The Game You Didn’t Know You Were Playing


When targeted by a psychopath,

we unwittingly become an opponent in a game we don’t even know we’re playing. The stakes are high and the odds are stacked in their favor. They make the rules, and play to win. How could they lose, with such unfair advantages?

On our first official “date,” the psychopath who victimized me did something incredible: he told me about the game. He came right out and laid it all out for me. He told me the object of the game, and the outcome. Yes, you read that right — he told me all about the game. Of course he didn’t say it was a game, but that was the only thing he left out. Like some covert fortune teller, he told me my future. He could predict it because he himself would make it happen.


As we sat at a cozy corner table at my favorite restaurant, warm lighting glowed and his eyes seemed to sparkle as they gazed into mine. Looking sincere and hopeful, he told me he wanted our relationship to get off to a good start and stay that way. In order to do that, he said, it was imperative that the balance of power remain equal.

I asked him to explain what he was talking about. He told me that relationships go wrong when the balance of power becomes lopsided. He said that when one person cares more than the other, they have less power — and the one who cares less has more power.  The one with the most power would control the relationship, while the one with less would be miserable. He went on to say that this imbalance of power would lead to the end of the relationship as the needy, powerless person who cared more drove away the the person who cared less. (Notice the two main themes: power and control, precisely what a psychopath wants.)


I thought about it and it seemed he did have a point, but I asked him why he was worried about it in our case. I told him I was sure that as long as both of us cared about each other, everything would be just fine. We had a very special thing, so there was no reason to think about what might go wrong. He said he was concerned because that very scenario had happened in several of his past relationships and he didn’t want it to happen again, especially with me. He said he feared that he cared more, and I assured him it wasn’t true. The conversation only made him more endearing to me as I surmised that he was a thoughtful, sensitive man who was afraid of losing me, who didn’t want anything ruining the rare magic we had discovered with each other.

Boy, was I wrong.

I forgot all about that conversation, even as the game played out. I didn’t remember it until after it was over, when I stumbled upon this quote somewhere online:

“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?”

Those words hit me like a truck. I was made to play a sick game only he knew we were playing. He planned all of his moves well in advance, and I played right into his hands.




PLAYERS: The psychopath and his unsuspecting opponent

OBJECT OF THE GAME: Power and control over the opponent

STRATEGY: Idealize, devalue, discard

THE WINNER: There is none

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Psychopaths are driven to play this “game” over and over, throughout their lives. According to psychopathy expert Dr. Reid Meloy, the psychopath must act out this manipulative cycle repetitively and compulsively in order to experience feelings of exhilaration and contempt (contemptuous delight), which perpetuate his feeling of grandiosity. Devaluation is driven by unconscious greed and envy, says Meloy. When the psychopath is envious, he loses his much-needed feelings of superiority and grandiosity. The psychopath’s greed and envy causes hatred, and that hatred creates wishes to destroy the object of his or her envy, which in turn eliminates the envy. When envy is eliminated, superiority and grandiosity are temporarily restored.


An alternate theory, one based on neuroscience, explains that it’s all about dopamine:

Psychopaths have a greatly exaggerated dopamine response when seeking a reward, such as when they’re pursuing a person they’re attracted to. According to this theory, they can feel “genuinely attracted.” Although they have this exaggerated dopamine response when chasing after something they want, they have an abnormally low level of dopamine in general. Without strong stimulation (and the dopamine that goes with it), they feel bored, empty and restless. Since they require intense stimulation to get their dopamine high, when the object of their desire isn’t shiny and new anymore, they’re simply not stimulating enough to give the psychopath the high they need. The relationship becomes boring to them, and they blame their partner for their loss of interest and devalue and abuse them. Since they aren’t capable of attachment, when the intense newness of the relationship wears off there’s no incentive for them to continue it.

This search for an intense dopamine high—and the relief from the intolerable sense of bored emptiness they feel without it—drives the ever-repeating cycle of idealize, devalue, discard.Their lives are a continual, relentless pursuit of stimulation intense enough to give them the dopamine they need to feel exhilarated and alive. You can read more about this in the articles, Genuine Attraction, Manipulation or Something More? Dr. Rhonda Freeman Explains and It’s Not You, It’s Me… and My Hyper-Reactive Dopaminergic Reward System.

Whatever the reason they play the game, it always follows the same pattern: Idealize, devalue, discard.


♥ Love to all




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67 thoughts on “The Game You Didn’t Know You Were Playing”

  1. Joyce M. Short- Author

    AB- What an enlightening concept!

    I always knew that the psychopath in my life was desperately in need of shutting me up and shutting me out once I recognized what he was. He’d totally lost control. I no longer idolized him, and he became contemptuous. He was constantly trying to one-up me and restore his power until I finally walked away.

    Ultimately, his hatred became so intense that he abandoned his child. It was his form of “payback” for my recognizing how despicably he’d behaved.

