By | February 7, 2011 330 Comments

Find meaning in the betrayal

Editor’s note: The following article refers to spiritual concepts. Please read Lovefraud’s statement on Spiritual Recovery.

Lovefraud recently received the following e-mail from a reader who posts as “lostgirl.”

I fell hopelessly in love with (read as I would have given him my real heart and died for him) a sociopath/psychopath.

Skip the details.

I am four years divorced.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t grieve the loss of the relationship I thought I had. I cognitively know that the person I married was not who I thought he was and I even believe I know how he came to be. Unfortunately, I have never felt anger, only sadness for what I viewed as the person he could have been that was taken from him long ago. I see him as an addict and myself as having been addicted to him.

Somehow, now, I still cannot move on. I have been through many short relationships, all ended well for me and usually I ended the relationship when I noticed red flags, the ones I kept close at heart. Again, I am in a new relationship and experiencing all the anxiety all over again (each new relationship triggers this). Including nightmares of the ex-sociopath and agonizing over how to know when someone is genuine. Good words are empty and promises of future fall on my deaf ears because I was disheartened so gravely before.

I have become cold and detached. I feel less emotion for every single thing in my life than at any time ever. All things I own, animals, family, I feel as though I am in a stage of suspended life, I cannot bond. I take care of my animals, I take care of my parents, nothing I own feels as if it’s mine, only borrowed, including relationships. I feel fake and alone.

I truly liked the person I met that I am in a relationship with now, but as with all the others after a short time (three months), I begin to feel less and look critically at their words and life as if I am subconsciously talking myself out of taking the risk of succeeding because of the pool of “thought I had’s” that live inside my head.

I know that a good relationship takes time to grow. How can I give myself the time to grow a relationship when I am so busy still flashing back to a relationship that was agony? He compliments me and I toss it aside. He talks about his life and experiences and I’m trying to assemble timeframes in my head to make sure he isn’t lying to me. It’s as if I’m trying to analyze my way in to a sincere relationship by slicing and dicing all the input/information I’m given. In the meantime I’ve dehumanized the relationship in my head and nearly severed any chance at bonding.

I have read post after post from people and articles all over the internet. What I haven’t found is any truly helpful advice for someone like me.

I fear I have lost the ability to connect permanently because I cannot logically define what is not deceitful at the moment it occurs. What is unselfish, I look for selfishness in. All good is lost because I have become obsessed with what is wrong with what is right.

How do I get back to identifying reality and trusting when it is proper? I feel that my mind was raped and I have lost the ability to connect on any level with anyone. I feel like a shell and I can see through everyone in my life, it would be so easy to be just like him (the ex) but I am not driven to “want” like he did. I see the holes in people and it is so easy for me to identify what is exploitable.

I hate this person I’ve become. I want to climb out of the shell and return to who I was before I fell in “love.”

Help I’m lost.


Realm of Numb

A very wise spiritual counselor once said that unresolved anger becomes rage, and unresolved rage becomes numbness. I think that’s what has happened to Lostgirl—she has moved into the Realm of Numb.

She was so in love with the sociopath that she would have died for him. In effect, that is what she did. Her life spark is gone. She no longer finds joy in her family and animals. She looks for deception in new relationships. She no longer trusts herself to know when she can trust another human being.

The Realm of Numb isn’t a place of pain. It’s a place of emptiness, of nothingness, of void. And it’s a place where none of us should be.

But how do we escape? How do we leave behind the feeling of fakeness, and recover the feeling of authenticity?

Search for meaning

One of the books that Lovefraud recommends to everyone who has experienced the trauma of a sociopath is The Betrayal Bond, by Patrick J. Carnes, Ph.D.  The book explains the circumstances that can cause us to form traumatic bonds with an abuser, and provides exercises to help readers unravel those bonds.

When I read the book, I highlighted only one sentence that Carnes wrote, and this is it:

My experience with survivors of trauma is that every journey of recovery depends on the survivor coming to a point where all that person has gone through means something.

