By | August 31, 2007 83 Comments

Coercive persuasion, mind control and brain washing

Over the last six months we have received many letters from desperate family members asking, “How can I get my ____ away from the psychopathic con artist?” What family members are really asking for is advice on how to overcome the brain washing of a loved one. When answering these kinds of questions, I like to provide some scientific evidence validating my point of view. Unfortunately, a search of the scientific literature, using the terms coercive persuasion, brain washing and mind control, does not reveal much. This week I will share some of what I have come to understand about how one person can assume control over another. Next week I will discuss how to overcome mind control by a psychopath.

Scientific studies are the best way to gain information about psychology. When these are lacking, it is valid to turn to authorities or experts for guidance. When learning from an authority, we must critically evaluate all claims made. From what I have been able to determine, there are two authorities in the United States on the topic of mind control or brain washing. Behavioral scientists also call this coercive persuasion.

The first authority who has taught a great deal on this subject is Steven Alan Hassan. He is a licensed counselor and former member of the Unification Church. He operates the Freedom of Mind Center. According to Hassan, “destructive mind control takes the ‘locus of control’ away from an individual.” He further states there are four basic tactics used to achieve mind control and allow for “an individual’s identity (to) be systematically manipulated and changed.” These four things are remembered with the acronym BITE, and are behavior, information, thoughts and emotions.

Behavior control starts with one person’s regulation of another individual’s physical reality. Our physical reality means the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the amount of sleep we get, how we spend our time and how we spend our money. There are rigid rules and regulations the controlled person is supposed to abide by regarding these. Over time, this behavior control fosters dependency. The controlled person gets used to not behaving autonomously.

All the authorities I read identify information control as central to mind control. Donna said in her last week’s post, Sociopaths at first don’t act like jerks, in the beginning those wishing to take control use deception to make themselves look good. They deliberately hold back information and distort important facts. This allows them to get a foot hold in a person’s life. After the foot hold is established, the controller makes sure to isolate the person from information potentially damaging to the relationship.

Thought control is established as the controller encourages the person to adopt an “us vs. them” mentality. Any attempt by the controlled to criticize or question the controller is punished. The controller withdraws affection or otherwise induces fear in the person. Faced with this punishment, the controlled uses the defense mechanisms of denial, rationalization, justification or wishful thinking to survive.

Lastly brain washing involves manipulation of emotions. The controller uses tactics that narrow the range of the controlled’s emotional experience. The controlled experiences extremes of emotions, highs and lows that keep him/her off balance.

Nothing controls behavior like guilt and fear. (Note this is true only for people who are not sociopathic.) Controllers are experts at inducing guilt of all sorts. Hassan identifies many types of guilt: identity guilt; family guilt; guilt over past deeds; guilt over present thoughts, feelings and actions. Controllers also subtly induce fear. The controlled fears thinking independently, fears the “outside” world, enemies, leaving or being shunned by the controller. The controlled also fears the controller’s disapproval.

Ultimately the goal of all the emotional manipulation is “phobia indoctrination” or the programming of irrational fears of ever leaving the controller or even questioning the controller’s authority. According to Hassan, “The person under mind control cannot visualize a positive, fulfilled future without (the controller).”

Unfortunately, my next respected authority Dr. Margaret Singer passed away at the age of 82 in 2003. There are several articles by Dr. Singer posted on Lawrence Wollersheim co-founder of, is also a former cult member. I highly recommend reading Dr. Singer’s articles. The first is entitled Coercive Mind Control Tactics also details the techniques of brain washing.

The Supreme Court of the United States has adopted some of Dr. Singer’s ideas and has recognized that, “…the weakness resulting from a lack of food, sleep, or medical care can eliminate the will to resist as readily as the fear of a physical blow. Hypnosis, blackmail, fraud, deceit, and isolation are also illustrative methods but it is unnecessary here to canvas the entire spectrum of nonphysical machinations by which humans coerce each other. It suffices to observe that one can imagine many situations in which nonphysical means of private coercion can subjugate the will of a servant.”

Dr. Singer writes “In such a program the subject is forced to adapt in a series of tiny ‘invisible’ steps. Each tiny step is designed to be sufficiently small so the subjects will not notice the changes in themselves or identify the coercive nature of the processes being used. The subjects of these tactics do not become aware of the hidden organizational purpose of the coercive psychological program until much later, if ever. These tactics are usually applied in a group setting by well intentioned but deceived ‘friends and allies’ of the victim. This keeps the victim from putting up the ego defenses we normally maintain in known adversarial situations.

“The coercive psychological influence of these programs aim to overcome the individual’s critical thinking abilities and free will apart from any appeal to informed judgment. Victims gradually lose their ability to make independent decisions and exercise informed consent. Their critical thinking, defenses, cognitive processes, values, ideas, attitudes, conduct and ability to reason are undermined by a technological process rather than by meaningful free choice, rationality, or the inherent merit or value of the ideas or propositions being presented.”

There are times when trying to influence someone does not constitute mind control. To further clarify what mind control is, Dr. Singer wrote a list of acceptable influence tactics. These are:

• Reflection
• Clarification
• Discussion
• Information Giving
• Directed Questioning
• Creative Expression
• Advisory/Therapeutic
• Commenting on Problem or alternatives
• Suggesting Ideas
• Recommending solutions
• Rational argument (message oriented)

Unacceptable influence tactics which do, indeed, suggest mind control are:

• Selective reward/punishment
• Denigration of self and of critical thinking
• Dissociative states to suppress doubt and critical thinking
• Alternation of harshness/threats and leniency/love
• Control-oriented guilt induction
• Active promotion of dependency
• Debilitation
• Physical restraint/punishment

Those of us who fell into the grip of a sociopath/psychopath recognize these techniques of mind control that are also used by cult leaders. Anyone who would want to exert this kind of power over another person is by definition a sociopath. Sociopathy/psychopathy is a set of personality traits that includes an excessive drive for power and control.

