By | September 9, 2010 328 Comments

Different Perspectives of Sociopaths

There can be different perspectives of the sociopath (and other seriously exploitive personalities). These perspectives can offer different experiences of these disturbed individuals. At the same time each perspective offers,  I suggest by definition, both a somewhat advantageous and yet limited view of the sociopath.

Living with a sociopath, or finding oneself involved deeply in a “committed”  relationship with a sociopath, will offer an incomparably intimate experience of the horrors that sociopaths can inflict on their partners.

Clearly no one, and that includes the so-called “experts” on sociopathy (clinicians and researchers, for instance) will be able to appreciate the impact of the sociopath, on this level, like the partner who has lived with, or been closely involved with, one.

This close, personal relationship confers upon the partner of the sociopath a certain knowledge of sociopathy and, I stress, a certain intimate experience of the sociopath that no clinician or “expert” can possibly approximate; thus, the sociopath’s partner’s experience is surely a unique one, qualifying him or her, from this particular intimate vantage point, as really the ultimate “expert” on sociopathy.

Now thankfully I’ve never lived with a sociopath, a fact which also happens to limit my experience with sociopathic personalities—specifically, in this case, the experience of having lived with one, and had my life razed by one.

In this sense my, or anyone’s, clinical experience of sociopathic individuals—just like one’s clinical experience of any individual—is limited by the structure of the clinical relationship. It is a relationship with boundaries provided inherently, so that the clinician or researcher (unlike the sociopath’s partner) is for the most part protected emotionally and physically from the sociopath’s most damaging, hurtful, violating behaviors.

On one hand, the protection to which I refer—again, a protection that’s inherent in the clinical setting—clearly limits the clinician’s capacity to fully experience the sociopath; on the other hand, the very structure of the clinical setting may enhance the clinician’s ability to apprehend aspects of sociopaths that may elude the sociopath’s partner, because he or she—the clinician— again unlike the sociopath’s partner, in operating within a structure of safety and protection, can observe and study the sociopath more freely and through a much wider lens.

The clinican is afforded the chance to observe and study sociopaths’ attitudes, their interactions, their styles, their variations, their differences. And, of course, not just one of these individuals, but many.

And so the clinician’s experience with sociopaths, while less rich and informative in some important ways than the partner’s experience of the sociopath, in other ways yields him or her different, additional opportunities to grasp how sociopathically-oriented individuals think and act.

And yet over and over again, I note it when a Lovefraud member points out, “But what do YOU know? Or what does HE know? You (or HE) never lived with a sociopath!”

And my response, whenever I read these comments, is to agree with them wholeheartedly. They are entirely valid comments and speak a truth that all so-called “experts” on sociopathy should heed well: those who have lived with the sociopath possess a certain knowledge and experience of the sociopath that is not only unique (as I’ve suggested), but non-attainable to a clinician in any sort of safe, protective clinical setting.

In this sense, or certainly in many respects, the clinician has much more to learn from the sociopath’s partner than the other way around.

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

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Dani S

My mother who has a degree in Psychotherapy noted that she had learnt not much at all in her study books on Sociopath’s. Sadly her learning came from my experience of being married to one for 5 years.
It was frustrating in the beginning that she had no idea what I was going through and I was in the full throws of PTSD. I was confused and lost and needed her guidance but she didn’t understand!
Now after 2 1/2 years in recovery she can spot them anywhere!
She is a much better therapist now but she can only see what she see’s, she cannot feel it!
The longest I have dated someone is 12 weeks, she believes that I will meet someone soon and run off into the sunset, that is because she cannot (feel) it!
Totally connecting to another partner and letting go of fear and opening up to complete trust is still beyond me!


I think the one thing most people (even professionals) miss, and that only the victims of sociopaths can truly understand are the subleties/nuances of the socio.

These individuals are rarely ranting at somebody, at least not in public where everyone will see.

I believe the most dangerous personalities are very subtle and insidious.
It’s something only those who are intimately involved will understand and relate to.

This subtleness allows the sociopath to abuse in front of everyone, but no one sees anything because they are unable to pick up on the nuances.
It’s clean violence.

Only the victim can understand the underlying sinister intent of what the abuser is saying/doing.
Everyone else thinks the abuser is a great guy/gal, because they are taking him/her at face value.
We all know how helpful and charming socios can appear to be, right?
And if something is a little “off”, empaths will give the benefit of the doubt by “filling in the blanks” with their own emotions.

Watching everyone else embrace your abuser……that’s a lonely & helpless feeling for the victim, especially when the victim is a child.

Dani S

Yes Rosa I agree. I had seen my ex husband in therapy sessions with me, It was the Spath Show! A therapist would need to live in amongst the walls of one to truly know one but in saying that they have the clinical knowledge to break down their behaviour, making it clearer and more black and white when we are living in the grey!

