By | January 28, 2016 58 Comments

After A Relationship With A Sociopath/ Psychopath, Finding The Right Support Can Be Challenging


SlippingGetting out of a relationship with a sociopath can be dangerous, draining, and confusing. For me, and I’m guessing for many others, this can be exacerbated by the fact that finding the right support during this vulnerable time can be difficult.

Finding The Right Therapist

There was virtually nothing left of me after almost two decades of being unwittingly married to a sociopath –chronic, subtle criticism; gaslighting; isolation; blaming; triangulating, intermittent love/affection, etc.

To weaken me further so that he could prevail in our divorce, my then husband started using full frontal assaults as well—verbal abuse, financial terrorism (pretending he could no longer draw a salary from his business; draining accounts; cancelling credit cards; etc.);contacting my parents and lying to them about me; threatening me; the list goes on.

I was so devastated by the realization of whom and what my soon-to-be ex-husband must be, not to mention the corrosion I’d been subjected to for years, I sought out a therapist who was knowledgeable about abusive relationships.

Over time, she made a huge difference because she was the right therapist for me and had experience with abusive relationships.  Shockingly, not all therapists have this training or relevant experience.  An earlier therapist I’d seen is an example of a huge missed opportunity.

Beware The Wrong Therapist

Years earlier when I also felt that the smart, strong, accomplished person I’d once been had turned to dust, I turned to a therapist.

Although she helped me regain a bit of my former strength, the question was never broached of whether or not my husband could be a sociopath and perhaps this is the reason I had changed so profoundly. The possibility that I was in an abusive relationship was never considered.

This was a huge lost opportunity. If I had considered and concluded that my husband at the time was a sociopath, I would never have used my new found strength to invest in my marriage, including moving far away from family, friends, job contacts, etc. for the “fresh start” my husband wanted.

Once I was isolated, my husband restarted his corrosive tactics and the separation, divorce and post-divorce from hell quickly ensued. Working with the wrong therapist can not only set you up to make the wrong decisions when you are unwittingly involved with a sociopath, but it can also be crazy making and further eroding.

A friend who was in an emotionally abusive relationship worked with a therapist who did her absolutely no good. He’d often ask her why she let herself be impacted by her husband’s words (abusive words).  Amazing!  I’d like to see that therapist live day after day in an environment in which he is gaslighted, ignored, and when not ignored is verbally abused. All the psychology I’ve ever studied indicates that environment matters. People and environments can be toxic, and getting safely away from them is important.

Sidestep Family/Friends Who “Just Don’t Get It”

As competitive, successful, strong women are favorite targets for sociopathic/psychopathic men, it’s possible when you turn to your family for help, they just don’t get it—they may still see you as the strong, successful, competitive, competent person you were previously, and it’s too incongruous for them to really believe how eroded you are–that you’re not just having a bad day or week; but that you feel your soul has been shredded and that “you” are now no more than shadow and ghost.

Did you know about sociopaths/psychopaths before this happened to you?  I didn’t. Your family may have no relevant experience, either. The lens they apply is likely the one that has served them well to this point—you’re experiencing a normal breakup, breakups are hard, you likely played a role in it as well, you’ll get over it soon enough, just put it behind you and move forward.  Although they may truly love you, they don’t understand, and the framework they apply to the situation may feel hurtful and judgmental—two things you really don’t need right now.  (Self-reflection may be important, but not at the stage where getting out safely and no contact is the priority.)

Family/Friends With Hidden Agendas

One thing I sadly discovered as I reached out to family and friends for support is that some of them had hidden agendas. Perhaps some enjoyed being with me due to my success and energy, and now that I couldn’t offer that to them, the relationship no longer worked for them.  Who knew?

Even worse, I’ve discovered some people I thought I was close to used my current difficulties to feel superior or pass judgement– “How could you let this happen?” “How could you be so naïve?” “I told you to get out sooner.” (Even if I couldn’t recall them actually ever giving me that advice.)  Asking someone how they ended up in a dark, churning, ocean gasping for air is not particularly helpful when someone is drowning—throwing them a life preserver is.

For those of us who’ve had their lifestyle or career or family derailed, some “friends” may use this as an opportunity to be competitive: “I’m so sorry you’ve lost your home, now let me tell you about the amazing addition I’m putting on my house”¦” or “How terrible your son is near suicidal.  My daughter just got into Harvard and finished third in her age group at archery nationals.”  Now, that’s helpful too.

The Aftershock Of Not Finding Support Where Expected

Like earthquake aftershocks, we may think we’ve found a temporary safe haven, but sometimes we have not. My therapist had to help me understand that I had to stop returning to sources for “support” who really weren’t supportive. It doesn’t matter if I wanted them to be supportive or they “should” have been supportive. It’s reminiscent of the Albert Einstein quote–“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

I had to find some new sources of support—such as Lovefraud and others who have lived it or a few rare people who were unconditionally supportive and had no hidden agenda.

Although it took time to see it, one of the silver linings was that at the end of this painful process, I really found out who my true friends were and forged some new profound relationships as well.

