There is power in telling your story, and power in reading the stories of others.

There is therapeutic value in telling our stories to people who understand, and also in reading the stories of others and finding out we’re not alone. Telling your story here is just one way to do it. You can also relate your experience to an empathetic, nonjudgemental friend, therapist, or support group, or even by journaling, creative writing, song, poetry, film, or art. To read a story told through poetry, see “Soul Songs,” a collection of poems written by Linda, one of this blog’s readers.

“Writing is an essential step in telling one’s story, because writing enables us to create order out of memory’s chaos.”

–Leila Levinson, Author of Gated Grief: The Daughter of a G.I. Concentration Camp Liberator Discovers a Legacy of Trauma

I regret that I am unable to accept new stories at this time. Heartfelt thanks to each and every one one of you who shared your story here. 


You can find my story here: The Known, the Unknown and the Unknowable

For more stories by male readers, see The Truth About Female Psychopaths, From Those Who Know

Learn more:

240 thoughts on “STORIES”

  1. Linda

    I met him in an art gallery. It was an ordinary day with extraordinary consequences. He did some framing for me over the course of several months. He visited my home, had lunch, chatted pleasantly and was, without doubt, evaluating me and collecting information about my vulnerabilities and needs.

    About six months later he gave me a birthday kiss. By that time he had disarmed my defenses and I almost welcomed that kiss, but my boundaries still held.

    Over the following month he love-bombed outrageously, torrents of words, floods of compliments and promises of “Us” and “We” and “Together” and “Always”. He had done his research well. He hit all the sensitive buttons, and I eventually succumbed to his seductive words and his considerable physical charms. I knew a level of joy and delight unequaled in my life to that point. All my fantasies and longings were met, and I had found completion. I charted the course of this journey in poetry, as I often do in my life.

    We met whenever possible. My personal boundaries are strong. Although I stretched them to extremes and broke some too, I refused to have sex with him. I now realize that this was a critical decision, one which made leaving him eventually somewhat easier.

    Here is a great paradox: I knew, in my rational mind, that this was all a game. I believed only a portion of his promises, and trusted him not at all. I sensed danger from the beginning and divulged very little personal information to him. And still I was enchanted and entrapped, caught in his web and ensnared by the Psychopathic Bond! That is the mystery, the black magic and the diabolical skill of the Psychopath. While we are saying, No, he is saying Oh yes!

    After two months he began what I later learned is called Intermittent Reinforcement. This is a push/pull, hot/cold, off/on game, designed to deepen the bond, making his victim insecure and desperate to rekindle the early stages of love-bombing and transcendent ecstasy. By some miracle it had the opposite effect on me: I believed he was trying to get rid of me. I wrote a very kind and careful email, intuitively fearful of angering him, and said goodbye. And then the withdrawal began.

    I suffered intensely, grieving for the illusion, the man who never was, the magician who had enchanted me and had given me a glimpse of paradise. He wrote yearning little emails, keeping me on that string, keeping alive the emotions that he had awakened in me. In desperation I went online, and that is when I found this blessed blog, a gift from a woman who very clearly knew what I was feeling, what had happened to me, and why! She saved my sanity, and perhaps my life. She understood, and she explained. It was horrifying and empowering, both!

    After three months I returned to him. The Bond was still embedded in my heart, my mind. And during that one week I saw him for what he really was: A smooth, manipulative shell of a man, playing dirty little games on women, myself and others too. He played another game this time: Psychological Triangulation. He mentioned other women repeatedly, making sure I understood that he was keeping company – intimate company – with them too. This game is designed to make a woman insecure and jealous and clingy. I reacted with disgust and some amusement at his cruelty and foolishness and this time, when I said goodbye, I meant forever.

    I realize that mine was a very brief brush with one of these predators. Many victims are entrapped for years in a vicious, abusive relationship that is hell on earth to endure and to escape from. But perhaps my story will serve to point up the power of Psychopathic manipulation. It requires very little time, often only a matter of days, for the bond to be installed, for our minds to be transformed by means of the most brilliant and malevolent magic. My heart goes out to all of the victims who share my experience.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Thank you for telling your story, Linda.

    2. trish

      I married a psychopath and then got feel in love with another one. He has no idea he thinks its me but its what the psychopaths do put the blame on someone other than themselves. I am so on to the fact that he wants me to take his responsablity for all his actions that he does wrong. ITs always me. After awhile its like what am i doing with a man that can not love. He can make believe he does but i know the truth its all an illusion. Why i did this again to myself i have no idea. At first I fell in love with him this is the second one the first one i was married to for 4 years and he D&D me and this one is to much can never make me feel good about myself he doesn’t see the good in me and i give and give and its never enough. He doesn’t listen to my feeling its only matters what he feels and i thought we would be together like he said for the next 40 years but now i see we just argue it all about the power and control. He talks and talks and when i have to say something he doesn’t really care it doesn’t matter he does what he wants and now i am not able to handle it anymore

      1. Adelyn Birch

        It’s clear that you need to end your involvement with him, Trish. You asked, “Why i did this again to myself i have no idea.” That’s a good question, and it’s one well worth taking the time to answer. You deserve far better than the way you’re being treated by this person. Of course you can’t handle it, and why should you?
        All the best to you.

        1. trish

          Thanks for your comment and as to your question u are right that i would need time to answer why would i go through this again. Well, there was a time i would think everyone is a psychopath so i thought i was just wrong. A part of me still thinks i could be wrong and i found myself being abusive with the things i would accuse him of and he would prove me wrong everytime. I would go through his phone and look for things on the computer i was just not able to trust and I think its because I was not recovered from the psychopath i was married too. I had no business having another relationship cause I was still sick with the way i would think and never trusting but he did give me a few reasons not to trust and that was I caught him in 2 lies and his excuse was that he was afraid to tell me the truth cause i would get upset. Anyway, i will think and take my time to answer that question. thank u trish

          1. Adelyn Birch

            It’s a big question, so taking time to answer it is a good thing. So is taking time off from being in a relationship to work through issues that need to be resolved, such as trust. A good counselor should be able to help you. Best wishes, Trish.

        2. Michael

          I don’t understand I want to know if I should get medically diagnosed with psychosis. Please help

          1. Adelyn Birch

            I’m sorry, I’m not sure I understand, either! This website isn’t about “psychosis,” which would mean a person has hallucinations and/or delusions (meaning they are out of touch with reality). If you’re experiencing that, Michael, then yes, diagnosis and treatment are vital. Good luck to you.

      2. Ate

        Stories here are so powerful. I met my psychopath boyfriend during my university years. He didn’t purse an education but I thought atleast he is an honest hard working man. At the end of 6 years we went through all the stages.. From showering me with love and idealization to things going horribly wrong and calling me a crazy insecure person. What I’m still upset over is that I was studying and working with people with mental health and I can’t believe I didn’t pick up on the cues, that my partner is a psychopath. At one point I caught him cheating and when I confronted the other woman I realized he had stolen my identity – (he went as far as to take my university t-shirt and sweater and he convince me to get him a supplementary credit card with the university logo on it – only so he convince the other woman that he had post secondary education and that he was a totally different person). He would always find a way for me to stick around, like he was dying from cancer and his last wish was to get married to me. I also remember turning against my friends and family who warned me about him and his behaviour but I defended him no matter what. Over time and Eventually u learn and walk away for good!
        But the sad part is, we have mutual friends and he started a new relationship and got married to a woman he got pregnant.. I feel bad for the wife as she has no idea what she’s in for, but at the same time i can’t do anything about it. She’s probably been told that I’m the crazy jealous ex.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          Hi, Ate. I’m sorry you got mixed up with this guy! Plenty of people in mental health don’t pick up on the clues; it’s not just you. I’ve heard from some personally, and read about others. You’re right, there’s nothing you can do for his new love interest. Just as you defended him to others, so would she. Yes, you’re most likely “just the crazy ex” … like all of us are … and the new ones will eventually become “crazy exes,” too. On and on it goes… I wish you all the best xx

          1. Claudia

            Ugh. The “crazy ex” story. Do these people have some sort of user manual they all follow? Sorry you had to go through that. You are strong and capable and amazing.

            1. Adelyn Birch

              Thanks, Claudia :)

            2. KYD

              oh so true about the manual!!! Its like they signed up for Manipulator 101!

              1. Natty

                This is what threw me – the fact he DIDN’T call his ex wife a psycho or crazy. He only had nice things to say about her.

    3. Alexis

      I only read the first line of your post before hitting “reply.” You said it was an ordinary day with extraordinary consequences. I couldn’t describe my initial meeting and experience any better. Thank you for sharing your story.

    4. Natty

      This is so very much like the “relationship” I’m going through right now with a work colleague. Although the time frame is much shorter. The first few weeks he seemed so excited and keen and really love bombed me with charm and what I now recognise as false flattery.

      We shared intimate information after sex, which I have never done before with anyone else as I am very guarded and reserved, but somehow by sharing his deepest darkest secrets he got me to open up.

      Now 3 months later he has just started the triangulation stage by telling me (after I broke it off with him during one of his withdrawal periods) that he is seeing someone he has been in love with for 3 years while he was married (he still is married but seperated) and he even told me her name – probably so I would stalk her via his facebook friends list and get even more jealous, clingly and insecure.

      During the course of our relationship, he has flirted blatantly and heavily with another work colleague right in front of me which I admit made me jealous and insecure and angry. I have racked my brain and read so many “Why Do Men Pull Away” books trying to analyse his behaviour to try and figure what I did to make him lose interest in me and how to get those golden days back.

      I have quite low self esteem and suck at maintaining boundaries but even so, I could easily recognise the hot-cold push-pull and my gut instinct was very strong telling me to run for the hills when he first started love bombing me. Why I ignored it and basically forgot all my boundaries and rules still escapes me, but I won’t ever again.

      Until today when I found this site I really thought he was interested in a relationship with me (he basically asked me what he needed to do to have a relationship with me as I had told him I wsn’t interested in a relationship at first) but now I can clearly see how he has been manipulating me all along just to get what he wants (sex, ego kibbles or who knows what).

      He is charming, flirtatious, fun to be with, exciting and very good looking. He is also sexually deviant, borderline alcoholic, a chronic liar, chronic cheater and has no morals, empathy or impulse control and stomps all over my (very weak) boundaries.

      Now that I am aware of what he is, I have no feelings at all for him and am able to see right through him. Where yesterday I was sad and distraught that he had replaced me so quickly with a former girlfriend, today I am relieved that I am not her. I know he will be back to hoover me back in but I won’t be sucked in again no matter how hard he tries.

      Knowledge really does equal power, and I feel equipped to strengthen my boundaries and build on my self esteem to be able to say NO and mean it this time.

      I really wouldn’t wish a relationship like this on my worst enemy and am thankful it has only been 3 months and not years as I would be a mental case.

      1. Adelyn Birch

        Hi, Natty. Psychopaths excel at lowering our defenses by making us push aside or forget our boundaries and rules, and ignore our gut instincts. Even so, you were able to realize early on that something was seriously wrong, and go in search of answers. You did well protecting yourself. I’m happy to hear this site helped you to see clearly what he is, gave you strong resolve to stay away from him, and left you feeling equipped to strengthen your boundaries. Thank you for sharing your story here. All the best to you!

    5. Denise

      Thank you so much for this candid piece of wonderful writing. I too am withdrawing from a sociopathic romance. The duration lasted six heady weeks. I had been celibate going on 4 yrs and not been in a relationship 15years. With him, I experienced thebest sex I have ever known , the most satisfying communion with “another”. And then the began thewithholding of affection (how we kissed) and love making. I counted two weeks and the spell, as with you, was miraculously broken, along with my spirit. Looking online for push/pull dynamics in relationships in an effort to know “what to do” brought me to this site. Thank you thank you thank you. My instincts are sound and I have found support through this marvellous resource. He is still in my midst inasmuch as he has moved into my paradisical village. I can only hope that he will die of boredom and move on.

  2. Dianne

    My story has been written in the form of a website. I dont run the website, i dont read the website, i read it once, i pass on to those who do anything i feel is relevant and leave it up to them, not only to tell my story but to make the world aware of who and what he really is, it has helped get me through this mess, restored my sanity and i have moved on, barely even think about him anymore. I thought it was over, i thought i was out of this but its an on going saga, last night i received a call from one of his friends telling me that “he” was in trouble, “he” needed help, to call “him”. I wont do that, he is physically gone from my life, my mind, my soul, i wont let him back in. But that one call made me think about him again, i hate that, another sleepless night, the first in many months. So i will start over again. I can and will do it, i need him gone.

    1. Robin

      I had a similar thing happen to me. I had not heard from in in 9 months and feeling happy again. We had been on again/off again for 3 years and he never contacted me first, it was always me. This time he contacted me through “Messenger” instead of a text. I made me so mad because I had finally gotten him (mostly) out of my head and here I am thinking of him again. I came very close to having “one last fling”. We texted and he said all these cute things. Thirty minutes before he was supposed to show up at my door I sent him a text saying I didn’t want to do this again. That I was, at this time, emotionally detached from him and wanted to keep it that way. All he said was “ok”. I blocked him from my text and “messenger” but now his face is floating around in my head. I hate that! I now see him for the black soul that he is and want nothing to do with him but he is still in there. Arghh!!!

      1. Adelyn Birch

        I’m impressed! You came so close to seeing him, but were able to make a logical decision that was in your best interest, and cancel his visit.

        My best advice about persistent thoughts of him is this:

        Don’t hate those thoughts. What you resist persists. I had thoughts of the P long after I was sick and tired of him and of thinking about him. I stopped fighting them when I learned our brains fire off random thoughts continually, and that we don’t have to identify with all of them (give attention to them/get emotionally involved with them). Let the thoughts come, and let them go. When you notice one of these thoughts, instead of getting angry or hating it, or getting involved with it, just note it—“a thought about ________” and then continue whatever you were doing. The best way to stop these thought patterns (after they no longer serve any purpose, such as motivating you to learn how to protect yourself) is to give them minimal attention. Instead of reinforcing them, you’ll weaken them, and then they’ll fade considerable. I still have thoughts about the P I knew, but I just let them come and go. Of course those thoughts arise; we were traumatized. It doesn’t mean we have to get emotionally involved with those thoughts. ***If you’re still at the stage where you’re going through hell this may not (and most likely won’t) work, but if you’re coming out the other end and you’re just sick and tired of them, it’s worth a try.

    2. jennifer deal

      I am very grateful for finding all this information on psychopathic behavior, it was exactly how my relationship. Had gone, I walked out of my home and him 6 weeks ago and if not for reading this I would have gone back for more abuse

      1. Adelyn Birch

        Jennifer, I’m very happy to hear the site has helped keep you away from your abuser. That’s great news! Stay strong.

      2. Ate

        That is very positive that you didn’t go back. I wish I had known to stay away cold turkey. We went back and forth for 2 years after breaking up. He manipulated me every time into meeting him or getting back together only for 1 day. Now that I know he’s a psychopath and that I got trapped into a bad thing. I can’t get back those years that I lost. The thoughts do co,e in my head every often now but I push it away and tell myself it’s not important, he’s not important anymore !

  3. lisa

    P and I became “followers” of each other on a popular online writing site in the fall of 2012. We supported each other’s writing by commenting and voting on it and we became friends.

    In October 2012, P sent me the first private message. This was the genesis of everything. He approached me by offering his son’s help to make a book cover for the novel I was working on. I was very naïve and new to forums. The only online experience I had had before this was Facebook and a forum for expecting mothers. I believed that P was being helpful.

    In retrospect I realize I was the perfect target. I was in a very vulnerable place in my life at the time. I was close to separating from my husband. My husband and I had had no physical intimacy for over fourteen months following two miscarriages and I believed my marriage to be over. I had left my full-time job due to osteoarthritis in my spine – (spinal stenosis) and I spent far too much time alone and in pain. I was isolated and undoubtedly grieving the losses of my health, potentially my marriage, my job and the salary and my pregnancies. At the time I was afraid, lonely, naïve and grieving. I also had a personality that was far more open, accepting and empathetic than it is now.

    Conversing with P via private messaging increased daily that autumn and it was enjoyable. Deep conversations ensued on all topics from writing to personal aspects of our lives. Flirting developed. I considered it to be innocent enough as it was online and from a good distance. I did not consider it a threat to me, or my marriage or my mental health. I kept my privacy and I thought that was enough. I was quite ignorant, in retrospect, of the emotional attachment that can happen online.

    The quality of the relationship moved from professional to personal fairly quickly. P became quite overt in his flattery of my writing and oddly, my looks. I was thrilled that I was getting such good feedback on my writing and during one conversation where the flattery was over the top, I said jokingly, “ Oh stop it!” and then I said: “No, don’t stop” (meaning the flattery.) In response P said to me: “I feel something vaguely illicit when I talk to you.”

    I was shocked but I made the first big mistake, considered my response had sounded flirtatious and so I let his comment go.

    In a fairly short time, P was giving me hours of conversational attention daily, even though he had a full-time job and a marriage and family and then it went one step further. One day he private messaged me a small story he wrote for me. In it he portrayed himself as the great savior to my loneliness. He cast himself in the narration as my knight in shining armor and me the princess. I was touched by it. It was sweet and sensitive to exactly how I was feeling. As time went on, P wrote poetry for me and one time he made me a character in the novel that he was working on. Our online relationship began to take on a romantic tone.

    On December 2012, P messaged me in a desperate plea saying he wanted to know everything about me, my phone number, my address, my real name, my favourite food, my favourite songs. He presented as very intense, quite vulnerable, and then the very next day he took it all back, saying he had not been feeling well that night and had acted strangely. I did not give him the information which he accepted with no problem. I let another odd behaviour go.

    But this began the push-pull of our relationship.

    P would make me feel wanted then he would pull away and say he was afraid he was acting too needy. I perceived him as vulnerable. After a small break he would resume lavishing attention on me with praise and flattery. P spent hours of his time talking to me, cultivating trust and caring. I had never felt so special to someone.

    Some people would define this as grooming. We think of grooming only in regards to children and young people. It is done to grown adults as well.

    From all of this attention I found myself becoming conditioned to the positive feelings he generated in me, as if my brain was being wired to need him. Our interactions gave me bursts of what felt like great joy. Certainly I became used to his daily companionship as I was in a tough period of my life. I was in fact becoming used to the dopamine and endorphin bursts that his attention and flattery produced in me. I mistook these sensations for love.

    One day, P disappeared mid-conversation. He messaged me days later with a panicky type message, apparently from his son’s phone saying that he would never ‘blank’ me, that he would never end things with me, and that he had been quite ill and in hospital. Some time after this he told me he had a life-threatening disease that he was getting treatment for and that I was the light of his life and that he was so grateful for me. His words were that I was his “best Christmas gift ever.” I was really worried for him and felt a great loyalty and fondness for him.

    From Christmas of 2012 on, P continued to shower me with affection, effusive compliments, flirtation, called me gifted, gave me intense attention and seduction. He said things such as we were connected by silver threads, used words like kismet. Every morning he sent me a message that said: hello beautiful, day after day after day he loved me. His attention brought out feelings in me that I had never felt before. As the days went on I bonded with him deeply.

    I thought I could trust him.

    The conversations became increasingly intimate between the both of us because I began to desire him and I believed that he cared about me. I was not conscious that I was letting down my guard because the pace was leisurely. It seemed to me he was right when he said we had an unusual connection because we were both writers, and that we were two people perfectly suited to each other but that we were so far away and in complicated lives we could do nothing about it. We both agreed that we couldn’t understand the depth of our feelings, how could this happen online, from afar, but that we could not deny them.

    I was becoming hooked to him at this point. I was already so emotionally invested that for anyone to step in and tell me what was right and what was wrong would have fell on deaf ears.

    After months of interacting with him, racking up hours and hours of time, we both said we felt like a real couple. It was then that P began to ask to see more of me. At times he would jokingly ask me for photos. I did not oblige him of this but it did become a playful joke between us. He was not terribly pushy but as time passed he worked on slowly eroding my boundaries, while all the time professing how much he cared about me.


    (During this time I asked my husband for a trial separation due to the fact that I had met P and had feelings for him. I needed to have space to figure out what was happening. I was honest with my husband and this one thing saved my life. I believe this with all of my heart. My husband did become my lifeline.

    Of course my husband was devastated. The only thing I can say is that I will never make the mistakes I made again. But at the time I very much believed my marriage was irreparable and scarily, I was too far-gone in the tractor beam of the intensity of P who continued to reel me in.

    My husband did not give up on our marriage even though he knew that I was emotionally taken with P. My husband repeatedly warned me. He was worried about me, saying there was something wrong, that P was behaving deceitfully, keeping a big secret from his wife and why would he do this and what did this mean about P’s character?

    I was too lost in the bond to P at that time to admit my husband was right.)


    However, I did try. Just before Valentines, 2013 I began to struggle greatly with the intensity of my emotions and the moral nature of the relationship with P. I confided in him that I thought we should stop, that we should end the relationship but that I cared about him and always would. And I did love P. At least I believed that I did, very much. I was just incredibly aware that we could never really be together and it was tearing me apart.

    P accepted my request to end our relationship in February surprisingly well and with no debate. It seemed like it did not bother him at all. Within days I observed him on our shared writing site engaging in flirtatious behaviour with two other women writers on the site. It was agonizing and baffling for me to watch him appear to be moving on from me so easily. I don’t know if he did it to hurt me, or if he was oblivious to my feelings but I was so devastated that I impulsively deleted my account on the site, losing all my votes, and confusing my friends and followers.

    After I processed the deletion of my account for a day, righteous anger took over and I felt that it wasn’t fair for me to lose my writing support, so I returned to the site under a pseudonym as I did not want to interact with P. In doing so, I reconnected with the friends I had made there requesting privacy from them. During that reconnection I found out by complete accident that P had sent one of the women writers a Valentines poem via private message, specifically for her and that he had also commented on her blue eyes.

    I stayed away, under the radar, under the pseudonym for six weeks on the site, but one day I could not stand it anymore and I contacted P asking him why he did that. This was the second biggest mistake of my life, because he managed to convince me that it was innocent, meant nothing and I wanted to believe him so badly, that I chose to believe him. He then spent a month charming me again with extravagant praise, attention, love and flattery and seduction – until I was completely back under his control. I returned to the site under my former name and resumed my relationship with him.

    In essence the time apart from P, missing him made me even more emotionally bonded to him upon our return. We both spoke of how much loss we had felt without each other and that we realized it during the time apart. We wanted to make our relationship work in any way possible, for as long as possible, even from a far. The time apart had made our re-connection even stronger. This, I know now was due to fear and addiction.

    I was actually afraid of the pain that I had felt without him in my life.

    P began to push at my boundaries sexually in a casual yet relentless way. At times he would beg me for a nude picture. One day I did it. I sent him a fairly revealing but tasteful shot, without showing my face. I cannot explain why I did that. I am ashamed about this, obviously and all I can say is that after all the time spent with him, the personal/intimate depths of our conversations I felt safe with him. We had been so open and said so much to each other up to this point that P felt exactly the same as a boyfriend.

    Some days after he received the photo, he wrote a poem that basically said respectable girls would never do that, that is, send a man a revealing picture.

    He had begged me for the photo. He then shamed me for giving into him.

    This was the beginning of my descent, me losing control of my self, my body, my moral code, my everything. My inability to walk away from this man, the relationship we had, that was beginning to reveal its darkness, was beginning to torment me.

    As more time passed P became incredibly jealous and controlling of me. He wanted to control what I wrote, who I spoke with and how I spoke to people, esp. men he felt competitive with on the writers site.

    At the time P and I began a massive power struggle about a piece of writing I was working on. It was a short mystery about two women lovers. He was threatened by it because he said it would attract men who would come on to me sexually due to the lesbian content of the story. He threatened to break up with me. He insinuating I was trying to get men to pursue me and he said he couldn’t stand it. If I didn’t take the story down he didn’t think he could be with me. He became incredibly enraged with me as I tried to reason with him why I wanted to keep working on the story. I relented to him because I could not stand to see him so upset and I did not want to lose him. I took the story down.

    He continued to be angry afterwards, as if he needed to punish me. Shortly after I took it down P wrote fourteen consecutive comments on another woman’s poetry, as if he was trying to punish me, his actions saying, if you don’t behave the way I want, I WILL hurt you exactly where it hurts, that is play you against another writer and make you feel jealous. I believe that he found some sort of sick pleasure from that. I believe he felt he had to get me back for his feelings of jealousy. P used jealousy and threats of abandonment to control me.

    I was very, very distressed at this point. I cannot even describe it. I had planned a vacation to Cape Cod and when I got there I was so unstable during the trip that I hid in my room the whole week, distraught and crying. When I returned from the trip I tried to end my life. I walked to the lake in the middle of the night hoping to drown. My husband was there. He chased me and saved me.

    Shortly following these events, P telephoned me for the first time and profusely apologized for his jealous, controlling and petty behaviour. I forgave him and we reconciled. We began a calm period of loving, harmonious interactions. One evening P offered me a future-marriage – using a line from a sitcom. He said, if we are both single at a later date, Will you marry me?

    Two weeks following this declaration though, P began to systematically blank me out of his life. Even though we had been talking daily, at times for hours he began to avoid me completely. He wouldn’t answer messages I sent, if we picked a time to talk he would not show up, or, over and over again he said that he had to drive someone somewhere – one too many times which got quite ridiculous.

    This type of distancing was new. He had never done this before but the behaviour was obvious. He was slowly blanking me, just the thing he had said he would never do to me. When I asked what was happening he would deny he was doing anything and say (of course) he was just busy.

    I felt betrayed and incredibly bewildered. It was clear by his actions that he wanted nothing to do with me anymore but he wasn’t saying the words that he wanted to end our relationship. I believe that this was because he wanted me to do it so he could use it against me later without having to take any responsibility for his actions. I know this because later he did exactly that. He said, “You have always been the one who ended things.”

    I was devastated and scared of the pain that I knew I was going to feel once I wrote those words. I’ve never felt that way in my whole life in any break up that I’ve experienced. I spent weeks afterwards in bed with a flare up in my spine. I was in more emotional and physical pain than I have ever felt. I went to my doctor and physiotherapist weekly.

    I felt like he had used up the core of me, left me as merely an outer shell and threw me to the curb. The feeling of abandonment was excruciating. He had threatened it. He had done it. I was left to try and figure out everything.

    Again, when I ended it, he did not debate it and he did not contact me again. He just accepted it calmly and did not seem bothered.

    I wish I could understand my own drive to chase him down and fight for answers. The behaviour I exhibited was obviously self-destructive and irrational and obsessive. I can only explain it as someone trying very hard to understand something that was very painful and confusing and the act of someone who was entrenched in an emotionally abusive relationship.

    Six months later I did it again. I found myself contacting him and asking WHY!?

    And we got back into our relationship. I know this is sad, reprehensible and indicative of how low my self-esteem was at that time. I know it makes absolutely no sense. I also know that in the case of women trying to leave abusive relationships it takes on average, up to eight attempts before they are successful.

    I am working on forgiving myself for this irrational behaviour.

    The only thing that I can say is that I was emotionally addicted to him as much as someone is addicted to gambling. It was as if I were not just grieving the end of a relationship, but that I was actually detoxing from an addictive lifestyle. At the time it felt like I had a driven need to be with him, that he was somehow connected to my serotonin levels, that I associated happiness with getting attention from him. When I was with him I was high, and not with him I was so very low. He was my anguish while also being the relief from anguish, just like heroin, alcohol, slot machines. I was in addiction hell.

    I also did not know then that there are patterns to emotionally abusive relationships (esp. with disordered individuals who lack empathy) and they are cyclical. They involve an enamoring stage, a distancing stage and then a discard stage and that all of this creates trauma bonds in the victim.

    From my research into healing I now know that trauma bonds are incredibly difficult to break resulting in victims going back to unhealthy relationships. Trauma bonds begin when someone employs techniques such as extreme attention in the form of what is termed: “love-bombing.” This involves the use of elevated, intense trust building, words of love, seduction, romance until the receiver forms a bond with the person supplying it – in other words exactly what P had done to me. This is not unnatural when two people fall in love, normally, but the intensity and the intention of love bombing is different. First of all, it is completely a lie. It is a power game, a con and certainly not love.

    In these situations once the perpetrator has the victim hooked, they begin to remove the attention until they are fully bored and then they discard them. I noticed that once I was dependent on P, he would take the attention away in small amounts, only to re-supply it again at his will. He controlled the amounts supplied based on what he wanted. This is how he eroded my boundaries and controlled my behaviour.

    Emotionally manipulative people do this over and over again. It is also termed fractionation in seduction technique circles and it is a form of intermittent reinforcement, one of the strongest behavioural strategies that exist. It keeps the victim dependent and powerless and trauma bonded to the abuser. This is exactly how I was behaving. To others this appears as crazy and certainly people who knew what was going on, on my writers site lost great respect for me.

    I understood finally that I was truly addicted to him but I did not know if he had consciously orchestrated it or unconsciously. Either way I was locked in a trauma bond with him. I remember the feeling exactly of how desperately I wanted to be free of the pain involved with him but leaving seemed like an even more unbearable pain. I kept recalling our previous separation and I was afraid to feel that again. How trapped and scared I felt. It was truly a horrific time and I had many a day where I thought ending my life was the best alternative to the pain.

    Finally, in complete emotional turmoil, in September 2014 I began to see a therapist. This began the journey of me learning what was going on. I knew the relationship was killing me. I had to learn how to stop. I slowly but surely began to wake up.

    Unfortunately during this time were my biggest lows. I had let go of all of my personal boundaries. I was absolutely in every way P’s puppet. I was so convinced I loved him, I did the ultimate crazy thing. I suggested he and I meet to see if our connection/relationship would be truly plausible. He refused and I accepted this with a semblance of sadness and relief. I agreed with him and I understood. But asking that of him caused him to become angry with me and he froze me out for a week.

    When we finally communicated I knew it was really over. He was cold and rude but I had a new mantra, Do nothing. I willed myself to do nothing, which meant trying my hardest to let him go and not run to him and ask why or try to fix us.

    I wished him a good life and I began the process of healing, dealing with it now as what it was, abuse and addiction, whereas before I had believed I was fighting for love.

    I said the words good bye to P on November 27th 2014 and I finally meant them.


    But the writer’s site became problematic again, a trigger. Even after we ended it every once in a while P would post a poem. Because I was obsessed with understanding still, I would read it. Only I would know that it was about us and I’d begin to feel soft and warm for him.

    But I remained very firm in my conviction NOT to be drawn back in. I understood this was about saving my own life.

    One day he posted a poem about us that upset me and I did contact him. I was angry and told him to stop doing it. I was attempting to set a boundary to prevent him from emotionally sucking me back. I believe he could not handle my boundary.

    Following this exchange was when I really began to see the extent of what I define as evil behaviour on P’s part. He began to post pieces of writing that had narratives around seducing (loving and leaving) women online. The pieces were presented in a very arrogant, disregarding anyone’s feelings and disturbing tone. That is when I suspected he was completely lacking in empathy and most likely disordered.

    If P had one inkling of how much I cared about him, which he did, he would have known that making me believe he was seducing women online would shatter the idea I had about our whole relationship and nearly destroy me. I would then see everything he had said and done as a façade and only manipulation. He didn’t care. He wanted me to think that because he knew this would be the ultimate way to hurt me.

    I believe he did this because he had lost complete power over me and in that alone, he wanted me gone. This is the act of a true abuser. This is the stage that in extreme cases in real life, women who were trying to leave, and finally mean it, are extremely abused or even killed by their partners.

    When, again, I asked him why he was doing this his minimal response was this:

    ‘That is my online persona.’


    I am absolutely ashamed of myself for everything to do with this experience. I have spent many a day fearing I will never recover from the feelings it brings up in me. There are days I feel such great grief and anger I can barely cope. I feel like P stole from me, very personal things, things from my spirit and soul, my innocence, my trust in my own instincts. I know that I would never have shared the things I did with him had I known the cruelty he is capable of, and what his true intentions were. Everything about us was merely a pastime and a power game to him. He cleverly hid this from me but it was clear at the end.

    P has treated me worse than any human has ever treated me in my whole life. He exhibited self-serving, exploitative behaviour, what I now perceive as an insatiable gluttony to get what he wanted from me with no regard for my feelings, my heart, my spirit. He stole from ME. He stole from MY HUSBAND. He stole from MY SON by affecting the health of his mother.

    P betrays his own wife and family. What he does remains hidden from them.

    I came far too close to ending my life from the pain of my connection with him. There are days even now where I cannot get out of bed.

    This has in no way been a normal relationship or break up experience. Obviously what we shared was a flawed and doomed relationship by the nature of it being an affair and online. I know this but that is not what I am discussing. What is important here is what he did at the beginning, the middle and especially the end of the relationship. All of it involved severe emotional manipulation where someone used tactics of trust building and love mixed with threats of abandonment.

    He hooked me, he controlled me and then, in the end, he exhibited a perverse evil and desire to harm me. I have never experienced that before. For a year I have been exhausted, broken and obsessive in my need to understand and to heal from this. It feels like I experienced one of the ultimate’s in human betrayal.

    P could never give space for helping me understand what happened because he knows deep down what happened. He behaved terribly. One too many times he said to me, in his own defense, “I am a good man.” He did not convince me of this. No. I do not believe P is a good man.

    Good men do not behave the way he behaved, ever, not even once but NPD’s and people on the psychopathy spectrum do.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Thank you for sharing your very powerful story, Lisa. What they do is indeed the ultimate betrayal. To those of us with a heart and soul, it’s deeply shocking and disturbing.

      The Unique and Powerful Harm of Betrayal

      1. lisa

        Thank you Adelyn.
        Going to read your link.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          You’re welcome. The post on Moral Injury might be helpful as well.

    2. Jillian

      I’m so sorry this happened to you. I could have written this. The same thing happened to me, only in a different online forum/venue. Unbelievable…it’s devastating. Know that you’re not alone and it’s not your fault. Only those who have brushed with this insidious evil can comprehend the profound, lasting traumatic effects. I wish I could talk to you.

    3. Jensen

      Wow, this story is incredibly similar to mine. The grooming the love bombing the off and on and the betrayal bond, the marriage and the affair. Rationally I cant believe I even got so drawn into it. Ten years, (off and on) he is married with a family and I also have all that moral guilt to deal with. I am more often the one who reaches out via text to him… and am often crushed but then he can be so nice and so much fun. It is about power and control and I dont think he has any remorse or empathy . He was a catalyst to the end of my marriage as well. The rational part of me can see everything about him and warning bells go off and went off regularly right from the start . But the love bombing hooked me in. And then the distancing and coming back and forth. Trauma Bond. I see this P around the area I live as we live less than 1 km apart and catch same public transport. I start feeling good and then get a random message from him. I know I need to cut him out of my life, not respond , smile or be friendly etc to him.. but I am always drawn back and am finding myself hating that I am not strong enough. I dont even want to spend my energy and thoughts on him any more. THEN , I miss him. As it was a clandestine affair I dont have any one to speak to and still feel a huge amount of shame for even being involved with a married man. He even went as far as going on an online porn hook up site (he is heavily addicted to porn) and gave my number out to a random stranger. God, there is so much more confusing emotions and depth to this story . He made it clear he was seeing others and playing the entire way through, and it was only a sexual affair. He is an amazing liar and seems to get enjoyment out of being a predator. Being proud of it almost. I think he knows he is a predator but just doesn’t care. Like you this has no way been a normal relationship or breakup and I cant find closure . I know I MUST stop all contact but I find myself reaching out and regret it and feel sick after. Moving forward is so difficult . How do I stop allowing this P into my thoughts and be strong enough to hate this guy. Help

      1. Adelyn Birch

        I don’t think he has any remorse or empathy, either, and I’m sorry you’ve had this ongoing exploitation in your life! It’s definitely a trauma bond, Jensen. Ironically, those bonds are the strongest. You won’t be able to “stop allowing him into your thoughts” (that takes time away from him), so what you need to do is to stop ACTING on those thoughts. There’s a reason you keep sabotaging yourself by acting against your own best interest. It’s the same reason a person whose life is being ruined by alcohol–and desperately wants to stop drinking–keeps doing it anyway: Addiction. It’s the same cycle–craving, dependence and withdrawal, caused by neurochemistry (dopamine and oxytocin). Your “decision” to keep seeing him isn’t really a decision at all; it’s an addictive response to the relationship. This is NOT a reflection of personal weakness; it’s your brain’s response to a cycle of a mixture of love and abuse. It’s exactly that cycle that creates the addiction, and it’s a powerful manipulation tactic known as intermittent reinforcement. Beside addiction, there’s also an emotional component to it. You may know the logical thing to do is to stop seeing him, but your emotions are at odds with that logic–and given the choice, our brains go with emotion over logic. This article by Rhonda Freeman, a neuropsychologist, explains it well:
        The Spellbinding Bond to Narcissists and Psychopaths – What’s Happening in the Brain? A better understanding of what you’re dealing with can help you, Jensen. Best of luck to you xo

        1. jenson

          Thank you so much for listening and caring and understanding. Your website is helping me so much .

          1. Adelyn Birch

            You’re welcome, Jenson! I’m so glad it helps. Please take good care of yourself.

            1. Jenson

              Im trying to not act on my thoughts as you suggested and just let it be that i will have the thoughts but that is all they are. I saw him today flirting with (possibly) his next victim today … It wasn’t easy, and I was surprised that I felt so angry and what i think is jealousy. I am resisting the temptation and urge to do anything . As you mentioned I WILL NOT ACT on them. My first reaction is to somehow let his wife know… but then thats all about me just wanting to hurt him and stop his carnage, and really if I look at my motivation for that then its not very nice for anyone and completely selfish. Time to read more on your site just to help me get through this bump.

              1. Adelyn Birch

                Jenson, it’s great that you didn’t act on that impulse! Seeing him makes it more difficult, though–is there any way to avoid him for several months, or even just a few? Ah, I remember wanting to tell his wife… I threatened him a couple of times, and he said “It wouldn’t do any good. She’d never leave me.” and I’d say, “Yeah, but she’d make your life MISERABLE for a couple of months…” He agreed. BUT I NEVER DID IT. For several reasons, but also because I didn’t think it would accomplish anything. We were together 5 or 6 nights a week, so it seemed she didn’t care that he was never home. I believe she already knew. With serial cheaters like him, most wives catch on. He was a real scoundrel–didn’t wear a wedding ring or give any hint he was married. By the time I figured it out, I was too hooked to walk away.

                Anyway… Rhonda Freeman, PhD, has written an article in perfect time for your questions! You can read it here: WHY NO CONTACT, INTENTIONAL DETACHMENT, AND SUPPORT HELP BREAK THE TRAUMA BOND.

              2. Jenson

                Once again thank you . And no I am not going to ACT on those impulses. Thanks for understanding and not slamming me for being involved with a married man.

              3. Adelyn Birch

                Some psychopaths are married, and all of them who are continue to prey on others. Something that astounded me when I first reached out for support was the married women claiming their husbands were psychopaths… and then blaming their husband’s victims for being “homewreckers.” I left the forums after that, and didn’t look back. This is a safe zone for victims of married psychopaths.

                Glad to hear you aren’t going to act on those impulses. Stay strong and be well, Jenson xo

              4. Jennson

                An update … the guy who was texting me turned out to be him again.. pretending to be someone else. In the end once I absolutely knew for sure, and on his birthday I sent him back a text calling him out . Wished him by real name happy birthday and said no more lies and no more hiding . He has gone now. But did come and sit next to me on the transport to work last week. This week has been a struggle again.. but I will not act … and that in itself is a struggle for me as well. He just liked to mess with my head and heart . It’s been 6 months … why am I still hurting and tempted .

              5. Adelyn Birch

                Jennson, he is messing with your head and heart, and I’m sorry to hear it. Six months is still a very tender stage, and only the beginning of healing from this kind of exploitation. That’s why you’re still hurting, and still tempted. To understand more about why you’re tempted to go back to him (I’m not saying that you actually would), please read The Spellbinding Bond to Narcissists and Psychopaths – What’s Happening in the Brain? I hope it helps, and I wish you the best xo

  4. baby gia

    you say it doesn’t matter if you are in the beginning the middle or the end. is there ever an end or are they in your DNA forever. I will forever be looking over my shoulder or out of my window in the middle of the night. I am definitely no contact and soon add my story here. this site has taught me so much and has helped me though. thankyou

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Believe it or not, there is an end. I clearly remember that seeming impossible at the time, but it’s not. It takes a while. It’s been almost three years for me now, and I’d say it took two entire years to get to “the end,” that point where I’d detached emotionally from the P and replaced feeling devastated with feeling stronger and better than ever.

      I’m looking forward to hearing your story, whenever you feel like writing it.

      1. tammy love

        when a person does everything they told you not to do dose it or wants you in bed when they go 2 bed wont let me have no money and keeps my bank card wont let me hang out by myself with a girlfriend wont let me buy things with my own money and doesnt cost more than $8.00 and arguues with me about buying coffee that last me up to 3 to 4 months and does what he wants when he wants gets mad when I get upset with them because I dont want to have sex when he wants it.Am I being controled. Becase I feel like a maid in my own home and I feel like I have no privacy.Am I being controlled.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          YES, YOU ARE BEING CONTROLLED. Get away from this abusive asshole at once. Today. Unless you want to live in a prison, under a microscope, without any freedom, without any rights, while you slowly lose yourself—your self-worth, your confidence, your health and your spirit. Best of luck to you, Tammy.