To be emotionally involved in any sort of a relationship with one, either it be partner, child of, parent of, for me I don’t think there is anything more devastating and soul destroying, it just doesn’t go away!

kim frederick

Rosa says, “It’s clean violence.” Your above post is so spot on…so true. They can abuse in public, and keep thier spotless image intact….now that is evil incarnate.

Some years ago I worked for something called Physicians Recovery Network…affiliated with the dept of prof regulations, and we monitored professionals who were in danger of losing their liscence, due to some unprofessional behavior…usually drug abuse, but not always.
I was in AA at the time, as were many of the people I worked with, including the two that were upper most in charge. There was a psychiatrist on staff, also, AA.

He made a few degrading remarks to me, in a way that I could not be certain of his intent. Having established this in private he then took it public. While I was retrieving files from a fellow worker, (male, also in AA) the shrink entered behind me and made the statement, “anyone can tell this is a woman who loves to be on her knees.” Well, being that we are all in AA, working a spiritual program, we pray a lot…what did he mean? (Slimey feeling in stomache, here)

I wasn’t absolutely sure how to take it, til I looked in the eyes of the other man, and I knew he was making a sexual, and degrading comment.

I should have sued.
It all came out in the open and I was so humiliated, and everyone claimed I had misunderstood.

This is an example of a really sharp spath, spathing reprehensibly, and getting away with it because he operated in that in between space of appropriate/inappropriate. He had one foot on either side, and veiled his intention that way. No one could say for sure he wasn’t talking about praying…how do you prove that?
But he knew damn well I was smart enough to hear the “NUANCE”, and he loved the confusion, and the slimey feeling he left in me.

kim frederick

Thanks, Steve.
I wrote my above post in response to Rosa, before reading your article.

I think both perspectives are good ones. I think the therapists objectivity is good, in the sense that he is not ensnared in the slimey emotional self-doubt and confusion that the intimate partner is, and can SEE some of the issues that WE DON’T WANT TO. This is assuming he gets it. I’m so glad you’re here for us, Steve, and I’m so glad you get it.


Dani made a very important point when she referenced the “Spath Show” of sociopaths in therapy. I’m sure the clinician’s view of what is going on can also be skewed by sociopaths’ prodigious acting skills. Not all therapists are as perceptive as you are. I’ve heard many sad stories of clinicians being dazzled by the sociopaths, and believing the sociopaths’ story that it is the partner who has the mental issues.

Clinicians have much to learn from people who have been in intimate relationships with sociopaths. I hope we’ll soon be able to educate them.


In the world of therapists, I think someone like Steve Becker, LCSW, is the exception….not the norm.

I think the problem is that a lot of therapists are NOT educated about personality disorders, and they DO NOT GET IT.

If the therapist does not understand personality disorders, you can shut the back door and forget about it.
The therapist will get worked by the socio until the cows come home.
I believe I read that even Robert Hare has been fooled.

In addition to that, it can be very difficult for a victim to articulate their abuse, without looking crazy themselves.

How do you articulate gaslighting, or a cold stare, or passive aggressive behavior without looking a little unhinged yourself?

You also have to be well-versed in emotional abuse in order to get your point across, and be taken seriously.

Many times, by the time victims get to therapy, they have been abused to the point that they are suffering PTSD, and are completely destabilized.

This makes it very easy for the socio to frame the victim as the mentally unstable one.

Great example, Kim Frederick.
Don’t even get me started on sexual harrassment.
One of my first interviews after I graduated college, I drove 1.5 hours to an interview for the man to tell me, “Honey, look around you. It’s all men in this office. I don’t think you’d fit in here.”
I left with my tail between my legs, angry that I drove that far for nothing.
He could have told me that over the phone without wasting everybody’s time (meaning MY time).


eb oxy anyone here? the cop called from fl and they found his body he killed himself last week they found him today or last night i guess should be in paper that they found a body and tomorrw it will say his name

his name was michael s schuller and he lived in gainesville florida and he was born and he is gone now his name was michale he had a name he is jewish and he wrote in his letter to me he wants to be cremated and his ashes spread with the six million oh god he was spath but person too but who leaves letter saying it is my fault he did this who does that why the cop said it isn’t my fault but i dont know now he was trying to reach me i wooulnd’t talk to him do spaths kill themselves is there an article here about spaths and suicide do they do this

what do i do now anyone is there a hotline for survivors of suicide i know there is for people who are going to suicide but what about us left behind and the guilt is there anythig for us?