My own sad tale of unwittingly investing almost twenty years of my life into a relationship with a sociopath and sometimes diverting from the best path, is chronicled in my book Husband, Liar, Sociopath: How He Lied, Why I Fell For It & The Painful Lessons Learned (available via As I don’t get a “do over,” hopefully some of my painful lessons can help others impacted by these toxic people.

Identifying names, places, events, characteristics, etc. that I discuss here and in my book have been altered to protect the identity of everyone involved.

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O.N. Ward – You are so right – when you turn for support, many people, including therapists, simply don’t understand what is going on.

That’s why Lovefraud will soon be launching Lovefraud Continuing Education – online training for mental health professionals and the public to help them understand what happens when someone is involved with a personality disordered individual. I’ll be announcing more soon!


The online training would be wonderful, Donna! Can’t wait for it! Thank you!


Thank you!
Much needed.


Ooh absolutely; also, lovefraud is essentially rape after rape after rape, theft, lie, envy, covet, idolatry, blasphemy, and abomination. Fake what a rape victim goes through, multiply it by a thousand, then apply the shit paradigm of no one understanding … And I hope you don’t own a pistol.


Thank you, Donna, for the invaluable support you will provide regarding ‘therapists’.

I have had so many inadequate/bad ones (but to their credit, they may not have known about pathology like we do today…now it is all ‘hitting’ the Internet and news).

But: some of the therapists I had, including recently, had no ‘right’ or business to:

1. Show up late consistently
2. Fall asleep in their chair (was I that boring??)
3. Ridicule (called me a ‘wierdo’)
4. Point the Finger of Blame
5. Suddenly announce they were leaving the state/country (waiting
until their very last session with you because they “didn’t want
their clients sitting on the edge of their seats…”).
Something tells me we were left flying by the seat of our
pants instead…

…and the incredible experience (in the 1970s) of a therapist who invited my parents into therapy (behind my back) when he said he would NEVER DO THAT…


The therapists you describe are unethical. Sadly, there are many disordered counselors (as well as many good ones).


As with those in the field of therapeutic practice who have been conned, and other professionals in legal system should also include law enforcement as well. They are in desperate need of education.

Fortunately for me I had a judge who could see right through the monster I had to unnecessarily face in a complaint the sociopath filed against me.

With that said, it does not undo the social stigma with having been associated with this individual I trusted, and for which I’m still paying the price to this day.


This article speaks volumes, O.N.Ward. I don’t know where I’d be right now if not for LF. My family is there for me and supportive, but they truly do not understand what I’m going through or why I’m still with my h. They say the exact same comments as you mention above in that they “just don’t get it” … makes me feel worse than I already do on my own. Thank you for your support and articles!


ON Ward
This is a GREAT article b/c it speaks to the flustration of the disconnect.

When I was married, I sought help from many therapists. I finally found my “jewel”. She was the only one who told me my husband was an abuser and she got me free of him. But… that was a far as it went. For years I floundered until I found LoveFraud and ALLLLL the pieces fell into place, the why, the how, the process. I got away from an abuser but when I found LF, I started to HEAL.

I affirm that most people have NO CLUE about sociopaths and it’s best to not mention it at all b/c they judged me as something wrong with ME for what he did to me. I am in a very good place now but it is isolating that I have to omit that 20 yr period of my life, and that I have to be vague why I was a failure during a time when others built a fantastic career. They say I am intelligent enough so what happened. Now I just say that I put my family first (and omit that my family destroyed me)… and that my marriage didn’t work out and so now is my time.

I learned to be compassionate and not be disappointed that others can’t understand my nightmare, I am GLAD for them to not understand such a nightmare b/c it is unfathomable unless it happened to them… and I don’t want that for ANYONE.

I am SO GRATEFUL for this site and for the wisdom in articles such as this one from O.N.Ward. There are people who DO get “it”, and it is why I was able to recover, to heal, and to have a good life afterall.

My biggest lesson learn?: The evil that was done to me was completely wrong and immoral in every way, but I AM the ONLY one who can heal me, with the help of those on Lovefraud. ONLY ME can turn my life around, starting with No Contact.


Excellent and much needed article.
I actually went to the last therapist and told him what was wrong with me pleading for help.
He told me to go for a walk in the park.
Fired him.
The “word” is defiantly getting our!


It is so awful to be in so much pain and ask, BEG, for help only to be dismissed.

SO many therapists, when they don’t have the answer, BLAME their patient. Sociopaths are outside their paradigm so they don’t exist. Mindblowing, isn’t it!?!!

I went through several therapists who had their own issues. One HATED his mother. Another one, when I was so depressed that I didn’t know I was depressed told me to stop being so negative. She was “our” counselor and in front of my tormentor, after telling her that I was numb and sleeping 16 hrs a day and could not find a reason to get up in the morning, that I couldn’t get heard…. She said, “You are negative negative negative” (was her reply when I objected and cried that what he just said was a Lie – he said he never cheated on me. And then she said she didn’t blame him for his behavior because I was so negative. I was sobbing uncontrollably then, and got up to leave, and she told him, that sometimes she just had to tell people the truth. I think of that professional who was incapable of diagnosing profound depression and wonder what other women she did that to.

