By | October 21, 2010 326 Comments

Cutting Ourselves Some Slack

Forgiving oneself for making bad choices is never easy, and I know there are authors and posters on LF who are true experts in the area of self-forgiveness. But let me come at this from an angle slightly different than my usual Lovefraud fare.

It’s often just plain hard to bust a flat-out liar and deceiver. And it’s often suprisingly easy to effectively flat-out lie and deceive. Let me say this again: it’s pretty easy to live a life of deception, making it no big accomplishment to deceive the brightest, most astute, most sensitive people.

Lying and deceiving, and doing them well, even over long, extended periods of time,  duping anyone and everyone in the process—again, my point is that it’s not nearly as hard to do as we might tend to think, and so it’s really nothing for the exploiter, however slick or not he may be, to feel especially proud to be so good at. Because fraud, and deception, just aren’t that hard to perpetrate.

And the converse is more important—it’s often really easy to be victimized by liars and deceivers, again highlighting how relatively undifficult it is to lie and deceive effectively, and NOT how dumb one is to fall for the lies and deception.

The truth is that few, if any, of us were raised to enter relationships vigilant for exploiters and imposters; not one of us, I suspect, ever took a formal course in how to identify exploiters and other sundry disguised frauds in the context of “intimate” relationships.

This just isn’t something any of us goes to school for; it’s not something any of us expects to experience; and so, reasonably, we think we have much better things to do with our limited time than to strive to become experts at imposter-busting.

Seriously, how many of us really want to spend our precious little time in this short life in the paranoid, depressing undertaking to become, if it’s even theoretically possible, skilled at unmasking exploiters?

Sure, there are professions one can enter if this is one’s bag—to bust imposters. But marriage and intimate relationships are not “professions.” We assume, with statistical support behind us, that it’s unlikely that the individual we’ll become (or have become) involved with is likely to be a pathological liar and deceiver.

Of course we know anything’s possible, but it’s still, statistically, a low enough risk not to compel our constant vigilance, anymore than the risk of contracting relatively rare forms of malignant cancers should necessarily compel our vigilance and dread. 

Now some pathological liars may be excellent at their exploitation skills, but more often than not they are just good enough exploiters to perpetrate fraud successfully for the reasons I’ve suggested.

Does this abdicate us of our duty to heed signs that may, sometimes, be discernable? Of course not. As I’ve written in prior Lovefraud articles, we want to give ourselves the best chance possible, against odds already stacked against us, to bust deceivers and imposters. And as I’ve written elsewhere, sometimes those signs are present, because many exploiters are really not so good at disguising signs of their venality, and some of them are, in fact, really pretty bad; and sometimes, for many possible reasons, we do a poor, ineffectual job at recognizing and heeding those signs.

But it’s also true (and it’s the emphasis of this article) that often these signs are not present, or not obviously present enough to overcome the basic (and I would argue, healthy) state of trust with which we enter intimate relationships. Because again I note: for understandable reasons, we simply don’t enter these relationships naturally suspicious of, or vigilant for, corruption in our partners.

We simply aren’t on the lookout to be exploited, and for this reason, as I’ve suggested repeatedly, this gives the exploiter an enormous edge for, by definition, he is preying on the least suspicious of his potential victims—those who love him.

Consequently this makes him ultimately cowardly, incredibly cowardly, not his victims foolish or gullible. Let me say this again—this makes the exploiter incredibly cowardly because, among other things, he is preying not on gullible fools (as he may perceive, contemptuously, his victims to be), but rather on those who have entered into a relationship with him on a natural, healthy pretext of trust (thereby making them the least challenging, the easiest, victims to defraud). 

This reminds me of the bonding exercise in which one partner, demonstrating trust in the other, agrees to fall backwards in the faith that the receiving partner will catch and protect her. This isn’t gullibility at work but rather natural trust and faith she is risking that her partner will catch her, and not let her fall and injure herself. The exploiter in this analogy as if goads his partner into falling backwards and then, instead of catching her, as she should reasonably expect he will, he lets her drop and so injures her badly. And she, the victim of his deception, is left to feel shocked,  betrayed and wounded.

Staying with this analogy, she, the victim, may not discover how treacherously her partner has let her fall this until much later, as the horror of his history of lies and deception begin, shockingly, to emerge.

And so I suggest to all who have been betrayed and exploited by perpetrators of fraud, especially (but not exclusively) in the context of an intimate commitment, I say to you,  cut yourselves some slack, some serious slack. You are not naïve. You are not gullible.

We live in a world which makes it relatively easy for exploitive personalities to injure others. If we were all paranoid, living in a paranoid mindset, this might limit our risk of exploitation; but most of us, thankfully, are not paranoid. We are not living in a mindset of vigilance to be screwed-over by others, especially those we rightfully deem least likely to hurt us.

This confers the advantage to (and all shame on) the exploiter—and should leave his victims comfortable in their ultimate dignity and innocence.

(This article is copyrighted © 2010 by Steve Becker, LCSW. My use of male gender pronouns is for convenience’s sake and not to suggest that females aren’t capable of the attitudes and behaviors discussed.)

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Dear Steve,

This is a very good article. When I first met with my therapist (I stopped seeing him because I really sense that he doesn’t quite grasp how life-altering it is to have spath in your sphere of existence), after he heard about some of the h-spath’s shenanigan’s (where I was the victim), he said to me, “you’re too trusting.” While we’ve been separated, I learned through his side of the family that some of them were on to him, having figured out that he is a liar, also, telling me about some shady things that he pulled (before ever meeting me). Personally, I currently want nothing to do with his side of the family (due to being angry with them) because by being quiet and not warning me, I was victimized, becoming an absolute nervous wreck over his actions. I had to figure out (by the grace of God) that I was dealing with a spath, never having been raised to be on the look-out for such people.


Dear Steve,

All of your articles resonate with me, being helpful, eye-opening. I appreciate all the thought that you put into this topic (sociopathy), producing articles that are insightful, giving us a healthy approach as to how to handle this mental illness.


WOW – and WOW again.


I spent the night extremely distressed over yet another betrayal by him and here you are – explaining once again – just what I need to hear. I cried too many tears last night and let his shennanigans cut too deep .

My son has been getting and giving some rough times in school these past weeks. Disney dad insists we communicate and show a united front between us for my son’s sake – both in dealing with the school and disciplining my boy.

SOOOOO – dummy , dummy me lets her guard down and we have a few conversations , meet at school together – and I do so only for sons sake. Dad writes one of his grand e-mails to the school – sends it to me to comment – yes, it looks like we are on the same page for the most part.