donna is there anything for us is there anything for us
i dont have a therapist i dont have a pastor priest rabbi imam noone not even a mother is it wrong to do this i am in california not florida where he is what could i do never wanted him to fo this never this never this just leave me alone but not suicide not that why so extreme do they kill themselves do they do this do they do this the letter he sent four pages is all so mad at me so mad that i am so cold and bad to cut him off and i did but why this why this

i used to love him i loved him once i cant believe this i cant belive this i cant we were married once and i used to love him very much

should i throw the letter away or what should i do now what do we do now what is the protocol for this i dont know what to do with this he is gone he said he was going to do this and it was because of me and he did it didn’t think he would do this just thorught more drama he has threatened to do this and threatend to kill me but never though he would do this alone in some wooded area cop said he was found in wooeded area by passerby jogger or someone found him

should i email his best frined on vacation in prague with his girlfriend should i email him on vacation they were friends for over 40 years back to hippies in san francisco in the haight he will be devastated and his sons he left letters for them i hope they never read see the article in gainesville paper online from tuesday when he was reported missing and gun missing too he just waled out of his house and down the street and sat down and did this

what happens to those left behind does anyone know and why did he balme me for this the letter was very clear it was my fault you can deltete this but someone is there someplace i can call and do spaths ever comit suicide i thought they didn’t and not so violent barrel in his mouth he always said barrel in his mouth and i used to watch my dad pretend to kill himself when he was drunk with loaded gun in his mouth and and i always talked him out of it i always knew what to say and he never did it but this time i was the reason he did this that michael schuller a smart man did this smart but sick or something and is so awful to his sister and friends and sons and me and even my daughter liked him he could be funny and nice somethimes but mean too and scary what is the protocol what do we do now what now.

kim frederick


Yes, sometimes Spath’s commit suicide, usually it’s when they’ve lost control of something…It’s the final win for them, and they do it to punish the one’s left behind.
You had gone NC, he had lost control, so he does this, the ultimate, to make you pay.

You only pay for this if you buy that you’re at fault. You’re not. Not in any way. Please put the note away and don’t read it anymore…not for a long time.

A lot of mentle health clinics will take emergency walk-in’s, I think this merits an emergency, why don’t you try to call one and see if someone can talk to you.

I wish I could take your horror, shock, confusion and pain away. All I can do is tell you how sorry I am, and that it’s not your fault, so please contact someone who can help you with this. I’m saying a prayer for you.


Yes, sociopaths commit suicide. And no, it is not your fault.

Steve Becker wrote about this not too long ago:

Do not take this personally. Do not let him make you feel guilty. This has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with him. It was his choice. His decision.

I recommend that you do absolutely nothing for the time being. You’re still in shock. You’re a caring person, that’s why you are upset. He doesn’t care – not even for himself.

I also suggest that you do nothing about notifying other people – at least for the time being. When they hear that he blamed you, it will just make you feel bad. And you did nothing.

It’s his last attempt to draw you into his game.


Yes they do commit suicide and yes they leave notes blaming you. I have one from my mother.

There are suicide support group numbers. Go to this page and click on your state.


I’m so sorry for your pain. This is NOT your FAULT!!!!
Do not own his actions. As we say here all the time, you can’t control others actions. You do know this to be true.
It was his last ‘word’, his last ‘say’, his last effort to control you. He wanted you to own it, be responsible for HIS actions…..HE WANTED THIS…..but you have a choice about deflecting this and seeing it for what it is.
He is a sick man, you couldn’t help him.
You could of spent the rest of your life enableing him, and that is all it was. It wasnt’ healthy for you…..or him.
A healthy person would not have done this. You are left ‘holding’ the bag……put the ‘bag’ away and try to collect yourself. Be thankful he didn’t take you with him.
You are alive, you are a caring person with empathy…..ofcourse you’d feel pain over this…..BUT DON”T OWN IT!
Allow yourself to process this pain, and allow peace into your life now.

My heart goes out to you, you were on my mind all night.



I just read your post and cried. So heartbreaking. You are not at fault, responsible for someone else’s choices. In my mind, Michael was not well – erratic, unstable (mentally unbalanced). We do have to take care of ourselves. It’s all so hard, incredibly sad. I am very thankful that you are safe. You will be in my prayers.

Ox Drover

Dear CA Mom,

DArlling I am so sorry that this man chose this horrible option….and the thing is, SUICIDE WITH ADVANCE NOTICE IS THE WORLD’S WORST FORM OF VIOLENCE AND EVIL TOWARD ANOTHER PERSON….it is destroying yourself in order to make another person suffer. It isn’t about you, it is about HIM CONTROLLING you, the ultimate price to pay to HURT SOMEONE ELSE. You did not do this. HE DID.

I think right now you need to seek professional help and comfort, Never again’s link to support is fine, but see a therapist a minister, or someone close to you. (((((Hugs)))) and God bless you CA mom. This is NOT something that YOU caused.

ps. do not let anyone even his family put the “blame” on you for HIS actions. As far as his estate is concerned, just b ecause he left you “all his worldly goods” does not mean you must accept them. Donate them to a domestic violence or suicide group entirely. Don’t even look at them. God bless.