      2. stripped

        I’m wondering about the “two years.” I took me two years as well and I’ve read that lots of times. Why is it that it takes so long for the crying to stop when the brain clearly knows that leaving was a good thing? And why does the heart finally wise up and lighten up after around two years? I wonder if there is some psychological or chemical explanation for that. I realize that some grief continues in the background, but after two years, it seems many victims make a huge leap forward in their healing. For me, after the classic encounter of empath meets psychopath, it took two years for my self empathy to exceed the empathy I had previously had towards him. As soon as the balance tipped, it all got so much easier to understand and let go of.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          Yes, there is a chemical and psychological explanation, Stripped. To answer your questions, please read this article by Rhonda Freeman, PhD, a neuropsychologist who helps abuse survivors understand their experience: The Spellbinding Bond to Narcissists and Psychopaths – What’s Happening in the Brain?

          It took me just about two years to make that huge leap–that seems to be the average–and then another year to finish the job.Good insight about your self-empathy exceeding empathy for him. Many of us tended to put others first. It’s a nice concept, but it fails miserably with disordered individuals. It can fail with anyone if your needs aren’t being met.

          1. Stronger

            Adelyn, it is such a relief to me to realise that I’m being too hard on myself to think that I should be ‘over it’ by now. I’m just over a year no contact and it’s still so hard and exhausting.

            It was an affair and I’m also filled with shame and self-loathing. Yet on the rare occasion that we cross paths or when I’m aware that he’s trying to make contact, I realise that I’m still really vulnerable. This despite now seeing what a genuine, caring man I’m married to who I love with all my heart.

            I can’t understand why the P still occupies so much of my mind and why I still mourn the loss of that very flawed relationship.

            This site is such a help – thank you!

            1. Adelyn Birch

              I’m sorry you’re still suffering. I know what it’s like when they take up so much of your mind, and wanting it to stop. It takes a while and happens gradually. Unfortunately, knowing the truth about them isn’t enough. Our brains are wired to go with emotion over logic (and so are our hearts).

              I wrote a post for readers who were married or were victimized by someone who was. Don’t konw if you saw it:SAFE ZONE for Victims of Married Psychopaths

      3. Moira

        Hi, not really sure where to post some of my story…so here goes. I am currently divorcing a psychopath (& his mother). I have 2 young children with him & he still lives in a flat in this same house. He has become very interested in t children all of a sudden but I know it is all false. Him & his mother refuse to pay me my salary from t family business I suppose to punish me for filing for divorce. I have a lawyer & I trust her to get us fair maintenance. Long story short…I am so grateful that I am finally out of denial after a 7 year marriage from hell. I am learning every day about psychopaths/sociopaths & narcissists. I have no contact with t mother-in-law & minimal w P.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          Moira, I’m so sorry your marriage turned out like this. Prepare yourself for what may come by looking at the resources listed in the sidebar, under HIGH-CONFLICT PARTNER/ EX? and PARENTAL ALIENATION. I wish you and your children all the best as you go through your divorce xo

  5. Nelson

    I started dating a psychopath a little more than two years ago, the summer when I was 18 and she was 17. We met through a mutual friend, and she rushed the relationship while I wanted to take it slow. For the longest time I considered that one of the best summers of my life because of how euphoric she made it all out to be. I stopped hanging out with pretty much all of my friends, and started neglecting my family, all the while just spending more and more time with her.

    Then I started college at a university about an hour and a half away from where I live, and she started her senior year of high school. What I didn’t know was she had already reeled me in. Things were fine at first, we thought we could make it work for a year until she graduated. But everything changed about midway through the semester. She became distant, and never wanted to talk anymore. But I had been home to see her every damn weekend and most Wednesdays we met inbetween to eat and do other things. She blamed me for our relationship being so awful. She said it was my fault we were so far apart because I went to a school an hour and a half away, when there was a community college I could be going to about 30 minutes from where she lived. I tried to explain to her I made the decision to go there months before I even met her. She didn’t care.

    Then I would finally make it home for the weekend and things would be fine. Until Sunday night. When it was time for me to leave she would cry and pitch fits, not letting me leave until 1 AM or later, with an hour and a half drive to my dorm and an 8 AM class. She didn’t care. It was all about her.

    Then her crying and sobbing on Sunday nights got worse. She began to start fights and try to leave me over stupid things, but because she knew how much I cared for her she knew I wouldn’t leave until I “fixed things”, which involved sitting there telling her how amazing she was and how ugly, stupid, and annoying any girl I had ever been with in my past was.

    During the week, all I did was lay in my dorm and wait for her to call. I pretty much had 2 friends my whole freshman year of college: my roommate and my cousin who lived in the area. This was strange for me because in high school I was a very sociable person. (I played varsity football, basketball, and baseball, and received an academic scholarship to the university I attend). She completely changed who I was. I hated myself but I loved her. I had no idea that there were people like her in the world. (A small fun fact: there were 34 weekends in the two semesters I dated her while I was at school. I went home to see her all but 2 of those. That’s over 140 miles round trip 32 times.)

    My dad finally intervened the summer after my freshman year. He told me he would kick me out and never help me out financially again unless I ended it with her. I knew he was right, but I just couldn’t explain the hurt of when I tried to leave her and he and the rest of my friends and family just could NOT understand. I finally left her, butLook.. I was gonna go easy on you not to hurt your feelings, but… I’m only going to get….. this one chance. I went into a rampant alcoholic stage, only at the age of 19. Things started to get better and I started getting off the bottle until (at this point it had been about four months since I had talked to/seen her) we got back in contact. A stupid and life changing mistake that was.

    We dated in secret until February of this year, until I found a strong core of new friends who helped me end it. She had actually taken an attempt at my life, which just totally blew my mind. I realized she was mentally sick and unhealable. I told my dad of our secrecy and he was pretty pissed, but understood. I was finally done with her for good.

    Until she came to me a month later with a signed piece of paper from a doctor saying she was 2 months pregnant. “I thought you said you were on the pill!! What the hell?! How did this happen?” “I lied.”
    Such a simple, yet life changing statement.

    My daughter is almost a month old now. I am still not with her, and she is engaged to some other poor soul now. We are about to start an extreme custody battle. I feel like I’ve been through the hell of a lifetime, but the hell has only just began. It’s just so much to handle, yet I do my best to stay positive. How can I deal with all this? And by the way, I’m 20 now and still in college. So I’m cursed to make that Godforsaken drive every other weekend to see my little girl, with the psychopath who changed my life.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Thank you for telling your story, Nelson. It’s an especially difficult situation when children are involved. I wish you all the best.

  6. Anabelle

    I met a guy at work. Handsome I thought, smart and a bit sarcastic, extremely well mannered. I felt like i was 16 years old again ( I am 28 now), completely mesmerized. I look good ( no false modesty here) but I felt I was a shadow compared to him. Things evolved pretty quickly and in no time I found myself completely in love, living just to get home to see him. Elegant, funny, charming, I felt truly blessed. He introduced me to all his friends and family, and was impeccable with my friends.

    However, my instincts were screaming “this is too good to be true’ and “run.” I had no reasons to believe this. His behavior was so perfect that it looked controlled, learnt, fake, no awkwardness and no true emotions, even if I couldn’t see this at that point. I was constantly lying to myself, saying he was introvert and maybe he will open up to me. He didn’t share things from his past relationships out of respect for our relationship, I knew nothing deep about him, that made me close myself to him as well and keep sharing mundane things and talks, even that made me feel so bad. I was looking for a deeper connection that I couldn’t have. We were talking marriage, kids!

    I was so blinded and deep into this thing. I thought that maybe at some point he would open up. I sensed sarcasm and sometimes I felt that he was really mean, I mean truly mean and enjoying this. I couldn’t even look him in his eyes because I felt some shiver running through me, I thought it was because I was in love (stupid). I have never heard him saying he misses somebody, I don’t know…

    I thought he was intelligent, but I have discovered that not so much, he has big plans but they are completely unrealistic because I don’t believe he has the capacity to fulfill them.

    Anyway, he told me one night out of the blue that we are done, that he never loved me and to come the next day to collect my things. I couldn’t even believe it, the man of my dreams, the love of my life, leaving me like this. I tried to talk to him but all I received were humiliations and his true face that I couldn’t see before. I was in complete medical shock for five days, traumatized, panic attacks, anxiety, fear, on the edge of craziness, obsessive thought. Every second was a fight. I can’t believe this happened to me, I felt like I was going crazy.

    All the best and support to everybody here!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I’m sorry this happened to you, Annabelle. Thank you for sharing your story.

  7. sue

    Hello, Am unsure as to how I add my story to this page. Do I leave it here in the reply/comments section? Thank you.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi Sue. Yes, please leave it in a comment.

  8. Metanoia

    I met him at school, he claimed to have an illness – it hard was not to feel sorry for him because he looked so helpless and weak. Everyone at school, myself included, bent over backwards to meet all of his needs and kiss his ass. He was a master puppeteer who could easily make anyone do whatever he wanted.

    I wasn’t planning on becoming friends with him, but somehow we became really good friends. (he was gay so there was no romantic connection) but I did love him the way you would love a brother.

    Looking back on my encounters with him, all the signs of psychopathy and narcissism were there. He always told grandiose stories of his amazing accomplishments, he name-dropped celebrities and other well-known people in nearly every conversation, he loved to brag about giving to charities and flaunt his status and wealth. He loved being the center of attention. If it weren’t for his alleged illness, I probably wouldn’t have tolerated this kind of obnoxious behavior but because he seemed so sad and weak I guess I let it slide. His illness made him seem harmless, and I guess that’s why it was so easy for me to let my guard down.

    (I should also mention that whether or not his illness was real doesn’t matter to me, because I know by now that having any type of illness is not an excuse to act like an asshole and use your friends as supply to feed your ego. I’ve known many people with proven illnesses and diseases who don’t treat their friends or family like shit).

    Somehow he ended up telling me about a business he was starting, and he wanted me to be a part of it because of how smart and talented he thought I was (he always showered me with compliments, which made me feel good) I agreed to work for him and help him any way I could to make his dream of owning a business come true. I honestly wanted to help him because despite his health problems, I truly believed in him and I wanted to see him become successful.

    But it wasn’t long before I basically became his slave. His company hadn’t even opened yet, there was no physical building, no products, no evidence of a company whatsoever. He would text me, all day and night telling me all the things he needed from me. I agreed, I went along with it for a while because he made me feel guilty if I didn’t do what he wanted. He even manipulated me into giving him my personal info, which could have easily been used for identity theft. But I was so blinded by his alleged illness and he had been so kind to me in the past, I didn’t think I needed to question him.

    But one night, his demands become so unrealistic and ridiculous that I finally had to draw a line, and that’s when his mask came off.

    Late one night, he sent me a text message, the text was in all capital letters and he didn’t ask, but rather he demanded that I pay him thousands and thousands of dollars. When I simply asked why and what he needed the money for, he became irritated and gave me a vague answer and only said it was for his “company”. Even if he had given me a good answer, I still wouldn’t have given him the money. So I told him in the most polite way possible that I wasn’t giving him any money, and I also told him that I no longer wanted to be a part of the company – and that I just wanted to go back to being friends.

    This made him even more angry and he continued to harass me via text throughout the rest of the night. I just thought he as in a bad mood and he would be over it the next day, so I turned my phone off and went to sleep. When I woke up the next morning at 8 AM and turned my phone on, he was STILL sending me texts, he hadn’t slept at all the night before! He kept asking why I wasn’t replying to him.

    I didn’t know what to do, and I felt bad for ignoring him, so I simply said, “Thank you for understanding and allowing me to leave the company.” I thought by saying this, it would calm him down because he knew I wasn’t ignoring him.

    I was wrong – because by replying to his irrational text messages just made his anger even worse. At this point, he was insulting me and threatening me. He called me “crazy” and basically implied that I was a bad person who betrayed him. He also tried scaring me by saying that I needed to sign documents if I wanted to leave the company, which I knew was complete B.S because I had never signed any documents in the first place, and at this point it was clear that the “company” wasn’t real.

    Even though deep down, I knew that everything he said was false, it really messed me up mentally that he called me crazy because it made me question if I really was the bad guy, if I should feel bad for not giving into his demands. Being called crazy made me doubt my own reality, and wonder if I should accept his reality instead. This is a common manipulation tactic known as gas-lighting.

    I don’t even know how to describe the way I felt after my experience. The feeling of caring for and loving someone so much, and to think that they feel the same way only to have them completely discard you like yesterday’s trash is a feeling that I don’t think there is a sufficient description for. Idealizing, devaluing, and discarding is typical psychopathic behavior that I can now see that they do to everyone.

    During this time, I was so confused that I did research to try and piece together what the hell had just happened to me. By doing research on the psychopath I found out that he had a fraudulent business in the past, which had been written about on the website Ripoff Report and other websites. I also found out he had been accused of other crimes. It became clear to me that I had been involved with a scam artist.

    I’m still working on my confidence but one thing I do know is that, no matter what, I do have self worth as a human being and no one should ever treat me otherwise. One of the things I try to remember is that, if I had a son or daughter, and if someone treats me in a way that I would never want my hypothetical son or daughter to be treated, then I immediately walk away from that person.

    Trying to maintain a relationship with a psychopath, or any other unstable personality is doomed from the start. The fact that these kind of relationships always end in flames is not our fault. I have relationships in my life that I’ve maintained for over 10 years. I can have long-term healthy relationships if I want. My friendship with the psychopath didn’t work out because his relationships never work out with anyone. I’m not the problem. He is.

    It took a long time for me see things for how they really were, and to see that I was an innocent victim who was just trying to help a friend out and that I never agreed to be manipulated. I had a right so say ‘no’ and I had a right to not give the psychopath any of my money and I had a right to walk away from his scam of a company. No one should ever make you feel like you don’t have any basic human rights. It took me a long time to see that the way he treated me, is a way that no human being should ever be treated.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Thank you for telling your story. A “relationship” with a seemingly close friend can be just as devastating as any other.

      Read more about Metanoia’s story here:

    2. Lauren

      I was so glad to read your story because I feel like abusive relationships with psychopathic best friends are often overlooked even though they often feel the same as though it was romantic. I recently ended a relationship with my psychopathic best friend (also gay), but I have a hard time describing to people why we don’t talk anymore because it honestly feels like a break up and people can’t understand that feeling between friends. Thanks for sharing your story! It’s nice to know that while there seems to be all the answers for psychopathic romantic partners, it’s possible to be manipulated and torn apart even by a “friend”.

      1. Adelyn Birch

        Hi Lauren. I’m sorry to hear of what happened with your friend. Just about everything on this site applies to any kind of interpersonal relationship, but it would be helpful to have more information and support specifically for those victimized in friendships. Maybe you should consider starting a website?

  9. Mephie

    We met in a bar. I know. I know. A bar you say. Can I be any more ridiculous? I like to say it was a restaurant. One of those awful, generic fern bar restaurants.

    But technically we were both there at the bar of said restaurant.

    He was cute in a nerdy way. He was playing the trivia game. Self deprecating, I thought, as his user name was “ISuck”

    We were flirting across the bar and he stood up and walked away. I thought he was leaving so I told him he shouldn’t leave and to come sit by me. He did. We discussed everything. And the fact that we were so compatible. Soul mates. The first night we met! Ridiculous now that I think back on it.

    We chatted the rest of the night. I got in his car and we went to a nice park by the river. I ran through some sprinklers because it was August and I was hot. He declared me the coolest chick he had ever met. It was a romantic, heady night. Like in all of those damn romantic movies.

    It doesn’t matter why I continued seeing him. I was smitten. After that night, we spent every day together. He moved in after two months. He actually moved out once. I was devastated. In hindsight, which is about as useful as closing the barn door after the cows have escaped, I probably should have just cut him loose. But I digress.

    I didn’t. I took him back. And we resumed our now realized sham of a relationship, I, ignoring all of the red flags, got married to him and procreated. What the hell.

    He was as frequently on travel. our marriage probably wouldn’t have lasted 14 years if he had been home the whole time. But he either was travelling 90% of the time or deployed in the army.

    I stupidly agreed to become a stay-at-home mom. It was the biggest mistake so far of my life. I was wholly dependent on him for support.

    He was controlling. Manipulative. Angry a lot of the time. But there were the moments of happiness that kept me going.

    He isolated me from my family and friends. He once took away my laptop so I couldn’t communicate with anyone. I know it sounds crazy that an adult woman could have her electronic devices taken away. As if I’m a child on punishment. I can’t explain it. I wish I could.

    But I went along with all of his demands. Just to keep the peace. The fights were so exhausting. The calls to the police (by him) saying I was the abuser.

    The times he was committed to mental institutions for psych holds by various people. The military. The police.

    The damage done to my children.

    I blame myself for all of this.

    I should have known better. I should have cut and run. I should have been alone and financially unstable instead.

    Out finances weren’t that great, anyway. He was a big spender. I have more money now that we are divorced than I ever did. But again. Hindsight.

    The day I kicked him out of the house was preceded by the worst abuse I had endured so far. We fought over the weekend. He was yelling and screaming as usual. He threatened to kill himself with pills and booze and tried to leave after having taken an entire bottle of valium.

    I tried to stop him. Take his keys away. He threatened me and tried to take his keys back and then threw me down the stairs and started choking me. I couldn’t breathe. My eight-year-old daughter was trying to pull him off me. It was a nightmare.

    The next day I told him to leave. I called the police that night and the following day. I took out a restraining order.

    He showed up at our house a week later aftr he git out of the mental ward with presents for the children and flowers for me. As if this was just a normal spat. There was nothing normal about our relationship. Ever. It was only the illusion of normalcy.

    This is painful for me to write. I haven’t thought about this in a long time. It’s been two years and still the memory is burned into my brain.

    I am now divorced. But he continues to try to manipulate me through my children.

    And I hate him. The father of my children. The children, Who have now been roped in by him to continue to abuse me. It is heartbreaking. The two people in my life who I wanted to spend so much time with. The two people who I thought were my best friends. My children. They are his tools for continued abuse.

    I deserve so much more. And I have no idea how to counteract my ex’s ability to manipulate my children. And me. Even remotely.

    What makes me more upset than anything is that my good friends don’t understand. He didn’t beat me repeatedly. He didn’t hurt me physically, for the most part. I should just shake it off.

    Well. I can’t.

    I am tired of repeating myself on this point. But I will do so until the end of my days. Because I feel I am a good person. Flawed, yes, but ultimately a kind and understanding person, willing to give all of me to a deserving person.

    I WAS abused. I don’t care that others don’t understand this. No, I didn’t go to the hospital. But yes, I am a survivor. I don’t understand my need to have others who care about me understand. Maybe I don’t need to. But yet I do.

    And don’t tell me to forgive. Ever.

    I will never forgive him. Maybe forgiveness is the route to healing. However, perhaps we are talking about forgiving the wrong person. To get to healing our devastated psyche, maybe the person we need to forgive in an abusive relationship is ourselves.

    I need to forgive myself for allowing me to have bought into the manipulation in the first place.

    I need to forgive myself for being a total idiot.

    I need to forgive myself for the mistakes I made by engaging the psychopath. For making excuses for the psychopath. For not setting boundaries. For not putting an end to the madness for so long.

    I need to understand why, being a relatively smart person, why I let the madness and degradation and abuse go on for so long. What was I thinking?

    I want to forgive myself for allowing myself to be sucked into the false hope of love. Love is a lie in an abusive relationship. Love is not present. Only the allusion of love. Because I was desperate to have the kind of love I dreamed about.

    I need to forgive myself for the hope I had that allowed my abuser to take advantage of that desperate hope.

    I am not there yet. But I have to believe that severing my ties with my abuser is a good first start to healing.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I know just what you mean when you say “what makes me more upset than anything is that my good friends don’t understand.” Your need to be understood by those close to you is normal. When they don’t understand we feel unheard and invalidated, and of course it’s not possible for others to be empathetic or supportive if they don’t understand what we experienced. The best thing is to find others who’ve experienced the same thing, and a therapist who understands abusive relationships can be valuable. Try finding a support group in your area, maybe at your local domestic violence organization. Also, in the sidebar there’s a category titled “PARENTAL ALIENATION.” You might find something helpful within those links. Thank you for sharing your story, Mephie. All the best to you.

    2. Moira

      Hi, I totally relate to almost everything you said. I am currently divorcing t psycho after 7 years of marriage. We have 2 small children & they still spend time with him & is mother who is also a very toxic person & manipulative & controlling. The last straw happened for me about 3 months ago when he threw me on t ground in front of our children. I made a case if assault with t police. He is such a disgusting human being ….no, not human – a reptile really. Now he has become suddenly “the world’s best dad”. I makes me sick to see how he acts with t children because I know it is all a facade. I am just grateful I see him for what he is…an abusive arsehole who has used his mental illness as an excuse for deplorable behaviour. I am not proud of the way I used to scream at him & he also once called t police saying I abused him. He is such a liar. I believe my children & I will be free of both t psycho & his mother. They are both black holes …even his brother said this too. I am maintaining no contact w t mother-in-law & minimal with him. Like you I am also financially dependent which made me a sitting duck. I endevour to get myself to a point of self- sufficiency asap. Thanks for letting me share. I hope my children won’t be alienated from me. It would break my heart. Even so I think they will eventually also see their father & grandmother for t sick toxic people they really are. And as I am writing this it seems so crazy but I know people here understand what I am talking about.

      1. Adelyn Birch

        Moira, people here do understand what you’re going through. I’m sorry you have to deal with all of this! I hope you’ll be self-sufficient and on your own in the near future. Come back and let me know how you’re doing, OK?

        Backed Into an Emotional Corner

  10. Mephie

    Thank you, Adelyn.

    I struggle with my loved ones not understanding. I need to go to others, like my therapist, to get that validation I guess I wish I could get that validation from my friends, as well. But I can’t. So it’s frustrating. I feel like they should understand, I guess.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      You’re welcome. I also felt they ‘should’ understand, but ultimately I had to accept the reality that they didn’t. I realized it was just very frustrating and futile, and my energy was much better used finding people who would understand.

  11. stacey

    I’ve gone out with quite a few personality-disordered men. Even though each of them was destructive in his own way, Jake(not his real name) stood out in his own unique way.

    We met at a blood bank that I used to work at. I was the one who took his medical history and his first blood donation. Donors were required to wait 6 weeks between donations but Jake started showing up several times a week requesting to see me. He was a very good-looking, recently-divorced guy who looked like a blonde version of the country singer Clint Black-had the cowboy boots and hat to match. He was always very complementary of my looks and always had nice things to say about me. Being somewhat insecure at the time, I relished all the compliments. They made me feel really good. It was really sad to admit that my fragile self esteem relied so heavily on some man telling me how pretty I was…..but I’ve come a long way since then.

    Despite his good looks and his charming, well-dressed & well-put-together persona, something about him just didn’t seem quite right. I was still at that stage in my life where deep down I knew it was a snake but I still wanted to pick it up and play with it(you’ve probably heard of the snake analogy before). He probably asked me out about 5 times before I said yes. I had mistaken my caution & intuition for being judgemental and decided to give him a chance. The date was on.

    The first date he took me out for a steak dinner which was nice. We went to a movie afterward. Nothing physical happened. In fact, nothing physical ever happened the entire month we went out. It was kind of boring but I’m not one to make snap judgements on the first date. After that first date, he kept calling and calling. He said he really wanted a chance to get to know me some more. He told me I was sweet, pretty, etc. I thought to myself “Wow! This good-looking guy really likes me!” I was impressed and flattered by his persistence. The next date was also on!

    The following weekend, he met me at a Mexican restaurant and later on we went to see a movie. The dinner conversation was very pleasant and the movie was good. Afterwards, he took me riding around town and this was when I began to notice that conversations with him were really very one-sided. He talked a lot about his job, his ex, his kids, his life, etc. for hours! That was all find and dandy but whenever I tried to get a word in about myself, his eyes would glaze over and he would abruptly change the subject & bring the conversation back to himself. It was really weird! I just chalked it up to him being recently divorced and needing to vent. After he dropped me off, I wondered whether I would hear from him again. I did. We went out on several more dates which were basically no different than the first two. I guess I kept going out with him because I was hoping that sooner or later the real Jake would emerge-you know the sensitive, kind, vulnerable man that I was so sure was laying beneath the surface.

    On our last date, we decided I would meet him at his house. That was the first time I had been there. He lived out in the country and I had misjudged how long the trip would take. I arrived about 30 minutes early and as I approached the front door, I could smell the faint but distinct aroma of pot. I knocked on the door several times. It took him a while to answer since he had heavy metal blasting on the stereo. I thought that was unusual-I had always assumed he was a country music kind of guy but……oh well.

    He answered the door a few minutes later and seemed a little irritated. Wanted to know why I was there so early. He invited me in and went to the back to finish doing God-knows-what. I noticed smoke coming out from behind the microwave and yelled out that I thought his microwave was on fire. He came back in to the kitchen with a sheepish look on his face. He reached behind the microwave and pulled out a still smoldering marijuana joint he thought he had put out. He had thrown it behind the microwave when he came to answer the door. That cat was now out of the bag.

    So anyway, he took me back into town for dinner. We were at an intersection stoplight and he said “Well, now you know my secret!” He then proceeds to light up another joint while at the stoplight which also happened to be across the street from the police department. While eating at the restaurant, he continued to talk about himself and only himself the entire time-never once asking about me. This is when he began to morph into Mr. Hyde- although his Mr. Jekyll wasn’t all that great either. He constantly looked down his nose at me as if he was sizing me up-looking at me as if I was a disgusting piece of trash. The look of contempt that began creeping up on the side of his mouth was becoming more and more obvious by the second until it developed into a full blown Billy Idol-style sneer.

    Anyway, after dinner, we went back to his house to watch a DVD. I sat on one end of the couch and he sat on the other. Periodically, I would catch him looking me up and down with a look of disgust on his face. This was a man who just a few days ago was telling me how nice and pretty I was and now he was sizing me up like I was crap. After the movie was when things really started to go south. He started telling me-more like announcing-that he always knew after about a month of dating whether a woman was the right one for him and that I just didn’t cut-the-mustard. Ouch! Then he tells me that no woman could ever compare to his ex wife. Double ouch! He then goes on and on about how beautiful his ex was, what a great cook she was, and etc. He said no other woman could hold a candle to her. He raved about her beauty and said that next to her I was only just attractive. I was absolutely horrified and stunned! I felt tears come to my eyes. He them asks me to leave because he had to get up early to go out of town for work the next day. I walk outside to go to my car and this poor, stray dog walks up to me from the road. I bend down to pet and talk to the dog all the while trying to hide my tears. He yells at me from the front door “Would you please leave!” I left and bawled the entire trip home. I knew he was a lost cause.

    A few days later, he calls me from his job site out of town, apologizing profusely for the way he acted, blaming it all on his recent divorce. He told me he still wanted to be friends. I can’t believe I was okay with that after the way he acted. Our contact, from that point forward, was strictly on the telephone. After a few months of one-sided phone conversations, I decided that I didn’t even want that. A little distance and clarity showed me I didn’t even want to be friends with him. I stopped taking his calls.

    Shortly after that, he came back into town. I was off work one day when I got a call from one of my co-workers telling me to come to the blood center because they had a confrontation with “that guy you had been dating.” Turns out Jake was waiting out in the parking lot before they opened in the morning. He came in claiming he wanted to donate blood but he really was looking for me. He attempted to donate blood so his real reason for coming in wouldn’t look so obvious. He got angry with my co-worker, who was taking his donation, and ripped the needle out of his arm. He then demanded to know where I was at and cussed out the staff when they asked him to leave. He then proceeds to knock down stacks of pamphlets on one of the display tables and rips a telephone out of the wall. He tells one of my co-workers “You tell Stacey that I will find her and she will pay for not calling me back!” All of this was coming from a man who told me he didn’t want me and that I wasn’t up to his standards. He is a real psycho and I feel sorry for any other woman unlucky enough to cross his path!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Wow, Stacey, this guy was a real creep. I’m sorry you were treated like that! Thank you very much for sharing your story here.

  12. Mar

    Hi, everyone!

    Thank you so much for this article. I have just had a break-up with “my” psychopath. He fits the profile perfectly!! He was truly enjoying by hurting, belittling and humiliating me. He has no heart and I told him so. Even if he does something nice there is no emotion involved. Like he broke-up with an email with his ex and a year later he gave her some money for her trip to India. His explanation was that he did not want to be hated by her. And he told me that he wanted to do something nice to someone…and it happened to be his ex… I think that he did it just to hurt me again.

    He lacks any consistency, he loves porn and teenage girls, he is 44, I even asked him if he was a pedophile. He cannot experience a human emotion, I witness this so many times, he can be so rude, cold and calculative that it makes me sick in my stomach when I think of it. Also he was not capable of recognizing love and anything good I was giving his in my naivety. He took advantage and soon after that I was disposable.

    He even told me he cannot do relationships. He confessed that he felt nothing when his mother was dying right before him at the hospital. I saw so many signs that something is totally off, but I was so attracted to his “charms” that I fooled myself that something will change for the better. He enjoyed saying the coldest and hurtful things tome on the next day after we were close and I believe that he liked doing it.

    Also he did not have a conscience and in any attempt from my side to talk to him he was focusing only on the negative stuff and he never acknowledged any of the good things I have done for him. He never apologized to me or truly accepted my apology. He is not capable of forgiving.
    He also enjoyed humiliating me before others just for the fun of it and when I was beside myself and I told him hurtful things as well, most of it was true anyway, then he used that against me. The other thing he was doing just to make me feel bad was praising other women for the smallest, insignificant thing and never appreciated anything about me, although I receive compliments all the time even from strangers.

    He wanted to make me feel insignificant, strange and bad. And yes, he has a shady past and he keeps talking about it even to strangers just to get attention and compassion. He is always the victim but at the same time he is very arrogant /I told him so/, critical, judgmental and disrespectful to others. He is not capable of feeling any gratitude even towards those who went out of their way to help him. Externally he plays the role of the humble, dutiful guy, but internally he mocks almost everyone and feels superior although he is working in a barn. He behaves like he is smarter than anybody else and minimizes any good qualities in others.

    Sexually he was very long lasting, perhaps because he did not invest any emotion in it, and it felt like making love with a machine… It was surreal. He almost never said anything sweet or nice to me or in the rare cases when this happened I did not feel he was truly sincere. Once he told me that he was strange and I should find someone normal, but I was so blind to think that he was exaggerating… He lured me into getting close to him and then he wanted to discard me without any remorse or anything. He is very moody and whimsical and was acting all the time.

    As to his body language, I have noticed that sometimes his eyes looked completely without expression like glass or he had a really hard time even to smile at me. He shared that he never cries. He was very stingy, he never gave me a gift, although I was giving presents to him. He flirted constantly behind my back, even our common friends had told me that. He makes sexual comments while speaking with young girls and once I after I expressed my disapproval, he told this was none of my business. My overall feeling of him was like he had a stone in his chest and no matter how nice or generous I was in any way, it did not change a thing.

    I am so glad that this nightmare is over. At least now I know what the red flags are and will try to recognize them much earlier in a relationship. Psychopaths are just not human, neither animals. Once I told him that even a dog has more feelings than him. And this is true!! I realized that it is not worthy of being upset over such a pathetic creature and I should be thankful that I am out of such a nasty, degrading relationship. And yes, he hated it when I was wearing a perfume and he mocked me about it. He said he preferred me “natural” and that this is a compliment. He has the innocent, boyish look and I believe I was so misled by that.

    Also good sense of humor though sarcastic or ironic too often. Not much of interests, very superficial, without any plans for the future, living a life of the least resistance…with minimum requirements of him. Getting bored very easily, no depth, cold, calculative mind, merciless. Extremely superficial and at times artificial. And yes, I also witness I very evil, strange laugh from him, completely out of place. I remember one night, this never happened to me before, he laughed at me for literally 2 hours, whatever I was saying or even just looking at me made him laugh. In the end he told that I was born funny. I have a good sense of humor, but it was strange how someone can laugh to tears for 2 hours even without jokes…

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Thanks for moving your post to this page, MAR!

  13. Tracy

    Thank you for this page! It is hard to explain your abusive relationship to those around you. When i do i usually end of feeling stupid for staying in the toxic relationship for so long. The funny thing is I didnt realize how toxic it was until a year out of it and was getting myself help. I was in my psychopath for 11 years. He preyed on me young and with low self esteem. He knew what he was doing (this was not his first time). At some point in our relationship he even admitted that he targeted me bc he knew i had low self esteem and self worth. Here this whole time I thought he loved me.
    The relationship was manipulative the entire time. He had emotionally beaten me down so bad I did not know who I was or feel i deserved any better then he could offer ( he made sure I felt that way). I was not allowed to talk to my friends regarding our relationship or have my own feeling. I was constantly verbally abused and EVERYTHING was always my fault. About 8 years into our relationship he got into some legal issues. It was from jail phone call he was finally able to open up to me and express his feeling about our “love”. He mentioned how he never trusted me and felt we couldn’t get married bc I was on birth control our entire relationship. This was a shock to me and told him I would stop birth control immediately if he was serious. Two months before he was to turn himself in for a two year prison sentenced I found out I was pregnant. During those two months he continued to lie and steal from me and his unborn child. I supported him during his sentence making sure to visit him with our son, send him money for phone calls and everyday needs. I was a single mother working and attending school ( once a single parent i realized I had to be able to support my child on my own). During prison calls we would discuss how we wanted our son to grow up and what we needed to change about ourselves to do so. Oh and I needed to stop playing games all the time and work on my communication. After serving his time, he gets out and tells me how nothing I did was good enough and never did anything right. Lets not forget when he yells at me….. Whats this kid about anyways???? At this point my son was 2 years old and the joy of my life. What is he about?? He does have a name! After walking on egg shells again everyday, i was very unhappy. I finally knew I had to get away when my son began standing up for me when his father would scream at me. Even my son changed when his dad got home. He was no longer a happy kid all the time and his behavior changed for the worst. I moved on and eventually had to stop all communication with him for threatening suicide at my door ( but he would cut some of his body parts off first and mail them to me to make sure I understood it was my fault). How do i protect my son from him? Of course he lives in another state and makes no effort with his son but the thought of him doing to our son what he did to me SCARES me. I saw what he did in the short time I did let him be around. Like the time he was explaining to my 3 year old how to come up with fake personas and to pretend like he was someone else. UMMMM im sorry but I want my son to be real and NOT a liar. How do I deal with having a child with a psychopath??? I was recently told he changed (by his mom) only to find out she is enabling him and lying for him (in hopes to force him to have relationship with his son). I fell for it, but was able to see for my self he has changed in no way (besides the effects of his drug binge induced strokes). He will still look you straight in the eye and lie. Make promises to his son with no intention to keep them. Lastly predating after young low esteem girls half his age ( actually younger then his first son that he has never had anything to do with either). SAD. All I can do is be the best MOM and DAD my kid could ever have. He is well worth it!!! Its his sperm donors loss not my sons!!!!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Thank you so much for sharing your story, Tracy. I’m sorry you’ve had to go through such an ordeal, and I’m glad to hear you live in a different state than he does. You might want to consider finding a support group by contacting your local DV organization, where you can meet other single mothers dealing with similar issues. I wish you and your son all the best!

      Take a look at the resources listed in the sidebar under the headings HIGH-CONFLICT PARTNER/ EX?, ONGOING ABUSE and PARENTAL ALIENATION. You may find some answers to your questions.

  14. K.M.

    I have found this site 2 days ago and I keep reading all posts. It’s sad how many women r just like me. I’m in a long distance relation with a man since 7 years. I met him online when I was very sad and down bcz I was in divorce with my husband. He was there for me to comfort me with his nice words..8 months we spoke online and me having no idea how he looks like,he sent me a photo after an old photo since he was younger..I was on my 40 that time and he was on his 58..after a year of talking online many times a day he finally decided to come to my country to meet me in real…so we did met…he liked me more and me at that time I had a feeling to end to not continue..it was something with this man,but instead to listen to my feeling I continued with him,fell for him..it was like all the world was mine..I was happy again..hmm…what a illusion…he was coming to me every month visiting me..in fact having sex with me…and as time passed he changed,started to ignore me,started to flirt online and me discover it..all he was saying..was…they mean nothing to me..you are my only woman I love..and me I believed him for so many years..every time I was asking him when we’ll move together ..he was saying..this summer..this winter…bluffs…then all he was saying was..soon…stop nagging me about it…ufff…I continued to wait and hope..I was loving him so much believing his words that the others he flirts with means nothing..he started to take me in holiday every Christmas ,every summer and lately Easter too..as we didn’t lived together it was easy for him to hide his flirts…when he had a new woman he was vanishing weeks not replies my msgs..I was down and crazy feeling sending him tones of msg…in vain…after that he was returning to me as nothing has happened blaming me that I’m crazy bcz I wrote to him rubbish msgs..it’s a long long story…I tried many times to end but as well returned to him loving him more..I was waiting his msgs and needing them as a drug addict…he made me to be weak,to not talk with any male friends bcz he was jealous…in fact he never cared about me or what I do as we are in different countries..it took me 7 years to understand that he will never move with me and that all I mean to him it’s just a rubber doll to use anytime he wanted. I had found out his lies,confronted him but even then he kept lying..he destroyed my self esteem,I don’t know what to do or to think as I put him on pedestal and on last place..I know he it’s a psychopath from the way he is behaving and treats me but how to get away from this relation..a part of me know I should cut all contact with him but the other part it’s just waiting his msgs and I always end replying him…why I’m so weak…why I can’t get him out of my mind and my life…why ? He destroyed me and me I let it happened . My friends doesn’t understand me,they say me to just stop..how?

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I’m sorry you’ve been going through such an ordeal.

      What these people do is lower our self-esteem and self-worth to the point that we feel bad enough about ourselves to stay with them. You see, they know that if we felt confident and felt good about ourselves, we would want nothing to do with them.

      When it begins, they make us feel very good about ourselves and make it seem like we have a special relationship with them and that they value us; that’s how they hook us. Then they start to gradually devalue us, and as their opinion of us seems to go down, our feelings about ourselves go down, too. But the truth is that how he feels about you and how he treats you doesn’t really have anything to do with YOU — it has to do with him and his need to bring you down and make you feel bad about yourself, because he has nothing real to offer you and that’s the only way he can keep you around.

      If you felt good about yourself right now, you would turn and walk away without a second thought. But in order to feel good about yourself again and get to that point of wanting to walk away from him, you have to get away from him first! That’s the catch-22 — that’s what makes it so hard to leave him, but so important that you do leave him. It is only with space and time away from him that you will want to be away from him and happy to be free of him!

      That means you have to act in your own best interest and end all contact with him, even if you don’t want to. Yes, it will be very hard in the beginning, but remember that you’re saving your own life. If you don’t, you will waste more of your precious time and feel worse and worse about yourself for staying with him. Do it for yourself, KM. He doesn’t value you, but that does not mean you shouldn’t value yourself! Remember, he’s a creep who knows he can only keep you by ruining your self-esteem and your life. That’s not love — it’s sickness, and he’s infected you. The only way to get well is by staying away from him. Think of it as a quarantine. You will heal in time. Best wishes to you.

  15. Susan

    My niece is a psychopath. It has taken a decade to finally recognize and accept the horrifying reality of knowing that mental illness has once again struck in my family. My sister was schizophrenic, and after dealing with the fallout of that for more than 20 years, I thought I knew what to look out for.

    With a psychopath, it’s different. There is no crazy that you can see on the outside, the crazy is in what they do – to their victims.

    My niece is a non-violent (so far) predator, but the fact that she has not physically hurt anyone yet does not ease my mind. Last year I discovered that she had somehow managed to make herself beneficiary on my husband’s life insurance and pensions, making me wonder if she had planned somehow to kill us. She has stolen more than a million dollars over the past 10 years, and that’s what I know about.

    But she is so masterfully cunning and deceptive and manipulative that she has never been arrested, charged, or been in jail. This is despite dozens of victims. We actually began a private facebook group and google support group for all of her victims. She is a psychopath who steals. No one is immune. She stole money raised for medicine for her cousin’s 10 year old daughter, who is dying of brain cancer. She took money donated by a business to help pay for the funeral of a boy who died in a tragic accident. The family never got it. She stole $100,000 from her parents. She stole my mortgage payments for 4 years before we found out we had been conned – we found out when the foreclosure sign went up on our house. She signed her younger sister, who is disabled, up for social security disability and then took the checks for years. (They declined to prosecute as amount was under $30,000, not worth it to SS admin.) She has never paid federal taxes. (The IRS has declined to pursue it; their threshold is she needs to owe more than $100,000 for 3 consecutive years before they will open a federal investigation.) She has operated several businesses, never with a business license. She just starts a new LLC. She stole half million from one of her past affairs thru outright stealing, and then manufacturing false invoices, turning them in, collecting the checks and depositing them in her own bank account. (Despite the evidence Police declined to prosecute after interviewing her, because after all, the owner DID sleep with her and the owner should have known better.)

