The following letter, written by a young woman who we’ll call Chloe, is one of the most complete stories of psychological manipulation that I’ve ever seen yet. Chloe wrote this letter secretly while the sociopath she is living with was at the gym.
I met my boyfriend two years ago. I was 18; he was 33. He’s a photographer; we live on an island that is very small. He has lived here forever (10 years) and I had only been here a few months when I met him. Everybody, especially women on the island, adore him, he is THE BIGGEST charmer.
He told me that he had moved here with his fiancÃ©e, that she had said she was going home for a week, and then never came back. He said she’d gone to therapy back home and been “mindf*cked” and never returned, breaking their engagement. I felt for him. He was so normal and sweet. He was living with his parents (because they were taking over his place) and he was moving out. He/we lived with them for a year, he’s still in it to this day, though his parents left a long time ago.
Always telling me what I should and shouldn’t eat. I’m 5’7” and 115 pounds, and I’m size DD and he’s always showing me plastic surgeons that do the best boob jobs so I can make them bigger. He was normal for four months, then told me he didn’t want me hanging out with or speaking to other guys. He even would get annoyed when I’d talk to my mom or dad.
Long story short, when I started moving out, which has happened a million times, he became violent. Touching me, I’d ask him to stop, gently pushing him off me but he wouldn’t and that’s when he started strangling me. I’ve told people about him and they take his side, because he’s such an upstanding member of the community.
He says guilt is a useless emotion and therefore feels none. He’s broken six cell phones, and in turn I’ve broken things of his. He uses this as a way to twist it and say it’s all my fault. He has every symptom on the sociopath checklist; I could go on and on. He got me a dog for my birthday and has started to use her as a tool to keep me home.
I’ve lost all my friends, rarely see family, but I’m so scared of life without him. I hate him, but every time I think about not having HIM in my life my chest hurts and it’s hard to breathe. I’ve gone to the hospital because he choked me too long, and spit in my face and held me down and rubbed it in, and I can’t or won’t leave. Isn’t that sick?
Initially I stayed because of the sex. Now I stay because I’m scared to be without him but also, I don’t want him to be with someone else, although I think he might have cheated on me once. When I tell him all these things, he calls me insane and “such a victim” and that I’m “sandbagging him and that’s all in the past.”
I’ve called Women Helping Women, but your site was the most helpful so far and I don’t know what to do. Everyone loves him; even the cops are his “braddahs.” He’s an SMU graduate; I only have high school (although I’ve gone to private schools my whole life) so he says no one would believe me, and they don’t!
His ex told me he stalked her until she moved back to the mainland, and no one believed her either… I used to be really strong and confident, but now I can’t leave the house without his approval of my outfit. I don’t want him to be with someone else, I don’t want to be with him, but I don’t want to be without him. He’s becoming more and more negative and aggressive towards me, but I’m scared to leave and scared to stay.
I feel dumb, ugly, depressed, anxious, and trapped. He’s drilled into my head for almost the whole two years that no other guys will date me or love me, and that they would only cheat on me. I know that’s not true because I get asked out all the time, but now I’m terrified of being cheated on! What should I do? Oh also he has naked pics and video of me that he’s threatened to release, even make money on.
This guy is a classic sociopath, employing every trick in the sociopath toolbox. He used the pity play to snag Chloe, with the story about his previous fiancÃ© being “mindf*cked” in therapy to leave him. Yeah, right—she probably fled because it was the only way to get rid of him.
Then the guy used sex to get his hooks into Chloe. As Dr. Liane Leedom explains, in normal people, intimate relations creates bonds between them, and it worked with Chloe. These bonds, which are both psychological and hormonal, are Nature’s way of holding the human race together for our own survival.
But it’s possible for the bonds to become pathological. That can happen when someone—such as a sociopath—deliberately tries to bring another person under his or her control. Here’s how this guy did it to Chloe:
- Telling Chloe what she should eat and wear
- Telling Chloe to get breast implants, even though it sounds like she has a fabulous figure
- Isolating Chloe from her family and friends
- Refusing to comply when she asks him not to touch her, then strangling her
- Breaking cell phones—her way of contacting other people
- Telling Chloe she is insane
- Telling Chloe that no other man will have her
- Twisting everything around so that all problems are Chloe’s fault
Cycle of fear, anxiety, intimacy
Make no mistake—this is abuse. So what happens as a result? The guy creates fear and anxiety in Chloe. Fear and anxiety strengthen those attachment bonds, which started out being normal. What usually happens in these situations is that the victim turns to the abuser for relief from the fear and anxiety. The abuser then “forgives” the victim for “making him” act abusively. Then they have sex.
This cycle of fear-anxiety-intimacy keeps strengthening the psychological and hormonal attachment bond, actually rewiring the victim’s brain. So now, even though Chloe knows the guy is bad news, it is almost impossible for her to get out of the relationship. This is apparent in the physical symptoms Chloe is showing just by thinking about leaving—her chest hurts and it’s difficult to breathe.
