By | January 18, 2008 465 Comments

ASK DR. LEEDOM: Are sociopaths (and psychopaths) vindictive?

A woman who married and had children with two different sociopathic men wrote us this week. Her story and questions are timely since they allow me to mention another upcoming book, the conference Donna and I attended last weekend and to discuss vindictiveness.

It seems most women who have children with sociopaths end up with the sociopaths walking out on their children as well as the women, leaving the survivors to mop up and struggle to understand what happened on their own. From what I understand of sociopaths, the prevalent attitude they seem to behave as if they “don’t care” about anything except doing what benefits them”¦ (she told her story of marriage, children, custody battles and vindictive sociopaths)”¦ So, is vindictiveness a trait typically found in sociopaths or are these guys merely trying to maintain or regain their power and it just happens to look like vindictiveness on the surface? These guys have definitely expressed some serious rage, especially after losing as spectacularly as they did when they tried to take custody and prevent me from moving. Is anger an emotion sociopaths feel when they don’t get their own way? Do they ever “get over” it?

Many women tend to repeatedly pick sociopaths as partners

There are many women who have relationships with more than one sociopathic man. Sometimes children result from one or all of the relationships, since sociopaths like to father a lot of children. (My son’s father has 7 children I know about.) The resultant children carry the sociopath’s genes and are exposed to the sociopath’s fathering behavior.

Sociopathic/psychopathic men are at least 4 times more common than sociopathic women. The interpersonal love-relationship patterns are the means by which sociopaths replicate themselves and perpetuate sociopathy within our society. It is very important, then, to understand women who love sociopathic men. Is there anything different about them? Are they drawn to sociopaths because of prior abuse? Is it simply that sociopaths con them and they are especially gullible? These are tough questions for those of us who have had relationships with sociopathic men, but we have to ask them. The stakes are too high for everyone for us to avoid asking and answering these questions. Sandra L. Brown, M.A., and I recently conducted a survey/study that has addressed these questions and more. Stay tuned because a book with our initial findings is nearly complete. The results are enlightening and freeing.

Batterers often win custody of children

Last weekend Donna and I attended a conference, the Battered Women’s Custody Conference. This conference is held every year and so plan on attending next year if you missed it. The conference addresses one end of the spectrum of sociopaths—sociopathic men who are physically violent. It is incredible the courts often give children over to these sociopaths! Batterers are a little different from the sociopaths most of us know. These sociopaths have been referred to as secondary psychopaths, as opposed to the primary psychopaths we are most familiar with.

Primary verses secondary psychopathy

Secondary psychopaths are more insecure (than are primary psychopaths) about the status and power they so desire. Whereas primary psychopaths are grandiose and feel confident in their supremacy, secondary psychopaths are always on the lookout for threats to their status. They are also prepared to meet status threats with physical violence. Secondary psychopaths have more problems with impulse control than primary psychopaths. They also tend to be more emotional, displaying more anger. I think the average perpetrator of domestic violence fits the profile of a secondary psychopath very well.

There are other minor differences between secondary and primary psychopaths, but the similarities between them are more noteworthy than the differences. Both primary and secondary psychopaths are unable to love, have poor impulse control and impaired moral reasoning. Genetics play a substantial role in the development of both, and it is not true that one is environmental and the other genetic, as is commonly believed.

Sociopathic fathers

The parenting behavior of sociopaths has not been thoroughly studied. In my opinion the reason for this is the belief held by many researchers and clinicians that sociopaths abandon their young. This belief is related to another belief—that sociopaths are incapable of attachment. These two fallacies have stood in the way of efforts to eliminate this disorder and the suffering of victims. First of all, to those who hold on to the second misconception, If sociopaths are incapable of attachment, why do they engage in stalking? Scientists measure attachment as the tendency to seek proximity to a specific special other. Is not stalking the ultimate manifestation of attachment behavior? Sociopaths often verbally report they love others. Let’s take this to be a reflection of a longing for specific people, then we can start to understand sociopaths.

The feeling of longing

The feeling of longing sociopaths have is related to the fact that certain people in their lives have previously been a source of pleasure. We tend to get attached to things and people that have brought us pleasure in the past. There are three social pleasures: affection, dominance and sex, and possibly a separate fourth, parenting. Although sociopaths may experience a modicum of affection, the primary pleasure they derive from relationships is associated with power as opposed to love. When a sociopath says, “I love you,” he means he greatly enjoys the pleasure of possessing you and having power over you. SO how dare you question his love!

Children are also possessions sociopaths enjoy having dominion over. Part of the enjoyment of parenting they have is the prospect of turning, particularly sons, into miniature versions of themselves. For this reason, any money that the court orders your sociopath to give his children is not worth the trade off. If your sociopath will give up his possessions for a price, pay him off and be done with him. If the sociopath succeeds at his goal of turning his sons into miniature versions of himself, you will live your entire life surrounded by sociopaths, you will never escape and have peace/love.


Sociopaths are by nature extremely vindictive! Vindictiveness comes from the power/dominance system in our brains. Scientific studies show that sociopathic people derive great pleasure from revenge. Revenge is a very primitive emotion that evolved to ensure enforcement of social reciprocity. It evolved before the capacity for love. We know this because of studies of chimpanzees. Chimpanzees are very vindictive and vengeful when a comrade fails to reciprocate, and their capacity for love has not evolved much. It is only the threat of revenge that induces chimpanzees to cooperate with each other, because they do not have love bonds that motivate cooperation. When a chimpanzee shares his food, he does not likely get a warm fuzzy feeling inside, instead he knows that others will later do the same for him. If others fail to reciprocate, revenge is always taken.

Thankfully most humans receive a double reward when they cooperate with each other and a double punishment when they fail to cooperate. The double reward is the inherent pleasure in knowing we did a good for someone else, and the thought that good might someday be reciprocated. The double punishment is the guilt over harming someone and the fear that the harm will be reciprocated. Please hear me, sociopaths are like chimpanzees. They do not feel good when they do good for someone, they thus expect immediate reciprocity. They do not feel bad when they hurt someone, but they are smart enough to know revenge might follow. This is why prison is an occupational hazard for them. They also do not comprehend the guilt other people feel. This is why it is important to them to mete out huge punishments toward everyone who has offended them.

When you have to deal with sociopaths, be ever mindful that these individuals are devoid of pleasure from goodness and devoid of guilt over evil. Although they take advantage of other’s emotions, they have it in their minds that the rest of the human race is like them. They therefore feel it is necessary to get revenge in order to reduce the likelihood of future attacks on their status, power and possessions.

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It’s weird this, as the behaviour looks familiar, but I often think of my sociopath as *not* vindictive because he simply didn’t care enough about anything.

He got pleasure from people (me for example) of course, but that didn’t lead to attachment or ‘longing’ because people were interchangeable to him. I think he feels annoyed initially because one of his sources of supply has gone, but that’s about it. NEXT!

In fact it was a red herring early on – his lack of annoyance at the women he’d wronged (who had a very obvious campaign going against him in the office we all worked in) made me think he was actually morally *better* in some way – ie he didn’t want to have a go at them equally noisily. In actual fact he just *didn’t care* – I think probably the worst thing any of them could have done was to ignore him.

(Similarly, I saw his seeming to value everyone equally as a quality – egalitarianism – early on, whereas in fact everyone was equally disposable to him).

Do they really have a lot of children? I can’t imagine my ex having any…having said that I’ve wondered if his ‘godchild’ (at least) was actually his…


God, that’s terrifying. I have three children by my two sociopathic ex’s – an eldest boy by the first ex (who has been abused by his father regularly at visitation for the last eight years and I’m now seeing this child mirroring the same abuse towards me and his younger siblings) and by my second ex, a boy and a girl (the latter who has been sexually molested by her father).

It leaves me with such a sick feeling. My life is a trainwreck. My children are very much at risk. I’m forty years old, back in school in the hopes the retraining I’m getting will get me a decent paying job (I was fostering before I lost the house to my ex – now I have no home of my own and that source of financial support is gone).

In the meantime, I have to take the child support to survive but that obviously puts my kids at risk. I’m accumulating a massive debt with student loans as well as lawyer’s fees. I’ll have to accumulate more lawyer’s fees (another $20,000) for court permission to move again in the near future to obtain employment in my new field. All told, I will have accumulated close to $60,000 in debt by the end of 2009, some of which I may be able to pay off with the property settlement I’m currently fighting for, but I’ll be starting anew mid-life with less than nothing.

It’s very hard for me to look into the future and feel hopeful. I either take a massive hit financially or my children suffer. They’re worth the hit and I’d do it in a second, but I might not be able to realistically support them and that’s the problem (how can a single woman with three children possibly afford rent, food, daycare, etc. without an enormous salary – which I won’t have, regardless – and with massive debt?!).


That was the one sure thing from that relationship I could count on. Any perceived injustice to him resulted in vindictiveness ALWAYS leading to some outlandish retaliation. Absolutely nothing was sacred to him short of physical violence, including stalking. Much of what he did was covert except for his threats, his attempts at public humiliation of myself and my business, and the enlistment of friends and acquaintences in his schemes. I thwarted his efforts and paid little mind to what I considered idle threats, believing he needed serious counseling and thinking I was demonstrating the futility of bad behavior and providing instead a good Christian example.

I had no clue what I was dealing with until after I’d finally realized I was in the eye of a storm, got out, and started investigating. Only then did I experience both fear and gratitude. Now it ALL fits, even the troubled young son I saw even though his adult daughter was a delight. This whole phenomena with these people is just heart wrenching at every juncture in their destruction.


