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By | April 18, 2008 51 Comments

ASK DR. LEEDOM: How can I make my friends understand?

Recently a man wrote me saying that his best friend has been more hurtful than helpful when it comes to helping him recover from his relationship with a sociopathic woman. He had the following comment and question. I am sure many of you will relate to this one, especially you guys out there.

I have a best friend who I talked to (of course I desperately needed to get my self-identity back). He instantly tried to help me by seeing my own flaws in the relationship and what I could do better, and stated that I overreacted. Of course, his “help” only contributed to her brainwashing and manipulation because it further fueled my questioning about myself, and further made me believe that I was at fault. This reinforced my guilt and shame in which I can now see that I had no reason to experience.

In this regard, my best friend became my worst enemy because he had no clue. I still believe he meant well, though. Of course, my friend has a good impression of her and have never felt the damaging effect of being in a relationship with a sociopath.

So now I question whether he really is my best friend, since he made matters much, much worse (probably without realizing). How can we get a friend to understand what we have been dealing with, and the damaging effect on our emotional life and our self-esteem / self-respect?

Many of the behaviors and manipulations of sociopaths are entirely beyond the comprehension of the average person”¦or mental health professional for that matter. This past week, someone else told me the story of how he came to realize that his significant other was a sociopath. It turns out that the sociopath faked having cancer. This man told a family member and ask the question, “Who fakes having cancer?” Coincidentally a short time later that family member saw an MSNBC special on con artists where faking cancer was discussed. The person called my friend to say, “Hey I think I found out what’s wrong with ______ she’s a sociopath.” Well the man had never heard of “sociopath” before and had to research it. To his shock his lover met every one of the criteria!

Don’t despair if your friend doesn’t get it. Who would ever guess that there are people who appear normal and even affectionate and yet who are only motivated by power, greed and sex? Although we understand some people have problems with conscience and empathy, we believe that at heart all people want and need the same things we do. Very few understand that sociopaths have different needs and drives.

That gets me to my proposal. I think eventually we will want to go beyond this blog and web site and have a conference or start regional support groups. I think we should consider a conference for victims. I have had the very good fortune to correspond and speak on the phone with some other victims. We can finish each other’s sentences because we know what comes next. The sociopath’s methods are all strikingly similar. Perhaps that is the best evidence there is as to the existence of the syndrome.

I recognize there are many people who do not understand what I went through and who may blame me for my own suffering and the suffering of others at the hands of my former husband. It has been very important to my recovery that I have been able to talk with other victims who know firsthand the mind games and distortions of reality sociopaths are capable of.


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alohatraveler

Dr.Leedom,

Yes! I have been hoping this woould somehow evolve into something bigger. People just do not understand this.

A well meaning friend can be under the assumption that the relationship was just one of those things that didn’t work out and so they give misguided advice.

I would say that lack of validation, which is what we are seeking and talking about here, was a contributing factor for me and I am sure others to prolonging the nightmare. For me it definately was. I plan to write about this in the future. Two big things happened connected to an event I will call “Moment of truth” where I recieved some validation that facilitated the end.

And fast forward to after I left and was back home, I still couldn’t let go until I found LoveFraud. Here are LF, we finish eachother’s sentences, we predict for new readers that are still in the throes of turmoil what might happen next or even predict the Sociopaths next moves.. I think sometimes, this is key to pushing people over the line to the other side… the letting go side. The side labeled: “NO.. IT’S REALLY NOT YOU!” or “HE IS THE LIE” or “TREAT HIM LIKE A POTTED PLANT”… etc.

I plan to stick around because I want to be a part of whatever this evolves into and I hope my Grad School will come through and tie into this as well. I am broke but name the place and I will be there for any LoveFraud Conference, for sure!

Beverly

This was my experience too. When the N started his odd behaviour at the start of the relationship, I was constantly phoning a dear friend and reporting the incidents. She was telling me that I should be more accepting of him, and that if that is how he is …that is him. So I was thinking perhaps I was being unreasonable, I was overriding my instincts. So in a sense by digesting her advice, I was learning to swallow more poison. Neither she, nor I at that point, realised that he was a Narcissist and that his maneouvering behaviour was tantamount to abuse.

Even post relationship, people looked at me mystified – like they didnt get it, because they had not encountered someone with PDisorder. When I explain how it goes, then they get the AHA moment.

alohatraveler

Beverly,

Then tell us how you explain because I find it so hard to explain. People don’t get it and I mentioned before that I feel a loss of personal power when I try to talk about this outside of this forum. I always feel like I sound like a pathetic victim. And the story always sounds so crazy that people give you the look that says, “I would NEVER put up with things like that!!!”

I thought I wouldn’t either but after this experience I can not say for sure if I would have left immediately if I had been physically battered. I know too much now about the level of manipulation and the patterns and it can be the most confusing experience a person can ever have with another human being… that’s just what I think, anyway. :o)

BTW… I loved your thing about the potted plant. Perhaps we can move on to the neglected potted plant… the one that is whithering and dying in the corner… too far gone. HEHEHE

May I sit next to you at the LoveFraud conference? :o)

Free,

The “friend” sounds like she has serious issues of her own. I had a female P in my life and didn’t realize she was one for awhile. I think when they are your “friends” the behavior is slightly different, but still very strange. I’m not sure what this woman was, but I do know that whenever I said I liked something this “friend” liked it too, and suddenly would purchase the thing a few days or weeks later, and casually mention having it, pretending like she’d forgotten I ever said I liked it. Also, if a mutual acquaintance said something nice about me, on my taste in books or whatever, this friend would always petulantly chime-in “me, too!” or “I’m well-rounded, too!” or “I read alot, too!”

It got downright creepy as it increased in frequency and in the things I found intrinsic to who I am as a person. She was literally trying to “be” me. Years later, I get word from time to time that she’s looking for me, and last I saw her, when I told her what I did for a living, within a few months she showed up at the court system doing the exact same job for another company. Whatever her problem was, it was clear she lacked a self, utterly.

You can’t run far enough, fast enough to get away from “friends” who are messed-up. Your “friend” sounded off-kilter, too.

Amazing what we learn from bad experiences.

Warrior

Free: I empathize with your note. After I gained my “freedom,” I found that several of my closest relationships changed, subtly at first, but then in big ways.

Getting people close to you to understand how something like this could have happened in the first place is very hard. Not being able to let go right way is another they don’t understand.

I get, “Well, he seems to have been able to start over with someone new and forget about you.” Well, of course, it’s his pathology to be able to move on without a look back.

I’m still sorting out that I tripped into his web at all and why. Lots of therapy talking about family systems and how my relationships within my family set the playing field early.

I can now see a strong parallel in my adult relationship patterns with men based on my relationship with my father. Emotionally distant, his affection and attention were prizes for me to win during my upbringing. If the niceties and buying him things did not get his attention, then I would act out, especially during my teen years.

During the last few months of my relationship with the Thief, I played head games with him just to watch him squirm–laughable now to think about it, but it was very painful at the time. He had no ideas of the things I did to manipulate HIM–even then, it still took some time for me to fully wake up to the way he had been manipulating me for years.

He got a DWI in another state visiting one of his quickie lovers and I paid for the lawyer. Of course, he told me he was in another state entertaining his ethnic community with song. He was actually with a women he had met at a music festival (I think); he probably met her on line.

He then told me he would be going to jail for nonpayment of child support to his second wife (who probably does not know that he has more kids than the ones she produced for him); I came up with a couple of thousand for that–stupidly, I did not ask him to sign a loan payment–I still thought there might be an inkling of humanness in him and trusted him.

When he ran like a coward out of the country, he never looked back. His last words to me were him screaming at the top of his lungs that he never wanted to see me again, never wanted to hear from me again, and never wanted to speak to me again.

Well, he had to see me at our childrens’ wedding and I think he’d been drinking for hours before that because he looked ghastly. I remember looking at him and thinking that I had been attracted to THAT?

