Shiny Objects: A Deeper Look at Idealization and Devaluation

 

 

When a shiny object captures a psychopath’s attention, watch out.

 

They are intensely goal-driven, and their attention is as narrow and focused as a laser beam. When they see something they want they will do whatever it takes to get it.

Psychopaths actually see people around them as objects, so this is not simply a metaphor or an analogy. And they have a desire to possess the object that sparkles and shines and catches their eye. When you are that shiny object, you are in serious trouble. Unbeknownst to you (and apparently to the psychopath as well) you are commandeered  to play a part in an unconscious cycle the psychopath must repeat in order to remain intact.

When a psychopath sets his sights on you — the shiny thing he becomes fascinated with – he idealizes you, just as someone would after seeing a shiny new car in a showroom window. At that point, he will see you as nearly flawless. Of course no one is flawless, especially to a psychopath. But somehow, he really believes you are when he is idealizing you.

Inevitably, he will be disappointed.

 

 

As the psychopath gets to know you he starts seeing what he considers weaknesses. To a psychopath weaknesses are contemptible. His inherently fragile image of you as a flawless object inevitably cracks and shatters, and he sees the horrifying truth – you are only human. The shiny object isn’t shiny anymore. He is disgusted and he loses interest. That’s when devaluation begins.

He now sees you as pathetic. He may stick around for a while since he’s getting some need fulfilled – sex, money, maintaining the illusion of a marriage, or something else — but while he’s fulfilling that need, he will manipulate and abuse you, believing you deserve it. And he will enjoy doing it because it gives him a feeling of contemptuous delight.

For a psychopath, to know you is to hate you. You didn’t really do anything wrong (although he wants you to think you did). Likewise, you weren’t idealized for anything you truly were, only for what the psychopath imagined you to be. But you are a real person, not a product of the psychopath’s imagination. The psychopath is not capable of understanding that.

To know you is to hate you

 

In a normal relationship, as we get to know someone we learn each others vulnerabilities and accept each others flaws. That’s precisely what creates emotional intimacy. But with a psychopath, it’s the exact opposite. And many of the things they see as flaws are just normal human behavior. In fact, many of these things are our strengths. But in the psychopath’s world, things are topsy-turvy. The psychopath sees our strengths as flaws, and sees his flaws as strengths. Things like love and trust and compassion make us fools who are easy to manipulate, while their ability to lie, manipulate, and act without remorse makes them strong and superior.

In the psychopath’s world, things are topsy-turvy

A psychopath who read many things I’ve posted on this site thought much of it was ‘spot-on’…except for one thing. He repeatedly (and politely!) took issue with my claim that a psychopath’s goal, from day one, is to cause harm. He said this wasn’t always the case. He said that although he was incapable of falling in love, he did sometimes become fascinated with someone. And he said that every time he did, he quickly lost his infatuation because the person ‘blew it.’ When they did, he thought they were pathetic. After that, he would become abusive.

I didn’t believe him. I stuck to my claim that it was all about harm from the beginning. But with further reading and learning, I found out he may have been truthful.

ETA: Please keep in mind that even if a psychopath does become ‘fascinated’ with someone from time to time, at other times they most definitely DO set out with an agenda. The psychopath I spoke with never denied that. He took issue only because I said they ‘always’ do. I continue to believe that the psychopath who victimized me did set out with an agenda from day one.

Even if they do start out as ‘fascinated,’ harm is inevitable, so this discovery doesn’t change things in any consequential way. Idealization (and fascination) is not love, and it will always turn into devaluation, which always causes harm.

But the reason behind it, if true, is damn interesting.

 

 

According to Dr. Reid J. Meloy in ‘The Psychopathic Mind: Origins, Dynamics, and Treatment’ — a challenging book that an integrates the biological and psychodynamic understanding of psychopathy, and is considered the definitive book on the subject — devaluing enhances the psychopath’s grandiosity and sense of superiority. He experiences exhilaration and contempt (“contemptuous delight”). Devaluation is driven by unconscious greed and envy. The psychopath’s hatred creates wishes to destroy the object, which in turn eliminates his envy.

