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A Sociopathic Interaction

 

I thought I’d depart from a more standard post and offer below some verbatim interactions I recently had with a client whom I’ve always suspected as having sociopathic tendencies.

I share these interactions (with comments) not for their excitement, because their subject matter is in fact extremely mundane; but rather for the sociopathic elements I believe they instructively contain.

My client, T, is a 35 year old male, with a “work history” of voyeuristic, sexually aggressive behavior towards females. My role with him is as a “consulting therapist” for a community agency. T is not psychotic, and has no reality testing impairment. He is a verbally quick, superficially engaging, extroverted individual.

My suspicions of his having sociopathic tendencies (whether or not he meets fuller criteria for sociopathy) derive from the kinds of interactions with (and experiences of) him that I share below.

I should also note that T has a fairly substantial job history that has been undermined by his predatory behaviors (especially at work) towards females. Presently, he has held down a part-time job for several months with an excellent company. However, he does not work with women at this job, which decreases his chances of acting-out.

Briefly setting the scene, I’ve been asked by agency staff to address their concerns that T may recently be non-medication compliant (I repeat, he does not have a psychotic history). T has assured multiple staff repeatedly that he’s been perfectly, uninterruptedly medication compliant.

I meet T today at the agency, where a staff party is unfolding on the first floor. We meet in the midst of this rather crowded, claustrophobic scene. Very quickly, almost immediately, he asks me if I’ll get him something to eat? Because I intend to get something to eat for myself, although I experience his request as rather presumptuous and aggressive, I agree.

However, as I’m making a plate for him with two small sandwiches, I am intercepted by a staff person who informs me that T is not to be eating the party food. She is already on to him, because she’s already explained this to him: It is a staff, not client, party. As other clients enter the agency they, too, will feel entitled to eat the food if he does.

This is a reasonable limit, and I understand it. As I note, prior to my arrival, she had already explained this to T. However, this didn’t deter T from asking me, instantly upon my arrival, to make him a plate. After all, by using me he could circumvent the limit.

“T” sees this staff person informing me of the situation, and when I return to him, I explain the situation. He is somewhat amused, and also a bit irritated by, this frustrating development.

A minute or so later, seeing that the plate I was making up for him remains untouched on the table, he suggests with remarkable audacity, “Why don’t you get the plate now? Nobody’s touched it. Nobody’s looking.”

I am used to this kind of reaction from him, nevertheless I venture, “Don’t you think that would be unethical, since we were just told again that you can’t eat the party food?”

He says, with absolute equanimity, “You can bring it upstairs”¦no one will know. You can have one sandwich and I can have the other.”

Striking here is, of course, the obvious manipulativeness, but also the utterly blithe, shameless presumptuousness.

I’ve written in a prior post of the “shameless audacity” of the sociopath; T has shameless audacity in his personality.

To clarify, T knows very well that his latest suggestion (that I lift his plate and bring it upstairs) flatly transgresses staff’s reasserted limit, the basis of which he fully understands (even if it inconveniences him).

And there is that disarmingly comfortable presumption of my complicity in his suggestion to circumvent a staff rule (no less knowing that I am among staff).

Now here, I make a confession: Because I am really hungry, I bring a plate of food upstairs with me, where he and I are to meet. And because I’m constitutionally unable to eat in front of someone who is also hungry while I eat, I offer T a sandwich from my plate, arguably totally enabling his latest manipulation.

Now what does he do, in response to my gesture?

He pulls out his wallet and says, “What do I owe you?”

Now this is gamesmanship. This is a highly insincere gesture. He has no intention to pay me anything, and he knows on some level how ludicrous this gesture is. More audacious is that he knows that I know how absurd and insincere his gesture is. Yet with no shame whatsoever he engages me in this absurd charade.

I say: T, are you playing games with me?
T (convincingly, still fingering his wallet): No, what do I owe you?
S: For what?
T: The food, man.
S: You’re playing games, T”¦knock it off.
T: Hey, I’m just asking.
S: I know you’re just asking, but it’s a game you’re playing.

No big deal. I’m not looking to be psychotherapeutic here, just confronting of his bullshit. He drops the subject abruptly, because he has as little interest in it as he did to pay me anything for the food.

It’s as if this shallow, false gesture of gratitude was, for him, a fleeting source of entertainment, or solution to his momentary boredom.

Now at this point I ask him about the meds.

S: So what’s up with the meds? I understand there’s some concern you’re not taking them.
T: I’m taking them.
S: You are?
T: Yeah.
S: So why’s the staff concerned about that?
T: I don’t know. I’m takin’ them.
S: Every day?
T: Yeah. Every day.
S: The bloodwork doesn’t show it. The meds don’t show up in the bloodwork.
T: I don’t know how to explain that.

And there isn’t the remotest sense of accountability, of his feeling the remotest discomfort or anxiety to be faced with this suspicious, if not incriminating, evidence. He has reassured staff that he’s been taking his meds, and now he reassures me. He doesn’t find this bloodwork issue embarrassing, or puzzling; it’s more just a nuisance to be told about it.

T: I take ’em every day I work.
S: You said you take them every day.
T: I do.
S: Every day you work?
T: Yeah. I take ’em every day I work.
S: You work every day?
T: Yeah.
S: Weekends?
T; No ”¦not on Saturday and Sunday.
S: So you don’t take them every day.
T: Yeah, but I take ’em every day I work.

There is real glibness, and slipperiness here; also the brazen attitude that this incoherent, logic/reasoning should satisfy me.

S: You said you took them everyday, and now you’re telling me you take them only during the week, meaning 5 days, not 7.
T: Yeah.

Bald-faced lying exposed; yet again, neither embarrassment, nor the sense of anything to account for. He has used confusing, diversionary language as a strategy for evading responsibility. But even when the strategy has failed (very obviously), even when he’s been patently exposed for his prevaricating, he acts like he hasn’t been exposed for anything.

The blitheness is so striking, so comfortable, that it makes you doubt yourself—i.e., perhaps I didn’t expose him for anything?

S: So how does your not taking the meds on the weekends constitute your taking them every day?
T: I said I take them every day I work.
S: You’re saying that now, T, but you didn’t say that initially, and you haven’t been telling staff that.
T: Whatever, I’ll take ’em.

He’s annoyed now, not embarrassed. This is inconvenient for him. He’s not ashamed, but irritated. His attitude is something like, “So what. Okay”¦you got me”¦congratulations”¦who cares?”

T: I take the meds to keep me on the up and up at work.
S: Up and up? What do you mean?
T: Yeah”¦to make sure I’m like”¦exercising good judgement.
S: You don’t need that good judgment on the weekends?
T: I’m fine on the weekends. I take ’em every day, like I said, to make sure I’m good to go at work.
S: Uh huh”¦but we’ve already established you don’t take them every day”¦you haven’t been taking them on the weekends.
T: Yeah, I get you. Whatever. Okay.

There is a continued manipulation of the facts, a continued effort to blur the distinction between “every day” (7 days/week) and “weekdays” (5 days/week). It remains striking that T conveys an absence of shame”¦not suppressed shame”¦but an absence of shame. There is a difference between someone who, when caught lying, responds with suppressed shame versus no shame. T has no shame.

S: So you’re telling me you’ll start taking them seven days a week”¦that’s something I and the staff can trust?
T (apathetically): Yeah.
S: Uh huh”¦okay”¦.and you’re okay if I report this to the staff? The truth about your medication situation? And your intentions going forward?
T: Whatever”¦yeah”¦why would I care?

About now, the conversation shifts, when T abruptly raises the question of why we have to keep meeting weekly? This is a question he raises repeatedly—and, I think, manipulatively, passive-aggressively, and maybe somewhat impulsively—every week or other week, despite our having addressed it many times.

T: So”¦what do you think? You think we need to keep meeting?