    The funny thing is that I never would have derided him to anyone because he was the father of my child. But ultimately, I had to explain to my son why his father was not around in order to try to rescue him from feeling abandoned. His father’s horrid behavior created the need to help my child cope. All the while, what he convinced people was hatred toward me was really his fear of being revealed to the new world he lived in. He couldn’t include someone who knew how evil he was, and couldn’t care less about the impact his absence had on his son’s well being. There was no attempt at amends and no remorse.

    1. Admin

      It’s a terrible victimization, and when a child is involved it becomes even more despicable. I’m sorry you and your son experienced it, Joyce.
      It is my belief that if we are ever targeted again, we will notice it sooner rather than later and the “game” will end right there. It is my hope that none of us will ever be targeted again.

      Once again, thanks for your hard work to criminalize this deplorable behavior! Your TV interview was superb.

      Everyone can watch Joyce’s interview about rape by fraud here:–feb-3rd-2015

      1. Kristine Slough

        Wow! You could be telling my story Joyce! My ex is so evil and bitter to me that he never sees his son and even prevented him from attending his grandfather’s funeral. But the longer I am away from him the more I feel that the psychopathic fog is lifting and I really don’t want my son around him. These blogs have helped me tremendously and I feel my healing is coming along nicely.

        I do want to say that while we are still not divorced he is flaunting his live in girlfriend around our small town where a lot of people know us. I’m sure she will go through the same hell I went through.

        1. Admin

          So glad your healing is coming along nicely, Kristen!

  2. AbandonedOnly

    I was in the same game, only I wasn’t the opponent he wanted. My birth giver was. I was the only thing standing in his way to having complete and total control over her. She gave it to him on a silver platter… by sacrificing her only child.

    Long time friends. Neighbors for the last few years. BG even sold him his house right next door to her. There was always something there. She was jealous of his girlfriends, his lifestyle [she was caregiver for her disabled husband], angry at him being gone for weeks at a time [and her watching over his house and getting his mail] or furious when he inored his own daughter as she fought a round with cancer, he couldn’t be bothered to leave girlfriend at the time. BG knew “how he is with women”. The night my step-dad of 40 years died, I told her he’d be after her. Looking back now, I remember how it perked her up.

    Took him 6 weeks as he had to discard the one he had. He wanted to go for coffee and ‘talk’. I gave her my blessing to go out and have fun. Talk about a mistake as well. 3 1/2 months into their relationship, bg has a severe stroke. He was at her side 8-12 hours each and every day. Nothing I did was right. He was beyond upset that he didn’t have any say in her care. Bg started ignoring me, pretended to be asleep, wouldn’t call. He got angry with me one day as he had to leave and wanted me to come in and stay. I refused. He blew up and stormed off. I went to my bg to talk to her, she covered her face and sobbed, “Don’t make me choose, don’t make me choose.” I knew I was screwed right then. Still had no idea it was a game, but knew I was screwed. She got out 2 months later, wouldn’t call, wouldn’t answer when I called, hid meds and bills on me when I came to take care of both. Just… slowly and surely shut out. She had another stroke a month later. That’s when I discovered I was no longer her POA. Wasn’t even put on the ‘designated family list’ so I could get updates about her. Nope, I had to go through HIM. I refused.

    Long story short, they’re now the picture of happiness — except the fact she lives in fear knowing if she doesn’t keep up with him, he’ll dump her in a heartbeat. I was gleefully kicked out. He’s now her POA. Probably for everything since I’ve been disinherited [I was the greedy child, you know. Beyond upset she didn’t die so I could get her money]. Everything, naturally, was and is my fault. She cussed out one of her only two blood grandchildren she’ll ever have because they wouldn’t say “hi” to him. Respect was absolutely demanded of us all and disrespect not tolerated.

    I finally talked to her a few weeks back. Told her we needed to talk – alone. Absolutely not. Had to be the three of us so I could hear, in person this time, all the injustices done to him. He snatched the phone away to tell me if grandson hadn’t left when he did, he would have demanded he leave. It’s all about him. I brought up the ‘don’t make me choose’. Her response? “You FORCED me to choose, I didn’t want to.” He, of course, is viewed as a martyr to her friends. He takes care of her since her only child “abandoned” her. It’s the perfect set-up, the perfect storm.

    After lying to other family members 3 days ago to keep her image of ‘loving grandma’ intact [ of course she’s adamant she never cussed him out] and hearing I didn’t know where they were and how it was my fault I didn’t, I decided enough was enough. I called her up, gave her a small earful [until it sounded like he was going to snatch the phone away from her again] and told her I was done. I. Was. Done. And I am. I didn’t volunteer for their game. I didn’t deserve being treated like I was. NONE of this was MY fault or doing. I’m going on with my life and my family. She’s no longer in either. When he destroys her, and he will [but that will also be my fault, the stresses of an only child turning her back, etc., etc. I can already hear it], if there’s anything left of her she’ll have to find someone else to pick up the pieces. Sometimes, there has to be consequences to the choices you make.

