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Advice for dealing with sociopaths: Don’t take it personally

Lovefraud recently received this note from a reader; we’ll call her Allison.

I want to thank everyone involved with the Lovefraud website. It is truly a gift. To the brave survivors, I wish you peace. I am a survivor myself. In fact, I’m divorcing mine as we speak. I will write my story another time because this time I only want to give a piece of advice that has helped me the most. When I was able to do this, the rest was easier to get through. I stopped taking it personally. It was not an easy task. I read everything I could get my hands on and while I learned his actions were mostly textbook, it was easier for me to let go. Once I convinced myself that I was not the first nor will I be the last, I shut my heart off and stopped taking it personally. This was my key to survival. I offered a silent apology to the women of the world for throwing this one back into the dating pool and went on with my life. I stopped taking it personally and I slept better, dreamed better, laughed more and found that I’ll be just fine. If this helps even one person, it will have made it worth it. Take care.

Allison’s advice is very simple, but it goes directly to the core of the sociopath’s manipulation, betrayal and abuse. The sociopath never cared about us one way or the other. We were convenient targets. We had something the sociopath wanted. Or we presented an opportunity for the sociopath’s amusement.

Sociopaths do what they do, because that’s what they do. We just happened to be there.

Of course, that’s not what the sociopath told us. First, he or she proclaimed love and devotion, or a sterling opportunity to succeed together—whatever the promise was. Then, when the promise started falling apart, the sociopath told us it was all our fault.

We, as normal human beings, believed the original promise—how could anyone say those words and not mean them? So, when the blame started flying from the person who made the promise, we believed that as well.

As we say here on Lovefraud, the sociopath is the lie. And the sociopath lied because that’s what they do. They are missing the parts—emotional connections to other people and conscience—that make us human.

Opportunity for healing

Still, there is a reason that we went along with the sociopath’s program, and that is something we do need to take personally, for our own recovery and growth.

This does not at all excuse the sociopath’s heartless behavior, nor is it meant to blame the victim. But most of us engaged because we wanted to believe the original promise.

We have to ask ourselves, what was missing within us that allowed us to believe? Did we have experiences in our pasts that made us susceptible to the manipulation? If so, it’s time to look at these issues and heal ourselves.

So as we extricate ourselves from the sociopath, understand that this is how they are, their behavior is not our fault, and we shouldn’t take it personally.

But we should take very personally the opportunity to excavate the old, erroneous tapes in our heads, and create wonderful new lives for ourselves.



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715 Comments on "Advice for dealing with sociopaths: Don’t take it personally"

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It’s a great observation and that is one of the things that saved me too. Once I “got it” and realized that if it hadn’t been me, it would have been someone else. That now that it wasn’t me, it would be/was someone else. I didn’t deserve what he did to me- I was just in the proverbial wrong place, wrong time with a heartful of sorrow. In realizing that it wasn’t personal is the freedom that nothing they ever said mattered. Lie, truth, gray area- their words no longer have value.

Yeah, that “Don’t take it personally” light bulb went on for me 18 months after the discard (probably much to the disappointment of my therapist who tried to steer me in the right direction on the first or second visit). “The lying thing”, the smear campaign, made sense, then, too.

And Donna’s right…the goal is to figure out ourselves, construct our boundaries and defenses, and live for ourselves and the “real” people we love and will love.

TOWANDO!

“It’s nothing personal.”

That’s pretty obvious. The S has left a long trail of wreckage behind him, and he’s moved on to a new set of enablers now that I’ve cut off the money, sympathy and free labor supply.

When we step back and look at the big picture, the pattern is very clear.

Great advice, Alllison.

With the X-BF and the X-DIL I don’t have, didn’t have, a problem with that because I did realize it wasn’t “personal” I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. It was MORE DIFFICULT for me to see this with my P-son and my other family members, it sure did SEEM personal, aimed directly atME. I think now, it wasn’t ME, as Oxy, but the ME as “daughter” or “mother of” etc, but more aimed at me, the role I had in the family. It wouldn’t have mattered if I was even a different person, but just in the ROLE I was born into.

Oh yes! Oxy: I finally see it more clearly now, that even if it was not me who was her mother, she would’ve done the same abuse to whoever her monther was.
I will spend the rest of the day pondering that truth; I’m not sure that fact is affording my heart and mind enough easing, but my thinking proscess has slowed alot at 67, and I do get a bit swamped with paradoxical thinking.
I feel there’s an important key here, if I can grasp the truth that “it was not personal.”
She is 48 this year; living on the street, etc., not because I “threw her out,” but because she chose to try to kill me.
I’d like to write more, but expressing myself is a taxing process anymore. I think that “dealing with her diviousness,” for over 40 years has taken a huge toll on me; but at least I am still sane enough to realize that it was not my fault that her life is as it is; I actually see now that she likes living misserably, for it brings her attention she craves as she moves from one charitable group to another.
Look at me rambling on with my thoughts! I’ll look this over before I hit “post,” and see if it makes sense, or says what I meant to say. Thanks again for helping me to see that even though I was/am dealing with one who I personally born into the world, I need not take “it” personally. (She eventually abuses everybody who will take it. Almost put her sis-inlaw in the hospital one time. And her four daughter’s. Authorities have been slapping her wrists through the years; we here all know that routine and how clever the P is at word twisting, and smearing blame on us… ) Ok, that all… I’m not taking it personl!