This signals also his desire to drop the medication issue, as it bored and inconvenienced him.

S: You ask me this pretty much every week, and I pretty much tell you the same thing.
T: Yeah, but what do you think? I’m doing pretty well, right? No problems with women lately”¦I’m holding down my job. Why do we have to keep meeting?
S: We meet, T, every week, because it’s the expectation of the program that we do. You know this very clearly. The program expects its clients to meet every week with a therapist”¦even if just for a check-in.
T: Yeah, but what’s the point? I’m doing fine. Maybe we can cut it back to once every other week?

He is manipulating”¦cajoling. He wants what he wants.

S: It’s funny, but you’d think that you come out to see me, instead of my coming to see you. I drive 30 minutes to come here, to see you”¦sometimes for just a few minutes”¦you walk two blocks, I drive 30 minutes”¦who’s making the sacrifice? What’s the skin off your back?
T: I hear ya”¦I’m just saying I don’t see the point of meeting. You’ve said yourself I’m doing well.
S: You are doing well. You’re holding down this job, which everyone applauds you for”¦.you’re basically doing real well. Then again, the reason we started meeting in the spring was about your failing to own some of your behaviors”¦like the female issue. We were meeting about your failure to take responsibility for your actions. And now, with this medication situation, it’s still more of that”¦your lying, or only telling half-truths”¦this is the latest thing”¦your not being honest and responsible about your meds.
T: Look, I don’t care if we keep meeting”¦I’ve got no problem with you. I just don’t think I need it. It’s a waste of time.

No interest whatsoever in the larger points I made. He blithely dismisses them, and then superficially, emptily affirms his willingness to cooperate. But he will ask again, soon, maybe next week, about our cutting our meetings.

As I warned, these are mundane interactions. But mundane interactions can be full of interesting, diagnostically suggestive clues. In these instances, T deploys, rather characteristically, some verbal gymnastics and attitudes that, I think, lend strength to (rather than weaken) my hypothesis that he is sociopathically inclined.

(This article is copyrighted (c) 2008 by Steve Becker, LCSW.)


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97 Comments on "A Sociopathic Interaction"

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Ok, I loved this post, especially the “mundane” conversation because it really does demonstrate their slippery/subtle manipulation conversational skills.———–

““You can bring it upstairs”no one will know. You can have one sandwich and I can have the other.”—“I bring a plate of food upstairs with me, where he and I are to meet. And because I’m constitutionally unable to eat in front of someone who is also hungry while I eat, I offer T a sandwich from my plate, arguably totally enabling his latest manipulation.”

LOL LOL LOL, the “possible” sociopath wins again! (sorry I couldn’t resist) 🙂 Jen2008

I think all this points to why some of us (like me) are good targets. I so quickly dismiss what is wrong, or worse and more usually: take their viewpoint. I can just see me saying to the staff, well, it does seem a little unreasonable that he can’t have anything.Or saying to T, “Well, I understand your request, let me see if we CAN change to every other week meetings.” Or thinking to myself ” Well, T changed the subject, but that’s okay, I’ll bring it up again some other time when he can focus.” And when he offered to pay, I’d rush to assure him “oh no, of course not, why would you pay me? forget it, please” ….geez!!! MAYBE I would have had a “HUH?!!” reaction to the offer to pay, that is about the best I can say for myself!!! Just a life time of trying to please…..though in a group setting, discussing a work problem, I don’t hesitate to even speak truth to power. But one on one, especially, I just get into instant empathy…..deserved or not. That is why I really need to work on my boundaries and ethics and learn to say NO without shame, for instance, when a man inappropriately hits on me or whatever. It’s like I don’t want to embarrass him and put that above my discomfort and my need to be clear!

This is a good post because it reminds me of conversations I have had and is very validating about what was really going on and what I let myself get sucked into. I wish I had a good BS meter like you!

How this post brought back anxiety-producing memories! Multiply those mundane moments by every second of every day, and then double them for the times when I lived with both a P husband and a P child and you have my life for years.

Everything is a contest and a game with them. Everything. And the game never stops, never breaks for anything. It’s a wonder any of us survive with any sanity at all.

Fascinating post Steve. You were in a professional situation that required you to be analyze and judge his behavior. That’s something most of us don’t do much. We probably should.

I used to have those odd, circular conversations with an S on a pretty regular basis. I knew he was “being silly” as I used to privately think of his dishonesty. I pretty much ignored it as a matter of courtesy. Much of it was so mundane, I didn’t place great significance on the pattern. Most of his silly stuff had to do with always trying to apear clever or dominant. It seemed kinda sad when seen in that light, so I let it slide.

Dumb, huh? I was getting all this raw data, but I never really processed the information he was feeding me about his character.

Do you council many people with anti-social tendancies? Does it affect your views on humanity?

Justabouthealed said “I can just see me saying to the staff, well, it does seem a little unreasonable that he can’t have anything.:

Although I couldn’t resist poking fun at Steve B about the sociopath winning, I actually did think (when reading the post) exactly what you said above. I was thinking, ah, man that seems kinda MEAN to be having a party with a table full of food right in front of people and then telling them they can’t have any.

Would the circular talk about the medications qualify as “gaslighting”? Seems very typical of a sociopathic interaction. I once caught mine in a lie, and he said “wow, you sure have a long memory”, trying to put the attention back on me.

I already posted on this thread, but the post disappeared somewhere in cyberspace. I wonder if there is an island of lost posts somewhere!

Dear Steve,

This is a great post. It reminds me much of the Bad Man and his slippery rules for having “integrity in relationship.”

Unfortunately, I am wired exactly like justabouthealed and this concerns me. I am applying for my MSW and want to get an LCSW but I keep wondering… will I ever get it? I am getting good practice now as I just started a job with teens doing the WrapAround Process (maybe you have heard of it).

I just have this feeling that I can get all the training in the world and I will still be someone that is easily manipulated. I don’t know if I will ever be any good at what I am heading toward.

What to do…

Aloha

Very interesting post!

The sociopath always figures out a way to feed off others, doesn’t he!

Further thoughts –

I’ve only dealt with one P, one N and one S. As I see it, that makes my life thus far ridiculously fortunate.

But something Steve wrote about “T” set me to thinking about the P. (OK, the P may not have been a P. He really gave me the creeps, so maybe I’m being unfair.) Any way, he was definitely enjoying an antisocial personality disorder. I say enjoying, ’cause most of the time his subordinates were suffering and he was enjoying every minute of it. He was a Warrant Officer in the Marine Corps. I met him when I was a 19 year old PFC, way back in the early 80s. He left an indelible impression. He used to boast about the pets he tortured to death as a child, the torments he visited on his wife and children, and his crowning achievement, pulling off a hit and run vehicular homicide. His favorite pastime was orchestrating situations where other people would hurt each other, fight or otherwise act badly. He was really, really good at it. He particularly enjoyed watching people agonize over guilt, shame and remorse.

He liked to persuade people to do things they would later feel degraded by. I hope “T” is not such a person. It was the offer to “pay” Steve that rang my alarm bells. Over the years I was truly amazed at the pain the WO managed to cause, but most days, his games were remarkably petty. “T” may be a lot more malignant than is readily apparent. His “problems” with women may actually have sadistic components. That’s something I saw in the Marines quite a bit.

Sometimes people think that a sadist wants to drag others down and shame them because the sadist has a need to believe their target is no better than they are. I don’t think so. I think they do it to torment the victim, pure and simple.

I agree that they enjoy tormenting the victim. It’s interesting that you point out how the WO enjoyed watching people agonize over guilt, shame and remorse. The P I knew liked to say highly inappropriate things to his young daughters, or in front of them. For example, bringing up the topic of suppositories, and then insisting on explaining . . . While I was all but kicking him in the shins and ready to get out the baseball bat! “Not appropriate,” I started out, under my breath. “NOT APPROPRIATE . . .,” through gritted teeth.