HOWEVER – behind the scenes – nothing has changed. Last night son is talking on the speaker phone while he is doing his homework and I was able to hear some of the conversation.

My ears perked up when DD asked if he were on the speaker phone to which my son said “no “.

Dad proceeds to say ” Well, son, you know how your mother gets sometimes when she is really angry. She can be loud and call me an a$$hole and it just isn’t right. I don’t derserve any of that. And you know – I tell you I just sit back and listen to her go off, and I tell her this will all backfire on her and someday you will not even want to soeak to her for how she treated your father. Well. that is what I want you to do – when remarks are made to you, just sit back and say nothing . Don’t react . We are buddies, son, and I would hate it if all this turmoil with school changes our relationship. ”

That is a brief synopsis. Now – while his basic idea of “let it all roll off your back and don’t react ‘ is somewhat sound – HOW DARE HE USE MY REACTION TO HIS PROVOKING ME AND HIS ABUSE TO A SITUATION IN SCHOOL. HOW DARE HE USE MY BEHAVIOR AS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW NOT TO ACT WHEN WE ARE SUPPOSEDLY SHOWING A UNITED FRONT !!!

I pointed out to my son his dad was comparing apples to oranges and manipulating our interactions to AGAIN make him the good guy and me the crazy idiot mother .

I will not put myself in this situation again. He can e-mail me – no more conversations.

I have feared what he would portray to my son behind my back and now I know. There is no LOW he will not sink to in order to remain the “GOOD GUY “.

So – fine – I’ll be the bad guy – it’s my job to try and raise my boy to be a good young man with morals and ethics and kindness and a loving heart – and if that makes him hate me – OH WELL !!!!

At least he will know my love doesn’t change no matter what he does – love stays – I may be disappointed in my son at times – but it doesn’t change my heart.

Thanks, My Angel – for yet another day I can let go of blaming myself – he is who he is.



I sympathise with you. My h-spath plays the gentleman part with our kids, not resorting to calling me names, but I am unable to hold my tongue at times (sorry to say), being emotional over the crap (becoming less so) that my h-spath has pulled. For my kids sake, I am willing to try and stop going ballistic (having already started doing so) because my complaints fall on deaf ears (the h-spath) – he cannot grasp why I am so angry at him. He insists that I talk to him in a respectful way, but I’m not able to do so (I’ve been burned). I have to tell myself during the day to not think about him, get him out of my thoughts.
I have never known anyone who has caused me so much heartache and grief. I am still in the anger phase of recovery from a spath, accepting that he has the disorder, but p.o’d about it.



As always: BINGO.

I add to that it is about the recognition of the simple truth, I didn’t lie. He did. And he, therefore must be accountable.

I got fooled. Bummer. Let go. Cut losses. Move on. Learn from it.

The hardest part was just letting go and not looking for any good to salvage. There wasn’t any. And salvaging anything would be no better than picking up a piece of junk at a garage sale with the intention to make a project out of it, but never getting around to it. Eventually, it would have to be tossed out anyway.

WE can only go in one direction:forward. There is nothing to avenge. I was in that relationship of my own free will because it pleased me until I learned how false the whole thing was.

Then, there was nothing to do but let go.

Now, M and I are well and far away in another place where we are very much at home. He is doing GREAT things and I have no feelings or concerns about the SPATH.

This, about 9 months from discovery/shock and let down. A year since the inception of a whirlwind romance that ended the way a tornado does. The damage done, you talk about it for a while until the shock subsides, and then, move on with life.

Thanks Steve for another good’un.

Ox Drover

Dear Steve, a very timely article….very timely indeed.

The only thing I would add is that it isn’t a ONE TIME FORGIVENESS but a CONTINUAL act of forgiveness of ourselves. I used to think it was a ONE TIME event—like a Catholic going to confession and being absolved once and forever of all the past sins. No more guilt over being deceived. For me any way, it didn’t work like that, there wasn’t a one time forgiveness of myself, but one I had to continually RENEW over a period of time.

I’ve more or less personally come to where I don’t have to work so hard on that on a day to day basis any more, but there are times I must remind myself that I can’t expect myself to be “perfect” and never be duped again—or that I can’t expect in retrospect to have been perfect in the past either.

I think part of my failure to forgive myself was the unattainable conception that if I wasn’t perfect, I wasn’t any good at all, therefore how could I forgive myself? So accepting my imperfect self has been part of my forgiveness of my self for being duped, or for reacting inappropriately to the situations presented with the psychopath.

Thanks for a wonderful article and another affirmation that we don’t have to take the rap for what they have done!


Steve I am in complete agreement.
We should never feel ashamed for having good hearts.
Just yesterday I was wondering what my life would have been like For the past 27 years if I had been aware that there are so many evil people with malice and envy walking around. I honestly can’t imagine what it would have been like But I know I would have been a different person and not happy. I think maybe I would have been angry and vindictive, Perhaps feeling entitled to do the same: An eye for an eye and A tooth for a tooth. I wonder how that would have affected my soul.
Instead I got to keep my innocence until age 43 And although I do have wisdom now, my soul is untarnished.
Funny thing I can tell that is 1 of the things that makes my exP and his sociopathic friends most envious of me. They all seem to want to encourage me to take blame for my part, “it takes 2 to tangle” they say. Then they tell me to stop being angry and get on with my life. When I tell them that I’m not angry but rather grateful for the opportunity to have learned so much and to know that I was able tosurvive and even win against an enemy that I didn’t even know I had, they look shocked. Then they get angry and dismissive. They don’t want tohear me speak if I’m not expressing hurt. That’s how I know they are sociopaths.
I always make sure I express that many gains in my life were BECAUSE of my encounter with the socio, not inspite of it. LOL. If its a spath, it burns them alive, if its a normal, they nod in agreement and understanding.



He loves to lecture me on how I should take his divorce settlement because he would never hurt me ……….Hmmmm…too late for that .

As his frustration grew, he remarked that if I didn’t get more sensible soon he was going to have a heart attack from all the stress due to the exhorbitant amount of debt HE created.

My answer was ” So – your point ? ”

OMG – he was SOOOOOO insulted that I was so cavalier about him dropping dead. How could I even think of such a thing – he is my children’s father !!!

I know, I know – not nice of me . But I couldn’t resist – and I did use a sweet tone of voice.

Amazing how they look out for themselves.

He has lied, cheated with multiple women, spent money I didn’t know he made, put us in ridiculous debt , won’t help much with the kids’ expenses, moved himself into the new house – and I should wish him a long , happy life – go figure !!!