SO GLAD you FIRED that therapist.


I am so sorry you had to go through that too, and we have to pay big bucks for that.
The therapist, a psychologist tried to fake his way through even though he was available on an emergent basis when spath was coming back to town and I was terrified, isolating and sleeping a lot like you.
I did ask him if he had experience dealing with this and he lied to me.
Then he actually had the nerve to send me a bill in the mail for co payment(my insurance paid he very well) he knew I was not working and was broke.
I sent him just last week a link from Mark Smith of Family Tree Counseling(I found him on youtube and one of his interns actually did some pro bono work with me on the phone, her name is Rinda and she is amazing and is a survivor so she knows) anyway I sent a link from Mark, I’ll find it and post it here, saying that therapists need to get on board with this.
Honestly I have found all the help and support for free rigt here on LF and youtube.
I have several friends who are BH professionals and they told me they had little to no training on personality disorders let alone survivors of their abuse.
Donna is truly a pioneer and I am thankful and grateful for her courage and strength to bring her experience with JM out and help so many people.
Oh, another therapist I saw 2 times and she did not say a word.
Fired as well.
The second one did help because he was available on a Sunday and 2 blocks from my home, he was trying to build a practice outside his other job working with children I later found out.
For your therapist to tell you that you are being negative and did not blame the spath for cheating when you are going through this is to me medical malpractice.
Thank goodness we are all here helping and supporting each other.


and yes, I fired two therapists for non-action. One didn’t even remember my name and was late to sessions, she didn’t remember she had an appointment. The other, I told I was in crisis, in terrible pain, needed relief, and 10 weeks later, I said I was quiting and his response was that was why I was failing, b/c I was a quitter. The fact that he provided NO relief to my emotional pain, my barely hanging on waiting for him to help me find relief from ENORMOUS pain WEEKS of it with him… and I WAS THE FAILURE???!!!!

I have to note, it’s the gift of the internet… which has evolved so that we can share information and problems and solutions and ideas and helpful videos and helpful websites. Like you said, Donna is a pioneer in recognizing and working to heal this horrid form of abuse.

THANK YOU for being here today. SITC. I thought myself as healed as could possibly be. And now… there seems to be more, I don’t have to carry this underlying pain? HOW wonderful that will be to root it out.



I’m glad we are both here today!
Sounds like we are in need of each others support today.
The therapist situation needs to be talked about, I took the survey that Donna posted a couple of months ago and am so happy she is addressing it.
I’m sorry that we have had some horrible experience and it sounds like its a pretty global issue.
Hopefully things will be better going forward.
I certainly am glad to hear that your healing is continuing…I too thought I was on track with everything but in the back of my mind I was still having issues but it’s finally starting to fall into place slowly but surely.
I am still just taking one day at a time and am just being grateful for the here and now.
It does get better and better.
Bit by bit it all starts to unravel and make sense.



The therapist believed my ex that he wasn’t cheating, thus I was blamed b/c I was SO negative that she thought I would drive him to cheat… only I was in pain b/c he was so nice to my face while going behind my back and undermining me to others, instigating them to shun me, laughing and ridiculing me, undermining my attempts to be self supportive, he went to every friend I had and they dumped me. The therapist took my accusation of cheating and his denial as a he said/she said and I LOST. I am not saying she had to blame him or believe me, but she didn’t even question it. She automatically thought he wouldn’t lie to her b/c he was SO NICE!


True spath fashion, he even fooled the therapist.
I have heard others say that too.


Here is the link I sent to the FIRED therapist from Mark Smith, who is also a therapist (LCSW) to get the word out to therapists to get a clue and educate themselves so they can help US!!

PS Kleenex may be needed to watch.


Will watch this but have to say WOW. I just watched the video about STOP Self-sabotaging!

OMG. I did bury it, the fallout of being married to a sociopath.I thought if I left him, the pain would stop. It didn’t. I was SO ASHAMED of not being enough, ashamed that I married someone who never ever wanted me that… I believed I pushed myself onto a sensitive man who was unable to break up with me to the point of marrying me, someone he didn’t want. I did question him, why I didn’t have that feeling of connection to him and he said he felt it but thought it was too intimate to share until we were married.

Even that therapist said the problem was ME being negative. I was told that once people got to know me, no one liked me. ANd I have dealt with that “truth” by isolating myself, staying distant from others so they wouldn’t know me and also reject me b/c I just couldn’t handle being rejected by Everyone.

Oh… I realize I still have much healing to do. I have to root out those awful seemingly truthful messages about how worthless I am. No wonder I have moments of resenting people’s attitude, esp strangers who DON’t know me yet are jerks to me. Do they see me as he did? Okay to be shitty to me b/c no one likes me so they refuse to even be civil.

It’s all so hurtful. And… am so grateful to you b/c that guy’s videos messages are that I am NOT unlovable, but that a seed was put into me and he found that seed and hammered it to get a reaction. Nothing more. My ex knew that wasn’t true, that if anyone knew me, they automatically don’t like me. But he knew that seed would destroy me, make me feel so bad… he knew he could get that reaction of overwhelming giving up on life.

