By | October 8, 2009 117 Comments

After the sociopath is gone: Changing our language

On May 21, 2003 I was given the miracle of my life. The sociopath who had terrorized my existence for almost five years was arrested and I was set free from the web of his deceit.

Almost imperceptibly, healing began. Without his sinister presence, the FOG of his lies began to lift. Even though I was scared, and beaten down, I began to think and feel and take action for myself, not based on what he had told me was best or good for me, but based on what was best and healing and supportive of me. Without his insidious words stealing my peace of mind with every breath, I began to unravel the web of his deceit and find myself again. I began to make choices that loved me. Choices based on my thinking clearly about what I needed, not on the design of his constant weaving of lies and deceit.

One of the choices I made very early on in my recovery was to eliminate the possessive when thinking, writing or speaking of him. He was not, ”˜my’ P or S or N or even jerk. He was, ”˜the’ P or S or N or whatever I chose to call him, my favourite being, The Lie. That simple step of disconnecting from ”˜owning’ him in my language had a powerful impact. I no longer thought of him as ”˜mine’. He was depersonalized.

The choices we make in how we speak, think, write, or simply refer to the abuser have a powerful impact on how we stay connected in our minds to his abuse. In making him a noun, ”˜the P’ for example, I let go of my attachment to him. What ”˜the P’ did was not about me. It had everything to do with him. I could have called him, ”˜the sink’, ”˜the drain’, ”˜the toilet’ — it didn’t matter. As long as I didn’t call him, ‘my sink’ I wasn’t connected to what I called him. My connection was with me. I took ownership for what I did, thought, felt, said and let go of attaching myself to his name whenever I refered to him.

In erasing the possessive term from my language I was giving my psyche, and the world, a very clear message: I do not own him. He does not own me.

And that’s where the power of depersonalizing and dispossessing them of their connection to us plays out. For so long, when in that relationship, I believed he owned me. I believed he was omnipotent. I believed he knew everything I did, thought, felt, said. He knew whom I spoke to. He knew where I went. Even when he wasn’t beside me, he knew what I was thinking, doing, being. And he went to great lengths to convince me that was true.

It wasn’t.

But, as we all know, ‘truth’ doesn’t matter when we are in those relationships — it’s what he/she can get us to believe that makes the difference. What he told me was true is what counted. And, he told me he knew everything about me. He told me he had me followed. Pictures taken of me while I was unaware. He told me my phones were tapped. My house bugged. He told. I believed. In my belief he ”˜knew’, I relinquished my personal power and attached myself to the lie, he was all-powerful. He was omnipotent.

The tactics he used to convince me of his power and control are, sadly, all too common. We’ve all experienced them. We’ve all experienced the fear and confusion, the sense of utter helplessness, the overwhelming ennui that descends upon us as they manipulate and weave their web into our minds, our bodies, our spirits.

Unraveling their web, being committed to No Contact wherever possible and feasible, are two very important components of the healing path. Cutting the ties that bind in our language is also very important.

To cut the ties means to let go of the need to use the possessive. It means to claim our right to be the centre of our attention, without fear that they will overshadow our truth. It means letting go of our need to stay attached, by speaking of them as if they are ours, and embracing our freedom to make choices that with each day disconnect us from them, more and more.

We were possessed. It doesn’t mean we have to possess the evil one that possessed us.

It means, claiming our place under the sun. Bright. Shiny. Brilliant.

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Ox Drover

Dear Louise,

Another wonderful post and food for thought. Titles and possive adjatives are definitely important. I had actually done that somewhat by no longer calling the woman who gave birth to me and raised “my mother” but “my EGG-DONOR” as the “title” of “mother” I think is EARNED not bestowed by giving birth. The same with my “sperm donor” who was not my “father”—that term was bestowed on my “daddy” my beloved and wonderful step-father who adopted me.

I do use the term “MY P-son” but mostly here on LF as an explination of the relationship to that particular psychopath in my life.

My other sons (the wonderful ones) refer to my egg donor by her first name, not “grandma” as they used to do. She has lost the respect of the title “grandma” by the way she has treated them. They refer to my late sperm donor also by his first name. They refer to my late step-father as “granddaddy” because HE EARNED THAT TITLE OF RESPECT AND LOVE by how he treated them.

They refer to the P-son as “my X-brother” or his first name.

I never really thought about how our verbal references to these psychopaths or their enabling dupes had changed, it just sort of came “naturally” somewhere down the line. It really does free up your emotions toward them as well, distances them from YOU.

Thanks for this article, Louise. Right on target, as always! (((hugs))) and God bless you for the wonderful example you set for us!


Loise….I totally agree. That is why on LF I have always written about “the P I was involved with” rather than “my P”. I don’t know when I did my first posts, it would be interesting to see if I did it from the start. But at any rate, for a long time now, I have not been able to write “my P”. It made me feel sick.