    She targets small businesses, lovebombs them, and then offers to help them with their marketing. I know of at least 60 victims. She has married twice and utterly destroyed both their lives financially and emotionally. It has taken years for the first husband to recover, and unfortunately just found out he might actually still be married to her as she falsely claimed they were first cousins – not true – when she filed annulment papers. He never knew – he thought they just got a regular divorce; he just wanted out and let her handle the paperwork.

    She has a daughter with the second one and I am terrified for her; I know that she is incapable of real love, and that the Mommy look just helps her scam more people.

    She lies, cheats, and steals… because she can. When I confronted her, and she admitted what she had done to me, I asked her why. She could have asked me for money and we would have given it to her. Her answer was stone cold. “Because I could.” As a result of her actions my family has blown up, and family functions are over. Her parents, mom especially, even despite the evidence wants to believe that she has changed, is sorry, and is never going to do it again. Even though again happens over and over and over and over and over.

    I can no longer watch her with a financial knife in her hand go and gut people and steal their homes, their businesses, their futures without warning people. I have a good legal case, but in the meantime… we lost our home after 30 years. The final kick there was when we had to go file bankruptcy only to find out that she had done so on us already in order to prolong the time before our house foreclosed. It was just so she could extend her scam longer. She has figured out that human eyes never see a check under $1500 so she blatantly steals checks from anyone and everyone and deposits them electronically into one of dozens of bank accounts she opens up for the latest LLC. She volunteers for charity events and then steals the money from donors.

    She has stolen from pastors, chaplains, police officers, business owners, millionaires, lawyers, and plain working poor. I guess I should be thankful no one has died as a result…yet. I am terrified of her. I am terrified for her daughter. I can only pray that my legal case will put her behind bars long enough and far enough away so that her daughter can be safe. I am grateful my parents are dead and did not alive to see this.

    I feel that the justice system has let us all down, as white collar crime just isn’t a priority. She is dangerous predator and I know every single day that she wakes up someone is going to get hurt. I wish I could meet all of her victims to apologize for her actions, but sadly, I know that the 60 we know of are just a fraction of the real number. I have no idea what else to do but wait for the next one, and then tell them the same thing. It wasn’t your fault.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      This is unbelievable! How could she get away with all of this? I hope you will prevail with your case and have her put behind bars, where she belongs. Thank you for sharing your story.

  16. Lynn

    I now know that I fell in love with a psychopath; I now know that there is nothing wrong with ME; I now know that there was nothing I could have done to change my path, but with resources and education, much like this website, I have been able to slowly but surely heal.

    I fell in love with a psychopath. Madly, deeply, truly … unconditionally in love with him and I would have done just about anything for him. Well I did … I left my husband, my home, my family – everything I had, I left with the clothes I was wearing and walked right into my new life with a psychopath. He and I met on a website designed for affairs (please no judging) … clearly there were problems in our marriages, but that website, at least for me, was the only way I knew how to step out of the reality which was my crumbling marriage.

    When the psychopath and I first met (we live about 3 hours away from one another), it was a lot of emails, texts, phone calls, video chats, etc. In fact, we didnt even get to meet face-to-face until almost talking for 3 weeks. But by this point, he had already send me 2 flower arrangements to my job; dedicated a bunch of love songs to me; and even told me he was in love with me. Yes, you read that right, he told me he was in love with me, without having spent time with me, face-to-face.

    The day came when we finally met and it was surreal – I couldnt believe the person I had been talking to for so long was standing right in front of me. In truth, something seemed a little off, and I thought about walking away – the very next day I wasnt even going to call him or reach out to him; but I went against my better judgment. It would be another week before I would see him again. The next time I saw him, not only did we make (what I thought) was love for the first time, but he even had a ring with him – yes, a ring! He proposed to me and asked me to marry him. He told me he was leaving his wife and that he wanted me to leave my husband. He told me he was going to transfer jobs to my city and that the 3 hour commute to see his girls wouldnt bother him. The only thing he wanted was a future with me, and he was even willing to help me raise my daughter. My daughter is only 4 and his girls were 15 and 18.

    So after he proposed, left his wife, and made me mountains of promises of a future, a life, a happily-ever-after, on Friday, March 13, 2015, I got up from my couch and told my husband I was leaving him. I took only myself and since it was late, I told him I would be back in the morning to pick up my daughter. I left my house and called my psychopath. I told him I had left my husband and I was ready to start my happily-ever-after with him. Right then and there, he drove 3 hours to spend the weekend with me.

    That Sunday he had to drive back home and it was the moment I got my first red flag. When he got back home, he sent me a text that he didnt think what we were doing was right; that he was going to go back home and try and save his marriage; and that I should keep the ring, because he still loved me. I tried calling, texting, all to no avail. He had completely blocked me and I had no way of reaching him other than an email. The next morning I sent him a long winded email professing my love for him and telling him that he is the man I wanted and loved; and that I was going to fight for him, our future, and our love.

    For the next 2 weeks, I was living alone and he was back home with his wife and girls. My heart couldnt take it anymore, and I was very open and blunt with him .. I told him that if he loved his wife and wanted to make it work with her, I would understand, but that he had to leave me alone; but that if he was really in love with me as he said he was, then he had to leave his wife and be with me. I couldnt stand being alone and having to hear stories of how he and his wife were “playing” house and trying to make things work in and out of the bedroom.

    The very next morning he told me he contacted his sister, and he was moving in with her. He asked me to call out of work and drive up to his city and spend the day with him to celebrate. I did. It was the best day of my life … we connected in so many levels and he even took me to meet his sister. But something happened that night, that I didnt know then, but I know now .. it was the first time I saw that “psychopathic stare” .. it was a scary glare that he gave me while we were out to dinner and I didnt know how to explain it, but I know it just didnt feel right. I chalked it up to me being crazy, and continued to enjoy my time with him.

    That weekend, I spent the weekend with him at his sister’s house. She was warm and loving, and a part of me still misses her very much. She made me feel at home and we shared a lot of conversations – almost like she was my sister too. The next few months are all a glare, but I do know that my husband emptied out our savings account and filed for divorce. My psychopath brainwashed me to use my credit to get him a new cell phone and a car; neither of which he ever made a payment on.

    My psychopath even convinced me to take him on our family cruise, since my husband wasnt going to be going any longer. The cruise was a horrible experience. I was devalued the entire time and even felt like I was crazy for holding on to that relationship. When we got back home, he did it again. Once he got back to his sister’s house – he sent me another text telling me we were done. He couldn’t handle the distance; he couldn’t handle being away from his girls; and he wasnt ready to start over being the step dad of a little girl. But I guess in the hours to come he realized he was still driving around a car under my name, and decided to text me again to tell me that he had re-thought the entire situation and was having a moment of confusion. He indeed did love me and wanted to be with me. The next weekend he came down to my house on a Thursday night without notice. He said he wanted to surprise me. What I didn’t know then, it was to give me back the keys to my car so that I couldn’t report a “stolen vehicle”.

    The next day he asked if we could spend the weekend at his sister’s house and enjoy the pool. Obviously, since it wasnt a weekend that I was scheduled to have my daughter, I immediately agreed. That Friday I even called out sick to work, and decided to leave early with him. The car ride to his sister’s house, he was acting really weird. He was going through my phone and reading my social media accounts, I guess he was trying to find another excuse to leave me, but after a couple of hours, gave up, because there was nothing there.

    I truly was madly, deeply in love with him, and in my eyes there was only him. When I came back home at the end of the weekend, he sent me a third one of his famous text messages, telling me that he realized he had fallen out of love with me and could no longer be with me.

    For the following month we weren’t together, although he kept stringing me along. He would tell me stories of all these women he was meeting and how intimate he was being with all of them – but that none was worth keeping longer than a day or two. He made me hurt and suffer and cry, but I didnt give up, because I believed that he still loved me and that he truly wanted to be with me.

    Two days before I was set to go on my second family vacation, he sent me an email telling me how much he loved me, how he was trying to replace me with every woman he found, but that no one could ever be me; and I am who he loved and wanted. Believing him because I wanted a life with him, I took him back and took him on my vacation.

    When my husband found out he was with me and my daughter, he drove up to where we were, asked to spend the day with my daughter, and then refused to give her back to me until he was gone. I spent the rest of my vacation without my daughter, but spending money left and right on whatever my psychopath wanted. We finally get back home and he started acting different … he went from the man he claimed to be in love with me, to almost detesting me and hating me.

    After all I had been through with him financially, I needed proof he loved me and not the benefit he got from me. He asked me to lend him $300 and I refused. Later on that night when I tried to contact him, he had yet again blocked me so I couldnt call or text; but this time he blocked me on social media as well. It was my last and final discard.

    A couple of weeks later he had already moved on with someone new, and less than a month later he was living with her. His divorce is now final and last I heard he was living with his new victim.

    My husband and I decided to put a hold on our divorce and get some therapy to see if we could save our marriage. Needless to say, 2015 was a year of learning and growing for me. I mean, I even got a tattoo with my psychopath’s name on it (my first tattoo!!!) right after he got one with my name on. I now have covered it up with my daughter’s name – the only name I will ever bear on my skin. So as you can see … I am still trying to wrap my head around everything and heal. Thank you for your time in reading my story

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Lynn, thank you for telling your story. It could not have been easy, and it is a sensitive, perceptive and courageous account of your experience. It’s horrible what this man did to you, and I’m sorry you had to go through such an ordeal. This is what they do; yours is the classic story of psychopathic victimization. You have a good outlook, and that will help you a lot. I’ve heard from many people who left their spouse for the psychopath, and most of them said their marriages ended up being better than ever. My wish is that yours will be one of them.

      I’m sorry for the delay; for some reason your message ended up in spam, but luckily I was able to save it.

      I wish you and your family all of the best. xx

  17. Mother of a Victim

    Back in May of 2005, my son, who was in his early 40’s, became involved with a woman we will call Laura. She charmed him. He and I had always been very close. He is the youngest of my four children. He was an ideal man: honest, with a religious background, hard worker and had everything that made him a good man. He is very successful career wise. He had been divorced for a few years and had a house full of room mates in a house that he owned.

    Slowly I noticed that his roommates were leaving. One just didn’t want to leave. I had to sell my home as I was no longer able to pay the taxes and in July I moved into his place until I could decide where I wanted to live. To my surprise Laura moved in a week before I was due to arrive. Before Laura moved in, my son had called me to speak to the roommate who did not want to leave as he didn’t think Laura was a good person and didn’t want to leave my son with her. I was called by my son to please verify that I was indeed coming to stay. The roommate agreed to leave. There was a strange tone to my son’s voice as well as the request. I brushed it off. To make a long story shorter:

    Within one day I was given a set of rules regarding my kitchen use and within 10 days, through email, I was asked to leave the house. From the time I arrived, I was not able to spend one minute alone with him. If we decided to go to the store, she insisted to go along. I told my son that Laura was very strange and acted rude toward me when my son was not present. I didn’t think she treated my son well either. Laura wanted me out as I was interfering with the control she wanted over my son. I had no idea how much control she had already. I could have sworn that the first and only meal I had with them, my son fell into a trance. I thought he might be playing or joking around. He had dropped his head, turned toward her and stared at her through the whole meal. Never, said a word. I ate my dinner and went to my room.

    Today my son has turned over his finances to her.
    He tells me the church is a cult.
    He takes on a different personality when he talks to me.
    Parts of his memory seem to be missing.
    I fear that he might commit a crime if she asked him to do so.
    She uses hypnosis and has books on her shelf about mind control.
    He was a conservative and is now a Socialist person.
    He used to be the executor of my estate, but asked to be removed.
    We used to have great conversations, now not so.
    He didn’t want a dog, but now has one. She always gets what she wants and always has to.

    She has destroyed everything that is good in my son childhood and replaced it with seedy memories of me.

    I am the only family member that is aware of these changes in him. He appears to be amiable around all the rest. He lives three hours away from his brother and sisters. I live two states away, and I feel very responsible for this condition. It wasn’t until I left my home state to find a more affordable residence that I realized how devastated he was must have felt. He called me a few times to tell me he was being asked to do things that were against the way he was raised. He did not go into detail. I told him to put her out of his house. He said he couldn’t do that, but he felt that she would drive him crazy. He told me she had no friends or family. That was a lie. It was true she had no friends but she did have family and even shared with me the first time I met her that her father had molested her. At that time I told my son that she was damaged and not a good person to get involved. Our family didn’t and still does not like her, but no one but me said or says anything about it to him. I think they did him a disservice.

    Now 2013, my son married her two years ago. He didn’t want to do that, but said he could not stop it. None of our family was invited. He accepted that blame also and said he didn’t was a big wedding. However, Laura invited all her family and friends. My son knew it was wrong, but said he cold not stop it. He told us he didn’t want to have a big wedding. However, our family was fairly close and we decided to not make big waves. We did not know who she really was

    I have been to two lawyers, one psychologist, one mental health group and spoken to one psychiatrist. The lawyers say that unless he comes to see them, they cannot help. They also said that without physical abuse, showing mental abuse is hard to prove. The psychologist said she could not help because she did not deal in personality disorders, and I think a dual personality is a disorder. Once again he would have to come in for help on his own. The mental health group told me that my son is in for a very long healing process, if he would ever begin and recommended a very large teaching hospital. The term brain washing was used here.

    They have taken out a large insurance policy and this frightens me.

    Laura is a sociopath/psychopath and I fear my son will commit suicide or lose his whole sense of reality. I am now feeling like I could lose my own sense of stability. My son is in my thoughts 24/7. I had a ray of hope a week ago. I called my son on his cell on Sunday morning. He picked up the phone and his voice appeared normal. He was doing the wash. We talked about football and I told him I missed him and loved him very much. He told me the same. I think Laura was out of the house.

    I do not know how to help him. Where would a person in my position begin to end this abuse and stop the transformation happening before my very eyes?

    I fear that Laura also has access to drugs as she told my son when they first met that she takes meds of ADD.

    Has anyone faced this situation?? Sorry this is so long. This is the first time I have attempted to write my thoughts.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I’m sorry your son is in this terrible situation. I can clearly sense your pain at watching it happen and yet being unable to help, despite your efforts. This woman is a master manipulator who has been able to take control of your son and hijack his mind and his life, and as his mother you have been seriously affected by what she’s doing to him.

      Steven Hassan, M.Ed., LMHC, NCC, at the freedom of mind center, counsels people needing help with controlling relationships and rescues/ deprograms people in cults. He’s well known and highly regarded as an expert in the field, and you might want to consider calling him (617 396-4638). From his website:

      Help With a Controlling Relationship

      “There are things you can do to help a loved one who is in a controlling relationship or estranged from family or friends.”

      Also, you may want to find a therapist for yourself to help you deal with this. You say it’s on your mind 24/7, and while that’s completely understandable, this kind of stress is not good for your mental or physical health. Good luck and best wishes to you and your son.

    2. Migs

      OMG This is what is happening to our son. His p/s wife who he married secretly, after 2 months of knowing each other, now is totally controlled by her (even his emails) and she is poisoning his mind to hate us. We cannot even talk to him. He has told us not to ever contact them. He has lost everything, His whole family, his friends and even his own daughter. Our 45 yr old son was such a kind, easy going, lovable guy who loved us. For 2 years this has been a nightmare. We are in so much pain, cannot sleep and cry all the time. My husband is becoming ill over this. We have no way of connecting to him not even through his 14 year old daughter who recently lives full time with her mother. This is just part of the story. It is now becoming worse and involves deeds of 2 houses that she has become part owner due to being married to our son. These were investments for our retirement and we are at the point where we need to sell them so we can retire. She is now playing games and have already spent a fortune on lawyer fees. We cannot sell or refinance our houses or retire with out her signature and there is nothing we can do! We do not know where to turn. Do we live in hope that our son will see through her one day? Hope you have managed to find some solace with your situation. This site has been so helpful. Best, J

      1. Adelyn Birch

        Migs, I’m so sorry to hear about the situation your son, and your family, is in, especially that your husband is becoming ill over it. If there’s no legal route to take, the best thing you can do is to learn how to deal with it without getting sick over it. I hope you and your husband will find a good therapist, one who understands people like your daughter in law. I wish you all the best.

    3. lilly

      Yes, Exactly like your case. It is the most painful experience. There is no way of getting in touch with our son as she has blocked all possibilities of communicating. She is convincing my son that we are really terrible people. More later-I have not had much luck getting through. Here’s my 3rd attempt. J

  18. CP's Mom

    I lived my entire childhood with a mother who hated me. I had no idea what was wrong with “me,” and I tried to figure it out so I could fix it. I finally gave up and just hated myself for it. The beatings, the verbal, emotional, mental abuse caused me so much pain and anguish I didn’t know how I could ever have a life like other girls did, with family that loved them and protected them. Many years later, I realize what evil it was. It wasn’t me, it was my mother. The day my middle son died in 2011 was the most devastating day in my entire life. The pain surpassed anything I have ever felt.

    My son had talked me into moving my mother 3000 miles to where all of us lived. I paid for every single bit of the move and my son, his fiance, and my mothers friend all helped her. I paid for plane tickets for all. I paid for a moving van and gas, food, etc… all to help her. It was thousands of dollars. I am NOT a wealthy person. I was living off my unemployment at the time, but my son said it was urgent to get her here…she played him and all of us big time!

    She ended up in a hospital in Colorado when she got sick on the plane. My sons fiance was there with her. I had to hire a person to drive me out there to go get them since my car was broke down. Within 20 minutes of her being in the vehicle, she had her arms crossed in front of her and her sucky attitude on full display. “Humph! I wish I was back home!!!” I was pissed! I realized then what hell I was in for. No one had done anything, said anything or treated her badly, it was just what she did…

    I did not contact my mother when my son died. By then she was living in an apt. in another town and I could not deal with her shit. The night before the funeral my husband and I went there to find out if she was going to the funeral. She was mad because she could not take a bath since she was disabled. I had no sympathy for that since our well had gone dry and I had no water for months by that point. She could wash with a cloth and hot water and soap. I had to use a friends shower so I could be ready for the funeral. All she cared about than was she was craving mints, and could we go to the store and get those for her. Not one word about my son…it was agony to go to the store where me and my boy used to go from the time he was a year old and up!

    She didn’t go to the funeral which I was happy about…my ex was there also, he is exactly like my mother, so I got his snotty little comments, all disguised as innocent small talk.

    The day after the funeral, I took my mother food since it was Thanksgiving. I dropped it off and left. I went back the next day to try and help her get her house together, but when I got there I just had no strength or ability to do anything. I was grieving for my son that I love. Her comment to me was “well, I am grieving for all the things that got broken in the move.” That totally did it for me!!!! I lost my beloved son, the one who was so kind and loving to her and everyone, who left 4 children behind when he took his life, the one I had such hopes for, and she compared me losing him to her things that got broken in the move?!!! I saw what I was dealing with and I refused to give her any of my emotions. I had to go help her daily, driving 90 miles a day to do so because she lied about me to everyone. She had adult protective services called and I was reported as abusing her. Complete and total lies!!!!!! I was told I brought her here and abandoned her, again, lies!!!! They were going to throw me in jail because of her lies. I had just lost my boy, I had missed a lot of work, and this crap would have caused me to also lose my job because I worked with children, so abuse charges would have ruined that for me. She also had her son and another daughter, which I won’t claim as they are exactly like her! Lying because they wanted me to go to jail because they are just as evil and manipulative. I listened to her son tell her on her cell phone that they had contacted adult protective services also and they were going to throw me in jail, that was because I had reported them once when that was what she kept telling me about them, that they were abusing her. It was paybacks!

    Long story short, I didn’t go to jail because people started praying for me about the situation. Her son came and got her 2 months after my son died. I had to help her in order to not be arrested, so I went daily to her apt. but I learned to keep my mouth shut and not speak. She truly LOVED it when I would get emotional and cry, so I clamped it shut and became totally shut down around her. She died in 2012, 5 months after my son. I do not miss her.

    I watched her treat men like crap. They would fall all over themselves to do for her. She was cold and hateful, screaming vile, cruel things at them. She would attack them physically and would run to grab knives to stab them with. I used to run and shut the drawer before she could get knives out. I would call for help, and protect the other 3 kids. I was a child! Men would fall all over themselves for her!!! I have never understood it!!!! When they would have enough, they would try to leave. She would weep and wail until the returned. Then it was the same old crap. It is evil!!! My ex was just like her!!! I am aware and I pay close attention to people now. I NEVER want that type in my life again!!!!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Thank you for sharing your story, CP’s Mom. As I read it, my heart hurt. I’m terribly sorry you lost your son, and so sorry you had to endure such horrible abuse from the time you were a child. No one deserves such a cold, cruel mother. May you only have warm, caring and loving people in your life from now on. I wish you strength, peace and healing.

  19. Sarah

    I met J (for the purpose of me writing this) in back in 2012 online and we hit it off pretty quick. We would talk for hours and always messaged each other immediately when the other would get online.

    At the time I was dating someone for over 5 years. It was a good healthy relationship.

    I told J this right away and we both agreed on being friends. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. J would listen to me talk and I would listen to him. More me listening to him then the other way around. It was all just basic talk like the weather and what was new with each other.

    Since J knew I was in a committed relationship he would disappear off and on. I grew to wanting that friendship a lot. Because J would never judge anything I said or he would agree with me on my point of view.

    J had already been seeing other women and I knew about this and also knew he was seeing one and also flirting with another. J was up front with me about this. As if I didn’t know this already. It was pretty obvious to me anyways.

    J had made me feel as if I could trust him with everything. So eventually we exchanged phone numbers and continued to talk as friends. J would tell me he was busy with medical school and that was why he would come and go.

    When I had broken up with my then boyfriend I hadn’t heard from J in months and since he was in school I didn’t want to bother him. I got things back in order with my own life and I was getting back on my feet. Getting ready to head to Culinary school and get my life on track, I was feeling great about myself and my life.

    When I heard from J, I told him everything that was going on and we discussed me possibly going to school where he lived and us finally meeting. I was a little nervous about it because it was all the way across the country and I wouldn’t know anyone there. But I agreed to it and J was telling me that I could stay at his place and he would show me around.

    When it came to going there I was really just wanting to get a hotel room and I wanted to take everything slow. He paid for my hotel room to make me comfortable and offered to stay with me. I was way outside of my comfort zone at this point.

    After the week was done and it was time for me to head home and pack my stuff, J had wanted me to move in and said it would be the logical thing to do. J was already professing his love for me and saying things like he was certain we were soulmates, that God had put us together for a reason.

    I was uncomfortable with some of the jokes he would make. J had kind of a dark sense of humor. Like for example once J said he would lock me up in the pantry so I couldn’t go anywhere. I laughed and said whatever I wouldn’t let you do that.

    When I did move in we were always arguing, and it got pretty bad. But J was always told me things would get better and I believed him. It got to the point where we couldn’t go out into public together. I would stay in the apartment while he did all the shopping and ran the errands. I eventually had to defer going to school because he thought I was just going to go out and meet other guys. I told him so many times I didn’t want to be with anyone else. I was trying everything I could do to prove it to him. I stopped watching tv, listening to music, never left the apartment, gave up my cellphone for the one he gave me and let him control everything. Besides J the only people I talked to were my mother and my sister on rare occasions.

    Finally when we had been together for about 9 months it was coming up on my mother’s birthday. I wanted to be there for her birthday and we were arguing a lot at the time. So I thought maybe this is going to be good for us. My sister offered to buy me a ticket home. J had told me it would be ok. When I took my sister up on her offer J got really angry. I honestly didn’t have a clue on what to do. My sister had already bought a ticket for me and they were expecting me to fly back. J told me to go ahead and go as long as I wouldn’t be gone for to long.

    Everything seemed to fine when I left and when I was getting ready to board my second flight we had started arguing again. I was a mess through out the whole 2nd flight. I tried to hold back my tears and act like everything was ok. When I landed and my mother and grandmother picked me up I was in no mood to do anything. I just wanted to sleep and get back to J so the fighting would stop.

    I don’t know how many times I prayed and wish for the fighting to stop. I always knew something didn’t feel right with our relationship but I couldn’t figure out what.

    Through out the whole relationship with J, everything seemed to be my fault. Like I was the reason we couldn’t be happy. I had to go to extremes like announcing when I was walking into the room and showing him who I was talking too. Even though I never asked or demanded for the same in return.

    At the end of our relationship (which was recently) he started calling me a Sociopath, a liar, and a cheater. He broke me more then anyone in this world. I don’t like what he did to me but I also feel like I lost a huge chunk of myself when things ended.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Sarah, what this man did was awful, and I’m sorry to hear it happened to you. He was a paranoid, abusive control freak, so please don’t judge yourself by how he treated you or the things he said. Many of the stories I hear involve the abusive partner wanting to move in together quickly and/or take the victim somewhere far from where they live, because what they want is to isolate you and gain control as quickly as possible and over as much of your life as they can. It sounds as if you were living under tremendous pressure, and you were basically a prisoner. You are lucky to be away from him. You will get your self and your life back as you heal from the trauma, even if it doesn’t feel that way right now. Call your local DV organization and find out if they have a therapy support group or counselors; it could be very helpful. I wish you all the best as you move forward.

      1. Sarah

        Thank you. No it isn’t easy right now. Sadly since communicationhas sstopped between us I have become depressed and I am very confused now. But yes I will be finding some support groups.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          It is very difficult at first, but trust that you will develop clarity and strength without him continuing to influence and confuse you xx

  20. Cathy

    I met him through an online dating site called genuine widowed singles, though it seems that he was in a different dating site – plenty more fish, the silver pond – some of the internet dating sites, it appears, share your data.

    His photograph was not the most flattering, but he was very friendly and chatty. He was separated a father of 3 and a sergeant in the RAF, a reservist as he had had an eye injury which meant he was no longer deployable. We met in a local pub on a Tues, and what was meant to be a quick drink turned into a meal and we talked until the pub closed. He sent me a message through the dating site after I got home and texted me a few times over the next few days as I had to go to London for work. He was checking I’d arrived safely and was very attentive and kind in his messages.

    He came to meet me for a quick drink after work on the Friday, just a few days later in his uniform as I’d never been close to a man in uniform. I felt a little intimidated by the uniform, but we sat and chatted warmly and clicked, he seemed to like doing a lot of the things I did. We arranged to have a third date on the Sunday a trip to the cinema, which he had to call off, then we rescheduled it for the Tuesday. That date happened and we sat in the back row, kissing and getting quite passionate. He came back to mine for a coffee and more passion in my kitchen, I wasn’t ready for full intimacy and he respected that and left with difficulty.

    He told me he was separated that his wife had moved out 6 months ago, he’d been married for 23yrs but since his detached retina and being medically retired from the RAF 2.5yrs ago they just didn’t get on anymore. The marriage had been a good one until then, but it was now loveless, but they hadn’t really moved on from the separation, they were just stuck. He was looking after the three children aged 21, 17 and 13. I believed him he seemed so genuine.

    I had been widowed 2.5 years earlier, my husband had cancer for 5 years, our marriage was a happy one, we’d had 17 years together. I told him that I was ready for a new relationship, that I would always carry ___________ in my heart, but that I had a big enough heart to share with someone else, and that if that bothered him he should talk to me about it. He said that he respected that, __________ was part of who I was and he really liked me, we all had pasts at our age (he was 50, I was 51) and that he was not put off by me being a widow.

    Our 4th date he came to my house and we had food and watched comic relief together. We got quite passionate, but we didn’t have intercourse as he was unable to – nerves he said it was after about a month we did that and from then on sex was a big part of our relationship.

    In fact the relationship moved very quickly, he kept in constant contact with me by viber, text and fb he told me he loved me after 4 weeks, he’d never felt this way about anyone. He wanted to be with me all the time, there’d been no one else when he was married and no-one since he and his wife started to drift apart.

    He moved out of his marital home 7 weeks after we met. He was going to rent somewhere and I helped him to look for somewhere his kids could come and stay with him. In the end he decided to rent a room in the officers mess whilst he decided what to do.

    He started to spend more and more time at my place, he met my son and formed a lovely relationship with him, he told me he wanted to get married one day. He wanted to get me a ring, I said it was too soon he wasn’t even divorced and I wouldn’t commit myself to him until he was divorced. I refused to be the ‘other woman.’

    A few red flags came up – it was unclear whether his wife had moved out, they were in separate rooms for a long time, he told me, then it slipped out that he’d had a couple of dates with other women online before me.

    I met his children and their relationship was strained. The eldest son was on the dole and just a drifter, smoking pot and very nervous. He told me his son had been abused by a group of older boys when he was young and that had only come out in the last few years and the whole family had had counselling, his daughter who was 13 was regularly getting drunk and he allowed her to smoke in my garden when they came to my house for the first time. I challenged him about her behaviour afterwards – he blamed the mother she allowed this and bought the older children cigarettes to help them cope with stress! which they were sharing with their younger sister. I told him that next time they visited I would not allow his daughter to smoke, that it was illegal and disrespectful to her parents to think it was OK to do it openly. The children didn’t visit after that and he rarely saw them as he was spending more and more time with me.

    I wouldn’t let him move in fully as he wasn’t divorced and I was receiving a widowed parents allowance which I would lose if we cohabited. We saw each other most nights apart from the night he coached rugby in his hometown and he stayed in his room in the mess.

    He got fully involved in my life very quickly, meeting my family and friends getting involved with the charity I worked for. Everyone thought he was wonderful as he was making me so happy. I found going to the Mess and the RAF life really exciting going to a military parade and a ball and armed forces day.

    I was madly in love with this man. We went on holiday to Cornwall and stayed in the Mess there and then for his birthday I paid for an apartment in France close to a very close friend of mine – we had a wonderful holiday it was like a honeymoon.

    He had been trying to get a loan to buy a car before we left but had been turned down due to a poor credit history, he also didn’t have a credit card which made hiring a car in France for him to be the main driver a bit tricky. He hinted at me being a guarantor for the car loan, I said I didn’t have that kind of money but was trying to help him get his credit rating sorted. He had a good salary and by the time he paid a reasonable amount of maintenance he had plenty of disposable income. It would take a few months to pay off the one unpaid credit card he told me he had and I said I’d help him with a deposit for a car. When that happened I realise now this was another red flag.

    After the holiday, I was really low as it was back to reality, his divorce was not progressing and I didn’t want to wait anymore for him to move in fully, we’d been together 7 months by then. I noticed a shift in his behaviour though just before the holiday he started to see his daughter most Tuesdays stayed at the Mess Tuesdays and Thursdays. He was going to have to go away on an RAF exercise over a weekend he would spend a lot of time in the loo with his phone.

    I started questioning him about his behaviour; he said it was just post holiday blues. He wasn’t as helpful around the house. I had a severe water infection and what I thought was thrush whilst we were away and I wasn’t getting better.

    He was showing me something in his phone and a missed call from a woman I hadn’t heard of showed up. I asked who she was and he told me it was his team manager at the rugby club, I knew her name though and asked why he was lying. He then made up a story about her being a work colleague he was trying to help patch up an argument with another colleague. He’d lied because he felt angry with me as I seemed to be watching him all the time. I half believed him but later I couldn’t sleep and told him I thought he was lying and that I thought he needed time to be single and should take his things and leave. He’d come straight from his long marriage to me and I thought he needed time to be single.

    I’d been cheated on by my first husband (not my late 2nd husband) and I would find out if that’s what he was doing. He became hysterical crying, saying I can’t believe you’d think that, I love you, I want to be with you for ever, blah blah blah. I believed him that night.
    The next day the doctor suggested I get tested for STDs as my infection wasn’t getting better. The STD doctor thought I had chlamydia and gave me antibiotics.

    I tracked down the woman on Facebook and Google, and sent her a message asking for the truth. I found another in-box on Facebook that I didn’t know was there and there was a message from another woman telling me to be careful as the man I loved was on online dating sites and was a liar and a two-timer and a cheat. I ended up going to the house of the woman on his home and she admitted that she was dating my boyfriend and had been for about a month – she wouldn’t tell me exactly how long.

    He was desperately trying to make me believe that these two women were stalkers from the dating site angry that he had told them he was in a relationship and not interested!!! Yeah right! I threw him out 4 months ago. I’ve blocked him on my phone and on fb. The woman I went to see changed her fb status to ‘in a relationship’ 9 days after I went to see her.

    Who knows what he’s told her about me. I did a lot of research after we split as it was such a shock to find out that he was an online predator, as our relationship seemed so perfect. I have tried so hard to have no contact. Early on I asked for an explanation and he gave me some bollocks about how he’d felt like a husband substitute and it being too perfect after he was the one pushing the pace.

    I’ve tried hard to keep no contact. I was checking his Twitter feed though and he kept tweeting things about the charity I work for and bought tickets to an event I was singing at with my choir 5 weeks after our split. He turned up with his new girlfriend. I didn’t go anywhere near him. He then started tweeting about another event I was singing at so I e-mailed him and asked him to find another charity to be involved with and not to go to any events he knew I’d be at – he only got involved in my charity because of our relationship. He stopped tweeting about my charity and I’ve blocked him on Twitter too.

    I joined a dating site at the end of December and he ‘catfished’ me on that claiming to be someone else with a whole fake life. I asked that person to e-mail me as my subscription was ending. He sent me a message with an e-mail account he’d set up, but his first e-mail to me showed that the e-mail address was on a device owned by him, so he was caught out. I sent him an e-mail showing him he’d revealed himself and telling him to stay out of my life and leave me alone.

    That was 10 days ago and I’ve heard nothing since. It is devastating when these contacts are made, they set me back and I worry that he will never truly be gone, and I do miss him still as it was amazing right up until I found out about his other women. I had a lucky escape I know, and it’s taking a lot of strength to pick myself up and move forward. I had already been through so much grief after losing my lovely husband. Luckily I know that not all men are like my sociopath because I was with a good man for 17 years.

    Distance and time and no contact definitely helps with the healing. Good luck to everyone who’s had a similar experience. I will be much more cautious in future.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Cathy, thank you for sharing the story of your heartbreaking experience. I’m sorry this happened to you. One thing that stands out to me is your strength! You protected your boundaries all the way through, many times, and you will continue to protect them–and yourself–by maintaining No Contact. It’s difficult, but as you said distance and time are important to the healing process.

      I’m very sorry that you lost your husband. Your relationship with him enabled you to know what a good man is, and to know that this sociopath was not one of them. That is a wonderful gift and a testament to the power of true love, which endures in the hearts of those who were loved. I wish you all the best, Cathy xo

  21. Dale Denise

    I’m just now figured out that my husband of 4 years is a psychopath. I blamed all his bad behaviors and mental cruelty on his alcoholism but wondered why I never got an apology for the bad stuff he was doing and saying to me. When I tried explain how his drinking and being absent and in the bars every night was hurting me, he would call me a zealot, start a big knock-down-drag-out fight over something to change the subject, or bring up something i supposedly did wrong 20 years ago. He was unremorseful about anything he did, ever. He is mean.

    He is a classic psycho. to the tee. All the traits. Everyone of them. He love-bombed me for 2 years to get me to marry him. Flowers, gifts, casino cash-out tickets were left in my car. He promised that if I married him he would stay sober, pay all my bills and I would not have to work. I married him, and you guessed it, all the promises were lies. He now calls me lazy and tells me I am sponging off him. He controls the money and gives it to me begrudgingly while he spends freely and spends in bars on name-brand liquor. He is also drunk-driving but if I object to that I am called intolerant.

    I know he is cheating because I found a Christmas card from someone calling him “the one I love.” I get phone calls on our landline from men in the middle of the night asking for him and when I ask “who is this?”, they hang up on me. I get the number from the caller I.D. and when I call back, the phone has been taken off the hook. I can’t prove it but my intuition and other clues tell me he may be having a homosexual affair. I’ve read that psycho. can be hetero but enjoy the thrill of same-sex sex.

    I’ve sought help and am making plans to get out soon. He’s destroyed my life. We are in our 60’s and yes, he’s still out in the bars beeing a “player.” Love to you all. Take care of yourselves.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      You’ve been through quite an ordeal with this man, Dale Denise, and I’m sorry it happened to you. Leaving him is wise and necessary, and I wish you all the best as you move forward with your life. Love to you, too.

  22. I come to you for help, since I feel completely drained of all energy and feel like I need to hide in a hole and disappear somehow.

    I’ve been married to an abusive man for over a year now and I just left his house 13 days ago. It was an arranged marriage and things seemed pretty decent before marriage. But just one day after the wedding, things started to change. We went on our honeymoon just a couple days after the wedding, and while we were there, he saw me nude for the first time and almost laughed and said “oh my god, you look like an aunty with 3 kids, your boobs are so big, you don’t look like a girl who just got married”. And he didn’t even touch me. And he was never intimate with me for the rest of our marriage. We probably had sex about five times in the one year but that’s about it. He used to always tell me how ugly and unattractive I was and how he had to imagine other women to turn himself on and it still wouldn’t work for him since I was there, being ugly. He used to say there’s nothing worth looking at, in me. This is the same man who had expressed a hundred times before marriage how he couldn’t believe he was getting married to a girl like me who was so out of his league and he had never thought he would get so lucky. I felt like I had been conned into the marriage, just to be tortured later.

    Some other significant things that stand out are, he used to beat our little puppy with wooden spoons sometimes until they broke in half (I gave her away now she is safe), he used to severely gaslight me by saying that I was forgetting or confusing things that had never happened, etc. On new years eve, we were in times square, NY, and at midnight he got upset suddenly over nothing and he just abandoned me on the sidewalk and went away. Then he called his and my father (in India) and said “she is asking me to finger her in public so I had no choice but to abandon her, I am ashamed that she is not being a good Indian wife”. I was in utter disbelief at how he had completely made up something so disgusting and called the 2 fathers and told this about me and they called me asking if this was true. The very next day, he denied ever saying that, and put his arms around me from behind and said “Why would you ever think I would say something like that about you, baby? Don’t you know how much I love you?”. So I let it go! (I know, it was crazy, but I would be willing to do anything just to restore peace, by this point)

    I have had to deal with so many such incidents with him. The last 4 months he gave me silent treatment non-stop, and it was driving me nuts. He setup this thing called ‘the forum’ in India, consisting of his parents, my parents, and an Indian attorney of his, and an Indian attorney of my parents (which he demanded that we hire one since he hired one too. Why did he get one in India, while we are living in the US? I have no idea!). This forum was created by him as he claimed to ‘help fix things in our marriage’. But he continued silent treatment here and the forum was just a way to start damaging my character to the world before he takes off. So every other day, he kept sending emails to this group, complaining about every little thing I was doing, such as “she came home at 11pm today”, “she got food only for herself today”, “she never came home last night, who knows who she spent the night with”, etc. So when I couldn’t take it anymore, I left. And now that I am gone, he continues to write emails about me still. I don’t know why. What does he want from me? Today morning he has sent another email just saying “I am going to send another email in 2 days about her”. How messed up is this? Not only is this making me so anxious, but also I am having to sit on this for 2 days, fearing about what else he is going to say about me now. He tortured me so much because he clearly didn’t want me and I am very sure that he nudged me everyday indirectly to run out of the house. So what does he want now? Why won’t he stop and leave?! There’s no peace of mind.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I’m sorry you’ve been through such a terrible ordeal, and feel so bad for you that your marriage turned out like it did! I can understand why this is making you so anxious. He has some serious mental problems and was very abusive. The good thing is that you left him! Only he knows what he wants from you, but what’s more important is what you want, and that’s to get this sick man out of your life and to regain your peace of mind. You must not have any contact with him at all. Block his emails and his number. You can’t stop him from sending emails to your parents, but ask them to block him, too, or at the very least never to respond to him. Chances are that when he gets no response at all of any kind, he’ll get tired of it and go on his way. You’ve been through a lot and you’re traumatized, and it’s going to take time to heal. Please find the help and support that you need, even a therapist or a support group at your local domestic abuse organization. I wish you the best of luck!

  23. Clarity

    I found your site, and I am so grateful to have found it. I am married to a sociopath/psychopath. I knew it before I married him, and then, of course, I was roped in again by promises, charm, lies, etc.

    In the earlier stages of our relationship, sometimes I would find myself getting angry and I couldn’t totally put my finger on it. I was always apt to blame myself for things, even without his part in that, so whatever emotion I was feeling, I would relate it back to my “insecurity” or whatever.

    There was a point that I found he had lied to me about something that I blamed myself for, for over a year, and I was so angry, and I told him that I could not believe it that he let me go on blaming myself and WATCHED ME do so, tearing myself up over it, without batting an eye.

    Nonetheless, of course, I quickly forgave him. I have always been understanding and forgiving of people, and unfortunately, there are some people that use that to their advantage.

    Fast forward to our marriage… I made sure to do healthy things for myself and build myself up throughout the relationship when I started becoming aware of what he was doing. I quit the job/internship that I hated (that I wouldn’t quit sooner because he screamed and raged at me for wanting to quit — mind you, this was before we were married — and the job was not really paying me a steady wage since it was an internship) and I went to school. That was the best decision I ever made, because school forced me to be in HEALTHY social situations. I started exercising, eating healthier, and spending time with people that I could trust.

