to his specialness and the specialness of the relationship you believe is forming.
  • He looks at you in a way no man has before; he keeps his eyes on you and gives you his complete attention. It feels flattering and seductive. You have never before felt so beautiful, handsome or sexy. You feel very good about yourself in his presence. Your insecurities about your attractiveness and likeability vanish as if they never existed.
  • You have become intensely physically attracted to him or her, more than you have ever felt with anyone else or even knew was possible.
  • If you meet at some sort of a group setting, such as a dance class, he will give you the bulk of his time and attention. You’ll feel like the two of you are the only ones in the room.
  • He or she showers you with attention and affection. You’ll go on frequent romantic dates and spend a lot of time together. You’ll get plenty of phone calls, emails and text messages. He’ll be kind, considerate and complimentary. You may feel truly “appreciated” by a someone for the first time in your life. It’s all positive reinforcement all the time during this early stage. You will not feel neglected in any way at this point. He always has or makes time for you. Although things may seem unusually intense, it will just convince you that this is the best relationship you’ve ever had and that he is your perfect partner. This stage is known as love-bombing. The manipulator will saturate you in as many ways possible with love and adoration, so you don’t have a moment to come up for air. There will be many verbal declarations of appreciation and of their feelings about you and all your wonderful qualities, and amazement at all the things you have in common or at how lucky you both are to have found each other. You’ll believe it’s the best thing that ever happened to you, so you won’t even suspect you’re being played.
  • He divulges his “true” feelings for you very quickly, telling you he loves you and has never experienced such love and attraction before or that he never thought he’d fall in love again. And lo and behold, that’s exactly how you feel! Your days of unrequited love are finally over. The relationship will feel…magical. You’re finally experiencing what it means to have found your soul mate, even if you didn’t believe that soul mates existed. The manipulator may even tell you he believes you’re “soul mates” or say “isn’t this magic?” or tell you that you “must have known each other in a past life.” You’ll feel that you never even knew what love was before. You may have only known him for a month, but you’re certain you’ll be together forever. Believing someone is your soul mate is, unfortunately, one of the biggest red flags of a psychopath. Since they’re able to mirror your needs and desires perfectly, they’re able create the persona (or mask) of your perfect mate, but it’s all an illusion.

Believing someone is your soul mate is, unfortunately, one of the biggest red flags of a psychopath.

If you’ve gotten this far, there’s a good chance the psychopath has already created the strong bond (the psychopathic bond) that is the necessary foundation for the manipulation and abuse that follows. The only thing that can stop it is the awareness of the chance your soul mate might not be who you think he is, and this awareness may help you retain your abilities to see clearly and think critically.

Although it appears the psychopath is in love with you and you’re experiencing the most romantic time of your life, this isn’t the case at all. Psychopaths are incapable of feeling love, and the only thing they want you for is self-gratification.

So how can you tell the difference? It seems like the love story you’ve been longing for all your life, and actually it’s far better than anything you imagined. You probably won’t be able to tell the difference unless you’ve experienced it before. After all, why would you ever think to question something so wonderful? It would never cross your mind to do so, until you become aware of the possibility that all may not be as it appears. That’s what you’re doing right now — developing that awareness.

Here are some ideas that may help you avoid involvement with a psychopath:

  • Take any new relationship slowly, especially an intense one. Control the pace, as opposed to letting the other person control it. Know what you want from a relationship so you don’t become obliviously sucked into following someone else’s agenda (this will help you much more in later stages). Be leery of someone who gets serious quickly. How can someone love you deeply and know they want to be with you forever if they barely know you? That’s often the mark of superficiality, which is in direct contrast from what it may look like. There is no rush. Time is the only thing that will reveal a person’s true character. Time is your friend.
  • Develop clear boundaries, and defend them. Be aware of a person who is able to make you disregard those boundaries, even if you believe you’re the one doing it. Boundaries do not isolate you from others — they only protect you from manipulative people who do not respect you or have your best interests at heart (to say the least). They let the good in while keeping the bad out. If you don’t have boundaries, please don’t start any new relationships until you do. Boundaries protect you and all that you value. To develop your boundaries, read a good book on the subject. I wrote one especially for us. 

“I am being honest when I tell you I’ve read many books and articles, talked to my friends and counselors, and nothing has helped me like this book has.. This book has done what two years of counseling could not.. I am so grateful to have come across this book and will forever be thankful that I did.”

  • Know yourself well. If you don’t, a psychopath will know you better than you know yourself..which sets you up for trouble. Find out what runs you, process traumas from your past and identify your deepest fears, desires and needs.This is one of the best defenses.
  • Make someone earn your trust…and then expect them to keep it. Being trustworthy is an ongoing thing. Keep in mind that con artists are masters at gaining your trust — that’s why they’re so effective. Psychopaths are the ultimate cons.
  • Know what you want and need from a relationship, and don’t settle for anything less. If you do find yourself settling for less, you’ll know something’s definitely wrong.
  • Delay sex because once you have it, your neurochemistry will shift and you will feel deeper attraction, a craving for your partner and more investment in the relationship.These feelings are due to changes in your neurochemistry that can’t be controlled, along with the assumption that an intimate bond has formed. Pacing and slowing down lets you keep control and make clear-headed decisions. It is MUCH easier to see reality and MUCH easier to walk away from someone you haven’t yet had sex with. Sex seals the deal. Is delaying sex realistic when you’re faced with your soul mate and feeling an intense attraction? I don’t know, but I’d like to believe it is.
  • Learn the tactics of covert, or hidden, emotional manipulation. When you are aware of them, you have a far better chance of seeing them at play.

“I would like to thank the author for an eye opening experience! This book has clarified more for me than I have ever understood in my entire lifetime.. It doesn’t matter what type of relationship you are in, it can be straight couples, gay couples, relationships between family members, co-workers , any kind of relationship, you must read this book. It will be as if a lightswitch is turned on in your brain and your soul is sitting up and paying attention. To the author, again thank you for opening my eyes.”

A lot of this sounds like the description of two people falling deeply in love. Some of it does sound just like that… and that’s exactly why so many have fallen victim. It looks like that to others around us, and of course it looks like that to us, too, during this stage of the game. If it didn’t start out this way, nothing that follows would be possible. We fell for Dr. Jekyll, after all, not Mr. Hyde.

Obviously, no one is going to fall in love with someone and just see it as one big red flag and walk away, and I’m not saying that’s what you should do — that would be crazy. But those of us who have experienced it know that it was over-the-top, “unreal,” magical, and unlike anything we’d ever experienced or even imagined. Those are the signs that tell you that you need to watch out for what comes next.

Staying alert can help prevent an entanglement with a psychopath, while still preserving the opportunity to move forward with a person who has honest intentions. You can read about what will happen next if Mr or Ms Right turns out to be a psychopath in “Stages of the Psychopathic Bond.”

Next, please consider reading:

How to Never Get Involved with a Psychopath, Narcissist or Sociopath—or Any Abuser—Ever Again

Love Not Bombs: LOVE BOMBING


Comments are closed.

138 thoughts on “RED FLAGS OF A PSYCHOPATH”

  1. Michelle

    I wish i had read this years ago it would have saved me money heartbreak and pain. I met a one eight years ago and i believe i was with the man of my dreams we have 2 children and its been a nightmare. I often wondered how did i get caught up in this crap but reading about it has open my eyes but its still a struggle to stand clear due to the kids but i feel to save myself i need to cut the kids and myself from ever seeing him again.

    1. Danielle

      OMG just on time, inspite of serious, excellent therapy this never really came up so clearly!! Thank you. I always felt that I was unlucky, too critical or vulnerable. I also had becom ” the run away bride” for my last 3 relationships…I knew something was up, but it was my fault…falling for the bad boys. This very last one number 4…was wonderful…perfect., but blew up over a very small detail .. It was scarry. I have not slept with him yet….Thanks to you I wont see him again. Please read this fab article again. Protect your heart, yourself, your loved ones. What made me think this one was perfect….I was lonely and he was so gushy and in love (?) As the poet Hafiz said ” Run my dear , run like hell from anyone likeky to put a sharp knife into the sacred, tender vision Of your beautiful heart” sex is addictive…run before you get hooked even more. You have children…you still can emotionally run from him. They deserve a mother with balance. Protect yourself financially. Protect them. It can be done. I did it with my marriage, but not with my latest relationships. My son is grown up and successful, but i am the one who kept on getting into stupid relationships…..empty nest syndrome ? No more.

      1. Adelyn Birch

        I’m so glad to hear this has helped you so much, Danielle! Thank you for all of the good advice, and for the Hafiz quote. It’s beautiful.

    2. gill

      how are you now ? i have just read the book and feel i am now where you were. How did you re build ?

      1. Adelyn Birch

        I don’t know if Michelle will come back and see your comment, so I’ll jump in just in case. I’m doing well. You will, too. Believe that. As I’ve said many times on this site, you don’t have to know at first how that will happen, only that it will happen. And then become determined that you will heal, that you won’t let this disordered person continue to have a negative impact on your life indefinitely. I knew he was long gone from the moment he ended it, and there was no way in hell I was going to let someone who never loved me or cared about me continue to have a hold on me and affect my life.

        There’s no way to fast-forward through the healing process, at least that I know of. Although there is a way to stop it or slow it down considerably. How? Blame yourself for what happened. To stop doing that, please go to the “self blame” category on this site and also learn all you can about emotional manipulation. Some people still have trouble letting go of self blame because they can’t accept that they fell for a con job, or for a psychopath. They’d rather believe they were in some way responsible. There is not one person on this planet who can’t be conned. When the self blame stops you’ll have self-compassion, and it will make all the difference.

        You’re not only going through the healing process—at the same time that you’re healing, something else is happening inside you: you’re developing resilience and wisdom and self-worth like you’ve never had before. This may not become apparent for a while, so give it time.

        Here is one of the least-read but most important blog posts on this site: Want To Reclaim Your Power? Re-Write Your Story!

        I know how hard it is, but please trust me when I tell you that you can heal. The grief, the betrayal and the confusion are fierce, but the only way out is through. I can tell you now that if I had the chance to turn back time and change things so it never happened, I would not do it. This idea would have been unfathomable to me when I was going through it, but there is real strength, among other things, that comes from having overcome this adversity. It doesn’t come from what they did to you, but from what you did with it. I wish you all the best xo

        1. leesa25

          This is ooh so true! I never felt so strong as since I overcame this (the abuse) (with the help of therapy and the will to survive this).
          This website has a lot of good, strong and very realistic advice.

          1. Adelyn Birch

            Thank you, Leesa!

            I’m so happy that you’re feeling stronger than ever!

    3. Jane

      i met one online, he really took his time to hook me in, slow charming and child like. It grew into an abusive situation, I was set up at a party to endure a psychotic rage. I was numb, needed to escape but was trapped for the duration.
      He vanished, popped up with a new partner a month later.
      Now he is hoovering me, silent for her, I don’t believe he has done a full discard just in case. He is online daily throughout all of his relationships. I suggest that if you meet somebody online you monitor the activity and don’t believe the apparently casual “oh I hardly ever meet anybody” or use it.

      1. Adelyn Birch

        I’m sorry to hear what happened to you, Jane. I hope you’re doing OK.

  2. gagagal

    Oh my god. I have been with one of these 34 years and felt something was wrong from the first year. He fits exactly this pattern of behavior. Because i come from a background of extreme emotional abuse, his passivity and quiet demeanor fooled me into thinking it was kindness I saw in him. But here I am, exhausted, bitter, angry, in a state of despair. I thought as early as 1980 (yes, I am a dumbass) that he may be a psychopath and told my friend as much. But because of my background, I “settled” for this guy – handsome, glib, funny, and seemingly with some depth. What a horror it was when I married him 7 years later (see parenthetical comment above) and found him to be unbelievably cold and absent. Pleasant, yes. Always polite, yes. We tried counseling but he sat there and lied the whole time or pretended not to understand what was bothering me. He claims amnesia for the things he’s done and just today, I realized why. There are two people living in him – the facade and the true monster inside. He’s so adept at compartmentalizing, one personality doesn’t know what the other one has done. We crossed the Rubicon today when I told him he was cowardly, cold, manipulative, impulsive, careless, lazy, irresponsible and very callous, all of which he denies. I’ve never talked to him this way but at this point, exhausted from trying to hold our lives together while he “relaxes” I’ve had enough.

    1. Admin

      I’m sorry this happened to you and that you have lived with it for so long. It’s not surprising, given your history of extreme emotional abuse. But now, for whatever reason, it seems something has changed in you; the tide has shifted, and something has empowered you to take a stand for yourself. There is no turning back. I wish you all the best.

  3. duped girl

    I truly believe this info saved my life! I thank God I found it and I thank God u are eloquent enough to cut right thru to all the things I have been experiencing with this monster but was never able to vebalize! it felt like u were speaking directly to me! Thank u again for all the incredibly insightful info

    1. Admin

      I’m so glad you found information here that has helped you! That’s why I write.

      All the best.

      1. Lisa

        Wow !!! I am in the middle of divorcing this person.I let him adopt my son and it hell . I feel so foolish and stupid for being duped in such a way. I was a stong women and mother who now feel dumb and hurt. Hiw could I allow this to happen to me and my son.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          Lisa, if you feel stupid and foolish then you don’t really understand what happened. Keep reading and learning until you don’t feel that way anymore. It’s the best thing you can do. Best wishes to you and your son.

  4. faith

    How come I have never heard of this till now? When I am now the victim & my life is a total mess!
    We had 6yrs courtship & we got married last year. During the courtship I knew deep down that something wasn’t right but I had no clear picture. He fits this your description perfectly. My closed eyes has opened now when I just one year of marriage, he as cheated on me 3times with 3 different women & do you know what hurt the most aside from the betrayal….he said it was my fault! *crying* he was my first love, the only man I have ever been with & have never been unfaithful to him! He said the first lady threw herslf @ him & he couldn’t help it! He said he went after the other 2 to hurt me when my words hurt him! The worse was that he beat me up severally but I didn’t have the courage to leave I thought he was my soulmate & that I would be the one to help change him!! But, in march 2013 I called 4 a break but he came begging me to come home that he as changed even showed me books he was reading to better himself, like the fool I am I believed he once again! So, I returned in May but still doubtful because I now know him as a unrepentant liar! Through out May-June 2013 this year, he showered me with so much love & affection that forget all the hurts & pains. Just when was beginning to get comfortable he changed over night to his crooked self. I endured again till september 1, 2013. I made up my mind & backed my bags & left! *victory* u would say………only discovered september 2nd that I am 3months pregnant!!! *sobbing* please, what do I do? I don’t want anything thing to do with him again! Why should I be pregnant now? Am I truly free? Will he attack me & come for me and my baby? HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Admin

      What a terrible situation you are in! I’m sorry to hear it. I would suggest checking with your local domestic violence organization for advice on what to do and how to stay safe. Best wishes to you!

    2. athena

      I would recommend getting as far away from him, until you know he’s over you, and having his child will make your life and the baby’s miserable. He is already miserable, that’s why he is a psycho. I’m in the middle much like you….I have kids, kids don’t like him, they can tell he is weird. And it makes living with him miserable. So guy that is psycho, makes you and family miserable, who again make him miserable. He won’t change and from many things I read he cant. But you can, you can change this situation. Be sneaky if you have to, but the sooner you get away and never go back the better for him, the better for you. At this point it’s tough love….from afar.

      1. Adelyn Birch

        I hope things are getting better for you and your children, Athena.