Putting ourselves first feels strange at first, but it is so necessary to get beyond how we have been brought up so that we can do the necessary healing and growing.

jules

well hi all; this is very interesting to me cause i worked with my spath ex boyfriend and he left this place of work thank god but i am still there. a lot of people i work with know him but dont know he is s path. at our work christmas party someone mentioned his name and i was like uh oh i d ont want to talk about him but anyway the conversation got around to how strange he was my friends were doing most of the talking and then i told them he is s path and they looked at me and said thats a bit harsh i wouldnt go that far! its like i could tell right off they thought spaths were only found in movies or mental hospitals or prison. like no idea. and one of my friends is spiritual and he looked at me like how mean to say that about this poor guy who was just a bit strange. anyway i said to him look up the meaning of the word s path they are pathilogical liars and bad people its a mental condition, i had had a few drinks it was a christmas party so i dont know if i explained it the best but after that i dropped it and i thought well as long i know it doesnt matter cause those people dont know half of what happened to me and probably wouldnt believe it if i told them anyway even though they care about me. its like the old saying a woman scourned . they even joked and said maybe i was the one stalking him . as long a s i know in my heart what he is and some people the really close ones like my mother ect thats all i care about its not up to me to explain and then be judged by others cause i wanted them to understand something they never can if they havent been there them selfs. i think some people know or suspect something is wrong with him but dont come out and say he has problems i remember his sister told me once hes not good with people! and she should know him very well i would think. at the time i didnt know what she meant and i didnt question but thought its a strage thing for a sistr to say. .your right about friends who try and manipulate or anyone i am very wary of that now if iam starting to get to know someone and they dont answer my calls or have strange excuses one too many times for not getting in contact i pretty much leave it and think i dont want to get to know them if they are like that thats how my s pth behaved playing games. best wishes to all of you.

Atthe time of my P exp. I had an onlien friend who was pushing me to dump my husband and get into a sexual r/s with P.

She didn’t know him or really me I have to admit- we met online via blogs and began phone calling. I was (and still am) so lonely (but aware now) and listened to her. I thought I was missing out, that these new people (P and this woman) were
right….it took me awhile but her lying revealed her to me (she claimed tohave some mystery disease, on the edge of death) and he- well he wasn’t really interested in being my friend just duping me and putting a notch in his belt.

I earned some of what I am suffering- i should have never confided in the Psycho nor trusted that woman online. But I have learned be alone is better than surronded by the disordered.

The instant attraction is suspect, but not the defining symptom.

I met my husband and I knew,he knew- and we were basically together from when we met.

hello, jules!

Well, guess it helps to look back at what we believed S’paths were before we encountered them ourselves: probably visions of drooling maniacs killing women, or at the very least, those in prisons.

It occurred to me this morning that the only people who really can understand and who really will NEED TO are those who’ve experienced a P or S’path trying to systemically destroy their lives. And once that happens, they will certainly understand.

I prefer to just point to specific actions, particularly those experienced by others – his lying, weird statements and behaviors – and watch as the “Aha!” bulb of shared realization turns itself on. They may not know what to call it, but they know it’s not right behavior.

Your wariness is good. When red flags are first raised they should be dealt with, and game playing is the hallmark of a P. Of course, some, like mine, got quite good at masking that at the beginning.

He actually said, early on, when I asked if he wanted to change the date of our meeting: No, I don’t want to start doing that to you yet. “

Two things: one, that indicated it was something he had done to people frequently in the past, and someone had called him on it or brought it to his attention. Two — notice the “yet”.

Yet.

As in “someday in the future, I will likely want to do this to you. I will probably do this. I am aware that this is how I operate but at this stage of the *game* I will not be doing that.”

Normal people do not say these kinds of things. I have never once said, “I don’t want to start doing something cruel, demeaning and unconscionable to you — YET.”

But disordered people say that crap all the time! Especially those that know they have a pathology. And trust me, he went through years of therapy — he KNOWS.

With the people I’m starting to see now, the minute one of them tells me they don’t want to do something crappy to me – YET – you can bet I’ll be running far and fast. They’re telling you who they are, doing things like that. Our job is to listen and believe them.

Ox Drover

Orphan and Free, it sounds like your two “friends” were Borderline Personality Disordered—first, they want to be your BEST and ONLY friend. If you have other friends they feel threatened.

Their lives are generally risk laden and chaotic as well…typical Personality disordered behavior. RUN!!! Sometimes they can be as dangerous as a P (Dr. Steve had a thread on this). I realize some of my closest friends were also instant attractions, but the subsequent relationships grew OVER TIME to be very close. The first thing that turns me OFF and raises a red flag is when someone upon first meeting me “puts in an application” to be my “best” friend. Starts wanting to do things for me, see me every day, call 2-3 times a day, etc. Or insist that I go with them here or there.

Yes, PEOPLE DON’T GET IT.

It seems to me that the people who are the LEAST LIKELY to get it are (A) personality disordered themselves or (B) so guileless that they can’t believe that there’s NOT “good in everyone.” (PUKE! REALITY CHECK!) It seems that the B-people are somehow threatened to admit to themselves that some people are SIMPLY EVIL.

I was fortunate that one of my sons, and my best friend DID GET IT about my P-son, and about my P-XBF during that break up. My psychiatrist “got it” and my therapist didn’t get it at first, and I am not sure he really does now even with the court documents, etc. to confirm that I was not and am not a “paranoid delusional nut case” thinking “everyone is out to kill me” (even though it was true! LOL)

Yes, I would love to see survivor support groups in every burg and city in the nation–and media coverage and educational programs and speakers that spoke to the GENERAL PUBLIC, not just to former or current victims. The whole thing I think is an EDUCATIONAL PROBLEM, or rather a lack of education to what a psychopath REALLY is, it isn’t just “Ted Bundy” or “Charlie Manson” but it is the minister, the doctor, the uncle, the daddy, the boy friend, the wife, the mother, the son, the daughter, the Boy Scout leader, the child molester, the lawyer, the PERSON NEXT DOOR, in short, ORDINARY PEOPLE.

Teachers need to be able to know how to recognize the “budding Ps:” in their classroom and have the knowledge of how to deal with them, to refer them, to differentiate them from the “normal acting out” that all kids do.

Mental health professionals need education, physicians need education, nurses need education, police, firemen, social workers, government officials, judges, family court professionals, in short, EVERY SEGMENT of society needs the education of what a P is, and how to deal with them successfully in all aspects of life.

Professional organizations need to know how to weed these people out, who may be quite bright and have some good academic credentials, for admission to law school, medical school, etc.

While there are of course not enough shelter beds for women and children of domestic violence, the domestic violence workers need to be educated and facilities expanded and funded appropriately.

The STIGMA of being a victim of domestic and/or sexual abuse needs to be addressed.

The Politically Correct notion that all social problems can be solved with “money” and “understanding” needs to be addressed in a REALITY MODE.

Criminal justice needs an overhaul so that psychopaths can be diagnosed and that taken into consideration with sentencing and parole guidelines. White collar psychopath’s crimes need to be addressed and realistically prosecuted and punished (or at least keep them out of circulation).

There are so many needs, both for care and healing for the victims, and preventing people from becoming victims by educating them so that they can spot the RED FLAGS before they become victims.

Family courts could make a big dent in helping this I think, by using the PCL-R as a mandatory screening for child custody hearings that are disputed or visitation etc. rather than force a mother to allow her child unlimited contact with a P-parent, or even giving custody of the child to the P-parent against the wishes of the nurturing parent.

Though I think that the general public’s views and the “blaming the victim” mentality is somewhat changing, as more courts and police are seeming to recognize that PHYSICAL domestic violence is unacceptable, NOT ENOUGH PROGRESS has been made in this direction.

In a way, SOME victims continue to contribute to their own victimization for some period of time (I did) by staying in an abusive relationship or returning to it over and over while in the FOG or Stockholm Syndrome, or malignant hope syndrome, be they parents of Ps or significant others. In my area, men who hit their wives are mandated into an “anger management” course, but the victims (who called the cops) are not given or mandated into any kind of treatment, and I think that they should be. “Treatment” I don’t think will help the P-wife beater, but “treatment” MIGHT HELP the victim break out of the fog.

