By | February 1, 2009 398 Comments

After the sociopath: How do we heal? Part 3-Denial

This column is dedicated to my sister, who is my best friend and wise counsel in so much of this learning

In Part 2, I wrote about painful shock, our instantaneous reactions to stabilize us until we have time to heal, and the everyday process that we use to resolve trauma.

In a relationship with a sociopath, something goes wrong with this process. We don’t handle “bad things that happen to us” in an expeditious way. It may be that we do not have skills for fast processing of emotional trauma, because we are burdened by residue of previous trauma. But beyond that, the typical sociopathic technique of recruiting us through seductive love-bombing, followed by withdrawal of positive attention, can disable our normal responses.

Instead of clearly recognizing that we are victims of abuse, we become confused about our own involvement. Because we responded positively to the seduction, we are from the beginning volunteers or collaborators in what happened to us. When our “perfect lovers” inexplicably turn cold, critical and demanding, we are left dealing with emotional attachments to our precious memories. This chaotic emotional landscape sets the stage for further emotional abuse and predation.

Adapting to the Unthinkable

Denial is the topic of this piece. In denial, we assume that we have power over certain aspects of our relationship with a sociopath. It is a form of magical thinking. It also plays an important role in recovery.

My friends: Kathy, what do you mean he’s moving back in with you again? It took you months to stop crying over him last time.

Me: No, it’s really okay. We had a good talk. He’s just needs my support. It was my fault for not trusting him. He really cares about me. He was so tender and open. Can’t you hear how happy I am?

Is it any wonder people think we’re crazy? But until we “learn through” this situation, we may feel as crazy as they think we are.

In the Kubler-Ross model of grief processing after receiving a terminal diagnosis, denial is a rejection of reality. “This isn’t happening to me.” It is the same difficulty we face in the loss of a loved one, absorbing the information that a life resource has disappeared. First response to trauma often includes a massive rush of endorphins (the “feel good” brain chemical) that anesthetizes pain and helps prevent us from dying or breaking down. This is why the first response of survivors is often inexplicably confident and relaxed about the future.

But denial is also a psychological state that can endure forever. In denial, we avoid the cause-and-effect reality of our pain. If our sociopath relationship causes us pain, we look for its causes anywhere but in the sociopath’s bad intention toward us. When we look at our situation with the sociopath, we see the benefits and good potential, rather than the disasters that we’re living through.

Swept Off Our Feet

The purpose of denial is not to reduce the pain, but to avoid acknowledging the cause of it. In our relationships with sociopaths, we have at least two significant reasons for denial. One is that, like a drug pusher, the sociopath has successfully pushed past our normal self-protective boundaries and conditioned us to emotional merger in an environment of “perfect love.” We have lost independence of thought and feeling, and acquired a new need to keep us stable — the “perfect love.” We are now junkies.

The difference between this emotional merger and a healthy love relationship is that the development was dominated by the sociopath. It was conducted in a way that rewarded us for fast emotional response and penalized us for trying to slow it down for rational consideration.

As a result, we do not have a well-understood set of reasons for our involvement, except that this person was so accurate in pushing our buttons. Without those reasons, it is harder for us to go back and compare our current reality with any logical choices that we made. We begin these relationships in disorientation that seems to be “perfect” because it reflects our dreams or emotional needs, but does not reflect our well-boundaried, thoughtful, self-caring identities.

The second and even more compelling reason to avoid acknowledging the cause of our pain is the knowledge of our own collusion. We said yes to this. (It is not until later in the healing process that we understand what we were up against, and forgive ourselves.) If we are causing ourselves this pain, our identities are seriously compromised. We don’t know who we are anymore. If we can’t extricate ourselves from the relationship, the threat to our internal integrity is magnified.

So denial “protects” us from the knowledge that our drug of choice is a destructive force on our lives, and that we are causing our own pain. (One of those facts is true.)

The Impact of Shutting Down

Denial is an act of will. A deliberate not knowing. However, denial does not always occur at the conscious level, especially if we have backgrounds of unhealed childhood abuse. Likewise, major adult trauma — like rape or combat experiences — can overwhelm our everyday trauma-processing skills, making us more likely to “get stuck” at early-stage processing.

Denial is not just a stage in healing. It is also a radical coping response to certain circumstances. If we cannot escape a situation, if we are dependent for survival on the perpetrators of trauma, if we can’t exercise our defensive flight-or-fight impulses without increasing our risk, shutting down our awareness of cause and effect is a way of managing our responses to the situation. Like that first endorphin rush after a painful shock, shutting down is a means of survival.

In later life, if we have never adequately processed and healed from these situations, this type of shutting down may still be our best and final response to any traumatic event. Because it may be embedded in blocked memory, the whole mechanism may occur below the realm of consciousness.

If we are using denial as a self-protective technique, we may have an unusual pain tolerance, a lack of awareness of risk, and a constant “hum” of anxiety interfering with emotional or logical activity. Our knowledge of cause and effect of pain is not destroyed, only blocked. Our protective “alert” system keeps generating emotional noise, trying to draw our attention to the situation. Even after it is long past. Because we have not yet finished learning from it, so we can move on with our identities intact. The fact that this painful trauma is still “live” means that we are reactive to anything that looks like a reoccurrence, causing post-traumatic stress responses.