  5. Sharon

    To the woman above who is pregnant, I am praying fervently for you and your sweet baby ‘on the way’. Your scenario is very similar to where I was two years ago when I found out I was pregnant with our second child. Let me tell you, it does NOT get better. During that pregnancy, I endured abuse both physically and emotionally. He withdrew from me, cheated on me, and on the day I bore his child his girlfriend was messaging him. I stayed with him for two more years (until just a couple weeks ago). Hes been unemployed all along, and his mother (whom he has groomed against me) has funded everything for him including 7 guns of which he left unlocked with ammunition in them in our house with small children. After a recent move, his rage turned into life threats against me and I was told that there would be a ‘blood bath’. When he realized I was going to move out, he tried to stop me, and said he would be better. We went back and forth on this ‘kindness mixed with violence’ scenario for a few more weeks until I finally got the gumption to pack up my babies, an over night bag, and get the hell out. I obtained a restraining order against him and took the kids into hiding for 12 days. It has been the best thing I could ever do for my self and babies. That doesnt mean I havent waivered with an immense grief over the loss of him and the hope for a ‘dream family’. In all of our 7 years together, he would always have the most eloquent way of luring me back time and time again…even though he would beat me down so horribly with his avalanche of criticisms. Looking back, I really wish I had known the true definition of a psychopath or that I had read this blog post…because Ive come to find out that his promises are predominantly false time and time again. He’s depleted me of almost everything I ever had. All except the precious children which we share. Now he is trying to seek sole custody. Not because he wants the kids. But because he wants to “win”. By the way, his mother, is a well known, upper class politician in the community. A spokeswoman for women’s and children’s rights. She witnessed his violence and abuse of me on a number of occasions and never did anything to diffuse her son’s rage and abuse towards me (and the crossfire of which the children endured). My pain has been and continues to be compounded by a lack of understanding from people like her (who you would believe to have the intelligence enough to know and want to protect the ‘abused’, not protect the perpetrator.). Somehow he has simulated a very believable story that he is the victim. WHO, if anyone, will shed light on this horrific disease that leaves the victim and children completely powerless?

    1. Admin

      Thanks for writing. I’m so sorry that you and your children are caught in such an awful situation. It sounds like you should stay in hiding for a lot more than 12 days; sounds like he is really violent and dangerous. I hope you’re getting the Legal help that you need. I hope that you and your children will find your way safely out of the situation. Please check the site and blog; I have seen posts And articles that deal with Legal issues and children, etc. All the best to you.

    2. sunita

      Hi…iI am reading ur post 2 yrs later n ironically 2013 Aug was when I first met my husband. Although its been only 2 yrs I hav so much to share..its unbelievable.iI wish I had read ur story then wudve saved me a lot of heart break :(..but I guess i was too busy bein love bombed!
      I will try to summarise. .I was a single never been married skinny model turned airhostess 33 yr old financially n professionally doin well. All I was looking was for love n marriage..he was 7 yrs older than me, not v well off , not well educated, was a divorcee with a psycho ex.. As per him..had a son
      With development issues, had a crazy n mean mother, (now I wud say she is definitely bipolar/ narc/ schitzo). Anyways told hom politely he was not my type. .but he pushed n lingered. .became my friend. .love bombed me..made me fall n how! Honestly issues of his not bein able to handle alcohol had come up few times but he always apologised, blamed the booze, asked me to handle his drinks etc. .tried to breakup several times but course cozz of his lies manipulation n my love it never happened. So we got married after 10 mths of dating n it’s been 8 mths of marriage noW. Things turned worse coz I now lived under the same roof..tthe highs were plenty. .ttreating me like a princess. .cuddling, hugging, sex, love talks, praises etc. .the works! But the lows..omg..alcohol related fights..control over my clothes. .fights about the past..general anger outburst. .his moms tantrums every alternate day! I was depressed but vowed to make my marriage work coz I loved him like crazy n in India we go crazy tryin to avoid a divorce. I stopped nagging him for booze. .even tho he is diabetic n I have every right to want a longer life for him! Still the mask wud slip now n thenthemn. I had already threatened divorce so mayb thats why the good mask was on a bit more often. Then God intervened. . I saw an email frm the exwife to him. .it stated all the lies he had told me. Turns out he never stopped dating the ex wife..even 4 yrs after their divorce..even after I came in the pic..he was screwing her..eeating at her place. .ggossiping about me..discussing my intimate details. .tellin her he is unhappy with me..yup all the while not allowing me to break up sayin hes my soul mate etc! Anyways I confronted him. He still denied sayin shes lieing etc. But those details he discussed were real so I moved out. Stayed at my moms. Got him to cnfess most stuff. ReSearched his personality. Seems to b a total socio! Got more confessions frm the ex.yup she does seem a but crazy but after all has spent 20 yrs with a man like him!
      Now today he is begging n pleading. .says
      sorry for wat he has done but also goes into blame mode sayin uts my fault for not givin him a marriage date earlier! Wtf..u think somebody’s not gonna marry u..u break up with them not fuck around!anywsys he is tryin anything n everything to get me bac.. I hav already told him no. Hav moved out my stuff. But I hav to admit still love him..miss those moments of happiness even tho were probably the issue is I can not file for divorce till 4 mths. Since we shud complete a year of marriage. I did get tempted to try the last bit for 4 mths..the thing is im scared he might make me pregnant n I defi dont wanna b at this stage! He has tried thos befor also :( altho he promises he won’t touch me n all.. n also wats the guarantee he wont cheat again n jus not lemme knw! May punish me for this one month of stayin away..Also in the future if we do hav kids I hav a dirty feeling he will get worse coz wil feel more control over me.. I am 99.9% stickin to my decision of divorce. . Wil heal my broken heart..tthey say better to cry a little now than ur whole life. But 0.1% is hoping ther is another way to stop this! He of course promises mo more alco nomore abuses no more cheating
      No more possessive etc. But I hav to say he has promised so much in the past also..pls advice! Also m very curious to knw how ur story wound up 2 yrs later!

      1. Admin

        From what you’ve told me, you’re doing the right thing, even in a culture that frowns on divorce. It is better to cry now than cry your whole life. That’s a wise saying — I’ve never heard it before. You deserve much more than a few good times in a situation that’s bad overall. Not only is he cheating on you, but he has been from the start. That tells you all you need to know. Don’t go back. This man has a serious character disturbance. He’s not a good man. I’m very sorry things turned out this way, Sunita.

        My story isn’t as complicated as yours, since we weren’t married. To make a long story short, he discarded me, and I went through hell but I healed. I have never seen him since, and I hope I never do. It takes time, but your heart will also heal. I wish you all the best.

      2. Indian

        Hi Sunita,
        My daughter 27, Indian living in Australia, surgeon needs help. An Indian man who fits every aspect of Admin’s description of a psycho has brainwashed her. She is bent upon marrying him. She loved us immensely, but she has alienated her with us that she hates us and everything we say. I am being Indian father- I did support her initialling when she said she wants to try him, but I see nothing else but a psycho now.
        Any chance you could tell her your story or try and help. Or may be we the family are reading him wrong.
        Happy to share our contact details. Happy for you to talk to my wife rather than me for your own comfort. The email address ____________ is my work email and I would not have shared this if I was not genuine.
        Grateful if you can help.

        1. Admin

          Hello, Concerned Father. I don’t know if Sunita will be back here to see your comment, but I wanted to reply. It’s obvious you and your wife love your daughter very much and you are deeply worried. You want the best for her, but you’ve seen signs that the man she wants to marry is a psychopath. I’m very sorry about this, and sorry that you’re being alienated; it’s heartbreaking.

          I doubt you are misreading him, simply because you’re at this website asking for advice. If he were a man worthy of her and who had her best interests at heart, you wouldn’t be here looking for help. The most difficult thing I deal with here are parents who write seeking answers. When the person who is involved in the relationship comes here for advice, they’re already having doubts. But when concerned family members come forward, the person involved usually isn’t yet at that point — they’re still deep within the illusion and refuse to listen to reason. When someone truly believes they’ve met the love of their life, they aren’t very open to hearing what others think is wrong!

          There might not be anything you can do at this point, I’m sorry to say; there are things we don’t have control of, no matter how much we wish we did. The important thing is to communicate to her that you will be there if she needs you, no matter what. And if this guy is a psychopath she will need you, and you don’t want her to think she can’t contact you because of the way she acted while under his influence. She will need a lot of support. Continue being honest with her about your concerns; if she is having doubts, maybe your words will get through.

          I wish the best to you and your wife and daughter, and I hope this situation will resolve soon.

          Please read this article (it also contains a link to a counselor who helps people get out of controlling relationships; perhaps he might be able to advise you):

          The Cult of Two

          Freedom of Mind Resource Center

    3. athena

      I am so so so happy for you. I need to leave my psychopath, but am trying to spare my children the confusion of ” if daddy is do crazy, why does mommy cry” I actually call my psychopath a loser to his face. He doesn’t seem to be affected. It’s really sad how much these people actually do make themselves a victim. They want you to argue with them. They are arrogant and narcissistic to the point, no one can stand them. But they think it’s because they are right at calling people terrible names. I also call mine sloth….because I had to remind myself how he is like a sloth, that just carries his baggage of terrible things he has done to people, like a badge of courage. I really wish there was a light at the end of t he tunnel fir them.

      1. Adelyn Birch

        Hi, Athena. I hope you’ll move forward soon, because I’m sure that the kids seeing you fight with him and call him a loser, and sensing the animosity, can’t be doing them much good. I don’t know how old they are, but if they see you cry you could explain to them why you’re crying, such as when you got married you thought it would last forever but things changed and that’s sad. All the best to you.

  6. Victim 1111

    I am currently dealing with a psychopath, we split up 2 months ago because of his aggressive, extreme possessive and jealous behaviour and no trust ! he has stalked me, threatened to make my life hell, slated me on social sites and falsely accused me of the worst. I was devastated but his behaviour has soon proven that he is psychotic and everyone that witnessed it could see something was not right. The description above of how they trap you is entirely true! however in addition he believed and still believes he is entirely in love with me and that he gave up his whole life to be with me and blames me for all of it and his misery….the truth I ran away moved cities to get away (because I couldn’t) he followed me and now stalking me…I am at the stage of getting a court order restraining him from contacting me or coming near me…

  7. Victim 1111

    Faith and Sharon I truly empathise with you and your kids…get out and don’t look back!!!!!

    1. Ann

      I agree completely get out and stay out. Dont be taken in by lies and pretended love, I went back and nearly ended up dead. A lot of threats are empty but just in case get help with protecting yourself with the law and self defence. Please dont let fear overcome your chance to overcome a bad relationship. Please remember not all men are the same have faith and hope and dont be afraid. Love to all us victims. AnnX

      1. Admin

        Same to you, Ann.

  8. Glenda

    The information on this site is amazing! The characteristics of the psychopath are nailed here. Thank you so much! I didn’t know what I was dealing with. I was so confused and mixed up because the so called man I was with for 3.5 years clouded and complicated issues with his lies, deciet, betrayal and lack of trust. The first 2.5 years were bliss. I was so in love and very happy. I started catching him in lies because he couldn’t keep them straight. He cheated on me several times but never fessed up. Then he put a tape recorder in my car, had me followed by a PI and put a GPS on my car. He was mad with jealousy. I never one had eyes for another man. I was so jaded I was glad because I thought “thank goodness now he knows I have been true to him.” That wasn’t good enough for him so I took a lie detector test which proved I ne er cheated. He still didn’t trust me. I found out he had been seeing his ex wife off and on throughought our whole so called relationship. She was so victimized by him she still takes whatever he will give her at his whim. Turns out he was projecting what he was doing on me. I am a strong independant financially secure and professional woman and after I read all the articles here and watched the fishead video I texted him and told him to never contact me again or I would file an injunction of harrassment on him. I am done with this sick f***! NOW I WILL WORK ON FORGIVING HIM. NOT BECAUSE HE DESERVES IT BUT BECAUSE I DESERVE PEACE! God bless you for keeping this site alive and growing! Glenda Goodness!

  9. Admin

    Thanks, Glenda. I’m glad the blog helped you to figure things out. Isn’t it amazing that you can be so in love and so happy…and then have everything change…and then find out that nothing was as you believed it was? Not only is it a serious emotional trauma, but it’s one that is totally unexpected and very perplexing.

    If forgiving him is important to you then go for it, but it may take a long time before you can do that. You may want him out of your heart and head this very moment, but the truth is it’s probably going to take time, and there’s no way around that. It takes time to come to terms with what actually happened, and then after you do you’re left needing to grieve over all that was lost, whether it was “real” or not. It was real to you. Just because you found out he wasn’t the man you thought he was doesn’t mean you’re not going to grieve the loss…even if it is the loss of an illusion. It sounds crazy, but it’s not. We all go through this even though we (and others) can’t understand it and think that we should just be happy to be rid of him. Time takes care of this part of it. This real feeling of loss is also the dangerous part that leads people back into the relationship, but from your words it sounds as if you have had more than enough. Stay strong.

    Please be sure to read this article about cognitive dissonance:

    Best wishes.

  10. Danny

    Isn’t this the description of a sociopath rather than a psychopath? It’s a branch of psycopathy but I thought psychopaths were like sociopaths but more sexually invested and had violent tendencies. Maybe I’m wrong :)

    1. Admin

      There are a few theories on the difference between sociopathy and psychopathy.

      One of the main theories says psychopaths are born with differences in parts of the brain that regulate emotion, but that sociopaths are “individuals whose antisocial features stem from family, social, and cultural forces that generate attitudes and behaviors that are at odds with the laws of society at large. According to this perspective, unlike psychopaths, such individuals may have a “conscience” and may be capable of loyalty to their own group or subculture.”

  11. Angie

    I am crying as I am reading the articles…so many things describe my ex. People say “there is no one like him”…but its hard for me to grasp that he could really be a psychopath or its just me. And I am in so much pain and cant even pinpoint to what specifically. I guess he was looking for a mother of his kids, because that is what I am. He still plays the nice guy and I also see the Jekyll come out in e-mails, using intimidation, smart ass vocabulary and other verbal tools and its a back and forth of me thinking he might love me but doesnt want to admit it and loving the game. I am so confused and I cannot trust my instincts or feelings anymore.
    Same rules dont apply apparently, there is no equality or fairness, and no discussion of solution finding. Its always about him getting what he wants, and using whatever means possible to get it. He is using my love for my children against me. I cannot understand what is going on and doubt myself all the time. He came into my life as knight in shining armor, and endless hours of devoted attention, letters, flowers, cookies, he even sang to me on the phone. He adored me. He called me Angel, babe, babydoll, georgous…I have never felt so wonderful and special in my entire life. He always bragged to everyone about me. But I could not be critical or anything. It was never about what I wanted. I couldnt believe the pain I was suffering when he was displeased with me and i didnt realize how absurd it was to be upset about the tiniest things.
    I feel like he was hooking me onto a drug and I did desperatly do whatever made the knight in shining armor come back. Forget about my personal boundraries or thoughts on being financial responsible or all the things that were important to me.
    But I cannot believe that it wasnt real. Wouldnt anyone have noticed?
    He proposed quickly, spoke of marriage and getting old very quickly, gave me his moms ring and used her to lure me in…”she would have loved you so much”…
    I see so many shocking resemblances…it cant be coiincidence. My gut tells me that he uses his deployment story to get attention at the VA, used it for publicity and all. It didnt feel right to me. He has tried to manipulate me with “the therapist said you should behave like…”…
    I left apruptly after he dumped me (silent treatment followed) and moved to Europe. He then tried to manipulate me into moving back. Offered money, job, “help”…etc….
    I tried the no contact and he uses guilt and my children to get me to behave “civil” because of a good role model to the kids…not that he cares really about it dating the 4th woman I know of. I see the same behavior with them….the same lure. And they seem to be the same type. Mostly divorced or separated, with kids…so “needy”ones I guess.
    But why cant he leave me alone?
    I keep getting hurt because he does things which makes me think…”he didnt mean it, he is sorry, maybe he is considering reconciliation..”…staying at my house, inviting me to Paris, Trip to Amsterdam, sleep in the same hotel room, outings, pays for my food, foodsharing, gifts, favors….planning family vacation…having me and the kids over at his apartment for two weeks…all the while dating other woman and having sex with them. I know it bc I read the facebook chat. He is bombarding the woman right now, with wedding plans, moving in togehter plans, over the top romance, and all of that…after officially dating for like 4 days.
    It makes me sick to be stuck in the middle of this.
    Someone tell me I am not nuts.

    1. Admin

      You’re not nuts.

      I’m sorry you’re in this terrible situation. The anguish is apparent in you letter.

      “I cannot understand what is going on and I doubt myself all the time.” Feeling bewildered and doubting yourself all the time would not happen in a relationship with a man who truly loved you, right? I think that points to the truth of what’s going on. But you already know the truth, but like the rest of us you don’t want to.

