Step outside yourself for a moment, if you will, and turn and look at yourself.

There you are, the ‘you’ who was mistreated and who is now treating yourself so harshly, who is feeling shame, despair, doubt, outrage, confusion, self-doubt, deep sadness, anger, self-judgement or rage. What a sad thing for this ‘you’ to go through! This loving and giving ‘you’ does not deserve this pain. It is truly heartbreaking to behold.

Empathy makes your heart overflow, and you have the desire to provide comfort. You look softly and with kindness upon this ‘you’ who is crying while mourning the loss or raging at injustice or betrayal, and you place a warm hand gently on a shoulder that shakes with sobs. You feel completely accepting of the intense emotions this ‘you’ is experiencing. You tell this ‘you’ that whatever feelings are present are OK. You know this is how a loving human heart feels when it breaks. You care deeply about this ‘you’ and want to help ‘you’ deal with this trauma.

What you are feeling is self-compassion.

“Self-compassion means truly honoring, and allowing for, our own suffering. To be with the hurt, the longing, and the hunger, and to offer value and substance to these experiences. More than that, to go further and to respond, in kind, to what the self is really wanting and needing.”

~ Lisa Field-Elliott


 “Acceptance is the only way out of hell.”

~ Marsha Linehan, Founder of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

“Compassion is made up of two words: ‘co’ meaning together and ‘passion’ meaning a strong feeling. This is what compassion is. When we see someone is in distress and we feel their pain as if it were our own, and strive to eliminate or lessen their pain, then this is compassion. So all the best in human beings, all the qualities like sharing, readiness to give comfort, sympathy, concern and caring – all are manifestations of compassion. You will notice also that in the compassionate person, care and love towards others has its origins in care and love for oneself.” ~

How does compassion differ from empathy? “Empathy, as defined by researchers, is the visceral or emotional experience of another person’s feelings. It is, in a sense, an automatic mirroring of another’s emotion, like tearing up at a friend’s sadness. Compassion often involves an empathic response and an altruistic behavior. However, compassion is defined as the emotional response when perceiving suffering and involves an authentic desire to help.” ~ The Compassionate Mind


 “Who will you love if not yourself? Other people? How can you love someone for anything but their raw, naked humanity? How can you say you love someone if it is not for their flaws and quirks, snorts and hurts, triggers and tears? Anything else is not love. It is idealization. And, as long as you do it to yourself, you will do it to everyone. You will not love anyone or anything until those eyes in the mirror soften up and embrace the beauty that is already within.”

~ Vironika Tugaleva

 You didn’t feel any compassion from the psychopath, who was callous and cold-hearted and who inflicted harm purposely. After it was over you may not have felt it from friends or family members either, who didn’t understand your experience. You may not have felt it from yourself as you judged yourself harshly for falling for manipulation, or not seeing it sooner, or staying too long. You go looking for support, kindness, understanding, validation, and assistance.  You have an innate need for compassion.

The cure for the lack of compassion we experienced is compassion.

The components of compassion — recognition of hurt, suffering, and injustice; tenderheartedness toward; and a desire to alleviate distress — “take a powerful stance against past wrongs and champion healing. This makes compassion diametrically opposed to callousness, indifference, and heartlessness.” ~ Self-Compassion, Part I: After Trauma


 “A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life.”

~ Christopher K. Germer

Whether you find compassion in others or not (and I sincerely hope you do), you can become compassionate toward yourself. It’s more important now than ever, but cultivating self-compassion will serve you well all your life. Self-compassion is transformational after a trauma such as ours. And it has proven benefits:

“Research shows that people who practice self-compassion have better mental health, less anxiety and depression, and are just as successful at meeting goals as those who don’t. One longer-term study showed that self-compassion helped people to adjust better, after a divorce. When we get disappointed in life, our natural tendency might be to ask ourselves what we did wrong, but saying to ourselves, “You did the best you could given what you knew at the time,” can help us to feel better about ourselves and give us courage to begin rebuilding our lives.”

~Why Self-Compassion Helps You Meet Life’s Challenges, Melanie Greenberg Ph.D

The Three Core Components of Self-Compassion:

“The first one  is self-kindness, as opposed to self-judgment. A lot of times when we suffer, we just take a very cold attitude toward ourselves. So self-compassion involves being warm and supportive—actively soothing ourselves—as opposed to being cold and judging ourselves.

The second part is remembering that imperfection is part of the shared human experience—that you’re not alone in your suffering. Often, when something goes wrong, we look in the mirror and don’t like what we see—we feel very isolated in that moment, as if everyone else has these perfect lives and it’s just us who’s flawed and defective. When we remember that imperfection is part of the shared human experience, you can actually feel more connected to people in those moments.