Sorry for the “rant” guys—things may not be any better in November when I am “elected president” (or dictator) but they would sure be DIFFERENT! LOL My first official act will be to claim antarctica for the US’s P-prison colony and any “convicted” P will be shipped there one-way, no return. No guards, just let them fend for themselves and the biggest meanest one can be “king” there. LOL

If we can get a “convention” together, I think we would have to rent the astrodome and still might not have room enough for all who wanted to come!

alohatraveler

OxDover,

I don’t exactly agree that people don’t get it because they just can’t believe that there isn’t at least some good in everyone.

Have you ever heard the expression: You don’t know what you don’t know? I think this is a more accurate way of framing it. Because what we have experienced is outside the realm of what people know. In fact, now when I see a movie that is portraying an abuser or a psychopath, I feel like there is a subtext or another layer that is visible to me and not visible to someone else that has not experienced this.

Consider my essay where I talked about the movie, The Color Purple. I have seen that movie many times prior to my encounter with Bad Man. I saw it… and I thought the character “Mr.” was a mean guy. Clearly he was abusing Celie… but I didn’t get what I get now about it. I get it psychologically.

Sociopathic behavior is, to most people, outside their realm of possibility. They don’t know that they don’t know.

My question is.. if we have a conference some day, and we try to create a plan of action to create support groups and education on this matter, how will we get people to understand and recognize Disordered people without having the experience in their bones? I wonder.

For me, I KNOW in my body what this is now and I will never forget it.. And I don’t think I will ever be sucked in again by it but in a way, it’s like knowing what it’s like to be on the moon. I have been there. I can tell people about it all that I want but much of what I am saying will not sink in. They may smile and nod and say they get it but they don’t.

Perhaps a check list for victims other than the DSM-IV would be something to create. Here’s a few potential items.

Signs you are in a dangerous relationship.

1. The person makes you WRONG when you try to set boundaries for your own well being.

2. You find that you are always defending your character or that your character is under constant attack.

3. You feel smoothered.

4. You notice that the person seems to have inappropriate responses to things; their responses take you off guard. Example: You need to change plans because you Grandma died and they barely acknowledge your loss and are STILL bent out of shape about a change in plans due to circumstances beyond your control.

5. You simply can’t meet all the demands they put on you… (and BTW, since when does a relationship include DEMANDS) no matter how hard you try, it’s never enough.

And so on. Since victims seem to have similiar feelings, it may be easier to give people a check list of how THEY FEEL rather than having them try to diagnose the other persons driving motives.

Ox Drover

ALL Good points, Aloha, but I do know people (in fact a friend of mine who just married a guy that I KNOW IN FACT IS A P) who “just can’t believe there isn’t some good in EVERYONE”–QUOTE…she is a GOOD person, without any malice or guile in her heart, but she is a chronic victim. Her first husband was an emotional and physical abuser, beat her down into a pile of jelly, convinced her she was stupid, incompetent, etc etc. you know the drill, then left her with the kids an dno money and little job skills, for her best friend.

SHE STILL DOESN’T GET IT. She still “looks at the good in HIM” (sHEESH! FOR GOODNESS SAKES!) Sorry for the rant, but I get so frustrated with her because she just WILL NOT SEE, will not admit that there are some people who are just EVIL, that ENJOY HURTING OTHERS—including this jerk she just married (she is wife #4) he has NO job (age 50) and only income is a small pension not enough to live on) he was living on a creek bank in a TENT when all of us met him, and I gave him a manual labor job on my farm for gas money and food. He had been living with his brother and SIL but was so upsetting that his brother threw him out literally on to the street.

After he started to work for me, he started trying to “court” me, but I put a STOP to that quickly enough, so he turned to her. Within only a few months he had her nailed down and I fired him for wanting pay for no work. After I fired him (he still had no place to go except his car (he had been sleeping in my aircraft hangar on a cot) he went to another mutual acquaintence and told them all kinds of stories of my “abuse” of him (and of course they took him in to shelter him since I was so cruel to toss him out) They have since figured out that his “tales” were fabrication.

Her best friend (who DOES GET IT) also warned her about this guy, but she married him anyway. BTW whe was warned BEFORE she got involved with him by both me and her best friend. Long before I fired him.

She was also “close friends” for 30+ yrs with my P-xBF, and she kept making “excuses” for his abusive behavior and cheating on his x-wife, and on me, etc. etc. Same “excuse” there is “good in EVERYONE”

There have also been people here on this blog (can’t remember who) who said that if they thought that there was not SOME “good in everyone” they just couldn’t face that knowledge and cope. (or words to that effect)

I read a book written by the minister who was called by Jeffrey Dahlmer to baptize and “minister” to him, and the man did. Very sincerely, and convinced of Jeff’s sincerity. After Jeff died, they found that he had been writing to 14 women and pledging “undying love” and wanting to “marry” each of them (all at the same time) and the minister just couldn’t understand why Jeff wrote to these women (WE do don’t we folks?) because the minister was just so SURE tht Jeff was such a sincere Christian–after all ANYONE CAN REPENT and TURN TO GOD. Yea, EXCEPT A Psychopath. It was ALL A GAME, his conversion, his prostestations of sincereity etc. Just a GAME to fill time that he would have had to otherwise spend in a solitary cell alone. Just a game in how he could fool all those nice folks. Yuk Yuk, “boy I pulled one over on that stupid SOB”

The minister talked about how confused he was about why Jeff would have pretended his sincerity, what motive could he have had? Of course the minister couldn’t see a “motive” that made sense to him, neither could the women I am sure (0ne had to be sedated she was so upset) but WE KNOW—there is NO REASON that makes sense to a normal human with a soul, just to the Ps. We know that it is a game and gives them pleasure, but we can’t really imagine WHY—just know that it does. If anything, it is more twisted than killing and eating his victims.

My friend, the “constant victim” refuses to let go of her “ideal” that everyone has some good in them and that no one could enjoy hurting others, using them, etc. including her ex husband or my X-BF, or her current husband—and as long as she stays in that mind set she will always be a victim of one P or another. I can’t rescue her against her will, I can’t educate her against her will, and I can’t compete against the DREAM she has, the FANTASY of that DREAM….until she is again flat on her back crying “why me?” In the meantime, I pray for her, I love her, but I can’t rescue her…but I will be here if she needs me in the future, to support her to educate her IF SHE WANTS TO LEARN.

Of course not everyone is so naive to believe that EVERYONE has good in them but so many in my experience seem to have that belief tightly clutched to their chests like armor plate.

Beverly

AloaT. At first people look at me strangely, then when I give them a potted version of my story and his behaviour, they end up saying that they know possibly more than one person who is just like that!!

What I do is to explain how the relationship kicks off, how they intensify things, put you on a pedestal. My ex maybe different in his behaviour, but I will say that he told me he loved me way too early (red flag) and I kept telling him that I could hear the words but was not getting the feeling (sign of no emotional connection). He was very reliable to start with presumably because I was his new toy (prey). Then he faked a heart attack and I went to the hospital and they found nothing wrong (manipulation). Then he went off sex totally within the first 3 months, telling me sex wasnt important to him (classic Narcissistic ploy) and that he had a hernia caused by vigorous sex with his last gf (insult to me). Then he used to turn his back on me and set up crude jokes which seemed so childish (adolescent behaviour akin to Narcissism). He flirted covertly with married women at work and then told me they were ‘mates’ (setting up more Narcissistic supply). He frequently cancelled arrangements, turned off his phone and snubbed me in public. Saying he was tired was his favourite reason to cancel or cut short arrangements. Started dropping hints that he was cheating/flirting. Started borrowing small amounts of money from me and used other people in his life to exploit them. If I spoke up about anything, without a word he would walk out and dump me and I would find some things on my doorstep. Basically he went from someone who was so besotted about me and so in love with me, that he couldnt even be bothered to answer his phone to me. He used text messages to tease me and wind me up. He had in excess of a dozen phones, and in the end took great delight in using one of my phones to text one of his conquests and then gave me the phone back with the sexual text messages left on it for him to engineer me to finish things.