Cult leaders use human nature to gain power over others. It is human nature to respect authority and want to live peacefully in a group. Cult leaders exploit the desire people have to belong to a well-functioning group.

Perpetrators of love fraud also exploit human nature. Most people want to belong to a loving, well-functioning family. Sociopaths begin their relationships promising happiness to their victims. People in love relationships are even more vulnerable to brain washing than people joining cults. The reason is that sex makes people vulnerable. It is no coincidence that many cults use sex to trap people. Pregnancy is also used to trap women psychologically and physically in relationships and in cults.

A non-pathological loving relationship is freeing. In it, a person becomes more fully him/herself. Love enables a person to be self-actualized and his/her best. I will conclude with the motto of only You have the right to control Your Mind!

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Please check out the book “Divorce Poison” by Richard Warshak. This is an incredibly informative book and deals specifically with the type of mind control that is used by a parent to alienate the children from the other parent in divorce situations.


Dear nottakingitanymore,
By any chance, does your ex have the initials JW and live in Maui? If that is you, I would love to talk to you.
Aloha Traveler


I have not read the embedded links yet, so this info might be mentioned.

Years ago, I learned about Biderman’s Chart of Coercion in trying to understand and cope with a “controller”! The chart was developed from a study during the 1950s about the tactics used on prisoners of war in Korea to brainwash and force compliance.

While it does not specifically refer to sociopaths, it is based on a scientific study about brainwashing and it fits with much of what Dr. Liane’s post discusses. Anyone can google “Biderman’s chart of Coercion” and find more info.

Thank you Dr. Liane for your post about this subject. I am going to print it and keep it handy! Very valuable info!


Divorce Poisoning is a good book that explains how children can be brainwashed. I believe my ex uses the above strategies to try to brainwash my own children. Luckily for me, my children live with me, so I have some control in trying to stop or limit the influence he has on them. Yesterday (Sunday), I went to a wedding that was over two hours away. My ex was scheduled to pick up my boys at my house at 5:30pm and bring them to my 11 year old’s football game. They then would sleep over his house. My original plan was to have my oldest son babysit the younger ones while I was gone, but then he was given the opportunity to go somewhere fun during the day. On Friday night, my son called my ex to ask if it was ok if he pick the oldest one up at our house as originally planned, but pick up the other two boys at my brother’s house which is five minutes from here. When asked, my ex hung up on my son. This caused a lot of anxiety for the younger two boys. They went into a tail spin, worrying that now their dad wouldn’t come at all because the older one changed the plans. My ex did not answer the phone most of the day on Saturday. He only returned the call when my 11 year old left a message asking his permission if it was ok for him to go to a wiffle ball tournament Saturday night. He told him he would be back at 10:00 pm that night. My 11 year old feels the need to get his father’s permission to do anything. He calls him every time he is asked to go anywhere even during my time with him. When I try to discourage him from calling, my son fills up with tears and says he “has” to call him. Anyway, my ex immediately called back after receiving this message. He told him he couldn’t go to the wiffle ball tournament because he had a football game the next day and he wouldn’t play his best because he would be too tired. He did however (being the wonderful dad he is) tell my son that he would pick him up at my brother’s house so he could sleep over the next day. My son got off the phone in tears. Inside he must have felt happy that his dad agreed to pick him up the next day, but sad that he couldn’t go to the tournament. His friend’s mother happened to witness the call and was shocked that my son would no longer go to the wiffle ball tournament. She had witnessed his excitement in being asked to participate. Being the nice person she is, she promised my son to bring him home at 8:30, so he could still go.
There is still more. The next day, my youngest son who is nine was invited to his friend’s house. This friend also plays football, so the mother said she would meet my ex at the field at 5:30 with my son. Apparently, when my ex found out these plans, he said he refused to come pick up my 11 year old up for his game. My daughter said my 11 year old was again in tears because he thought he was going to miss the game (I was at the wedding). My son couldn’t reach him all day yesterday, and my daughter said he was really upset. Again, being the wonderful dad he is, he did show up at 5:30pm and took him to the game. Now all three boys are with him. My kids live on an emotional roller coaster. When they get home, they’ll probably come in with bags and bags of new clothes and shoes, they will for sure not make contact with me for a while, they’ll probably accuse me of something absurd, and the cycle goes on and on and on…


As I was reading this, i saw that every brainwash tactic was used on me, Pretty much in that same order. I became ill as soon as I moved in the house with him and stayed ill until about 2 weeks after I had moved out. It is documented in my medical records. Once I was tired and sick all the time he started “helping” and advising with my business, my kids,to the point that I was beginning to think ‘how did I become so dependent on him when I was so independent my whole life.

Then came the isolation, from friends, and then family. I couldn’t even talk on the telephone, EVER, without him being on the other line. Of course, he said he just join in the conversations, but he took over the conversations. And I couldn’t understand why the neighbors and I spoke evry time we saw each other outside, but then one day, they just quit talking and even started avoiding me. I asked my ex if he had noticed a change with them, and he said yes, that he didn’t know what was up with them, but then a week later he would tell me how he was out talking to them about this or that.