I swing back and forth trying to figure out if the Bad Man was a sociopath or not. This article swings me toward Sociopath for sure. I did notice something vacant about him. And I made up my own term, “inappropriate response” before I even found this site. My definition for inapporpriate response is any response that strikes you immediately as not what you would expect.

A friend of mine had a similiar experience as mine and she noted the way her ex responded when her Grandmother died. He barely acknowledged her sadness and brushed it aside quickly like… “that’s sad. Now, back to me and my endless needs.”

I keep wondering if my ex is a sociopath because he is not all that seductive these days. I can follow what he is doing because he regularly posts on Craigslist. His posts get flagged and numerous people regularly post warnings against him. His ads are stranger and stranger now and it’s like he doens’t want to miss out on anything… he just wants sex sex sex from any source. He puts himself out there as having high standards but contradicts himself in his own ads. He’s GROSS.

Anyway.. things to do today… more things to get my own life back on track without this jackass. Sorry Donna for swearing… allow me this one crack at him!

1. The point you make about attachment is particularly intriguing. I guess the way to think bout it is that there are different ways of attaching – when people say sociopaths are unable to attach they probably mean unable-to-securely-attach. Perhaps the sociopath attaches in one of the forms of insecure attachment: clinging, avoidant, disorganised. (My bet would be on the latter – consequently the other doesn’t know whether they’re coming or going.)

2. “These individuals are devoid of pleasure from goodness and devoid of guilt over evil.” Right on! I wonder whether it goes even further than this, something like: These individuals capable of pleasure from evil and despise goodness.


I LOVED this article and found it incredibly insightful. My sociopathic (former boyfriend) has sued his former best friend, business partner, sister, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries to sue me (for God know’s what). He abandoned his children (gave them up for adoption), also abandoned a child he raised for 14 years (although he ranted and raved about how much he loved him) and abandoned my 3 children after spending three years with us. I found it fascinating that their “affection” is POWER, not LOVE, as they have an incapacity for love. My boyfriend tried several times to get me to invest with him, hoping that his purchases for me wouldn’t have been 1/10 of what he hoped to con me out of. By having a grandoise show of flowers, jewelry, trips and etc., he hopesdthat later there will be reciprocity, i.e., his “victim” will reciprocate by returning, in 10 fold, his gifts. I have taken a very active and strong vocal stance in speaking up regarding his behaviors, “raping and pillaging” (figuratively, not literally) of friends, family, business partners, girlfriends, etc. So upon reading these articles, I have begun to have serious concerns if there will be a retaliatory, or vengeful action taken against met. (I.E., from article above, “This is why it is important to them to mete out huge punishments toward everyone who has offended them”. You can write me at [email protected] P.S. THIS SITE IS THE BEST!

I have 2 boys with the socio. I worry about their genetic content all the time. (I plan to get and read some of the books recommended on this site.) If the justice system does its job and gets a conviction for the charges against him, he will be in prison long enough for me to raise them safely. (Long enough he will probably die in prison.) One is young enough that he won’t even remember the dreadful supervised visitations. My older son will.

Other, non socio, members of his family tell me that my older boy may look just like his father but doesn’t act like him at the same age. They tell me that the socio was a dreadful child and my son is great to have around. I don’t know if it’s a straw that I am clinging to, but for right now I’m clinging to the thought that the socio will be removed from their lives before permanent damage is done. From what I have read so far, my 8yo seems to be ok- and he’s very empathetic. I haven’t seen any of the “to watch for” behaviours exhibited.

Once the socio realized that I was in no way shape or form interested in ANYTHING he had to say, he wrote me off. He had been sending me love letters in the baby’s diaper bag after visitation- but after I whispered something about prison and bubba in his ear at visitation one night, he stopped bothering me. At this point, we don’t speak at all. It’s not “no contact,” but it’s as close as I can get until he’s convicted.

Speaking of visitations, he totally ignores our 8yo and spends the entire time cuddling the baby. The baby is more useful for gaining the attention of young girls than the 8yo. That, and he seems to enjoy the 8yo begging for his attention. I feel bad for the 8yo, but by the same token, he is beginning to see through his father. It might make it easier when the monster gets sent to prison. At this point, I can’t tell if he shows up at visitations to keep the money flowing from his mother or because he likes owning a baby… I can also tell that he is VERY ANGRY with me (even though he doesn’t SAY anything to me) that he has to show up at a scheduled time at a place for visitation and not have the freedom to drag them around and show them off for personal gain.

I think the x may be a primary psychopath- he thinks he is ALL that and a big bag of chips!

Did I mention I can’t wait until he goes to prison?


DrSteve: The attachment concept is interesting to me as I could never make sense of several things in this area. First of all, he would talk about his other women, ex’s and such about how they had done him so wrong, continued to lie about him, tell “stories” about him to others…etc but yet I would find over and over again that he was maintaining a “friendship” with them. By phone, or a little favor here and there, or they’d stop by, or one he made her a bunch of smoked salmon for her grandmother… all lies that I happened to uncover. I asked him if they’d all done him so WRONG why on earth would he continue to nurture the friendships?? Again it was inappropriate actions for what most of us would do otherwise. Not see them anymore or talk anymore. I know now that he was probably sleeping with them as well, and one I know for sure he was.
Also – now that I have broken up with him, his words say he wants me, doesnt want to lose “us”, misses me etc… but he acts completely calm cool and collected and no where near bothered by the fact that things are this way. I see him at work occassionally.. yes big mistake on my part – he’s at my job… but something he says is so heartwrenching.. he shows no signs of it bothering him. Yet other things in his life when someone does him wrong, he schemes things against them and wont let it go.. and those things tend to be menial tiny little things would not be a big deal to most of us. Backwards response when emotionally reacting to issues in life.
Has anyone else noticed this? React when they shouldnt and no reaction when they should?

Absolutely findingmyselfagain. He always seemed so cool and calm when he had wreaked calamity all around us. And other little things of no consequence got him all worked up. He could muster up tears when he talked about his military service (his military service was fictitional too) but didn’t seem to be the LEAST bit bothered when he’d down something awful to me or someone else he supposedly LOVED….and all the while saying, “I love you I love you I love you…” Maybe they’re like pretzels- completely twisted.


glinda: my ex told me he wanted a divorce, and the next morning went to each of us — me and my two boys and said “i love you.” he was also singing and whistling. it was the strangest thing. i knew that there was definitely something wrong with him. i know now that he is incapable of love.

i always knew that there was something vacant/void about him, but i couldn’t put my finger on it. i just dismissed it as a cultural difference. but he really had no clue as to how to behave in a normal way. he didn’t really have emotions. i do remember him over-reacting whenever he felt ignored.

on vindication. i found most of what was written to apply to my ex. whenever he feels that i’ve won something through the court, he retaliates by doing something to me or his son.

he uses our youngest child to get attention from the public. he would like nothing more than to make our son into his identical twin monster. he really is a very scary person. i’m gong to try hard to leave the area. i truly believe he will mentally ruin our children.

I’m really surprised by the women who have attempted to co-parent with these monsters. I can’t see it ever working, and it certainly doesn’t benefit the child. Our children are very young, and he abandoned them for a while, so they really still don’t know him well. Now, of course, he can’t get enough of them. i would give up child support in a second, if i could free my children from him.


Findingmyselfagain. Your comments are similar to my thoughts. The attachment is very skewed – either a kind of possessive attachment or ambivalance. Examples – at the start he told me to tell me last partner who I split up with 15 years ago that he was now on the scene. I told him that this was outrageous – I had no feelings whatsoever for my last partner, it was finished over 15 ears and I saw him occ for child visiting, he posed no threat at all. He was adament and he obviously had something in his mind. He would tell me how much he loved me and then he would disappear, cancel or hide behind his phone. In the early days, I asked him if he was available at ANY level.

My ‘ex’ narcisssist, was not overtly physically abusive and infact we never had a cross word between us, he kept his cool at all times. But he was secretly cunning and punishing and he obviously knew all the ways of punishing by a combination of using words to project or deflect (lie), and doing his activities out of my sight. When he started his nonsense early on, I asked him if he wanted a friendship, he said he had many phone numbers of women who wanted that. One wonders whether these are women who got wise early on or ones he kept on the back burner for use in the future.

At the end of the relationship, he engineered a scenario for me to ‘find’ these womens phone numbers (all married) and although the majority of them were ones he had preyed on at work, one he said he had kept in contact since befoe we had met and he never told me. I hate to think what the nature of that contact was and in my last angry letter to him, I told him that I bet I had hardly discovered the amount of deceit he had got up to.

You just dont know what goes on in their minds and as Dr. Steve says, because we dont operate like that – why should we know. for me part of the shock was realising that I had got involved in someone who was rather like a scheming, cunning, deceitful magician, who whilst I only had good intentions, care and concern for him – his intention for me (although pretending different) was the opposite. I guess I saw it off and I kept telling him he was giving me double messages, (He loves me, but ignores me!) but it never occured to me that he could be doing the opposite of what he was professing to be. He was feigning loyalty, integrity, even berated other people who were unfaithful. A true wolf in sheeps clothing.

