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A deeper understanding of love, ourselves and the sociopath

Although we think of love as an emotion, it is really more like a drive. Emotions come and go, whereas drives, like love, tend to persist. All emotions are associated with distinct facial expressions, whereas love is not. Love (like all of the basic drives I have discussed in this blog) is difficult to control. Furthermore, the most recent scientific research indicates that all drives, including love, are associated with activation of the brain pathway called the mesolimbic dopamine pathway.

Attraction: the first stage of love

Love, like other drives, is associated with wanting to get something. That something we are talking about here is a partner. The first stage of love, then, involves seeking out a partner. Scientists have called this the attraction phase. It is important for each person to understand how the attraction phase works within himself/herself. There are both conscious and unconscious parts to attraction.

The attraction phase involves the senses, primarily sight and smell. There may be chemicals that activate the brain through smell that we are not consciously aware of. Similarly, we may like the way someone looks and not be sure why. Our conscious mind and unconscious mind may be looking for different things in a partner. The unconscious mind plays a big role in our partner selection process.

It is important to realize that we can be taken over and captivated by attraction. Some of the symptoms of attraction or falling in love are “butterflies in the stomach,” clammy hands and racing heart. These symptoms are direct evidence of the physical nature of the love drive.

There is pleasure associated with getting the objects of our drives. In the brain, this pleasure involves many important chemicals like dopamine and the endorphins. Contact with the lover is also pleasurable because it releases oxytocin. This chemical produces reward by calming us down. (It doesn’t matter that it is the lover’s fault that we need calming.) Oxytocin is a powerful, natural anti-anxiety chemical.

The attraction phase usually lasts no more than 18 months. The reason for this is that it is too consuming. People have to be able to function, and when our energies are over focused on a lover, we aren’t as productive in other areas. Furthermore, the attraction phase has only one purpose. That is to get us hooked. When the pleasure chemicals and anxiety relieving chemicals are released in the brain, a compulsion is formed. That compulsion is to be with the lover. So the love that starts out as pleasure in the company of the lover becomes a compulsion. When the compulsion phase sets in, we feel compelled to stay with our lover no matter what. That is when we know “bonding” has taken place.

So the stages of love basically involve attraction, followed by great pleasure, followed by bonding. I would add a fourth stage, caretaking. Normal people feel an urge to take care of others toward whom they feel bonded.

Sociopaths and love

Ability to love, then, involves attraction, pleasure, bonding and caretaking. How is the sociopath’s experience of love different from what I have described? First, I never met a sociopath who did not do exactly what he/she wanted. I have to conclude from this that the attraction phase operates relatively normally in the sociopath. In fact, many sociopaths hang around only as long as the attraction phase lasts. There is evidence that emotional arousal is abnormal in sociopaths. So I would also assume they experience the pleasures of attraction without the “butterflies.”

It is blatantly obvious that sociopaths do not bond in the usual sense. Their love drive is thus stuck in the attraction gear and they can go no further than attraction. But don’t stop there! As the sociopath experienced the pleasures of his/her latest object of attraction, his/her drive for conquest was also activated.

The sociopath simultaneously experiences pleasure in attraction and pleasure in conquest or power. In other words, although the sociopath cannot form a love bond, he/she can acquire a possession which he/she strongly believes belongs to him/her.

If I enjoy something and I work very hard to get that thing, it is mine! I feel entitled to something I enjoy and work for. That thing also should keep giving me pleasure and satisfaction in order to stay wanted. If a possession is no longer pleasant and appealing to me, I throw it in the garbage. Now, if someone breaks in and tries to steal my possessions, I am angry and feel violated. Does any of this sound familiar?

Unlike the caretaking of the true love bond, the caretaking behavior of sociopaths is only self serving. I take care of my stuff because I have to. If I want people to envy me, I make the outside of my house look good and wax my car. Then people driving by see the great looking house with the new car in the driveway and think I really have it made. My stuff gives me status. If I don’t take care of my stuff, my status goes down.

So again we see that although sociopaths have a rudimentary love drive, in the end their drives are all about power and status. Don’t be fooled by the occasional care taking behavior, it is not motivated by empathy or a true love bond.


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350 Comments on "A deeper understanding of love, ourselves and the sociopath"

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Dr. Leedom, this all makes sense to me. I was married almost ten years and looking back I don’t think my ex loved me in the true sense. Any time he would do something “thoughtful” for me…he would seriously call his mother and let her know, every single time! He also could not handle it as I had more children. He could not handle not being first for attention. If he came home and his dinner was not ready, or his favorite, huge brown towel not ready for his shower, he would absolutely flip…throwing things around, yelling and berating me. It wouldn’t matter that I had sick children or just an infant to care for. His public appearance is still his number one priority…he has ignored his children for long period of time, but then show up at one of their practices looking like father of the year. Sometimes, it is comical the extremes that exist between his private and public persona.
Your explanation makes me understand why he was so angry when I left. I was his posession. I completed what he thought he should be in public. When I walked out, I made him look bad (in his eyes)…and he could not have that…so the anger, but that was over eight years ago. I hate to say this, but it seems my only hope of him ending his hatred of me is “latch” onto someone else who can make him look good and who will cater to his every whim, but unfortunately for me, my ex has never even dated (as far as I know). He seems stuck in his anger. I wonder if there is any other way to have him focus on something else…to ease the anger he feels toward me?

This post was really interesting and helped explain alot. I guess the most terrifying aspect of sociopaths is that even though we know what they are about, ‘themselves’, they do things that may sometimes counteract this notion. In the last paragraph of the original post you write, “Don’t be fooled by the occasional care taking behavior, it is not motivated by empathy or a true love bond.”

What triggers sociopaths to do this caretaking act and not base it around themselves? I am sure that in the long run there is a self drive goal…but what causes them to alter their normal me, me, me personalities and transform even if for a second on to someone else? Is it to deceive us even more?

Its interesting because my ex sociopathic boyfriend used to tell me all the time that there was nothing like the love from a child (which he had) or a dog because their love is non judgmental, innocent and unconditional…I started thinking and could relate to that but in a way felt like his manner of thinking was completely corrupted because a child and a dog don’t know any better. They can’t express hurt from the sopciopaths distructive nature and are not verbally able to expxress their emotions. They go into the world not knowing that such a horribel type of person exists. Any thoughts on this….