      “I feel like he was hooking me onto a drug and I did desperately do whatever made the knight in shining armor come back. Forget about my personal boundaries or thoughts on being financial responsible or all the things that were important to me.” That’s exactly how it’s done, every single time. I only know what you have written here, but your relationship sounds prototypical.

      This is such a difficult situation to be in, and I’m sorry you’re in it. I hope you will go back to “no contact” and maintain it for as long as is necessary, meaning until he doesn’t come back again. You would have to be very strong, but it sounds like you are and that as you find out more and confirm your suspicions, you will see there’s no other sane thing to do.

      Best of luck to you.

  12. our underestimated strength

    I too just broke it off too– —I am praying for all the ladies on here. I am pretty sure I noticed a post in one of the forums masking the perp! Can they be this deluded-this one surely was/is-especially ? How do you know when you are in the clear after breaking it off? Are there any signs? How do you not allow that turn off your otherwise fine tuned intuition when you have doubts, red flags etc? If they did not completely succeed before you found the mask then what–do they just get bored and move on? I am in recovery as the realization of the trauma bond –as defined here opened my eyes to the fact that I also have family members that subjected me to this–and have spent a greater part healing–now this. But it makes sense, and now, I can see how much more healing I need to attract a healthy partner and authentic, safe love. Thank you for this forum and its profound clarity & path to recovery. I just want to move forward.

  13. Abigail

    If the mother’s a politician, then you must document everything in an irrefutable manner. Keep all texts and emails. (There’s an ap you can get to send your texts to you email, with date stamps.) Do not take his bait. He will bait you, just to get you to react “crazy,” and then he will have recorded you acting “crazy,” except he will have omitted what he did first to explain that your “crazy” reaction was reasonable. Read Tina Swithin’s Divorcing a Narcissist, all works by Bill Eddy, and Barry Goldstein’s relatively new book (can’t remember its name) which contains studies that will make it harder for any judge to believe your husband’s charming lies. Expect him to file 24 hour ex parte motions against you, filled with lies, at times when you are least able to drop everything to respond. For this reason, you must get a lawyer that has read and agrees with Tina Swithin, Bill Eddy, Barry Goldstein, and the works of Lundy Bancroft. The fact he has guns is horrific. Print out the cases of mothers and children being killed by the abuser dad, and present them to law enforcement. Do not tell law enforcement his mother is a politician. Record everything you’re doing with law enforcement too, in an irrefutable manner. Also, google and make an Evidentiary Affidavit of Abuse (and EAA) for yourself. There’s an ap to help you make one. The dynamic of abuse is that the abuser knows his target is already weakened, and less able to get these things done. Find the strength, for your children, to do them anyway. I’m so sorry. We must teach the next generations how to spot abusers, so they can avoid having children with them. It’s too late for this generation….but it’s not your fault. This knowledge simply wasn’t available until just recently.

    1. Admin

      Thank you! I will email this to the commenter you’re responding to in case she doesn’t come back and read this.

  14. lynn

    I wish I had read this a few years ago. I fell in love with a sociopath then. I thought he was the love of my life. Then the abuse started, and I decided to save myself the pain by trying to numb out my feelings for him. Unfortunately, this resulted in a depression, and my love for life virtually disappeared. I still feel like this to this day. I am with a new partner who treats me very well, but I still feel so numb in everyday life that I don’t have the zest I once had. My life is good these days, but I am up in the clouds somewhere, unable to fully enjoy it with all my heart.

    1. Admin

      I don’t know for sure…but I think that until you “un-bottle” your feelings and get it all out, you will be numb. Maybe you are still in love with him, and you’re reserving part of your heart for him? Having your “love for life” disappear is serious stuff, but understandable in your situation. I don’t know what to tell you to do, except to say that you must find the answer so you can move on and enjoy life fully. Best wishes.

  15. sam

    I just wanted to add one little thing to your interesting website, you use he to refer to a psychopath but there are as many women acting like predators out there, it is not a gender thing, but I assume you already know that, deception takes all shapes and forms…

  16. szili

    hmmm, talks about monsters :)

  17. eddie ryall

    Just read this page and have oreded your book from amazon i broke up with my boyfriend 5 days ago and what i have your seen on this page is him very word cant wait for the book

    1. Admin

      I hope the book will help you to recover and be happy again. Best of luck to you.

  18. eddie ryall

    I just wanted to ask one thing when my ex beat me up and i got the police he told the police i had raped him and thats why he beat me up is it normal for them to say stuff like that ,

    1. Admin

      They are expert at making the victim look like the crazy/bad one. I’m sorry that happened to you.

  19. Kelley

    I’ve been with my boyfriend for over a year. There are so many of these red flags, and I have chosen to overlook most of them for a long time. During the course of our relationship, he maintains contact with his ex-girlfriend and will not cut her off despite my pleading efforts. He is always accusing me of cheating, and I have not. He lies about insignificant things for no reason at all. When confronted, he pulls away from me and won’t talk or see me for a couple of days. He constanly talks about this amazing future he wants to have with me, and that’s what keeps me putting up with his antics. I’m really going through the phase of still loving and wanting him, and being aware of what he is doing to me. It’s like I hold on to the idea that he will change for me. He even uses spirituality as a way to manipulate me. He told me that he’s been waiting for someone like me to come along and that God brought us together.
    After reading this site, I finally have some clarity on what is wrong with him. I just kept telling myself that it will get better, but it never does.

    1. Admin

      I’m sorry to say you’re right — it doesn’t sound like it’s going to get any better.

      Please read this article about “the silent (but deadly) treatment”:

      And take a look at my blog post “how to tell if you’re being manipulated”

      Relationships should make us happy, not miserable. I hope you can cut your losses and leave him.

      Good luck!

  20. Annie Maw

    Hello everyone!
    I just finally realized TODAY that I’ve been victim of a total psychopath for
    a period of 15 years!!!!!!!!
    I’ve been crying, wanting to throw up, and cannot believe it’s happened to me as well.
    I am intelligent, fun, and financially independent woman; the relationship started as THE CON man was “saving” me from a stale marriage; the courtship went on for 2 years, and during this time I was already buying all of our romantic meals, gifting him, and rescuing him from situations.
    If anything, I became his accomplice, as he made me do things that were totally against my morals, principles and beliefs. As I was doing those things, I thought I was freeing myself from a “goodie two shoe” mentality.
    I justified the transgressions as elements that made me “grow” out of my bad marriage, and gave me perspective!
    I cheated on my husband, and he would relentlessly pursue me, stalk me,
    text me, and then threaten to “tell my husband” if I was not leaving our home.
    My children were 7 and 13 years old when it started.
    I felt uneasy, but I was soooooo in love. The sex was amazing, and each time we did it made me more connected to him; he started to incorporate
    more pornographic elements, show me porn videos, and was turning me into his actress-lover! I thought I was the “chosen one” and adored the creativity.That period was bliss, as it made me kind of high on sex;
    pheromones were flying out of me, I was hooked.
    During that original “bliss time”, maybe 3 month into it, he tells me he has to
    take a trip to Paris (he’s always broke), and as I pressed him, he tells me some girl is paying his trip to meet her parents!!!!!!! What?
    YES, if that wasn’t a red, bright shiny flag, what is right?
    I broke up with him, crying, and told myself that’s what happens to adulterous women: What goes around comes around.
    Yes, during that “passionate” state of our deeply falling in love, he had actually had enough time and freedom to pursue others to the point of “her”
    wanting HIM to meet the parents!!!!
    3 days later he calls me back, from Paris, crying and telling me he’s sorry, missing me blah, blah…
    I TOOK HIM BACK…13 years have gone by since then, and it’s been deceptions, lies, abandonment, serial cheating, disappearance- breakups,
    (one of his specialty, he’d totally disappear as if I’d never known him as he was living with me, time and time again)…Each bad incident of such abusive treatment was ALWAYS “because of me”.
    And, I’d always end up contacting him, first, rarely him; I would manage to
    make myself feel guilty, during the month he’d be gone.I’d obsess over the “why it happened”, and construed that my original unavailability was the reason he’d be angry at me. I became a specialist at compensating on his behalf. He would have little phony tears coming out of his eyes telling tales
    of the bad treatments as a child.
    I always fell for it; I never knew abuse as a child, come from a healthy, secure, loving family, so I thought some people are somewhat damaged from their upbringing; that’s what he’d tell me: his parents were abusive to him, and he made me grow to hate them.
    I was protecting him; and he’d be “protecting me”, buying weapons- for hunting- preparing me for “the apocalypse”…and so forth.
    I am so tired of life; 1 month ago, I finally walked away from him, at a dinner,
    after he’s snapping at me “it’s your house, I don’t have to help you”;
    meanwhile I was paying for EVERYTHING, home, apartment, car, utilities and groceries…He always finds people to do his job for free, as he manipulates them into thinking “he’s a master”.
    Meanwhile, his only preoccupation are Facebook, youtube videos, hunting, eating, self gratification…and he advises everyone around on how to be a great person, and they listen to him!!!
    Today, I want to tell on him, as I’ve seen him abuse way too many people;
    I camouflaged him way too long. Our community thought because he was with a great woman like me, that his “weird, or intense behavior” must be ok!
    I corroborated with his deceptive nature…
    I’d speak against it, but of course, he’d guilt me for it.
    My allegiance was always fluctuating between two polarities:
    What my instinct knew to be right, and “standing” by my man.
    We clashed a lot; I became disturbed, unfocused.
    Now, I’m having trouble running my business; I cannot concentrate.
    I was still delusional until today, when I started to read about PSYCHOPATH profile (that’s when i had the EPIPHANY), thinking after a month he’d maybe call me to say he misses me!!!!!
    Such a long, long delusional fantasy!
    I hate him now, he put me in financial debt as I bought a house in a remote place to please him; I have to go there now alone, and it reminds me of my
    stupidity and credulity.
    Those people are sick, sick, sick bastards that should be punished, and removed from the public.
    They make us, normal people, sound like some naive, hysterical, retarded human beings.
    I’m sick emotionally, i’m looking for ways out, the trauma is too strong.
    I just wanted to share; their sickness is addictive, I believe, and needs to be
    recognized, addressed and eradicated.
    I’m gonna keep reading and find myself some therapy or counseling; I’m tired of my friends thinking this is “just a breakup”.
    I’m depressed and angry, and am resorting to drinking at night to ease the
    ps:by the way, I saw him driving a week after our “last breakup”, chatting up and smiling to someone in his car, another woman for sure.
    He certainly didn’t look affected by losing me, “the love of his life”.
    Meanwhile, I’m crying everyday.
    Food for my thoughts…and yours.
    Thanks for the amazing doctors and psychologists who wrote all this material, compiled it and extracted the juice for us.

    1. Admin

      I’m sorry to hear about what happened to you.

      It is a shocking moment when you have that epiphany and realize what you have truly been involved in. As you know, you’re going through a very serious trauma. It’s very good that you are going to go for counseling; please don’t put it off!

      Know that you’re not alone; there are others who have gone through this and who understand. This is a good article on the Aftermath website: “The aftermath of psychopathy as experienced by: romantic partners, family members and other victims”

      Here are some words of advice to you from Dr. R. Hare:

      “Unfortunately, even the most careful precautions are no guarantee that you will be safe from a determined psychopath. In such cases, all you can do is try to exert some sort of damage control. This is not easy but some suggestions may be of help:
      1. Obtain professional advice. Make sure the clinician you consult is familiar with the literature on psychopathy and has had experience in dealing with psychopaths.

      2. Don’t blame yourself. Whatever the reasons for being involved with a psychopath, it is important that you not accept blame for his or her attitudes and behavior. Psychopaths play by the same rules-their rules-with everyone.

      3. Be aware of who the victim is. Psychopaths often give the impression that it is they who are suffering and that the victims are to blame for their misery. Don’t waste your sympathy on them.

      4. Recognize that you are not alone. Most psychopaths have lots of victims. It is certain that a psychopath who is causing you grief is also causing grief to others. Be careful about power struggles. Keep in mind that psychopaths have a strong need for psychological and physical control over others. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t stand up for your rights, but it will probably be difficult to do so without risking serious emotional or physical trauma…

      7. Cut your losses. Most victims of psychopaths end up feeling confused and hopeless, and convinced that they are largely to blame for the problem. The more you give in the more you will be taken advantage of by the psychopath’s insatiable appetite for power and control.

      8. Use support groups. By the time your suspicions have led you to seek a diagnosis, you already know that you’re in for a very long and bumpy ride. Make sure you have all the emotional support you can muster.” Read the rest here:

      Please take care of yourself. Best wishes to you.

  21. Tirten Catsaldi

    I am so surprised. All these traits match my ex girlfriend’s. Damn she was beautiful and knew how to employ these characteristics so well. Anyway, seeing her with her new boyfriend and her behavior that I know she shows to him, I feel bad for the poor guy. But someone has to lose this game. I am so glad I was not the one.

  22. Kate Jensen

    When I first met the psychopath who wreaked havoc on me and my family, I felt a cold chill of foreboding. I ignored this as irrational, and was soon thinking how wonderful it was to be so loved. I remember thinking how his eyes were like that of a lizard, alive but somehow dead, at odds with the rest of his face. Again, I ignored the cold chill. I remember thinking it odd that he felt most at home in the ocean, watching fish. He described them as his friends. I realise now that he is a cold blooded creature. I wish that I had listened to my intuition.

    1. Admin

      This is interesting. While I had no “cold chill of foreboding,” I remember he did say a couple of things that were off a bit, like he was putting on an act, and I remember feeling perplexed and a bit put off by it. But he managed to win me over…and that’s an understatement. Now when I meet someone or am getting to know someone, I stay present to how they’re making me feel, to what kind of reactions I’m having to them. The problem is we naturally give people the benefit of the doubt. Another bigger problem is that psychopaths are very good at disarming our defenses. So good at it, in fact, that FBI profiler Mary Ellen O’Toole wrote a book called “Dangerous Instincts” warning us NOT to go by our “gut feelings,” but instead to use the logical system the FBI uses to determine who to trust and who not to trust.

  23. Gigli

    I think that Kelly and I have been invoved with the same guy!

  24. Kim

    I was just reading the preview to your book, and ran across your web site. This whole thing sounds like my sister in law. She is the psychopath. To give you a bit of background. She has been in and out of relationships, and Marriages. her first husband was about ten years. She accused him of abuse, and I have seen her doing the mental abusing. After they were divorced she has said nothing nice about this man, and in turn he turned to alcohol, and never married again. Then she married a great soft spoken gentleman who would not say a bad thing about anyone. She was married to him for 14 years, and was having an affair on him for a few years before she left him. She never told him she was leaving him until after she told the whole family, this man had no clue what hit him. Now she says he was manipulative and made her crazy. She has nothing nice to say about this man. She moved in with the boyfriend and my husband was so angry about what she did to him that he told her so, and now she bad mouths him at every family function and to everyone who knows him. Well the plot thickens, she has now broken up with that man and found that a friend of my sons, who is from another country, is a world traveler and has money. She has stalked him on facebook and now after knowing him for a month, they are just head over heels in love. When I saw them together the other day while he was visiting, she gave me a cocky half smile as if to say I got him. My question is am I wrong in saying she is a narcissistic psychopath?

    1. Admin

      She very well could be one. It sure sounds like it, from what you’ve told me. In the book Without Conscience, Dr. Hare says psychopaths leave “a wide swath of wrecked lives in their wake.” This sounds like your sister-in-law.

  25. ann

    i grew up with an emotionally abusive mother, who thank god i have forgiven. but, my relationship with my mother made me easy pray for manipulative friends. i am still recovering from a friendship with a narcissistic person. this person would ignore my phone calls and emails, that is until she needed something from me. when she needed validation or emotional support she would send me these emails that were overly sweet. she would flatter me and give me tons of compliments. i fell for this crap for a while. once i admitted to myself how manipulative and duplicitous this person was, i was devastated and felt crazy at times.

    the lesson i learned was to trust my intuition. my intuition clearly stated to me not to invest time and energy into this person, but i dismissed that. there were also many red flags and incidences which made me uncomfortable, but i dismissed them too.

    my word of advice is that you must trust your gut and run as fast as you can from these people. it takes years to heal from these emotionally damaging relationships. your sense of self is diminished. your self-esteem is low. depression can set in.