Magical thinking is the idea that we can alter reality by our thoughts. In many cases, we do influence events by envisioning our preferred outcomes, and acting on opportunities to create the future we want. But when magical thinking becomes the attempt to obliterate feelings that originate in our survival responses, we move into the realm of the impossible and self-destructive. We are attempting to magically change the present, not create the future. Rejecting our feelings splits our psyches into parts of ourselves that we accept and parts that we do not. Fear and rejection of ourselves makes us more likely to view the world in terms of fear and rejection.

For all the problems it creates, denial provides us the gift of time. It enables us to postpone trauma processing until the environment is safer or more supportive, or until we can endure facing the cause-and-effect issues. But until we are ready to move forward, everything we might learn and all our related self-protective emotions are stuffed back into a “La-la-la, I’m not thinking about this now” area of our heads.

The more we stuff, the more emotional static builds up in the background. If the sociopath is depending on our insecurity, instability, or high pain tolerance, denial makes it that much easier for the sociopath to exploit us, because we are not acting self-protectively in response to pain.

How to Care for Ourselves

Denial is probably the most toxic phase of the healing process, because we are not only reeling from painful shock, but also blocking our knowledge and feelings about it. However much we are obsessed by relationship with the sociopath, a much larger and more demanding relationship drama is occurring in our own psyches. We are at war with ourselves.

As others have noted here on Lovefraud, getting over a sociopathic relationship isn’t necessarily a linear process. We may be experiencing multiple stages of healing — including anger and forgiveness — alongside early-stage processing like denial. One reason for this is that the experience of a sociopathic relationship is so multi-layered. We experience trauma related to our beliefs about the world and changes in our material circumstances, as well as our relationships with ourselves.

The fastest way to recover our capacity to deal with other traumas is to fix our relationship with ourselves. Self-hatred drains our energy, hope and creative capacity. Part of this despair is instilled in us by the sociopath’s criticisms and now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t “love,” which are part of their program to separate us from our self-trust and make us more dependent on them. But a more important source of our self-hatred is denial itself. Denial creates an environment of fear and rejection of ourselves.

The Healing Facts

In healing, we do eventually come terms with what we did to ourselves. We get there because we face two simple facts.

One is that we were vulnerable. Our vulnerability came out of the way we were taught, our previous experiences that may have left us with unhealed emotional damage, and the quality of our dreams. All of these things are part of being human. All of these things can be reconsidered and improved to makes us stronger, more able and confident in taking care of ourselves, and more creative and joyful in our lives. These improvements occur during our recovery process.

The other fact is that we were dealing with something we didn’t understand. The sociopathic strategy for predation begins with deliberately disabling other people’s self-protective responses. They do it in order to exploit other people’s social feelings, personal resources and dignity, all to fill incurable deficiencies in their characters and lives. They mask themselves as attractive people we would like to know. Until they show their predatory intentions, we are dealing with an actor playing a role. The fact that we didn’t understand is also human.

We ordinarily don’t get clear information about their intentions until we are hooked, addicted and dependent. At that point, our ability to recognize and act on the information is compromised. This doesn’t make us stupid. It makes us victims. It is pointless and it only perpetuates the trauma to hate the parts of ourselves that are innocent, hopeful, trusting and open to love. We didn’t do this to ourselves.

Getting out of denial is a cause for tears. But they are healthy tears for the right reasons. If we have been blocked in denial for a while, we may have a lot of them to shed. They are part of comforting ourselves, acknowledging our feelings and validating our right to feel them. When we’ve comforted ourselves enough, the tears will stop and we will move on to another part of healing. It does not go on forever.

We have reason to feel sad for ourselves. Something bad happened to us. We didn’t see it coming. We didn’t know what it was. We didn’t know how to protect ourselves. We didn’t know how to get out of it when it got painful. Every bit of it, including our saying yes to it and the emotional addiction that kept us attached, was not our choice. We never would have chosen it, if we understood what was really going on. Grasping the truth that a bad thing that happened to us, rather blaming it on ourselves, is a major part of healing.

To get out of denial, we may have to find the courage to ignore other people’s opinions or embedded ideas about who we “should” be. If we think we “should have been” stronger or smarter, we’re still in denial about our human vulnerability. With other people, we may have to reject with dignity any idea that this is a minor event, that we don’t have the right to take our time healing, and that we were not victimized.

Taking care of ourselves in this way speeds our recovery of self-trust. In our lives, we own the knowledge that this was a major trauma in our lives, and that it is our responsibility to ourselves to fully heal, no matter what it takes, or how long.

Recovering Our Resources

Facing the facts, getting out of self-hate, putting the blame where it belongs frees us to begin the positive work of restructuring our lives. Part of that work is thinking about what the encounter with the sociopath has to teach us. We have learned something about the world. We have also learned something about ourselves. Together, those two types of learning lead us to recreate ourselves in a number of ways.

