BOOK REVIEW: ‘Psychopath Free’ — helping you understand your disordered romance and recover yourself

Psychopath Free: Recovering from Emotionally Abusive Relationships with Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Other Toxic People, by Jackson Mackenzie

Review by Donna Andersen

I admit I’ve been remiss. Jackson Mackenzie’s book, Psychopath Free, came out in 2015, and I just finished reading it. I think I need about 48 hours in the day.

Anyway, if you’ve been romantically involved with a psychopath or other disordered individual, Psychopath Free will ring true for you. Jackson does an excellent job of describing the cycle of an involvement with a psychopath, from the glorious beginning when you’re feeling high on all the attention, to the confusion of the mind games in the middle, to the utter devastation when you are brutally discarded.

In the beginning of the book, Jackson presents 30 Red Flags for spotting toxic relationship partners. What’s interesting about his list is that he includes behavior that you, as the unwitting target, may engage in. For example:

  • You find yourself explaining the basic elements of human respect to a full-grown man or woman.
  • Accuses you of feeling emotions that they are intentionally provoking.
  • You find yourself playing detective.
  • You feel on edge around this person, but you still want them to like you.

I also like Jackson’s description of “the manufactured soul mate” — how the psychopath convinces you that you are meant to be together. One of their methods is “indirect persuasion:”

“They will insult their exes as a way to flatter their target, but what they are really doing is grooming their target. For instance, by saying, “my ex always used to do this, but you never do that,” they are telling you to behave in a certain way. This is not a compliment — it’s a warning that if you repeat any of the ex’s alleged behavior, you’ll be discarded as well. The ex likely didn’t even do any of these things. It’s just a way for the psychopath to indirectly tell you how they expect you to behave.”

Youthful perspective

One of the things about the book that I found really interesting about Jackson’s book was his youthful perspective. Jackson encountered the psychopath in his life when he was 21 (which was far more recently than when I was 21).

Jackson’s descriptions of psychopathic behavior include game playing on Facebook and via text message. He also describes how psychopaths have their “fan clubs,” and once the psychopath turns against the target, all of the fans also turn against the target. So his book contains helpful information about how psychopaths infect entire social groups — something that I didn’t experience.

Although anyone can benefit from this book, it’s most appropriate for young, single people who are looking for love. If you, or your kids, are in this demographic, you’ll definitely find the book helpful.

Empty soul

There’s only one aspect of the book that I disagree with, and that’s the references to psychopaths’ pain about their own emptiness. For example, Jackson writes:

“They destroy you because they hate you. They despise your empathy and love — qualities they must pretend to feel every single day. To destroy you is to temporarily silence the nagging reminder of the emptiness that consumes their soul.”

I don’t think psychopaths feel any distress about their internal emptiness. They’re too busy gloating over their power and control.

Many psychopaths are aware that they are different from normal, empathetic people. They are aware that they don’t feel emotions like others do. They know they don’t have a conscience — hurtful or illegal behavior doesn’t bother them. Usually psychopaths view these characteristics as making them superior to the rest of us. They view themselves as “evolution’s next step.”

Okay, I’ve heard from a few self-identified psychopaths who wish they could feel emotions. My guess is that these individuals don’t score very high on the PCL-R — the test that measures a person’s level of disorder. Those at the upper end of the scale, the truly disordered, don’t know what they’re missing, and don’t care.

Opportunity for healing

More than half of Jackson’s book is about recovery, and it’s very helpful. He emphasizes the importance of No Contact.

“Nothing good can come from contact with a psychopath, no matter how seemingly insignificant the contact might be.”

He offers other suggestions to help you in your recovery. And he makes a point that I absolutely agree with — your involvement with a psychopath, as devastating as it is, presents you with an opportunity to become more in touch with your true self, and create a better life than you ever imagined.

This is a really difficult message to hear when you’re in the throes of emotional pain, financial meltdown and whatever other disasters the psychopath has created. Nonetheless, I believe it’s true. Jackson writes:

Through the recovery process, we build ourselves back up from total darkness. From emptiness and hopelessness, we discover qualities in ourselves that we never valued before: creativity, kindness, humility, compassion. The foundation of our very spirits …

Once you have self-respect, you are free to become who you were always meant to be. You do not care about the petty judgments of others, giving you the opportunity to fully explore your creativity, imagination, and spirituality.