    1. Admin

      If only it were that easy! To say that victims of psychopaths simply didn’t listen to their intuition is a misunderstanding of what this blog is about.

      Please read “Dangerous Instincts,” a book by FBI profiler May Ellen O’Toole. She advises *against* trusting your gut feelings, precisely because psychopaths are so good at disarming our intuition. As an alternative, she offers a four-step SMART method to assess and mitigate risk.

      Another good read is “Without Conscience” by Robert Hare. He tells plenty of stories of mental health professionals being duped by psychopaths, even when they have the diagnosis right in front of them. Even HE admits to getting duped, as the foremost psychopathy researcher/expert alive, and feels that no one is immune.

      I’m sorry about your experience with the person you thought was your friend.

      Sometimes damage control and support is all we have.

  26. RLR

    I recently broke up with a person I believed to have NPD. I have found it very difficult to recover from the confusion, pain and abuse that I was subjected to. This woman was very seductive at first. She wasn’t drop dead gorgeous but had something about her I was highly attracted to. We were having a blast going places, enjoying each other’s time and what I thought at the time, falling in love. She told me she loved me first which was only 3 weeks in the relationship. I didn’t think I was completely ready for that at that stage in the relationship but I was being seduced by her and quickly found myself in love. Looking back at the first there were a lot of red flags such as; the first time we had sex she was very controlling and dominating. She was extremely selfish. She would get angry if you questioned her authority or asked questions she thought I should already know. She was inconsiderate to other people. She had an arrogance about her. She would tell small white lies to cover up things she did or said.
    So after a few months we decided to start travel nursing together and this is when I started to see the true individual. She became more controlling. She was extremely selfish. She would dictate everything we did. She would never do something nice for me unless the act was doing for herself also. I bought her flowers, gifts and paid for everything. She never lifted a finger for me. When I brought it up to her she would say I hurt her feelings and it’s my fault that we were arguing. One night I blew up and told her she treats me like complete s**t and she told me that I have a problem and I needed help and she never acknowledged any fault by her. One day we were in the middle of having sex and she started punching me in the face chest and slapping me. She told me she didn’t love me anymore and it was my fault. By the time we were walking into work that night she didn’t want to break up and expected me to not be hurt. At work she would expect me not to get into conversations with any of my female coworkers. She said I was a flirt and I just didn’t realize what I was doing. I had never been called a flirt in my 36 years of existence and it shocked me. One time I told my ex that a coworkers hair looked good after she had changed it. My ex immediately said “why don’t you go date her”. I found myself staying away from people because I knew she would blow up. Although she was jealous that didn’t stop her from trying to flirt with guys secretly. I caught her numerous times making long eye contact with guys with me sitting right there. Of course when I brought it up she denied it and said I was insecure.
    Our next travel assignment things got worse. She became more controlling and nagging. She would tell me how to drive and when to switch lanes but then criticize how bad of a driver I was. I couldn’t wash dishes, laundry or clean without her commenting that I’ve done something wrong. When we were not working together she would try to tell me what things I should be doing for the day. Of course I wanted to make her happy so I did.
    I hit a breaking point one night when we we started fooling around and just like I always did I made sure she got off first well right after she didn’t say a word and just went to sleep. This had happened before. She always dictated our sex life. I snapped and asked her if she had ever been called selfish and she didn’t answer. I repeated the question and she went into a rage and started screaming at me telling me I’m crazy for waking her up and I’ve got a problem. She started punching the closet door and punched a hole through it and scarred up her hand. I tried to hold her to keep her from doing more damage but she started punching me. Eventually we calmed down and talked and she asked me if we were gonna break up. I said I don’t know. So then she said well were done I want out. So we start separating things and she starts asking if this is what I wanted. I said no. She tells me she only broke up with me because she thought I was gonna dump her first.
    Our last travel assignment I was worn down I had nothing left I had been beaten down so many times I didn’t have the energy to argue. I just ignored when she said things. I stopped doing nice things for her. I gave up subconsciously. One day before work she decided she couldn’t work there. She was crying stating she can’t handle it here they were treating her bad. I told her I had to go in I can’t quit I need the money. She started being manipulating telling me I don’t have her back and I’m an awful boyfriend. So with the situation I was in I had to quit when she did. So we had no job. Our agency was trying to find us something and no jobs were opening up. My money was dwindling fast. We decided to go to her parents in texas. Things kept going downhill I was so stressed because of everything I finally told her it wasn’t working . She immediately said I was right and it was a mutual break up. The problem was we had a 16 hr drive to Tennessee. This was the single worst car ride. She begged me for 16 hours to take her back. I was numb I never gave in. When we got to my moms she told my mom we broke up and she didn’t know what she had done wrong. My mom was unaware of everything and talked me into giving her another chance. So overnight I changed my mind again and told her it’s best she leave. I contacted her on her way back to texas making sure she was ok. She kept asking if we were doing the right thing. I told her I didn’t know. By the time she got home she changed she was over it. She was ok with the break up and told me we can’t get back together. We continued to talk and she would flip flop with saying she wanted me back but then if I gave in a little she would sept away and act like she didn’t care. She enjoyed seeing me being tortured by this. I took a travel nursing job and she got a job in texas but a week before I left she called me crying saying she missed me and told me not to go on that assignment, get a job in tennessee and she would move there. I told her I couldn’t do that but the time apart might be good for us and lets see what happens after. She changed in one second and said well I’m just jealous I don’t want to come there. So we continued texting and she would say that she wanted to be friends and she was afraid that I was the one but it would be to late when she found out. But then the next sentence claim she didn’t want to lead me on. I told her not to contact me again because I needed to get over her and move on. She continued to call and text claiming she was worried about me or finding any excuse she could to talk. I finally went no contact with her and blocked all media, email and text. I have lost all my money while waiting on another job. She drained me physically, emotionally and financially but at least I can’t start to heal since going no contact. That’s just a summary. There is so much more but I think I wrote enough to show what I went through.

    1. Admin

      I can’t imagine how drained you feel; I’m exhausted just reading about it. You’ll start to get your energy back with time, as long as you maintain no contact. I hope your next travel nurse job comes soon is a good one and far, far away from her. Good luck to you!

  27. sandra

    You found your empowerment but also what will cause u physical harm. Keep those words to yourself. Plan your exit. Take and hide money. Know where your assets are..get kids in place, insurance, job, home. BE PREPARED. Then leave silently and go far far away. He WILL find you and tell you he has changed..he gets it. Beg you to come back. Drag you back..Charm you back…know this and maybe you wont fall for it. It only gets worse when you leave them and then come back

  28. ava louise

    My heart aches reading all the comments here as I realise I am not alone. I met a guy thru my work 12 months ago. Red flags popped up everywhere. But im kind, tolerant and understanding. He admitted to mental illnesses (depression, anxiety & paranoia, ADD) While he is not a full blown psycopath, he has alot of tendancies. I believe he is suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder with Nascissist, Psycopahthic & Sociopathic tendancies all rolled into 1. He has MASSIVE abandonment issues…and plays on my pity train often. He was sexually abuse as a young child and his life has snow balled out of control. He is married & lives 1 street away. He degrades & devalues me often – to the point i have completley lost myself. He expects all of my support & attention yet i rarely get that in return despite actually not often asking for it. He will not leave me alone despite my repeated requests. He insists we remain friends with the scope 4 being 2gether when he “leaves” his wife. He stalks me. Cheats & lies constantly. I have managed to eventually get the truth out of him but now have MASSIVE trust issues that have eaten away at my very soul. I have NEVER in my life had Trust issues – i was in a 25 year relationship previously & NEVER had these issues. Suicide is on my mind often. I am seeking councelling. I pray 4 all the men and women in this world how r victims of these mentally ill people, praying ur souls will be saved as i am praying 4 mine xxxxxx

    1. Admin

      Please stay away from this man and please continue to seek counseling! Suicide is most definitely not the answer, and you will see that clearly once you gain some emotional distance from this situation. He cannot “insist” that you remain in contact with him. If he is stalking you, you may need the help of law enforcement. Maybe try the “grey rock” method of getting him to lose interest in you: Many here will be praying for you.

      Best wishes to you!

  29. Elderflower

    I found the biggest red flag is that this person shows absolutely no signs of awkwardness or uncertainty around you. This is a huge indicator that you are with a non-person, a projection of something else. Any real person feeling real attraction to you would have those awkward moments because they fear doing something wrong and they want to impress. The non-person knows nothing except complete and total success, the assumption is you are a forgone conclusion. Its a sure sign that real emotions are not at play here.

    1. Admin

      Wow! You are so right-on. Recently I’ve been on a few first dates, and I’ve been *so* glad to see nervousness and awkwardness! I’ll even touch their hands to see if their palms are sweating, just for good measure. Thanks for your comment!

  30. michael

    Thank you for this site. I am so emotionally devastated that I have been struggling to keep myself safe from suicide. I understand now that the woman I fell in love with simply is out to destroy.. I am so sad,,

    1. Admin

      Hi Michael,

      My heart goes out to you. It is devastating to realize the truth of what happened, and we find ourselves in a very dark place when we do. It’s vital that you seek help right away, today. The person who did this to you is certainly not worth giving up your life for. Don’t make such a profound decision in your present state of mind. Please call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). And please come back here and let me know how you’re doing. I will be waiting to hear from you again to hear how you are doing. All the best to you, now and always.

  31. zsa zsa

    Thanks for sharing excellent information. Your web-site is very cool. Best one on psychopathy I’ve found. I’m impressed by the details that you have on this blog. It reveals how well you understand this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for more articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found just the information I already searched everywhere and simply couldn’t come across. What a great website.

    1. Admin

      Why, thank you very much! Glad you’re finding what you’re looking for.

  32. Confused

    I was terrified after ready this article and all the comments after. I dated my husband in high school. He went off to college while we were still dating, and I never heard from him again until about 6 years later and I blew him off. 30 years later, he found me on a social network site. He claims to have been trying to find me for years! And so the “love-bombing” as you have named it began….I was hooked! This “love-bombing” went on for 4 years. We lived in separate states. He would fly me to him every so often for a few days or he would drive to me and stay for weeks. It was wonderful! Romantic and fun all the time. We were sole mates he sais and he missed me from the days of high school. He has had something missing from his life and finally, finally knows what it was. ME. I look back now and HOW COULD I HAVE FALLEN FOR THAT LOAD OF CRAP! Then, we married….from the time he showed up days before the wedding and even two years into the relationship, he is a different person. He looks at other women in my presence, the love making STOPPED. I attempt to romance and seduce him and he literally “lays there” with this look like I am not even there. If I try to discuss it, he says “he didn’t realize”….You’d have to be an idiot not to. We never go anywhere, but if we do it is boring and he wants to leave as soon as we eat and he eats FAST. We have no friends. We are mushrooms! Three months after we were married, he went on a business trip (supposedly) and never called. He left me here with his two children and never once checked on any of us. We talked every night throughout the courtship for hours at a time. I tracked his phone (I know I am terrible) because he was not behaving like the person I thought I knew, and he was in a hotel room three floors above his own. I texted him and he said he was in a conference at another hotel and would call later. I lost it….told him if he was going to lie he should turn off his “FIND MY PHONE FUNCTION” and so he did. He came back and was cold to my concerns. No empathy at all. He would not discuss what happened. Acted like nothing ever happened. Claimed he did nothing wrong and I was suppose to accept that. Had that been ME!!!

    I was hospitalized for a week a few days after his return and he came to visit me once, 5 minutes before visiting hours were to end. Never once after. I was alone. No support. When it was time to go home, he was 2 hours late picking me up at the hospital and showed up acting as if nothing ever happened and he was a supportive husband just for being there, drunk I might add at 9:30 in the morning. I tried to voice my concerns about his change and “I” was the crazy one….nothing had changed. Mentioned the romance and the fun we had. Of course he said he would do better, and never did. Stone cold face….no emotion. He did not hold me to say all would be alright. We used to cry together during the courting process if one or the other felt hurt. Now, he ignores me. My daughters Father died a few months later. He hated him my ex. He did not, would not should I say give his condolences to my daughter and still hasn’t. He says he isn’t sorry the man died. I told him it isn’t about “the man” it is about my daughters feelings. No remorse, no empathy. He walks around saying “my pretty baby”, but he looks at porn, other women and is emotionally stone. I am lost, tired of trying to get him to notice me. Trying to get him to love me like he did. But I see now, there is no love…never has been. What a fool. Now I have been “devalued” to the point of feeling I could never make it on my own. I am nothing. What a fool. My daughter tried to tell me he was toxic. She tried to get warn me not to marry this man and tried after I did to get me to leave. She says I am not the same person anymore. I am sad and lost my vivaciousness. I have let her down and caused her pain.

    1. Admin

      My heart goes out to you! I remember that moment when I figured it out. It was shocking. I’m sorry for what you’ve been through, for what all of us have been through with these people. We all fell for the same load of crap. You will get your vivaciousness back, but only after you get away from him. Your spirit will come back to life, along with your self-worth. Best wishes to you.

  33. Confused

    Thank you for your comments. Now I just need to figure out HOW……I sent my comments, then started questioning myself (Go figure). Since I have been trying to understand the behavior and have been searching for answers for so long, am I coming to the conclusion that this article describes him because it is the only thing that is close to what is happening and I want it to makes sense? Am I being fair to him be assuming he is a psychopath??

    1. Admin

      No matter what he is, you sound desperately unhappy. That’s the bottom line. You don’t have to give him a ‘diagnosis’ right now. You only need look at yourself, at your emotional state, at what’s going on inside of your own head. Ultimately, that’s what matters most. You know what I mean? Warm wishes.

  34. Confused

    I think he is feeling me pulling away lately as I have acted unconcerned and uninterested these past few weeks. Not rude, I just don’t ask a lot of questions and act over interested like I always do, just so he knows how much I care. HOPING he will love me again like he did in the beginning. All of a sudden, today…I am the most beautiful woman in the world and he wants to go out on a date???? The color I am wearing is a great color on me…kiss kiss kiss…..OMG Is it starting all over again. Is this the beginning of the “love-bombing” again? Will he be nice and sweet, romantic and loving just long enough for me to take it HOOK LINE AND SINKER than BAM…………snatch it all away again? Not sure I can take too much more.

    1. Admin

      I don’t know what to say, except re-read that first comment you wrote yesterday. You said this horrible marriage is destroying you. That’s what’s happening, regardless of what the problem is between his ears. I hope you will find your way through this and end up in a place of feeling good about yourself and about your life.

  35. Kat

    Thank you so much for this information. I now realize that my ex lover is probably a sociopath. He did the love bombing, showering me with attention, romantic experiences and gifts. He was intense, worldly, articulate, brilliant, charming and seductive. I was feeling lonely and neglected, and he was the tonic I needed. Sex happened almost immediately, and it was the best sex of my life. I was hooked.

    We met online, and he had a habit of not responding to my emails between meetings, but I rationalized this as he was so delightful in person. Two nights ago, on a whim, I searched a few profiles on the dating site where we met. I found one that sounded remarkably like his, even though he told me he’d deleted his profile after we met. To confirm my suspicions I posted a ‘dummy’ profile and contacted him under an alias. Sure enough, he responded immediately, saying he was new to online dating, was looking for ‘just one woman’ and had yet to find a good match online. He encouraged my alias to contact him at his personal email. Goodness knows how many others he’s been stringing along.

    The following day I told my ‘lover’ I didn’t want to see him again. He lives a distance away so I’m sure it’s over. No doubt he’s off to greener pastures.

    I’d only been seeing this man for 2 months, but am grieving the loss of the relationship. Your blog has made me realize I was lucky to get out so soon. Obviously my experience pales in comparison to others here, but it’s been a real eye opener. Thank you once again for this powerful resource.

    1. Admin

      These types do damage whether a relationship lasts 2 decades, 2 years, 2 months or 2 hours. I’m so glad you did some digging and found out the truth, and then walked away.