This creation occurs in an environment of choice, not the desperation that led to denial. We use our new knowledge to develop new habits of self-care and new ideas about what we want out of our lives. All of this is good for us.

Getting out of denial and out of self-hatred also enables us to approach the world a little differently. We don’t feel the need to apologize for who we are. We need to put together a new life. We become more pragmatic, more able to work through our options, more comfortable with temporary failures, because we’re figuring out what works, not struggling to keep the lid on our feelings or to deny part of our history.

Every time we face an uncomfortable fact, we become better at undoing denial. Denial is a temporary tool for managing trauma, but it makes us vulnerable to the sociopath and other avoidable disasters. Becoming more open to truth, even when it is uncomfortable, is our first line of defense of our lives and our real identities.

To recap: A bad thing happened to us. We did not see it coming or understand it when it was happening. We did not cause it. We are survivors, and we’re learning from the experience. In healing, we not only get over our pain, but become better at living than we were before.

Namaste. The courageous, truth-seeking spirit in me salutes the courageous, truth-seeking spirit in you.


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KH: As usual, you have a careful, thoughtful, guiding commentary to help us re-examine the experience, and re-assure ourselves as we go through this process.

Since I know you intend to take your writing to a different level, using this material in a book someday, I’m going to introduce a different angle, from my experience.

When I knew it was a lie (I didn’t have a diagnosis, but I got the message in one blinding flash of revelation) I walked away. I was terrified. I knew I was in mortal danger, and I couldn’t even begin to comprehend how many layers of me (and my family) he had violated, but I fled.

I never, ever, went through the back-and-forth “maybe he IS, maybe he ISN’T.” I knew, just simply KNEW, that I had interacted with something horribly wrong, and I felt like everything inside me had been run through a Cuisinart. I didn’t get the “D&D” (although I’ve experienced that elsewhere), I didn’t get stalking (I experienced that several times elsewhere, also), I never even got one phone call that you would think any breathing human would make after living with me and leeching off me for 18 months.

So, as your loving and respectful contrarian (or tangential, if you will), I ask how you would guide me, given that my experience is different, but also common enough.

Healing Heart

KH: This is another terrific piece. Maybe you should write a “how-to” book for recovering from an abusive relationship. Your articles are very helpful to me.

I’ve been thinking a lot about denial and talking about it in therapy. Over the last month, memories have been “coming back” to me and playing like short films (noir) in my head. At times I’ll stop dead in my tracks, “watch” the film, and think “how the hell did I ignore that?” “how did I say NOTHING at the time?” My denial was incredible. But thankfully there was enough evidence of horrible behavior, and outright abuse, that I was able to get out of the relationship. There really was no choice but for me to end the relationship, he was literally yelling at me fiercely every day.

Still, 6 months passed since I broke off the relationship until the “truth” about everything set in. I had allowed myself to realize, vaguely, that he was a bad guy and a sleaze, but it was all rather abstract. It wasn’t until a few months ago that specific instances started coming to me. And then it gradually increased, and came in almost a flood a couple of weeks ago. I am now doing som EMDR with these experiences.

I feel very strongly that I “couldn’t have handled” knowing the truth 6 months ago. I was just barely holding it together, just barely able to get up, shower, go to work, come home. I couldn’t have handled the truth at that point. I think denial was very helpful for me in that regard. It really wasn’t until I got on LF that the memories came flooding back. I think its because enough time has passed, and I have a support system. I can handle it now.

I really like the way you described “how” we get seduced and how our “alert systems” are compromised. As a survivor of childhood abuse and neglect, I learned to live in denial. As you explained – I had no choice. I was a child, I wasn’t going anywhere, I had to function in the environment I was dealt. So I shut down certain parts of myself. That didn’t work for me this time around. Now I’m going to fix this system. I need a fully functioning alert system. The dampened one does’t serve me any more.


Healing Heart–
OMG you have taken the words out of my mouth and heart.
I have scenes go thru my mind from when I was with him and I want to jump back in time and save myself. I think this is one reason I keep getting stuck in the past and in depression. i long to save myself– and avoid the final trauma of discard- having left this guy on my own. the depression is not just grieving a man I loved– but it is severe anger at myslef for not even seeing what he was doing at the time!
I was not only adopted– but was severely neglected by my adoptive mother b/c she became ill when I was two– and then hit a lot by my frustrated dad. I learned to live with it and forgive them and move on the next day as if nothing had happend.
thank you for your post!


