BOOK REVIEW: The Gentle Art of Verbal Self–Defense

By Ox Drover

The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense was written by Suzette Haden Elgin, an applied psycholinguist and an associate professor of linguistics at San Diego State University. Though first published in 1980, I think it is a nice, easily read and understood book detailing the “hidden” motives in some conversations with just about anyone, whether they are a psychopath or not. It teaches us easily understood ways of deciphering the unspoken messages in language and easy to remember “come backs” that are appropriate for just about any situation where there are “hidden messages” in conversation.

Ms. Elgin wrote:

For every person in this society who is suffering physical abuse, there are hundreds suffering the effects of verbal violence. For every person who just got a fist in the face, there are hundreds who just took a verbal blow to the gut. And there are major differences between these two kinds of injury.

The physical attack is at least obvious and unmistakable; when someone slugs you physically, you can call the police. The physical attack hurts horribly and leaves a mark, but is usually over fast, and the mark is evidence in your favor and against your attacker.

Verbal violence is a very different matter. Except in rare case—for example, when someone lies about you publicly before witnesses and can be charged with slander—there is no agency that you can call for help. The pain of verbal abuse goes deep into the self and festers there, but because nothing shows on the surface, it will not win you even sympathy, much less actual assistance.

Worst of all, verbal violence all too often goes unrecognized, except at a level that you cannot even understand yourself. You know you are suffering, and you vaguely know where the pain is coming from; but because the aggression is so well hidden, you are likely to blame yourself instead of the aggressor ”¦ “there must be something the matter with me.”

There probably is something the matter with you, yes. Your problem is that you are the victim of verbal violence and you don’t have the least idea how to defend yourself against it.

Ms. Elgin goes on to list four principles for verbal self defense:

  • Know that you are under attack.
  • Know what kind of attack you are facing.
  • Know how to make your defense fit the attack.
  • Know how to follow through.

She also describes the five different types of verbal stances, based on the work of therapist Virginia Satir, which were expanded by therapists John Grinder and Richard Bandler as:

  • The Placater
  • The Blamer
  • The Computer
  • The Distracter
  • The Leveler

Ms. Elgin explains very clearly the underlying meanings of our language, both spoken and unspoken, by describing the “presuppositions” in our words.

She gives the example of the statement “Even Bill could get an A in that class.” She explains that the unsaid presupposition of that statement, though totally unsaid, is that “Bill is no great shakes as a student and the class is not difficult in any way.”

Her insights into the hidden verbal abuse that is frequently hurled in our direction by others, whether psychopathic or not, is very enabling.

The author also published book called The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense at Work, though I have not read a copy of that, I noticed it on www.Amazon.com.

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51 Comments on "BOOK REVIEW: The Gentle Art of Verbal Self–Defense"

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Woohoo! Looks like I might be first to respond for once 🙂
Excellent post Donna – I was just reading the other night about how these guys use NLP tactics to subdue and subjugate their partners … certainly there are plenty of free articles online about seduction techniques and how to induce trance states. What is amazing is that these guys seem to know intuitively how to use these tactics.

I really need this book. I just had to talk to the P last night and it was horrible. I can’t believe how abusive he is. Or I guess I can’t believe I put up with it for so long. I had come so far and now I feel like I’m at square one. I’ve been trying to catch up on everything here at lf and reading all the current stories it’s like starting all over and reading how other people have experienced the same things for the first time.

I don’t think I can do this with him any longer…it’s just too much. He is trying to make me pay back a loan that he took out. He used some of it to pay two of my bills because he owed me the money from before.

I started a business before we were married and he wanted it because he was not making that much money, had not ever made that much money and probably would not ever make that much. We signed a contract, giving him the business and giving me half of the profits. I loose insurance ect. but I also would get to stay home and raise my son. (big mistake, he is not good at business and I had to keep everything running from behind the scenes anyway) Well, we ended up married, having a child together, and now separated. He doesn’t want to share the extra profits with me because he can’t pay all the debt he has run up in his personal life. He also doesn’t pay support on our child…he thinks that’s my job on my half. He now wants me to pay back that loan and give up part of my profits and forgo support as well as no insurance, and blah blah blah….I absolutely can not bear to deal with his gaslighting, ambient abuse, projecting and mirroring and cheating us out of our money. It was his idea and now he says he shouldn’t have to follow the agreement because ‘I pushed it off on him’ What a liar! It’s a legal contract so screw him (I just don’t want to go to court and fight him the rest of my life and listen to his lies.)

One great thing is that he has passed on visitation the last two times and that is a huge relief, I don’t have to worry about my son this way. That’s a bigger horror story that stands alone, without this other mess.

I wish I’d never got involved with him except a one night stand (not even got his name or anything), had my son, and we would be provided for with MY business…..I AM SO STUPID…I knew better….

I don’t know how I did in responding to him…I was so upset by the lies he was saying, telling me that we had never agreed to ______ and I told you ______ and ….oh while telling me how he was giving my back my half of the deductions for the loan he tells me he isn’t because it’s my loan and that half the portfolio is not mine because I took my half with the loan. Does anyone understand why that is all wrong? He borrowed the money from the portfolio (we each put the same amount in each week for retirement), used some to pay me money he owed me, and now I’m paying it back into the portfolio but I don’t get half for retirement because the loan was my half????? And while explaining why I am the one paying it back he is saying that he is the one paying it back! What The F—!!!! Somebody please tell me they understand what I’m saying!!!

(I think if he would forgo his parental rights, I would forgo support and settle for a flat weekly rate of 40% of what our minimum profit was. He could take the 60% and all of the extra profit he makes over that minimum. Plus he has a full benefit package, which I loose just in the divorce, so he’d be doing great)

I’ve had a lot of slams over making this deal in the first place as well as how unfair it is to him but it wasn’t unfair to him, he got a lot and I gave up a lot (for him and oh well) Please don’t beat me up too bad for making the deal or for ‘doing him so wrong’

I just don’t know what to do…I’ve been out of college (unfinished) and unemployed for 11 years, there are no jobs around here that I qualify for (except, here is a good laugh, the ones I’m ‘over qualified for’) Can they really use that crap as a reason not to employ someone who has been at home for 11 years?

Wow, let me bend over and someone stick it right here!!!!!!!!!uuuuuuugggghhh

Anyway, thank you OXY for this article, I am going for that book. Maybe I’ll learn something and remember what I’ve learned. Thank you all, a lot of the recent posts have really hit home for me as well as other book recommendations.

And POLLY, I agree they sure do seem to use their tactics intuitively. It’s definitely their first nature. 🙁 I had to do a lot of research to learn you could even do some of this stuff to people and yet it’s just in them to know how to do it.

I feel like my head is spinning and I just jumped around like a nut who doesn’t know up from down or left from right. I didn’t mean to be vulgar. Well maybe a little just to vent.


Here the link to the resume of the book. Very helpful indeed! Thank you Oxy!

Dear Heaven bound,

You are so right, trying to talk to them lputs you back to square one.

My suggestion is that you HIRE AN ATTORNEY and let lHIM/HER do the negotiating for you. My reasons are this.

1) WITHOUT YOU, your husband will run the business into the ground and you will get X% of NOTHING!
2) you ought to know by now, that you can’t get the truth out of the X/
3) look at your LONG TERM GOAL, which my guess is to get him mcompletely out of your life and your child’s life.
4) look at what is probably HIS GOAL, I bet it is 100% of the business (which he will then bankrupt with his spending)

SOOOOOO, my suggestion, for what it is worth is that from now on you use the business (which he will ruin anyway) as a lever and get him to legally FOREGO ANY CONTACT WITH YOU OR YOUR SON—but get a lawyer to do the dealing, don’t try to do it yourself. I think you will win this one, and it means you must mostly start over financially, but gosh, I bet there are 100 women reading on this blog that would jump at the chance to get the P out of their lives if it ONLY meant giving them money!

In the long run, if you try to hang on to the “profits” you will lose out anyway as he will spend himself and the business into total bankruptcy and while HE still thinks he is getting a “good deal:” by giving up his rights with your son, you can put the CON on HIM! But DO get you a lawyer! (((Hugs)))) Oxy

Oh Oxy,

You are so right. The part about getting a % of anything is a pipe dream, I would definitely give it all to ensure the safety of my son, that’s a fact.