He also would always tell me “You know, you and I are different than other people, we are honest and we are of a higher standard than others”.

Finally, just before the end of the relationship, I had lost my mind and I needed to go see a psychiatrist and get some anti depressants, and I was no longer able to run my business or maintain my bank accounts, that he was going to have to do it. THen he told me my duaghters were terrified of me and that my customers called me “the ice lady”behind my back. He drove out to my sisters to tell her I was losing my mind.

I did go see a Dr., and she said there was absolutely nothing wrong with me, and I needed to RUN NOT WALK out of that situation. With that advice, I left, and with the help of this website, I have no contact with him other than court dates until this thing is finalized-and my business is STILL IN TACT !

I am thankful there were no children of this relationship. I feel so sorry for those of you who have to deal with custody battles and the feeling of your children that have to deal with these psychos.


The circumstances that led to me to him were just absolutely disasterous. My mother became ill just one month after I met him with terminal cancer. After a long few months she died, and estranged from my feelings, and family-he became my family. Him and the dogs (one he gave me and one he had).
Soon, everything that involved being around his family and friends consumed me to help combat the loneliness of losing my mother.
It was us against the world. Just us and the dogs were his “family.
I finally kicked him out 3 weeks ago, after finding out that our “family” of 10 years in a relationship and 3 years of living together included so many sexual partners, men and women. (I wait to go to my OBGYN to make sure the “family” of his friends and acquaintances-didn’t initiate anything to be seriously wrong with me! The emotional damage he has left me with, I am working through. I am critical of any man in my life -finding that i’ve learned to accept the pathological behavior because my father displays the same. Oh what a mess I am. Oh what a beauty I am! But he is gone and I feel free, and afraid, and alive, and scared, and wonderful all at the same time. My real family and friends who are my family-helped me move him out of the apt. Pack his stuff and cart it away from my life. I still find his things here and there! (He left stuff in the apt. in corners here and there-hid them). I find them, i put them in a bag. I will send them to his mother’s house. Rid myself of that “family” and try to find my peace in the beauty of my face, the sunshine and comfort in my voice and my laugh. Struggle through fear when i walk out of buildings, and look both ways when I enter the subway. It’s eerie that he’s not there the way he was, he had been planning to leave anyway-he had found another “host” girlfriend and I believe is living with her just 3-4 blocks away from my apartment. I try to walk around without fear, going about my everyday, as if I’ve been single for the past 12 years. But little nicks in the night, the skunk that lives in our neighborhood who comes by to knock over the garbage cans and scurry for food, awakens me with fear, and desire to have someone close to me…to have a real family and be wrapped up in their warmth.
I’ve started therapy, because wanted him back, is a death wish, I know. It will silence my laughter forever. It will kill my family. He’s an actor…lol. yes. he acted for a good 12 years and the only response I got from him when it was threw was a very muffled and almost inaudible “take care” on the answering machine, when he realized that i had packed his stuff and returned it to his mother.
My family worries about me. I don’t. I’m free, the possibilities are endless. The fear I hope, is not.
My mother -my family- my faith that there is someone looking out for me (the something that helped me to not kill him and end up in jail, the spirit that carried him away to another hosts home to nest and feed) they carry me- closer to happiness everyday he is gone.

We talk a lot on our site about predators using techniques such as NLP and seduction science against us.

Our article talks about one seduction science program in light of the predatory ways cyberpaths target their victims.

Coercive brainwashing is used in so much abuse. We can safely say that even if the predator is doing this subconciously, the many victims we talk to say the same things: “I felt like there was a wet blanket on my brain” or “he got me to do things I would never have done ever under any circumstances” and “I didn’t feel like myself & I wasn’t even acting like myself.”

It’s important for therapists working with this sort of emotional rape and interpersonal exploitation to do some “deprogramming” to victims to relieve them of the self-recrimination and shame. They were targetted! Make no mistake.


The type of control my ex used I haven’t seen discussed here. It was guilt and confusion through emotional blackmail, i.e.: “If I react badly, they won’t do that, say that, or ask that again. I believe from my research he is a mesh of BPD, Narcissistic PD with sociopath tendencies. As these people do, he had spending problems most likely related to impulsiveness, feelings of entitlement, and his mother’s enabling, etc. Finances were entirely my responsibility. He refused to have anything to do with them, but I was allowed no authority to actually manage them.

It was a vicious circle of a loose-loose trap. He, of course, didn’t like to be questioned in any way, (and sometimes he even just perceived being questioned when it wasn’t real), and reacted in loud, angry, paranoid, reality-twisting fashion.

Just one example on many was when we had a large real-estate tax bill coming due in a few months. I saw on the bank statement that he had just gone to the toy store and bought himself over $100 in toys, (helicopter models, etc.). I felt I had better address the tax bill coming up before things got any worse, although I dreaded bringing it up because of his usual reactions. So, without mentioning the toys, (didn’t want to seem accusatory,) and making sure to use “we” instead of “you”, as gently as I could I told him, “We need to watch what we spend the next few months because we have over $1,200 due in real-estate tax at the end of December.” My statement was instantly rewarded with a screaming tirade of indignation and guilt induced manipulation….”Well, I don’t know what you THINK I’m going to buy (blah, blah)…………I can’t work anymore hours than I do (blah, blah)…….you always act like (blah, blah)……..etc. Of course, I attempted to clear up the “misunderstanding”, saying things like, “I didn’t say you, I said we………..I didn’t ask you to work more………etc. As usual this just added more rage to his responses as he continued on exactly the same line of defense and my brain began swimming in confusion trying to figure out what I did wrong or if I mis-communicated or what. I don’t remember if this one ended in me ultimately crying or yelling back or just shutting up. Those were my only 3 options with him.

