By | May 11, 2007 86 Comments

ASK DR. LEEDOM: What is the difference between a narcissist and a sociopath?

The first question victims of love fraud ask concerns themselves and is generally something like, “Why is this so hard for me mentally?” The second question concerns the perpetrator, “What is wrong with him/her?” Many seek answers to these questions on the internet and in the popular psychology literature. A person looking for answers in these sources is just as likely to read about narcissism as he/she is to read about sociopathy. Thus the confusion between narcissism and sociopathy begins.

When trying to understand the difference (if any) between narcissists and sociopaths, it is important to understand why we have psychiatric diagnoses in the first place. We have diagnostic categories because people go to professionals seeking help for their emotional/psychological issues. The problem is that people who are grandiose, exploit others, lack empathy, and apparently have no conscience are unlikely to seek mental health treatment. Therefore, people with these symptoms are poorly understood. This is also the basic reason why this set of symptoms has been labeled both narcissism and sociopathy.

To further the confusion for victims of love fraud, a psychologist, Millon, has described the amorous narcissist. Such people are charming, articulate, charismatic and emotionally exploitative of their lovers. The amorous narcissist, like Don Juan, seeks conquest in his relationships. A Lovefraud reader commenting on another post has provided the best example of an amorous narcissist I have seen, yet she (correctly) calls him a sociopath:

I was completely taken in by a sociopath over a year ago. I had never met anyone who was so attentive, charming, complimentary, good looking”¦ oh, the list goes on. I felt I had not only met Mr. Right, but Mr. Perfect. This was a very cultured and well educated man. Unlike the stereotypical sociopath, he holds a good job -can even be considered a “captain of industry”. We live in different cities, so it was even easier for him to fool me. He would call me 2-3 times a day – send text messages, write e-mails. I wondered sometimes how he got the time to do all this. But it was almost impossible for ME to get him on the phone. He said he was at a meeting, at a business dinner etc.

He also seemed to not have many good friends. But all the people he mentioned were women – some one who went to the symphony with him – and had for a long time, someone who was a biking partner etc. He said his friendships with these people were built around common interests, which I thought was fair enough.

After 6 months and visits back and forth, his romantic speil was not as effusive, which I thought normal. But I also began noticing a lot of inconsistencies and lies. I caught him out on a lie about where he was – he said he was in one city on work and it turned out that he was in another on vacation – and I knew it had to be with another woman! Anyway, i expressed my distrust and he accused me of being suspicious for no reason. He said I had a mental illness and should have my head examined. I got so blisteringly angry when he said this that I told him that I would prove to him that my suspicions were warranted. I embarked on a detective spree and uncovered 4 women who he was courting the same way. One was the official girlfriend in the city where he lived. The others were mistress-type girlfriends. I spoke with all of them. And then I presented him with the evidence. He did not have much to say other than that he had “done everything for me, shown me a good time, bought me gifts”¦” and did not know why I was upset. I know now that there are others. It is like he needs to get all the women he meets to fall in love with him.

Generally speaking, the term narcissist is less pejorative than the term sociopath. The reason for this is that some professionals view the behavior of narcissists as stemming from “low self esteem.” Thus, people feel sorry for narcissists, “He/she wouldn’t do that if he/she didn’t have such low self esteem.” Many sociopaths also recognize that narcissists are more highly regarded than are sociopaths, and so state, “I’m not a sociopath, I’m just a narcissist!”

A close friend of mine who has been on a quest for answers about the man who perpetrated love fraud against her came to the legitimate conclusion that the perpetrator is a narcissist. We have had many discussions about her situation. What bothered me about her description of this man as a narcissist was that it seemed to be part of an ongoing effort not to accept his inherently evil nature. If perpetrators are only trying to bolster their low self esteem, they can still be “good.” It may also be that it is easier to accept being victimized if the perpetrator is a narcissist. The reality that we have spent years of our lives loving an evil sociopath is truly difficult to accept.

So what is the difference between a narcissist and a sociopath? Generally speaking narcissists are less impulsive and higher functioning than are sociopaths. Both narcissists and sociopaths have a severe disorder of the Inner Triangle. Both are not capable of love, and have problems with moral reasoning. In fact, many experts say that a condition called “pathological narcissism” is the core problem that results in sociopathy/psychopathy. In conclusion then, the answer to our question is, “To a victim of love fraud, there is no difference between a narcissist and a sociopath.”

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“done everything for me, shown me a good time, bought me gifts— Makes you wonder if there is some sort of handbook they all learn by heart. Every one I’ve ever heard of has said that.

I originally thought my ex was “just a narcissist”. I too felt it was something he was a bit to be pitied for. In describing his behavior in a forum about that, someone suggested I should check out sociopath behavior. I have known other narcissists, and I’m not sure they have much different from the parasite variety of sociopath. I think of him as a narcisistic sociopath. After living with him for 14 years, I don’t believe the low esteem bit, at least not for all of them. In talking to other victims of narcissists, they don’t seem to be any less emotionally or financially destructive.

In some of his last words to me, after verbally savaging me, he claimed he was with me because he was a nice guy who just liked to help people. He never helped ANYONE unless he was asked to, and someone was looking so he would get credit for being such a “good guy”. He comes across as very sweet and innocent, reasonable and loving and honest. So much so that even though I saw his behavior, I just considered them “character flaws”. I am only alive because other people started wondering about the difference between what he said and how he behaved. As it is, he has devastated my life, and I’m not sure I will recover. The night before he left me, he told me how much he loved me and that he would never leave me. Once confronted with his behavior, it was like someone flipped a switch. His mother died unexpectedly the same day (later, yes, I have to wonder, he would not have been able to explain away what he did) He showed no remorse at leaving me disabled, so sick I could barely walk and with no money. I adored his mother, and he showed no emotion at all about her death although I was in tears. He was just angry because I had confronted him about his affair earlier that day. He also completely abandoned my daughter, who had considered him her father since she was 16 and he always claimed to love.

He did tell my friends that his affair was just a mistake (huh? ) and that if I needed anything to call him. However, he never told ME that or showed support in any way. He actually managed to convince her he still loved me and that I had thrown him out and was in the wrong! All for show. I really think he believes it himself, justifies what ever he does somehow. He really believes he is perfect, although he would never admit to that. His conquests aren’t about money or sex, it’s about who will keep his ego stroked. He targets women who have illnesses.

