By | September 18, 2009 121 Comments

Dealing with the root cause of the problem

By Ox Drover

One of the first things I learned in nursing school was to correctly diagnose the problem before trying to fix it. I wish I had applied this lesson to my own personal life as well as I applied it to my professional life.

We were taught that when there was a perceived need, for example, when the patient was feeling short of breath, to assess why the patient might be feeling short of breath. Was the airway obstructed? If the airway was clear, then what was another likely cause of the problem? Sometimes a patient who is very anxious will feel very short of breath when they are actually getting plenty of oxygen, (as measured by a “pulse ox—”a little gismo that you clip on the patient’s finger and it tells you how much oxygen is in the patient’s blood). Or they will say “I can’t breathe!” when they really mean, “My nose is stopped up.” (If they are talking, they are breathing!)

So I was trained to look at and evaluate the situation, and only then to start to evaluate a plan. Once I had a plan, I was trained to carry that plan out, and to reassess if the plan was helping or not. Just good common sense.

Sometimes victims feel a perceived need; they feel that something is wrong with them. They are “hurting” and unhappy, but they aren’t sure what the problem is, or what is causing the pain and unhappiness. I have been in that same situation; I was hurting from my relationship with the disordered personalities around me. I had a need for love, I had a need for caring from those whom I cared about, but my need was not being met, therefore I felt “short of breath” but didn’t know what was causing my feeling of “suffocating.”

In my pain, in my lack of “oxygen,” I tried everything I could think of, almost at random, and nothing seemed to make me feel any better. I kept suffocating and like a person drowning, I flailed my arms at anything that floated by that might give me support.

I begged my abusers to help me, told them how I was suffering and suffocating, but though they told me they loved me, and I wanted to believe they loved me, their attempts to explain my pain as my own fault didn’t help me. I tried the things they suggested, but nothing worked. No matter how I tried to please them, I always failed.

The punishments they inflicted on me for my failures didn’t make me feel any better either, and I continued to spiral downward until I was critically ill. Still they didn’t seem to perceive how I suffered, or lend me any support.

One day, when I was critically ill, totally beaten down, with barely an emotional “pulse” and in more pain than I had ever imagined was possible, I realized I had not been using “common sense” to stop my downward spiral. I realized the only way I could stop the pain, stop the progression of my life’s downward spiral, was to use the good sense to diagnose the real problem before I started to fix it.

If a patient had come to me and said, “My foot hurts,” I would have looked at the foot and if I saw a thorn, I would not have said “well, let’s give you a pain killer to help your pain.” I would have removed the thorn, the obvious cause of the problem, before doing anything else. If the problem had not been so obvious, if perhaps the foot was tender, red and swollen, I might have taken a blood test to see if there was an infection. I would have asked if the patient had a thorn in there a few days ago, or if they had fallen, or dropped something on it. I would have worked my way down a list of questions that would have helped me get to the real cause of the problem. I would not have just thrown medication at them without knowing what the real problem was.

Why did I try to fix my own pain without finding out what the root cause was? How did I think the “shot gun” approach of just “shooting off in some direction” was going to help me to feel better, to get my life back on track?

Once I backed off and looked at specifics, looked at what the pain was, and what was causing the pain, and realized that as long as I did not take care of the root cause, did not remove the “thorn” from my foot, all the antibiotics in the world would not cure the problem, all the pain killers in the world would not stop the pain. The problem would continue to get worse if I did not take care of the cause of the problem and remove from my life the things (and people) who were inflicting the pain upon me, the infection that was killing me by inches.

Sometimes, the “cure” for our pain involves very extensive “surgery” to remove toxic and malignant “tumors” from ourselves, it might even involve “amputating” someone who is so dear to us we can’t imagine going through life without that person. I had to “amputate” my psychopathic son, and my enabling mother, both of which were traumatic operations for me, and for a while made me feel as if I had no legs, and couldn’t walk ever again. I have found though, like the Bible says, “If thy hand offend then, cut it off” is pretty radical but good advice, and sometimes cutting off a member of our emotional “bodies” is the only way to survive.

Surgery and medical treatment is sometimes painful, and we may want to delay “treatment” because of that potential pain, but I am here to “testify” that life without the malignant people is much, much better!

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Wow Oxy, I love this! So right on. The Betrayal Bond book says that getting new and good analogies is critical for our healing, and this blog is a wonderful analogy to spur true healing. I love it. I also love this phrase:

it might even involve “amputating” someone who is so dear to us we can’t imagine going through life without that person.

That is exactly it….but get rid of that thorn!! And sometimes amputation is the ONLY way.

thank you, great, great post!


Thanks Oxy for reminding me to look for the source of the pain. The sooner you remove it, the less damage it will cause in the long run. For those of us who let the wound fester for so many years, we now have to deal with a long standing INFECTION of toxicity. Furthermore that wound has caused us to compensate in other ways to continue living with the source of the wound. Now we have so much time and energy invested in that lifestyle, that way of thinking, that we just can’t give it up so easily.

In my case I got my first wound from my parents and my immune system reacted to it. I must’ve been walking with a limp because the xP zoomed right in on the walking wounded and inserted another thorm. When I got the next wound, I didn’t even feel it because I was accustomed to that pain. My immune system took a hit, I walked even more crooked but I couldn’t figure out what was causing the disability. I tried to figure it out but all I could do was apply bandaids to try to stop the pain. I tried diet, exercise, herbs, vitamins, volunteering, praying. All of these were crutches to help me continue suffering with the wounds. Finally, I saw the thorn. When I pulled it out, I saw the original thorn – my family abuse. But now my immune system is all wound up, I’ve been walking crooked for years, I didn’t invest in a way of thinking healthy only ways of compensating for illness. I really don’t know how to think healthy.

