By | August 10, 2009 34 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Emotional Vampires

This book has an appealing title and an appealing theme—comparing people with personality disorders to vampires. But my opinion of Emotional Vampires—Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry, by Albert J. Bernstein, Ph.D., is decidedly mixed.

The book gives a brief overview of personality disorders in general, and then discusses five types of problem people—antisocial, histrionic, narcissistic, obsessive-compulsive and paranoid. The author provides checklists to help you identify the problem personalities, and tips on how to deal with them.

Dr. Bernstein’s writing style is breezy and entertaining, and he uses made-up anecdotes to illustrate his points. To be fair, it seems that the book is mostly written for a business audience, people who come up against personality-disordered individuals in the workplace. In fact, the author is available for business consultation, speaking engagements and workshops. Here’s how he describes his presentations on his website,

Give me a podium and stand back.

In my talks, I try to present a sensitive and humorous view of serious issues that everyone in the business world must face. I try to give useful, step-by-step advice and to leave my audiences laughing — and thinking. Listen to one of my talks, and work may never be the same again.

Successful speakers generally are entertaining. As a book, Emotional Vampires is entertaining. The problem, for me, was that it skimmed over the serious damage these vampires do to others, and underestimated the malicious nature of their actions.

The basic problem with emotional vampires, the author says, is that they are immature. He writes:

Emotional Vampires are not intrinsically evil, but their immaturity allows them to operate without thinking about whether their actions are good or bad. Vampires see other people as potential sources for whatever they happen to need at the moment, not as separate human beings with needs and feelings of their own. Rather than evil itself, vampires’ perceptual distortion is a doorway through which evil may easily enter.

I’m sure plenty of Lovefraud readers would dispute the “not intrinsically evil” part.

Lovable Rogues

Of the five personality disorders discussed in the book, I am most familiar, of course, with antisocial personality disorder. And quite honestly, I was outraged that the section of the book dealing with sociopaths is entitled “Lovable Rogues.” Here’s how Bernstein begins it:

Antisocials are the simplest of vampires, also the most dangerous. All they want out of life is a good time, a little action, and immediate gratification of their every desire. If they can use you to accomplish these goals, nobody is more exciting, charming, or seductive. If you stand in their way, you’re dogmeat.

At the core of the antisocial personality, Dr. Bernstein says, is “a lust for stimulation of all sorts. All the other characteristics seem to arise from that central drive for excitement.” He compares antisocials to adolescents, and says they seldom mature until they reach age 50.

Maybe this is true of run-of-the-mill drug addicts, many of whom are diagnosed as antisocial. But it made me wonder if Dr. Bernstein ever met anyone who was victimized by a sociopath. Yes, they do want excitement in their lives. Yes, they use others to get it. But as many of us can attest, the “drive for excitement” just doesn’t go far enough in describing the motivations of these people. As Dr. Liane Leedom writes in her upcoming book, they are “driven to do evil.”

The description Dr. Bernstein gives of the antisocial personality is accurate, as is the description of how antisocials snare their victims. The author terms it “hypnosis.” He also talks about “grooming,” in which sociopaths seduce you to cross one little line at a time.

But the book also gives the impression that you can deal with a sociopath. Dr. Bernstein lists the “10 elements of vampire fighting strategy,” with advice like “know them, know their history, and know your goal,” and “get outside verification.” He also advises the use of contingencies, as in, “If you do X, Y will happen.” And you have to be prepared to administer Y.

Never, however, does Dr. Bernstein suggest that you might want to get the sociopath out of your life. That scares me. If Emotional Vampires was the first book that someone picked up on the topic of personality disorders, particularly sociopaths, I think the reader would be woefully uninformed. Most of what Dr. Bernstein says is accurate, and the strategies he offers might work for someone on the low end of the disturbance continuum. But if you’re dealing with a full-blown sociopath, I wouldn’t rely on his advice to solve your problems at home.

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super chic

Thank you for the review. The title sounds like he’s trying to cash in on the popularity of the teenager vampire movies, and wants to boost his bookings of speaking engagements. Sounds like another fluff book written by someone who just does not “get it”… and I’ve read plenty of those!!!!

Ox Drover

Dear Donna,

I have read this book, in fact several times, and I do agree that it has some short comings, that said, there are many things in it for people who are dealing with “ordinary” low-level “toxic” people. I agree that GETTING THEM OUT OF YOUR LIFE is necessary for the “higher level” and “more dangerous” personality disordered people.