By all appearances, my ex-husband took very good care of me during our marriage. His ‘acts of kindness’ extended beyond me to include my family members, friends and even colleagues. Many people told me how lucky I was to have such a loving husband. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that his kind acts were not done from the heart. My marriage was built upon a foundation of lies and deception. It was indeed a difficult truth to comprehend and accept.

It is power indeed. When I flat out asked my ex-boyfriend the sociopath why he had targeted me when he had all these other women, he said ” I had to have you” and “You were quite a challenge”

i love the article on “gaslighting”…………my ex wife would do that to me in our 18 yrs of marriage, she would want me to think she was so naive and a terrible liar, when in reality she was sly as a fox..as sociopaths are……i told her i didn’t want her going to this bar,it’s a meat market i said……………a hour later she would come to me and ask, ” honey when you said meat market……….did you mean meat market?….or meet market?”……….all of our friends and even family members were fooled by her!………our two boys were devasted when we found out about her double life………..nine yrs later they still want nothing to do with her, very sad…………i beleive it does catch up with you eventually……………..i thought when everything first happened it was the worst day of my life………………i look back on it now, and it was actually the best day of my life!………..the head games this woman would play with me, she had me thinking i was going nuts!………it got so bad during the divorce , when i went over to the house to get xmas ornaments with my sons, she attacked me and she was arrested. i had to put a restraining order on her….and i’m the man!………..these people have no emotion and no remorse..they will use you and discard you when they are done with you…….it sounds robotic……..and it really is!…there is something wrong with them, wiring inside the brain or something……….they will suck you in with their charm!

maybe this is good therapy to write about it…….it’s something you have to deal with yourself, inside your soul…..i found out going to a couple therapists…..that they are more screwed up than you!……..marrying my ex was the best and worst day of my life. good because of my two sons from her, they are the highlight of my life!…….the worst because i was married to a sociopath…….in court it came out in the custody trial that she was giving my sons cigarettes at 13 and beer to my 11 yr old.among other things…………my lawyer asked me, didn’t you know this?………of course not! being married to her for so long you would think the both of us were on the same page!………..who gives cigarettes to a boy at 13???????…in reality she was trying to be their friend instead of their mother!………buying them cell phones and roller blades when i wasn’t around………….i would tell her, kids have their friends at school, being their friend comes when they are 25!.until then they need parents!……..as i said before by her being their friend, it all backfired on her and now she has no one just a ex con boyfriend…………i’ll never understand how some people think their life is like a cats, they have nine lives, and they can make up for the damage they cause later on…………sorry it doesn’t work like that, one life to a customer!………..make the most of it…………..some things that are done can never be repaired!…….also, isn’t it terrible how a judge can sit there in a custody hearing and he will decide who your child lives with?………my judge was judge greer, the judge who did the terry schivo case in florida……………when i was talking about my son, this guy is sitting in his chair falling asleep!!!!!!!!……..i kicked the table to get his FULL ATTENTION!….this is my son we’re talking about!!!!…….you will pay attention!……our tax dollars hard at work!

In reading this post above, Dr. Leedom states that, “the stages of love basically involve attraction, followed by great pleasure, followed by bonding. I would add a fourth stage, caretaking. Normal people feel an urge to take care of others”.

Furthermore, Dr. Leedom says, “we see that although sociopaths have a rudimentary love drive, in the end their drives are all about power and status. Don’t be fooled by the occasional care taking behavior, it is not motivated by empathy or a true love bond”.

My sociopath was initially very amorous, kind, generous, and seemingly caretaking. But his passion, kindness and generosity diminished noticably over time, to the point of stinginess…emotionally and financially. And in the end he had no nurturing instincts whatsoever, just callous disregard (and discard).

Dr. Leedom further states, “The attraction phase usually lasts no more than 18 months. The reason for this is that it is too consuming. People have to be able to function, and when our energies are over focused on a lover, we aren’t as productive in other areas. Furthermore, the attraction phase has only one purpose. That is to get us hooked. When the pleasure chemicals and anxiety relieving chemicals are released in the brain, a compulsion is formed. That compulsion is to be with the lover. So the love that starts out as pleasure in the company of the lover becomes a compulsion. When the compulsion phase sets in, we feel compelled to stay with our lover no matter what. That is when we know “bonding” has taken place.”

This was also noteably true of my S; I’d say his first rage episode wasn’t for 6 or 12 months, but certainly by the 18 month mark he was having an episode every month or two. Extreme juvenile behaviour, acting out, volatility, anger, and seemingly over nothing significant.

This brings into the focus the “compulsion” or obsessiveness many of us have felt regarding our Sociopathic lovers. We are still seeking the “pleasure chemicals and anxiety relieving chemicals”. We found happiness, pleasure, the “dream” and we don’t want it taken from us. Hence, we continue to seek the companionship of the S long after the love phase has ended.

Dr. Leedom further states, “contact with the lover is also pleasurable because it releases oxytocin”. So we continue to want/need the chemical pleasure we experienced while with the S.

This was a very enlightening post and provided some good answers of “why” we continue to desire the S’s. Thank you Dr. Leedom.

The neurochemical phases of “love” and “bonding” I think are also reinforced by having sex with an individual as well.

Those people that we are attracted to that we don’t actually have sex with, seem to not be as strong as those that we do have sex with.

This is one reason that when and if I ever look for another life partner I will not have a sexual relationship with that person for quite some time. Six months to a year minimum from the time I am “attracted” to them. I think that by focusing more on the “get to know you” and “see you in many situations” I will not be so likely to allow the “bonding” that takes place (for me at least) along with sexual intimacy. If a man is not willing to “wait” for that intimacy, it disqualifies him as a potential partner anyway.

Comments on this part of it too, Liane?

Here I am reading about the “bonding” chemicals, so that I can better understand….better understand “WHY” the “PULL” to read his emails, look at previous emails, search in forums for recent posts from him, etc…… It is absolutely crazy!!!! AND YES, it definitely feels like a compulsion….an addiction….my next “fix”.

