By | August 18, 2011 114 Comments

Actions speak louder than words… or do they?

This week two people contacted me, both adult daughters of sociopaths. In one case her father and in the other case her mother has psychopathic personality traits. Interestingly, both disordered parents claim to be “Christian” and the theme of our discussions was the disparity between what the parent says and what they do. Both women shared the belief that this disconnect between words and action is particularly damaging to children. I agree with this assertion because I have also seen it in other cases.

Why would the disconnect between words and actions be so damaging to children?

Consciousness develops gradually during childhood. Consciousness means connecting words, thoughts and feelings to what is happening in reality. Many children naturally idealize their parents and so are inclined to believe the version of reality their parents present in words. But what if the words and reality don’t in fact match? Consider the following example a father wrote to his daughter from prison. Keep in mind this father is a repeat offender who has defrauded and ruined many including family members:

I have a lot of time to sit here and ponder the course of my life. I know I have wronged the family, and for that I am truly sorry. I have been so selfish and stubborn… I haven’t seen or talked to you in well over a year and I can’t help but wonder the rippling effect that sends into the demonic realm. I hope all is well. I love you with the perfect love of the Father.

This is a perfect example of the way a sociopath communicates. His agenda isn’t apparent until the third to the last sentence. His agenda is to manipulate her into having contact with him. But unless you are aware of how a person with psychopathic personality traits operates, you wouldn’t necessarily get that. He starts out stating a fact, he has unlimited time in prison to think. Then it’s progressively out of reality from there. He also connects her failure to contact him with something demonic, suggesting that things might not “be well.” He concludes by proclaiming he has “perfect love.”

I have been chatting with the recipient of this letter for some time and can tell you the father, in addition to ruining her mother’s life was extremely verbally abusive. A parent who abuses while saying, “I love you with the perfect love of the Father,” inflicts wounds that are hard to heal. How can a child make any sense of this experience?

Dissociation- dealing with the disconnect

The different parts of our brains that perform different functions are functionally connected. Experiences we have during childhood but also throughout our lives, determine the functional connectivity of our brains. When reality doesn’t make sense our brains automatically compensate to create a coherent whole. So for example, a child whose parent abuses and says “I love you” may deny the abuse or blame it on themselves. Children whose parents, and adults whose partners continually do one thing while speaking the opposite experience a form of hypnosis. In this hypnotic state they only focus attention on the parts of reality that support the version of reality given to them by the sociopath. (If you have a lot of time read my story and see how this happened to me with disastrous consequences.) But what are the consequences of a childhood or adulthood habit of self-hypnosis? We don’t really know the full answer to that question.

How to heal

The first step in healing is realizing what happened to you and understanding that self-hypnosis or dissociation doesn’t mean you are crazy. It is a functional response to differing inputs. The next step is to fight the hypnosis. Stop having contact with the sociopath. If you do have to have communication, do not listen to the words, try to keep present in your mind the real actions of the sociopath. Tell yourself, “actions speak louder than words.”

Lingering questions

If you have experienced the disconnect between words and actions, I discuss here, you are undoubtedly asking yourself, “Do they do this on purpose?” or “Do they know what they are doing?” The answer is some do and some don’t. The ones that know what they are doing are perhaps more evil and the ones who don’t know what they are doing are perhaps more affected with psychopathy. No matter what, the sociopath makes a choice about what he/she does.

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Thank you Dr. Leedom. It’s really important to understand the degree of psychological damage that these sociopaths inflict. No wonder it’s so hard to recover.

Ox Drover

Liane, you just published my life story–except neither of my parents went to prison! The letter from prison to the daughter is so typical of the way the “religious” person who is also high in psychopathic traits uses “god” and “the Bible” (out of context) to shame, guilt and manipulate the others into going along with their cons.

In reading recently about how Jeffs, the “mormon” who had 70+ “wives” and would instruct these girls/women that their ticket into heaven was to please him sexually. I guess that is the reverse of the Muslims telling a suicide bomber that he gets 70 virgins in Heaven if he dies fighting for Allah.

The EMOTIONAL damage done to a child, from my own personal perspective, by the parent (who is god-on-earth to the young child) is deeply embedded in the child. Even today, my enabling is so deeply embedded that yesterday when I refused to “help out” a neighbor who is now slightly off center mentally and is himself being manipulated into giving all of his very limited funds to a “meth ho” he met in a wal Mart parking lot who shows up the first of the month every month now and stays with him for a week or two until he is TOTALLY broke, without food, fuel or cell phone minutes, then she hitch hikes on to the next victim’s house.

Even very guilty of self neglect (not taking his medication, not going to the doctor) and is a “bubble off of plumb” in his mental state, he knows who the president is, what year it is, etc. so he is LEGALLY SANE and adult protective services can’t do a thing.

He came to my house yesterday (again) after walking up a steep hill a half mile to get here (he is 83) with a gas can wanting Gas to get to his daughter’s house to get her to fuel up his truck. Since talking to his daughter I know this is probably a lie, so I offered to DRIVE him there or go get her. NO DICE, he did not want that. Actually, After telling him NO gas and driving him back home I called his daughter and she said he had been coming to her house and STEALING the gas out of her car! So he did intend to go to her house and get gas, just not with her help or permission.

I told my neighbor that I’d feed him if he was hungry or drive him to the doctor but NO MORE MONEY AND NO MORE GAS.

I STILL FEEL GUILTY for saying no. Logically I KNOW I have no reason to feel “guilty” because I did the RIGHT THING and set a reasonable boundary for my neighbor. When I know the woman that milks him is not there, I go down about every other day and check on him—and it’s a good thing I do because once in the days of 110+ degree temps I found him wihtout electricity, food, or WATER (without electric he had no well) and no AC or even a fan, his truck had 2 flat tires and was out of gas and he had no phone minutes. I took him food and water…but no gas, and no tires.

I’m not alone in my “feeling guilty” for saying NO to my neighbor, there’s a bunch of us around here that he mooches off of, “borrows” off of, and because he was a good man, and a good neighbor we all feel guilty when we tell him “NO!”