I have found your latest article very interesting because I have been thinking along the same lines. Especially in relation to vigilance as victims. As I have delved into the subject of sociopaths and how to recognize one, I realized that I was becoming hyper vigilant.

I am thinking specifically of some posters who come on this site seeking a fight and are accusatory. They are saying that some of the regulars are “man haters”. Since we know that many of us are women, I have had to ask myself if there is any truth to that statement, even a teeny bit? Why are we perceived as such? Can we accurately blame it on a sociopath mindset?

You say:

“Seriously, how many of us really want to spend our precious little time in this short life in the paranoid, depressing undertaking to become, if it’s even theoretically possible, skilled at unmasking exploiters?

Sure, there are professions one can enter if this is one’s bag—to bust imposters. But marriage and intimate relationships are not “professions.” We assume, with statistical support behind us, that it’s unlikely that the individual we’ll become (or have become) involved with is likely to be a pathological liar and deceiver.:

I don’t believe for a minute that we come on LF as “man haters” but I wonder if hyper vigilence leads to perhaps some readers (regardless of how legit or illigit they are) getting the impression that we are.

I came across this clip on an abuser (a male) who supposedly reformed. I found it very interesting that maybe it is possible that not all past, current, or potential partners are completely without hope? I am intrigued by that thought.

Where I make the connection with your statements above is, maybe my view of the “other” keeps me from finding self forgiveness. I don’t claim to be a “cut off his balls and shove them down his throat” kind of person and I tend to believe that karma runs both ways. I get what I give in other words meaning forgiveness. If I can find some forgiveness for the perp (not forgetting what they did to us but letting go of the bitterness that defiles our Light as humans) then maybe I can find the clear path to forgiving myself?

Just a thought.

Here is the clip I make reference to.

I would very much welcome your thoughts on this.

Thanks Steve, for a refreshing article!


P.S. just to clarify:

I AM NOT saying that what the spaths have done to us and our kids, families, friends, etc is ok. These perps have done horrific things and deserve to be looked at with a pretty strong lens. Also, I am NOT saying that we are to blame for their behavior nor that we brought on our own abuse.

I AM saying that I need to watch my own attitudes or else I run the risk of “becoming what/who I hate”. The person who coined that was a bible teacher from my youth and I have always resonated very strongly with that idea.

Hope that clears up any misunderstanding that could be triggered. I myself suffer from PTSD so I understand triggers.



Steve, thank you very much. You’re spot on. I’d rather be trusting and honest as a rule, there is something to be said for that. I appreciate the support.


Ox Drover

Dear AR,

I agree with you that I don’t want to become what I hate! There are times that I “spout off” that I WOULD like to cut off their X and cram them down their throats!

Anger is a natural response to injury or insult! Jesus said “be ye angry and sin not” so the anger itself is not I don’t think a “sin” or even a bad thing, but acting like a jerk JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE ANGRY isn’t okay either.

Jesus also said “let not the sun go down upon your wrath”—I always thought “wrath” was “JUST ANGER,’ but the dictionary defines it as MUCH MORE than “just” anger.

It is a seething, nurtured anger that has rotted form inside. THAT kind of feeling, that WRATH, is what we must not harbor and nurture. That kind of feeling eats at US. Whether we are feeling it toward another or towards ourselves.

Someone (can’t remember who) said that that thirst for revenge and bitterness that is “wrath” is like drinking poison and believing someone else will die! It kills US, not the ones we hate.

Holding grudges and seething wrath doesn’t do us one bit of good. In fact, today I had to go and talk to a neighbor who sued me for $50K for “his mental suffering” because my husband’s plane crashed in his pasture, burning my son and 2 others seriously and burning my husband fatally. I haven’t spoken to the man in nearly 6 years. And frankly there were nights I would lie awake trying to figure out how to burn that man’s house and make sure he did not get out alive. I SEETHED and I HATED him for what he had done to me, for kicking me when I was down. But today, I had to go see him to try to find out who the horses in my yard belonged to (he has some horses that color)

He wouldn’t give me a straight answer, but I held my ground, then came home when he wouldn’t give me an answer. He followed me to my house then, and still I walked away when He would not say Yes or no those are/are not my horses. Turned out he knew whose horses they were but wouldn’t tell me for some stupid reason…not sure why. But the thing is, seeing him didn’t make me hate him any more—I’m done with him reached essentially indifference where he is concerned ([email protected]!) but believe me it was NOT an easy thing to do. I hated that man with every ounce of my body!

So actually, seeing him today wasn’t a trigger—if any thing it was more of a ho hum or a laugh at how stupid he is! He’s not worth hating! I forgive him completely. Trust him? NEVER! But I don’t have to trust him in order to forgive him, and get the bitterness out of my heart!


I hear ya Ox. For years I hated my ex h for physically abusing my oldest son (his stepson). He was beyond spanking in his approach. A real psycho. I finally had that “brick to the head” moment when I remembered what that pastor used to say (I remembered his name is Bill Bright) and I realized, if I continue to allow myself to be consumed by what my ex did then I would become just like him. Putrid and foul.

Instead I aspired to evolve and become as peace loving as I can be. Do I let anyone use me as a door mat? No. But I refuse to “hate” anyone. I am not perfect (I can’t stand John Mayer) 🙂 but I try to not let hate rule my life in any capacity whether it is politics, religion, society etc. or just in my ethos in life in general.

For me, hate is not an option.

Ox Drover

DEar AR,

I’m glad I am not the only one here who requires a “BRICK TO THE HEAD” from time to time to get a point across! LOL



I haven’t posted in awhile — been busy putting away the bad guys. Guess I must be good at it — had my annual review yesterday and it was great.

Anyhow, when I read about your experience with your S-ex I remembered all the times I tried to “play nice”. My S-ex shoved my teeth so far down my throat so many times that I’m surprised I don’t have to shove a toothbrush up my ass to brush them. But, I’d go back for another bashing, falling for the exact pity play crap you did.

Then comes that magic day when you see it all so clearly, when every last vestige of emotion leaves us, and we realize it is time to cut ourselves some slack and turn to them and look them in the eye and say “YOU — YES, YOU, YOU AVARICIOUS PIECE OF CRAP, ARE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERY PROBLEM IN YOUR LIFE.” And as for him dropping dead from the stress, well, you should be so lucky.

I recently got a call from a friend in NYC (my old stomping ground) who started talking about my S-ex. Out of the blue he said “Y’know, there are some guys who you can actually see their end. And I know we’re going to hear about your S-ex being found murdered or dead of an overdose in a gutter somewhere.” All I could do was laugh, because I realized how right he was. So, if you think your S-ex is going to drop dead from the stress, I’ll send some positive thoughts your way. Hell, it would be a great improvement in your life. And I’m sure I won’t have to remind you to cut yourself some slack.