Ox Drover

Dear Skylar,

We have to learn new ways of coping, new ways of thinking, new ways of living, just like a person who has had a REAL amputation must learn to walk again with only one leg, or a person with only one hand has to learn to button their shirts, but if you take into consideration that the PAIN IS GONE it is much easier to go through life with “one leg” than two legs when one of them is so infected that it is literally killing the rest of you.

When I amputated my egg donor and my P-son, I felt like I had NO legs, but as the pain and infection of my soul stopped hurting me, I realized just how much better off I was, and I am learning now to not only WALK but to RUN, JUMP and PLAY and enjoy life! In many ways, better than I ever had before! Keep on working on learning to live again! It is WORTH IT!


Thanks, Ocy, for this timely article!

I have known quite awhile that the “root” of most of my problems is “not wanting to hurt others’ feelings” to my own detriment.

This week’s experiences has brought it straight home to me! I won’t repeat all the details because I lost them to cyberspace when I sought to preview it to make spelling corrections.

Instead, I will share that on Tuesday, I was in the office of a surgeon and I felt SO uncomfortable with him. Later in the day, I assessed that the instinct was due to the fact that I had been in the presence of a S/P/N. Hurrah, I could recognize one!!

Thus, began the search for another surgeon! I need one but not a personality disordered one no matter how competent his skills are (Afterall, my doctor EX was skilled in his field!)

Second, I recognized that I didn’t know how to “fire” this particular surgeon without hurting his feelings.

Longer story, but a few minutes ago, my gastroenterlogist called to check up on me and I confessed my fault of “not wanting to hurt others’ feelings to my detriment.” and what should I do?!!

He said “I think this is why we bonded on first meeting. Not wanting to hurt others’ feelings” leading to difficulties for me is my greatest fault, too!! I UNDERSTAND!”

Upshot: He found me another surgeon and I have an appointment already for next Monday in a different clinic!.

The sideline is that yesterday I shared with my gynocologist my concern and he had suggested another surgeon and got me into that surgeon for this afternoon!

Lo and behold, about an hour ago, the first surgeon called me and asked what HE did wrong. Turns out that “new” surgeon was in his SAME clinic.

Not wanting to “hurt his feelings” by telling him the truth, I just changed the subject and asked him about other matters! (Manipulation on my part? LOL! Or was it cowardice?)

Anyway, I rejoice that I honored my instincts and recognized AGAIN how trying to avoid hurting others’ feelings only brings ME upset!!

Am I healing??

Ox Drover

Dear Lily,

I laughed at your telling about your insitincts and not wanting an N or P surgeon! I seem to find that the best “knife men” are ALL very narcissistic! LOL I used to joke with a physician friend of mine about if only Ns could become neurosurgeons or if becoming an neurosurgeon MADE YOU A HORSE’S BUTT! LOL

But, that said, I agree with you. My husband had surgery on his nose and soft palate and decided to do a “freebie” and give my husband a “nose job” (he had a very large nose) and MESSED IT UP BIG TIME. It so happened that this “hot shot” surgeon was working as an employee of a friend of ours who was a Ear Nose and Throat doctor as well, and we ended up getting him fired from his JOB as well as firing him as my husband’s surgeon. It wasn’t the bad nose job that was the worst problem but the haughty way he treated patients and how he bragged on himself all the time, treated office staff badly etc. He ended up going across town and settin gup his own practice, but I still steer patients away from him if I can.

I think you have EVERY right to pick a physician with whom you are comfortable. Now, if he was an N and you “hurt his feelings” TOO BAD, if he was not an N and really wanted to know what was wrong, TELLING HIM THE TRUTH, “your bedside manner lacked warmth” will HELP him be a better physician. So TELL THE TRUTH!!!!

And yes, my dear dear Lily, you ARE healing! You have made so much progress in the last couple of years that I feel like God has listened to my prayers for you and answered every one of them!!!! You know JUST how special you are to me, and how you are in my thoughts and prayers night and day! When the “night” of our pain was totally BLACK, you and I have held hands and “whistled” as we walked along and given each other courage to keep on going when there was no one else there but the two of us it seemed, but we both always knew that God was there with us in the dark. Keep your faith strong, Lily, and remember that “ALL things work together for Good to those that love God” and I know that you do, so I am holding you firmly in my heart! ((((hugs)))))


Timely post (again) for me to Oxy xxx I am about halfway through (I said I was a slow reader;) “children of the self absorbed” and I am finding it extremely helpful. Your post here really ties in with it for me.I really feel slowly reading through the book and going through the exercises, is helping me in dealing with the ‘root cause’, and giving me a lot to think about (outside of the immediate pain) good stuff to work

Ox Drover

Dear Blueskies,

Well, for what it is worth, I hope it makes you feel some better to realize that I have been putting emotional “band aids” on top of my “thorns” for 60+ years and wondering why I didn’t get better! LOL!