Good clarification of why!


I used to write “my ex-p” and i didn’t notice until you pointed it out! This is an excellent article Louise. Never a truer word was spoken! I feel physically dirty every time I have to “deal” with a P, (like I did all day today). I look forward to the day when there are NO MORE in my life!


I know that I write my xP. I think it is because I’m still in a stage of being initiated into my new life and my new way of thinking.

I’m still very close to the aftermath of the crisis. The crisis is “my crisis” and therefore the P that sent me into crisis is still “my exP”.

I hate being in this stage, but it’s better than the stage I was at before, so I’m grateful too.

I had forgotten, but your post reminded me of the time, when I was 20 years old when the P told me that he had me bugged. He pulled out a bunch of wires and microphones out of the headrest of my car, just to prove to me that he would always be able to track me.


Are you serious he had your vehicle bugged, they can be very dangerous, this one trying to make it as if I am the bad person just after to get him, he is the devil, I am like stay away from him. I do not make no contact with him, nor do I call him because he will only make up lies after lies. I thought it was for the best, he has never spoken about the well being of the child, just that he has love to give him but I cannot tell by his actions. It just like what are you up to everytime he is near me or even at the court, I get very sick!


Hi Louise – a GREAT post. I have been writing here for a few weeks and ALWAYS refer to him as “my” SP!!! I never realized what a huge meaning that had attached to it. I SO want to do everything in my power to detach myself from him. I DO keep asking the same questions – making the steps forward and backward. Questioning the reality of all of this. But anything in my power that I can do to make this hurt end sooner is worth every moment of my time. “THE” SP will never have the opportunity to hurt me again. Thank you so much for another great point of view!


great link Easy.
It mostly talks about “normal” people not about P’s. But I can see how you could apply the committment to taking responsiblity to healing from a P.

I too, depersonalized him. “the” but never “mine.” I also always used lower case when writing about him…he doesn’t deserve capitalization. To this day, I don’t utter his name- he’s become a few pronouns…mostly words I probably shouldn’t use here. 🙂


I havn’t used their actual names since the day i went no contact. I have use the “psychopath dentist” or “psychopath solicitor” or whatever their job was. However it was only this post that got me to drop the “my” before it.
Each day after court I had to wash off their toxic fumes. And even though i lost, i won.



I think the real importance of the message is that we allowed and sanctioned the abuse! It really is our own responsibility to look out for ourselves. It by NO mean condones the abuse but we must in the end take ownership of our own responsibility for letting it go on for so long.

That is a majior part of the healing process is to forgive ourselves and to forgive them so we do not harbor the guilt and the hate so we can move forward and enjoy the rest of our lives Knowing we have learned a Most valuable lesson!

super chic

Hi Tillly, I like what you wrote… “even though I lost, I won.” That’s kind of how I’ve been feeling lately, although I didn’t have to go through what you’ve been going through.


THANKYOU shabbychic,
I’m sure you have been going through just as much as me, only its different.
I am so grateful that I am still alive. There were times I wished i were dead. But I reckon that the second that someone kills them selves they think, “I wish i hadn’t done that!” So I believe we have all had our nine lives here on LF.
I bought a drink today at the local shop and the girl behind the counter said, “thanks beautiful, have a great day”. I said to her, “well I am coming back here if you keep calling me beautiful” and she said “but you are”. She was about 30 yrs old. it made my day.


This has to be the most hurting feeling in the world, when you realizing that the person you gave your all too was just using you. I honestly has been coming to grips with this daily I know that this S was just using me and now that Im broke and don’t have a damn thang left he’s gone. The reality is like a kick in the face because its unbelievable


it is a horrible hurt, but the trick is to realize where your hurt is. It’s in your ego. I’m not saying that I’ve accomplished letting go of my ego, but in the few moments that I’ve achieved it, I had peace. Then, like a rubberband, the ego bounces back and demands satisfaction.

so then, instead, I try trick #2: look at the larger scope. Rather than ignore your ego, distance yourself from it as much as possible. Realize that when you lose something, something new will take its place. It was time to grow and growth is painful, but it is soooooo much better than never growing, like a P never grows but stays stuck in the same egocentric thinking. Our goal is to become better than a P. And the best way to insure that happens, is by seeing the P’s for what they are and choosing to NOT BE THEM. It’s actually liberating if you can focus on that.


Advise please.
So I am understanding that the majority of us agree, that No Emotion is the best emotion.

When I give my S my baby, it’s so hard. I miss him before I let him go. Usually I am visibly saddened (my face is drawn, but no tears) and my voice is desperate when I say, “mama loves you.”

I fear my S will want to get my sone from me as much as possible if he knows how much I miss him.

So should I just act like it’s not a big deal?
(I just worry that my son may read that it’s not a big deal) I also worry that my S will take it too far and start telling people how I am excited to be handing over my son.