It is important to understand that envy is hatred of the good object, and greed is the desire to have all the ‘contents’ of the good object (and now I know why the psychopath I knew told me so many times that he was a vampire).

“What he gets he spoils and wastes; he feels frustrated and deprived, and the greed and demand start again.”

Devaluation is a form of ‘splitting’ (seeing things as all good or all bad) that empties the psychopath’s world of people and values.

Psychopaths experience a “zero state,” an inner feeling an emptiness, which is the closest they will ever get to depression, according to Meloy. Yet devaluation perpetuates these feelings of emptiness by warding off any object that would empathize with the psychopath’s plight.

So why must the psychopath continue to devalue? Meloy says the psychopath must act out this manipulative cycle repetitively and compulsively in order to experience feelings of exhilaration and contempt, which perpetuate his feeling of grandiosity. If the psychopath were to inhibit this conscious behavior, for whatever reason, it would cause conscious envy and rage, and lower the psychopathic threshold for violence. The manipulative cycle is a ‘purification process’ for the psychopath, which projects all the bad onto the victim of his manipulation. It is described as a narcissistic repair of the psychopathic process that restores a primitive and defensive equilibrium. They need to do this because their grandiose self is threatened with intrapsychic rupture, but must be kept intact.

The psychopath will continue to ward off others by devaluing them, Meloy says, but also continue to seek out victims. Once he finds a victim his greed and envy cause rage and sadism, and the victim is devalued and destroyed. When that is accomplished, the cycle starts all over again. They move on to the next shiny object that captures their attention and repeat the never-ending cycle.

Ultimately, what motivates the psychopath isn’t of any real importance to victims. Whatever their motivation,  their behavior it always results in serious harm. I simply offer this as an interesting theory.

LOTUS DIVIDER

♥ Thank you for reading. Comments are closed. 

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45 thoughts on “Shiny Objects: A Deeper Look at Idealization and Devaluation”

  1. sherri

    What you have stated here describes a man that just did all of this to me except on top of all of it I found out he is married and he lied too me about his name age and a lot more and has left my life in ruins and turned it all on me when I asked why me over and over he told me I am a stalker at one point I thought I was falling in love now I’m only falling apart I’ve started drinking my family is wondering what has happened to my dad tryed too talk to me he ended up in tears because I can’t tell him my job is in danger I don’t know how too fix it this man went like a wrecking ball aimed at my life.

    1. Admin

      He took a wrecking ball to your life; that’s a good analogy for what these people do. As bad as things are right now, have faith that you will put the pieces back together again. Give yourself, and your dad, a big hug for me, OK?

      1. Depressedempath

        Sherri, the best thing you can do is stay strong and don’t let the psycho win. His ultimate aim was to destroy you, so don’t let him win. You have your family and friends. Let them help you, spend time with them, enjoy life without the torment of a psycho, that is far sweeter than the blame game the psych plays. I too started to question myself when my psycho projected all blame on to me. He said I was the one screwed up, too defensive, selfish, a narcissist. I ask my friends and family if this could be? Am I a bad person? They confirm I am not. Believe your friends and family, not the psycho. He is a totally screwed up projectionist.

        1. sherri

          Thanks,by reading more about psychos I’ve also learned that he raped me by frauding me the man I thought I was having intimacy with didn’t exist I would never have been with him if I knew he was married I feel like I might have just walked up to a man on the street and had sex with him anyway I found a website called rapebyfraud.com and that’s what these sick men do and too make it even sicker this man is on dating websites one is called bbpeoplemeet.com he uses the name calymike that’s where I met him and I know he’s moved on to his next victim and I can’t stop him.

          1. Admin

            The woman who writes the Rape by Fraud website is trying hard to have laws changed to include these liars who get us by presenting themselves as someone they are not. And she’s having some success. We have to verify everything, especially when we don’t think we need to.

  2. Ann

    When i looked at the photographs i took with the P when we had just entered the relationship, i could see that the idealization at that point was very real. It was therefore totally unbelievable when he just upped and left one fine day. And of course the dissonance that followed was confusing to say the least.Now i understand the idealization and devaluation stages much better. Thanks for shedding so much light .