Thank you I needed to hear what someone else thought about it. I will try to find an attorney that will take this as a whole and do some leveraging, that can work it out legally. I figure he is after 100% of the business and I’ve been through enough and so have both of my boys. I don’t want to do this with him anymore.

I got so upset dealing with him last night but I’ve been waiting for the sign that he was ready to let us go and this is it isn’t it?

Thank you Oxy.

This IS a great book! I used it when I taught women’s self-defense. A word of caution though… NO ONE is immune from sociopaths. I am considered and expert in physical, verbal and psychological self-defense for women. It was my career before being sucked in by a sociopath. Please know that self-defense tools are useful, but they are not the be all end all.

Dear LK,

Your warning is definitely right on! I was reading some interesting articles on “whistle blowers” and how they are targeted because they have the moral courage to stand up and point out what a psychopath is doing, and many times, people are coerced into keeping their mouths shut about wrong doing in order to keep their jobs, their businesses, or their lives.

Psychopaths are GREAT at the SMEAR CAMPAIGN against people who try to defend themselves or others from the Psychopaths. It is SOPP–standard operating procedure of psychopaths.

I think most of us here who have had relationships with Ps have experienced those “beatings” in emotional ways and/or physical ways and probably finiancial as well. They will use ANY weapon, including their own children, no route is too LOW for them to take.

Glad you are here LK, stick around and share some of your self defense tactics with us. Welcome!!!!

No sorry, I think the P’s must have read this book because their verbal base line strength is in LYING very convincingly even this expert in communication would be caught out…

I will have to say it is dangerous to think you can get the upper hand here with a psychopath. They can mimmick till the cows come home…I have seen it, experienced it.

thanks for this post, it is crucial for us to take in, but I guarantee we will not be able to sense a psychopath until we are damaged…then we are confronted with a live or die situation, and many die…in the sense they are destroyed by these individuals….

be aware but being human means these predators have the upperhand..they do not care and they can act flawlessly….I really hope we learn to see through it, and this post could be the start point, so thanks for that. I’m just so happy to be free from the oppression of a LIE but a lie is a lie and it is impossible to detect with a smooth P. please do not underestimate the power of a P through LYING……LIES,LIES,LIES!!!!!!!

Dear Staying sane,

Oh, my dear, believe me I do NOT underestimate the Ps, believe me I KNOW HOW CONVINCING THEY ARE….and yes, they DO LIE like a RUG!

However, sometimes you can watch their ACTIONS vs what the SAY and pick up on the dishonesty–sometimes—and frankly I picked out one this summer that was presenting herself as a VICTIM of a psychopath and believe me this woman was GOOD–but tiny little things started to crop up, and before long I started to get the “spidey tingle” in my gut that said, this woman is ANGRY at me, but she is hiding it very well, but not 100% obviously. I got away from her fast as a speeding bullet! I discussed this with a psychiatrist who also knew her and the Doctor agreed with me, but because I LISTENED TO MY SPIDEY TINGLE IN MY GUT, I was saved from any damage from this woman who was setting me up for “the kill” (not literally, but probably financiially) So by listening to ourselves we can ESCAPE.

One thing I think this book is great for though are just run of the mill dysfunctional people who are NOT psychopaths, and it helps with dealing with them, and there are plenty of those people around as well as psychopaths.

It just behooves us to be CAUTIOUS in dealing with people.

Verbal self-defense, verbal judo and even NLP are not insurance policies, but they are ways to keep sane while dealing with manipulative people. And keep grounded in what we want out of the situation.

But if we’re dealing with a “long con” situation — that is a predator who has every reason to hide his true objectives and to present himself as exactly what we’re looking for — being able to deal with verbal abuse isn’t the problem. The problem is to recognize whether the “offer” really makes sense, or whether this is too good to be true. Or to get more specific, whether this person has really earned our trust enough for us to put up our “stake” in the deal.

People coming out of sociopathic encounters often talk about their grief at not being able to trust anymore. But after healing for a while, they often come to the conclusion that they were trusting too soon. Partly this is because they wanted to be positive, trusting people. But the other part is that they were dealing with someone who was an expert at making himself look trustworthy. I’m a certified NLP practitioner, and part of that discipline is learning how to speak another person’s language. (The objective is not predatory, but to expedite communications for project-management or therapeutic reasons.) But a predator doesn’t have to study NLP to know that learning what’s important to another person, and claiming to be exactly the same kind of person, will lower defenses. Add some flattery and some well-chosen gifts or bits of help, and you have a recipe for getting trust cheap.

And in all of this verbal self defense doesn’t help a bit. What does help is getting smarter about trust. Or, if it’s easier to understand, about contracts. If someone wants something, what are they giving for it? People who get into trouble with sociopaths tend to give first, in expectation of getting paid later. “Let’s move in together in your place. I don’t have any money, but I’ll help with the housework and be a totally faithful lover.” And what happens, after he moves in, if he’s not any of those things?

What seems like an inability to trust at first usually turns out to be a lesson in not giving ourselves away cheap. Not emotionally, not financially, not in the bits and pieces of our identity and our freedom.

I’m not a big fan of “rules” books, but there are several books about relationship development like “He’s Not That Into You” and even “The Rules” that are really about this. If someone has something to offer and really cares about you, that person will understand that your trust needs to be earned and take the time to do it.

Again, understanding this doesn’t protect us from a long con with a really self-disciplined predator, but it does keep us from doing the kind of stupid thing that just make us want to bang our heads against the wall later. (I speak from personal experience). If they’re coming on too fast, trying too hard, trying to talk you out of caring about things like them paying their own way, blaming everyone else in the world for their problems, wanting you to fix them in any way, they don’t deserve your trust or your investments.

All that said, to deal with the immediate hassles of verbal abuse or manipulative communications, verbal self-defense is wonderful. But it really is easier to learn once we’ve gotten over indirect communications of our own. It goes hand-in-hand with assertiveness training, where we learn to say what we want without apologies. (Assertive does not mean hard; it can be done in the nicest possible way.)

Then, when we’re dealing with people who are indirect, or communications that are loaded with all kinds of emotional hooks or blaming, it becomes a lot easier to analyze them in terms of “what does he really want?” If you know that, it’s easier to come up with an appropriate response. And if you don’t know that, and can’t get him to say it in a way you can really understand, it’s probably a good idea to leave the room.



Copied and printed!

Damn, this is good!

Love the stuff about speaking their language. perfect. that way I could see how bullshitty it is!

I have big trouble in the area of ‘give too much, too early, and freakin’ forever’. It is SO not my nature to hold back. Hmm, maybe it isn’t about my nature, but my nurture?

I will apply some of this to a hassle i have with my bully landlord and see if that changes the dynamic for me.


one step

Kathy, glad to see you again! great comments! (((hugs))))

dITTO kathleen.

I believe your post outlined all the things that should be red flags.

It is sad, but I believe anyone is suspeptable to a P. Like you said, if they are in it for the long con I believe they could con even someone who was nurtured well, not just us “targets”.

I took thee test, I am an excellent target…at least I was in June ’09. Hopefully I am not so mcuh one any more.

Sadly, I think one has to go through a situation with a P to see how they work. I am and will forever be a different person.
I will take from this experience 2 things: My BEAUTIFUL son, and a new-found respect for myself which, I believe will improve my quality of life from here on out EVEN despite my son’s P father.

The one thing that I did that helped me turn the corner was CHRIST LIFE SOLUTION, there may be classes in your area.
here’e the URL: http://www.christlifesolution.com/pages/page.asp?page_id=22146


Kathleen said, “The problem is to recognize whether the “offer” really makes sense, or whether this is too good to be true.”

This is HUGE, especially if you are dealing with a “long-con” situation, like Kathleen says.

Underneath all of the flattery, compliments, & love-bombing that happens in the early stages of meeting someone “special”, they will tell you what they are after and who they really are in the MOST SUBTLE WAYS.

You will HEAR the “I love you’s” and “you are my soul-mate”, and blah blah blah.
But, I think you really need to LISTEN for what lies beneath the surface. LISTEN for things like, “Damn, I forgot my credit card” (translation: you pay) or “you think too much” (translation: I will think for you).

I think we should never take anything a sociopath does personally, and that includes the flattery and the love-bombing.
After all, when we talk about the lying and manipulation, we always say, “that’s what sociopaths do.” I believe the same should apply to the charm and flattery in the early stages, as well.
That’s just what they do, and it should not be taken personally.

I read this line in an article the other day, and it made me think.
The line reads, “A sociopath will put you above others, but he will NEVER put you above himself.”