The difference between myself “before” and the “new and improved Joyce” now is that while I may still have that “knee jerk” response of feeling “guilt” about setting boundaries, I am NOT LETTING THAT FEELING OVER RIDE MY LOGICAL BRAIN….I am doing what is “right” regardless of what the “feeling” that results from it. I am hitting the “MUTE” button on those old lessons I received as a child that if I didn’t “fix” whatever was wrong with someone else, that I would go to hell because God would be mad at me for being “mean” to someone, or that I am being mean if I have enough or more than enough and don’t share it with someone else, especially if they ask me for “help.”

Recognizing and “hearing” these feelings, these INAPPROPRIATE feelings in myself, and being able to DO what is right in spite of them, has been a LONG DIFFICULT ROAD for me because I was programmed by a “Christian” family that were at the same time abusive and enabling, secret keeping and set on controlling this system of dysfunctional dynamics.

Thanks Liane for a great article that reinforces these discoveries in my journey! It is difficult to maintain the boundaries, don’t know if I will ever “be a natural” at it, but am using my logical brain to overcome the early programming. Setting boundaries is a learning process to overcome what “feels natural.”



Great post. No wonder we struggle! I am now quite removed from my SPATH experience (still in recovery), but when I was in the middle of it, all the incongruencies in his words and actions threw me into a DEEP depression. I couldn’t make sense of it, and thanks to the way my mother programmed me (she’s a N) I thought it was ALL MY FAULT. Ding ding ding ding, that was WRONG.

I now occasionally read thru my spath’s communication to me and I’m just so flabbergasted. It the same hour he would say he loved me, hated me, wanted to marry me, never wanted to see me again. In saner moments I would ask my spath why he would do that, and he’d say he had NO IDEA why. He said, “I’m a mystery unto myself!”. This is the heart of being DISORDERED, isn’t it?

Anyway I also want to tell you that I think your work on the INNER TRIANGLE is absolutely groundbreaking. I hope you submit it to the DSMV people, and other academic journals. It is sense-making at it’s finest). I have shared your work (credited to you) with SO MANY PEOPLE.

Take a bow.



Haha, I wrote here about the major disconnect between my father’ss words and reality. Remember, this is the guy who lives in his own bubble. He has become his facade, in his mind. Here are a few trinkets from his oh so loveable self, false and real self, or maybe some other self. Bah! Who knows anymore!? ^_^

He say he loves everybody and we should all live and let live. His true self is a racist who make black jokes daily. He thinks that Mexicans took his job! Reminds me of the South Park hillbillies screaming about it. ^_^

He says women and men should be equal and is appalled by rape and other acts of violence against them. His real self is the first to make comments about a women deserving what she got when she is assaulted and thinks they should work in the home and dinner should be ready when he gets home. He loves all the colorful words to describe women, the C word is his favorite.

He talks about how hardworking he is and loves to work. He describes himself as a workaholic. His true self is a parasite who will never work if you allow him to sit around. He fakes sickness to get out of working.

He loves talking about being a fine Christian man and preaches basic Christian values. His true self does not value any of this. He just uses it to build relations for work and social gatherings.

The Christian thing seems to be a theme in all of this. He had a girlfriend who was the same as him, but much more unstable, and she always talked about Jesus! She told us all about it. “I’m saved! That means I can do anything I want and still go to Heaven.” What the hell? Even I know that’s not how it works! Very basic unstanding of religion. They only use the parts that interest them, while discarding all of the rest. She told me that Jesus would not be happy with me because I did NOT accept her gifts. Yeah, she gave me gifts within a few days of meeting her.

Finally, I stopped letting my dad over. He is crushed and doesn’t know what he did wrong. He has made a huge sob story out of it. He hasn’t been here in weeks. We even stopped getting his medicine in the mail and told him to find another way. In the street it goes! ^_^

Ox Drover

Dear Near,

Good for you for setting boundaries for this man who is obviously saying one thing and doing another.

No contact is the only way to deal with someone who is like this, and I am no contact with my egg donor and was with my P-sperm donor for the last 40+ years of his life. We do not owe them anything, and we “honor our fathers and mothers’ by being the kind of people that WOULD bring honor on them….but it does not mean we have to be DOOR MATS to their feet.


In ACOA or ACA (adult children of alcoholics anon. and adult children anon.) they used to use these emotion/ facial expression charts. I know these are used fairly widely and i believe they were first created to teach children emotional literacy. We used to look at them to identify what we we feeling.

This was a base for repairing the damage done by the intimate imprinting of lies by our families. Like learning the alphabet, so that we could form words, phrases, then complete sentences.

The relationships you have described (partially because of the specific context of the con) Leanne, remind me very much of the abuse within churches worldwide – it is spiritual abuse to teach people that what you are doing is loving when it is not. it is offensive to the nature of divinity, sanctity, soul, buddha nature, the universe, et al. teaching people to hate themselves, to misunderstand themselves, their surroundings and the world is offensive to the very essence of life.


Near, wow, that must have been MIND BLOWING when you were a kid! HUGS!



You boinked me to do NO CONTACT again, and I am. I just wanted to report back.

While not talking to him is relatively easy, going No Contact in my head is hardest and yet most rewarding. I’m not checking in on him, not checking up on him, distancing myself emotionally.

It’s all good. Hugs to you!


Hello Near!
We were just asking about you the other day! Glad to see you and happy that things are improving with you removing your father from you life 🙂

Ox Drover

Dear Sk,

Good for you, Darling, you can go get an ice pack for your sore head now! LOL It really DOES get better the longer you do it. The mental “NC” IS the most difficult, but work on being AWARE of when you are thinking about him, and then consciously changing your thoughts to something else. It is a fact that the brain can only think one thing at a time, so put those thoughts of him into a folder (visualize this) put it into a file drawer and close and lock it, and open another drawer and take out a GOOD MEMORY FILE and it takes about 90 seconds for your moods to change. REALLY!!!!! You do have control! Practice helps too! Love Oxy


superkid10: I didn’t have him around me for too long when I was little. My mind would have been blown, though. I would have been dead inside after living with that crazy making. Hugs!!! I can’t resist hugs! *hugs* Yeah! ^_^

Ana: Hey, buddy! I didn’t mean to worry you guys or make you wonder. I’ve been lurking some here, but haven’t been on too much. How have you been? Do you want hugs too?


Thank you so much for writing this article!

I have known for so long, that I had a problem of this nature. I had no idea what it was, or why I had it.