Also, I think that there is a “huge audience” for this book vs. a more “scholarly” book detailing the whys and wherefores of psychopaths/anti-socials. I think that “huge audience” is comprised of many people who have a lower level of education, less scientific or medical or psychological education, and even a lower level of reading comprehension.

It is sort of the the “Harliequin Romance”-level of reading sophistication and I think might be helpful to some level of victims.
I don’t mean to sound condescending to that group of people, who do not have access to more or deeper information, who would not feel comfortable reading or have the background to understand “Snakes in Suits” or other books written for a target audience of people with higher levels of education.

Even if it was the first book someone read, it might spur them on to further or higher level of reading.

Many people I think have been first “educated” to the concept of narcissism/psychopathy by Sam Vakin—and I know some of his stuff is so rotten it smells like dead fish, but it did spur them on to do some REAL READING later and then on to some serious healing.

My opinion is that no ONE book, or ONE view of things is 100% right on, or will reach each and every person, I think it takes reading a great deal, studying, applying and thinking about many different views for each of us to develop our own healing concept. That is one reason LF is so great because we can DISCUSS, read, learn, and explore so much in educating ourselves about the Psychopaths and about ourselves.

Thanks for this review.

Elizabeth Conley

Thanks for the review. I read this book about 2 years ago, and came to the same conclusion, more or less.

That the author calls emotional vampires “not evil” suggests to me that he does not understand what Hannah Arendt termed the “banality of evil”. Indeed, C.S. Lewis famously pointed out that one of the devil’s better bits of PR work is when people began to associate him with the laughable, a horned man in red tights wearing a pitchfork. This suggests that it’s ridiculous to accept the existence of evil.

To avoid evil, we must principally search our own thoughts and feelings. Evil tends to get a foothold in our lives through our petty vanities, jealousies, and fears. Evil people are those who give their vanities, fears and jealousies no adult supervision, but instead permit them to run wild. If a person is truly given over to his/her baser emotions, it’s a fine bit of hair splitting to say that it is his/her thoughts and acts that are evil, and not the person him/herself.

As much as we know that we are supposed to hate the sin, but not the sinner, we still should recognize that some people are to be avoided. Until they admit their bad behavior is wrong, and make an earnest attempt to reform, no good can come from dealings with them.


OK, Here is crazy PInow with another idea. We are a minority (thank GOD), because the Ps are still a minority (Thank God), but among us there are few that have… well psychic abilities. If so, I want to share something with you that has been on my mind and I need help processing. So, here it goes: I am perceiving a headless man out of my peripheral vision (more like Third Eye). Does this mean anything to anyone (OTHER Than “PI has gone crazy and delusional”). If I process it as Not real, but continue to “see and perceive it” and go on about my business, I am not really all that crazy… but, is this my brain trying to process a man without the face that my P turned out to be? or is it some headless spirit latching on to a wounded soul? Or, is it my mind telling me that I am “losing my own head”? I wish I knew… any religions talk about the “headless” wonder? Ideas? (since we are talking about vampires, I thought this was a timely question)….



Is this a dream? think maybe the headless man you are perciving is a result of not seeing clearly in you head what’s going on or what’s “ahead” of you? I’ve got a couple of great dream analysis books that say part of our dreams/vissions/perceptions are tounge and cheek subconcious metaphours of what is going on in our concious mind.
my thoughts anyway.


That’s an interesting perspective for sure. I have to go “under” and see. Astra travel has been taught to me, but I have been forewarned against doing so, especially when so vulnerable. Yet, I think I ought to give it a try tonight. Will report tomorrow, if it worked. Indeed, dreams are our friends. We resolve many conflicts while asleep and “traveling”. Interestingly, when I met the P, spirits of his women came to warn me and I refused to listen (or understand) and when he went on with his pathetic life, my spirit had gone on to warn others, and they too refused to listen. We are all one. I believe. what one does affects so many. That’s why we are able to function in a group and they are forced to con. I say “forced” because truly they are not able to perceive any type of team work (seen it, I am sure you have too). OK, but perhaps, others will share their view on the headless? I have never encountered anything like this before (met a guy who spoke to little invisible people, though 😉


Right on target with all the comments on the book. I just finished reading it and have to add that after reading all the Sam Vaknin stuff and feeling overwhelmed and scared, this book was a light hearted almost humerous relief….despite the seriousness of the subject. Still think anyone reading it for the first time will want to enquire further on the topic.

good dreams and safe “travels” tonight! you are right….we recive alot of information through our dreams but so ofthen we dont listen.