…the no contact I’ve maintained for 3 years, is allowing me to finally dig out of the depths of suicidal depression.
I am glad to say the authorities finally gave custody of my dght’s 4 children to their fathers, and they are thriving. She has no visitation rights.
…the no contact allowed me to find ‘me’; now no contact will allowed me to find ‘guilt free’.

Lifevest, good to hear you are seeing some light. It must be sooo much more difficult when the P is a natural born child of yours, like for Oxy too.

don’t take it persoanlly is KEY!. We victims are objects, and interchangeable. There is a wonderful book called “The Four Agreements” that includes that concept as one of the 4. Very well articulated and worth keeping by the bedside.

The other three agreements?

Be impeccable with your word

don’t make assumptions

Always do your best.

On another note, I think it drives the P’s crazy when we stop taking it personal. They need to hurt and when we put the kevlar on it thwarts their sadistic needs. Tee hee.!!

THank you for this post. Wonderful.

any answers–

First, he or she proclaimed love and devotion, or a sterling opportunity to succeed together—whatever the promise was. Then, when the promise started falling apart, the sociopath told us it was all our fault.

If these “people” can so convincingly proclaim love and devotion– mine had the tears and all–
how is it that they truly do not feel it?
how did he know to tear up and cry when he said, “i love you”–
you know what I mean?

I am so grateful for this article. I do not feel so alone.

Lifevest–
thank you for your honestly about being in a suicidal depression. Tat is where I am– not to freak anyone out. I even have a call in with a Catholic priest to meet and talk this week.
Do you all know that my faith has been affected huge???

I doubt in God now b/c of the evil I have experienced and that I was so into to the Lord– and was still so taken advantage of–

two little stupid job interviews tomorrow, but they are something.

love you all!!!!

great article – however when we are in the fog we take it very personally, only when we realize we have to stop the madness and go no contact do we see that it was not personal. This takes time and lots of educating ourselves to see this. I am free of the responsibilty of him. My life is coming back together one piece at a time. However the only thing I am left with is the thought that he is happy with his new partner. And I am left with the residue of his exploitation of me – but this too shall pass because more and more I dont give a ratz ass what he is up to as long as he is gone,

Dear Lifevest,

Yes, it is definitely difficult to “give up” on your own child, and realize that they are monsters….but it is the ONLY thing that has brought me SANITY (if indeed I do have some, but I feel like I do) I have seen so many people waste their ENTIRE lives trying to “save” the “spawn of satan” that there is NO SAVING FROM THEMSELVES. I’ve done enough of that myself, and am glad that I am finally FREE FROM THAT “CROSS TO BEAR”—I am glad that you are too. I am 62 and have been “afflicted” with many Ps in my family, some of them hurt me, some didn’t because I was too young to know what was going on, but you know, looking back through the generations, it has been going ON FOR GENERATIONS like a “family curse.” Between the Ps and their ENABLERS, quite frankly I cannot even fathom who is the worst. The enabling “psychopaths by proxy” have done me as much or more damage as the psychopaths themselves. I have also observed this in other families. I SAW it in them, SAW the destruction they got for their trouble, but somehow I was BLIND to the fact I was in a way doing exactly the same thing, enabling the Ps by keeping up my own false HOPE.

Having give up (finally) that “hope” which actually was DELUSIONAL I am finally starting to heal and free myself from the pain that hope gave me. I am glad that you are doing so as well. It makes my heart sing anytime anyone gets on here and posts about how they are doing so well. (((hugs)))) and my prayers are for your continued peace. Post any time you feel like it and don’t worry a bout what it sounds like, we GET IT even if your words aren’t what you wish they could be.

Dear Meg,

I am glad that you are meeting with a priest this week. The evil that we endure at the hands of these people is indeed a trial and a tribulation to our faith. WE SEEM TO THINK, “how can God allow this to happen?”

My faith, ultimately was strengthened by this whole situation lately. My faith before was so shaky because my egg donor had instilled in me this horrible FEAR OF THE ANGRY GOD she preaches that is just waiting there to damn me to hell if I didn’t play along with HER INTERPRETATION of what “forgiveness” meant—it meant, to her, that I had to “pretend that none of this happened” and to TRUST those people again that I KNEW IN MY HEART WANTED TO HURT ME. I struggled with this, felt guilty, felt damned. But after all of this when she actually SAID TO ME “Let’s just pretend that none of this happened” after she had RAPED MY MIND, lied to me, discarded me for the psychopaths, etc. and it dawned on me that HER interpretation was WRONG. That was NOT what forgiveness means. I spoke with several very learned Bible scholars and caring ministers and they all agreed that “forgiveness” does not mean putting yourself in harm’s way with people who are trying to hurt you. It does NOT mean that we pretend they are NOT EVIL. I re-read the Bible verses and discussions of wht forgiveness means and I saw that it means we get the BITTERNESS against them out of our hearts, it has NOTHING TO DO WITH TRUSTING THEM AGAIN. Even Jesus warned his apostles and disciples to look at a “tree’s fruit” to determine if it is a good tree or a bad tree. LOOK AT SOMEONE’S BEHAVIOR. He also advised his disciples to go to “a brother” and to try to talk to him if he was doing wrong, but if after that, even if you take others with you and they still won’t change their ways, treat them like an infidel…DON’T EVEN EAT WITH THEM. I realized then that Jesus himself, and later the apostle Paul, was advising NO CONTACT with these people.