I think there is some truth in that line.

I think that we are helped immensely by getting clear about what we want. Oxy’s excellent review and recommendation is about the tactics of our lives. How do we deal with the little annoyances and obstacles on the path. But if we don’t know where our path is going or where we are on it, then we’re always going to be attracted and susceptible to people who appear to have a more solid center or more certainty of their own path.

In one sense, this is a good thing. These are the teachers of our lives. We gravitate toward them for guidance or to learn how they do it or simply to breathe the air around someone who seems more gifted or illuminated. It is totally natural, part of the growing-up process managed by our souls, that we recognize these people who have something that is not quite developed yet in us.

But teachers come in many varieties. And some of them are shallow and vicious. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t our teachers, but it may mean that the lessons will be hard and painful. And from NSPs, we learn what they are quite good at, self-interest. They teach us how weak and easily disposed-of our conscious self-interest is. And how a person who is not terribly clever — because in retrospect we see how limited they are by their inability to bond or feel empathy — can simply turn us to self-destructive and costly behavior.

Healing from these relationships gives us an opportunity to really define what we want, and what we probably have always wanted. Mutually respectful relationships. The ability to share warmth with people we trust. Emotional freedom from guilt and shame. Circumstances that enable us to pursue our interests. The right to choose what seems right and meaningful to us. Peace with ourselves. These desires may be defined in more concrete terms, but those concrete terms will probably evolve through our lives as we achieve the next task on our path, while the underlying principles are constant.

Knowing what we want steadies us. Another thing we learn from the NSPs is how they view the entire world through the lens of whether it does or doesn’t give them what they want. Their desires tend to be totally selfish and alienated from society or intimate relations. As feeling people, ours are more complex. Our lens enables us to see more, not just how things affect us but also other people. But we must know what we want for ourselves first. Otherwise, we are like dandelion fluffs, floating around in the breeze, not steady in our internal knowledge of what is right for us and more affected by what other people want.

People who challenge us in ways that require verbal self-defense are being either consciously or unconsciously manipulative. The are trying to influence us through our intellect or feelings to get something they want. But they’re being seductive, not direct. Seductive in the sense that they’re trying to lure us into agreement. This is exactly what sociopath’s do, when they nibble away at our self-esteem or beliefs that we though were well established. But it is also what seemingly more benign people do when they draw us into blaming, self-pity and criticism. Those kaffeeklatch conversations with people with personal problems and grievous complaints don’t leave us unscathed, if they divert us from our vision of pursuing the good in our own lives. (And yes, we make these sacrifices for various reasons, including the fact that we want the people we love to be happy and well, but it does cost us.)

Verbal judo is not just about avoiding the hooks in other people’s manipulative conversation or even about understanding what they want and figuring out whether we want to deal with it. It’s about seeing, really clearly, what they are offering us, and how to use it. (Ah, shades of that sociopathic learning again.) People who choose to interact with us have picked us out for a reason. We have something that interests them, and they are beginning a negotiation.

The secretary who says, “He’s just a pill today,” about her boss is looking for something and offering something. Likewise, the workmate who says, “Can you believe those jerks want to send me to diversity training?” Likewise the spouse or lover who says, “Purple? Why purple?” Likewise the child who asks, “Wouldn’t you like a cookie now, Mommy?”

A well-lived life is one that involves a lot of evaluation of these opportunities. Do we want to ally with the secretary? Do we want to discover what might come out of agreeing with the coworker’s anti-immigrant feelings? Is there some benefit in compromising about purple? Do we want to open the cookie jar? There are no easy answers to any of this. Life is one learning opportunity after another. But we do have choices. We don’t have to walk through every door that opens.

And that is really the heart of verbal self-defense, a choice to engage or not. There are many styles of non-engagement. We don’t have to be confrontation or unkind. Other people are working through their own learning paths, and sometime our refusal to engage, however gentle or abrupt, may be a valuable piece of feedback for them. We can’t know. We can only pursue our own path. But the more true we are to ourselves, the more honest and authentic our communications (even when tailored to another person’s language as we do in NLP), the more likely we are to be understood and respected as the kind of person other people are attracted to. Because we have a center and a vision of our own.

Ironically, that is what predators are attracted to, that light in us that is something they don’t have. Ironically, they often see our strength better than we see it ourselves. Fortunately, however painful the lesson, they are good teachers.

Kathleen and All,

Hi Kathy….I know I have thanked you many times, but I am so appreciative of how much you share, and the depth of your ability to share. In your last post I especially appreciate how you differentiated those of us, who are complex/empathetic/concerned with others, from the NSP’s shallow self-interest. This is super clear and very validating; helping me understand how to learn about nurturing my own healthy self-interest without fear of ‘becoming’ selfish and uncaring.

Thanks again, Slim

I believe that one of the reasons that recovering from a relationship with an S/P is so difficult is that we are left having a deep self doubt of ourselves in the wake of the ended relationship.

As Rosa said there is ALOT beneath the surface of what comes out of a S/P mouth (the lies) vs their actions. Their actions are what should be speaking volumes to us, but it is their “words” that we “hear”. And that initself is a MAJOR red flag. One ignored, because we are “listening” with our EARS and not our EYES.

The truth is that once a pattern is seen and we can recognize the lies, the S/P does tell a SMALL, SUBTLE “piece” of the truth is often all tangled up in the lies they weave. Or in their lies as they proceed to project their “stuff” back onto you.

Projection is a very hard thing to deal with….But once understood, that projection is the true reflection of the S/P s thinking process, or behavior, or mind set…It can valuable information into where the S/P really is coming from. It EXPOSES them in a sense, unlike many of the other things they do. Although their reasons for “projecting” are to take the focus off of them to begin with, and put it ON YOU….If you are able to turn this BACK onto them, it does expose more “reality” than any conversation you might ever have with a lying S/P/N.

You nailed it…..you so GOT IT!!! Thanks……
This is totally off the wall….but reading wits post above, made me think….I wonder if it would be ‘different’ if we were deaf?
Deaf persons can’t hear the projections, the lies and the words of mainipulations and lies……
They rely on visual perceptions (outside of sign language and lip reading)…..and body language…..and I would imagine a heightened gut sense too etc…
Would a deaf person have an ‘advantage’ recognizing/avoiding an S?
With heightened senses and the visual only benefit…..watching body language and actions……without hearing the bullshit words they spew?
Or would an S just mimik the words they want to say to a deaf person into the animated act out play of fake acting?
Just a thought?


I believe that the fear you stated of becoming selfish and uncaring is unfounded. I have read many of your posts and you have shown, time and time again that you are an empathetic and compassionate person.

That you give, share yourself and your experiences with all the wonderful people on LF in an effort to help others as well as yourself. That’s a good thing. An awesome thing. A natural inclination within you that can’t be disregarded or changed.

Building a fundamental confidence, belief and love of yourself is what I consider totally beneficial to a person’s well being, sanity and serenity. I speak of my own healing journey and renewal here.

I am living proof that you can be tough as nails when a situation arises where being strong, determined, curt to bad behavior, words is incredibly empowering and preserving of the self. I have 0 to lose and everything to gain by standing my ground on terra firma.

But I will never lose the essential, innate characteristics of being a loving, gentle and caring person. These do not make me weak, far from it. It’s super easy for some folks to use and abuse others. The path of least resistance, the path of selfishness, childishness, stagnancy is always easy for weak people to take.

And why not take that path if it’s so damn easy? Because it’s the wrong direction. It inhibits growth and evolvement. It inhibits genuine and sincere change, adaptation to an ever changing world. It inhibits the most powerful force in the universe: love. Love of life and love of oneself.

So, what I’m saying is it’s ok to be concerned about your own basic wants and needs or even the more higher wants and needs. It’s not selfish if you maintain your loving and compassionate heart in the process.

And there’s no way that you will lose that, doll, in your own healing journey. As you become stronger and truly believe that you are a valuable human being and deserve good treatment from people, the love you develop for yourself will be reflected back to others.

I already feel this love when I read yours and all the lovely folks commentary on LF.

It’s as natural as breathing for me.


I too wrestle with how harsh I have become…..but maybe it’s not harshness…but boundarie setting…..
How others respond to my ‘new’ way of doing things is funny…..some well, some not so well…..
But it’s imperative for us!
There is a time to kick some butt, and a time to wipe some with care.
Knowing the difference is the key.
We are compassionate and loving people, this is WHY we are in such pain…..if we were not compassionate and loving….we wouldn’t give a damn, it would hit us and bounce off and not penetrate to our caring souls…….