When we had a break, he came back nicely (and a voice popped into my head saying – he really wants you back because he wants you to act as a referee for the new job he is applying for). The new job which gives him a type of authority and access to lots of new and appropriate prey. I knew he had engineered friendships with lots of new married women at work and I thought this was safe. I realised after, that getting involved with married women gives him advantages 1) he doesnt have emotional involvement and he can be as detached as he likes 2) they are unable to be open about the relationship 3) he knows that apart from the husband he is stealing them from, there are probably no other suitors of- so he protects himself in a myriad of ways – how devious. It is almost impossible to separate fact from fiction.


finding my self again. i totally agree my ex s path would react to little things and not to the big whammys, he was recently involved with a single mother with two children actually i dont think she wanted him but he was obsessed with her, i think she was just using him. anyway she told him she didnt have time for a relationship too busy with her kids. so he sulked for months over this then recently she has met someone else and goten pregnant to this other man, when my ex told me he never even got close to sleeping with her she wouldnt let him. he was furious at this rejection from her and the fact she was having another baby to this man. my ex was playing happy families with her kids he was all over them to impress her and make her think hed be a great dad. anyway he was actualy hurt by this woman and what she did . but she invited him to her daughters b day party and in stead of saying no thanks and really standing up for him self and being even a bit angry he went along and low and behold the other guy she is having a baby to was at the party too how humiliating it must of been but he didnt even get mad at her. then the next day he even went to the beach with her and the kids. when he told me this i was like arent you angry she said she didnt have time for a man to you and now shes pregnant to some other guy. and he just said well we only went to the beach with the kids. go figure . my only justification for this is that maybe he was still hoping to get her back. but with any other woman doing something like that he would punish her like crazy . i could see he was angry but he wasnt acting on it at all he was in fact still being nice to this girl . with me he is always still punishing me but in his sly ways. i even said to him once stop punishing me its over you know, and he said im not punishing you. yeh righ not much with every thing he does he still trys to get me some how as a pay back.


Gosh yes – I’ve just realised what Beverley has said about married woman – it’s an advantage that it has to be kept quiet!

Oh yeah and regarding their attitude towards cheating – I now fully believe any ‘jealousy’ was PURELY to score points. I don’t believe for a second he would have been really bothered, except from a power point of view. (And obviously they know we’re too honest anyway).

Jules – the woman your ex seemed ‘obsessed’ has given us the right strategy for dealing with a sociopath. She simply doesn’t care one way or the other and so his ‘game’ won’t function!

What I’d love to know – Secret Monster are you there? (Jules I agree that some of his stuff his hard to read but really, getting first-hand accounts of what he exactly feels or doesn’t has filled in so many pieces of the ‘missing jigsaw’ for me – which is so important for healing and not falling victim again) – is what their pleasure is like. When and where did they feel most happy? How long-lasting was the happiness? If they could plan the perfect future, no holds barred, what would they choose?


Dear Liane Leedom MD, Whilst reading your narrative, I was experiencing it the other way round, in that, if a ‘target’ becomes abused by their partner, then they too will feel this same anxiety. Maybe this is one of the keys to why some of us as targets are ‘drawn’ to be with the same kinds of abusing people and I have had them in nearly all psychological formats. When one has had next to no love, emotional support in life, especially as children, one can fall prey to those who pretend that we are special and wanted – like the parents we never had and wished for. I guess one of the antidotes is to believe in and love ourselves and not look (subconsciously) for others to fill those needs.

Before now, I never saw myself as a commodity. People kept telling me to guard my assets. I suppose if someone sucks you dry in mind body and soul, they have got everything else as well – and they can get all their needs met without having to resort to illegal ventures or cost to themselves. My ex said that some of his physical pleasures would have cost him £250 if he paid for them and he gets to save money too, whilst his target caters for all his needs.


jules: it’s all part of a plot with the single mom. he will play the sympathetic, i can be a good dad; i’m still concerned for you good guy, etc. if the single mom falls for it, he will trash her the same as he has probably done with the rest of his relationships. he is attempting to manipulate her to win her. once he wins her, he will conquer her. it’s not as if he’s not angry or he’s someone different b/c he thinks she’s “different.” He will do anything to possess her, and then destroy her. so, he really isn’t treating her special. it’s all just another design. My ex also preyed on my vulnerabilities as a single mother. He just jumped in and played the great stepdad role. unfortunately my child got hurt when he left. i’m thankful that he still has a great relationship with his father.

On women who choose sociopaths as mates — i once spoke to my sociopath’s ex. she described him as “kind to her, but manipulative and controlling.” I find two of theese three characteristics mutually exclusive for the normal person to be — but not for the sociopath. I found it interesting that she would describe him in this way. But really her description isn’t surprising. She was abused as a child by her parents. when you have an abused background, your standards aren’t very high, and if someone appears to be genuinely nice to you, then you fall, and you fall hard.

i wasn’t physically abused by my parents, but there was a lack of emotional attention due to some abandonment. My Ex played on this. He talked about the importance of family, and sticking together. He told me that he would never leave a marriage, and that he didn’t wnat his child to suffer from a divorce, and have step parents, etc. he even criticized couples who had children, but didn’t have the typical “family” set up b/c marriage wasn’t involved. Everything that he said he stood for, was exactly a LIE.

But he did me a very, very big favor by leaving. Life was miserable when he was around. I was always so much on edge. He was so insecure. insecure about everything — especially my first husband. there was constant confusion and chaos, and NEVER any peace. Those three short years really took a toll on me.

I am so thankful to God that he left; though it was heartbreaking to realize that everything was a lie. It took a lot of soul searching on my part to figure out why I allowed myself to fall prey to this beast. It also took me a great deal of research and retrospect to understand that he is probably a narcicistic sociopath. And how to deal with him as the very sick person that he is since there are children involved. I’m determined to give them some peace and stability as they didn’t ask to be brought into this mess.

BTW, one of his exwives had a stroke while they were together. There is no doubt in my mind that he probably caused it with all of his toxic issues and the stress he probably placed on that poor woman.

Dr. Steve wrote: 2. “These individuals are devoid of pleasure from goodness and devoid of guilt over evil.” Right on! I wonder whether it goes even further than this, something like: These individuals capable of pleasure from evil and despise goodness.”

I think “despise” is a harsh word for it. I think maybe “disdain” for goodness, for goodness sake, fits better. It’s illogical to do something good if there is no return. If you expect a return, than can you really call it good? If I give a homeless person 5 bucks, is it a good deed? What about if I give a homeless person 5 bucks in front of someone who would like that I give a homeless person 5 bucks? Which is a good deed, and which isn’t? Why?

Some of the things I do a lot of you would call evil, I accept that, but these things do give me pleasure. Now, do they give me pleasure because they are evil, or do they just happen to be evil? I can look at myself like a crafty little devil and it’s a cute romanticized vision of myself, but I don’t really sit back with a menacing laugh and wonder what sort of evil I can let loose on the world today. It just so happens that the my enjoyment out of life occasionally costs others, theirs.

EnnLondon: Part of your question is like asking someone to describe the color green.

What is happiness? I know what happiness looks like. I can act happy. I can act sad. At the end of the day, I don’t really know. I get thrills and excitement through my intrigues. I get the feeling of victory and the excitement of achieving a goal when I get away with something, or accomplish and solve an intrigue. I feel powerful and smart. I even enjoy the defeat. I sometimes think that people that get so mired in their emotions are just weak. It’s as Dr. Leedom said, double reward, double punishment – I’m “happy” with just one I think.

I think back to when I was having the most fun, the most excitement, and it was just before I got married. A series of events unfolded that I won’t describe here that I still remember back and get that electric feeling through my skin, that hit of excitement at just how absolutely hysterical and perfect it was. No one even got hurt by the whole thing, I got away completely unscathed in an impossible situation.

A perfect future? An endless string of those moments would be just fine. I think I’d like to die in my early 60’s, in a tragic golfing accident. I would like to stage my death and video tape my funeral and see if people cried. And if they didn’t, I would do things to haunt them to make them feel guilty for it, that would be hysterical!

Just think, dear old Auntie Janice gets her Sunday morning newspaper and unfolds it to the gossip section and there I’ll write with red lipstick or something equally as tactile – YOU DIDN’T CRY! I KNOW YOU DIDN’T CRY or something like that. I’d have to come up with something better, but it would be great!

Maybe I’ll spike the punch with LSD or something and my funeral will turn into a big wild party. Didn’t I see that on TV?

I don’t know, it’s late. I need to go to bed.

One last comment – Single mothers are easy, yes. Too easy even. But I don’t like the kid thing, for some reason it really bothers me. My last big intrigue involved a woman with two kids. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot due to some comments in the other thread/blog/thing. Why does it bother me? Why do I care? I can’t answer, it doesn’t make any sense, but when I saw her kids getting attached to me above and beyond just scoring me points – I took one for the team and got out of the relationship in a way that empowered and was positive for their mother. In one sense, I retained control by doing that, by engineering that, so that part makes sense, but why the early bail out? Too many complications?

Thing is, I actually liked those kids. Maybe that was the scary part. Shrewed and intelligent kids. Didn’t miss a beat, really. I’m sort of a long distance uncle to them now, which is just fine. I’m not going to cause them any harm and they get why (appearance) things ended and are ok with it.

Isn’t that weird?



Secretmonster. Would you call yourself something along the lines of a prankster in oneupmanship, a master of mayhem?

The thought of other people’s response to your own ‘fantasy’ funeral must be the biggest buzz for you?

At the end of the day – its the power, the high you are getting from getting one over people – isnt it?