Fighter on Cyberpaths has very good descriptions of narcissistic behaviours. When I explain to people how all this behaviour was his manipulation to gain my affection and loyalty but ultimately to control me, weaken me and brainwash me – they get the meaning of it.

swallow

During my affair with a P I confided in only one friend. She was also a friend of the OW and once all was revealed that the two of them were in the con together, this friend became her best friend!! and she could not understand why I did not want anymore to do with her.
It was almost as bad the betrayal by the other two.
Swallow

tmassar

I had such a revelation 2 weekends ago. I went to see a close friend who lost her ex-husband to cancer. She had left him AFTER he was diagnosed; they had a 4-year old girl together and he was diagnosed, at age 43, with lymphoma. He died about a month ago.
I traveled to her house for a memorial service, and we ended up confiding in each other. She sobbed over the fact that everyone thought her a nasty bitch for leaving a cancer-ridden man. But in fact she had been abused, physically threatened and emotionally abused, for many years, and the truth is she just couldn’t take it anymore. For those of you who have read my own posts under the “promises” blog, you know I certainly could relate to her. She felt SO misunderstood by all of her friends, myself included. None of us knew this was going on – we all saw her as a tough cookie who couldn’t give him a break. In addition, he had had an affair on her, and I remember thinking at one time that if only she could forgive him, they could carry on. How was it that I took his side! Knowing now how difficult that kind of forgiveneess is when there is no subsequent healing action on his part. I think he was a sociopath, no doubt. And none of us knew – he hid it so well, he had so much anger toward her. Toward the end of his life, he wrote inappropriate emails expressing his anger toward her, and that was when i first got some inkling that something was wrong.
I feel lucky to have bonded with her now – it has helped her feel not alone, and it is helping me too as I struggle still in my own relationship.

tmassar

I just lost my post to the administrator, not sure why, so i’m going to try again. I just spent the weekend with a friend who lost her ex-husband to cancer. He was abusive to her and none of us really knew the extent of it until now. She is suffering from the loss of him, but at the same time, she suffers too because she feels like people never understood what she was going through, and why she HAD to leave, even though she knew he was dying. He died with his parents, on another continent; she stayed away with her 4-year-old daughter.
I once even passed judgement on her, saying that I wished she would forgive him his for his affair (!), so that they could move on, since they’d decided to stay together. Never understanding that he wasn’t making ammends. And never understanding how much damage had been done through physical threats and emotional abuse- name-calling, etc – all things we’ve been through. It has been a relief to me to confide in her, and a relief to her to know she’s not alone. Solace turns up in the most unexpected places.

Ox Drover

Many times, I think, each of the “incidents” taken BY THEMSELVES don’t “amount to much” and there is “always a plausible explination” (I’m tired) Okay, so he canceled out at the last minute cause he was tired. That makes sense. People do that all the time, I do that sometimes (I do always give notice though)…I sometimes borrow small amounts of money from friends if we are out and I need some cash (always pay it back though) Sometimes I am lost in thought, or not feeling well and I may appear “distant” with someone, doesn’t “mean” anything—etc etc ETC ETC

BUT:

IF YOU PUT THEM ALL TOGETEHER so that there is a PATTERN, then it becomes more VISIBLE to the person involved, and you can start to see that there is “something going on” but unless the abuse is very blatant it is difficult to describe this to another person, an outsider, who has no dealings with this person or a P in general.

I still almost fall over laughing at my mother’s exclimantation after the P-DIL and the Trojan Horse-P were arrested–“but they were so RESPECTFUL to me!”

Yea, “respectful” and “sweet” while they convinced her to put their names on her checking account, put all legal documents into their care and $50,000 in an account with the DIL’s signature—which she took $24,000 out of as they were going to make the “get away”—yea, that is really RESPECT.

I can’t understand what she thought, did she think that they would be “nasty” to her or scream at her? They were trying to CON her, of course they were “nice.” I, on the other hand, was NOT “respectful” cause I raised my voice to her when I told her they were trying to kill me, and probably her! (and she wouldn’t believe me even though I had proof). That “proved to her” that I was the meanie out after her money and THEY, the respectful nice ones, were trying to save her from ME. (shaking head here)

Hell, I lived through all this and I STILL DON’T BELIEVE IT, IDON’T BELIEVE MYSELF! lol IT SOUNDS TOO FAKE TO POSSIBLY BE TRUE.

jules

lil orph. thanks for your response it means a lot, i like it when people respond to my coments i get a lot out of it sometimes people dont which is ok but i prefer to get some feed back thats why i am here. so thank you so much. i think it is true the only ones who understand have been there so to speake. caue mine was so artful at his treatment of me i didnt even suspect anything the only tim i saw a change and thought something is really up was when i chalenged him on things like i had a suspicious feeling and checked the phone bill he caught me and things changed he was angry really angry and i thought if nothing to hide a guy would not get that angry about this. he even went and got his old ph bills out of storage and threw them out so i oculd not look back at his patterns calls and behviour before i was on the scene. big warning adn that when it all changed and began me being suspicious and him acting suspiciously. so if i hardly noticed how is someone who has no idea about these type of people evr going to get it they dont se it first hand, and it is also true you need to see the whole thing not just sections of what they do. i thin people get that they are a bit weird but thats about it.Beverley; your story and ex are so similar to mine its not funny.he gradually got worse and did the same things he also sid sex didnt matter to him early in th relationship! and he in the end also sent himself a text for me to find suposedly from another woman so i would leave him it was staged totally. but by this time i was onto him and called his bluff i didnt react to it and he had no where to go. he did this cause he didint have the balls to end things with me he wanted me to get angry and leave him. thank you ladies.

alohatraveler

Beverly,

That was an excellent explanation of patterns and tactics. Yep… that would work. For me, I can recall some big events but I can’t recall the day to day manipulation, intimidation and subtle stuff. I still for some reason feel like I would not be able to tell a complete chronological story fo what happened. I was under a lot of stress so maybe that is why.

OxDover,

Your response continues to prove my point.

The people who insist that there is good in everyone don’t know what they don’t know. They can not fathom that there are circumstances where there isn’t. When we describe the abuse, their mind automatically goes to the place of asking us things about our actions because they are thinking in the model of cause and effect.

The thinking is… no one acts like that without a reason… and off they go.. trying to help us look at ourselves for bad behavior that CAUSED whatever the problems were… because this is all they know and in their mind there is no possibility of anything else.. but they don’t realize that. Do you follow me?

I suspect a person whom has never been in an abusive relationship themselves might even think they are advising us from a place of perhaps.. a little superiority because they think they would know immediately if they were being abusived.

But WE KNOW.. this can happen to anyone. And why can it happen to anyone? Because we don’t even know what it is as it happens to us.

This debate, if it is that, reminds me of something I experienced when I went to massage school. I was learning Shiatsu which is an Eastern form of massage. We were studying all the “meridians” (energetic pathways) of the body. I had all kinds of questions and wanted to see the studies to “prove” all the theories. I wanted to know how “they” know that if I press here on the foot, it’s good for the liver.. and things like that. I asked my teacher, “How do they know.” He answered, “Because they know.” I asked, “Do they have studies to prove it?” He said, “No.” “Why not?” “Because that is the western way of thinking.” My teacher had to get me to get that there is another way of thinking about the body.. a way other than the western way. Before that class, I didn’t really know there was any other way to think about the body… and I didn’t know that I didn’t know about “chi” and “life force energy”. The Eastern Model of thinking about the body is embraced as fact just like we accept the circulatory system as fact, not theory.

So, in a way, we, victims of sociopaths have been forced to think about human beings in a new way. We think about them in a way that was not available to us until it was… and now, we can never go back. We know what we didn’t know and we will never forget it now that we know it.

Am I talking crazy talk here? Does anyone follow what I am trying to say?

One more way to look at it is this: When victims refuse to acknowledge what is happening to them, it is called denial.

The other state, the one of friends and loved ones whom have not experienced a sociopathic encounter… and give us misguided advice do this because they… say it with me… don’t know what they don’t know.

I know what I am trying to say but I am still not sure if it’s clear. Oh well.

Benzthere

Aloha,
I wrote an exposure blog and I outlined one incident where I used the words, little did I know.