      Of course you’re grieving…you thought you had met someone wonderful, and instead ended up being betrayed by a liar. I’m sorry this happened to you.

      I’m glad the website has helped you, and I wish you all the best!

  36. John

    This site hits the nail on the head. I’ve just been recently attacked by a Psychopath. We met many years ago and were great friends right off. We reconnected a little over a year ago some 25 years later. It was a long distance relationship where we saw each other every other weekend. This woman was my soul mate. Those words flowed often. We were so in tune with one another. Yes, the sex was over the top…magnificent! We would take out of town trips, going to concerts. She was spontaneous, free spirited, fun, sometimes ditzy but she had a dark side, she loves skeletons and psychological thrillers mostly. She was into self help books which now seems so odd as she was the picture perfect presentation of love and caring. One of her favorite lines when writing or describing herself is “In loving kindness”. Her game is heartbreak. Like a serpent, she wound herself around every emotion and weakness I have. At the perfect moment, she cut me loose with no good reason. I hit the bottom hard and almost immediately afterwards, had a loaded piston to my head. The pain was unbearable! Fortunately, I was able to apply some reasoning and delay my demise. About 2 weeks later after trying to sort through this, it dawned on me what I may be dealing with. Thanks to sites like this, I have no doubt that this woman is a full blown Psychopath. The pain is gone as I now know what happened. The bad thing is, that the next man might not as insightful. Even more shocking is that this woman operates as a nurse in a State facility taking care of low IQ patients. She’s going for her masters degree.

    1. Admin

      She certainly sounds like a psychopath. And it is VERY scary that she works as a nurse, and with low IQ patients! How sad. Thank goodness you didn’t pull that trigger. I, too, worry most about those who never figure out the truth — they’re the ones most at risk for the worst kind of fallout. I’m glad the site helped you figure it out. I’m planning to write a blog post about female psychopaths, but it will all have to be anecdotal, as the research community doesn’t have much to offer except a lot of confusion. Thank you for your comment. Warm wishes.

  37. Confused

    Anna, my heart goes out to you. You are so blessed that neither you or the other party were injured. I truly believe everything happens for a reason. Although it is unfortunate that the accident occurred, I am hopeful that you can release yourself from this monster with this “wake up call” . I wish you all the best! This site is helpful to me as well, I unfortunately haven’t had the “car accident” yet to pull me away, but I am getting stronger everyday through the help of this site. Sending you HUGS….

  38. Confused

    John, our stories are so similar. My current relationship is very similar. My husband and I were high school sweethearts. He went off to college, stating that we would be together forever and low and behold, I NEVER heard from him again until 10 years later where I blew him off. 35 years later, he found me on Facebook. I was in the town we grew up and he was 500 miles away. We began sharing life experiences and it turned into a 3 year long distance relationship. He was supportive, loving, worldly, exciting, spontaneous. If I cried he cried. It was like a dream come true. A man that was real, honest and my PRINCE CHARMING. He would come and spend weeks at a time with me or fly me to him for long weekends. It was wonderful. Flowers all the time, he cooked for me, loved me, supported me and my children. His family and I became so close, they were in the same town too. He had lost touch with his family and was able to regain the closeness they all once had. It was wonderful. A blessing because his Father passed away suddenly and he was able to have wonderful recent memories to help him through. But after his Fathers death, the true HIM came out. He was drunk all the time. I was searching for Christmas gifts online. He is an avid online shopper so I checked history to see his WISH LIST….THERE IT WAS his and Zoosks account views of women in his area. I was crushed and left the pages open on the computer so he could see that I found them. He said he was drunk and there was no real reason he was looking. If I had looked closely he said, I would see there was no communication. Well SO WHAT….anyway, he said he was leaving and I wished him well and went off to work. I got home and there were flowers, dinner and candles. I feel again! He was “sorry” and I attributed his behavior to alcohol. STUPID! NEXT I found a hotel receipt that he claimed was from a friend who went on a drinking binge and he picked him up to take him home. Sounded logical. Anyway, another year went on with my lack of trust and doubting myself for not trusting him. He wasn’t the same there were lies always but I continued to remember the beginning and blew it off. Now through two years, we discussed marriage. He never asked me and never introduced me to his kids (then 14 and 17). THEN, they asked him to live with him as their relationship with their Mother was declining. He lost his job and his Mother and I were supporting him. He let the kids come, got a new lower paying job and his Mom and I rushed up to move them in and set up the house for them. 20 minutes before we were to travel back home, he caught me in the bathroom and stuck a ring in my face. IN THE BATHROOM! I still swooned over the proposal, as unfeeling as it was…THEY NEEDED ME and said yes. Four months later, we married and the day he came in town for the wedding, he was different. All the phone calls were loving and supporting and promises of a life just like we have had, passion, fun, etc. But when he came in the door, he looked right through me. My daughter said he was different and I shouldn’t go through with it. It was cold unfeeling, etc. I attributed it to the loads of things we had to do in a short time. We catered our own wedding at his Mom’s house, we had rent a U-haul load and move me 500 miles away all in two days. His was stressed I told her. After we were married, that night he said he didn’t want to make love and from that point on, that is the way it has been……Mind you I have met his kids once. When I got here, his kids were disrespectful, the house was a mess and he was distant. He would check out women everywhere we went in my presence. It was so obvious, his 14 year old asked me why I allowed his Father to treat me in such a way. So I was married (hired) to be the maid, the cook and the babysitter while he traveled. Two months in the marriage, he had a supposed trip to Vegas for a week long conference. He left me with the kids, and NEVER ONCE CALLED me or those kids. I tracked his phone to find he was not attending the conference, but LIVING IT UP in Vegas spending money he said we didn’t have for dates. When tracking his phone I found his Ipad in his room and his phone in a room two floors up. I sent a text to say HI HOW’S IT GOING and he tells me they are working through lunch in the conference room. I LOST IT. Called him out on it all. He lied and continued to lie and to this day I do not know the truth nor can prove he has cheated. When he returned he was drunk and slamming Valium he said he got from a friend. He continued to take them several at a time and almost killed his son and I returning from a hockey game. When we got home, I found the pills and took a handful to show him how stupid he looked all zoned out…..He just looked at me with cold stone eyes and didn’t move or say a word. I took another handful…he stood there. Needless to say I woke up in a psych facility where I stayed for one week. He visited once, 5 minutes before visiting hours were over and DRUNK. I was distraught. He never visited again for a week. I was the only patient with no visitors. I was in longer than I should be because the doctor said I had no support at home. My daughter was miles away and I wouldn’t allow her to come. Since he wouldn’t come to visit, there was no group session to discuss my treatment plan and his need to support. So they set it up by phone where he complained about his inconvenience and asked nothing of how I was and what he could do. I ended the call and strongly told him for once something was not about him and if he could not support me we were ending the call. STRENGTH. I planned to leave upon my release. He showed up two hours late to pick me up and high on Valium. No I am sorry just nonchalant like he was a hero for being there. I was furious. He had wrecked my car and it was in need of a new tire and repairs. I drove us straight to a mechanic where the repairs were done and I took his credit card to pay for it. We had separate accounts, his choice. THEN, I got to the house. Both children looked as though they had not slept in weeks. The youngest had not gone to school because my husband had almost killed him taking him to the doctor because he was so screwed up on drugs and alcohol. The young man was too scared to let his father drive him to school. The had lived in horror for a week. Their Father couldn’t feed himself or walk or care for them during the time I was gone. GUILT and feeling of responsibility for them kept me here. A couple of months later, my daughters Father died. He has not to this day consoled her of his death. He said he hated the man and is not sorry he is dead. I told him it isn’t about the man’s death it is about the pain my daughter feels over her loss. He doesn’t care. No empathy. 1 year and a half later, I am still here. Still trying to figure out what I have done to make him change. Still not getting answers, just lies and being told it is all my imagination NOTHING has changed; and being physically and mentally ignored. The story is long and there are so many more things to share, but I have taken up enough of everyone’s time. It just feels so good to talk to someone about it. I have been here two years. I have no friends, I work from home and the only places we go are to the grocery store. I am an extra-vert in my true personality but now I am a spineless, pathetic nothing under control of a monster. No strength to pull myself out. If I start pulling away and getting stronger, not taking his abuse he pours it on again (love bombing but no love making. He gets his fulfillment with manual and oral sex, I am left unfulfilled and feeling like a prostitute. I am slowly but surely, through the help of this site recognizing his patterns and acting accordingly. He asked me on a date Friday. I couldn’t understand why. It seems I received a letter from a job years ago that was liquidating my pension and I have a large lump sum coming to me. That is why I ALL OF A SUDDEN am beautiful, he loves me and he wants to court me again. I hope I have the strength to use this wonderful God sent opportunity to GET THE HELL OUT. Thank you all for listening.

    1. Admin

      It is a God-given opportunity, and you should take it! Now you have the means to get away from him, and you must. You are being drained and weakened by him, but when you are free of him your strength will come back.

  39. Question

    I took the ten signs and noted all the stages of a relationship with a psychopath. I then noted my experiences from the beginning of the relationship until now under each category. Amazing and frightening. When you write it all down and do the comparison to your own nightmare, you kick yourself in the bum and say…HOW COULD YOU BE SO BLIND. In moving forward, should one confront this type of person with the facts based on the stages? If they are not full blown psychopath’s, would they be open to therapy? I read an article about a professor who called himself a social psychopath and admitted what he does to his family. He works on it as best he can. Also, in anger and in an attempt to get my psychopath’s attention, I have turned the tables and behaved just as cold, uncaring and empty to his needs as he is to mine. I have even given him the silent treatment, although it didn’t phase him. Unfortunately, because he ignored me back, I broke the silence in anger telling him he cares of no one’s feelings but his own. He didn’t care, he just kept ignoring me. Does that mean I have psychopathic tendencies too? Is he turning me into him?

    1. Admin

      No, he’s not turning you into him — you’re frustrated, so you’re just trying different ways to get through to him. I would not waste my time with a psychopathic person. Even if they’re not ‘full blown,’ their ability to love and empathize is still greatly diminished. You will always be frustrated.

      I know about Professor Fallon. He told this story:

      My wife said, “I give you everything. I give you all this love and you really don’t give it back.” They all said it, and that sure bothered me. So I wanted to see if I could change. I don’t believe it, but I’m going to try.

      In order to do that, every time I started to do something, I had to think about it, look at it, and go: No. Don’t do the selfish thing or the self-serving thing. Step-by-step, that’s what I’ve been doing for about a year and a half and they all like it. Their basic response is: We know you don’t really mean it, but we still like it.

      I told them, “You’ve got to be kidding me. You accept this? It’s phony!”

      They absolutely expect and demand more. It’s a kind of cruelty, a kind of abuse, because you’re not giving them that love.

      Do you want someone who just acts like he cares? Who just acts like he loves you? Or do you want someone who really loves you? Best wishes.

  40. Question

    You just confirmed what the logical side of me was saying while typing the question. There always seems to be an argument going on inside my head. The side that tells me to run as fast and far as I can, and the other one that says, now wait a minute, YOU CAN SAVE HIM! I can’t. I have to save me. THANK YOU

    1. Admin

      You’re welcome. Unfortunately, there really is no way to change these people, as far as anyone knows.

      One thing I forgot to say. If you confronted someone with the facts based on the stages, as you said, they would never admit to anything. The ONLY thing it would accomplish is giving him a chance to persuade you that it really isn’t happening. One of the MOST important things I’ve learned is this: ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. I always knew what it meant, but I never really got it. Now I do. I will never let anyone explain away their behavior again.

  41. Question

    My Mother taught me that! I have used that saying with him and the promises start gushing. Because I never follow up with my threats to leave if he doesn’t change equals his continuing to make promises of change he knows full well he never intends to fulfill. He knows I won’t go, he has me trapped. I am an enabler. Weak and devalued. I blame myself. I saw the signs and ignored them. I am on my third marriage, (embarrassingly enough). My first husband beat me for 13 years, my second husband was wonderful to me but not a great provider for his family and THIRD ….a psychopath. Boy, can I pick ’em!!! Looking back, I see my Father was a psychopath as well. He had all the signs. I am on my 10th of having no contact with him. He started the “silent treatment” on me and well, I let it go and let him go because after 42 years of this behavior, I had enough! I would trade #3 for #1 in a moment! Physical abuse is child’s play compared to the emotional abuse of a psychopath. Scares heal, physical pain goes away. But this emotional abuse… is debilitating. I think sometimes, it must be my fault. I make these people this way. I can’t honestly be this stupid to fall for there games! He just wasn’t like this in the beginning! Anyway. Have a terrific weekend and thanks for all you do.

    1. Admin

      It makes me sad to hear you blaming yourself. You’re right, emotional abuse is debilitating, but I hope you will find the strength to get away from this abuser.

  42. Anna

    What do I do? I really need advice. I have another work party next Friday. I want to go because I haven’t seen some of the colleagues for a few months, however, I know he will be there and I don’t know if I’m strong enough yet to overlook his contempt towards me. Part of me (and I hate it) misses the closeness I had. I know it wasn’t real but I’m still grieving for the loss of the relationship. Please advise me.

  43. Admin

    Many of us here know how you feel, myself included. We compromised ourselves, we played into their hands, and we were betrayed. Because you still have to deal with this person, you need to have a plan — because he will continue to manipulate you. Make a plan, set boundaries, and stick with them. I’ve written several blog posts about boundaries, and even a book. If getting a new job isn’t an option, this is your best bet. Also, use the “gray rock’ method with him.

    Also, if he is slandering you at work, keep records of everything. Maybe filing a complaint with human resources is an option.

  44. Confused

    Do these married psychopaths target other weak women in their eyes because there wives have figured them out? Do they treat their wives the same way?

    1. Admin

      I doubt they wait until their wives figure them out. Many of them treat their wives the same way, as evidenced by so many of the comments on this site. But for some, the ILLUSION of a marriage works for them in some way, so they keep their exploits and nastiness hidden.

      Here’s a story for you: An old neighbor of mine worked at a bank, and her manager seduced her. He was engaged. On his wedding day, he was 15 minutes late for the ceremony because he was having sex with her! He convinced her she was the one he really wanted to marry, but there was no way to back out. He also told her he wanted to get promoted, and he needed to be a ‘family man’ because the bank was very conservative…and my neighbor was too old to have children. Well, he kept my neighbor hooked with tales of marriage misery while having 2 kids and getting that promotion. His wife was none the wiser. Last I heard, my neighbor was still seeing him.

  45. Confused

    I feel for you so much Amanda. Being devalued takes it’s toll on us doesn’t it? My two year anniversary is Sunday and I looked at our wedding pictures, just to see if his eyes were as dead then as they are now. I was horrified. They were. However, “I” was so happy! I have never thought of myself as pretty until I looked at those pictures and compared it to the way I look now. I was horrified! I thought I was chunky at that time, but comparing it to my now, the loss of weight, my dark circles and sunken in cheeks….you would think that would be enough to make me run for the hills! I, like you have trouble sleeping, I either can’t eat or I binge. I cannot concentrate on work . We both work from home sitting right across from each other. I never know if he is working or chatting with one of his online dating hook ups so it drives me completely batty! My best to you throughout this journey.

  46. Confused

    Thank you Amanda. My story is posted somewhere on the site, I think twice! Silly me. But it is nice, as you said to be able to come here and talk about our situations to people that understand. When I have attempted to discuss the issues with family members, they look at me like I have two heads because they do not understand why I would even begin to think about staying, They do not see our situations as a form of abuse and the affects of that abuse to our psyche. They loose respect and find me weak for not getting out. I get frustrated and happy at the same time because I want them to understand and I am happy they have never been in our situation. I am sending a HUGE HUG to you.

  47. Laine

    When I read all the signs of a psychopath I felt that they could also be exhibited from a healthy individual. So how to differentiate?

    1. Admin

      You may just have to wait and see how things unfold. If you haven’t been through it before, there isn’t any way to tell.