Its too bad people like Secret Monstor with common sense, wit, impact and wordy intelligence cannot utilize all those gifts to the good. I wonder what they would accomplish on this earth. If they dont feel guilt, see pleasure in successfully crafting up another scheme and getting away with it, and feel no sense of loss, remorse or basic contentment – I’m curious if any Sociopaths believe in God or forget that, how about just the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I already know the answer but its beyond my imagination to go around leaving people in an empty heap and not have any sense of empathy for what they have put upon someone. He did say “It just so happens that my enjoyment out of life, occassionally costs others theirs.” Who would want to know that you cost someone something just for having known you or innocently interacting with you on whatever level.


Because they have the important qualities of empathy, moral reasoning and impulse control missing – in my mind they are like a rogue pack operating alongside but outside of mainstream people.

To buffer themselves ithat they are lacking in these qualities which the mainstream pack has, and they are different and that they do not belong, it is safer for them to belittle and manipulate the qualities of the mainstream pack and to claim a form of higher intelligence because of it? So in a sense instead of being the minority pack, they bolster themselves to be the stronger pack? Does any of this make sense?

Beverly said,”He was feigning loyalty, integrity, even berated other people who were unfaithful. A true wolf in sheeps clothing.”

The lrbx*, I don’t call him “mine or my x,” I no longer claim him or ANY responsibility for him, would pontificate on child molesters. As I mentioned elsewhere here, everyday is “opposite day.” He says he hates child molesters. Turns out, he IS a child molester.

He volunteered on Habitat for Humanity Houses. He was a slumlord for awhile. At the end, he even put people into his houses, taking security deposits knowing the houses were in foreclosure. One family had their water turned off because of all of HIS code violations around town. Some housing humanitarian, right? (The houses were foreclosed upon because he no longer had access to my finances to pay them and he’d spend every dime he collected in rent.)

He would slam drug dealers and drug users, I have good reasons to believe he not only was doing drugs while we were together and currently, but sometimes dealing too. His own family (that isn’t under his sociopathic spell) have said he used to deal drugs. He’d hide them on THEIR property until they caught him and chased him off!

He played the “great step-dad” gambit with me too. And a persistant bugger too! He was like a shadow, always right there, in my face. I miscontrued that for his caring for me and her. I would also like to add that his mother, enabler extraordinaire, would corroborate his lies. If he said he was a SEAL, she’d agree. If he had some wacky story to explain something he did or didn’t do, she’d back him up. If he said he’d do something and didn’t, she’d come to me wanting me to take care of it. Believe it or not, monster and mother are not blood relatives. I believe she married 2 sociopaths, gave birth to one via the 2nd one, and adopted one. (his bio parents consist of a rather pathetic woman who got pregnant by a married man who dumped her as soon as she realized she was pregnant.) His adoptive mother’s other child is nothing to be proud of- just in comparison to the lrbx, her issues pale in comparison. The daughter, I think, is better at not getting caught!

I just know that he did and said weird things all the time. Things that just didn’t MAKE SENSE and there was always more than one version of the story and he’d argue that he’d said what he’d said wasn’t what he said because he said something else when he said it. After a while, you don’t even notice it being weird anymore; freak show becomes the new normal.

*lying rat b-d x


Sorry for your pain Glinda. One point I would like to touch is the family….his family. All of them have mental issues and are on many medications. It is amazing to me that they are manipulated and conviced by every lie he tells. His family, mother, stepfather (birth father in prison for heroin distribution) brother and sister all believe him. They always bail him out of all trouble, legal or otherwise. And seem to work along with him. They used to pull me in when he needed them to…invite for dinner, calling me..etc. His mother would tell me that he is just moody and has been hurt in the past. His sister said, he had a rough childhood and it will take him awhile to be truly close to someone. Brother would call me and try to justify his behavior and that I just need to deal with it like everyone else if I want to be with him. His mother once told me the reason he doesnt take me out to dinner is because I said no to him when he started pursuing me. She said, “You NEVER say no to him, no wonder he is not taking you out.” I was soooo loyal and giving to him and his family. Cooking them dinner, carting them to doctors, and other places, sitting at bedside for hospital stays. (mind you noone else in the family would even go). They all have used me, not only him. It is really like I am pulling myself out of a cult like situation. I know I have to have no contact and stay out! On top of it I have had some sick feeling that him and his 1/2 sister (who has 3 babies with three different men..not married and living with mother) have possible incestuousness. He is around her all the time, they flirt, sit on laps, he even showed her his penis,,,they thought it normal. He goes to the doctors with her -INTO the PATIENT room. He has his own home but sleeps at his mothers house all the time. Goes to back to school night for her children. Runs errands for her all the time and takes her out!! Am I crazy or could she be one or wanting to be one of his many as well? When I questioned him he just said, “Oh, what me and my sister ….big deal its all the same shit” And I was buyin it!!! OH HELP


Oh, and his mother as of recent told me-very proudly (when he was in the hospital) that she held his penis for him to pee. Is that odd? She was laughing and told me how endoud he was. The brother jokingly humps the mother. And I was in the midst of it all. Is this normal? They excuse it all and again I have been buying it. I cant think straight anymore. BUt I am tryinnnnn and thanks to the help of this site.

I’m seeing a pattern regarding “families” in my conversations and observations since I discovered what I was really dealing with. It’s amazing how many of them are out there and how many victims each one seems to gobble up. They are taught and “encouraged” by their family’s behaviour and enabling- then practice their craft on them. The lrbx’s family ALWAYS rallys around him. If they don’t, he turns on them and punishes them for their lack of loyalty. Punishment can be coldness, sharp words, the silent treatment, theft and subsequent pawning of their stolen stuff, to disappearing for days. They will do about anything (so far they WILL do anything) to avoid his punishments. EVERYONE else is crazy. Everyone is out to get him and it’s so UNFAIR or it’s a misunderstanding. It’s them against the world, sound familiar?

All those things you mentioned? I think his family falls into the “freak show is the new normal” category. If you live in an altered reality long enough, you don’t SEE up from down. It took awhile for me to be able to decipher reality from fiction, to remove the sound of his voice and his lies from my head when I would try to remember an event, to fully realize that I am not crazy. I really am NOT crazy- I remind myself, often. I am flabbergasted that I somehow lived in and survived that environment, but I’m not crazy! Neither are you 🙂


Oh Change06, So many similarities. My ex had very heavy berating views about child molesters, wife beaters, gays, philanderers, single mums and cheating partners. Makes you wonder doesnt it!

His sister featured very strongly in his life. Once, I called his sister his ‘wife’ by mistake. When we had a breakup, when he had done his dirty work with me, she would talk to me ‘woman to woman’ like she was being helpful and she would tell me to leave him alone. But really she was just finishing his dirty work.

The hospital thing rang a bell with me. Early in the relationship, he said he was having a medical problem. I took him to hospital and stayed with him, but strangely his sister didnt visit him, strange as they had a close relationship. At times I wondered how much she really knew.

I offered to ferry him all over the place in my car (he didnt have transport). But then his family started asking me to take them places which I thought was a blooming cheek and then I thought it will only be a matter of time before they start asking for money. He paid me back, but he asked to borrow small amount of money from me, because he had given money to his sister and was short. They were always borrowing money off each other and he, his sister and her daughter were constantly moving between two different dwellings which they had. Often when he talked about moving in with me, as he lived with her, she would change his living scenario -my ex would live with his sister and then he would move out and live with her daughter, then the daughter moved out and lived with her mother, and then the two of them moved back to the other’s place and he lived in the sisters place – it was like a chess game.


ah yes the family thing, my ex sp had a strange mother i observed some stange things going on while i was with him. one day he got a phone call at work his mother was ill and he had better go to the hospital where she had been taken and his sister had gone there to see the mother too. well they sat by her bed and the doctors ran tests and kept her there trying to figure what was wrong and you know what they could not find anything wrong with her. i think she just wanted everyone to gather around her and get attention and sympathy cause he had moved in with me and she didnt see him that much anymore. he said to me later my mum is always getting sick cause she always worked so hard raising us all on her own. im like ok that sounds like a big sympathy act and those kids probably heard this all the time growing up. his mother seemed to be all over him one minute and not care the next, if she called he said all she talks about is her self. his sister i think knew what the s path was like she said to me once he isnt good with people! thatsa a understatement i later found out. she also said he doesnt know when to tell people to go away he cant be mean he is too nice. iwas like what a joke. now ive learned he doesnt tell them to go away cause he wants to use everyone in his games. little things along the way kept coming up to let me know what he was i just didnt see it at the time. he was engaged once before me and his sister said the girl was crazy, she didnt keep jobs was bad tempered and also had heart problems. he also mentioned that he was always looking after her because she was sick. then he said she was unfaithful and left him. i wonder about that though. i would love to talk to some of these woman he has been involved with. but he makes it impossible he was soooo secretive i only got minimal info most the time.