Now my mind can recognize the irrationality of his responses and label them as so. Back then it just send me into a tailspin of confusion. We had been doing this same “dance” for about 10 years at this point and not just in regard to finances, but pretty much all “real life” subjects that his irresponsible nature did not want to deal with.

The marriage is now over. The divorce was final one month ago after 3-1/2 years of separation and legal battling. Our communications have not changed. I still have to deal with him because we have 2 little boys, but as of about 2 years ago, I only communicate via email if at all possible. He can still offer irrational responses via email but my mind gets a little extra time to react with logic and not emotion. If I have to communicate via telephone, I record it because I know we will end up back in court at some point.

He has found new ways to control, manipulate and hurt; using anything he can as a weapon. This includes money, withholding information, visitation time, keeping the good clothes I send them to school in and sending back junk, bad mouthing me to the children (or anyone else for that matter if they don’t know me well enough not to listen), and the list goes on and grows. I had as many of these “weapons” as possible removed from his control or otherwise sanctioned in the divorce papers but even that has not stopped him most of the time. My attorney tells me to just keep track, so I do. It’s a lot of time spent in a situation where I’m already scheduled to the extreme. Time consuming paperwork, emails to the attorney, discussions with the boys teachers and principal, tracking down missing information from school and so on, added to going to school full time myself, working part time, my older daughter in college full time but living at home, helping my parents at their house, scouts and other activities, etc., doesn’t leave much time for reflection and healing but slowly I’m getting there. They say our children’s childhood fly by. It is true; except on this one level (the ex), the next 10 years or so will most likely seem like never ending “stress-hell.”

I can so relate to happyredhed…….far too many similarities,including the personality traits you described.
In my case he controlled the finances. The reactions you describe are exactly the same , his irrational outbursts, and my only 3 options, crying, yelling or shutting up. Interesting how they push us so far, that WE end up yelling and screaming and behaving like them, only to have him have a “witness” waiting in the wings to observe how “crazy” she is!?!?! It all seems like alot of work setting up of these sinerios that they do so well.
And YES, anything we say will be twisted to “demonstrate” how it is ALL OUR FAULT! No Contact is absolutely the way to go. Probably is driving him nuts that he is not getting any reactions from me, after 16 years of fine tuning his manipulation tactics, training me to behave just like a marionette. he is no longer getting the narccissistic FEED from me . Sure he still pushes buttons with me and I do react , but now it is only internally, he doesn’t get the reward of seeing me upset.
I’ve come a long way, even though I still have a ways to go in regard to healing.
Thanks again for this site,it is so wonderful to know that I am not the only one, and that someone ANYONE can FINALLY UNDERSTAND!!! I was targeted and fell into the trap, and now it is time to break away from the mind control and learn who the heck I really am (was). I like me darn it!
Peace be with you.
learning to fly

Thank you so much for this article. It came just at the right time as I was looking up the tactics used to get people into cults and the writers you mentioned happened to be who I was just reading this past week.

I wanted to find out what techniques are used in therapy when someone leaves a cult because I didn’t feel heard in therapy as to how severely I had been affected by the sociopath in my life. It seems as if most therapists though very well intentioned just don’t “get” it unless you do relate it to having been in a cult. A cult of TWO maybe but, no less damaging to the victim. The information I have been reading has really helped me to see more clearly what happened to me. Why I reacted as I did to it and why oh why it was so damned HARD to stay away!!

It’s not so difficult now with these tools to see the absolute truth of the matter is that my mind was controlled in a system that was deliberate and meant to control me. I could NOT have seen that coming at the time. Who KNEW that words could be used in such a way as to control you so completely, information controlled so tightly that you are submerged in such unreality. The most sickening thing is the way your body and spirit just “KNOW” something is horribly wrong and yet you can’t think your way out of this while you are in it.

Information like this is invaluable and will help MANY people stuck in the fog and humiliation of not being able to get out. It gives you tools to SEE the truth of things and that you have been used, and toyed with like a science experiment so someone else can “get something” from you on a consistent basis. How frightening to know there are people who actually LIVE THIS WAY from one victim to the next.

It also clarifies why no contact is crucial. You’ve been brainwashed and there is no way on earth you can listen again even for a minute to the one who did this to you. It’s dangerous to think you can or to believe you can control it.

One thing that I have done is to absolutely force myself to practice ACTIVE letting go. That means there are time limits on how long each day I can focus my attention on dealing with this or thinking about HIM in any way. I actively say out loud I am letting him go and then find something else to do. It gets easier to do this but, at first it was like hell on earth and felt like a total betrayal emotionally to me. In spite of all he had done emotionally and mentally to actively practice turning my back and taking BACK my OWN THOUGHTS was excruciating. It is not easy to do in any way but, you must do it no matter what or remain at risk. This man nearly cost me my life and still I felt I was betraying him!!! THAT is nothing if not mind control. Never before in my life would I have had a problem leaving someone like this who had been so cruel to me and caused so much damage. With sociopaths though, you are so fogged and the longer you have stayed the more dangerous it is.

Thank you so much for bringing this part of this issue to the light of day. It has really helped me.