THANK YOU for showing a way to pull that poison out of me. SITC, You are my blessing of this day. <3


Hugs to you.
I am so happy that you are finding the videos helpful and validating.
Unfortunately shame and guilt are fallout of the abuse.
What he said, the spath is so hurtful and I had been told the same along with many other horrible things meant to erode us.
You are opening up and talking about it here.
It’s healing to get it out.
It is indeed hurtful and then have a so called therapist say that too is terrible.
I felt that way too. They make us feel like nobody likes us or will ever like us but we know now thats not true, plus really when we love ourselves it’s not necessary to make sure that everyone likes us.
I think pushing it down is a natural reaction to such horrible abuse.
Have you read Psychopath Free?
I am just listening to it now the audiobook ands it’s really, really good.
I’m glad the videos are helpful to you!
We are extremely sensitive right now.
I have found that being me is not as bad as HE said I was.
I didnt change anything except creating boundaries.


Your feeling a lack of connection rang a bell and is I think a warning sign that I haven’t read much about. Perhaps I haven’t come across it. One of the very few warning signs re. my P experience, in a work setting (I’m hiding details), was that I couldn’t feel an emotional connection to the P. I mentioned it in an off-hand way to two other people long before he targetted me (he wanted to drive me away / destroy me though it had nothing to do with those conversations.) Neither of them responded in a way that addressed the issue. The lack of connection was like a barrier. A persona. I now know it was part of the act, the Mask. I wonder if the Mask is that ‘obvious’ with all Ps?

Hope Springs

Sadly, I always felt that lack of connection to my own SP son. From the day that he was born and it only got worse. I never could quite put a finger on why.

I though we simply had a personality conflict. That we just couldn’t ‘get along’ with each other.

Nope. He was diagnosed more than once and it explained that weird feeling of no emotional connection.


Yes, there was that feeling of not emotionally connecting with my ex. He give me a wonderful card that said how deeply he loved me but our lives seemed shallow. I thought I was expecting too much, told myself that women were nurturers and men were fixers but that didn’t explain why a hug felt like it could have come from anyone, it didn’t feel like a sweetheart appreciating or desiring me. I thought it was b/c I was too needy. I recently re-read a card where I had written a note, that he was “battering me with his innocence” amd that I felt “victimized by his insensitivity” after a time when I tried to ask him/understand why he didn’t seem to really “want” me… he never seemed to me to be realllllly happy to have me in his life. He said the words, but I never saw that expression on his face or in his behavior.

He had convinced me that my inability to feel a connection with him was b/c I was deficient since I was raised in a rejecting family that I was unable to recognize connection. Only… that didn’t make sense b/c I recognized MY family members were that way but…. other relatives/friends/co-workers/community members made me feel connected so I DID have that ability to feel sincere connection. I think that is the word – “sincere”- I felt sincerity from others, but not from my ex.

I am so sorry for what you are going through with your son and until about a year ago, I had given up on my own child, she had gotten very dangerous. About 3 months ago, she contacted me after doing a 180 and months of REAL therapy, which she continues. The burden remains in my heart and I hope that time and continued improvement from her will prove that the change is permanent. But know, I had YEARS of feeling something that it seemed no one understood.

I UNDERSTAND your heartache and for a while I put it aside to concentrate on other things, trying to fill my heartache with living with purpose, but was aware the heartache never diminished, esp on holidays and her birthday.


THis is turning into a very healing day for me. That a therapist recognizes that other therapists are invalidating and blaming and disempowering a victim who seeks their HELP to recover from this TERRIBLE controlling abuser and that a response that “it’s our fault b/c we are deficient” is NOT HELPFUL and is, in fact, pouring gasoline onto a wound that is ON FIRE from all the pain.

WOW. WOW. WOW. This is BIG.


Stronginthecity thank you again. Because a lot of my posts would disappear when I hit the submit comment button I kind of gave up trying to post for a while. A while back because you brought up NVS I did some research and found Dr Christine Louis Decannonville. I was actually seriously considering flying to Dublin to attend one of her workshops but had other obligations which as usual superseded my personal wishes. It really wasn’t very practical anyway, but I was actually excited by the prospect of finding and networking with therapists and survivors who were elevated in their mission. Ignota nulla curatio morbi – is Latin for – Do not attempt to cure what you do not understand. How can I guide you or help you if I am not capable of or even interested in understanding what you already have a solid grasp of ? Without clearly understanding the fundamental aspects of a situation, or the humility to admit that I have a lot to learn, as a guide, as a therapist I couldn’t help you, could I ? I’m not a therapist, and I’m not trying to bash them. It is incredibly refreshing to find one who really gets it like the guy in this video does. Thanks for sharing your insights and resources with us. This one is a gem and I really needed it.


Hello there!
I am glad that you looked up Christine, I do have some good news for you…thanks to LF and other websites the word is defiantly getting out here in the US about the lack of knowledge/help from therapists and NSV.
I have been watching YouTube videos and there are a lot of folks making some great informative videos.
One that stands out right now is Family Tree Counseling and a therapist named Mark Smith.
He is a victim and has been making some great videos and acknowledging the lack of info out there.
Take a look and let me know what you think.
Another one is Assc Direct, I am not aware of his back round but his videos are very good.