well i am feeling a bit down tonight. it was january when my ex left me and i find my self thinking bout him a bit at this time of the year even though try not to. and tonight i just was looking at a web site of a club my friends and i go to sometimes and low and behold there is a photo of him at the club with some girl posing together. it could just be a friend who knows, he always looks so smug like look at me im with a girl. she looked nice well a bit vulnerable and shy actualy. not that you can tell from a photo. he seems to meet so many girls, how. he goes out with his mate every weekend to night clubs probably looking for the sweetest most innocent girl to trap. i should not be upset but i cant help it when i see a photo like that it reminds me of how amazingly happy i was when we were together especially in the begining. the thing is he is very romantic in fact its like he loves being in love or pretending to be. i think i am worried it makes me think maybe he is normal and it was all my fault things didnt work out. he acts like this, like it was my fault even though he left me. thats why i question my self he acts like i am a bad person. also the thing that sticks in my throat is that he has been with several girls since we broke up in relationships and whatever else hes done, and me ive just turned 40 i feel totally alone, its hard for me to meet men i dont meet any through work, the only support i have is my parents and they are fantastic but its not the same support you get from a partner. also i feel like i will never have a family of my own i long to have a child of my own and it may not happen now cause i wasted time with 2 sociopaths, my first i was married to he was an alcoholic and i now think a sociopath, i was very young then. and later in my life the last sociopath who promised we would have a family and stay together what a joke. it just seems like luck is on their side not ours why should they meet nice people and have relationships they dont deserve it. i struggle every day to deal with it all. if only i could meet a nice honest good man, it would make it all the easier to forgett the s paths in my past. last time i saw the s path he told me he doesnt want to have a relationship with any one that hes enjoying his freedom. now i see this photo of him with someone looking romantic. he is also i know on the rebound from the single mother i talked about in a previous post. so i know when he is let down and doesnt get what he wants he is usualy looking for someone else to make him feel better. does anyone else feel like, maybe someone else can make him happy or make it work out somehow in a way that i couldnt. even though i dont think it s true. would love some feeback here if anyone has any thoughts on this or feels the same way sometimes. just wish things would go my way for once not his, how can he charm so many woman and they think he is a angel. he used to say that to me your my angel no one ever cared for me, but you. ouch it hurts just to think of it.


jules: I’m 44 and feeling the same way some days. I wasted time again in a bad relationship and feeling a little hopeless for how to meet someone good. I too question myself, as he treated me so good, better in ways than any other man ever has but I still have the knowledge that it was just to coverup what he was really doing. The better he treated me the less likely I would notice or question his antics on the side. I try to remember as good as it felt to be treated like an angel, cant you agree that your intuition and gut feelings suffered on the very deep inside of you because you knew something wasnt quite right? Over time – we would become crazy women with this ugly thing living inside of us. It was real and it was there – the ugly part dispite his grand efforts to make everything look so pretty. Try to be strong and know that you are out of the relationship for a very good reason! Otherwise we’d still be dating them if things were actually so good, wouldnt we?
Hoping for a better day today for both of us. Its a new year with new things in store. Think towards goodness.


I have noticed a big difference between my two ex-socio’s, which may or may not shed some light on a socio’s sense of “purpose”.

My first ex seemed to get off on power. He liked to play the mind-games directly with me (ie – telling me something, then denying he’d even said it, I must have hearing/mental problems, hiding my keys or purse on me then suggesting there was something wrong with me, etc.). He was also very good at putting on a “face” for people but I got to see the ugly monster behind closed doors which nobody believed could be true.

The second ex was much more like SecretMonster in that he liked the “intrigues” (which seems to be a cute way of saying “screwing over”). He liked having liaisons on the side that I didn’t know about, he liked molesting his daughter when she was a baby because she couldn’t communicate that well (so he thought), he liked orchestrating his marriage-breakdown by “setting me up” with family and friends without my knowledge, to make it look like he was the victim.

Are there any other kinds to watch out for?


For me, I fell in love with the man I met but that love diminished when I finally saw who he really was. Had my husband been the man I met, we would have built on that beginning and the bond would have gotten stronger. I feel he lied to me to get me, and trapped himself with something he really didn’t want. But he had to go through with it, or so he thought.

I think the vindictiveness revolves around the games they play. If there was an ounce of caring in them, they wouldn’t have built a relationship on seeing how much they could get for themselves and causing enormous hurts that will eventually dim, but will always leave a haunting memory.

When I finally realized that what my husband was doing was called abuse, I pulled away from him. I wanted to find out if it was me doing all the initiating or if he contributed anything. Nothing happened, except the gulf got that much wider. I’m finally seeing him more than ever for who he is. He’s older than I am, but I don’t live my age and didn’t think he did either. He does to a certain extent, but the most of his mind is entrenched in his past. I’m not part of that past. He has actually be able to recreate that past, rather boring though it is, but that’s where he’s the happiest and as long as I didn’t rock his boat, he just went his merry way. Now I’m just waiting for the house to sell and I can finally get my own life and don’t have to fear reprisals.

Because of that miserable marriage that left me so needy and vulnerable, I met a man who turned into a nightmare. He saw my neediness and jumped on that. What a miserable excuse for a human being. I see me in so many of these situations and it strengthens my resolve to keep my thoughts and feelings to myself. Because of these two men, I doubt whether I’ll ever be able to trust a man again.

The vindictiveness I encountered, consisted of the covert kind. Nothing that caused physical damage, but sure damaged my emotional well being. Denial, exclusion, neglect, etc. I thought for so long it’s just the difference between men and women. Not so. After reading all these posts, there really is something demented with these men. I’ve had so many “duh” moments. Like when I finally faced reality and admitted to myself, this “friend” has had many relationships, some that resulted in marriage, some live-ins, but they all fell through. They left him, because he was constantly cheating on them. How could I offer him something different? I couldn’t and can’t. If he can find a woman to pay his bills and he’ll give her a little sex, he thinks he did his part. He thinks just showing up is doing his part. My husband did, too. Like as long as he was there, he didn’t have to contribute a thing. His presence was all that was necessary. What ego! What ego? Neither one is accomplished as far as careers are concerned. But yet they think I’m the inferior one in the way they treat me. What garbage thinking and I bought into it.

I realize now that I made it all too easy for my husband and picked up the slack because of his laziness and resisted this “friend” and he just took that as a challenge. To him, that was all the more reason to play his stupid games, and to me that was vindictiveness because I wouldn’t cooperate and do it all his way. I guess there are many stages of vindictiveness. I think any behavior that causes hurt, dismay, disillusionment, etc., is vindictive. There is something very warped in these people, that the only pleasure they get out of life, is tearing another person apart. Sure glad I’m on the other side of all that.


To Jules. I think we have all been through the ‘maybe I could have been the right one for him, maybe its me’ phase. This of course is all part of the addictive cycle of the relationship. I went through that phase each time we broke up and even at the end. But when I keep reading and reminding myself what a real loving genuine relationship is like, and I read my notes on the cruel games he played – it reassures me that I did the right thing in leaving him. Some people seem to remember the good times and ‘dampen down’ the bad times. Real loving relationships dont have this roller coaster effect.

It must be the last cruel nail, when you see them with another, but rest assured that the next ones will go through the same weather. Your ex may modify his tactics, but the end result is to screw your mind and gain possession of you- so bring yourself back to centre and keep remembering why the relationship didnt work – what bad behaviour he played on you, the lies, the manipulation, what needs of yours werent met, what parts of yourself you gave away, the good things about you he abused and took for granted.

And remember a photo is only a 1 second snapshot in time and can deceive. Bring yourself back down to earth and think about what made you so vulnerable in that relationship and how you can prevent it happening again.


I am 40 with 2 children and my socio was 15 years younger. I dont look my age or at least I didnt until his wrath. I too have been having some bad down days. Physically looking and emotionally feeling a mess. I wish I knew better. I have mentioned it before, when he pursued me he was just back in town from FL where he lived with another older wealthy woman for a year. Makes ya wonder now. I too had the classic punishment/torture of lies, cheating, nasty talking and of course the exclusion and neglect. This was coupled with his charming conning manipulation when he wanted to come back. It was always for a short time but a whirl wind of one until I did something to piss him off and he was gone again! Always leaving me questioning what I did wrong and what I could of done different.

Cell phones are a great tool for them…he would call and return calls from wherever he was when on the hunt. Then dissapear or make plans and never follow through making me wait. He too thought showing up was all he had to do. Having sex with me was a bonus to ME. I was conditioned to mold myself to these cycles to the point that I didn’t care if he was with other woman. I had told him just use a condom and I dont want to know about it. I began to think that if he was still coming back he must love me and that he would settle down at some point…he was young. I was and am sooo very wrong!

Again, I mention that as of 3 weeks ago he borrowed money and when I put my foot down to get it back he got angry and hasnt called or returned calls since. I have stopped calling and now a mutual male friend has called me, his brother called and I saw he driving by my house. I worry, that I will not be strong enough to resist if this is just the beginning of him trying to come back. He has no job, may be going to jail, really has nothing to offer so I dont know why I am still feeling the pain, confusion and dismay of this guy. I continue to fight with myself…thinking that if he does come back, I will let him and with my knowledge…stick it to him this time. That was my plan this last time but he beat me to it. Well, I guess I was hoping for things to be different/better remembering the plans and nice things he would say. I still struggle thinking that the nice guy is the real him and the other is not. I have strong up days and as of last night very down, not sleeping with major anxiety and depression. It hurts me that his family sucked me in so much as well. His co-conspiritors.

I would like to know the source of the statement that “genetics play a substantial role” in the development of sociopaths. I believe that is a theory, and by no means a fact.

The generational transmission of personality disorders, the effect of not-good-enough mothering, the causes and effects of radical affective disorder, the research on the post-traumatic neural pathways developed in diagnosed borderline personality disorder patients, and much more research suggests that the impact of environmental factors is massive. And that infants born with certain at-risk characteristics are by no means certain to develop into sociopaths.

