By | March 8, 2007 30 Comments

ASK DR. LEEDOM: Why are addicts and sociopaths similar?

Tough Cookie wrote:

I have found that sociopaths often tend to be abusers of drugs. In my case, my sociopathic boy friend was addicted heavily to drugs. It seem to me that sociopaths and drug addicts tend to hold very similar characteristics (i.e. manipulative, selfish, impulsivity). How is one able to tell the difference between the characteristics of sociopath and the characteristics of a drug addict?

You made a very good observation, that is, many sociopaths are addicts/alcoholics and many addicts/alcoholics have sociopathic tendencies. Remember, sociopathy is a spectrum, with mild, moderate and severe cases. Severely sociopathic people are called psychopaths.

Why the link between sociopathy and addiction? If you have read the material on this blog and on my website, you know that I propose that the best way to understand sociopathy is to consider the Inner Triangle. Addicts/Alcoholics have severe impairment of the Inner Triangle. I believe impairment of the Inner Triangle causes addiction in people who expose themselves to substances of abuse.

Coincidentally your choice of adjectives manipulative, selfish, impulsivity directly corresponds to the Inner Triangle! Selfish relates to an inability to love-the base of the Inner Triangle is Ability to Love. Impulsivity relates to Impulse Control and manipulative relates to Moral Reasoning- the sides of the Inner Triangle.

Why would an impaired Inner Triangle lead to addiction/alcoholism? The short answer is that balance in life means that loving the people in our lives has to be our greatest pleasure. When other things are more important to us than love, we become susceptible to substance abuse. People who are also impulsive and who lack moral understanding, do all kinds of things trying to fill the void caused by an inability to love.

Comment on this article

Please Login to comment
Notify of
tough cookie

As mentioned the sociopath involved in my life has a drug problem. He is supose to seek treatment very soon but I have my doubts.

He blames his distructive behaviors towards himself and others because of his drug use. I think that is just an easy co-out for not taking responsibility. I guess I am just wondering that if he does seek treatment for the drugs will it reduce his hurtful behavior?

I do not think that it will…This sociopath lies for the sake of lying. I think this is just a way of life that is ingrained in his nature.

tough cookie

I definately know that its up to the person seeking recovery to make the best of it.

I do not paln on taking him back. What angers me is that he strings me along. He said that he needs help for his drug problem but that after he has completed the program who’s to know what might happen?

I know its complete BS. I am mad that this person has seen me desperate and loss a complete sense of self respect. He saw me at my worst. Sociopaths thrive on others weakness and because my heart was weak ( I was inlove with him) he saw me act in ways I would never of imagined.

I know that’s the past/ I just don’t want him to think of me as a push over.

I wish there was some way to sting him where it hurts. To get him back even just a lttle bit.


my sociopathic ex was also an addict, a sex addict in his case. I broke up with him after I found out he had visited massage parlour. He was also addicted to porn on the Internet, I once catch him looking at porn first thing in the morning (5 Am). After we broke up, he tried to convince me to take him back, saying he was in therapy. We were apart for two months before I found out he was back with his ex. I had no contact with him since that (2 weeks ago)

But I’m pretty sure that all his talk about beeing in therapy or not going on the Internet was a lie to win me back.

tough cookie

I know this may be a silly question…But how do you know when your partner is a sex addict and not just a male who likes pornography?

My ex liked to watch porn. I found this out when we started to live together and I got the cable bill which was a lot higher than usual. Turns out he ordered several adult films and didn’t tell me. He said he was too embarassed and didn’t knwo how to tell me himself. He said he would not order any more movies so I let it go, but the next month I saw more adult film charges. I took the adult films off of my cable programming so this would not happen again.

I found out that porn was also an issue that caused several fights between him and his ex girlfriend as well.

I guess I am asking how do you know when a person like this is a sex addict and not some one who is just really digs porn?


This is not a silly question, it is not easy to tell them apart. I guess I knew that he was sex addict when he started lying about it. He was on the Internet early on the morning while I was still sleeping and late at night. He told me it was for work or other things (a lie). If I turn my back five minutes (for a shower or going for a walk) he would be looking at porn, which I found out later. I know that he was looking at some porn, but when his behavious started to be suspicious, I confronted him about it, he will say that this was normal behaviour and get angry at me for spying on him. At some point, I started doing just that, spying him on the Internet and going through his things. Found out about the massage parlour, the two-times a day porn addiction, the multiples women on his msn contact list.

I know that some sociopath have a very high sex drive and have no trouble having multiple partners. So I dont know if his sexual addiction was part of his sociopathic personality or not. I just know that his behavious was inacceptable and more than just digging porn. Porn was his constant preoccupation.

tough cookie

I understand that some men enjoy porn. My boyfriend before the sociopath wasn’t into it that much so it was never really a problem.