    I guess this must have pissed him off, because things got worse. He also has a drinking problem — which was one thing he had “promised” me he was going to get help for, too. That’s another story, though. Anyway.. as I became more confident in myself, and as he verbally attacked me more and more, I got angrier.

    I reacted to his manipulation, his verbal/emotional abuse, his antagonism, etc. in ways that I am not proud of, and that has been the hardest thing for me to stomach and wrap my head around. I have felt a lot of guilt and shame for these reactions, and I also have felt rather stupid for them, too, knowing that it could cause me more harm; during one situation where he had decided he was going to grab the dog so that I could not take him when I was about to leave. He held the dog up by the collar — and I will never forget the look on my poor sweet dog’s face — and I tried to fight him off the dog. Being that I am nowhere near strong enough to wrestle him, I did the only thing I could think of in that split second of a moment to release his grip from the dog and I bit him in the wrist as hard as I could. Obviously, it was to help the dog, but to this day I feel guilt and shame for having bit him. Afterwards, he came out to my car when I was trying to leave and he punched my windshield so hard that he BROKE it. So… in my case, reacting with anger, was probably pretty dangerous.

    This was when he had been drinking. When he wasn’t drinking, the manipulation was still present, but it wasn’t as straight-fowardly explosive as when he was drinking…and unfortunately, it was difficult for me allow myself to be aware of what was happening unless it became explosive. The subtle manipulation was almost worse, because it was so much more difficult to put into words to explain to others.

    Unfortunately, in my case, and I am not sure how “normal” this is for being in a relationship with a psychopath…but the more I became aware of what was going on and that he was a very sick person that was purposefully manipulating me… I began to feel like I had something to “prove” to him…to show him that I was not going to succumb to his behavior. I really very naively believed that if I protested and pointed out that I caught onto his tactics and called him out on them, that it would somehow defeat him. I am pretty sure all that did was give him more of a thrill and kicked his manipulation up into full-gear. I really, very sincerely believed that I could “win” against a sociopath — which, I learned, by the way, is NOT possible unless, perhaps you are also a sociopath. It’s not possible, because, as long as you have empathy, a conscience, etc. you can not “outwit” a psychopath. The only thing you can do is get away. It is impossible to win or make the psychopath “see the truth” as I sincerely thought I could do… because there is no reasoning with them.

    I have left him several times, never for long… majorly because at some point, I always felt like I was “giving up” like he kept telling me I was doing. I felt awful and guilty for giving up on my marriage. I took my parents’ divorce really rough, and I promised myself that I would never get divorced if I ever got married… a tidbit that I shared with him before we got married, go figure.

    I just recently left again, and it has only been a few days, but it has been a rollercoaster of emotions. There are moments of clarity, like now, and then there are moments of overwhelming guilt and confusion. Sometimes I feel emotionally frustrated, confused, angry, hurt, etc. that it becomes a chore to refrain from calling/texting/e-mailing to try to pour my feelings out to him. I full well know that it will only make me feel worse, because they do not matter to him, and he would have some response that would leave me feeling to blame somehow. Still, as a human, I can’t help but want to do what I do with any other person I have had in my life…and attempt to communicate and reason with them. Which is simply not an option with a sociopath.

    The hardest part for me, so far, however, has been trying to wrap my head around that kind of f**ked upness– I still cannot fathom what he ever got out of toying with me day in and day out. I cannot fathom it, because I am not capable of that type of effed-upness myself…

    I am trying to accept the fact that I probably will never *understand* it. This is hard for me, because I am analytical and a problem solver…I am a science major…and not being able to make SENSE of the situation is a large part of what has kept me in it for the last 5 years.

    Anyway… Thank you again for the wonderful site. It has helped me get through another day, without him, and I couldn’t be more grateful. It is very helpful to know that I am not “crazy” as I have been told for the last 5 years, and that what I experienced was real.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      You’ve been through a lot, Clarity. I’m sorry your marriage turned out this way. It’s good that you’ve left (and I hope you took the dog with you, poor little thing). Going back won’t change anything, I’m afraid, and I think you know that. For a neuroscientific explanation of why psychopaths behave the way they do, see these posts: “It’s not you, it’s me and my hyper-reactive dopaminergic reward system,“ and “Genuine Attraction, Manipulation or Something More? Dr. Rhonda Freeman Explains.” All of us tried to communicate with them like we do with normal people; we gave them the benefit of the doubt, forgave them countless times, behaved like lunatics when they provoked us to do so, and we missed them terribly because we were in such a state of confusion and addiction. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. What you need is clarity, like your name, and the only way to get it is with time and space from him; after that, you will not want to return.

      I’m so glad the website has helped you, and I wish you all the best. Don’t throw any more of your life and your emotional health down the drain, please. Stay strong; you’re worth it.

      To read:


  24. Debbie T.

    I came across your site and what a godsend! I would like to relay my horrific experience, as I try to heal and recover from this devastating loss.

    I met him on CL. He placed an ad to text or email. I was all alone at the time, feeling pretty lonely. It was around Christmas time 2014. I was thankful someone was emailing me regularly. Parents passed away and my only sibling lives in another country. Understandably, at Christmas my loneliness increased. Here was this nice guy, separated from his wife and starting divorce proceedings. He lived in another state so it was long distance. We emailed for two weeks and then I noticed he subtly started making sexual comments. I was already kind of attached to him so I went along with the sex talk. By this time we were steadily texting. He got more and more graphic with the words. I thought at the time he was simply a sensual guy and got a bit aroused from it.

    We did meet up a month later as he came into town to visit his family. When I sat down at the restaurant table, he immediately glared at me. I am not sure why. All I did was try to hug him. He was very reserved, quiet and conservative looking. Not my physical type at all. I felt uncomfortable during the following hour. After lunch we walked around outside. I was the talkative one, chatting and asking him questions. Awhile later, he suddenly started holding my hands. I did not pull away but felt somewhat uncomfortable with a man I hardly knew. During the following two hours we had been walking along a nearby beach when he suddenly kissed me passionately twice, then a third time before driving away.

    After that he professed he wanted to see me again. We kept texting non=stop. He all of a sudden started saying we were meant to be together. I think I have found my soulmate. After one date! Naturally I held back responding in kind and thought this was odd behavior. He texted me every day and about a month later started saying I love you, we are going to be together one day, You are perfect for me. I can’t wait for this and I can’t wait for that. At this point he never asked to talk to me on the phone, just texting. So I brought it up and he agreed to start chatting. He appeared uncomfortable on the phone, his voice got all squeaky sometimes and high pitched.

    He was a big fan of sexting. He would suddenly show up in the afternoon by text while I was at work saying he wants to get under my desk and take off my panties. This kind of talk was common. I tried to steer things to more about getting to know each other. He would answer my questions but never initiate talk getting to know me. I was getting frustrated by now but did not say anything to him, as I really did not want to go back to being alone.

    He had apparently filed for divorce and it was in the works. He came to visit two months later and got a cheap motel room in town. On his way back from visiting his sister, he took me out to dinner and a move. There was lots of making out. We went back to his motel and almost as soon as I got in the door he pounced on me like a cat. I almost gave in but ended up leaving. He texted later saying “you should have stayed”. The next day he took me out for lunch and we went out for dinner again. After getting back to his motel, he grabbed me again and we had sex. I asked him how the divorce was going and he said it was all settled and ready for a judge to sign. This was 6 months into knowing him.

    After this I noticed a distinct inconsistency in his communications. He would text steadily for 2 days, then disappear, come back and not say anything about his life, what he was doing, etc. In fact, he rarely ever talked about his life or anyone in it. He was a mystery. He said we were going to get married one day in a text, then disappear suddenly leaving me hanging. His actions did not match up. He stopped talking to me on the phone. This is where it all went downhill. I brought up the text inconsistencies and he got defensive and angry. I wanted to discuss where we were going in the relationship. He rarely gave me straight answers, only excuses. Then I caught on he was a compulsive lier. At the one year mark, he was disappearing for 3, 4 or 5 days at a time but still popping in and saying I love you, how is my princess, good morning beautiful. Something did not feel right.

    I looked on CL where we met and saw a couple of ads that sounded like they might be his. So I created a fake email and responded to 3. Sure enough he was posting NSA ads and saying he was still married, important to be discrete, etc. So I go back and ask him the status of his divorce and he says it’s not settled, his wife won’t agree to settle. He told me something totally different a few months back. He was not keen on clearing up this inconsistency either and said nothing that made any sense. So was he married, separated, divorced? I had no idea. I dumped him at this point. He even had nothing to say for himself about what the ads were all about.

    After missing him after 2 weeks I returned and asked why he placed those ads. He said I was pulling away at times and all he wanted was to talk, not meet anyone. He wanted a relationship with me, what did I want to see happen. I did not respond as I no longer trusted him but kept up the texting. He was keen on sexting as usual. Fast forward 2 months he announces he is coming into town, do I want company. I said sure we can meet up. But then days were going by without hearing from him. So I went back on to CL. I saw an ad that looked like him again. It said he was a lonely married man looking for a lonely married woman. I was horrified. I answered it incognito, asking him a few questions about his marriage and all. He talked about his wife not being sensual and that he is being neglected. So what was all this about? Was he still living with her? Anyway, I injected a comment into the conversation that indicated it was me he was actually talking to. He goes away for several hours and returns. He said he can’t do it. He placed the ad to see if someone was seeing others (presumably me, and I was not).

    He continues to text and ask if we can meet up in town after he is done seeing family. My self esteem must have been at an all time low, because I agreed to see him even after this
    nonsense. He got his cheap motel room again. I was waiting at home for hours and did not hear from him. Suddenly at 11 pm he texts asking where I am. Stupidly, I run over there and sleep with him. I should add that I have come from a home where both parents were emotionally unavailable and where I was sexually abused for years.

    The next day he returns home. I text him but he sounded cold. Ignored me for several days after, then shows up with a comment about the weather. I go on to CL again, and see 5 or 6 more sex ads placed by him. By this time he was no longer saying I love you, or using sweet talk. So I called it quits, told him to have a happy life. He even had the nerve to send me a Valentines Card about how much he loved me during all of this. During the following months, due to loneliness I did text a few times to ask how he was doing. He was always eager to chat. Then I see he posted a question on a girlfriend recovery website saying he was doing “no contact” to get me back but it wasn’t working. Should he just give up. He even signed his name to it. So I thought he must really care about me then, so I text him right away all excited. But during the ensuing texts, he was hot and cold, gave excuses that he was busy, but was always very nice, said he was happy to hear from me.

    After a few more texting tries, I just gave up and never spoke to him any further. He continued with hot and cold, disappearing then reappearing. This man lied non=stop, even about things he did not need to lie about. He never gave me any clarity about his actions and the last 2 months I got mere morsels of attention. I am knocking myself for staying for so long. I feel humiliated. I continued to go back. I disrespected myself. I believe he was a psychopath. There was never any real relationship. He played intermittent reinforcement to a T, lied constantly, and now even 7 months have gone by with absolutely no contact from him.

    The lesson learned from all of this is I need to work on my own self=esteem. I put up with this because deep down I did not love myself. He played me like a fiddle, mirrored my wants and needs, did not make getting to know me a priority, and most of the time used me for sexting. Whenever I heard his sweet talk, it reeled me in, hooked me so bad. In the end it was all hot air.

    Hopefully one day I can develop a real relationship, a respectful friendship and maybe even love. For now I am more damaged than before.


    1. Adelyn Birch

      That was a horrific experience, Debbie, and I’m so sorry it happened to you. I think you’re right when you say it’ll be a turning point for you. It takes a lot for some of us to reach that point, but ultimately it enables us to change in ways that make us stronger and our lives better. Here’s a quote I love and would like to share with you:

      “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

      ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

      Best of everything to you as you move forward

  25. Sherri

    I am still in the fog of this nightmare I am exiting. I am having trouble articulating what I went through and what I’m feeling because I am a jumbled mess! I am glad I stumbled on this website, it’s helped me sort it out a little bit. I wish I could print the articles, I like to read and highlight information I relate to. I can relate to SO much here. I’m so afraid I will never heal from the hell I’ve been living for the last 16 years. I read and read, I’ve been to therapy, I talk to friends but I feel like NO ONE understands (even therapists) and nothing takes away the pain. Therapists have tried EMDR for PTSD, they want me to “breathe” and meditate, focus on myself not on him, blah blah blah…. How do you NOT focus on all the wrongs? All the pain? The YEARS I wasted trying to love a man who pretended to love but couldn’t actually feel? The anger and resentment he lashes out at ME after a lifetime of HIS lies and womanizing? Gaslighting and crazymaking!! I use to have hopes and dreams. Now I just want to get through the day. I’m not sure what the answer is.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Sherri, I am so sorry to hear of the hell you’ve been through for 16 years, and very sorry that no one understands. I know what that’s like! Understanding is so important! You’re right, you can’t just forget about it or put it aside; it’s far too significant for that. You need validation and understanding. It’s deeply traumatic to have experienced manipulation and lies for years from a man who supposedly loved you, and then to be lashed out at and blamed by him for what he did and the problems he caused. Feeling anger and resentment at that is perfectly normal! He violated your commitment, your trust, your second chances. You tried hard to make it work, but he never did; he only said he would, but he never followed through. The pain is intense because the level of betrayal you’ve experienced is deep. It is not the same as a normal relationship gone bad. Of course you’re going to focus on it, especially if you feel you’re hitting a brick wall when you try to gain understanding and support. Healing from this level of trauma takes time and care. You will get there, though. Please don’t doubt that. Your hopes and dreams will return one day. Right now you have other things to deal with.

      I suggest that you try to find a therapist who understands toxic relationships with disordered people, specifically narcissists and psychopaths. If they aren’t knowledgeable about it, they can’t know what you’ve been through and they really can’t offer the help you need.

      Here are a couple of articles for you from Rhonda Freeman, PhD, a neurospychologist who has a website for people who’ve been victimized in this way:

      Healing & Psychopath Abuse Recovery
      Lingering Pain…

      Something vitally important for you right now is self compassion—The Self-Compassion Effect

      I hope you’ve found a little understanding here, Sherri, and I wish you all the best xx

      **You can print the articles! Using a Chrome browser, you can go to the little utility menu in the browser that has history/ bookmarks/ etc; there, you’ll find an option to print. You can “print” (save) a webpage as a PDF, and then print it out if you want to.

  26. This is the profile of one Nevada gun-owner, my estranged husband, who purchased his weapon from a licensed gun-dealer. I may owe my life to a neighbor who stepped out of his comfort zone (and his role as a gun-store employee) to inform me of my estranged husband’s gun purchase. According to the police, even they have no right to know if an individual owns a gun. My neighbor’s words when he told me about the gun purchase were, “I would never forgive myself if anything happened to you and I hadn’t told you.”

    Since my husband’s disclosure in the summer of 2011 that he planned to declare bankruptcy on massive credit card and vendor debt from his business, our marriage had deteriorated. I had questioned him repeatedly over the years about our finances, but he always evaded my questions, telling me that we were fine financially. He would become enraged and run from the room if I continued to question him. I tried to learn not to question him but I failed. He filed for divorce against me early in 2014, and then came to me several months later saying that he wanted us to reconcile. He stated that I was the best thing that ever happened to him; that he wanted to repay his debt; and that he needed to re-earn my trust. We did not divorce at that point. However, my husband did not take steps to re-earn my trust. And I continued to question him. Our conflicts over finances continued.

    On April 2, 2016, a next-door neighbor informed me that my husband had bought a gun. Earlier in the year, in January, I had told this neighbor, his wife, and several other neighbors that my husband had left our house on December 28, 2015, leaving only a note indicating that he would not come home, that he was not considering a divorce, and that I was to contact him only by e-mail. I told my neighbors, too, that my husband (who was still heavily in debt, yet was spending money recklessly) had sent me a series of increasingly hostile e-mails after he left, demanding that I sign a Truth-in-Lending statement permitting him to buy a second house and that I allow him to access my credit report. Mail came to the house for him indicating that he had applied not only for mortgages but for new car loans, as well. The enclosed credit refusals contained seriously derogatory credit reports. When I did not respond to my husband’s e-mails, he notified me that he would file for divorce (again) and that he was selling the house. He threatened that if I did not cooperate with his plans, I would have to find another place to stay. In this series of e-mails, he stated, too, that he missed me; that we would have about 100 apricots on the tree in our backyard; and that he was taking pills for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hypothyroidism, and Alzheimer’s disease. He had, in fact, been hospitalized in mid-December, 2015, for life-threatening hypothyroidism, which can cause a form of dementia; possible symptoms include memory loss, depression, withdrawal, and hostility. I was not surprised about the Alzheimer’s medication, since I had mentioned to a counselor in 2013 that my husband had undergone extreme personality changes; he seemed increasingly forgetful and was becoming disoriented and panicky when operating TV remote controls, automobile dashboard controls, and household appliances. His driving had become dangerously erratic. My husband, bewildered, had stated, “I just can’t seem to put two and two together.” The counselor confirmed that he had noticed symptoms in my husband that pointed to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. He recommended to my husband that he address this issue with his doctor. My husband did not address this issue.

    As I said earlier, I had told one next-door neighbor and several other neighbors about our situation. But I had not told our other next-door neighbor. That neighbor, the owner of a gun store, was the gun dealer who sold to my husband.

    By now, I had retained an attorney, who instructed my husband to contact her rather than e-mailing me. I notified my attorney on Saturday, April 2, immediately after learning of the gun purchase. On Monday, April 4, my husband e-mailed my attorney his intent to cancel both the home phone service and alarm service, but that he would not do so until he heard from her. My attorney reminded him of his agreement to continue to pay for all utilities. I contacted our alarm service provider on April 5 and learned that my husband had already scheduled cancellation of that service. My attorney ordered him to reinstate the service. Instead of responding to her order, my husband e-mailed her that he intended to move back into the house; that I had better not attack him “again” (I never had attacked him); that he would “select” which room he would occupy; and that I “had better not try to ‘instigate’ conversation with” him.

    My attorney e-mailed him that we were aware of his gun purchase and that the police would be called if he were seen near the house. She instructed me to apply for a protective order (TPO) immediately, which I did. I spoke with a worker at the Family Violence Intervention Center (TPO office), who said, “Do not go home. I don’t want you to go home. Your situation is too dangerous.” I told her I had nowhere else to go. During the 2-day processing period for the TPO, I informed the police of the situation. They scheduled extra patrol around our home. They told me to call 911 if anything seemed not right. They told me, too, that a TPO is only a piece of paper; that my husband was free to own a gun; and that, as a home-owner, he was free to break into his own home. If the police came and determined that he was rational, they could do nothing. Two days later I learned that my TPO request was denied because it did not meet the statutory requirement for domestic violence.

    On April 12, my husband e-mailed my attorney demanding that I sign a quit-claim to allow him to sell the house. He ordered her to “tell your client to cooperate.” He restated his intent to move back into the house, in spite of her warning not to go near the house.

    The state-trooper son of a friend of mine told his mother, “She’s screwed. Tell her to barricade herself in a bullet-proof room if he moves back in.” My friend referred me to the statistics concerning domestic violence deaths in Nevada; that in this state, a woman has a 65% greater chance of dying from domestic violence than in any other state; and that 30% of those deaths are shooting deaths.

    The gun-dealer’s mother, who also lives next-door, has told other neighbors that she sees my husband frequently and that he is “sound-minded.” In relation to her husband, who is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease, my husband may appear rational. But according to my neighbor who works in the gun store, the dealer would not have sold to my husband if he had known our situation. I have seen, during more than 15 years of marriage, that my husband has an uncanny ability to sound rational while living a grandiose, delusional and unconscionable lifestyle, shunning financial, legal, and familial responsibilities. His family and Facebook “friends” told me that his posts during our years of conflict indicated financial success; that he was living and enjoying the good life. He gave no clue that he had lost his business to overwhelming debt; that he was considering bankruptcy (his second); or that he had filed for divorce (his third divorce filing.)

    My husband’s divorce complaint against me will be heard in Family Court. Since Nevada is a no-fault divorce state, his behavioral history and history of DUI (some still outstanding) and drug warrants, breach-of-contract lawsuits, bankruptcy (in 1992, to the IRS for unreported earnings – his boss’ fault, according to my husband), and public record of delinquent debt need not come under court scrutiny; nor will his ownership of a deadly weapon and his thinly veiled strategy to use it, at the least, to control me.

    In his “bio” or, as he puts it, his “testimony,” which he posted on Gen-forum on March 3, 2005, my husband boasts of being “a rebel and a trouble maker,” always trying to draw attention to himself. He states, “I could not adjust to school life and I hated authority.” He further states, “I had been expelled from one high school, busted two times in the army, and roamed from job to job.” He “owned a couple of pool halls and for a while…was doing pretty well.” “I blew that,” he says, “when I sold some drugs to some undercover policemen…I became an alcoholic…more drugs and alcohol. I was as good a drinker and drugger as I was a pool player. I even tried injecting heroine several times. In high school I conceived a son out of wedlock. He committed suicide when he was 22” (in 1985). That son was named after my husband. Another son, (conceived out of wedlock in 1982), bore the same name.

    A page from my husband’s scrapbook contains two items: a snapshot of two small children hugging; and a yellowed newspaper article recalling a 1981 armed robbery near my husband’s Pennsylvania home. One gunman, Danny Curry, was arrested, jumped bail, and eluded police for twelve years, before dying of an illness in Florida in 1994. The other gunman escaped, unidentified. When I questioned my husband about the article, he stated nostalgically, “Danny Curry…I loved that guy. He was my best friend.”

    Before we married, my husband had told me something of his past, from which he seemed oddly detached; but I knew him, or thought I did, strictly as a clean-cut, charming man. Ironically, he always described himself as a “straight-shooter.” My husband’s family, and friends who have known him much longer than I, are saddened by his relapse, but not surprised. They hoped he had changed; but he again has become the man that they knew from the past. I believed he had changed. I am grieved and devastated by my husband’s relapse; but I am no longer surprised, having learned, too late, that recidivism is an inevitable stage in his “life-cycle.” His brother and sister, both 3000 miles away, can only validate what I am experiencing and advise me to change the locks on the doors, document everything, and forward my husband’s e-mails to my attorney. His sister states, “He was always so secretive. We never knew where he was – my secret brother.” His brother states, “I was never able to figure him out. He was always unpredictable, as you are experiencing. He would disappear for long periods of time and then show up as if nothing had happened.” His attorney has informed mine that my husband “wouldn’t hurt a fly.” I used to believe the same thing.

    This man, my estranged husband, is a Nevada gun-owner. He is free to use his gun and to justify his use of it truthfully or deceitfully. His history proves him to be a master of evasion, deceit and manipulation, lacking accountability to laws or mores. He lies just as he pursues most things – without guilt or even conscience, for he literally lacks the ability to experience remorse. His sole criterion for “right” is this: Does it get him what he wants next? If it works for him – however irresponsible, illegal or deadly – it is right and just and always someone else’s fault. My husband is a Nevada gun-owner. He bought his weapon from a licensed gun dealer. He has exercised his second amendment right to own a gun.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      DJ, this concerns me greatly. Alzheimer’s on top of psychopathy makes for a very dangerous person. Your safety must be your number one priority. I hope for your situation to be resolved peacefully, and soon. Please let me know how it’s going. I wish you all the best xx

  27. innocentangel

    Wow, this website has truly helped me in such a difficult time. I am a young female (early 20’s) and my much older boss (60’s) saw something special in me, stated he would mentor me, he promoted me and made me his right hand in his company. He is extremely successful and powerful, he complimented me, stuck up for me when older colleagues made comments about my age, lack of experience, and gave me amazing opportunities. I saw he was mean to others, but never thought he would be mean to me. Others warned me not to get close, but I did not listen. Then, he showed his dark side, extremely horrifying angry outbursts, threats, scare tactics, manipulation. He made me feel as if I was lucky and no one else would hire me, which I started to believe. I was terrified to resign. He owned me, and talked me into doing everything he wanted, isolated me, kept me away from my boyfriend and family, dangled the carrot with promises, and he was extremely charming and then extremely cold. After I finally got the guts to resign, he made my life a living hell because “I used him and did something wrong”. He publicly slandered my name, turned many of my colleagues and friends against me, made up terrible lies about me, tried to get me fired from my job and told others not to hire me, threatened to kill me, threatened to rape me, stalked me. I felt guilty and hated myself for this, that I was so stupid and let this happen and suffered very badly. Going to therapy helped, and after I realized that I was targeted, and I was manipulated and mind raped, this wasn’t my fault!!! I blamed myself for many months, and it was enlightening for my therapist to tell me that I was his target, just as how rapists choose their targets, so do psychopaths. Rape can be just once, but this mind raping was on going for months. I am still healing a year later, but I do not wish this upon anyone and I am very careful about red flags.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I’m so glad the website has been of help to you during such a difficult time! What a horrifying nightmare to find yourself in. Thank goodness you found a therapist who understood what you’d experienced! You’re so right when you compare them to rapists who do it continually over a long period of time instead of once. That’s exactly the way I felt. It’s so good that you’re healing, Innocentgal, and I wish you all the best. Thank you for sharing your story.

  28. stripped

    My husband and I were social friends with he and his wife. Ever so cleverly he made moves to get closer to me, dropping by or calling to visit with my husband when he knew he wouldn’t be home, “coincidentally” meeting up with me at stores, and later emailing me random items of interest. Then it moved on into personal disclosures. I told him I couldn’t email that personal with email unless his wife knew and was OK with it. He said she knew and she was. I verified with her. She said, “Sure, no big deal.” A year of amazing emails passed. He seemed to read my mind, seemed to like the same music I liked, the same art, the same books. He was amazingly creative and gifted, could write like Bob Dylan. My heart was captured and I had the time of my life writing him. He was 20 years younger than me and I completely thought of him like a son. He told me had trouble trusting people and later that he was a psychopath. I thought he was only kidding around. I was uninformed on the subject–never having known one before. He loved to play games–often played Tennis with my husband and when he wasn’t doing that he was playing some other game with someone else. One Christmas afternoon he whipped my young son at chess, saying, “That was weird, at first I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to beat him or not.” I found that strange that he had no qualms about beating a young boy. Both my husband and I loved having them in our lives until one day it all started to unravel. He had written me a rather personal email which came up on his phone and his wife read it. She was shocked and angry. He had convinced her that our emailing was not of personal nature–pulled the wool over her eyes without technically lying which he was very adept at doing. We tried to talk it out with them but he was very adverse to “playing the blame game” as he called it. I should just get over it, let it go, be groovy or take a hike. After two years of tears and heartache I finally chose to “hike.” Shortly after they moved away and the “no contact” phase brought instant healing and relief. Prior to that happening I must have cried 500 times not knowing how to make things better with them. They accused me of “hatred and malice”–neither of which I felt towards them. He was obsessed with his reputation and angry that I had supposedly talked about him behind his back, calling me “cheap.” Once, while trying in desperation to explain my side to him on the phone, I told him I had loved him. His response to that was ice cold, “I know you did.” It felt like a dagger going into my heart. Earlier he had been so much fun it be around–full of smiles, stories, and laughs. Underneath the friendly persona there was a dark side and it began to scare me. The whole time I knew him there was always a line from a Fleetwood Mac song going through my head, “Players only love you when they’re playing…” He played me and my husband for all we were worth, until one day I finally woke up and said to myself, “My heart is not a game.” Ours was a classic encounter of empath (me) meets psychopath (him). I hope I never meet another one as long as I live.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      “My heart is not a game.” Well said. It’s sad that anyone would think that’s what yours was, or any of ours were. I’m sorry this guy put you through all of this unnecessary heartbreak and trauma. I hope you’re not crying anymore, Stripped. Thank you for sharing your story xo

      1. stripped

        No worries AD! Ever since he moved away it’s been all blue skies, rainbows, and sunshine in my heart just like it used to be. Haven’t cried once in the last 10 months:) My husband and I are closer than ever–he gave me a ton of understanding and compassion through the whole ordeal. We’ve simply replaced them with fun, healthy activities we love and hooked up with old friends who we genuinely trust. The old saying comes to mind: Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold! Our old friends are definitely golden, but I learned that is you think you have a new “silver” friend you better check him out carefully–he might be just a tin man with no heart! This whole experience has changed my approach to trusting as you often describe on these pages. I used to be willing to trust everyone unless I discovered a reason not to, like “innocent until proven guilty.” Now I have a more cautious approach–I’m still willing to trust people but only after they earn it by proving they are trustworthy. Live and learn–it hurt a great deal and was a long journey but I definitely turned out better instead of bitter in the end! And thanks to you for all of your help along the way:)

        1. Adelyn Birch

          I am so glad to hear that!!!

  29. Lanette

    I read your article regarding people with Asperger’s. Everything you wrote I have believed for some time, but everything I’ve read about Asperger’s has said the exact opposite. If I told the truth about the lack of empathy, people would accuse me of being hateful at best or ignorance at worst. People have often made fun of my naivete or have taken advantage of it, which is extremely irritating. I can’t help it. But to be accused of ignorance is far worse because I’m constantly reading and researching and rarely speak about something that I haven’t studied or have full knowledge of.

    I feel like I should back up and give you more of my background. As a writer, I’ve been frequently told not to start at the very beginning (infancy), but I doubt anyone will get the full story if I don’t. My mom described me as an unhappy baby with one emotion–frustration. I was demanding, never satisfied with her or myself. I was ahead of all my milestones and was often frustrated that I couldn’t do things faster. She said the first time she ever saw an emotion other than frustration was when I was three. She saw pure joy on my face.

    In addition to being ahead on all my infant milestones, I also taught myself to read at the age of four. As an adult, I’ve read about hyperlexia, but the articles have been contradictory. I have my theory, but not one strong enough to state it with full confidence.

    Growing up, I was constantly bullied for being odd when all I really wanted was to be accepted. In high school, the other girls found me to be a good listener and would tell me their problems but not care if I was dead or alive the next day. I never understood it, still don’t, but there seemed to be an invisible “kick me” sign that only others can see. As an adult, I was always focused on accuracy and doing the best job that I could (I worked in medical research). Those who monitored my studies often praised my organization and data, yet every boss I ever had belittled me relentlessly and treated me as an incompetent child. When I had to give speeches, the feedback was more often than not very cruel, yet when I accessed the feedback of other speakers who weren’t very good, the feedback was sympathetic and encouraging. I don’t know why people have always treated me worse than others, but it’s very painful. I may not be able to feel other people’s emotions, but I feel them deep in myself. My strongest emotion is still frustration, but the second strongest is pain.

    Back to my childhood, my mom often criticized me for being poor at reading facial expressions and body language, but I didn’t know what to do with this criticism. It’s not like I could say, “You’re absolutely right. I will change that.” I think I was 16, give or take, when my mom left out a book on body languages. I read it. I studied it. I incorporated it as a piece of myself. It was important to me to learn to relate to other people. I was lonely, sad, rejected. All I wanted was a friend. That book changed my life. I practiced smiling and looking affable in front of a mirror. I watched people’s facial expressions and body language to the point my own body languages and facial expressions nearly became intuitive and so did my ability to read others.

    Naturally, the book didn’t change everything. I still avoided all conflicts was unable to get into a contentious conversation with anyone. (Later in college, I began writing out my thoughts and reading it back to them.) I still didn’t understand people’s motivations or the proper response to all situations. I’ve often been criticized for being rude when I meant to be kind. I often mimicked the behaviors in others so that I could treat them the way they treated others, thinking that’s how they wanted to be treated. This approach has worked well in many situations and with many people, but not all.

    I was married to my first husband for thirteen years. His behavior often bewildered me because it was outside the norm for anyone else I’d ever met. He was also verbally and sexually abusive. We would often be enjoying a pleasant conversation, then he flip out at me for reasons that were totally incomprehensible. I’d learned a lot about human behavior and how to interact with them socially, but this was beyond anything I’d ever seen or heard about. Unfortunately, all he had to do was give a heartfelt apology and a promise to work on his behavior and all was forgiven. I was hopelessly naive.

    Our first child was a beautiful daughter, who as an adult looks a cross between Amy Winehouse and a feminine Alan Rickman (I was attracted to my first husband because of his striking resemblance to Alan Rickman.) But I felt nothing for her. This saddened me, because as a mother I knew I was supposed to have maternal feelings. Still, I knew that love is what a person does; it’s a responsibility to another person and putting their needs, wants, and desires before my own. I showed her love often by caring for her needs and wants immediately, by sheltering her from her father’s irrational outbursts (I can’t stand when I read about women who seek comfort in the midst of a tragedy through their child; children must be protected from the ills that plague adults), by playing with her, teaching her, complimenting and encouraging her, and all the other things a good mother does.

    Eight years later, my son was born. I’ve always felt a deep love for him. I never understood why I felt something for one child and not the other, but I worked to make sure my daughter felt the same love I genuinely had for my son. It wasn’t her fault that I am somehow defective, but his birth awakened something in me, something I have tried to understand and explore through writing but have failed. I felt things deeper and saw the damage my husband’s abuse had on my daughter. I always thought I shielded her from it, but it’s not entirely possible. At that time, I had just started working in psychiatric research (this was short-lived) and realized my husband fit most of the characteristics of one with anti-social personality disorder. In short, he was a sociopath who preyed on my naivety and desire to be wanted. Still, if I thought it was best for the children, I would have stayed with him. When I realized the damage he was causing, I moved out.

    A year later, I met a very kind man who seemed genuinely interested in me. Shortly into our relationship, he told me about his son who has Asperger’s. About a year into our marriage, his son moved in with us to attend college. I was happy to get to know his son and to help him in any way I could because I had just started to suspect that I also had Asperger’s and have learned many helpful ways to manage it, long before I suspected that there was anything wrong with me. It didn’t take long for me to realize that he didn’t care if he fit in with society or not. He often complained on social media about being lonely, but he refused to speak to his dad about what he was feeling. His dad and I made several attempts to coach him on how to appear friendly, but each time his dad said he mentally checked out. My husband could tell when his son checked out by the glazed look in his eyes, but I had to be told when not to say anymore because I never could pick up on the shift in my step-son’s expression. Apparently, it was more subtle than the facial expressions I learned how to read. After awhile, I became more and more angry at this college kid because he was visibly rude to everyone, yet he refused to learn how to fake it.

    My husband doesn’t know this, but one time I chewed out my step-son and told him that I know he doesn’t give a shit about anyone else. I also told him that despite that, since he wants people to like him, if he didn’t learn to fake it, he would be miserable his entire life. He simply stared at me, or maybe he stared past me. I don’t know, but that’s when I started to realize the similarities between Aspies and sociopaths. Having been married to one, I know the lack of empathy is different in the two groups and how it manifests if also very different. For some reason, an Aspie’s show of lack of empathy enrages me significantly more than a sociopath’s show of lack of empathy.

    After college and with much interview coaching from his father, he found a job in another state. His dad visits him often, but I’ve had nothing to do with him since he left.

    This has already gotten longer than I originally anticipated, but I want to take a brief amount of time to talk about my marriage. You have probably guessed by now that I am not neuro-typical. Having grown up before such diagnoses were known of, I’ve never been tested or diagnosed, but the symptoms are there, though mostly managed. We’ve been married seven years and have a great relationship; he has said this often, so I know it’s not just me who thinks it. I don’t care for sex, but I know it’s something I must do for his emotional well-being. Besides, orgasms feel pretty amazing (on an emotional level, orgasms feel uncomfortably strange as I feel out of control of my own body, but the physical sensations are mind-blowing). He’s an intelligent, well-educated professional, and I enjoy our numerous intellectual discussions, plus the familiarity of having a solid, compatible relationship. I hate small talk and don’t understand why he talks when he has nothing to say, but knowing it’s typical human behavior, I listen… usually. Most of the time, I’d rather be reading or wrapped up in my own world on the computer and feel irritated when he interrupts. I do my best to pretend I’m fine with the interruptions, but he must see something on my face because he’ll say something like, “One more thing, and I’ll stop interrupting.”

    Beyond petty annoyances that are inherent in any marriage, what we have is very strong. We’ve been each other’s listening ears when there’s been problems with the kids or problems at work; he relied on me emotionally when he went through cancer treatments, and I made sure I provided him everything he needed. Once he got angry with me because I wasn’t anticipating his needs, but after that, he verbalized his every wish, which I accommodated because that’s what a good wife does.

    I hope you read to the end. If so thank you for listening. I’ve never laid out my story like this before and am glad that I can share it here.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Lanette, thank you for sharing your story. I did read it to the end; it was gripping. You’re a wonderful writer. Your story is fascinating, on many levels, yet sad in many places. I’m sorry you’ve struggled so much, with your own challenges and people’s reactions to them, and with your marriage to a sociopath. You put in a lot of effort and was able to overcome what you could, which is really quite a lot, and I’m impressed with your strength and your ability to persevere despite adversity. I’m so glad to hear you have a strong marriage now. Thanks again for your story. I wish you all the best xo

  30. victim pan cake

    Once upon a time ,19 years back .I was a very happy teenager and full of life .As every human -almost- I trying to find a answers for many questions .at that time I was at the university.I’m attending my class ,however I knew I will have a good future -to discover the that future is find s very hostile creature ?hh-anyway I’m not a native English and actually my native ls language is Arabic and I’m Arabic .I’m Sudanese .I think you know Sudan war ,Darfur and a lot of things. The strange thing is how wants s psychopath in the hell hhhhh.any way it happens .A-ha .I my self met the devil Here .
    She…let us call her it .is it grtamaticaly correct and for feminist is it politically correct ?Ahh ,I wrote and I thing no body interested to sue somebody overseas.
    We married with devil around 2 years back. And now we are divorced. I’m not hurt to much financily ,but the got most of me .I will start my work after 10 .
    Soooo where is the node .
    It is in my future dears . I can’t imagine that I can trust no body again . She was cheating Mr with anybody have a d***K .
    I’m asking my self .I’m I a bad at bed .OK I’m I a bad person .what is the hell is going on …
    In addition to that my work needs attention and now I can’t even brush my teeth.we don’t social insurance .
    The funny thing I was a feminist movement .I thing now to support a my self

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Victim Pan Cake. You’ve been through a lot. The Sudan war, and then a devil of a wife. I’m very sorry to hear it. I believe you will be able to trust, and you will be full of life again. Don’t give up on that! Thank you for sharing your story here. I wish you all the best.

      **Please understand that “feminist” does not mean the same as “psychopath.”

  31. Tracey

    My psychopath – malignant narccist
    Met online, he appeared very chilled slightly innocent and chivilriuos.
    Nothing happened instantly,mi came off line because most of the men were very pushy.
    Over a period of six months he grew on me, seemed sweet. I later found out that he was in a relationship during this phase of grooming.
    Suddenly he wanted a more serious relationship (his girlfriend had left him again I had no idea he wasn’t single)
    We began dating, he was very ‘loving’ and it appeared like a mainstream situation.
    I was discarded out of the blue, his previous girlfriend was back in touch & he wasn’t sure how he felt about her !
    He came back about a month later via ‘I miss you’ ‘I love you’ ‘it’s over’ I was sucked back against my better judgement.
    The rages began, the sulking and snide contemtous comments explained as ‘I was just pulling your leg’ ‘you used to have a good sense of humour’ …’I’ve caught you on an off day’ etc.
    The rages weren’t screaming or shouting they were withdrawal of affection,mignoring me when we were out & less than good sex.
    Eventually he raged at me directly which froze me inside, I was not safe. He refused to let me leave yet told me to leave in the same scentences, I was held captive that night until I quietly left.
    I went no contact & a new girlfriend was in my shoes immediately afterwards. Paraded on FB so I’d know.
    3 months later (still petrified) he was back in touch hoovering, wanting to exchange us calling his situation ‘a mess’ to me.
    I have swerved meeting him to talk, he delivers gifts at night, is all over my FB messaging & still in this new relationship.
    The thing which scared me most was why I was selected, if he doesn’t like me then why select me at all. He has nothing nice to say and is happy to reveal his true colours now.
    His hoovering is predicable, illness, loss of a friend, excuses, blaming random things for the black moods.
    I can contain him by not reacting just being polite and leaving his attempts to start a more personal communication unanswered, he taught me how to evade key questions by deflecting or making an unrelated statement in my reply.
    Our conversation thread contains zero reality or acknowledgment – pointless.
    I believe he was diagnosed as NPD borderline & BP when he had a breakdown, his ex wife confided after his sadistic rage.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Tracey, thank you for sharing your story. Would it be possible to block him from contacting you? Cutting off contact is an important part of healing. I wish you all the best xx

  32. Lily

    Hi, first of all I want to say thank you for creating this website and give us so much information about the psychopath and how we deal with it. Thank you, so, so much.

    I am in my third year relationship with this boy, and it has been five days since I suspect him a psychopath.

    From the very beginning I actually felt something strange about him. We met on facebook and barely known each other before it. Since the first day, I never felt any awkwardness from him. “It felt like he already ha

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Lily, I’m glad the site is helpful to you. I hope you’ll come back and finish writing your comment. Best wishes to you.