    1. Admin

      You’re welcome, Ann. It is very confusing indeed. Maybe this theory from Dr. Meloy is correct — it seems to make sense. Even so, idealization is a far cry from love. But if it’s true, it does provide and answer to the question of WHY they do what they do.

  3. Sandra

    Another really great, clarifying, sense making article. Thank you.

    1. Admin

      Thank you, Sandra. I keep learning more…glad it makes sense.

  4. Depressedempath

    Thank you for the article, it rings a lot of bells for me. Your articles make me see past events with the psycho in their true perspective. Looking back at my psycho, I see that I was a shiny new object to him. Being 13 years younger than him and in good shape, my psycho flaunted me around to all his friends and acquaintances to an uncomfortable level for me. He embarrassed me by making comments to random people like I kept him up all night. He also wore a t-shirt with “Sugar Daddy” printed on it sometimes, lol. However, things started to go into the devaluation phase when he bought a new shiny red sports car. The salesman thought he was buying it for me. I joked that he loved that car more than me. That turned out to be true.

    1. Admin

      I was 20 years younger, and my neighbor asked me if he was my “uncle.” His next victim was 30 years younger. Her neighbor probably thought he was her father. I can only imagine what’s next…”is that your granpa?” Ewww

  5. ZHUZHI

    Admin, thanks again for this outstanding angle towards insight about our direct living danger. As the saying goes: ‘Anger is a D away from danger’.
    May I share with you the one sentence what struck me most?

    “To the psychopath weaknesses are contemptible”.

    Fortunately I took the time to google the exact meaning of the word contemptible. A mix of the emotions ‘disgust’ and ‘anger’. Originating in 1393, it is defined and understood to be ‘anger and disgust directed towards a lower status individual’.

    This rings so deep to my core of existence…
    How many humans have to suffer because of these cold blooded freaks…

    1. Admin

      “There are so many ways of being despicable it quite makes one’s head spin. But the way to be really despicable is to be contemptuous of other people’s pain.”

      ~ James Baldwin

  6. Nearlybel

    Well!! Admin just keep digging please, each time I become reconciled, (never accepting or forgiving him) with the dreadful ‘reality’ of the harm he did to us for 20 years, you produce yet another gem for me to make some more sense of it.
    He did get great pleasure out of us while he was either physically hurting us, getting us to believe his lies and stories but what I’m dealing with now is how he hindered ( potentiality) us all. He came home early one day, the 2 children 5 and 8 years old were happily doing their homework at the kitchen table as I was preparing dinner ( I was in full time work) he ordered the children to their rooms and I rarely saw their homework after that, one had an educational psychologist report a couple of years later. The older girl was always helping with the young ones, and she was his favourite target. They are 2 lovely young adults in their 20s now, and doing what they wish, but I know I didn’t give them the priority they deserved, because my priority had to be him.
    I ‘knew’ something wasn’t right but couldn’t ‘see’ it was him and he would always hurt, create unrest when the children were around, which was of course was nearly always, and he made me believe it was the children ‘doing it’. So awful, So evil. So your post makes so much sense, he got SOO much pleasure out of it. The pervert!
    I was leaving and he got me to stay, I asked him to make a list of all the things he didn’t like about me, the things I said, the things I did and I would do the same. My thoughts were we would go through them, draw a line in the sand and enjoy our last 20 years together. I wrote the list, it was dreadful all that I was recalling but I thought we’d go through it andall would be resolved. 3 months went by, he hadn’t done his, there was a long weekend and I said he could do it then, he went mad! the anger and the ‘I won’t be told what to do by you’ ‘I won’t be dictated to by you’ the ranting and raging!
    Am I so glad now, I was so totally confused and hurt at the time and it took another year but I eventually confided in a health professional, and she believed me, and I’m now ‘only’ dealing with the aftermath.
    But yes, whatever perversion is within them, they are happy when they make us sad, when we are happy they question us, when we know they doubt us, when we doubt ourselves they say we are indecisive, when we achieve they ignore, when we fail they say your stupid what do you expect. They ruin Christmas, birthdays any family celebration.
    They hate for us to be happy, to love, to care, to hug, to go to places, to have things unless they say it’s ok. He once told a joke to the 8 yr old, she was wary of him but smiled, he asked her with his deadly serious face what was she grimacing at?
    Closest thing to evil.