The reason I am so good at telling people what NOT to do is that I have tried every wrong thing to do there is! LOL (((hugs))))

super chic

I’m just having a hard time with all this, I’m my own thorn. I won’t go into my pity party again, although I would love to!! LOL. I just erased about 3 paragraphs of my pathetic crapola. I need an iron skillet attitude adjustment.

super chic

or a cast iron attitude adjustment…


Dear Oxy. your into letter to this subject was spot on as usual, marvellous. You are such a shining light, a role model for those of us still struggling to make sense of what we have allowed to happen to us for in some cases, years and years! In my case my Mum was, I think, a Narc and emotionally unstable, suffered from depression, as a small child I always felt Iit was my job to keep her happy and that if she was miserable, it was my fault.I was an absolute set up for the narcs and sociopaths in my life. Years and years of gaslighting from my ex and both my teenage daughters,{before I even KNEW about gaslighting, had me doubting my sanity! }I am learning so much from all you guys,so fast, I am trying to process it all, and deal with the feelings Ive squelched down for years and years, such as huge anger,{at myself too,} acute pain, regeret, grief, that Ive lost my girls,sadness,bargaining, all the stages of grief that Kubler -Ross describes. Oxy you are a legend, I see you as a cross between DOn Quixote on fat ass, and the British Queen{pre roman landing in britain,} Boadicea, riding her chariot, with huge spikes on the wheel axles, her shield and spear at the ready! You are also the Queen of metaphor and make everything so easy to understand.Maybe youve gone thru all of this pain to be a shining light for all of us here on LF!
Thanks again dearest Oxy, more power to your skillet wielding arm, I know its all done in Love, it shines through!!


SC, if you can’t spill your pathetic crapola here, then where?
Do what ever you need to help you heal. Otherwise you’ll keep it inside and we know that’s not good for you.

LF is a really good balance of whining and supporting.
We need both.

super chic

sky, um, that would be NOwhere!! I’m sure I’ll write another one of my whining pathetic crapola posts soon! I’m feeling a little bit self-absorbed tonight, I don’t want to wallow in my misery, trying to fight it, it’s a daily battle, I want to control my thoughts! NO MORE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS! I’m screaming at myself. I have to get up at the crack of dawn so I took my Ativan, maybe that will help! LOL I’ll just pass out, but I think I don’t dream because of this medication. When my sister and I spent the night at my mom’s house (my mom passed on) my sister left all the lights on and the TV on when she went to bed because she said “you are stoned on Ativan & in the guest room with the door shut, you won’t hear me if something happens” HA HA, stoned, I wish.


Well I wallowed today, hopefully I’ll gain insight from it.
I also went to the acupuncture but my favorite lady, Serina, moved to the bahamas and they have new people who are not as good. So it didn’t seem to help.

Broke down crying twice during the treatment and several times at home, but they were just quick crying spells.

It’s very strange for me to cry like this because I always felt so stoic before. Only the very worst fights would make me cry. The last few years though, as the shit was hitting the fan, more and more often, I noticed that the frequency of crying spells was up. I usually cry when I fantasize about “fixing” my P and knowing how very unlikely it is. But during today’s crying, I also realized something else: i don’t think I want him back. I just want him to be well, to stop being evil and to tie up the sad history we had.

I kept thinking, if he would be normal, would i want him? Maybe, but not very enthusiastically. I think I’d rather be with someone else. It’s strange to admit it.


What is weird is that I went through all of this without knowing what I was doing. I could feel the hate of a group of my coworkers and my N boss who did their best to run me out. They ignored me, put me down, and made me feel like they were going to stab me with their steely knives, and leave me for dead. It felt like I was in the Hotel California, so I made a decision to change schools going from 8th grade to 5th grade which is a pretty big change. Removing myself from those who were N or controlled by the N who accused me has been the best thing ever. About a week ago I got the pleasure of attending a ceremony honoring my new school which made the “Recognized” status in our State. My old school which was recognized fell from that status to being acceptable, and it was primarily because of the Science scores in both cases. I teach Science. Any way I could go on and on about all of this, but I did reach an all time low when I was accused of harassment, but looking back I was still nice to those people even asking how the N was who left me for dead, being nice to the one who accused me all year. Prayer helped me come through all of this, and things have really turned around for me after removing myself from that situation. What I have a hard time with is realizing my involvement in all of that to begin with because it was wrong on my part. And being able to see what I actually have as blessings around me helps big time. But the temptation is there as in my new school there are many beautiful women around (who are probably smooth operators). Being a male teacher is kind of like being a male nurse or a male cheerleader or something like that. Thanks for letting me let rant.

Ox Drover

Dear Teacher,

My son works for Boy Scouts of America part of the year, and one of the “rules” is that NO staff member is EVER ALONE with a scout. If you must counsel a camper, you do it in EYESIGHT of another staff member if the conversation is private.

My stepfather was a wonderful teacher and also coach, and he was always very careful, even in the “old days” 50+ years ago to not be “alone” with only 1 or 2 students (he also was a very nice looking man)

Anyone who works with children I think, especially in today’s social climate, must be very careful in their interactions with students and with other co-workers so that there is no way they can be accused (with any validity) that they harassed another staff member, or that they even had the APPEARANCE of being alone with children.

I don’t understand your comment though — QUOTE “But the temptation is there as in my new school there are many beautiful women around (who are probably smooth operators). ” Would you please clarify the meaning for me?