Sounds familiar? whatever they are named, the Ps have been around for thousands of years, it seems


Hi all,

For those who believe there’s more to life than meets the eye, as I do, this article is a fine piece of synchronicity – only the other day I ordered this book from Amazon lol and am waiting for it to arrive!! =D
I’m not sure what attracted me to it as I’m normally the academic sort of person Oxdrover refers to.
I got it because of a family member who seems to fit the profile of Emotional Vampire and I want to stop myself getting too close to her as I am apt to do. You know, they draw you in so you respond and then WHACK they bite you. So you move away but then they begin to draw you in again and so on, ad infinitum…
That’s how it is at moment, I’m doing alot of giving but not much getting.
I guess I didn’t want to read anything to heavy, I wanted to keep learning how to deal with her lighthearted/low stress for myself even though I know as well as we all do that nothing about these people is lighthearted.
Saw a recent photo of my narcissistic mummys boy ex yesterday – he was in his cap and gown after graduating from his post grad studies. I felt a bit down, angry that he used me up and then threw me away, especially as I sacrificed alot emotionally when he needed to study for that qualification because I thought we had a future, I did it for ‘us’ as much as him. He had nothing when I met him and I had everything. Now it’s the other way round and I can’t help but feel smacked in the face to see him smiling away. I’m fatter, I’m more lonely, I’m a shell of who I once was because I can barely trust people anymore and his life is all hunky dory.
I am trying to get myself back on track again – I’m taking full responsibility for my own future as I always have – but something in me changed when he discarded me the way he did. something towards the world, towards people. That faith in human nature that kept me going for nearly 30 years disappeared overnight – I am virtually agoraphobic because I don’t trust anymore and as soon as I get close (ie commit to anything, project, job etc) I withdraw again because I feel too vulnerable.
For a beautiful clever loving 30 year old woman to be like this just because of the callousness of 37 year old narcissistic mummys boy who trampled on her heart and soul without a second thought is so sad and I pray I get better soon and become myself again.
Thanks for the review of the book Donna – I’ll post my thoughts on it when I’ve read it =) xxxxxx

Ox Drover

Deare Genevieve,

I agree with Donna on some if not all the points she makes, but do think that there is some GOOD INFORMATION in this book for the “average” reader who may not be dealing with a full blown P. I would never suggest that anyone read this as the ONLY source on “vampires” (whatever you call them) Personally, I think VAMPIRE is a good name, it implies that like the myth, they are a parasite, they SUCK US DRY for their own benefit.

Not everyone is able or ready to comprehend the full scientific, medical and psychological facts about full blown P-ism, they don’t have the interest, education or flatly background to understand and accept what is truly known about these people.

I have noticed since I came to LF that the “average” poster here is WAY ABOVE AVERAGE in many ways, including their smarts and ability to gasp concepts that are not so concrete.

While I do NOT think that the “average” LF poster is in any way indicitive of the “average” victim. I think that, as elitist as it may sound that the brighter victims have self-selected for this blog, I also think that most of the posters here are self-selected from the victim-pool as ones who are more heavily damaged, and have had “worse” encounters with Ps or with multiple Ps.

Just as the survey that was the basis of the first Women Who Love Psychopaths (Brown AND Leedom) shows that the victims as well as the psychopaths, have similar traits to each other, but that does not mean that LF posters represent the “average” victim. We are only a very select, self-selected cross section that is not indicitive of the “average” victim who generally is, I think, not quite as capable or even willing to accept the true scientific and psychological information about psychopaths, or even about the “common” every day Jerks that are maybe not even true psychopaths, just paracitic creeps to one degree or another.

I think for the “target audience” to be considered for these people, the book has a great deal of good information, but those that are more willing, capable etc. to grasp the REST OF THE STORY, they will move on and learn more with other books.

I don’t mean to sound like I think I am “better” than the “average” victim, in fact, I realize my own choices have made me become a victim over and over and over, and though my husband/lover etc didn’t beat me, my SON did, so any arrogance on my own part would be pretty ludicrus at best. But I do accept the fact that my education has helped me grasp SOME of the “higher” and less concrete concepts of the psychopath than some poor victim with no education, no support, no computer, no idea that there even is such a THING. all she knows is she is in pain and doesn’t see a way out.