Selfish is not ALWAYS a bad thing to have.
We have to nurture ourselves to be able to give to others…..fertalize our gardens to produce the fruit to feed ourselves AND others!

I’m mixing up a batch of love fertalizer for all you wonderful folks here at LF……
Enjoy the day!!!!

Kathleen Hawk

Thanks. Really appreciate your words. You say:

Again, understanding this doesn’t protect us from a long con with a really self-disciplined predator, but it does keep us from doing the kind of stupid thing that just make us want to bang our heads against the wall later. (I speak from personal experience). If they’re coming on too fast, trying too hard, trying to talk you out of caring about things like them paying their own way, blaming everyone else in the world for their problems, wanting you to fix them in any way, they don’t deserve your trust or your investments.

Yes yes yes. How I wish I had known that before I met that low life loser with a talent for lying and promising everything far too soon….It’s just I have also lost my respect for “men” in the dating arena and cut em dead at 3 paces! I’d rather be alone that go through that again.

You brought up an interesting thought….And initially it makes sense that maybe an individual that did not hear could read an S/P? better than those of us that listen to words…Especially since a deaf person would have “other” hightened senses…

However I think in the long run what a toxic individual has that is so HARD for us “normals” to really understand is their uncanny ABILITY to initially “read” us like an open book. It is not just those things we inevidably share with them when we meet them, it is more than that. It is almost as if they can SEE within our very souls and our inner minds. And so everyone of us (being human) has some place where we might be vulnerable. Some of us more than others, granted…But almost EVERYONE of us posesses that “need” to be loved/liked. And just that one slight “neediness” that most of us have is enough for most S/P/Ns to exploit that need, until they have all of our vulnerabilitys right there on the “surface”. RIGHT where they want them.

I think many of us are also conditioned. And much of what we are conditioned for is UNREALISTIC. What woman doesn’t love a good romance movie….? Or any story with a happy ending? Happy endings usually equal ALOT of hard work. They don’t just “happen”.

We need to condition ourselves to see that if it looks to good to be true…If it SOUNDS to good to be true. It IS too good to be TRUE! Its not REAL.

I think that “harsh” is how it feels when we gradually make the transition from being more concerned with our own needs than we are with other people’s. We’ve been taught that being “caring” is being self-sacrificial.

And while it might be at times, if we decide there is a good enough reason for it, it’s important to remember always that self-sacrifice is voluntarily giving away resources that may be the foundation of our wellbeing. (The research on the premature aging of caregivers is really startling.) It’s playing Russian roulette on a large or small scale. And with sociopaths, whose hunger for our resources is not moderated by caring about our wellbeing, that can be Russian roulette on a scary scale.

I know in my own life, I have repeatedly gotten really well, physically and emotionally, and then gotten involved with someone or several people who are depressed or needy in other ways. Some part of me thought I could afford it. And these situations always ended with me being a lot less well than I was when they started.

My friends used to joke about them as my charity cases, but the reality was more like that vampire movie (I can’t remember the name of it), where a vampire kept people barely alive while taking blood through transfusion tubes in their arms. Creepy, huh? Well, no more creepy than volunteering to “fix” someone who was looking for someone who would fill in for what they weren’t fixing in themselves.

One of the insights of recovery from codependency is that that you can’t give what you don’t have. Or if you do, you will decline. Just like the advice on the oxygen masks in airplanes, you have to take care of yourself first, so that you’re healthy enough to help save other people.

About 20 years ago, I had a hysterectomy, my only encounter with major surgery, thank heavens. When I was coming up out of the anesthesia, the nurse showed me how to manage the self-administered painkiller in my IV. She said, “This is no time for heroism. When it starts to hurt, give yourself a dose. If that isn’t enough, call us and we’ll give you a shot. If you let it go until you’re really hurting, it can take three times as much to get it under control again.”

I went home from that hospital stay, thinking about that. Not even live with a little pain? Such a thing had never occurred to me. If I took that on into the rest of my life, would that make me a selfish monster?

I think I didn’t figure out the answer to that question until my experience with the sociopath. Until then, I was still thinking that I needed to accept a certain amount of pain in order to make other people comfortable. He made me realize that belief was essentially his doorway into my life. in fact, one of his favorite things to say, when I complained about how bad his behavior made me feel, was “It’s not really that bad, Kathleen.” As though I were a whining child, when I was dealing with his callous insults, infidelities, lies and financial exploitation.

I am still a caring person. I make a lot of effort to understand other people’s feelings and circumstances. I enjoy being generous, when I can afford it. I contribute to charities that mean something to me. With people in trouble, I look for opportunities to help that seem appropriate to me. But I am also super-conscious of what is safe for me. I don’t volunteer more than I can comfortably give. And as I mentioned in an earlier post, if someone tries to talk me out of more than I would naturally give, I may consider it, but with awareness that they don’t really care about my comfort zone now and probably will care less later. And if it’s a business issue where I’m being pressed to invest more than I originally intended, I look very carefully at whether the potential reward is worth the “opportunity risk” in tying up resources that I might place in more attractive deals.

Making this transition into primary self-interest primary is hard, because it’s really learning a new discipline of living. At the beginning, it confliects directly with the old way of making other people’s self-interest primary. There’s a lot of internal resistance, these ideas that we can’t do this and be a caring person. Or that we’re being cold or harsh if we don’t immediately give in to someone else’s request or demand or the implications that they need us. It takes a while to get a grip on the idea that we’re making ourselves needy, if we don’t take care of ourselves first. And if we’re needy, we can’t really be authentically caring, we can only make deals to swap getting our outsized needs met with other needy people.

We want to trust. But we also want to trust people who are worthy of our trust. People who are dependable, because they are self-disciplined in exactly this way. They don’t over-promise, they don’t give what they can’t afford (and then become dependent or blaming), they don’t lie about who they are and what they have, and they don’t project a lot of phony charisma because they want attention. We want real, emotionally healthy people to trust. People whose “yes” means something, because they know how to say “no.”

Someone once told me that I have to become what I want to attract into my life. For me, this has been the real work of recovery. It’s easy to give in. Hard to say no when someone is doing a really convincing dance. About how I have to pay attention to his feelings. About how he is exactly what I’ve been looking. About how this will work out better than I ever imagined, because he’s more experienced, smarter, stronger. Or how his problems are all about whether I am a good and caring person. Saying no can involve a tremendous amount of courage in trusting ourselves. There’s always a part of me that assumes that everyone else probably knows something I don’t, and maybe I should just go along.

My Buddhist friend, who is also a friend of my ex-S, once said to me about him, “When he shows up in my life with one of his can’t-loss plans, I always know it’s going to be very interesting and very expensive. And I always have to figure out if I can afford the ride.”

Very sensible guy, my Buddhist friend.


‘It takes a while to get a grip on the idea that we’re making ourselves needy, if we don’t take care of ourselves first. And if we’re needy, we can’t really be authentically caring, we can only make deals to swap getting our outsized needs met with other needy people.’

MAKING MYSELF NEEDY, WOW WOW WOW! I knew the second part, but i was missing the pathway. THANKS!

one step


I really feel like you have been talking about me. Not that I’m saying you literally meant me. However, when I read and feel like you could be, it’s the “if the shoe fits” thing and I know I have a problem. I am way to needy (among other things) to be much to anyone here, or anywhere. That really bothers me. Yet, I’ve secretly known that I am too needy and wanting some attention. At one time I was the one everyone turned to to get advise, direction, whatever (this always amazed me, since I knew I wasn’t smart)…Now, I am the needy, blood sucking, bottomless pit. God help me to be more of the solution and less of the problem. W

one step, wow wow wow! I love that you get it.

Stayingsane, alone is good. This is big and you’re taking your time to think it through. The learning here can’t be grasped fast, even if you had the best teacher or therapist to walk you through it. Your internal learning center is very carefully and tenderly reprogramming you to incorporate one of the most amazing lessons of your life. Right now, you’re in the “don’t mess with me” phase. That’s great progress, but it’s a point in the getting-better path. Enjoy being fierce and be proud of yourself for getting so far.
Later, you’ll cool down and become smoothed out. You’re going to come of this so smart, so much better able to understand and navigate life, and so all-around wonderful, lovable and able to love that you’ll probably look back at that lowlife with a kind of distant (very distant) fondness for the great changes he brought to your life.

banana, I’m glad you’re doing so well. But you keep saying “sadly.” You know, the devil shows up not just to tempt us, but to help us understand our own boundaries. I’m not big on the concept of evil, but in this context, evil shows up to teach us what we are not. And in learning that, we learn what we are and were meant to be. I’m glad you’re taking care of yourself; I hope that also means you are learning to appreciate and love yourself. You are a wonderful person, and this is your story, not his. You were challenged deeply, and you’re finding the resources to meet that challenge and learn from it. Hooray for you.