That counselor’s behavior is infuriating. It sounds like she was totally manipulated by your ex spath.


Sorry all. I am dominating the board today. I will stop. But look at the videos recommended by SITC, they are powerful. I am so tired of being ashamed of being me.


I am too!
It’s ok here!!!
It’s all about whatever we want to talk about because we are important.


I think this part of me is emerging b/c I recently resolved a disconnection with my beloved daughter who hated me for years. But she is 180 towards me now, for reasons I recently uncovered, some traumas I didn’t know about and some medications that were prescribed for her that messed with her body chemistry. But having let go of my enormous guilt about my most cherished child has the effect of letting me go into a place where I’m seeking to let go of the emotional garbage that I buried within me. I buried it b/c at core, I believed myself so unworthy of decency unworthy of self forgiveness. Afterall, I had failed in the one thing that mattered most to me in life, that my daughter know SHE was loved and wanted by me, her mommy. I thought love was enough but I learned, it’s not. But… I’ve also learned, it’s a HUGE piece of it. She says knowing that I loved her is what brought her back to me after she recovered from the bad prescription and her PTSD. Knowing that I would ALWAYS love her no matter what… did matter.

Now I must give myself that gift. I thought everyone here deserved to be loved but not me. I knew I didn’t deserve abuse but I accepted I didn’t deserve love. What a horrible sad place to be. No wonder I struggled to find relevance.

AGAIN, thank you. And that therapist’s video? PRICELESS. You know I’ve NEVER had anyone EVER hold me and tell me what my ex did was wrong and let me cry? I haven’t been touched in years. When he said, “give them a tissue!”. I haven’t even had that. Yes, my jewel therapist is the one who said my ex was an abuser, but even she sat across the room, never gave me a tissue. I think that might have crossed the personal professional boundry but it would have meant SO MUCH to me.

~feeling so much compassion for my lf peeps.


Yes! That’s awesome.
I remember you talking about your daughter a few months back.
I am so happy that you have reconnected with her, priceless.
Our children are affected by all of this and now you can show her how hard you have worked and you are getting stronger everyday.
You deserve love and now you have your daughter back in your life!
I have dumped a lot of stuff on mine that I regret but going forward I am momma.
The therapist video, priceless..the therapist telling other therapists to get with the program, love it!
Now it’s time for us to just be us.

To all Lovefraud readers: We are collecting data for a scientific study therapy in the context of an abusive relationship. Please tell us about your experience by completing our online survey. Here’s the link:


Now that I’ve been through all of this and realized there’s literally NO HELP, I would like to see information be made part of the Domestic Violence definition. As of now, only physical violence is acknowledged. Court appointed shrinks ALWAYS say the perpetrator has equal rights to the children, even if he’s beaten a woman to an inch of her life. It has to get better. They manipulate the Courts in obscene ways. Children are deeply harmed as they can’t ask for NO CONTACT even if it’s in their BEST INTERESTS. Protective Mothers need to SHOW UP when Legislation is being decided and is funded by violent Men’s Rights groups. Even our legislator’s are closet Sociopaths, Judges, Lawyers…. it’s OBSCENE what’s going on out here.


I too, felt like, “God! If someone would have just educated me a few months sooner, my and my children would have escaped a lifetime of distress.” I had an opportunity with a protective order to end this nightmare, but believed then, my husband really loved us and I was giving up on my marriage of ten years too quickly. Had I known it was NEVER real, I’d not have dropped the order allowing him to set me up, to lose them. It took ten minutes to solve the mystery of my relationship of 15 years! It has now been 15 months and not a shred of damage has been repaired. IF YOU LEARN ONE THING IN THIS LIFE: LEARN EDUCATION IS EVERYTHING, AND ALWAYS TRUST YOUR INTUITION!!!


Hi, I was hoping to find some help here. I really don’t know what to do. I’m currently in a relationship with my psychopath. I want so desperately to leave but I don’t know how because his daughter is currently in my care due to him abusing her badly. She’s not my child but I live her as though she was. Her real mother has had nothing to do with her in 6 years, her father is currently in allowed to have her until he completes requirements set forth two years ago by Cys. Cys refuses to help me, I cant file for custody. He sucked my in 4 years ago. Hes made my life hell the last 3 1/2. Hes mentality mindfucked me. He tells me I need a job but gets me fired within the first few days, he’s cheated on me he’s raped me in my bed with our 1 yr old son laying next to us. I got a pfa but he still makes my life hell. If I leave his daughter goes into the states care and she’s seperated from her brother. I have no money n no place to go even if I did. I don’t know what to do. I cry everyday, I left him once before but had to go back because I ended up homeless and almost lost my children. I am so desperate right now. Can someone please help me.


What an overwhelmingly difficult and heartbreaking situation you are in. It sounds like you are a blessing to his daughter and your son. It sounds like your spath is using your love for your children to control you and keep you from leaving. I would thin a good attorney should be able to get you temporary custody of his daughter considering his criminal record of abuse, so you can leave.

Have you contacted a Women’s Shelter if there is one in your area? They may be able to help you with resources to help you leave and legal help to help you keep the daughter. It sounds like it is best for her to be with you.