What happened was, immediately after “He” had sought me out to reconcile again after a fight and a separation, He told me he had previously planned a “solo” gambling excursion out of state. Sounded possible and my “logical” mind told me, why would he want to get back together again after all that just to go cheat? Then he emailed me (of course I was alseep) at 2 a.m. saying he was done gambling for the night.

Only much later did I find out he’d only gone as far as another woman’s home to spend the weekend with her. I didn’t know that I didn’t know or little did I know, either way I know exactly what you are saying. That behavior back then made no sense whatsoever to me.

Beverly

Dear Free – I looked at that quote and I must say that I have a quote similar to that from (spelling??) Doetesky which says love a man even in his sin. I had that framed quote in my home and that quote was the single most influencing factor which persuaded me in my mind to go with this man, knowing that he was toxic. I have since learnt, as your quote says, that these kind of writings are very misleading and very dangerous, as I have learnt to my cost.

Benzthere

Aloha,
My first post also got “eaten” by the administrator, so I’ll try again. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I posted a blog and when explaining one incident in my blog, I used the words, little did I know.

The incident was, immediately after a reconciliation initiated entirely by “Him” he told me he was leaving on a previously planned “solo” gambling trip out of state and we IM’d each other while he was on his way until he said he was losing signal. My “logical” mind said why would he lie or cheat after all that. He even emailed me that night at 2 a.m. (of course I was sleeping so there was no time consuming exchange) to say he was done gambling for the night.

Only much later did I learn he hadn’t lost signal, but he’d arrived at another woman’s house he was seeing to spend the weekend with her, escaped her company briefly and lied to both of us.

At the time, I couldn’t fathom that behavior. Now I understand and I also understand completely exactly what you’re saying.

Free, I always post about our souls. Not sure which one it was, though. There’s not a search function, is there? Thanks for the compliment.

Am so passionate about these issues that if it were affordable and doable, I’d return to school and get my degree in psych or social work to help other women and men who’ve lived through dealing with a P or childhood abuse or any kind of abuse.

Maybe because like aloha said I really didn’t KNOW what I didn’t know. No idea I was a magnet for these kinds of people because of a fatal wiring flaw that seems to seek for the good in everyone (still). No idea I had no boundaries. No idea my anger could turn inward into depression or outward into explosion or half-in, half-out into passive aggressive maneuvering that made me want to CRINGE.

The things I did to “retaliate” for the things he said and did make me absolutely sick to my stomach. Even more absurd, I didn’t DO anything…just mirrored him, acting all secretive, hinting at other men, trying to meet men. And to do what? I have no idea, because cheating isn’t my thing and I never have done it. I was absolutely emotionally idiotic at the time, and suffering from PTSD.

I wouldn’t dare use my voice to tell him what I would and wouldn’t put up with because I knew he would leave and some sick part of me couldn’t handle that. And because when I did try to tell him things or ask him things or God Forbid talk about our “relationship” he either blew-up at me or gave me the silent treatment.

It got to the point where anything I’d talk about, whether it was something from when I was a kid or something innocuous, he would start to walk far away. Literally. And I went along with that, not knowing it was controlling and abusive treatment.

Had never even heard of N’s or P’s (except colloquially, you know, scary murderer media stuff) until last year.

The “single white female” woman also liked to brag about how everyone’s guy was after her. She even hooked-up our mutual friend with a man and then later spent months telling the friend how this man was hitting on her — after the friend was living with the man.

I began calling her “the soul sucker” years ago. That is still my term for her all these years later.

Beware soul sucker friends. I suspect they are P women. If not P, then something else bad and harmful to others.

Ox Drover

Aloha: ABSOLUTELY I get it and you are so right. They don’t k now what they don’t know. When I was working with the public family clinic and I was doing the health care pro bono for the women and children in the DV shelter, I would actually FEEL SUPERIOR to these women because they kept going back AND GOING BACK AND GOING BACK to these men who beat the crap out of them. I KNEW I would NEVER GO BACK TO A MAN WHO BEAT ME. And, I wouldn’t have. BUT—I ALLOWED MY SON TO ABUSE ME, and he had HIT ME. Used me, stolen from me, lied to me, etc.

There is a passage in the Bible where the Pharisee is standing in the temple praying. These men were “ultra religious” and very careful to obey EVERY tiny little part of the “holy laws” and they felt VERY SUPERIOR to others who were not so “pious and holy”—yet, they were selfish and cunning and within the letter of the law would “skin a gnat for it’s hide and tallow” (essentially hypocrits, appearing holy while living mean) and this Pharisee was praying to God, thanking God that he was not SINFUL like the publican (the most despised of the Jews who were crafty and merciless tax collectors) who was next to him praying. The Publican cast his eyes down, and knelt and prayed “God, help me, a sinner” and the Pharissee despised the “sinner”–while being worse–he had no remorse.

I remember thinking in church when studying this “scene” that I WAS SUPERIOR TO THE PHARISEE—when in fact, I was JUST LIKE HIM, only more arrogant—I was doing just what he was doing. In looking down on those poor women, I was just as ARROGANT or more so than the Pharisee. To my own shame, I realize now of course, but I didn’t then. I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT I DIDN’T KNOW.

Who knows, maybe this was God’s way of bringing me to KNOW what I didn’t know before. Teaching me the humility that I needed in order to stop the abuse. To me, the SPIRITUAL aspect of the healling–whatever your spiritual direction is–is absolutely necessary to healing.

Aloha, I spent a couple of years in Africa as a wild life photographer when I worked for my bio-father years ago, and was exposed for the first time to many different cultures, different beliefs, etc. I have continued since then to read and to learn about other cultures, beliefs and the human soul, intuition, “sixth senses” (not in a magical way but in a logical way that the western mind can grasp) and I realize that our “western culture” does not have all the wisdom in the world, nor all the “right answers” or even “right thinking”—there is good and wisdom from all cultures and by not exposing ourselves to these things we limit our scopes.

Sometimes western culture/science/medicine catches up, and sometimes now. One tiny example is treating warts. Warts are caused by viruses, but I have “known” from folk medicine that there was a psychological component to treating them and that you could “witch” them gone by any kind of (fake) magic spell. I had seen old women do this since I was a kid. Each one would have her differnt thing the chld had to do to get rid of the wart b ut they all worked.

FINALLY modern medicine came to SEE that there is a psychological component to wart treatment. I actually used it in clinic and AS LONG AS THE PATIENT BELIEVED what you were doing would get rid of the wart, it DID. LOL

The part that I never did understand though, was we had a man in the community that would “witch away” warts on MULES. How could the mule “believe”? in order to make the wart go away with his own immune system, which is how we think it works with people? Still can’t get my head around that one, but it did work. I had a horse when I was a kid that had a big wart right under the saddle and caused the horse pain and injury if you rode him, and this man made it go away in a week. LOL

So, yes, Aloha, there are lots of things we don’t even know we don’t even know. (I like that phrase, can you tell?)

OxD:

Think your story of the Pharisee is why they say pride goeth before a fall. Without going into detail, I think my own arrogance and stubborn refusal to admit being wrong factors in a great deal to my experiences.

I spent a lifetime being right, being told by teachers I was right and always getting the “right” answers. Could never accept I was wrong about a person, whatever I thought of them, good or bad. I was gonna prove myself right, no matter what.

That prejudice has landed me in hot water many times. It brings out the ugly in me, in many situations.

And maybe in many ways that kind of arrogance leads people to self-fulfilling prophecies.

Sorry to be so vague; your post just got me thinking while typing. 🙂

Ox Drover

Orphan,

Admitting our own arrogance and self-righteousness is a big step in healing I think, at least it was for me. I tried to keep up my own “sense of worth” by being “in control” and by “being strong” when inside I felt weak and worthless. I felt my worth depending on being strong, right, and competent and other people seeing my “worth” because of what I DID.

I think feeling superior to these “weak” women, these women who didn’t behave “with good sense” elevated my own worth to myself. Of course that was twisted logic, but just like the pharisee, I felt better with someone to “look down on”—now, I am more like the poor remorseful publican, I realize how WRONG I WAS, how POORLY I BEHAVED, and that my worth doesn’t come from pleasing others’ unreasonable demands.

