Why You? And How Did You Get Trapped?

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“Why me? And how did I get trapped?”

~ A Reader

All of us asked ourselves these questions. It’s important to try and answer them.

Why you? Psychopaths can sense who will be receptive.  What made you receptive? The answer to that question is different for each of us. There are a lot of possibilities. We’ll talk about them in this post, along with some ideas of how to protect yourself in the future.

“Know yourself. Psychopaths are skilled at detecting and ruthlessly exploiting your weak spots. Your best defense is to understand what these spots are, and to be extremely wary of anyone who zeroes in on them.”

Dr. Robert Hare, “How to Spot Social Predators Before They Attack”

Understanding what these weak spots are, and being wary of someone who zeroes in on them, takes conscious effort. It also takes knowledge of what are considered weak spots, or vulnerabilities.

It could be as simple as our desire to be in a relationship. That’s a big one. Or if we’re already in a relationship, there may be some need going unmet. Or it could be loneliness, or the need for someone who understands us or appreciates us, or the need for someone who can bring some fresh energy into a life that feels a little too dull or routine. Or it could be something deeper, like low self-esteem, unresolved past trauma or a history of abuse. Or a hundred other things.

Keep in mind that your vulnerabilities change over time, and that some of them don’t seem like vulnerabilities, or they’re just hard to articulate or to be consciously aware of.

Our fundamental emotional needs:

To be acknowledged.
To be accepted.
To be listened to.
To be understood.
To be loved.
To be appreciated.
To be respected.
To be safe.
To be valued.
To be worthy.
To be trusted.
To feel capable and competent.
To feel clear (instead of confused).
To be supported.

If one of them isn’t being met, it becomes a vulnerability.

Take any one of those (and most of us had — and have — more than one) and combine it with the ability to feel empathy, love, compassion and pity, and the ability to bond, and the basic ingredients needed for victimization are there.

Then add some skilled manipulation, and your goose could be cooked.

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Think back to the idealization or love-bombing stage of your involvement with the psychopath. What made it so marvelous? Your emotional needs were being met. You likely felt loved, appreciated, understood, valued, and all the rest… like never before. Psychopaths know what our emotional needs are, and they know what to do to appear to fulfill them.

By seeming to validate us, they demonstrated that they cared and that our feelings mattered to them. It seemed to show that we mattered to them. By “mirroring” our feelings, they showed us they were in tune with us. That made us feel connected to them. That’s how they created the bond.

Now think back to the devaluation stage. What changed? Your emotional needs began to go unmet. You felt confused, unappreciated, unloved, misunderstood, unworthy, rejected, incompetent, unsafe, etc. Our needs, emotions, thoughts, and perceptions were being invalidated, instead of recognized and fulfilled.

What follows is a list of situations and traits that make us vulnerable to predators. Notice that at the core of each one, there’s an emotional need from the list above that is going unmet.

  • Not having gotten love, support or validation from your family of origin
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Job loss
  • Being new in town
  • Longing for a relationship
  • A strong need for attention and approval.
  • A previous victimization that is unresolved
  • Illness
  • Long-term stress
  • Loss of a loved one through death, divorce or a breakup
  • Weak or unclear personal boundaries. If you don’t have boundaries, it means you’re negating your own needs to fulfill someone else’s needs.
  • Boredom. When you’re bored, you have the desire for excitement. A brand new relationship can relieve boredom quickly — especially one with a psychopath.
  • Loneliness. If you’re lonely, your unmet social and emotional needs create an opening for a psychopath to enter your life. You’re probably also bored, which elevates risk. You may have gotten used to feeling like this, so it just seems like life as usual. But a psychopath — who is very adept at reading people — will recognize it for what it is, and take advantage of it.

Even traits we normally think of as positive can be used against us by a psychopath:

  • Are you extroverted? This can increase your risk, because extroverted people are easily bored and generally curious, and are usually looking for excitement.
  • Do you “go with the flow?” This trait could make you more willing to accept the chaos a psychopath creates in your life.
  • Are you competitive? Then you’re better able to deal with a psychopath’s dominant personality. You’re also more likely to stubbornly hold on when it seems the psychopath is doing all he can to get you to end the relationship.
  • Are you sentimental? Then you may be more likely to focus on the good memories of a relationship instead of the bad ones.
  • Are you sensitive to other people’s feelings? You probably care a lot about what others think of you, and tend to put their feelings ahead of your own.
  • Are you relaxed and carefree? Then you may not see danger in a person or situation as readily as a cautious person might.
  • Other traits that will put you at risk are being overly trusting, very loyal, and committed to helping others reach their potential.

Having any of these traits does not mean a victim is to blame — the predator is clearly the one to blame. Everyone has vulnerabilities, but that’s only a problem because there are those who will exploit them.

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Does it mean you shouldn’t ever be extroverted, stressed, ill, new in town, or want a relationship? Of course not. We will always have one or another (or several) of these “weak spots.” It simply means to be aware of them.