Ox Drover

Dear Steve,

I agree with you that professionals can’t know how it feels to be a victim of one of these disordered people, yet, if they study them, they can learn a view of the disordered people that we (as victims) may not see.

Last summer when I took in the “homeless” victim, I decided I would keep a “clinical” distance from her, and I made an effort to do just that, and for the most part, I Was able to accomplish just that. When I started to see that SHE was DISORDERED rather than being the “victim” she posed as, I was not sucked into the drama and the emotional turmoil of being her victim, but rather looked at it more dispassionately as a clinician. I think this was the first if not the only episode where I was NOT emotionally involved with the psychopath to some extent, at least where there was not something of importance to me that they held sway over–even if it was only material or my job, etc. This woman had NO power over me or anything I valued.

Observing her totally dispassionately was a new experience for me. It was an eye opener! Looking back over it, I think that total lack of “caring” for her performance as she tried desperately to get me to pity her must almost be what the psychopath feels (or actually, DOESN’T feel) when we beg them to stop torturing us. When we try to elicit pity from them.

Good and thought provoking article, Steve.

Kim—I totally understand what you were saying about the comment the guy made to you. They are really good at pretending what they said was “misunderstood” and what a “horrible person” you were to take it in such a “dirty” way—you must have a dirty mind to think that way. LOL

Oh, yes, they are cute! About like a rattle snake!



I’m so sorry for your devastating loss. Michael Schuller made a choice and He took his OWN life and YOU said it….who would blame you for that in a letter? someone unwilling to take responsibility for their own fate… Someone heartless enough to try and drag you with them…leaving his skeleton in someone ELSES closet…unacceptable in my view

This is NOT YOUR FAULT…my sympathy is with YOU and my thoughts…you have been through enough.

My advice would be to understand you are in shock and it’s very hard to make important decisions in this state. Is it possible therefore to put off any decision making until you have had some time to process this? get as much support as you can, keep talking here if it helps. Bless. x


Yes, not even clinicians can really touch base with the actual baseness of the sociopathic experience. Once the sociopath enters your spiritual sphere it’s difficult to come across in therapy as anything othr than a weaklling in a chain of dependent mascochistic women clients. It takes an astute female or male professional to share your confusion that is the Fog of your mind long enough to call a Spade a spade. Up until then this nightmare is just your husband, son, daughter friend, mother, father, boss etc.

Ox Drover

Dear Kalina,

Steve is fortunate that among the many professionals on this blog he has NOT been targeted. Being a professional does NOT keep us from being sucked into their webs. There are many therapists, at least one psychiatrist, and many nurses who have been sucked in and are here as former victims of these disordered people.

Some how I think I thought (as a professional) that somehow knowing (something) about these souls kept me immune from the devastation of their attacks.

I happened to watch the Dr. Oz show the other day where he was telling people to get screened for colon cancer. He at age 50 had gone in for a screening (feeling like it was really unnecessary) and when a pre-cancerous polyop was found he felt so VULNERABLE where as before he had felt NOT vulnerable because he KNEW all about colon cancer.

Knowing about snake bite does NOT keep us from stepping on a snake! Knowing about psychopaths doesn’t keep us from falling prey to them. Knowing about lifestyle and cancer doesn’t keep it from attacking our body no matter how “healthy” we live. WE ARE HUMANS TOO and we are just as vulnerable as any human.

However, when I was being evaluated by a mental health practitioner that I had REFERRED many patients to, and I was on the WRONG SIDE OF THE CLIP BOARD I felt humiliated and lower than whale carp, or a broken BP blow-out arrester.

I sat there wondering what “kind of nut case does he think I am?” I felt so disempowered because I couldn’t just “shake this off and go on.” I would never have expected a patient of mine to just “shake it off” and “get on” but I sure did expect myself to.

I KNEW WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME, but how COULD it be wrong? I knew what it was, why couldn’t I just “get over it?”

Being kind to myself and tolerant of my failings as a human being, and taking care of me, those have been my biggest hurdles. I can be kind to others almost instinctively, but being kind to myself is a big challenge.

Learning patience and kindness is easy as long as I apply it to others. Learning patience and kindness toward myself. A bigger task, but one I am working on.


I gave up psychotherapy. Three years ago when I was going to a turmoil of emotions with my ex-sociopathic partner I decided to see a therapist to help me understand and go through the chaos that was my life back then. After I finished telling him my story and expressed everything I was feeling at that time the therapist calmly said and this are his (therapist) words:

“It is better to be with somebody than alone; I should try to see the positive side of the relationship and ignore/work on the negatives and try to be happy, because eight years in a relationship it was a long time just to throw down the drain and I should give it another chance”.

When I left his office I felt helpless alone and frustrated. He called me to book a few more appointments to help me work on his views but I never went back to see him again, and that’s when I started looking for ways to help myself to find a way out and fortunately found this website, which for me it was my therapist.