He tampered with my medications to the point of nearly killing me, maybe that’s the cross over, not caring if they cause someone’s death. But you can kill someone’s life without killing them physically, and I don’t think there’s much to choose between them on that point.


my ex was an amorous narcissistic sociopath, he was engaged to 5 women in 2 states, simultaneously. The first give away is when a man says he has a women “bicycling friend” and a woman “ski friend” and a woman “jogging friend”
and a woman “tennis friend” and a woman “business friend” or a woman “associate” or a woman “assistant”
These are all “buzz words” that sex addict swingers and amourous narcissistic sociopaths use to cover up the plethora of illicit sex relations they are engaged in. Usually the narcissist has no real job other then manipulating and using the defrauded women in his life. Some women are used for money, some exploited professionally, others used for sex and still others used for power over, ego feed, the don juan conquest syndrome. These men spread deadly stds and deadly aids and women will not find the suavay amorous narcissistic sociopath so easy to forgive when she is diagnosed with a life threatening std. These men are deadly frauds, felons and murderers, they murder by spreading stds surreptistiously. I believe that, murder by std spreading, is the core of thier onion, the true goal of the amourous narcissistic sociopath.


BTW – gay marriages were blocked and banned in usa by insurance companies. Insurance analysts realized sex addict homosexual men would marry other homosexual men, insure them and kill thier partners with aids to collect insurance cash payout after insurance cash payout on thier legal insurable homosexual lovers/gay marriage partners. Some homosexual men who have dozens to hundreds of homosexual male sexual partners a year would have no problem marrying, insuring and murdering with aids, one after another, dozens of other male homosexual marriage partners.
The insurance actuarials, companies, saw this and knew same sex homosexual marriages could not be legalized and underwriiten by the insurance industry. Too much risk and loss to the insurers.
note-not all homosexual males are promiscuous, just the sex addicted pathological ones.


I just found this blog accidentaly, looking up information that may help me explain what I am feeling. I am married to a man who is a medically retired airline pilot. We have been together 5 years, married for a 3. There is so much to ask about I can’t possibly fit it all here. This man, first of all has been good to me and my 2 girls for the most part. He gives me jewels on birthdays, but always in front of one of my girls or other relative who doesn’t have the means for such things. He is one of those people who have been everywhere, done everything as being a ski instructor, been in british special forces,(that one really annoys me), owned a tour bus company, the list goes on. According to him everything he owns is the best whilst anything anyone else has is crappy. He is very intelligent and sociable. But no one can say anything to him without being explained to, corrected, or made fun of. He is just ALwAYS RIGHT in his mind. So now, I’ve gotten tired of even talking about the most trivial of things to him. He has purchased a few “collector cars” over the last few years. Like a Corvette he baught on e bay for say7000. He tells everyone how he has a car worth 40000 dollars. He throws around how we are millionares. It’s not true, and it’s so embarrasing to me. And the sex, when we got together at first I thought it was great but it is like he wants it when he wants it and he is very dominant. He also is attracted to my daughter and lets us both know about it. I had a fit one day when he touched her breast. He was saying we were crazy and too prudent, and that some men have the daughters and moms at the same time. I told him not in his lifetime, and if he touched her again he can color me gone. His second wife has some thing in their divorce come up about he made sexual advances to her cousin or something. His next wife died of a stroke at 56, they were seperated and he and I were seeing each other. One day he was so distraught, especially talking to one of the friends of hers or relatives on the phone, but the very next day he wanted to screw my brains out. It doesn’t show the normal lot of emotions like we do. Anyway, I’ve been getting scared he might try to take some of my money so I have been slowly gathering and protecting my personal effects. I’m probably rambling, but as I said there is just so much, and my head is filled with trying to figure out what is going on and what to do about it, The only time I’m not thinking about it is if i’m asleep.The stories he tells, he has made money on everything he buys. Although I can’t prove it, i think not making a mistake is not humanly possible. I can’t find proof on anything because he is in the house all the time that i am.I’m not sure what to do next. I’m 47 years old, I don’t want to have to start over again! I know this, if I can’t work through this, NO MORE MEN!


this is the 3rd time I have tried to reply, I try again. I don’t love him like I used to. My daughters are 27 and 25 and niether have ever lived with us, they are on their own, but my daughters and I are very close, it was VERY easy for me to tell him to jump off when the incident happened. This is all new to me. Until i ran across this site, I thought this was just his particular personality, I didn’t know it was a menal illness. I have so much to ask, I will have to do it in spurts.


Loserchoser, just my opinion from what I have been through and what I know others have been through, but protect yourself, get your money together and GET OUT. It won’t get better. Touching your daughter and telling you the bit about some men having mother’s and daughters at the same time is typical. Chances are extremly likely with his past history that he WILL try to touch your daughter again, he sees nothing wrong with it.

He sounds an awful lot like my X. He never did anything nice unless it was public, or he knew I would go on about how wonderful he was to other people. Told me a hard luck story about how he lost his business before he met me, after he left I discovered paperwork showing he had continuously ordered things then never paid for them. I thought this guy was the sweetest, most honest person I’d ever met. I didn’t feel worthy of him. He was sexually manipulative, although not in the way your husband is. That seems to be a common theme, that one way or another they control the sex life. It starts out great but over time disintergrates, usually leaving the victim feeling like something the cat dragged in and that no one will ever want again.

I spent waaaay too much time trying to figure out what was going on. It was impossible, because what was going on was not sane. Stop worrying about it, you are unhappy, once you are away from him you may even find out you don’t love him as much as you think you do. Once we are out of their clutches and start seeing things from the outside, it’s a lot easier. I may still be obsessed with mine, but I sure know I don’t love him any more.


I have to say that I think the comment here on narcissism (NPD) and antisocial personality disorder (APD) are weak. My own father has NPD and having read alot about it I think the biggest difference between NPD and APD is that APD sufferers do not suffer from delusions of grandeure like NPD sufferers. In many ways an NPD person is more dangereous than an APD person since he/she is obsessed with power/beauty/fame etc and will use you as a tool to achieve that. However, both groups as I understand it are “psychopathic” in the sense that neither exhibit any capacity for empathy, sympathy or remorse. Neither of them have any internal boundaries and all people to them are mere objects


looserchooser, incidentally – the fact that your husband is attracted to your daughter sounds (and acts upon it in some way) is very symptomatic of NPD – most NPD sufferers are autoerotic – ie they are sexually attracted to their own inflated self delusion. This is manifested in the fact that they live out this attraction through extensions of themselves – ie their children. Incest is often common in NPD sufferers. Anyway, worth considering. Anyway, I’m not an expert on the matter or a trained psychiatrist, so don’t take my word on the matter, but let it at least raise your suspicions.


Dear Dr Leedom

I am afraid to say I’m rather confused about this whole NPD APD thing. From your previous statement,

“A narcissist without the capacity for remorse is a sociopath by definition”

The implication from the above statement is that all sociopaths are therefore narcissists. But when I look at the DSM – 1V criteria for NPD and APD, I see no “delusions of grandeure” associated with APD, only NPD. I’ve always had the impression that narcissism is characterised by a personality split that is created by self hatred. Ultimatley this self hatred and low self-judgement drives the sufferer to invent a fantastical alter ego, the existence of which is supported by third parties (known as Narcissistic supply (NS)). The whole concept of NS or delusions does not seem to enter into the DSM definition of an APD sufferer. This is consistent with my own personal observations of sociopaths and narcissists – the former in my experience are just very nasty people with no capacity for remorse or sympathy, but who do not necessarily have delusions of grandeure or an unrealistic self image. NPD sufferers in contrast to this possess such delusions on top of an already present inability to empathise, love or sympathise. My current understanding of NPD and APD comes largely from reading “malignant self love” by Dr Sam Vaknin. Please correct my understanding if I’ve completely got the wrong end of the stick.

many thanks

Unfortunately for all of us, the mental health profession has not agreed on clear terms and definitions for these personality disorders. What the disorders are called, and what the symptoms are, largely depends on whose book you read.