  33. Jay

    I just read your article about P being gender less – interesting. I’m gay. My P boyfriend “John” was extremely promiscuous, but always denied his encounters. Drug use was heavy (even though I was tolerate of it ), he felt the need to hide it from me and deny use. Also “John” ( I later found out ) after he moved in with me, had been married for a number of years and had a house with his wife. “John” too (as I have seen him) would hit on woman as well but he seemed to do so just to irritate me as it seemed to cause him pleasure. Also, “john” had told me that many times he would have sex with men in public bathroom while his wife waited for him. I was shocked at the type of person he was and how little I knew about him. His gay friends always seemed to shelter and protect him. “John” never appeared gay and often liked being around “beautiful” people. “John” was extremely charming and read and sized me up very quickly which I interpreted as someone ‘caring’ about me. Boy was I wrong.
    “John” would use sex as a tool and I believe he used it on whoever for whatever he needed. He was very charming and convincing and anybody would believe anything he says. My first encounter of one was him. I’ve always been extremely trusting and almost naive and now have trouble trusting anyone who comes across as friendly and charming.

    Thanks Adeleyn for your website. I learned so much more about myself and psychopaths.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      It makes me sad to hear you got involved with this guy, Jay. I’m sorry it happened to you. He sounds a lot like the psychopath I knew. Glad to hear the site has helped you learn more about psychopaths, and more about yourself! I wish you all the best xo

      PS It’s normal to have trouble trusting people for a while. You just need to learn a new way to go about it, like so many of us did. You may want to read the articles in the “trust” category of the blog.

    2. stripped

      This amazes me to read this because all of these exact same points would apply to the P that I knew, “friendly and charming,” “anyone would believe anything he said,” “read and sized you up very quickly,” “always wanted to be with beautiful people,” and switching back and forth sexually just to manipulate people. I now believe that they enjoy messing with people’s mind just for the kick of it more than anything else. My heart goes out to you!

      1. Adelyn Birch

        It’s true, they love messing with people’s minds. They have nothing worthwhile to do, so they do what comes naturally.

  34. Mary

    I dated a psychopath for 18 months. He truely believes he is a very nice person who doesn’t ask for much.
    He wanted to control my clothes, my hair style, where we socialised & when we spoke.
    He believes that his partner “should want to do …for me”
    He became an icy stranger, loud busy & distracted.
    This led to rages where he was the most terrifying man I’ve ever seen.
    I escaped, needed to take a course of anti-depressants whilst he skipped off with his latest target. After all of this he is keeping a close eye on me, refuses to stop contacting me.
    It has been two years & he won’t go away. He accuses me of being childish when I state my choice.
    The truth about psychopaths is that believe they are very nice, decent people who behave like adults, whilst behaving like launatics. They buy into the myth that are slightly brighter, more cunning etc.
    Mine was a non violent highly articulate softly spoken man.
    I didn’t trust him 100% & felt guilty for not quite trusting such a lovely popular guy.
    I now pay absolute attention to my gut feelings, we are socialised to be polite, reciprocate kindness & ignore our instincts. This facilitates manipulative people & provides opportunities to exploit others.
    He was all bad no good side thatis the con.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      “we are socialised to be polite, reciprocate kindness & ignore our instincts” So true! We’re socialized to be “nice,” and it leaves us open to manipulation and exploitation. Now we know. Mary, I wish you all the best.

  35. Rebecca

    Oh my. I came across this while looking about psychopathy as it is the newest word to be applied to my father. Before that was bipolar (psychotically manic for the first time in 1994, then 1996, then 2013 as my mother died), narcissist (i learned in 2014), child sex abuser (i have been learning slowly since 2015). I have been working with that last one hardest of all and am still in the be.gin.ning. stages of recovery. How many psychopaths have co-morbid diagnoses? Is there a way to untangle the effects of one illness from another? Is there any place to connect with those who were raised by psychopaths? Thank you for your work and for your kind responses to the people who post here.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Rebecca. I’m sorry to hear about your father! I’m sure it’s affected you deeply. Yes, psychopaths can have co-morbid diagnoses. A good therapist might be able to help you untangle the effects. I wish I knew of a place where you could connect with others who were raised by psychopaths, but I haven’t heard of one. I wish you all the best as you move forward in your recovery, Rebecca xx

  36. Christine

    I have recently, (6 months ago) received the final discard after almost 16 years of friendship with a sociopath.
    I didn’t know this was who he was.
    I had just started a new job and this new guy was hired a few months after me.
    Very quickly he became my daily lunch partner, and we would write eachother from our desks ALL day long and often meet for drinks after work.
    He became a best friend, I already had a boyfriend.
    If I tried to go to lunch alone, he would INSIST. I thought, wow, he really values time with me. He had been to my home, been on outings with me and my boyfriend, we were SO close.
    A few years pass and he gets another job in the building across the street. Same company, same email….I give him a card and gift, his last day at work was normal, but the next day…he was gone. He simply was dead. No email, no call, no replies, complete ghosting and no warning. I was humiliated and SO shocked. I never dreamed he would do this, I was mortified and confused. Once I saw him on the street and he looked down quickly and walked away FAST.

    Several months went by and he sent a group email to all of our coworkers that his grandmother passed. I was SHOCKED to even see his name in my email box. I only responded “sorry” to which he used as an opening to be back in my life, just like that, started writing, no explanation nor aplogy.
    My self esteem must have been so low or my relief so great that I was no longer discarded trash that I allowed him back in.

    This same hurtful cycle would repeat itself many times over the years.
    Each time my self esteem was tarnished more, therefore my not even understanding what was going on, I guess I just looked at him like medicine.
    The cycle was he would abandon me, I would be sick, he would return, it would be like medicine.

    I would begin to question why and demand respect and apologies and we would work on our friendship and talk. Id see this as progress and that he understood my feelings and he was commited to working it out for the sake of our friendship.

    Later we would both be married to others.
    Somewhere along the way, though the friendship was platonic except for some mild flirtation, some long lasting endearing hugs, otherwise very vanilla.

    BUT…a year or so into his marriage, he had begun to get QUITE a bit more “loving” flirtatious, grooming, SWEET, extremely pursuitful and CLOSE. He began to call in early mornings on the way to work and after, and text and email ALL day, literally hundreds of communications.
    I was floored as deep down in the early stages of our friendship I regognized a puppy crush on my behalf, and seemed to see all the reciprocal signs but wrote them all off and decided I was partnered and it seemed to be unrequited.
    This low self esteem following years of being dumped by my friend, created the PERFECT scenario.
    I see now, I had thought what happened when he changed so drastically and started professing sincere love was that he finally realized He loved me all along, and that his true feelings finally came to the forefront. I was lovebombed to death, suddenly the object of his obsession, he could NOT get enough of me.

    Some real confusing things though, he would CONSTANTLY tell me how he was going to kiss me, and SO much more. He described ALL the sexual things he wanted and it all was SO graphic and real. BUT…I never got even one kiss. Not one, and not one live sexual encounter. Once he asked if he could feel my panties, he did. Many times he pecked me on the lips.
    When he seemed to be close to REALLY sleeping with me, he abruptly shut it ALL down. Ended the friendship, quick and abruptly and without warning or explanation. This time hurt worse than all others as he was walking away from LOVE and before it was always only friendship.
    My head was left spinning. He would be back after 4 months, 6 months….sometimes I would write and fix it all, at times he would but rarely.

    I didn’t even know I was a doormat and a pawn. I had no clue about Narcissitic supply. I was so blind, so abused by the silent treatment and series of cruel discards.

    The final one was after Id moved 10 hours away. I was thrilled for a new start, new job, new chapter with hubby. By this time we were back to friends and completely platonic, no more flirting etc, the most he would do was insinuate sometimes and daily he would still say I love you.

    His wife found a folder of pics of me. The emotional affair had long since ended and none of those exchanges between us were taking place any longer but this was the start of the end.
    He didn’t drop me immediately at this point, instead he insisted he needed me and to please stay his friend. I believe he was keeping me around now in case his wife left him.
    As he slowly repaired things with her, he slowly pulled back from me.
    I began to lose my friend again. It was like he used me to get over me.
    He slowly pulled back until I asked him point blank if we were still friends….We had begun to argue more brutally than ever before, I was exhausted and finally he emailed me it was time to close this chapter and live in our own lives.
    I cant explain why I knew it was the final discard, I just knew.
    It has been 6 grueling devastating months.
    Ive experienced PTSD and got on Prozac and have gained 30 lbs unable to exercise. I barely eat so I didn’t gain due to eating but due to thyroid and depression so when I finally would eat, my starving body stores it as fat.
    I have anxiety, sleep issues, upset stomach and am forever changed.
    It is only in this week I discovered the sociopath sights.
    I am honestly floored and now in addition to healing in general, I am adding this realization he was never truly my friend, nor did he love me, nor could he ever have truly cared. It was all one big lie. 16 years of lies.
    I haven’t contacted even one time in 6 months nor will I ever initiate or accept communication. I miss him daily despite the torture and abuse, but this time I was hurt deeply enough to realize if I ever went back I will only be destroyed again down the road. I believe I can heal fully but know it will take forever due to the duration of time and the depth of the abuse.

    Thank you for listening!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Christine. How terrible that this person put you through such crazymaking, and for such a long time! I’m sorry it happened to you. I’m not surprised at the after-effects you’re experiencing now. Your story is really fascinating–I find myself wondering what he got out out of manipulating you, but it seems he did it just to do it. To me, there’s something especially perverse about that. I know it’s shocking to find out the truth, but it’s actually a good thing, because knowing what you were dealing with will enable you to heal. You’re right that it will take some time, but never doubt that you will recover. I hope you have the support you need, or that you will find it. If you can, find a therapist who’s knowledgeable about manipulators and understands the effects they have on the people who are victimized by them.

      Please read this article to understand why you still miss him, despite what he did: The Spellbinding Bond To Narcissists And Psychopaths – What’s Happening In The Brain? Understanding is an important part of recovery. It’s not everything, but it’s a vital part of it. I wish you all the best, Christine.

  37. Christa

    My story only lasted just over a month. But it’s a month I don’t think I’ll forget – I felt more victimized and preyed on in this short relationship than I ever have.

    She messaged me on a popular online dating site. I wrote on my profile that I loved watching horror movies with a beer. Her ice breaking message was “Just finished a horror movie while drinking a beer … I think we’d really get along”. We messaged back and forth for a night. She said she had friends coming to visit her for a week from out of town … then she vanished for about a month. I quickly bounced back associating her lengthy departure as just another online flake.

    A month went by and I got a message from her on Facebook. She didn’t explain her lengthy absence. We started talking routinely from 6am-11pm daily.
    The people around me are finding it difficult to understand how I got so attached after only a month. And it’s hard to explain to them that she made it a point to like everything I liked. She asked me things about my likes and dislikes and without a fail, every time she liked and disliked the same things. At one point she asked me to describe my “usual type of woman” and after I did she said “well that’s sounds exactly like me”. Throughout the month, the stories she told got more and more extreme and intense. She told me indepth and dramatic stories about her ex’s abusing her, threatening to kill her, and she was always the victim. I started seeing little red flags – she started to contradict herself. I was discovering lies and inconsistencies. However at the time I was still so hung up on this fake personality she created just for me, that I naively ignored the red flags, hoping for the best explanation to make myself feel better. She would tell me how sought after she is. How men follow her home after parties because they’re in love with her. How she’s the life of the party and her younger friends do what she says. How all her best friends boyfriends want to sleep with her and pursue her, but she “doesn’t understand why cause she doesn’t do anything to make them like her”. How now her best friend has insecurities about introducing her boyfriends to her and her best friend puts her down because of her insecurities, but that she “isn’t bother by it because her best friend is much more insecure than her so she let her say what she says because she’s strong enough to take it”. She always spoke like she believed she was on a highly spiritual plane than everyone else. But also made herself seem like a saint saying things like “I don’t judge people because I understand what it’s like to be homeless, car-less, money-less. I’ve been through so much, I try and help people whenever I can”. She even told me a story about how her best friend left her abusive husband and she said her friend did that because she convinced her to and it was all thanks to her.
    One night my mother came over for tea so I didn’t respond to the P’s text right away and she got very affectionate very quickly while I wasn’t responding. She wasn’t one to really hand out compliments other than “you’re cute” once in awhile – but in my absence when she wasn’t aware why I wasn’t responding she started sending me screenshots of her messages with friends with her telling them she was “so hung up on me”. For such a short relationship is escalated very quickly – she said she wanted to meet my parents and my brothers. She’d say she was the one for me, and we were meant for one another, how we have so much in common, and how we’re perfect for each other. She’d send me song lyrics. I was swooning.
    Every story was so dramatic and intense. It was always all her ex’s faults and she was the good one who tried to be rational and make things work. I told her once that I was insecure about not having a license and she went on to tell me that it’s totally okay because she only got hers in October and she’d love to pick me up and bring me places. Now I recall a previous story she told me before where apparently all because her ex she had her license suspended for a short while and she was thrown in prison for a night (long story – again not her fault at all, of course) … and yet another story contradicts that story because apparently she’s only had her N for a little while.
    I never saw her do it, but she always claimed she did volunteer work and gave food to the homeless – she had to tell me about it – but I never witnessed it.
    She started to talk very crudely out of nowhere. About how she enjoyed being beaten in the bedroom (coming from a woman who was apparently abused excessively by her ex’s – I find it odd that she used the term so casually). She started to say things like “I love to be pushed around and treated like a f***ing wh*ore” and she called herself a “hobag”. She’d tell me about very strange and rather disgusting sexual fetishes and preferences. She also had no gender preference. She’d try and convince me to go over late at night to have disturbing types of sex with her while her 4 year old daughter was there (her daughter had never met me before – so she would have woken up to a stranger in bed with her mommy – which I couldn’t do). She then went on to tell me that she had sex with over 62 people (She’s 27). She claimed to have been married in a highly abusive relationship for 8 years, another abusive relationship for 3 years after that, and then claimed she was single for a couple years following that. She had said she was always very faithful, loyal, and NEVER EVER cheated. The numbers didn’t add up to me (yet another red flag)
    She said she got married when she was 17 – married for 8 years, in another relationship for 3 years and single for 2 … she’s only 27 … for all that to be true she’d have to be 30 … and still somehow fit in over 62 people in between her relationships. She didn’t even seem phased when she told me over 62 people … actually she seemed almost turned on … calling herself a hobag and how she liked being used and treated like a wh*re. She even went as far as to say she wished she slept with more. It’s a shame.

    She knew my friends and family were incredibly important to me, so on our first date she said she wanted us to go out with a bunch of my friends. And we did. She seemed to charm everyone. Everyone told me I needed to marry her. I do recall a couple moments where I glanced at her beside me and thought “well that’s odd” and felt like something was off. She seemed, although charming, rather robotic. Her eyes seemed glazed, like she wasn’t all there. And she would nod constantly, and insert little random commentary. She had a smile on her face the whole time … but an off smile. I can’t even explain it. Again, more red flags I ignored. I noticed her warmth started to dissipate and almost a chilly cold personality came forth a couple of days before the end.
    She made a bunch of future plans with me. Then last week she invited me to go out to a club with her and her friend on the Saturday night (last Saturday) I said yes – I wanted to see her. We spoke the Friday night, like normal. She sent me some photos of herself making kissy faces. We even had plans for the following weekend because it was my birthday gathering. So I wake up Saturday morning looking forward to seeing her that night … I walk to my computer and sign on to fb. I noticed she had liked my cover photo just before I signed onto fb. I thought “cute”. I went to click on her profile … nothing. She had deleted me. And blocked me. Out of nowhere. No explanation, so reasoning. Just did.
    I tried to text her to see what was wrong. Nothing in return. She still hasn’t spoken to me. It just abruptly ended.

    I feel played. Duped. Used for amusement. Hurt. Naive. Very confused. It was a 180 turn within 7-8hrs of sleeping.

    I’m ashamed to admit that I miss the person she pretended to be. I know it wasn’t really her … I know they change their personalities based on who they’re trying to dupe next. But she waved in my face this perfect person for me … and then it just vanished. I know closure isn’t attainable with P’s, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt so meak and confused. I find myself sitting up at night researching P’s to try and understand what happened.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      One month is more than enough time for them to play their game. Your story is the perfect account of that, Christa. I’m very sorry it happened to you. I understand the confusion and the overwhelming mix of emotions you’re feeling right now! It’s a major shock to the system. The psychopath I was involved with made plans to take me out for a very special birthday dinner. Then he went silent for two days… and then he called and yelled that he was “done with me.” I guess they like to ruin birthdays. I’m sorry to hear that happened to you, too. If she does happen to contact you again, please don’t respond—it will only give her the opportunity to “explain” everything, and then do it all over again. It’s not surprising that your friends don’t understand; it seems that no one can unless they’ve experienced it themselves. I hope you’ll find the support you need somewhere, and I wish you the best xo

      1. Christa

        Thank you Adelyn!

        Like you predicted, she texted me randomly after having disappeared for a few days. Trying to explain herself away. Make me feel bad for her because she does what she does because she’s had a “tough past”.

        Apparently we’re in the “Love Triangle Phase”.

        Her: “I don’t know how to explain it. I locked eyes with someone and knew instantly that they were the one. I just don’t have any balls so it takes me time to say things. Sometimes way too long for the other person but yeah. I just take time. I’m sorry. I was totally into you. It’s just something that blew my world right open. I wish I could explain it but I can’t. I saw that person and I knew. I’m bad at this. I would love to still be friends and be in your life, but I’m not used to people getting along. I’m just shitty at stopping things. Everyone I’ve ever known has ended things in an ugly mess, with cops involved. I’m bad with goodbyes. Like really bad. So I don’t do it. I’m trying to get better.”

        My response: “I would have been angry for a short while but I would have gotten over it. I don’t dwell when I’m told the truth. What you did was shitty”

        In which she said: “I get that because I’m the same way but I haven’t had an interest be like that. I suck at this. I want to stay in your life. I feel like absolute shit for ghosting because I think you’re really cool and awesome.”

        Then she randomly started confiding in me about her best friend issues (which was completely random and misplaced).

        Then I got a text from her at 730am this morning asked to add me on Snapchat.

        It’s like she’s trying to start up our routine again. I went to bed last night thinking “I bet you I’ll get a text from her in the AM” … sure enough.

        So Friday she told me we were exclusive and that she didn’t have time for anyone other than me, her friends, and her daughter. We went to bed around 11pm. Then I woke up Saturday and I was deleted and blocked by 8am. So she would have had to “lock eyes with them and know” between 12am-7am and decide to completely discard me without a second thought. OR all the talk about how she was so loyal to a fault and wasn’t looking elsewhere was a complete lie.

        Whenever I get feelings of missing her, I run to read and research about the Psychopath to try and offset how I’m feeling. It usually works. Because of this and how I’m beginning to understand how they work a little better, I can nearly predict when she’s going to message me. She’s keeping me just enough out of reach where she thinks I’m going to be insecure and thinking about her and what she’s doing (which admittedly, I am more than I’d like), but still complimenting me and talking to me just enough to keep me hooked.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          She is a HORROR, Christa. An absolute horror. I can’t even tell you what a strong reaction I had to reading this! Please, cut this vile, hissing creature from your life and don’t look back! Who the hell does she think she is, thinking that you would continue to want her in your life, or even so much as give her the time of day? You would have to make a choice between her and your dignity, because you would not be able to have both. Block her number, her email, her FB page and everything else. It’s good that you know what’s going on, but that’s not enough to protect you. Don’t let her keep you hooked, Christa. You need time and space for your head to clear, and the only way to do that is to have no contact with her at all.

          Please read this excellent article by Rhonda Freeman, PhD. It explains why you’re feeling the way you are, and understanding that can help.

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

          “Behind the scenes (in our head), the brain has established an intense bond to the psychopathic or narcissistic partner. And often the last thing it wants to do is let go. This means that leaving an abuser is not solely a cognitive decision (based on thinking), but rather one that is also tied to neurochemical, psychological and emotional anchors. When it comes to the brain ― when given the ‘choice’ to follow emotions or logic, in circumstances like this, it follows emotions… “

          Be strong. I know you can do it! You’re worth it! ♥

    2. David

      OMG! I think I was in a 3 year relationship with this woman while you were with her. This is her, I am most certain. I do not want to disrespect this site but if this individual has red hair I think we should connect. I am Canadian. I believe it would be healing to talk if your open.

  38. Christa

    Thank you so much Adelyn!

    I guess I’m going to have to pull out my inner strength more then I ever have before.
    I am so moved that you respond not only so quickly, but to everyone who shares their story. I can’t express how meaningful and appreciated it is.
    I find it very helpful to be able to come onto here and explain and vent. I hope you don’t mind if I continue to do so as things come up that I could use an ear for (Hopefully I can end this vile thing sooner than later!).

    People often throw around the terms “my ex is crazy!”, and initially it was something I wondered … perhaps she’s not a psychopath …. perhaps it’s something else, maybe it’s me, maybe I’m too sensitive. But everything I read, and every story I read, points to her being a P.

    Thank you again for this wonderful forum and site <3 I can't express my gratitude enough.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Not only will you pull out the inner strength you already have, you’ll develop a lot more! I’m glad to hear it helps you to come here and tell your story. It’s so important to tell someone who understands! You are welcome to come back and “vent” some more.

      Thinking “maybe it’s me…” is something we all did, because we have the image of the person as they were in the beginning, when they presented themselves as the perfect partner for us. Doubts like this are normal because of the confusion they create. But she is not that person anymore, nor was she ever. That truth is hard to accept, which is another reason we hang on. It’s hard to see it objectively when you’re in the midst of it and being emotionally manipulated, but from my point of view, it’s as clear as day: this woman who was “totally into you” ghosted you, without any care at all as to how much that would hurt you, because she fell for someone else. You were the love of her life, until the next love of her life came along one month later. She loved you so much that she discarded you (on your birthday, even!) when she “locked eyes” with someone else. That’s not love; it’s predation. She sees you as a toy. You are not a toy–you are a human being.

      This is what one female psychopath had to say about what she does:

      “When I look for these people, I look for someone to exploit, someone to expose all their weaknesses to themselves and leave them broken, hating themselves more than most of them already do.”

      George Simon, PhD, sums it up well:

      “I apply the label predatory aggressive to the most severely disturbed of all characters, the psychopath: These individuals are first and foremost characterized by their senseless, remorseless, and completely empathy-devoid use, abuse, manipulation, and exploitation of others…the heart of this personality style is…being devoid of any empathy-based sense of bonding to others, having virtually no conscience, having such a pathological sense of superiority that they feel entitled to prey on those they see as weaker and remorselessly engaging in predatory aggression. It’s important to remember also that predatory aggression is not rooted in anger, but in pure and heartless desire.”

      1. Christa

        So, I stayed strong for awhile. A short while. I hate to admit it. And am extremely embarrassed and ashamed of myself. That early birthday event I told you I had invited her to when her and I started seeing one another – well a few days before it she was texting me and asked if on a platonic level she was still allowed to come to this event. I reluctantly but stupidly said she was allowed; plantonically. I know. Stupid me.
        So coincidentally on the way to my friends place for the pre party she texted me saying this individual she had “locked eyes” with and who was going to propose to her after a few days had broken up with her just as she was leaving to meet my friends and I at the house. I told her she could stay home if she wanted and she said no she still wanted to attend because “she was so in love but she has the ability to get over people quickly” – her words.
        When she arrived it started off okay. She was charming with most of the people there, of course. However when I started mingling and being social people at the event actually noticed her staring them down (I wasn’t told this until the next day). So we all leave my friends place to head to the skytrain to head downtown. The street we were walking down was a fairly busy main road. She decided to start running ahead of us in heels and start running in and out of the middle of the road while laughing. 3 of us told her to stay to the side as running in between cars was not safe. She continued to laugh and do it anyways – I actually had to run to catch up to her and heard her like a sheep to the side of the road to make sure she didn’t get hit. We got downtown and went into a club and we all sat around a table in a lounge area. So she was sitting beside me, my friends were sitting in front of me and beside me on the other side. So she was to my right and a friend who I was talking to was on my left. I was having a conversation with him and suddenly I felt her caressing my arm. I didn’t acknowledge it because 1. I was having a conversation with someone else, and 2. Platonic friends don’t caress another friends arm like that. So because I didn’t react to it, she decided to start making out with my neck in front of all my friends. I can have fun and let loose as well as anyone, but to start sucking on my neck in front of a table of my friends I thought was rather classless. I didn’t react to that either. I didn’t want to give attention to her antics. So then she decides to actually throw her entire body on my lap and wiggle around so I’d have to notice her (she’s 27). I did acknowledge her at the point by asking what she was doing. She giggled, got up, stumbled to the next random table and started grinding on a random female that was standing there. My friends all turned and looked at me like “wtf is her problem”. I wasn’t surprised so all I could do was laugh that I even let her attend this event. By the time we left the club she was intoxicated and acting like a 4 year old, psychotic, child so I was having to hold her up so she could walk. I’ve never seen someone act so immature and with such little self respect. She thought it was hilarious to grab random peoples asses (even if they were with a spouse). My friends and I had to tell her to stop. Multiple times her skirt was hiked up so high we could all see her goods. The part that sticks with me the most though, were her random anger outbursts. We were standing at a crosswalk waiting to cross and she went to just randomly walk into the road – I pulled her back and explained that the little walking symbol hadn’t popped up yet. However a taxi driver noticed she was trying to walk and decided to be a nice guy and stop. I just motioned that he could go because it was technically his right of way. She randomly started yelling at him, like full out raging. Her eyes were full of rage. Swearing at him and telling him to go. He didn’t even do anything wrong – he was actually trying to be nice – I couldn’t believe it. Not long after that my friend was walking by her and she thought it’d be hilarious to punch my friend in the stomach randomly. I never saw it but my friend was incredibly unimpressed and told me about it the next day. The night was terrible. I had to stand up against her in the skytrain the entire ride home so she wouldn’t fall over. We finally got back to my friends place and I put her to bed. I woke up the next morning with her forcing cuddling on me. Every position I’d move into she would find a way to be nearly ontop of me or right up against me. We both live in the same city (about 45min from my friends place) so we drove back together. During the drive she didn’t seem to care at all about the rules of the road. She would pull Uturns often, anywhere and everywhere no matter where we were or who was around us. A total disregard. And as she was doing it she was laughing saying she did it all the time. She then told me openly that she nearly slept with someone who told her they had Herpes and she didn’t even think twice about it – she was going to do it anyways – and it wasn’t something that phased her at all. The majority of my friends who were apart of that down town night messaged me the next couple of days telling me she was terrible and she shouldn’t get another chance with me at all. Which I agreed with. I stupidly thought that maybe friendship was a possibility – but obviously she had different plans. After that night she started texting me again. I had actually started dating someone else briefly. Someone normal and kind, and genuine. The P would randomly turn our semi normal conversations into sex talk knowing I was trying to work towards something else with someone else. She’d ask me to go over to her place at 11pm at night, tell me to go over, and just say some really crude things. To be completely honest, one night I was going to just do it. I don’t know why I had a laps of judgement. She had been grooming me again and being so persistent that I just said “f it”. I started to get ready to go over, and I got out of the shower and I looked at myself in the mirror and I was like “This isn’t you. This isn’t the person you are. You don’t go behind someone back to be with someone else. You can’t do this.” I nearly did something I would have never ever done before. So I went to bed that night not having gone to see her. I got a message from her the next morning acting like she was the one who bailed and said “Sorry I fell asleep. Probably best we didn’t break any rules anyways”. In which I responded with a rather lengthy message in a nutshell saying we weren’t right for each other because I’m a nice person who wants to treat someone well, and she’s not someone who can accept being treated well or reciprocate”. After that she ghosted me. My message wasn’t mean, and it was a message she could have completely responded to – but she didn’t. Didn’t even wish me a Happy Birthday. And it’s odd how predictable the ghosting is. Last time she vanished she did so for 4 days. She liked a photo of mine on fb and then immediately deleted and blocked me. Almost like it was so that I’d get the notification that she liked something of mine just so I’d notice she blocked me. And then vanished for 4 days before she contacted me with an excuse. This time after I sent her that message I got a notification on SnapChat that she watched a few of my videos and then noticed immediately afterwards she deleted me off of that too. Yesterday was the 4th day of her being gone. What do you know, she sends 4 messages to my bestfriend. About how she drove off a bridge and immersed her car in a lake and she hadn’t contacted me through text because her phone was lost in the lake, but gave my bestfriend her new number to give to me. And coincidentally she also decided to unblock me from fb last night. I was skeptical of her excuse because she always has crazy, dramatic stories and excuses which are mostly lies. However she sent my friend a screenphoto of the picture in an article of her car being immersed into the lake. So I went and searched for the article and found it. Sure enough her car had been driven off a bridge into a lake on my birthday. What she left out was what the article said – about how they couldn’t find the person who was in the car because the person fled. They figure alcohol was involved. They said the individual smashed the window from the inside underwater and swam out of the car and then fled the scene. They’re still looking for her. Oh and she had a little girl waiting at home for her while she drove her car into a lake. I feel like her unblocking me and messaging my friend to give me her number is like her preparing to slither back into my life again. I haven’t messaged her. However I’m torn. A normal empathetic human being I feel would ask someone who drove their car off a bridge into a lake if they’re okay. Especially if you cared for this person. But I also know she’s a delusional crazy b*tch who likes to play the game (and apart of me feels like this is part of the game … to see if how hooked I am to her and if I’ll message her first). Do I keep no contact or do I ask her if she’s okay and then cut it off.

        Oh yes, and she also fully admitted to me that she feels no emotions while having sex. She said she doesn’t associate sex with feeling anything.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          If she’s sending messages, then she survived her drive off the bridge. Minor injuries at most, if it even really happened. Christa, this woman is an absolute mess. Do yourself a favor, and just cut her off. She has “the ability to get over people quickly” because there is nothing (in her mind) to get over in the first place. People are nothing more than toys to her. You have all you need to walk away and not look back, including the strength and power to do it. Best of luck to you, Christa.

  39. Fooled_me_Twice

    First I just want to say thank you for your website. Your blog about allowing yourself to grieve has helped me more than anything I have read since my whole world came crashing at my feet just 12 weeks ago. I’ve read so many stories from other survivors, but I haven’t read one like mine yet.

    I dated this guy for almost 2 years when we we were 21 years old. It was a horrible relationship and he abused me emotionally and financially, but I was so in love with him, I let it continue until I met someone else and ended the relationship with him. He came back 18 YEARS later and found me on Facebook. I was married for the second time, but was unhappy. Within a one month period he got me to fall for him all over again. And I fell hard. I cheated on my husband who ended up moving out. He came to visit me (we lived hundreds of miles apart) and was supposedly going to move to my city. Then almost three months into this,, after I loaned him a couple hundred dollars, he ghosted me for three days. He blocked me on Facebook and also blocked my calls and texts. I was in a state of shock. I couldn’t believe I had fallen for his bulls**t again. I called him out on it sent him an email telling him what an a**hole he was which made him call and tell me it was over. I was devastated. For the next 3 weeks he would call me and tell me he was just going through a lot of stuff with his divorce, but he still loved me and wanted to be with me. (His divorce is actually a true story. One of the only true things I think he ever told me.) I would talk to him, but I knew he had never changed. Nothing he said and did made any sense. He lied about everything. That’s when I googled “is my boyfriend a sociopath”. When I read the traits, it was like they write it about him. By this time, my husband and I decided to try to work things out. I told the sociopath, and he still called. I then found out he already had someone new. But here he was still telling me he loved me while posting pictures with her. I blocked his number and he started emailing. Until I finally told him it was over and to leave me alone. After that he only emailed once more. Then for three weeks I got anonymous blocked calls. I know it was him because I never got them before or after. Those weeks were the worst of my life. I was still in love with him, but at the same time, I knew that I had to walk away. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. My heart didn’t want to listen to my head. I just kept reminding myself of what he did to me when we were younger. I read stories from other survivors and told myself that I had to let go now or let myself be used for an eternity. I knew what he was but for some reason I missed him so much. I was trying to get him out of my head and work on my marriage, but it was overwhelming. I couldn’t believe the person I had become. I wasn’t a person who would cheat on their spouse. I wasn’t a person who would let a stranger meet my children so soon after their dad moved out. But yet it was me that did those things.

    I was ashamed. I had no one to turn to. My best friend told me I just needed to get over it. I even went to a therapist a few times who told me I just needed to stop thinking about him because he is an idiot. No one understood so I just kept it all in and stopped talking about it. That’s why your piece about allowing yourself to grieve meant so much to me. Because no one thinks I should be grieving. They don’t understand how you can love someone like that. I really don’t understand it myself. I just know that I was so in love with what I thought was real that it’s hard to let go. So viewing it as a death and allowing myself to feel those emotions is helping me.

    It’s been 13 weeks since I last saw him. 12 weeks since he discarded me. 6 weeks and 2 days of no contact. I’m looking forward to when I stop counting these things. My husband has moved back in, but I feel like I’m just going through the motions, hoping that once I get over the sociopath, I will fall back in love with him. Or if nothing else, that at some point in my life, I will know what happiness feels like again.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I’m so sorry that you’ve been put through such hell, and that you’re still going through it! If there’s one thing psychopaths are good at, it’s getting us to act in ways that are completely out of character. That can and does cause self-doubt, self-blame and shame, which will resolve as your healing progresses and you understand more about how and why it happened. These are just a few of the many things survivors have to deal with. For the rest, see “Road Map.”

      You’re in the thick of it now. Those first months are the darkest, and it’s no wonder that you aren’t able to connect with your husband. I think it’s important for him to understand how you’re feeling, how traumatized you are. It’s not something you can hide or just overcome, and being open and honest about what you’re experiencing might lead to greater emotional intimacy. There is always a risk in revealing what you’re going through, but if we do that and we’re accepted rather than rejected, it creates intimacy. The path back to being in love with your husband might take this route, if he’s accepting and supportive and understanding—and patient. There is reason for hope! I have heard many readers say that their marriages went on to be better than they were before.

      To understand why you’re still in love despite what this man did to you, please read this article by Rhonda Freeman, a neuropsychologist. You might want to consider sharing it with your husband:

      The Spellbinding Bond To Narcissists And Psychopaths – What’s Happening In The Brain?

      It’s good to hear the article on grieving helped you. Being told to “just get over it” (something many of us heard, myself included) is worthless and it comes from a complete lack of understanding of what happened to us, and how deeply traumatized we are by it. A therapist who does understand could be a great source of support for you, so it’s worth giving therapy another try. Search for one who understands emotionally manipulative and abusive characters (psychopaths, narcissists) and the trauma they cause.

      I wish you all the best, and I feel it’s safe to say that one day you will be happy again. I know it doesn’t seem possible now, but it is.

      1. Fooled_me_Twice

        Thank you so much. This site has been so helpful. There are so many things I struggle with, I feel like I am living in some surreal world where everything is almost back to normal, but not quite. I’m glad he is gone, but then sometimes I’m sad that he is gone. And then at the same time I’m scared of him coming back because he sucked me in before, so I worry he could do it again. And because he came back after all those years, I feel like I will never be able to say that he is now gone for good. This bothers me the most, the not knowing. But I’m trying to focus on me and my family. It’s hard for me to tell my husband how I feel because I don’t want him to know that I still think about the psychopath. But I think I should. He has been really understanding. So I will try to share with him.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          You’re welcome! Have faith in yourself. The only thing it takes to keep him from coming back into your life is the determination that you won’t let him. He doesn’t have any magical power over you–in fact, he has no real power over you at all.

  40. Hello !

    I found this site about a year ago, unfortunately AFTER the incident happened, and thank you very much for it, it’s amazing to know, for one, that you aren’t alone in this mess.

    I met this guy after a 3 year long relationship, I kind of thought the world was all pink at that point. It happened just as described: the meetings were awesome, jokes were exchanged, the person was there 24/7, I was excited every text I got, we were “connected”, I was treated nicely.

    I’m not sure when it started to happen, since it seems like a progressive downfall, but in the end you end up with a person telling you you’re doing too much of this and too little of that, a person making fun of all your life choices, a person telling you you are invading their personal space yet contacting you again when you manage to pull yourself out of interactions with them.
    At first, my life seemed meaningless when I couldn’t talk to him, a point where I kind of realized this didn’t sound like me, because I never had a problem with solitude. When I figured that out I started getting angry and saying how bad this made me feel, and even then he managed to twist my words to make me feel like this needy and useless person. Everything causing me pain happened because I was “susceptible”. After weeks of that awesome treatment I started wondering if that were really the case and at one point I eventually started believing it. I invented all types of excuses for him, he talked about how his previous relationships left him scarred or empty, how he wanted to be close to someone yet couldn’t etc etc. After a while, the pain was unbearable and I forced myself to take all the distance I could from him.
    A few months later he contacted me again and, that was my mistake, after a long long discussion I agreed to see him again (still feel like crap about that poor decision made out of “love”). When I met him I drank A glass and I fainted, only to wake up to the realization he had sexual intercourse with me.
    Since we did have it before, I didn’t even react when I saw blood flow out once I went back home. I was numb and it took me a while to put the crazy words on what happened: actual rape. Then the guilt, shame and what not followed. For a year+ I almost drove myself crazy and always ended up questioning my version of the facts: was I really right? What if it invented that? What if, as he said afterwards, I really liked it and I couldn’t remember? What if it were truly what would have happened anyway? The rational part of my brain replied “oh but now we would never know darling” but the insecurities were too high to let its voice last long enough to let me heal.
    It was an awful load of effort, climbing up to who I used to be and I’m still working on it.

    I’m sharing this now because the guy has contacted me 2 weeks earlier (after a year+), saying we had “awesome moments” and he would like to renew our “deal”. I talked to him, not because I wanted to repeat the deed but because I wanted to figure out if I really was mentally stable, despite what he said (which is kind of ironic considering you wouldn’t contact a mentally ill person who has annoyed you to see them again. At least I wouldn’t). And there it went… The “you’re so predictable”, “the way you talk is just complicated non-sense as usual”, “you know you’ll come back eventually” and other “light” yet dreadful comments about my personality, comments that would have taken me right back to the pit of misery he so artistically built for me.
    Right that instant, I was mad for that woman I could have been, a woman who wouldn’t have changed, a woman who would have fallen in his arms and relived that hell.

    Guess the “moral of this story” is never to doubt yourself in those kinds of situations, it isn’t possible for a person who pretends to like/love you to take you down these depths and destroy whatever you’ve accomplished in life.
    Of course, that mustn’t be done at the cost of eternal paranoia, which would drive “normal” people away from you. And for those who have been going through this: the path up is dark and full of circles where you live the situations through and through BUT that eventually goes away if you keep in mind that your goal is peace within yourself and forgiveness for whatever you think you have done wrong while you were involved with the manipulator, please stay strong, there is an end to the proccess.

    Thank you for reading :)

    1. Adelyn Birch

      What you’ve been through was dreadful; I’m sorry to hear that happened to you, IK. You’ve come a very long way, and your insight and healing is inspiring! I love your words for others, and I’ll repeat them so they won’t be missed:

      “For those who have been going through this: the path up is dark and full of circles, where you live the situations through and through, BUT that eventually goes away if you keep in mind that your goal is peace within yourself and forgiveness for whatever you think you have done wrong while you were involved with the manipulator… please stay strong, there is an end to the process.”

      1. If you don’t mine the GOT inspiration we’re all set ;) thank you very much for your work Adelyn and thank you all for sharing your stories. A year ago you opened my eyes as wide as they could get and saved some parts of me. I find no words to express my gratitude.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          You’re welcome, IK! Thank you for your kind words! It means the world to me xx

  41. Samantha C.

    Greetings, your story helped me realize the horrible situation I found myself in dating a psychopath ________________. He is steroid fitness model that travels from state to state taking advantage of women by living at their place, driving their vehicles, and then steals their money and takes off. He is extremely dangerous and he uses his facebook site (__________) as a turnstile to use an endless supply of women. Please be aware ladies of this guy that is lurking out there and is here illegally from UK.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Samantha, I’m very sorry but I have a policy of not publishing names on this website. The liability is too great, and I’m not willing to suffer any more damage from psychopaths. We can protect ourselves, though, by learning all we can about how they manipulate us. I hope your recovery is going well, and I wish you the best.

  42. Janey

    I met him years ago in school. I always liked him a lot then but as a friend. Years later we met again and exchanged numbers. Within a few days he was showering me with attention, always calling me and expressing interest about my life. He was charming, pleasant, polite, sensitive and appeared to be very understanding and emphatic. We became intimate very shortly thereafter. (Which is something to this day I regret). When we began discussing relationships his response was “I am single but there is this one person I always find myself drawn back to when it does not work out with any one else”.
    Shortly after this he began saying that he was not ready for a relationship but I am his dream girlfriend, he has been in love with me since we were teenagers, this would be a dream come true blah blah blah.
    Very quickly he began sharing very intimate parts of his life like hurts in past relationships and trauma from his family life.
    We would talk for hours about anything and everything. He seemed like the perfect person for me however he kept reiterating that he isn’t ready for a relationship but please wait for him.
    I began noticing that he made excuses for the simplest things, inconsistencies in his stories. He was the first person I had sex with. He took my virginity in the morning and in the night sent me a pic of him at a ‘friend’s’ house. On observing the background I noticed things that indicated that he may have been at a woman’s house. Immediately he had a come back. I didn’t press him. It was impossible to believe that my perfect man would cut me that deep.