Disassociation was the closest fit I could find, yet all the definitions I could find for the condition, seemed vague and didn’t quite hit the mark. ( a feeling of being disconnected to oneself, and/or surroundings and so forth). This is the first time I am hearing the word HYPNOSIS used to describe it, and boy did a huge bell go off in my head! (Ding, Ding, Ding We Have A Winner! lol!).

I feel I have underestimated the severity of the problem I have with this. It has been a part of who I am for so long…I have always worked around it, and I do that almost on auto-pilot too. There was a time when I though I had the ABILITY to “tune out” and I was grateful. But in reality, it developed into a huge problem as I somehow lost of control of WHEN I tuned out. many times I was completely unaware that I was doing it. I have become much more conscious of it now. Still can’t fix it though. 🙁

My adult son once told me that, when he was young, he would preface every important conversation he wanted to have with me, with the phrase,”Mom, are you paying attention?” This is important! (He was making sure I was “There”! It has always been a worse problem than I though, because I didn’t KNOW I was doing it!).

I have been told I have ADD. Some of the criteria fits, but a lot of it doesn’t. I never took add meds, because I suspected that just wasn’t it. Much more accurate is what you are describing in this article, and I thank you kindly, for this new tool of understanding I can use to help myself…

I come from a large family, there were 13 children. We are separated into three camps, some of us,(primarily the oldest ones), insist that we had, “A Wonderful Loving Family”. That is the actual phrase they use.

Others of us are of the mind, that we were lucky to have survived the horror, ( some feel it would have been “luckier” NOT to have).

Then there are the Middle of the Road’ers . They don’t idealize nor demonize our up-bringing. They seem to take the, “well that’s just how thing were done, back then”,mind frame.

I find I enjoy the company of my “middle of the road” siblings more than the other ones. I don’t have to listen to them act we were the Waltons. (The older ones remind me of Stepford Wives, Like they’re playing this, “everything is so perfect”, Life is great, tape. They LOVE Facebook cause they love to “chat”, but they NEVER want to “talk”. They scare me lol!).

When I am with the ones who know, “what time it was”, in that house, we almost always end up caught in a traumatic sharing of the horrible things we remember, and while our memories DO dovetail, and have cleared up some troubling nightmares, and memory fragments for me…The compulsiveness and intensity of the sharing, is exhausting.

There have been tears, anger, validation, acceptance… sadness for not being able to protect or help, one another back then… And a LOT of love. But we seem almost “unable” to just have a good time being together, WITHOUT doing this!? There is something that happens every time we get together…It’s almost an inevitability at this point.

The middle folks, just don’t talk much about the past at all. They live in the here and now, they look uncomfortable if an ugly truth is touched on, (but they don’t deny), they brush it off, (We’ll yeah, but it could’ve been worse…), and then they move on to whatever is currently happening. I find I am more relaxed in their company, as opposed to the other two camps, as they seem to generally be in good humor, but not fake humor, and I know they have their demons too…

I never thought of my Foo in terms of “N’s/P’s. Just mean, abusive and immoral. And my mom was a pyc. Nurse! lol! She was perfect at work, but a scary, scary mom…

So now I need to find a way to fix this self-hypnosis problem. Is it fixable? NC with Nutters seems to help, but I believe the problem is much more pervasive than I was aware of. The least little encounter with a disorientating person/situation can bring this on.



You are back!! Yay!! Good to hear from you 🙂


I really enjoyed this article, I think it also ties in with the whole idea of accepting a N’s blame- even harder for a child to distinguish someone else’s emotions from their own.

I am also struggling with my No Contact. It has been nearly 2 weeks now and I still have not picked up the phone or been in contact with him. The phone call attempts from him have decreased from about 12 times per day to about 3 or 4 times a day. It is very hard now that I am beginning to realize that without him, I really do have noone and am very alone


Hi Snow,

Congrats on the two weeks NC! I know it can be so HARD. Strange thing, this longing for contact…Who the heck would be dying for contact with a spath right?! I have read all the theories:

Trauma bonding
Stockholm Syndrome
chemical bonding

And everything else I can find…Still can’t quite make sense of it myself…Maybe I was so isolated, for so long, that spath became my only source of adult human contact. So naturally when I feel lonely, I think of spath.

That is what I was “conditioned ” to do I suspect… Come to think of it. People who are, at least periodically, in a state of self-hypnosis, as per the main article, must be SO easy to program!! Uhhgggg!

I did two years complete NO contact. (He’s back though. ), and it does get a LOT easier.

One thing I know for sure is, if I want to stay alive and healthy, I need to stay away from spath, no matter what I feel…

Please don’t feel alone. We are here for you.


Great article, Dr. Leedom. What you wrote on dissociation reminds me of the oft-quoted words of Dr. Viktor Frankl, ” An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.” I think it’s incredibly important to acknowledge this following a sociopathic entanglement. Thanks

Ox Drover

Dear Safeguard,

You ask some interesting questions and make some interesting points about your FOO….it is odd how two or three people can go through the same thing and each saw a different “event.” Your observations of your family seem to be well-thought-out. With large families like yours though, the older ones do have almost a different “environment” than the younger or middle ones due to the changing number of people involved at the various stages of the marriage.

A am also a bit ADD, it is genetic to some extent if not entirely, but also worse in some cases than others. Also many psychopaths are ALSO ADD or ADHD and/or Bi-Polar as well so they get the double or triple whammy. I have one son who is very ADHD and he’s just a jerk, but one son who is a full-blown psychopath (in prison for murder) but not at all ADHD.

It is odd that you mention your mom was a psych nurse. I’m a registered nurse practitioner who worked in both medicine and psych and believe me in my experience there are some mental health professionals who are nuttier than a fruit cake and/or meanern’ a snake.

Many people who are dysfunctional hide behind “christianity” or “morality” when in fact they are anything but Christ-like or moral. That kind of “double standard” is so confusing to kids, the message verbally of “I love you,” and action of “you are worthless.” Glad you are here Safeguard, again, welcome, your posts are very thoughtful and thought provoking. Thanks.

Ox Drover

Dear Snowsettled,

Are you any LESS “ALONE” WITH HIM?