What I meant is that I did have a contributing factor in the mess I was put in- I admit so much. But the N teacher I had an emotional affair with was a pretty smooth talker making me feel like I was the only one she cared for. So I hope I have learned my lesson- which nearly cost me family, but fortunately only my reputation and job were affected. But none of things really matter in the end as they can be replaced with time and showing myself reliable/honest from this point on. One of my close friends (married as well) at my new school is being shadowed by a very pretty, young teacher, so I can see danger ahead in that picture.


teacher123….I’ve been a teacher, was one for 8 years, so I can relate to so much of what you are saying. I’ve also been involved with law enforcement, where I was one of few females with mostly males. I totally get what you are saying. Never was I so witty, so pretty, etc. and esp. with younger males. LOL! And of course we know law enforcement attracts its share of P’s. I realized it was “situational” popularity and ignored it, and certainly did not encourage it.

It is good and essential to be aware of our own vulnerabilities and weaknesses (I used to like male compliments WAY too much) and also the falseness of some of the situtations we are in. The book “When you love a man who loves himself” points out that certain environments are fertile ground for encouraging N/P/S’s, and a lopsided number of males to females is one of those. Too many women can bring out the worst in both sexes, and provide a stage for p’s, as can too many men.


I am glad to hear that others can identify, but in reality it feels like I am on my own. The real friends I worked with (the only ones I told my story to), think I am crazy already trying to convince them what happened. A couple of them knew from the start that she was phony, and I suspected it as well deep down. That is why it took nearly a year and half of her flashing her breasts (literally daily) and sweet talking for me to break, and I guess I did not want to easily break my marriage vows. My wife is great, and I would regret it if I hurt her. This lady used my email communication where I proclaimed that I liked her(4 months after I sent it, and after she left our job) as proof of my harassment. And she didn’t even do it herself- she had another girl who was close to the both of us, do it. At least the school district asked the questions- why is she doing this now? And they all could wonder what her motivation is when she did not even work in our district anymore. I did not officially get reprimanded, but only a “stern” warning from our principal who was himself being played by this girl.Oh yeah and the girl who turned me in was immediately promoted to be my supervisor. She had also turned in 2 of her students in less than a years time for harassment as well. I almost lost my mind when they were persecuting me, but allowing this to go on,and when she and the other proxies were considering pressing attempted murder charges on another student for spitting in her coffee cup. Who would willingly want to go through this again?


I didn’t mean to downplay your comments in any way. They are all great points that I think I was trying to allude to as well. The military, (I am a veteran), is another place like that. Some females join I think to take part literally in that “action”. I know from experience as I had a dorm room directly underneath a female who made much noise (bed bouncing) nightly- every night- with a different guy even. I didn’t know her (everyone else did I suppose), but certainly she did not have the desire to form any lasting bonds. I am assuming she tried to avoid any.


Dear ANewLily,

Thank you for the post. I had a similar experience but didn’t act on my gut and it didn’t turn out very well. Even so I still feel guilty or hesitant and I’m not sure if it’s because I don’t want to hurt someones feelings, just embarrassed or what but have managed to do so and been relieved afterwards.

The fact that the doctor actually called you really exposed him/her as someone to avoid. That was extremely unprofessional to call a patient and put them on the spot like that.

Unfortunately, other doctors will continue to refer patients to him and because we expect doctors to above all this most will only learn from experience which in some cases is too late and the damage has been done.

Ox Drover

Dear Teacher,

Yes, the psychopaths are many times “sexual addicts” and that getting new “conquests” by getting others to have sex with them or be “interested” in them or “attracted” by them FEEDS their EGOS. Feeding their egos is a big part of what they do, and when they “catch” a “fish” on their line they enjoy the reeling it in for the “kill.” It is all about control and getting others to go for the BAIT. Yes, they are EVIL, and then if they can present themselves as VICTIMS of “harassment” by the REAL AVICTIM —OH, SO MUCH MORE FUN!!!

None of us are immune to temptation or an ego boost when an attractive person shows interest in us, even if we are solidly married, but by having a moral compass ourselves and HOLDING TIGHTLY TO IT we are at an advantage over the Psychopath because we usually stick to what is RIGHT. Yep, we all slip and fall sometimes and give in to the temptation, but we acknowledge our own part, and then try to do better. NONE OF US ARE PERFECT!!!

The psychopath ENJOYS control and the harm it brings to others, but normal people REPENT OF ANY harm they have caused by falling short of what they know is RIGHT, and try to make amends etc.

If nothing else, Teacher, you have learned a valuable lesson, but the “tuition” to the class was very “high” and painful to pay. That is why all of us are here, because of the “high price” of tuition in this school of hard knocks held by the psychopaths.

Just as Satan went to the garden of Eden to spread chaos, psychopaths and narcissists go around spreading their own version of chaos just to see others fall, that is the “JOY” they feel in hurting others. Even if they don’t get anything else out of the transaction. I’m glad you escaped before your entire life, family and career fell down around your feet. To me that says a lot of GOOD about YOU!!!!! TOWANDA!!!!


Dear Applehillbilly,

I so appreciate your response, especially that you pointed out how unprofessional it was for that surgeon to “confront” me. I hadn’t thought of that so it gave me more food for thought about WHY didn’t I recognize that?! I came up with some helpful answers about myself that will help me in the future.

IOWs, another of my faults is rarely assessing others’ actions, just my own! LIGHTBULB moment! That trait is not very healthy for me!