    1. Admin

      “He takes care of her since her only child “abandoned” her. It’s the perfect set-up, the perfect storm.” I’m sorry you have to deal with this! I think it’s wise to take yourself out of the picture and go on with your life and family at this point. When he does discard her, things may happen differently than you imagine and she may realize the horrible truth at that time. If this creep is truly a psychopath (and it sounds very much like he is), she’s not acting from her own free will. Manipulation can cause people to do things they deeply regret later. I hope you and your BG will reconcile at some point, but that may not happen. Maybe you’ve given up on it, understandably. I wish you strength and peace in your life, despite all of this. All the best to you.

      1. Krissy Elliott

        The worst thing is when the family end up being victims of the abuse in this way…. My daughter is going through it right now, I’m literally just emerging from this relationship TODAY…. I could have lost all my family. Thank you so much for sharing all this…. during the dark night of the soul it helps to know you’re not alone.
        Krissy x

        1. Admin

          You’re not alone, Krissy. All the best to you and your daughter as you move forward (((HUGS)))

  3. Lori

    I lived this. A textbook case. I am an intelligent person but I was suckered. By chance I met up with his ex-girlfriend and oddly, we have helped each other heal. It happened to both of us and we have been able to give each other strength. This can happen to anyone – once. Once it happens to you, you never forget it.

    1. Admin

      It has nothing to do with intelligence; it’s mainly a lack of any information about it. We’re warned about plenty of potential threats, but not this one! I’m glad to hear you were able to connect with his ex and help each other. It can happen to anyone, and we will never forget. Best wishes to you and your friend, Lori.

      1. Lori

        I know on an objective level it has nothing to do with intelligence but she and I both ask ourselves, how did we not see it and why didn’t we run the other way? The devaluation state is so hard. He gaslighted us both until we both started to believe we must be the cause. He knew what to look for and he found it. Even the time arc is identical. Both relationships are almost interchangeable. He even called us both by the same pet name, we found out.

        1. Admin

          Covert manipulation capitalizes on the automatic way our brains work (known as cognitive biases, which we all have but aren’t aware of). It also capitalizes on our ability to feel empathy and guilt, among other things. It’s important to understand how manipulation works to prevent it from happening again.
          The Hidden Vulnerability We All Have, Revealed

          It’s also possible to know if you’re being manipulated without knowing a thing about how it happens — you only need to look at yourself to see its effects. The list on this page tells you what to look for: How to Tell if You’re Being Manipulated

          1. Lori

            Thank you. These are invaluable resources. I don’t know that it could ever come close to happening again. Neither her nor I can trust anyone, much less a man. We were similarly devastated by the relationship. So relieved it was over yet practically a zombie by the time it was over.

            1. Admin

              Lori, you will be able to trust again when you’re confident you can do it as wisely as possible. Can We Ever Trust Again?

              This experience has the potential to destroy or diminish, but it has even more potential to make us more confident and wise and centered and peaceful within ourselves than we ever imagined. Just keep learning and give it time, plenty of time :-)

  4. Nunc Coepi

    May I share a quote from the film “Silence of the Lambs” because after reading the post and comments, all I could hear inside of my head was the scene between Hannibal and Clarice when she was trying to understand the mind of Buffalo Bill….and after seeing the scene recently, I recalled my psychopath ex who I let go of this past Christmas Eve:
    Hannibal Lecter: “What is its nature? What does he do, this man you seek?”
    [And Clarice gives obvious answers, to which Hannibal negates until he give her the answer]. No, that is incidental. What is the first and principal thing he does? What needs does he serve by…[she then still does not answer correctly, and Hannibal finally says]…No! He covets. That is his nature…and how do we begin to covet, Clarice?….No, we begin by coveting what we see everyday…” I remember an answer my ex psychopath said to me when I told him he only communicates with me when he is lonely…he replied to me, “No, when I am happy I chat with you. When I am lonesome I go out to seek the prey.” That was when I replied, “I know you do.” and then I gave him both barrels, the tall-ship nines and perforated him with how I really felt about him…I called out his GAME, and his last words to me were: “It was not a game, but pure love…” And we went silent thereafter. I finally put down my Ace of Spades and he ran away, and all of his cards fell.

    1. Admin

      Perfect quote from the movie — thank you for bringing it up. I had forgotten it. Yes, envy is at the bottom of all of it.

      “I finally put down my Ace of Spades and he ran away, and all of his cards fell.” Interesting thought, Nunc. We were the ones holding the Ace, the ones who really had the control and the power all along. If only we had known! Now we do, now we do.

      WOW WOW WOW thanks for your comment!