    As time went on we kept on with each other but with him reiterating that he wasn’t ready for a relationship. When I expressed hurt and confusion at this and would say that I was crazy or too emotional. I felt ashamed of myself.
    Whenever I had decided that I had enough he would do everything to keep me, excessive calling, showering me with attention and words of affirmation, telling me how much he needs me and how his life would fall apart without him. Each time I fell for his tricks but often his story was not adding up. At one point in time he was living with an aunt who was visiting abroad. During this period, if we were talking on the phone he would say that his friend whom I knew had visited him for them to go out clubbing. This was the excuse for weeks.

    I later found out that during that period he was ‘having sex’ with four other women. When he confessed everything to me he was shocked and hurt that I was mad and hurt. For the life of him he could not see what the big deal was. He confessed that for five out of the 8 months that we were together he was having sex with four other people. I do not believe the number he says. Another time when he told the story he said that he was not with them for the period he previously indicated. He was harsh towards me for feeling hurt about this whole thing. He made me feel like I was overreacting. When I attempted to leave he became extremely clingy and obsessive and had the world of excuses. He would guilt me into staying by saying that his life would fall apart without him.

    He is a pathological liar. He has a bandage for every sore. Whenever I press him for the truth he becomes closed, offensive and defensive At times he is obsessive. At others he is annoyed by any show of affection from me. Calls me clingy and annoying and would ignore me. This often happens in the same night.

    Often he plays on my insecurities and at times would compare my body to that of other women he was intimate with and speak negatively about mine. These women include the women he was with when he was with me and he lets me know it. He is very critical of my body and the sex we have and would also belittle me to them.

    Our relationship is still undefined after a year. Anytime I bring it up he calls me crazy and emotional. Every time I try to leave the obsessive behaviour begins. Once he sees that I am back in his grips he begins to ignore me and treat me coldly.

    I am so ashamed of myself for staying with someone like this but there is nobody I can talk to about everything. I have never been in a relationship before which makes it all the more difficult. His pathological lying along with his ability to appear pleasant even though I know that he has empathy for no one led me to think that he is a psychopath.

    It is very hard for me. Every fiber of my body wants to leave him. Every night I cry myself to sleep because he has completely destroyed my feelings of worth and I am still with him.

    I am glad that I found this site because this is the first time I ever shared my story. It is so difficult wanting to end things with someone but not being able to let go. Can anyone offer me some support. This is the first time I ever acknowledged any of what I am going through.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Janey, your story is heartbreaking. I’m so sorry this is happening to you, especially because it’s your first relationship. This cold, callous, emotionally abusive loser you’re involved with deserves no less than a firing squad. Yes, that’s actually how I feel when I read your words, even though I oppose the death penalty as being too barbaric for a civilized society! The emotional rape this creep is perpetrating is disgusting, and rape is not too strong a word, not at all, for the extreme violence he is committing to your heart and your soul and your mind.

      You said, “he has completely destroyed my feelings of worth and I am still with him.” He has destroyed your feelings of self-worth and that’s WHY you’re still with him. You’re not still with him in spite of it; you’re still with him because of it. There is a huge difference between the two! The first makes it sound as if it’s your fault, as if it’s due to some personal weakness that you should be ashamed of, which is not the case at all. The second puts the blame where it belongs. He has manipulated and abused your self-worth from you. That’s how these people work; they know that if we had any self-worth or self respect left we wouldn’t want anything to do with them, so they destroy it.

      There are also other reasons you stay with him, psychological, emotional, and neurochemical reasons, and none of them has to do with love; they all have to do with manipulation and abuse. Ironically, abuse causes a stronger bond than love does. You are stuck in what is known as a “trauma bond.”

      No matter what you are feeling, you must end your involvement with him. The pain, no matter how bad, will be temporary. As long as you stay with him, logic will never be able to overcome the forces working to keep you with him. You must rescue yourself from this at once, and the only way to do that is to cut off all contact with him immediately and permanently. Only with time and space away from him will you be able to gain any clarity. Not only that, the fact that you acted in your own best interest is a strong way to start rebuilding your self-worth.

      If at all possible, please find a therapist who is an expert in emotional abuse. Find a support group for abuse victims, and join it.

      Please don’t waste anymore of your precious time, or your precious self, on this abusive, heartless, predatory, worthless piece of sh**. I have faith in you, Janey.

  43. Cristina

    hello, I am so happy I found this blog. I found that all of your 20 symptoms of manipulation apply to me. I don’t think he is doing this consciously though, he is damaged and it is a coping mechanism for him to be in control and not get hurt. It is strange, he told me love was always difficult for him and he feared intimacy. Yet he had this 8 year marriage with a woman and he said they only had sex 5 times during this marriage, which tells a lot about his trauma (she had trauma too). I always felt jealous as he was talking often about the marriage and it always seemed like he did a lot of things for her so I wanted the same treatment and never got it. Is it possible that she may have been a narcissist too and they stayed together for so long because of the lack of intimacy? it has been his longest relationship really, apart from the one with me which was two intense years (and he’s 38). I blamed myself most of the time for being too emotional, etc. He said he will always love me, when we has our last break up 3 months ago he said he will always regret it, then he kept pushing me away again and without even talking to me, he concluded that his feelings for me changed. I don’t think he is a bad person or doing it consciously as he doesn’t seem to want to continue because he said the relation is toxic and that he is toxic for me. Yet he blames me directly or indirectly for his feelings changing and our relationship ending. Blames my anger, my actions, etc. I said he can heal himself and we can take it easy and he is seeing a counselor but he seems to be caving in even more and doesn’t want to give us a chance after he heals.
    I also have read a lot of relationship coaching and most coaches say that men generally withdraw at one point and we need to give them space and not get clingy as they will come back if they see you are independent. So I blamed myself for not knowing this and getting emotional and insecure because I thought I was loosing the best thing that happened to me. This push and pull game then continued. Maybe if I would have been less affected by his changes of mood he would have come around and have less withdrawals..?

    I keep asking myself all these questions. I would appreciate if someone could help me figure out with an opinion.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Cristina. I’m sorry to hear that a promising relationship turned out this way! I had all 20 signs, too, and I know what an utterly miserable existence it is—the perpetual anxiety, the endless confusion, the continual obsessing over every detail, the feeling that you’re somehow to blame for ruining a good thing… and being told you’re too emotional, insecure, angry, all for no reason… being told that he’ll always love you, and then hearing that his feelings have changed… It’s no way to live.

      It doesn’t matter if he’s doing this to you consciously or not. Even if it’s not purposeful, he isn’t able to see how his words and actions affect you, and that is a sign of a lack of empathy. In order to have a close relationship, emotional connection is required. Without empathy — an awareness of someone else’s thoughts and feelings, mutual understanding, caring, and expression of that care — there can be no real connection. Instead of emotional intimacy and actual connection, you have emotional distress over the lack of connection.

      He told you he has problems with love and intimacy. When someone tells you something about themselves, BELIEVE IT. Just because he was married for eight years doesn’t mean there was love or emotional intimacy. A lot of people go through the motions for a long time before realizing there’s no real connection there. He tells you his ex was a narcissist, but now that you know his behavior induces misery—and that he feels he’s “toxic”— you should wonder if his claim is true or not.

      Cristina, my advice to you is to make your latest breakup permanent, and to look forward to one day being with a man who is capable of love and intimacy and real connection. You cannot save this man, but you can save yourself. Best of luck to you xx

      “I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”

      (Brené Brown)

  44. fragrens

    since escaping mine 2 and half years ago iv attracted a number of abusive people , a couple of female “friends” and most recently a man BUT THE BIG THING IS… iv got rid of them all.( i am a magnet for some reason ) because iv read all the books, looked at all the vulnerabilities in myself and built up my boundaries i spotted all of them early enough to walk away.. The most recent one actually said ” i think you are experimenting on me” and the awful thing is… i was. i was like somebody who had read all of the books in theory and now wanted to see if i had learnt the lesson. Im no psychiatrist but he has ice blue hypnotic eyes, utterly charismatic and a self declared jekyl and hyde character . i never allowed myself to feel anything , just enjoyed the show and then when i realised i was being ridiculous and putting myself in danger , jumped ship.
    the original psychopath who caused me to have this new awareness took a hold of me when i was in deep grief for the loss of my beloved partner of 25 years, and had actually said in the early stages of our relationship that he thought he maybe psychopathic. i was so utterly naive back then that i laughed. ultimately i just could not get over how id gone from a staggeringly good relationship to this horror. now i know that it can happen to anyone, im not the idiot i thought i was. But equally im aware that i do attract disordered types and im not sure i can stop that, but at least iv developed a radar. Thank you for this amazing web site.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      You reminded me of myself when I first started dating again. All that was missing were a white lab coat and clipboard! I was definitely experimenting! In a way, I still am. Somehow, I am in a conversation and observing it at the same time. I enjoy it.

      I’m sorry you were taken advantage of after you lost your beloved partner. The one I knew hit me when I was down, too.

      I used to believe that I attracted disordered types, too. But I think it comes down to how many of them there are ( and there are a lot, if you count psychopaths, sociopaths, narcissists, etc.) and the difference is that before, we couldn’t identify them or what was wrong, and now we can. “Radar” makes all the difference. Identifying them, and then ending any involvement with them. I’m so glad to hear that you’re doing that, and that my work has helped you! All the best to you, Fragrens xx

      1. fragrens

        just found your reply and laughed and laughed. yes all im lacking is the white coat and clipboard.!! a very important thing i learnt from you and others is you are only free when you truly face that there was NEVER any love, only a manufactured one. At the point that lightbulb went on ALL the deep pain of rejection and ” not good enough” disintegrated. where the terrible pain was reminds me of when you extract a tooth and this new pink skin heals over. xxxxx

        1. Adelyn Birch

          Having a tooth pulled is a good analogy, Fragrens, although it’s not quite that cut-and-dry; when you learn you were never really loved, a different kind of pain can take its place—one of anger and betrayal, and somehow that sense of loss hangs on. I’m so glad to hear you’re healing. You might be stuck with that invisible lab coat, because after this experience we never quite look at people the same way. It becomes curiosity, though, after the paranoia stage passes ;-)

  45. Jane

    Hi I’d like to briefly describe my relationship but am out now for a couple years. Hopefully it will shine some light on others
    We met online with him approaching me. It was new to me, as I had not been one to speak to ppl and make advances. I was married and was having some difficulties.
    Through an online game, he Was an opponent. He would speak to me and compliment me, which I thought was kinda nice, truthfully. Our communication went from the game to being friend on Fb to emailing and texting continually.
    I noticed his Fb page had several hundred female friends which I inquired about, once we became a little closer. He immediately closed that account and claimed it had been hacked, so I could not read what anyone was writing to him…Red flag 1.
    I did think it was odd but being so impressed by him, I chose to put it in the back of my mind.
    Over the months of continual correspondence and major lovebombing, we wanted to meet one another. During the few months of getting to know him, before meeting him, I found many other sites he’d been on, with alias’, but with his picture. I would confront or ask what it was all about and he would make these lame stories up of what they were. It always was something to the effect that someone had stolen his identity and was impersonating him on several sites. I knew deep down that this was bull, but I just kept letting him
    Pursue me.
    Finally, after a period of a six month contract for a random job he had, he visited me from his country in Europe to the US. I contributed to the expenses since he was visiting me, and I felt bad he didn’t really have the money. We grew extremely close over the year and the following two years after. He visited several times during that period with me always “contributing” to the trip, even paying for the whole thing at times.
    He didn’t have a permanent job. He was always looking for temp work in his field, which I never understood what it was, but he made it seem like it was top secret and couldn’t discuss much. He would have to leave his home for “contracts” of two to three weeks without telling me where he was because it wasn’t allowed to be known. We always communicated during these jobs So i wasn’t too concerned, but still it was odd. My friends also warned me how strange his
    Actions appeared and his approaches weren’t normal and to be careful.
    He was also doing online schooling to obtain his masters and then a Phd. He was always and forever on the computer because of this. So he had very easy access to meeting women.
    Over the couple years there had been some discrepancies in his whereabouts or the sites I’d find him associated with, there was always something.
    I put a lot of time and money into the relationship and was so blinded by his absences, his lies about the women I’d see him communicating with when I caught him on another site, his lies that came one after another. Not to mention his whole situation with the secrets and no job over time began to pop up.
    He was going on a “contract” to the other side of the world practically and something didn’t seem right. He contacted me during this period to tell me he met someone and they were marrying. He couldn’t continue with me, though he loved me. He returned home from this job and contacted me. He was due for a visit a
    Few short weeks after but was debating it because
    of his recent relationship. I convinced him to come because he could not just meet someone and decide they were to marry, versus what we had together for three years.
    He agreed to visit me, of course, I paid all expenses. He claimed he was very uncertain about this women who was thirty years younger, who came from a third world country, could not speak or read English, was immature
    And unattractive..these
    Were his words. Our visit had convinced me he was not going forward with this marriage. The following year we had many visits, all on me of course. This woman would continually come up, as I was very insecure about it. He’d been very much in contact with her and it was her pursuing him, according to him. But of course he didn’t have an interest. But he couldn’t tell her it was over because he wasn’t actually sure that was what he wanted!!
    After the last visit here, about two weeks later after returning home, he wrote me explaining he was packing up and leaving to her country and getting married. He had been lying to me the whole time but worse, he had been lying to her, his fiancé.
    Wow i was in disbelief. I’d begged him not to do it. He wasn’t seeing clearly. He was impulsive and bejng extremely childish making a decision like this.
    We corresponded up until he caught his plane to be with her. He claimed he didn’t know what he was doing but he was doing it.
    I didn’t hear from him for weeks. I had written him with no responses. He finally contacted me to tell me they were married and he was staying there with her family for the next while until she got her visa. We corresponded for a few days very sporadically with him saying how much he loves me and what a mistake he’d made. He wanted to sneak away from her, visit me and be together.
    Everything he did just flew
    Out the window. I wanted him back as well. I wanted him to visit and I was going to pay for the trip!! I didn’t care that he was married, I wasn’t seeing straight or clearly, obviously. I felt she was the other woman, not me!!
    He didn’t contact me after begging me to forgive him and wanting to visit me, for another few months. He left me dangling there, no responses to my messages, nothing. I started to read up on this and read about sociopaths and disordered ppl. I decided I was not going to Contact or beg him to write me or visit me. The more I read, the more “no contact ” I did, the clearer things got, but slowly. I was still
    Devastated and I was convinced he didn’t do this on purpose. I believed he was a very nice person, who would not hurt me and he loved me.
    The distance I took, was eventually making me see clearly. He contacted me after a coupl months again, after I was beginning to see what a horrible person he was, after I was getting clarity of this situation. He once
    Again started with how he’d made a horrible
    Mistake and wanted to see me. The whole lovebombing for a
    Couple days was non stop. Then he’d disappear once again. Of course I was devastated but I was tired
    Of this mental manipulation. I knew what was the right thing for me to do…no contact. So I reinstated it and was starting to feel better, though still in disbelief. The recontact and the lovebombing continued every couple months. He comes back, apologizes, says horrible things about her, then disappears.
    I did forget to mention that with each contact by him, and the intense lovebombing for a few days, once he realized what he was saying and doing he would write me before disappearing for months, saying how he could not do this to her or me and was confused and apologized for leading me on. It was almost like I was dealing with two different people or someone with a split personality. One begging me to take him back and then in a matter of hours, telling me we can still be friends, but he can’t hurt her and come to see me.
    Over the past year and a half since this irratic behavior, I see and know he is disordered. This is a 62 year man who just can’t get his life together.
    I shd have seen that from abojt the third day of communicating with him, he was telling me he loved me, wanted to marry me, wanted me as the mother of his grown children and to have babies with me, that this was a huge warning. I know in the back of my mind, at the time, I did find it abnormal for him to speak to me that early on, like this. But it was like being spellbound and I didn’t know different. The words he threw my way and the promises and the attention I got felt really good. It was better than believing he was
    Constantly online flirting and meeting other women through the whole time
    Together. All those job contracts were possibly for temporary jobs, but I do believe he would get online and arrange to meet women in these places and make promises to them as well. He was a player and I didn’t want to
    See it. His actions and words did not match, ever.
    At this point, I know what he is and I can thank god he is with someone else and not me.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Jane, thank you for sharing your story! I’ve heard many like it, and in fact some of them are on this page—so you are not alone! It’s truly awful how this man victimized you. He hooked you and strung you along, played with your emotions, and triangulated you with another woman. Straight from the Psychopath’s Playbook (they all seem to have a copy, and to follow it religiously!). They know how powerful triangulation is for creating feelings of jealousy and competition, and use it to their advantage. They get us to keep their charade going, even though we see clear signs something is seriously wrong. Intermittent reinforcement is what it is, so very effective and so highly addictive. I’m sorry he wasn’t who you believed he was, but glad to hear that you now know who he really is and were able to free yourself from his grasp. Be well xx

  46. Fred

    Hello Dear
    I have been looking at this blogg ++ for a week. I am so grateful I found it. I am really chokeed by understanding what I have been going threw. Was married to the most beatiful girl on the world. During 20 years I became more an more insecure. Felt nothing was good enough. I got sick and my body was hurting with pain all over. I thought I had cancer, brain trouble, ++. She got more and more power and took all my energy. When we went to bed she was like a battery that took all my energy. And she did. My intuition was right. She had a double life and a lover. She lied and lied and it was like living with a cosy cat home. And nobody knows what the cat is doing outside the house. I feel so stupid and feel like <i have been raped, I have lost believe in love but hopefully it will heal me. Thank you for having this page and love to everybody sharing stories. Its like a kid coming home seeing mother after a hard day….lots of tears. Thank you. From a man in Europe

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Dear!I love that :-) I’m glad you’re understanding more of what you are going through. It’s a mixed blessing, but ultimately it is what will free you. I’m sorry she took your energy and made you ill. I know how awful it is to be left feeling as if you’ve been raped by the person you loved, and whom you believed loved you. You will heal one day, Fred. Your heart will open again, and your belief in love will return. It takes time. Love to you, too xo

    2. Tracy

      Don’t give up on love!! I found this website and it changed my life. I still find myself waking up days feeling stupid but also have gotten stronger and brush off the self doubt a lot quicker. I spent time working on my self worth so I could attract the type of partner I wanted. It has taken a few years, but I find myself today happier then ever, with a partner I truly believe is my soulmate. Sometimes you need to go through pain to become the person you are meant to be so can find your true partner in life! Have faith! Don’t give up on true love!

      1. Adelyn Birch

        Thank you so much for your inspiration, Tracy! I am truly happy to hear that you’re doing so well. Lots of love to you.

  47. Finally free

    I have found this website after I have been researching regarding NPD and psychopaths as I believe I have just come out of a relationship with such a person and feel totally drained and broken. He was my manager at work 25 years my senior he married me due to be married, we became very good friends, his position was so senior to mine, me basic admin him 250 plus staff, me included and my soon to be husband. Our friendship was wonderful very understand and compassionate. I was in remission from cancer and he supported me in work so well. He offered work place coaching and did so after my illness where he discouraged me from therapy! Huge red flag but I thought he wants to listen to my problems and thought that was so thoughtful. I married and almost instantly the friendship, thoughtfulness turned flirtatious. I experienced 12 months of intense love bombing, letters, emails, texts I had never felt so understood. Feels so ridiculous now as I was a newly married woman but this man knew what was missing in my life as he knew everything about me. I was now having a full blown relationship and ideas of leaving partners were surfacing. Then came the bizarre sexting, the unusual requests things became more and more outrageous and weird. I was uncomfortable and told him said I don’t know who I am anymore, was stripped of my identity but was like a foolish puppet of his and he knew it would even laugh at me trying to tone down his requests or make them more reasonable in my eyes and say he only wants outrage. I desperately wanted this person I had felt so much love and affection from. My mother passed away shortly afterwards and the counselling was offered again, I was especially vulnerable and he would say he saw me as an extension of himself, soul mates, god put us together and he could not live without me. Unlike others I never experienced the blocking, as we worked together daily. I was promoted regularly, I now see this as rewards for my puppet behaviour and it sickens me. He manipulated me so much and he was grooming me towards crime. His outrageous talks and sexts had now move towards people underage, first teenagers and slowly the age got younger, he would justify it as just outrageous talk and I would agree, going along with his sick ideas. All only talk and he never asked me to commit a crime but I believe that was coming if the police didn’t get to him first. He did not care how he corresponded with me and would use my work email, it was now like an obsession with me I was totally controlled, my mind, what I could wear for work, who I could talk to. He told me I was bipolar and even had a lot of information on it for me, yes I am probably not myself but due to your influence! We were both arrested in work 5 months ago due to one of his bizarre emails picked up on the server, what followed was 3 months of hell a police investigation which culminated in the police notifying me that I had not done anything wrong and as far as they could tell what he sent me was unsolicited. Now I am left picking up the pieces and feel totally broken. I am full of self blame, guilt having nightmares. I begin counselling soon, albeit 6 years too late but I hope to start and heal and feel peace again as I am finally free. Thank you for reading your website is truly a huge source of help to all who have fallen victim to this abuse, much love

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I’m sorry you had to go through such a terrible ordeal. You’ve been through an incredibly stressful six years, and I’m so happy to hear you’re finally free! Be kind to yourself and have patience as you heal. You’ve been through hell and it’s going to take time to recover, but have faith that you’ll get there. I wish you all the best as you move forward, FF. Thank you for sharing your story with me. Much love to you, too, and a big hug xoxo

  48. Jane

    I am a teenager so I guess he was considered my first love. It was hard because I didn’t have any real relationship experience to compare it to

    He started off very clingy, very, but I loved it. I have problems with rejection and I was lonely and longing for a relationship so I fell in very easy. Within two weeks he began saying I was the one and I was so thrilled to be loved like that it didn’t bring up any red flags. He was showering me with affection and spending so much time with me. But he started to pull back. He didn’t want to talk on the phone anymore, canceled plans without reason. Anytime I would bring it up to him he would get angry with me or make me feel guilty about it because he was too busy, and I was stressing him out, and he was trying but just didn’t have the time. But I didn’t think a phone call once a week was all that much, since we only saw eachother on weekends. No problem was ever permanently resolved, and it was a cycle that got worse and worse. I recall the time he last minute canceled plans on me, I called him upset (because he was home doing nothing) and well the conversation ended with me apologizing and thanking him for putting up with me. Another time I wanted him to come to a party with me, and he just didn’t feel like it, and when I got upset he got angry, saying how good he is to me and he couldn’t believe I’d get mad over this one thing, and I again apologized feeling so guilty about it. Evantually I blew up over something small because everything had just built up I couldn’t take it. He said some VERY hurtful things and dumped me a few days later saying I wouldn’t give him the space he needed. I don’t know.. He told me this was normal in relationships (the space) and I understand that but it didn’t feel right. I did everything I could to fix it and apologized and apologized because I just wanted the guy I fell in love with back… I was beating myself up really badly over it, especially since now he’s going out of his way to try to mess with me (which is another story). I don’t believe he’s a psychopath in any way, and I’m not convinced some of this isn’t on me, but I’m finally starting to see some of the manipulation. Sadly I still want him back but I’m working on getting better.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Jane. It breaks my heart when I hear from people who are as young as you are and whose first relationship turned out to be an emotionally manipulative, abusive one. Saying very hurtful things is not normal behavior, *especially* when instead of acknowledging your hurt feelings, he tells you what he did was normal. It’s invalidating, which shows a lack of empathy. The silent treatment isn’t “normal” either, nor is not wanting to talk to you on the phone and cancelling plans without reason. Your reactions (anger, guilt, anxiety, apologizing) were perfectly normal, though! I don’t know if this guy is a psychopath, but I do know that he’s someone you should stay away from. You deserve better, a lot better. Don’t sell yourself short. After a while people like him start to damage our self worth, and that makes it even harder to walk away.

      You deserve to have a healthy relationship, one in which you’re treated with respect, love and kindness. When we get tangled up in confusion and angst from manipulation, we tend to forget that simple truth.

      I’m so glad to hear you’re working on getting better! Time away from him will help you get clear about what was happening. Stay strong, Jane! I’ve listed some articles below that I think might help you. All the best to you.

      REBOOT (a page that lists our emotional needs and our rights in relationships)
      How To Tell If You’re Being Manipulated
      The Most Powerful Motivator on the Planet ~ Intermittent Reinforcement

      Also, I believe the BOUNDARIES book will be of help you. How I WISH I knew that stuff at your age!

  49. Elizabeth

    I have had a very interesting experience the past year with a 24 year old, still developing psychopath. Once I started to realize what he was, I’d refer to him with my friends as a “psychopath with training wheels”. I met him at the end of 2015, when I was volunteering during the European refugee crisis. He told me at our first meeting that he’d spent the previous 6 months in a jail in Baghdad, tortured with electrical shocks every week, fed only 3 times a week, that his shoulder had been broken when a guard had broken it when he smashed his AK-47 on it during interrogation (he showed me the scar). He was very intense and I was of course horrified. He also wanted to know my age, if I was married or had a boyfriend. Strangely, I kept running into him, and because I had collected money that I was handing out to needy refugees, each time I gave him some cash. He started texting and calling me and soon told me he wanted to be with me, if only for one night. I am quite a bit older than he is, but was used to my younger students developing crushes on me and thought that he was just infatuated. He presented himself as very confident but I also noticed his insecurity at the beginning. I was unusually very sexually attracted to him, and finally, after him love-bombing me with many corny texts, I gave in and invited him over. I figured that no one in my circles would ever know if I had a short fling (and I never have flings!) with this very masculine Iraqi guy.

    He was great fun, and one of the most affectionate men I’ve ever been with. Sex was indeed good, but he right away starting talking through it, saying “I’m yours, babe, all yours” and wanting me to say I’m his. This soon developed to him saying he’s my boyfriend, and I was supposed to say I was his girlfriend. I found it all so stupid but figured he was just infatuated, and finally went along with it to make him happy. Within 3 weeks he was telling me – always during intense sex – that he loved me. I didn’t love him and so would tell him I liked him, but he would not stop insisting that I say I love him. Finally, after a couple of weeks of this and just to get him to shut up, I did tell him I loved him. Immediately the incessant chatter during sex stopped. In retrospect, I see that he thought he “had” me: he thought I’d fallen in love with him and now he had me in his hand. During this time he even called me “the mother of my baby”!! I know now that he will hone his skills and get vulnerable women to fall in love with him.

    I was generous with him because he truly didn’t have any financial means as he waited for his asylum. I bought him new clothes, paid for his Internet and transit, his food, etc. A friend of mine said that he was like a starving man who’d found a buffet! He would go into great detail about his months in the underground jail, and about his previous Russian girlfriend Natasha, who was also older than him, their dog, etc., etc., etc. I would kiss the scar from the AK-47, and cried at his tales of beatings in jail. He said he’d lost the feeling in his back and I would massage it with herbal oils, which he said was helping to bring some feeling back. He was unable to get financial help from his family because his mother had died at his birth and his father had serious cancer, and the large amounts of money he earned gaming online was all used to pay for the cancer treatments. He’d left the $25,000 savings he’d made as an IT employee for his father. I did find it strange when I gave him 300 Euros for food and clothing that he spent it all on a pair of top quality headphones, but I thought he maybe needed to listen to soothing music to help get over the PTSD. I never asked for help around the house since he was a recovering torture victim.
    But three months into our affair I noticed inconsistencies in his stories, and started to check with him. He swore he’d told me the truth. He’d hug me with tears in his eyes and say he’d swear on a pile of Korans that everything he’d said was the truth. Even when I found incontrovertible evidence that he’d been lying he argued that he’d never lied. I ended our affair but allowed him to meet with me under the condition that he tell me the truth. He admitted to everything having been a lie – his mother was alive and well and living in Jordan, where he had lived the past 13 years (he did have an Iraqi passport and his father still lived in Baghdad). He’d never been in jail. He’s a high school dropout who has never had a job. He’d never had a Russian girlfriend, he’d never traveled to all the countries he said he had. His father has prostate cancer that is under control and he never earned any money doing online gaming. He claimed that he’d told me the jail story because he needed a story for asylum and was afraid I might tell others and ruin his chances at a better life. I asked why he always brought in more details about Natasha, jail, etc., and he said “I don’t know; it just comes into my head.” He begged me to forgive him, said he’d been scamming me at the beginning but had fallen in love with me in the meantime. I do believe that he truly thought he was in love with me because of how generous and kind and affectionate I’d been with him, but it wasn’t real love, just “love” for everything he got.

    Since I wasn’t very invested in the relationship, I finally, though reluctantly, allowed the affair to go on. I felt sorry that someone could feel so insecure about themselves that they’d make up so many stories, and I figured he also wanted to show off to me, since I had so much more life experience. He was so much fun and could make me laugh so hard – and I wasn’t ready to give up the wonderful affection.

    But the lies continued – crazy ones, like where he went to high school. I couldn’t believe that he’d keep lying to me, especially when I would demand the truth and then later find out he’d lied to me again. He told me that he could give up lying very easily, that it wasn’t of benefit to him anymore (!), and that I had inspired him to change his life. As proof of this he said he told his family all about us (until then we’d been a secret). But soon I found out that this “proof” of his giving up lying was also a lie! So I ended the affair.

    What was interesting about this guy was that he’d seem to come around each time I complained about something. For instance, he’d accidentally left a porn site open on my computer but gladly closed his account when I said I couldn’t be with someone who chatted with other women. What I didn’t know until months later was that he had 2 other accounts on this site and simply switched over to them.
    I went back to him after he “courted” me daily for 6 weeks, answering all my questions, saying that his old life was awful, he wanted to be a good man and really start a new life. He truly seemed sincere, and gave me all the passwords to his phone, computer and messaging accounts.

    To make a long story short, in the end I found out that he’d been a male prostitute back in Jordan the previous 5 years. He had 6 Arab businessmen he’d service every month or two. He justified it saying “I fuck, baby, I don’t get fucked,” and insisted he only “needed” me. It was interesting that toward the end of the relationship, he would tell me the dark truth. However at the beginning, when I insisted he use a condom, he’d lied and said he hadn’t had sex for 2 years and at that time had been tested for STDs and HIV – a lie. It’s a wonder I don’t have HIV (I insisted he be tested and luckily he’s negative). He had a fiancée back in Jordan when we met (I had no clue about this), and he admitted to me that “I knew that if I fucked her I could take her money”. He’d future-faked her into believing he was going to marry her and bring her to Europe. He laughed about this. She nearly had a nervous breakdown when he dropped her once he thought he had me. She had no idea that he was having sex with men the entire year and a half they were together. She told me that he’d stolen large amounts of money from his family and they wouldn’t talk with him. I also found out that he is secretly signed up to many dating and porn sites, and chats with both men and women, all for the purpose of manipulating them into video sex. He presents himself as a rich businessman from Dubai and tells them he loves them and trusts them, and that they need to show that they trust him by being sexual online with him. He is always talking about trust. He is addicted to online masturbation, but more to the attention he gets and the thrill he gets from duping his victims.

    When I left him the first time, he kept asking to use my apartment the month I’d be away. I later asked him why he wanted my apartment so much and he said he’d wanted to bring a women there and have sex in my bed. I asked why on earth would you do that? He replied “To hurt you for leaving me.” There were times that I saw him take revenge in much more minor ways for perceived slights. I could never figure them out at first, but later understood his MO.

    He actually did try to chill out on the online sex the second time around; I had no idea he’d been doing it all along until he “confessed” early on when we got back together. I think he told me to hurt me, which it did. He comforted me then, but I kept finding secret accounts and finally dumped him the end of October. Luckily I did, because unbeknownst to me he’d slept with a woman he’d met one day before and was planning to stay with me and use me until he “had” her and then discard me. She told me that he’d called her all the pet names I’d called him, told her his mother was dead, that he pays for his father’s cancer treatments and thus has no money – all the crap he told me in the beginning. She too found the over-the-top affection almost irresistible but ended things after talking with me (he was furious with me for this!). It was only toward the very end of the relationship that I realized that even the affection and the fun was manipulation. His mother neglected him because she preferred his twin sister over him, and he had learned, at a very early age, to “love-bomb” his mother in order to get her attention. He was also bullied in school and it seems that this resulted in his “I’ll get you before you get me” mindset.

    He was never physically abusive with me (I always had the control in the relationship and he knew I’d end it if he was), but I could see the beginnings. Toward the end he’d get angry with me for always calling him on his stuff, and on two occasions he poked me a few times, and once twisted my arm till it hurt. During the break-up, he “jokingly” pinched a tendon in the palm of my hand so hard it still hurt the next day. I am sure that his physical abuse of women will increase; he is only beginning to notice the power this gives him.

    I had two bad accidents while with him – very strange because I never have accidents. He completely ignored my injuries, couldn’t even remember which parts of my body had been injured, even though I was off work for 3 weeks each time. Like with all sociopaths/psychopaths/narcissists, it was always all about him.

    In a moment of dark honesty he told me that he likes lying and there is “no way” he will give it up. He lied his way into a new relationship within 3 weeks of me ending ours – for money, of course, and yet told me he wants me to remain his friend. I blocked him but he found a way to call me, came to me full of apologies, telling me – as he wipes away fake tears – how much he loves me, swearing that he is not in a new relationship and is taking time out to “fix” himself. He went into great detail about all the times he’d hurt me, saying if he came back now he’ll only hurt me. He seemed very contrite but this is all a lie, a ruse to keep me waiting in case the new relationship doesn’t work out.

    I have been lucky because I never loved this person, and only stayed for the companionship and fun. I did really like him. But I have been shocked by the level of deception, the masses of lies and the constant online cheating. I had no idea that such creatures existed.

    Unexpectedly, once he was gone I deeply longed for him. I could barely get through the day. It took me some time, but I slowly realized that I do not long for him, but rather for the old man who raped me when I was 5 years old. He reeled me in with over-the-top affection and by constantly telling me he loved me. And this is why I stayed with the young psychopath in the first place: I was reliving the morning with my rapist. The old man moved on from me to rape my 4 year old best friend, and in my traumatized state I felt jealous and rejected by my wonderful “lover”, felt not good enough, that she must be cuter than me. This is the drama that caught me in my second round with my young psychopath – he too wanted other women and this caused me to fall into victim states. So it is very bizarre: I got rid of him and wanted to get rid of him but because of the old wound I then desperately wanted him back — and if I was not aware of the old wound I would indeed be trying to get him back, and would fall for the hoovering that is bound to occur in the future. So I sit with the feelings of total panic when they come up, the feeling that I MUST get him back, and remember that these have nothing to do with my sick young lover. I try to care for and comfort the desperate, panicked child within me as much as I can. I’ve done a tremendous amount of work on healing the old trauma already, and actually thought it had healed. It is however much easier than at the end of earlier relationships and I have confidence that this time the child will fully heal.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Elizabeth. Yours is a very interesting story, and what stands out most to me is that even though you weren’t under his control or deeply emotionally involved, you longed for him. I’m glad you figured out why that was. Like you, after my own experience I was able to see things in my past that contributed to my victimization (events, patterns in relationships, etc.). An involvement with a P/N is so out of the ordinary (and so often earth-shattering) that they unearth our pasts, or at least send us digging for them. That’s good, because then we no longer have to live out these subconscious patterns that control us. I have confidence that you’ll heal fully, too. Thank you for sharing your story, and I wish you all the best!

  50. Katy

    Where do you start when your life has been turned upside down? I guess at the beginning…..
    Several years ago a close male relative died, he was in my eyes a loving, caring, charismatic and very successful man. Since his death lots of revelations about how he had done terrible things came out… serious accusations. Then another close male relative revealed how he had in effect been living a double life involving affairs, associating with very unpleasant people… the type you hear about in films killing for drugs and money. So I was fairly vulnerable, couple that with discovering my husband had Aspergers as well as my child and I didn’t think things could deteriorate, thank goodness for great friends who I can trust they have been my lifeline.
    Unfortunately, things did get worse, I met a man who I now believe to be a psychopath. It was an innocent enough meeting through a mutual friend who had known the P and worked with him for years, I believe the mutual friend had been charmed by P and had come to accept his odd behaviours as normal, he’d always been good to him. I believe the mutual friend knew of his exploits with women but hadn’t thought he would ‘play me’ as I’d been introduced to him to buy his property. Straight away the P was very obvious about his ‘feelings’ for me, feelings which I now know he can’t have, I resisted very strongly, I was married. Looking back I think I unwittingly upped the ‘game’ so P became infatuated with me I was love bombed and it was all in the guise of buying a property. Looking back on it now he did all the things you read about psychopaths doing, pulling away, drawing you back in, lying but charming you and talking you round. All this time he was saying I’ll wait for you, I love you, no one compares to you. Bizarrely he told me he was seeing other women but I was different because he couldn’t have me. I’d wanted friendship from him but his constant love bombing swayed me. I told my husband what was happening but I didn’t leave my husband he didn’t want me to. At this point I was so confused but I knew something wasn’t right I’d sensed the P in him but he still had a massive hold on me. Not long after this the P pushed me away I was so upset and angry but I thought I’d put so much effort into buying this property that I was going to go ahead and buy it, big mistake. It turned out P had started seeing a woman who I only found out about because I asked her about him, she hated me after that. He has always flatly denied he is with her. She stalked me and my children and I had to report her to the police. I believe they have the psychopath narcisstic relationship where he controls her but she lacks empathy is loyal to him and is aware of his appalling behaviour but is involved in his schemes and plans. Hence what happened to me, needless to say I didnt get the property. I now believe it was all planned and he scammed me for ‘fun’ and for money. I was used as a pawn in a chess game while he divorced his wife. What upsets me most is the way these people are capable of manipulating people around them so they all are involved in scamming you…. as a good friend said to me ….they are all a bunch of crazies walk away… if only it was that simple. The last thing that happened in a rather bizarre twist was I got an opportunity to move near the P believing at the time we would be friends if nothing else, I moved… he positively encouraged me to move, now I live near him and his horrible girlfriend. A friend of mine recently described him as the sort of person who has two hats, he said he would commit murder from just within the law, I believe he’s right. As soon as I can I’m moving……

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Katy. Yes, if only it were that simple… but it will get easier the longer you have no contact with him, as the unhealthy bond begins to weaken. It’s a fact that trauma bonds—bonds that form in coercive relationships—are even stronger than bonds that form in healthy relationships. To understand why, read this excellent article by Dr. Rhonda Freeman, a neuropsychologist: The Spellbinding Bond To Narcissists And Psychopaths – What’s Happening In The Brain?

      You’ve had several people in your life who lack empathy, and when we get used to that as the “normal” or usual way people are, it paves the way for more of them. To protect yourself, it’s important to get back to basics by reminding yourself of your needs and rights within relationships. A few short of articles that can help:


      Never Get Involved with a Psychopath, Narcissist or Sociopath—or Any Abuser—Ever Again (This one contains a list of signs that a person lacks empathy)

      YOUR TRUTH (A Reminder) (Especially for spouses of AS)

      Thank you for sharing your story, Katy. I wish you all the best.