The story of Joseph in the Bible where his brothers sold him as a slave, and made their father grieve over his “supposed death” had forgtiven his brothers when they showed up in Egypt years later, but he didn’t TRUST THEM until he tested them and saw that they HAD CHANGED. He didn’t reveal even who he was until he saw that now they would have laid down their lives for their brother Benjamin and that they felt guilt for what they had done to him years ago. That they would no longer allow anything to happen to Benjamin and to grieve their father again.

God is there for us, Meg. He doesn’t promise us that nothing bad will ever happen to us, but He is THERE for us. “Tribulation worketh patience.” I now see this entire thing as a lesson that I needed to learn. To learn that God is always there for me, no matter who betrays me. Even my son, even my egg donor, they are not what is really important in the grand scheme of things, I AM IMPORTANT and I am NOT AN ORPHAN, I have a heavenly FATHER WHO LOVES ME….who is there for me. Just as a parent is there for their children, and it hurts US when they fall and bump their heads when they are learning to walk, but we let them try and fall because we know they need to learn to walk. We are not being “mean” to them, we are letting them learn, and some lessons are more painful than others, but we all need to learn and learn when we are ready and learn by our mistakes.

I realized that I HAD NOT BEEN LEARNING THE LESSONS WELL, and that I needed to change how I was behaving, how I was thinking. I GOT THE MESSAGE this time, and I intend to keep on learning, trusting in God’s goodness, in my faith in God, and that He will do what is right. The Bible says that “ALLthings work together for GOOD to those tht love the Lord.” Sometimes I have seen things that I thought were the WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN TO ME, THE MOST PAINFUL THING, and in the end, it turned out to be for MY GOOD. I realize now that looking back, I am SO MUCH BETTER OFF now than I have ever been, emotionally, and that being away from these TOXIC people, even my blood family, is what I should have done years ago. I depended too much on MYSELF and my own “wisdom” (or lack there of, really) and not enough on doing what was RIGHT—which is to move myself away from TOXIC and EVIL people. I firmly believe that these people, have “sold their souls to evil” and that they made the choices they made and now they are not interested in learning, loving, doing what is right. They know what is right but it doesn’t interest them.

I will continue to keep you in my prayers, Meg, that your faith will be restored and that you will continue to heal. I too had to give up everything that was prescious to me, my home, etc. and I realized that even if the material things I loved were gone, I was still going to be OK. I was fortunate that I was able to return home, but I am still not sure if I will be able to stay here forever….but if I have to leave everything behind, I will not grieve over it any more. It is just STUFF, what is important is ME. I will never let anyone take that away from ME again. God loves me, that I know, and I know he loves you too! ((((Hugs))))) and my prayers. God bless you.

Meg; I’m glad you are reaching out to counselling. I did 4 years of therapy with my County Mental Health Psychriatrist (not a psychologist). She was able to give me the tools in my mind to gain back a desire to live. I didn’t know what I was wanting to live for, but at least I became able to see that suicide was not the rational action that I had thought it would be.
My becoming suicidal was not due only to the attack by my daughter, but many other devistations in my life at the time also, such as financial, my health, and family deaths. All realms of my life were in hopelessness, no way out.
You hang in there, Meg; the counselling can do wonders, and I hope you get one who knows sociopathic predators.

Henry; the best thing I’ve done, and the hardest, is to have no contact: the “no contact” that works best for me, is interchangable with “no interest.” I dare not even read mail from her, nor ask others anything about her. The less I think about her, the more effecient the firing of my synapses. ( :

oxy-speaking of Joseph–
have you seen the musical “Joseph and the Amazing Tehnicolor Dreamcoat?”

three years ago I had the role of the Narattor– the girl that sings the entire show– it was the role of my life.

Now look at me– ughhhh!

Oxy–
your post means a lot to me.
I ask that you do pray for my faith to be restored.
I have lost things like my health and my voice and my dog and my job– things that you should not be able to lose.

thank you Oxy–

Dear Meg,

The Bible tells us to lay up “treasures” where thieves, moth, rust, corrosion etc. cannot take them away—- there is, unfortunately, NOTHING ON THIS EARTH that cannot be lost one way or another…only what is inside ourselves is permanent…what and who we ARE…that part, I firmly believe, lives after us. It is sometimes discouraging to know that there IS nothing that we can’t lose—our friends, our health, our safety, even our very lives. Look at the book of Job. Job lost everything he had, including his children, all his wealth, and then his health. Even his wife said “curse God and die” (HOW IS THAT FOR SUPPORT!) LOL

His friends all came and BLAMED HIM for bringing the problems on himself. (MORE GREAT SUPPORT!) We must realize that God does not give us a “smooth road” throughout life, because He wants us to learn, I believe…and the only way we seem to be able to learn (us humans that is) is that we have problems to solve. “tribulation worketh patience.”

Hang in there, Meg, you are not alone! Remember when Jesus was going to heal the man’s son and he asked the man if he believed he could do it, and the man answered, “I believe, Lord, help my UN-belief” Pray that God will help your unbelief. I will as well. ((((hugs)))))God bless you through this tribulation.

I wonder if most if not all of us get to this point sooner or later. I to agree that by not taking it personal and understanding just how little our own P’s and S’s thought or even care about us as people. For better or worst they really thought or care about us very little if not at all. It was like the old saying “out of sight out of mind”.

Whenever they were not with us or we were not in sight they don’t really think about us unless of course they are covering their tracks and thinking how to explain “missing time” or other “strange” behavior that we might expect some kind of explanation on. Their thoughts and feeling are focus on only one point, which is themselves. Now more or less this can be said about all of us.