Ox Drover

Dear Banana,

If he knows he is “pushing your buttons” he will ENJOY that. I’m not sure how old your baby is, but generally Ps, in my estimation, don’t get much pleasure out of being around a baby, which requires attention, feeding, and diaper changes, so what they get the MOST OF is pithing you off.

If he doesn’t know (by how you act) that you are pithed off, he won’t get the REWARD he is seeking. I know mothers who pretend that they are ANXIOUS for the P to take the baby so they can have some time to date or go out without the baby, and the P will deliberately NOT take the baby because he thinks it pithes them off to have to have the baby with them all the time, and he is NOT A BABY SITTE5R SO SHE CAN GO OUT AND PARTY.

The main thing is to NOT LET HIM KNOW how you REALLY feel in my opinion.

The Ps will bring the kid back late if you show that pithes you off, or lose clothes if that pithes you off, etc. Inconvenience you in ANY WAY POSSIBLE.

You have to weigh this against setting “reasonable boundaries” for the long haul. So ultimately, it is up to you how you handle this, and you might try several ways.Keep in mind though, that when YOU change the way you react, he will “get worse” for a while, trying to get you to react by turning up the heat so whatever route you choose, you will need to stick with it several months before you give up on it and change to another one. It isn’t a “science” but more a trial and error thing I think.

If you have not yet gone to Dr. Leedom’s site about “raising the at risk child” and CO-parenting, I think you should do so, there is a lot of great information there. (((hugs))) and my prayers for you, sweetie!


even better, tell the S that you have a date or a hair appointment, or lots of important things to do. smile in anticipation of your day ahead, free of child care. He will realize that you are benefiting from the free time and will not want to give you free time away from your child.

Do all your sad goodbye’s BEFORE THE S gets there. Then be very nonchalant as you whisk yourself away taking long, purposeful strides and not looking back. Wear high heels.

Don’t advise him of anything you have planned before he shows up. Or he will start cancelling and changing dates.
Be non-commital and non-emotional on the phone. When he gets there, hand over the baby and rush out the door.

He will try to play games with you. so be prepared and keep all your cards up your sleeve.


I guess Oxy and I were posting at the same time. So yes, we are saying the same thing: wear a poker face and be ready for games.


Thanks Girls : )

I have read 1/2 of “Just like his father”.(because my son is 17 months)
Are there more resources for dealing with the S?


Oxy’s right on….
I agree….say your goodbyes prior to the hand off.
You need to act confident…..not sad. If you want white….he will gladly give you black…..always!
Decide what your trying to do and ask for the opposite… actions, not necessarily verbal.

Don’t give the ex anything but confidence…..absolutely NO negative emotions……
You can’t control any twist he makes on his ‘perception’ of your emotions…..whether he decides to tell people your so glad to ‘get rid’ of the kid…..OR it tears you up….
Whatever……either is NOT illegal and won’t affect a custody deal. So who cares……you can’t control it.
Just make arrangements as you would, in a professional manner……it’s all business….thats it!
No tears, no joy……its all about the ‘handoff’….taking care of business.
Spend that time with your child prior to the handoff….with your real emotions in private……collect yourself….and do it.
The handoff is just that…..the handoff……

I know it must be hard for you, but allow yourself some time to be YOU! Enjoy being the woman you want to be in your adult time!


Thank you for this thought provoking post!
I was guilty of PERSONALIZING and OWNING the ex s…..
I am giviing him up….NOW…..he is a ‘the’ from this point forward.
I had thought about it, at times, when I posted… I wrote MY ex S…. or MY S……and I turned my reasoning into……. so you all would know who I was referring to….so I owned him!
No need really……we all know who we are talking about huh!

This was a really good article…..THANK YOU for taking the time and energy to enlighten us and make us aware of our own behaviors.


What a great article! Thank you so much for pointing out how we own something thru our use of language that we do not own, do not WANT to own, actually want nothing to do with ever ever again…….yet continue to call this “thing” mine, and label it as “my”……..and continue to own “””my””” N or P or S….

AARRRRAGH! It is like being possessed by language cooties! Let go….let go….the “thing” is the The THE….I don’t want it to be mine anymore!!!!

These realizations (most of them found on LF) hit me like out of the blue….almost causes that sudden intra-mouth puke for real….thank you from the bottom of my heart for this site and the writers and bloggers and all the information that whacks one on the head and says “Wake UP!!!”


” that sudden intra-mouth puke ”

When that happens……SPIT!


Yeah spit!


I don’t know where to begin.
When I did the hand-off yesterday he began saying to me “I just want you to know you’ve opened up a can of worms!”