There used to be a cartoon called Lil Abner, in which a guy named Joe something or other was the most unlucky man on earth and a black cloud lived over his head, and when he came around he brought bad luck with him. The rest of the characters didn’t like Joe because he brought bad luck with him. One day joe managed to trick the black cloud and lock it up in a cave so he no longer brought bad luck to himself or to others, but the people still THOUGHT of joe as Bad luck so they shunned him.

Eventually Joe became so lonely he went and let the little cloud out of the cave and said something to the effect “Of you’re bad company, but you’re better than no company at all.”

That was decades ago that I saw that cartoon but I cut it out and saved it for the longest time….it struck a cord within me…and sometimes we DO feel like old Joe, we are lonely, but I have decided UNLIKE JOE, that I would rather have NO company than BAD abusive company. I am pretty good company for myself, and am learning to appreciate being alone without being “lonely.” I have discarded my dysfunctional friends and appreciate the good friends that much more…and I’m down to a hand full of people who care if I live or die…but that is okay. I CARE. THAT’S THE ONLY ONE THAT MATTERS.

Ox Drover

I know we were talking about this mother the other day somewhere but I can’t remember where—she is on trial for child abuse for using hot sauce in the kid’s mouth and a COLD shower for punishment.

Interestingly enough, this mentions that the children were adopted from Russia where they had been found neglected and abused and that “other forms of discipline didn’t work” with the kids.

This takes me back to the boy that was sent back to Russia on a plane by himself and the furor that caused….

While I am not in ANY way condoning what this mother did to the child, I think it is very important that people understand WHAT they are taking on when they adopt a child…especially an older child from another country who has abuse in his/her back ground as well as potential for genetic tendencies or drug/alcohol problems in the parents or prenatally.

Just as an adult psychopath can drive a “normal” person “nuts” a child with major psychological problems and/or past abuse can drive a normal parent to “insanity” and for that parent to find something as “unusual” (for lack of a better word) as cold showers and tabassco sauce. I feel for this child, but I also feel for the mother—having unsuccessfully tried to raise a psychopath, I know that I qualified as “crazy” though by the time I would have considered “anything” he was old enough I couldn’t have done it physically.

This child needs to be in an inpatient setting, and it is possible the mother might benefit from that as well, but my guess is that she will go to jail/prison and it is a lose-lose situation that started out most likely in my opinion with someone’s good intentions but not the knowledge or strength to carry through without being stressed to the max.

Not trying to get a fight started here about “what is child abuse” but just to sort of look at this situation from both sides of the coin. The whole thing is sad, at best.


you might find this interesting. It is long and actually quite horrible, so if you find that it triggers you, perhaps you don’t want to read it.

It is the story of Fred Phelps the preacher who preaches hate.
He had 13 children and abused them to the point of beating them unconscious. But only 3 of them have escaped and acknowledge the abuse. The others just think everything was fine. How is that possible?

My father has a spath brother. I was raised playing with my 3 cousins and my 3 siblings. Of the 7 of us, the three oldest moved away and can’t stand our fathers. Of the 4 youngest, including myself, we thought everything was ok. Now I see the truth – far beyond what the older cousins and my older sister see.


Because…”If we can’t beat the monster, we become the monster”….Sortof like the “stockholm syndrome”…
Just spoke of this on another thread. lol


Thanks Oxy. I’m real glad to be here.

I am reading at lightning speed, I NEED to “get” this. I have needed it all my life.

I have a freak gift for reading comprehension. I speed read and retain, like you wouldn’t believe. Don’t know how I came by it, never made a cent off it, but I love it! (I’m a sucky speller thought! lol!)

My mom was Irish Catholic, but I wouldn’t know if she believed in God. It was not a subject that was ever discussed at home. I went to catachism, made my first communion, got white dress and the new bible to prove it… I remember bringing home crayon pictures of Jesus with the baby lambs, and so on…I would give them to my mom, and later find them on the end table, right where I left them, with coffee cup circles all over them… I never felt like God was in our home. I made myself a little church, in the woods and I visited him there, when I needed to lol!

I remember asking, as an adult, why we did “all that”, (Christmas and Easter too…), if no one even believed in God? My sister said, “It’s just Family Tradition”.

FTR: I avoid this sister at all costs. When Scott Peck wrote, “The People Of The Lie”, it was people like her, he was talking about. When I was carrying my daughter, she told me that I “should have had my tubes tied, instead of having a kid I can’t afford”. She said this so casually, like commenting on the weather…I have not spoken to her since I had my daughter, some six yrs. now. She’s so hurtful. Recently she found me on FB and asked that I call her. I haven’t yet.

Your right Ox about the birth order having bearing on the experience, but just as you said in your article, the family LIE had to be perpetuated at all costs. My older sisters STILL lie, to their GROWN children. Like telling them the “dog ran away”, when they really had it put down. They believe they are PROTECTING the “kids” from painful realities. I despise that sh^t!

My mom was also a closet alcoholic. Vodka was her, Drug Of Choice”. She was Sooo good I never even suspected till I found a rather large collection of gallon jugs hidden in her room…

I witnessed her beat my second oldest sister bloody when I was four. I was in the our room, playing with my dolls on the floor, when the door slammed open. My mom slammed it open with my sisters face. She had her by the hair, She threw her on the bed and started slamming her face into the bed rail, I saw my sisters face come up, then go down, again and again. Then her face came up and I couldn’t even see it, cause it was covered in blood.

After my mom left the room, I tried to clean her face with toilet paper. I was so scared, and she told me to leave the room before my mom came back…

Not trying to shock… I say this because I NEVER remembered that happening! Then when I was around thirteen, I started having reoccurring nightmares about it, in great detail…

I still didn’t believe it actually happened… I thought it might be a premonition that “something” bad was gonna happen to my sister. (who was married and living in a different state at this time) So I decided to warn her.

When I was 16, I went to see her, I told her about the dreams. They were always the same. Exactly. Right down to the wall-paper, dialog, EVERYTHING. (which I though was odd!).

So when I told my sister about the strange dreams, her face drained of color. She pulled her hair back from her forehead and showed me a long broad scar. Just at the hair-line. Then she said,”That’s not a dream. It happened, just like your telling it. As soon as she filled in a detail or two, it just came flooding back. It was awefull. We cried. The dreams went away after that.