Ox Drover

Dear Changedforever,

THAT GUY WAS/IS a quack. Any “therapist” who would say to a client that “It is better to be with somebody than alone” is a FRAUD.

End of discussion on that in my opinion. FRAUD.

I do imagine that he made you feel so stupid, frustrated, alone, and 100 other emotions. I’m glad that YOU had sense enough to not book another appointment for his ABUSE (not therapy).

Fortunately, not all therapists are frauds or quacks… but you did well in finding Lovefraud as a therapist. Sometimes we too (all of us as a group) are sometimes a bit “wacko,” but we sure do GET IT that is for sure! And there isn’t a person here who will say that “better to be with someone than alone” we know it is better to be ALONE forever than to be with a psychopath for one second!

Glad you found your way here changed!


Oxy, yes don’t worry, the support #’s do direct people for further help. Picking up the phone was a very hard first step for me, but an immense help. And for me, being able to talk to someone who couldn’t see me and I couldn’t see them somehow made it safer to really reveal my pain. I’m a huge advocate of support phone lines. We need one for love fraud!

Ox Drover

That’s a great idea, Neveragain, though I am sure would be difficult to man it and support it financially. Maybe in the future it might be possible. You never know about Donna, she’s already done so much with so little except her own bare bones strength! ((Hugs))))

still trying to understand


I have no clue what to say. Just another curve in the winding road. Where if you let yourself, you can spin out of control. Sad does not seem to come anywhere close in describing what you are going through. I am truly sorry for you.

I have always feared that my spath would ‘try’ to commit suicide again. I fear it, not because I think this earth would be a better place without her but, because I am afraid that she will do it resulting from something I did or said.

After writing that, I do understand that what she does is completely out of my control. What he did, is completely out of your control.

To try to wrap our minds around the reason that a spath does something is impossible. It is not comprehendible from any view point.

Bless you!


Dear Ox Drover,
Your response made me almost cry. Maybe you have guessed it, I’m a clinical therapist who has been taken in not by clients but by family. Respect, self respect, is the most important achievement for wounded souls to grasp. Shame is the cloak of despair that haunts our revovery. Oh! not again the wounded child cries.


“In this sense, or certainly in many respects, the clinician has much more to learn from the sociopath’s partner than the other way around.”


This sentence portrays , for me, what makes you the insightful, compassionate and intelligent professional you truly are .

I had no idea why he cheated, why he lied, why he was on the internet, why we didn’t talk much , why he wouldn’t go anywhere with me, why I was basically invisible to him .

I couldn’t explain how he could say I was a good wife – – sure all his needs were more than taken care off , I was a good mom, cooked, shopped, cleaned , basically did everything – and brought home a paycheck he enjoyed – but he NEVER spent any time with me. Well, except for sex – then he was more than happy to be with me.

Looking back – with all the other woman he had – and more than one at a time – why did he still need sex from me ? Control ? Possession ? Whatever…………….

I never understood the glazed look when I tried to explain my feelings, the lack of concern when I was sick, ignoring a birthday or anniversary , the constant push-pull in the relationship. One week or month he loved me, three months later he was back to being cold and distant. Cycles – many , many painful cycles of this. He left the house and came back 4 times over a 2 1/2 year period. Each time he came back , the honeymoon was more intense than the one before – so I thought surely he was starting to value what we had together. Than I noticed the GOOD periods got shorter and the distancing became harsher. He even accused ME of distancing every time he felt closer to me . I might have been more doubtful but that made me draw closer all the more – not create distance. I feared distance like the plague.

Can you feel all these things I felt ??? No – you haven’t walked in my emotional field of land mines. Can you feel my confusion , bewilderment at how MY HUSBAND – the man I did adore – could cause such turmoil within me and not give a crap ? Could you feel my gut wrench every night he didn’t come home – or walked past me and never kissed me hello or good – bye ?

Can you feel my shock and horror at how he treats me now – emotionally and financially ?

To a certain extent you know instinctively the pain we have all experienced – it’s heartbreak , abandonment, violating behaviors we could not sort out for ourselves.

Then, some of us get to a point where we need answers – and we need to know it’s not us – we need to feel in our soul there was nothing we could have done to fix him or her. We need to be purged from the nightmare of a failed relationship despite all our trying – we need release.

And then there is you – and hopefully others of your caliber that bring us back to ground level, restore our faith in ourselves, identify those behaviors of the personality disordered person we are dealing with – and the healing slowly begins.

Yes- he is still held in high regard by many, he continues the patterns, he threatens to take my son, he witholds finances, he announces I am crazy , etc etc.

BUT – now I know better and it hurts less and less as time goes by . Now I know there was nothing I could do .

I have found answers to questions I didn’t even know I had .