      And now we begin, indeed.

      1. CAROLYN

        AMEN AND AMEN AGAIN!! Thank you for posting !

        1. Admin

          Yes, they are very powerful! We are all just finding out how powerful we are. Some figure it out sooner than others, but better late than never!

  5. Hope

    Your new book is very good, explains the whole psychopathic process so clearly. This education I’m receiving will most definitely assist me in not making the same mistakes again. (even though there’s still some questionable stuff going on, I hopefully have skills to make good decisions.)

    1. Admin

      You DO have those skills, Hope. You only need to have confidence in that! I have faith in your ability to make good decisions for yourself, not in spite of what you’ve experienced, but ESPECIALLY BECAUSE of what you’ve experienced. First, it tears our confidence down. Then, what we gain in wisdom and knowledge builds it way up. You can deal with the questionable stuff. Don’t doubt yourself!

      I’m so glad you liked the book. If you would like to, leaving an Amazon review would be very much appreciated.

  6. Nearlybel

    Wow, ‘he told you he cared more’
    And was it these words that made you work so much harder in order to show him that you cared more, you would ensure you weren’t going to hurt him by not trying hard enough?
    And so they have us chasing the dragon.
    I’ve listened to many affected/infected by psychopathic partners, we are always trying to prove to them our goodness and generosity. Mine said I contributed nothing, that I was a parasite, I became his real life slave, doing everything in the house, I also worked full time outside the home. I believed what he said and lived his life with these lies.
    Not knowing, not understanding.
    It made me sooo sick, it made the children sickly.
    He was destroying us all and I couldn’t figure it out, I eventually did after 20 years and ran, eventually. Now, after nearly 3 years of ‘knowing’ I’m very nearly recovered.
    I’m in the courts with him where everytime he opens his mouth a lie comes out. He is a liar, not a human that tells an occasional lie for ease of life but a liar, he lives in a cess pit of lies. He lies to hide the truth, to hide the truth of what he is, one big fat LIE. And I was forced to believe and live those lies. Yuk
    I believed what he said, but now big Thanks to Admin I know the truth.
    Now I can speak, I couldn’t for so long, I will speak the truth, and I will speak up in court.
    He is nothing, now that I have exposed him.
    They are all nothing, but the chaos and havoc, the hurt and degradation they cause us, they are evil, no other word for them.
    This is from one who thought evil was a misused label for near 50 years. Never too old to learn from the universe (and admin of course) love to all those shining a light xxx

    1. Admin

      Yes, he said he was afraid he cared more and he would be the one to get hurt. It was quite a set-up. Very well done. I suppose it gave him an extra thrill to tell me what would transpire, and then get away with it anyway.

      They are nothing, and the only way to make themselves something is to use us. Without us, they are nothing again. Without them, we are restored to our wholeness and worth.

      Your truth will shine through all of his lies, Nearlybel, and you will get justice. I’m looking forward to that day.

  7. Nearlybel

    Reading Abandonedonlys story is heart wrenching, and I’m so sorry for you, being so affected by that evil psycho. It would seem to me BG is totally manipulated by him, she believes him, she can’t live without him as mad as that concept is, he has made it her reality.
    I know because I was in that place, psycho totally changed my behaviour towards my children. I couldn’t praise or show them affection when he was about, for fear of what he would do to them, I had learnt that if I spoke to him about his name calling and horrid things he did to the children, he would further target the child, I made it worse for them, he escalated his malignant abuse, so I learned to turn away, ignore as he humiliated and degraded my children in front of me.
    How awful is that,
    How am I to deal with that, the horror of what I witnessed.
    My children, some adults now are dealing with it in their own ways.
    They are unique, the most warm, beautiful, compassionate, opinionated and individual young adults now. The younger ones ( his ) are with me, away from him, they chose not to see him, despite his many applications to court, to get the court to order them to visit him, he failed at that :)
    And they all love each other despite what psycho did.
    For 20 years I believed him, but now I know and everything changed.
    I so hope BG will learn what he is, maybe send her one of Admins brilliant books.
    As soon as I learned he was the problem, I changed my thinking, I was terrified and I didn’t even know it, I was living in a war zone, but I didn’t know it.
    What they do to us is unthinkable, so evil, and we don’t even know it, until we do.
    Good luck to all xxx

    1. Admin

      It’s amazing how insidiously they shape our reality into something we never would have consciously chosen, and covertly shape our behavior, little by little, so we don’t even realize it’s happening. When it’s over and we look back, it’s hard to believe what we adapted to and what we settled for. Nearlybel, it sounds like your children are strong and resilient and have turned out wonderfully despite what they experienced. They won’t see him, because they’re able to see the truth now. They inherited all of these qualities from YOU.