Granted and I must give myself a bit of slack here, it has only been 13 days since I kicked the S out of my home….but still. What I find incredible is that your mind goes from “glad he’s f&$#@en gone and that I can finally breathe and not walk on eggshells” to “what is he feeling/doing/saying?..Where is he? Is he hurting? Is he hurting for me?”…..

I also agree with your comment OxDrover with regards to the neurochemical phases being reinforced by having sex with an individual. Looking back to the beginning of my relationship with the S, I remember that it didn’t take long before we had sex….and, what made it “worse” (at least for this toxic bonding side of things), he was such a damn good lover, that you were TOTALLY in “gaga land”…..his caress, his gentle words, his “love”, his passion….wow! So, obviously, “yer done for”…

In fact, I also remember that when I kicked him out the first time, I was smooth talked into meeting with him. I was “sucked in again” by what seemed to be such an honest, loving conversation …. a complete willingness “TO DO ANYTHING” to have me in his life…. It was the perfect simple, yet romantic setting of a picnic evening under the moonlight….perfect foreplay for an incredible night of sex. That was it after that…I was hooked again. I couldn’t get any of this evening out of my mind….I needed/wanted so much more of it…..hungry, after being starved for so long…..addicted.

As soon as he was back in my house, only 3-4 weeks later, he was back to being the ASSHOLE that I kicked out. The affections, the massages, the soft gentle words of love were all out the window.

I know it is going to take awhile to try to “delete” these fantasies from my mind….because they were, in fact, only fantasies of what I wanted him to be. He was NEVER this wonderful, loving, affectionate, supportive man….at least, not for long periods of time. He was this “ideal man/lover” ONLY when he saw/felt that he was loosing ground….being found out…being confronted with the deficiencies in a loving relationship.

I too, if I ever have another relationship (which I can’t even think about nor imagine right now) will definitely WAIT TO HAVE SEX. I know, looking back at it, that this undeniable has a HUGE impact on my love & bonding process towards a man.

That is of course, if he is a “MAN” and not an absolute “LEACH”…..

Obviously in deep emotional thought here…but, I think that I need to get it out….need to release these emotions….these frustrations….

It allows me to breathe….again. Breathing feels good…it has been awhile….

Calmer now and really glad that I have this forum to enable the healing process for me.

Freebird,

I have given a lot of thought to the bonding that takes place (or should take place anyway) with a man and a woman having sex (and possibly conceiving a child) in the biological sense.

Some animals “bond” for a season or a lifetime after they have sex. Geese, wolves, etc and mutually care for their offspring. Humans, I think, have some of this “bonding” chemicall reaction with sex, I think it is more for the female than the male though, as history seems to prove that men can “bond” with more than one woman in some cultures and these actually seem to work in that environment. I’m no anthropologist but have been around several “primitive” cultures in my world traveling and seen various cultures that had mutliple wives in bonded relationships that seemed on the surface at least to work.

There is also some research that shows that men are sexually attracted to women in the child bearing years more than women over child bearing age, etc. Healthy appearing women vs ones that are not healthy etc. It makes sense biologically that a woman would bond strongly to the man she was having sex with, in an effort to keep him around to hunt for her and any children she had, and it makes sense a man would care for the women who might bear his children in an evolutionary logic. A man could hunt and provide for more than one woman, which would increase his chances of passing on his genes. Also, with war, there might actually be a shortage of healthy males vs healthy females so multiple wives would also make sense in that instance.

If you read early history, the one man one woman concept was mostly the way it was except for mostly the ruling elite who had many wives and concubines especially in middle eastern and eastern cultures. In some the married women must remain faithful but the man was not expected to. There were greater penalties for women who cheated than there were for men who did.

With the spread of “western” civilization the one-man-one-woman custom for life seems now to be “one woman, one man AT A TIME” since divorce is now accepted in much of the western world and women have gained some autonomy over their own sexuality as well, and are no longer just “bearers of children.”

The changes in customs and legal expecations though have not done away with the biological bonding that still takes place with humans though, and that gives the Ps a chance to take advantage of us. I’m like you–sexual bonding will not take place until I am pretty doggone sure that the relationship is solid and if the man isn’t interested in “waiting”–he can move on down the line.

This was an extremely illuminating post — it actually answers a couple of questions I had about some some seemingly counter-indicative behaviors. My ex-girlfriend self-identified as a sociopath. In fact, on the first night we met — though I really had no idea of the gravity of what she was saying — she told me that she was fairly certain she was incapable of love. She did cite an exception, though — her twin sister (fraternal). Also, though virtually everything else I observed about her was consistent with antisocial behavior (e.g. massive manipulations, including having several “sugar daddies — she’s an attractive, charismatic type), she also claimed (and to some extent, displayed) a genuine love for animals. I wonder if this post doesn’t at least explain the abilitiy to care for animals, with its recognition of the power subordination of the pet. Any thoughts on her relationship to her sister, though?

Dear Whatremains,

First off, welcome to this healing place.

My take (for what it is worth) on her “love”for her twin sister I think is along the lines of the “owing” the twin sister, as a possession rather than a genuine love bond.

The word “love” has many uses in English, and only one word. Like “I love Ice cream” or “I love my child” or “I love my husband” –all are different emotions, yet the same word.

Plus the sociopath can say the words “I love my child” and yet not equate “loving” with feeding the child or providing for that child. I think many times they use the word “love” to mean “I own” rather than the emotions that WE connect with the word “Love.” As Dr.Robert Hare stated so aptly, “they can learn the words but can’t learn the tune.”

Thank you whateremains for binging this essay back up, it is really a good one.

Another post that is spot-on. My ex-P was also very amorous and attentive initially but that quickly faded away. Towards the end we hardly ever touched and there was little affection of any kind coming from him. He’d got what he wanted from me and was getting ready to discard me.

Even after he’d already married someone else (without my knowledge, I thought we were still together) he would still pretend to be jealous of any man who paid me attention. Reading this post makes me wonder if all of that wasn’t because he still considered me to be his possession.