What I mean is that we think about our daily routine schedules and appointments whenever we go through our day. Our thoughts are on what we need to do and how to get what needs to be done completed. But for those we love and for those that are clearest and dearest these people are always in the back of our minds subconsciously are will be brought back to our full attention whenever spark by an emotion question or ideal. This is normal and how most brains work but remember that the brain of a sociopath works differently and process information differently.

I believe that for sociopaths they lack this ability completely (emotional recall) and will only think about that person once they see them or have the ideal to see them. Again this is when their manipulating skills come to play because whenever they “see” or “call” you there is a reason behind it. They will say they only wanted to say hi but if one was to really look behind the smile you will find something they want and/or think they can get from you. Yes, I agree we shouldn’t take their actions personally because unless we can be used for something we are never in their thoughts anyway. One thought I always keep in the back of my mind is that I might be thinking of her but I know unless she could use me for something I was never on her mind.

Hi Gals and Henry, too, I believe that if this life was easy and simple that we would never yearn for or seek God or heaven. It would be Heaven on earth and therefore pointless. I believe that we are here to learn and some of us are hard headed and have to learn a harder way than others. I believe that we are here to right wrongs and support others even as we ourselves hurt. I don’t believe that we earn salvation but I believe that our good works please God and make him smile. I also think he cries with us and I think that he might just have a frying pan like Oxy to lovingly boink us when with we are just being dumb. Faith like love needs to be tested to prove itself real to us and others God included. The test was failed by the SP. It just took me forever to grade it and turn it back with a big fat F! I kept trying to inflate his grade because I didn’t want to fail him and thus us. I wanted my illusion. Meg, you are in my thoughts and prayers and always in your dancing shoes. Smiles and a big ((HUG)) to you always.

The Bible says that God will never give us more than we can handle… that doesn’t mean on our own. He gives us enough that we MUST lean on HIS strength to get through. Meg: Hang in there. I was married to my S for 2 1/2 years and have an 8month old. I am $600k in debt and when he moved out 4 1/2 months ago, he left me and our 3 month old at the time, $80 in the checking acct. In the past 4 months, I have filed for divorce, immediately entering the NO CONTACT policy. *which made him nuts. I also watched his FB and MS pages and warded off any poor souls that wandered into his path… this made him more nuts. I have also been working with the Prosecuting Atty, and 3 other Attys to get him STOPPED. This has become my life line to healing as well. My family and my son and I are doing well. BROKE, but well. My husband only sees our son at a Supervised facility for now. I am praying that by the time that is up next month that he will be in jail and all else will be mute.
I wish so much that you could find the PEACE that surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:7). God has given me that peace and I have no anamocity (sp) toward my S husband… he is sick and needs help… thus as his wife… I am happy to help those who can stop him and protect him and others from himself. I know how unbelievably BLESSED I am. #1 God has been in this and one step ahead the whole time. #2 My family is beyond supportive. #3 I got out early. I have met several women lately that have been with their S/P for over 10 years!!!! How do you ever get out at that point? Again, I am blessed. 🙂

Stay in God’s word… that is where ALL the answers are for all of this crazy life. Start reading Proverbs every day. Look how God deals with the “Fool”, the “Scoffer”, the “Wicked” … It made me sad for him (S) but also made me feel that God in his perfect time would take care of it all. And he IS!!!

God Bless!

Dear Issie,

With that wonderful attitude and trusting faith, you ARE INDEED BLESSED. I am, unfortunately, one of those “hard headed fools” that kept on trying to take care of things myself, but when I finally DID TURN IT OVER TO GOD, He did a great job. I’m finding out that I don’t have to run the universe any more, it can keep on spinning without my micromanaging it. LOL

God will, I believe, NEVER give us more than we can handle, but He may give us all we can handle, but he is there. If He tells us to “jump off a cliff” he will either teach us to fly, or catch us in his arms!

I am an “uppity old woman” and I was an “Uppity” YOUNG WOMAN, too…but I am finding that I don’t have to take care of myself all by myself, I am cared for and loved and I just have to learn to trust my God. I’m working on that! Every day!

I too found it sad that those I loved had turned their back on God, on goodness, and embraced evil, but I can’t fix that….only they can, and unfortunately, they’re not interested. All I can do is to pray for them, and let God be their judge.

This is a great article about the heart of the matter.

Don’t take it personally. But do take some time to take a personal look within to fine tune our personal boundaries and our personal limits for disrespectful people, abusive people, unfaithful/deceitful people and people who make us feel terrible at any moment. Our personal mantra should be NO SECOND CHANCE. GET OUT. STAY OUT. REMAIN NO CONTACT. They don’t deserve our love and friendship because they just use others. Thats what they do — let them go so you can be free to learn and grow be yourself again! NC.

Allison: yes, that is very good advice, I try not to take it personally, I am trying to figure out why I did what I did, but the money, I’m still taking that personally, I want it back!

I have reached the point where I don’t take it personally for myself, but the evil person I had arrested last year is threatening my family, but so quietly that only I know its happening..nothing to take to the police or my lawyer but my suspicions….the commonwealth’s attorney is tired of hearing from me and won’t take my calls anymore.

I can’t protect my college aged kids…..that is so fear inducing……so I take this very personally for my kids and I don’t know if the threats are hollow or real. This is so hard.

Dear Been a year, Your post sent chills down my spine.

Are your college aged kids aware of the danger they might be in?

The threats could be either real or hollow, but it is alsways wise to keep in mind the P trait of “dangerous disregard for the safety of self or others”.

It is hard not to feel paranoid, and yet good sense tells us that they are dangerous and unpredicatable.