I thought about Oxy’s suggestion that I “should have” confronted the doctor with my truth so he could learn something. Thankfully, I’ll never see him again but I don’t think I will do that even in a future and similar experience. I’ve already LEARNED through hard experience that trying to TEACH a sociopath is futile.


Teaching was my profession, too. The faculty was mostly men (college/university levels) and after reading of your experience I wondered if my friendly attitude caused the men any discomfort! I hope not but then, I was so wrapped up in enjoying my students and meeting their academic needs that I don’t even think I thought if my behavior (chatting in the lunch room or hall) might be considered “flirting.”

Also, my teachng was my sanity-saver, such a different environment than my personal home life of abuse! I totally immersed myself in my job!

I’m sorry that you had this painful experience!! And also glad you learned something valuable from it. One of my nephews was charged legally with harassment — and punished severely — by three high school girls that he went out of his way to pick up to drive them to and from school — their only method of getting there.

Later it was learned that the girls collectively made that accusation as a “lark” — thought it would be fun! But, of course, their confession came too late to undo the damage. His marriage had a few bumps but it survived.

Anyway, I can imagine your pain! I hope you are now aware that your emotional response to that woman had been a manipulation of you on her part and that you are not chastising yourself TOO much!


You know that I care about your pain with your daughters because I share it concerning mine — at least with two of my three adult daughters. We are getting stronger from the battle, don’t forget!


Several days ago I notified Donna to give you my email address regarding the gluten-free diet. I have not heard from her or you. Does she need for you to give her your permission, too?


I won’t know my new surgery date until tomorrow, but I hope you know I will be counting on all for the good vibes from all of you as I face this. My youngest daughter will come out (1800 miles) after I am discharged but the surgery and hospitalization will be “on my own” (and God’s presence.) Thanks!!


Prayers to you NewLily during your surgery. Please let us know the exact date and time so we can be there for you in thought.
I haven’t been contacted by Donna, but I will contact her.


A NewLily,
Bless you sweet Lily….Please do let us know your surgery date. We will be there for you in prayer.

I am very glad to hear that your daughter will be coming to your side after the surgery.

My good vibes are with you.

Ox Drover


You can also find gluten free diets on the internet. Isn’t it such a wonderful resource!!!! without it we wouldn’t have each other!

Lily, I agree with you about confronting psychopaths and ns, it does NO good at all. However, that said, sometimes people are really NOT aware of their “manner” being offensive or triggering to others and so being “told” gently that their behavior is not acceptable, WILL help them. That is, after all HOW WE LEARN HOW TO BEHAVE, but if you are not comfortable doing this, then LISTEN TO YOUR OWN HEART in those instances then.

I DO confront sometimes and sometimes I decide to let it slide, it just depends on the situation. I have actually confronted (gently) some physicians and been thanked, and then I have been ATTACKEd in response, but the thing is, now that I am RETIRED I don’t give a big rat’s behind whether they attack or not as I am immune to their opinions.

Recently I gently but FIRMLY confronted a person who was attempting to put a “pity play” on me in order to have me enable them, and I am so PROUD OF MYSELF, I stood FIRM and did NOT emotionally accept the blame they were projecting on to me…it SLID RIGHT OFF! So, you know, I AM making progress!!! (((pat, pat, pat–that’s the sound of me patting myself on the back for a GOOD JOB!)))) See, I even BRAGGED on myself for doing a good job! (pat, pat, again!) LOL


Prayers and hugs as you go through with your surgery. Let us know when you are back in the saddle. Thanks for the encouragement as well. I am ok with it all now, but I had a hard time figuring out how someone who I thought was a friend could treat me like less than crap, totally go no contact on me first (silent treatment, whatever), and act like I wasn’t even a speck in her life when we were close for 2 years. In the end I just even wanted her to acknowledge at least that, but she then treated me like a criminal even. Oh well I am fortunate still to have a great family, and many friends. My children are awesome as well, but get along like cats and dogs like most kids do. I have a boy-10 and a girl who is about to be 12.


Awesome post! thankyou so much! You have such a way with words, you really help everyone to understand things so fast…especially me.
When I amputed my lungs (my daughter) I felt torturous grief but it QUICKLY advanced into IMMENSE ANGER AT HER!!! for making me remove my lungs!! work that out!
Lucky I still have my younger son (my heart) and I believe there is still hope (denial?) for my middle son so I don’t have to amputate my mind!! lol!
One giant amputation per 6 months is enough I say!


When I first decided I had to remove my mother from my life I was scared for the first year. Then I felt so free! It was wonderful. Too bad I didn’t know back then that she was a sociopath, or I would never have allowed myself to be sucked back in. Her play for sympathy and her apologies fooled me. I didn’t know anything about sociopathy back then. I just knew I couldn’t take the abuse any longer.

Now I know what I’m dealing with and you’ll be happy to know that I have, at least, been able to distance myself almost entirely. As long as she doesn’t have a genuine health emergency (like last summer), I’m gone. And I’m free. Yay!

Ox Drover

Dear Tilly and Runningaway,

It IS PAINFUL to “amputate” a member of your “body” and it is difficult to learn to function without that part of your “body” but in the end it is the ONLY way to SURVIVE.

I relate to Tilly because I had to “amputate” my beloved son, my “shining star” child, and with you too, Running, because I had to amputate my egg donor. Just coming to grips with the TRUTH that I COULD amputate these ‘cancers” was almost more than I could even fathom in my mind. I felt lilke I would be totally crippled and unable to function without either of both of these “members” of my body.