I have turned my focus inward to see what is “wrong” with me, rather than turning the focus outward to what is “wrong” with them. I can’t fix what is wrong with them, NC is the only way to handle that, unless they start allowing us to send them to Devil’s Island. LOL (Isn’t that a great thought!) LOL

I am also looking at what is RIGHT WITH ME as well. Working on my strengths as well as my weaknesses, and making I think a great deal of progress in setting appropriate boundaries and enforcing them without guilt or second guessing myself. I think the “second guessing” we do on ourselves is pretty toxic too. That’s why gaslighting works so well for them. It was a big REVELATION when I realized my own mother was gaslighting me to cover her lies. That she COULD and WOULD blatantly LIE TO ME to cover for the Ps. I had intuitively known she was, but couldn’t force myself to admit it because I knew if I did that it would destroy my (fantasy) relationship with my mother. When she finally looked me in the face with all the rage of “THE LOOK” that the Ps get in their eyes when they are threatened with exposure, I KNEW the truth and knew I couldn’t deny it any longer. It is only since then, since accepting the total truth, that I can start to heal. To get out of the guilt trap that I “owe” my mother or anyone else, because of blood or any other relationship, to allow them to abuse me and then “pretend it didn’t happen.” I CAN forgive them, but that doesn’t mean I have to trust them again, not without any sign of repentance on their part, or changing their ways or attitudes.

I realized that my mother’s “club” which she used to beat me, religion, was not TRUE religion, but a twisted facsimile used to CONTROL me. That was when I started to RE-study the Bible, and to reassess my own beliefs in God, and my own relationship to God, not “through” my mother’s approval or disapproval. It is a “whole ‘nuther ball game” now.

Well, Ox-D, they don’t call them the seven deadly sins because they’re good things, right? 🙂

Thing is, I can be very proud rightfully of my brains and personality, because they belong intrinsically to me and I can share them with whom I wish and avoid the people who have not earned that right. Spending time with anyone is a privilege (so that wasn’t arrogance talking! LOL) — and while it’s taken quite some time, I’ve learned my own worth, not in pie-in-the-sky, false elevated terms, but in real, concrete, tangibles and intangibles, the good and the faults.

Don’t think the P was the catalyst for this learning; discovered it on my own, actually, through a number of life steps, starting with meeting my birthparents, leaving an abusive spouse (not a gaslighter, cheater or emotional abuser, just your garden variety bully) and ending around 2001.

The only reason I returned to the relationship with the P was because he claimed to have changed. I kept my emotions in check and watched. He hadn’t really changed much.

When speaking of arrogance, I was thinking more along the lines of being tripped-up by believing “my press” in the past: that I was so damned smart. And you know, I am pretty smart, but that does not equal infallible, I’ve learned. It also doesn’t mean stubbornly believing that love can change someone else, or fix them, if they don’t want to do the work themselves. My tendency to try and “fix” the underdogs of the world comes from this arrogance, which comes from being told all my life what a good person I am and how smart.

While I am a very good person and very smart, I cannot right all the world’s ills – just mine. And that’s fine with me.

Benzthere

Sorry all for the double post. I kept getting a spam message. tmassar, if you are having trouble posting, email Donna, she will investigate. Thanks again Donna!

Ox Drover

Sometimes I think, as far as arrogance goes, being born intellectually gifted is as much a curse as being born to rich and indulgent parents—it can produce such an arrogance in us and such a feeling of “entitlement” to fix everything by our wonderful smarts. PUKE. Been there, done that. LOL Not a good idea. LOL again

While a person with intellectual GIFTS (we don’t earn these things, we only earn what we accomplish with it) or financial GIFTS (or even earned riches) can accomplish a lot for humanity, many times instead of using it for GOOD, we become arrogant about it…the mark of a TRULY GOOD person is that great intellect, great riches, or great fame, will change them a great deal.

While it is good to appreciate the GIFTS and the things we have earned in this life, to become arrogant about them is our (humanity’s) downfall. “Pride does indeed go before a fal”

I know that it contributed to my own fall, but I needed that lesson and I appreciate that I saw it when it came. It does give some meaning to the suffering, in that I think, I HOPE and I PRAY that I am a better person now than I have ever been. That I do have an appreciation for the BLESSINGS and GIFTS I have been given, and even the gift of my own pain.

Gennyrabbit-

I think what may work is describing the behavior, and perhaps labeling it as a personality disorder. Sociopath is loaded and turns peopleoff, like calling someone crazy.

I gave up for the most part- they either get it, or they don’t.

It is frustrating as hell, but then again maybe it’s better they never lived the exp.

But I think many peoplelabelthem abusers and don’t GET what anti-social means.

gennyrabbit

i described some of the hideous sexual things xN said to a friend of mine and his response was ‘i think you just have to learn to let things roll off of you.’ i had to leave the house i lived in with xN (it was never a home) and go to a shelter. from doing that and from what i learned there i know now that allowing abuse via pretending to let it roll off of me is exactly what i should never do and can never do again. that is what got me into that house to begin with really. and a female friend dismissed him as a bully and she had been through a divorce with a guy who culd be a socio based on her description. she thinks of them generally as abusers.

i have tried to breach the subject at domestic abuse support groups and the response is blank stares. it is no wonder they can have their way with people. i think people think that sociopath = psychopath = hannibal lector/serial killer or despotic tyrant. they figure it is as likely as dying in a plane crash or something so they don’t need to know. i don’t think you can really know unless you experience it first hand and then try to learn about it. otherwise you are just blissfully ignorant or blindly confused.

Ox Drover

Gennyrabbit,

I think for some people you are definitely right, they don’t want to even “think” about what you are saying is “possible” for them or that a “psychopath” could be the BF, the son, the daughter, the mother, the man next door—it would be too frightening for them to even contemplate the truth of what you are saying and so they stay in DENIAL–and that ain’t a river in Egypt! LOL

I remember reading stories about Germany in WWII, and some of the Jewish people were warned early on that Hitler would do what he did, and they just COULDN’T BELIEVE what they were told because it would have been too frightening for them to evne contemplate such a thing could happen. The consequence was that though they were warned, had time to flee Germany before the Holocoust they DENIED it possibility and were caught up and lost their lives as a consequence of their denial.

Denial can be a toxic thing for us, it can cause us to “freeze in the headlights” like a deer on the road, CAUSING us to stand there while the “car” comes on and kills us.

Another thing your story about going to a shelter mad eme think of, my DIL (a P that h ad tried to kill my son C) was released from jail and had no where to go and in our rural area, the sheriff sent her to a DV shelter. My son D drove her from the shelter to where she is staying now and she told him on the way that the people in the DV shelter had tried to convince her that my son C had “abused” her,because he owned a gun, and she had told them, “No, he never abused me.” A while later, though, she decided that “yes, he had abused her” and that was why she and her BF had the guns and the BF was trying to break into the house while she took the phone away so C couldn’t call 911–because they just wanted to TALK ABOUT the abuse!

Sometimes the human being’s capacity to believe what we want to believe even in the face of REALITY defies “belief”–look how much we all “believed” about our Ps, even when the reality was staring us in the face?

Ox Drover

HWS,

Yes, I think in some cases you may be definitely right!

I know people who have “done mean things” and are not themselves Psychopaths…heck, I’ve done “mean things” and I don’t think I’m a sociopath or personality disordered.

I think any normal person can do mean things and repent and change their ways.

The Bible itself is filled with examples of people who did HORRIBLE THINGS and yet, they were not psychopaths even thgough what they did would (we think) be HORRIBLE. Look at King David and Bathsheba. He saw her, he wanted her, he took her, he killed her husband–that’s pretty mean if you ask me–criminal. Yet, HE REPENTED. He enabled his P-son Absalom, yet he repented. Changed his ways. Accepted responsibility for his behavior, even his own bad behavior.

Moses murdered a man, though I think it was probably more “man slaughter” than premeditated murder, by today’s standards, he didn’t plan to kill the man, just got angry and killed him because the man was abusing another man.