I guess what bothered me about it so much was the ‘sneek factor’. I think alot of men like doing things behind their girlfriends backs and that is partially what gives them pleasure.

My ex knew that I was going to eventually find out from the cable bill that he racked up some movies. It pissed me off that he did not have the common curtousy to tell me himself. And even when he told me that he wasn’t going to order any movies I would still find that he would buy stuff and claim that they were not his purchases.

Similarly to you deedee, I had gone to sleep several times and caught him looking at porn while I was in bed. Or other times, I would take a bath and find out later that he had again been looking at movies. The lies about the porn drove me crazy. I Figured that if he lied about something like this who knows what else he would lie about.

Low and behold my imagination was never at the same seed of the reality of things when it came to his lying capabilities…

>>People who are also impulsive and who lack moral understanding, do all kinds of things trying to fill the void caused by an inability to love.

Been A Doormat

Arlene, Arlene…..

Thank you posting your story. Your words could be my own. My children had lived with me for 13 yrs. and in a nano second they were gone. One is grown, but the 16 yr old daughter now lives with her sociopathic father. My therapist fears that she may have some of those characteristics as well. This is my child that I prayed for, and we have always had an amazing relationship. Now, I am a rabid monster to both of these children. What is the common denominator in both situations? You’ve got it……dear old dad. Keep your chin up, girl. I’ll try to keep mine up too. I have no idea HOW he did this, but hind sight is 20/20. I feel like a complete idiot for trusting him for a second, but after so many years…I thought he could reason w/ our daughter. No, he made Mom who has always been there taking care of her, mean and crazy in her eyes….just because I said “no ma’am….you will follow the rules”….and my life is upside down. Arlene, pray. God is in control, and I am so sorry that you miss your children…..I do too….but it’s like FootPrints In The Sand…..He is carrying us but we won’t see it until we get there.


Hi everyone,

I was wondering if anyone can help me out here.

My exboyfriend (the sociopath?) has had a drug problem for most of his adult life. It’s gotten worse the passed 2 or 3 years, coincidently the same time we got together as a couple. After we broke up, and I started seeing my therapist he said it seems like my ex had bi polar, which in the manic stage can have the same symptoms as an anti social disorder. Some other people as well have said they think it is bi polar, which coupled with his drug addiction can be a train wreck. He is currently in rehab, which btw it’s the longest he has lasted in rehab. When I found out he was back in rehab I didn’t give it a second thought. I just thought it was another ploy by him. A therapist from his rehab called me yesterday and said my ex would like me to call him, that it would really please him if he talked with me. Well, of course, when I got this message my gut told me not to call him. And I didn’t. I did, however, contact his therapist. I just got off the phone with her. She stated that my ex knew he did me wrong, and that he hopes he can have a relationship with our 16 month old daughter. She basically thought I was being this mean ignorant woman completely blocking my ex out of his daughter’s life. I told her I was protecting my daughter and looking out for her best interest. We talked for a short while, and I asked if his mental health is going to addressed as well? She said that drug abuse can mirror anti social traits. I think I just wanted an affirmation from her that he wasn’t a sociopath!!! I’m so confused.

I told her I want nothing more than for my ex to become the person I know he can be, to get help for his drug abuse and follow thru with it. To get his mental disorder, whatever it is, addressed, and then treated. I want my daughter to have her father. Of course if he is a sociopath, there’s no way I want him around me or our daughter. But there are so many things in the air. I don’t know what to believe. I feel like if I have this hope of him not being a sociopath, I don’t want to be disappointed again to find out he is in fact one. His therapist said he is so nice to talk with and easy to get along with. She called him “our Jason”. That’s not his real name, I just changed it for privacy reasons.

I basically told his therapist I wish him well, but that I feel uncomfortable talking to him right now. She said she understood and would relay the message to him. She actually said herself it wasn’t a good idea for me to talk to him. Sooo…I don’t know. I just know I have to continue doing what I’m doing. Focusing on me and my daughter. Hope for the best…but expect the worst!!

My ex knows there is a lot on the line for him. He’s basically hit rock bottom and he knows if he doesn’t get his life straightened out, he’s going to continue living the sad life he was living before he got into rehab.

Thanks in advance for your replies. I really appreciate it!!

Ox Drover

Dear Aerin,

Many psychopaths have bi-polar as well as ADHD and/or drug and/or alcohol addiction, so just because he has one doesn’t mean he doesn’t have more problems.

There are a FEW people who do get “clean and sober” of addictions and are still psychopaths, AA calls them “dry drunks” and they are the psychopaths that have dried out but are still mean, manipulative bastards.