Hi, Rosa, I love what you wrote about not taking any of it seriously, including the flattery. I had the hardest time getting over some of the nasty things he said to me, until I realized that I was giving him the power to judge me. It was one of those ka-pow insights. I am the judge of me. That may sound arrogant, especially to religious people. But I think that I can find God’s voice inside of me, and I mostly know when I’m off the path. (Not always, some things are so confusing and I just have to take a chance and hope I’m right.) But certainly that incompetent little twit, with his warped and shallow values, is not my judge. So I think it’s not just not taking them seriously, but recognizing that we’re dealing with limited people who lie and steal because they can’t function normally. Once we get better, we realize that we gave them the power our lives, and we can take it back. But you already know that.

slimone and ErinBrock forgive me but you are just so cute when you worry about become cold and uncaring. As JaneSmith points out so well, this is a good thing. You need to be Ice Queen occasionally, when there are trolls to be managed or chased off. Otherwise, you’re your caring and lovable self.

Oxy, apologies for hijacking the thread. Your post was so interesting, and then I had so much to say. I should come back more often. Hugs to you too. Now I have to go back to work.

One more post for heavenbound. Sweetie, you’re in a state. All this self-criticism. It’s okay if you’re working stuff through. But if you’re looking in the mirror and seeing a bottomless pit, that’s just not true.

Needy is about something. It’s not an insult. It’s a condition that we get into when our own needs aren’t met. A kind of hunger. If your need for appreciation and understanding isn’t being met, or if your need for comfort and kindness isn’t being met, you’re going to go looking for sources. If you really have some big hungers associated with unmet needs, it’s something like physical hunger. It can dominate your mind until you get those needs met.

I think you need to just let yourself be healing, and understand that you’re wounded and getting better. I talk the way I talk because I got better, and it took me a long time to do it. But in a way I was lucky, because I suspected right from the very beginning that something really good was going to come out of this. So even though some parts of it were uncomfortable and scary — and believe me, I went through my own periods of hating myself and thinking I was terminally messed up — something in me believed that I was fixing something important in myself. A big problem that wasn’t just about the sociopath, but something that had kept me down my entire life.

And that turned out to be true, as it will be for you. I haven’t been here lately, so I don’t know exactly where you are in the path. But I suspect you haven’t gotten to the angry stage yet. You’re still trying to figure out what you could have done differently, and calling yourself a boob for not seeing it or not managing better or not just snapping out of it.

I’m not sure if I can help you along, but think about this. Yes, you may have done some dopey things, as we all did, but who was the deciding factor in how bad it all came out? Did you choose this? Did you say to yourself, “Oh I’m going out today to find the worst person I can find, because I think it’s time to have a really big disaster in my life?”

Hmm. Did you do all that by yourself? What do you think? And if you really don’t feel mad about how you were treated, what about resentful? Are you resentful about any little thing?

If you’re holding off anger because you’re afraid of it don’t be. You need to get clear about whose fault this really was, and to react like a normal human being to being disrespected.

And in the meantime, maybe you should treat yourself like the recuperating person you are. Do nice things for yourself, take a bath, make some tea, do some light reading, and go easy on yourself. It will get better, I promise.



It does seem bottomless at times, like it just can’t be filled. Not that it’s been tried lately, but it seems that way. Anyway, I think I’m just working things out is all.

I have bounced around from spells of the purest anger, fear, and even calm. It’s a roller coaster ride to say the least.

Thank you for pointing out the needs needing to be met is all it is. But I don’t know where or how I’m going to get them met. There doesn’t seem to be a local store selling that right now! I am just a little desperate for it most of the time these days.

I am also in this awful state of fear…I thought I had gotten past that and now it’s back.

Then, I’m also aware that there are things from my child hood that has helped me to be cluster B bait. And I really could give them a run for their money from all the training I’ve had, but only for a short time because my heart gets the best of me and then I get eaten alive. So, giving them a run for their money is not something I want to do anymore.

I guess I’m holding off anger…I don’t know. I spent the last year , two , or three, maybe longer so very angry. People had thought I had gone mad. I thought I had gone mad. My oldest child thought I was a saint though for not killing the devil! Bless his heart. The P took so much and gave nothing…He cost my children. We never wanted anything but to just enjoy our days…we didn’t want things that cost that much if any…but he wouldn’t let us live in peace…he was always talking to us like we were the trash of the trash. I can’t go there because it has proven to be so unproductive.

But then, I do think, ‘look what I’ve done, just look how much time I’ve lost, my children have grown so quickly and they don’t know the real me.’ I had so many dreams with them and I’m having a really hard time letting go of that part of life.

I don’t know what to do, I have these people around me, but I am so alone. I need someone to help me I can’t do this alone… I know these are normal thoughts to be having along with the knowledge that I’m the only one that can do this for me, but it sure isn’t helpful right now and doesn’t make it any easier.

I didn’t do this all by myself, thank God. I don’t think I could carry the entire blame, although I feel like a lot of times I have from me and others along the way.

I don’t want to put anymore time into this and yet it is consuming me.

Thank you Kathy…thank you for taking the time to post to me…thank you for not blaming, but encouraging…and thank you for your insight and leading me in the right direction on this path of healing, I get lost a lot and can’t figure out which direction to head in (it seems). I’m like you, I believe that I can hear God’s voice in me and so I know when I’m off path, but it’s not always easy to know which way is the right way to get back on, I get confused.

Thanks to all who posted with encouragement and wisdom, it is MUCH appreciated and heeded. I am just beyond the ‘practicing’ phase of tending to myself, first; it sometimes feels awkward and SO self-absorbed. Not to mention the N mother’s voice in my head with all her projections of how selfish, needy, and unconcerned with everyone else I am. She doesn’t say this any more, but did, alot; and it is a rather sticky voice in my psyche.

I guess whenever we go against these conditioned patterns of belief and behavior, we can feel like we are being ‘bad’, or otherwise not cooperating with our internal critics. That said, I also sometimes feel simply ‘high’ with my developing skills. I can feel my own potential coming to the surface, and it does feel good and safe and dependable. Things I have never been for myself.

“Another thing we learn from the NSPs is how they view the entire world through the lens of whether it does or doesn’t give them what they want. Their desires tend to be totally selfish and alienated from society or intimate relations. As feeling people, ours are more complex. Our lens enables us to see more, not just how things affect us but also other people.”

I will remember that my desires are much more complex; and that I take others into consideration, even when my own must be placed first.

In love, Slim

Dearest Kathleen,

I have a theory and it could be totally incorrect but I believe that many of us, or all of us folks on LF are terrified, disgusted at being perceived as the “bad guy” in situations.

By standing up for ourselves when we become aware that we are being mistreated, abused by others and then the ridiculous projection, deflection, guilt manifesting actions and words unjustly thrown at us in retaliation.

I admit it. I once longed for constant peace without uncomfortable conflict. I was a peace keeper not a peace maker. I hated looking like the “bad guy”.

But from a reality oriented perspective, one in which I am living now daily, I wasn’t in any way, shape or form the “bad guy” by stating my concerns about being unfairly hurt and belittled.

I was right in defending myself. I was right in defending my own solid values and beliefs. I was right in being furious when I was trampled upon and/or treated like nothing more than an object to used and abused for the pleasure of my former partners.

And I am right in staunchly defending myself, now, today any time I am accosted by mean, hurtful, spiteful, children in adults bodies.

Of course, I am now able to put aside the polite and considerate woman I truly am and let my fury be known to all bullies, predators, little people who fruitlessly try to demean me. I will no longer allow such despicable behavior directed towards me. No way!

I always remember the quote by the Venerable, beautiful Eleanor Roosevelt…”No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Truer words are not spoken.

If you believe in yourself to be a valuable, wonderful human not one person on this planet can give you cause to feel inferior.