There is a great deal of information being passed here around as fact about sociopaths, while in truth, we can only study them and categorize them according to their behaviors that are different from what is considered normal or well integrated. It is very difficult to get trustworthy information from them about their feelings and backgrounds, and almost impossible to trust the results of any test of psychological hypotheses on them that would explain their internal dynamics. The emotional reactions they trigger in psychological professionals who deal with them make it all that much more difficult. It is as though they were made to rebuff all attempts to understand or help them.

There is a great deal of good information being developed, on this blog as well as other site that talk about relationships with addicts and predators, about how to protect ourselves and recover from these relationships. But that is not the same thing as understanding the causes of this disorder or the inner life of people who live with it.

My own observations are they do not bond with feelings of voluntary dependence. They are unable to grasp the concept of mutuality at any deep level, though they can bargain. They are attached to winning, because they see relationships as power-based, and the potential outcomes of an interaction are to be diminished or enriched.

This inability to connect leaves them with an impoverished experience of life. They feel simultaneously grievously disadvantaged, which they take as a license to misbehave socially, and grandiose, because they are not “afflicted” by the emotions that complicate other people’s lives.

The result, for any feeling person who assumes that the sociopath is able to bond or is operating in any common social contract mode, is one loss after another. While the feeling person is indulging in feelings, the sociopath is strategizing how to use those feelings for another win. And the sociopath has no qualms about this, because for the sociopath, it’s a fair recompense for being permanently excluded from the feeling world.

And what has happened to the sociopath’s ability to feel connected with another person or the world? In another form of psychological theory, it is the shadow self. And anyone who has been involved with a sociopath has seen it. The occasional emergence of the heartrendingly needy child, who is so desperate not to be abandoned or who is begging to be loved in spite of horrible behavior, or who is clearly trying to counteract the cold predation of the dominant affect. It is one of the most confusing things about dealing with them, because at these moments they seem piteously vulnerable and human.

What causes a personality that is so fractured that the whole side that connects, feels empathy, can live with risk of rejection, and has faith in the benefits of mutuality, whether at the romantic or community level, has been relegated to a back room? There is enough information about child development and unprocessed trauma to provide some very good hints about this.

The previous paragraphs about what sociopaths “are” are not fact. They are based on my observation and reading of psychological theories, treatment methodologies and neurological research. An incest survivor, I have had direct relationships, with financial and emotional dependencies, with two sociopaths, one bi-polar borderline personality disorder, two active addicts, one inactive addict, one narcissist and pathological liar, and several people who were chronically depressed.

Obviously, I had my own post-traumatic developmental issues or I would not have been attracted to and bonded with these people. But if there is one thing that my life has taught me, it is that all broken people come from backgrounds that were also deeply troubled.

I’d like to say that all of them can be treated and, if not “cured,” their symptoms ameliorated with enough expertise and time. Unfortunately the “dark triad” present an almost insurmountable challenge, because their fundamental problem, in my view, is that they have, for good reason in the view of their traumatized developmental block, suppressed the capacity to trust. Anything. And that includes any real sense of their own identity. It makes it very difficult to get any information into them that might threaten the primacy of their protective shells.

None of this excuses anti-social behavior. None of it makes it any less important that feeling people recognize, avoid and defend themselves by whatever means necessary from the predation of people whose best idea of relationships is that they are opportunities to win.

But assigning the origins of “dark triad” behavior to genetics just suggests that there is a race of unfeeling monsters dormant in our genes, and I don’t believe it is so. I believe that we all can find the unfeeling monsters in ourselves when it is necessary to our survival, and these people have gotten stuck there. There are enough letters in this thread talking about the impact of parenting by personality disordered parents on children to make the point.


Ok, I am the odd man out here. I think I am one of the few males on the blogs dealing with a female sociopath ex-wife. On the question of vindictiveness, I wanted to inform everyone that I am having problems with restraining orders. This week I was in court for taking my 2 sons who are 1 and 5 to church where we ran into my ex-wife and new boyfriend. The boyfriend tried to pick a fight,, yes, fight, at CHURCH, that I declined,,twice, as my sociopath stood there with her devilish smile knowing I am unable to do anything because we are in a custody battle. The boys and I walked away, but the next day the sociopath and boyfriend filed a restraining order saying I was stalking them, yes, stalking, with a 1 year old and 5 year old. The problem was I could not prove my oldest son had been going to Sunday school at this church since he was 2. They do not keep the sign in records for some particular reason, also I had always given cash for the weekly donation, so there is no record of me ever being there. Its basically my word against hers. My sociopath is very articulate, charming, and well educated (shes a psychologist and the boyfriend is a patient of hers -story for another day) and in court she is very convincing. The Judge found that the case was very, very close and I just squeaked by. The reason given was my sons and I were walking to church towards the worship hall and the sociopath and friend were already there, stationary. That made us/me the aggressor, although I did not know there were there, nor even seen them till the last second, I was the party that approached, making me the AGGRESSOR. I had the Church write declaration letters, my neighbors who introduced me to the church write declaration letters, the Deli that the boys and I ate breakfast that morning before we went to church write declaration letters. So, the vindictiveness that you talk about is immeasurable, and this woman will never stop until she has sole custody of my kids or I am behind bars. This is the second restraining order attempt that was blocked and I am almost afraid to go out side. I think I just saw my divorce on an episode of Law and Order, I believe I am suppose to wakeup dead in Central park wearing and ugly jogging suit laying next to a goat or chickens or something. My advice for anyone, even if you have kids together is, avoid, avoid, avoid, at all costs.


I know it seems that most of the sociopathic behavior related here and elsewhere is about males. Although I am familiar with male sociopaths because my father was one and even though he died over 20 years ago I am still dealing with him by way of my sister and her daughter…who I raised. As bad and scary as my father was it barely compares to the fear and anxiety that my sister and her daughter have heaped into my life.

Dealing with a female sociopath is deadly business, the level of vindictiveness cannot be overestimated. They are ruthless. You have to stay ahead of them, anticipate their next move and remember that they always…I mean always use props. That’s why they seek the next boyfriend and the next because they push them out front to do their dirty work for them. Don’t ever give an inch, document everything…dates, times…prepare as if you were going to war..because that’s what it is, war.

The best therapy that has worked for me is distance, unfortunately that wasn’t always possible and it isn’t for most people who are dealing with the mother of their children.

Geez I can get myself so worked up and nervous just thinking about the lies, the twisted up stories in which they were always the victim. Hmmm lets see, you were caught shoplifting with so and so and you were caught drinking with someone different and you were caught stealing yet again with someone different…and even though YOU are the common denominator here, all these other people talked you into this..yeah sure.

My sister had serious problems as a little girl and from the age of 11-12 she started drinking, doing drugs, fighting, running away, skipping school. My self and another sister spent our teenage years always looking for her…she would bring strangers into our home in the middle of the night, she stole from anyone she could. Unfortunately after she got pregnant and had her daughter she dragged her around with her to bars, drug houses and would disappear for days at a time with the baby.

We (my other sister and I) intervened and took her daughter away when she was just over 2 years old. She of couse got pregnant again and had a boy. Long story short I eventually had both kids and my life became hell. My sister would not go away, she would not stop messing with the kids, she got visitation and used these kids to try to get men. She once took hers kids for a planned visit on Christmas eve, and instead of doing something fun with them she took them to meet some skeevey man she said she was going to marry and then told them NOT to tell me. Unfortunately, no matter how awful she treated them they were so loyal to her…especially her daughter. My niece told so many lies about me that my neighbors barely talk to me, she told outrageous lies about her teachers and I believed her, until years later she told me she lied and would just have this evil little smirk on her face. I could go on forever…but some things are just so traumatic to even admit to myself let alone someone else…plus I am still afraid of her..she is the type of person who could find out that I was blogging about her and before I know it she would get even.

Anyway, woman sociopaths are so awful and with children involved it is even more so.



I really enjoyed your post. I think it was very insightful. Personally, I think genetics play a stronger role than environment. My socio husband comes from a very nice family. On a scale of 1 to 10 I would rate them a 7. They were nurturing and very focused on raising their kids. My husband has absolutely no reports of neglect or abuse. His father was fairly authoritarian, but also very involved in his children’s lives.

From what my husband and his mother say, I think my husband was a good kid. He was the oldest of three and a very sweet and nurturing big brother, especially to his next oldest sibling. Trouble started later. He was an incorrigible teenager, always lying, partying, ditching school, smoking pot, doing the stupidest things. His mom used to confront him about smoking pot but he would always deny it even though his clothes reeked of the stuff. Would tell his mom she was paranoid. He was so defiant his father actually gave up on him. Washed his hands of him and even stopped talking to him. If my husband entered a room his father was in, his father would get up and leave.

I don’t think my husband ever matured beyond 16 (and a horrible 16-year-old at that). He just honed his skills of deception. He’s highly intelligent, brilliant really, and can mimic emotion so convincingly, I sometimes still think he’s sincere.

And his son’s the same way. I always knew his son was a liar. As a matter of fact, I diagnosed him as a sociopath years ago when he was still living at home. (I didn’t see the same thing in my husband for many years.) My stepson was 12 when my husband and I got together. Stepson had a more unstable childhood than my husband, but I don’t think he suffered terrible abuse. He always had people around him who cared.



Back in September my socio husband was going to try to get a restraining order against me. It was a do-or-die moment for him and the woman he had planned to leave me for. Since I had figured everything out, I was complicating matters and he saw a restraining order as a way to prove to his gf that he was serious about wanting to be with her.