Our feelings can help us identify the unmet emotional needs that aren’t obvious to us:

If you feel misunderstood, it means you have an unmet need to feel understood. If you feel neglected or ignored, it means you don’t feel you’re getting enough attention. If you feel that you — or some quality or skill you have — is taken for granted, it means you aren’t feeling appreciated. If you feel people don’t treat you right or that they take advantage of you, you have a need to feel respected. If you live alone and worry about things that go bump in the night, you have a need to feel physically safe. If you have people in your life who routinely invalidate your thoughts and feelings, you have a need to feel emotionally safe. If you feel lonely, you have a need for social connection. If your hard work goes unnoticed on the job, you have a need to have it recognized and valued. And so on.

I realized afterward that a need to be appreciated was one of my weak spots, because when I was with the psychopath I felt incredibly and unusually appreciated, as if no one had ever truly appreciated me before. But the funny thing is, I never had the conscious thought that I wasn’t being appreciated. Somehow, he knew. It could be as simple as the fact that most of us aren’t shown the appreciation others close to us actually do feel for us. In other words, it’s a need many of us have, so it was a good bet for him to appreciate me. A really good one.

Dr. Hare says to be wary of new people who enter your life, especially those who seem offer a solution to your problem or an answer to your prayers. That’s great advice to keep in mind.

Sometimes it’s more subtle. For example, we all have some aspect of ourselves that isn’t recognized, or at least not acknowledged, by others around us (it could be our intelligence, or some skill we have, such as our artwork, or the things we do to help others), and a smart predator will zero in on those things. Imagine a stunningly beautiful woman who is always praised for her appearance. Now imagine that she is very intelligent, but no one seems to notice because they focus so much on her looks. Now imagine that a con artist comes along and pretends to appreciate and value her intelligence…

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Flattery is a powerful manipulation skill, but remember that the most effective flattery doesn’t come across as flattery — it just seems like sincere appreciation for some quality or talent or skill that you have, especially one that hasn’t been properly noticed by others.

Also, be alert when someone flatters you for a quality you WISH you had, but don’t. For example, if someone praises your confidence when you feel anything but confident (and you wish you felt more confident), watch out. The psychopath I knew told me early on that my confidence was one of the things that attracted him to me. It actually struck me as odd, because my confidence was at a low point at that time. But I didn’t know then that it was a red flag– I simply thought he was mistaken. This doesn’t mean that everyone who appreciates something about you is a con artist! But it does mean you should recognize it and remain alert, and take it into consideration along with whatever else is going on with you and that person.

Going back to the appreciation I felt, an important point is this: It stuck out like a sore thumb when I looked back at what had occurred. So did the love. It wasn’t “just” love — it was love beyond what I could have even imagined before. In other words, another sore thumb. There were a few more as well.

To figure out what made you vulnerable, think back and look for the “sore thumbs.”

Ask yourself, what are the things that really stand out during the times that were good with the psychopath — how did he make you feel that was in some way surprising, and noticeably fulfilling, that you may not have even realized you were missing until you got it from him or her? What wildly exceeded your expectations or prior experiences?

There’s a good chance your answers to those questions will tell you what made you receptive to a psychopathic predator.

If you can’t figure out what made you vulnerable or don’t believe you were, remember that it was our best qualities — our ability to give and receive love, to trust another enough to be intimate and vulnerable, and to believe in the goodness of another — that enabled a psychopath to victimize us.

That doesn’t mean things are hopeless and to throw in the towel. It simply means to keep one eye open. And please don’t forget to enjoy life while you’re doing so. Being aware and alert isn’t the same as being hyper-vigilant and paranoid. Don’t be overconfident, either. Try to find a middle ground, one where you use the knowledge and experience (and the boundaries!) you now have to help you stay awake, see clearly and make sensible decisions about people, relationships, yourself and your life.

♥ Thank you for reading.

Comments are closed. 

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65 thoughts on “Why You? And How Did You Get Trapped?”

  1. Linda

    Another excellent article! He did zero in on my vulnerabilities, some of which I knew but did not disclose, some of which I told him about, and several that I have since recognized, which have taught me some hard but valuable truths about myself, for future protection. Because I had boundaries and a sense of my own worth I was able, with great effort, to break away from him. But that Bond! Like steel threads fired into my brain and my heart, connecting me to him… it has been very hard to pull them out, one at a time. I am doing that now, and the freedom is fantastic! Thank you, once again, for your wise counsel!

    1. Admin

      Thank you, Linda, I’m so glad you found it helpful!

      It’s great that the bond is breaking. What helps more than anything else is time and distance. It took about two years until mine was severed, and that seems about average. It tends to wax and wane, but overall it diminishes as time goes on. Stay strong. Knowing your own worth is invaluable in getting through this.

  2. Jan

    OMG, I just recognized something I’d told her at our very 1st meeting for tea! I’d shared with her how a cousin had attacked me in a string of emails, saying I was being the voice of the devil (because of my spiritual ways that aren’t fundamentalist & rigid like her religion). Aha! So that was taken as the biggest clue of my need for validation; went WAY overboard with it in insisting I was ultra-special spiritually—(even to me, eye-rolling unreality); and then switched over to my being so vile (her extreme hostile behaviour has that flavour) that it is unbearable to be exposed to my energy by having direct contact with me. wow. cool.