I had no idea what he was talking about I told him so.
The conversation was so twisted and perverse I tried to walk away 3 times. It took me a while because my son was upset by S tone of voice and seeing mom and dad argue. He began crying and I had to hold him. When I finally left my son was bawling and reaching desperately for me.
My greatest concern, while distracted by figuring out just what the S was talking about was my son’s emotional state. S held him like a bag or groceries, without a care of how my son was.
Didn’t even acknowledge his state.
Apparently the S was conjuring up some reason to blame me for his work environment being hostile, talking about privacy policy (at work: not my problem but theirs) said he was going to quit. Said he had some letter that his attorney was going to send….IF THIS SOUNDS CRAZY AND OUT OF SEQUENCE IT’S because I can’t even formulate his oral diarrhea into an understandable dialog!!!!!!!!
he said I could stop this nonsense by simply admitting I talked to his supervisor. I admitted it several times!
I know I should have just said goodbye seeing in hindsight I should never have given him the time of day.
ANY WAY at one point he said it’s all about the money with me and that If I wanted my son I should just take him; if I wanted to ruin his life by taking him away from his father. (I was like ‘really!!!!!’ don’t tease me)…but I said was, “why would that hurt him?”
At this point in our settlement I am ready to offer up no CS in exchange for him getting out of my son’s life for good…..could it be.
I know it’s too good to be true, but I am going to try.
The LORD is listening, for all you who pray, ask the Lord to have his hand on this and release my son and I from this bondage.

Ox Drover

Dear Banana,

Your FIRST MISTAKE was listening to him and trying to “get clarification” about what he was talking about—so I will CLARIFY ALL HIS CONVERSATIONS FOR YOU—doesn’t matter what his words are, he is saying:

“I am going to upset you, make you feel bad, blame you for the weather, or blame you for anything in my life that isn’t the way I want it, and if it upsets our son, TOUGH!”


hand off your son and if he starts to speak to you, say “I don’t have time for this, I have to be somewhere in 10 minutes” THEN WALK OFF AND LEAVE. DON’T LOOK BACK.

He got what he wanted this time at the hand off, YOU UPSET.

So by listening, you rewarded him and got upset, which was his purpose.

I KNOW IT IS HARD, but it won’t long term effect your child at this age, so just WALK AWAY. YOUR X MUST BE BORED, and NOT REWARDED. As long as you reward him by RE-ACTING he will continue. HANG ON AND BE STRONG!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!!!


Moved from other thread….sorry…..
No state will accept a no child support in lieu of no contact with child. States are not in the business of ’breaking up’ families. He’s yanking your chain. If you suggest this, he will attack you from an angle of “see, she doesn’t want me to have a part in my sons life”……and turn it on YOU!
Don’t go there.
Stay with the plan, it will be hard and you found this out yesterday. You MUST remain emotionless—NO EMOTIONS in the handoff.
He will use these handoffs to ’talk sense into you’ every time”.this is where you need to have a plan and stick to it—he won’t cooperate with your plan, but YOU must maintain control and focus!
Say your goodbyes with son prior”.go out hand the child to father and say have fun with a smile, and simply walk away”.NO speaking. If child has any issues, you will have to allow the father to ’comfort’ him”..his issues will be greatly minimized with out you arguing.
NO it’s not optimal, but you already know how the other way works—it’s more damaging to the child—
If anything was optimal, you would still be together. So don’t expect anything to be optimal”.it just won’t be!
YOU TWO CAN”T SPEAK, or use this time to ‘solve’ any issues.
Remain strong and in control of YOU!
Don’t let him bully you”.what’s done is done, take it from here!
Good luck!


I thought Dr. Leedom suggested such a bargain in past lovefraud stories.
Maybe not NC for father and child but I am definitely hoping t oget SOLE legal custody.


Happy Thanksgiving!
I have to tell you, You have raised an awareness in me that is profound! I think of you with each post, with each reference of the s.
I WILL NOT LONGER OWN HIM! Own any part of it!
It really is a freeing powerful thing.
Thank you for that! I give you thanks!!!!
Enjoy your day


M.L. Gallagher,

Thanks! never even thought about the language side of things.Of course it affirms, every time I say, it some kind of ownership…

So I hereby denounce ownership, he is no longer “my P”
I claim my right to be the centre of my attention, without fear that He will overshadow My truth.
I Let Go of my need to stay attached, by speaking of him as if He was mine, and embracing my freedom to make choices that with each day disconnect Me from Him, more and more.

what shall I refer to him as? “The P” short version of Psychopath Predator Past Pain.

With this small movement I am choosing to live in the light of love. For this I am grateful. He was one hell of a rock bottom in my life, and like all wake up calls I am wiser, more fully present and aware. In every psychopath lies a gift, grab it and run.


From the day I discovered all her journals that accounted for her life of a sociopath through 7 painful years of marriage is only referred to her as “SP.” SocioPath. Because I have to remain in contact with her when exchanging kids I have her name on speeddial conveniently SP. To all my friends, we only call her SP. It did help me strip her of any dignity that she does not deserve for the horrible, unconscionable acts she is programmed to do to people. I only wish it would take away the scars she has left on my soul.