If either had died, I could have coped, but cutting out the “living but diseased” flesh of my own body with a “rusty butcher knife” and doing it “without anesthetic” was more than I felt like I could bear. The surgery was so painful, and the wounds so large and gaping, and the “blood loss” almost fatal, but I did it, and looking back, I should have done it much sooner.

Running, I am my egg donor’s only child, and I felt that I was OBLIGATED to care fo rher health, I had overseen her health care for about 20 years and was her primary care practitioner. However, I realized I could not continue to do this and I felt really GUILTY fior “abandoning” her—BUT— then I realized I am NOT obligated to care for her just because she gave birth to me, and actually, she revoked my Power of Attorney—- and I realized I do NOT have the AUTHORITY to even see her medical records much less over see her care, and where there is no authority, there is NO obligation.

After she had devalued and dumped me for the psychopaths, and then they went to jail, she called me one day and wanted to tell me about her latest physician visit, what her Blood Pressure was, and so on and I told her then, “I am no longer your health care provider” and I did not listen to her. Now I am totally NC with her except for the occasional e mail on business, and I stick entirely to BUSINESS in those e mails, I do not even put a salutation at the first, and only my name at the bottom.

I realized too, that I am TOTALLY free of her except for the fact that I know she is still sending money to my P-offspring and has willed him money, but I will fight that after she dies.

In the meantime, I have exhausted ALL avenues of trying to stop her from sending him money so, might as well quit worry about it and just do what I have to do at the time it is necessary.

I also realized that I NO longer even MISS a relationship with her. That was the biggest thing, was missing what I thought I had, but now realize I NEVER had.

Tilly, I’m glad I can explain things so you “get” what I am trying to say, because that is what LF is all about. I wish sometimes I could write with the qualities of some of the other authors, but I also know I have my own style that is ME. Just like your paintings are YOUR style.

How is your class going, BTW?


Dear Oxy, I feel you wrote this for me ,too.yes, its been hugely painful to “amputate my older daughter from my life,and the other daughter “amputated ‘ me, herself, 17 years ago. Ive now ben non physical contact with older daughter since dec. 10th 2008, and nil phone or email contact for 3 months. Each day, I feel a bit better, less stressed,happier, my new “adopted” adult kids give us so much love and joy, and are so grateful for every thing we do, they give us so much more than we could ever give them! Im so grateful to God for giving my husband and I a new family to love. They hug and kiss us,{my husband had NEVER had a hug from my girls}, they call him Daddy,and me Mama or Mum.Abbas helps D. in the garden and loves to do it. We have never ever had any family member help us, think of us, or give us kisses and love like this!.I realise I never had a real relationship with my girls since they were around 15 year of age.I gave and they took, that was it. I dont mean things,but love, I never felt they gave a rats behind about us. We are so lucky and happy now, and I think of my “girls’ less every day.Do I still love them? I suppose so, but its not the same. Ive been so let down, hurt, betrayed, conned abused byboth of them that its hard to feel any real love is left to give.
My guilt at not seeing them is lessening too,each day NC gets easier. I tried to give them both to God, but I kept snatching them back. Now I see I didnt help them at all by overgiving and enabling them to walk all over me, due to a false sense of guilt for leaving their dad.If the older one rang me, in tears again, asking for money , Im not sure still that id be strong enough to tell her to piss off and leave me alone! AllI wanted was one apology, to try to get some sort of closure for all the hurts, betrayals, lies, abuse,etc. but I now see its unlikely ever to happen.So I hope she doesnt call me.I have to give her to God to sort out, because I cant do any more, Im done. Thanks Oxy, and all of you , you have walked the walk, gone thru living Hell, and come out the other side stronger, and I will too. Love, gem.XX{{HUGS}}

Ox Drover

Dear Gemini,

Of COURSE you would be strong enough to say NO, or even strong enough not to pick up the phone.

You know the TRUTH, she might even say the “words” of “I’m so sorry” but you know she would never MEAN THEM.

I too kept giving and giving and they kept taking and taking, and demanding MORE. Now after a couple of years NC with my P-son, i realized that I lived a FANTASY that in the future he would come “home” and things would be peachy! DUH!

I look back and realize it was NOTHING but my FANTASY—I was living in OZ, in La-la Land, in DELUSIONAL HOPE!

God also gave me another son, to replace the empty space in my heart, and I am so grateful for that. I realize that FAMILY is who you love and who LOVES YOU BACK…not “blood.”

Keep strong, Gemini, enjoy your newfound family and children and revel in the love they have for you, and the love you have for them. (((hugs)))) and God bless.


Excellent! I’m in the process of having to conduct major surgery on my Borderline Personality daughter who just married a sociopath and then announced that she’s pregnant. Oh, joy. Grandparents and my husband are the major enablers. This is major surgery!

Ox Drover

Dear Eagle,

The duped enablers in the family are what I call “psychopaths-by-proxy” in that they keep up the PRESSURE on you to do what the psychopath wants….in your case the BPD dtr.—and it is a situation where you are caught between the “devil and the deep blue sea.”

I have a cousin who has a BPD daughter and an enabling husband, and it was very difficult for years because he kept enabling the dtr, but my cousin finally worked it out, and SHE disengaged from the daughter totally (NC) and let the husband have HIS relationship with the dtr but NOT LET HIM try to guilt or force her into having one. As she put it, she “let go, and gave it to God.” but stood her ground firmly.