Off the island
Yet Chloe must leave. She must find the strength to get away from the guy, even if it means voting herself off the island.
Leaving this sociopath will be much like breaking an addiction. This, too, is normal. As Dr. Leedom explains, the bonds created in these relationships use the same pathways in the brain as drug addictions. That’s why Chloe has to go cold turkey with this guy, and why it will feel like withdrawal. The secret, as they say in recovery programs, it to take it one day at a time.
Chloe, do whatever you have to do to get out. Be prepared for the guy to pursue you, perhaps to the point of stalking, as he did with the previous woman. He may plead, beg, and even threaten. It’s not because he loves you. It’s because he doesn’t want to lose his property. Because that’s all you are to him—property.
Truth, it is cracking you up because there is a form of gallows humor here and that’s all we can do is laugh at it! Plus when you start to reclaim your sense of humor, even if it is a gallows (black) sense of humor it is uplifting.
If you think about humor you will realize that it is mostly about someone else’s pain. You see the banana peel on the street, you see charlie chaplain walking toward it and you know he is going to fall so you laugh.
Most jokes are funny because someone else falls or gets their comeupence (how do you spell that?) anyway, you know what I am saying. So laugh away. Laugh at them. Laugh at yourself, but LAUGH OUT LOUD!
when I feel really down I go to People of wal mart dot com and look at the pictures of people in wal marts around the country or the “you drive what?” and look at crazy “rides” that people drive or “white trash repairs” and laugh at the way people who don’t know how to fix things fix things. Just silly stuff! When I see some outlandish outfit on someone in the photos I call my son to see it too and tell him if I ever get dressed like that and try to go out of the house to hit me with the skillet (the REAL one not the cyber one!) and knock me out cold. Fat old women should NOT go out in a spandex pair of bike shorts and a tube top!
Truthspeak, gallows humor is a first sign of the ability to start to see things from a distance… not everything, but some stuff starts to feel as if they belong to the past and aren’t a part of your life anymore.
It’s both funny, absurd and yet true. I can still remember how good it felt the first time I could laugh at the spath’s absurd behaviour with gallow’s humor. It was the first of more days of laughter.
Sky, I’m absolutely sure that the 42 negative confession ritual of the Egyptians was invented by a spath. No other mind would come up with such an absurdity. Just imagine yourself or your ex-spath arriving at St. Peter and reciting all the things he didn’t do. Would it fool them?
In many of the “primitive” rituals of religion the gods were patterned after their own human ideas rather than on an all knowing god. Look at the Roman and Greek gods…they could be fooled, and they would trick each other just like humans would. they had human personalities, weaknesses and desires. They did nasty things to each other and did favors for their favorites and punished those who displeased them by resisting their wants and desires.
To me that is why the Greek and Roman myths are such good stories. The monotheists were the minority of religions and many people believed that every rock and tree had its own spirit. It was a way for the people to live in a world that had things that seemed to be coming out of now where, (diseases and such) that there was no way to explain.
I think that is why the early Christians were punished so much for their beliefs because in a world where the gods themselves were as “bad” as many spaths in the human world the cultures saw the Christian’s devotion to a different belief was seen as a threat to the polytheists way of life. The New Testament even talks about how some of the gold and silver smiths who made images of the gods for sale were upset because of the Christian’s failure to buy these images. Also, as Skylar pointed out, cultures had to have their “scape goats” to blame for anything bad that happened in their world, and anyone “different” was a good place to start. That continues in our world today. The Germans and Nazis blamed the Jews for their financial difficulties before WWII (as the Jews have been blamed in many eras not just that one) and the Germans also blamed the gypsies and the Poles, and so on. Our culture in the US today blames the “illegal aliens” for everything that is wrong in our country today…or the wall street bankers (and that doesn’t mean there isn’t some grain of truth there) but “we” (any culture) has to have some group that we can scapegoat or blame. the whites blame the blacks,and the blacks blame the whites, and both blame the Hispanics…and so it goes. The truth is that there are spaths in every group and 99% of the grief in the world is not caused by earthquakes or storms but by greed of the spaths which ultimately causes financial depressions and recessions and wars, famine and poverty. The Bernie Madoffs who steal billions of dollars, dictators who steal from entire countries, dictators who oppress their own people, dictators who do ethnic cleansing and kill people by the thousands and millions.
Dictators who spend millions and hundreds of millions of dollars on a military weapons while their people are hungry (North Korea for example) and my country still gives them millions of aid in food. None of that makes sense to me…but then I am not a dictator or hungry for power. Or cultures who are rich yet treat their women like cattle or worse.