Healing Heart– my friends are getting angry with me– but do you know that I will email them an “episode” or tell them an episode with this this guy and say, “Was that abusive?” To them it is so obvious. To me–well– I still very much believe my S– it is so sad, but I do.
if he were to have hit me or something like that– hey– I would have bailed– obvious mistreatment. But his abuse was manipulative– used my CHILDHOOD WOUNDS AGAINST ME– always threatening abandonment, but in a subtle way.
Can I share something with you guys– like I do my friends to and get your response?
My S was a third degree black belt. Begged me to take Tae Kwon Do– i did for a month. I became so underweight and depressed from my insecurity in the realtionship that I could not enjoy it. i also used to be a dancer and enjoyed moving to music. I left a Tae Kwon Do class. I thanked the instructor, but told her it just was not for me right now.
by the time I got home– my S– my partner of two years texted me– “I think we should not see each other anymore until you decide what you want in life.” When I want crying to him like a stupid baby (I should have said, “Okay, bye!”) he told me that, “You denied my culture! You disrespected me and my art.” You guys- it was a class at a YMCA where I was concerned. This was a month before he discarded me and of course he added upon his discard that he may not be dumping me if i had stayed in Tae Kwon Do.
How come I never dumped him b/c he did not take tap class with me?
If anyone would give their input to this stupid little story that was oh such a forshadowing event– I would appreciate it. It haunts me. i still think– wow– if I had stayed in Tae Kwon Do– like he said– i’d be married, with the man I love in a house on the beach– literally– and hey– he just inherited 3 million bucks. Not that money matters–i would have married him for love– but it does make it more painful to feel that my life really would have been great with him. Fantasy, Huh?
Sorry to be all over the place. Just had a cafe mocha.

Healing Heart

Hey Akita….I’m so sorry you had a sucky childhood too. Neglect/abuse are very powerful determinants in creating the structure or our personalities…..which is psycho-babble for “having crappy parents makes us vulnerable to colluding in crappy relationships.”

A lot of the posts recently have been really helping me psychologically process “what the hell happened” to me and why. At this time last year my life was spiralling down rapidly and incredibly painfully. March 8th will be a big anniversary for me – the day I threw him out and broke up with him. Didn’t go NC, but did break up with him, and had only a handful of get-togethers with him after that date.

I, too, have been shocked and angry at myself for putting up with so much. I know better. Kathleen’s explanation in this post about our dysfunctional alert systems and ability to live in denial has been very helpful. I am feeling less angry at myself – though more angry at him. I wonder how much he knew “consciously” about the psychological manipulation he was pulling on me. Or, is this just his nature?

I hope you stay away from the a**hole Akitameg. I’m trying to walk away with my dignity. I know it would really help me if I could “walk away” and just really focus on healing myself. That’s the kindest and most loving thing I could do for myself. It’s hard, though. I’m in a much better place than just a few months ago, however. A few months ago I would have seen him if he called me on the right day. Now I don’t feel like I want to see him any day – and I’ve protected myself from that ever happening anyway. Changing my number really helped psychologically. Now I KNOW he won’t be calling.

Still, the “ping” of a text message arriving still makes me a bit nervous – like somehow he’s found me. He hasn’t.


Healing Heart- I do not even have the option of staying away from him as I have moved across the US– and believe me– he would not b interested in me now anyway. Not just b/c he discarded me, but since he did– I have gone down hill and look like shit. Have had no contact since 10/03/08. He did find a friend of mine– who does not even know him– and called her telling her how horrible I was and that he is a milionaire now and Meg could have had the world if she had not lost her mind.

He is nuts- yet why do I often feel he is right? Ughhh.


maybe I have a bit of Stockholme Syndrome?

Ox Drover

Dear Kathy,

Denial is NOT “all bad” and EARLY on in the first stages of accepting a “loss” denial keeps us from choking on a “piece of pain too big to swallow in one bite”—BUT by being in denial, we do not make any effort to fix the thing we are denying is broken—our lives.

An example I heard once was if you are driving your car and it starts to make a “funny noise” and you are terrified it is going to quit on you and you don’t have money to replace your car, you DENY it is “anything serious” and make no effort to fix it or get it diagnosed, so you quash your “anxiety” about the car being “sick” by DENYING it is “anything serious.” then the car conks out…it was only a loose fan belt, but BECAUSE you didn’t get it fixed, it caused the motor to over heat and the car engine was totally ruined, so your DENIAL of something made your anxiety less, but it actually caused the VERY THING YOU FEARED because you did NOT take action (because of the denial.) So how is that for a run-on sentence, Mrs. Barlow?

Anyway, DENIAL precludes ACTION, but SHORT TERM it is helpful. Long term, it is toxic.

Your article is great! Just wanted to add this one snippet about the denial. Keep’em coming!

Healing Heart

One of the positive things about this experience with the Sociopath (and its a very short list at this point) is that I realize just how desperate I was to feel loved. So desperate that I would tolerate the unimaginable. Thankfully I was healthy enough that I wouldn’t tolerate it indefinitely, but I did tolerate is longer than most. Knowing this about myself is distressing, yet enlightening. I see how open that wound is and how desperately it needs tending. I see the stunted little girl part of me that needs the proper tending so that she can grow up, and not cling desperately to someone she perceives as a caretaker.

I wish I didn’t have to learn this the hard way. But maybe this is the easy way. Maybe the hard way would have been a lifetime of chronic feelings of being unlovable, and multiple relationships with these type of people. Maybe this is God giving me a gift….maybe this was a slow ball lobbed right over the plate….