      I don’t know if you’ve already done this, but perhaps one day, if it feels like the right thing to do, you can tell them what you’ve said here. It sounds as if they would be understanding and compassionate. It might be a powerful way to heal. Their compassion and forgiveness would allow you to feel more of those for yourself. XXX

      1. Masahiro

        To add to this post a bit, other studies have shown that aynnoe desiring sales as a profession has some degree of some borderline personality disorder. Furthermore, different levels of corporate management have some degree of what is illustrated in this post. It’s quite frightening, and hard to discriminate from true evil.

        1. Admin

          Interesting. Thanks for your comment.

  8. Kiril

    the question that bothers me who is winning at the end’s obvious it is not us – the victims ! but does the psychopath win the game played be him/her !?!? or not …obviosly you can’t win a game when a person isn’t capable of feeling love , and normal human emotions …you are always going to be a victim ! the question is he/she winning ??? I was left with the thought my ex female Psycho won over me … that’s what I thnik even now ..7 years later …. she succeeded in her game.. and I was the victim … I think I was the one got burned ! in this post you first saying nobody wins but at the end you say they wont start a game they don’t win …so I’m a little bit confused !

    1. Admin

      Well, look at it this way — just because they think they’ve “won” doesn’t make it so. They may have succeeded at devaluing someone for a temporary boost of their illusion of grandiosity, but really all they’ve succeeded at is being a creep. They were creeps before, and they’re still creeps after.

      We won, because we were loving and caring people before, and we are still loving and caring people now. And our win grows over time, too, as we learn and develop wisdom and confidence and who knows what other good things as time goes on…

      I’m not a victim any longer. You aren’t either. We were victimized, but that’s behind us now. If we act wisely and trust wisely, and stick to our boundaries, and stop doubting ourselves, and become aware of how they manipulate our emotions and our cognitive biases, the next mis-wired creep who comes along will not get far! Trust yourself. All the best to you, Kiril. xo

    2. Lori

      They think they win but they don’t. They don’t possess self-awareness or empathy. If they were to look inward they would just a big, dark hole of envy and hatred. I consider my psychopath to be sub-human. They don’t win. They just repeat the cycle over and over. What a life to live.

      1. Admin

        What a life to live! It’s no life at all, as we know all to well from being dragged down into that dark hole they inhabit. We got out of that hole and that means we won, no matter how it happened. Psychopaths are stuck in that hell forever.

        1. Lori

          During the love bomb stage he let it slip that it bothered him, how happy he was to see me. His face darkened. I said, isn’t that a good thing? He didn’t answer and I wondered about that. I assumed he felt, as I did at the time, because it indeed was the love bomb stage, afraid of being hurt. As he had been before. What a laugh that is now, thinking back on it. I did leave my psychopath. I ran into someone a few months later and they said he’d told them it was an amicable parting but he didn’t know why I’d left but that it wasn’t in my best interest. Imagine that. Wasn’t in my best interest to live with a psychopath.

          1. Admin

            We make so many assumptions without ever realizing it. It’s human nature. Now that I know this, I find it takes real effort to catch even a few of them. Luckily we know many other ways to spot psychopathic behavior. Lori, I hope you’re doing well.

            1. Lori

              I am. It’s been over a year and I still struggle with it. Mostly with the fact that I tolerated some things I shouldn’t have tolerated and stayed longer than I should have stayed. It feels as if I was brainwashed, in a sense. I violated some of my own ethics, my own code of behavior in order to not come face to face with the reality of my situation. During the love bomb stage I thought I’d met the love of my life. I’m an older woman who is a bit zaftig and never did have the most healthy self image, so I was, as they say, easy pickings. I couldn’t believe this man was so *interested* in me. Me! We met via online dating and I think he studies the profiles very carefully and that is when he begins to take notes. I found an actual list of things I’m interested in that he wrote down from my dating profile. I asked about it and he said it was for gift giving purposes but I think he had begun to write down things to mirror back to me. Really, he was a classic psychopath. Sometimes his other ex victim and I become afraid, what if he knows we’re talking to each other. But we’ve been able to help each other so much and we feel stronger as we go. We think at heart he is a cowards.

              1. Admin

                How long ago did it end? I was very scared for a while, too. It’s still in the back of my mind, but it seems unlikely he would do anything. If he saw this website, he’d have a coronary! Hmmmmm….

                “I tolerated some things I shouldn’t have tolerated and stayed longer than I should have stayed. It feels as if I was brainwashed, in a sense. I violated some of my own ethics, my own code of behavior in order to not come face to face with the reality of my situation. During the love bomb stage I thought I’d met the love of my life.”

                I could have written that, word for word. Most of us could. Amazing what manipulation can do! This is why it’s so important to develop clear, specific boundaries; they can act as warning signs in the future, if we disregard them or notice they’re being crossed. I was easy pickings too, after being benched with an injury for over a year. I showed up for a dance class eager to get back to living but quite beaten down, and there he was. He saw it, and took advantage of my vulnerability.