    1. Admin

      That’s quite a breakthrough, Jan, and important knowledge to put to use in the future! And isn’t it amazing how you went from being super-special to being “vile?” I experienced the same thing. Funny how that happens…

      1. Nicola

        Trouble is, I’m now questioning my own sanity (in a different way from all the past questioning of my own sanity) because I now feel that way about him. He was so super special and now he is absolutely vile. Talking myself around this one is difficult. He found me vile because of his own nature. I find him vile because of his behaviour – all the stuff we talk about in this safe place. It was my good nature that got me victimised in the first place. Now I grapple with ill will, hatred and loathing and grieve for the trusting, kind, generous person who believed in the good nature at the heart of every human being. I fear that his vampire nature has infected me! (Gosh, I even sound nuts when I describe my own feelings!)

        1. Admin

          Hi, Nicola. First, all of your feelings are understandable and normal, so please don’t think you’re crazy or infected with anything. Many of us felt ‘infected,’ by the way. It clears up over time. So does the hate, believe it or not. You’ll always feel what he did was terrible and wrong, but the hate, and anger, eventually dissipate when you detach emotionally from him. But what you feel now is a normal reaction to what happened. “Anger is a legitimate emotion in the face of injustice. Passive acceptance of evil is not a virtue.” Also, you have a real reason to think of him as vile. It’s not as if you’re devaluing him as he did you, without cause. These are two very different things. You can still be a kind and generous person; the only difference will be that you know there is good in most people’s hearts (including your own), but not everyone’s. That’s just a simple fact, it’s not anything you’re responsible for.
          I hope that helps a little.

          1. Jan

            Nicola, I also grapple with having these negative feelings & opnions about the person. I’ve always just loved people, even the difficult ones, realizing they have problems. Even the worst of the worst, up till this, didn’t make me be different in my attitude & willingness to love. This is a different aspect of me now; which also includes wariness of new possible friends. I’m sad for the loss of the previous “me”; the “innocent me” who hadn’t yet experienced this. Thanks for bringing up this other aspect of what we’re dealing with in our recovery, Nicola.

            1. Admin

              Jan, it’s true that there’s the feeling many of us share of having “lost our innocence.” Thanks for bringing that up.

        2. Linda

          Nicola, I went through exactly the same response to the psychopath in my life, a period of real rage, which is certainly not my default emotion. It felt terrible, as though I had “been infected”, just as you said. But it was one of the stages of grief that I had to process to detach from him. I hardly recognized myself for a while, and I still have moments of grieving for that illusion, that warm, loving facade, that covered a cold, calculating predator, but, as Admin observes, it does pass, and I can now look back at him with some actual empathy, as a very sick man, while still despising his evil behavior. You are in a safe place here, and many of us will empathize with you, and identify with your emotions, now and as you heal over time… I am sending love and prayers to you.

          1. Admin

            Thank you for supporting Nicola. I have so many wonderful readers here! A big thank you to all of you who show up here and help each other!

            1. Linda

              Admin, you have established such an affirmative atmosphere here! You really do encourage us to support and affirm each other. It is very therapeutic and comforting. Thank you!

              1. Admin

                Thanks a million, Linda! I truly appreciate it.

  3. Linda

    Thank you. Yes, time, distance, and this blog! I read something each day to keep my awareness fresh and my knowledge updated. When I waver – a moment of nostalalgia or longing – I consciously recall the deadly games he played, and the degredation of the last time we were togather. Your articles and the comments are helping me to stay strong. I pray his present victims will find help as well!

    1. Admin

      Keep doing what you’re doing, Linda. The day will eventually come when this bond that you don’t want (but are temporarily stuck with anyway!) will end. Just be patient with yourself. Patience and acceptance go a long way, as does understanding what you’re experiencing.

  4. Jan

    …and this also sheds light on a remark last yr, that she sees me as a powerful angel of light. (So, okay, if I’m an angel, why does she feel she needs protection from me??) AHA: Lucifer!!..the angel of light! It also explains why she figured she had to shield herself from me with her book hiding most of her face; perhaps so I wouldn’t be able to connect with her 3rd eye. wow. Neat how the pieces come together.

    1. Admin

      I’m glad it’s coming together, Jan. I suspect she hid behind that book to try and make you feel awful. I’m sorry you went through all of it.

      1. Jan

        Thanks. I found that rather than feeling triggered, I felt calm and observant of the behaviour…even afterwards. That’s new for me, as I’d usually eventually end up in a dive, even if it was days later. Now it’s a simple “huh”. What a relief to recognize how much further I’ve come—even more than before. Much of that is due to recognizing that I no longer feel attracted to the thought of reconciliation and that she has no authority over me or how I conduct myself in this community. whew.

        1. Admin

          Good for you, Jan! I’m glad to hear it!

  5. Jan

    She lives in a world of fantasy—-with a spiritual theme—putting deep meaning onto absolutely everything; even every sighting of a bird, or a superficial social remark—- I suspect she’s more mentally ill than I realized, as well as having the psychopathic drive to use & abuse.