This is where the magic begins.

I often tell the people who call me for consultations that there is a silver lining to the experience of being trampled on by a psychopath. And this is it: The experience is so awful that you can no longer contain the internal pain you’ve been carrying that made you vulnerable to the psychopath in the first place. So you have an opportunity to release the pain — all of it — and find the joyful and peaceful life that you always wanted.

If you were in love with a psychopath, Psychopath Free will help you understand what happened, that it wasn’t your fault, and that you can rebuild your life. I highly recommend this book.

Jackson’s next book, which should be out this year, will delve further into the topic of healing. I’m sure he will offer many valuable insights.

Psychopath Free is available on


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Donna, I applaud you for always taking the time to read other writer’s books and most importantly, posting a review & their book info on your site. It is a great testimony, to how kind you are to help others. 💜

Jackson states (per above text):

“They will insult their exes as a way to flatter their target, but what they are really doing is grooming their target. For instance, by saying, “my ex always used to do this, but you never do that,” they are telling you to behave in a certain way. This is not a compliment — it’s a warning that if you repeat any of the ex’s alleged behavior,..”

YES! My ex was masterful with this kind of manipulation to control me. One of the first things he did was tell me, “I hated that my ex gf would talk to others about our relationship”. I was taken aback by this (like most of what he said), but I rationalized it, as “work internally on the relationship” and also, at the time I was young & a very private person, so I felt this was good thing to just keep working on the relationship together without a third party voicing their input.

At the time, I did not realize, he was controlling my mind, but also isolating me from the outside world. Preventing me from independent thinking and it worked I never told a soul about the emotional, mental, verbal or physical abuse that he inflicted on me daily, until after I left. Sadly, at that time when I did finally speak out about the abuse, I endured daily, no one wanted to hear about the abuse (not family). Thankfully Lovefraud gave me a place to communicate the abuse that I endured & a counselor/domestic abuse center.

Jackson states (as posted above):

“You feel on edge around this person, but you still want them to like you.”

The sociopath manipulates you to be a people please to them. You keep trying to please them over & over & over, to get back to the lovebombing stage, but they keep playing their manipulative mind games until you have zero self esteem. They train you like a pet is trained to fetch a ball to do everything they want.

Jackson states (as posted above):

“He also describes how psychopaths have their “fan clubs,” and once the psychopath turns against the target, all of the fans also turn against the target.”

In the documentary film “Blackfish”, which is about the Killer whales in captivity at Sea World, the documentary points out in one scene, when a new killer whale is added to the park & being trained, the other killer whiles will bit him if he is not going along with the trainers demands. The killer whales that have been at Sea World for years have been brain washed to mind the trainers, just like cult follower or anyone under the spell of a sociopath follows the demands of the sociopath. We have all been apart of their triangulation & smear campaign against others & us.

Yes, 48 hours in a day would be good! 😎 Thanks again, Donna for taking the time to read this book & post a thought provoking article.


I just started reading this book and it is wonderful. Feels like i’ve found an old friend to support me and help me out of a dark place. As i just started no contact (been 4 days now) i can feel the fog dissipating and my sense of self returning. Its really helpful to read the positive, constructive comments this book has to offer. Mostly, i’m now left with complete and utter disbelief that a human could intentionally be so cruel to another–but that is exactly why they are not normal. Funny, in the beginning of my “relationship” with him, i told him i thought he was a predator–but he managed to reassure me that i was wrong. 🙁


Uwfrog, Congratulations on taking your power back by using the No Contact rule. Your gut knew he was a predator…always remember your first gut reaction to him! It was accurate.

It is shocking to see the truth about their cruelty towards others, they are pure, pure, pure, evil !! The devil himself.

Google: “Oprah gavin debunker you tube” to listen to their interview with regards to listening to your gut instinct.


Glad this book is helpful.


Psychopaths and sociopaths not only discard you but also attempt to get all your mutual acquaintances/friends to turn against you. Am amazed how many people can’t think for themselves but take someone’s word (even if they knew you a lot longer than they knew them) about your character. I applaud the people who take the time to hear your side of the story! Have stayed off of all social media because it seems to be their playground, and I have more peace since giving it up.


Thank you Donna. This book was at my library and online as an ebook! I am seeing my 26 year relationship on every page so far – up to page 145. Another validation of what really happened. Thanks again. Best to you.

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