There are a FEW people who are addicts of one kind or another and are just “dysfunctional” but not psychopaths, but the question is, do you want your daughter to be around a dysfunctional person who has the characteristics of a psychopath? The chances of him straightening up even if he is “just” bi-polar (which is enough of a curse!) are slim to none, and there is nothing you can do to help him. My suggestion is that if he is clean, sober and has a job in 5 years you will consider CONSIDER allowing him supervised visitation, otherwise, save his dime and don’t bother calling you.

I realize that his therapist has to take a “positive” approach, but frankly, too many therapists are wanting the family/SO to assume responsibility for this person. He does not need you to be “supportive” of him in order to straighten his life out, but you can bet your bottom dollar when he fails (AGAIN) he will blame you because he failed.

I think you are 100% right to focus on you and your daughter, and I suggest that you also go to Dr. Liane Leedom’s web site “parenting the at risk child” (there’s a link here on LF) to give you some support for yourself and your child! Your child is genetically at risk from his DNA and you want to give her the best chance she can have to grow up with a conscience and empathy and no addictions. Good luck and God bless you! (((hugs)))

lesson learned


Thanks for bringing this article up. Two things here:

1. My ex P was/is a drug addict/alcoholic. How he is not DEAD by now is simply nothing less than amazing. I was married to him for twenty years and we have six children and two grandchildren. I left him ten years ago and he lost interest in the children, preferring to throw responsibility to the wind and run off with ex Best Friend. I raised/am raising the children, alone.

While we were married, he went into treatment THREE TIMES. He could NOT, WOULD not maintain it. He was a psychopath, but I was not aware of that at the time. I believe it is IMPOSSIBLE for them to maintain sobriety. If they DO manage to maintain it,their behaviors often resemble those of a dry drunk. My ex stayed sober once for about four years. He was JUST AS BAD, as he was drunk, even if SOME behaviors had “mellowed” they were just as damaging…….and that’s because he’s a P.

Ex Spath, my next relationshit, was an alcoholic. STill is and doesn’t believe he has a problem. BOTH men now, acknowledge that they DO NOT wish to stop using. But they’re also close to fifty.

2. I may catch some hell for this, BUT, I do believe there are people who are alcoholics (a few ex drug addicts that I know) who maintain sobriety and are GENUINELY GREAT people! They didn’t drink because they couldn’t love, they drank because they LOVED TOO MUCH. They were drinking away their pain. I”ve seen this over and over again. One friend of mine, just celebrated two years completely sober. This was a woman who put herself and her children through hell, while she drank a fifth of vodka a day and then escalated to FOUR a DAY. She got into a car accident because she was drinking and was nearly killed. Nearly a year sober, and then she started the cycle again.

When she finally decided she was done, and VERY scared, her parents came to get her and took her into detox. She is HARD CORE about her recovery, is mending and healing her relationships with her children and family. She is one of the NICEST, kindest people I know. She is open and honest about her drinking and also healing her past. It has been a REALLY long hard road back, but some of the discussions we’ve had about what started it all in the first place were astonishing.

I believe that using and addiction DOES create spathy like behaviors. But, having been a drinker myself, having started with spathy (his big MO was wine and was a hook), and being addicted both to him AND the alcohol that was required to be with him, doesn’t make me a spath, but it SURE DID create spathy behavior on my part, with manipulation, hiding, lying, sneaking, all the things I also did to partake in my relationshit with my spath too.

I don’t know what happened to me, but to illustrate further, I got TIRED of the drinking, I GOT TIRED of the addiction, I GOT TIRED OF SPATHY AND HIS DRINKING AND ABUSE. THE AMOUNT that I was drinking SCARED ME and I was seeing the affects upon my children and myself so I bailed on it.

I’m sober today. Thank GOD. But I’m NOT a spath, P or N. I am however, very susceptible to addictions and participate still in some of them (smoking), and that does not make me a spath. I think the big difference IS empathy, IS love, IS morality. I apparently had enough of the triangle to stop doing what I was doing or to be frightened enough of it, to WITHDRAW from it.

It hasn’t been easy. For me, alcohol involved A LOT of elements, spath was a big one, he wanted a drinking buddy and I was, it also helped me to COPE with spathy and his behaviors, which is what HE wanted too because then I was more compliant. In other words, alcohol covered a multitude of wounds with that measure of coping. NO BUENO!!!

I guess I can’t honestly say that I don’t still struggle with a desire to drink. But I know the reasons why. A lot of it now, is not so much an addiction like feel, but more of a way to anesthetize pain, thus a visit to the doctor on Thursday to deal with a lot of the PTSD and depression. Again, if I was spath, I could justify my using, if I was in treatment, I could lie my way through it to get what I want, including a relatioshit.

Aerin,if he was also very abusive to you, this isn’t just alcohol induced. That’s an underlying issue, whether spath or not, that needs to be addressed. I don’t think AA nor treatment centers deal squarely and head on with abusive men. Perhaps a little, but not what needs to be. My spathy father was an alcoholic too and quit drinking, went to AA for about a year. Lied his ass off all the way through it. Worked out, but that was more of an image maker, not a true effort out of love, especially for himself to stop. He was spath. There was no such thing.