    1. Admin

      You’re most likely right, although at the time it probably made her seem “deep” and “spiritual.”

      1. Jan

        It sure did; exactly the type of companionship that was a dream-come-true—and she talked of way-far-out esoteric understandings that I couldn’t even comprehend. Now I know why! lol. Her calling me an angel of light, but NOT saying that she meant “Lucifer” fits with her way of expressing stuff that was so vague, only hinting at an idea, but being very specific at the same time—and leaving me trying to figure out what she meant. Nice game!—I did experience, 2 months into the relationship, a situation I’d afterwards called her on, to point out that I’d observed something rather strange in her treatment of me. She’d held a huge outdoor birthday party, at which I was to play background music on my keyboard thru’out the day. WELL—guess where she insisted I had to be situated?—At the BACK of a side-porch from where no one at the party could see me or even really hear me. (It was the only place that would work for the electric cords….). Days later when I had her look at the placement from where the guests were situated; simply pointing it out, she was in a panic! (She’d been found out). Then, in less than a minute she’d rationalized it by saying “Ahhh, you were being the Water Dragon—unseen but with sounds carrying softly thru’ the air.” She continued with that identification of me as that….pretending to have honour for that. I never bought it; knew it had been a deliberate dissing of me which she’d found a way to explain—but still told myself that it was an “odd-one-out”; that it had been only a momentary fear or envy of me that she’d resolve;—whatever. Huh, eh?

        1. Admin

          The Water Dragon? I’ve heard a lot of excuses, but never that one. Mine came up with a few good ones, too, but usually he would just deny that something ever happened, even if I’d seen it and he knew I had. Yours was much more “creative.”

          Live and learn, that’s what we do, in that order. This is a big one. I hope your path, and all of ours, will be easier in times to come.

  6. trish

    Great article: so true all of it . If something is to good to be true than u need to take a look at it and see is this real or all bs. well in my case i wasn’t looking for anyone but then when i met my psychopath all the attention i was gettting and all he would do for me and the sex was great and on and on and a 12 instead of a ten hard to beat that and within a few years he was a -12 and a joke to me and thank god i never saw him again and i am happy now for the D&D cause ‘he vanished and yeah i was sick for months. If he only knew that it was the best thing that ever happened to me to have him out of my life. otherwise if he was around it would be so so sick and never end cause i was caught up in it

    1. Admin

      It’s a great thing when they go. It might seem like the end of the world at the time, but then the day comes when you realize just how lucky you are. I’m glad you’re free of him, Trish!

  7. janes

    did you think about me too when you wrote this post? roflol
    i love how you explained again with a diffrent light, in your unique way the ” MIRRORING” this is how i have getting entangled with them most of the time & wasnt able to pin point exactly. Thats how they get us hooked on their “BS”. So when i feel “IN TUNE” with a new person i must be extremely careful (i dont know if you remember around this time last year a gift giving new coworker that shortly P-V situation).
    also i luv it whenever you remind us especialy to watch ” Problems Solvers, Too Good to Be Trues, Answer to All our Prays BSers”
    i was thinking about maybe one of your Books become a Documentary or a Movie (independent maybe)
    AWESOME article as always , THX

    1. Admin

      I know I’ve written a good one when Janes comes around!

      Yes, I remember the uncomfortable gift-giving situation with the new co-worker. Hard to believe it was already a year ago.

      I think the film would definitely be an indy. I haven’t had to fend off any screenwriters yet, but who knows… ;-)

      Thank you, Janes xx

      1. janes

        sorry for slacking on my usual binge replies i ve been running around & felling behind.
        i was looking at some movies the other day & a lot of the good movies were made out of a book then i taught about excellent youtube movies about the Ps,S & Ns then i said to myself if Admin make a movie about lets say ” Got Boundries” documentary from your Boundries Book , this way she would reach out to wider audiences.
        Also i taught i deserved a medal today by the way i was dealing with a, i am pretty sure an “S” in very cordial & unhurtful way neither to myself nor to them. At lunch a new waiter was hitting on me but its shocking that in fall last year i believe that you had a post about how to spot a P/S as fast as possible without getting too close to them ( tell tales) & u said that body language tells us a lot , not only about Ps/Ss/Ns but every one else too,not so good & good enegry/body laguage of good people from way disctance( haughty, nice ect)
        so within a few minutes of entering the place i said to myself , when i looked @ the waiter
        i said to myself he is definetly “one of them”.
        He came to my table many, many, many times & the whole time i was interviewing him (p/s??).
        Before the education i began to receive from you & other heros, i realized THEY SCAN THE INVORIMENT FOR PEOPLE LIKE ME AFTER EDUCATION I REALIZED THAT NOW WE BOTH SCAN THE ENVIROMENT FOR EACH OTHER & I AM FULLY AWARE OF THEM, JUST LIKE THEY HAVE ALWAYS BEEN FULLY AWARE OF ME. LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD :)))
        THANKS TO U & OTHER TAUGHT LEADERS I GOT PROMOTED FROM UNSUSPECTING THEN SLAUGHTERED EACH TIME & COUNTLESS TIME. NOW I PEACEFULY **FROM DISTANCE** I INTERACT WITH THEM.
        moving up on life :))
        thank u Admin
        XXXXXXXXX