The psychopath, sociopath, and narcissist personalities are so destructive to others that it would behoove the profession to settle on definitions and diagnoses so the rest of us can learn what to avoid.


Dear Liane and Donna

Thanks for getting back to me. Can you point me towards any good books on NPD/APD and their differences/similarities?

I’m intruiged to hear that narcissists are supposed to have high self esteem, because Sam Vaknin argues the opposite quite compellingly (if I understand correctly, that is) Essentially, he says that high self esteem in arcissists is merely a projected illusion, a compensatory reaction to having no self esteem (or more accurrately, no sense of self at all). Thus, he distinguishes between genuine high self-esteem (which he thinks is advantagous in many ways and which doesn;’t give rise necessarily to malignant nastyness) and the Narcissist’s self esteem, which is essentially a figment of their grandiose alter ego. I suppose I’ve been so willing to listen to this version because it described my father so perfectly. He had absolutely no sense of who he was, no sense of his innate abilities or shortcomings, but only an omnipotent sense of intellectual and moral grandiosity that, at times collapsed leaving him crying like a baby and complaining about how stupid he was and what a victim he was of a cruel and unfair world. This seemed to fit very well with Vaknins analysys, ie that the true self was a self hating loser, and the projected self a deity of dangerous intellectualism moral purity.

And I think his realities were completely dillusional. At one stage he was the chief lawyer championing womens rights and purveying this image of a crusader for their cause, defensing their right to equal pay, lambasting the appalling legislation that lead to their suppression, and meanwhile at home beating my mother, confiscating her posessions and starving her (and the family) of food. The 2 realities never once seemed to cause him any problems at all – so long as people believed he was a crusader then in his eyes he was. There was absolutely no seeming concern for the contradiction of beating my mother and disenfranchising her with the very legislation he would argue against in court. Is this state of being a “knight in shining armour” not delusional? He was similarly involved in the South African Communist party, and often felt he had some special place in history for his role in the “struggle”. However his idea of his roll in it was quite clearly so exagerated and twisted and full of self-importance, that it seemed completely delusional. When I did the daignostic test for NPD on him from Sam Vaknins book, he scored full marks on everything. However, in terms of being sociopathic – he rarely broke the law in a callous or reckless way, he didn’t have strings of lovers or habitually break the law. However when he lived in South Africa he tried to blow up a civilian train with a bomb, which he was very proud of.

Reading your site has made me think about all this again, and for some reason Sam Vaknins writing seems to make more sense, or have fewer contradictions, which is why I’d like to hear and read more about it.

thanks for getting back to me


by the way

I don’t feel sorry for APD’s or NPD’s. For my father I grieve for the little boy before that died in there, but the fact is that a monster is a monster, and they are capable of distinguishing right from wrong, so there is no excuse in the legal (or humanistic) sense of the word. Low self esteem (if you can call it that) is not an excuse for a wrotten soul.


This has been a very long week and a half for me. The last time I was on here, I was sitting at home (what use to be home) with my husband upstairs. On Tuesday, I think 29th? my husband was telling me I was depressed, and that I was having some mental problems. He said he was so concerned. He had me call my doctor, to get some anti-depressents. We got into an argument, silly really. He had to tell me how to put my cat in the cat carrier. I’ve only been doing that for 30 years/ I began crying, told him to just back off, let me breathe, and soon he said he wanted to ” bag it” get a divorce. I threw a few things in a bag, loaded my 3 cats in the car and left. I figured a hotel room for a few days so things could cool off. Next day he called to ask when I would be getting the rest of my things. I got back to the house, he had all of my photos off the wall and in a pile and a my suitcase out. He tried intimidating me so I left in a hurry. I did go to the doctors appt. When I told her all that had been going on, she said to get away from him. She said she would give me anti depressants to help with sleep, but I turned that down. I told her I needed to keep my head about me. I was served divorce papers and a restraining order on Mon AM, that he had filed Thursday at 12:30PM.

So here I sit in a apt, with little furniture and my 3 cats. I sit, knowing that this is the best thing, but hurt so bad I can hardly breath. I have not called him, but he called my daughter, told her that I was losing my mind. He went to my sisters and left a note on her door that he was “worried about me”. And this AM called me to tell me he still loved me, and this is all so rediculous, and keeps denying he filed for divorce, while I stand looking at the papers I was served. Then asks for money. ????????

A question for people out there who have been through this, can you get over the hurt? and can you trust anybody again?

Deep breaths loserchange! Yes, you can heal from this. Learn ALL you can. I had to physically and emotionally and verbally RELEASE the X sociopath. That deep horrible grief for me was in a sense grief for TWO people because he isn’t capable of that. It “just happened” and it was the most painful thing psychologically I have EVER gone through. I finally told myself every single time I felt that bad that I was releasing him to god. I was letting go. I had to ACTIVELY participate in this and it was hard!! I felt like I was getting out of a cult after having been brainwashed and god, I now know why people say how hard that is. IT IS!!! But you CAN do it. You MUST do it.

Now, on the other side of this a bit. Hun, I have NO financial security left at all. I cannot afford to send my son to college…a kid with a learning disability who has worked so hard with me and his tutors that he has made honor roll every year….the sociopath stole our money and now there is no hope for all our future plans.

I KNOW how hard this is……..but, right now despite all he did to me……I am feeling more like my old self again. I HAVE a “self” again that isn’t being mind twisted so much she can’t punch her way out of a paper bag. A lot of that fog is lifted. I can see how horrible and inhuman the past was……..and yes, I am still sad …I am still grieving but, I am GRATEFUL I got out.

And I am grateful YOU are taking these very brave steps for yourself. You will NOT regret it…….the only thing you would end up regretting is going back. Never look back….find resources to help you with this and you will heal and grow. Bless you.


I noticed that sociopaths have a knack for surrounding themselves with what they would consider “important” acquaintances but they never really have any really good friends that they can count on. They don’t really have any good family members they can count on like we can. And they will do a good job alienating us from our loved ones if they can so that their own self-image looks better to us. They use others to make themselves look good and we never see it until it is too late. If someone you know or are getting to know has a real knack for name dropping, run like the wind!! This is a bad sign. They come across as rescuers all the while they are robbing us blind…if they are not robbing our bank accounts, they are robbing us of our good morals, our self-image and our dreams and our relationships we have built with others. My brother once got mad at me and screamed, “they take and they take and you keep on giving…pretty soon they are going to squeeze that sponge until that sponge goes dry Then, where will you be?!” He passed away last October and those words ring in my ears like they were said yesterday!