I also think that stopping an addiction, while it’s work, is also a CHOICE. I noticed towards the end of my relationshit when I had slowed my drinking down to stopping, I wanted to be around spath less and less. I wasn’t quite there yet, but I was getting there. I noticed while not around him daily, that my drinking was a CHOICE..I REALIZED that. I THOUGHT about it. And I just stopped. But what it really came down to, insofar as love, was that I had to love MYSELF enough to stop. Stop the alcohol and stop seeing Spathy. It didn’t matter what anyone else said to me at the time. I was in SUCH denial. It wasn’t that I didn’t “love” them (because in the back of my mind, I suffered huge amounts of guilt about it!), my children, my friends, it was that I didn’t love ME. But once there was even a spark, I was moving away from self hatred, into self love. And that doesn’t come without a lot of pain either.

No, not everyone who is an addict/alcoholic is a spath. But I do believe, that even if a spath “recovers” from an addiction, their characteristics and personalities DO NOT and that is THEIR major addiction: THEMSELVES. I think the alcohol and drug addiction is SECONDARY when it comes to S/P/N”s. If you do not have love in your heart at all, no conscience, what would be the point in “loving” yourself enough to STOP destructive behaviors, let alone anyone else? There wouldn’t be. I know that when my spathy father and ex P stopped drinking, their behaviors remained the same, and eventually entitlement and lack of the ability to love at all, let alone themselves, justified their return to the secondary addiction.

I’m a bit long winded on this, but just my perspective.

I hope you are able to sort through the crap. I’m not overly happy about what his counselor said to you. Putting the blame upon you in ANY capacity is wrong, however, I do think it DOES indicate changes that I see need to be made for alcohol/drug abuse counselors to spot P/N/S’s in clients and how to counsel the victims of such or to be able to refer the victims of such to appropriate treatments and care.



Ox Drover,

You said everything that I am thinking. I know I’m doing the right thing, I just need some affirmation. Both his therapist and I are in agreement that my ex needs to prove to me over & over & over & over that he is worthy of being in my daughter’s life. She knows he can’t cross boundries with me and she is relaying that message as well to him.

He knows I am off limits. You’re right about the therapist taking a positive approach, thinking I should be supportive of him. She got me a little mad, like it’s MY FAULT my ex can’t see his daughter. Gimme a break!!! I do obviously want him to get clean, and start doing the right thing in his life. Only time will tell…at least I know I’m not putting myself in that position to put myself at risk. It is totally up to him to get clean. My therapist said the same thing the last time my ex was in rehab in Sept. He said I don’t have to support him, or take responsibility for him. So he can blame me all he wants if & when he fails. Too bad for him!!! He’s the loser in this game…not me!!!

In my heart of hearts I wish my ex has bi polar, and is not sociopathic. If that truly is the case I sincerely want him to get help and get medication for his illness. I also told him that the last time he was in rehab. That he needs to start seeing a trained professional to diagnose & treat his mental illness, whatever it is. Sooo…God only knows. I am out of his life. That’s all I know, and all I want. Unless he proves me otherwise, there is no way I am allowing my precious daughter around her father. So sad too…because I was just thinking about this the other day. Father’s are supposed to protect their children from harm, and here I am protecting my sweet daughter from her father. This picture is so wrong and not what I envisioned for my life, but it’s what I was given. Now I’m making myself so depressed.

Ughhh…anyway thanks so much for your kind words. I do reference back to Dr. Leedom’s web site. When I was first reading her story, I couldn’t believe how much it correalated with mine. I totally felt everything she went thru. So yeah…I have to mention this before I sign off. My ex’s therapist said “she(my daughter) can’t get what her father has by hugs or being around her” Can you believe it?!?! I couldn’t believe she said that. Basically her trying to coerce me into letting my ex see his daughter. Crazy!!! Of course this happened at the beginning of our conversation, until I gave her my side of the story.

I just want a normal, happy life!! 🙂

Thanks again Oxy!!!

Ox Drover

Dear Aerin,

It doesn’t matter if he is psychopathic or bi-polar or BOTH, the point is that he is TOXIC to his daughter and to you.

Your daughter does deserve a loving caring father, but she doesn’t have one. Not her fault, but she can in my opinion “catch” psychopathy and/or drug addiction and/or dysfunction from being around an abusive person, HER FATHER. So she does not need to be around someone who is NOT SAFE for her to be around, what is the up side of her being around a drug addict or an untreated bi-polar or psychopath. Doesn’t make any difference WHAT the “diagnosis” is if they are toxic, she doesn’t need to be around him at all.