We all do bad things, but WE HAVE THE CAPACITY to change, and not everyone who has the capacity is willing to change, but the Ps don’t have the capacity to change, or the willingness if they did have.

First off, in order to have the capacity to change, you must accept responsibility, not place blame for your bad behavior on others. Many people who have not been educated to or exposed to Ps (and even some that have been exposed to them) just don’t get it that they aren’t just a “good person” doing a “bad thing” any more than a snake that bites you is just a “misunderstood reptile.” No matter how nice you are to that snake it isn’t going to grow fur, and love you like a puppy, it is a SNAKE and that’s what snakes do.

But because you can’t tell the difference in a P and “normal” people by LOOKING like you can tell the difference between a snake and a puppy, there is a problem with comprehending the REAL DIFFERENCE.

metachosis

I agree there is a lot of stimga associated with being a victim. Some people tried to encourage me to stay in a relationship with a sociopathic person because they felt sorry for him and were convinced he just was love sick.

“The Gift of Fear” by Galvin Debecker helped me get out of the relationship. The most important less I learned was to listen to my gut feeling.

Even though people quit mentioning him, I get the feeling some people believed he was good for me. I think some people just don’t get it because they haven’t been in a relationship with a sociopathic person. Even the mental health professionals I saw at the time did not seem to understand I was dealing with a sociopath. I was fed a lot of touchy feel good, “if you just be nice to him and ask him to stop he will stop,” type of crap. Unfortunately, many folks have to learn about sociopaths the hard way.

pollyannanomore

I love the idea of a Victim’s conference! It has been extremely healing for me to receive validation of my story from other victims after so long believing I was the one at fault. Just having others understand and echo my story with their own is more empowering and healing than a hundred sessions with a counsellor ever could be.

Ox Drover

Dear Polly,

Many times the feeling that we are NOT validated in our assessments of the P, for any reason, I think is one of if not the most painful part of the whole encounter.

LF, if it did nothing else but to validate us, would be very worth while. Fortunately, it also helps us heal in many ways.

Keep on reading these older articles, tehre is so much wisdom in them. There’s a bunch of ’em too! LOL

pollyannanomore

It’s quite amazing to see so many familiar names …and so many I don’t recognise. I often wonder about the people who are gone – how they are now 🙂
Thanks for your sweet messages Oxy at the end of my dredge ups of old postings! Hope your week is wonderful 🙂

ErinBrock

Liane:
I don’t recall reading this article….Pollyanna….thanks for bringing it back up!

Great article….
I agree….about holding a conference….I’m in….WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP????

pollyannanomore

Me too – what can I do to help? I am miles away but could do something surely … and give us lots of notice so we can save the plane fare! Or make it available on DVD for distribution to psychologists and counsellors 🙂 Would be wonderful!

one/joy_step_at_a_time

we could also look at doing something online as adjunct to a physical conference for those of us not able to attend.

one step

Isabell

Hi Oxy and everyone else..

Firstly, (an unrelated report) as some of you know, and wonderfully cheered me on…I started working a month ago. After a month of extensive studying, math calculations, marketing concepts, and sometimes working 60 hours a week, building client leads, and interviewing several people a day. Yesterday, I passed a test that gave me the keys to the office, and established me as a permenent employee. Yippy!!! That’s why I’ve not been posting…too tired.

Back to the topic – “How do we make them (friends, family, the court system, therapists, etc.) believe us?”

The fact that the N/S/P’s can so convincingly assasinate the character of their victims in the eyes of the victims close network of support systems; rendering the victim totally isolated is, in my opinion, is as criminal as murder, and should be viewed as such in the judicial system.

For this reason, I’ve been collaborating with a few pofessionals, researching what will be required to begin the process of educating, informing, getting the attention of the “servants of the courts,” and validation from the medical/mental health professionals. There is a team being formed, and a VERY CONNECTED publisher is 100% supportive.

For years my ex accused me of alienating him from our children. When in fact, he didn’t show up to key events in their lives that he was invited to. He’d humiliate, embarrass, intimidate, threaten, and would completely neglect their basics of life needs. He’d threaten to kill me, in front of the kids.

More to the point of this topic — He managed to cause our friends and close associates from our Church and the kids sporting leagues to believe the absolute worst about me; to the point, I was told by our Chruch, that I was not welcome, and the paster screened his calls, and I wasn’t allowed to talk to him. It’s so hard to believe that his is possible, but….after years of volunteering as a youth counselor, and on a number of other related committees, only one member of the Church came to our house to see if I was ok. (I had suffered a deep depression, and wasn’t attending church, as there was growing awkwardness, a shunning of me, or an oversell of “how wonderful” my ex was. It took nearly 4 years to discover what had actully happened. An elder of the Church is the coach of our daughter’s softball team. Once he actaully saw how I am with the kids, and heard from our daughter’s perspective about her father — the Elder and his wife, both opened up about the gossip, rumor mill that my ex had been saying about me, to cause the whole congregation to “wash their hands of me.”

What is even worse, and I’ve mentioned this before, is the way he’s targeted his own children and has caused their grandparents, and extended family to “cut them out” of their lives.

Sadly, even the reunification therapist that had once been totally supportive of the kids, and backed them up 100%, has been sucked into my ex’s champaign to accuse our 16 year old daughter of “interferring” with his visitations with the younger two. Since I am N/C, and she no longer has legal apeal to him, as she doesn’t have to go with him, if she doesn’t want to, without me being threatened of Parental Alienation. So he’s accusing her of “interferring.” The two younger kids, DO NOT want to go with their father, without her.

Within an hour of passing the test for work, I received an e-mail stating that the court appointed reunification therapist, and the councel for the kids support my ex refusing to let her go with him, and the other two on visitation days.

They don’t address how much effort she’s putting into helping the younger to go with him. They don’t address how he’s rejected her over and over and over again and her recent expression of anger at him in therapy was long overdue, as she has been stoic about all of this for four years. They don’t tell him…”You are the father, if you don’t know how to relate to a teen-ager, and are unable to juggle three kids in different age brackets, then maybe YOU shouldn’t be allowed to take the kids with you, but…none of them are boing to be isolated because YOU can’t handle it.”

In stead, he’s claims are believed, her character is assasinated, and the younger two are even more vulnerable with him, then ever, because it’s become a court sanction that our oldest daughter cannot go with the other two on the visits. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? Our 16 year old daughter, who is on honor roll, is involved in sports, music, and church activities, who’s by her own goals, never been kissed, (and believe me they line up for the opportunity, but she has higher goals) is labled as “bad, difficult, and poisening the minds of the younger two,”

I am NOT going to tell my 16 year old about the recent decision by the therapist who she truely trusted and believed he understood, has now been seduced against her. I fear that this would be the final straw for her. She’s been showing signs of cracking emotionally, and her self esteem has taken a brutal hit.

I told her, after the last visit, as he stood there, ignoring her, and talking to the other two as if she didn’t exist… then when it was time for them to go, he addressed her with, “You can’t go.” What is so sad is she is the only one of the three that hugs him, and says…”I love you” to him. He had bonded only to her. The other two, he was already over being a parent, and it wasn’t getting him the attention, our first child together provided. When he told her she couldn’t go, the other two told him they don’t want to go without her, and he quickly left.

I fear we are being led into a trap. He wants to take me to court and accuse me of Parental Alienation. He’s already, through the court system, threatened to fight for custody of our youngest, who knows him the least. Half of her life, he has been virtually uninvolved.

I did tell my 13 year old son about the situation. If he refuses to go without his older sister, then his younger sister is put at risk of being forced to go alone; which would terrify her. My son said, “Mom, it’s time for me to man-up. I guess I’m just going to have to protect both my sisters.” And, he also agreed that his older sister doesn’t need to know that her father, like a sniper, has effectively aimed at her character and fired a fatal blow, convincing the powers that be, that she’s of no value, worth, or protection, and essentially, should be eliminated (from her father’s life).

I have been accused of keeping her from him, then when she’s no longer valuable to him, legally. He is able to get the court to alienate her from him… would they call this Court Alienation Syndrom?