So I KNOW all my brothers and sisters, know about this stuff…and suffered similarly, some things I saw and remember, some not…I do NOT understand the “Happy Family” ones…

Over the years I distanced myself from everyone. I rarely see them now.

I am SO allergic to lies now! And the people who tell them. Even the one’s that are just thought to be “common curtsey” bug me… but I defer to Good Manors…lol.



You have YOURSELF!!! I mean that. YOU can make yourself a cup of tea…YOU can talk to ..YOU can take care of yourself.
And, do you realize that you will only be alone if you choose to be?

I love being alone. But, when I want people around, I go out and talk to people. I met new people last night in a yoga class. I talk to people when I’m browsing in the thrift store..

Its a HUGE world out there..and if you get out and join groups and talk to people…they respond!

In time, you will meet someone special to bring into your world.

I felt the same way..since my xbf texted me all day long..hour by hour and I got addicted to having someone think of me all day long. But, in reality, he was lonely and bored and using me for excitement! At first I missed this, but now I’m realizing that he was really a pain in the a$$. He rarely took me was a texting r/s…and phone r/s.

I thought he was a “friend” who cared…but it was really all about HIM..HIS needs. And, I don’t miss it.

You will only be alone in this world if you choose to be. Go to healthy places…get out and meet people….

Gyms, classes, meetup groups online…

Don’t settle for him …you can find a warm body anywhere.


sky, have you seen the bbc documentary film “The Most Hated Family in America?” ( It’s about the Phelps family/Westboro Baptist Church) I watched it a couple years ago and i thought it was excellent ( In it, a very perceptive journalist stays with these people for a few days (? weeks? ) to get an “insiders” view on their lifestyle. Anyway, I liked him- very empathetic guy, plus he took a very unbiased approach to it all. It also in one bit, stars Fred Phelps himself- and his behavior is VERY bizarre… wtf moments abound ) What is also interesting to note is the very odd and often cloistered family dynamics- though its subtle to catch- it borders on disturbing at times.

Anyway, it’s available to watch here for free on google video for anyone who might be interested :

Ox Drover

Dear Safeguard,

WOW, thanks for sharing that….how scary. My egg donor ( I don’t call her “mother” as she didn’t earn the title) is a hard core enabler, and punishes if you don’t go along with the family motto of “let’s pretend we are a nice normal family.” Funny thing after my P son’s “Trojan Horse psychopathic” ex cell mate was arrested and had failed to kill me so my son could inherit, and all this was faciliated by my egg donor and my older biological son as well as his wife and the Trojan horse, and everyone was in jail except me and my adopted son, and the son whose wife had tried to kill him had fled to Te4xas, my egg donor actually SAID OUT LOUD TO ME when I said to her “we need to talk” she said

“No, let’s just pretend none of this happened and start over.”

I actually couldn’t believe she SAID IT ALOUD…it HAD BEEN the family motto for sure but NO MORE…I couldn’t do it any more. No more “forgiving” meaning that I TRUSTED someone who had repeatedly hurt me. No, forgiving now just means to get the bitterness out of my heart, it does NOT mean I trust any more.

I’m by the lies like you are and about 18 months ago my oldest biological son lied to me and I tossed him out on his ear….NO MORE LIES. He didn’t get it that it wasn’t JUST THAT ONE LIE, but all the ones he had told before….all the betrayals and if I couldn’t trust him to be 100% truthful with me NOW, I couldn’t handle being around him. He still doesn’t get it. He isn’t a psychopath, but he is NOT the kind of man I want as a friend, even if I did give birth to him. We still cooperate in the effort to keep my son Patrick in prison when his parole times come up, but the thing is that it benefits my son C as well….so he can be trusted to help with that. Otherwise, I don’t have a need for him in my life.


Thanks for the link, I’ll check that out…

There’s a film they showed us in the DV shelter. It’s a chilling video of a women’s spath, emotionally, then physically abusing her. The women was in a shelter, and she was told how hard it is to prove DV. in court, so she say’s “what if there a tape of it ?”. Stunned workers hear how spath ordered her 15 yr old son to FILM his moms abuse! This tape got the spath a 35 yr prison term. The judge cried when he described that film.

The women’s son, the one who filmed it, balled his head off, on the witness stand, and admitted how horribly spath abused his mom.( he cried hard when he was asked why he agreed to film it, he did not have an answer, as I recall).

BUT… her two OLDER kids, one son and her daughter HATE her, for putting their dad in prison, and insist there WAS NO abuse that they knew of!!!

That woman is safe now, but her sadness is profound. I’ll see if I can find a link to the video. It’s an excellent example of her spath ex gaslighting, twisting her words, and so forth.


I just couldn’t watch it. I tried. ugh. those people are so nasty. The reason I posted the Phelps story, is just to illustrate how people can suffer horrible physical abuse and then deny it happened.

The law should re-define what religion is and what they are allowed to do. Phelps’s church is not a church at all.

When children can see a video of abuse and deny it, still, I think it’s cog/dis. I had it for many years too. Still working to get past it.


missed your comment while replying to Sky…

Funny… when you tell your story, It is TOTALLY familiar to me.
As in, I could see something like this go down in my family. Yes. absolutely. I have no problem following the thread, cast of characters or how they operate. My moms family had plenty of N/P’s the worst of whom I (fortunately), never met as he was in prison since I was small.

I am sometimes taken aback by stories like Sky’s about her spath hang at the cop shop…I can’t imagine it, cause my spath would never be able to ingraciate himself with people of power. He lacks the sophistication for that, he is low on social charisma lol! He is, like someone else said, Like a 12yr old…

But with your story ,I feel right at home, (sadly). Out of my four grown sons, there are two, that I just can’t be around. We have vastly different value systems. One of them even hangs out with my current spath. Speaking of betrayal… It’s really painful, but you can learn to accept with grace, even the most painful realities after a while, if you can’t change them…

I love and appreciate your work here Ox. There’s a saying, “If you want to know what’s up the road, ask someone coming back down it”…

Sure glad I ran into you on this journey…

Ox Drover

Dear Safeguard,

Thanks you, Safeguard, I’m just glad you are safe at this point, and sorry that one of your kids is like your S-path. I think that is the most painful betrayal of all, even though ANY betrayal is painful.