If all the spathic behavior in the world stopped this minute, the world would become a paradise again…there would be food and shelter for all, no rape, no crime, no abuse, every child would have two loving parents. Education would be there for everyone. As long as there are spaths in the world though, there will be greed and want, wars and abuse. It is a shame, but that is the way things are. From the time of Eve in the Garden of Eden (Paradise on earth) when the spath snake convinced her to eat the tree of the knowledge of good and evil just to see her fall, there have been spaths in the world and I imagine always will be.
Darwinsmom & OxD, thanks for the encouragement about the humor. I guess I just need to know that I’m not heading for some sort of psychiatric or psychological meltdown! LOLOL
Honestly, there was a point where the second exspath was actually attempting to prophetize as if he were some sort of Nostradamus, or something! If I were to tell anyone outside of this blog about his 15-minute “predictions,” they’d think that I was making stuff up! But, he DID do that, and he DID say some really stupid things.
A good day to laugh, I guess. 😀
I looked up the egyptian book of the dead but didn’t find anything about the 42 “denials”. I only found info on them as a type of funeral rite. Any ideas for me to google so I can read more about your topic?
nevermind, I found it. lol. it WAS written by spaths!
This is a good classic article. Glad to see it pop up out of the archives. I read it again… just for kicks. There is so much wisdom here.
at this link of Maat (the Goddess of Truth) you can read an example of a Negative Confession found on a burrial/tomb of some noble
I have not committed sin.
I have not committed robbery with violence.
I have not stolen.
I have not slain men and women.
I have not stolen grain.
I have not purloined offerings.
I have not stolen the property of the god.
I have not uttered lies.
I have not carried away food.
I have not uttered curses.
I have not committed adultery, I have not lain with men.
I have made none to weep.
I have not eaten the heart [i.e I have not grieved uselessly, or felt remorse].
I have not attacked any man.
I am not a man of deceit.
I have not stolen cultivated land.
I have not been an eavesdropper.
I have slandered [no man].
I have not been angry without just cause.
I have not debauched the wife of any man.
I have not debauched the wife of [any] man. (repeats the previous affirmation but addressed to a different god)
I have not polluted myself.
I have terrorised none.
I have not transgressed [the Law].
I have not been wroth.
I have not shut my ears to the words of truth.
I have not blasphemed.
I am not a man of violence.
I am not a stirrer up of strife (or a disturber of the peace).
I have not acted (or judged) with undue haste.
I have not pried into matters.
I have not multiplied my words in speaking.
I have wronged none, I have done no evil.
I have not worked witchcraft against the King (or blasphemed against the King).
I have never stopped [the flow of] water.
I have never raised my voice (spoken arrogantly, or in anger).
I have not cursed (or blasphemed) God.
I have not acted with evil rage
I have not stolen the bread of the gods.
I have not carried away the khenfu cakes from the Spirits of the dead.
I have not snatched away the bread of the child, nor treated with contempt the god of my city.
I have not slain the cattle belonging to the god.
that was very interesting. They were very concerned with order, which explains their obsession with the dead.
It reminds me of the explanation of necropheliacs in Eric Fromm’s “The Heart of Man”
Now I understand why Jesus said, “let the dead bury the dead.” He was talking about those people obsessed with the machinations of rituals, particularly the rituals surrounding the dead.
Aloha, yepper – good article, indeed.
Darwinsmom, I want my tombstone to read, “I have NOT lived a Perfect Life.” 😉
Oh my GOD!!!! I just read Chloe’s story. It scare me because I may be a sociopath. Or have a few of the traits. And get this, I might be engaged to one as well….how about that for a twist. I have shown some of the signs that were pointed out to being a sociopath and it scares the hell out of me. And at the same time, I see a lot of the same signs in my fiance. If not more.
Truthfully, I was devoted to my fiance. Love her dearly still even after the constant lies that she’s told. Even after catching her in the lies red handed during my investigation for the truth. Even though the truth sometime can’t be found. Or should be found.
Just like Chloe, I get this feeling inside me like my breath is being taken away when I think of her not being in my life. I will say that the feeling has gone down a few notches. But it is still there. I’m currently seeing someone for help. I just started but as for right now. It really isn’t doing any good. Like most cases, the day of or the day after you’re strong as superman. But for me, it was hearing her voice, seeing her and even simply seeing a picture of her. It made and still makes my heart weak for her.
We’ve broken up and gotten back together so much that it isn’t even funny. At one point we moved in together with her kids and mine. But an incident accrued that made me worry about my safety. So I told her she had to leave. And i feel really stupid because I still want her back. She is using the incident as a way to twist things in her favor. Most people ask me how in the hell could i put up with it. And I can’t even give them a straight answer. In my head I tell myself that I simply “love her.” And love shouldn’t hurt like this, love shouldn’t put you through so much.
Sorry for rambling on but I really do understand both sides of the coin.