        1. janes

          FYI; your Post & insights about the prison guards case were explosive!!!!
          & links were killer ( literaly life savers)
          i get goose bumps when i think of that posts. P/S jigsaw puzzle is getting better one post at a time one Book at a time, one comment at a time, one reply at a time
          Kudos

          1. Admin

            I’m glad you liked post about Joyce Mitchell! I hope everyone reads the links. Even though they’re written for prison guards, they’re important for all of us to read:
            14 Steps to a Set-Up
            Downing of a Duck

            Thank you, Janes, for your jigsaw-puzzle analogy. You know just how to turn me the deepest shade of crimson.

        2. Admin

          “Got Boundaries” could work if made the right way, like a docu-drama of sorts… but only if you play the leading role. Your enthusiasm would be needed to make it work!

          You’ve become some sort of Psychopath Whisperer, Janes, but not because of me — I’m certainly not one! I’m watching out for the one that comes across at first as normal. It’s true we know many ‘signs,’ but what about the sign of not showing any signs? Is there even such a thing? I don’t know, so I can’t say for sure. Like you, I’ve interacted briefly with people that I thought might be psychopathic, but I have no idea if I was right, or if I could identify all of them. With some, it could take time. What I’m saying is that if you meet someone and believe they’re not a psychopath, it could lull you into complacency. There are so many things we don’t know that we don’t know, and those unknown unknowns are the serpents in paradise.

          Be careful out there, and have fun!

          Thank you, Janes XXXXX

          1. Linda

            That was mine! Absolutely cool and professional for several encounters, then little, subtle hints of interest… but even now, having learned so much here and elsewhere, I would not spot him for one. Thats kind of scary…

            1. Admin

              I would spot mine for one. In fact I did, but I had no idea what I was spotting, so it intrigued me on some level. He was a walking contradiction, subtly but definitely, without saying a word.

              1. janes

                U are such a caring person. U elavate so many lives here. i hope that u have someone in your life fills your cup as well. Real people.

                LOL :)))))))))
                taking the leading role in your “Got Boundries” Docu-Drama,
                thank you for thinking of me. i think there are more talented people out there hopefully another fellow reader. i dont do well under spot light LOL

                Do you get Sandra L Browns regular emails? in her last email she sent wonderful recomendation to our people who suffers in the court room with a Ps. A link of it on your site might be very helpful.
                Congrats to TotallyBel !
                luv
                until next time

              2. Admin

                Real people? LOL

                Forget the ‘Got Boundaries’ docudrama — I think a ‘Got Janes’ docudrama would be far more interesting. I’d be the first one to buy a ticket.

                I don’t get Sandra’s emails, but I’m interested in reading the one you describe. Too many people experience ongoing legal hell. If there’s a link to an article, please let me know.

                I’m so glad you’re feeling better! xo

          2. janes

            strange
            i sent a comment a few days ago , when i got sick as dog. i dont see it now.
            i am taking medication & still sick as a dog. as soon as recovere i am going send a worthy/bingy reply. i hope u get this.
            love
            until then

            1. Admin

              Janes, I didn’t see that comment. I’m sorry it was somehow lost! I hope you feel better soon.
              Looking forward to your future comment. Now I’m in suspense…

          3. janes

            i cant post what i wrote in detail.
            there is an error message
            “Simple comments couldnt retrived the password from the server ect.”
            i hope this works

            1. Admin

              Sorry about that, Janes. Email it to me, and I’ll post it for you. Pathsandlove at gmail

          4. janes

            Correction;
            All of your posts some how make me ask my self how does she ( U) know what i am experiencing/need now? They some how always hit the spot.
            Believe me i always have some thing to say about your posts, other readers comments, Books ect.

            Spooky ( this is the group i am most afraid of & creates the heaviest damages),
            the ones that dont give out any signs! U mentioned this a few posts earlier & and even once before that with Z’s comments.
            No sings, thats what happened with that new coworker last year. Initially she didnt give any red flags, actually after the fact( after the Covert Zap) i realized she was “MIRRORING/TUNING IN” the whole time. I AM A PASSIONATE BELIVER THAT WE CAN PREVENT A LOT OF THE NEW INCIDENCES WITH THEM WITH A MINIMAL HARM OR NONE. THIS IS A LIFE LONG ISSUE, WHOLE HUMAN SUFFERING IS CAUSED BY THEM SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME UNTIL THE END OF TIME. since last year when i 1st started to study them i had only one situation with a P.
            before then, i could’ve had a min.of one a month or some time daily :((((. My old coworker was a pure P not even an S. But i quickly realized that i was dealing with Insane person with a “Mask of Sanity”.
            Ever since i started to study them, first time in my life i started build a confidence in my jugdement ( i know, i know, not overly confident)
            i always learn from your warnings !!! thanks.
            its seems that i had a lot more bad experience then most readers , since most people have one”Children of Hell” to lament about.
            i know with me this is a life long challenge.