Even the writings of sam vakin have alerted some people I know to read and learn more about psychopaths and to realize he is a quack, a fake and a psychopath himself.

Personally, I don’t care who the messenger is, as long as the message is gotten out there. I did find some good things in this book, but don’t agree with everything for sure. But it is a start, just like Vakin has been a start for some people.

Keep on reading and learning G, and godspeed! (((hugs)))


I will certainly not be reading PHD Albys book. He sounds like a full blown Narcissist to me.
Since I was once diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder (after my ex boyfriend psychopath solicitor had ME jailed WHEN HE STOLE MY HOME, MONEY ASSETS DIGNITY REPUTATION AND CARREER), I would not like to see what his STRATEGY is for dealing with ME!
What i would like to see is a full blown PSYCHOPATH/SOCIOPATH, be employed by this level 4 Narcissist and see what happens to “Mr Bernsteins strategy”. And I have two friends who have Obsessive compulsive disorder. Knowing what EVERYONE knows about this disorder it is hardly compassionate to use a “strategy” to USE them!

Ox Drover


It is NOT “PARANOID” when someone is actually OUT TO GET YOU, IT IS GOOD SENSE! I know that my last therapist had me bring in witnesses and documentation because I too sounded like a “paranoid personality disorder.”

Hun, you are NOT paranoid when they REALLY ARE out to get you! LOL ROTFLMAO Whoever diagnoesed you with that was full of HIGH GRADE FRESH ORGANIC MALE BOVINE FERTILIZER! ROTFLMAO


Hello PInow,

You are obviously seeing things that are actually not there. In the course of the trauma, we ourselves are regressing to an earlier stages of our development. When I was a child I used to think for example that I can influence the direction the clouds move just by wishing so. I also believed that I can turn around peoples heads at a distance. It was so until I got mature enough to keep an honest hit and miss record. Than I realized that it cannot be so, because on many many ocassions things did not go as I wished them to happen. Only than I was able to safely remove the mistaken belief of my “psychic” powers. I was like 6 than, and just learning how the world works. When you look at it from the perspective of a child, who learns the world it has been born into, you can understand, that any kind of psychic powers are a possibility, until you can find a proof to the contrary. With your temporary visual illusion I would recommend that you test the real presence of the headless persona until you have a tangible proof in front of you. I’d say if you see it in the corner of the eye, look at it directly. If it is not there than that means it was not there before either. By doing that gradually the illusion will dissolve. On the other hand it does sound like a glitch in your brain, I would think of visiting a doctor, maybe there is a better way.


LOL, Peterd, Thank you for your post. I am not delusional. I just have a very open mind and am easily able to move from subconscious to conscious state of mind, without fully dissociating. It is not whether the headless man is there or not, it is the meaning it carries that matters. For instance, today I dreamt of turtles all night long. Now, the dreams are there for a reason and have a meaning. Learning what it is is a fun exercise. I did go on to the web and found that a lot of posts have been made on “seeing a headless man” (just google it). On the other hand, once you are able to understand what you see and the meaning behind it, the “illusion” is no more, because it was there as a sign (some think from G-d, angels, spirits, subconscious, etc.) And – while we cannot influence someone’s head turning, we do influence each other plenty – just read the posts here. But, thanks for your feedback. I am happy to report that since we “processed” the headless men here and decided (Ayela actually I think was right on the mark that it was me not having/seeing a direction of what is ahead), the vision evaporated.


That was my point EXACTLY OXY! And HOW MANY OTHERS have been diagnosed with it for the same reason?? (LOTS AND LOTS!!!)


The prosecutors forensic psychiatrist diagnosed me with that! (HOW CONVENIENT!)

Ox Drover

Dear Peterd,

Glad to see you are still here! Love your posts! Have missed you.

Also, to add to what Peterd said, I would say that when we are under great stress we sometimes see, hear or feel illusions or hallucinations even. (An “illusion” is when you look at one thing and see something else, and a halucination is when you see something that is not there at all.) While these things can be signs of mental illness (along with hearing voices that are not there) they are fairly common in non-delusional people as well. Fatigue, Stress, Worry, fear, all these will percipitate illusions or even halucinations.

I know that I actually FELT my husband’s hand on my back (the way he commonly touched me when we went to bed) the night after he died. I actually startled and turned over to see if he was there.