Of course the restraining order would have been completely bogus. I saw the papers he filled out and they were all lies. He claimed I showed up at his work to harass him when the truth was that I showed up at the hospital he works at because my daughter had an appointment and he followed us, not vice-versa.

Also he claimed I stalked him after he got off work late one night. Truth is during an argument we had on the phone, he said something that I interpreted as a suicide threat, so I raced over to the place he was staying to make sure he was alive. On the paperwork he tried to make it sound like he feared for his life.

I know he would have gone through with trying to get the restraining order, and probably would have been successful since he is such a convincing liar, except for the fact that our daughter (17 years old) would have been a witness to his lies.

And it’s not that he cares about our daughter per se (although at the time I was still under the mistaken belief that he did), but that it would make him look bad if his daughter didn’t want to have anything to do with him, which of course would happen if he had gone through with it.

As it is, she doesn’t want anything to do with him anyway. But, not to worry, he’s got that covered. He tells people I have brainwashed her and turned her against him.

He tried to tell his mom that. I learned of this in an email she sent me. Whenever I find that he is lying about me to other people, I take immediate action. I wrote his mom back and told her like it is. I hadn’t wanted to involve her, but I am not going to stand by and let him manipulate others into thinking he’s a victim.

Another time I learned he told a friend of a friend that he really loves me, wants to come home, but that I just won’t believe him even though he is telling the truth.

I called him up pronto and told him that it’s bad enough all these years he’s made me think it’s all in my head, but now he is trying to make other people think it’s all in my head? I told him I will not stand for that and if I hear one more thing like that I would call his girlfriend’s soon-to-be ex-husband (who has threatened to kill my husband if he ends up with this guy’s wife) and let him know everything I’ve learned.

I know my situation is different from most because I discovered his plot before it was hatched. I have some leverage. If it weren’t for that, if it weren’t for the negative fallout for himself, I know my husband would stop at nothing. I now see that he’s utterly ruthless. Someone on another thread said something about us having to be somewhat sociopathic ourselves in dealing with our sociopaths. I think that is true. I realized many months ago, just after I started to discover all his deceptions, that the playing field had been way too unlevel, and that I needed to throw away my old rules when it came to dealing with him. He only took advantage of my trusting and trustworthy nature and I knew that to protect myself and my daughter, in a way I had to beat him at his own game.

I decided then, that if it suited my purposes, I would lie to my husband, and would do so without compunction. Doing that a few times, I don’t see how anyone can live that way. My God, keeping track of lies is so stressful. I guess to a psychopath, though, its second nature and even if they get caught in a lie they are quick with the cover-up, the bullshit story, they quickly regain their equilibrium and off they go with their lying sorry-ass selves again.


I think of these people as puppeteers. They create stage-plays out of life. Pathos and comedy – the opposite masks they don and remove with equal ease. True empathy is beyond their reach or understanding. Their victims are the puppets they play with – this being the only way they can approach some semblance of real life. They are hollow manipulators who have a need to experience some form of emotional connection through watching others who have roles in their play of the moment.
Like any other under-developed personality e.g. the two-year old thwarted in some minor way, they are dangerously vindictive – until some other more interesting play takes their interest. If you are still on their mind, beware. They don’t like being beaten – or ignored.
I would be interested to know if any research has been done where a real-time brain-scan is done whilst a person is experiencing some emotion…


Thanks for replying to my (badly worded) question. I suspected as much. It would be helpful if research on psychopaths/sociopaths could be extended so that scans in childhood could be used on children who are suspected of such tendencies. Perhaps if caught early enough they could be trained to react correctly to different stimuli. I would hate to think that their brains are irreversibly damaged or ill-developed in early life to the extent that nothing can be done to reverse their dangerous condition. The alternative would be to remove them from society before they can wreak havoc on others – and I can’t see that ever happening.


As I read the comments everyone has posted it gives me comfort I used to think what I have done to receive this. My situation I met the wrong high school sweet heart 17 years ago thank god I didn’t married him it would of made it more difficult to leave due to the legal aspects. Our daughter is currently 14 years old he started his vanishing spells slow at first, one day then two and sort forth. I became used to the cycle of him leaving and coming back into me and my daughters lives it became me and my girlfriends jokes because we all knew we he vanish he will be back. I have cut the relationship off a couple of times with him only to reappear. My mistake I grew up with a loving family with both parents present and I wanted the same for my daughter not realizing his mental illness. The effects made on my daughter is very clear now and with the hard work of myself and the staff at her school we are addressing the issues of the abadonment and lack of support from her father. The last time he came back into our lives was almost 6 years ago he claim he grew up and wanted us back in his lives. Things were fine at first but due to his implusive behavior he ended back at his 2nd home again (prison) at 35 years old he has been arrested at 35 times and that is not showing his juvenuile record. He did 2 years in prison and I was trying to keep the family unit together finding out he lied again behind the reason he was locked up they sent home is police report when he got sent to the prison camp.. Still trying to hope for the best when he got out he got a job and we moved into a place together. Things got out of control so after, again his impulsive behavior got him in trouble again and the police was looking for him againt he lies the rage me and my daughter felt like we was walking on egg shells. my friends told me i wasn’t the same and i was miserable the verbal abuse he gave me and my daughter at times was unbearable. He did me the favor of going to work and not returning back home leaving everything he own behind. I wanted to end this and contacted him by email so that i drop off his things at his aunt’s house at the same time he can drop off the key we didn’t have to see or talk to each other he never responded. With him leaving us a week before my knee surgery he put me in the hole with finance’s as far as him not paying his portion of the bills nor was i able to work my part time job. I knew he would come to the house while he wasn’t there little thinks was done espn was on my tv in my room and i do not watch that channel, trash was place in my storage unit which that door is locked with the key. My landlord did not allow me to change the locks.. later on my tire came off my car thank god i was turning into my sister’s drive way.This was getting dangerous at that point i knew i was going to move my plan was to move while he was away in jail again. Yeah his impulsive behavior always have him end up at his 2nd job he was doing 120 days but during this time my dad had pass away. and i was devasted my dad was the one person who he fear and I had a nervous break down at the funeral because my dad was my protector. My family knew he was sick but also blame me for always taking him back but i had enough me and my daughter deserve better. well they have access to the newspaper in jail and all of a sudden he writes to me and my daughter and sent her a birthday card on her birthday mind you we haven’t heard or seen him since 6/30/07 and we received correspondce on 1/22/08. He claims he has a good heart and recongized his selfishness ill regards of how he left us. This crap i read so many times ago he was trying to find out if i had someone in my life and does he have a chance to come back; well i should of know eventhrough i didn’t go off on him with my reply letter i did let him know how i see him as a person and my involvment with his family is over ( thru the years when he vanished i still went out of my way to have his family see my daughter but i truly believe they all suffer so kind of mental illness) I cannot change the fact she is your daughter and when she gets older and she choices to be part of your family with you i do not care but i cannot do this any longer. My god i should of know he was going to be vindiciative. he got release on 2/8/08 no contact was made and i was happy thinking he got the message. Well on 2/16/08 when me and my daughter got home after a long saturday of outings she discover her bed was missing out of the house. He stole the bed immediately i called his mom in disgust and i thought just went off for all what has been done for my daughter as far as the alienation because she assumed i come from a well off family she didn’t even had to call to say hello to my daughter. I decided right then to move and took a big fiancial woe by breaking my lease and paying for rent prorated for somewhere else by 2/21 I signed a new lease and 2/23 we was moving. The next day 2/24 something told me to go on my deck to make sure everything was gone and clear i notice something down below when i walked down to the bottom of my deck. Her father had brought back her bed and placed it under there. I didn’t want to leave it there for my landlords because this wasn’t that kind of community that had things like that outside under the deck i had my friends move it on the truck and we threw it away. My daughter was upset becasue she didn’t want to bed back nor did i force her to take it back. My mom is concerned that he might of watch me and know my new location of residence but as of right now 3/4/08 I have no signs of him. He has not called me at my job which from last year i told him not to and he has not call my moms Hopefully this is the end but you know how you have that werid feeling it’s not really over that’s how i feel. He has no other children with anyone and over the years when he used to vanished he always considered me as his queen bee i don’t want that title anymore i want a title of wife and mother with someone who is really here for me; My friends and family believes he still has power of me because i still talk about what happens but i believe in time i can forget all this all happen so recently from my dad deaath

Ox Drover

After my husband died, I dated a man I had known casually for about 10 years. he appeared to be “mr Nice Guy”–however I ignored the red flags that popped up in my “neediness” after my husband’s death, feeling “old, ugly and fat, no one would ever want me again” ya da ya da.

He seemed fixated on one of his past girlfriends who had gotten a new boy friend and was apparently happy. Long story short, her house burned and both she and I and several others feel strongly that HE BURNED HER HOUSE. There is not enough evidence to take it to court, but he had MOTIVE, OPPORTUNITY, and the expertise to do it (he was an electrician), he had talked to me about wanting to burn someone else’s house (a cousin who had scammed his father, but the story kept changing etc, and the manner that this woman’s house burned was similar to the way he had described planning to burn this other man’s house)

What did I do when he was talking about his revenge plans for his “cousin”—I talked to him about how revenge was a terrible thing to want to do, and tried to get him to see the moral irresponsibility in it, Geeze! Why would I want to What a RED FLAG that was, and I saw it waving in the breeze, and though I could “talk him out of feeling like that”–DUH!