Healing Heart

Interesting you say that. I, too always wanted a relationship in which I’d have a chance to recovery from my history – but I had it all wrong. I thought I would FINALLY be in a relationship with a unconditional love. A relationship in which I was adored and I adored. A safe and loving relationship. I thought that was the answer. I thought that was how the healing would occur, in the context of a beautiful, safe, loving, relationship.

Instead, what I got was the opposite. I thought I would heal through a “corrective experience” in the form of a beautiful relationship. Apparently the “corrective experience” has started with a horrible relationship experience in which I “bottomed out,” had all my worst relationship fears manifested, and subsequently realized that I was on the wrong playing field, at the wrong time, and with the wrong equipment.

I will have a “corrective experience,” but it will come in a very different form. In a relationship with myself. Do they have Valentine’s day cards for that?


Healing Heart:

Ditto. I approached my relationship with the S from exactly the same place you did. My dream was to be in a relationship with unconditional love — a beautiful, safe, loving relationship. Instead, I got my worst nightmare.

I like your concept of “corrective experience”. I too bottomed out with this relationship. I don’t have all the answers, yet. But, I finally feel that I’m starting to grow up — at this late date.

In an earlier post you stated that you broke up last March 8th. For some reason that date started nagging at me. So, I just pulled my journal out. Lo and behold! The S pulled some outrageous stunt. Page after page of my journal are filled with my doubts about him — is he cheating, what can I do to make his life easier — sing polly-wolly-doodle all the day.

I want to hurl when I read those words. I feel physically ill when I think of how I compromised myself. And I’m trying to figure out why — during the whole 15 months with S — that I never once — just once — reread my journals and see what the hell I was pouring onto the page. Maybe I would have gotten a clue earlier had I done that.

Ox Drover

Dear HH and KH,
QUOTE: HH “so they have valentine cards for that?”

I don’t know, but if they don’t I think we have a great opportunity to come up with a few good ones! I think they’d sell like hot cakes.

Maybe Donna would sell them in the Love FRaud store?!

Let’s see, How is this one?

“Happy Valentine’s day to ME!

I will be TRUE TO ME!”


I will love me forever!

Roses are red,
Violets are blue
I’m gonna love me,
More than I ever did you!
(this one is for Henry’s M)

Yea, a “corrective exprience”—that’s a great one!

Is opn

Kathleen Hawk: Thank you for explaining this whole process of healing and what stages there are in going through it.

I have only been here a few days and I feel by being here I can find some understading to the past years with an S.

Thinking about I have been in and out of denial, just simply because of not having the emotional energy to deal with it in the chaos of the S. I have heard it said here, through “his dancing too fast” with me when he was threatened by the fact I may see how he truly was, then he danced harder.
Which then I went back into denial just to make it through.

I had suffered a major tragedy/loss with losing my daughter, she was in her 20’s. At the time I had been with my husband almost 2 years the S, he was in and out of the home.
I had also given birth to my son who was 1 month old at the time I lost my daughter. There was so much going on. With the new child I had and the joy of a new life to losing my oldest daughter.
S returned and portrayed the caring husband only to get a stronger hold by circumstances. I was lost in grief and holding it together with a new child. I managed well but could not put the emotion to fully deal with S.

It has been six years and the clarity has returned fully of working through major grief in losing a child. And it will continue for a lifetime.

S is completely gone, and I have gone past the denial for about almost a year now, the anger at him and how and I why I took this unacceptable behavior is so clear. It was the only way to cope after these circumstances.

Being now at the point of making it better, making me better this is the strongest I have been in these years.

Through God and much prayer and support systems, I have managed to live without being on meds at all, there were times I did not know how things were going to be.

I thank God for being there and walking me through this life changing loss and this gift of life.

And for walking with me while this S took the world in his hands at a vulnerable time with me.

I have survived. Thank God.

Your information is part of the healing that will prove to be useful, to validate things I have experienced with an S.

I too have had moments of past moments of S and what he said and did and reworking the real meaning now of those conversations. I think this is a good sign.

Thank you.

This Blog is where I have been guided to by searching for answers of “WHAT” was that? It was an S.
Something I had never been so close to before, ever, a very disturbed S.

Thank you

Ox Drover

DEar Is opn,

I’d like to add my welcome here too. Dealing with loss of loved ones (I lost my husband) and my beloved stepfather was dying, and did die 6 months later and then the P came into my life—I thought to “rescue me” from all the pain and loss….yea, RGHT! They find us when we are at our lowest and then kick us.

I’m glad your faith has sustained you, mine has too, and has grown stronger as well. Sometimes lessons hit us at the time we are least “able,” we think anyway, to get them, but at the same time, I think lessons come when we are more receptive to them. Sometimes we have to be flat of our back to “look up” and really LISTEN to the lesson. I think I have “flunked” the lessons many times before and this time like the “kind” mule trainer, he had to hit me between the eyes with a stick of stove wood to “get my attention first!” LOL

I’m glad that you are finding healing, support and knowledge here, this is a wonderful site with lots of wonderful supportive, intelligent people here! Again, welcome! and God bless.