                Here’s my take on psychopaths as cowards (written 2 years ago — hard to believe!): Psychopaths are not cowards (it’s much worse than that)

              2. Admin

                Oh, I see you said it was a little over a year. I remember reading somewhere that it takes at least 18 months, and of course it’s very individual. Unfortunately, there’s no way to rush through it. Give yourself time.

  9. Nearlybel

    Yes yes yes to reply to Kiri.
    And it’s only a game to them, for us it’s our life. They make a game of our lives for their own perverse pleasure.
    When we stop playing, they do all they can to get us back playing. Because we don’t know, this can continue ad finitum, but
    When we know, when we refuse to play, when we unravel and expose them for what they truely are:
    Nothing, they are nothingness
    Without us to sustain them.
    And although we ‘win’ in their eyes, who wants to see through their eyes now, I prefer to say
    we have learnt,
    we have learnt these evil, beings do really exist, they are not just imaginations of writers and filmmakers, they live amongst us, they look like us, they speak like us, and they infect and affect all who they come in contact with, but they destroy the ones that love them, until we ‘know’.
    What we do with this knowledge and wisdom is up to each and everyone of us.
    Admin has given us so much after her experience, we must do what we can to shine the light. xxx

    1. dav

      They do make a game out of peoples lives. They see people as pawns They use everyone.

      1. Admin

        Yes, we are just pawns to them; mere objects to be manipulated and used. To them, it’s merely a game. To us, it couldn’t be more serious and destructive. I wish you complete healing and peace in your life.

        1. dav

          Thank You, May God help us all.

  10. dav

    I was involved with a person who I believe to be a Sociopath. I found this male as a friend and worked closely with him everyday. For ten years, I was close to him and his family. I was there when his children were born, seeing his wife battle cancer. I was with him and his family on holydays, birthdays. You name it I was there. For those years he was lying, stealing, cheating me. When He was done with me he pushed me put of work. I did not know anything for years after about Sociopaths. I found out just by reading and knowing what I went through, He was playing a game and he was the only player. This con was from eric bernes book games people play. I was left with nothing. At 38 years old, I was broke, homeless. I forced to move and could not find employment. For many years now I have been reading everything I can about Sociopaths. I do believe he is one. I believe everything I went through was just a move in a game. This article is the first I have found that mentions games. There are many things I left out to keep this short. I still live with the emotional trauma. I am 45 years old and have a low paying job and live with family. His employment went on and my ended. Why because he wanted everything I had as a human. Like many others my life was destroyed because of one envy person. I never say it coming.

    1. Admin

      Hi, Dav. I’m so sorry you were betrayed by your supposed friend, and suffered such terrible repercussions. It seems certain that he is a sociopath/psychopath. Like you, none of us ever saw it coming. They count on that, so we are much less vulnerable now because we’ve experienced it. I hope your situation and state of mind continue to improve, and wish you all the best.

      I’ve never heard of that book — I’ll look for it on Amazon. Thank you for your comment!

      1. dav

        I never herd of such a book ether. You can find in on the internet, Eric Berns con games. I found it by chance. Just like reading about Sociopaths and drama triangles, gaslighting and all the other garbage they do. My experiences just added up. Thank You for you web site and sharing with others about Sociopaths. From what I read about the game it seems the perfect time to happen. A Sociopath looks for a perfect victim. Thanks

        1. Admin

          You’re welcome, Dav. And thank YOU for your kind words, because writing this website helps me to turn my experience into something positive. I’m very happy to be able to help others.

  11. mika

    I have recently. ..7 days ago ..been left. ..without word by soulmate….2 days previous I asked her to marry me. ..and she said yes ..

    I now..Looking for answers…believe…she could have been a psychopath…

    I don’t know what to do….she was…I still believe is (under the spell still maybe) my soul mate….

    Yet for 7 days…for no reason…she has cut contact….

    I don’t know what to do….I feel emotionally destroyed…

    1. mika

      Can I post my whole story here….?

      1. Admin

        Yes, please feel free to post your story here.

    2. Admin

      I’m so sorry to hear this, mika. What she did is very cruel, and I’m sure you’re suffering a great deal. Please know that you’re not alone. My heart goes out to you.