You get the idea. I’m sure he was enjoying all the discomfort, and of course the more I tried to get him to shut up the more he pretended he didn’t know what I was talking about.

LOL while reading Dr. Steves coversation with “T” I automatically wanted to get up and start beating my head against the wall(not literally) I remember all the circular conversations I had with my “S” that got no where and left me looking like Wyle E. Coyote after one of his latest ACME gadgets blew up on him! The desparation to get to “a point” that never did come and the energy wasted on nothing! And all the entanglements within the circular conversations like manipulation tactics that made my futile attempts “to get through to her” seem even more futile. Wow! And to add insult to injury she always told me I didn’t possess communication skills

Thank goodness now,after being armed with the knowledge of what a sociopath is, I can save a little sanity by recognizing her patterns. She is out of my life but not totally expunged from it. She now is doing her own futile attempts of trying to get “back in” my life and as I stand up for myself I can feel and see the anxiety build in her because of her loss of control (not to mention her meal ticket) And the circular conversations she tries to have with me now have thrown her for a loop because of my different responses and reactions and it really has perplexed her so she has changed her whole entire structure of manipulation tactics which I am already on to. They are very intelligent………too bad they will never put it to good use

When the Trojan Horse Psychopath, who was, at that time, installed in my mother’s home as her caregiver, suddenly came up with a new vehicle (after having been turned down by me for a loan to buy one) I started to get suspicious and asked him “Where’d you get the money for the vehicle” and he answered my question by saying “Oh, I have FRIENDS in Texas.”

A few days later when I found out that he had “lied” to me by omission, I decided to have a “come to Jesus meeting” with him about the LIE. He defended himself by saying he didn’t “Lie,” he just stated a TRUE statement in response to my question, as he DID have friends in Texas, therefore he hadn’t lied…he had ONLY deceived me.

I got the dictionary out and looked up deceit which said by way of a explanation “a lie.” He never did “admit” he had “lied” but stated he would not deceive me in the future! Yea, RIGHT!

My mistake at that point, of course, was giving him “another chance”—which he took more than full advantage of. Though my gut told me that his “remorse” was not genuine, I over rode that feeling. My trust in this individual was shattered, but none-the-less I still gave him an opportunity to continue his “con.”

Later, looking through the letters that he and my son exchanged (only the ones FROM my P-son giving him instructions) my P-son said to him “Oh, don’t worry if Mom gets mad at you, Grandma always takes MY side.” Of course my P-son, working in concert with him were “working” my mother to tell her how “abusive” I was to her, how “neglectful” and here this “savior” was there to take care of her every need since I wouldn’t, and I was trying to drive this god sent person away.

He played it up to my mother, and very sweetly told her that he thought even though I had “forgiven” him, that it would be best if he just left—and of course by then he had her hooked, and she BEGGED him to stay! I was sunk from that time forward.

Even the biggest cons are generally made up of a tapestry of small “mundane” acts. When we see dishonesty (lies, manipulation, rules breaking, entitlement, even conning on a minor scale) I think unless it is something “big” like bank robbery, we tend to gloss over it and be “nice” and “polite” when in truth, the situation doesn’t deserve Emily Post-like etiquette. It deserves FIRM boundaries.

Not to be overly critical or second guess your judgments, Steve, but you did let him manipulate you into the sandwich, rather than a FIRM NO because of YOUR “discomfort” in eating in front of him. So from HIS persective, he “won” the round in his mind at least. A small “victory” over you because of your training in politeness (Insert your mother’s voice here) “It’s not polite to eat in front of others who don’t have anything, Stevie, you need to learn to share.” LOL

Good post and great perspective on the P-like tendencies.

I disagree with others about the sandwich. I think Steve made an informed choice in that situation, knowing that the S would perceive it as winning. I too would have felt uncomfortable eating in front of a hungry person, no matter if it had been Jack the Ripper. The way I interpreted the situation was that Steve was aware of what was going on in the interaction and made a choice that was most beneficial to himself, which was to deal with the hunger, and in line with his own sense of propriety (not eating in front of someone). I think he actually “won” because he was true to himself. The fact that the sociopath thought he won was inconsequential. Steve didn’t care how the sociopath perceived it. I think that’s very smart not to get caught in trying to “win”. Otherwise, you have stooped to the level of playing the sociopath’s game. The idea is not to beat the sociopath, but to take care of yourself, which is what Steve did.

Steve: I have a tangential question. The medication this guy is on — what does it do? Does he feel it emasculates him, and therefore he has more of a desire to get past you in terms of when he takes the medication?

I guess I’m musing that this might be someone who would have a lower score (PCL-R) than the usual cut-off, but who might have more of a drive to play these games because you’re the “cop” and his masculinity is at stake. In other words, are his P tendencies exacerbated by the situation?

In my experience, the really dangerous ones will do those tricks in ANY situation, regardless of whether they stand to gain — just because that’s what they do. They don’t need any additional motivation to do all those power trips.

Ox-D: I remember your story of “friends in Texas” from a comment awhile back. On this issue of lying, I think we should look at the context of the lie.

If you ask me, “How are you?” I might have had a horrible day, full of intrusive thoughts and self-blame. I may not want any focus on me at all, so I’ll say, “I’ve been up to my eyeballs; how are you?” There’s a “nothing” answer for you. It means, I don’t care to reveal myself and I just threw up a smokescreen.

Your Trojan Horse seems to have been adept at playing “You can’t catch me. You ain’t got nuthin’ on me.” He sounds dangerous, but more cunning than some of these dysfunctional creeps. His lying sounds “clever.”

The P I was involved with would just say, “I’m an engineer. See that cell tower? I put up that one, and all those other ones as far as you can see!” I later learned he might have gotten through one semester of college, but that never got in the way of his posturing. That sort of lying isn’t even clever! “I was a Navy Seal . . .” How many of us have heard that one?

Steve Becker

Loved it!

How it shows us all how hard it is to even have a simple conversation with someone like T. Trying to have a conversation with my ex was draining both mentally and emotionally. I saw it like trying to open up a brand new jar of Jelly. How sometimes we will struggle with it and then finally give up and ask someone else to “try” to open it. Having T or others like him that will give only half-truths or even flat out lies. How manipulation is always part of the game plan. It is more or less second nature to them. Offering to pay for “the sandwich” part of a game. Telling you he takes the meds all the time but really only 5 days a week again part of the game. Bringing up the “do we have to meet every week” routine and then saying “T: Look, I don’t care if we keep meeting”I’ve got no problem with you. I just don’t think I need it. It’s a waste of time.” When in fact it very very important to him or he wouldn’t keep bringing up the “ideal”…

No wonder when our relationships finally ends we are so “drained” and emotionally dead after we kept trying and trying to open up the damn jar of Jelly!

Stargazer, on your comment, yes, Steve was aware of what he was doing (being manipulated) most of what I said was tongue-in-cheek (see the LOL)

Rune, I totally agree that the Trojan Horse Psychopath is dangerous. He is the one who tried to kill my son C when C found out that the THP was having an affair with his wife. He is also a 3 x sex offender (incarcerated) for kids 9, 11, and 14 (I think in earlier posts I may have said 8 yrs old, but my son C corrected me) anyway, he is VERY HIGH RISK VIOLENT. He got out on parole (against my expressed consent) December 5th. I have been in contact with his PO and made it plain, IN WRITING, that WHEN he reoffends that I will be on the capitol steps screaming their names (the parole board’s) I had a long conversation with the head of the state parole board and I have no doubt that he wants to keep me placated, and I wrote a long letter after a telphone call to his PO.

By some gtlitch, because only one of his crimes was committed in ARkansas his 20+ year history of sexual offenses, robbery and violence is not “held against him” in this state, so he got a level 2 (not likely to reoffend) even though in Texas he was a level 4 (A HIGH RISK VIOLENCE) and he has a professional documented diagnosis as ASPD.