Mrose, suescov, and others. Thankyou for your kind words and encouragement. Every day that I am away from him, I feel better, but I think, “when he told me this or told me that, how was I so stupid to think it was true”? Just the very thought of him makes me ill. I can’t help but keep looking up public records and trying to dig for the truth about all this property he supposedly owned, and the supposed death of his last wife. For one thing, my attorney told me to dig up everything I could, that along with his other x’s, we may be able to file charges on him. But it is like an obsession. I spend about 3-5 hours a night looking up info and sorting through printed documents. I think, this is so stupid wasting my time on him. Does a sociopath know they are ill? Is that why he refused counciling? Do they actually believe the stories they tell? Has anyone out there actually contacted an ex-spouse, or talked to the sociopaths family members about the problem? And if you did talk to a mom or sister or somebody, did they believe what you were telling them? I can’t believe it’s been 4 weeks already since I moved to this apartment!


loserchooser. You are okay. You are on the path to healing. I still read love fraud everyday. If you need to spend this time LEARNING about what the hell happened to you, then learn. I had an unquenchable appetite for knowledge. can you imagine the poor women who never know what it is that penetrated their souls and must live the rest of their lives with the toxic aftermath of a socio.narc? I thank God too for my intelligence, obsession to understand, and women on this blog. 4 weeks aint nothing, sorry to say, but you GOT OUT. You will feel a variety of unusual surreal emotions, or blankness, or apathy or euphoria….stay in touch with us, because it took me months to not feel like I was living in a wind tunnel or a movie, out of body, faking my life all over again. so I know what you are feeling. Socio’s don’t know they are ill. They think they are God. Mine did. They fear being exposed. But we fear exposing them because you don’t want to suffer their retaliation or look like the crazy one, which they want. I never felt hate before and it’s ugly, but feel it so you can release. The socio/nar lives with the poison of hate in their soul everyday for the rest of their lives. You my friend are free!


Dear Losechooser… you need to find a new handle because I hate addressing you as that. :o(

I had a hit in my stomach when I read about how your ex was acting after he threw you out.. expressing his concern for you, leaving notes, making you appear as if you are losing it. I just wanted to scream when I read that. The Distortion Campaign. That’s what it is called. I went through this. It made me feel crazy! and upset! very upset! I knew I was being abused but I couldn’t understand why I felt like I was losing my mind and why I felt as though people didn’t believe me and what was happening to me.

It has been 2 years and 17 days since I left the “bad man” as I call him now. I don’t really count but I just passed the anniversary of leaving. He was my dream come true for 2 weeks and then a total nightmare after that. I call the honeymoon phase “relationship crack.” I have never been happier in my life than I was during those too good to be true times. That is how they hook you. Anyway, maybe I will write my story sometime. I have been thinking about that.

What I have found is that reading the postings here on has helped me to keep on track. There was a time where I needed to reconfirm for myself over and over that he is a personality disorder dude and that the good times weren’t real. The good times was as much a part of the illness as all the emotional torture that followed. It is so painful to go through something like this and the recovery is slow. First, you have to get out all the poisen they have put in your head. Then you start to rebuild. I have gone through the same things others have noted here. At times, I feel dead inside. I am afraid of people now, especially nice men who I am afraid will turn bad any minute. Now I am rebuilding my self. There isn’t an area of my life that wasn’t broken.

Hang in there and congratulations on getting out. This is the right place for you. I understand your obsession with research and stressing on it all constantly. I did that too. I think because it’s such a nightmare and we have a desire to figure it out. But, you will need the framework provided here to understand what happened. Also, I have found that something like this is hard to get people to understand. You have a community here that totally gets it. You don’t have to explain and we won’t ask “why?” or “how could you?”

This is your recovery place. Welcome.

Good luck! You are on the other side of this thing. Don’t look back. Just keep going. Things will get better. I am talking to myself too. :o)
From AlohaTraveler


It’s good to see that it’s now being recognized that Narcissists, Sociopaths, Psychopaths have excessively HiGH self-esteem. For so many years I’ve been so weary of hearing semi-educated “do-gooders” attributing the atrocious behavior of “bullies” to the person’s LOW self-esteem. It’s been my observation that, all too often, they are individuals with a grandiose sense of self. For these people, I have no sympathy whatsoever.


I am thinking about you. As I said in another blog I used to be sallycos. Went through the divorce and am blessed becuase my parents are financially helping me. I wrote a pretty detailed thing in one of the blogs about what happened to me. I am thinking of you. Hope you are doing okay. I am trying to heal too.


The key difference between the person I believe was a Narcissist (called so by a psychiatrist), is that he would never humiliate himself the way psychopaths do. He definitely had signs of FEELING embarrassment. Psychopaths seem to feel no embarrassment when they’re caught in a lie, etc. The narcissist I knew also seemed to learn from mistakes, which psychopaths almost never do it seems.
This guy wasn’t calculating, but not really cold like a pscyhopath.
And yet he fit the criteria for NPD exactly.

Mind you, if it comes to “Will he change?” By no means think a narcissist will change. They don’t change either. That’s one of the first things I read about narcissism. They don’t change. So in that sense, in a relationship, it doesn’t matter which the person is.


Sorry, I meant to say he WAS calculating, but not really cold like a psychopath.


My ex acts embarrassed, but typically inappropriately. I can say that about most of the emotions he displays.

We could be in a public place talking about the kids and he’ll look around like can anyone see how crazy I am? I’d be talking low key and kindly, giving him my most calm and reasonable demeanor, and couldn’t understand why he would be looking embarrassed.

One time, we were shopping; I had a broken finger and was pushing the baby in the cart. The baby grabbed my finger and twisted it, trying to get the bandage off. It hurt so bad, I gritted my teeth, wide eyed, and said ‘take him’ but had kind of a grin and a joking posture because what I felt, stronger than the pain, was delight at my baby’s healthy curiosity. It should have been a shared giggle and pass the buck moment, with a little concern for my wellbeing, but my ex looked around horrified like he was looking to see if anyone was looking at the crazy woman. He kind of coward where he stood like he was under attack

No one was, or ever is, looking or gawking when he pulls this. I don’t believe he actually feels embarrassed. I think he fakes it as a manipulation tactic. So, narcissist or sociopath??? I think the latter.


Movingon, I want to post my experience here, and while I have not yet done so, I read yours, and what you have said, sounds exactly what I would like to post. There are many similiarites. I have also been through hell in the past year or so with someone I thought really loved me, but when he met someone else, he discarded me like an object, and I found myself in a state of shock and disbelief for months on end. We lived together for 13 years too! I will post my story. I would really like input. It’s so hard to put it all into perspective.