Apparently he has been in and out of rehab many times, especially when he hasn’t got any where else to go…LOL I don’t have a lot of confidence in his straightening up at this point, so just change your phone number so his therapist CAN’T CALL YOU.

Copy off some of Dr.. Leedom’s articles and give to your therapist about children, genetics and raising a child whose other parent is a psychopath. Educating that therapist might help other patients of hers. Hang in there.

lesson learned


It was a blessing that exP wanted NOTHING to do with his children.It was their mother (ME) that they had left to deal with, involved with a spath.

If you are alone raising your child, and YOU are healthy, your child has the best possible success at life and with her possible choices. There are no guarantees, but the risks are significantly lower.

I think you’re doing the absolute, one hundred percent RIGHT thing!



Hi LL,

Thanks for your reply. I’m glad you found the strength & resolve to quit your drinking. It’s amazing how the brain works…you actually showed sociopathic traits because of your drinking & association with a sociopath, when in reality you’re the exact opposite.

I’m glad you brought up the topic of some reformed alcoholics/substance abusers being great people. I totally forgot about my former boss. He was an alcoholic for years. And not a very nice one. He had a family and basically made their life hell. I forget his whole story but I believe one day he just had an epiphany and decided he needed help. He went thru the whole 12 step process, and today is a very healthy, “normal” guy. He’s been clean for years and has a very good relationship with his wife and children. He’s actually today a health nut, eats healthy, goes running, and looks very good for being in his late sixties!!! Also too…I totally forgot about my neighbor. She was an alcoholic for years and she too had an epiphany one day and decided she needed help. She got it and today lives a clean life. And she is one of the nicest, caring people you will ever meet. She was even giving me encouragement last summer when my ex was going into rehab. So yeah…it is definetely possible. I’m so glad you brought that up. I really did forget about those stories…I think because my mind is so preoccupied with everything else going on in my head.

I’m not going to say this is going to happen with my ex. God only knows with him. I guess I could be cautiously optimistic. But whatever happens happens. Cest li vi!!!

To answer your question, my ex was never abusive with me. No way, I would never allow somebody like that in my life. Psychological abuse – lies, manipulative behavior, gas lighting – yes. I don’t think he could hurt a fly, it’s not in him to be violent or malicious. Just reckless, irresponsible, immature, lying to make himself look good and everybody else look bad. I saw him be a such a good person. It’s like he became a monster overnight.

He did admit last summer that he has a problem and needs help with his drug abuse. He said he wanted to be normal, he wanted a normal, happy family. He didn’t want the racing thoughts in his head anymore. I still don’t know what his true intentions are. I’m protecting myself & my daughter from him no matter what. It’s up to him to poney up and do what he needs to do!!! He can then prove to me he is taking all the right steps and become the respectable, good human being I know he can be.

I do believe he has love and empathy in his heart. He has so many problems that need to be addressed. Like you said, you need to love yourself first. That is something I know he doesn’t have. Self – love. I have self – love, and he can’t understand that concept. His therapist said that as well. He needs to focus on himself if he really wants help. I’ve been telling him that for months. He just goes from girlfriend to girlfriend to fill that love that is missing in him, that dark hole that stems from his childhood. His father left his mom when she was pregnant with him. He was the baby of the family, and his siblings, mother, grandparents, family spoiled him and never taught him the consequences of right & wrong. So here he is now…a soon to be 38 year old with the emotional intelligence of a 3 year old. Seriously…I am not kidding!!!

So again LL… thanks for your kind words. I hope everything is well with you!!!



“Apparantly he has been in and out of rehab many times, especially when he hasn’t got any where to go”. Too funny and sooo true!!!

That’s a good idea about giving the therapist some of Dr.Leedmon’s articles. Lesson Learned brought up a good point too. Substance/alcohol abuse counselors should be more informed of sociopaths and drug/alcohol abuse. That still makes me mad that his therapist turned the tables on me. That’s her own problem…not mine.

My ex truly is a lost soul. And the good part is I am not a part of his sick/twisted life anymore. It’s his problem…let him deal with it!!! Or not deal with it!!!

Ox Drover


You said he was never “abusive” to you but he lied and gaslit and so on, well your definition of “abuse” must be physical only—but EMOTIONAL abuse is as bad or worse than physical abuse in my opinion. It rapes the soul. See if you can get a copy of “Stalking the Soul” about emotional abuse it is out of print but you might find int on Amazon or B&N used book sales. It is a great book about how damaging emotional abuse is.

lesson learned


“To answer your question, my ex was never abusive with me. No way, I would never allow somebody like that in my life. Psychological abuse ”“ lies, manipulative behavior, gas lighting ”“ yes. I don’t think he could hurt a fly, it’s not in him to be violent or malicious. Just reckless, irresponsible, immature, lying to make himself look good and everybody else look bad. I saw him be a such a good person. It’s like he became a monster overnight.”…sweetheart, that IS abuse. You just described my ex spath to a T!