As for your kids being brought up right, we’ve been posting for a couple of years and I’ve followed your story closely. Your kids are doing great. Yeah, your son may be a snot-nosed teenager at this moment, but he sees his so-called father for exactly what he is.

Ox Drover

Dear Matt,

So good to hear from you sweetie and to know that you are doing well. I can’t believe you got your annual review! Has it been THAT long since you moved to DC? I assume you are prosecuting since you said you’ve been busy “putting the bad guys away”—what a GREAT job for you!!!! Especially with your experience with the BAD GUYS personally!

Glad too that you have been able to reclaim your old haunts and paint over the graffitti of the nasty memories of the creep!

Your advice to BBE is great! We miss you here Matt, don’t stay away so long! I don’t have anyone else to share my lawyer jokes with!!! Haven’t heard any good ones lately.

Don’t know if you read I hired an attorney (the BEST parole hearing attny in Texas–he has an 80% + rate in getting them out on parole) but he KNOWS WHAT A PSYCHOPATH IS and he refuses to work for one he thinks is a P!!! How is that????

We hired him last time P son came up for parole and he investigated the case and then DECLINED to take any more money or represent my P son. He didn’t say WHY, but now I know WHY! He thought my son was a P.

He did give me credit for the money I paid him last time so since I was the client (not my P-son) he could do that and no conflict of interest! hee hee He actually didn’t really believe just HOW MUCH OF A P my son was, until I sent him the foot locker full of letters my P wrote to the Trojan Horse P, but once he saw that and we got things together, and though no attorney will say to you “I KNOW we will win this case” he has enough experience with paroles (that’s all he does!) he said there is a 99% chance my son will bet a FIVE YEAR SET OFF before he can go back to the parole board.

I sent a letter to the head of the Texas Parole board as well, and one to the Texas legislator who was the one who a death row inmate called on his smuggled cell phone to cuss out! DUH! And sent them copies of the PHOTOS of my son made from his cell phone and e mailed out from INSIDE HIS CELL. This legislator was so incensed when he got the call from the death row inmate to cuss him out, he locked down the entire Texas prison system for 4 months while each cell was individually searched and they turned up another 40 or so cell phones!!! He was furious that my son had a cell phone and HE wrote a letter to the head of the Parole board too! So I think I have EVERY BASE covered that there is to cover. My attorney also knows the secretary who is in charge of the paper work and he has her assurance that OUR STUFF will be on the TOP of the pile. I sent 12 of the documents and letters to go along with my letter to the parole board in which my P son BRAGS about how his “crime was more horrible than even the cops know.” Another which said “I know how to be good and not break the rules, but it is so much fun to break the rules I’ll quit when it gets closer to may parole date.” And another in which when he got caught smuggling in DVD porno he told the “warden to stuff it up his Mexican ass” (several members of the Parole board are Hispanic) and you ought to hear what he calls the black prisoners (several of the board are also black!) He also has a diagnosis of “ASPD Traits” and I explained what that was….so I think my attorney must be pretty certain to say what he did.

He is a really great guy and knows what a Psychopath is! That helps I think. So now, I know TWO lawyers I love, you and him!!! (((hugs))) glad to see you back!!! Keep on living the good life!!!


Hi to everyone
I am not new here, but for privacies sake, well, it’s just me, now.

I was just thinking that…i’ve been thinking…maybe it’s me? I feel like a p and I act like one too. What if it is me? Am I?

I don’t trust me anymore.

What if I HAVE become just like the p?

I just had to say something when I read the words, becoming like them (or something).

I have been practicing cutting myself some slack lately (without blaming others for my own choices and actions). But I see so much now about myself and I think I know so much about the p and have been doing this for so long now…I’m so hurt, I can’t breath. I am so hurt. My heart won’t take it and well, I feel my soul being sucked from my body, and I feel more like one daily.

I watched a movie not long ago and the main character said and did things to others in the script (that the p has done to me)… right before he killed… scared the blank out of me.

I pondered on it and watched it a few more times. (?) and pondered on it some more. I haven’t been the same since. I wonder just how much I have become (became?) him, or them.


itsjustme I think we question ourselves alot after such a huge life lesson..but I doubt you are a P, a P wouldnt doubt themselves like this..give yourself some time these feelings pass…
Hello Matt good to read you again……


!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MATT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


So glad you popped in – WOW- what good news you have to share. Like OXY said – can it be that long already ????

You sound wonderful ………and content . All the help you offered here has come back around to bring you good stuff in your life………….

I am hanging in ……kids are really good all in all . Daughter just got her 9 month back surgery check-up and she has been cleared for the Roller Coasters …rods in her back and all !!!!!

Son is having some growing pains – and sperm donor doesn’t help it any.

Still waiting to get divorced……

GOSH – it really is good to hear from you !!!!!! Be well and God Bless !



I figured out from personal experience that spaths don’t play fair, never living the truth, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” their brains being locked, unable to grasp the concept. It’s so frustrating, never imagining that I would marry someone who has such a disappointing character. Spaths are rebels without a cause. Anyway, as long as we try and stay positive, being the kind of people that we desire to be, that’s success. When we dwell on the unfairness of our situation, then it takes us down to a pit that’s hard to get out of – I know that too, from personal experience. I wish you and your children well. Like me, I ‘m sorry that you ended up with a husband who was a let-down. Take care.


blue jay

Very well said – thanks. You are so right.

Empty, soul-less , selfish, deceitful – he is all those things . Yet, at one time, I so looked up to him for what I thought were our dreams and his abilities.

I’m in the light now – but I only see darkness around him.



I have been married 15 years (separated 1 year), not celebrating my anniversary for the last 3 years. For many years, I thought we were on the same page, being in agreement on most issues. When he left a successful business (he had two partners) to go solo, then the “real person” emerged, not liking what I saw (a deceptively self-centered man). I realize that during the years that I was a stay-at-home mother, raising our three kids, we didn’t talk a whole lot – I assumed things about him that eventually proved false. Nothing in my life prepared me for the shock of discovering his true, authentic self, sending me into a tailspin for a few years (still thinking he was normal, trying to steer him in the right direction). I finally had to admit that there was something fundamentally wrong with him, did some online research, and bingo, found my answer – he’s definitely (no question about it in my mind) a spath, being a devastating discovery, taking a while to absorb this fact. Anyway, I feel that I have experienced hell- on-earth, hoping that things just get better. I put one foot in front of the other and keep walking. That’s all that we can do. Like you, I do see darkness around him, bothering me. I am not a heartless person, still trying to figure out how to proceed, wanting to do what is right.