All, our stories contain so many similar if not identical details that it’s clear the NPD diagnosis in DSM 1V is right on. A couple of things to share that I found helpful since the catastrophic entry and exit of my N is the discovery of something called “Narcissists Victims Syndrome”, found in a nursing journal of health dated 2004. She gives ER and other doctors the symptoms to look for of NPD victims, and the litany needn’t be laid out here, we’re all living examples. What’s helpful though is realizing the VICTIMS are finally getting some attention, rather than NPD’s who’ve been explored and written about in possibly billions of words since the DSM first spotted and categorized them.

The second thing is that in 2004 when “Our” couples therapist delivered her diagnosis of my NPD to me, she went into detail about how I was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder–and I see that very clearly manifest in the blogs here, over and again. Even if the N has been gone for 5 years, nightmares persist, people suddenly feel the need to blog again about their trauma. It’s very disturbing, and it probably helps to acknowledge that it IS PTSD that drives us back to this site for insights and a sense of clarity and actually, community with other sufferers.

The last thought (for the mo) on this: I haven’t seen a lot of talk about the correlation between the NPD and a co-morbid substance addiction, but the DSM 1V does clearly link the 2: 50-75% of NPD’s have a co-morbid addiction diagnosis…BUT, not the reverse for diagnosed addicts, i.e. 75% of addicts are NOT NPD. It’s been amazing to find others insights here while realizing and reliving but also getting strength from what’s gone on in others’ lives. I had a paralegal in my attny’s office say to me the other day in a quiet flat tone: “Look: you’ve been TORTURED for years by this gorgeous, perfect Monster (who looks like the prez of the Rotary club, better yet John Edwards, and could no doubt give Edwards a run for his money)….So what if he’s moved next door with his new 30 year old girlfriend in the same golf course community you’ve lived in for years. That which does not kill you strengthens you…” Of course, she’s right and I am moving on, and continue to, but the healing process…sometimes tough. What amazes me most is that people, outsiders, just don’t GET IT. They think that if you’re still processing/recovering/healing after a 5 year relationship with one of these beasts, it’s somehow because you still LOVE this Godforsaken (yes) creature. How would that even be possible? Quite the contrary: It’s the utter devastation that takes time to process and recover from. But I’m a realist: I still have nightmares about him after 7 months, and that may go on, now and then, for a long time….Every day brings the promise of being restored to complete sanity….Peace….TW

helpless mom

Please this is urgent. I feel so helpless. My daughter has been estranged from my family for 12 years. My son has just recently managed to convince her to come home. She did and what a nightmare. She has 4 children and has lived in hell. We were so happy to have them. They were enrolled in a new school, afterschool programs and park sports doing great without HIM. He promised her he would support her choice and things would work out with the kids. This madmad stole the kids filed a Restraining order and lied about her abusing the kids and him. He went to Legal Aid (domestic Violence) and got an attorney. We hired a paralegal. The judge must have listened a little. he did remove the restraining order and gave them both joint custody while they wait for an evaluation. In the meantime the children are being abused, made to lie just like him. What can be done in a situation like this. I feel crazy.


While I have no idea if there is a difference I know the devastation of constant infidelity causes. I was married to my husband for 7 years. I was thrilled he had “chosen” me and so deeply in love. Looking back on it I suppose the warning signs were there and I must have chosen not to see them. He is always the life of the party, he is liked by many and he is a cheat and a liar. We were seperated 6 times before finally being divorced. It has taken me 3 years to finally put it all in perspective and let it go. 70% of this man is fun and its great to be with him, its the other 30% however that is truely evil………. I know of 11 women he was with during our marriage and that is probably the tip of the iceberg. We have a son together and remain in constant contact because of this. I have developed a friendship with him that allows me to be free from the burden of his evil side. Now however there is a problem. He has “fallen in love” yet again with his “dream” blond, wealthy woman who has just divorced her husband. She seems nice and in other circumstances someone I would like to know. They have been trying to hide their relationship (not well enough I guess) and are now planning on marriage. She is deeply in love with him just as I was all those years ago. She believes he is faithful to her – he is absolutely not! I have released myself from any burden of responsibility for this man when it comes to his relaionships and I am not his keeper. However it is hard to stand by and know yet another woman is going to be devastated and suffer such immense pain. How do I come to terms with that?

Ox Drover

Dear MeToo,

Welcome to Love Fraud.

The only thing I can tell you is that she will NOT believe you. He has her in the “love bomb” stage of the relationship so that you could have a video of him raping Mother Teresa and it would not make her believe it.

She will have to learn on her own just as you did.

Oh, BTW, saying he his “great” 70% of the time is like saying a man is a “great guy when he isn’t raping and murdering young boys” (John Wayne Gacy) Nah, they are NEVER “nice” except when it suits their purposes, they are EVIL 100% of the time, they just cover it up part of the time.

Glad you are here, this is a great place for learning both about them, and about ourselves. Again, welcome! God bless.


Hello and welcome to Lovefraud. We have discussed the issue of warning the next victim. It is difficult, because, as OxDrover said, while the target is under the “magic spell,” they often don’t believe the words of the ex. The guy, I’m sure, it telling the woman some version of you are crazy, bitter, paranoid, vindictive, etc etc, to set her up not to believe you.

However, I have heard of cases in which the next target listened to the warning and got out. I have also heard of cases in which the target remembered the warning when she started seeing bad behavior from the guy. So sometimes it does work – although you never know.

I like to suggest that you at least try to warn, if you can do it safely. If the new target doesn’t listen, that’s on her. At least you tried.

Here’s an article we posted on this issue. You might want to read it and the discussion that follows.


Perhaps, there is a bleed through on the personality types and disorders.. is just isn’t that clear some ways they can be put into categories but not all..
Mine was had delusions of grandeur .. they have dead souls are want to kill those around them..

He always talked about the light in my eyes… all the time…

but he dimmed my light… he wanted to take my soul.. but I was too strong..
Be strong and take care of yourself…

kim frederick

My understanding is this: All sociopaths are also narcissists, but not all narcissists are sociopaths.
In general, I think, the N is more about image and creating a false self. Hence, their enormous ego’ and lies about how wonderful they are. They brag, and love the spot light. Everything is always, me, me, me. They’re envious to the core.
Sociopaths are more manipulative and conniving. They care less what you think of them, they don’t care nearly as much about their image. I say this because they don’t seem to feel much shame if they’re caught in lies. They think of others as targets or marks, and use people mercilessly. I don’t think the narcissist thinks about other people much, at all except as fans, or as an audence for his greatness. Just my observations. But either way, being in a relationship with either is like being bled dry. So it doesn’t make much difference. They both suck.