And learningtofly your description of what happens and the only options you seem to have as a result of their push, pull abusive behavior is spot on. I remember feeling so many times as if all I could do was yell back, cry or shut up. I usually just got as quiet as I could be as sometimes it didn’t last as long when he was raging if I became as small and quiet as possible. One of these incidents lasted NINE hours with me not saying anything back, I couldn’t move it seemed….these things came out of the blue for no reason. I never knew when, how or why they occurred but, they were always interspersed with love bombing…I was I see now actually “trained” I myself could not believe I was sitting through this or taking it without leaving for good…now I know why….and how.

Each one of these rage attacks would just demolish me for days afterward. At the end *when I no longer even cared WHAT happened to me so I felt I had nothing to lose anymore* I would rage back at him yes, it was used as his “evidence” that it was me who was being mean or “abusive” I was told that “well, you are abusive too you are just passive about it.” What the hell??? I had no choices that would end up being approved of by the sociopath anyway. I was to endure it to the point of suicide and even that of course would not be enough because it’s not about what you can or cannot take anymore. It’s about them getting whatever they want and then making you to blame for their abuse.

My biggest mistake was going back for justice. Justice he would promise was coming at all times and never live up to because there is no understanding. You cannot go back and be understood and rectify things. This is not their goal but, it is used against you too. Many carrots are held out over and over. They are always the VERY things you so desperately need and the sociopath knows all too well which buttons to push. I marveled at how well he knew the last time he came back to get my “help” I used to think he lacked the ability to know what he was doing fully until he pleaded with me by holding out all my needs in front of me and saying how he would go to therapy and knew precisely what I needed in the relationship and knew he had not been doing ANY of those things. He named them one by one. I remember being shocked to know that all along he HAD known what he was doing and was doing it on purpose and not from a lack of knowledge at all. It was a total lack of caring at all about me as a human being. There is a STUNNING ability to con going on that takes a LONG time to uncover….much less believe. No wonder we cannot make any new targets hear us. They are in the “glow” of the sociopaths words and actions and have smeared us at the same time. IF WE did not fully see what they were doing for so long how can we hope others who don’t yet know can?? It’s so sad to me but, this is something I have had to let go of. I pray no more damage is done but, I know better and I also know I cannot prevent it without further harming myself. It’s a horrible game they have going and they are magically perfect at getting away with it. So be it. I chose to heal and grow and leave this where it lay. I am not God and this part of this nightmare is beyond my control. I will keep those who come into contact in a personal way in the future with the sociopath in my life in my prayers.

Each day I am learning more and more. The best I can do for myself is not to feed the vampire ever again. Oh and to learn how to focus on growing and healing for me without thinking in any way that I am “betraying” anyone for simply taking care of myself in the face of abuse. What a mixed up way we come to think of things….they become front and center no matter WHAT we are feeling or going through. Who needs to live this way?

I chose healing and I could NOT do it without information and strength from others. I cannot thank you all enough!!

What I have learned is you cannot warn their new victims. Why? Because by the time you find out and are trying to warn them, the sociopath has already ensnared them. They are in the spider’s web. He has already told them that you would do this and you would say that. He has already laid the ground work for… she’s crazy and she will try to make you think I did or said certain things… she is a liar.

He will convince the victim that she is the one he has been looking for all his life. He will convince her to do things against you. “It’s you and me against this crazy bitch.”

Most often remember his victims are usually people with problems already that he is the knight in shining “armour” who will help them and fix them and take care of them.

He is her saviour right now.. and you are a demon he tried to help and to love — and you turned on him.

Yep… the betrayal them fits all the way around. His friend tells me about all his lies and when I talk to the friend “I betray him.” If I express my feelings it is a betrayal.

If I don’t talk to him or pick him up… it’s he can never count on me for anything and “you always fail.”

They are so good at manipulating it comes second nature to them. It’s like “normal” for them. They do it without even having to think about it too much.

Thing is they will lie and manipulate when there is no need to right?

If he said look we had our problems, I would like to be friends but I am seeing this other girl and I really could use a ride. Can you help me out?

You know I would probably say okay. The truth works equally as well sometimes. However telling the truth is no fun for them.

They enjoy making your believe their lies.

They enjoy making you believe they love you just to watch you get hurt.

They know oftentimes psychological pain is worse than physical pain. Also harder to prove psychological abuse — there are no visible bruises, no cuts not blood. It’s all “in your head.” So of course, they choose psychological abuse… they push those buttons to make you enraged… they make you out to be the bad guy.

I am not quite 5′ tall, I am 98lbs and I have never seriouosly hit or hurt another person in my life. This man has been to prison, has lived on the streets supposedly selling guns and drugs. How the hell could anyone possibly believe I could abuse him?

Yeah I became abusive after all the car wrecks and the complaints of stealing. Yeah I became nasty. Who wouldn’t?

It’s just another one of their mind-f–ks.

I remember when I used to sleep next to him and touch him… sometimes it felt like I was touching a dead person. I can’t describe it but it scared me.

I think because he is dead – emotionally… dead. There is an emptiness inside him a hollow feeling he will never be able to fill no matter how many lies he tells, how many women he screws over – how many scams he pulls… he will always be that way.

Sad right?


That’s part of “seduction science.” It was developed by Milton Erickson and its called Confusion Technique

Do a websearch on ‘Cognitive Dissonance’ also. Once the sociopath induces it via confusion, every other method of brainwashing becomes very simple.


I just accepted today that not only is my husband a sociopath, but so is my father.

I knew it in my heart for years, but wanted to think if I could
just do more, be better, be prettier, be smarter…yada yada yada….

My mother was in a wheelchair from polio for age 26 and all my life my moter, or later I, delivered meals to my father in the bedroom on a tray. A woman in a wheelchair had to balance a tray of food on her lap because he would never sit at the table for any meal that ever remember.