One night I was on a cross country drive with my two toddlers and was very fatigued. I saw a sign that warned of deer crossing the road and thought about that, and the next instant I SAW a deer jump toward my windshield, I saw him just as plain as day, and as he hit the windshield he VANISHED. It was a halucination from a combination of fatigue and the worry thought of hitting a deer. I pulled over at the next place and stopped and rested.

I’m sure almost everyone here cold tell of illusions or halucinations or premonitions of some kind. BTW Peterd, I jused to do the same thing with clouds when I was little! LOL What meaning we assign to these illusions or halucinations varies with many things from our spiritual and religious beliefs to mental health issues.

I know people who run their lives by Tarot card readings and palm readings, and I don’t think that is a particularly valid basis upon which to base decisions, but I don’t think they are “crazy” per say in a mental health way, though in my professional life I have known people who were genuinely delusional and saw visions and heard command voices, and were out of touch with reality. I don’t think everyone who hears a voice momentarily, or sees a fleeting illusion or halucination is “delusional” because if I did I would have to include myself among that number.

super chic

peterd… just wanted to say hi, and thank you again for the insightful blog you posted a few weeks ago about not revealing ourselves to others, something I used to do right away. I copy & pasted your post to my journal to remind me to keep my cards close to my heart.

Ox Drover

Dear Tilly,

Your “diagnosis” was the result of the P’s “crazy making” — believe me, they can stress us to the limit where WE appear, really appear CRAZY. Of course it is the result of the stress, the trying to get the other folks to see that the “Emperor is naked” (remember the little boy in the story I wrote of the LoveFraud version of the Emperor’s New Clothes?” He was the only one in the entire kingdom who had sense enough tos tand up and tell the truth and YET HE WAS THE ONE LABELED CRAZY!

I have no doubt you APPEARED crazy, heck, I APPEARED CRAZY FOR A LONG TIME—-and even my own therapist (after the first two-hour intake interview where I was telling him “they are all out to kill me”) wondered if I was crazy, but at least he was willing to let me bring in witnesses and proof and to BELIEVE my story. Unfortunately, the prosecutors are programmed to NOT BELIEVE anything a “criminal” or “crazy” says and to believe everything the “victim” (in this case, your _P) says. Getting raw deals like that does drive us off the edge and I can look back and see where I was so far off the edge I didn’t even have AIR to stand on. How I survived I will never know, but I did and YOU DID, I guess we are a couple of strong old biddies Tilly, and I am going to keep on keeping on.

How is class going? I guess you are counting the days til it ends!!! hang on, there is an end in sight! ((((Hugs)))) prayers and love my friend! Oxy


Hi Everyone.

I’ve been reading here since last November, googled Jekyl & Hyde personality & was led here. I look back now & dont know what I would have done if I hadnt found you all.
For nine months now I’ve been reading your stories & then I read something that I identify with & I cant see your words through my tears. I came to this site in unbearable pain & suicidal. When everyone was tired listening to me asking why why why, you were always here answering. Everything I wanted to know, you told me. You gave me advice, comfort & hope. I just wanted to come on here today to thank you all. Thank you to everyone of you who take the time to write the words that are healing someone’s heart. Thank you for the nine months of tears that I’ve cried when I read something that you wrote that struck a chord with me, for without those tears I would have ended up hard & bitter. Thank you for your company on those long lonely nights, even though you did’nt know I was here reading I always came away feeling like I just had the best conversation ever. Without you I would’nt have known about no contact, that saved my life, thank you for that.
All the family, friends & counsellors in the world couldnt do what all of you have done for me. I needed the cold harsh truth & found it here. To all of you, please remember that you are appreciated, dont ever for a moment think you’re not, there’s many out there like me who are just reading here & are so grateful for the time, effort & love that you put into this. Thank you again & God bless you all. XXX

Before i go I just want to share this as a little thank you token from me to all of you.
We’ve all been cracked/broken by people we loved but it was through those cracks that the light got in.


🙂 I read a post card somewhere Janey, It said

“Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light”

What beautiful, wonderful words you have written here. Are you trying to reduce us all to tears? And then with the fabulous mr. Cohen? we’ll all be snotting all over our key boards;)xxxxx Much, much love, and best wishes for the future. how wonderful to have ‘met’ you.xx

Ox Drover

Dear Janey,

Thank you for your wonderful post!!! and your “thank you” on U-tube.