How to separate healthy self-esteem and healthy optimism from psyhcosis? (And I apologoze for my typos is some of my posts.. I type so fast and am not checking before post…stupid…)

That is what ‘got’ me with mine.. My Dad said that he was foing to do things and he did them.. really great things.. And I think that his example has made me susceptible to men that make statements of things that they plan to accomplish. But the men don’t .. they are cons.. so how to distinguish.. many have ideas, plans that they work on and so come to fruition..
and the guy I was with, it had elements of possibility and he worked really hard.. and I was the only women in his life.. he was not a cheater.. he was just arrogant, delusional, controlling, sickening sweet at times, critical, needy and more…
but he had some things in his past they made his business deals appear possible.. excpet that he was almost totally broke.. but again, people can be broke and re emerge in success.. How can you really tell?


and yes, my father has some narcissist traits.. and he was once an alcoholic and he wasn’t the perfect father or husband to my mother.. but he did what he said, and took good care of his family. And this is what I can’t bring to me.. I bring men that are mostly talk.. not all bad, but use me on some level so that I am left in lack without love, material things or whatever it was that they promised in the beginning. They take from me and they blame me.. but one husband because I kicked him out, sobbered up and thanked me and we are friends.
But I marry and date the charismatic cons.. they see something in me that they like and come after me.. And they try to use me and my family and I always make them appear better than they are.. this last one was the most down and out, but elegant appearing one that I have ever been with…and he came across like a giver.. while he was getting exactly what he needed and I felt in lack the whole time.. even as he told me constantly that he loved me .. I didn’t feel love from him..
I tend to trust what people say.. because when I say something I am telling the truth..I have come to see that most use words to manipulate.. I am rambling here..
BUt I have come to realize that the guard should be up at all times until you see by actions who the person actually is and this is over time that you trust..
And never move fast EVER! And if someone tries to get you to move fast.. slow it down and if they leave .. they would’ve anyway..
men use the ‘love’ word, the compliments, the marriage promise to hook a woman in.. They know what does it.. and it takes nothing to act the part.. contrive the part.. that is one thing I was able to see so clear from reading these posts. How my last guy was so contrived.. the flowers every Friday.. the robotic way that he romanced me..that is why it felt so false, it was false. It was an act. A well-rehearsed act. Men also, talke about money, success and business because a woman wants to be with a man that can support her… they know what to do and say… it is up to the woman to see past what he says…

Ox Drover

You are right, donna, once in a while they DO listen, but so many times (most?) you are right, the P has primed them so that they think you are crazy and “the woman scorned” so that it actually “proves” to them that he was truthful because you come off looking like you are what he said you were.

I myself have NOT listened to warnings about people who turned out to be cons or Ps (or both) in business relationships etc. I DO LISTEN NOW though, for what that’s worth! LOL

And again, it depends on what the potential for violence is, and so on, if the guy was a potential murderer, yep I’d probably try to warn the next victim, but without a lot of expectation for success.

Dawn H

Wow, I’m so thrilled to find this site. You just don’t know how this validates the feelings and struggles I’ve had for the last four years. I’ve had tons of counseling and have read lots of books and articles, but just to see that my “Lifetime Movie” marriage is not hugely uncommon is so very interesting.

My ex and I grew up in the same small town. We were like Barbie and Ken…expected to marry and live happily ever after. I watched him grow from a very nice guy into a predator and a very evil person in just a few years. After our child was born he started a new wonderful job in a bank and quickly climbed the ladder to success. I put him through law school as he became distant and harsh and wouldn’t touch me. I found out he was bragging at work about secretaries’ children being his. One of his secretaries divorced her husband to sneak around with mine in sleazy motels and the whole time he was telling her that I carried a gun in my diaper bag, etc. I met and befriended her, she started fainting at work, they both got fired, and she moved away. He begged and cried and we did major counseling for a year and I dropped the divorce proceedings thinking he was well. Over the next two or three years he was nice and took my calls at work, came home for supper, etc, but gradually grew distant and harsh again. I found out in ’04 that he had a 10-12 yr affair with another secretary from his new position as COO of a publicly traded banking company AND a woman in every port city from here to Beijing. He had been hiding his money all this time, so that when he was caught he would not have to share. He bought all his mistresses suits, jewelry, even paid for one’s house, while I had to pay utilities, my own food, my own insurance, car payment…everything from my teacher salary. He kept me literally broke while he was making almost half a million per yr and telling me we had no money because he was reinvesting it all in the company. If I wanted 200 for Christmas presents, he made me postdate a check for January, and he wouldn’t let go of his check until I let go of mine. There was no intimacy for more than 15 yrs. He lied all day every day, but the strange thing was that he turned very dark. He would leave butcher knives out on the counter facing the stairs where I came down in the morning. I found out his mistress was the one who had been phone stalking me for 7 or 8 yrs, and their phone records were like 25 or 30 calls to each other every day, even though they worked side by side. At the same time he had many other young mistresses and kept them all ignorant of each other. After he was caught and we separated, he cried and became perfect all over again for a year counseling with the Greats, then got caught at a sleazy motel with someone again. I could tell that someone was breaking into my house while I was at the gym. He brought me Ultimate Woman vitamin pills with the seal broken and some missing! I found an empty Viagra box in his vanity drawer. This guy has 150 IQ. Someone was hacking into my bank records online, and I left tape recorders at the house to see what was going on there while I was out. On the phone from the house to women, he sounded like a dirty old man, talking naughty and naked and nasty. I wouldn’t have believed it was him. One day he would cry and hug the stuffing out of me apologizing, and the next day he was rude and hateful and couldn’t remember he had apologized. I knew my life was in danger and I had to change the locks etc. I had to tape record every conversation during separation and divorce proceedings, because he lied so much to attorneys, etc, that you couldn’t prove anything without recordings. He had NO concern for our son’s feelings in any of this. The mistresses’ children grew up with him sneaking in through the fence to sleep with mommy, and the first one’s kids were calling him Daddy too. He found out this mistress aborted his child, and he doesn’t care. He told me one time during the proceedings “the girlfriend knows I do what I want and I get what I want, and she’s fine with that.” Children’s feelings are unimportant, but he is wining and dining our son now, like we’re in a contest….climbing the pyramids in Egypt….took him to the Great Wall of China…fly fishing in the Grand Canyon, etc. Bought a barge and stocks it with bongs and booze for my son’s friends, etc. ‘No regard for the kids….it’s all about him and winning.

My interest in cases like this is, where do you draw the line? When do you bring in the attorneys and police and IRS? What about the children? If he’s been hiding money for years in other countries, are you just supposed to forget and forgive and move on. I’ve had the hardest time with that. God is so good to me, but when I start to recall all the craziness, I get shaky and lose sleep and I just can’t really go there anymore. I want to protect others from this victimization and I don’t want to be vindictive, but then again, I don’t want him hurting other young women. I would not doubt that he might be one of these trafficking guys. Did you know most of the WORLD’S trafficking is financed by middle-aged American businessmen? We need to wake up and do something quickly. This American businessman/sociopath/narcissist/predator thing is getting out of hand.

super chic

Hello Dawn H. and welcome to LF. Jeez, this man does not even sound human, just awful, sorry you went through all this, you sound very strong in your post… wanting to help others. How old is your son? I can’t stand how they try to “win” over the children… I guess the line would depend on how old your son is… does he know what his father is? It sounds like your divorce is final so I don’t really know what you can do about money he is hiding in other countries, maybe he is trafficking, the IRS sounds pretty good at this point!!!!