So thank you, Steve Becker – we all learn from each other here and we are all so fortunate to have you as one of our guides.


Friends, I have just spelled the word, Recovery’ revovery. what would Freud say about that? To him, I probably would show an unconscious drive to sabotage myself in order to retain my childish illusion that “this is not hate but love”. This is called reaction formation, making something the opposite of what it is in reality.

Ox Drover

Dear Kalina,

Sugar I do feel your pain, my sperm donor is a P, my egg donor is a psychopath-by-proxy enabler for my P-son who sits iin prison for murder, and my P-X-DIL tried to kill my dysfunctional son her husband, along with her P-BF and they went to prison, but are both out now! Does that sound like a paranoid delusional nut job? Well my therapist had me bring in proof and a witness that I wasn’t DELUSIONAL! LOL Actually I did laugh about that! How could you not laugh! It SOUNDS CRAZY!!!!

Add that to losing my husband in an accident and the PTSD that caused—and I BROKE, CRACKED, fell apart, lost my mind! And yet, I survived, and so have you!!!!

I realized that I am human, that unfair things can happen to me, that I am NOT immune from things just because I know about them. I too can still break bones, get cancer, get PTSD, get depression, etc. (I haven’t had all those things fortunately!) In short, I’m human!

And I was ashamed that somehow with my knowing all about those things I didn’t stop them from happening to me.

Accepting that my own son is now a monster, that cute little boy that was so endearing is now a cold blooded killer with no more remorse than Charlie Manson, was devastating to me.

I also realized when I came to LF that I am NOT alone. I am not the only mother in the world whose child turned out to be a monster. Even if I was, there are others here who understand what a psychopath is. It’s not my fault. I am not to blame. I couldn’t have stopped him no matter what I did!

Kalina, hang in there….the things we learn here and the things we learn in our search for truth, THE truth, and OUR truth, and A truth, will help us to recover from the pain, wounds and hurt! Being a therapist you can then reach out to others who need the healing touch that only a former victim can give, and also the understanding of a therapist as well. It is unfortunate that there are too few therapists who DO Get it. Now, you are one who does! Congratulations!


I spent over a year in marriage counseling with spath. He had the therapist engaged, laughing at his stories and so tangled up in how spath directed the conversation we never got to the conflicts in our relationship. Spath would come in all contrite and insightful, naming the problem “money” and saying what he would do differently while accusing me of being wreckless with money or thoughtless with his feelings. He would also always be nice to me for a day or two before counseling. Before we would go in he would tell me how he was going to win the therapist over and after how he had, “won.” Counseling was A GAME to him. He learned some lingo and became more powerful because of it. I went back to our counselor alone to try to get him help before I decided I was dealing with a spath (thought he was just an N at that point) and the therapist asked me what I thought went wrong. He had no idea–at the time I did not either, but with his professional experience it was clear he did not see what the spath did not want him to see and what I was not empowered to say.
Rosa said, “I believe the most dangerous personalities are very subtle and insidious.
It’s something only those who are intimately involved will understand and relate to.”
So true. He was yelling at us and brought myself and 18 month old to tears just before company (he knew there were coming I didn’t). They arrive we are half dressed and slobbering in tears and he comes down stair cool cucumber and we look unstable. Evil is right.

Ox Drover

Dear Fearless,

QUOTE: “He was yelling at us and brought myself and 18 month old to tears just before company (he knew they were coming I didn’t) They arrive we are half dressed and slobbering in tears and he comes down stair cool cucumber and we look unstable”

QUOTE: “evil is right”

WOW! That’s all I can say, is WOW! EVIL!


Oxy & All:

Validation is a tremendous gift! Thank you all for sharing your experiences and helping me to STAY STRONG and realize my SANITY.



Am I the “ultimate expert on sociopathy” since I have experienced first hand the devastating effects of these all too familiar entanglements? As a clinician I resonate with the pervasive denial that clouds the judgement of victims. If we can connect with the spirit that seeks freedom, the patient will follow our lead to a safer place. Yes, there are safer places and we’ll get there together!


Dear Ox Drover,
Thank you for taking the time to write. Your support was worth your effort as it hit the mark!

Ox Drover

Dear Kalina and Fearless,

I’m glad that you both feel my support. Validation is always wonderful, definitely! And there was a time I needed it so badly and there was so little of it. I realize how valuable it is.

I am slowly learning to VALIDATE myself! I’m getting there, but at times it is still wonderful to have someone validate us.

When I was hiring the attorney to try to keep my son in prison when he comes up for parole, the guy was kind of snippy at first, but after I sent him the foot locker full of letters from my P son to the Trojan Horse psychopath my son sent to kill me and other members of my family, the attorney VALIDATED ME 100% and it FELT SO GOOD even though I knew I was right, just to have someone else validate that felt like heaven! While I no longer REQUIRE validation from others it DOES FEEL GOOD! Just like I can massage my own aching neck muscles, but it sure does feel good to have someone else do it too!