I have been married 2 other sociopaths, I now realize that.
I was fooled by this one because he SEEMED so different.

I knew right after I met him and he threw a temper tantrum because I did not want to have sex with him the first night, or second…

I told all my friends and everybody I knew that I never wanted to see him again because he was not my type.

But he would not give up. Called me a million times and then came out to my house and pounded on the windows crying how much he loved me.

Next thing I know he is outside charming my mother into thinking he was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

I fell for it and married the jerk.

We have been married 21 years, I think, he knows ,but I have stopped caring the number of years he has stolen from me.

I started out self confident, even though I had been with two other sociopaths they had not managed to destroy me until him.

My mother died in 1990 and it literally destroyed me. She was my best friend.

That was his chance to overtake me.

I gained about 20 lbs, I am 5″9 so I was not really fat.
He took that oppertunity to tell me how fat I was and how I was going to be huge. My fat was from beer, not food.

At the same time his brother started dating a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.

He had to know what she looked like and all about her. I fell apart. Even to the point of dressing like one of them for Halloween to try and gain his approval.

Every other man who saw me thought I looked great but it did not matter, I only cared what he thought. NOT MUCH.

He is obsessed with football and I go nuts when he watches it. It makes me sick I feel that way.

Then he told me I am jealous of every other woman on TV because I do not like myself…….

I even got a Graduate Gemologist degree because I thought if I was a professionl, he would love me more.

He is a welder…..

My realization came yesterday when my dad upset me yesterday, like he has a million times.

My husband told me ” You do not understand the GAME, do you think he is home crying about how you feel ? ”

OMG, I suddenly realized it is a game for them.

Praying for an answer brought me to this site. I have no one else who I can talk to about this.

Thank you for letting me vent……God Bless All who have a socopath in their lives..


I made a lot of typos in my post. I am still crying about having to face the fact I am married to someone who can not possibly change…I

t is hard to type through tears.


Bambi, half the battle is recognizing where you’re at. Keep reading the blogs here – you’ll probably learn a lot (most of which you’ll hate) but it’s a start to finding yourself again.



What a perfect name and I do not mean that sarcastically. I am so sorry to hear your story. I am so glad you found LoveFraud. You will find everything you need to know here and you will likely find yourself too.

There is another side to this and you will cross over. I really think that people can get through something like this.

A word of caution. You may feel tempted to tell your man that you have figured it all out… he’s a “Sociopath.” Most likely, he will tell you that you are one. From now on, don’t believe anything he tells you about you.

Also, it sounds like you are married to this man so there are some difficulties there but read “No Contact” anyway. It’s under the section, “How to leave a Sociopath.” If you decide to leave, find a lawyer that KNOWS what a sociopath is. You will need that.

Good luck!
Aloha… E.R.

Ox Drover

I don’t know how I missed this Blog thread, but it totally describes what was done to my mother by the Psychopaths in my family in getting my mother to be dependent on them emotionally, and fear that they would desert her and she would be “left alone.” I was demonized by them as the “joint enemy” of them all because I started to set boundaries for my psychopathic son, and my DIL and my mother as well as the “Trojan Horse Psychopath” who had established himself as my mother’s live-in care taker.

I also strongly suspect that she was drugged with benzodiazepines (similar to Valium) as well, because her mentation took a drastic down turn consistent with these drugs, and her gait became unsteady. These drugs were available in her home and had been prescribed for her in tiny doses some time before. Having proven unhelpful, they had been stopped, but there were some still there.

When I had caught her lying to me and her caregiver lying to me about him “borrowing” money from her, she became very angry and agitated that he “might leave” her because of my “attitude.” During this time she was convinced that I was “after her money” and put it into the hands of her controllers out of fear that I would try to “take control” of it. (Though I had never taken or even accepted money from her). My power of attorney was canceled over her affairs, and all her important papers were put into “safekeeping” with her controllers.

Since my mother was a life long enabler of my P-son who was doing all the “plans” for this, it fell right into line with her enabling of him as well.

I really hadn’t thought of it as “mind control” before, but that really is what it was. Her increasing dependency on the psychopaths, and her fear of abandonment and being “alone” were all played upon.

“Quote”] “cult of two”–very apropos in many situations as well.


There are many different ways to use mind control to get people to do what you want. Like anything else it should be used ethically.

These techniques use hypnosis, NLP, persuasion etc. and can be quite powerful

You can learn even more about these techniques at


potted plants – anyone who says that ‘mind control should be used ethically’ makes me get out my gardening tools.


Just been there..yep….it’s a guy selling hypnosis so you can make anyone do anything…and if you do ONE thing…just don’t waste your time with it…here is one woman who will not fall prey to your immoral trade…BAD KARMA go get him!!! have you heard of how I can turn karma round to bite the ass of the salesman with the product he sells…better really believe in what your selling marc…or it will bite you big time in the ass….


Gardening tools it is….

Ox Drover

Bullet didn’t you believe what I said? Had to see for yourself? LOL

kim frederick

Yeah. Curiosity sent me over, too. But I didn’t stay long!

Do you prefer Miracle Grow or Peters plant food?