I use , ‘the S/P i knew’, or ‘the creature’, and I am begining to do the same with my parents … it IS a great way to kind of put them on a raft and kick them off out to sea away from YOU.:)x

‘In every psychopath lies a gift, grab it and run.’

…. one could be that they always eventually expose themselves and their kind, and In doing so empower the ‘weak’ they loath so much. Oh those diabolical geniuses!?not.x

Ox Drover

Dear lov3fr4ud,

Welcome to LF—I hope you will stay around and learn more and recover your power—your power to smooth over those scars and heal your soul. This is a good place to do that. Lots of great articles in the archives and validation and empathy from people who DO understand what you have had to deal with.

I also suggest that you go to Liane Leedom Md’s site about raising the “at risk child” there are other parents there and specific information about how to help your children develop in spite of their other parent! God bless, and again, welcome!


I find this post really interesting and have returned to it four times. At first I read before I joined the site. I have joined several sites that are ‘nearly right’ for support in recovering from this nightmare and staying strong through my recovery of my soul and my life. So I didn’t want to join another site and have another password and user name to remember. I also like many others have extreme guilt and fear about posting here but feel compelled to do it. And for me visiting these sites affirms that this was no normal ‘lousy relationship’. This was pure evil. Whether it was conscious or not is another matter.
However I have now joined as this is THE best site so am commenting 🙂

I have not called him MY P or S or N for a while. I seem to try on new terms of reference for him and cringe with each. It was hard throughout the whole marriage really to call him ‘my husband’. In the beginning of course, I was so proud to be married and I dropped that term as often as I could because I was Goody Wife – the perfect and cheerful wife who worked untiringly to support, love and extend her husband.

I then started referring to him by his name. It meant he was just him with no real relationship to me although people still knew who he was.

When I ended it two years ago and he moved out for the first almost year, I referred to him as ‘the Ex’ or ‘My Ex’. The discovery that he really does have a major personality disorder and he really is sick and I really have been terribly affected in so many ways has only really crystallised in the last two to three months. It is very recent although I knew I was mistreated from six months into the marriage. Long long time – a decade – almost all my possible child bearing years.

I have referred to him as the bastard before. And as a monster. And a few other amazingly awful but gut bustingly horrible names. Both to his face, in my writing and reflecting and behind his back and on message boards. Parts of the shattered history float out there somewhere where they provide some other poor woman with an ‘Aha! I am not alone and this is very very wrong!’ moment. I used to worry about him checking my history but now I don’t care.

I called him a psychopath to his face the other day. It smacked the wind out of him in a way no other name ever has before. He was stunned for a second but quickly recovered and stuttered ‘How am I a psychopath?’ My heart was pounding through my entire body so I kept going ‘How about seventeen out of eighteen symptoms? How about that one for size?’ He did what he always did = shook his head in the half laughing and half pitying gesture

(‘How did you get to be so bitter and angry when all I did was come along and give you my wonderful presence in it? Sure I may have spent all your money and broken your heart so many times, but wasn’t it all worth the ride? Have you got a few bucks for the bus home? It’s been fun but I’m really missing Momma’s cooking and your laundry skills suck and it looks like you’re putting on weight. Been nice knowing ya! Catch ya later !’)

So he started backing out. I outlined a few symptoms and told him ‘Yep do what you always do – walk away. Just walk off. Nothing to it. No response.’

Another sad look and he is gone. He doesn’t come back till four the next morning. He wakes me frantically complaining the internet is not working (What was he googling?) He pokes around with the modem and then is gone. And nothing more is ever said about it.

I don’t understand that … if someone had just called me a psychopath – that’s a pretty serious charge. I would be rather anxious to prove I wasn’t one and to refute the person’s evidence. Did he not raise it because he knows he might be one? Or because he so disdains my opinion that he won’t even entertain the notion there could be some truth there? I like to think it is the former and I gave him a fright by showing him I know what he is. But obviously that explanation puts me in a more powerful position in my own perception – maybe that is just wishful thinking.

On the other thread people were discussing a poster who had said that sociopathy is an outdated word. Several people have also said that to me. There seems to be some debate as to what the difference between the conditions is – some seem to think that the sociopath has conscience but chooses to ignore it, others think this is the psychopath. The academic field seems somewhat divided about the matter but “officially” has adopted antisocial personality disorder – which for me conjures up images of extreme introverts! (and I am an introvert so that is damned insulting to lump us all in with dirty psychopaths!)

I personally think it doesn’t matter too much what we call it but we need to have one word to describe accurately the condition of being rather than three. So one word that describes the lying, the lack of planning, the parasitic lifestyle, the shallow emotions, the lack of remorse or guilt, the flippant ignoring of laws and rules, the lack of committment and so on and so on. We need a word that immediately paints a picture in the listeners mind of exactly the characters we have tangoed with. I like psychopath but got the distinct impression some people thought I was exagerating for effect so I found – ‘I think he has a personality disorder’ and then rattling off a few of the symptoms helped. Lots of people know someone like that.