I also know what you mean about “social untruths” that are really just “polite” ways of saying “Nun’ya” or “I don’t want to talk” or just exchanges with people who are not important in our lives. Even if I was coming back from a cancer treatment, knowing I was going to die in a year, if I met someone on an elevator and they said “How are you today” I would respond “Just fine thank you”

I have a standing joke too that I use with people I know a bit better but don’t want to talk to in any depth. I will respond with “I’m doing just FINE, but I’ll get over it.” LOL It always gets a chuckle and no serious prying into my life.

What James said about us being so “drained and emotionally dead” is so true. I have never been so TIRED in my entire life. I couldn’t shut my brain down to regather strength or rest. I was so physically TIRED from the stress I could hardly put one foot in front of another for months. Even when I was caring for my stepfather when he had cancer and seldom had more than a couple of hours sleep in a row, I was not that tired.

Strength is not just “emotional strength” or “physical strength” if you use up one, you use up the other, they are the SAME, we only have so much energy and it is finite. If we use it in the STRESS, just coping, or trying to, we go down hill rapidly and deplete our stores of reserve strength.

I find that I am FINALLY getting to a point that I have some reserve stength to call upon if there is something that bothers me, and though I may over react a BIT, it is quickly taken care of and my emotions and brain come back to center quickly. Someting that in the past would wind me up for a month, is now over in a matter of minutes or hours.

Ooooh, Oxy, I miss so many nuances when I read posts too fast! 🙂

Dr. Hare recounts a couple conversations with sociopaths in his book Without Conscience, Dr. Steve, that are eerily familiar to what you just recounted.

What this also reminds us is that these people do this to therapists & doctors and unfortunately not all of them are as savvy as you. And therefore they get away with it.

So many of the chats and conversations we post that Cyberpaths have with their targets on our site go this same way!! The victims end the conversation before they realize that no real progress was made, nothing was learned that they needed to know and the Cyberpath somehow came out ahead again. Their use of Cognitive Dissonance and their sheer cheek in unbelievable but so so so hard for the average person to catch!

Excellent post.

Ox Drover,

“A few days later when I found out that he had “lied” to me by omission, I decided to have a “come to Jesus meeting” with him about the LIE. He defended himself by saying he didn’t “Lie,” he just stated a TRUE statement in response to my question, as he DID have friends in Texas, therefore he hadn’t lied”he had ONLY deceived me.”

That used to happen quite a bit with the N ministry leader who I associated with a few years ago. He was a master of slander, but he never said anything that wasn’t true. This was a matter of tremendous pride for him. It also helped him to avoid getting caught. Even when someone would realize they’d been misled, and trace their confusion back to him, they’d have to privately admit that they had not been lied to. He had given them misleading snippets of truth, and they’d filled in the missing puzzle piece with a lie that seemed to fit. Does that make sense? It’s the best way I can explain it right now.

I started to catch on, because he had to think a lot about what he was saying and conveying with his voice, posture and expressions in order to pull this off. He’d get this blank, faraway expression on his face as he constructed the complex web of half-truths that would lead the dupe/s to conclude a falsehood.

He’s slick. He’s got a large, affluent congregation that still believes he’s a tragic and heroic martyr who deserves their unwavering financial and social support. He and his wife are unrepentant scam artists, but that’s hard to see unless you’ve actually caught them in a theft and/or smear campaign.

Rune,

“If you ask me, “How are you?” I might havie had a horrible day, full of intrusive thoughts and self-blame. I may not want any focus on me at all, so I’ll say, “I’ve been up to my eyeballs; how are you?” There’s a “nothing” answer for you. It means, I don’t care to reveal myself and I just threw up a smokescreen.”

Yepindoodles, that sort of dodge is legit. Essentially, you’re good humoredly letting the person know that your emotional state is “out of bounds” for now. That’s how most healthy people handle these questions.

My friends are abnormally candid. (Like most geeks, I’m blunt myself. Only the candid can put up with the candid for long!) I asked one of them how she was doing yesterday. She said “OK. Just OK.” I know she’s got a tough balancing act in life, and I really admire her. She didn’t want to go into it. She wanted me to focus on the positive and productive. I feel honored by her trust, and I respected her enough to trust that if she needed help, she’d tell me so. I kept our conversation brief and businesslike, and told her I looked forward to getting together later. If I had dug for details, she would have avoided my call the next time around rather than resort to blowing me off with an artful dodge. Either way is fine, artful dodge or cool candor. They’re much the same when the object is simply defining your boundaries.

Some acquaintances say “OK, Just OK.” when they actually want me to become concerned and drag the details of their tale of tragedy and woe out of them. I find that taking these people’s claim at face value and ignoring the pity play is a good tactic. It causes them to become more honest to get their needs met or go searching for a fellow drama club member to act out with. Either way, I’m not blundering into unwholesome drama due to my dumb-bunny rescuing habits.

Steve:
That conversation you posted just brought back in a big way the whole essence of my x-S… disrespecting and disregarding any rules or conditions that “inconvienced” him and being a manipulator by nature… Wow…. a blast from the past!!!!

Don’t know how real this letter is from a “s”, but the psychologist took it seriously anyway.

http://counsellingresource.com/ask-the-psychologist/2008/12/31/am-i-sociopathic/

It is a person describing herself and asking if she is a sociopath. I wonder if they do have this much self awareness. The person I was involved with seemed to have quite a bit of self-awareness on some jerk factors, and on others, I think he was ALMOST totally convinced by his own lies. Certainly WOULDN’T see responsibility or accept it. Oh heck, it depended on which way the wind was blowing! He hated for me to quote from his old emails, he said there was no way he could predict how he would feel tomorrow or the next day. YUP, because self-interest has a way of changing with what is going on. He did seem sincere about depression at times and feelings of emptiness. Otherwise he said “Feelings! I have no training in feelings!” and seemed really lost about what others actually feel. But could say I love you, to get sex, in a heart beat.

I did observe some of the crazy behavior/conversation patterns in the short time I knew my S. But I didn’t know him long enough to know if he had any awareness about them. I did find out a few months after our break-up that his wife had once divorced him for pathological lying, but remarried him. The person who told me this conjectured that she remarried him because she may be involved in his army scam. Again, I’m very very grateful I got out when I did. My breaking point was 2-1/2 months. I could not have done it without the help of a few very wise counselors and this site.

Ox-D: Happy New Year! Today is a good day for you to congratulate yourself for your ability to gather strength and share it, even through the holidays and with all of us.

Do you remember Mr. Miyagi? “Wax on, wax off.” Mr. Miyagi was teaching the Karate Kid something very important about accessing energy that is physical, emotional, spiritual, and unlimited. Someone told me years ago that any work can be a spiritual practice if you do it in a mindful way: applying paint to the outside balustrade, mucking out stalls, brushing the dog. Tai chi exercises and yoga postures are energy-gathering practices, done in mindfulness. So is mopping the floor, or rocking a child and singing a lullaby.

In your work with the animals, on the land, I believe you’ve been accessing the strength to get you through, or you wouldn’t be here with us. I believe that if you accept that that energy is unlimited, it will flow through you in greater abundance, and help you “stand your ground” and get through whatever challenges come up.

As we try to heal from these “sociopathic interactions,” we need to claim any practices and any mindsets that allow us to move out of the chaos and into grace. I believe, Ox-D, that whether you’ve acknowledged it or now, you’ve been doing just that! Thank you for the example.

Star,

As far as your X’s wife’s “involvement”—wittingly or unwittingly–(i.e. is she another “victim” and/or another “dupe”?)

My take on it is that she is BOTH. She would HAVE TO KNOW that he is cheating on her again, and we don’t need a crystal ball to know it is AGAIN, right. LOL

She would also have to know that he is NOT “disabled” like he claims.