  51. Dragonfly

    Her I am again reading this, for me, the number one healing help. I have ordered many books and started reading. This web side with all the sharing stories and the books is my new start. Its amazing how fast it helps when I have my new life with me as the most important person int he world. It was about time. These days my own life and my own health is a kind of full time study. Now I see in a way how naiv and unexperienced I have been being a male human being. I am one of those men believing all the girls out there are angels. I was wrong,- or more honest: It was my own illusion. I was so depressed and out of energy I thought I had cancer. Thank God I was wrong. It was “only” the effect of living with a narcissist wife. Every day I ask myself how come I did not understand it,- but reading these pages I know its just the way it is. I know Its strange but i really believe it also can be a gift if we all look into it, learn and study, and then start a new happy chapter in life. Honestly I am like a wounded bird and are afraid of woman,- but one I will find love again with a new loving partner. Today was my best day for over 20 years and the reason Is I finally love myself again. Once again Adelyn. Thank you for using your life helping us all. And to alle the female out there who has been with narcissistic men. It might be our strange way to find the best love in the world. We just have to work for it. Take care everybody . Love from Europe

    1. Adelyn Birch

      You’re welcome, Dragonfly! I’m so glad this page is helping you heal. There is so much power in knowing we’re not alone! It’s good to hear you love yourself again and that you’ve put yourself at the center of your life. It’s impossible to act with strength otherwise. These deeply traumatic relationships do turn out to be a gift if we turn them into one, which we we can do by putting time and effort into discovering those gifts, which you are doing. Your fear of women will pass as you become more confident, and you’ll be ready and able to find a sincere and loving partner. Best wishes to you xx

  52. FYX

    Hi, well I have been together with a person for 2 years which I thought was the love of my life. We met over a dating app and he was attractive and charming. As the meetings evolved, he told me he needs to pay rent and his wallet got stolen, if I could lend him some money. I thought about it for a long time and agreed, which was my biggest mistake. He also made me believe that his brother was in hospital. When I was overseas with him, he didn’t have a job for a long time and I basically paid everything for him. Time passed and he told me that his brother has died. I had to go back to my country and he came a month later too. I loved him so much I wanted it to work so I did basically everything for him, got him jobs, paid shit for him etc. His whole family died within 8 months. My parents said to me that something seems not right as he genuinly is not interested in anything whatswhoever. I started to doubt a little too. So I did some research but just because I was confused that he didn’t have any pictures of his dead family, so I found someone but felt so bad that I’ve looked it up in the first place that I just left it. We moved in our own flat, he got his first job and everything seems to finally turn out to be good. Unfortunately did he loose his job after a few months again and my doubts came back. So I messaged the lady, and what a surprise, it was his mum…Telling me it is his son, she knew everything about me. Every other person was still alive too. Great. So I slowly realised that he has been lying for a long time. It was a mess, we booked him a flight home and he was soon to leave but I started to have doubts again because everyone thought he just had a big lying problem(compulsive lying) but deep down he was a good person. So I met up with him again before he left and he told me I’m the perfect girl for him, he loves me so much he’s gonna change overseas, he’s gonna get himself a job and finish his degree and he’s gonna get himself a therapist, as he has been lying for a long time and he’s gonna come back and show me that I’m the person he wants to marry. I thought fair enough, I’m not gonna trust him but I see what time is gonna bring. He has been gone for a month and everything was sweet, he seemed to actually get somewhere and get his shit together.
    After that everything went downhill, as I got home a few nights ago and called him after a night out. He accidently answered his phone but didn’t know, so I overheard him talking to a girl he was with, about how they have been sleeping with each other but questioned myself as I thought I didn’t hear what I just heard. I confronted him, he was in complete denial, using the worst excuses ever. So I decided to trick him. I made a fake tinder like profile and decided to see if hes on there. 3 swipes and there ‘the love of my life is’. I couldn’t even finish completing my profile, as he texted me straight away. It got so bad, I just wanted to die. I confronted him again ( as I thought he cannot deny that because he was tellling me sexual things and it was obviously him texting me) and he said to me his profile got hacked and we weren’t together anyways (as I said I cannot have a official relationship with someone who i cannot trust), so he said he wasn’t cheating, so I said that it’s not about cheating, so you have been sleeping with other girls – complete denial again. He still tried to convince me that my perception is ‘wrong’ as I do not trust him anyways and he cannot say anything anyways. For a few seconds I saw his real face and I was so scared. It was so evil, I thought I looked satan right in the face. I still can’t believe what has happened to me as I realise he has also been tricking me into sleeping with him without protection, so I have to make an AIDS test which I am so afraid of. My family and friends are really supportive but they haven’t quite understood how bad it actually is. As I am really trusting, a little bit naive and feeling super super bad if someone slightly critizes me, I was the perfect pray for him. I’m 26 and I do not have any kids (lucky me), but I had problems with myself before and I do not understand that someone cannot feel remorse, guilt or anything like that. He has done bascially everything that is listed here and he’s fucked me over so bad I do know what to do. When I confronted him for the last time and just didn’t give a fuck, I couldn’t believe it. I’m a good person and I’m so caring, It breaks my heart to see myself like that because he used all my good traits against me. I want to find answers and can’t stop researching but I know deep down it’s over and I do not know where to go from here. I thought he loved me for who I am, my crazy sides but all of that was just lies and bullshit, how am I ever gonna be able to trust anyone else, as I think I attract those guys like flies are attracted to shit. What’s the point for this kind of life? If I do have AIDS my life is over anyways.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, FVX. Wow, the extent of his lies is staggering. “I started to have doubts again because everyone thought he just had a big lying problem (compulsive lying) but deep down he was a good person.” It’s that belief–along with giving more weight to words than to actions (which reveal the truth)–are some of the things that got us to stay long after we should have ran the other way and not looked back. “I’m not gonna trust him but I see what time is gonna bring” is another trap. We want to give people the benefit of the doubt, but some people just don’t deserve being given any more chances. “I overheard him talking to a girl he was with… but questioned myself as I thought I didn’t hear what I just heard. I confronted him, he was in complete denial.” Never doubt your eyes and ears, and never expect a liar to do anything except invalidate or twist your perceptions. “For a few seconds I saw his real face and I was so scared. It was so evil, I thought I looked satan right in the face.” I saw that face, too. Many of us did. Sometimes the mask slips.

      What do you do now? First and foremost, avoid any and all contact with him. Take a long break from getting involved in any new relationships. While you’re taking that break, learn about boundaries and develop yours. In order to have boundaries, you first need to understand your needs and rights in relationships. You will be able to trust again, but you’ll only trust people who are actually trustworthy. The links below will help you do all of these things:

      Boundaries After a Pathological Relationship


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

      I wish you the best of luck, FYX. Have faith that you’ll get through this and go on to have a better life xo

  53. Emily

    the psychopath topic is new to me.
    But i would like to ask you for advice or confirmation if the boyfriend i had was one.
    strangely I came across many readings while I was involved with this man.
    to my person, I am an empath, but i was raised by a narcissist mother, and my parents divorced very early. So I think I am disturbed in relationships.
    I am very jealous, insecure and controlling.

    When i met this man, i was alone in a country and a bit lonely. he was captivating instantly, he always has this really intense stare in his eyes, which always made me feel a little uncomfortable. there was always something i could not grasp or trust in his eyes but i couldn’t tell what it was. he was my supervisor at work and helped me get many shifts so that i could earn my money abroad, i had to pay back some debts.
    he was very attentive, caring, did the love bombing at its best. we had endless talks in the car and he told me about our encounter being magical and he thinks im his soulmate etc etc… i was believing him and i felt the connection.
    but soon the connection was gone during our 4 months very intense relationship. he proposed to move in and even help me stay in the country by marriage very soon.
    but soon things got very ugly… i felt comfortable by him helping and loving me so much that i think i let myself go with my jealousy and control… thats when he burst into anger a few times, calling me names.. getting verbally abusive. I felt the worst in my life. and he became emotionally unavailable and left me often when i was feeling bad after fights.. or also felt bad. he was never into talking about feelings or being honest about the relationship. it was always very hard getting him to talk about my emotions and how i feel in the relationship. i felt very bad often when he shut down, when i started to talk serious. all he was very keen to was to have sex very often, sometimes really multiple times a day. he has a child with his 10 year older ex wife and another child of same age from a woman in indonesia, whom he randomly hooked up with. and he also asked me very early what id do if i got pregnant from him. as if he wasn’t opposed to it. is he a psychopath? can you help me? he discarded me after giving me long silent treatments in the long distance relationship now. i feel very bad as.. i could not believe anything he said. he promised to do visa with me, he couldn’t wait for me to come back, bought a bicycle for me etc etc and boom, one day after the other, ice cold discard. no explanation nothing. no emotions. im devastated and feel stupid at the same time, still holding on to him. i must say during the 4 months he broke up several times after little fights or discussions and every time i managed to get him back. now over distance i can’t and i feel like i can’t trust this person anymore and can’t believe anything he says to me.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Emily. I’m sorry to hear of all you’ve been through. These words jumped out at me: “I’m very jealous, insecure and controlling.” Are you sure about that? Or do you become that way when you’re with someone who isn’t trustworthy, who invalidates your feelings, and who doesn’t meet your emotional needs? It sounds to me as if there was no emotional intimacy in your relationship, because he wasn’t capable of it. Many of us made the mistake of confusing intensity with emotional intimacy.

      He’s using a powerful manipulation tactic on you called intermittent reinforcement, which is a cycle of hot-cold behavior. Buying you a bicycle one day, and the next, “boom” he’s ice cold. Unfortunately, this tactic causes us to bond strongly with the abuser. It’s just like an addiction; you keep going back to get anther “dose” of his loving behavior, no matter how poorly he treated you. You say you can’t believe anything he says, and you shouldn’t. He could very well be psychopathic, but you don’t need a diagnosis–you have all the information you need in order to know he’s someone you need to protect yourself from. The only thing to do is to stay away from him. Cut off all contact, no matter how hard it is at first. If you go back again, it will be exactly the same as all the other times you did. You’ll never get what you need from this man, Emily. Whatever you do, don’t have a baby with him, please, because you’ll only end up a single mother as well as suffering even more anguish. I wish you all the best. Be strong and be well.

      Some articles I picked out for you…

      How to Tell if You’re Being Manipulated
      Intensity or Intimacy? A Relationship Litmus Test
      Backed Into an Emotional Corner

  54. Emily

    he blamed me for his behaviour and all and i must say partly i also think i shouldn’t have taken advantage of him so much. when he was nice in the beginning and very helpful, i took and took and never really gave much. but i felt energetically drained so much after spending time with him, it was alarming.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Being emotionally manipulated is very draining! And these people are energy vampires, too; they suck the life out of us. I wonder if you really “took and took” without giving back. You gave him love, and that’s something. It’s not as if you were just using him, Emily. They always blame us for their behavior, for all the problems in the relationship, and then we end up blaming ourselves. When you’re away from him you’ll gain clarity and be able to see it for what it was. Best wishes to you xo

  55. Emily

    Thank you Adelyn for your reply. Could I be sure that he is a psychopath? cheers xox

    1. emily

      I’ve heard these several times too… he said im too sensitive, im pushing his buttons, im overthinking, i should let go, well he never cared what i said or cared to listen. horrible… but he still says he loves me. are these men capable of love? are they really lying all the time or they believe what they say? do they know how wrong they are and how hurtful?

      1. Adelyn Birch

        When you aren’t heard, you’ll keep trying to make yourself heard–and this is when the anger or tears or emotional meltdowns come on, and then we’re told that we’re too sensitive or overthinking things or just plain crazy. It’s frustrating not to be heard, and not to have your needs met.

        Actions speak louder than words. Words mean absolutely nothing if a person’s actions don’t back them up. If you’re agonizing over whether someone loves you or not because even though they say they do, they don’t act like it, you have your answer. It’s not the answer you want, and I’m sorry about that. I know how much that hurts.

        No, psychopaths (and narcissists) aren’t capable of love. They’re only capable of using others. Again, it doesn’t matter what his diagnosis is. What matters is how he acts and how you feel. Psychopaths lie a lot, yes, unless the truth will work just as well to get them what they want. They aren’t able to care about hurting another person, because they don’t have a conscience or the ability to feel guilty, and they think morality is laughable. They’re entirely self-serving. People like that–low or no empathy and only out for themselves–can really do a number on our sense of self-worth. It’s not permanent though, and you can even end up stronger and more confident than ever.

        I hope my answers are helpful to you, Emily, and I wish you all the best xox

    2. Adelyn Birch

      I can’t be sure he’s a psychopath, of course, but my rule of thumb is this: If you even suspect your partner might be a psychopath, it means you’re with someone who at least is acting like one, so what difference does it make? If someone is narcissistic, manipulative, lacks empathy, isn’t trustworthy or capable of emotional intimacy, and they made you anxious and miserable, that’s all you need to determine he’s toxic. I got stuck on it too, Emily, going back and forth between thinking he was or he wasn’t. It’s normal to do that. Maddening, but normal. One day you’ll realize that whatever he was, psychopath or not, he wasn’t good for you.

  56. Emily

    Adelyn I just saw your other reply. Yes when i was younger i was together with two very nice boyfriends and I showed worse behaviour than with this one. But I realised with this man my insecurities and jealousy were worse because he doesn’t show trustworthy behaviour. in the beginning when we dated he looked very directly several times at a girl when we walked by and even said hi to her, with me in his arms. i felt humiliated, it was not as if we were together for 2 years and he could have gotten bored. Thank you so much for your reply and I will read the articles.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Emily, you said you grew up with a narcissistic mother (I’m sure it was hard) and that’s bound to affect your relationships. And it paves the way for other pathological people to come into our lives, because we don’t know what normal, mentally healthy, loving people are act like. Usually, we don’t have boundaries, so we’re defenseless. What sometimes happens is that someone finally comes along who is so awful, much worse than all the others–a psychopath, usually–and this person wakes us up to the pattern of relationships in our life. This turns out to be a good thing! It happened to me, as a matter of fact. I was finally able to break the cycle because I learned so much about human behavior and about myself. It takes time, but it’s well worth it. I know that’s hard to imagine right now when you’re traumatized and feeling down. Just take one day at a time, and you’ll get there.

  57. Emily

    Hello Adelyn
    Thank you very much for your helpful words and explanations. It must be all very similar the stories you hear and which are shared. I don’t know if you believe in spirituality too but he even said he thought we are twin flames. And I read about fake twin flames which supposedly prepare is for the right person to come. Maybe it’s similar to what you say, they show us what we still have to work on in order to be ready for a healthy partnership.
    I will try my best to move on and repeat reading what you said.
    Your website is amazing for people that have to make these experiences. All the best and thanks again!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      The stories are all basically the same in the pattern the relationshps follow, but the details make each one unique. Thank you for sharing yours, Emily. Twin flames, or soul mates, is something most of us experienced. I felt as if I hadn’t even known what love was before I met him! At the end he revealed that he’d hated me all along, and even said he’d only pretended to like my dog, for goodness sake. You can read my story here: https://psychopathsandlove.com/the-unknown-and-the-unknowable/

      Be well xx

  58. Jan

    This is just an update. It’s been quite some time since I’ve shared. It was a long road to get to where I’m at now, which is complete intellectual/emotional/physical detachment from the abuser. How I longed to be able to feel this way!
    Your blog was a huge help as otherwise I was alone with this. Friends didn’t comprehend and they interpreted the issue as simply a relationship problem that I should have been over already, acccording to their own experience with friendships.
    What I’m sharing now is about how even professionals may not have a clue. This is a small community and the 2 psychopathic abusers I’ve had experience with (the 2nd from a position of awareness & observation… WOW, the POWER of that!) would be known by others as I know I’m not the 1st victim and not the last.
    I would have loved to have had some in-person discussion with others who knew exactly what I was talking about, during the days when I was feeling desperate to comprehend what had happened. But it was a topic in the closet here.
    Last week I decided to approach the health professional at the community’s clinic to find out if it was possible for there to be a support group for such people. I know these people are out there, in the silence of this secret.
    I sent a message, opening up the topic. She responded, claiming to be aware of such goings-on and said she wanted to talk with me the next day. Great! She also asked for a name, if I cared to share that. So I gave her the 2 names and very brief statements about the experiences.
    I went to the meeting fully expecting we were on the same page!
    Oops!! She began with “I don’t understand…You say she abused you.” Well, this threw me as I’d assumed she’d read my message and what we were to be discussing.
    She proceeded to try to push me into making an appt with a counsellor as, if I brought up the topic then I obviously was a person in need of help with relationships. I reassurred her that, no, I’m fine thanks. She didn’t accept that and continued to push and question me.
    It became apparent that she didn’t have a clue about psychopathic targeting; that she assumed I was a meek & mild, sensitive person who didn’t know how to ward off nasty people and that, in bringing up the topic, I was showing that I needed psychological counselling.
    She tried giving me advice and being philosophical about nasty people. Ya, ya, ya…sigh. Warding off sometone nasty? Easy peasy, thank you very much.
    She was adamant that I must not read about the problem as much as apparently I’d been doing as this is harmful to my emotional health! (The fact of it is that reading was my life-saver. Every “aha” from reading; from getting the scientific info .. made me stronger.)

    I knew exactly where this professional was coming from, as I myself, many yrs ago, had been quite involved in the field of psychology / psychiatry and knew all that stuff. It was clear she’d made a LOT of assumptions about me and, as the “authority” was trying to push those onto me. I just observed.
    By the end of the 1/2 hr, and with me still holding strong to my solid healthy position, she FINALLY (seeming a bit embarrassed!), answered my question about the possibility of support for the victims of psychopaths. The answer was NO!….that this community is too small; everyone knows everyone and there’d be no privacy.
    Okay. I see. But perhaps even just a pamphlet that might catch someone’s eye?
    The lesson in this for me was that I mustn’t assume that a health professional knows what targetted victims are talking about. Perhaps the person would have had to have been targeted herself in order to comprehend that if you’re being targeted, you don’t have a clue it’s happening….(until it’s happened once!)… The big EDUCATION!….which I’m actually grateful for, as boy oh boy, I’m so AWARE now.
    Ideally, it would be nice if my broaching the topic with that professional had the result of bringing it to her attention….perhaps through other people saying something also…. or coming across an article….
    Thank you so much Adelyn. Really appreciate that here is a place I can also share about this bit of frustration. We must be adamant about our own truth!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi Jan! Thank you for the wonderful update. It really brought a big smile to my face! You’re sounding so strong and confident! It is a different world from a position of awareness and experience. I agree–detachment feels great, and I’m so happy to hear you’ve achieved it, and happy the blog helped you :-) It is a long road, and you made it. I was alone in it, too. it’s all to rare to find someone who understands, although some have been lucky. I’m sorry to hear of your experience looking for a support group. I’m not surprised, though—I know most professionals don’t have a clue. That was my experience, and yours and too many other readers! I don’t know what we can do about this. My response was to start this website and offer whatever support I could.

      Telling you not to read about the problem is so wrong! Harmful to your emotional health?! It’s precisely the opposite! I’ve heard from so many others who were advised to stop reading. There’s a reason we read and research and it’s so important to do so! It’s one of the ways we come to understand what happened and learn to protect ourselves in the future. It’s interesting that you have the background to see things from her point of view. I can’t understand her nixing the idea of a support group. There are all kinds of support groups that manage to exist despite privacy concerns.

      I’ve come to the conclusion that until someone’s experienced this for themselves, there can be no real understanding. I’m grateful for the awareness, too. It’s quite amazing, actually. Yes, we must be adamant about our own truth, no matter what. Once we know the truth, we can’t be any other way. When the doubt is gone, it’s gone for good. Did you know that the opposite of self-doubt is self-confidence? It feels good, doesn’t it? xx

  59. ajoseph


    Just want to say thank you for this website. I wish I had discovered it sooner as it would of helped me with dealing with this relationship much sooner than I did.

    What is eye opening to me is how every feeling of manipulation I felt even down to the descriptor of a slot machine!!! I used that to describe to my therapist how I felt.

    I feel vindicated here, that I wasn’t crazy, had anger management issues, or was Jealous, not trusting and insecure. Well i might be all those things at times, hell I’m human but in the confines of this relationship I was the victim. For many thats hard to see when you are a 6 foot 230 point man.

    As I worked on myself, I realized this wasnt me it was her. Everywhere in my life over the last 5 years of this relationship is success, happiness, achievements and growth, Except here, a fact that i succinctly pointed out to her when she accused me of bringing drama by asking her “where is the drama in my life other than with you”? I asked her to go to therapy so we could work on our communication and differences. No was the answer.

    In the end it was as she was found out, cats out of the bag, she would attack me for wanting intimacy, she would attack me for not trusting her, my so called lack of self confidence and called me controlling and needy. She had a serious talk with me about saying “i love you” too much and she couldn’t handle the pressure of always saying it back. All the time I knew this was her. She BEGGED me to come back this last time, I did with my head on a swivel, and then this.

    Our last fight was about intimacy. During the fight she flipped out told me to “get the fuck out of her house” and then hit me. It was on the arm but it hurt and this was the fourth time she had physically touched me during an altercation. Im a big man taken much worse but nobody should touch anyone. She calmed down enough for a decent weekend but I knew she would pull a space talk “in my mind i said no more I’m walking.”

    She did, first by saying that we were not connecting anymore, alluded to my weight as being one reason as well as Jealous, controlling, not self confident or trusting and needy. She said she wasn’t comfortable in the relationship.

    I calmly replied. “I can’t reject you to love you after 5 years, that is not who i am, you are comfortable with chasing love not receiving it (who cares less scenario), that after 5 years we should be planning a life together not this push/pull shit. I agreed the relationship was over. in the end I thanked her for “releasing me from her toxic self”. I think she thought i would beg to come back.

    I was lucky I was able to heal myself in this relationship to a point where when the final discard came, I was in a place financially, spiritually and all my ducks in a row, healthy and happy with so much in my life. I could walk away without much desire to get back but there was some, that is until I found this site.

    In the end I might put my story up but it truly is no different than all that i have read here and at times early on in this relationship the pain i felt was a great as any above. The only difference is I learned to love myself during the last years of this relationship and in turn I learned your never alone if you have yourself.

    You site has given me the answers I have searched for to close this chapter in my life.

    thank you

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, ajoseph. Ah, I am so glad to hear you realized the problem wasn’t your jealousy, anger, lack of confidence, and craziness! They’re skilled at setting us up, and provoking us, that’s all. DRAMA is the key! If you find the source of the drama, you’ve found the problem. When someone creates drama out of little or nothing, they’re the culprit. After you see the real truth of what’s happening, you see the futility of it. You know why it’s always “push/pull” instead of the relationship evolving and emotional intimacy developing. They aren’t capable. All they can do is create drama and intensity.

      I’m so happy to hear you found the answers here that you were looking for! Thank you for letting me know! And I’m happy to hear that you’re loving yourself and feeling happy and healthy. All the best to you.

  60. patricia

    Its been 3yrs since i left him. It started of 2yrs of being best friends and lovers and then i got pregnant. The abuse started putting me down as a person and everything i did. It was never he’s fault always mine. He emotionaly raped me and physical aswell. I didnt really care about me but the relationship got deep and useing my child as a weapon to hurt me. He new my fears and weakness, to play hes little game. Up and down with the emotional rollercoster taking anti depresonts just to cope with life sometime take to many just to stop the pain. I tryed to get out twice but doors got slammed in my face. Scared of what he will do with me, where to live , no money. My fear kept me there and after i left the emotions dont leave and you learn that you have control of your own life. I feel regret cause my daughter was involved in hes mind games she was 5 yrs when we left, so the more she becomes happy thats when i know it was worth it. I still suffer from anxiety and it took me 3yrs to sleep in my own bed. Just to sit back and think what i have acomplished, gained and to be happy in the moments of laughter and joy.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      You deserve those moments of laughter and joy, Patricia, and I wish you many, many more. Overcoming such a terrible ordeal–and making positive gains–is an incredible accomplishment. You are resilient, and so is your daughter. You’re a strong woman, and no doubt have gained much wisdom and confidence. Thank you for sharing this–it will give others hope. All the best to you and your daughter xo

  61. Mae

    Although I began reading your amazingly helpful webpage in November, I’ve hesitated to post my story here. But now, I’m ready. I’m hoping it will help me to FINALLY shake my denial and face the truth in full.

    I met G. in July of 2013 and our beginnings were really typical of what you describe here. He seemed perfect, intense, adoring, and he moved in quick. By October, he was living with me. In November, we got engaged. In December, I got pregnant. In February of 2014, we had our engagement party and announced the pregnancy to friends and family, but things had already started going south.

    First, I learned about some major lies – the biggest one was that he’d been living out of his car when we met. He’d gone to the trouble to show me his friend’s apartment and tell me it was his. I also realized pretty quickly that G. has a serious drinking problem and his mood and state of mind are wildly unstable. But he’s an artist and I was madly in love with his creativity. I was also newly divorced from my extremely straight-laced, highly structured and controlling hedge-fund analyst ex-husband and I told myself this is what I wanted – the opposite end of the spectrum.

    At the end of 2013, G. quit his job without any discussion. All of a sudden, I was pregnant and the sole breadwinner in our very volatile household. In March of 2014, when I was 12 weeks pregnant, G. moved all of his things out of the apartment in a drunken rage. For better and for worse, I had a miscarriage 3 weeks later. It was a brutal emotional, physical, spiritual, and psychological experience.

    When it first happened, I did not call G. At that point, I understood our relationship to be over and I did not plan to get back together with him. He had certainly proven that he is not a source of support. But once I was home, licking my wounds, and dealing with the intense hormonal fallout following a loss like that, I felt an irresistible urge to have him near. So we ended up back together, mourning our loss, and trying to “repair” our relationship.

    This was the beginning of a very dark period. I have a history of sexual trauma – some of which I’d never been able to fully recall. Well, the miscarriage triggered acute PTSD symptoms. I began having flashbacks – sometimes as often as once daily. This lasted for nearly 7 months. Fortunately, I was working with an amazing therapist and was able to fully recall and process all those old traumas. But in the meantime, I was still financially supporting, housing, and being abused by an alcoholic psychopath.

    My PTSD really complicated things between us because a) this would be a challenge for even the healthiest of supportive relationships and b) it caused me to question my perception of reality, which made me extremely vulnerable to manipulation by the person I was relying on for support.

    Right on cue, G. became verbally, emotionally, and eventually, physically abusive. He’s a master of manipulation. He’s stolen from me and he’s beaten me up twice – once he strangled me while his mom and sister were visiting us, sleeping in the other room. I couldn’t speak the next day but did not seek any medical attention. Even though he’s since acknowledged what actually took place this night, G. initially tried to tell me that I misremembered what happened – that I was just having a flashback – going so far as to call my therapist and tell her how concerned he was about me.

    The second incident of violence was not until April of 2015. By then, I’d gotten him a job at the prestigious medical center where I used to work. I personally recommended this man (who was working as an EMT when I met him) to people I greatly respect. He now has a high level operational role in a major behavioral research laboratory. This weighs heavily on my conscience every day because I know that he will behave destructively in this position – I just don’t know how it will manifest or who it will harm.

    Anyway, he became infatuated with a much younger female colleague. He was blatantly using his relationship with her to hurt me and I’d confronted him about it this particular night while we were out to dinner. When we came home, he was in a rage and behaving strangely. He smashed every light bulb in the apartment so that we were plunged into complete darkness and proceeded to beat me for hours, slamming my head against a wall, shouting into my face, and holding knives to my neck, daring me to “push” him to kill me.

    The next morning, when he left the apartment, I frantically packed a suitcase for him, left it in the basement of the building and called him to tell him he cannot come back to the apartment. This was the end of our relationship….for a while.

    By June of 2016, we were back together again. We’d both been in other relationships, but maintained some overlap in professional circles and I eventually re-opened communication with him. He said he wanted to go to therapy, repair our relationship, and so on. He was very clear that we were monogamous because he wanted to have unprotected sex. We planned a vacation together (that I paid for, of course) back to the place where we got engaged. We made an appointment to see a couple’s therapist.

    When we returned from our trip in September of 2016, I was contacted by another woman who’d also been under the impression that she was in a monogamous relationship with G. during the same time he’d been seeing me. Since then, I’ve met more and more women who were all sleeping with him between June and September of 2016.

    The solidarity of that group gave me strength in my perspective and I ended the relationship again in October of last year. But — believe it or not, in early December, we started sleeping together again. Today, it’s March 12, 2017, and I am finally totally done.

    A lot has changed in my life recently. In January, I left my office job that I loved to pursue passions I love even more. I’m in the process of building a private practice, launching a new business, and applying to graduate school. I’ve grown closer to friends and strengthened my sense of community. My life is really very happy, except for this nightmare of a relationship.

    So while it didn’t happen all at once, I think that gradually, the disconnect between all the positivity and the nurturing relationships I get to enjoy in many sectors of my life came into very sharp contrast with the pain, abuse, and utter unpredictability I always experience in my interactions with G. I started to realize that I really do have to choose: I can either continue pouring my resources into this shadowy relationship where nothing ever makes any sense, I’m never known, understood, or validated, there is no intimacy, there is no safety, and I’m constantly made to feel crazy OR I can walk away from the illusion that if I change myself enough, it will finally work and instead pour those resources into things and people that can actually give back.

    I’m surprised to admit just how difficult it’s been for me to make this decision. I’ve known, with confidence, since September of 2016, that this man is a psychopath. And yet, all kinds of hard-wired patterns of my own and the power of his very skilled manipulation brought me back to him.

    I cannot thank the brave members of this community enough for your willingness to be truthful about your own harrowing experiences. They’ve truly lent me the power to look the truth of psychopathy in the face and acknowledge that I want and deserve not just the absence of abuse, but a real, healthy, reciprocal relationship where I can be seen and heard and valued and cared for and loved. I know I will continue to need and welcome your support on the path ahead. But I also know there’s no turning back. Thank you.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi Mae! I’m sorry for the wait–your story ended up in with the spam for some reason, the last place it should ever have been! Thank you so much for sharing it, and for thanking others who’ve told their stories. They are hard stories to tell, but so much good can from from the telling, for both the writer and the readers.

      You’ve been through an awful lot. When I was reading the beginning, I had the thought that your circumstances were “the perfect storm.” Your recent divorce, a history of sexual trauma, the hormones involved in a pregnancy (I am very sorry to hear of your miscarriage). If only logic were enough we would walk away much sooner than we did, but emotion overtakes logic, as does brain chemistry. I’m glad you’ve finally gotten to the place where you’re certain it’s over and done, although I’m sorry for all you went through to get there.

      The following words stood out to me because you sum up your experience so well, and speak for all of us:

      I can either continue pouring my resources into this shadowy relationship where nothing ever makes any sense, I’m never known, understood, or validated, there is no intimacy, there is no safety, and I’m constantly made to feel crazy OR I can walk away from the illusion that if I change myself enough, it will finally work

      I wish you all the best on the path ahead of you, and will be here to support you, Mae xo

      1. Mae

        Thanks so much, Adelyn. I’m glad my post made it up. It gives me strength to read back over my own story and know that my truth is out there, clearly defined as my past, and available to inspire and support others in need.

        Like many others, I have few people in my life with whom I can really share the full extent of this situation. As a result, I’ve felt emotionally isolated these last 3 1/2 years, which has made me more susceptible to abuse and manipulation. So thank you for the validation. It’s gold.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          There IS truth, Mae, and you have found it.

          With all you’ve learned, I wonder if you are really more susceptible to manipulation, or less?? Maybe it’s more a question of confidence, of having faith in your wisdom and your self?

          1. Adelyn Birch

            Mae sent an update to her story:

            To Adelyn and this wonderful community of strong survivors,

            I posted my story here in March of this year, and am (I won’t say ashamed) astonished to acknowledge that I actually went back and continued a relationship AGAIN with G. for April and May of this year. I just wasn’t totally done. When he moved out in May, I took a hard look in the mirror and decided that’s really it. I’m TRULY done.

            Unfortunately, our lives were so intertwined, and mine made me so publicly accessible (I was working full time as a dance and yoga instructor in communities where he was well known and accepted, so my schedule was posted publicly and he’d just waltz into class anytime he liked) that it was hard to get away from him. Even though HE was the one who ended our relationship, he kept texting and calling me, obsessively at times, and found ways to get information about me and my schedule from friends, neighbors, and colleagues.

            For better or worse, I’d gone through my dark night of the soul while in and out of relationship with him these last 4 years. I’m JUST NOW coming out the other side and the relief from that experience helped me prepare for and finally make my complete escape for good.

            The weekend before July 4th, I had friends in town. He learned this from one of the studios where I work because he went to my class and asked why I wasn’t teaching my usual schedule. Someone I don’t know very well just casually mentioned that I had a friend in town with her son, and he knew exactly who that would be.

            The idea of me spending time with this person and her son without him seemed to tip him over some edge. He became completely unhinged, sending me insanely abusive and wildly inconsistent, sometimes threatening, sometimes affectionate texts, emails, and calls. It scared me so much that I actually called him to try to calm him down and reason with him to stop contacting me, but nothing worked. So I eventually told him I was leaving town earlier than I really was, and I blocked his number.

            That night, while my friends and I were literally dancing and laughing in my living room after having dinner together, G. tried to break into my apartment. He climbed the fire escape and when he couldn’t get in through the locked windows, he kicked a potted plant off my bathroom windowsill, jettisoning it into the hallway, getting out attention, scaring the crap out of me and my loved ones.

            My friends called 911, helped me clean up, took photos, and got my bags packed. The police came. I made my fourth report against this man. And rather than waiting for morning, my friends and I left town right then in the middle of the night. Nobody felt safe staying in the apartment.

            I spent this next week camping, as planned, and the time nature did me good. Over the camp fires we’d make in the evening, I had some really hard conversations with my friend, finally admitting that I have to take more seriously the threat this person poses to my safety. In addition to being a psychopath, he has a strong family history of mental illness. His biological mother and brother both have a diagnosis of schizophrenia. I’ve often wondered if G. has a mild form himself as he is often completely out of touch with reality and although he struggles to admit it, it does seem to me that at times he is hearing voices. Regardless of why, his behavior is so completely unpredictable. This quote from a psychologist Solomon Snyder, resonates: “Patients (with severe mental illness) do not think or feel in an orderly, logical way, and consequently the basic functions of the personality were divorced or split from each other.” This absolutely describes G. who is a hurricane of extreme and unusual thoughts and feelings that cannot be followed along any associative or linear lines. As you might imagine, this can be breathtakingly beautiful and creative. It can also turn darker and more bizarre and sick, violent, and dangerous than I can easily describe in this post.

            By the time we returned from our camping trip, I had decided to move. I rented out my apartment in the city I’ve called home for most of the last 15 years, went back, packed up, and moved my cat and myself to the country.

            In a week, I found an incredible job on the other side of the country and am making preparations to start a whole new chapter.

            Many of my friends are still struggling to understand these choices that I’m making. The ones who know G. and know what he’s really capable of, understand and support me completely. Some of the people I’ve worked with at yoga and dance studios are still in contact with him, though, so I am being extremely discreet about sharing my plans to move.

            In many ways, it’s a blessing to me that he behaved this way while I had guests in my home. The presence of people I trust and love made it impossible for me to minimize the seriousness of his aggressive, boundary violating actions. It also put me in a position where I saw people I love experience real fear as a result of G.’s actions. Together, this helped to wake me up.

            So I share this, in part, as a story of encouragement for those of you who are really “in” the deep trenches right now. Hang in there. Maintain faith in yourself. It’s hard to know how when, but the light will return. You will find your feet moving you steadily forward on our own well-lit path once again.

            With gratitude,


            Mae, I’m happy to hear you’ve made your escape for good and are moving forward on your own well-lit path once again. He was not only emotionally manipulative and abusive but violent and potentially dangerous, and yes it’s a good thing your friends were there to provide a reality check! I wish you all the best as you make big changes and move to a new place and job. Best of luck to you, my dear ♥

  62. XmenP

    I am a man, 47 years old. My sister is the first one to share this site with me. She came to me one day and said “you need to read this, it’s exactly what you are experiencing.” I glanced at briefly and agreed, yet with hesitation. I even tried to talk to my partner of 2 Years about it. Big mistake. It was only after the final and unbelievable blow that changed who I am forever. At least it felt at the time.

    It’s only been about 6 months now, but I was so appalled at the relationship that I was able to recover slightly prior to the end and the understanding of what was going on. Some of the things that were done to my entire existence I cannot explain in detail without falling back into a place where I never want to be again. I am finally to the point where I can read most of the sections of the site without falling apart completely.

    I cannot speak for anyone but my own experience and say that I have experienced almost every exact form of feelings and some of the actions. Validation was the toughest part for me, because no one believed what I was saying and explaining even with physical evidence and hard proof. I was accused of paranoid delusions, and many other things trying to get support and validation from anyone. I found that they would deny the possibilities and even felt as though, even after saying they despised her for what she did to me, they seemed to have her side, many would still blame me for staying, putting up with it, and continuing to stay in the relationship. That for the most part ended long before I accepted it.

    Yet she would have me back just to take more of my life, my finances, my heart and soul. I could not believe nor wrap my head around that type of thinking. What I found to be the truth was so unbelievable, but 100% factual based on hard proof, I had a very difficult time with it. I have never experienced a true to the text book exact definition of psychopath as described on this website. I was torn down, beaten down, taken for granted to a laughable level, completely used and abused at any cost even to the point it started to appear deliberate to destroy every aspect of my life. It was so horrific, in the sense that she should literally be imprisoned for some of my discoveries, the invasion of privacy, the hacking and exploitations, and the infiltrations of every aspect of my life. Yet with absolutely no validation from any source, anywhere, especially with any type of knowledge or authority to help.

    I so have decided to never pursue any action ever again, literally due to in fear of my life. This site is the only form of relief and recovery I can find refuge in. I am an intelligent, educated professional man, that nearly lost everything including my career over what I thought was the true love of my life and the most beautiful women I have ever laid eyes upon. Not even a wolf in sheeps clothing, but more of what how I would now describe the spawn of Satan wearing the beauty and wings of a heavenly Angel. I am now more self aware and understand more of the betrayal bond and why I stayed far longer than I should have. I have experienced the extreme of emotional rape, and have a much better understanding of cognitive dissonance than ever before.

    I try to remain as good of a person as I ever was, just much more aware and guarded than ever before in my entire life and watch for the signs. I am battling with a severe ability to trust currently yet I hope to truly love in my life someday. But if it means experiencing ever again some of the extremities I have and as described perfectly in parts of this site, I would rather forever be alone.

    I thank everyone for input and support on this site. I could go on and on and on for 100’s of pages about my experience but I would rather not remember most of it. Even the smallest remaining amounts of what I thought were some of the best times of my life, have since all been almost completely destroyed by the discoveries of the calculated and covert manipulation strategies by her. I loved her with all of my heart, and she knew that, and showed not one tiniest bit of care as she walked away laughing at me left in a pile of rubble in what was left of my life. Yet still blaming me for not giving her my last dollar, my last breath, and my last heartbeat.

    I will remain strong, it was the true test and trial of my life as a man on this earth, it shattered to the core of my existence everything important to me in my life in that of morals, values, family, my children.

    A final word, I have since slowly but surely started taking back and rebuilding my life, and maintaining the one thing she couldn’t get from me. My integrity. I feel for and love all of you who have experienced even a fraction of what I endured, as now I can finally speak a bit more freely of it, though I chose not too in too much detail, for many reasons. Everyone, please remain strong, you can get through it, as I am struggling to do. There are good people left in this world, though sometimes hard to see through the screens we now look through. But WE ARE HERE. Peace. XmenP

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Wow, XmenP, your description of the pain you’ve experienced, and how it was inflicted, is very powerful. It truly is the test and trial of a lifetime. I’m all choked up; I understand how much you’re hurting. I’m so sorry you don’t have the support you need, and even worse, that you were blamed. Too many of us were left dealing with it alone, and were shamed by those close to us instead of cared for. Hearing you say that this website is your only source of relief and refuge made me feel sad (although I am happy you find those things here). In reading those words, I know that creating this site is the best thing I have ever done. It was my own lack of support that led me to do it. I didn’t want anyone else to go through this hell feeling completely alone and without hope. I hear hope–and strength–when you say you still have your integrity. The core of who you are is intact. Nothing can touch that. You’re on a difficult journey, and that’s what will guide you and give you the determination you need to go the distance. Thank you for sharing your story and your self. Much love and peace to you xo

        1. XmenP

          Thank you so very much for taking the time to respond and forwarding my words and thoughts of my experience to the other part of this site and providing a link. It has truly touched my heart with your kind and warm words. Maybe as time goes by, I can post more of my recovery and experiences when more healing has taken place. You are truly an amazing person and I am forever grateful to you for this site as well as my sister for introducing it to me in such a time of great need. Again, thank you so very much from the bottom of my heart and soul. Love to all. XmenP.

          1. Adelyn Birch

            You’re so very welcome! And thank you for your kind words! I hope you will come back and write more as you heal. Love to you too, XmenP ♥

  63. Matt

    Hi just wanting some outsiders opinions. Met a girl Nearly 5 months ago. We got on great from the beginning, liked the same things had the same thoughts and morals. She was also seperated with a young child as was I and had an understanding of what was involved with that. At the beginning in some of our conversations she told me she was into art and did a lot of painting. She sent me pics of her work which I found suspicious and when looking into it found they were not hers. I was a little confused but thought maybe she was just trying to impress me. As we got closer we formed a strong bond and spoke everyday over messages when we didn’t see each other. From the beginning she told me and made a big deal about her quiting smoking and that she did it quiet easily and find it disgusting now, even telling me how she hates her ex for doing it and other people in public around her son. I found out this was all a lie and confronted her on it. We spoke at length and I told her how I felt about lying and thought it was so disrespectful. She apologised and said she would not keep things from me. She has been very loving with comments and things she does. Makes me feel really good about myself and has told me she wants to be with me forever. In reading some stuff here it’s making me very nervous. She has now recently come to me off her own back saying she is quiting smoking again and been taking these tablets for it etc. I have found out that this again is all a lie. I have not said anything on this as yet. Recently I have noticed we have argued more than we had before, usually about how I am not being thoughtful of her feelings. It does make me second guess things and question myself. This whole time I have been nothing but the best I can be. Being there for her, complementing her everyday, doing nice things and random surprises. Generally making her feel loved and cared for. I’m very confused as I think I am seeing signs but do not want to make a huge mistake if I’m wrong.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Matt. Sorry to hear that what started as a promising relationship has taken a sharp turn for the worse. It’s important to note that her behavior has disturbed you enough to send you on a quest for answers, and that you ended up here, and what you’re reading has made you nervous. That’s significant!

      Her lie about the paintings was a bad omen, which you’re finding out. She lies habitually, and that’s not at all normal. You’ve already learned you can’t trust her. When she tells you something, you feel you have to become a detective to determine if it’s true or not. What really struck me is you saying you’re being the best you can be, yet her saying you’re not being thoughtful. Your examples (being there for her, etc) certainly sound thoughtful to me.