    1. Admin

      I can’t imagine 20 years with that man, what a despicable character. You are incredibly strong and resilient. Your spirit has survived intact, and it will get you through.

      She smiled, and he asked her why she was grimacing. Such a perfect example of how they perceive us. Topsy-turvy may not be a scientific term, but it fits.

    2. Dav

      Wow, you know how they are. They just want there victims to be sad. One of the last thing the sociopath said to me was you just should kill your self.

      1. Admin

        Mine said the same thing, but it had the opposite effect. They sure aren’t worth killing ourselves for, are they?

  7. Nearlybel

    What an interesting comment from ZHUZHI about the origins of the word contemptible, from 1393, I have always maintained the psychos thinking is medieval. Was this a golden time them?

  8. janes

    Horrific ( their motivation )
    i felt like i was in the Saw movie while i was reading your article & your youtube recomondation. it made me feel sick.
    Thank you for not letting us by regularly reminding us that OUR HUMANE SIDE TOWARDS A WRONG PERSON/P WILL DESTROY US EVERY TIME.
    this is a life long problem !
    we dont want to lapse back into their crafty BS
    also i am all for Dr Hare in the debate about Ps seeing them selves as CATs in MOUSE world & he disagrees with the British Pschologist about Ps can be cured.

    1. Admin

      A doctor said they can be cured? I suspect someone was duped……

      1. janes

        A therapist who worked with British inmates said it.
        Everything i read finally translates my experiences with P in every diffrent shade & more then one round each.
        i’ve realized the reason why i couldnt figure them out was,because i could never guess their motivations(I taught they were just human imperfections & nothing sick/sinester). this was the key in understanding & accepting them. so this clearity/translation enabled me to stop helping/fixing more importantly keep a distant from them.
        when i read other victims experiences & many teachers like your self, i feel deeply of every word that being shared.

        THANK YOU FOR SHARING !

        1. Admin

          Their motivations — whatever they are — are very twisted. If Dr. Meloy’s theory is correct, it provides some insight into what motivates them. Saying they do what they do because they’re evil, end of story, seems like an oversimplification. But then again, we tend to like to complicate things, and make them fit into a framework we can understand. But his theory seems plausible to me.

          It doesn’t change anything, but it’s interesting anyway. And even if a psychopath does become ‘fascinated’ with someone from time to time, at other times they most definitely DO set out with an agenda. The psychopath I spoke with never denied that. He only took issue because I said they ‘always’ do. I think I will add this to the article to avoid misinterpretation.

          No matter what’s going on in their heads, it is nothing we can fix or help. You’re right when you say all we can do is keep our distance.

  9. efemeris

    I’m not so sure about that. It looks like turning tables (of what or how we see the psychopath as a shiny person and than we get dissapointed when we find out who P really is) and victim blaming. Poor little psychopath, he thought that we are acting as shiny people in order to fool him and than he gets disappointed and starts to destroy us. It’s a justification for his wrongdoing. I think this opinion stems also from the ongoing use of MMPI to diagnose psychopathy. Some psychologists seam still not to understand the differences between NPD and P. They mix narcissistic traits and psychopathic traits and do attribute some narcissistic traits to a P that are actually not a part of the psychopathic disorder but only NPD. One such narcissistic trait is the continuous belief that some psychopaths (those who do not meet the criteria of the classic psychopath but have a milder form of the disorder) are anxious, depressive and have low self-esteem. Confirmation bias and evidence based practice lead to such misconceptions.

    I’d like to know what Hare and Babiak think about.

    1. Admin

      That’s an interesting perspective. I don’t see it as victim-blaming, nor as letting them off the hook. The reason I didn’t believe the psychopath (diagnosed, scored 37 on PCL-R) who told me he starts out with a ‘fascination’ for someone is that I thought he was just trying to make himself look good. But Meloy’s theories do answer the question of “WHY” they do what they do.

      Ultimately, the reason doesn’t matter because the outcome and its effect on us is the same. It’s just interesting.