  12. Depressedempath

    Thanks so much for the post Admin. I believe they all play the game to relieve boredom and fill their lives with drama. The other driving factor in addition to envy is ego. Mine had a huge ego and sense of grandiose. The relationship only lasted 7 months before I ended it, but there was a cycle of repeated abuse and arguments which was his “game”. It always started with his over reaction to an event. Something innocuous like my son helping me with my computer or him hearing my TV in the background of a telephone call resulting in him thinking I had a man at my house…Next step was huge narcissistic rage, swearing insults, sms sent every 30 secs, telephone calls that if unanswered the rage escalated. Followed by silence for many hours or days..if I contacted him in this phase, I was told to leave him alone. So I did, and he would want me to apologise (what for??) and backdown/submit. This cycle /game wore me down to a complete mess. He told me that it was because I wanted to dominate him, and slipped a few faux pas that I would never win with him and also that women should submit to men. I gave him so many chances, making excuses for him thinking that he was being old fashioned, or that it was his ethnic upbringing. But it was him! I was never going to have a smooth relationship. The game would never end, but cycle repeatedly.
    He was an extremely intelligent man, had everyone worked out. He has a cover as an animal lover, keeping 12 cats and frequenting rescue group organisations. My observations myself as a true animal lover however are that he didn’t really care about his cats, he teased them and had too many to share his attention with. He never took them to the vet and I saw them suffer from malnutrition and filthy conditions. When I was at his house, they all flocked to me, purring and meowing. His favourite one slept on my side of the bed with me. He hated that and he berated me for paying them attention.
    Yes, it’s an egotistical game of power and control over everyone and everything in their lives. It doesn’t stop with us.

    1. Admin

      I feel sorry for you, and sorry for the cats! My psycho had a little dog that he claimed to love…but he didn’t put a collar with tags on the dog, and he let him outside by himself and didn’t have a fenced yard, and the road out front was fairly busy. He said he’d lost ‘several pets’ on that road. When someone says they love their pets but acts like they don’t love them, chances are good they don’t love you, either. The last thing my psycho said to me? “I ONLY PRETENDED TO LIKE YOUR DOG!” Yep, and he only pretended to like me, and he only pretended to like his own dog. Next time, I WILL judge a person by how they care for their pets, not by what they say about it. BTW, my dog loved him…she was duped, too, poor thing :-(

      1. Depressedempath

        Your poor dog! I always thought animals have an uncanny ability to detect the true animal lovers, I guess your dog is more human! When I finally realised my ex fitted the psycho category, his “love” of cats just didn’t seem to be likely. But then I looked back upon his treatment of them and watched 5 die in a few months, while kittens were produced because he hadn’t bothered to de sex them all. Said he couldn’t afford it. I also found out from his kids that he also couldn’t “afford” to fix his kids teeth, while he drove racing cars with a yearly $40+K budget. No respect for his family’s health or well being. He is estranged from his children, says they’re feral- his deceased wife’s fault because she “spoiled” them. I reckon she was a saint and tried compensating for his awful ways with the kids. Told me he tried to teach them respect! Maybe he never earnt that from them.
        Yes, he is a classic psycho. A liar, cheat and @/?3hole extraordinaire! And he is proud of himself, lol

        1. Admin

          From what I understand most dogs don’t have any ability to detect psychopaths, especially when they’re like the psycho I knew, who showered her with affection and praise (because he knew it would win ME over all the more). He even used to tell me how someday my dog and his would be chasing bunnies in the backyard together! He used my dog to great effect to victimize me, and as silly as it may sound, when he said he only pretended to like her, it really hurt. And it was a powerful example of just how much of a liar and manipulator he was.

          How terrible, 5 cats died in a few months?! I can’t help but wonder what happened to his wife…? and he sounds like he was the worst father ever. HE is the feral one!

          1. Depressedempath

            His wife died of cancer (only 57 years old) not long before I met him. That’s what made me meet him and fall for him, he was pining for her…not. As it became obvious later, he had only hatred for her her, cheated on her and was using her death to get sympathy from everyone. His wife was a martyr, she died rapidly from an aggressive gastric cancer. I never met her, but she must have been under incredible stress looking after 4 children and grandchildren over her 36 year marriage to him. May she rest in peace now.

            1. Admin

              Poor woman, may she rest in peace.

          2. Depressedempath

            Admin, your psycho sounds nasty and yes I understand how admitting to you his fake feelings about your dog really upset you! It’s those nasty vindictive comments that are very hard to forget. Mine said some very hurtful things to me post breakup. He said when he went through deleting photos of me, he realised how ugly I was and can’t understand what he saw in me! Who says that? I know, a sick psycho! They just want a reaction, that is all. If you said the same to him, he wouldn’t flinch!

            1. Admin

              He was nasty! They all are so nasty. I asked myself, “what kind of man says he only pretended to like my dog?” and the answer was, “no kind of man at all.” Same for yours telling he he noticed you were ugly while he was deleting your photos. Nasty! When my psycho said that, he reminded me of the wicked witch of the west…I’ll get you and your little dog, my pretty!