Anyway, am I just babbling on and on? I just wanted you to know I am out here and you are in my thoughts. Looks like a quiet night here on this board, it’s 11pm where I am. Thank you very much for sharing your story, I’m glad you found this site, lots of good people here, they have all really helped me alot.

Ox Drover

Dear Dawn,

Welcome to LF. I know you have a “million questions” and I can’t answer them, but I do suggest that to start to answer them you go to the archives here (by subject/author as the monthly archives only go back a yr.) and read every article here (save the comments for later) but get the education you need on two subjects, WHAT A PSYCHO PATH IS AND secondly, how we heal.

Then you can find your OWN answers to those questions.

I’m glad you are here, keep on reading keep on learnin, KNOWLEDGE=POWER. Take back your power! God BLESS


Tho I don’t disagree with Aha here:

“These men spread deadly stds and deadly aids and women will not find the suavay amorous narcissistic sociopath so easy to forgive when she is diagnosed with a life threatening std. These men are deadly frauds, felons and murderers, they murder by spreading stds surreptistiously. I believe that, murder by std spreading, is the core of thier onion, the true goal of the amourous narcissistic sociopath”.

I chose to believe the current medical facts that HIV is not the death sentence it once was.. That said, It is still TOTALLY STOOPID to have unprotected sex with these people. The problem is sometimes we DON’T KNOW they can’t be trusted!!

Living with HIV, Herpes, HPV is a prison sentence. Someone here said once they have chosen to live as a celibate after a diagnosis because they could not tolerate the disclosures. To me, that is so SAD. A partner free life because of a roll in the hay. God have mercy on us who did NOT KNOW!! I pray everyday that I am clean. Some STD’s can’t be diagnosed. They just show up one day.

But now I know and I will do everything in my power to support those whom I feel are being victimized.

My prayers are with all here on this site looking for answers, relief, comfort, peace. I am thinking about Dr. Emodo’s book “Love and Gratitude” about the body being made up of water crystals and how those crystals are affected by our state of mind. The photos of the crystals after prayer are awesomely beautiful and healthy! The crystals photographed while the subject is disturbed are ugly and disordered.

I choose Love and Gratitute and in this I hope to find my healing.

God Bless everyone here. (((((LOVE AND HUGS))))).

Ox Drover

Dear Adamsrib,

While HIV may not be the immediate death sentence that it once was, it is STILL a terrible disease. Even HPV can kill or disable children that are born to mothers with it if it gets into the lungs or vocal cords of those babies (I personally know some children with this condition, it is awful. They are only “fortunate” they didn’t also get it in the lungs and die)

Condoms or “safer sex” do not prevent all STDS—remember the old joke, “What do you call people who use condoms for birth control? PARENTS!!!” So there is no such thing as “totally safe sex” except between two people who are not infected and NOT having sex with others with or without condoms. HPV and Herpes and Hepatitis are several of the diseases transmitted sexually that can fairly easily be transmitted with or without a condom, during any kind of intimate contact even without sexual intercourse actually taking place.

I may have a “partner free life”—but when you think about it, we could ALL have a “partner” if we would LOWER OUR STANDARDS ENOUGH.

I could be married tonight if I wanted to be, I could go down to the wino shelter and pick myself out any one I wanted. But just lowering my standards so that I could have a “partner” isn’t what I am about. No one likes sex more than I do I think, but at the same time, it is only meaningful to ME when it is a bonding ritual between me and a man I love and trust and I trust is not having sex with others. So “partner free” until I find the one man I love and that I trust—if I ever do find such a man again. But I’m not going to settle for less than such a man. “Partner free” is JUST FINE WITH ME. Beats the heck out of a psychopathic partner. LOL

ps and even before I would engage in sex or intimate contact with ANY man I would insist on a complete STD evaluation for both of us. Any positive findings for things that couldn’t’ be cured with a penicillian shot in the butt would have to be discussed in light of the potential health risk to myself. I might love him a great deal, but that doesn’t mean I want to expose myself to something that might kill me it would just have to be assessed on a case by case basis.



You get a hearty AMEN SISTER from this section!!!

By “partner free” I don’t mean sex partner. I mean a life’s partner. Someone who is committed, caring, and kind and that takes TIME. I know as women, we all want that. But hey, we probably all want an all expenses paid trip to Europe, or to win the lottery or a cure for cancer etc.

I think it is so sad that we may miss out on that hope because we were STOOPID or just plain unaware. Sad, sad, sad, IMO. This is where my faith has to come in. Without it I would be an emotional goner.

Asking for papers seems kind of extreme but it makes sense. I wonder how many people actually do that?

Grey rocked the boogey man in the gym today. He insists at coming at my time so he is now a potted plant. I worry that it will fuel him even more. I guess I will have to deal with it when it comes. I thought his ego would not allow him to come back for more. I was wrong. It is exactly that -HIS EGO-that is egging him on to WIN. I am not flattered just bothered by it. I don’t want to cave. When I feel weak I think of that STD thang and that does it!!

I am so grateful for the support on this site. Thanks!! 🙂

Ox Drover

Dear Adamsrib,

If you have to, turn and look at him with utter contempt, and say something along the line of, “Can you just NOT take NO for an answer? I AM NOT INTERESTED IN YOU!” Say it loud enough that others in the area can hear and then walk off. Then go back to the potted plant treatment,, and/or change times.

BOUNDARIES! You do NOT have to let him take control of the situation. BE FIRM, and offensive if necessary to ward him off. I think there will be some point he will get the message.

If that doesn’t work, go to management and tell them that he is harassing you and have them talk to him, that ought to embarass him enough for him to get the message. If that doesn’t stop him, change gyms and they should refund your contract or whatever, because they are responsible for keeping you safe and no molested by other patrons.

GET THAT BACK BONE growing some steel gurl! You can do it!

Ox Drover

ps “asking for papers”—you wouldn’t buy a dog without some assurance it was healthy and wasn’t likely to give you or your other animals diseases, so why should you “buy” a sexual partner without at least the same assurances.

Back when I was buying bulls for my herd. I bought only VIRGIN bulls (believe it or not there are cow-STDs) and I put him in quarentine for 90 days and had him tested for every disease known to mortal bovine. Cost a fortune but I couldn’t afford to have 50 mama cows with STD caused abortions because I got some bull that was infected!

I love my cows, but believe me, I love myself more! Now I only have 3 cows so we do “incest,” but none of the offspring are going to be sold for breeding so I really don’t care if they have 2 heads or 5 legs–at some point there will be a year when no one has a male calf to be “incested” with, but that’s okay, with only 3 cows left it isn’t like I’ll be financially ruined and I’ll have to make other arrangements but for now, incest serves the purpose!


RE: papers
That is one argument I can not even attempt to debate 🙂 Whoa!