Please keep us posted, and I will be hoping that your P has moved on and that you and your children are safe.

Peace

Hi All: I’m new to the blog. I’ve been reading for a few months but just joined today. You all have such great advice. Meg, there is no person who is worth your life. To end your life because of what your Psycho has done to you only gives him another “win.” God gave us all free will and won’t override our free will. God is not to blame for what my P chose to do but he has been there for me through it all. My P is moving on to his 4th wife. (he’s 66, she is 46 wth 6 kids). He lied to me about the first 2 wives/divorces, of course it was all their fault! And stupid me…I believed him. Mine is a long, and messy story too. This website is such a help. Thank you all

Spanky

Akitameg and Lifevest user,

You are not alone. I think many people have felt that life was just not worth the effort anymore at some point. I know I have. But each time I ride the wave I am SO glad I did! There’s always that “Wow if I was not here today I would’ve missed THIS” – you know? Also your resiliency can be strengthened by these tough times. We are all learning from each other what NOT to do, who to avoid, and how to attract what we need and desire in life.

I have to say I feel your pain. I think I cried for four months straight at some point EVERY day. And I am not one to shed tears lightly. I feel deeply but always have a hard time letting the emotions come through. I am still so saddendd at the thought of HIM, missing who I thought he was, what I thought we’d be, where I thought my life would go.

It’s hard because I DO take it personally. After all, he scanned the crowd and chose ME as his victim right? He was my acupuncturist, a health care practitioner that I was supposed to trust. So now I have lessened faith in Acupuncture and the whole world of natural medicine….of which I am a huge believer in. Now I fear that that whole world is tainted with sociopaths who will use being a ‘doctor/acupuncturist etc. as their disguise. I told him EVERYTHING about me, and he just used it against me. He led me to beleive he was a counsellor, then my best friend, then…well you know how it goes.

But anyway, I can see why it shakes your faith in God as well. I struggle with that too but maybe God placed these people in our path so we could teach them that it’s NOT OK! That way we are maybe helping many others behind us avoid such exploitation and pain.

Sabine,
I met the crazy through yoga, which is a huge spiritual outlet for me. I too felt trusting enough through this connectioin to open up and share stuff you usually don’t.
Then for someone to take you and hit you where your soul lives, man, does it get any lower? Not much….

Eyes wide shut,
The kids do know about the threat, but like all 18-20 year olds, they think they are invincible, and that their parents are too, you know?

Having never walked down this path before, I struggle with how to deal……I imagine myself hiding in the closet or under their beds, keeping them safe, when I am especially worried….
I do not want to spend the rest of my life in jail, so when my mind goes to that dark place I realize he wins, what a mess.

I know you’re right about not taking it personally, but sometimes its hard not to. People believe the lies they tell and the Sociopath I knew was very charismatic. It still hurts sometimes when I think about it.

In that way, I’ll never feel safe, because I still walk among those I knew. I fear most what I don’t know about and its been 10 years.

Dear Been-a-year,

Not sure what you mean when you say he is threatening your family in ways that only you know… so quietly? How is he gaining access to make you aware of his threats?? Is he writing or calling you or showing up?? Def take precautions…If you can save information – ways in which he is getting threats to you… and can prove it…you can get a restraining order… you can change your number…NEVER MENTIONING ANY OF IT TO HIM NONE OF IT. JUST DO IT, OPERATE QUIETLY. NO CONTACT.

There isnt a whole lot we can do. Until they mess up by making contact. You may want to tell your kids you take the threat very seriously, maybe sit them down and explain that they need to be aware that this person is not well and while you think nothing will come of it, you want to be sure they do not see themselves as invincible – because nobody is! Reassure them, but also let them know its best to be prepared and knowledgable that unhealthy people exist and we need to be aware of that always. Not just with this guy.

Hopefully he will fade away…find another victim…try to keep your mind positive and strong. Dont let him win. Im glad you are here. You will find alot of support and advice from LF. Its a safe healing place! God bless…

Welcome Spanky

After reading these post I wonder does “don’t take it personally” and NC go hand in hand?

Dont take it personally means to me — dont keep beating myself up over the entire relationship…dont keep looking for answers or asking what did I do, what could I have done? This was not about me…there was nothing I could have done..except to have known the signs and reacted to the red flags — but I didnt. Still I must take it as “I AM JUST ONE OF HIS MANY VICTIMS” SAME STORY, JUST A DIFFERENT NAME/FACE…. I need to not question myself where the relationship failed…but question myself as to why i let it continue once I was aware he was a loser.

NC – means to me — Take it personally Sociopath! Im on to you, your lies, your games, your ways. NC to me means Im no longer taking it personally – Im aware this was all your doing — this is the way you are — and the things you do to EVERYONE WHO ENTERS YOUR LIFE. So, I will not take it personally anymore!

Thanks learn the lesson,
That is all good advice, and I will sit them down again, telling them “probably won’t happen but…”

one of the reason he got arrested was the threatening letters, one letter even said “isn’t this a fun game?” He left piles of my kids pics taken from old photo albums, and a few weeks ago I found literature from my sons college with a current map of the campus, no-one knows how it got here from the college….creepy stuff like that….anyway it’s good to be able to let it out a little here, now off to one of those things I do to stay positive. Have a great day all.

Thanks for the good advice learnthelesson. I do keep beating myself up and trying to figure out what was wrong with me to make him do such bad things to me, and I know I shouldn’t do that.