Yes, that was abusive of him to say if you had stayed in the class, he wouldn’t have broken up with you. These guys make up any crazy reason. Reason #2 from mine was “I’m not retired yet”. Reason #4 was “I’m retired now.” (Dumped 4 times, though the last time I had rejected him first as far as sex.)

A man who LOVES you wants what is best for YOU. Wants to see you blossom and be all that you can be. Doesn’t need you to be a carbon copy to make him feel validated. People who love each other know that differences enrich the relationship and you can find things in common that you both truly enjoy. Plus that was a mean text message. Who needs a mean person in their life?

My P was a mega millionaire. It hurts to think of someone that bad having that much money. But it can never fill the empty spot inside them, truly. And like you, I didn’t care about the money. I would just like the chance to be philanthropic!

And don’t forget …these guys lie at the drop of the hat. Just stay NC and more and more will become clear to you and it WILL get better.



Your posts always resonate so with me. I have felt so shameful that my N/P whatever, did give me some warnings. Some things he said I couldn’t make sense of, because it was so outside my thinking that someone could just use someone. He once said, before I had gotten physically involved “I want you to be the ice cream, I’ll lick the bowl, but I don’t ever want to do the dishes.” I puzzled and puzzled over that and decided he just sucked at analogies. Now, out of the fog, it is perfectly clear to me that he was warning me that he would just use me for his pleasure, down to the last drop he could get from me, and then toss me. Which is what he did….4 times.


Oh yes, and I meant to say he replicated perfectly (outside of sex) the relationship I had with my mom. I had a final confirmation (as if I needed more) that she did want to purposefully hurt me in a very pre-meditated way. Via a note she left for me, to be read after her death. I knew nothing about it, but after the funeral, I walked into her house and was drawn to cupboard and there it was.

Like you, I was shocked that the N/P didn’t love me. I jumped through more and more hoops. Like you, I finally had confirmation that he just didn’t give a damn about me and never had. It had all been in my head. You are right, We collude and that makes it all the more difficult to sort out.

So many of us had child abuse in our background.


akitameg & JAH: When you want to offer an excuse, any excuse will do. With the S/Ps, it’s interesting how they will even use contradictory excuses (“I’m not retired yet,” or “I’m retired”) to explain away the same behavior or choices. Absolutely no connection to real logic.


JAH: “Shame” is a paralyzing feeling, and it just isn’t appropriate relative to the damage these creeps do. They can get past ANYONE, including the experts. Seriously. You should celebrate your smarts in recognizing this IN THIS LIFETIME and in getting away.

Don’t lose anymore time to this loser by thinking you might have known better, sooner. You are so fortunate to have been able to break free.


Child abuse. I have been thinking back on my life and seeing that the emotional abuse I endured during childhood caused me to withdraw into myself then. Alcoholic parents. I guess it was the coping mechanism that continued into my marriage. It is so much a part of me. As long as I could separate myself from the bad things I was ok. i thought. I see now I was far from ok. I’m not able to have a healthy relationship yet. Guess that’s what has caused me to let go of my denial and plunge into this healing process. ouch


Rune: Your post regarding shame matches what I received in my e-mail today from Ed Young Ministries.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best”

Philippians 1:9-10

We’ve all done it. We’ve made those dumb, what-was-I-thinking decisions. We can look back through the archives of our lives and see those times when we selected the wrong answers to life’s multiple choice questions. But like anything else in life, those bad decisions don’t happen just out of thin air. Poor decision making usually stems from inexperience, indifference or indignation. But God wants us to become insightful in order to make the right decisions.

Our lives are going by at a rapid pace. We face so many things that cause us to make split-second decisions concerning our families, our careers and even our faith. So we need to be prepared to make these quick decisions. The best tool to help us is God’s Word.

By studying what God has to say and gaining a general knowledge of his principles, we will begin to develop the spiritual insight needed to make the best decisions in our lives.

Look at the decisions you are making in a new light. Don’t just choose what feels good or looks right at the moment. Look first to God’s principles and how they apply to your life to help guide your decision making from this point on.

By Ed Young


A Prayer for Today

Lord, Thank you for providing guidance through your principles. Show me how to incorporate your love and knowledge to make wise decisions for my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.


Rune, I receive several ministries e-mails. I find it ironic that the what they send me is exactly what is being discussed on this blog.



Wini: And then the next part of the challenge is that so many of us were “patient and long-suffering” because we were acting in accordance with those Christian principles we were taught.

I believe we’re being brought together here to increase our understanding of something that is more complex and harder to see.

I was raised in all those Bible principles, and nothing in that past protected me one bit from the utter devastation I’ve suffered. I have to believe that I’m being brought through this so I can share a greater understanding. And thank you for your warm heart.


Rune: My EX is 59 years old this year. When I met him, he was 49 … and about 7 months later we celebrated his 50th birthday.

What’s I’ve learned (more than before) is … just because someone chronologically ages, doesn’t mean they are mature … or wise for that matter.