I do so understand. Our stories have similarities. When our plant closed and he lost his full-time job , he went on to broaden his part-time construction company . He used it as a means to meet women – on the road, a toll booth, internet , business dealings. The big reveal during our current divorce proceedings literally crushed me. I was paralyzed in heartache. I put myself in counseling, discovered Narcissism/Sociopathy and BINGO – it took a few years now but I know it wasn’t me. Not that I was perfect, but in no way did I deserve or ever imagine what he was capable of doing.

Yes – you have indeed experienced hell on earth – it is just so damn far from normal. I was divorced very young – I married at 20 – and yes I loved him very much – he broke my heart – but he drank, we fought and he eventually cheated on me. As devastating and life changing as that was – it was NOTHING of what I have experienced during my 2nd marriage.

Yup , I was always hopeful – hope waits and waits and waits .

Yes, I tried to steer him too – and everyone has said how much he has changed since we split. No – he hasn’t changed – as my counselor says – he was always who he is now – he just doesn’t have to hide it so much anymore.

Please – I can’t tell you what to do – but prepare for your future at least financially – put away what you can -even a little bit – if you are living with him. Eventually, you will KNOW what you want to do – your sanity has to win over the heartbreak. The time comes – no matter how long we put it off – when our own survival and that of our children means more. God Bless-


Hello everyone

I think this is a great article! Very much what everyone who has been targetted by an S N or P should bear in mind. I probably beat myself up over not being smarter for ages – partially because my exN had kind of carefully left ‘a few clues’ so that he could more effectively blame me for not catching him out sooner and leaving. That way I’m sure he could more easily persuade himself that I was ‘totally’ to blame for his cheating, lying, thefts & betrayals.

I think that I’ve learned whole new concepts of trusting post abusive relationship.

In one sense – I trust everyone at first. The world one be a terrible place if you spent all your time checking whether each person that you meet is trustworthy or not and we have to go on certain ‘automatic filters’. It helps to rule out obvious stuff first tho’. History of offending, mean or thoughtless on the first date etc etc!

What I’ve learned is that most people are presenting themselves in one or another way to the world – including me. Some of those people are not telling the truth about themselves. However everyone does want to present themselves in a way that will be reasonably positive – seeing as we’re total social animals we haven’t a whole lot of choice in some ways – we need each other to survive emotionally.

The fact that someone is being ‘the mask’ with me at first – is only really an issue if I’m gonna be placing something important in the hands of that person or if I’m gonna rely on them – or if they’re in a position to do me harm.

So it’s more important to let people in slowly over time. Be friendly and approachable but cautious. I think some of us here (me included) had such a longing for connection that we felt we could ‘skip’ some stages of building trust. Relying on an ‘instantly likeable’ feeling or on ‘outer markers’ such as them having ‘trappings of success’ or an apparant group of good friends.

Perhaps our only naivity was that didn’t value ourselves highly enough to see that we might be particularly valuable targets just because of we’re example of ‘basically good people’ i.e. being honest, kind, sticking to commitments, curious about others etc etc. Actually all this is pretty rare in today’s world!

However – it’s really best to get to know someone slowly. There’s a lot of cultural pressure around the idea of ‘instant meeting of soulmates’ stuff which is sooo unhelpful.

It really isn’t about ‘being trusting or not trusting’ its about developing more sophisticated grades of ‘types of trust’ in my view. That way you don’t need to be isolated from the anyone who’s untrustworthy in some ways, or has different values to yours perhaps – but where it’s grey area.

Everyone needs to develop their own absolute no-no’s tho’. I have my own list and I don’t need to explain it to anyone that I’m meeting with a view to friendship’. If someone has a ‘no-no’ behaviour I don’t need to see them, speak to them or explain anything to them. In the digital age we have access literally accross the globe to millions of likeminded souls. Why waste our light, time and energy on the vampires & soul-suckers. These narcissistic types are desperate to get the attention of others – which is why they put so much effort into deceptions they try to pull off – basically they’re pretty good at it through LOTS of practice.

If you’re the target of an S N or P – it’s probably because you’re a ‘beacon of energy’. Pretty cool huh!

Blessings to all

Delta 1



I don’t live with the h-spath (he moved out last Sept.), being fine with me, giving me room to mend. My plan is to stay single, raising my children, healing from the trauma that I have endured. I refuse to spend the rest of my life experiencing unending drama (courtesy of a spath). I can’t take it mentally.


Hi ItsJustMe

Hens is right. It’s extremely unlikely that a P would be feeling pain, agonising over the fact they might be a P. If anything a P would be proud of his P traits!

Most people still ‘in trauma’ have this fear. I was convinced for ages that I might have bi-polar or histronic personality disorder or something.

If you don’t know alot about PTSD – try reading up on that.

Also I harboured violent angry and vengeful fantasies about my exN for at least a couple of years. I’d probably still spit on his grave – but don’t feel the need to personally put him there anymore LOL! I think these are normal reactions to being targetted & betrayed and harmed by an S N or P. ErinBrock & I are full of the ‘righteous anger’ vibe – naturally protective types often have this aspect to their personality.

In another life I’d have seen of the roaming invaders with a pitchfork or something – it’s called a survival instinct! Don’t beat yourself up – that survival instinct is calling on you now and telling you that you really do want to get through this and heal!


Delta 1



Yeah I can be stubborn too! It’s a survival instinct as Delta says it so well!


It was me who said that I watch my attitude so that I don’t allow myself to become full of hate for the ex spath. I agree with Hens and Delta. Since you are concerned, you obviously have the ability to empathize. If you are full of hatred and violent thoughts , then I agree with Delta, you may need therapy to work through your trauma. Though some of this is normal while we are going through the process, prolonged, it can be a problem.


I too consider myself a “naturally protective type” who, “often have this aspect to their personality”. Being a Libra, I desire justice and balance. I seem to always find myself on the side of the underdog. In another life, I was often told that I should have become a civil rights lawyer. I thought about it but I was too busy raising my kids. Now, menopause would make me get disbarred I am afraid!!

Righteous anger is a very interesting biblical concept. It is mentioned very little in the NT yet it is used so very often in misguided ways. White Supremacy and militia groups (and the Taliban) use it to justify their crimes against people of color. My point is if we’ re using it correctly then AMEN SISTERS!. I get pissed off often at injustices and I can allow myself to get very upset but I was just reading today in Prevention magazine that anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness leads to all kinds pf physical ailments, heart disease, HP pressure, even cancer. It has to do with the PH balance of acidity and alkalinity in the system caused by stress.