The abuser is married again now and I can tell that he is doing terrible things to his wife. I want so badly to help her out, but am afraid of what he’ll do if he finds out. For my own peace of mind, I have to walk away and that’s so hard.

I want to tell people everything he did to me, but am afraid they won’t believe me. He’s told them so many lies because I fought back and had a voice. It’s made me afraid to speak out to other people. I’ve totally lost my confidence.

Gogettergirl,

I know what you mean about wanting to go to the wife. I have multiple emails from the S I was involved with professing his love for me. I don’t know what his relationship with his wife is but I know she keeps a VERY close eye on him so I suspect he has cheated before. I know that someday I will deliver those emails to her; I think she deserves to know. However, I will do it when it is NOT personal to me anymore. Hmmm, when will that be?

I too fear that if I tell people about him that they won’t believe me. he lives in a very small town here in Canada and they are all very tight. He writes for the town newspaper in a health column and thinks he is the second coming of Christ – I swear! The funny thing is he is sooo charismatic that his friends and clients are really more like ‘followers’ – and he LOVES it!

I once asked him if this was a game to him (before I was aware he was a S). I asked him if he tried to posess all his female patients to fall in love with him. He told me “oh if I could I would”….

I know there will be more after me and I wish I could warn them. But I guess we can only do so much without compromising our own reputation, and safety!

I was taken by a sociopath, and I agree with “Allison” that, once we understand that it’s not “personal,” that the person is pretty much a career-sociopath, then we begin to heal.

The sociopath that I was dealing with has a drug problem. No, I wasn’t listening when he told me. I was in denial. And he hurt me so intensely that I don’t want to talk about it–not yet. But the final insult was him borrowing 100 dollars from me, telling me that he was broke and had no money for food, and then I found out (from him) that he used it to buy cocaine.

I stewed for about a month, not knowing what to do. I felt incapacitated. He wouldn’t talk to me, and when I would see him outside, he’d give me a “gotcha” look that froze me in place. Finally two days ago, I had had enough of the self-loathing feeling I was carrying around, so I picked up a baseball bat. No, I didn’t kill him. But I did knock on his door with it. When he came to the door, he looked quite surprised! And I kept saying “I want my money back. Do you hear me, I want my money back.” I basically scared the shit out of him! I didn’t touch him, but I kept reaching for his glasses. This is actually the first time in my life that I wasn’t afraid. I could see him wanting to fight back, but the fear in his eyes told me that this coward wasn’t going to do anything. And, I had the bat.

In the end, he tried to flip the situation around–making it what “I” did to “him,” and I stopped for a second, looked at him like “what the Hell are you on today?”, and kept repeating “I want my money back. I said I want my money back.” And when he said “ok, ok, it’s right here” and went into his kitchen to get it, I made sure the baseball bat was between the door and the door frame. I wasn’t leaving.

After he handed me two 50s, I looked at them and him incredulously as if to say “you’re dirt.” But, instead of my usual “thank you,” I said “f*ck you” in a casual tone and began to walk away. When he muttered the same under his voice, I said aloud “Yea, that’s NEVER going to happen!” I think his neighbor enjoyed that last bit, because I could hear her laughing through her door.

Now, I don’t recommend anyone try this, but I have to say, I had a very Oprah in the Color Purple moment the other day. I took back my power. I stood up for myself. And now he has nothing to hold over me.

I’m happy when I look in the mirror now. I feel whole. I feel like me. I’ve unleashed my inner protector. I’m smiling again.

My building manager is also pretty mad at him now, and there are a few other people who want him gone. I suspect the pressure will help him on his way. And I slept like a baby last night–the first time in a month.

I’m proud of me and I don’t know if I’ve ever actually “felt” that emotion quite this way, but I have to tell you, it’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever had.

Welcome spanky, gogettergirl, and been-a-year—this is a healing place (as I am sure you know if you have been reading a while) glad you feel comfortable to post now, and postiing does help I think. Glad you are here! Again, welcome!

I laughed out loud when I saw the title to this article. I used to work with a person who I am pretty sure is a sociopath. At the beginning, I didn’t understand this behaviour, and things he said and did towards me were very upsetting, and I told him so. His response? He would take me by the arm, look me deeply in the eyes, smile a little, and say “don’t take it personally”. The man was telling me himself! It took me a couple of years to catch on, but now I now it’s the truth!

Flagstaff (batgirl)…LOL, no ROTFLMAO…I’m sure he didn’t take it personally, either! At least he had the money, and you got it! TOWANDA! for you!

Hey, everyone. I’m new, too, and am so appreciative of everyone’s posts. They have helped make sense of what happened, know how to protect myself the next time, how to recognize the warning signs. And it has strengthened my resolve to work on my self-esteem issues, since I think it is the combination of being kind and nurturing and having low self-esteem that makes us targets. I don’t want to stop being kind and nurturing but I sure don’t ever want to end up a target again.

Lifevest, I am so sorry to hear about what you’ve been going through. I have struggled with suicidal depression since I was a teenager, and I was dealing with PTSD over an incredibly traumatic event in my life (known full well by my false friend as he recommended the therapist for me to see for EMDR) when my SP decided to reveal himself and do the Mr. Hyde thing. I have had a terrible time recovering from this double blow. But I am determined not to let this bast*** “win” by encouraging me to destroy myself even more than he has. I’m doing a number of things to improve my self-esteem, but one of the most helpful has been to pay attention to my “self-talk” and any time I hear myself being mean to myself or telling me that the world would be better off without a screw-up like me in it, I take it back, apologize to myself, and say something nice and supportive to myself. WHENEVER I think of it, I say something nice to myself. I think that one of the ways SPs are so effective in “playing” us is that they say the things to us (at first) that we so long to hear. We can say them to ourselves and gradually start to believe it.