One of the hardest things for me to deal with is that there isn’t anything in our relationship that I can hold onto as being real and genuine. I’ve been in relationships that ended badly but at least I still had good memories to hold on to – memories of loving, fun moments that were very real and genuine. With this relationship everything was a lie. There are no memories I can evoke that will bring me comfort. Instead, every memory is a reminder of the big lie.

Odette,

Your last paragraph is so true!.. and we all here know that same confusion/hurt….

I did more with my socio in one year, then in all of the sixteen years I was with my late wife….

Trips (Two in the Carribean, three to varous places here in the states), parties, weddings, concerts, sports events, weekend get-aways, romantic dinners, the opera, the ballet, shopping sprees, movies……..

Every weekend was cramed with activities, and there were 100’s of pictures taken in that year…..

With all of those memories of togetherness, fun, and adventure, it is so sobering that none of it was real… none of them are comforting to me either… in fact, it causes me great pain to think that none of my efforts to have a fun, fulfilling life with her, meant anything to her, and I’m positive that she never thinks about any of those things we did, let alone with any fondness…. it was about her being “entertained”……
Of course all of that was on my dime…..sigh.
After she discarded me a couple of years ago, I threw out or deleted all those pictures….. pictures of what seemed to be a loving, happy couple… smiling, happy, in love.

One of the last things she ever said to me was that she wasn’t happy in our relationship…. I remembered thinking at the time, gee, how could anybody not be happy with all the thoughtful and wonderful things I provided to her????.. That was before I knew what she was…. Of course I know now that she never wanted to be happy, and that it was all a lie….

Of all the twistedness of a sociopath’s behaviour, the ability to fake love, and create a the illusion of complete togetherness, along with those endearing memories….. that ranks up there among the other hurts that we could see and feel at the time…..Like you said, “every memory is a reminder of the big lie.”

Dear Southernman, There are genuine women out there who would give their eye teeth to be go to all those places (not mentioning any names! LOL) and who would be very grateful. You deserve much more wholesome company. Such a waste of energy on those who couldnt care less.

Yes Oxy, Just reading your post on bonding. From what I read, on an esoteric level, ALOT takes places when physical bonding takes place. Its like, you absorb that person into your blood stream and psyche. I dont know what the echo affects are with regards to the person’s family script, but there are probably repercussions there also.

Bev, the Bible says that “the two become one flesh” during the sexual act. I have found many of the explinations in the Bible to be so “right on” about the psychology of life and I think this is one that is true—for NORMAL PEOPLE—people who CAN bond.

While some women may have a more intense “bond” with men than some men have with women, I think that without the maternal bonding to the father, fewer children would be successfully raised (looking at it from ONLY a biological and evolutionary aspect) but from a spiritual aspect, that pair bonding is going to make for a much more successful life for all involved, for both the man and woman and any offspring.

Ah, Southernman, how I long to ask you out. lol. Sorry, just feel bad knowing there are decent lovable men out there hurting, while I am here lonely or dating some evil twit.

Well guys, I feel a little better today, thank you for all your support. Had a sleepless night but my son in Washington State kept me company by phone for a few hours, one of his favorite things to do and a luxury I rarely indulge him with lol.

I was really surprised to find another message from my ex bf saying “you have nothing nice to say to me”. I regret to say I did fire off a comeback to the effect of “correction, I have nothing at ALL to say to you”. I am waiting a couple of days for him to get back to me on my belongings I left by accident in his car a month ago or so and the money he promised to pay me back. But if he doesn’t get back to me right away on it, I will block him. I really hate having that connection open to him, now that I know it’s there. I was so relieved when I got him and his new gf blocked from communicating with me in most other ways. After I block his SN he will only be able to get me by phone, and I have caller id.

Feeling like “almost-free” today.

Well Kat and Oxy…..

I learned a lot of good things from all of this with the socio… things I’ll take into the next relationship…. I try not to be bitter about all the money and effort I gave to her… you girls would cringe if you knew about all the nice things I did for her…..like going to Godivia, and having them hand pack a box of her favorite chocholate, and then place the box in my carry on, only to give it to her on the plane so she’d have a nice treat during our flight to one of our destinations…(I did this everytime we went on a trip)….yeah.. I know.. it makes me sick now… lol… or, waking up and making her coffee and bringing to her while she is waking up, and then going outside and warming her car up and scapping her windows, so her car was nice and toasty warm for her when she left to go to work…., or even just making her homemade cookies…… those are just a couple of the hundreads of things I liked to do… I got pleasure from doing for her because I loved her…..well… I look back on all of that, and I’m proud of myself…. I nurtured, and cared and LOVED….. she never did and never will… so sad for her…smiles…

One of the biggest lessons I learned from all of this is decernment….. measuring what we give with what we recieve.. yes, I’m a giver, and always will be.. but, I have wisdom in that now….again, I am proud of the fact that I can love deeply and truly, without agenda……. I will be much wiser next time, and I can still love and trust… I just will be more careful, and go slower and really get to know the person before I allow any hooks to become attached to my heart….. I have met a few crazy’s since my socio, and I was able to spot them a mile away, and promptly rid myself of them……….so, it’s all good…. we live and we learn, and some of us have hadto learn some painful lessons about the world and the people in it, and we have also had to learn some painful things about ourselves, not that we were or are bad, but lessons about why we were drawn to these types of people, and/or toxic relationships. I’ll never say that I’m glad I met her and went through the hell of it all, but since I did, and I can’t undo that, then I must learn from it and grow as a person, and in that growth, we become even better at being a healthy relationship.

Oh Southernman, Dont. I’m turning green! Lol. I have never had anyone do a fraction of what you mentioned for me. But relationships must be give and take. One way is no good.

YOu know, Southernman, some men just have that “instinct” to get a gal what would melt the heart of almost anyone except a P–LOL My loving husband NEVER DID get that “instinct” he bought me things, but things that he THOUGHT I would have liked, and in a way I did, he bought me horses and planes and cars, but I would have traded them all for ONE BOX OF CHOCOLATES, I laugh at it now, but in spite of all the “hints” he never got it! But the one present he gave me that was without PRICE was his love and consideration–even after 20 years of marriage and 40 years of friendship we were just as much in love as we had ever been, maybe in some ways more so. The things he DID for me, helping build a cart for my oxen to pull, driving me all over heck and back to go to the living history events, fixing my computer (all the time), just wanting to BE with me, holding hands in the evenings, those were the things that really mattered, but I SURE would have loved to have had that box of chocolates. LOL

I just read this on Reasoned Audacity site and had to share the humor:

From the American Society of Sociopaths or AS… well, never mind.