      As far as feeling sorry for the ‘poor little psychopaths,’ that is extremely hard to do. They may be sick from a neurobiological disorder, but it’s hard to feel sympathy because of the way it manifests. They don’t suffer — we do. That makes it very difficult to muster up our compassion.

      Dr. Meloy said psychopaths cannot feel depression. Low self-esteem? Never — in fact, they are amazingly grandiose. You’re right, they are all misconceptions, and I try to debunk them here on a regular basis. All of the things Meloy describes — greed, envy, frustration, emptiness — occur on a subconscious level. They are not suffering. On the contrary, they think they’re wonderful and superior. They enjoy their manipulative cycle — it gives them the ‘contemptuous delight’ they need.

      Dr. Meloy’s book was recommended by a psychologist who works with Dr. Hare. She said that among her peers, it is considered the best book out there on psychopathy. But then again, who really knows. The important thing for us is what we experienced, not what’s going on in the psychopath’s subconscious mind.

      1. efemeris

        some facts that i had noticed is that psychopaths and other predators do not attack me just because i was in bad mood, weak or ill. they would attack me when i was in good mood, successful or happy and cheerful. they cannot stand that and do everything to destroy that. one example is when i went out to do some errands and i looked up to the sky. it was a beautiful sunshiny day and i smiled, thinking “oh what a beautiful day it is”. exactly in the same moment i hear someone saying “ugh, that f….. smile”. it was a young guy in his twenties, visibly irritated and full of rage. last week i went to the diabetes consultation in the research department of one of our clinics. She started to discriminate me as soon as she opened the door. I had the appointment at 5 pm. I was in front of her office at 4:53. She started to compalint that I was too early, why am I alone, why is noone with me for translation purpose. I said I don’t need a translator. She was so angry, not ready at all, she couldn’t find any information about the check up they made before, she didn’t want to pronounce my name correctly (typical way they treat immigrants) and so on. I was calm and i told her that i’m not going to take a part in their treatment and that i want to be treated by my specialist. she started to foam and to lecture me about how important motion is for me.” You’re not telling me anything new” was my reply when leaving the office. all that because i was smiling and greeting her friendly when she opened the door.

        1. Admin

          It seems true that they can’t stand much of anything — happiness, sadness, whatever-ness. It’s all a reason to victimize someone. I guess if that’s all you’re about, anything works.

          ““ugh, that f….. smile.” That’s terrible. It reminded me of something ~

          One time, when I lived in Hawaii, I was waiting to cross the street. I was barefoot, as is common there. A youngish man standing next to me made a “tsk tsk tsk” sound. I looked at him and he said, “Such a pretty girl, but such an ugly bunion!” I didn’t even HAVE a bunion. I didn’t know what his problem was then, but now I know he was a psychopath with a foot fetish.

          Last year, someone asked me what a psychopath is like. I said, “They’re like an a$$hole, only a thousand times worse.” LOL

          1. efemeris

            They really do everything to upset you. your last comment about psychopaths made me laugh. I had also a good laugh when Dr. Hare was driving his car in that british documentary about psychopaths. When a truck driver was driving by in full speed, making alot of noise with the vehicle horn. Hare: “That’s a psychopatic bastard!” loooool

            1. Admin

              It’s good to laugh. Even Dr. Hare can be funny sometimes. But what I really appreciate about him is his understanding and compassion for US. You can see that here:

              [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iuSufKJZYI?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en-US&autohide=2&wmode=transparent&w=1400&h=788]

              Unfortunately, the forum he speaks of has been deserted for a long time.

          2. efemeris

            yes, i’ve seen the video. :) i’ve also liked the way he wrote his book with huge respect and advices for the victims. no blame, no claiming about being accountable. he really saved my mind. if I may say, he was something like a father figure for me (a father i never had) who would tell me how the things in life are and how to deal with them in a healthy way. i did some translations for the Aftermath and I’m going to join as member next. maybe they can help me find someone (a therapist or a consultant) in the country where I live even thought i already did most of the job in the healing process.