  48. Gemma

    I’ve been in an unhappy marriage for 8 years and met a psycho last year who made me think we were made for each other so I stupidly cheated on my husband for three months. I was planning on leaving my husband and then saw that the psycho had started to love bomb another woman. I feel stupid, used and ashamed. I’m such an idiot. I don’t want to tell anyone what I have done. The pyschopath doesn’t want to talk to me anymore. Its like I don’t exist anymore. He’s usef me and is now done with me. He let me pay for hotels, food, presents etc. Kept me waiting in the rooms whilst he enjoyed himself and then got a bit peeved when I had fallen asleep. I didn’t realise how bad it was until now. He has dumped me and I deserve to feel pain and shame for everything.

    1. Admin

      I’m sorry to hear what you’ve went through. The way you feel right now is very common just after it ends. You will begin to see the truth as you learn more about what happened, and you’ll stop beating yourself up and have compassion for yourself instead. All the best to you.

  49. Jaded

    WOW!! I finally got rid of the jerk!! Now he is with ex wife #3 and she is falling for him all over again! Unbelievable, but true. I am praying for her constantly. It hurts to know that she will once again be a victim after 6 years away from him…she’s going in for more. I wish so badly I could tell her all the mean nasty things he has said about her..but I know from my reading that it would backfire and make me look like the crazy, jilted ex. HA! I am not..but, I suppose she will have to learn all over again what an evil monster he really truly is.

  50. ashamed

    I fell for a psychopath 5 years ago. He was going through a divorce and I worked with him. We were friends, he had lots of friends, mostly women, and we all felt compassion and understanding about his situation. He was a victim of a marriage with a crazy person, WE THOUGHT. She was actually pregnant and had filed for divorce twice. He started mowing my lawn because he had a side business to make extra money. I was a single mother and 30 years old. I thought I knew the ways of the world of men, and I was holding out for the perfect man. He started pursuing me with flowers, gifts on my doorstep, gifts for my daughter who I was raising alone as my choice because I did not want her irresponsible biological father to be in the picture, and he gladly was a non-participant. So I had been pretty lonely and broke. This man started treating me like a princess, and showering me with attention. I started dating him against my gut instincts due to his pending divorce and baby on the way, but I totally believed his victim stories and honestly felt sorry for him. I fell for him so quickly after we started dating. He wanted a relationship SUPER fast and seemed to adore me. He talked about how he would marry me tomorrow and how I was the one he had looked for his whole life. I fell hard, I mean hard. It was the greatest love-making and dating game I had ever experienced. I truly did feel like a princess. Until about 5 months later. His drinking had become out of control. Everyday and our dates ended up in him being so intoxicated that he wanted to pick fights with me. Horrible fights that led me to cry myself to sleep. I tried to break up with him and he was so convincing that he would change and he was just having a hard time dealing with the custody battle of his baby. I believed him and continued the relationship. But his drinking would always come back heavily within a few weeks and he even started flirting with other women right in front of me while we were out on dates. I ended up getting pregnant by this man and married him because I didn’t want to raise another child out of wedlock. I thought I was making the right choice. But things got worse, much worse. He drove me home from the hospital with our son, drunk. he had left the hospital to go on an errand and came back hours later drunk. He started telling huge lies about where he had been and would come home drunk and pass out. He has never seemed to have any empathy for others, and has always made comments that were so odd. Like he controlled what his mother thought, and other strange comments that I just seemed to ignor. I lost all trust in him after all the lies and strange text messages from unidentified numbers asking if he was coming back. I dont know if he has ever cheated on me because I know he would never admit to any truth in such an act. I have felt more miserable than I have ever felt, and so isolated and depressed. My friends and family pretty much stopped interacting with me because they couldn’t stand to be around him. He gets drunk and brags on himself to the point is drives everyone crazy. He always knows everything, and is ALWAYS right. about any topic. Any time I have tried to talk to him about his ways, he ALWAYS turns the table and has a million reasons why everything is my fault in our relationship. I am now pregnant with our second child and have never wanted a divorce more. I just cant seem to do it because between the two of us, we will have 4 children, and they adore him. I feel stuck in this horrible relationship and I feel in my heart he is a true psychopath. I know he would fight me for custody, like he has done with his ex wife and its nothing more than just winning the fight, not the actual act of time wanted with his kids. I feel hopeless.

    1. Admin

      Your story breaks my heart. I imagine you do feel hopeless and trapped in this situation. It certainly does sounds like he might be a psychopath. His quick rebound from his last marriage, the incredible start to your relationship, his change in personality, lack of empathy, turning the tables, not taking responsibility for problems, etc. You say the trouble started with his drinking, though, and on the chance that’s his main problem, maybe you should start there and find out what you can do to possibly get him to stop. He would need to take some concrete action, not just say he’s going to. It sounds unbearable, and you can’t go on like this. You must take some action, or things will never change. Leaving with the kids (do you have someplace to go?) is something to consider seriously. Find someone who can advise you of what to do in a situation like this, and don’t forget to find out how to protect your assets. Look into how to keep a record of his abusive and drunken behavior (in case of a custody battle). Best of luck with whatever you do. My heart goes out to you and your children.

  51. Fristtimecallerlongtimelistener

    My story is complicated. But in the end my mother saved me. The guy that I dated for three months stole money, my new car and but most important my dignity and integrity. I would do the most horrific things for his approval often lie (which for me is the worst sin to commit). Everyday I am so thankful for my mom who caught him stealing, now we have a restraining order and I finally feel safe. But Ladies our stories don’t define us, in-fact it builds to be strong women who know the signs to watch out for in any social setting. Our stories will shape the next generation of young women to stand up for themselves, love themselves enough to know when they are mistreated and so much more.

    1. Admin

      You are so right; this story doesn’t define us. It’s not the story OF our lives — it’s a story IN our lives. An important one, to be sure, but just one of many.

      Give your mom a hug for me. And give yourself one, too. I love your vision for the next generation. Best wishes to you.

  52. Brandon

    im a little bit of a physcopath not to severe i have slight brain damage. do i not deserve love?

    1. Admin

      If you are capable of love, you deserve love in return.

  53. thisworldsickensme

    I need help figuring this out :(

    I met a girl on a facebook group (its a group about social anxiety, and she was the one who made contact first). She lives miles away and has become my “online girlfriend” (my second one, actually); we’ve been talking for one week only, but since the first time she talked to me I noticed there was something strange; her ways got me thinking “My, this is too good to be true”. Her profile is real, her photos and name are real for certain. I’m a straight guy; she claims she is bisexual. She is a very funny person; I adjusted my speech so to be as funny as hers. (I wonder if that makes me somewhat a manipulator too, but anyway, I am the empath in this story, believe me.) She often replies to me using a lot of irony, but in a way that makes me laugh. She made me change my facebook status (“do it now!”). She is always nice but very secretive at the same time. She told me once that she was “60% psychopath” (her words); maybe she said that out of boredom thinking I wouldn’t take it seriously. But I did. She bears all the red flags I’ve read in here, exept the one about being a ‘happy person’. She said to me she hates the touch of wind on her face. She said she is “bipolar” and was tought to be an autistic person for not being able to lok in the eyes of another.
    Then I told her I think she is a psychopath indeed and started inquiring her about her past. She refused to answer each and every of my questions and told me she was sad and crying very much. She never said mean words to me even when I annoyed her thoroughly with my questions. The only type of “bad” reaction she has had so far is telling me that she is “sad” and “crying”.

    This morning she sent this text to me:

    “[my name], what made me fall in love with you so quickly was the honesty you’ve had towards me. Long before I said the first ‘Hi’ to you I would look at your profile and wonder: ‘Would this guy ever feel anything for me?’ I wondered about that many a time. I loved the way you are, I loved your musical taste.. and the most important thing is that I loved you and I still love you. All relationships go through arguing sometimes, but our moments of arguing will dissipate away quickly because deep down we love each other. I’m that type of person who fights with someone loved.. but regrets it two minutes later. It wasn’t what happened yesterday, and I apologize for being so selfish and self-proud. I was kinda on PMS :v. But besides all, I do love you, alright? Please leave those thoughts behind and keep loving me, because I love you more each minute :v :33333”

    So, lets remember the facts; She told me she has “most” (I’ve no idea what that means) of the symptoms of psychopathy. I don’t think a psychopath would ever say it out like this. Later she apologized for being ‘selfish’ and ‘self-proud’; something I wouldn’t expect from a psychopath either. However, this might be still part of her game, I don’t know for sure. I’m very smart but I must admit I’m feeling confused right now. What should I do? Should I play games too? I think I can act like a psychopath if I want. I’ve experienced dissociation in the past and so I have an idea of what is like to ‘have’ a feeling, to understand it but not ‘experience-it-as-a-feeling’. I’m almost certain that I can ‘flip a switch’ on my brain and fake to love her while in the reality I can be just ‘waiting’, emotion free until I know for sure that she does love me for real (which is very unlikely, it seems) and so I will ‘unflip’ my switch to love her for real too.

    An update: I’ve just called her on the phone for the first time now. Her tone is meanish. She speaks in a very ironic way, but this time I felt she was actually trying to diminish me, really. The manner she speaks feels absolutely threatening. To put it simply, it was like she was trying super hard to be “the-gothiest-girl-in-the-world (these are my words)” on the phone.

    All of this happened in just a single week; I haven’t met her in person nor have I talked with her through camera ‘yet’.
    I’m even more confused now , as psychopaths are supposed to sound nice and charming. On the phone she is the very opposite of this.

    1. thisworldsickensme

      also, she said she hates it a lot when I ask ‘serious’ questions

    2. Admin

      Hi. Even before I read your update, every fiber of my being was screaming that you need to get away from her, immediately. I don’t know what she is — psychopath, borderline, but it doesn’t matter — whatever she is, in just one week she’s managed to have you asking for relationship advice on a site about psychopaths. THAT is a big, fat red flag.

      When someone claims to love you in a week — without having met you or really knowing you, how could it be real? You don’t need this in your life. Get out while you can. She sounds wacky. Flaky. There is no point in playing games with her or wasting your time. If she has you confused in one week, where will you be in two weeks? On Thorazine, in a straight jacket? You don’t need anyone this badly. Take yourself and your dignity and self-respect and sanity, while it’s still intact, and run for your life. I realize she’s intrigued you, but cobras and tigers are also intriguing.

      I want to ask you about your name…’this world sickens me’…you sound so young, I hope that’s not true. There is plenty that can sicken us, but please search out what’s good, and what has meaning to you, OK? All the best to you. Find yourself a nice girl. xx

      1. thisworldsickensme

        Thank you a lot for the reply. I think there should be a subject in school to teach everyone how dangerous psychopaths/ sociopahts are and how to avoid them, even the non-violent ones!

        I thought the same thing about her; love in one week is indeed absurd, but my loneliness made me wish it was real somehow. But I’ve learned the lesson and I’ll never fall for this again!

        I’ve chosen this name because first I felt sickened by her, but I know its not her fault she was born like this, so instead I got mad at the world; I think its the “world”‘s fault… But don’t worry, I will not let this take me down. I can only be glad I discovered it in time. I’m on my 20’s by the way, and I’ll do my best not to lose my self-esteem over this whole thing.

        What I’m worrying about right now is what might happen to me if I abruptly cut her out (by excluding and blocking her). Is there a big risk she’ll stalk my profile and tell ugly lies to my friends? Is there a way to avoid this?
        Thank you from my heart.

        1. Admin

          You’re very welcome. Glad I could help.

          Yes, even the non-violent ones wreak havoc, on minds and hearts instead of bodies. Loneliness does put people at greater risk. I am so glad you discovered it early on, and acted on it!

          What you need to do now is to end it with her without triggering vindictive rage. Please read this article on the “Gray Rock” method of making a psychopath or other unbalanced person lose interest in you: GRAYROCK
          Basically, if you were to overtly end things, such as by blocking her, it could cause her to stalk you or to get ugly in other ways. With Gray Rock, you will behave just like the name — boring, monotonous, uninteresting. The article will give you the details. Many people have said it worked for them. Good luck with it. Let me know how it goes.

          For future reference, please read this article about how to tell if you’re being manipulated, when the person doing the manipulating isn’t as obviously unbalanced as this gal was: How to Tell if You’re Being Manipulated The slick ones are really good at hiding their abuse while making you think you’re the one causing the problems. While you might not see their manipulation, you WILL see obvious signs of its effect on you in your own thoughts and behavior. Those signs are listed in the article.

          Also, you may want to read the experiences of other guys who’ve been involved with women who were psychopathic or had similar problems. It helps to know you’re not alone, and it might also help you in the future:
          The Truth About Female Psychopaths, From Those Who Know

          Best wishes to you.

  54. Machelle

    Hello. This website was an absolute Godsend to me!!! I have read everything that everyone has posted.

    I just got out of a relationship with a man who I do believe to be a psychopath. He, I believe had a definite agenda, and that was to reel me in and drain me dry emotionally, mentally, and financially. We have broken up and gotten back together many times over the course of the last year or so. I didn’t realize what a true user he really was until this last breakup. Suffice it to say that he was quite a good actor. I was definitely love-bombed. He wanted to marry me right away. Told me how much he loved me, etc. But in the end, he was all about what he could get from me. He kept me sleep deprived (kept me up late knowing that I had to get up early for work) to keep me off balance and not thinking clearly, he slowly but surely stopped taking me out and we would just sit on my porch all the time. He used me for sure. But he definitely talked a good game right away professing his love to me and making me feel I was the love of his life.

    Any time we have had issues, it was always my fault….never his. And yeah…I got the silent treatment a lot after I would pour my heart out in a text or email to him. He was always happy to take from me, but not so willing to give. He would start out taking me places and paying for everything, but then it would dwindle down to never going out and just sitting around.

    The last straw was when he was having his car worked on and I would drive him to work and pick him up (sacrificing my own time at my own job for this. Dumb, right?) and finally to spend a total of two hours on the road on a Friday night to go get his car. No real gratitude demonstrated from him, and when I had the nerve to ask him to fill my gas tank for me at least…well, he just didn’t do it. Suddenly he got “sick” after getting his car and had to go to the urgent care. He then proceeded to what I believe to be feigning being sick so that he didn’t have to do anything to compensate me whatsoever for all of the time I spent running him around. I finally told him to go home and to just stay away from me. Of course he never asked me why or anything. Silent treatment once more. But it’s the last silent treatment he will give me.

    There is way more to the story about how I have felt so used, but I know beyond a doubt that he is definitely a psychopath. It hurts to know this, but at least I know that I can truly move on after a year of back and forth and trying so hard to work it out. Thank God I never married him. He actually suggested that since I have money, I could buy my own engagement ring and he could make payments!!?! Should have stopped me in my tracks right there.

    I am taking some time to just heal and get some rest and reflect on what it is that I want and need. I don’t want to even date anymore after what I have been through the last four years of dating. It’s a jungle out there. I am 51 years old. You would think I would know better by now, but I guess I don’t. I’m just wanting now to concentrate completely on what I am interested in my life right now and want nothing to do with dating for a good long time.

    Thank you again for this website. It has helped me so much to see things for what they really are.

    1. Admin

      Your ex sure does sound psychopathic, Machelle. I’m sorry it happened to you. It followed the classic pattern, from beginning to end. It seems they’re programmed or are working from some script they were given before birth. I hope you have some supportive people in your life, and/or a supportive therapist. It’s important to have someone who’ll listen, and understand. Taking time to heal and rest and reflect is a good idea. Give yourself time. And be kind to yourself, please. It’s easy to look back and beat ourselves up for falling for it, but there’s a good reason we did — they are skilled manipulators.

      Concentrating on your interests and taking a good long break from dating is a good idea. We’re the same age, 51 (November, by any chance?), and I understand what a jungle it is out there. And then a psychopath came along… What’s next, for goodness sake? If someday I’m out on a date and the guy sprouts three heads, it won’t surprise me at all. I’ll just yawn, thank him for a nice time, and go home.

      I used to feel their was a big piece missing from my life by not having a partner, but now I feel perfectly, wonderfully content. Sure it would be nice to meet someone and all that, and I think I will, eventually, but if it doesn’t happen I couldn’t care less. It’s probably the strongest place possible to go into a relationship from. I don’t need it. I’ve been dating now and then, and a few of the guys were nice enough, but oh so neurotic… psychopathy isn’t the only thing to avoid. It may be the worse, but there are plenty of other problems that will guarantee misery. I can see it from a mile away now.