(Twelve steps, modeled after AA, definitely without permission)
1. We admit that we are powerless over our character flaw – that our lives have become unmanageable — we like it that way.

2. We have come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity — but we don’t care.

3. We have made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God or Society, as we understand Him/Her/Them — if we trusted them more than we trusted our own judgment and responsibility.

4. We have made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves — and have found nothing wrong.

5. We have admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being(?) the exact nature of our wrongs — perfection.

6. We are entirely ready to have God remove all of these defects of character — (assuming he put them there in the first place?)

7. We humbly [sic] ask Him to remove our shortcomings — easy job, since there are few.

8. We have made a list of all persons we have harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all — by getting out of their lives.

9. We will make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others — (see number 8)

10. We will continue to take personal inventory and when we are wrong promptly admit it — however, other people will surely take on this responsibility for us.

11. We have sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out — daddy replacement?

12. Having had this spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps, we will carry this message to other Sociopaths, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. (see also sex addicts anonymous)

I’ve read these comments and can’t help but put in my two cents worth! I had the chocolates, beautiful cards, birthday cakes, but it was the before and after that told the whole tale. Constant complaining when I would ask for him to do something for me. He would do everything for others with a smile and whistle. Occasionally if he was in a good mood, I might warrant getting a favor, but otherwise I waited.

I would have taken a hug and kiss for no reason, than to have something just because the calendar said he should.

Reading about all these messed up people, lets me see that I’m more normal than I thought. I couldn’t for the life of me wonder what I was doing wrong. Now I see it wasn’t me. My husband is the one with the problem. I’m in the here and now. I don’t know where he is, other than his past.

He made mention the other day, after hearing a hymn, that that was the song sung at my aunt’s funeral and the minister’s wife sung it. I just looked at him, like where did that come from. My aunt’s been dead for over 30 years. I can barely remember what she looked like let alone what song was sung at her funeral. And she was my aunt. No wonder he doesn’t remember things that happened with the children.

All that pretending for all those years. What a waste of precious time and words. Not to mention the sex. Had I known it didn’t mean a thing, I sure would have stayed on my side of the bed!! But I at least have my children. That is my reward for sticking it out. Now I don’t have to pretend anymore. I’m free and so is he. He can live in his past if that makes him happy. Although I did say when one lives in their past, it’s like they have two lives. They have double the time of living, as long as they come back to the here and now. But unless someone has lived in this kind of situation, they have no clue what one endures. But you all do understand. A great comfort.

Lol southernman.. you are sweeter than honey. I confess I couldn’t stand it if somebody put themselves out that much for me. I’m too damn independent. But what I always long for is someone to look at me, and REALLY see me, you know?

I did have one bf long ago that always did that kind of stuff for me, he was the nicest guy in the world. I had to move away for work though.. it sucked.

[The Strangest Thing] take my life – time has been twisting the knife – I don’t recognize people I care for – take my dreams childish and weak at the seams – please don’t analyse – please just be there for me – the things that I know nobody told me – the seeds that are sown they still control me – there’s a liar in my head there’s a thief upon my bed – and the strangest thing is I cannot get my eyes open – take my hand lead me to some peaceful land that I cannot find in my head – wake me with love it’s all I need but in all this time still no one said…if I had not asked would you have told me – if you call this love why don’t you hold me – there’s a liar in my head there’s a thief upon my bed – and the strangest thing is I cannot get my eyes open – give me something I can hold – give me something to believe in – I am frightened for my soul. please please make love to me. send love through me – heal me with your crime – the only one who ever knew me – we’ve wasted so much time – so much time

OMG Henry.. find a new soundtrack.. quick!

Hiya Henry. I like that George Michael album too. Yes good words on that song.

Hi Bev!!! That is from his album (older), every track on that album sound’s like he is singing about sociopath’s. There are some more up beat song’s also. Any way, I have kinda reached a turning point, (reframing) and as always doing alot of soul searching. The phrase ( The truth will set you free – but first it will piss you off) I have asked myself – what is my truth? My truth is right before my eye’s, it has always been there. I think I have let go of most of the pain over my experience with (M). I keep remembering Wini’s analogy of the turtle and the scorpion. That is what they do. Seems like I have let go of him in stages. Each time it is a little less painful – but necessary. So I go to my hill and talk to the stars – and I have been getting so many answer’s, each time I leave some pain – I send it up to the stars. Yes the truth has alway’s been right before my eyes……….

Henry, The bushmen in the deserts of Africa talk to the stars and they also LISTEN TO THE STARS as well, They are amazed that we cannot “hear’ the stars. Since I came back from Africa so many many years ago, I still try to “hear” the stars on clear nights. The bushmen feel a “tapping” in their chest when the stars are going to talk to them, and they sit silently and listen to the messages from the stars.

I’m not sure if they really can hear the stars, but I do know that they listen quietly to themselves—and I think that is one thing that “we” (civilized folk) don’t do enough of. I’ve been doing a lot more “listening” to myself of late, and I think that has been very helpful.

What is my truth? What is the meaning of my life? What are my goals? Lots of questions, and some answers. Coming to the realization–the DEEP realization that this life is “temporary” at best and all we are guarneteed is TODAY. If I got the news tomorrow that I would die in 7 days–what would I do with those seven days? What would I say to those I love, those that have been there for me?

So, I say those things today. I hug my son D in the morning and I say “I love you” and I call or e mail my son C and I say, “I love you, and I am so proud of you.” I am trying to live TODAY like it WILL be the last day of my life. A day without any regrets, any feelings that I should have done something different. I may stumble tomorrow, and hit the pit again, but for TODAY I’m okay, I’m healing and life is good.