You are both on your way to regaining strengths you didn’t even realize you had. I know “we will get there” as you said Kalina! TOWANDA for us all! And God bless!

still trying to understand

Ox Drover,

A question for you –

If you felt protected against a Sociopath because of the information that you had, but still in the end were effected by one, how do we go about making sure people understand the dangers? How do we educate against these monsters?

still trying to understand

and, what about closure? Is there ever closure?

Ox Drover

Okay, still trying–just MHO, how do we educate others?

Just like we are doing here, talking to people in a non confrontational way if we are able and they are willing to listen. Teaching our children that there is evil in this world. We can’t “fix the world” all at once, it must be done one-on-one….Donna has provided this wonderful forum for us, but still it takes EACH of us to support someone who comes here to help them to educate and heal themselves. It is a do-it-yourself project for each of us, but the support and the validation we get from others is helpful to us IF WE WANT IT TO BE. If not…..then someone can lead a horse to water but no one can make it drink!

CLOSURE? That’s also a “do-it-yourself” project I think, because they are NOT going to give us closure if they can help it. We have to make our own. Shut the door and say ENOUGH ALREADY!

Whew! (sigh here) I never realized there WAS a way for me to “divorce” my family members, to not take them back into my life, heart, and trust no matter what they did. It was inconceivable that I would ever NOT be a part of them and them be a part of my life. We were BLOOD. But I finally came to realize that no matter how much you love(d) someone that there comes a time when it is YOU or THEM and they are the ones driving the bus that you are trying to save them from!

You can’t fling yourself under the bus to save them when THEY are driving that bus. (that is not original with me, another poster a couple of years ago used this example, but I love it!)

The only closure we get is when we say, I CANNOT SAVE THEM FROM THEMSELVES!

God bless and keep- on trucking! Healing is out there and you are on the right road! (((Hugs))))


Dear Stil trying,
Never put all your faith in one person, speak openly to friends about your suspicians, have many avenues of self satisfaction. In addition, keep a journal of your feelings and exercise spiritual strength by connecting to a higher power. I hope this helps you. About closure, their are degrees of closure. It’s the open wound that hurts the most. If you feel like you are deteriorating emotionally, seek a psychiatrist for a med. evaluation. Depression is the underlying factor in PTSD.


To the above points: Is there any research that shows those who may be more susceptible to these predators?

Regarding education: This would be an interesting unit of study in high school health classes. So many reality tv programs seem to reveal these personalities/toxic relationships (in my untrained, non-professional, solely first hand experience opinion) that it seems this is a serious issue in our culture and are likely to get worse with the attention these unhealthy personalities are paid in our culture.

Anyone out there end up having a good, healthy relationship following spath significant other? How can we be sure it’s real, right, healthy? I am no where near imagining myself thinking about dating, but I would like to know if there is a path to a meaningful relationship.


Extremely good read. This article hit it exactly for me. I was raised by 2 psychopaths. Life of extreme hell, can’t believe I lived through it with my ego structure still in tact. I can only explain it as a miracle that I still have breath in my body.

I am struggling feeling sadness deep down inside that I do not want to fully release because how can I grieve someone who was not real? It is a complicated grief.

My question to other women out there who have been in a relationship or married to a psychopath who is now n/c. How did you go about grieving your x? Did you ever ask yourself how can I grieve a person who was not real? Did you ever ask yourself how can I grieve a non-human entity? How can I grieve a monster? How can I grieve evil?

I’d appreciate your experience with this.

Living with a sociopath, or finding oneself involved deeply in a “committed” relationship with a sociopath, will offer an incomparably intimate experience of the horrors that sociopaths can inflict on their partners.

Clearly no one, and that includes the so-called “experts” on sociopathy (clinicians and researchers, for instance) will be able to appreciate the impact of the sociopath, on this level, like the partner who has lived with, or been closely involved with, one.


Dear Fearless Peace:

From what I have read in the literature, it seems that the “type” they go after are highly empathic, intelligent women, usually women working in the helping profession.

One post I read said that there is “no” type, just by virtue of the fact that you are a single woman, you are potential prey for them.

It’s scary ain’t it?



Your posts are really helping me. They are hitting deep in a good way. You “get” it. Thanks.


Dearest CAmom,
YES, they do commit suicide. I watched my ex slit his wrists in front of me, the long way, telling me he was very serious about what he was doing. Several years later, he ate a load of pills and was intent on killing himseslf and almost made it.

You did NOT do this. He made the choice to end his life. It is NOT your fault and never will be. It was, as so many have said, his last attempt at drawing you in. I am sending you hugs, healing and KNOWING within yourself that you are not at fault.