            1. Admin

              Dr. Babiak is also compassionate to victims. It seems most of the researchers don’t give us a second thought, they don’t even consider victims in relationships. They talk about criminals, serial killers, CEOs, wall streeters, etc…but never give a second thought to the fact that these people DATE and marry. Hello?

  10. Nomorepsychos4me

    I am both sadden and delighted to have found your blog.
    After my relationship with a P ended for the second time last month, I couldn’t understand why I was being pulled and pushed within this relationship.
    He devoured me, and spat me out, leaving behind no apologies, Thoughts or concerns in regards to me, and what he had done to me emotionally.
    However, it’s blogs and posts like yours that give me the answers I could never obtain from him.
    Although I have more healing to do, I know that I can and will become stronger from this point.
    He may have lied, manipulated and used me for some sick purpose, but at least I know that I am not an empty vessel, such as he.
    I also know, that I can heal and move forward in life, but he will always be a heartless, empty soul.

    1. Admin

      You will become stronger and move forward, one day at a time. All the best to you.

  11. AnnettePK

    True that Psychopaths may not ALWAYS intend to harm. But they don’t care if they harm others; they are not committed to NOT harming others. So if they don’t happen to harm someone it’s not out of caring for another; it’s just that it didn’t suit the Psychopath’s purpose to harm someone.

    My ex Psychopath was a sadist (as well as porn addict, child porn addict, cross dresser, pathological liar, abuser) and he did get pleasure from the power he perceived he had when he harmed other people. He went out of his way to emotionally torture those he could, if he thought he could get away with it and if he didn’t need that particular victim on his side.

    Whether he tortured someone, used someone, or sucked up to someone, he feels the same way about them all. He just uses different tactics based on what he wants from a particular victim and what he thinks will work with a particular victim. Everyone is a victim to exploit in his view.

    1. Admin

      “So if they don’t happen to harm someone it’s not out of caring for another; it’s just that it didn’t suit the Psychopath’s purpose to harm someone.”

      Agree 100%. No one can ever be anything more than a victim, in one way or another, to a psychopath. I hope the post didn’t make it seem like there was anything other than that. I did say that harm is the outcome, every time.

  12. Dav

    Thank you for the article. I went through so much of what you have written. The sociopath in my life (that I believed a friend) tried to pass on the problems he felt he had onto me from manipulation or projection. I just did not see it. And I see now, how mean for a person he was becoming and I tuck it. Why. I read all you post and still am stund. I try to remember that he is the evil person, the one with no sole. All the lost time I had with a person who was conning me from day one. And for him to know he would destroy my career, destroy the friendships I held. He even broke into my face book account and stole my friends. How is that possible and who could do such a thing. and be left with nothing makes me mad. Like you wrote that’s what he wanted, for others to be unhappy and to see others have a horrible life. I wish you all well.

  13. Nina

    I stumbled upon this after recently “sending” my psychopath away. He wasn’t mine, but I was his object of desire, I was not aware of this in the time being. But what is slightly different though, after reading about the emptiness. He definitely felt very empty after attempting to devalue me. On many occasions when I send him away, he has had that zero state, I never understood it as I felt he did it to himself. We both come from very bad backgrounds, similar intact. He thought in his mind I’d “save” him. He even has told me to not let anything he says or feels about me to change the way I feel about myself. I see the way he treats others and it’s so different. But he’s also stated my strength is what first drew him to me and he literally attempted to “trap” me in the beginning but realized he can’t do that. He calls me my own breed and refuses to involve himself more with me as an attempt to protect me and the loving heart I have. He even bought me a unicorn as he sees me as some “rare” person. It’s as if nothing I’ve done has pushed him away and has since compared everyone to me, he has even begun imitating my words and behavior. He feels no empathy as when I tried to share with him he has told me to talk to a therapist, because he doesn’t know how to respond. It’s as if he’s waging a war within himself to try to destroy me or preserve me. It’s been a week since I told him to never talk to me again as I can’t continue to watch him to be cruel to his GF. He exploits her on Facebook. He just keeps her there for whatever he wants. So I deleted him and he has since blocked me on everything I’m sure. We got into an argument last week where for the first time he tried to devalue me he noticed my “stonewalling” and my voice and tried calming me by saying “my love” and that I was him. It’s almost as if he’s taken a liking to me as a form of himself and has verbally tried devaluation on someone who tried devaluing me. Can anyone explain this behavior? I’m not sure if me going off on him and sending him away has made him leave, but I love him for who he is, but know that it’s just not possible as I’m sure he’d test all that he could as I’m a pretty relaxed and open minded person.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Nina. If everything you say here is fact, you’re not dealing with a psychopath. On the other hand, if he’s made you believe all this is true when it’s not, he very well could be. What you’re describing is someone who you’ve watched be cruel to his girlfriend (this is a huge red flag — it should end right here, and I’m glad to hear you told him to stay away) but has made you believe he thinks you are special, someone he doesn’t want to hurt, someone whom he respects, someone whom he could destroy but could preserve instead, and is doing so by “protecting your loving heart” by staying away from you.