I think if I get angry and make threats, he will know he has won. It is so much better if I just ignore him. He is looking mighty foolish in front of the guys (and the women he so likes to flirt with) because he is after all A POTTED PLANT 🙂 instead of the Don Juan he likes to project. The stupid look on his face when I refuse to interact is worth GOLD to me because I know I have the upper hand. Look at it like a figurative skillet KERPOW every time I grey rock him. It is rich…

I don’t want to change gyms because the one in question is for seniors and it is ridiculously cheap. If I really feel he has become a threat I would refuse to go. I will change my workout time accordingly if it continues. I don’t want to start a war in my community. We are a community there at the senior center. He has a lot of peeps and so do I and many are the same peeps. And like I said I am so FREAKED OUT by the idea of STDs that he WILL NOT come near me ever again. I SWEAR TO GOD.

Don’t worry Oxy and thank you. Remember, he is 20 years older than me with one foot on the banana peel. All it would take is a slight nudge and…. 🙂

Ox Drover

I’m glad you wouldn’t argue with me about the papers! LOL I’d have to shoot you down on that one! And that is the funny thing, so many people will crawl into bed with some guy/gal they hardly know and play RUSSIAN ROULETTE with germs!

It has been so long since we have seen people die in this country from INFECTIONS that I think we as a country have literally forgotten what the possibilities are. It is like people who refuse to vaccinate their kids because a PSYCHOPATHIC PHYSICIAN IN BRITAIN who has since been DEFROCKED put out a PHONY STUDY saying the vaccines might cause autism (when he was trying to get the current vaccines “out lawed” so HIS VACCINE WOULD PREVAIL) He has since been proven a fake, his “research” was FAKE and vaccines do not cause autism and are not even linked to them. Yet, there is a whole group of people who STILL BELIEVE in that and don’t vaccinate their kids.

There are 9 kids who have died of whooping cough in California in this YEAR ALONE, and if you have ever seen a child (usually an infant) struggling to breathe with this you will get your kid VACCINATED 3 X! (I’ve only seen films but they are TERRIBLE–haunting)

YES, IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU! BE CAREFUL–because Oxy is paranoid, if no other reason!

Folks, GERMS can kill!


I’m not particularly comfortable labelling people as any type of personality. However, I think when you are driven to seek answers to an experience you have had that leaves you feeling somehow mentally and emotionally violated, you can’t help it. It’s some small solace to discover that what you experienced wasn’t something you did, or you made happen, or that you may have been wrong.

I was so bewildered, confused, lost, and riddled with doubts about my own ability to validate what I had experienced I found myself searching, searching, searching for hours at a time, just trying to find something, anything, that would help me from the pain I felt.

I have been in break ups before. My marriage broke down after nine years, it was devastating, I was heartbroken – but I didn’t come out of that relationship feeling anything like I did after meeting this subsequent man. Mr Charm, I call him. I didn’t pore over websites trying find an explanation for why my marriage broke down. I was very clear about what had happened. We were both very sad about what happened. There was a lot of pain and heartbreak and it took a long time to recover. But it was normal to feel that way.

Not like this. Not an empty shell of the woman I had once been. Not suffering from anxiety to such extremes I was on medication. I was like a drug addict, and he was my fix. I couldn’t get enough of him, but at the same time it was a constant emotional rollercoaster from one day to the next. He made me feel the most wonderful woman in the world for months. I was valued. He made me feel the most worthless individual in the world. I was devalued. Up down, push, pull. You name it, he was good at it. All quietly done – he didn’t rage. He was classy, cool, intellectual, witty, well educated, slightly old fashioned. Very attractive. He knew it. In some ways I found myself admiring him because nothing phased him. He seemed the eternal optimist. It took a long long time before I began to notice enough to see that it wasn’t optimism – he just didn’t care. Nothing bothered him. He seems to go through life like a robot, whatever happens, he just gets on with it, ploughs through it, doesn’t waste time on emotions like empathy, regret, or remorse.

He believed in his own publicity. He was grandiose, in a subtle way. He always believed he should be served first in a shop, get the best table in a restaurant, and was not above berating some poor hard working individual if he didn’t receive the respect he felt he deserved.

He had what he liked to call “controlled aggression”. Whatever traits he had, he liked to almost lead you to believe he had cultivated them for himself. He was that much in control of himself he was always one step ahead of the game. I admired once how quickly he seemed to fall asleep – he told me he had taught himself to do that. He had rage, it was there, but it came out in smouldering dark moods rather than aggressive outburst.

He was insiduous. He could ignore you for days, even weeks on end, nearly driving you crazy with worry and then pop up and act as if nothing happened when you are just about at your wits end. No sorry, no explanation, no acknowledgement. If you push it, he would show you disdain and be “disappointed” in you. Somehow, don’t ask me how, he always came up smelling of roses, and I always walked away feeling like a horrible human being. Even when he lied, and I knew he lied, and he knew I knew he lied but carried on almost with a glint in his eye.

I think the thing that cripples us is that we realise that whilst we have become hooked, totally in love, and spellbound by them, they don’t love us in the same way. We amuse them? We give them a sense of power. We provide them with something that they need, but deep down, deep down inside your gut, you always have that little feeling that if you walked out the door tomorrow, they’d brush down, open a door and the next one would walk in and you would be forgotten in a second.

I discovered Sam Vaikin’s site about NPD and it was the only time I read anything that explained how I felt. I wasn’t so concerned about calling him anything, but it was such a relief to find out I wasn’t alone, thousands of others had gone through the same experiences and had come out a shattered remnant of themselves. Normal, nice, intelligent people were getting conned by this type of person – not just me.

I am 4 years on now, and it’s been a long slow process as this man got so far into my head with his little mind games I couldn’t get him out. I felt brainwashed, and to some extent I believe I was.

I do believe that what I experienced was malignant in every way. I don’t know what he is, but I know that to me, I came as close to experiencing an evil human being as you can get. Not overt evil. The evil of someone who knows exactly what he is doing, and getting pleasure from it. I had a friend who wouldn’t come near where we lived because she felt it had a horrible aura. He had a very dark side, it was empty. Devoid of real emotions. But he could mimic them whenever they were required.

I didn’t fear for my life physically. I feared for my sanity. With the help, encouragement, and persuasion of people who were watching me fade away, I ran. I didn’t want to – I just had to before I disappeared.

Low self esteem? No. That man had more self belief than any person I have ever come across. His self belief was so powerful it affects every one who gets near him and they are too totally taken in by him.

There is a better word to describe this kind of person. I always think of him whenever I see films about the Devil.



elljay _ I am trying to find the right words to thank you for your above post…..just sitting here shaking my head at how accurate you described my experience with the devil…thanx

super chic

ellejay, I found this website exactly as you describe,
searching, searching… for what was wrong !!! (?)
I still have the anxiety.
This site has helped me understand A LOT!!!!!
Thank you for sharing. God Bless.

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