Many times this comes to a “head” at christimas and other holidays when the enabler wants to have this Norman Rockwell All-American “happy” Christmas gathering and YOU are the “bad guy” for not wanting to participate in it.

This crap with the guilting has turned me away from even enjoying holidays much any more, though last year I did put up a tree and a wreath! My egg donor whined and cried and guilted about me not wanting to have Christmas dinner with her brother, UNCLE MONSTER, to the point that I just went elsewhere for Christmas and Thanksgiving.

The “blackmail” that the enablers do is so painful, the “If you love me, you will do what I want you to about _______” CRAP and BS, and it is difficult to SET and MAINTAIN BOUNDARIES because they will NEVER give up on this guilting!

I was caught in that web for SO MANY YEARS and did not know how to set boundaries with people I loved (primarily my egg donor and my P-offspring.) NOW I KNOW THAT NO ONE has a right to treat me that way, to black mail me, and insist that i do something painful to myself.

I NOW REALIZE THAT IF THEY TRULY LOVED & RESPECTED ME, they would NOT try to force me to do something that is SO VERY painful against my will. Setting boundaries was VERY difficult at first, but I am getting much much better at this and have little problem setting bondaries for ANY ONE now. I treat people well, and I EXPECT they treat me as I treat them.

Twice Betrayed

Oxy: you are priceless. Excellent article.

Even when these people guilt us [where is their guilt over WHY we don’t come?] into holidays or various ‘gatherings’….and we give in thinking/hoping this
time it will be real….it always turns into a huge drama and game because that is just the way these people are…the very root of who they are. I always have to repeat this to myself when cornered or being guilted into another ‘scene’.


This article gives me a lot to think about. Thanks Oxy. I’ll post more and some questions once I have let it marinate for a bit.


Thank all of you for your posts and comments. I learn so much from them. And yes- like everyone else I find myself going “Is it me?? Could he really be a sociopath?” I mean he can “act” nice sometimes and do nice things- but he betrays me over and over-his words are meaningless. His apologies even more meaningless! But I want those apologies so much! How crazy am I???

They just make you crazy! They do it to isolate you and control you. In a book I read it even said something about tell your friends “if you have any left” about your situation. Wow- it took me twelve -yes thats ten plus two more years to figure out that I am married to a sociopath!!! I used to have friends! I always had friends- but now- I have very, very few friends. One of the reasons is that they sabotage you behind your back and spread lies about you. I used to not believe it. But since it has happened to so many people here on LF I know they do!!! I have even caught him in one of his rumors that he helped to spread!! It was a total lie! They will ruin your reputation to make themself look good no matter what the cost to you. Partly because they want the sympathy from other people- Oh look how good he is to her- she is such a mess. And- well no wonder he cheated on her- she is such a crazy bitch!

So here I am tempted to catch him in his own net so to speak. You have to think like them to get what you want. I want to catch him in some lies, situations and use that to get out of this relationship with SOME of what I had when I came in it! Like credit, money, dignity. Anything. He has taken so much from me and there is not enough forgiveness in this world to get totally past it.

I know he won’t honor any agreements post break up so I am considering offering him an agreement of sorts.

That is – if he agrees to pay me for my share of the equity in the house and refinance it and pay me my half of his retirement that he does owe me- I won’t expose him to the world as a complete fraud. He would lose his job, his reputation if it all got out. He stands to lose a great deal. You see I have actual proof. I have spyware on my computer and complete access to cell phone records- it’s in my name. It would make my life easier to have some financial strenghth to start over.

I know that’s blackmail, extortion etc. whatever! What he has done is far worse! This may be my only way out- and I want OUT! I don’t care who he ends up with!!! I want to get my revenge in the form of cash money! I think he would pay his way out. Or do you think he will find another way out??? You all have more experience than I do. His family HATES me- because he has told them lie after lie about me. He borrowed money and wouldn’t pay them back and blamed it on ME! He got the money-not me. But he is the golden child in the family and I think they would pay for him to “get rid of me” and “get out of their lives”.

Should I do that? Do you wish you had?

I want him exposed but feel that this will happen anyway because he will slip up again and I won’t be here to clean up his mess.

It is so hard living this way. I am so exhaused all the time! Lucky for me he works a lot! Well sometimes he just stays late so he can call his girlfriend. At least I’m not having sex with him anymore! I’m not having any sex with anyone! I am too stressed out!


BTW- OxDrover- the holidays!!! OMG I totally know what you mean! They want the illusion of the perfect holiday and we are supposed to put up with them and their “psychopaths-by-proxy” relatives!! I hate Christmas because of him and his fffd-up family.


Katiebug, do not blackmail him. He will kill you. He will hire a hitman, run you over, poison you or whatever. They don’t have a conscience so there is nothing to stop him.

You can only blackmail him after you have left him and concealed you whereabouts.

But there must be a better way. They are not that hard to trick, find a way that will not get you in any kind of problem. Get a lawyer, a mean, nasty one.


I know right!? That’s what I’m afraid of. I know he had access to a gun his dad owned at one time. His dad is a drunk so he wouldn’t notice it missing. It sends chills down my spine when I think about what he is really capable of. He got custody of his kids from his ex-wife (first marriage). I think he did it just to WIN! He never cared about his kids. He still doesn’t care. He just pretends too. He pretends to care about me too. I have taken him off my life insurance as any kind of beneficiary because if he does do something-he won’t get much. My daughter knows what’s going on. She is 20. I told her I would never leave her. I would never kill myself and all that. These are not easy conversations to have. I am afraid of him and you’re right- he would try to kill me. He has always been jealous of me. He has let himself go and I haven’t. Thank God for that. But he has told me that if he ever saw me with another man- he would kill us both.