Just because someone says they love God and read the words of wisdom from the Bible, doesn’t mean they are humble to comprehend God’s wisdom.

I’ve learned that people who live in their EGOs are dangerous and detrimental to all of mankind and every breathing creature on this earth.

I’ve learned that sin comes in many disguises and it is easy for sin to get a grip and cloud some one any one… and this is why God tells us to stay and be humble.

I’ve learned that too many people are blinded by some form of sin and will continue to be blinded until wise, caring folks reign them back into the fold and help them with this addiction to sin.

I’ve learned that once sinning starts, those sinners perpetuate through the cycle of sin and are blinded totally for as long as this sin or sins have a hold on them.

I can go on and on … but, you get my drift.



Hey guys?
no job yet– sending out bunches or resumes/

My depression and regret/remorse/what if’s/I f I had only’s– are killing me today. I slept until 3 pm cuz I do not want to face my life– or lack thereof actually.
I wish I had one fam member or pal in area to go with me to get some things done–
this depression is debilitating
I miss my S. It makes no sense. I miss the dream and i will nver really know if he WAS a fake or was for real–


Dear justabouthealed(Wish I were)–
The hoops of which you are speaking—
my S would say things like- “Yo have to be anxiety free and not want to talk about the relationship for a week for me to consider marrying you.”

He wanted me to have a better job before he married me. My job was great! Guess he did not think it was cool enough to work at a nursing home as a social worker.
When I quit his TAe Kwon Do class– he said I betrayed him and he could not marry me.
i was too thin– I had to gain weight before he decided to marry me.
I/ve never been in debt, but had 200 bucks on my credit card– he said until that was paid off (which took a day)– he cold not marry me.

can you relate?? What ind of hoops did you jump through? Does this mean they did not love us?

Is opn

OxDrover, Thank you for the welcome here.

I am truly sorry for the losses in your life of your husband and stepfather. Keeping you and your family in my prayers.

You are right, “They find us when we are at our lowest and then kick us”.

Prayers for both of us and everyone here.


Ox Drover

DEar Meg,

Have you considered medication for depression? Sometimes if you have no insurnace there are free clinics etc. CLINICAL and deep depression causes a CHANGE IN BRAIN CHEMICALS that medication will help. It doesn’t make you “spacy” or give you a “happy feeling” and it is NO shame to take medication for this very real illness. Just like it is no shame for a diabetic to take insulin it is no shame to take a medication for depression which is a “hormonal” type thing.

Trying to get through a PTSD or clinical depression without medication is almost like a diabetic just saying “well, I’ll just tough it out”—consider it and be evaluated for medication if you truly need it. It isn’t an “easy out” by any means and it sure does help! Even with medication the WORK is still there for you sorting things out, it just keeps you from being knocked flat while you try to do the work. ((((hugs))))

Didn’t you say you have MS as well? That also contributes to depression as well. (((((hugs))))) and prayers for your healing

Ox Drover

dear is opn,

Thank you for your expression of empathy. I think that vulnerable time when we have lost loved ones is a perfect time for the Psychopath attack.

The predatory wolf attacks the mother as she is giving birth, or the antelope with the broken leg. They are not about to attack one that is healthy and vigorous, it is much more successfull for them to attack the debilitated, the sick, the old, the young, or injured. It is difficult to say to ourselvs “but that’s not fair” and you’re right, it isn’t fair, but that’s the way predators work. And for them, we are just PREY, nothing more, nothing less. ((((hugs)))))

Since I am tired of being the “rabbit” though, I have decided to morph in to a BADGER—they don’t bother anything, but God help the coyotte who corners one!


thanks Oxy–
i do not have MS.
I need to get to a clinic. I am in a new city and sooo scared to go out. It is so weird. I am on the newst antidepressant, bt obviously it is not enough or the right one for me.
will look into a clinic tonite. It is so scary. and I am tired of social workers who don’t even know what a s or a P is– acting like I am th crazy one. Keep me in your prayers. i can’t do this alone, but i am soo alone.

Ox Drover

Dear Meg,

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!! That Sprint commerciall with all the “network” behind the phone user is what LOVE FRAUD is all about—visualize us right there behind you, cheering you on! Or as that tax place says “You’ve got PEOPLE!”

And, even if we weren’t here, “when God is all you have, God is all you need! ”

I know you feel alone right now, and powerless, but you are going to TAKE BACK ALL YOUR POWER and increase your strength! One day at a time, one step at a time!

Most if not all of us here know that feeling of DESPAIR when it feels like you are abandoned in the desert, or on a ice flow in the artic sea, or up a tree with a bear at the bottom and it’s starting to climb up the trunk. Where do you go? What do you do?

Our problems are so big, so overwhelming we just don’t see how they can be fixed—but like a million-piece jig-saw puzzle, we have to do it ONE PIECE AT A TIME, and not worry about the over all picture just yet. The picture will come, but one piece at a time. The further you get along the easier it will be, so for now, just do ONE THING each day that is positive or productive. Don’t try to put the whole million pieces back together yet.