I read the whole of the thread where the argument erupted … I noted the group had sensed an unsafe person and the message had been deconstructed for those who didn’t ‘get it’. I didn’t get it and had to get thoroughly confused about grey rocks and flower pots and then read forward for the explanation 🙂 What was it about the language that alerted everyone?

When I said to my mother ‘It has been abuse.’ She sat up straight and took a different look at me. Before that time when I didn’t know what it was I would say ‘Mum I don’t understand why he does these things. He says he will do better and then he does it again.’ She would just say ‘You will have to decide what to do.’ (that has to be the single most unhelpful phrase for someone in a dreadful relationship.)

The kinder thing is to ask for details and then give them some ADVICE – that’s ultimately what people seek about relationships I think. I am reading a fascinating book at the moment about just that topic entitled
‘Should you leave? A psychiatrist explores intimacy and autonomy and the nature of advice’

By advice I mean paraphrasing back what the person has said, interpreting it and then giving a judgement that the person can ‘try on’ for fit. I realise this won’t be the most popular suggestion, but for me I desperately wanted someone to say to me

“Okay so he has lied to you repeatedly, he has proven in the past that he cannot keep his promises, he spends with no regard and no planning, keeping you poor and without any choices, he silences any discussions by walking out and he never wants to do anything together. It’s totally your choice but if I were you I would LEAVE BECAUSE THE BEST PREDICTOR OF FUTURE BEHAVIOUR IS PREVIOUS BEHAVIOUR AND YOU ALREADY HAVE FIVE YRS WORTH HERE.”

And yes there are problems with that approach as well. It depends on the women being really honest, not making excuses, covering up and lying. It requires that they have watched carefully and started to see and name patterns. It requires they are able to articulate still what they wanted no matter how much he has tried to distract them off the path. It requires that the person be pro woman enough to encourage her out of a bad situation – that depends on the relationship between the two. Women don’t always have a nicest intentions towards one another. I would want a friend to do that for me though. And if I see the same pattern in a friend of mine some day, I will point it out to her.

Yes some people go through bad patches of behaviour and can be helped with therapy and meds but some can never be helped no matter how many resources are poured into them.

I was shocked to read Dr Leedom’s research around at risk children. I became pregnant two years into the marriage … he let me know his strong disapproval ,,, but it’s ‘all your choice totally – I will support whatever you want to do’. The implication became horribly clear over the weeks that followed. I did the unthinkable and for seven years after grieved to the edge of death. He kicked me down the whole way. Listened to me cry for sixteen hours a day – week upon week upon week. Never did any reading to try to understand. Never wanted to listen, never tried to make me feel better. Continued to spend all the money and ensure I had nothing for going out or buying anything or going a holiday. I didn’t have a holiday in ten years. That bastard just must have loved how down I was.

I read for years in trying to understand it. I thought for such a long time the problem was my PAS and PTSD symptoms. I read and read. I developed a chronic pain syndrome – fibromyalgia. He still didn’t get me any help, didn’t read to understand. I became suicidal and actually planned out several ways to do it. He remained the same – and said he didn’t know what on earth I meant when I said I couldn’t believe a word out of his mouth and that my stomach plunged when I heard him come in the door and I couldn’t stop crying. I cried and cried for years wondering when it would be enough so I could leave.

I even begged him to hit me so I had a reason to leave. How stupid was that. How stupid was that. That was my only measuring stick for a bad man – if he hit me with his hands. THis one hit my soul with everything he had. I will never ever be the same again. I am 33 – the baby that should have come two short years later never did. I was too griefstricken for the lost one and he was still creating massive dramas.

Years later I went to see a psychologist about the depression. For some reason they never looked at the relationship as the sole source of the depression. He would pretend to be depressed as well ‘at the mean words you say – you call me some terrible names’ (never mind the things you DID to me! Let’s just say diddums for the bad word – for shame!) so they never looked at the possibility this was an abusive relationship.

Anyway this one psychologist was gathering info about the past. She paraphrased back to me that he was very very bad with money, lied a lot and was unreliable and immature – he didn’t even know what he spent it on. She said
‘His behaviour is akin to gambling – there is a risk seeking element – he’s pushing the boundaries out and trying to make his life less ordinary.’

I blurted out my terrible loss and the unfathomable grief it had caused me. She said
‘You know … deep inside us all is a very wise woman. I think deep down you knew you couldn’t depend on him.’

I am wondering about that now seeing that it looks to be genetically passed on. Although some researchers think it is passed through the mother – I will need to read more of Dr Leedom’s work to understand more. I don’t have a child though. I am sad about that every day and I have to accept the possibility that the first was also the last.