So glad to hear you no longer want to put your ex in the grave! 🙂 When I worked in NI, the Lads used to joke with me and tell me they could
“take care of the ex and no one would know”. My first thought was “sounds good boys” but then the voice of reason would take over and I knew that was just flat out bad and I did not want that karma on me. I would be a liar if I said I was not temped just a wee bit!

In my culture, tough, rough, fighting and brawling is the norm. Violence is high as well as other social ills. BUT I left that behind me many years ago and now I fight like H to keep that person down. I also learned in NI that calm is strong, loud is just loud. And never let the enemy know what you are going to do.

I am not there yet. I have sooo not arrived. Often I refer to my Buddhist days and I like my Native path because I can call on the Spirit Guides to be Warriors for me if need be. Sorry, lads in NI 🙂





Dear AR

Yes I can definately get that vibe of ‘protector’ and ‘battler of social injustice’ from your posts. Like you I’m trying to learn how to stay calm and keep ‘centred’ in confronting the face of great wrongs without giving into tempestuous passions. Also very influenced by Bhuddist teachings.

Also – the pain from my abusive relationship kind of just……..faded ……as I got my life back together. I see my exN as a pathetic rather than powerful figure now. The power was all in me – I’d just given it away to the wrong person. Laughter dissolves pain too – I went to a lot of comedy nights out (and still do).


Delta 1



Being a Libra, I am the queen of the after thought. In case anyone is wondering, my father’s family is Gypsy from Spain (Granada) and Apache (US) and my mother’s family is Irish Northern Ireland and Native American.

When I say calm is strong I am remembering the men who operated as para military commanders in their pre peace days as examples of this. There were in their day, calculating, calm, and pointed. Can’t help but think of Clint Eastwood. I find that attitude is helpful to me as long as it does not involve violence!

Take Care, all.



It has been proven medically that laughter balances the Ph in our bodies..

Keep up the good work you are doing!!! 🙂


Dear Steve,

Great article – some excellent thoughts. I especially like your use of “cowardly” vs “dignified”. Indeed.

At any rate, I often wax nostalgic for the good old days (the 18th century especially) when they still lived by the “gentlemanly code of honor” – and when people actually used terms like “rake” “scoundrel” “blackguard”, etc., to describe these types. Cultural moral relativism makes it especially easy for such people to commit their “crimes” (which are often crimes against “honor” rather than literal crimes) with relative impunity. And the fear of making “judgments” keeps them from being properly ostracised (as they should be -The Scarlet Letter be damned!).

There is no shame whatsoever in being violated by a dishonorable rogue. For that matter, I don’t even like the word “victim” because it has a connotation of “weakness” which is entirely out of place. However, living the life of a cringing, lying parasite without a shred of honor or nobility – now THAT is contemptible.

Moreover, the other nice thing about the “honor code” is that when the law failed to take effective action, one always had the option of walking up to the person, knocking the hat off his head and “demanding satisfaction.” (At which point, of course, he HAD to face you – pistols or sabres, inform my second by sundown – or be revealed for the coward that HE really is.) Ah, the good old days!

But I’m digressing…. Still, your point is right on. A life without honor and integrity is the greatest shame imaginable. And as long as we live by those standards in our own lives what cause is there for fear or embarrassment? On the contrary.


Dear AR –

Happy Birthday! (by the way) Another Libra, eh? – very nice. I hope you had a nice time and did something pleasant for yourself. (Mine wasn’t bad, though I’m no longer “thirtysomething” – hmmmm.)


Constantine – moral codes in any society are always relative to ones social caste/ class and gender, and the castes of the two parties interacting. I doubt that a person of ‘lower’ social caste could hope to draw on a person of a higher one…but I digress

The spath and I are or similar social class; a literal crime against my honor was committed; and I have no legal recourse as no crime against property was committed. If there were a code of honor that I could bring into play, I would drop kick that bitch into hell.


Dear Onestep,

Ha ha – you make a good point. But if there is an issue of “caste/class” at stake, I’ll be glad to knock his hat off for you! (I’m “shabby genteel” myself – which isn’t saying much – but I still have the right of the duel when applicable!)

And if that fails, well, then we’ll just take him into a nearby alley and “drop kick the bitch into hell.”


well, I am glad that you have experienced some mirth, even if it is at the expense of my misfortune. 🙂

team work does make everything more enjoyable doesn’t it!

the spath is a she, and i am sure would be welcomed back with open arms to her homeland.



I’m pondering your article about this subject. How it is so easy to lie and dupe someone. I had my guard up a little because I saw signs of his other side and chose to ignore them. My thinking was that everyone makes mistakes and this man is professing his undying love to me so I should give him the benefit of doubt.

He could have easily just been an innocent partner (as he would have me believe) and I could have been the paranoid, untrusting one. I was passive aggressive and jealous and controlling and it kept getting worse. I thought these feelings would go away if I dealt with them and went to couseling. I am ashamed of how I acted and it actually fed into his crazy wife scenario.

I need to cut myself some slack for my faults because I did not deserve this. He fed me bs and I believed him. That wasn’t me, I did not force him to lie and betray me. I did not force him to look elsewhere for love and attention.

This is an ongoing battle inside of me, the guilt and empathy have to be pushed aside when dealing with the pathalogical liar. The parts of me that I am proud of will have to take a back seat until I get my adamant and have other traits that I can be equally proud of. Strength of character and perseverance in the face of diversity are traits that I’m working on. Showing my children a mother they can be proud of.

So cutting myself some slack is a work in progress. I had lunch yesterday with a friend from high school and she is very intuitive. She has worked at women’s shelters and has an alcoholic mother who was molested by an uncle. This friend said she saw my husband and knew there was something ‘off’ about him. He reminded her of her mom’s old boyfriend who ended up absuing her mom. My husband was too charming. These are her words. She has him pegged, I’m going to have her meet any future boyfriends. (way in the future) She can tell who is bad news and won’t put up with crap. I need some of her adamant!

Again, thanks all for letting me share here in cyberspace. It means a lot to me!

Ox Drover

Dear Hope4joy,

While I think you think maybe that having someone else “meet” your new boyfriends might keep you safer than picking them out yourself, I think in the end we must NOT rely on others to make our decisions for us, but RELY ON ourselves to keep ourselves safe from the “bad guys”–be independent and trust OURSELVES.

Like setting boundaries, at first I would ask my son D “is that reasonable” and he would say yes it is, so I would set the boundary, because I was not sure, he was like training wheels, but now I set my own boundaries without consulting anyone, and I feel confident in doing so. I can run my own life. It feels good.