She obviously got a gut full once and divorced him, but then he hooked her back into the web. So I have a feeling that she is BOTH victim and dupe. He is using her for the scam (as a “witness” to how pitifully he is “disabled” etc)

My take is that though she knows he is lying, she is so deep in the web, so beaten down, she is “going along” with the scam. Ultimately, I think she is like Patty Hearst in the bank with the gun robbing it. I will pray for that woman and maybe the jerk going to Leavenworth will free her enough she can heal. There but for the grace of God go I, or you, or xxxx.

Justabouthealed, there is nothing that I know of that says a P can’t ALSO have depression. Many of them according to some statistics Dr. Leedom published are also BI-POLAR.

If a person is NOT a psychopath and is bi-polar the alternating depression and the mania can wreck their lives! I have several goods friend who are bi-polar and that make every effort to control their problem with medication and therapy, but from time to time, early on before they got good control of it, had major life problems because of it.

I have also, as a mental health professional, worked with many people who were bi-polar and without exception, they have all done some pretty “crazy” things just from swings of hormones vs medication.

So if you put the gradiosity, of the P, the fearlessness of the P, and the “I can flap my wings and fly to the moon” mania phase of bi-polar in a pot, turn up the fire, and stir well, you can cook up some violent “Brew.”

When the Psychopathic-bi-polar scheme comes crashing to the ground (as they will) the P goes into “deep dark depression, excessive miz-er-eeeeee.”

Dear Rune,
We posted over each other at the same time! Sincronicity. Thanks for the Happy HOlidays wish!

Oh, yes, Rune, I do know about the energy flow and it is here, on this farm that I can really “tap into it”—I know it is not limited to HERE, but this is a place I can do it more easily. I have done some of my deepest thinking while mucking out a barn stall or planting seeds.

I felt it in the African bush, and I find out years later that that is a common thing for people who first come to Africa, somehow like it is a “homecoming” from some ancestoral memory.

I felt it in the Grand Tetons, in the deserts of the Southwest. It isn’t the Place, IT IS WITHIN US. The problem for me,, I think, was I gave it all away, I didn’t use it for ME, for my own well being. I foolishly gave away too much (in enabling etc) and deprived myself of even the amount of energy left to survive when the Ps made a grab for what little was left.

I’ve used a quiet solitude to replenish it in the past, and could usually keep up with the “in vs out” flow, but with all the “ordinary” things of life sucking energy, to have a P-attack at the same time overwhelmed my ability to replenish my stores. I foolishly thought that my Ps cared about me (don’t we all! LOL) and begged them to give me TIME to replenish, and instead, it cued them that now was the time to ATTACK in FULL FORCE because she’s wounded.

It was about as smart (on my part) as an antelope begging a mountain lion to let him get his breath so he could keep on running! LOL Yea, like the LION cares for the welfare of the antelope! Wow, I laughed so hard at mh own analogy I almost choked!~

I can look back at the long long letters I wrote to my P-son telling him I just didn’t have the energy to keep running to town to Xerox this or that for him, or whatever his demand of the minute was, and I kept explaining to him as I tearfully wrote and begged him to quit demanding this and that, and all I got back was a letter guilting me about what a hard life HE HAD. And, a comment of “get up mom, you’re just not trying!”

To think, now, that I actually fell for that crap is amazing! LOL ROTFLMAO

Son C and I sat up last night well after midnight just talking about the past few years, and what led to where we were and what led to where we are NOW. How far we have come, and how much we trust each other now, love each other. We talked about our spiritual relationship with God, that is so much deeper, so much more internal, and so much more personal now.

I have also realized now that my sons are no longer “my boys” but are my FRIENDS. We have made that leap of trust. They are men, not children, and they are men I am so proud of to have as my friends. Though I can close my eyes and visualize them as “children” I know those “children” are gone, and replaced with the MEN that are now my friends. Men who are good, kind, caring, empathetic, compassionate, giving, but in no way “anyone’s fool.” They too are wiser and stronger than before the attacks.

Son C has come here and read a great deal. Though he has never posted on this site, but he has gained a great deal of wisdom and insight from reading here.

Both D and I still see some signs of PTSD in him, and C has very willingly agreed with this and we will get him an appointment with the Rapid Eye Movement therapy psychologist as soon as the holiday is over. We talked about the TERROR he felt as he was trying to hold the door closed as the Trojan Horse (a big man) was trying to push through with the gun (and C’s wife was desperately trying to get the phone out of C’s hand as he was calling 911). The resulting hypervigilence from that experience is still there, though I can tell that since he is home, even that has diminished somewhat.

I can’t help but feel upbeat for the new year. The guys and I have all three renewed our energy, our strength and our reserve, and we are a formidable “tribe” with the determination to make 2009 a GOOD year!

Woohoo! I hope you are enjoying your day, Oxy. I, too, am feeling pretty upbeat for the new year, barring something really stupid I did today, which I may talk about at some point, but not today.

While I’m enjoying my real life friends at my party today, you guys will all be with me in spirit.

Hi Steve Becker,

One thing I need to point out about this very good example of the everyday mundane conversation with a sociopath ,is that the play on our emotions is what we forget when we recall the bizarre twist of emotions. You are a trained listener and it seems that in the conversation you called him on the nonsense and his attempts to manipulate or show a lack of ethics or regard for rules.

Sometimes when I think back to the nonsense it’s difficult to remember the detail that twisted US, as good people to simply want to respond to the manipulation in order to help. THIS is the key. It’s about being a better listener and putting less responsibility on ourselves to attempt to please. I know that I have learned to better protect myself. It’s easier to remember the big lies and harder to recall the little manipulations along the way that DID get us so entangled in the nonsense and drama of everyday, which is simply unnecessary. It’s hard to remember the entire conversation. But I remember several. Sometimes it would get to a point where the subtle accusations and lies would cause such anxiety,, that I remember lashing out, not even understanding why I was so annoyed with the conversation, realizing later that it was all nonsense. Does that make sense?

it’s that kind of stuff that in trying to explain to others, why you feel the way you do and why things happened as they did, that people don’t understand. Steve thanks for this post. It helps to realize in advance what has happened in MANY conversations with them. It helps to understand the manipulation when we continue wondering how the hell this all happened.

I had a conversation with a friend the other day (not a sociopath, but he was a bit manipulative and this is a fairly new relationship). He asked me if I wanted to go away the holiday weekend in January. He mentioned three different places to go and I told him I would agree to any of them. He then said….”well let me see how comfortable I am as it gets closer.” I said “comfortable with me? What do you mean by comfortable?” He said “well money is kind of tight right now until abut August.” I was truly annoyed. A year ago, I may have said something like…… well I’ll book the hotel etc….and we can worry about it later, and probably would have been stuck with the whole bill. I just basically looked at him and said “Then you shouldn’t even be bringing these things up if it’s not affordable.”

I keep going back to the saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” I focus more now on the end result and how it may benefit me. I feel sometimes like it’s a selfish thing to do but I’m over it. At 48 I am done doing for everyone else, and appreciating the fact that he wants to spend time away with me. If he wants to spend time with me he should do it within his means. I’m tired of taking care of everyone.

K-F: I think you need to own your part of this exchange. How are you not taking responsibility for your . . .

Oh, wait! Now I’m sounding like a “good therapist” doing EXACTLY the wrong thing for the person caught in a S-P relationship!!! It’s so easy for the uninitiated to blame us, the victims.

I have found that working outside is the absolute best therapy for me, be it pulling weeds, planting something, anything outside has a healing affect on me. The winter months are usually kinda hard for me to get through. I feel like Kathy Bates sometimes, in the scene from the movie “Misery”, when she is explaining how the rain affects her. Today is definitely one of my rainy days. My daughter left to go back to college, the Christmas stuff is down, & put away, the house is just too quiet. I think I’ll make a trip to the library to pick up an educational “s.” book. If I let myself go too long into this downward spiral, it won’t be good.