For today, the ASSIGNMENT is to (1) be good to yourself, and that includes (a) don’t talk bad to or about yourself, (B) get a good meal or two, (c) get some sleep, (d) take a nice hot bath, (e) read a book if you can or a poem if you can’t concentrate long enough to read on a book (I couldn’t even read one sentence when I started) but think about something other than your problems. Then pray, talk to the universe or meditate on the lint in your navel. LOL Then tomorrow’s exercises and assignments start out with (1) again until you are refreshed enough to tackle something else. But just “eat the elephant” one bite at a time! ((((hugs)))) and my prayers for you and your recovery.


Akitameg: Get outside to get fresh air and sunshine. That’s is God’s natural healing for your mind, heart, and soul… along with peaceful words and thoughts.

In a while, as you adjust to the horror that befell your life … go and volunteer someone. Any kind of volunteer work … where you can do for others will help your healing immensely. I heard the other night, that one of the coffee shops (I think it’s StarBucks … not sure tho) is having folks sign up for 5 hours of volunteering. I believe the volunteer centers contact you and can guide you to the volunteer areas in your location.

Peace … and hang it there, we are all in this together. Know this fact and know that you are NOT alone.



I meant to say “volunteer some where” not someone, mmmmhhhhhhh, but that’s not a bad idea either (smile).

My mind isn’t on my typing today.


spaths also find us at our strongest when they can REALLY get everything. mine liked to take my spirit and light — he fed off it — sucked it dry, and THEN when i was a shell (since there was almost nothing coming back), he told me i was ‘worn out.’


Actually some predators are trophy hunters: they want to take down the big, successful, beautiful/handsome, powerful . . . They actually get a thrill out of taking down the big ones. Other predators show up like hyenas to feed off the weak or the weakened.


Lostingrief: Yes they do … except the time line is … they are disenchanted as soon as they score (aka sleep with you and ensure that you are falling in love with them) … they only get an adrenaline rush off the chase … and once captured … they are off to finding the newest rush … except they don’t let anyone they are involved with know because they need you for a place to lay their heads, eat, use the utilities paid for … aka sucking us dry for what they can get. When they get the newest victim primed and in love with them is when they move on. Then it happens all over again … it’s all the same to them. That’s why they call you honey or whatever generic name … cause they can’t keep the names straight.

Today’s Oprah show was a re-run of a dad who’s son shot and killed his wife and other son. The father was shot too, but survived. Now the son is on death row … and Lisa Ling interviewed the son in prison. Then a psychiatrist came on and explained what a sociopath was. Also, the Dad was explaining how he had to forgive his son for this horrific of deeds … so that hatred wouldn’t eat him away for the rest of his life.

I wished they’d interview this kid and find out if he was jealous and hated the brother that he killed, along with hating his parents and jealous that his brother was born. I feel that this is the first sin that blinds them from learning about life and all it has to offer. They are so blinded by envy and jealousy over the sibling they can’t hear the teachings of their loving parents because they fume for years over this very first injury they perceive in their young minds. From that very first envy … comes the blindness and no is aware of it because they hide their hatred and envy. Parents who witness the rivalry … chalk it up to immaturity … and believe they will outgrow it. Not so. These children need immediate help and guidance from loving, compassionate, competent counselors that can walk them step by step what they are feeling and to release the anger, jealousy and hatred.




Rune: I think every one and any one is used by them.

Their existence is so sad. They only pretend to be having a good time. The show to the world … but, they are never satisfied. Never.

They make me cry to this day. When you take off all the layering of all the materialistic … superficial things … there is nothing left to them. They have never evolved.



Trophy hunters, indeed. Interesting how although they are all similar, they do exist on a spectrum as far as who they most like to destroy. Or maybe they change goals throughout life, at one time prefering the take-down of a trophy, then maybe when they have less energy, preying upon the weak and lonely. I wouldn’t be surprised if my S was into a little bit of everything. The one time I visited him he was in a house that obviously belonged to an elderly woman, he said that he had just inherited it from his grandmother, now I can’t help but wonder if he was taking advantage of some poor old woman or if she was buried in the back yard.


if only my ex DID get disenchanted so quickly.
it took him more than 20 years to ‘kill’ me.
there was a LOT of me for him to take.
a testament to my strength … i guess.


never satisfied. exactly.

i used to call him the ‘hungry ghost.’ in buddism, this is the most unevolved level of the realms where, no matter how much you get or have, it’s never enough.

there is also a similiar belief in taoism (from wikipedia):
Taoists believe that hungry ghosts are ghosts of people that did not find everything they need to survive in their after life. If a ghost passes on, but does not have enough food, water, shelter, etc., it will come back into the world of the living to feed on the living. They will scare you, and then they will feed on your energy and fear.

any way you look at it … they’re parasites.


Wow LIG,
That is so interesting about the hungry ghosts!


ain’t it though!?

i just don’t think they’re human entities. i really do believe they are the spawn of some evil force in the universe. the level and degree of seduction they use is just other-worldly … in a really dark way.

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