As far as having someone else check out my selection for a date—Nah, I’LL DO THAT FOR MYSELF because I TRUST MYSELF, the consequence of any mistakes are mine, so I will listen to MY GUT—my gut’s gettin’ smarter! I’m learning to trust it more than I trust ANYONE ELSE!



You are right about that, it has been a long process in trusting myself because I was told for so long that my perceptions were faulty. Like a broken watch, when you get it fixed you still are checking to make sure the time is right. How can you be sure it won’t break again and the time is wrong?

Also, I’m serving the papers after deer hunting because I don’t want anything to happen ‘accidentally’ to my son when he’s hunting with dear ‘ole dad.

I’m calling the said doctor who we went to for couples therapy and telling him that if anything happens to me or my family when spath is served, I am holding him personally responsible. He had all the clues in front of him, he just chose to believe spath and that it is my anxiety.

Bullocks!!! Not putting up with it ANYMORE!

Ox Drover

Dear Hope4joy,

Well, glad to hear that you are finally taking some action….it will be rough, but in the end it will be worth it to be loose from the bear trap you have been stuck in.

If you have to co-parent with this creep (can’t remember if your kids are his or just his steps, sorry, CRS) but I remember your daughter is creeped out by this man, so she will at least be away from him…the courts usually won’t insist a kid that age (or a step) go “visit” so you will be modeling good decisions for your daughter and she won’t have to put up with his learing looks.


Steve – I read a quote recently: ‘People go out on a limb, because that’s where the best fruit is.’

I was looking for adventure and fruit. Found both; just not the type I thought I had. When I first found out the real identity of the evil one, I was relieved. First, I knew who she was (and she wasn’t a group as represented to me); I knew where she lived and that it was unlikely she would come after my physically for reasons of health, distance and historical behavior; and I recognized that I had been conned by a pro with decades of experience of running similar cons.

I had figured out she was a spath, before I knew who she was, and that she was one and not many. Who else creates characters, defrauds people of love and intimacy; kills the characters; and then resurrects them? who could do that? only one lacking a conscience and who ENJOYED doing evil works in the world.

so, cutting myself some slack – hmmm, where am i at with that now? I find that I talk about killing her a lot. (I no longer fantasize about that as i did in the first months – trying to find a way to kill her in my mind that satisfied whatever part of me that was so obsessed with the idea. i found ‘a way’ and the obsession stopped.) Now, that would suggest killing her would stop my talking about it, but, umm, that’s not really an option. unfortunately.

Want to interject here: I am being treated for PTSD – neurofeedback.

i can be QUITE dark in my humor about her. quite. a really new experience for me – i have always shied away from even sarcasm. i can laugh with lf posters, as we tend to do, and it would scare outsiders i suspect…but i am waaay darker than before…like the diff between batman 1 and 2. odd, but accurate analogy. i can’t do a damn ting about her. i can’t even stop the scam she pulled on me (i am trying). and i see the batman analogy is a good one, because i really do want to be an avenger. i don’t have legal recourse, and the thought of killing her is the only way I can avenge the situation – this is the thought of a person who sees she holds no other power. i will not reveal myself to those she still cons. i have contacted them, but will not tell them who i am. i am protecting myself. i need a mask…a real one, black, two eye holes; and a silver daggar or semi automatic weapon. humor: dark.

cutting myself slack – i move slowly back into ‘life’ there are a lot of challenges; many i don’t meet head on. I am overwhelmed with challenges. and i have this darkness within me – and this is where i most need to get straightened out, and give myself some slack. you see, it is this dark avenger who feels most focused and togehter in a way. i almost feel like i am a criminal – i am careening around in the ‘normal’ world trying to not fall down, but there is all this stuff inside me, and i see the badness in people like never before – and i feel my inner world is crashing out into my outer world. i actually showed someone my teeth yesterday – sure wasn’t a ‘smile’ that i flashed her after she had been rude to me and my staff for the fifth time –


Hey Constantine! You’re in the house. Right on…

Thanks for the B-Day wishes BTW. Ya know I knew instinctively that you must be a Libra. What gave it away is the love of the romantic notions of yesteryear. You and I sound like two peas in a pod. Happy B-Day to you as well. 🙂 I did do something pleasant for myself. I had an hour and a half full body massage. Ahhhh….

Hit the big 40 huh? It’s not a bad thing for a man in our society. For us gals it’s like the kiss of death (to some-once you hit that wall and recover, it’s pretty good). Like a gallon of milk that has passed it’s expiration date! be glad that the gray hair will make you look distinguished not just “old” . I may take some slack when I say this (but then what else is new? 🙂 ) but I tell my boys to be glad they were born men-that women get the sH*& end of the stick in so many ways. That is why we were known as the “weaker sex” in those romantic older days. Truth is about those days if I were in those times, I’d be a slave. Not so romantic when I look at it from that lens.

Was reading an article by Paulina the Russian supermodel (retired- now 40 something) and she was bemoaning the same issue. She then went on to make a rather strange comment. She said something to the effect that nobody notices her anymore meaning “young guys” and she is invisible like a brick in the wall. I felt like giving her a brick to the head. She is right to some degree ( that we women become invisible when we age) but at 40 who in their right mind wants to be noticed by “young guys?” I have sons and well, that sounds sort of like pedophilia to me.

In my opinion, the best revenge is to look the best I can even in my fifties. I work out and weight train several days and don’t gorge myself on food anymore. I practice calorie restriction which is different than calorie counting. Knowledge is power and so is looking one’s best regardless of biological age (compared to chronological age). I’ll be damned if the spath is gonna look better that I do (and I don’t mean the aging George Clooney) especially not him! ha ha..

I am very curious. What is your story? I know you have mentioned a spath ex. Something about her being like Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown. What happened? I am sure you know that we LF’s love a good spath story. We commiserate and it is very healing for us.





I think it is a good thing that we can come here to LF and have the dark humor and talk about our wishes to see the ex go up in flames (whether literally or figuratively). It’s a very important component of the healing process.

We know that 99.9 % of the posters here are real folks who have suffered from an encounter with a spath and we don’t judge. Sometimes we do get righteously angry (as some have pointed out lately) and that’s ok.

I’ve realized this past few days that yes I do need to cut myself some slack as Steve points out. As long as I am on a path to genuine healing (mental and physical therapies) and I am in touch with reality, then it is VERY OK to express dark humor!!!

I myself just don’t like to cross the line to where it becomes offensive to visitors who may be genuinely seeking information. I think then we could become counterproductive as a source.

I appreciate your posts very much!!



One steppers,

It’s so nice to hear your voice, you have had so much pain that sometimes your voice is muted. Even if there is a lot of dark humor, at least your talking about it.