Steve, excellent article. Your admittance that those to be learned from are those who have been with a sociopath are dead on. NO ONE could have prepared me for what I went through, no one could have possibly understood. Even today, while I’m in recovery, there are those who simply do not know what someone like a spath can do to another human being. I think, as some have said, that you are unique in respect to other counselors, psychologists, etc… in that you are truly into knowing and understanding about anything and everything that has to do with these disordered individuals and the trail of destruction they leave behind. It is my continued hope that others learn to follow in YOUR footsteps as well as those of the other professionals on here who strive to help us understand just exactly what we’ve experienced.
It is only here that I can come and people GET what I say. Only one other person has been able to understand that we don’t just get up one morning, they’re gone and so are the rough times.


Dear Changed Forever:

Boy I can so relate that this blog is your therapist, for me too. I stopped going to my old psychologist because she would get the glazed look over her face when I would say literally to her: “I am changed forever because of this. I’m different now on every level.”

She didn’t get the depth or impact that this ahole had on my life, it was all lip service and a cheering up session, that’s not what I needed. I needed a shrink who specialized in psychopaths and where do you find that? I’d love to find a good one.

I am completely changed forever in every way and it saddens me, he took my innocence away. I thought everyone had good in them. No more. : (


Have been reading this thread and some things have been said that just jump out at me ( if we can connect with the spirit that seeks freedom)…that is so powerful..that is what this life lesson is all need to elaborate on that, if you get it, you get it..


I have read they seek those who possess the qualities they want for themselves. They mirror us for a time which is why they seem such a soul mate match .

In my experience, he took great advantage of all the good things I was, eventually pointed out all the things I lacked which somehow turned out to be just about everything.

Now, I am nothing but dirt to him. He never loved me, never wanted to be with me – but geez, he lived a pretty good life for 22 years.

I know now I ignored what I shouldn’t have , looked past what I didn’t understand and didn’t try to name the bahaviors that were selfish and self-serving. I buried the pain he caused me. I woke up when the emotional pain he caused me was carrying over to how he treated my children – OUR children . They were being ignored, feeling unloved and not worthy. Then -slowly – the enough is enough stage kicked in .

I feel I am highly empathic, decently intelligent, have a great job, always reach out for those that are hurting. I am a fixer – most likely cause I couldn’t fix myself.

My boundaries were poor, I still question my decisions and opinions, I love too much – but on the outside – people around me think I have my act together.

HE however, knew I just wanted to be loved , a family life – and most of all – HE KNEW I LOVED HIM – hell, he thinks I still do.

I don’t think he ever thought I would figure him out.

This very site and the people on it were the beginning of the end of my delusions about my husband .

I guess we are all prey – but the ones who offer the most advantage – those are the ones they covet the most.

They may want money, power, wild sex, property, inheritances, control , notoriety – or all of the above .

I think they live by the “What’s in it for me ” creed.


Good to see you around……
Take a deep breath and keep on the path to ‘freedom’.



Dear Rosa:

Ditto to every single thing you said, my experiences exactly! You put it into words like I could not.



Dear Ifinallygotthelesson,

I know what you mean about feeling like you have lost your innocence, but I also feel like I have reached a milestone. The reality of KNOWING there really are bad people in this world is better than living in a magical idealized world where “no one would want to hurt me because I am so dang nice” because that place does not exist. I like knowing I need to protect myself. I have found it so empowering to tell people NO (taking my money, imposing on my time, treating me like a door mat, twisting my words). No, no, no. I KNOW what they are doing now and they no longer have the power because now I do!
Peace, Fearless

Dani S

Hi ifinallygotthelesson,
It is so important that we find therapists that (understand/know) spaths. We are in too much of a sensitive confused state to have just anyone working with our recovery.

My mother is a therapist but didn’t understand spath’s so she networked to find one for me and eventually found a forensic psychologist who validated me the second I opened my mouth.

Ask around, research and find someone that know’s what they are dealing with. This is also important I found out with my legal team.

In the beginning I found a barrister who believed my husband. It was a very traumatic experience paying thousands of dollars to a person that thought I was nuts and was helping the ex gain access to our daughter.

Through asking around, we found a barrister that knew them well and he creamed him in court time & time again over a 12 month period, until the ex just didn’t turn up to court anymore & I was awarded full custody of our daughter and the ex has not been seen since.

To your other question about grieving for a spath. Yes they may not exhibit real emotions but he was real to me because all my feelings and love were real.
As with any mourning process it takes time but no less because what he gave me was not real….
I think also it took longer as there was so much anger attached to it as well!
The feeling of being deceived also made me grieve for the innocent free spirited girl that was no longer as well.. 🙂

Ox Drover

Dear DANI S!!!!

TOWANDA for you !!!!!! I’m so glad the monster is out of your kid’s life! That right there is worth whatever you had to go through to get it!!! YOU ARE BLESSED!!!!

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