Ox Drover

Kim and Bullet, remember what CURIOSITY did to the CAT? LOL

Actually I like both Peters and Miracle grow. Are you guys coming over to my greenhouse to play later? LOL

At least we know what the motive is on this one. ROTFLMAO And it even went to a sort of “appropriate” thread to post its ad on. So I will give it an A for effort anyway!


peter’s for sure.

hi kimmy! no little emoticon to send a wave, so just visualize, okay?! 🙂

kim frederick

Hi guys. I’ve been computerless for weeks now, so my time to visit is limited. I sure miss ya’ll, though. Especially the gardening.


of course I had to see for myself…why would I believe anyone lol!!
like the telephone booth…guy tells you it’s out of say thanks but just have to go in and see….pick it up dial etc…or like the scary movie when everyone is yelling “don’t go downstairs” what do they all do without fail???? yeah go downstairs..why do ya think i’m in all this trouble…curiosity killed this cat!!!

Ox Drover

Dear Bullet,

Well, it has always gotten me in trouble too, so I have quit being so curious—there are some things that I just take someone’s word for. That way when someone warns me about someone else being dishonest, I usually listen to the warning now instead of brushing it off.


God be with the day I can take your word ….anyones word ever again….


kimmy – oh yah, can never get enough #$%^&* gardening.


check out conversation with a man on

and share your thoughts… can do so anonymously and no need to put in email address unless you want to…

Ox Drover

Well, Bullet, if I (or anyone) tell you “don’t touch that, it’s hot” are you going to touch it just to make sure?

I think we should use CAUTION about who and what we believe (based on the risk vs. benefit ratio) but I will not dis-believe everyone until I see for myself. For example, if someone tells me “Quick, go around the car and hide, there’s a bank robbery taking place over there” I am most likely to not go inside the bank to see if indeed there is a robbery going on in there.

If a person telling me “the stove is hot” has no reason that I can see to be trying to keep me from touching that stove, I am most likely to believe them and figure it is probably a good idea not to touch the stove to learn for myself.

However, if a stranger comes up to me and says “The mayor called and said for me to hold your purse while you go across town to his office.” I am NOT likely to trust their word and give them my purse. LOL

Or like the woman who came up to Getting it and wanted money because she was leaving an abusive relationship I’d have probably given her a few bucks (maybe not) but like Getting it said NO WAY Was I going to give her my contact information. I think from the entire story she may have been a scam artist as she followed Getting It to the next store.

So my trusting is not entirely gone, I just USE DISCRETION ABOUT WHO and under WHAT circumstances, and what there is to gain or lose by believing what someone tells me.

Ox Drover

Oh, Henry, you are a sly boy! A BAD BOY TOO! ROTFLMAO CHOKE SNORT COUGH


Hi Ox Back in the old days there where two drag queen sisters named Fonda and Iwana Peters..sorry couldnt resist..

Ox Drover

That’s like Governor Hogg’s Twin daughters, Ima Hogg and Ura Hog. There are some really funny names, my egg donor used to collect REAL names of people that were funny. I can’t remember them now but she had a big box full of newspaper clippings of folks’ names.

You are still a BAD BOY though, and I know the DEVIL made you do it! LOL I can tell I have not kept you in line enough lately so I am gonna have to get the BIG skillet out and keep it handy! (((Hugs)))


OxD, I missed this article, too. Thank you, Liane, for posting this!

Yah – mind control is not difficult to achieve if the target is vulnerable. I may have posted this in another thread, but there was a gal who was very enamoured of psychic readings – the “psychics” seemed to know EVERYTHING. So, I offered to prove that a “psychic” reading is nothing more than the gathering of information and “reading” the person and their behaviors.

All I did was ask questions or make remarks with responses being “Yes” or “No.” I told this gal that she was concered about something or someone. “Yes, YES!” The person was a female. “YES!” Not a family member. “No.” etc., etc., etc. until she honestly felt that I had the whole situation pegged. I simply explained to her that her reactions led ME to where she wanted me to go – what she needed to hear. I told her that I was no more psychic than a brick, and she was horrified because the truth was right there.

Whether or not this person ever developed boundaries, I don’t know. But, this is precisely how the spath can “read” their targets – they take in every scrap of verbal information and every nuance of body language, and they can use that information to their own ends.

Mind control = absence of boundaries, IMHO.

Brightest blessings!


Oh, and there’s a real couple in Southwestern VA who named their daughter “Teflon Velveeta.” I swear. And, the Payne family who named both of their sons, “Major” and “Minor.”

Some people have no business naming babies!!!! LMAO!!!!

Ox Drover

Buttons, My mom knew a kid named “General” (given name) Smith, he was pilot in the service, and was a Lt. so one time he radioed he was” LT. GENERAL Smith” coming in and they had red carpet out and thought a GENERAL was coming in and it was a LT. LOL RTOTFRLMAO.

I agree with the mind control=absence of boundaries. GOOD!!!


This is a really good article but it just makes me so sad to see the mechanism of control he weilded over me – well the many ways he did it. I was able to be so logical and organised in the rest of my life and I couldn’t figure out why the relationship was so awful and why I felt so terrible about myself as a result of it. I see now I was totally controlled by him. Not overtly though.

When I wanted to have breakfast (or lunch or any meal), I would ask him if he wanted some and he’d always say no – he wasn’t hungry. And then later he’d start acting irritable and getting snappy at me for no reason. When I asked what was wrong with him he’d say he was hungry. Apparently he was incapable of making something for himself. That was always my job and it always had to be the food he liked, not the healthy food I preferred. I gained so much weight while with him. He also controlled where we went, how the money was spent – he simply blew his, which meant mine was tied up in survival expenses – paying the rent or mortgage, bills and buying food for us and the pets. He controlled every aspect of my life in these non direct ways and I knew I wasn’t happy with what was happening but I couldn’t even articulate that I was being controlled. I was half asleep for years – in a trance.