      Come back and let me know how you’re doing. I’m really glad to hear the website has helped. All the best to you.

  55. Innnaaa

    Oh my god! I know he is one, but still am in love and don’t know what to do.
    All I can add to the signs is the constant gut feeling you have when you are with him or when you talk with him of “too good to be true”. Trust that feeling and trust yourself.
    Also the no shame effect he has not only around you but also around others.
    In my case there is also something else, he would promise to do things and when the actual date would come, he would say but you told me you don’t want to. That’s another flag. But all these are noticeable only after you realize where have you put yourself into. The only way to tell before it’s too late is to trust your gut feeling.
    I met mine a year ago. The love of my life I thought. I felt the most lucky and thanked God and the Universe for bringing him into my life. When I met him, the things he would say, I thought he is a joke of my friends that complained about me being single so they brought this one. Told him all my theories about men, what I’m looking for etc and got him to play the role. I wish it would have been that. Instead, here I am. Moved into his country (with no friends at all and surprise, he doesn’t have friends either) where I don’t know the language and completely dependent (also financially) on him. Everything what he promised was an actual lie. I left with the illusion of getting married with the man of my dreams. Never ever felt or had such incredible love transmitted to me and felt for it. For a year he played with me as he liked to. For a year I didn’t know how is he going to wake up today, is he gonna love me or not… For a year he would stop making love to me all of a sudden or would stop talking to me. Neglect me in every possible way. I realize I was with two persons, the one he wanted to be in his head and the real “nothing” that he was. He cheated with his ex and would deny it by swearing and looking me in the eyes. Only after I would show him proof he would accept but at the same time get irritated and angry about me invading his privacy when he constantly invades mine. After a year we broke it off a week ago. Not only am I left with nothing ( in a foreign country with no money, no friends, no heart as it is broken in pieces, insecure, destroyed self-esteem, deeply deeply hurt, eating and sleeping disorder, constant throw ups from the disgust) and at an age where I find it difficult not only to start from the beginning but also to be able to meet someone else and have the chance to create a family but I’m hurt to that level that I don’t see a point. My return ticket is booked for next week and now I’m finding myself unable to let go and move on. I’m left with all this love and the cravings I have of what we used to be at the beginning that I don’t see a point in starting life all over again. I don’t want to, I want him and us, the way we used to be. And honestly out of desperation and crying myself to sleep I am afraid of being alone again, sleeping alone again, eating alone again. I’m beyond scared of starting all over and I don’t know what to do

    1. Admin

      Please get on that plane next week. You must save yourself. With space, you will gain clarity. With time, you will heal. It may look hopeless right now, but it’s not. Life will be good again. You deserve better than this. You are worthy of much more. Choose life, and board that plane or train or whatever it may be. It will be a powerful affirmation of your self-worth and self respect. Best of luck to you. I will keep my fingers crossed!

  56. Mel

    Has anyone noticed that their family, especially parents and siblings, ignore the fact that their son/daughter is this way? I dealt with one for over 3 years until his death 6 months ago. I’ve told some of the things he did to me and they treat it as part of his addiction and that he was “sick”. Yes, he was a sick psychopath. Why can’t they see that or do they really know, but will deny it because it’s their son/daughter?

    1. Admin

      Most people don’t know what a psychopath is, so they attribute their behavior to something they’re familiar with, such as addiction in this case. And of course parents have unconditional love going on, and it keeps them in denial. I’m sure different people have different reasons. His family does acknowledge that he was sick, and that’s a lot more than some do. “Psychopath” is the worse label anyone could be given, and parents are understandably reluctant to give it to their child. Now that he’s gone, they most likely want to preserve his memory in the best light. Or they could be psychopathic themselves — it is genetic. Best wishes to you, Mel.

  57. Ella

    Well, my psychopath was in a relationship with another psychopath. He was her victim before me being his, and i think that’s much worse because you (me) face “two in one” symptoms. I think i had to deal with his trauma from her and than his psychopathy towards me. Worthless to say or try to explain the hell i was going through. He couldnt let her go completely and was facing the consequences of the breakup with her while being with me and exercising his psychopathy with me.
    What i noticed here reading the comments, is that none admits that most of the time, none of us leaves unless being left.
    My psychopath cant leave me, and i cant leave him.
    Its hard to explain the storm that goes on within you. Your logic tells you that nothing is right, and yet there is this enormous force that keeps you attached to him.
    Psychopaths (at least mine) have the tendency to become your “everything” and when they dont leave you, you cant let go unless he does.
    I know all the “you can do it”, “find the strength”, etc etc and yet cant let go.
    The reason why i’m writing is that i’m hoping for answers as to how to let go when he doesnt let go.
    How to survive to the anxiety, to the panic of a life without him?
    Let me tell you that i’ve tried it all, friends, distractions, focusing on myself (except therapy as currently im in no condition to pay neither there are therapy groups or other free alternatives specialised in this in my country) and keep going back to the need of having him in my life. Keep wanting him no matter what.
    How do you let go a psychopath?

    1. Admin

      You say you keep going back and you want him no matter what. This phenomena is known as a Betrayal Bond (or a Trauma Bond).
      Basically, you’re addicted to him, just as people become addicted to nicotine, alcohol or heroin.

      Betrayal bonds are highly addictive attachments to those who have hurt you. Exploitative relationships often become betrayal bonds, and with them also comes deep shame. Someone in a betrayal bond is essentially addicted to the relationship with a person who is destructive and hurtful. Indications of a betrayal bond include the inability to detach and self-destructive denial.

      Learning theorists have found that a pattern of intermittent reinforcement, which is positive reinforcement alternated with punishment (a pattern of abuse and reward) develops the strongest of emotional bonds.

      “Powerful emotional attachments develop from two specific features of abusive relationships: power imbalances and intermittent good-bad treatment.”
      (Dutton and Painter, 1981)

      Intermittent good-bad treatment triggers biological changes as well as emotional ones. Going ‘cold turkey’ (having no contact with him) seems impossible. It is actually the same as an addiction, to drugs, alcohol or gambling. This is why you can’t stay away despite knowing how bad he is for you. This bond is basically a compulsive relationship fostering specific patterns of compulsive behavior.

      Ideally, it would be helpful to find a psychotherapist who is a specialist in trauma and abuse, who treats people suffering from trauma bonds. You say it’s not possible, so please at least read the book “The Betrayal Bond, Revised: Breaking Free of Exploitative Relationships.” Getting out of this is hard, but not impossible! You already recognize that it’s not love that’s pulling you back – rather, it’s a powerful emotional attachment, one you didn’t understand (until now). What you’re experiencing is normal. You are not crazy or weak, and there is help for this. I wish you all the best in your recovery.

      1. Noelle

        I would totally still be with my psychopath had he not left me. And that’s the honest truth. I knew the relationship was toxic. I knew I never felt good about myself. But I loved him in a way I have never loved another person. It truly was an addiction to him. Even after he left, I had a few slip-ups where I wanted him so bad that I completely decided to ignore his threats against me and I called him to see him. And all that did was start the whole cycle over again. The love-bombing started and luckily I had already found out what he really was. I was able to see what he was doing, while he was doing it. When I decided to reinforce my No Contact request, he immediately became angry and resentful and all the love he had the very night before, it disappeared in an instant. It was in that moment that my cognitive dissonance began to dissipate. I was able to see him for who he was. I still have moments when I miss him so much it feels like my heart is being crushed in my chest. But it’s been 3 weeks of no contact and they are getting fewer and further between. There is nothing wrong with you. You are still craving the fantasy you’ve been sold. You still have the hope that someday, something you do will cause him to change. When you can finally let go of that hope, let go of the fantasy, you’ll be in a better place to let him go.

        1. Admin

          Noelle, many of us might still be with the psychopath — or least have stayed much longer — if they hadn’t left us. I was one of them. It turns out to be the best thing that could ever happen, although it’s devastating at the time. Many of us share your feeling of never having loved another person in that way (and never having been loved the same way in return, or so we thought). It’s difficult to lose that, and even more so to find out it wasn’t real in the first place. I’m sorry you’re going through that now.

          Yes, it’s quite amazing how their soul-mate love can turn to contempt overnight, and that’s what tells us how superficial and empty it was (and they were). They want us to believe our many ‘flaws’ were what destroyed a once-in-a-lifetime love, so we could lament that for the rest of our lives. But the sorry truth is that trying to make someone believe something like that, and hoping it will damage them and their lives, is a pathetic, deplorable and immoral thing to do. It’s better to know the truth, though, than to believe a lie that could affect us for the rest of our lives.

          Congratulation on 3 weeks of No Contact, Noelle. I’m sorry your heart is crushed. That’s the pain we have to endure to get these human parasites out of our lives. You will get through it, and the benefit to you and your life will be immeasurable. I wish you all the best on your healing journey.

          PS Be sure to see the page titled “ROAD MAP” in the main menu at the top.

  58. twinkle

    well, i have had the pleasure and pain 16 yrs ago , similiar story, they r all pretty much the same, the problem with me is i was vulnerable when i met him coming out of a 1st marriage ended, n was lonely n began partying n drinkin again with old friends. i met him thru friends, he was intensely charming, always first to light my cigarrette, ask if i needed anything, even tried to b a gentelman by jumping up when i stood up, it was a bit creepy but, hey i needed that n he knew it.. he asked me tons of personal questions right away to get to know me, so he could begin his manipulative tactics to use to woooo me, then later, use all the information against me. after 6 months i moved him in my house, thats when things really changed, he began the heavy verbal abuse, then the physical soon to follow, cops called alot n n finally he said, look, if u call the cops one more time im gona kill u, ur family, n ur cats, … n i knew he was serious… he only watched the murder mystery stuff on tv, remarking about how silly they were n what they did wrong to get caught… that really made me sick.. yea it was mental torture, but it was working.. althou i thought somehow i could reverse his issue, i had no idea at the time what sociopath was… so, i figured, hey, he will change because im a good woman, ill treat him like gold, n make things better.. when i realized if i didnt dress the way he dictated, spoke the way he wanted, or did one little thing that just “set him off” .. then bam i get knocked upside the head.. n told what a moron i was over n over, they slowly beat you down with words to make u feel your useless.. so… the beginning with a sociopath is like walking on the moon, literally the highest high u will ever feel, ….. the low .. that comes once they feel secure like they have u backed up against a wall… thats when it all goes to sh*t.. good luck getting away from one of these creeps.. my out was 15 cops surrounding my house, knive to my throat for an hr with negotiating him to set me free n unlock the door, yea he put deadbolts on both doors so he had the key n i did not.. so no getting out without permission.. luckily i had a lan line n and old laptop i could plug in when he fell asleep n text a friend saying call 911, bring the calvary!! listen, i thought i had learned then , n would never get involved with another one of these freeks, but … never say never… they suck u in, they r so good at what they do… its just like all it says above… u fall under a hypnotic spell.. maybe not all of us do… but i dont consider myself a weak person, however, most of us either like appreciation n attention, or we need it… be sure you dont need it. the problem is we need it cuz the humdrum everyday tasks most of us do on a daily basis give us little to no enjoyment or excitment… n they know this, so its easy 4 the sociopath to find 1 victim after another. its so sick.. n dont ever think u can change them… u wont.. they are DEAD inside… they are SELFISH.. out 4 1 thing… themselves.. only 4 THEMSELVES at anyone else’s expense… DO a background check for sure before you fall in love these days, u can usually find most sociopaths have some criminal record.. i bet you … cuz they dont care.. n they do the same behavior over n over.. domestic violence, stalking, or other criminal activities…. DONT take anyone these days on just their word alone.. u will B SORRY.. !!

    1. Admin

      Twinkle, thank you for sharing your powerful story and your good advice! All the best to you xo

  59. Lori

    I have a story about one of the red flags. The one where he looks at you like no man has ever before. He would hold my hand whereever we went. Always being snuggly in public. Just couldn’t keep his hands off me. He swept me off my feet and I felt so wanted and sexy. One thing that shocked me when I realized the truth about him and that all this was a fraud, was that about when we went out to a restaurant he would hold my hand from across the table and look into my eyes. I felt like he was so crazy in love with me. I felt like the luckiest woman in the world. When his mask came off 14 years later, and he confessed that our relationship was all a lie (he told me the only reason he was with me was so that he could look normal), I asked him about how he treated me like he loved me. I asked him “what about all those times you held my hand across the table and looked into my eyes?” He answered back…”oh, well, that was so that I wouldn’t get caught looking at other women.” I asked him what about all the love notes he would leave all over the place and all the loving things he would say. He said…get this…”Those were just words that came out of my mouth.” (Rip, splat…that was my heart) I was totally shocked that he had me so fooled.

    I mean…I would have never in a million years even have thought that something like that could be a red flag. What normal person would? I am an intelligent woman. I was educated by life experience about all the read flags that we are used to hearing about. I would dump guys that had those read flags. I would warm my friends whose dates had those read flags. Those were easy to spot.

    I made big life decisions based on how he acted. Big financial decisions (now big losses) becuase he acted like such a nice, decent guy who seemed to cherish me and love only me. We seemed to fit together like 2 peices of a puzzle. To be played as a fool like this is the scariest thing I think I will ever experience. Now he gets half a house that I paid for.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I’m terribly sorry to hear what happened, Lori.

      No one would see that as a red flag. There’s no way you could have seen it as one. Now, we’ll be looking more closely. It’s all we can do.

  60. lola

    I just love this post. It’s so accurate, I got chills reading it. You have perfectly described how I fell for the psychopath and how he trapped me.

    I also appreciate Lori’s comment. Psychopath’s will say and do anything to hook us and disguise who and what they really are.

    Isn’t it strange how all psychopaths act from the same playbook? I wish I had read this list before I entered into that traumatic relationship. It sure did cause me a lot of pain! But, now at least, I find comfort in knowing I did the right thing in leaving him. There is nothing to miss because he is in one big ball of nothingness. Empty to the core, living in his play-pretend.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      They seem to be made from the same mold, all of them. Their repertoire is remarkably narrow. Glad you left him, Lola! You will be too, if you aren’t already.

  61. Tammy

    I was wondering if psychopaths use children to get the adult to do what they want done, I think my son is in a relationship like that the mother of his son died , and she stepped right in but now bad things are happening to my grandson and he just turned 5 , but my son only sees what she wants him to see ,, but I have photos of my grandson dressed as a girl , she told my son he has a gender disorder, and I know that he don’t, and other things, but could it get worse for my grandson ,

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Tammy, I’m sorry to hear this is happening. It’s heartbreaking when children are involved. Psychopaths will do whatever it takes to get what they want. I don’t know if this woman is a psychopath or not, but whatever she is, she should not be near your son or grandson. I don’t know if there’s anything you can do about it. I’m not saying there isn’t, but it’s tough when an adult is willingly involved in a relationship. Keep the lines of communication open. You may want to speak with a therapist (a child psychologist, perhaps) about potential harm to your grandson from her behavior, and if so, what can be done about it. All the best to you and your family. I hope this woman will be out of your lives very soon.

  62. Sarah

    I feel very odd after reading this. I’ve always known I’ve had psychopathic traits, but I really don’t play on it, or should I say do it deliberately. To expand on this, I pretty much tick all of the boxes for the red flags (not all) when I read them I think, yes this is me, I am a bloody psycho. But in my defence I don’t realise I’m doing it. Maybe it’s a trait some people are born with? Or maybe its developed from childhood experiences, I don’t know! But I really must insist that in my case I really dont do it on purpose and reading this has alarmed me that I really am psycho. So maybe some of us psychopaths are oblivious? Anyway I hope I can change because I would like to be like normal people. I don’t want to be manipulating/charming/psycho anymore. Perhaps I need some therapy! Love to hear your thoughts.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Sarah, I think the very best thing you can do is find a good therapist who can help you sort all of this out. Maybe you’re not psychopathic. Seems to me it would be best for you to talk to a qualified professional who can diagnose you and figure out where to go from there. Good luck to you.