I hope you will continue to stay here and read and blog, there seems there is ALWAYS something new here, some new insight I hadn’t thought about before, that clicks with me.

Our healing is a journey, I think, rather than a destination. I am so glad that you are no longer at the bottom of the abys or feeling suicidal. Glad that you are feeling better and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and it isn’t an on coming train!

God bless you as you journey with us, and God bless us all!

Ox Drover

ps. to Blueskies, “snivel, snark, snott, snort….”


Of course…..being the tenacious woman I am…..I connected with……….

****But they’ve summoned up a Thundercloud…..and theyre gonna hear from me.***

(I’m sure you don’t find this shocking!!)

Oh….how I will use this one……

the softer side of me (still left), did connect with the crack letting the light in……
I guess it’s essential we are all cracked, otherwise we would live in darkness forever!
What a gift!

Janey, thanks for sharing your thoughts……I know there are far more people ‘learking’ than posting……I was one too…..It is unbelievable how we can connect and be validated when we are in such a dark place and feel so very alone……with no one ‘getting’ what we are going through in our ‘real’ lives.
I am so glad you found LF…..I think I found it the same way…..Jeykle and Hyde google.
It just takes one person to change a feeling, emotion and put us in the right mindset for another hour of our day.
Stay with us, stay strong, keep those tears flowing when they need to and look forward to a bright future ahead! I’m glad your where you need to be and growing, learning and most of all ALIVE!!!!
Stay strong my dear…..stay strong!
Thanks for your words of kindness….
I bid you peace!


Dear Blueskies, Oxdrover & ErinBrockovich,

Thank you so much for acknowledging my post. I didnt know what to expect when I posted, I wanted to post before but never had the courage, I feared no-one would notice I was even here. But the urge to thank you all was stronger than my fear of rejection. When I pressed the post button on my first post my heart was pounding in my chest, I then switched off the computer. You cant imagine how amazed I was when I switched it back on several hours later & saw your replies to me. I cried, I’m in such a tearful place right now that I’m in danger of drowning, I’m so much further than i was but no where near where I want to be yet.

I’ve been reading here for so long that you seem like celebrities to me. I really could’nt believe that Bueskies, OxDrover & ErinBrockovich had posted a comment to me.
I read & re-read every word over & over again.
Maybe one day I will be able to do this with ease & not be so afraid of rejection.

Blessings to my 3 celebrities & thank you for making me feel less invisible.


Don’t go there……I (WE) are just ‘normal’ people that have experienced, lived and felt the pain and lived the ‘fantasy’ of being with a Sociopath….
We are all on the same ship……trying to plug the bomb holes, so as not to allow this ship to sink. There are days we sleep ‘under water’, and there are days of smooth sailing.
I wake up, I worry about the bills, the kids and how it’s all going to end up…..there is nothing special about me, except I am ME! I am a survivor and woman that, knowing what I know now…..refuses to be cornered by my ex S…..I have, and will continue to fight him, when needed, if needed and how needed to protect myself, my rights along with those of my kids.
I have developed a determination through all this, a determination I wouldn’t trade for NOTHING! I choose to view my past as a path to my future….to today and who I have become…..and I LIKE MYSELF!
I have a passion for others in my position, others like YOU and our friends here at LF……It’s just wrong….my preface is….What’s right is right and whats wrong is wrong….
I have exposed the dynamics of my life, learned about them inside and out and choose to move forward educating anyone who will listen to me on Sociopaths and their behaviors.
This is what I do to heal…..It helps me as I can help others……it’s win-win and I was always a multi-tasker.
You have been downtrodden…..pick yourself up…..because god knows, no one else will…..and LIVE LIFE!!!! Don’t drown yourself…..use those tears to get to anger then on to action. YOU CAN DO IT!!!!
Trust me, I am ‘no one special’ and if I can do what I have thus far…..YOU CAN TO!!!!
You have to believe in yourself, there is just no reason NOT to!
We have choices in life……no matter what path we choose……there is a beginning a middle and an end……It doesn’t last forever, gain strength, determination and control of YOU and where YOU are going!
Put one foot in front of the other and keep on walking girl….
Some days, that’s all we can do.