If you have a PFA, how can you and he have contact?

For now, don’t let him know that you are planning to leave. Let him think you are doing what he wants you to do. Try not to let him manipulate you into arguing and fighting with him. You need all your strength to make the changes in your life you need to make, for your sake and for the children’s sake.

Prayers for you.


Have you spoken to the domestic abuse hotline? Maybe they can help you find resources in your area. 1-800-799-7233


I just read your post.
How are things going now?
I want to help you if I can.
So the childs father is the spath and he is living with you?
Do you have a case worker for his child?
I’m a little confused he in the same home with the child he abused?
I would think the States Attorney could step in at this point and order him out of the house???
Maybe contact the childs mom?
Please let us know.


Hi Diane111, sorry I lost the post we were chatting on. There are so many reason why we stay. One being they are being “nice” but that does not last long. And once I left I realized he was never nice ever he was using the nice guy to manipulate me that is it. And I also realized most of the time he was NOT nice. I honestly look back at my marriage and I was miserable from the day I met him. I was just trying to find some time of good in my day…but the happy face on but he was making my days even the ones I thought were go miserable.

Look at your marriage right now is he really being nice or has he just toned down his anger & mood swings to that you can tolerate his behavior?

I know you feel stuck right now but make a few steps each day to get out. Call your local abuse center and talk to them about doing phone counseling instead of having to drive to them. I would also suggest that you read Donna Anderson’s books and the book that my counselor gave me Women who love psychopaths by Sandra Brown. This book OPENED MY EYES WIDE OPEN to exactly all the manipulation my ex h was doing to me. Everything he did had a text book term to go with it!! Everything. I saw it in the beginning but by the time I left I was just so exhausted to do anything about it. But one day I had it, had enough of his craziness, his lying, his manipulation, his abuse his crazy thing he did to me.

I choose to SEE what he was doing to me…this is what you have to do. It’s easy to just settle back into life with a sociopaths but their craziness always comes back to terrorize us.

Ask yourself: Is my husband really being “nice to me” or is it just a game of his?


Hi Jan7, I was getting worried when I didn’t hear back from you for a while … thank you for starting a new thread! And as always, for your guidance and support and encouragement! ((HUGS))

You hit on a very good point which I didn’t think of. He’s being nice right now so I tolerate his behavior, and I have settled back into life, and to thinking, “He’s not that bad”, “I misjudged him”, “He’s changed” … God, I’m messed up in the head because I know he hasn’t changed and I know he is bad and I know I have not misjudged him. It’s just so difficult to take that step when everything is “calm and nice”.

And I have read Donna’s books … I had downloaded them on to my Kindle so my h wouldn’t know what I was reading. It’s so sad what we have to do to protect ourselves. I definitely need to re-read the books to reinforce the truth.

I’m hesitant to contact the Domestic Abuse hotline only because I’m not being physically abused. Mine is more on the verbal/emotional abuse end of the spectrum … the pathological lying, the stealing, the manipulation, the love bombing and gaslighting. I’m afraid they won’t be what I need and will make matters worse (in my head). As Donna’s article alludes to in finding the right therapist.

I do feel good in the fact that each day I make progress, if not in action at least in my thoughts, on my exit plan. I just need to get the strength to take that step, and I do know, that day will come, just like it did with you, that I walk out the door without a second thought! How I dream of that … to be okay and not feel guilty, and to have my self-confidence back.

Till tomorrow ..


I’m only occasionally speaking to you and you might even have missed my post to you. I felt the need to share a truth with you b/c truth gets lost when we are still with this type of disordered personality.

TRUTH: Your intuition that he is being nice so you will tolerate this level of abuse is spot on. He sensed that you were willing to leave him and he’s gone sweet, to reel you back in. I remember those times of thinking I could be content with “this” (when he wasn’t being overtly cruel). But… that’s not his natural self. That a strategy he uses.

A second and important TRUTH: It’s much harder to leave when you are newly traumatized. Your strength is actually greater when you are not trying to recover from a fresh assault on your senses. TRUTH: There is no such thing as walking out the door with confidence and without a second thought. That comes later, after you have the time and space to let your mind put order to the craziness that was done to you. In fact, the abuse causes us to NUMB ourselves b/c it’s gets to be too much. That’s how our abusers get us to accept greater and greater assaults on our sensibilities, b/c we have become numb as we adjust to living with abuse.

BUT GOOD NEWS! Your self confidence will return AFTER you get free. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Wishing you freedom and a good life, which is not possible while living with this type of personality disorder.


Thank you NotWhatHeSaidofMe! I do remember your comments to my situation … thank you for reconnecting and not giving up on me! I just got off the phone with my daughter who is losing patience with me and growing frustrated with the length of time it’s taking me to “move on”. As I said in my initial post, I bought a house, 95% of my personal belongings are moved out, we have no children together, no joint property, separate checking/savings accounts. From the outside looking in, should be easy to walk out that door … but it’s not. The playing with my thoughts/mind … the manipulation … is brutal on my psyche. I don’t which way is up the majority of the time.