I’m getting off on a tangant here, and I do apologize.

It’s time to band together. The one thing I have noticed to be absolutely true is that N/S/Ps all seem to have texted book, cookie cutter, identifyable methods of manipulation, isolation, gaslighting, bullying, threatening, and destroying the reputation and support system of their victims. It is nothing less then social murder! And,they SHOULD absolutely be held accountable for it…legally, as weith any other crime.

Pleae forgive mistakes… I’m so tired, it’s hard to keep my eyes open. I have kept this page open because I wanted to make a comment, but haven’t had time…

Ox Drover

Dear Isabel;l,

Dear I know it is hard on you to watch your kids attacked, but you know I think your son has his head on straight and the fact is their father doesn’t love them, he is using them. And I suspect that the time will come when all three of your kids will SEE through him just as you do.

Being the child of a male P I know that it is difficult at any age for a child to realize their parent (sperm donor) doesn’t care about them that they are NOTHING but a possession to cause trouble with, because it is shared with a loving mother.

Just be supportive of your children and assure them that YOU love them and that his treatment of them as a group and as individuals is unconscionable.

Your kids are fortunate to have YOU for a mother and you are in a position to educate your daughter especially about psychopaths. Get her some of the books recommended and reviewed here. She’s well old enough to make the connection and to understand. (((hugs))) and my prayers fo ryou!

sherry winter

You can’t make a friend or even a loved one understand. If they have not been exposed to a sociopath, and were aware of it at the time, they simply can’t understand.

With my x-s/p even most of his ex victims don’t understand, because they were totally unaware of what he was doing to them behind their back. I figure at least half the women he slept with, and finally ended up braking up with him, never knew he had 3-5 women going at the same time as them!

It makes you wonder WHY you were stupid enough to stick around long enough to actually understand the depths he has drug you too? Who knows… He’s used every one he’s ever known, it’s just most of them don’t even know it.

Another good read.

No one close to me gets it either, and my friend did more harm than good as well. When I told her that he had drained my bank account into the negatives by a couple thousand, she asked me why I was stupid enough to give him my ATM card. When I told her that he had strangled me and then taken me to the ER, she told me that she didn’t even feel sorry for me at all if I went back after that. At the time, I thought it was my fault that he had strangled me. He had managed to convince me that because I wasn’t a virgin, I deserved to be tortured. He was just trying to love me, but I was turning him into a monster due to things I did 15 years before meeting him, bla bla bla. If only he had met me when I was 7 everything would be great, he wouldn’t have to suffer like this, bla bla. Even as I was trying to explain this to her, she couldn’t see how profoundly trapped I was in a twisted madness that I had no control over and instead she kept blaming me. It made it worse, yes….

But then I found LF and: “We can finish each other’s sentences because we know what comes next.”

Yes, I think this says something about the syndrome.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

panther – when i was young and became aware fo physically battered women, i didn’t understand how they could stay. until i went through it myself. the same way people don’t understand what grips the mid of an alcoholic, so that one could drink until they lost everything –

the things that has changed peoples’ understanding of both of the above are breaking the silence and education – and whole movements of people doing so.

so, this is what will have to happen around psychopathy as well.
personally, i feel too tired to do this. i have to get better myself.
but the other day i heard an interview with the lawyer of another woman who is suing the spath. And hearing her name spoken aloud and her self named’ (although they didn’t call her a spath, the lawyer did call her ’emotionally sadistic’ ) meant the world to me. Even though not one person commenting or calling in to the radio show ‘got it’, it made me stronger.

so specific or general education is the way to go, and that’s what we are doing here – first it goes out to those who want it, and then to those who don’t – yet.

bluemosaic

How interesting, the first post on here suggesting a conference ( Thx Aloha Traveler)…I mentioned this idea yesterday on another thread. I am way too infantile in my recovery to be thinking straight ( yep, this really hurt my self-esteem), but something in me says silence gives them power.

Dear Donna, Can the idea of a conference be visited? Perhaps, many of us could not participate due to personal safety issues, but with technology… can that be bridged with tele conferencing? I just wonder if coming forth to make this more well known, would benefit survivors and perhaps help others avoid this personal tragedy?
Thank you Dr. Leedom, for this post. I too have had many well meaning freinds say, just let it go…move on. They have no idea…neither did I , before I met “it”.
Is there an anonymous web site that one can post on about spath? I am afraid of him, and it is not about revenge…I just think it is deplorable that he walks off into sunset to seek and destroy again. Probably telling some other poor woman right now how she is “love of his life”….God help her.

Blue

Truthspeak

Bluemosaic, the topic of a convention, seminar, or conference has been raised numerous times. It would require a lot of coordination, etc., and I imagine that Donna has been considering this for a few years, now. Hopefully, it’ll happen. 😀

As for telling other people, outing, explaining, detailing, or simply attempting to warn other people about a spath, it all comes down to a personal choice. Is it REALLY worth the risk? Even “anonymous” sites can be subpoenaed, and IP addresses delivered. I know this because I was stalked and harassed by someone who used “anonymous” means. There is NO such thing as true anonymity on the internet. Seriously.

Survivors in recovery from sociopaths walk a very thin red line. Because of the details about the exspath, I believe that he is a danger to men, women, and children. He’s a sexual deviant and he is a fraud. Having typed that, I don’t believe that his current target would benefit from any disclosure of what he did – none, whatsoever. Even people who have known me for years have chosen to disregard my experiences. I cannot count the number of times that someone has said, “You need to get over it.” They simply cannot comprehend what I experienced, and they don’t WANT to.

Now, the exspath was very young when we began dating. If someone had come to me and said, “Truthspeak, if you remain with this man, you are going to lose your children, your home, your belongings, your friends, your pets, and every dime that you ever had,” I would have laughed in their face.

Brightest blessings

Radar_On

” They simply cannot comprehend what I experienced, And they don’t want to” was Truth’y’s statement. IT IS TRUE!. Ohhh you just need to let it go, they say. It has been my experience as well. I mentioned to the spaths daughter-in-law several times about what a monster he is. Know what she said? Ughhhh, yea, we really DONT WANT TO KNOW. Its called “turning a blind eye”! OK!!! Ya’ll dont mind that perverted predator goes around your kids??? Ok!!! Sucks to be ya’ll!!!

bluemosaic

Radar_on, Truthspeak,
I see you are both right, people do not want to know, or don’t care or blame the victim. Ignorance…bliss like state where all is peachy. I think I would get about the same response if I tried to convince anyone that my last relationship ended b/c he turned out to be an ALIEN life form….who had probed me, mutilated my insides…taken me to MARS for more torture(during the times they thought we were on vacation) and then infiltrated me with a Martian virus that I amstruggling with overcoming!!!!
Actually, that would get more sympathy…which begs the ?…why do I need “them” to know or understand or sympathize? Human nature….I am so social, I need to feel heard and validated, quess that is “part” of me that got me into this trouble in the first place…mmmmm.

Blue

discovering

Ladies,

I have to agree that the techniques that my spath used are so similar to those I keep reading about here that there can only be 2 explanations.
1) They have support networks that help them learn and use these skills
2) It comes naturally, the ability to manipulate and do psychological harm.

I guess it goes back to the nature/nuture argument. Yes, I do believe my spath was born this way and yes I believe that his mother was a spath which didn’t help. But he did have wonderful family support and a solid Middle class upbringing in his church- he was even an altar boy. (funny, just reminded me about how important it was for him to be married in the church)

Ladies; why not choose a central location and date and see who can meet. We don’t have to have fancy speakers or plush rooms, just a place where we can hug ((())) and have a cup of tea. I don’t know if people would feel as if they would be put in danger- let me know.

Either way I do feel validated (you are not alone BLUE) and understood here- better than I do in my own family. As I had posted on another thread, my family has a hard time believing (as I initially did my self ) that my husband could possibly try and kill me. My counselor identified my husband as a psychopath within the first meeting I had with him. Too bad I can’t make everyone see…but of course he has fooled so many for so long….BUT NOT US :).

I do think the alien story would be more plausible because our reality is a whole lot scarier ( at least the aliens would look different than us).

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