“I think you need to own your part of this exchange…

…not helping.”

Owning your own choices and behaviors is always the sane choice, even when it’s a bit painful. When we’re lied to, stolen from or battered, we don’t need to own that. Those things were done to us. But to the extent that we may have repeated slander initiated by an N/P/S, been the other woman, or given aid and support to an N/P/S as he or she eviscerated their target, we need to be honest with ourselves about what we did wrong.

We’re also responsible for learning how to protect ourselves to the best of our ability. We all need to be willing to change in order to live better.

Simply blaming the N/P/S is not enough.

Yes, we got hurt, but we’re not made of spun glass. We’re people with the ability to heal, learn and change.

What to I have in common with a $146M millionaire in Aspen? We both lost everything to a psychopath, . . . because we trusted. (Seriously, I’m hearing about people who had earned their fortunes and who were comfortable in their lives who are suddenly destitute.)

This damage is more than a bump in the road. How do you pick up and move on when you have truly lost everything, down to the ground. Black humor is one tool to try to get through.

Elizabeth, you are reading one post I wrote based on one subject. I HAVE taken responsibility for the choice I made to be in the relationship with the S. But I didn’t stay for 20 years, only 2. I questioned all the right things and it takes time to realize what is happening. I had him investigated, as I was being stalked and harrassed and the authorities refused to help. I don’t think I am much different than anyone else on this board. I don’t feel sorry for myself. I have found a good, supportive therapist and have tried to find support here. I think those are positive things. I have owned up to my mistakes to everyone I spoke to, but too much self relflection a nd blame, I have found, are not necessariy good either. ENOUGH with the self blame.

I think what I was trying to say is that I DO see more clearly both after the fact and in other manipulations, prior to being taken advantage of or giving in. I’m not any longer. That’s what deserves support, not being the victim. I’ve been out of the situation for a year. I have been honest with myself and I feel I’ve made good progress. THe S is to blame. I don’t have to let go of that in order to heal. He has done the same things to others and he makes the choices to do so. I moved on and have made good choices. I will continue to do so without self blame.

Dear Keeping Faith.

I think it is good (and clever) that you saw through this manipulation to try to get you to “take over” responsibility for a trip (and pay for it of course).

Is this person (a new relationshp) something you want to keep on with, given the subtle, or not so subtle, attempt at manipulation?

We come upon these subtle manipulations in a lot of situations I think. I recently had been doing some bartering with a mechanic I know for his services and in exchange he received meat from me. I realized though into the exchange that he was charing me “retail” for his services, but wanting me to pay in “wholesale” prices for the meat.

Then I discovered he had made a mistake on a lawn tractor that he had fixed (at retail prices) and caused to malfunction because he put a pulley on upside down and caused damage to parts that will have to be replaced. The man is not financially able to pay for the new parts, but I spoke to him about paying for it in LABOR he would perform for no pay, and that I would expect him to fix it right (with me buying the parts) at no charge. So, though the relationship could be very beneficial for us both, he is subtly trying to take advantage of me in the barter situation.

If I have any problems in the future with him “charging” retail and wanting “wholesale” I will stop the relationship, as I can find more mechanics willing to barter their services for my meat, than he can find people who want his services at any price, especially an inflated one.

I was glad though that he did “own up” to HIS mistake and take responsibility for it. If he had not, that would have instantly been the end of any relationship with the man.

He does take pride in his work, as anyone who usually does a good job does, and he apologized (I think a BIT insincerely LOL) but he did acknowledge the fault was his. (BTW he had the instruction manual for working on it which showed the correct way to put the pully in.)

Learning to set limits when we feel in our gut there is a problem is something I am learning to do, and keeping some people at arm’s length, not giving them unearned trust, etc. It is a day by day, and situation by situation thing, and takes some getting used to on my part. It is still an uncomfortable process, but I am LEARNING, and it seems that you are as well. GOOD FOR YOU!!!

Humor is necessary !! Losing yourself is the worst part of the relationship with an S/P. Posts like this help me to analyze some of the ambient abuse that occured in conversation so that I CAN stop blaming myself. I have met and spoken to people who have blmed themselves to the extent of attempting suicide because of the emotional abuse associate with S?P relationship, and jobs, families and friends lost, because of an inability to focus.

Some people are stronger than others. I will never forget what he has done and the emotional pain of it all. I’m not sure I can even forgive. But I am working to put it out of my mind by moving on with a productive life. If that means I blame him forever then so be it. Better than losing my own life and sanity.

I spoke to a previous victim of his, who lost her job, almost her life and four years later is talking about him like he saved her, rescued her and treated her like a princess…… he also lied to her, cheated on her, and left her often until one day he just never came back or responded to her. I won’t be like that four years later. I refuse to. But I don’t have to ind it in my heart to forgive if I don’t want to. I can just sit back and watch his world unravel in front of him and it is……..

Thanks Oxy, having not dated for the 22 years I was married…….. that experience alone is herendous, let alone dating a S/P. I didn’t set clear boundaries, and allowed many excuses. I was in the middle of divorce, as was the S. There was more drama than in Hollywood and I think I was trying to be open minded on one hand to family differences (the daughters I had writtne about before) until it did occur to me through all of this that my boundaries were not clearly defined but HIS manipulation did not help. He did a great job of playin on my good conscience and high level of responsibility.

Plus I came from a marriage where I didn’t get something unless I earned it or paid for it. My husband was not a very traditional kind of guy. I earned more and he like it. In fact, it got to a point where he demanded it. That’s one of the reasons we are no longer together. I was married when I was 23. I was too young. The S has and continues to find vulnerable people to manipulate. It took me all of last year just to realize I am normal, healthy and have potential for a good life. it took a lot of work. I won’t blame myself anymore.

The new guy……. time will tell whether he is worth keeping around whether for a lover or just friendship. Time will tell but I can tell you this……it won’t take me two years to figure it out !! LOL. Thanks for your example. You usually have good stories to use as examples.

Rune: Good post. I hope those that lost fortunes to that varmin … I don’t even want to say his name “MAD MAN Mad(e)–off with everyone elses money” find their way to this blog … because it’s not only the cons in a relationship, it’s cons across the board!.

Like I stated before, I hope the courts put him on a rock pile for the rest of his life … so we can all watch him close up BREAKING STONES since he obviously liked breaking everyone else’s stones …

Pray for the people he’s harmed … they are at the beginning of the horrific stage of finding out what they were involved with.

Peace.

Dear Keeping_faith,

I think (in my case at least) the NOT recognizing the SMALL “uses” that people do to us, allows us to be in line for the BIGGER ones. It is like they are putting their toes in the water with small abuses or overstepping (over charging or whatever their thing is).

I frequently barter with my friends and neighbors for favors or items. I have X item that you want and you have Y item that I want so we trade, not based on “cash value” unless it is a big enough difference, like a $1 item vs a $1000 item.

Recently a friend of mine and I have done this for years and one evening we had been to the auction and I had bought a box of tools that contained a draw knife worth about $20 and he had a wrench worth about $1. I asked him if he wanted to keep the wrench and he said “Well, let’s trade, I’ll take the draw knife” and I said, “Nah, that’s not a good trade, the knife is worth a lot more” So he kept on offering me various tools out of the box he had gotten but going back to the draw knife, so I finally got the wrench from him for an “equal trade” –a $5 item for the $1 item, so he still got a good deal.

As he was leaving that evening I picked up the draw knife and handed it to him. He said, “What’s this for?” and I said, “It is a GIFT. I will GIVE it to you, but I won’t let you cheat me out of it.” Then I laughed, and it WAS a boundary setting of a sort, with enough humor in it that I didn’t offend him, but he DID GET THE CONCEPT. Fair is fair between friends. Period.