Psychological abuse can be WORSE than being hit. It is a soul rape of the mind. Having experienced both a violent alcoholic/addict abuser P and quiet, yet gaslighting, mindscrewing spath, I can tell you that being hit felt FAR BETTER! Let me explain………you see when the fist was raised or the rage was out of control, I knew to try to protect myself….but I could SEE it coming, FEEL it happening…….

When it’s passive aggressive, covert, I NEVER knew when it was coming other than a “feeling” i had that I MINIMIZED as less abusive then what P did to me.

You’re describing a spath,sweetheart. Also, being in and out of rehab, this person is especially spathy and he’s slimed YOU big time.

The biggest mistake you can make, is to minimize the damage that his ABUSE will do. It doesn’t matter if he’s CLEAN, the behaviors are THERE. There is definitely a difference, as I outlined in my previous post here, but yours is sounding more like a spath each time you post about him.

YOu said you would never allow abuse. But you did. And WORSE because it was covert. YOU ARE A VERY SMART, COURAGEOUS, SWEET WOMAN! I can tell by your posts that you are VERY kind…but when it comes to men like this, you are BETTER OFF, as is your daughter, without him. Also saying he goes from girlfriend to girlfriend is signature spath. That he’s looking for something he can’t find. You’re half right there. This is what SPATHS DO!!! But it’s not because he’s so unhappy, had an abusive childhood and is trying to somehow find happiness, because even if he was CLEAN< he would still be exhibiting those behaviors.

I'm really glad you shared with me about those people who you have personally witnessed as (what I refer to as) alcoholic SURVIVORS….there is a BIG difference!!! Even those who STILL struggle with alcoholism (I"ve seen a few in AA meetings, even after drinking), are struggling with something incredibly painful……..I can't lump them altogether but I can TELL YOU FOR SURE, that a SPATH IN AN AA MEETING IS EASY TO SPOT!

There is a woman I know, who has been through sheer, absolute hell. I love her to pieces. She was my housekeeper through the state, hired to help me when I was really sick with my newly diagnosed fibro several years ago. She had JUST come clean from a major drug addiction and having lost ALL FIVE of her children to foster care. She busted her BUTT off with working on herself. The atrocities in her family were ASTOUNDING to me. Shocking beyond belief. Even some of the stories here, that I hear, like Oxy's, that are very extreme, inspire me because they managed to SURVIVE it all…I don't know how they MADE IT, because ya know what? The truth is, a lot of people DON"T Aerin. They are simply in so much pain, they just can't. I have enormous compassion for them, just as I did this woman. And she struggled, and struggled and struggled….relapsed a couple of times during the process, forgave herself, picked up and KEPT GOING………..what an INSPIRATION she was to me!!! Guess what? She got all of her kids back, married a super GREAT guy, had another baby, still worked, ………………and then this last October, her mother was found hung in a closet in her home. She'd committed suicide. The month prior, her little brother had done the same….two tragedies IN ONE MONTH…..she fell off the wagon HARD…but she didn't take up drugs again, she drank..and she drank….and she drank some more…..and she slept all day, and she cried…yet during all of this, she managed also to accept that her addiction was a coping mechanism to deal with her immediate pain and grief…but something beautiful came from that…she got into a support group. SHE KNEW she was no good to her children and TOLD me so. SHE KNEW, but she was OKAY with that for the moment……….I mean MY GOD IN HEAVEN!!!! ….the absolute tragedy and she and her mother were very close, talk about BETRAYAL!!!! No closure, no possibilities for it…….but her support group for survivors of those who have committed suicide, was her olive branch to another level of healing. They took her JUST AS SHE WAS AND THE STATE SHE WAS IN….because she has a HEART……a conscience……empathy…she was just beyond wounded…grieving…'s been three months now. She just gave up the alcohol, saw a doctor is VERY heavily medicated, but continues to seek the support of her group, a therapist….and slowly has resumed taking care of her family…..and during all of this, her husband has been an absolute prince……

And THAT is what empathy is all about. Even with addictions. I think it is tragic to assume that all addicts/alcoholics are spaths and are hellbent on destruction…because it simply is not true, HOWEVER, in your case, as with so many others, mine included some are just spaths…………and may never "recover"and if they do, they're toxic anyway…………

Keep being the best Mom you can be, Aerin. Also, keep educating yourself about spaths and about abuse, particularly passive aggressive abuse. He doesn't have to hit your body, to destroy your soul.




I did say my ex psychological abused me. I didn’t even realize it until I started seeing my therapist. He was the one that put it in perspective for me. I was so confused and my head was spinning with everything I was going thru. I guess because I led a life of no abuse, my head was in the sand as far as psychological abuse. It happens to you, but at the time it’s happening you have no idea your being abused. I guess that explains the lies,gaslighting, manipulative behavior. That’s the whole thing of it. Unless you’re aware of this maladaptive behavior, you have no idea it’s happening to you until after the fact. After the fact your head is spinning, you have no idea what the truth is, your life gets turned upside dowwn. So yes…I’m fully aware that I was psychologically abused.