“The attraction phase usually lasts no more than 18 months”

Very interesting that it will last about that time frame. One I guess would call that the “honeymoon” stage that can last to a year or so. So after this “honeymoon” i.e. attraction phase we began to behave normally and then some see us as more or less like we really are. Some behavior patterns that might be repressed and controlled began to show itself. I believe sociopaths understand this “attraction phase” and then use it to pull you in hook line and sinker. This also explains why many are in a rush to move the relationship along quickly. They know there is a “time line”. Once under control then the mask comes off and the real people (if you can call them that?) stands before you. It is more then enough time to place traps hooks or whatever like moving in together or buying a home, sharing a business or money accounts. God forbid having a child. 18+ months is a long time for those that know how to use it to control one as a object possession. Still if one is educated and learn to look or feel for red flags and I do believe we will see them. We just need to remember to look (feel) for them and try to be as un-judgmental and open as one can be. One thing concerning red flags is that I try not to “look” for them but instead just allow them to happen over a natural course of time. If one tries to look for something we always find it even if it isn’t there.

Very interesting thread and thanks!

Dear James,

Very good points about not “looking for” the Red Flags, but NOTICE THEM IF THEY ARISE. And, if they are there, they WILL arise I am sure. My P-XBF was flying them high in the first four months, and I did see them, but pushed them off, excused them, tried to ignore them, push down my gut feelings as much as I could–anything to keep from acknowledging what my gut was telling me. It was too TOO painful to admit that he was a FAKE—but within 4 months he got comfortable that he had me HOOKED so the verbal snide remarks started coming more often, the anger outbursts which I tried to “fix”—by not doing anything to “make him” angry—how self demeaning I was—anything to hold on to the FANTASY that he wasn’t a fake.

One day it hit me like a ton of bricks. My husband had only one “buddy” or “friend” that I did not like, in fact, detested. They had been “buddies” for 30 plus years and the guy happened to have moved to the area my husband and Imoved back to (my home area) and accidently found each other again and so he started to come over all the time. Plus, we started going to his house, etc. It wasn’t long before we grated on each other’s nerves and he was vocal to my husband how I was an “uppity” woman and that my husband should get “control” over me like he had over HIS WIFE.

Well, eventually, before my husband died, this man’s wife FLEW THE COOP, broke the bars of her enslavement and left him. Oh, the pooor POOOOOOR VICTIM he was, he now was ALONE. POOOOOR HIM. Then after my husband died he was such a JERK the day before the memorial service I almost had to throw him out of my home. Blaming me for my husband’s death. Anyway, this man was despicable and I despised him no end. But while I was crying from another abuse by my now-X BF-P, my son and I drove by the freeway turn off to this “friend’s” home, and it SNAPPED that my BF was JUST LIKE HIM. That they were “twin brothers”—neither respected anyone, especially women, and all they wanted women for were sex and adoration and to wait on themm hand and foot, to provide a “home” for them and bow and scrape. That was when I absolutely KNEW that my BF was a P, uncaring, a TOTAL LIE.

It is amazing sometimes that things come to us in “flashes” like that that are so OBVIOUS that we cannot ignore them. Nomatter how we want to ignore them. We have to face that it is a FACT, and though we weep for our “loss” we have to accept that we can’t fix it, we have “been had.” That realization as I passed that freeway exit was like a “message from God” telling me the ABSOLUTE TRUTH, giving me an example I could not “brush away” like a cob web. It HIT ME IN THE FACE like a bucket of cold water.

The ONLY route I had to stop the pain from going on forever was to KICK THE P TO THE CURB….and it was like cutting off my own arm or leg in order to save my life. It was PAINFUL BUT NECESSARY, like a surgery for cancer—and I had to do it with a dull, rusty butcher knife without any anestethic, but it was all that would save my life, my soul and my sanity and STOP the pain. But it was worth it.

James & Ox–Your points are so right on! My ex S and I moved in together after only dating for six months. Now he is engaged. He has known her since the end of December and got engaged within one month of meeting her. While we were together I saw the red flags, I was actually tripping on them, but I kept getting back up. He explained away each and every flag and I believed him. Eventually, I just exhausted myself. There have been red flags for his new victim, but she is not seeing them. For example, he resigned from his job because he was stealing money. I believe she only knows what he is telling her. Sometimes it still doesn’t seem real that he is this way. I see all the destruction that he causes, but I still can’t believe what I am seeing.

I have been reading a number of articles on this site and they are really good. They make me think. I asked my counselor the other day–why can’t I let go? I don’t love him and I don’t want to be with him, but I can’t let go. I actually still think about having sex with him and it makes me sick thinking about him having sex with someone else. If I said this to anyone that would think I was crazy, but I don’t think that here–among friends. Also, I have to take one day at a time with NC. I have children so this is difficult. I try to communicate only by email and text messaging, but it is hard. If I do speak to him I try to keep it about the kids. When does this get easier? Each day I need to consciously not communicate with him and I get so anger when I think of things he did to me and my family. I am moving in a forward direction, but I am still stuck. Right now, I am trying to get my house ready to sell and I am moving closer to my family, about 20 minutes away. This is going to be a war with my ex, but I have to do this for myself and for the betterment of my kids. I don’t think they will see the benefit at first and I am not sure how much my ex S will try to manipulate my kids. He is going to be enraged because of his lack of control over me and the kids. I am really afraid he may try to take the kids from me. He will make it difficult for me.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to ramble, but I guess I needed to vent.

Dear Ginger,

YOur concerns about “attacks” from him because he loses control is valid. They are all about control.

I know it must be tough having to have any contact with him and him having contact with your kids, knowing what you know about him.

When does it get easier? I wish I could tell you a number, or a day. Unfortunately it is different for each of us, depending on how much we know, how “bad” the P is, our support, etc.

Knowledge=Power though, Ginger, and I suggest that you keep on gaining knowledge, through here and other places, learning all you can about how a psychopath “thinks” and “works” on us. Keep your EXTERNAL cool, and try not to “provoke” him, or get into power fights with him. Pick your battles, and don’t let him get a reaction when he pushes your buttons. YOu may have to become “the world’s greatest actress” but it is for the benefit of your children.

I am glad that you are seeing a counselor, and I hope to goodness that your counselor “gets it” about the psychopaths.