As I said before, I only have one authority in this universe and it’s not an Earthling like myself. So, I do what I want, when I want and with whomever I want without giving a flying fig for the unsolicited advice, comments of others. They’re not living my life; I am living my life.

As long as I strive to live a righteous life, adhering to the Gospels, always with the Holy Spirit joyfully encompassing my heart, my mind and my soul…I think I’m doing a damn fine job!…haha.

Peace, Joy and Love to all.


Dear Kathy, you can “hijack” any time you want to, I’ve missed your posts! don’t forget your friends here at LF!

Janie, you are soooo RIGHT as always…I had a therapist tell me once that if there was a 100 pound sack of guilt laying in the middle of the freeway, I would slam on my brakes at 70 mph to stop and pick it up! Yea, ALWAYS have to be “perfect” and not make anyone else uncomfortable, not matter how big a jerk they are.

“Oh, I am soooo sorry you broke your finger when you hit me in the nose for no reason, here let me put some ice on your finger.” LOL

Jane Smith … if you haven’t already read Women who Love Psychopaths, please get it and devour it! It outlines the traits that made us all SPN bait and you are spot on in picking one of them is the need to peace keep and be perceived as ‘nice’ by others.

Here’s a very short quote from it that outlines just a few of the traits – they are explored in great detail in the book:

“Our survey found the temperament traits elevated in women who love
psychopaths are:
1. Extraversion and excitement-seeking
2. Relationship investment and positive sociability
3. Sentimentality
4. Attachment
5. Competitiveness
6. Concern for having others’ high regard
7. Harm avoidance”
(Brown, 2009, p.103)

This chart comes from page 148 and outlines other elements that put women at risk for harm – again I strongly encourage you to get the book – all of us need to read it – it is so healing! It explains every element of our character and personality interplayed with his (or her’s) to show how the relationship developed and how it was so harmful to each victim. Hopefully I can copy and paste the chart now! The traits of women are listed on the right – those of the P are listed on the left eg in the first trait of Co-operativeness you will see it is low for the P and high for the victim – so the victim is moved to co-operate much more. Hope everyone can read this ok!

Figure 8.2
Character Traits of the Psychopath and His Women
Character Traits Typical
Psychopath /Women Who Love Psychopaths
Cooperativeness (C) Total Low High
C1-Social Acceptance Low High
C2-Empathy Low High
C3-Helpfulness Low High
C4-Compassion Low High
C5-Integrated Conscience Low Moderately High
Self-Directedness (SD) Total Low High
SD1-Responsibility No Data High
SD2-Purposefulness No Data High
SD3-Resourcefulness No Data High
SD-4 Self-Acceptance No Data High
SD-5 Congruent Habits No Data High
(ST) Total
Low Average
ST-1 Self-Forgetfulness Low Low Average
ST-2 Transpersonal
Low Low Average
ST-3 Spiritual Acceptance Low Moderately High

(Brown, S. 2009, p.148)

I think you can buy the book on the Lovefraud site – I purchased from Sandra’s site not knowing that! It has a steep discount at the moment that may not last too much longer. Believe me when I say it is WELL WORTH READING! I sat for hours and devoured the whole lot in one sitting and am now going back to it often to explore elements in more depth.

Oxy – lol @ the sack of guilt in the middle of the road – you have some great expressions!

Ox I was driving down a road one nite along time ago. There was a full sack of feed laying in the middle of the road! So I stopped to get it. And when I went to pick it up it moved about a foot. Well it skeered the crap out of me..there was a string attached to it and some kids were playing a prank and laughin there ass’s off and running away throught the woods. As for that sack of guilt, I wont ever stop to pick that up. I was tellin a friend today this is the best xmas I have had in years, why? no stress…
JANE SMITH – I so relate with your new found confidence. I respect myself. I respect others. But mess with me and I will lay you out in heart beat. I didnt have this confidence before. I dont deserve to be mistreated by anyone and I wont.

Dear Henry,

Yea, we used to do that kind of thing when I was a kid, rural kids sort of have to come up with their own fun. My grandfather and his friends used to lead someone’s milk cow up a ramp they had constructed into the top loft of a guy’s barn. Then remove the ramp, the problem is, even if they had left the ramp the cow wouldn’t have walked DOWN the ramp.

Also they would disassemble some guy’s wagon and hoist the parts up t othe top of his barn and reassemble it. The best one though was when my grandfather and a bunch of guys locked apig in their professor’s room at college and listened from the other side of the door while he came into the room in the dark, groping for the light bulb chain haning from the ceiling in the center of the room while the 200+ pound hog went rinig around the rosey in the room. That same prankster, my Paternal lgrandfther, who became a fine physician never lost his rural querky sence of humor and was into practical jokes all his life! I guess that is part of where I get my sense of the absurd. But my maternal grandfather, the farmer was just as bad at the practical jokes—but I got him bad but good for the LAST ONE HE EVER PULLED ON ME! After my “revenge” joke, he let me alone after that and though it made him so mad at first that he was going to give me the thrashing of my life (he had never even spanked me before) I let him know it was for revenge of his particularly nasty one that previous spring and he sat back down and never said another word.!!! I will cherish that memory the rest of my life and my punch line to sit him down is a “family by-word” to this day 50 years later! I’m sure glad I thought FAST on my feet that timie! LOL ROTFLMAO One of my happiest memories! Punishment fit that [email protected] HIS!

The other night at supper my sons got into a “remember when” bunch of old family stories and telling things my husband and I had done that are (in retrospect) funny as all get out! We are starting again to think of stories, even stories of my P son when he was little that bring tears to our eyes with laughter. We tell funny stories and remember them with relish, even if the person was a P, the parts of teh stories of even talking about these people isn’t diminished by what happened before or after the funny event. It is nice to have our family memories back without all the sadness and pain that went with them. Just because a person is a P doesn’t mean they never said or did anything that wasn’t entertaining.

To be able to separate the person from all of the bad memories is starting (just now I think in the past few months) to become possible for us.

I know what you mean Henry, about enjoying Christmas this year. Starting NEW “nono-traditional” Traditions. Son D is going tout of state to be with his Biofamily for the 25th, so his brother and I will be here just the two of us, but that’s OK, we are going to go to town and go to a movie and eat out! the three of us will have a “christmas dinner” at one of our favorite restaturants before son D leaves. Though I enjoy having both guys here, sometimes it is just nice to have just one of them here and we can spend some “quality” time just the two of us.

Tonight after I got home from town I was cooking dinner and son C came up and said “Mom, stop what you are doing for just a minute” and I looked up in teh middle of my food preparation and he stepped up to me, put his arms around me and said “I just need a mommie hug, this was a tough day today at work.” He just held me for a minute, and I could feel the warmth and the love, and even the “little boy” that I can no longer put on my lap, the man and the boy were both there tonight with their arms around me and it felt so good!

Dang, Henry,you got me all sentimental. (hugs)

Thanks for recommending the book, Pollyanna. It’s on my wish list of future books to buy.

Henry, ok that prank by those little imps was hilarious! Totally sounds like something I would do even at my ripe yet still mischievous age…haha!

And, yeah, when your confidence, belief in yourself begins to grow so does an empowering strength. You stop allowing any type of mistreatment towards you. Immediately.

I allowed too much garbage in the past and I just don’t have any tolerance, patience for it any longer. Where once I was hesitant to confront said mistreatment, today I stomp on it pronto.

I don’t care a bit if I’m not liked or accepted by a person who derives sadistic pleasure in hurting others. Why would I? It’s illogical to give a damn what these types of people think. Good, if they dislike me. Keeps them from bothering me after I put a stop to their crap.

I think you’re realizing that yourself. Awesome! You’re totally aware that you have so much to offer, to give and that you shouldn’t settle for one iota less than you deserve.

Being alone, without a love interest is not the worst thing in the world that can happen to you. Far from it. Gives you plenty of time to sort things out within yourself, to learn to appreciate peaceful times of solitude and all the simple, yet glorious treasures that make life so worth living, like your garden and your beloved puppy doggies.

Keep on truckin and keep on sharing because I most certainly care for you. Don’t doubt it in the least.


Lovely Oxy,

You, my dearest, are also so right!

What’s the purpose in keeping up appearances? None, if you’re a reality, truth oriented person. Why bother caring about the negative opinions of anyone, especially strangers? It’s just downright silly, if you ask me.