            1. Admin

              I’m glad your study is paying off, Janes. I’m sorry, though, to hear you have so many psychopaths around! Good grief! Maybe you need a psychopath repellent spray. I wish one existed! But without that, we will have to rely on our knowledge and experience, which is valuable. I, too, believe we can prevent a lot of new incidences by staying alert and nipping them in the bud.

  8. Depressedempath

    This is a great one Admin! As you know, it is the question that troubles me the most. But there are so many answers, and I think about 80% of the possibilities you put forward apply to me and probably many others taken by psychopaths. So now I know why, it is a chance for me to change how others may view me and exploit me. The psycho showered me with things he thought I craved and I soaked it up like a sponge. Nobody had ever treated me that well (in the idealisation phase). But nobody ever treated me that badly either (devaluation stage) and so I now realise that I would rather be very quietly appreciated without the bells and whistles the psycho gave, to avoid never ever going through the devaluation and extreme abuse I endured. One bitten twice shy. So I need to change, I need to be more assertive, more confident, comfortable in my own skin, on my own sometimes and toughen up to the emotional perils of life.
    Like most psychos, he detected my faults and played to them. But he also started very small joking insults early on whilst still idealising me. They were red flags, but I didn’t know what to make of them. For eg. He always told me he was VERY SMART and that I would NEVER outsmart him! Sometimes I answered that I was smart too, after all I have a professional career. He would say that he had complimented me to his friends describing me as a “smart ass”. As he was an Italian immigrant and a touch English challenged, I would not say anything because I thought maybe he didn’t know what he was calling me- how wrong was I! He knew- just having a dig at me! He also once said suddenly “you are really short aren’t you?” And “you’re a bit chubby” – There are so many ways he could have put those comments better, or kept them to himself. If I challenged him, he said it was my problem because I was too sensitive and he “wasn’t going to blow smoke up my arse” .
    I am so glad he is gone. It’s going to take me a bit longer to get him out of my head, but I’m getting there with the help of Admin and all the other contributors on this fantastic site!
    Thankyou everyone??

    1. Admin

      YOU inspired this post! Yes, those are your questions :-)

      There may be some ways in which you want to change, and will change. But there are others that you might not want to change or aren’t able to. For those, the important thing is to be aware of them. I’m so glad Dr. Hare didn’t say “fix all your weak spots,” because we’d all be sunk. Even knowing what they are is a challenge, although this experience brings a LOT of self-awareness.

      When the psycho used small joking insults, and told you you were “too sensitive,” he was invalidating you. Have you red the post on invalidation? It’s considered one of the most damaging forms of emotional abuse, and psychopaths are good at it. Unfortunately, so are a lot of people, so even though the psychopaths are out of our lives, it’s good to learn about it. I’m really glad I did, because now instead of being left with an uncomfortable feeling that “something” isn’t right but I’m not sure what, I see it for what it is. I looked back on my life and there were several people that now stood out as exceptionally invalidating. There will be no more of those in my life.

      I hope he’ll be out of your head soon. I’m glad this site helps with that, because I know what a blessing — and a relief! — it is when they’re finally gone.

      1. Depressedempath

        I just read your Invalidation Post (I must have missed it while on holidays) and yes, you are right. That is what my psycho did! In fact I don’t think he EVER VALIDATED anything I said or did!
        Thankyou Admin, for all your posts, I can re read them multiple times and they are as good as chocolate therapy for me!

        1. Admin

          As good as chocolate therapy? That is the highest compliment one can receive! I’m glad they work for you.

  9. Brightie

    Yes, indeed. I’ve managed a month and a half with no contact and then he comes back waltzing in, love bombing me and saying we don’t need a divorce, that he needs me. I asked: “What do you need me for?” Do you know what his exact words were? “You are my air, my light, my food.” These words could sound extra romantic to an outside viewer, but it really made my blood freeze and shiver. I am all that he is not and is never going to be. Now that I left him, he’s trying to hook me back in, and they are amazingly skillful. I don’t know how am I ever going to be able to escape him since we have a child to raise together. Sometimes I get so desparate when thinking of this, it’s like he stalks me wherever I go, he’s there in my mind and it will take a long long time for me to recover and forget him. It’s hard when I have to see him every day when he picks up our baby boy and makes psychopathic remarks…

    1. Admin

      I read his words, and froze for a second before I could read on. Yes, they would sound SO romantic to many who would hear them, but they make me shudder, too, Brightie. A few times, mine went from kissing me to literally sucking the wind out of me. He said he did it because he wanted “every bit of me.” Now I see it for what it was.

      My heart goes out to you and other parents who have to deal with ongoing contact. And seeing him daily is a lot. Despite the contact, Brightie, it already sounds as if you’ve ‘escaped’ him quite a bit, despite your circumstances. You no longer live with him, you’re divorcing him, and you don’t sound the least bit like you would ever take him up on his offer to reconcile. If you haven’t, you may want to read about Gray Rock, which is a method for dealing with psychopaths when you have to have ongoing contact with them: The Gray Rock Method.
      Also, “One Mom’s Battle” is a website for parents divorcing “cluster B” spouses. You may find some helpful insight there from others who have been in the same boat.