Their ability to lie and manipulate “free form” and not have any consideration for “us” makes you at a disadvantage when dealing with them. I hate to say this but you may have to learn to be as much of a manipulator and an actress and a “fake” as he is in order to “work” him for your children’s benefit.

First, realize that he is EVIL and that anything he does is for HIS gratification, your humiliation, and his PERCEIVED POWER.

Act like you don’t want to move but you HAVE TO, apologize to him, debase yourself, but don’t let him catch on that you are “working” him, so take it slowly. Many times they will try to push your buttons by “losing” the kids’ clothes, bringing them in late, or not picking them up at all. I wouldn’t even act like I “noticed” these jabs. They are for attention and to try to “start a fight.” If you ignore them they may get worse, or they may cease all together.

He will PRIMARILY, I think, use the kids as pawns in the game to push your buttons.

Also, I hope you have a good lawyer, that is another thing they will do is keep you in legal limbo and bankrupt you in the courts if they can.

Good luck, Ginger, and “keep the faith”–these Ps are evil, and unfeeling, except for revenge, rage, etc. and they just love to push your buttons.

My advise may not be the best, but think about various ways to “work” him—being honest and up front with him and him being the lying sack ofpoo that he is, he will turn it around on you. Just whatever you do, BE CAUTIOUS. (((hugs)))

I have such mixed feelings about my ex-cheater bf.. just like Ginger above, it actually makes me sick to think about him with another woman. I loved him with all his faults, and I’ve had a horrible time letting go even though I know it is for the best. Today I got so sick over it I just had to crawl in bed for a while.

kat- it hurt’s bad – real bad – if your going through Hell keep on going – we are here for you…….and you WILL survive….and the pain will stop—someday—-just take care of your health please, there is not alot you can do for the pain you are in now except go through it…and please realize this is a life lesson – don’t fail it….

I am experiencing huuuuge depression. was discarded by my S 6 weeks ago. He had even conned a shrink who kept telling ME I WAS in the wrong when I doubted this man’s comittment. How sickening.

I have left my job and the state in which I resided for 10 years. Have no money..No insurance. Staying with friend in one room apt in a major city.
Need job- how can I even function?
Losing my mind. Have no kids.
Any advice?
What if I do not survive this pure/raw evil?

Akitameg, you have no choice but to survive. You are all you have left. There are geat people on this site, and some of their wisdom and insight has helped me maintain a (tenuous) grip on reality. Read all the blogs on here, and know that you are not alone in this. There are decent caring people out there. All of the people on this site have been affected by a sociopath in one way or another. Its through other people sharing their stories that I am managing to put my own situation in perspective.

I have been maintaining a blog on my myspace page, sharing my thoughts and feelings, and sharing any advice i find on how to cope. I dont alow people to comment on it because of my ex, but if there is anything that can help on there then I am glad.

http://www.myspace.com/bigdude

There are a great many caring individuals on here, listen to them, take what tips you can from them, and try to rebuild. I am about 6 weeks out of my relationship, after being together for 7 years. I understand what you are feeling as does everybody on here. I have been helped here and you will too.
Good luck

hi everyone. my internet has been off, but i’ve been doing okay (as i certainly hope all my friends here are!) …
until TODAY!!!
so, NC for 14 weeks. this morning i see a call come in as UNAVAILABLE. i know it’s him. i’ve been able to ‘feel’ his energy lately. i don’t answer. he leaves a message. ready for this? :
”hi baby, it’s W. i need a favor but not like you think. uh…it’s important that i speak to you. you know, i don’t have anything against you at all. as a matter of fact, i hope you and your new boyfriend (I DON’T HAVE ONE!) are well and life is treating you good. but i need your advice. i don’t know where you’re at with me, but you know, i gravitate toward you when things are bad, and trust me (YEA RIGHT!), they’re bad. so, call me back on my cell. it’s important. you’re the only one i can talk to right now.”

my initial reaction? where does he find the BALLS, GUMPTION, GALL, whatever, to even dial my phone number? then, i think about it. about the 20 years i had his back, took care of him, loved him. i think about how we laughed, and loved, and how sexually attracted we were to eachother.
then i think about how he destroyed my entire being: my self-esteem, my heart, my love, my sanity. how he got a girl half my age pregnant while he was living with me, and lied about it for months and months, blaming me, and emotionally abusing me. no apologies, no discussion. i was dumped.

i didn’t call him back. but i’m feeling guilt about it. i’ve never turned my back to him when he was in need. even when we didn’t live in the same city. i was always there for him. i guess that was part of the problem.

okay, friends. so WHAT DOES HE WANT?
do i have any reason whatsoever to feel guilty?
if i don’t call him back, will he leave me alone?
thanks for your input.

LOstingrief, I am waiting for my ex-soc to pull that one on me, and I hope she never does. I had to call her today so I waited till I knew she was in class and called her cell phone. That way I could just leave a message. I told her not to call me (she cant afford to anyway now) but she needs to e-mail me something regarding a jont business venture. I want her release on it.
She is going to tweak me around about it, I already know this.
But, if she calls me like you ex did to you I already know what to say. The trouble is in making them angry. Have to be careful there, my ex is a fruitloop, she could actually be capable of anything.
If he calls back do not answer. And keep not answering. We become addicted to these people. And a habit is hard to break. Believe me, I know.

bigdude: i can’t answer. he is so seductive that i am certain he’d have me twisted and hooked within five minutes. he’s a MASTER s/p/n.
i called a friend and they said that, ‘of course it is wonderful to want to be there for someone in need (MY THINKING), BUT (big but!) it is masochistic to feel guilt not being there for someone who did nothing but undermine you, torment you, cheat on you, mind-twist you, lie to you and thieve against you.”

i feel better but still wonder what he’s truly looking to know, see, have after all this time away from me. last i heard from him, he ”didn’t even LIKE” me; hated me ”swag”; blamed me for his cheating (and for his hating his wife!). now, i’m the only one he can talk to? what is it REALLY about?