About a week ago, I was really hoping that hubby would get in a motorcycle accident and perish. And not be in a wheelchair (I might oil the wheels at the Grand Canyon), but really dead. That’s not me, I have never wished death on a single sole. Not even narcissist father. Not on first husband. He was just a covert narcissist and harmless, couldn’t keep down a job and drank.

But this crap, totally new. No one can prepare you for the amount of crazy you feel. Sock puppet with muliple identities? Sick stuff. Somehow they get away with it because they can SEEM normal.

Last year, when I found out spath was on sex chat lines, I’m like WTF? We were having sex every other day, sometimes once a day. I was trying to figure out what was wrong and maybe I needed to be more ‘active’. Little did I know he was doing side activities. He would come home and seem normal. What is normal about that in a monogamous marriage? Not a damn thing, that’s what. People who respect their spouse don’t pull that crap. Makes me feel like sh*t as well. Used and gross.

That is what those creeps do, screw up our normal. Thoughts of death are our unfortunate side effect. One step, it will start to ebb. You may never feel like the same person but you will be better. I’m so thankful for LF because you guys really get it. I was lucky to have a therapist that pointed out his emotional abuse, narcissism and toxic interactions. She said she has been conservative! The other psychologist was obtuse at best but I am calling him to give him a piece of my mind. The old me would never do that.

I understand your dark thoughts, keep working through them. The journey of healing will take you where you need to go. Just wish it were a bit easier! You need to forgive and let go. Not for anyone else but yourself. Cut yourself some slack!

When I look at people at the store or at school and wonder what their story is, I wonder if they have ever been in such a mind altering experience and I feel like I am almost alien. Like I don’t belong because of the unreal nature of this. Could never believe that a father who loves his daughter would ‘flirt’ with her and objectify her, hug her creepily from behind only when I’m out of the room. Never could happen to all those normal people out there. Makes me what to puke!!!

Yet again, he jokes and acts normal.


There Are so many good post on this page, I love reading different perspectives people take on cutting ourselves some slack.
After I found out that my ex was the devil, I was outraged, angry and wanted revenge. then I immediately realized that that was a game I could not win. To win, I had to be better than the p, not just like him. I realized that my pain was coming from a wounded ego. And that it would continue to hurt as long as I hung on to my ego and outrage , so I prayed to saint michael the archangel– that helped a lot.
I think That the socio is someone who is acutely aware of injustice and unfairness in the world and they want to be the ones dispensing the injustice. That’s why they cheat everything they do. So they slime us with their own feelings because they want us to feel as bad as they do. They want us to seethe with rage. I refuse, if for no other reason than I won’t give him the satisfaction. And its not enough to pretend, I’m determined to feel gratitude every day, that is my focus. Whoever said that a good life is the best revenge, mustve encountered a socio because seeing good people lead happy lives really burns them. Delta said That we didn’t value ourselves enough to see that we had something valuable that someone evil might want to take – our very goodness was it. This is evidenced by the fact that they went after our hearts. So that is the lesson we gained and if we can keep our hearts pure, then We have a net gain. And if we realize this, then the gain grows exponentially with our gratitude. Ahhh, I just made myself feel very happy with my own words!


Dear Skylar,

Thank you so much for your post. I really needed to hear that!! I too am a big believer in Saint Michael the archangel. I know we don’t agree 100% in our theology Skylar but hey anyone who calls on the name of Michael is right on in my book!!

When you say that we need to keep our hearts pure. My sentiment exactly. This is what I work on everyday.

Funny thing is that when I talk about love for peace and my dislike of negativity, I get “grey rocked”!! If I remember correctly aren’t you the one who posted awhile back that you were being accused of being a spath?

Maybe the old man in the gym has me paranoid, I am feeling triggered these days, but I get the strange feeling that because I speak my mind (always with respect) I am being “questioned” perhaps not in words but in silence. Seems like some on here can feel free to speak exactly what they think but when I try to say my peace, I am ignored.

I am thinking I may have to email Donna and give her phone numbers to my former boss and colleagues in Northern Ireland so people can know that I am legitimate. I have no qualms about that and also contact info to my places of work too. I am an open book but maybe because we have all been victims it is easy for us to “see spaths behind every bush”.

Thanks for listening Skylar.


Ox Drover

Dear Adamsrib,

No one on here IMHO doubts you–and if my joking remark about “calling No. Ireland” made you think I doubted you, I am very sorry. No one here is disrespecting or doubting you in the least as far as I can see, but you obviously feel that is the case. Each of us has a unique back ground and past and stories. I’m sorry that you feel “ignored” on here when you speak your piece.

It is normal to feel triggered when someone backs you into a corner and disrespects your boundaries. You also mentioned that you were somewhat afraid to cause him to go into a rage (can’t remember the exact words) but I understand that feeling—when you have dealt with violent people in any capacity or lived around or with them, we become super sensitive to “causing” them to go off by simply standing up for ourselves. It is that “don’t rock the boat” mentality that we have been trained to have.

The old deal of “don’t tell Child protective services that your dad has been fondling you because then YOU will destroy the family”


“let’s pretend we’re a nice normal family”


“what would the neighbors think if they knew”?

The jerk (whatever his diagnosis is) at the gym is crossing your boundaries—which is an act of violation—of aggression on his part.

You do NOT have to have a “reason” to not talk to him. Where does he get off thinking you OWE HIM ANYTHING?

You asked for suggestions and I gave you mine, and others did too. So I do hope you don’t feel ignored. The decision on how to handle it best is, as always, yours to make.


If it ever seems that I’m ignoring you please understand that is not the case, I love your posts. But sometimes it’s hard for me to get online because of my living situation.
I hope it is not the case that you are being greyrocked on certain posts. We Are a sensitive bunch around here But our etiquette is not always perfect And that can lead to hurt feelings. My post above also was not meant to negate or chastise any one elses feelings of anger. I certainly understand feeling angry is a proper reaction to the spath. My post was more about moving on, not getting stuck in that stage, which is where the sociopath is stuck. He chose to feed the dark side, rather than the light. I know u get that already,AR, but your post reminded. Be about how we can be misunderstood when we post so I wanted to clarify.
When I was accused of being a spath, it was outright, it was not grey rock, it was 3 people calling me a spath. One of those people really hurt me because I had liked her very much and I miss talking with her. But we can’t force people to like us back, not even on LF. There are enough kind people here, such as yourself, who do humor me and my rantings, so that I will get over the disappointment of being rejected by one person. I hope you will always feel welcome by me.


Dang squirrel!

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