You are right about emotional abuse being worse than physical abuse. Any kind of abuse is horrible, but emotional really has to be the worst. It’s still even hard for me to say I was abused. It takes away your innocense.

Ox Drover

Dear Aerin,

I understand your take on this, believe me I THOUGHT I was not being abused either because I wasn’t being hit by a husband, and I actually felt SUPERIOR to women who were hit and went back because “I would NEVER do that”–yet I let my SON hit me and abuse me, use me and lie to me, and didn’t count that as “abuse” or domestic violence which it was!

I’m sorry if I thought you still hadn’t clued in on the emotional abuse you suffered, but do not be ashamed of what HE did—and yes, I know that it is easy to feel ashamed of what someone else did or does, I’ve been there on that one too. LOL To feel ashamed that we were abused and continued to allow it (not even being aware it was abuse)

I got a BIG dose of humility when I realized I had been JUST as allowing of abuse as the women who went back over and over to men who beat them and broke their bones…and as a health care professional I “should have known better” but I didn’t. I was like the man in the Bible that Jesus talked about who tried to get the splinter out of his friend’s eye, while having a LOG in his own. I needed to clear my own vision before I felt superior to anyone else.

The best indicator of future behavior is past behavior. That doesn’t mean that people can’t change, but it means that they seldom do. There are substance abusers and others who clean up their lives and reverse course, but the percentage is not big, so I am not willing to trust someone until they are WELL down the road on their reformation. I think you aren’t either, and I am glad, because I think that will protect your daughter and you from this kind of man and that one in particular. I’m glad you are getting it! Your daughter needs you to be a good role model for her and accepting abuse of any kind isn’t good for you or for her. Good [email protected]

lesson learned


You’re right, in some ways it DOES take away your innocence…I understand this and how you feel. But I just want to make one thing clear about that


There. I hope you got that I wasn’t yelling, but underscoring a point for you, sweetheart!

So now…………here’s where the work begins for you……and for your child too and her emotional/physical/spiritual/ well being in the future 🙂 : Find out what made you VULNERABLE to him……if you have NEVER been abused, had a healthy upbringing, just ask yourself………..what made me VULNERABLE to him? Was I lonely? Was I wanting something in life that I wasn’t aware of that HE offered me? Did he use the pity ploy to exploit your KINDNESS (You are so obviously kind, even I see it!)…what are your boundaries? How can you protect yourself in the future by becoming AWARE of these people, AS WELL AS your vulnerabilities so that you are NEVER victimized this way again?

Just some questions to ask yourself now.

I have a feeling you’re going to be JUST FINE Aerin. Cuz guess what….if you had a loving, warm, supportive, MAINLY LOVING environment growing up…your child has an even BETTER chance if you can do the same, but with your new knowledge, in the future, arm her with the reality that yes, Virginia, there ARE truly evil people in this world………and THIS is what we need to do to PROTECT ourselves.

IT’s a hard lesson to learn. I was abused all of my life, Aerin, so NOT being abused is foreign to me and I think takes a lot longer to heal because I’m learning something TOTALLY different than what I’ve seen……..but you KNOW what it is, and now you can take whatever naivete’s and vulnerabilities in that everyone else is as kind and thoughtful as you are, know it’s not true, and learn to protect yourself and your child.

What a beautiful lesson you are learning so young and for your child too!




Yeah…I didn’t realize I was abused until 8 months after I broke up with my ex. I broke up with him because he was making my life miserable and knew I couldn’t have in my life anymore. The sad part is I was ready to break up with him months before he really hurt me, but I found out I was pregnant and thought he would start doing the right thing for me and our unborn child. I saw a good post on here before….the woman said they’re great to you until you become dependent on them. I wasn’t dependent on him until I got preggars, and thus the true sociopath came out.

Do you know what he told me right before I knew I was pregnant? We went out to dinner, the movies, had a really great night. He knew at the time his drug abuse was getting worse, but I didn’t yet. He told me he wanted me to be happy, that if I wanted to move on without him he would understand. He didn’t want to hold me back and said I deserved better. Of course I had no clue what he was talking about. I thought his insecurity was just coming out because everything to this point was so good between us. I just kind of laughed it off. Then a couple of days later I found out about his drug abuse, and his run in the law as a result of it. I knew in my gut I had to break things off with him, and I was, even though I still loved him. I knew something was off and knew I couldn’t have in my life. And then not even 5 days later I found out I was pregnant. Horrible timing…and there in a nut shell is my story!



I know you weren’t yelling…just some miscommunication.