  13. trish

    It sure is a game that they play and your it. Now that u have the knowledge u wont go for that game again and if u are still in it u need to see it and make the change cause there is no way u can win. The ego is way big and they honestly think they are above everyone. There brain is formed differently and the part that makes us human with compassion and love they do not have. They cannot change and they cannot love. It might seem like they are real and i was married to one and know others and i can spot them now and they make me sick . They are so full of themself like a demon. honestly if u are still with one and trying to get back what u had in the beginnning give it up and stop wasting time cause these psychopaths are evil and hate is what they are about and there power and control trip is a joke they are losers. Like a rockstar without a band i mean really move on cause they don’t care or hear your cries and if they do they are just playing u. take it from someone thats been there i waa married to a psychopath that is 100% all psychopath and never again will i let any of them in my life and believe me there are alot out there. And u want to play there game u won’t win it will cost u . I lost so much with this idiot that thought and fought for something he never got that full power over me and it drove him away which they leave anyway in the long run. I am glad i wasn’t able to contact him when he did his discard and fooled me

    1. Admin

      I’m glad you’re away from him, Trish, and I wish you all the best.

  14. Pam

    After a friend asked me why my boyfriend of 9 1/2 yrs and I broke up AGAIN…I told her I didn’t like the way he was making me feel. She asked me a couple question about how he made me feel…That’s when she started explaining the traits of a psychopath. I felt like she must’ve been a fly on the wall all of these years! I couldn’t understand how she was so spot on in describing his behaviors regarding situation I never told her about. In her college years, she studied Psychology and had a strong interest in the behaviors of narcissist, sociopaths, & psychopaths (since she had been a victim of such cruel people). She asked me to Google some info on this so I could become more informed & so I would understand why I should cut off contact with him for good! Needless to say, I haven’t stopped reading for the last few days. Knowing this has given me the closure that I so desperately needed to finally let go of the hope I’ve always had. I feel relieved…As if I could breath again! No one could ever understand the pain I was in, yet so willing to keep going back and thinking it was different this time. It will never change…IT’S THE NEVER ENDING STORY!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Wow, Pamela, how lucky for you to have a friend who knows what you’ve been dealing with! It’s a powerful thing when someone understands. Now that your involvement with him has ended, half the battle is over and won. I wish you all the best as you move forward on your path to healing. Best wishes to you!

      You might want to take a look at the “Road Map” page, in the main menu.

      1. Pam

        Adelyn, thank you for your well wishes :) I’m sure the road to recovery won’t be so easy, but at least I’m now headed in the right direction after so many wasted years. My heart is still shattered and I hate to believe that my whole relationship was a fraud, but I feel like I’ve been rescued! I’m reading Road Map now. I’m determined to heal and get threw this.
        Thank you again for your support and kind words.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          It’s not over when it’s over. But after you pass through the most painful part, you might be surprised at the gains you start to make.

          Keep an eye on the story you tell yourself about it. “Want to Reclaim Your Power? Re-write your story”

          1. Pam

            I don’t understand why I still feel like I miss him? I still feel caught up. But I know I can’t go back….

            1. Adelyn Birch

              You’ll feel like that for a long time. You miss the man you believed he was, not the creep he turned out to be. Give it time. Forge ahead anyway.

  15. Depressedempath

    I too had a friend who alerted me, opened my eyes. I am eternally grateful. Now that I “know” what a psychopath is, I see them everywhere! An epidemic!
    I have one in my workplace! Makes havoc, reports me to HR with what he said was a breach of policy. I got a dressing down by management.
    I had to wait some time, but Karma is REAL. Wow! It happened. He made a big error, slip of the tongue to the wrong person. He couldn’t help himself with his compulsive devaluation of female colleagues. He is leaving the job for a lower paid one…….Forced? I will never know, but justice done.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I do love a heartwarming story around the holidays! I should start a page called “karma is a bitch.”

  16. Lucinda

    This is so true. Mine once commented that his ex wife ‘had all the power’ seemed odd to say that. Later on we talked about his marriage, i reiterated his statement and he smirked …’well she thought she did’ a complete contradiction, which he denied later.
    He did this all the time, he would tell me how ‘dreadful’ a friend was then how ‘wonderful’ that friend is.
    He once told me he couldn’t trust anybody because it would ‘give them power over me’. All of strange statements only make sense now I’m out of the situation. Ive read a lot about projection and how he accuses others of what he is doing – my last Hoover from him he accused me of playing the game, of lying, of changing etc. I rejected meeting up with a man claiming he’s changed, trusts only me and wants something more permanent for our future. He is engaged to his latest target. I’m guessing she is a silent treatment hold as ive worked out that all of his relationships overlap.
    He’s disappointed that I didn’t ‘fight for him’ and so on. H
    Literally no integrity or courage to be alone, that is my memory I dated a pathological cheat, who is a coward, a bully, who is not capable of love.
    Why would I fight for such a dirty prize ??

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Good for you, Lucinda. You see things as they are. This man is not capable of a real and meaningful relationship. No Contact is the way to go with him. Block him every way you can, and if he still manages to worm his way through, delete and ignore. Best wishes xx

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