The third component is mindfulness. If you aren’t mindfully aware that you’re suffering, if you’re just repressing your pain or ignoring it or getting lost in problem solving, you can’t give yourself compassion. You have to say, “Wait a second. This hurts. This is really hard. This is a moment where I need compassion.” If you don’t want to go there, if it’s too painful or you’re just too busy to go there, you can’t be compassionate.”

~ The Power of Self-Compassion, Interview with Kristen Neff, leading self-compassion researcher and educator


 “First and foremost, if we maintain healthy emotional boundaries and direct love and kindness inwards, we are taking care of ourselves and secondly we are giving a subliminal message to others about how we wish to be treated.”

~ Christopher Dines, Mindfulness Burnout Prevention

Being victimized by a psychopath is something we never anticipated, and not something everyone experiences. It’s not a trauma we ever expected to go through in life, and it is a major one. This trauma comes with a sense of being cut off from normal life and from the rest of humanity. But part of self-compassion entails feeling a sense of common humanity, which is the understanding that your feelings and experiences are not completely unique. By acknowledging we’re not the only one, we find strength in numbers.

Even those of us who’ve gone through this bizarre experience of psychopathic victimization are not alone. There have been two million visits to this website alone in the two and a half years it has existed, and even though some of those (30%) are repeat visitors, and some others likely ended up in the wrong place, there are still quite a few of us. Add to that all the people who have not visited this site, but who qualify. You are not alone.

“In reality, sadly, part of humanity is humans doing terrible things to other humans, including children. Survivors do not need to travel anywhere or change ourselves to rejoin the human race. We are already right here.” (Sonia Connelly, From Shame to Compassion: Reconciling with Ourselves after Abuse).


 “This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life. May I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need.”

~ Kristin Neff, Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind

There is an important difference between self-compassion and self-esteem. Self-compassion isn’t based on self-judgement, comparison and outcomes, like self-esteem. Self-esteem is about being above average, but self-compassion is all about being average. It’s about being human (which is something to celebrate after being with a psychopath) and being a part of the shared human condition. We all have successes and failures and strengths and weaknesses. Self-compassion acknowledges and accepts all of them.

“The data supporting the fact that self-compassion has the same mental health benefits as self-esteem: less depression, more optimism, greater happiness, more life satisfaction. But self-compassion offers the benefits without the drawbacks of self-esteem. Self-esteem is associated with narcissism; self-compassion isn’t. It’s self-compassion, not self-esteem, that predicts stability of self-worth—a type of self-worth that isn’t contingent on outcomes—as well as less social comparison, less reactive anger.

Now a lot of research is coming out around health behaviors, showing that people who practice self-compassion make really wise health choices. They exercise more for intrinsic reasons, they can stick to their diets, they go to the doctor more often, they practice safer sex. All this research is coming out showing that self-compassion is not just a good idea, and it doesn’t just make you feel good, it makes you act in healthier ways.

Also, people who are self-compassionate are kinder, more giving, and supportive to their relationship partners.” ~ ~The Power of Self-Compassion, Interview with Kristen Neff


 “Acceptance of one’s life has nothing to do with resignation; it does not mean running away from the struggle. On the contrary, it means accepting it as it comes, with all the handicaps of heredity, of suffering, of psychological complexes and injustices.”

~ Paul Tournier

Self-compassion is nothing less than a paradigm shift after involvement with a psychopath. It can be transformational. Being human becomes OK again (psychopaths despise that) along with all the emotions we feel, which are, after all, universal. Compassion is healing; it’s a treatment for the harm suffered from being treated without compassion.

We are all a work in progress, and will always be — but we’re worth loving and respecting just as we are now (and that means loving and respecting ourselves, too). Under all the lies abusers piled on us is our true and original self, intact — a unique being with innate value whose life has meaning and worth, who is meant to give and receive love through meaningful connections with others and with ourselves. That’s definitely worth having compassion for. You are definitely worth having compassion for.

Self-Compassion Guided Meditations and Exercises

A wish for self-compassion is blowing your way

 “It is a beautiful experience being with ourselves at a level of complete acceptance. When that begins to happen, when you give up resistance and needing to be perfect, a peace will come over you as you have never known.”

~ Ruth Fishel, The Journey Within


“It’s simply being kind to myself — meeting myself, whatever my emotional, physical or psychological state, with loving kindness.  As simple, and difficult, as that!”

~ Marianne Elliott


“A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life.”

~ Christopher K. Germer

 “Excellent, excellent book! It brought me understanding and closure!”

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

“Insightful and informative! This book provides a good understanding of psychopath’s traits. It’s very helpful the author broke it down in different subjects for giving the complete view of a psychopath.”

“Five Stars. Very helpful.”





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