For awhile I was trying to figure out how I got involved with someone like this. I think I explained in the above post that my being pregnant made me vulnerable to him. To think I was ready to walk away from him basically unhurt, and finding out I was pregnant and “stuck” with him, is still hard for me. My therapist said there was a reason for him to be in my life. I got my precious daughter. But then I told him, I got my beautiful daughter but I have all this pain I’m dealing with. I told him my dream became my nightmare. But…I just need to deal with it. The funny thing is I was always so picky when it came to men. My ex and I just clicked and got along so well.

I appreciate your feedback and kind words. It’s so hard to think its not my fault sometimes. I think why did this happen to me, why I am being punished like this. I consider everything a life lesson, and know eventually I’m going to come out stronger & wiser!

lesson learned



It wasn’t your fault. It’s okay to ask why this happened to you and that’s a VERY good question because it will lead you to the answers as to why you were vulnerable to begin with, and WHAT the vulnerabilities were that got you INTO the relationshit to begin with.

You’re not being punished, sweetheart, even though it probably feels that way, you are being blessed. 🙂

And you WILL come out wiser and stronger!!!




That’s so sweet, I’m being blessed. That’s a nice way to look at it.

I guess I liked all the fun & excitement that we had together, that was missing in my previous relationship, even though that bf loved me more than anything and would have done anything for me.

My ex proclaimed that he loved me, who doesn’t want to be loved, and at the time I was lonely, and I knew I wanted to get married and have children. Have a great life! I guess at the time too I felt safe with my job, but I always wanted to start my own business. So now…here I am a single mother having to support a child…and it’s the best time for me to start my own business (which,btw, I am doing). Maybe it’s God’s way of saying I have the capabilities to do this on my own and to give me and my daughter a great life. It’s really giving me the confidence to go out & get what I want. Even though that thought is still so scary. It’s scary knowing I’m the sole provider for my daughter.

I think too my ex reminded me of my father. Fun, nice, outgoing, successful. My father is deceased and I guess missing him in my life led me to my ex. Of course my dad wasn’t a sociopath, my ex displayed all the good signs of my dad, but my dad didn’t have my ex’s bad sides. That was something I realized a couple months ago. He hid this dark side from me. I even told him that…he just kind of shrugged it off.

So yeah…that is kind of good to get all of that out. I have a bad habit of keeping everything bottled up inside of me.

Thanks for opening my eyes to that!!

lesson learned


GOOD GIRL…… as you THINK about this, refer to your OWn post here often………

I see your vulnerabilities here but a spath would see them more…….the fantasy of hearth and home and a GOOD man to share that with and that’s not BAD, sweetheart! That’s GOOD stuff, but only with a man who is so DESERVING of you..

Maybe some therapy would help here too…..another vulnerability, missing your DADDY!!! A GOOD man…..and all the stuff your ex displayed……and I”m betting you SHARED that with him in your vulnerability to him? We often reveal, while vulnerable and in pain about sometihng not having anything to do with spaths at all……… THEM that they hone in on. Do you see?

Missing your daddy. Take care of it. Whatever is leftover from the pain of that loss.

MAKE a HAPPY family, with just YOU AND YOUR CHILD in your visual………..maybe the right HIM will pop up later, you’re GETTING THIS! I KNOW IT!

Spaths feed on what you are missing, a vulnerability as simple as loneliness, for some of us, as big as endless abuses…



This is a GREAT learning curve for you!

Fun, excitement? Yep, very VERY COMMON behavior, called “love bombing”……..but true love, chica, comes when you TAKE THE TIME TO GET TO KNOW SOMEONE……..

So be single awhile. Expound on your wonderful gifts, LEARN MORE from your newfound INSIGHTS……….

You’re so blessed, Aerin. ANd a GOOD heart. All you need is a little of the hard lesson you’ve been given and turn it into something good, just a little dirt in the road for you…so sweep it away and move on……..

What a great gift you have been given!

All the best to you!!

YOU CAN DO THIS. I don’t have ONE doubt about it.

All you need is just a little straightening of the table cloth. That’s all. An ironing of the wrinkles.

And you’re good as new 🙂

Stay positive and BE BLESSED!!!



Hi LL & Oxy,

I just want to thank you guys again for your words, thoughts, insights last night. It really brought a lot of clarity into the situation I’m in.

Your encouraging words are very enlightening, and yes LL I am going to reference back to my post referring to the vulnerabilities I had before I got messed up with my ex. I’m so glad I did that. It really was an eye opener. It’s weird how you could know these things in your head but to actually say it (or in this case write it out loud) is very therapeutic. I need to make a mental note of not internalizing my feelings anymore!!


lesson learned


Your insights and openness is simply nothing less than awesomeness!

you’re going to be JUST FINE! Promise 🙂

And you’re welcome!



Send this to a friend