Hey sorry for getting a bit off track … I think you’re alll really lovely people and I am so relieved to have found people who really understand this experience and don’t make trite comments like ‘that was then this is now’ or ‘about time you moved on’.


Wow, your post had a lot of meaning for me. If only I would have had someone to talk to, to validate what I thought I had to do, to reassure me me that I wasn’t the crazy one, & to get the heck outta dodge. Thank you for your post.


I read your post (and Louise’s insightful and helpful post that started this thread), and it really made me think of what a big factor language is in our recovery.

When I finally booted the sociopath out of my life — after five years of misery and progressive deterioration of my emotional state — I had to spend a long time struggling to find a way to describe what happened. I work in public relations for a living. I needed to devise a “story” that I could live with and that would explain to other people the last five years of my life, and how I felt about it.

It was really hard. I wasn’t a person who got angry, or blamed other people for my problems. I kept trying to analyze all the factors — in me, in him, in the the world around us. But no matter how I arranged it in my mind, I couldn’t get past two things. One was the crippling pain and depression I was living with. The other was the nature of his behavior. He was brutal to me. Uncaring. Selfish. Exploitative. No suffering I went through was sufficiently important to him to make him change his behavior.

So, I went through a period, feeling something like a three-year-old child for thinking this way, of trying to figure out if I could call him a “bad man.” I didn’t even know at first why it was so important to get to this decision, but eventually I realized that even a three-year-old knows that a bad person is someone to fear, avoid and not collaborate with. That naming him as “bad man” would give me the entitlement to stop caring about him, stop trying to understand him, stop hoping that he would be understanding or responsive to my need. It put him outside the realm of normal social rules and expectations. It freed me to begin to take care of myself without caring what happened to him.

Getting over that hurdle was a major step in being able to tell my story, to myself first and later to others. I became more comfortable with other ways of naming him. As a predator, a sociopath, a malignant narcissist, a user. A lot of these names came from other people who heard my story. They recognized what I was dealing with. This type of person was part of their knowledge and verbal repertoire. At first, I was stunned that other people knew about this kind of bad person, and I didn’t. Later I realized that my background as an abused child had something to do with that. To survive in my family, I had made some mental and emotional edits in my thinking to save my sanity at the time.

Now, after more than five years of recovery, that recognition of “bad” people has evolved to new life rules. I don’t do business, professionally or personally, with people who don’t meet my standards of interpersonal courtesy, compassion, and responsibility. Recently someone tried to re-introduce me to a former employee of mine who had behaved irresponsibly with my clients and my company resources. In another instance, a woman whose children I cared for 30 years ago after she abandoned them, tried to make friendly contact with me. If either of them had started the conversation with an acknowledgement of how their behavior might have affected me, I might have been open to talking with them. Neither of them did, and I brushed them off. I don’t have the time or energy in my life to deal with users. It makes no sense.

Words are important. There is a time in our recovery when it’s good for us to identify ourselves as victims. It gets us out of denial. Later we decide that we don’t want live with the feelings that go with calling ourselves victims, and we call ourselves survivors and develop the attitudes and skills that go with that. Even later, when we can handle it, we recognize that there are tragedies going on around us, and even the smartest and most courageous of us can find ourselves in the position of victims. It is part of the cycle of life. We win, we lose, we learn, we become better at living and better at participating effectively in relationships and society.

So there is no right and wrong in these things. Only what works for us. Where I am now is that I talk about “my sociopath,” because that is the way I own my experience. Kind of like talking about my five-year vacation in hell. I find it amusing; it gives me some psychological distance, just as Louise finds psychological distance by removing “my” from her references to the sociopath in her past. Whatever works to empower us to get well and then to create happy lives is a good thing.


Kathleen Hawk – Thank you for the pep rally this morning. I am so tired of thinking about the whole spath analogy of what happened in my life, but at the same time it did. Mine was a three year vacation in hell ( love that analogy!) Somedays I just need a little reminder ( refresher course) in the reality of what I was dealing with. Makes me feel not so alone when I can read other’s story’s, and know I was not crazy…

Hi Henry,

I’m totally charmed that you found it to be a pep rally. I’m deep into another processing round these days. So self-involved. I sometimes wish I could just hit myself on the head with a rubber mallet and get it over with.

Somehow I doubt you were ever crazy. Frankly, I don’t think any of us were. We were just deeply misinformed, and untangling this morass of misinformation is what takes us so much time.

My new project is working on forgiving myself. Another article is probably going to come out of it. I don’t know why, but it just never occurred to me how big a factor guilt is in my life. Until I got whammied by a few triggers that showed up recently. And my best friend is going through the same thing at the same time. Handy in a way, but our conversations are like the blind leading the blind.