      1. Brightie

        Thank you, Admin. I am aware of those resources and I am doing my best. As far as the support, this site is better than any psychotherapists I’ve tried! Keep up the fabulous work.

        1. Admin

          I’m so glad you find support here, Brightie. But I want you to have all the support that you need. I know how hard it can be to find, but please don’t give up if you need more. I’ve heard from many who’ve found truly helpful psychotherapists after a few duds. If things become more difficult, I hope you will reach out in your local community. I’m concerned for you, and I don’t want you to be alone with all of it if you’re floundering. I’m a worry-wort like that.

          1. Brightie

            Don’t worry, I have my family who understand and support me, plus I’m leaving for a vacation with my son for 10 days, which means 10 days of ‘no contact’ with my ex. Yay! :) Have a nice day!

            1. Admin

              Good to hear, Brightie. Enjoy your vacation!

  10. Metanoia

    Great article…it’s always important to remind yourself of what emotional needs you have, and whether or not they’re being met. If someone comes along and instantly fulfills those needs and it feels too good to be true, then you should take it as a red flag.

    Also I think it’s important to remember that literally anyone in the world could be a victim of a psycho. Simply being a human and having normal emotions is enough for a psycho to prey on you.

    1. Admin

      “Too good to be true” is a big red flag, but it can be hard to see when it’s happening. You know it’s extraordinarily good, but no one wants to believe it’s not real. ‘Too good to be true’ often turns into ‘too good to give up.’

      Yes, as Dr. Hare says, “no one is immune.” He doesn’t even consider himself immune! That keeps me on my toes.

  11. Totallybel

    Hey Admin, this is nearlybel, I think I’ve nearly made it after 3 years away, hence the name change. You posted this on my birthday, thank you so much for the wonderful gift xxx The responses are ever more enlightening, I get those light bulb moments Jan, something that was said long ago and their reactions all now seen in a totally different post psycho perspective, and that realisation ‘they have no authority over me’ was so liberating.
    I am in the courts and received his defense last week, and these are the best bits: he disputes I am a full time mother, or that we were a couple, I was negligent in care of children and home, and then more of his opinions, which when applied to me are lies, most easily provable by documentation.
    What surprised me most though was my reaction, I was so upset, shaking, and feeling as though I received a knock out blow to the head and stomach, as though I was expecting a logical reasonable response from him, in my knowledge of knowing what he is. And then questioning myself, is this true, will others believe it? It was awful for a couple of days, but nothing a few glasses of wine didn’t cure :) And I put my logical, fact based response together.
    What do you think of his first two denials Admin? Does he covet a mother, and knows he can’t be one and so denies me being one? Is that his shiny object of desire? He is his mothers known favourite child (how could a mother even say that?) and when I had my first babe nearly 30 years ago my worse fear was that I wouldn’t be a good mother, he ensured I wasn’t, always my priority had to be him. yuk and then to deny we were a couple, what is that one about? I am now fascinated by his response, he has no legal rep, so all his own work :) And maybe that’s exactly how I was caught up in his web of lies and deceit in the first place, I was just too curious, and couldn’t figure him out, I had to find out he wasn’t human, even tho he looked and spoke human. Wow that’s a revelation to me and I’ve been working on my weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and didn’t I know from my story books that curiosity killed the cat!
    And thank you Admin for this and all your other thought provoking posts, you really are somebody wonderful xxx

    1. Admin

      TOTALLYBEL! I love your new name. I’ve been waiting for it.

      HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I’m happy to hear you consider the article a gift. I hope your birthday was a happy one.

      I’m sorry to hear of his pathetic defense, and I can understand why it would be so upsetting. I think he purposely chose what would upset you most, what would cut you at the core as a mother, and as a former wife who went out of your way to be a good one, and as the person you are. That’s the way they get us, through our emotions. And don’t forget how they “project” their own realities onto us. By saying those things about you, what he’s really done is to reveal the truth about himself. You’ve still got children at home. They live with you, and you care for them. But this defense he’s mounted is for the purpose of not paying his share of their support, and he’s not asking for custody. So, in reality, it makes no sense at all. But you’re not dealing with reality here; you’re dealing with the convoluted, upside-down world of opposites he lives in, which is built entirely from lies.

      And the notion that you “weren’t a couple” is ludicrous. You were married, you lived in the same house for 20 years, and you had children together. In the eyes of the law, you were most definitely a couple. It sounds like a desperate bid from a desperate man. The courts are far from perfect, but any judge who has even just one working brain cell will not believe or collude with this kind of nonsense.

      A logical and fact-based response is exactly what’s needed. And it wouldn’t hurt to point out the purpose of his claims, which is to avoid any responsibility he has to you and his children. There he is, claiming you’re not a responsible mother, in an attempt not to be a responsible father.

      On a more personal level, it should only serve to remove any last shreds of doubt you may still have had about him, if there were any.