I hope you post more…….Everyone is welcome here, and you are on ‘our team’…..Sit on the bench if it helps you, or get in the game when it helps you……do what YOU want, WHEN YOU want, just allow yourself to grow and learn…..the changes will occur from there. This is a safe place to heal. You will never be rejected here.
You kind words are much appreciated, your a gem.
I am glad I could be part of your ‘coming out’ party!


Hello all. This is my first time posting, but I’ve been reading a lot of the posts and learned a great deal in the last two months. I was already deeply working on my own recovery from co-dependency issues over the last 20 years (I’m now 47), but the information here at took me to a new level in gaining greater perspective about my last relationship. From the beginning, it was a very different relationship than any I’ve ever experienced I once told someone that knowing this man had changed my DNA in some ways. I’ve since come to the conclusion that I was in fact dealing with a Narcissist.

Interestingly, beginning about 6 months into the relationship, this man loaned me money for my new business. He gave me thousands in cash at a time, and I insisted that we put it in writing to protect his interests, and because I wanted to show my honorable intentions in dealings with him. I had no intentions of taking his kindness for granted, and I fell in love with him because he trusted me in this way as well as seemed so interested in wanting to spend a lot of time with me. He said he most appreciated that I am a reliable, honest, upfront, compassionate and decent human being.

It’s a good thing I’m not a Sociopath or else I would have a great way to do him for the emotional trauma he caused me during our 1.5 year relationship, by refusing to pay his money back. I am in the process of paying him back, however, because of my own values and integrity. I did inform him I will deduct some of the money I owe him, however, because I ended up giving him lots of free psychotherapy and did some work for him in other areas of his life that were beneficial to him. Even today, he seems so not worried about his money, which I find puzzling, because it’s not like he’s rich. He just said that he knows I’m a person of integrity, which is something I’ve demonstrated all along in my dealings with him and he’s seen me do so in my dealings with other people when we attended various events.

BUT”I was so appreciative that he loaned me money when I had no other resources (not even family members whom I had previously helped) that I didn’t fully understand/comprehend many of the controlling tactics and negative symptoms that crept into our relationship his nonsense, gaslighting, taking up too much of my time, selfishness, trying to make me jealous, subtle put-downs, confusing words and behaviors, and finally episodes of physical aggression. It all caught me off guard because we seemed to have so many similiar qualities he was reliable and I never caught him cheating, even though he’d make comments implying this and that. Over time, however, his gaminess was so anxiety-producing during a time of uncertainty when I was building my business that I couldn’t imagine how I would function. We had talked about getting married and him working with me in my business. Yet he drained my energy, did silent treatment sometimes and made me feel crazy when we’d have discussions about legitimate relationship concerns. While I often was very attentive and even asked questions of him while we were dating, he often seemed indifferent to my emotional needs and individual self, which felt very invalidating to me.

He is still in my life due to my owing him money, but I have slowly detached enough over the last few months to limit contact we used to sleep at my house every night for the last three months. But I no longer take him seriously as being possibly “the one.” Like some of you, I was able to get to this point by taking on/”acting out” some of his characteristics, but only in my dealings with him not projecting these crazy behaviors onto other people in order to defend myself. I deliberately said things to confuse him like he had confused and fucked with my mind. Some episodes involved me verbally abusing and physically hitting him back a few times in response to all the ONGOING anxiety/stress he’d caused me. Other times, I used knowledge about narcissism to taunt him with words that would cause him N-injury and distress. I’m not ashamed of this because it helped me get my personal power back and because I KNOW in my heart that I started out very open to this man and had no ill intentions toward him. But after experiencing all of his moods, trance-like missteps and odd responses out of the blue, and insults to my intelligence, I felt it was better to give back some of the negativity to him than to take it out on innocent others.

If all of this sounds like I too was/am a N, it’s not true. I simply decided that I wanted to make him suffer like he’d done to me when I was confused about so many contradictory things from his end in the relationship. Now that I’ve regained some footing, I do not feel overly loyal to him as I once did because he had been so generous in giving me nearly $20 K for business, and I no longer take his selfish, unthoughtful and unkind behaviors personally.

After our last incident where I went on a date with another man after turning my ex’s request for sex down (he wanted it for him no interest was expressed in pleasing me), I recently told him that he’s better at playing the game than I am and that I concede that he “won.” I simply don’t have the interest nor energy to continue engaging in this pattern of behaviors in order to survive, when I clearly have the skills to work with another person in building a healthy relationship.