We don’t try to take an unfair advantage of our friends. We don’t expect them to pay all the time, and we don’t expect to pay all the time. There is a give and take that “seems fair” to both parties.

I’m sure you have known people who will never “grab the check” for dinner and you always end up paying when you are with them because they do the “slow draw” with you, and you kind of end up feeling “obligated” to pick up the check.

Well, that is a MINOR thing of course, but if it is repeated and repeated and you see a pattern there, you kind of get the idea that they are trying to take advantage of you.

I have learned to be more AWARE of these small things, not because I am “looking to find fault” but because I realize that taking the small abuses continually, number one, makes me feel resentful in the presence of that person, and number two is UNNECESSARY. It also lays the ground work.

Remember the story that has been attributed to many people, Winston Churchill for one, but I don’t know if the story is true or not, but the man asked a woman at a fancy ball at the palace if she would sleep with him for a million pounds sterling, and she thought a moment and said, “Well, yes, for a million pounds, yes.” then he said, “How about for 5 pounds?” and she said “WHAT do you think I AM?” and his reply was, “We’ve already established that NOW WE ARE JUST HAGGLING OVER PRICE.”

People who will screw you for $5 will screw you for a $million, and vice versa and as far as I am concerned I am not interested in either of those extremes in my “friends.” If the people in my life make me uncomfortable by how they treat me, I will set boundaries, if they still don’t respect reasonable fairness, then they are OUT of my circle of trust and my life except on the “fringes.” Just don’t need the hassle.

Another great example in the Churchill story. I had heard that before. And I think I am a bit like you in that I give to my friends for a variety of reasons….need, celebration, reward, or jsut because I was thinking of them. But when you are continually the one giving and someone is continually taking, you become resentful over time. i did with my x husband. i was thinking this week how enjoyable the holidays are now that I don’t have to fight for gifts or to get him to spend money on me. It wasn’t even about the money. It was a power struggle with him. One year I asked him to spend one day with me shopping for the kids for Christmas and to just buy me a nice lunch. I still recall him stomping his feet. LOL

But you are right, it’s not always about the money. Mostly it’s about power and control. As you know, my XS/P didn’t get money from me, but almost did if I had bought into that house and sold mine when he demanded it. His joy was in the stories and lies, thinking he was able to pull stuff over on me. He did for a while, but now that his face is plastered on an internet site in the most embarrassing way, he has to avoid me. I found him out and others didn’t/won’t/ don’t care to….whatever.

They are, as you say, minor examples but they do become big things if we let them roll off our backs. I don’t anymore. The example with my new friend……I might have easily not called im on that. I don’t care anymore about insulting people. I feel he insulted me and my instict (which I am trusting more and more) told me that was wrong and I reacted and I’m glad I did. I can’t tel you how many times I didn’t react to these things with the S/P, simply to not cause an arguement (which I later realize would not have been my fault anyway !!!!

Dear Keeping faith,

I have a drinking cup made out of horn from one of my cattle, the craftsman who made it (for my living history outfit) has known me for a number of years. Frequently these horn cups would have your name inscribed on them as well as some sort of saying. He asked me what I wanted on it, and I just told him to put whatever he wanted on it.

When I got it back it said y name on one side and the other said “He Who Dare Not Offend, cannot be Honest.” T(homas) Payne.

This man knows me better than he knows he does. He knows in the group I will stand up for what is RIGHT (on what I consider major issues) even if it DOES offend some. I had a real problem with some of the members pushing out some gay people, persecuting others, and wanting to ALLOW IN a convicted pedophile who had served time in prison. I spoke out sharply on both of those issues, even filing criminal charges against one narcissistic “joker” who was like an unruly 12 year old after he pointed a real gun (albeit a blunderbus and unloaded) at me as a JOKE. I did NOT think it was FUNNY AT ALL. The group was pretty well split male–female on that one with the females behind me and the men thinking “oh, it was just a JOKE, ca’t you take a joke?” the answer to THAT JOKE was NO!

Funny, now a year or so later after that incident, and him smearing me he has left the group and STOLEN some things from the group’s equipment. LOL

When we are having to “keep peace at all costs” we cannot tell the truth if there is any chance it will “offend” someone. Well, I am determined to QUIT LYING by pretending I don’t recognize what “you” (that’s the universal “you”) do to me is abuse. I’m not out “looking for offense” but I want to be able to recognize it when it comes AT FIRST so I don’t sit back unaware while it increases.

The old “if you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile” applies to many people, so if you can “nip it in the bud,” so to speak, you can stop it from becoming bad enough that there has to be a “scene.”

Sometimes it will go from “every thing is lovely” to a “Bad scene” quickly, but usually there are, in my experience, some small things that are unacceptable first…sort of the “inch” part.

Amen to that OxDrover…..hope I can do it!

Ox, THis is what is so odd……. my friends who know me well have all said “why did you keep taking this guy back, you don’t let anyone shit on you?” A guy I used to work with used to say, “you are a shit disturber, because you are not afraid to bring up the issues no one wants to deal with.” My x boss told me I am the most persistent person he knows…… so our greatest strengths can be our greatest weaknesses right?

I feel that I became this WEAK individual with the S/P. He was literally starting to control, who I spoke to. I think that because I “push the envelope” so to speak, I disturbed his secret little world. I did question things. I didn’t always agree. but as time went on, I didn’t disagree. I diregarded red flags…..etc……

As much as we want other people to see things as we see them (as I did when the shit hit the fan or as you did when this guy pointed the gun at you)…..I think in good time people will see them for what they are…… maybe not as badly or quite as extreme as we, but they will. One couple who used to be my neighbors who are now the XS/P’s neighbors (which kills me), are the only people we now have in common. My other friends despise him, and not even so much for what he did but they just didn’t like him to begin with. It just bothers me that they associate with him but…..they know me. THey are seeing him in a whole different light, with people who I wouldn’t want in my neighborhood or around my kids, and with a woman who he SWORE to this guy he was not seeing and I was crazy……. oh, by the way, so were the other three people who saw him kissing her when I told him to f off. THis summer I got into a BIG arguement with my x neighbor “C” because he called to tell me the S had a heart attack an that he was in the hospital and OK and his daughters and trashy girlfriend were with him. I told him not to call me and mention his name again, after everything I have gone through. he was pissed. I told im I don’t give a crap. He is insensitive for even thinking I would care. I said” so if I cal you and tell you your x wife had a heart attack and she is in the hospital and ok with her new boyfriend by her side, after you fund her in bed with him how would you feel? h thinks he was being a good Christian. But what he was doing was generating some help and consern for the S because no one else cares. No one else in the neighborhood wants to know him because of the people he hangs out with.

But WTF????? Are they just being polite neighbors? Are they that desperate for friends? Don’t they see that is not me or my life or my group of friends at all? Do they see how different he is from how he was? Don’t they catch him in lies too? Or am I being too judgemental and not open minded enough????? I think this is where my boundaries used to be so clear to me. I can get along with biker dudes and red necks and they aren’t bad people, but I would not invite a former criminal to live in my home. If he was needy, I may help him to get some help. I wouldn’t date a man who used to be a stripper either……. so whose boundaries are not in tact? I also know some wealthy, well educaed people that I would not spend my time with. As we have established before, trash comes in various forms, some just drive nicer cars and wear nicer jewelry. LOL……

I don’t want to lose the good qualities about me. I would rather be too nice than a sociopath or hurt other people in this way. I have learned who my friends are from this experience. No matter what I did or didn’t do this idiot would have behaved the same way. PEOPLE DON’T CHANGE. I don’t care what anyone says. THey can alter their behavior but will naturally quickly, easily go back to their preferred way of doing things when push comes to shove.