Your first TRUTH … You saying how you felt with “I could be content with this” is exactly where he has me right now. And you’re right in that he knows I’m right on the verge of leaving even though everything on the surface it appears it is a perfect marriage. But it’s not real … that’s the craziness of this whole thing … I know this deep-down but yet still question.

Your second and important TRUTH … never thought about it that way. Spending these past weeks on LF has been extremely therapeutic for me … my crutch so to say. I am slowly but surely pulling myself together and seeing my h and this relationship without the proverbial rose-colored glasses. I’m starting to feel less guilty about leaving .. still feel guilty just not as intense as before. I know I need to leave when he’s not here, more than likely when he’s at work. Somehow I need to mentally block his spath ways from getting to me so when the time comes, I don’t have second thoughts because of something he said or did.

I know once I leave it will be long process before I get back to being “me” again … but I just can’t wait to start that process. I’m tired, exhausted, worn-down with the stage I’m at right now. Like you said, numb. I just want it to be done. I want that freedom you speak of!

Thank you again!! Hugs to you!


It sounds like your daughter supports your decision to leave. My closest friend and my then teenage son were impatient and frustrated that I wasn’t leaving the spath I was ‘married’ to quickly enough. I didn’t blame them for feeling that way. I reassured them that I would be ready to leave, but it had to be when the time was right for me and when I was ready.


Hi AnnettePK,

Yes, my daughter is very supportive of my decision to leave. Thank you for telling me your son and friend felt the same way as my daughter. Like you, I don’t blame her … I totally understand. Heck, I get impatience and frustrated with myself. I tell her, along with my sisters, I will know when it’s right for “me” to leave … I have to be okay or I won’t be okay, if you know what I mean.


What you said to AnnettePK made me want to say just a bit more:

Yes, You will leave when YOU are ready.

I wrote “TRUTH”: but forgot to mention what inspired me to deduce my “truth”.

I kept thinking I’d leave my husband when I felt stronger and had gotten myself together. Only I never got stronger. I got weaker and weaker. I finally left on the spur of the moment when I realized I didn’t want to die and I knew I would die from cancer or some immune disease if I stayed, I was a MESS. (this was BEFORE he almost killed me). Those last months with my ex….my soul… my spirit was dying, the ME inside me was slipping away. I was having a hard time finding a reason to live. I wasn’t planning suicide but I wasn’t living at all. I was a shell.

That’s what I meant by strength is greater when the sociopath isn’t attacking and we are weakest after an assault on our senses.

(my therapist was the one who pointed out to me that the absence of abuse was NOT love but because it was such a relief from drama and anxiety and humiliation and degradation, the relief FELT like he was being “caring” towards me!)


Hi Diane111, sorry to worry you 🙁

YES…the cycle of abuse is honeymoon stage, tension building stage, abuse state then honeymoon stage again….you right now are in the honeymoon stage again. This cycle will happen throughout your marriage and sometimes it could just be a few hours, days or months before the tension building stage starts again.

EVERYDAY read a little from Donna’s book and related it to your marriage. Also look at sites like:

Psychopath free

Psychopathyawareness. wordpress


My counselor gave me the book Women who love psychopaths by Sandra Brown…it was really good for me to really see what I was living. Its not easy to break free from the brain fog that the sociopaths has the victim under. This is why you have to keep READING, READING, READING everything you can get your hands on about sociopaths abuse. Maybe go to your library and read books on the subject there. Might be good NOT to bring the books home on domestic abuse so you stay safe. But you can either ask the librarian to keep the book in the back for you or you can just keep them on the shelve and read them when you have a chance to go to the library or keep them at work or your sisters/daughters homes.



this is why it is sooooo important to have an EXIT PLAN & A SAFETY PLAN in place before you leave.

When someone lies = emotional & mental & verbal abuse

when someone omits information = emotional & mental abuse

when someone uses gas lighting abuse = emotional, mental & verbal abuse

when someone belittles you = emotional, mental & verbal abuse

I too was not physically abused until I was ready to leave. And from what I have read since leaving the most damaging abuse is emotional, mental & verbal abuse this is why abusers use these tactics because their is no proof to outsiders. But like I explained earlier it’s like they put a bird cage over our minds to control us from leaving.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE CALL YOUR LOCAL ABUSE CENTER TODAY and ask if you can set up phone counseling with them explain the reason why. Then if you have to go to your daughters or sisters home to call during that appointment so that you do not have to worry about your h finding out. SAFETY FIRST!!

Diane you are not “messed up” your mind is just twisted up right now by your h you will untwisted everything once you leave and get into counseling.

You are making great strives Diane…each day a little step and soon you will be running. Its hard but like I told you for me when I finally packed my car up and drove off I felt a release off my shoulders & body literally it was like my mind & body was telling me YES you are doing the right thing!!

I too felt “guilty” leaving him even though when I left I had found out that he had 3 mistresses in two different states!! YES!! What was I thinking haha!! 🙂 This is what abuser do they manipulate us with pity play manipulation to make us feel sorry for them and this is part of their con game = control over us.

Trust me I have ZERO guilt now for leaving him!! ZERO!!!