Yet, I am grateful for the experience because I’ve learned to practice boundaries better and gain new awareness about the reality of unconscious people who can do serious psychological damage to another if one is not careful. I plan to pay closer attention to these kinds of things and people who exhibit red flags early on like he did now that I think more about it both professionally and personally.

It will be interesting to see how the full progression to no contact happens with my ex, since we still talk periodically and I keep him up-to-date on his legitimate right to know when he can expect to receive all of the money he loaned me for my business. I might be playing with fire by being in touch with him periodically (since getting intimate could happen I am realistic about this if I get horny enough although am trying to practice celibacy or self-pleasure if absolutely necessary). But I am also clearer in letting go of the fantasy of what could have been a great relationship had I been with someone who experienced normal human empathy.

Thank you all for your helpful information.

super chic

recovering… Hi. Glad you posted… yes, the “red flag” is one of the things I learned here at LF not to ignore anymore, but I was ignoring red billboards! It’s tough to realize we were in love with a fantasy, you sound like you’re out of the fog. Hope you post again. The people here are wonderful!


Hi shabbychic — Thanks for your feedback. It is an ongoing journey of staying clear about boundaries and being realistic about when I might have contact with my ex, so I can be mentally prepared to remember not to get back into the gaminess.

An example: Shortly after we broke up the last time, he called me six times one evening to report his every step: That he was going to another woman’s house to have sex, then five minutes later called to say, “I’m leaving my house,” then five minutes later called to say “I’m at her house and she’s in the bathroom getting ready,etc. Ten minutes after the last call he made to me, he stopped by my house unannounced and I didn’t open the door — I just called him on his cell phone as he stood outside and told him to go home, which he did. I knew he was trying to get me upset, yet I got a kick out of the whole charade — him trying to make me jealous. He knew I was on to him.

I know I’m human and have weaknesses, so I don’t want to set myself up to feel like I’d be a total failure if I still have some limited contact with him at this point by phone. Many times I hang up on him when he calls with nonsense. I don’t shoot for perfection, just progress.

super chic

recovering… boundaries, as I have discovered here on LF, are so IMPORTANT I can’t even put it into words! Of course, I was so pathetic I never had any boundaries, but I do now! Your example is a good one of a sick SOB! I’m glad you’re on to him. I would not be able to have any contact, I wouldn’t want to, I’d just mail the checks to repay the loan and not answer his calls! There is no reason why any of us should put up with someone else’s crap! I put up with enough crap from myself, LOL. You’re right, it is an ongoing journey.

Ox Drover

Dear Recopvering,

It sounds as if you pretty much already know what you need to DO—limit your contact with him, and as far as “intimacy” with him, that is in your CONTROL of who and when you are intimate with.

Your comment about “being horny” and possibly having sex with him sounds like you seem to think that being “horny” doesn’t give you any choice in the matter. In fact, we all have CHOICES, and none of us are perfect, but knowing what to do and then choosing to make a DECISION that you know is not beneficial to YOU, is not a “wise” choice. Especially since you know this is not a good relationship for YOU.

I applaud you for paying this man back the money he loaned you. Many times P actually will “give” or “loan” money to their victims as a way to gain CONTROL over them through GUILT.

As far as contact with him, and repayment, that can be done by mail and bank drafts or money orders, you do NOT have to have contact with him to pay him back.

TAKE CARE OF YOU, make careful and wise choices and work on YOUR healing, and YOUR needs, not his. KNOWLEDGE=POWER and you can take back your power, by gaining more knowledge and applying it to your choices. Keep on reading here, and glad that you shared and posted.

Hang in there, you have started on a good course in recognizing that it is not a good relationship!!! Good luck and God bless.


Wow, ths is good info for when I go hunting for sociopaths.
I like to hunt.

EMOTIONAL VAMPIRE….I doubt I’ll read the book,since I have enough reading to keep me busy.But how aptly,it describes the way the spath drains you of your LIFE!Many times the thought crossed my mind that my husband was draining me of my lifeblood!And the fact that spaths do this without any guilt feelings!That any ‘plea’ that they’re sorry,and that they’ve changed is like dandelion puffs floating through the air.No substance;fleeting!

Ox Drover

I actually saw some good things about this book…but if you have read some of the more in depth books it probably is not a “must read” There are actually LOTS of pretty good books out there.

I recommend this book for people who are not quite read for the DEEPER books on “emotional vampires” (i.e psychopaths)

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