It is “funny” that some of the stories here are so UN-believable that they are not even good fiction…my new therapist (several years ago) thought I was a paranoid nut job and I had to take in witnesses and documentation to prove that my whole family really WAS trying to kill me. LOL

I more recently hired an attorney in Texas to represent me at my son’s parole hearing and fight AGAINST his parole, and I interviewed this attorney over the phone and he did NOT believe me either until I sent him a bushel basket of letters from my son and the attorney called back and said “He REALLY **IS** A BAD MAN” LOL Yea, even the attorney who deals with this all the time was gobsmacked by how cold blooded my son is. The police report would make a statue cry…how he planned it all out in advance and shot her point blank in the head then went home and went to sleep like nothing had happened.

Skylar’s story is just as “crazy” as mine….but I know for a fact she is telling the truth, her X is a killer and proud of it. He does his killing by sneaking and making it look like an accident…but there is not any doubt that it is true just not enough evidence to prove it was HIM in a court of law. Donna’s story and Liane’s and many many others here have stories that would make anyone think they were crazy….it is a wonder any of us are NOT insane and can’t find our ways out of the abyss.

The statistics are that 85% of women who are physically abused by men go back. I don’t doubt that, so you are in the TOP 15% at least just by escaping. So give yourself a big pat on the back! The road to healing will be bumpy, curvy, and up hill for a while yet and lots of pot holes, but you just need to keep your eyes set on the horizon and keep on trucking! ((hugs)))


I got a call today i’d figure i’d get at one point or another…..but today it came…..
And I had to fend the ‘guilt’ off for not being the ‘good’ daughter.
My mother was diagnosed with B. Cancer….it’s not lethal…’s treatable…..BUT nonetheless……i’ve heard all the family tell me how I….I NEED to BURY THE HATCHET!!!!
All the while i’m thinking…..WHAT….IN HER BREAST?!?!?!?

Now….I wouldn’t wish C on anyone…..but WHY does this diagnosis earn my mother another chance with me?
The betrayal was HUGE….HUGE!!! And where was she…..when I was holding the C card? BUT, i’m having trouble containing my empathy…..
I’d feel stressed and resentful if I called and she thought it was all brushed under the rug and carried on from there.
I have boundaries for those in my life now…..and her not getting it and them putting us in danger and participating in her crap with spath….CROSSED ALL BOUNDARIES!

I don’t want that ‘door’ opened! I wrestled to close it……it will never be what I need from a parental relationship, anger will be there, denial will always be present…..I KNOW this! But why…..does this news affect me????? Is it the learned behaviors that I was the one who was ALWAYS there for them?????

I had a convo yesterday with a friend…..about breaking old patterns of ‘conditioning’…..and low n behold….here is shows up for me too!

WHY AM I WRESTLING even in the slightest with this…….I don’t want my life ruled by guilt…..due to fear of letting my ‘parents’ down….I KNOW BETTER!!!!!
(It proly doesn’t help that it’s that time of the month either!!!)




Thank you dancing…….THANK YOU!!! It’s proly Aunt Flo causing these emotions…..but i’m a bit taken back at my tears!
I want to live with no regrets……I don’t want to make decisions based on punishment……but I also require authenticity in my life! And I don’t have that in my parents! It’s me giving, it’s me getting hurt!
All I got when they wer informed of MY C diagnosis…..was…..Oh….SUCH AS LIFE….it’s Christmas eve and we’ve got people coming over. We won’t be coming.
That was my second thought today! OH….SUCH AS LIFE!
I need to figure out just what it is I’m wrestling with……


I’m so sorry. You are wrestling with this because you are human. It’s my worst fear. There is no “normal” reaction to them.

Tell your mom, Skylar said, “you should have thought about this possibilty when “I” had cancer. Do you remember that?”

She has probably forgotten already about it. Shallow people are all about themselves. Maybe you could tell her that you are crying your eyes out over her and just can’t make it out hte door becaue the news has devastated you. Should make her feel better.


EB – Yeah, I understand that. The fact that your other relatives are putting a burden on you to reconcile ties that have nothing to do with them personally– i feel is really not right and pretty inconsiderate. It’s not their place to even make any judgements on the matter, let alone make judgements on you as a person. That is something that should remain strictly between you and your mother. What you choose to do is on your own terms, and it should always be that way. Authenticity is important and I would expect that as well so I empathize. Stay strong… I’m very sorry you are going through this.

Ox Drover

Dear EB,

(((EB))))) A wonderful friend of mine talked to me yesterday on the phone and I was telling her about the “guilt” I felt for telling “grandpa” (the neighbor) that I would not give him any gasoline…and she said that a situation like that where there is pain that someone has caused themselves is “UNFORTUNATE” but NOT my responsibility….and she is a very wise friend and she was right.

It is UNFORTUNATE that your mother has cancer. BUT that is not your responsibility and it does not give her a pass for the things she has done in this life. You are under no obligation to sweep all the consequences for the things she did under the rug because she got cancer now, years later.

Yes, people will tell you What you SHOULD do….what you are obligated in THEIR MINDS to do, but YOU are the one to decide what is right for YOU…not Aunt Flo or anyone else.

Take the advice of my wise friend, I did, and it is UNfortunate about your mom, but not your responsibillity. (((hugs))))


I think Aunt ‘Flo’ is clouding my emotions today! She always brings tears once a month when she visits!!!!!! Her timing SUCKS!!!!

I agree Oxy…’s UNFORTUNATE….it’s not sad, it’s not devastating…..and unfortunate is NOT something I need to own! Thank you for that reminder…..I have heard it somewhere before!
It’s weird how guilt will creep up on us…..I need to reapply the duckback and let it all repell.

DancingN…..I agree…..I just thought about it, WHY was it that I felt the need to telll my cousin not to feel eggshelly about something she feels the need to tell me…..I don’t know why my whole family feels this way….I realize it affects my family (my relationships with parents ) and it’s been hard on everyone…..but again, I can’t fix everyone elses hardships and bite the bullet and not have MY needs met.

And Skylar…i’ll relay the message….i’ll let you know how it fly’s! 🙂

Thanks you guys……I need to process this….and it sure helps having people that ‘get it’ to talk to!!!



I recall reading how you block your p-sons parole. Man! what a sad, sad thing to need to do!! I am so glad you had a loving husband. Sorry you lost him…sounds like you had what most people long for, and few ever realize.