      You’re in a general state of confusion about the relationship, which is another bad sign. You’re second-guessing yourself, arguing, and discovering more lies. I’m sorry to say that these things outweigh the good. There is always some good, even in the worst relationships; if there weren’t, there would be no reason to stay and put up with the nonsense. This is how we get trapped. To be honest, what I see as your choices are ending the relationship now, or ending it later after things get much worse and after becoming more entangled with her, when it will be even harder to leave. Matt, my advice to you is to move on from this. You sound like a great boyfriend and a good person. Please don’t sell yourself short, OK? Best of luck to you.

      A few things for you to read, which might help clear up your confusion:

      How to Tell if You’re Being Manipulated

      REBOOT (a reminder of your needs and rights in relationships)

      Intimacy or Intensity? A relationship litmus test

      1. Matt

        Thank you for the reply. I see all these patterns emerging and trying to piece things together. What is confusing and maybe something that can have some light shed on is are some of these nice things typical still of these situations. So I know of the whole showering with love and compliments. Making you feel like never before. What is different is I have a daughter and she has a son. She said to me she didn’t want to go into this without knowing for sure this is what she wants as there are children involved. We spoke about it at length and she said even after that the day she met my daughter she thought about it to make sure it was right. She has done a lot of nice and thoughtful things when it comes to either gifts, she bought us airfairs and accommodation to see a band. She wrote me a very heartfelt poem and painted a picture of ouf us and our children. Only just recently she drove an hour and a half with me to wedding she wasn’t going to and waited at the place we were staying to pick me back up.

        Are these normal things?

        But then on that I confronted her last night about lying to me about quiting smoking and I knew 100% the truth and she denied it and lied more about it.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          If it weren’t for the disturbing facts, I’d think you had the best girlfriend on the planet, Matt. Let’s put aside the lying problem for a minute and take a look at something else:

          She told you she didn’t want to go into this without knowing for sure this was what wants. How in the world could she know that “for sure” when you only just met? That’s not a sign of love–it’s a sign of superficiality. I (and many others) made the huge misstep of believing someone we’d just met somehow knew us well enough to know they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with us. It feels great when it seems you’ve finally found that person who can see all your good qualities, who appreciates you. It’s very seductive! In your GF’s case, I’d say it’s a sign she was looking for a relationship, and there you are. She isn’t even divorced yet. I’m sure it’s hard being a single parent, and having a partner–esp one with their own child–is obviously something you’d want. But when someone tells you they know you’re the one for them when they barely know you, it’s a big red flag. There is never a reason to rush into a relationship. The wonderful things she does may just be love-bombing designed to hook you. You’re just beginning to get to know her, which is normal at five months. And you have, unfortunately, discovered some real problems that you shouldn’t ignore. Be especially careful with this since you have a child involved. All the best to you, Matt.

  64. Demi

    My story began when I was 17 years old and the man was actually 21. I’m actually now about to be 22 and my relationship with this person has gone back and forth for this entire time. This person formed a bond with me that I’ve struggled to break for years because he didn’t just idealize the relationship from the very beginning, he actually manipulated me into giving up my virginity to him as well. The entire story of the last four years in detail is extremely long and would take practically a novel to fully explain.

    The reason I’m writing this is because I’ve gone back to him more times than I could count anymore. It’s a constant cycle, after being initially discarded for another girl he would even come back to me and suck me back in while still in the other relationship. He’d convince me by telling me that I was the person he was suppose to be with all along, that he’d tried but couldn’t stay away from me, that his girlfriend was crazy, and he’d seem to redo the entire idealization phase; but the following idealization is always just slightly lazier than the time before. Regardless, I always fell for it out of love, wanting to believe that this person I loved so much had changed and there was some sort of fairytale magnetism between us. But it’s a cycle; eventually he’d discard me in a way that’s so cold it makes me feel like I must never have mattered to him at all. He’ll find someone else and flaunt it on social media without stating outright that he’s dating the girl, while still talking to me as if we have a future even though he seems less attentive to me. I ignore these signs for awhile, try harder to win his affection and attention back, rejoicing in little victories because my standards for his treatment of me get lower and lower. Eventually I work up the courage to ask about the new girl. The first time it happened I got a straightforward and cold answer that it was his new girlfriend. Another time it got the silent treatment, until I had to repeatedly ask and beg for him not to ignore me and answer the question honestly. For most of this hot and cold relationship I could recognize it as toxic, but for some reason felt addicted to it in a way I couldn’t explain to people. The good times were so good that it was like I’d never been happier in my entire life, and the bad times were so bad that I could hardly function and felt like I’d lost everything I’d ever wanted and no one else could ever compare. I legitimately always felt like to give anyone else a chance I’d be settling for someone I could never love as much.

    I couldn’t make heads or tails of his behavior because he contradicted himself all of the time. He never showed any sort of remorse for cheating. Never. He couldn’t seem to care less when he left me hurting when he’d leave me behind for someone new, and when I was the person he was cheating with I never witnessed an ounce of guilt. He said things to me no normal person could say and feel ok with themselves for. For example, some days it seemed like out of boredom all of his jokes would be at my expense. He would pick at my feelings slowly and provoke me all day long until I snapped and had to isolate myself in another room to cry it out (he’d always laugh and say I can’t take a joke). One day I’d reached that point already, but he decided it was alright to try and initiate sex. When I tried to refuse him, much more gently and kindly than he deserved I might add, he looked me in the eyes and asked flatly, “Do I need to call someone else then?” When it came to sex he seemed like he needed to be in control, and I got in a habit of trivializing things that weren’t normal. He liked to leave marks on me all the time, he told me he owned me, that he was the only one who could have me, and I didn’t realize until finding out about psychopathic relationships like this that he was easily manipulating me because he’d caught me at my most vulnerable and this was all I’d ever known.

    I could go on for days with examples of the way I was treated and people would think I was ridiculous for sticking around and coming back over and over again, I would think so from an outside perspective. But it was never constantly bad, one day would be horrible like that and the next three might be a dream where we’d be constantly laughing, being silly together, talking about everything in the world and it’d be like he couldn’t get enough of me. Like I said earlier, my reason for writing this is because no matter how bad it would get I’ve kept going back. I’ve been reading a book about these relationships and it makes every single thing he’s ever done and said with me fall into place. It’s all disturbingly accurate the idealization, triangulation, and discarding, everything about it. I cried she I found all of this because it was like someone had finally put into words all of the things I’ve experienced over and over again and been feeling about it. The difference I’ve seen is that the way they describe it seems like these psychopaths need a constant stream of new victims. But my person has a pattern of alternating between someone new, and then me. He may find a new victim, but he always comes back to another round of hurting me and I don’t understand it. I was hoping someone could provide me with some clarity as to why his cycle always seems to circle back to me?

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Demi. I’m sorry to hear of what you’ve endured with this emotionally abusive guy. He’s kept you on an emotional roller coaster. He lacks empathy, doesn’t respect you, and is sadistic as well. But don’t despair–the time has come to take your power back and be free from this abuser. You’re ready.

      You asked, “He may find a new victim, but he always comes back to another round of hurting me and I don’t understand it… why does his cycle always seems to circle back to me?” One reason is because he can. He’s the one with all the power; he’s the one who gets to decide if you’ll have another round, the reason being he doesn’t care, and you do. It’s more complex than that, but that’s at the bottom of it.

      “This is how they think. It’s all about who is in control, who is on top, who has the most power, WHO CARES LESS, WHO CARES LESS, WHO CARES LESS, WHO CARES LESS, WHO CARES LESS. Do I have to repeat it?” (unknown author)

      The reason psychopathic people need a steady stream of new targets is that they have a strong need for stimulation. Without strong stimulation (and the dopamine that goes with it), they feel bored, empty and restless. They’re also low on serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes feelings of contentment. They can’t bond emotionally with another person, so when the stimulation ends, there’s nothing there. Psychopaths aren’t capable of attachment (or love), so when their “mad love” takes a nosedive along with their dopamine, there is nothing left for them. We, however, do become attached. They are very good at bonding us to them, while they never bond to us. What he’s doing is repeatedly putting you through the idealize–devalue–discard cycle. When he’s bored with his new object of desire, he returns to “play games” with you. When he gets bored with that, he coldly and cruelly discards you and victimizes someone else for a while. I’m sorry you’re going through this. It’s all a game to him, but what he doesn’t care about is that he’s playing that game with your mind and your heart. He sees you as an object to toy with, but you are not an object; you’re a human being. You deserve to be loved and respected, not toyed with by a person with no capacity to love or respect.

      “For most of this hot and cold relationship” and “it was never constantly bad, one day would be horrible like that and the next three might be a dream” describes perfectly how he’s manipulated you and why you feel stuck. The most powerful way to do that is through intermittent reinforcement, which is going back and forth between hot/cold, between blissful days/terrible days. Unfortunately, this kind of abuse creates the strongest bond. Powerful emotional attachments develop from two specific features of abusive relationships: Power imbalances and intermittent good-bad treatment. You say, “I could recognize it as toxic, but for some reason felt addicted to it in a way I couldn’t explain to people.” That’s it, Demi–you are actually addicted. I don’t mean it’s LIKE you’re addicted—you are truly addicted. In any addiction, be it to alcohol or drugs or gambling, the addict knows what they’re doing is destructive, but they can’t stop. Please read this excellent article by Rhonda Freeman, PhD, a neurospychologist, so you can understand what you’re experiencing: The Spellbinding Bond To Narcissists And Psychopaths – What’s Happening In The Brain?
      It’s also about emotions. Dr. Freeman explains that even though you know logically that this relationship is detrimental, emotions win out over logic, and it’s not as easy as saying “your behavior is unacceptable, and I’m leaving.” It has to do with neurochemical, emotional and psychological forces. She points out that craving a toxic relationship and deciding to stay, or returning to it, “are not reflective of weakness on the part of the victim.” That’s an important point. What’s going on behind the scenes, in your brain, was created by the abuse and it’s what keeps you from walking away.

      So how can you break free? Through “no contact,” engaging in detachment, and support. It’s difficult, but it will break the bond. To explain what these things are and how they work, I’ll point you to another article by Dr. Freeman: WHY NO CONTACT, INTENTIONAL DETACHMENT, AND SUPPORT HELP BREAK THE TRAUMA BOND

      Have faith in your strength and your worth. I wish you all the best, Demi. I hope you’ll come back and let me know how you’re doing xo

  65. anonymous

    Thank you so much for this site it has really helped me understand what I was in and what I have been going through in the aftermath. I finally got out of a relationship with what I am now certain is a psychopath about a year ago. He was my teacher in school and began grooming me and began a relationship with me when I was 15 years old, making me believe that this was something he wouldn’t ever consider doing but that he had fallen helplessly in love with me, that we were “perfect for each other”. I cringe now at how long I believed this act and how he fed my teenage fantasies about true love to gain full power over me.

    I continued a relationship with him for years both while still at school and afterwards. I was miserable so much of the time but he knew exactly what to say and do to keep me hooked using all the manipulative tactics described in this site. On top of everything he made sure that my family and friends weren’t to know about our relationship especially while I was at school because he could go to jail for what he did to me so I lived so many years in secret lying to my loved ones.

    I have spent the last year trying to heal, doubting everything I have known to be true particularly since he was central to my most formative years.

    Recently I discovered that he had been seeing another ex student at the same time he was with me and I got into contact with her. From her I discovered some really disturbing truths about him that further confirm that he is a psychopath. It turns out that he has continuously been targeting students as a predator over the years and luring them into the same traps he did with me and this girl, adjusting his character to each of us. We made the decision to report him to the police after learning about other recent young victims. He is currently being held in custody and awaiting trial based on my statement to the police and is still trying to manipulate the situation from there by asking his mother to contact the other girl who he still feels he has control over.

    I know he is a danger and threat to the community and will continue to target other young girls and anyone he feels he can have power over. I want to do what I can to prevent more people’s lives from being ruined but I don’t know if I have the emotional and psychological strength right now to face him and give evidence in court…and I am afraid all his victims are in the same position or not willing to take this further in which case he will most likely be set free. I also fear that his conviction could gain a lot of media attention and that will risk my peace and privacy for years to come.

    I recently told my parents everything I hid from them all those years and although they are trying to support me they are very upset with what’s happened and cannot understand how I let any of this happen (but this site is definitely helping both myself and my parents understand it better and I thank you immensely for that)

    I don’t want any of this to hurt them any further than it already has. I am afraid a court process that could go on for years will make it harder for all of us to move on.

    Another serious concern I have is that this psychopath will try and punish me for giving evidence against him once he’s out. From what you know about psychopaths do they have a tendency to be vengeful? He wasn’t violent from what I know but then again all I know was a character he played, I actually don’t know how much more he’s hiding and what he’s capable of. Do psychopaths generally return to try sabotage or hurt any people they can no longer manipulate or no longer have power over? I fear a reappearance from him in my life.

    At the same time I know that he needs to be jail because of the high probability that he will continue to hurt people for his selfish ends and the moral injury I am already suffering will not heal if I don’t do anything to try and stop him in some way.

    I cannot sleep thinking about whether to proceed or not with the court process and what the long term consequences could be either way. Any suggestions are appreciated.

    Again thank you for this site it is comforting to know I have not been crazy all these years and that there is hope for survival.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      My heart goes out to you, Anonymous! I’m so sorry you were victimized by this predator, and at such a tender age. What a terrible betrayal by someone in a position of trust. His abuse of power to prey on you and other teenage girls takes the worst kind of pathological selfishness.

      This “teacher” belongs behind bars for a long, long time. I am so glad to hear you reported him and he’s in custody. You’re very brave. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be faced with dealing with the prospect of testifying against him in court, and all that goes with it. It’s a very difficult situation to be in. His actions were clearly criminal, and as you said, he’s a danger to the community. I have absolutely no expertise in this area, but from what I understand, your identity should be protected under the circumstances, is that correct? Knowing what to expect would probably be of great help to you and your parents. It sounds to me that a psychotherapist who has expertise in this area and has supported women going through similar ordeals could help you as you make your decision, and also as you go through the process if you decide to move forward with it. A woman would be best if you would have trouble trusting a man; you want someone you can feel safe with. You should check with your local domestic violence organization; they could be a good starting point. It’s important to your healing, and to preventing him from victimizing anyone else, that you have the support you need to get through the stress of the legal process. I imagine there must be stories of other woman who have gone through it successfully, and those stories could be of benefit to you.

      I can’t predict his future behavior. Everyone is unique, even psychopaths. If he gets the sentence he deserves you won’t have to worry, but there’s just no way to predict with any certainty what the outcome of his case will be.

      I’m tremendously happy to hear this website has helped you and your parents. There’s an important article on another website I’d like you and your parents to read, so all of you can understand what happened (in the sense of how predators hook victims) and know that it was *in no way your fault.* It’s written by Rhonda Freeman, PhD, a neuropsychologist: The Spellbinding Bond To Narcissists And Psychopaths – What’s Happening In The Brain? Please share it with your parents. It’s so important that they understand it wasn’t your fault. The fault lies squarely with the predator, an adult in a position of authority who groomed, manipulated and abused you beginning at age 15. There are other articles on Dr. Freeman’s website that might be of help: NEUROINSTINCTS

      I wish you strength, anonymous, and that you’ll find the support you need to help you through, not only with testifying but with your healing. Please let me know how it goes and how you’re doing. Hugs to you, and to your parents too. Lots of love to you. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you.

  66. Poest

    After five months unable to get over a relationship that had lasted about 15 months, I recently read the introduction to “30 Covert Emotional Manipulation Tactics” and realized why this has been the hardest relationship ever for me to get over. I understand why I behaved so strangely and suffered so desperately. I had fallen in love with a very smart psychopath. I believe he is a psychopath and not a sociopath or narcissist. He even has a deranged olfactory sense and low body odor. I think the trait runs in his family.
    I don’t even want to rehash everything he did to me. I just know that when I read the signs of covert manipulation, I had every single symptom. When I read the various covert manipulation tactics in this book and others, I recognized that he had used almost every single one. Every one but telling me I was beautiful over and over again but he tailored his manipulation to fit me and my sensibilities. He did bomb me with countless “I love yous.” I know now he never meant a word.
    I have been deeply wounded but right now I’m obsessed with anger over what he did to me. This is still pretty fresh for me. The breakup happened almost 5 months ago but the revelation of your book happened only days ago. I suffered tremendously during those five months and wish I’d read your book before I met him. I’m eager to share what I know with as many unsuspecting people as I can so they can hopefully avoid what happened to me. I know I should not face my abuser, but I can covertly win my self-respect back by helping others to avoid what I have suffered and I don’t mind narrowing his pool of potential victims.
    He is brilliant, hilarious, charming, handsome, creative and in many ways, an extraordinary person. But now that I know what he is, he is worthless to me.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Poest. I’m really glad to know that “30 Tactics” shed light on what you experienced and helped you realize why you’re not over it. It is a deep wound, and I know how painful it is. I’m very sorry it happened to you. I think it’s great that you want to write about it. You’ll find that as you share what you know, you’ll be helping yourself, too. This website, and the books, enabled me to take that horrible experience and make GOOD come from it. They really do damage our self-respect because they make us feel that we compromised our own values, dignity and boundaries—but what they also do is enable us to go on to have more self-respect than we ever did before. It takes time, but it will happen–and you’re right when you say writing will help you get there. Best of luck to you xx

      You might want to take a peek at this post: Self-Respect: The Key to Everything

      1. Poest

        Thank you so much! I will always be grateful for you for opening my eyes. I’m fighting him and others like him by exposing covert manipulation, hoping to free others from this abuse.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          You’re welcome, Poest! I’m so glad I could help you. I wish you success as you go on to open the eyes of others by exposing the well-kept “secret” of covert manipulation, one that most people know nothing about. There is an urgent need for it. Best of luck to you, my friend xo

  67. tnmtngirl

    Hello Adelyn,
    And thank you so much for the information and validation I have found here. I only wish I had found it sooner, it has been such an eye opener for me. I’m not quite ready to share my whole devastating story, but I will give you a little background and how I came to find this site.
    His deceit has spaned about 25 yrs of my life. We lived together for 4 yrs, and as you might guess it was perfect, he as perfect in every way. We married and were together a total of 16 yrs.I literally worshipped the ground he walked on, He was my everything. In my eyes he could do no wrong. Until, I found he had been unfaithful, I thought at the time only once, later found out it was multiple times. I was devastated, literally for the first yr I only existed, I breathed only because in was an involuntary reaction, not because I wanted to live. I had 2 school age children to raise and was literally unable to function for that first yr. I had an older biological daughter that helped with them because I wasn’t able.
    I stayed for 3 yrs after finding out about his infidelities, he never said anything more than “I’m sorry” showed no remorse, he said it was “just sex”. He would say he was remorseful, but his actions never matched his words, he refused to validate my feelings in any way, just wanted me to get over it and move on.
    At the end of the 3 yr, almost to the day of him being with the last one, I told him I wanted a divorce. He was ill with me at first, after a few days he started trying the love bombing, I pushed him away. And told him “You don’t screw around on a person you love, so stop lying to me”. He continued to shower me with attention, every night he tried to coax me into bed, I would sleep on the couch. At one point he actually asked me to come to bed, to make love, I laughed and said, “It’s not love, there is no love between us, it’s just sex, you removed the love and intimacy from our marriage when you gave youself permission to screw your slut”. At that point I told him, I was tired of dealing with his bullshit and that he needed to find somewhere to go, I wanted him and his shit gone by the time I got home from work the next day, and he was. Of course he would come by during the following days, to get something out of the building, or to move some of the horses. He would always make sure I saw him, but he would refuse to speak to me. I took the children and my daughter and moved closer to my parents, and we divorced. My sister passed away in 2011, he showed up at the funeral home, he never spoke to me, he told the kids he was there for their support. My mother passed away in 2012, he showed up again for the kids, this time he did speak to me, and told me he was sorry for my loss. My father passed away in 2013, he was at the funeral home again, this time he walked up to the casket, and put his arm round me and hugged me, told me he was sorry, and that my dad was a good man, and would be missed by many. A couple months goes by and he sends word by one of the kids that he and the lady he was living with were done, and I don’t remember if I called himm or he called me, but we began talking, It had been 3 yrs since the divorce, and I was still very much in love with the man I married, but now I know that man never really existed, so he will never be that man again, and I can’t live with the kind of man he is today. I let him back into my life and it only lasted until he had helped my spend the $51,000.00 my Dad had left me. Once the money was gone, his attitude toward me was demeaning, arrogant, snide, and just plain hurtful. I soon found out he had gone behind my back and told the kids I had taken money from his account with out his permission, which was a bold faced lie, but it was the straw that broke the proverbial camels back. I had his belongings packed when he came home (he drives a truck OTR). And due to his snide remarks about sex, we hadn’t been intimate in months, I dreaded every weekend because if I didn’t offer he would make some demeaning remark, and that would make me despise him all the more. But then when he leaves I have this emotional breakdown, whicjh makes no sense to me. I was fed up with his Bull, and dreaded him coming in on the weekends, the only reason I allowed him to stay the last year was because of the horses, and I could ride on th e weekends whaen he was in. But the last 3-4 months he refused to lkeet me ride, he would always come up with an excuse…so by the time I kicked him out, I hadn’t been able to ride the last couple of months he was here.
    But then I start going through this withdrawal, and wanting him back, and wondering to myself if I did this, or if I did that would he give me aother chance..wanting to go riding with him. I found out he was seeing someone, and that just broke my heart all over. But then logically I know he is not going to change, he is never going to validate my feelings…then I foud something on facebook, that said,
    ” Relationship with a Narcissist in a Nutshell: You will go from being the perfect love of their life to nothing you do is ever good enough. You will give everything and the will take it and give you less and less inreturn. You will end up depleted emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and probably financially anf then get blamed for it”
    So then I started reading up on Narcissists and then I stumbled across your website. I am fairly sure I’m dealing with a Narcissist, rather than a psychopath, but that how I happened up on this site. And again thank you do much.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Tnmtgirl. My apologies for the long delay! Your story was misfiled by the mail system. Thank you for sharing it here.

      I’m sorry for your heartbreak and disappointment. You loved him and tried for years to make your relationship work, and what happened is not your fault. Learning what kind of person he is, and realizing he’s never going to change or give you the love or validation you need, is extraordinarily painful. My heart goes out to you.

      The quote you found on FB sums it up perfectly. And they do leave us depleted, whether they’re narcissistic or psychopathic, and I wish you well as you heal emotionally, mentally and spiritually. May you find all the love, support, resilience and strength you need along the way.

  68. R. Wallace

    Six months later, I still think I still need to tighten all of the screws in my head. I found this site because every so often, I have to remind myself of what really happened and every so often, I forget and blind myself with the good parts. I have read so many books and sites about psychopaths. This author’s book, “202 Ways To Spot A Psychopath” was the book that made me sit up in my chair and realize what I had been through.
    We all know the stories, same character, different face. Mine is not unique, except in the end I have a punch line and if you want a reality check, go to the end of the tale. If I told you all that transpired, I’d be here all day and all of us have met the same guy (or woman).

    Briefly, my “boyfriend” sought me out on a dating sight over a year ago and he was with a woman who was just a friend. This scenario played out continually. We lived out of town — he lived between two states — and he wanted me to move in right away. I wanted to slow it down. He wanted me to go halves with him on a truck because he wanted a truck and we could take trips in it and he went with that idea like a kid — you couldn’t get him off of it. Why would I buy a truck parked 8 hours away from my driveway? When would I drive my half?

    He was very attentive and very much in love with me. We talked continually on the phone and saw each other every two weeks. We talked three times a day except there were a few times when he “fell asleep” and turned his phone off. There was the time when he had to get out to listen to music on a Friday night because he had cabin fever and when I asked him the next morning if he was alone the night before, he was at a loss for words and gave me a silent treatment…. and I reacted because that’s my personality — I react. I wanted to get him to act on his insistence that I was the one woman he could spend the rest of his life with.

    I have to take some responsibility for this. How could I be such a fool. I am a big city girl now living in the country and I met guys in my younger days that I wouldn’t give the time of day to because they were players. I wonder why I played into this.

    He was a poor liar, but I was so caught up with the “soul mate” aspect of our relationship. He remained friends with all of his old girlfriends and eventually, I learned that this one or that one was the love of his life, until, of course, he met me. This guy never cheated on his wife, but he found women during his marriage that he could have gotten into trouble with and exchanged numbers. There were women he knew who were nobodies and the story changed later. On one visit, he introduced me to a woman who was obviously smitten with him, but he introduced me as a friend visiting from out of town, like a sister. When I acted like a girlfriend in front of her, you could see that she was upset. Later, she became the focus of our fights. He insisted first, as he did with the other women, that she has lots of boyfriends, he is not interested in that woman, she had one named “Bill,” but then he blurted out that she had a new boyfriend who happened to have the same name as my boyfriend. What a curve ball. It heightened my insecurities and while he was insisting that I was imagining things, I was wondering about my own sanity.
    I found with him through the course of a year that when I talked to him, he had a blank look on his face and that he had no accountability, only rationalizations or excuses.

    We agreed that he could socialize in groups with women, but never one on one. You know how that went – his way. He still insisted that never cheated on me.

    He had a very heavy dating history. It was strange because he had E.D., but said I was the first woman he could be a full man with. He said he had a “sex life with other girlfriends,” but not a complete one with the other women. I was the first. If he met the right woman, his doctor said, things would start working.

    He hated my drama about the other women and said that if I kept up the issues over women, he’d leave me and he did! He walked off, instantly falling out of love with me and never speaking to me for months and the only communication we truly could have was in good old fashioned letters and I sent him volumes. He became the victim and he cries easily about his broken life, how I disappointed him, how he doesn’t have long to live, stuff like that. As soon as he left, he blocked my email and phone numbers – he was gone into his new life. During this relationship, I drank off my pain, so I became in his eyes an “alcohalic” and he didn’t like women who drank, but he brought the wine, poured the gin and asked me if I wanted refills…. I was medicating myself through this relationship and hoping that everything he continually said to me about being perfect was true. All the while, he was inviting women over to have “interesting discussions.” Eventually, he found fault with me for minor things and I told him he was using that as an excuse to seek the companionship of other women. He’d say he never cheated on me and I refused to believe him. I asked him, then why do you seek the companionship of other women and he’d have no answer, but rather a blank look on his face. His family life with his adult children was in shambles. His friend told me it was because his son knew he was with another woman while his dad was with his mom. I told my boyfriend about this, telling him that he has paraded too many women in front of his kids and they were hurt. His response to this was not a concern for his son, but to tell me one story about the woman and then to turn around in the next sentence and tell me a more minimal story about the woman. He was hurt by his family, he wanted to fix it, but when it came to other women, there was always an excuse, including the one spin he told me where he wanted to be a priest and he comforted women.

    WHY didn’t I leave? WHY did I keep fighting as if I was obsessed with him. WHY did I continually write to him and beg.

    We have been apart for six months. Two months ago, he bcc’d me in an email that he sent to a woman which was a selfie of him. I was not in the address line and her email address and name were nowhere nearly the same as mine. I exploded. I reply all and eventually, told her everything about him, all of the lies that he told me about other women. She has never replied and I am guessing that she’s caught up in the saga. When he returned my things last week, nearly six months later, he left his own clothing in with mine and I had to call him. He did call back, first time in months and I sobbed like a baby, still hoping there was hope. I asked him why he would bcc me in that email and he said she was a nobody, a friend of his son’s, married. When I got off the phone, having her email address, I wrote her and asked, was it true… she never responded, of course. I blew up with him in email because obviously it was working again, accusing him of triangulation.

    The story is going to end here because it is endless. Time for the punch line: I just had surgery in January and I had been under a great deal of stress since this guy “ghosted” me in October. While I was recovering, I couldn’t see “south of the border.” Eventually, I did see something and I went to my doctor and she said it was an STD and it looks and acts like Herpes. I didn’t date for years before I met this guy and I had not dated someone who dated as heavily as this guy, the guy who couldn’t “perform” until he met me. She felt pretty definite about it. I demanded every test I could possibly have. It turned out that every test I possibly could have came back negative. This won’t stop me from testing again and being sure. The doctor who was so certain that she was looking at an STD dismissed it and told me to go home and not worry.

    Think about it – if someone has a dark side, why would they tell you they have a disease they can dump into your body. Fortunately, it was a scare. I didn’t get a disease and I am hoping that I continue to have negative results on my tests, but really, think about it …

    They say that when a relationship ends, it’s like a death and you mourn that person, but with a psychopath, the death is you — they take you into the woods and murder you and when they leave, they didn’t dig that hole deep enough – you walk around dead until you realize that you have to go and get your soul back. It’s a long journey. I am still not out of my woods, but there is a clearing and now the focus is on making myself whole again because no good woman deserves a bad man nor does any good man deserve a bad woman.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      “They say that when a relationship ends, it’s like a death and you mourn that person, but with a psychopath, the death is you — they take you into the woods and murder you and when they leave, they didn’t dig that hole deep enough – you walk around dead until you realize that you have to go and get your soul back.”

      Your metaphor is spot-on. It captures the horror of it, the feeling, and the task it presents us with. I felt like a bomb blast victim, staggering around in shock with a hole blown through my center in a rubble-strewn world. A post for you to read: Dark Night of the Soul: A Spiritual and Existential Crisis

      “I have to take some responsibility for this. How could I be such a fool. I am a big city girl now living in the country and I met guys in my younger days that I wouldn’t give the time of day to because they were players. I wonder why I played into this… but I was so caught up with the “soul mate” aspect of our relationship.” I think you’re being unnecessarily hard on yourself. It is vital for us to learn how it happened so we can understand our experience and prevent it from happening again, and when we do, we realize self-blame (or “taking responsibility”) just meant we didn’t understand it well enough yet. Manipulation is powerful. You believed he was your soul mate, so you couldn’t believe at the same time that he was playing you. That’s the difference: You never believed those players in the past were your soul mates. None of us were warned that we might get involved with a psychopath or were educated about what that might be like and the seriousness of the consequences. They have all the advantage. All that’s necessary to victimize someone is their natural desire for a partner and their ability to love. That’s all it takes. It’s not about being weak or stupid or unusually vulnerable. It’s about being human and being victimized by a predator.

      “WHY didn’t I leave? WHY did I keep fighting as if I was obsessed with him. WHY did I continually write to him and beg.” We all asked ourselves the same question and berated ourselves for it, as you’re now doing. One reason is that emotion trumps logic; it’s the way our brains are wired. Not all bonds are positive, and the emotional bond created by trauma is actually stronger. It has nothing to do with personal weakness. You can read this and the other reasons in this excellent article by Rhonda Freeman, PhD, a neuropsychologist.
      The Spellbinding Bond to Narcissists and Psychopaths – What’s Happening in the Brain?

      A quote from the article: “Having reactions of craving, dependence and withdrawal can occur even if the victim is aware that logically the partner is a poor or dangerous mate. Therefore, the decision to ‘stay’ is not really a decision at all. Rather it is an addictive response that brains can have to a relationship of this type.”

      It’s important to have STD testing. Research found that HIV positive psychopaths don’t inform their partners, not that we need research to know that they wouldn’t. I was tested three times over a year and a half, and was also tested for every STD under the sun six months after it ended. I was actually surprised he hadn’t given me anything. Knowing for sure relieves a great deal of anxiety.

      The journey to becoming whole again does take time, but you’re headed in the right direction and you will get there. I wish you all the best as you travel on your path to healing xo

      PS I’m glad to hear “202 Ways to Spot a Psychopath” helped you realize what happened! It’s difficult to heal if we don’t know what we’re trying to recover from, and minimizing it doesn’t help. If you haven’t left an Amazon review yet and wouldn’t mind doing so, I would greatly appreciate it.

  69. Kim

    It amazes me at all the literature and open discussions are out there with people willing to share and warn others. I wish everyone the best to heal and find peace. I myself had been entangled with a psychopath on 2 occasions that cost me dearly. First was a male that asked me out and the second day after meeting him there were odd behaviors and comments from others about his behavior that caused an immense amount of doubt. Needless to say I would never commit to him and it compelled him to push me harder and the odd situations with him caused me to flight several times not really knowing that it was part of his hook line and sinker over and over again. I did the Zero contact and he still insisted on harassing me through email and text. So I sent them all to his most valuable female fuel source and replied back my next step is restraining order/ stalking order. I haven’t received 1 email or text message since February 2017. The other was a female psychopath and coned me into renting a room to her. I fell victim to this woman that played victim and It cost me nearly $8000.00 in damages and attorney fees to my home. If I knew then what I know now I could be a little bit richer inside and out. Instead I am glad to have the knowledge and protect myself in the future. My beautiful sister unfortunately was not so fortunate. She met a guy at 17 (1984) and I was 14 again my feeling of doubt about this guy was highly intense and he knew it and pretty soon my parents signed off for my sister to marry this guy. She was married to him for 27 horrifying years of abuse daily. She went from a beautiful and cheery to dark, lonely, sad and her health started to spiral downward. She became sick and we had to physically remove her from his presence and it was to late. She died at 48 years old 5 days before her birthday on January 31st. She had many internal diseases and she looked about 90 years old. We were brought up in a clean house with loving parents although my parents were young and didn’t teach us boundaries and it is so important with these types of people. To this day I will never be the same without my dear sister in heaven.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I’m so very sorry to hear your sister suffered such prolonged and terrible abuse, and that you lost her because of it. Thank you for sharing your story here, and for your wishes of healing and peace, Kim. I wish you the same ♥

  70. Becca

    I was 23 when I met him. He was a marine stationed near my college. I had just been accepted into pharmacy school and for the first time in long time, had a good group of friends. In fact, I met him through one of these friends.
    He showed interest in me while we were out in the group. Eventually I agreed to hang out one on one. We stayed up all night sharing personal and intimate stories. It went so well that we spent all of our free time together up until the day I moved away for pharmacy school. Within 1 weeks time, we had fallen in love. He was absolutely perfect and he was everything I ever wanted.
    We dated long distance after I moved to pharmacy school. He traveled 5 hours each way every other weekend to spend a day and a half with me. He was amazing and I was so grateful that he loved me so much.
    But one day he disappeared.
    He was gone for a year before he re-emerged a changed man. He had lost 80 pounds (he had been overweight to begin with) and had a new appreciation for me and the love we had. In fact, he volunteered the information that he had not been with another woman during our time apart, and showed me the hidden and indistinct tattoo he had gotten of my initials. He had been discharged from the military and was going into business with his father, a successful multimillionaire. He indicated that he was sure I was the only and that we would be married. We looked at rings, made loose wedding plans, and talked in great detail about what our life together would look like.
    A few months after our reunion, he came to me with an offer: we were going to build and design our first home together. I was going to transfer schools for my final year of pharmacy school and move in with him. We were finally going to start our lives together! He would marry me, help me pay off my student loans, and live the perfect life. I was going to be a doctor, he was going to be a successful businessman. We would have a nice home, a boat to use on the weekends, and spend our money on healthy food and activities that made us better people.
    By the time he began showing red flags, I had already committed to moving schools- a process that could not be undone. He left town for about 6 weeks for business, and during this time his behavior completely changed. He would rarely call, and when he did, he would yell at me and call me names. Eventually he refused to take my calls at all. I felt he was punishing me. After a couple of weeks I was finally able to get him to return a phone call, in which had a profound change of heart, dropped his business matters, and drove 20 hours to my home and apologize profusely. I decided he had just been under so much stress and that it was an isolated incident.
    But less than 2 months later, he got news that he would have to take custody of his a child- the product of a one night stand he had about a year before we first met. I agreed to take on the role of his new mother figure and he even suggested that we speed up our intentions to be married as this would help him force the biological mother out of the picture.
    Shortly after this new and shortly before the arrival of the child, we went out of town for a wedding on his side of the family. He got drunk and left me on a sidewalk in downtown New Orleans. I stood on the corner by myself in the middle of the night for 2 hours before I recognized someone from the wedding party and got a ride back to our hotel room. He refused to talk to me and I was so angry, I grabbed him. He quickly overpowered me, subdued me beneath him, and headbutted me in the face. For the rest of the night, he would go into latent periods followed by periods of extreme anger in which he would push me against the wall by my neck and tell me how worthless I was. At one point, after I had given up fighting, even made moves that appeared to me would end in a rape. He did not go through with this. But the next day, he had little to say other than asking for advice on idea on how to lie to his family about my black eye.
    After this, my self esteem was bottomed out. The emotional turmoil of being ignored for weeks, followed by the stress of knowing I would be taking on a child, plus being physically abused (all on top of pharmacy school) really took its toll on me.
    Three weeks after the arrival of the child, I used my spring break to unpack his new home and get to know the kid better while he worked during the day. When he came home at night, he showed little interest in me. In fact, he made it known that my needs for affection and love were inconveniencing hime and my insecurities were bringing him down. Afterall, he just had a new child and the last thing he needed was to deal with his future wife’s feelings about it. Or my feelings about anything, really.
    It has been 6 weeks since spring break. He hasn’t spoken to me since. He has ignored every attempt to contact him and my asking for clarification on the status of our relationship. He never broke up with me, but like has in the past, just disappeared. I am less than 2 weeks away from having to fulfill my obligation to switch schools and move to the town he lives in. I can see online that he used his time and his dad’s new boat to day drink with girls 10 years younger than him
    It has been less than a week since someone suggested that he may be a psychopath, and since then I have started reading your books. I have related to everything in them! I have days of believing that is my fault and I caused myself to lose the man of my dreams. But I also have days of extreme clarity. He gaslighted me into believing my insecurity was the problem. And I would have done anything to make him happy. In fact, right before the end, I had resolved to never mention my feelings again in hopes I wouldn’t drive him away.

    It hurts still, but I am free and I know I have a chance to have a happy life!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Becca, I’m sorry. What a terrible disappointment. This man was not who he made you believe he was. The reality of who and what he is has become clear, along with everything else, and it’s a hard truth to accept and deal with. Your thoughts and feelings will go back and forth between clarity and confusion–as you’re experiencing now–but remember that only one is the truth, and you know which one it is. You did nothing wrong, and certainly nothing to deserve his physical and emotional abuse. You’ll never get any clarity from him; don’t forget, he’s the one that gave you wildly divergent mixed messages to begin with. Contacting him only carries the risk that you’ll get sucked back in, and you already know what will happen since it’s happened more than once before. He may never have officially broken up with you, but he disappeared again, and actions speak louder than words. And when you say you resolved never to show your emotions in order to not drive him away (something all of us attempted to do) it’s clear that he was incapable of an actual relationship, one with emotional intimacy and safety. A good page for you to read is REBOOT. You must stay away from this man, Becca. I wish you all the best on your journey ahead, in your healing and in your education. Lots of love and luck to you.

  71. Judy

    Hi everyone for sharing your experiences
    This website is great for providing info and support.
    I haven’t had time to read all your experiences as I only flicked through the website during the night. I haven’t slept.
    I’m here for similar reasons. I met a very charming guy on Facebook (through a friend) and we spent six months chatting plus three visits as I live in Europe and he lives in California. He came once and I went twice. I started noticing odd behavior displays but I kept giving things a try as l had never been in a long distance relationship. If I have to write everything I’ll spend at least a while. Anyhow, last week I got time off over Easter and traveled to see him. It was his birthday on Monday and we had two stressful days (all because of him). When we started chatting in Nov he warned me about suffering from PTSD, bipolar,anxiety and depression due to a very traumatic childhood (physical abuse, molestation, neglect, parents drug users). I am open to mental health awareness and I am very encouraging of getting support. Anyhow, I accepted this but his behaviour became outreagous. I soon realized this guy has serious issues beyond all the above. He matches the profile of a sociopath. I actually decided to leave him as he left after a stupid argument over an insignificant thing. He never came back leaving me alone in a country barely know. Luckily I we stayed in his grandmas house and I had internet. I contacted his cousin and she collected me. Later, I found from various people that know him that he is a sociopath and manipulates and controls women to the point he makes them depend on him: he decides what they eat, how they dress, think, etc. He made all his ex girlfriends financially dependent, while he slept with other women including some of these women’s sisters and cousins. I thought this was disgusting. I’m so happy I left because he was pressurizing me to leave my country where I’m totally independent to move with him and go to school while he would support me. That would of meant at least four years stuck with him and financially broke when I already have two degrees. I decided to contact other exes and I’ve heard their experiences. I really want to do something about him. He is sick. Can I report him to the police?

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Judy. I’m glad to know you’re finding some support here. Good thing you found out the truth about him and got away from him when you did! From what you’ve told me it doesn’t sound as if he did anything illegal, in the sense of being a criminal offense police could act on. In the UK, they recently made that type of coercive control a crime, as it should be. I understand wanting to do something about him, but my advice to you is not to do anything right now. You’re still dealing with strong emotions that might cause you to do something you’ll later wish you hadn’t done (I’m speaking from experience). One of the *many* painful and difficult things we have to deal with is wanting justice, but not being able to get any. Another is knowing they will go on to do the same thing to others and not being able to stop it. Even if what they do isn’t considered a crime in a legal sense, it is most definitely a moral crime, and I’m very sorry it happened to you.