This isn’t an era similar to the 18th-19th century when folks pretended to be cordial and polite then stab you in the back when you’re gone. Gossips. Nothing but petty, trite, evil gossips who have such little lives so they entertain themselves by spreading vile rumors against those they are envious of or simply because they’re mean and bored.

Hey, there may be people who are uncouth, rude and obnoxious right off the bat but I prefer to know exactly the type of person they are immediately than to spend time with a disingenuous creep/creepette. No good person enjoys being deceived by someone they thought they could trust.

Really, I ponder all the past instances where I struggled to maintain my composure, my innate niceness in the face of cruelty and flat out psycho episodes and I wonder…why?

It seems so absurd now, of course, but I guess it’s just part of living, learning, absorbing, growing and healing. I don’t regret one darn minute of the pain and heartache. I wouldn’t be the gal I am today and continue to be if not for those tough, yet enlightening experiences.

Dear janey,

yep, that is so true. I remember my egg donor got lme one of those Emily Post books, that told you all the “polite” things, and how you should talk to SERVANTS and others ! LOL Like I was needing to know how to talk kto the maid politely! LOL ROTFLMAO

But, when I did go “bigger places’ than “Mud Puddle, Arkansas,” I did know how to pretend to be “nice” amopng all those upper crust folks, most of whom were NOT nice to the maids they had! LOL

You know one of THE FINEST people I know is pretty uncooth because he was raised in the utter abject poverty of a log cabin without enough roof left to keep the snow out, and only went to school 3 days in his life, but he did well for himself with hard work, honesty and is very respected in this community. He raised and EDUCATED two lovely daughters who are fine women and I would rather be in his presence than the presence of the “elite” and “famous” like Tiger Woods! My friend, with his lack of “upper crust” manners, is still a GENTLEMAN and Tiger Woods is just another lying sex addict and narcissist. (at best!)

Yes, all the things we learned by the “hard times” are better lessons than what we got from the “good times” that turned out NOT to be so “good” either. It also makes me appreciate the PEACE and the REALLY good satisfying things I have now. I don’t regret it either, but it was like CHILD BIRTH, I CAN TELL YOU THAT, lots of pain and work, but worth it!

Henry I can relate to that nice stress free Christmas – that’s how I am feeling too even though the future is uncertain. I don’t have a honey bun to wrap my arms around on Christmas Eve, but neither will I have someone who wishes me harm and evil dining at my table – that’s a pretty huge improvement! I am again reminded of the biblical quote …

“Better a meal of herbs where there is love than a feast where there is none.”

Oxy I will be having a simple and small Christmas day too – more than likely just two or three of us. We’re thinking about hiring a playstation and cracking out singstar and some games – less waiting time for a turn 😛

Was having lunch with my friend today. The subject of the x came up. She said ‘I dont understand the hold he had on you. Your way better than him’ I searched for the words to try to explain, but just changed the subject because ‘I’ know why, but I can’t explain it to her or anyone really..I know you all understand.

And Jane Smith … how about having the book as an early Christmas pressie to yourself? 😀 If I had a credit card and a way of getting it to you I would send it your way ~! It’s that good 🙂 In the meantime I will try to post quotes and snippets here and there that link to what is being discussed on these posts .

I found a couple of the books on my wishlist at my local library … shocking! I was ready to shell out to get them and so glad I didn’t – there are so many books related to this field and I want to read as many as I can. Have you read the Mask of Sanity? It’s pretty well written considering it’s from the 1940s and is available online for free at several locations – that was a defining text in this field and quite a bit of Dr Hare’s Psychopathy checklist symptoms are identical to what Hervey Cleckley published in the 1940’s. Another one available free but harder to read is called ‘The Unfinished Man’ – it’s from the 1880s so makes for tougher reading but nonetheless the explanations, examples and case histories are identical in many ways to what we experience now.

Hugs to you!

My lovely and loving new adult Iranian “kids” will be coming over for Xmas day. Im doing ham, turkey breast, roast spuds, green beans, onion gravy. This is the first Xmas in years that Im actually looking forward to! So many have been ruined by my older daughter either cancelling at the last minute,or, like a few years ago, arriving late,in bathers and bare feet, yes, theyd all had a swim, and had already eaten at maccas! Or the usual “freebies” from her,{even wrapped in used Xmas paper!} Last year I actually had to pay to see them and it cost me $200- [the amount my daughter told me shed need to hire a car.} Cheated again, I found out later you can hire one for $50- a day.Roya and Abbas are staying over till Boxing day, as they live a long distance away. My son in law is bringing the GKs over on N years Day, so I can give them their gifts then.This will be the first Xmas in 45 years I havent seen Deb.The ball is in her court, she hasnt rung me,
my boundary is an apology and it aint gonna happen.Looking forward to a fun, peaceful, stress free and spath free Xmas!!
And a very happy Xmas to all my wonderful friends on LF!!. Love and {{HUGS!!}}} Gem.XX

Every morning my son starts very loud abusive fights with me, his favorite is YOU FUCKING BITCH!!! Today it was over his hair. My stomach knots up and I feel shaky, flight or fight response, this is how my day is started everyday, my daughter is home from college and she blames me for defending myself, “just let him treat you like that, ignore him” If YOU did not say anything back to him he would be fine. I told him I am not taking him to school, to get a ride, he storms around the house hitting things, and goes outside and screams you fucking bitch. Then he calls me from school, mom, can you come get me, I don’t want to finish school today, (I don’t do it) you fucking bitch. Mom, go get me some treats for my school lunch and bring them to me,(no) YOU FUCKING BITCH, but my daughter blames me. I swear I am ganged up on and I can’t take it anymore. Then my daughter blames me because I won’t do anything about it, I ask, like what? ignore him, let him do it. I am nothing but a human punching bag to these people, that is it

It is when you have that flight or fight response with your own child that you know things are very much out of control.

The “flight” response, when you want to LEAVE your home, that is not a normal reaction for a mother to have with her child. I KNOW this feeling because I have been there.
I don’t remember how old your son is exactly BUT if he is 16 yrs or less you might have one or two options.

NONE of them are REAL solutions to the problem, but they might prove to get you some help where you are NOT dealing with this all by yourself. Dealing with it ALONE is the most stressful of all.

If he is 16 go to your county court system and file ( with the juvenile prosecuting attorneys office) incorrigible teenager.
DO IT NOW because otherwise when he turns 17 yrs old you can NOT file.
What this does for you is that you go in front of a judge and present your case. You say that he is OUT of control and you can NOT control him. Bring his school records and any other documents that might prove this. Record the problems you have with him on paper so you are prepared. Curfew issues, cutting classes, altercations at school, whatever they might be.
Teachers, principal, input. Anything you deal with that is showing he is out of control.

BE FIRM that you insist on filing this petition. Incorigible teenager. Do NOT let them “side track” you. Courts systems are busy and they might insist and try to offer you other programs. DON’T allow them to do this to you. Insist on filing to go in front of a judge.

The judge will issue HIM some guidelines and they will follow up with him. If your son does NOT follow the guidelines your son will have to answer to the judge. So it takes some of the pressure off of you because you can’t control him.

If you wait to long and he turns 17 you got nothing….If he is within the system they will follow through until he is 18.

Trust me….It gets worse. Try to do something now to get some of the pressure off you.

There used to be a poster here Sabrina, (I miss you sabrina)
that had filed incorigible teenager in the state she had lived in.
Each state has different options. In HER state she actually had someone (an officer) that came to her house to get her son off to school if I remember correctly.

You might not live in a state where you are so “lucky” to have that happen but the fact still remains that once the order is drawn up by the judge your son will have to face the music if he doesn’t follow it.

Wow takesone – that is lousy behaviour – that must be driving you insane! Where does he get off treating you in that manner. I know most teenagers are egocentric (the world revolves around ME and only ME!) but that is completely over the top. Sounds like he might be a candidate for ‘Brat camp’!

Think you have some good advice from other posters here – just a short window of opportunity to file though – please ensure you aren’t manipulated into not doing this by your son … his behaviour will just get worse – abusive people escalate what they do rather than tone it down over time. Sorry your daughter is being so unhelpful – it must be tough for her to see the dynamic from the outside though – people can tend to make very glib remarks when not in the midst of difficult relationships.

witsend says:

“However I think in the long run what a toxic individual has that is so HARD for us “normals” to really understand is their uncanny ABILITY to initially “read” us like an open book. It is not just those things we inevidably share with them when we meet them, it is more than that. It is almost as if they can SEE within our very souls and our inner minds.”