I know it’s not PC to say this, (we are all suppose to be whole and complete all by our little ol selves, I know…). But I believe a safe, healthy love relationship is possibly THE greatest healing power their is. (There I said it! :p ).

I think it was Cher, who said,”I am just better, when I am in love”. I am like that too. I can be alone now, I am cool with that. But I PREFER love. (Just NOT LOVEFRAUD!!!)… I admire Cher cause she tells the truth. Like her quote about getting older, “It sucks! I hate it!” LOL!!

I try to see the positives in my life, but I hate phoney optimism, and trite, sugar coated, cleshay’s (sp?)

I was married for 15 yrs before spathy. The demise of my marriage is a long story for another time, I married very, very young. (Guess why? LOL!), but I became much stronger and more centered in that time. And it wasn’t even the ideal relationship either, just the best one I had experienced.

I divorced at 31 and was ill prepared for life alone, I hated it and made a mess of things…

When I was in school, I had these two friends, and all three of us were in crappy relationships. We used to get together in the cafeteria and gripe to each other.

One day I realized, and told them, how, funny thing is, all three of us are in equally crummy relationships, and although we know it, each ONE of us SECRETLY believes HERS is just a little more likely to work out than the others! We all had a good laugh, cause it was true!

Hope dies hard in the heart… I think that is especially true with ones children.

(Sorry if I’m rambling on…I’m getting tired now).

Also…I have no doubt that Skylars story is true. The truth always has a “feel” to it.
It IS a creepy, creepy tale for sure. It makes sense when she lay’s it all out though. There’s no sense of “Missing Pieces, or things not adding up. The truth works like that.

I totally get why women go back to abusive men. There are a multitude of variables at play. It’s a complex problem.

My spath tried to kill me twice,(choking), and played with my life a number of times. Once, he jumped out of the shadows, put a shot gun to my forehead, and pulled the trigger. He later admitted he had no idea if it was loaded or not. 🙁 he was real subtle like that. :/

So “going back is not an option for me, but I MISSED this creature!?? It seems I have an unconscious ability to separate people into “good part/bad part. I tend to minimize and make excuses for, “Bad Part, and and work at bringing out the “Good Part”. I would NEVER tolerate, any man treating my lovely daughter poorly, I don’t know why I didn’t have the same fierce loyalty to MYSELF.

That’s the thing I hate the most, how I betrayed myself. I did not protect my lovely me! 🙁

Why was that, I wonder? Instead I kept struggling to FORCE this spath to love me and see how valuable I was. Why did even care?

One night I dreamed of my, long passed, Grandmother, in the dream she hugged me then looked me right in the eye, and told me, “You and the boys are EASY to love.” That’s when I understood that you should never try and MAKE someone love you. If they did, it would come naturally to treat you lovingly….it IS easy to love. If your not a spath!


“I would NEVER tolerate, any man treating my lovely daughter poorly, I don’t know why I didn’t have the same fierce loyalty to MYSELF. ”

I get that…….TOTALLY! It was my children who exposed the behaviors of the spath to me……and once they revealed what he was doing….I WAS DONE! It wasn’t about MY 28 year relationshit….it was about my kids! PERIOD! I HAD to protect them!
I couldn’t deny them, like I did myself….I couldn’t pretend like I did to myself….not with my children.
Yes……I am fiercly loyal…..and NOW to myself also!

I will protect the lovely me now! 🙂

Thanks my friends for being here…….


Sorry your mom has cancer, but don’t let her milk this.

My best friend in the whole world is a breast cancer survivor. That was a hard time for her, but she never, ever tried to use her situation to gain something she hadn’t earned. Manipulators do that. It’s ugly.

I’m sorry I don’t know a whole lot about your particulars yet, but the posts of yours I have read, have been so helpful to me. Thanks.

I wish I had some wise and insightful advice, like people here always seem to have for me, but alas, I don’t. It’s your mom and your call. That I do know.

You have my prayers though. ((((EB))))


Well I was digging thru some papers and found an envelope with Life Insurance written on it in His hand writing..I remember him wanting me to sign this and I refused. It names me as beneficiary. I am listed as domestic partner. So why did he insist on me benifiting from his death when he was cheating and lying left and right? I did sign some medical ins. papers just before he left…and months later I get a call from my pharmicist that somebody is claiming medicare B on me…well I have yet to get that figured out….But anyway here I am with his hand writing, saying domestic partner etc etc….did he really love me? I mean he wanted me to be benefit from his death?
And this is just one big kick in the gut today..there were two…oh well thanx for reading me or not…


Hens.. i wouldn’t go there. You know what you know. The what ifs will eat you alive if you give ’em the energy. So don’t. You don’t know all the ins and outs, the circumstances, the strings attached to that letter- it’s just another scrap of paper ( like a marriage certificate ) he wanted you to have so your “relationshit” “seemed authentic” ( when you know what it really was, and is. A stinkin’ pile of cow manure, that’s what. And with even that I’m being generous, cause hey- at least cow manure has its purposes! ) You are human so you’re trying to fill in the gaps again with your empathy. You are filling in the gaps of a monster, whom this flimsy piece of paper will NOT IN ANY WAY ABSOLVE OR MAKE WHAT HE DID ANY MORE PALATABLE. You know, deep inside, behind where this letter kicked you in the gut today- that he is a P to the bone. So don’t let doubt get the best of ya. hugs


Thanks Dancingnancies – I exhaled real big after reading your comment – your right – thanxs so much…hug back at ya…


Thanks darlen!!!!

Cliff notes version of my ‘story’. It’s been 5 years.
28 year relationshit to spath. Kids.
Found out he was a drug dealer and slept with men and found letters from young girls.
Booted him.
Had 2 strokes and a disected carotid artery….didn’t want spath to know and come back and hijack my life.
Mother told him agianst my wishes…spath flew back, came to hospital….wreaked the havoc I expected and was kicked out from hospital.
Spath moved back in……and I was in no physical shape to do a thing about it.
Police called….by kids due to physical abuse.
Police called again…..told spath to leave.
I was then diagnosed with the cancer……
Spath kidnapped kids- duped my parents into believing I was faking being sick and I was mentally ill…….parents refused to speak to me…..allowed spath all the control.
Spath was alienating me from any support.
Kids were gone, parents hid them….for 3.5 months.
Spath threated he was going to kill me……At that point I was so looow…..all I could say was GAME ON!