  63. Bearclaire

    Thi is me to a T. Right down to every single letter. With me i can have a 5 minute conversation with someone and my personality automatically adjusts to suit them and i can read them like a book. I cant control it my mind just does it without thinking. I am married but sad part is its not love, mere convenience. I dont feel love and cant feel any enotion but i can fake cry on call.. im so messed up but wouldnt have it any other way ?

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Bearclaire. I’m wondering… have you considered telling your spouse about your psychopathy? Seriously! I mean, if you’re happy with the way you are, why do you have to hide? I’m sure your spouse is suffering the consequences of living with someone he or she has been made to believe loves him or her, but who is actually unable to love. I realize you may not care about that at all, but in the outside chance that you do: Have you read about the semi-psychopathic neuroscientist, James Fallon? His wife and kids (and his coworkers, and now everyone everywhere) know he’s a psychopath. Here’s some of what he has to say about it:

      “After all of this research, I started to think of this experience as an opportunity to do something good out of being kind of a jerk my entire life. Instead of trying to fundamentally change—-because it’s very difficult to change anything—-I wanted to use what could be considered faults, like narcissism, to an advantage; to do something good.

      I started with simple things of how I interact with my wife, my sister, and my mother. Even though they’ve always been close to me, I don’t treat them all that well. I treat strangers pretty well—really well, and people tend to like me when they meet me—but I treat my family the same way, like they’re just somebody at a bar. I treat them well, but I don’t treat them in a special way. That’s the big problem.

      I asked them this—-it’s not something a person will tell you spontaneously—-but they said, “I give you everything. I give you all this love and you really don’t give it back.” They all said it, and that sure bothered me. So I wanted to see if I could change. I don’t believe it, but I’m going to try.

      In order to do that, every time I started to do something, I had to think about it, look at it, and go: No. Don’t do the selfish thing or the self-serving thing. Step-by-step, that’s what I’ve been doing for about a year and a half and they all like it. Their basic response is: We know you don’t really mean it, but we still like it.

      I told them, “You’ve got to be kidding me. You accept this? It’s phony!” And they said, “No, it’s okay. If you treat people better it means you care enough to try.” It blew me away then and still blows me away now.”

      Life as a Nonviolent Psychopath

  64. Clara

    I think I’m going insane and I really don’t know what to think or what to do.
    Let me tell you my story, maybe this will clear my head (I apologize my english, as I’m Portuguese, and also some more personal information, but I don’t really have anyone else to talk about this):
    I’m eighteen and I’m from a small town where everyone knows everyone. I’m not exactly the sexiest girl, I suffered bullying at school and a lot of emotional abuse at home, so saying I’m insecure and that I have anxiety is saying too little about me.
    With that said, I was out of a complicated relationship recently, so my emotional state was even more out of balance.
    Then, one day, this guy (unknown to most people here) shows up at the café I and my friends usually go to. He is charming, quite mysterious, but nevertheless eloquent, intelligent, friendly and handsome. He starts looking at me, almost constantly, smiling and flirting. All of the sudden, he is very good friends with a friend of mine and starts hanging out with us.
    His flirting continued. He was always polite, capable of talking for hours, funny, amazing with tricks of all sorts, but his attention was always on me. All he cared about was me. Every single day, he’d circle me and drag me into him, into his charm and childlike innocence (that smile though, at first seemed so perfect, now I look at it and feel scared).
    All his attention, affection and perfection – really – felt too good to be true – because why me? He is so amazing, so why would he pick someone just like me? – but heck, being with him was the best part of my day and I felt so alive and wanted.
    One day, I asked him why he had taken interest in someone like me and he said it was because I was gorgeous, one of the most beautiful girls he had ever seen, that I was sweet and I seemed to be a saint – or a two good-shoes (I think it’s how you say it) – and that I fascinated him.
    I have a lot of insecurities about my body, so when he tried to get more intimate with me, I tried to stall bc I really didn’t want him to lose that image that he supposedly had about me, and well, I didn’t have much experience in that department – to point out that he got such a strong hold on me that I didn’t care that he was nine years older than me.
    However, he kept smooth-talking to me and eventually I gave in. He said I was even more gorgeous than he thought I could be, that I was everything that he ever wanted and started saying (firstly as jokes between laughter, then started saying it as a fact) that I had never been this happy as I was now with him, which sadly is true.
    We weren’t officially dating, so no one knew about us, but gradually he became more possessive about me. He hated when I didn’t do what he wanted me to do, when I would refuse something or simply say “no”.
    One day, very recently, two weeks ago or so, we were all on that same café and we were all playing cards. He and I started arguing about something stupid, and one of my girlfriends called me to sit next to her. He prohibited me to go, still I went because I’m not one to take orders from anyone. He simply stared at me with this dead stare and said: “When you get back here, you gonna pay for that.” I laughed it off, didn’t think to much out of it, but when I sat back beside him, he was still looking at me with that same look and, when I was off-guard, he grabbed my wrist and twisted my arm to my back IN FRONT OF EVERYONE!
    He only stopped when I was crying because of how hard he was hurting me and when our friends were already commanding him to stop. And still, when we were alone, he managed a way to make me feel like I was the one to blame and he’d only forgive me with “a good fuck”.
    Last week, when I tried to break-up with him, he started implying I had only been with him for sex, that I played him and used him as I pleased. That I was an awful person. He seemed really down, and really suffering from what I was doing to him, so, once again, I felt guild and bad and gave him another chance.

    Now, my best friend says she doesn’t like him, that he is weird, his eyes are off, cold, perverted. She basically hates him and it was because of one of her joke “he looks like a psychopath” that I started researching about the topic and found this website and felt my current life described in these lines above.
    One old lady who goes to that same café told me and my best friend that he used to beat up his ex-girlfriend, the case ended up in court and all, and that he is bad trouble, that we need to get the farthest away from him ASAP.


    1. Adelyn Birch

      I’m sorry this has happened to you, Clara. You already have the answer. I wish there were some easy way out, but there isn’t. This man is an abuser and you need to get away from him; there is no other option. He’s controlling, possessive, and abusive—and please don’t confuse that with love. It will only get worse. Don’t waste another moment of your precious time on this man, and don’t listen to any of his guilt trips. He’s a creep and a loser. Cut your losses, cut all contact with him. It’s the only answer. It will hurt, but do it anyway. When your mind is clear, you’ll be very happy you did. I wish you all the best!

  65. Meli

    Hi Adelyn,
    I just arrived on your site today after my coach told me to start reading about psychopathic lovers. She thinks i fell in love with one.
    It has been a real eye-opener so far.
    I was just wondering if it is possible for those psychopaths to still build a long lasting relationship with someone?
    The person I was ‘in a relationship’ with has some signs you display above. Still it’s hard for me to see him as a psychopath.
    We started having something right after my previous breakup. A drunk night, we ended up in bed… We started dating, seeing a lot of eachother and for me at that time it was exactly what i needed. He rebuilded my self-esteem, we had a lot of fun, he was completely different from my ex, etc. After a month or 3 I started asking some questions to where it all was leading. That moment he brought up his ex, went on a holiday with her en got back together. But we are collegues so we stayed in contact. Every single time I ended contact, he restarted it. Even by the workemail at some point.
    The past weeks we saw eachother more frequently but last weekend I got the feeling something was wrong again. I checked his phone. I knew at that point I reached a line for myself. I have never done that before and the fact I did felt so wrong but I had to do it. I read a text to his ex saying he just got home while he was laying next to me. I confronted him, says he told her the truth the next week and now they are back together again. He sees her as his soulmate, he can’t let go,… Thinks I’m fantastic but just can’t commit and let her go. It’s been a completely messy year for me and I still don’t really get it. How you can deal with people in that way. He picked me up when he needed me en dropped me when his ex came back in the picture. I’m doing ok now. He has done this to me 3 time this year so I learned to handle the pain, got in therapy, picked myself up again but it still hurts.
    The No Contact is hard because we are collegues and he finds a way to sit next to me during breaks, or keeps sending texts sometimes even when I’m saying he has to stop because it all just hurts to much.
    Any advice on this? When you have to keep seeing him? When it still strikes me everytime I have to eventhough I know he really is no good for me.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Meli. Sorry to hear of what you’ve been going through; I know how painful and maddening it is. It’s more difficult because he’s a colleague, which complicates things.

      He could be psychopathic but what’s much more important than his diagnosis is his behavior, which is bad enough to have made you seek therapy (I’m glad that you did, and it sounds like you found a good one).

      Let’s see if I’ve understood: He can’t let go of his ex, but he can’t let go of you, either. He’s back together with her, but he’s still seeing you. He can’t commit to you, but he can’t commit to her, either. His “official” relationship seems to be with her, which makes you the “secret” (I was the secret in my relationship with a P, and I will never be anyone’s secret again. I’m worth more than that, and so are you).

      Whatever this man is–psychopathic or not–he lacks character, integrity, depth, honesty, and everything else that characterizes a good man. This is the kind of man good men would like to beat to a pulp, because they don’t like seeing women used, played and devalued. They are capable of commitment and capable of love, and they cherish the woman they love. When we get involved with losers like this guy, we tend to forget these things. It’s hard to see the forest through the trees—we get distracted by and wrapped up in the intense feelings they cause by the very things that should send us running the other way, such as putting us in a love triangle, being unable to commit, going from hot to cold to hot, making us long for them by showing us a great time (including making us feel great about ourselves, in the beginning) and then pulling away emotionally, all while keeping the hope for ‘more’ alive. This type of manipulation is what’s keeping you from seeing the truth of the matter and walking away. Please read “How to tell if you’re being manipulated.” You only have to look at yourself for the answer. Manipulation is a way to get you to act against your own interest for the other person’s benefit, which means that a manipulator does not care for you or respect you. You deserve a lot more than what this man has to offer. So much more.

      No contact will help you become clear, and then you’ll be firm in your resolve not to involve yourself with him any longer. How do you do this at work? First, you have to be very clear with him that you do not want to continue your relationship with him (or any kind of personal relationship). Tell him that you do not want him to text you. If he does, do not reply, at all. Just ignore it. Only speak to him if you must because of your work responsibilities. Tell him you don’t want him to sit next to you during break. You have the right to these boundaries. He may not like them–of course he won’t!–but he doesn’t have to.

      Please read these blog posts. I think they’ll shed some light on your experience:

      The Most Powerful Motivator on the Planet ~ Intermittent Reinforcement

      Intensity or Intimacy? A Relationship Litmus Test

      It will take some time to recover from your experience, which has been a painful one. Keep seeing your therapist, keep your boundaries strong, and don’t fall into the trap of blaming yourself. There’s not a person alive who isn’t vulnerable to being manipulated. “Life must be lived forward, but it is understood backwards.” We learn from experience. Be kind to yourself. Read the post on self-compassion; it’s the most important thing you can do for yourself and your recovery. I wish you all the best, Meli.

      PS No, psychopaths are not capable of building long-lasting “relationships,” although they can build long-lasting illusions, addiction and misery. They can and do manipulate the same person for years, even decades.

  66. Nicole

    Every thing I have read is exactly my Bf,started out like the Prince Charming,then the controlling started ,the turn everything around,I was afraid to talk about anything because an argument would start over nothing,always wanting me to feel like a nervous wreak,didn’t want me to tell people my age,how many kids etc.tried to make me feel stupid when we were with friends and basically everything else that goes along,the only difference that is making it harder for me is in the beginning he munipulated me into quiting my job but he controls me with money ,pays my rent on an expensive house ,bought me an expensive car (which isn’t in my name)expensive jewelry and continuously putting money in my bank account,I now realize that was to have me totally depend on me,he is an older man,I’m 15 years younger,I have never asked for anything he just gives and gives,but now I feel that he is getting bored and is acting different and I’m in a situation I’m scared I could become basically homeless at any time and I’m not in good health.not sure what to do,I do stand up to him and have since the beginning.any suggestions.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      This is not a good situation, and I’m sorry you find yourself in it. The only answer is to go back to doing whatever you were doing before you met him. I think a good policy is to never depend completely on someone; it gives them all the power. Even if they’re not psychopathic, it creates problems. Since the jewelry was a gift, you should consider putting it in a safe deposit box in case you need to sell it to get back on your feet. Unless you’ve been with this man for years and some sort of common-law marriage rules apply, you can probably say goodbye to the rest. Good luck to you, Nicole.

  67. Hello,

    I have a question. I know a person who fits this description very well. That person was thrown out of our friend group and more than ten people had complaints about this person- no boundaries, very worrying behaviour, and many of the examples here.

    I warned some other people about associating with this person. However I have now discovered that they have done just that – let this person into their lives and are also supporting him. They also did not tell me they were doing this and have still not told me – I found out by accident. This person sincerely believed they could convince anyone to be friends with them and that they were the most important person in the world as well as the friend group. Now these other people are proving this person right.

    My question is, why did they not believe me, or any of the other people in the friend group? And why have they not been honest about allowing this person to not only be a part of their lives, but a significant part of it? I have not heard from them even though I have sent messages, and previously we had been friends.

    What can you do if you already know someone is like this, and you are trying to warn others? Can anything be done, or is it the kind of thing everyone has to learn firsthand?

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I believe it’s something the majority of people will have to learn firsthand. Don’t be surprised that no one believed you; that’s common. They don’t believe you because they see him differently than you do, because right now he’s not acting the same way he was in your friend group. They’re probably trying to hide it since they were warned about him and don’t want to hear anymore about it. You already warned them, so it’s their decision. And he may have turned them against you—they’re very good at doing that. The problem with warning others is that if they’re loyal to him, they’ll probably tell him. It depends on a lot of things; what might the consequences be to you, if you warned them? And what might happen to them if you don’t? It’s a judgement call, and I wish you the best of luck with it.

      I wrote a blog post on this subject: Warning Others: Will It Work?

      1. Thank you for your reply. I have already warned them, as I informed them about why we had decided to remove him from our group. They are reinforcing his beliefs in his own importance and various other things I do not want to be too specific about. I thought these people were my friends. It seems that is no longer the case. I also feel they took advantage of me. They still have avoided me and not replied to anything; as far as they know, I am none the wiser, and am unaware that they have continued a relationship with him. The strangest thing is that, at one point, he said ‘I think I might be a sociopath’ to me, and I said ‘don’t say that’ because I’d already been taken in by one in the past and the result of that was far, far darker than the current situation. I had a friend once who said ‘I believe what men tell me, now. If they say ‘I’m an asshole’, I believe them, because they are usually right’. I also, personally, believe and listen to warnings from people, because for the most part nobody goes out of their way to warn you about another person unless there is a very good reason.

        The impossible part of all this is that I had offered them hospitality and they stayed in my house, as I thought at the time they were my friends. They met him then very briefly and even then he was doing wildly inappropriate things but they just thought he was a cool person who ‘liked to have fun and was charming’. Literally everyone else present was trying to get between him and them to keep anything worse from happening. And still they have apparently kept up a relationship months later that I was unaware of, after I had told one of them that we were no longer going to be associating with him. I now regret this and blame myself for introducing them. I don’t know what I can do, if anything. Everyone in the friend group is horrified that these people have let him in, and thought they were smarter than that, especially after being told by multiple people. Now this is reinforcing his behavior and it is only going to get worse. I wish there was something I could do, but at this point I feel that there is nothing I can tell them they are going to believe.

        How can they not see what we have seen? There are so many people who are in agreement on this, with separate complaints about the same person, so it’s not even only my own opinion. How can they not believe the consensus of several people who had spent a lot of time with him? How long does it take for them to start seeing it themselves? If ever? Either way I think these friendships are irrevocably lost, as their own behaviors are not what I would expect from friends. You don’t avoid someone and not answer their messages for weeks on end if you value the friendship. For myself, I will mourn the loss of the friendship and I am confused as to how I have lost it, but it’s like seeing someone about to walk off a cliff and not being able to stop it.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          I agree, you don’t ignore someone for weeks if you value the friendship. Sometimes in life, LF, we find that someone we thought was a real friend isn’t, or that they once were but aren’t anymore. It’s hard, and I’m sorry this happened to you.

          Another thing we find out is that we have absolutely no control over anyone, except ourselves. You warned your friends, but ultimately they made their own decision, for whatever reason.
          Best of luck to you, and to the friends who didn’t heed your warning.

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