Keeping Faith,

I knew when I wrote that post that I was in for trouble. Any time someone dares to discuss owning our own behaviors, someone feels attacked.

I’m sorry you felt I was attacking you.

I’m dead set against the idea that victims are not responsible for their own behavior. There are special classes of people who are not considered responsible for their own behavior. A short reflection on who those classes of people are should suffice for us all to conclude we prefer to accept personal responsibility.

I’m also dead set against any victim class refusing on principle to examine how they might prevent themselves from being revictimized.

Elizabeth, Not a problem. it’s sometimes good advise. Afterall, we can only control our own behavior and thoughts and actions and not those of others. I just think we need to be careful with the advise sometimes. My therapist and I have this discussion often and I truly felt so stupid and was overanalyzing the situation to the extent that I blamed myself and no one else. It took me a long time to be angry nough to blame him. It’s OK too, to be angry at them and forgiveness is not necessary.

If you read my other posts I think you will realize I have learned through spending a lot of time examining myself. I always look to myself first. Usually it’s that high sense of responsibility, that attracks them. THEY ARE TO BLAME. We just need to know what happened in order to not allow it again. I am not a serial victim, believe me.

Der KF,

It is funny, one of the best things I think about me is that I am pretty “cross cultural” and get along with just about anyone. I am a dyed-in-the-wool redneck, but can dress up and “pass for urban” if I have to, or fit in with street people or bikers either. My close friends are from all walks of life, all ages, and spiritual beliefs, and scattered all over the world, from Africa to Singapore, they are physicians, lawyers, and illiterate farmers, they are multimillionaires and other living on $500 a month Social Security Disability. The only thing they have in common except my friendship and respect is that not a one of them is TRASH. They all have moral compasses and compassion for others.

I also have no doubt that this group of people all respect and care about me, admire things about me, and put up with the rest of me…the only people I know who despise the ground I walk on, who actively hate me, or every HAVE HATED ME are people that are also either very narcissistic or psychopathic, and without exception, htose with which I have had interactions with at work, in business, in groups (like my living histrory group) I come into open conflict with them, stand my ground and usually have a satisfactory outcome.

That’s why it is also difficult foro me to believe that I have let those that are “near and dear” to me actively abuse me for most of my life, I have taken things from them that I NEVER would have taken from any of the other Ps and Ns I have known. I’m NOT and never have been “afraid” to stand my ground if I thought I was right and I was being treated rudely. My husband used to laugh at me and said I had the “Ultimate tact, THE ABILITY TO TELL PEOPLE TO GO TO HELL AND MAKE THEM HAPPY TO BE ON THEIR WAY!” (He would just tell someone to go to hell! LOL) I’m usually pretty good with a good comeback that leaves them wondering if I insulted them or not, but not quite sure. LOL

A couple of years ago we had an aircraft wholesaler who showed up here to take possession of an airplane that belonged to one of our customers who owed me about $4500. The “Yankee” (pardon me you nice folks from the North, this guy was a YANKEE) showed up being nasty from the minute he drove on to the place. He handed me a post dated check from the owner of the plane, which I refused to take, and then informed me he was going to take the plane anyway.

I told him “No, sir, you are NOT taking the plane until I get my MONEY not a post dated check that may or may not be good.” So he got more pushy and finally I said, “Well, this is private property I think you shold get off NOW” He looked at me and smirked and said “Ok, you just CALL THE LAW” I said, “Oh, no, we don’t call the law out here or dial 911, we just call Smith and Wesson, now get off my land NOW.” (I always wanted to say that to someone! LOL) Anyway, he managed to get the money wired to my bank that day and I let him have the plane. LOL

So I think most people saw me as a “strong” and “stand up” woman (an “uppity woman,” as it were, in some circles, who didn’t know a “woman’s place.”) LOL

In actual fact, I was BOTH ways, a vulnerable push over volunteer victim to one set of folks and an assertive person in the other set of circumstances…but now I am assertive in all my situations. I try not to be aggressive, but definitely assertive.

I am sometimes still “too sensitive” when I “hurt anyone’s feelings” though, even if I am setting reasonable boundaries and they violate them, so I am still working on it. I am DOING the bondary setting, but still have to work on the associated feelings. Getting much better.

OX,

I am a Yankee but moved to VA just three years ago. I feel at home here though. Maybe it’s because the people are so diverse. I love rednecks. LOL. Although I live in a neighborhood that feels more like a Philly suburb.

I understand perfectly where you are coming from. I aspire to be that. The guy who told me I am a “shit disturber” also told me that I do it in the nicest possible way, which I thought was a great compliment, and remember, I work in a very traditional banking environment with mostly men.

I didn’t come from much, my family growing up, was probably considered lower/middle class in terms of income, but my parents sent me to catholic grade school. I am proud of what I have become. Not so much about what I have….. but I am also proud of the fact that what I have is mine, earned my me, paid for by me. Not inherited (although that would have been nice), not given or taken. I went to college and paid for my Master’s as well. It was not easy. I worked hard.

Can I tell you I love the Smith and Wesson comment. How typical is that in the south? I love it !!

I broke NC on New Year’s and I almost payed for it. My soon-to-be-ex husband called me at 1:30 a.m. to say happy new year and to come over. I know that was mistake #1 allowing him to come over at that time.

He tried to ask to come back home after leaving me 20 months ago for his mistress. He said he has changed and he wants me to stay his wife. He asked if he could take me out to dinner and he would prove that he wants to come back.

Now I played along but in no way did I want him back. By played along I mean listen. In no way was I mean like he was when he first left. He would tell me that he didn’t want me anymore, etc., etc. Of course he wanted to be intimate but I wouldn’t dare. My goal for 2009 is to be done with him so I don’t know why I rang in the new year with him.

He called me at 1:00 p.m. and I returned his call at 2:00 p.m. He did not answer because he was probably with his mistress. Anyway, I still have not heard from him. I wish I could have recorded everything he said to send to his mistress but she still probably wouldn’t have believed it.

I am so glad I wasn’t intimate with him. I have to leave him alone. I was just feeling so lonely that night so I let him come over. He is so charming and manipulative. He has put me through hell and I don’t know why I like being around him once in awhile.

So for 2009 I will not let him use and abuse me anymore. I hope to be divorced by next month and free from him!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elizabeth Conley said: “I’m dead set against the idea that victims are not responsible for their own behavior…..
I’m also dead set against any victim class refusing on principle to examine how they might prevent themselves from being revictimized.”

Elizabeth, I agree with you. Whereas I don’t accept blame for my P’s behavior as only he is responsible for that, I feel I have to look to ME to see why I stuck around even once he begin revealing his true colors. I understand the traumatic bonding etc. that eventually comes into play, but even that does not explain why I didn’t bail when early on there was the inital display of SERIOUS character flaws and trouble. At that point the P didn’t have a gun to my head making me stay. I made that choice.

So, what makes one woman leave at the first sign of serious trouble with a P and what makes another woman stay through years of hell with that exact same P? The P is the same ol’ P, only the women involved are different.

Yes, I realize I was targeted because I am a nice, loving, generous person etc. But it is not helpful to me personally to sit around saying how nice, kind, and generous I am and the whole thing was his fault. Yeah, HIS behavior is his fault. But my CHOICES, especially early on, is MY responsibility in the whole relationship. Once I began to start looking at MY role in the whole thing is when I started to actually feel like I was making progress and to stop feeling so vulnerable. I’m still not completely healed, but I do feel like I am now making real progress.

I want to clarify that I am talking specifically about my choices made in the EARLY stages of the relationship. I absolutely believe once a person is with someone over a period of time that certain situations can occur so that result in traumatic bonding, brainwashing and alot of psychological factors begin to factor in where a person does begin to act almost like a robot. Been there, done that.
But that wasn’t the case in the very beginning of the relationship is what I mean. That is when I could have done things differently.

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