I don’t know how they learn to do this stuff – I guess it comes from a lifetime of practice.


And the lady in the fabric department called Annette Curtain…groan..

Oxy it’s all about good old common sense..even as a child I was not very good at common sense, I was”away with the fairys”encouraged by immature parents who built their world on Denial and pass the salt please…brought up on fairy tales where princes fell in love with princesses…ha ha jeez!! even the frog was a prince at the end…after the”kiss” then there was beauty and the beast, even Shrek…all these lovable male hero types abound…NOT!!

You were lead to think everyone was good and nice in the end…then we are watching TV and going to movies where ACTING becomes the language we are looking at and learning from….the psychopath has melded all this information to exploit!!! he poses as the prince, Acts his way in real life and has access to every female psyche that’s been penetrated already by a myth.. which is a nice mystical way of saying ….A LIE

So my common sense radar (what was left of it) got completely mangled by the P….and I am left with crumpled antennae and a very shocked expression…no plastic surgery involved…lol
I kind of bump around not quite sure what is credible do I re build common sense? read and re read lovefraud…it’s all I can think of for now….


Quoted from the site called Feedblitz:

[Cyber]paths largely “learn” these skills through mirroring or mimicking since they are not part of their true emotional repertoire. Some [cyber]paths say they have learned how to lure by watching romantic movies or eavesdropping on other relationships so they understand the linguistics (what to say to her), behaviors (how to act), and romantic gestures (what women like). ”


It seems obvious, but I need to continue to put the words on the experience…constantly re affirming, and in a way taking back my mind from the control freaks out there…that started with my parents to one level and continues, you don’t have to be a psychopath to use mind control…my School did it, my church did it, advertisements do it…but there still is that deep quiet space that is free and that is where I choose to live from.


BP – i heard this last year and wrote it in the front of my daytimer:

‘remind yourself of the obvious, so that it doesn’t become invisible’

kim frederick

Mornin’ One-step.


hey cutie! what’s new? how are you?



“What lies behind us and what lies before us
are small matters compared to what lies
within us.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

by Virginia Swift

A time comes in your life when you finally get it.
When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out –

Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world through new eyes.

This is your awakening.

You realize that it’s time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change, or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that he is not Prince Charming and you are not Cinderella and that in the real world there aren’t always fairy tale endings (or beginnings for that matter). and that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you, and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect, and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are and its OK. (They are entitled to their own views and opinions.) And you learn the importance of loving and championing yourself, and in the process a sense of newly found confidence is born of self-approval.

You stop *****ing and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn’t do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that not everyone will always be there for you, and that it’s not always about you. So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers, and you begin to accept people as they are, and to over look their shortcomings and human frailties and in the process a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness.

You realize that much of the way you view yourself, and the world around you, is a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into your psyche. And you begin to sift through all the crap you’ve been fed about how you should behave, how you should look, how much you shouldn’t weigh, what you should wear, where you should shop, what you should drive, how and where you should live, what you should do for a living, who you should sleep with, who you should marry, what you should expect of a marriage, the importance of having and raising children, or what you owe your parents.

You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for. You learn the difference between wanting and needing, and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you’ve outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with, and in the process you learn to go with your instincts. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility, and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry, and that martyrs get burned at the stake.

Then you learn about love. Romantic love and familial love. How to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving, and when to walk away. You learn not to project your needs or your feelings onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable, or important because of the man or woman on your arm or the child that bears your name.

You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You stop trying to control people, situations, and outcomes. You learn that just as people grow and change, so it is with love. and you learn that you don’t have the right to demand love on your terms. Just to make you happy. And, you learn that ‘alone’ does not mean lonely.And you look in the mirror and come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a perfect 10 and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head and agonizing over how you “stack up.” You also stop working so hard at putting feelings aside, smoothing things over, and ignoring your needs.

You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK. . . and that it is your right to want things that you want. and that sometimes it is necessary to make demands. You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity, and respect, and you will not settle for less. And you allow only the hands of a lover who cherishes you, to glorify you with his or her touch. and in the process you internalize the meaning of self-respect.

And you learn that your body really is your temple. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water, and taking more time to exercise. You learn that fatigue diminishes the spirit and can create doubt and fear, so you take more time to rest. And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul, so you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn that, for the most part, in life you get what you believe you deserve. and that much of life is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for, and that wishing for something to happen is different from working toward making it happen. More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success, you need direction, discipline, and perseverance.

You also learn that no one can do it all alone and its OK to risk asking for help. You learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time: FEAR itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears, because you know that whatever happens you can handle it, and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms.

You learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom. You learn that life isn’t always fair, you don’t always get what you think you deserve, and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. On these occasions you learn not to personalize things. You learn that God isn’t punishing you or failing to answer your prayers. It’s just life happening. And you learn to deal with evil in its most primal state – the ego.

You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy, and resentment must be understood and redirected, or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you.

You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls. You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower. Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself. by yourself, and you try to make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever settle for less than your heart’s desire. And you hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind. And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.

Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side, you take a stand, you take a deep breath, and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.

kim frederick

One-step. Doing good. How about you?

2B, thanks for the reminder. Beautiful.


2behappy –

Thanks for this… everytime I read it, it makes me cry healing tears. xo


kim – working! i am struggling as my mind is not working properly and my bod is still crumbling . but there are moments of great peace.


one_step- I hope you start feeling better soon! 🙂


hey erin – it will take months or years to get balanced again. my sis has a similar constitution and she is never going to be okay. but i am not her.

it requires time money radical change and love.

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