I picked myself up……and researched, found LF, found a good attorney who got sociiopaths from a legal standpoint and went for HIS jugular.
I documented, documented and documented more……I played PI, secretary, legal asst……and found my ‘inner sociopath’ and played it right back at him.

I was awarded all assets and full legal custody of kids. A restraining order for 5 years and a stalking order for 3 years.
He stalked us himself and through others…….I built a case….followed through and (hopefully) ran him out of my life. Kids want nothing to do with him.
My grace was it wasn’t me trying to convince my kids he was bad……HE exposed them to ‘who’ he was himself. (actually a blessing in the end!).

He knows i’ll nail his ass with any wrong move.
He knows the cops in my town are aware of him.
He knows he can’t come back here without judgement…

He was arrested a year after final divorce…..with drugs in another state. Trafficking, intent to sell yeadayada…..took case to supreme ct …..last month got off on a technicality.
I reported him to 5 states DEA, provided 11 pages of info……they KNOW who he is.
He continues to play the victim…..and typical spath behaviors…..BUT…..he has stayed away for about 8 months now… I don’t care what the hell he does.
His family now knows who he is……and he is well on his way to exposing himself to the ‘new’ people in his life.

So……Bottom line….I was alienated freely by my parents during my time of need…..and they were NOT there and not just that but they freely jumped ship to support a person (spath) they claimed to not like for 28 years.

There are issues… say the least! But boundaries I do not want to step over (my own) to appease my mothers need to pretend ‘all is fine’…..without appeasing my need to have my reality met.

Thanks Safeguard and I won’t let her milk it……but for now….I need to process and reverse my ‘guilt’ programming!!!!


Hens…..DON’T GO THERE!!!!!!
It looks good for HIM to have that policy…….and i’ll tell ya… also is VERY easy to change beneficiary’s WITHOUT YOU KNOWING!
I’ts a hook, a bait……Don’t take it!

He could’t write son, he couldn’t write husband, cousin or anything else…..He was your boyfriend……was there a blank for that?
Domestic partner was that blank.

It wasn’t about YOU……and besides….who paid for that policy?
It wasn’t about taking care of you after his death……if he died…..he knew he wasn’t going to be around to care.

Don’t read into that.
My spath filled out legal docs which said he was my husband.
He also listed me as beneficiary on his retirement accounts.

He was tooo stoopid to know how to change it……or care about me or kids welfare after his death!

Head up darlin!


Erin – there is a new tool, besides oxy’s skillet – i have a little kitchen whisk to sweep away crumbs of guilt we have from setting boundaries with the crumbs in our lives. whisk, whisk, whisk. (really it’s just a small witch’s broom 😉 )


Hens, CAMom went through hell when her ex died. All sorts of things she was supposedly to benefit from – he had signed her on to this and that – and you know what she got? Nada! I wouldn’t be surprised if your spath doesn’t have a whole slew of those forms out there in the world – siting other beneficiaries.


EB – i second skylar’s opinion – you are wrestling with this because you are human; and i would add, empathetic. You’ve been there, so of course you would care.

I think finding new ways when the hook goes deep – not just because of our training, but because of our humanity – may be like struggling to be born (either that or i am sigourney weaver and something is gonna come out of my chest.) being born is a fairly violent experience – and yet we cannot stop it. we get squished through a tiny corridor and out into a completely diff environment – we have to breath, we have to eat, we have to deal with air….being outside our mothers.

I would think that knowing that your mom will go through a hard time would touch your empathy – regardless of what she has done. Oxy and i have been talking about our ’empathy switches’ lately. how we can turn them off and on, and how we sometimes feel guilt when we turn them off, and how we are learning to turn them off in more often (when we recognize relationships and situations as toxic).

Would i feel empathy for my sib or the n sire if they were sick? yup. would i do anything about it? don’t know. doubt it. I would go to my mom and support her if n sire was sick. If my dad were actually dying i think i might go have a few not pleasant words with him. the sib, don’t know. probably not.

there is a lot of loss that we all have to process – it piles up and gets mixed up. sometimes close walls look like mothers and sometimes mother’s look like close walls.

so taking care of Eb – i’d revisit the concern and empathy you have for yourself, and what you went through. how about a letter to yourself about the cancer and all that happened with it? it might help you let go of some of the emo charge with your mom, and make it easier emotionally to sustain NC. xxx


my spath did something similar. He said, “you know, I used to belong to a welder’s union and they put some money into a policy for me. I should find it and make sure you’re the beneficiary.” Then later, “You know, I’m worried about dying without a will. I would want to make sure you got whatever I own, if something happened to me.”

These were hooks and I fell for it. I said, “oh, honey, you’re right. We should both have wills. Lets get this done right away.” And I made our wills up and we went to get them notarized.

That was the first step towards killing me. He wanted to make sure he’d get everything I owned. sicko.

It’s possible Hens, that your spath was doing that in the hopes that you would reciprocate….and if you didn’t he might have started to put a guilt trip on you to push the issue.


EB ~ so long ago you were so supportive of me and my troubles. I wish I could say something wise to you right now. Do you think the emotions that you are feeling are you mourning the illusion of a mother. You may be trying to rationalize how you feel versus how you would have responded to hearing this news about a loving mother, the kind you deserved but did not get. I am sorry.

Hens ~ Sky just said what first came to my mind. Maybe next it would have been him asking you to make him beneficiary of your life insurance policy – WOW


While I am sitting here, just something completely off topic to share.

Sometimes I find myself wondering if all the time, energy and life savings we have put into the custody battle to save our grandson was the right decision. His genetic makeup, after all, looks like something that comes out of a broken sewer pipe. His ADHD, RAD, Autism diagnosis would scare the crap out of most normal people. His behavior is often “off the charts”. With that said, I just watched him go down the drive in a pony cart, with his little amish friend sitting next to him. Ten year old Grand was wearing his friend’s amish straw hat and the other little boy was wearing Grand’s baseball cap (backwards of course). Grand waved and hollered “I love you, see you later.” My doubts are gone for now. I wish I would have had my camera.

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