      I think you’ve misunderstood what “empty” means in the context of a psychopath. It’s not emptiness as you would experience it — as a painful feeling — it’s simply emptiness as nothingness, as an absence of any feeling.

      Protect your own loving heart by running far and fast from guy. You say you love him for what he is, but if you knew what a psychopath was, you’d know there is no one there to love, or to love you. Read the page in the main menu, “What is a Psychopath?” Even if this guy isn’t a psychopath, he’s a major-league manipulator with serious problems. Stick to what you told him a week ago, never to talk to you again. It was a smart move. If he contacts you again, don’t argue with him, because there’s nothing to argue about — just ignore him. Best wishes to you.

  14. Nina

    Unfortunately I’ve done my research and I feel the majority of him telling me these things was to get me to trust him. He thrived on me trusting him, dare I ever question him. He desired to know what my skeletons were. He “joked” about having sex with men stating it’d be the “ultimate dominance” over another male. He would also try to tell other more wealthier men they could have sex with me. Again, I thought it was joking. The zero state I mentioned was an empty feeling for him. As he thought I committed suicide or something after our argument at one point in posted on Facebook a video of everything has a purpose of dying. All I did was just delete it to take time away from the situation. He lacks complete empathy for anyone’s feelings at all. I just believe he may have been using me to mirror my compassion and out going behavior to get him where he needs to go. If you’ve seen him you’d understand let alone talk to him. His own father, who’s a pastor, sees what he says about his daughter and does nothing. He gets violent when intoxicated from what I’ve heard. He doesn’t even care about his own family. I used to think in my gut that he was a con artist and I had no idea why. Now I do, and I’m glad I let him go, regardless of any feelings for him. He’s not okay. So I just empathize. It’s all I can do.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      He’s definitely not OK. Good move to let him go, Nina.

  15. Nina

    Father in law. My bad. Also I started noticing contradictions in all of his words. That was my first red flag. I just tried to be his friend after a found out about the GF. But oh, that poor girl. I hope she finds better support. Unless she’s happy. More power to her. He’s just narcissistic and knows it

    1. Adelyn Birch

      His GF is probably miserable, but trapped in the way abused people tend to be. Manipulators dangle the golden carrot, and then make you believe it’s your fault for not getting it. Truth is, there is no carrot.

  16. OnnYxx

    Wow! I am simply floored. This describes my relationship from courtship thru 11 years of marriage and now 4 years post divorce. He happened to meet someone just like him and she set her eyes on him and oddly enough me (or replicating my life anyway). They had a 4 year affair that made Fatal Attraction look like a fairy tale. I changed jobs and left the city and still……They will NOT leave me alone. Because we have a minor child I cannot break free. They have sued me 3 out of the 4 years we have been divorced including a current suit for custody of my daughter. The two of them together are unyielding and seem to feed off each other and a mutual need to wreck my life.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I’m sorry you’re having ongoing problems with him related to custody and continued abuse. Having your ex and his crazy partner hell-bent on wrecking your life is seriously stressful, very similar to what stalking victims go, through only worse because your daughter is involved. I hope you have the support you need, OnnYxx. Please take care of yourself. I wish you and your daughter all the best xx

  17. Megan

    You know what’s really interesting? That laser-beam focus you keep talking about is so spot on…both for good and for bad. In the beginning it was the laser-beam with the love bombing, and that felt fantastic. To be the center of what seemed like total adoration was wonderful.