I’m a terrible person. No, you’re not nearly as terrible as me. You were totally justified. How can you say that; I was so selfish, but you always did the right thing. Blah, blah, blah. I don’t know why it’s so hard to get a grip on the fact that we’re not perfect, and we can’t control everything.

Sorry, I’m ranting. Thank you very kindly, dear Henry. And believe me, you’re not alone.


I can relate to so much of your story, as can everyone here.
The word IMPOVERISH I think is key here.
They impoverish us financially, deliberately.
They impoverish us emotionally, deliberately.
They impoverish us of time, deliberately.
I can write a list a mile long of how they deliberately impoverish us.
It stems from envy, they want us to have NOTHING. It’s more important to them than having something for themselves.

From the lyrics to “One” by U2:
You act like you never had love
And you want me to go without

So they take and take and they squander what they take, because they can’t have love and they want you to go without.

kim frederick

Love that song. But also love, “With or Without You”. It hurts to just think about the lyrics.


My non-romantic encounter with a n/p started with devastation, like a hurricane had swept through my life and uprooted everything. The faculty member derailed my successful graduate track just as I reached the finish line, undid years of hard work, and changed the course of my life. The harder I fought, the worse it got.

Then I began to look inward: How had I been so entirely blindsided? How could I not have seen it coming? What in me allowed such a person so much power over my life? I was past blame: I needed to face my own life.

All the things I’d worked so hard to leave behind me came back, and one by one, I’m working through them. I’ve come to view myself with compassion and honesty; locate the areas that need strengthening and build them up; grieve my losses and my past as an abused child of alcoholics, and my role as a codependent. I began to understand that caring for myself full time, taking care of this little bit of life that I am, is the opposite of selfish. Treating myself with curiosity and compassion, acceptance and love brought me courage and tenacity: I could now reach out to others from a much stronger base. The healthy boundaries that I lacked have begun to take form and function as they are meant to.

Anais Nin said “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.” I always saw others as valuable; I now include myself in the equation. When I meet a harmful or unhelpful person, I can spot it sooner, and my first choice is to just step out of the way, like you’d step off the train tracks if a train was coming at you. I have learned to say “No” with quiet authority, and when I say “Yes,” it’s because I mean it.

I’m still angry with the woman who derailed the life I planned for, but I’m learning to forgive, as in not allow her to live rent free in my head. If I think of her for a million times, that’s a million times I will gently cue myself to “Let Go now.” In spite of the tough circumstances I’m in now especially financially, I’m grateful for this life that I didn’t plan. I met myself in it, and the lessons I’m learning are bringing me peace, and clarity, and even joy. Who knew? It’s pretty amazing.


I think this song by coldplay is about a P with a narcissistic injury.
Note the lyrics “never an honest word, but that was when I ruled the world”
I like the song anyway, tho it makes me sad.


Betty, yes, that is a gift from the P. My radar is so acute I can smell them all the way across the globe. I’m serious. That P that showed up here the other night, stank so bad, from the very first post I had to hold my nose.

Today, on the news, there was a balloon being chased all over Colorado because the police thought that there was a 6-year old boy inside it. I told my parents, “there is no boy inside, he is hiding around the house and his father is a narcissist living in a delusion. He needs attention so he set this whole thing up.” Sure enough the kid was hiding in the attic.

There were sooooooo many red flags.
The parents were on a reality show, they are storm chasers, the father is an “amatuer” scientist working on a way to create energy, is trying to make contact with aliens… I could go on. All these things show someone who needs inordinate amounts of attention (the reality show – wife swapper), doesn’t want to do real work but wants the status, (amateur scientists don’t have to get a degree or attend school), needs someone to believe in him like a cult following (creating energy and contacting aliens). The kids were standing on a roof (no responsible adult would allow that) with a camera.

Here is a P, on TV and nobody even knows it but me.

kim frederick

Great lyrics, Skylar. It’s lonely at the top!!! And love your poetry, too.

Betty, thanks for your quote from Anais. It’s soooo true. lThat’s called projection. That’s why the P’s always accuse us of what they are doing!!!


Betty and Kim,
I didn’t even think of Anais’ quote as referring to P’s I thought it referred to how we percieved them.

I always thought that the P’s were the only ones who projected, but you are saying that the N-supply is guilty of projecting too. I had never looked at it that way but you’re right.

kim frederick

Skylar that’s why they say we can’t try to understand them from our own perception. We can’t begin to understand them, as hard as we try. It makes no sence and never will.
They are alien to us and we will never GET IT. We try to understand, supplying our own logic, and when we do we just become more baffled, by them.

I think our worst mistake is assuming that they are like us. They aren’t!

Ox Drover

DEar Betty,

Your post above is absolutely PROFOUND AND WONDERFUL, and is what EVERY human should strive for! Congratulations on your wonderful AWAKENING and RECOVERY PATH. (((hugs))))


you’re back! did the sun come out today?

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