When I did kick him to the curb, though, believe me it crossed my mind that my fire protection on my house needed to be updated. I think, though, that he was enough afraid of my sons’ reactions if my house burned that he decided to “get me” in some other way, which he did, but it was not quite so devestating as my house burning. It was more psychological revenge than physical. I think ulltimately though he is a psychopath, he is more the sneaky kind than the overt kind, like my son.

My son is extremely vindictive and still holds grudges against me for things I “did to” him when he was a teenager, like calling the law when I could not stop him from stealing.

His plan to kill me was because I stopped sending him money in prison, and also because I disinherited him from my will in favor of his adoptive brother and his biological brother. He new that if he could “off me” before my mother died, that he would be the beneficiary of an irrevokable trust, that if she died first, I could cut him out of.

If he had the resources to do so, I have no doubt that he would have me killed just because I have not let him control me, for revenge, even if it did not “benefit” him in any way financially, as well as both of his brothers because they have also turned their backs on him.

It is “amazing” the plans and plots that they can come up with, that sound like some kind of bad novel’s plot….but they are REAL. They DO happen. I laugh now, but at the time I went to a new therapist, I had to take in court documents and a witness to testify to the therapist that I was not some paranoid NUT CASE. And when you go over the details, it actually sounds like some of the paranoid nut case histories I have heard on the other side of the clipboard! LOL ROTFL, but at the time I WAS NOT LAUGHING. I guess I sort of have a “gallows sense of humor” about all this, but what else can you do but laugh at it,at this distance in time and emotion?

It is amazing now that I AM LAUGHING at things that only a few months ago would send me into a ball in the fetal position on the floor, shaking and shivering and feeling “crazy”–but

“just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean someone isn’t out to get you?

Being somewhat paranoid (in a logical sense) is protective when you are dealing with a Psychopath. It doesn’t mean you are crazy.

I am still prepared to move at a moment’s notice, and my RV is still sitting in my yard, packed, fueled, and containing everything I need to live on the “run” if need be. Is that crazy and paranoid? I don’t think so. As long as my Ps live and breathe, they will plot revenge.

Used Brauer

I am wondering about the number of “suicides” reported in connection with sociopaths. My ex’s first spouse committed suicide. His story about the details just didn’t add up to me at the time. She committed suicide in 1997. We met in 2004 so I only had information that he provided.

After living with him for 2 years and going through a terrible divorce I have experienced how vindictive he really is. He tried to destroy me financially.

It’s been 1 1/2 years since the divorce and I have moved 150 miles away to another town. I still have nightmares and I’m afraid of him. I believe he may have killed her.

Do sociopaths hold grudges for long period of time? Do I have cause to be concerned because I am.


Dear OxD and Used Brauer, You have to do whatever you feel is right. Logic and explanations of the mind just dont come into it. When you have been through the kinds of situations that you have, your survival instinct just kicks in.

I am a firm believer of ‘vibes’. It is said that when a robber is plotting and thinking about robbing a house ‘you pick up on their thinking vibes’ and for unexplained reasons you make sure your property is locked and bolted – you dont know why, you just do it. When i get ‘insights’ like that I honour them 100 per cent. If I am travelling and I get a sudden impulse to go another way – I do it without questionning it. Shame I couldnt apply that to my relationships, but I am learning.

Ox Drover

Dear Used Brauer,

Yes, they can hold on to vengeful thoughts for decades if my P-son is any indication. I have no doubt that many of them do hold grudges forever against people who have “disrespected” them or actually obtained legal justice.

Some are more dangerous than others, some have less impulse control, and some are able to plot and scheme. I wouldn’t want to bet my life that any one of them wouldn’t “do you in” if they were made or “injured” enough. My son has apparently hated me for turning him into the police at age 17, he is 37 now. Thank God he is still in prison.

Beverly, our “intuition” or as you say “vibes” I think is very valid. The Bushmen call it a “tapping in the chest” and it is an intuition that when they feel the tapping, they sit and “listen” and find the answer to the “taps.” It is almost telepathy. I am learning to listen to the “tapping” and my own intuition, my own “gut feelings”–what ever name you want to call it. But our minds must be quiet to hear it, and when we are stressed it is sometimes impossible to hear that “voice”–I think that is one reason the Ps like to keep us stressed, gaslighted, wondering about our own sanity, etc. because we CAN’T “listen to the tapping” when we are frantic. The internal dialog within us all sometimes drowns out our good sense and our intuitions.

Ox Drover

We all get a certain amount of our “reality” from feed back from others. If you go to work one day, feeling well and happy, and everyone that approached you said “Dear, you look so sick” eventually you would wonder if you WERE sick, you’d go in the restroom and look in the mirror, stick out your tongue and examine it, etc.

Before the day was ended you would FEEL AWFUL.

When we deal with the psychopath they foist off THEIR version of reality on us—you are bad, you don’t love, you are mean, you are hateful, you are worthless, ya da, ya da, ya da. You start to wonder if some of these things might not be valid. Then you start to FEEL these things and realize that you might be these things, after all, you are told this by someone who LOVES you, and they wouldn’t LIE, right? It is for your own GOOD, right? So you can improve yourself to deserve them, right?

I wouldn’t be suprised if people aren’t “pushed” by the psychoplath to a feeling of worthlessness that would make them take their lives. I also wonder how many “suicides” are not actual murders that have been gotten away with by the Ps. Look at Claus Van Bulo (I can’t remember how to spell his name, he gave his wife insulin shots to kill her but only put her in a coma) to get her money. Eventually convicted I think.

BRainwashing and Stockholm Syndrome are very common I believe with the victims of Psychopaths. I’ve seen patients of mine who were so abused that I wanted to throttle the psycopathic abuser, but they wouldn’t even stand up for themselves when they could have because of physical disability of the abuser. They felt helpless even when they weren’t. I’ve done the same myself, only with my son, not a husband. I did it for a while with a BF.

I would never have taken my life, but there were times I didn’t see any joy in life, I didn’t want to live, but I wouldn’t have killed myself. But that state of mind is “emotional suicide” I think.



I need your help. I just found our that my ex posted me as a psycho with my photo and phone number etc. on a website. I kind of knew this could happen, because I posted him there several months ago. I guess he just found out that he has been posted there.

It could destroy my career and reputation. But my guess is that he will keep posting me.I contacted the website to delete the post by e-mail, because the information was totally twisted and untrue. I said in the e-mail, if they do not delete the post, my lawyer will contact them. I do not know if this could have any effects. Should I do nothing? My gut feeling is just ignore it. It is a minor site. But if someone googles my name, they find it.

I have no intention of contacting my ex. What would you do?
Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

Ox Drover

Dear Chaos,

I don’t mean this in a “tacky” or hateful way in any way, but TIT FOR TAT, you posted him first so he feels justified in posting you. The problem with them is that anything you do with justification, they will do as revenge. Even “Justice” like turning them in to the law and they go to jail, in THEIR mind is open season on revenge toward you.

My son is stil vengeful and enraged over me turning him in to the cops for robbery over 20 years ago. Sometimes, depending on how dangerous they are physically, your best bet is to leave sleeping dogs lie and not poke them with a stick, other times, it is best to fight it all out.

I wish I could give you some more advice on “what to do” you might see if you could get the site to take down your phone number, or change the number at least. Or post a rebuttal…a calm one, or just ignore it. I’m not sure what the legality of posting stuff is, or you might file suit against your X if it is “proveably” untrue and you want to go to the trouble and expense, but it will give him NS no matter what you do, and I figure if you get one site down, he will go to another one, and I think there are endless sites he can post you on. Or even put up a site for himself, they aren’t expensive.

My Psychopathic bio father before he died had published a 1200 page autobiography of which 99.9% is fabrication and lies. I “star” in a disproportionate several chapters, NOT ONE WORD OF WHICH IS TRUE, but after his death it was published FREE on the internet to anyone who wanted to read it…to give you an idea of how awful this thing is, it describes in GREAT DETAIL the breaking of the hymen on each of his wives, including my mother’s—anyway, when I found out it was FREE on the net, last summer after his death, I just about ‘LOST IT”—but you know, I got over that and I don’t care what he says or who reads it. There is not ONE person who knows me who will believe one word of it, and anyone else who reads it can fly a kite. AT one time my biio-father was quite wealthy (Forbes 400) and infamous, but when he died, 90% of his obit was about one of his previous wives and how she has become very successful. He hadn’t been active in business for over 10 years when he died, and the public’s memory is quite short…proving a negative is difficult, I wold have trouble proving that I wasn’t on the “grassy Knoll” in Dallas the day Kennedy was shot, and I’m not sure I could prove I wasn’t at Ford’s theater the night Lincoln was shot. LOL Your best bet might be just ignore it. I know that may “wrankle your feathers”—but I DO UNDERSTAND for sure! good luck and a big ((Hug)))


Dear OxDrover,

Thank you for your advice. I read your posts here every day and your posts really helped my recovery. I cannot thank you enough!

When I found the truth about him, I was very angry. For 9 years, he lied, lied, and lied. I stupidly wasted the best years of my youth on him. He disappeared just saying “Sorry, you deserve better” by e-mail on Christmas Day! While I suffered and felt miserable ALONE every Christmas for 9 years, he was probably with the other woman. I really wanted him to suffer in any way. For the first few months since I got out of the fog, anger kept me alive. I posted him there as revenge. Later, I kind of tried to take it down, because I thought he would post me there. But I forgot about it. And he did post me there.

Hopefully, the post will be deleted. Reading what he wrote about me made me laugh actually. I probably do nothing about it. Just let it go.

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