    But on the flip side, it was such a nightmare too. Because whenever he felt like he was losing control, and definitely at the end when I was pulling back more and more and trying subconsciously to figure out an exit strategy, he would get so mean. I can’t even begin to describe what life was like the final six months (and then particularly the final three months) of the relationship. I suppose as a silver lining it cemented in me the determination to leave and never look back; because it pushed him to act SO unbelievably erratic that even he with all of his manipulation and brainwashing tactics couldn’t convince me it was okay.

    He just became so obsessive.

    Having a friend and an ex (one who is clearly still under his power, she would do ANYTHING for him, and I now have proof he was still sleeping with her on the side from time to time and keeping her on the leash) delving into my personal life. His ex works for a high powered energy company in their collections department, as a supervisor; and she was therefore able to pull personal information on ANYONE (current address and phone numbers). Highly illegal to do so, of course; she would not only get fired, she could potentially get arrested for doing what she was doing. But again…if she’s under his sway she’s not thinking about that.

    He started having her pull the information on me and on people in my life, including my business partner, our business affiliates who were helping us develop the tech for our application, even the names of the investors we were courting for investment in our company. Started accusing me of lying about EVERYTHING in life. She called my parents on his behalf, to ask them what was “real” and “not real” about my business, and then also ‘informing’ them of all the horrible things I’d done. She called my father’s former place of work to find out whether or it it was really “true” that he’d lost his job. He called my business partner and told her all kinds of horrible things about me; she didn’t believe a word, but it didn’t stop him from trying.

    It was all day, every day. Obsessively.

    That laser focus had turned into my worst nightmare.

    I felt so violated. As I say, I’m grateful for it on some levels because it made it impossible for him to minimize or justify his actions any longer. He tried, of course; he tried to tell me it was all reasonable. That if I really loved him, I should understand because I would “do the same” if I thought someone was “conning” him. Except my friends and family were there insisting to me that wasn’t true.

    The most liberating moment of my life came when the husbands of my best friend said to me: “Megan…even IF you were EVERYTHING awful that he’s now claiming you are…even IF you were conning him and lying to him and out to ruin his life…even IF you WERE all those things…that does NOT justify the rape of your privacy or the privacy of your loved ones that he and his ex girlfriend have performed. Do you understand? I’m saying even if you WERE this horrible person…nothing justifies what they’re doing. It’s not normal. It’s not healthy. It’s not okay.”

    When he said that, something in me started to shift. Because my logical brain…my savvy business-minded, intelligent brain…couldn’t let it go. Had to admit he had a point. That there was no justifying or excusing the behavior. Because they were violating the privacy of others too. This woman was committing CRIMES to help him harass me and my loved ones. (NEver mind the fact that he was also vowing he’d be able to hunt me down wherever I was and kill me, because she’d always be able to give him the most up to date addresses and phone numbers no matter where I moved or how many times I changed my number. Which is a sick, twisted thing in and of itself.)

    But that laser focus. Yeah…it was ultimately my nightmare. I’ve seen it first-hand. The obsession, channeled into the most evil intentions I’ve ever personally experienced.

    God, I’m so glad I’m away from him. Truly. I feel anxious at times, and certainly drained and damaged on a lot of levels…but there isn’t one ounce of regret or wishful thinking either. None. Because of how frightening and awful he was in the end.

    Again, silver lining I suppose. That will be my coat of armor if there ever does come a time when he’s able to find me and tries to lure me back; my coat of armor will be the vivid, violated feelings I have now. The sleepless nights, where every noise in the house had me jumping to the ceiling thinking it was one of his lackeys breaking into the house to fulfill his vow to kill me and my parents. All of that, while awful, is also now my coat of armor against any attempts he may make in the future to lure me back in.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Being in a psychopath’s focus is like being an ant in the sun under a magnifying glass held by a some villainous 5-year-old boy.
      Nothing good ever comes when they focus on someone, and I hope he’ll stop focusing on you. Death threats are a serious thing; have you reported him? Ditto for his friend violating the rules and your privacy.

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