Dear Lostingrief. Good for you not returning the call, but why feel guilty. You owe him nothing, now, he broke the relationship in a hurtful way and thought nothing of you then – why should you bail him out. If he has messed up his life, then it is his responsibility to sort it out. I dont know whether he will stop calling, but if he gets no reaction from you, he will probably get the message. Lets put it this way – if you were to call him back, he wont leave you alone. You just have to be really strong and hard hearted if needs be to protect yourself.

beverly: yes! hard-hearted!!! that’s it!!!
i have never been hard-hearted in my entire existence. it is so incredibly foreign to me. but i’m starting to understand why it is an important survival mechanism!
i will try hard to be hard-hearted in this situation. he deserves nothing more!

Those people with caring and nurturing natures are ideal prey for those people with personality disorder. We have to learn to protect our tender hearts and not to offer ourselves and our gifts to those who do not deserve and who would seek to damage us.

yea, i hear ya’, but they sure are STEALTH.

Dear LIG,

GOOD FOR YOU NOT CALLING HIM! You can believe he is not deserving of anything from you, even a phone call. He is trying to hook you back into his web, just like a spider.

Yes, life may be the pits for him. SO WHAT? If things are bad for him “really bad” WHOSE FAULT IS IT? Yours? NO. Whose responsibility is it? Yours? NO.

If you had chit on someone the way he chit on you, would you have the BALLS to call them and “ask a favor?” NO! Then why should YOU feel guilty? GUILT is what you feel when you have done something bad. You have NOT DONE ANYTHING BAD.

I went to the casino and blew my paycheck and I can’t make my car payment now. I really NEED you to make it for me. If you don’t feel guilty for not doing it, you are a bad person. If I get in trouble because of the way I have behaved and you don’t fix it, you are a bad person. IS ANY OF THAT TRUE? Of course not. Well, why is it true for him? Why should you be obligated to fix his screw ups? You are NOT! That doens’t mean you are hard hearted, it means you are REASONABLE and RATIONAL. You don’t owe him a thing.

(Hi Oxy). Dear Lostingrief. If you are going to develop your boundaries, you may as well get some practice in! He is just chancing it, to see if you weaken, the old sob story often works on women. Oxy is right, he just wants to hook you back into his game.

lostingrief: My EX called me from GA desperately asking my help with his financial disaster. We were engaged at the time (so I believed) and naturally, I would do anything for us as a couple.

Well, his desperate situation was (as told by him) was that his EX wife conned a newly licensed attorney to bring him into court for missing 2 months of child support payments. He changed companies and was working in a company that’s HQ was in Texas and told me that Texas didn’t automatically attach child support payments to go directly to his EX wife … that he didn’t realize this … and now he’s in a jam with his Ex-wife, the attorney, the court.

What did I do? Frantically, I wired him the amount of $15,000 for all payments owned for future and the 2 months back child support payments.

Do to his arrest … he couldn’t contact his boss since he was only given 1 phone call. He lost his job.

When he got out of jail and was back in the house I owned in Georgia … of course I asked if he was financially available to pay the mortgage now that he didn’t have his job. He told me, he was OK with finances for a few months, not to worry about the mortgage payments … that he was looking for another job, and everything should be OK for the next few months.

Months went by after this fiasco … he was in and out of court with his EX wife …

He then told me that he was getting nervous about not having a job yet … and if I could help in out with $$$ just in case he ran out … he needed to ensure the mortgage was paid …

Sure enough, I wired another $5,000 down to him.

He thanked me and said, he sent the mortgage bank several months of mortgage payments so that he didn’t have to worry about the mortgage and he would concentrate on getting another job.

So of course, my mind was put at ease …

Months later, he called frantically asking if I didn’t love him anymore and why did I have him locked out of the house. I was sitting in work during this phone call and immediately said, what are you talking about, I didn’t lock you out … what are you talking about …?

He said he went to start the car, the battery was dead … he then had the neighbor take him to the auto store to purchase a new battery … when he got home, half the furniture was on the front lawn, with our stuff and the sheriff’s pad locked the doors … took our pets … and he was now calling me asking me what was going on.

Of course, I’m floored over this … I told him that I didn’t do this to him, it must be some mistake … I got off the phone with my EX and immediately called my attorney … told him what was just told to me … he contacted the appropriate people in the courts, sheriff’s office etc.

When I got home, my attorney told me that my house was foreclosed.

Panic struck me from my head to my toes … I was spinning with fear, confusion … trying to find out what we could in one state, talking with my fiance in the state it happened in … finding out that he was trying to check into a hotel, get the pets back, talk with the sheriff’s/courts etc.

We were back and forth all night long doing the best we can do … the situation was so surreal since paperwork was never submitted to me in the state I live and I held the mortgage. My mortgage company never notified me, the sherrif’s office never notified me … no one pertaining to my mortgage, the courts … no one notified me.

To make a long story short, I believed everything was being handled with the attorney I retained in Georgia … this attorney told me he’d handle everything with my fiance and for me to focus on my lawsuit I was handling at the time against my bosses.

That was July 2002 … in November of 2006, I uncovered paper work my EX left behind in my house.

The money I sent him for his back child support payments of $15,000 was never paid to his EX wife … he was never arrested that year by his EX, he was however, in court with her the previous fall …

He bought 2 horses (1 for him, 1 for his other fiance that lived with him in my house, slept in my bed, used my walk-in closet), put a down payment for a brand new Ford Explorer for her, bought 2 saddles, a Rinker boat, whine and dined he and his other fiancee on my dime, took trips on my credit card, bilked them to their limits … and I had no clue this was going on either … since the credit cards went to the Georgia address … not to my home address where I live …

Should I go on … about their EMERGENCY phone calls … all frantic and baby baby baby it’s you and me and you’re the only one I can rely on … blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Hang up … erase your answering machines … and stay on this site with us sweety, it’s a con …

Besides, who cares what his problems are … it is non of your concern.

Peace.

Damn Wini, yours makes my ex-soc look like a rank amateur.

Lostingrief, you will be fine. You owe him nothing. You have to protect yourself first.

Lost in Grief,
You and GeminiFairy must be on the same wavelength today because her ex also called her asking her for favors. They always call when they want something, don’t they. They don’t care how much hell they put you through. And they think just the sound of their voice will get you under their spell again so you will give them what they want. Don’t let him do that to you. See him for what he is–a cheating, two-timing using liar. Walk away.

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