I think that uncanny ability to read us is related to what this book talks about. I’ve read a little bit about NLP and it’s fascinating. If you ever want to see how the ‘non-normals’ live and think, visit one of their bulletin boards. There are quite a few that you can read without joining. It is chilling. If you can get over the revulsion at some of the things they post, it can be very educational. NLP is discussed by some of the more self-aware P/S/Ns.

My basic understanding of it, in regards to P/S/Ns is that it goes along with their lack of emotional context. They don’t feel what we feel, so they get all of their “human” information through body language and verbal language. They watch and listen. That’s how they learn to operate and manipulate. This actually leaves them with a lot more manouverablity, for lack of a better word when it comes to interpersonal relations and gives them an ADVANTAGE over normals. They are not encumbered by emotional context because words are just words to them. They don’t FEEL things when they say or hear words, the way normal people do.

What this allows them to do is use language much more creatively to manipulate people. They can watch for patterns and see what makes people react.

It’s the same thing they do with body language and faking emotions. They watch and mimic because that’s ALL they can do, so they become experts at it.

NLP, from the little I know of it was discovered because some therapists knew intuitively how to change the way they communicate to patients to engender trust. In this case it was using it for beneficial means.

P/S/Ns on the other hand, learn it instinctively as a survival mechanism and then use it to get what they want.

They “read” us alright. But they don’t always read everything correctly. What they do “get” is if we will make a good target when we respond as one.

I really want to read this book. I think it would help a great deal in seeing just how language can be used to hook us.

I just want to give a few examples that I’ve noticed in my own life that I think fit in with this:

Things said to me this week:

1) I was standing in the kitchen cooking dinner and someone else was laying down on the couch watching tv. That someone else says to me, “The dog wants out.” They are closer to the door and just lying there. I’m busy. I walked over and let the dog out. What just happened there? I was manipulated. Yeah the dogs wants out. So what? Why didn’t they get up and let it out? Also, the direct way of asking would have been, “Can you let the dog out, please?” I responded as a submissive people pleaser.

2.) I’m at the dinner table and someone says, “Salt and pepper.” and someone else just picked up the salt and pepper shaker and passed it to him. Hmmm. That was indirect once again and people pleasing. He should have said “Can you pass me the salt and pepper, please.” Responding to a command like that sends a message: Your wish is my command.

3.) I’m in the bathroom doing my hair, someone else walks in and says, “I gotta pee”. I leave the washroom and stand outside and “WOOOOM!!!!” it hits me while I’m standing there. What the heck did I just do???? Geez I really am one of those people that if someone says “JUMP!” I say “How high.”

Soooooo…yeah….that person came out of the washroom and my heart was pounding because now I was really annoyed at myself, but I say as calmly as possible, “The next time you want something from me, please be more direct. If you want me to leave the washroom, the polite way would be to ask.” They got all huffy and offended and actually claimed they said, “Can I pee?” uhmmm ok deja vu…here we go with the rearranging of facts. I said “No. You did not say that.” Then they got really angry and told me I was being rude and it turned into a “Yes I did.” “No. You didn’t.” to which I had ABSOLUTELY NO DESIRE to get into that kind of idiotic pointless argument.

I think my point in giving those examples is how subtely we can be “had” and how once we stop doing it we have to be prepared for those that are used to us being patsies will not like it.

Too bad. So sad. The buck stops here.

Icanseeclearly – yes I recognised those patterns towards the end too. He would come in after work and go straight to the computer. The pattern was I would always have to ask what he wanted for dinner – always the same answer too “I don’t know” so then I would spend half an hour going through options. I would then have to cook it while he sat – if I asked for any help he would sulk and claim he didn’t know what to do. Always the same routine – so some nights I changed the pattern and went to my computer when he went to his 🙂

You are dead right that if you confront them on it you only make a rod for your own back – no contact is the only way to go – it literally saves our sanity!

SPN’s are masters at mirroring and reading us, and copying our behavior.

But, they cannot do it 24/7.
If you are around them enough, sooner or later they will slip up and say something bizarre, callous, or uncouth, revealing their true nature.
And, you will be sitting there thinking, “HUH??? Did I hear that correctly?”

The problem is that we usually just brush these types of RED FLAGS aside, and give the other person the benefit of the doubt.
We tend to “fill in the blanks” for disordered individuals.


one of the slip up patterns I see now is that the spath KNEW a WHOLE LOT ABOUT OTHER’S EXPLOITIVE BEHAVIOUR.

this was supposed to be an innocent and guilless person – and slowly but surely she would make these remarks about others and their exploitative behavior in this flat voice – a voice unlike her usual voice. and this was significant cause her usual voice was pretending to be male – so she dropped the ball on a couple of counts.

one of the RED FLAGS that was on a HUGE pole was her (calling me as ‘his sister’ after he died) telling me that (after 4 or so calls) she ‘loved me’. She was sooo used to saying that to me as ‘him” that it just rolled off her tongue. I don’t think it was calculated at all. In my mind i heard the word, ‘bingo’. I knew that things were rotten in denmark, but this took it to a whole NEW level.

I had thought that this boy wasn’t what he said he was, and that his bf was a whack job, but the SISTER actually gave it some validation. She spoke about ordinary day to day and offered up details immediately,etc.

BUT it was the ‘you can come live with us’ line that started me going hmmm. See, ‘he’ was going to buy some property and we were going to live communally. And she carried on this story, more or less unchanged, as the sister. Thinking that I would fall for this story again. and THIS tripped her up. I wasn’t just in love with the story (which reflected a lot of my idealized wishes for life), I loved HIM.

Once I started pushing back against the evolving story I got some very interesting email from her, which i never responded to. I was overwrought about it. What if she WAS for real and here I was not responding to a grieving sister! (responding to a grieving boy is what started this whole thing) But I knew it was all too whacked so I stayed away.

This is part of one of those emails in repsonse to my request for an address and phone number – this sock puppet used religion A LOT. There is another one from her that she wrote the day after ‘he rose from the dead’, the one that threatens me. it’s BIG into the religious blackmail.

“What could be sadder for a person who had been invisible most of his to be accused of being nonexistent? It made him cry that day we sewed. We were sewing a shirt for that woman YYYY, the very woman who has relentlessly abused and accused. A woman who wants to know everything, who claims what she does not have access to is a lie, and yet the same woman who gives up no information about herself. That double standard sickened me. I tried to explain to him he had no obligation. I’m sure it was a struggle for him to overcome his submissive nature to do what he did to try to retain control of his own on-line destiny.

I know it was a struggle because it is for me. I sit here typing, wondering why I care that people I don’t know won’t acknowledge me as a hard working, loving woman with blood in my veins and tears in my eyes because I won’t divulge personal information my husband has forbade me to give. It’s not a comfortable place, but it’s my lot, and I will live with it.

I just did not want to not answer at all because I didn’t want to give you any sense that your stand scared me off. It’s not that. I am who I am, and I’m sitting here, typing, and realising that along with all the good and beautiful XXXX was, he took a lot of potentially good and beautiful with him too.

I lit a candle for you & XXXX at Sunday’s Mass. Father CCCC come up from FFFF and he and Father SSSS who was at school with us, gave homily on the loss this place has suffered. Three times they pointed a fairly sharp finger at the congregation who did nothing to the positive in it over the years. They kept the harping to a minimum though and it was lovely. As were they.

I want to stand for myself. To type my full name, date of birth, where I live, how anyone could come to me at any time but I cannot because this information does not belong to me alone.

Therefore I must remain a figment, a deception, a lie because I cannot comply with the wishes of…….who? You? Someone my tortured brother took to? It’s amusing that that fact, the fact troubled XXX took to you, validates you more for me than seeing you come up on Google. Warm words versus cold type.”

Was I going to repsond to this double speak? HELL NO.

one step

Dear One-step, you sound far better, the story now seems clear to me and “makes sense”. Sounds like a very horrible play that has been played on you.

I am so glad you can sort it all out and you seem to do a lot better than in your first e-mails. Sometimes we have to ruminate a lot to make the huge chunks swallowable, so we can digest them, and we are later able to keep the good things and let go the “s***ty” parts and see where to put the “s***t” as manure so it might be good for something.

Sorry if “to light a candle for you” might have been a trigger for you as I mentioned this in a earlier post to you.

Best is to stay NC (= not even open the mail but delete/discard it unopened at once). Can you block out the mails?

Send this to a friend