Gogettergirl–I share your apprehension. The SP in my life has poisoned four friendships now, ones that really mattered to me, and I am always wondering what they’re saying about me to each other and to others. It’s very paranoia- and anxiety-inducing. So, that behavior I DO take personally. Not to mention the fact that my erstwhile friend is still e-mailing my husband, trying to act like he’s still our friend. Totally creeps me out. But at this point, I am tending to think of SPs as predators like an animal predator, so the not taking it personally is saying to me, I didn’t personally do anything wrong for this relationship to have gone so far south. That has helped me with the utter bewilderment and self-blame.

Does anyone on this site have some good tips for dealing with the smear campaign? Thanks in advance, anyone. And thanks again for all your caring and supportive posts.

Skippy…welcome. Every smear campaign is different and the same. It depends on what it is and what you know.

In my “crazy time” of 18 months after the “discard”, I said too much. Then, when the “not personal” kicked in, I stopped.

My only sane choice, for me, was to ignore it. To be myself. At first, people acted funny…looked at me funny. As time went on, they began to act normal again and were like before.

I guess, for me…I know who I am, and what I did, and didn’t do. If they can’t use their own minds to reconcile what they heard and what they see…I can’t help them.

That was just my personal, or “not personal”, way to do it.

Now I can laugh….with joy, and peace. Life is good!

Thanks for the welcome. My Nut Job flipped 18 months ago. His personality did a 180. After 10 months of hell and much urging by people who knew her, I got up the nerve to contact his second wife. It was chilling hearing her describe their 13 year marriage and divorce. I was hearing someone else tell my story! He pulled out a script and went at it again with me. At the end of our chat she said to me “you know, after all these years (18) it still hurts to talk about what he did to me but I have to tell you how much our conversation has meant to me. After all this time I FINALLY know that it was NEVER ABOUT ME!”

This is a guy who has had three marriages each of which he ended in the 13th year. He just can’t stay married longer than 13 years. He cheats with skanky women (fixer-upers) because I think it makes him feel like the “white knight.” We are still legally married (New York State is an at fault divorce law state and it takes forever). I was unable to get him out of our house so he lives upstairs in a guest room. But the best part is that he gave his current bimbo an engagement ring for Christmas! She is still married too.

This guy is a successful businessman. I have recently found out that he was the typical “hatchet man.” He would go in and CEO a company and before long, top level management would start dropping like flies. You don’t kiss his ass, you’re gone.

Fortunately for me, he put my name on everything so my sweet revenge is that I will kick his sorry butt in the settlement. And he is very intimidated by me. He can’t win in a verbal war because I speak to him like the baby he is and he just doesn’t know how to respond when he can’t get under my skin. He is a coward. What he has done has been painful but I will be damned if he will walk away with any of my self esteem. I own that…..it’s not marital property!

Hang on all of you. This web site is such a wonderful and helpful place to go. No one really understands unless they have been victimized by one of these turds.

Yes, that’s something to keep in mind for sure; don’t take it personally. Agreed.

I often step back from trying to understand in the relationship with the s. When I take a step back from my own feelings and look at the big picture more objectively, I realize that the whole relationship was NEVER about me, personally.

The woman that the s has lured in, seduced and controlled, put-down and discarded was not really me. No it was his idea of a woman. The woman he wanted me to be. He made tremendous effort to groom me into this “perfect woman mate” but it failed and he had to discard me because all he saw in me at the end is his failure to have this fantasy.

I am certain of this because I think about his girlfriends in the past and he was always looking for a certain look and behavior. When these woman (including me) refused to drop their individuality, it clashed with his “plan”. He always wanted to have a brooding pale, skinny, androgenous woman all dressed in black, enthusiastic about his interest, completely enmeshed with him. It’s like a personality cult of the s.

It’s funny, the ex-s has a blog online. It’s kinda frightening in a way. Its like he has married the architype of all the woman he has been looking for. He has posted photos of their house and her. Sadly I see the same thing happening to this woman he has married; she is slowly transforming into his image. In other words he is slowly influencing what he wants her to wear, I see the same haircut, clothing as he wanted me to wear. It’s so weird to see…their house is completely refurnished all black as he always wanted when we lived together. It’s like his new wife has no personality of her own. He speaks for her to in his blog. It’s funny he even met her the same way and said the same words to her when they first met.

This reminds me of reading about serial killers, it’s this particular image of the woman….
The s also head this huge disability fetish too, perhaps his next targeted prey will be an amputee brooding pale woman.

Anyways, when I think about these things it helps me to understand that he will repeat this over and over, he will keep looking for this particular weird fantasy woman, but he will always be disapointed.

Thank you, James. Yeah, that makes sense. And yeah, I think I did the same thing; when it first happened, I was so blindsided and confused, I said too much to two friends I thought were two of my best friends (who encouraged me to confide in them!), unaware that the SP had already approached them. Sigh. Yeah, so, all it did was make things worse.

And yes, I think ignoring the smearing is good advice. I’ll try my best to just be myself and not assume anything. I do have plenty of true friends left and the ones who would rather side with an SP (especially the ones who know what he did) are certainly not the best friends for me anyway.

Thanks again.