    2. Depressedempath

      Hi Totallybel!
      I think that your ex is just projecting his bad ways onto you. So in reality he was a bad parent and not upholding his part of the “couple” arrangement.. He knows that.
      In the breakdown, breakup final stage of my relationship with a psycho, he called me out on all the bad things that HE did and HE was. He told his friends and publicised on his Facebook page that I was a narcissist, I only cared about myself, that I had mental problems. How dare I give him gifts- apparently that was how I exhibited control over HIM???
      The statements they make are so outrageous that the judge will see right through him….

  12. Totallybel

    Thank you Admin, I remember ye suggested the name, I am so happy with my transformation, reinvention, breakthrough, x yes they are pathetic, and my reaction was totally a normal human one, I am not inhabiting his cold dark world any more. We are beginning to thrive and living our lives how we were all born to, without his parasitic presence. And I think I was too used to human company and it was so shocking to see his words, it immediately dragged me back into his perverse world. But thats all they are, his words, words that have absolutely no meaning, because he is meaningless without a victim. Alfred Hitchcocks film Psycho comes to mind, is it really all about the mother? I am well armed now and have used this to inform my response. And for Brightie, the gray rock method is great advice, give no emotion, care less what is happening but take care and be aware he will use your child to hurt you, or you to hurt your child. You have daily contact, so difficult. good luck to all who become contaminated by them and find the cure xxx

    1. Admin

      I don’t think it’s all about the mother. Psychopathy is genetic, and although some researchers say environment plays a part, that genetic abnormality has to exist first.

      That’s all they are, his words, and they make no sense because they aren’t based on what’s real. I’m sure they were deeply shocking. But a judge would have to be deeply corrupt to base a ruling on them in his favor. I wish you the best of luck with it. Let me know what happens.

      Your reinvention/ transformation/ breakthrough is a cause for celebration. Totallybel, indeed!

      1. Nicola

        For what it’s worth, a cousin of my P, when he had suddenly abandoned me to my new wheelchair, said, “I don’t know why he’s like this…..all the (surname) men are the same”. Genetic? Could be. Then there’s the fact that all the women in the family are riddled with psychological disorders – the ex wives with PTSD & long-term anxiety, the daughter with anorexia, drug & alcohol dependence, acting out big time. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

        1. Admin

          I don’t think so either, Nicola.

    2. Brightie

      Thank you, Totallybel, your words of encouragement mean a lot. It will take a while for me to heal and reinvent myself. I learned my lesson not to be too naive and believe everyone. I had red flags all around me, but I wouldn’t see them. (I was pregnant after only 3 months of knowing him and at that time his divorce was still going on. I felt really bad. But it all occurred to me like I met my prince charming, we planned a big family and all. The day we met, he had just moved out of his ex’s house. I was way lonely and craved true love. He gave me what I needed, but if you ask me where my ratio was, I have no idea!!) thanks everyone, I love this site! :)

  13. Totallybel

    Hey Depressedempath, thanks for that, of course ye hit the nail on the head, he wasn’t upholding his part of the ‘couple’ Never,ever,ever! Nicely put x And yes their modus operandi is just to project their evil on to and mirror us, in a bid to control and destroy us. I love the name, and hope the depressed isn’t overshadowing your life, the fact we feel empathy with people and their struggles is a very positive energy to counteract what these psychopathic individuals are doing all over the world. It took me 3 years and a few changes in hair colour to be ‘well’. Ye just reminded me of a time right at the beginning, he said he had difficulty with communication, and a big ‘conversation’ took place at the time, how well that stood to him, me trying to understand what he was trying to not communicate! 20 years he got out of that!! And Nicola, very interesting the comment from his cousin, how well the divide between male and female in that family. Genetics do play a part, and genes can mutate, and knowing the power of a psychopath and the massive trauma they inflict on us, it must have an affect on our physiology. And they change our behaviour, all round for a worse negative outcome, be it physical, psychological, emotional or financial, us humans will always be worse off,
    until we know, thanks Admin xxx

  14. Marija

    I am so happy to have found this blog! Can`t stop reading all of this!Seems like all what happened to me with a big P is so clearly listed here. It seems that I will never recover from this emotional rape….how symbolic – 25 years ago I was raped physically, and this feels even more unbearable…..Will this pain ever end???!!! It`s almost a year since he discarded me like used toilet paper, and is not getting any easier…..The awful thing about it is that he has now became my boss (he wasn`t by the time when we met), and I now have to look for another job! This trauma is far more painful that the physical rape…..

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Marija. I’m glad you found the blog and that it’s helping you to figure out what happened. I’m sorry to hear of what happened to you, recently and 25 years ago.

      It feels unbearable now and as if you’ll never heal, but you will. Many of us have. Have faith in yourself. Please take a look at the page in the main menu, “Road Map.” I hope it’ll help you. All the best xo

  15. silvara

    Thank you missy. This too shall pass. Was his name Chris by any chance? Lol

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I don’t like to share names here, for a few reasons. They all seem like they were made from the same mold, Silvara.

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