The self confidence come back…you will return to your old self but stronger because you know have the key to the world of understanding people and how to avoid these evil manipulators and con men.

Finding the right therapist is key I would highly recommend that you call your local abuse center to see if they have an list of outside counselors and then call each to interview them to see how knowledgeable they are about sociopaths abuse.

Take care Diane. Talk with you tomorrow. ðŸŒ


You are such a lifeline for me, Jan7! ((HUGS))

You are SO fortunate to be out of your spath marriage!! I cannot wait for the day that I will be able to help someone on LF get through what I’m currently going through ” give them support and encouragement and guidance because I survived 

O.N.Ward’s questions (earlier post) were very eye-opening for me ” well, more so, my answers to the questions. Got me to thinking and this mind-fog I’ve been in has started to clear. And NotWhatHeSaidofMe (earlier post) provided me with things to think about too which are keeping me on the right path. There’s hope for me yet!

I am being as careful as I possibly can be ” I know I have to be. The reading, that’s not on my Kindle, I keep at work in my desk. I get an hour for lunch, so I close my office door and sit at my desk and read. I search out anything and everything that will help maintain my sanity and give me the strength to persevere. I do have my exit plan in place 

I do plan on contacting someone to schedule phone counseling and maybe even an actual session or two. Although LF and the support group here are extremely helpful to me, I believe I could benefit from actual one-on-one conversations ” that human contact, I guess you could say.

I went up to my house last night and did some work ” loved it. I was happy and relaxed and envisioned me being there all the time. Did a lot of praying there too. Looking forward to the “mental peace”.

Oh, remember when I told you about checking his iPad, where I could see his text messages??? Well, guess who changed his password??!! He definitely is playing games with me ” and with my mind.

Right now, I’m feeling very strong mentally, but tomorrow he’ll do or say something that will have me all messed up again. I’ll never be free from this mind-craziness living with him.

Thanks, Jan ”


Diane111, just checking up on you to see how you are doing. I haven’t seen you post this week.


Hi Jan7,

Been down-and-out with the flu since last Tuesday. Actually just went back to work this past Monday. Thanks for checking in on me.

Everything else is status-quo with me, and I hate it. I don’t understand, and I’m getting extremely frustrated with myself that I haven’t left my h yet! I want to leave. I need to leave. Yet it’s like I’m held there by some unseen force. My anxiety and stress levels are high. I keep it all inside because, like I’ve said before, I’ve been conditioned not to “rock the boat”. I know this is not healthy for me … physically or mentally, but it’s where I’m at right now.

Will comment more later on …



I understand what you describe as being held by an unseen force. I experienced the same thing. Consider if your ex is manipulating your thinking in subtle ways. My ex psychopath used hypnotic techniques and lots of other manipulative techniques to control my thinking. My son said it was as if I was a ‘puppet on a string.’

When I stopped having constant daily contact with the ex spath, my thinking changed and got back to normal me. My perceptions became more logical and balanced.

You might consider writing a list of pros and cons of leaving vs. staying – sometimes it helps to break one’s thoughts down into individual facts and feelings. You might consider making a detailed plan – just in your mind or write it down if it’s secure from him – about the specific steps you would take to leave, and in what order. Even if you don’t leave according to the plan, it’s helpful to think about the details, down to packing your clothes and what things you’ll take, and when you might leave.

You might consider finding a counselor or support group, maybe through a DV shelter if there’s one in your area. They may have services for people who aren’t using the shelter facilities.


Also, this book was very helpful to me. You can read exerpts from it for free on Amazon here, before deciding whether to buy.


Thanks AnnettePK! I did check out the book, and it does look like its something that will help me. Any resources that get my thoughts on the right track is what I need. I have one of her other books also.

Just quickly doing a pros and cons list in my head … there are no pros … swear … none. Please don’t think it’s hell 24/7 BUT when I stop and actually think, “Why am I here?” I don’t have an answer. We own nothing jointly. Neither is close to the other’s family members. We have no children together. All our monies are separate. How sad is this. How sad am I.

As you know, Easter is just around the corner. I’m hoping … my plan is … to start anew … make a fresh start … be away from him so I can begin to think clearly versus having my thoughts and emotions always in a tornado.

Will stay in touch as my plan and life unfolds …



Keep us posted! It’s hard breaking free, and then you may find yourself unexpectedly being pulled back in, either due to his fake remorse or your own doubts about leaving. Victims often doubt how bad things were when they’ve been away from the madness in the beginning. I would start thinking that my ex psychopath wasn’t so bad, I over react, etc.

BTW Lundy Bancroft is a man. Because of the name, many people assume it’s a woman. He has a website that has some helpful material.


Oh my gosh! Totally thought Lundy Bancroft was a female! When I read the book “Why does he do that” I’m picturing/hearing a woman. Thanks for clearing that up for me. Goes to show you why you shouldn’t assume 😉

And yes, totally understand what you are sayin with when its calm, you tend to forget all the bad times … things said and done. Thus you think, “this isn’t bad. I overreacted. I’ve misjudged”. I’ve started a journal, but need to keep it updated. Re-reading and reliving the incidents is like cold water on your face – wakes you up!

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