I wanted to add to the previous post.
The process of the s is never personal. He keeps looking for available prey that seems to have an openness for future grooming. If so, he will do everything within his power to create his magical reality where he has ultimate control over every detail, yet he is so powerless.
He discards when he cannot maintain this illusion of his arcihtype woman partner.
Each time he starts over, he goes into a metamorhposis. he discards everything from the previous life. What he keeps is the knowledge how to be a better pretender, better skills to con others. Then he chooses the next prey based on that new knowledge. He will have a new barage of info how to impress a woman, learned from the likes of the previous partner. For instance he used my favorite place in the woods, to propose to his new wife.
He will choose his new partner who is “nicer” and more “tolerant” than the one before.

Greenfern,

So interesting that you noted that the woman the S seduced was not you at all. I definitely can understand that. I was not myself at all, and I used to tell him that alot. He really wanted an extremely vulnerable quiet feminine girl to treat him like a God. I fell into the role – anything to please him. However, I would tell him over and over that “this is not really me; I am really a very strong and independant woman” etc. He always had a reassuring/patronizing response and would tell me every day that I was ‘perfect’ and we were ‘the same person’ so he understood all of me. he treated my depression/anxiety as if it had NOTHING to do with him or our relationship; even thoguh I told him this. he took the part of my therapist, further shifting the power away from me into his own hands. I didn’t have a leg to stand on with this guy.

His presence in my life made me so vulnerable and depressed; I was not eating, sleeping or being productive for months. My inner self was screaming at me to get away from him. I had this sick addiction to be with him but at the same time I feared him; even though he was not an a** until the very end. My instincts were so strong buit I ignored them Never again.

So he never knew me at all. However, it made life very sweet when I had my ‘baseball in the doorway’ moment let me tell you. We had a meeting after I filed a complaint against him at the Acup Association here. We all met and he and I had not seen each other for weeks. I was sooo nervous (but the ativan and St. John’s Wort, and Rescue Remedy helped!). I stood up to him and told him it was NOT OK to treat people like this, told him I thought he was a coward, he was weak, he had no integrity and that he reduced himself to a young toddler through his infantile behaviour. He was floored and speechless. I had never stood up to him before and he had never seem my confident side. It was sweet, and yes, I also slept like a baby that night for the first time in months.

What is the ‘smearing campaign’ by the way?

Welcome to all the new posters, Not taking it personally is really helping both my daughter and I to heal. As the fifth ex wife, can I really be surprised? He has 3 daughters that he abandoned. One he currently has custody of since her Mom is a Meth addict. But prior to using me and my friends to pad his pitiful resume, he had never even seen her. He got custody when she was 8. She just turned 11. I’m of course not allowed to see her. He of course doesn’t want to see my kids or me either. I know who he is and what he is. That is a fact that he can’t abide. He can’t pretend with me and he couldn’t control me in the ways that matter. He has found himself a much better toy. Ugly, poor, uncared for kids, and he is her boss so ultimate power to fire her and destroy her. But my part was to deny the evidence of his dysfunction and to believe that he just needed someone to love him into wholeness. I bought his lies about every bad thing being some evil woman’s fault, and I let him and his Mom convince me that he only needed a good honest woman and then he would be a Prince. He’s a Prince alright. The Prince of Darkness. LOL! Actually he joked at times that he was the son of Satan and that he had died a long time ago and that all that was left with was a body. I buy that now. But I don’t but any other part of his BS! He is using his daughter as bait for my Mom. Claiming that she can see her when ever she wants and thinking that I would never allow it. I told my Mom go ahead and call. You watch cause he won’t let you see her. Sure enough 2 requests and 2 denials. I told her see it is a game to him. He wants you to want something that he will never let you have. That is his game. That is his power. That is a game that I am done playing. It hurts my heart to lose contact with that child, but she is not my child and mine come first. She is in my prayers but she can’t be in my life. Not now nor ever. Sad but true. She is a pawn for him to play. Let some other woman think that she is going to be the Mommy. No woman will ever be her Mom for long. He won’t give up his power enough to risk a positive influence upon his daughter’s life.

Sabine: As I understand it now, the SP will go around either telling lies about you, once you’ve ended the relationship (or they’ve left after abusing you), or they will frame what happened between you in such a light that you look crazy or vindictive or whatever suits their purposes. They are terrific liars and often charismatic and very convincing–plus, they manage not to be emotional at all while talking about you this way (not hard for them, evidently, given their emotional makeup) while you, being devastated and deeply hurt, will often be very emotional when talking about it. Since, in our society, being emotional is equated with being not believable or stable, a lot of people will believe them and not you. Especially if they’ve been flattered by the SP or want something from them or are fooled/impressed by the cult followings these folks often have.

It does not cease to amaze me how similar these stories are.

Sabine-
It’s interesting eading your post you said:

“He really wanted an extremely vulnerable quiet feminine girl to treat him like a God. I fell into the role – anything to please him. However, I would tell him over and over that “this is not really me; I am really a very strong and independant woman” etc. He always had a reassuring/patronizing response and would tell me every day that I was ’perfect’ and we were ’the same person’ so he understood all of me.”

That sounds so familiar. He would alawys spew this pseudo feminist lingo, but in reality he wanted to dominate and control as a man. He would say “I support you in anything you want to do” but his actions, facial expression and body language told the opposite. He had subtle ways of making sure he had the final word in everthing. Since in his mind he was the ultimate expert on everything.

He used to say “we are a team” and jokingly added “we are a cult of two”. Makes me shutter now, back then I thought it was kinda cute, but now I realize the truth to it.

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