I already know where I want to move and that I don’t want him to know where I am- ever!

I did hire a nasty lawyer- he was nice to me- he really wanted to “get” my husband- said he was crazy! His license has been suspended for unethical conduct!! Can you believe it??? All this time I waited to go see an attorney and the one I pick is all but disbarred? And he was a really nice guy! I wonder what happened. Now I have to find another one. I guess I better be totally honest about the abusive nature of our relationship.

Thank you for your advice. I really appreciate it and I REALLY need it!


I think you know him best…..and you should get to know him better……
study him, do not react, but take everything In…….disect it…..this will aid in keeping you safe in the long run.
I was at a point where I just couldn’t let him bury me further…..
I wasn’t going to step down…..
I wasn’t going to let him intimidate me…..kill me…..I ain’t afraid of dying!
I posted this recently….
Now….this isn’t for everyone…..and once you commit to the long haul…..YOU MUST STAY Commited…..PERIOD!
You take a stand in either direction.
Sometimes the fear they instill in us is so penetrating it’s paralyzing and this is what they bank on.
Give this some thought……
weigh the options
I like what you have done so far…….
decide if the ‘goods’ are a total shut down for him…..
I love the cell records….don’t take that out of your name! Key tool there!
I guess I would want to know more about your full situation….and I’m not sure if you can post it .
I think most of it is always just talk…the threats…..BUT….you have to be the judge of that……and be accurate!
What is his abuse level? History….

I look back and mine was all smoke and mirrors…..he used others as proxys’……all talk…..
Here is comes again…..COUNTER CONTROL!!!!!
Inner sociopath…….
I let him dig his grave and I pushed him in…….

Your still with him……use this time to prepare, prepare, prepare,…..diligently…..and stealthly… here… books on divorcing a Socipath…..gain every inch of knowledge you can, but DON”T EVER LET HIM SEE WHAT YOU ARE DOING……
PLAY HIM…….Keep providing him a supply…..while you plan your exit.
IS your husband a ‘gun guy’? Reality says we all have access to a gun, neighbors, family, crooks on the street……but does he know how to use a gun? Has he ever owned a gun……
Weigh out this fear…..realistically.
I mean, there is no sense in worrying that Jamaca will blow up the US with a nuclear bomb…….see the point?
Dont expect to win each battle….but keep your eye on the prize….the war!
Mull it around…..and weigh the options…..and in hte meantime……PLAN AWAY GIRL!!!!

Ox Drover

Dear Katiebug,

First off—do not let him know what you plan to DO. I.e. the blackmail, he will find a way around it.


Sounds like your attorney was also a P!

Erin is a big FIGHTER, and her feelings are to FIGHT, but I also know that sometimes it is better to WALK AWAY ALIVE THAN TO FIGHT—each of us should think carefully whether to be a “dead lion or a live dog”

Also, I do know that a FIGHT with some of them is a CHALLENGE that they cannot stand to lose so they will HURT YOU even if it HURTS THEM. They will “cut their own nose off to spite their own face” My P son is one of those. Others are cowards.

So you must be CAREFULL in making your decision. and remember ALL PROMI$E$ FROM THEM ARE ONLY HOT AIR.


Katie, I have an idea. find where he keeps the bullets to his gun and see if you can’t ruin them, like soak them in water or something so they don’t fire, then put them back. LOL.

I don’t know anything about guns, would that work?

kim frederick

Morning, Skylar, Oxy, EB and Katybug. Just jumpin’ in to say hello.


Good Morning Kim,
How’s the weather? I’m freezing here. I think I might’ve caught a bug.

We should do a video called “how to lure a sociopath” and put it on youtube. Make so good, it goes viral. Then follow it up with “How to trick a sociopath -1” and “-2” etc…
Then we do “How to dump a sociopath”.

I think that would really speed up getting the word out. It’ wouldn’t really blow the effectiveness of the techniques because sociopaths are so stupid they really have no other way to act, other than how they act. I tell all the sociopaths I know that I like to give people all the rope they need to hang themselves. So they know exactly what I’m doing when I’m being nice to them. But they can’t help believing that I’m being conned. Oh well.

kim frederick

I’m in.


Skylar- how about – ‘how not to give a shit about sociopaths …because I’m washing my hair and then ooh there’s a program I like on…:)x i’d like that 😀 xxx


Of course. That would be an element of each video – all would be done with a certain nonchalance. They are so stupid that you could trick a psychopath WHILE washing your hair AND watching your favorite show. Just tell them you are washing your hair to make them look good and that the show is broadcasting subliminal messages all about them.




Lord thats the first big belly laugh i’ve had for… I cant remember how long!


Good Morning Ladies….
Got a full plate…..just popped in to say hello…’s snowing and freezing here too!
Good day to light some perverbial fires!
I’m off to do just that…..

Skylar….you sound MUCH better……keep good thoughts and do NOT let anyone have control over you!

Let me know when we are shooting the video…I’m in too!

Have we gotten an update on Lily yet? Did I miss something?
My computer was acting weird on LF site yesterday…..

Ya’ll have a good day and be kind to yourself…..
Stay warm!

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