This is the key. This is how we truly recover. There is always meaning in what has happened to us, although it can be difficult to find. In fact, that’s what makes the destructive relationships with sociopaths so excruciatingly painful—we can’t figure out why they happened. We did nothing to deserve the betrayal. Our intentions were honorable. So why did this happen to us?

Answers in the past

For many of us, the answer lies in our past. If we’ve experienced an abusive relationship, and were not able to recover, we are primed for another abusive relationship. The problem is even more insidious if we were abused as children, because our whole idea of what is “normal” in a relationship is terribly skewed.

But issues of the past need not be as overtly damaging as abuse. Perhaps our childhoods were basically okay, but we’ve always felt somewhat insignificant, or undeserving of love. We may have had “good enough” parenting, but our parents focused on achievement, and we grew up believing that we were loved for what we could do, not for who we are.  Beliefs like these, even when they’re unconscious, can create vulnerabilities for sociopaths to exploit.

It’s also possible that there is a deep spiritual reason for becoming involved with a sociopath. This is what happened to me. I believe that we all come into this life with lessons to learn, and sometimes the lessons are painful. I discuss this more thoroughly in another blog article, Why did this happen to me?

Some people may not be comfortable with the idea of searching for the meaning of the entanglement with a sociopath. It may feel easier to think we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and ran into the wrong person. We just want to brush the encounter aside.

I think this attitude is only a band-aid, and sooner or later, if we don’t find the root cause, we’ll repeat experience. There is meaning, and discovering it leads to healing.

Research, therapy, introspection

So how do we do this? How do we find meaning in what may appear to be a random victimization?

Here’s an important point: True healing doesn’t just happen by itself. True healing requires personal effort.

The first step is to be willing to look for the meaning. Sometimes this, in itself, is difficult. We may be afraid of the painful memories. We may have tried to shove the experience into the past. We may be afraid that if we start crying, we’ll never stop. By being willing, we face these fears, and we may discover, to our surprise, that we can overcome them.

The actual process of finding meaning will probably involve some combination of research, therapy and introspection.

Research: This means educating ourselves not only about the sociopathic disorder, but also about the characteristics and attitudes of a whole, healthy person. We need to understand what we’ve been through, and what we want to become.

Therapy: By therapy, I mean seeking support from other human beings. This could mean working with a therapist or counselor. Or, it may simply be seeking the advice of an understanding, trusted friend, or other members of Lovefraud.

Introspection: Somewhere, deep within us, we know the answers. If we can quiet our minds, with meditation or just sitting in stillness, information will bubble up into our awareness. We may become aware of the mistaken, limiting beliefs that we didn’t know we had. We may receive intuitive guidance about what we should do. If we allow ourselves to seek the truth within, we will find it.

Emotional experience

We cannot expect the process of finding meaning to be simply an intellectual exercise. The bottom line is, we are in pain, pain that may be so entrenched that it has become numbness.

Pain is emotional. The release of pain is also emotional. Therefore, the search for meaning is an emotional experience. The meaning may be buried under anger, hatred, disappointment and fear, and we need to plow through all those emotions in order to find it. And this isn’t a one-time event. We may release anger, only to find more rise up to take its place. This may happen again, and again, and again. The truth is, we are all walking around in pools of pain, and draining the pools takes time.

The expression of these emotions is not pretty, and many people may not have the strength to be with us as we do it. I found that I could only do it with my therapist, or alone. So I sat in my spare room, which I call the meditation room, crying, pounding pillows in rage, and recording my rants in my journal.

But once we release the emotions, they’re gone, leaving room within us to fill with other emotions—like hope, love and joy.

To Lostgirl

Lostgirl, here is what I want you to know: You were betrayed by a sociopath. This is an experience that happened to you. It is not who you are. You are you; the experience is the experience. Do not confuse the two.

There is a meaning for the experience, and it will help you to discover it. This will require effort and commitment on your part. Take the steps. Make a commitment to yourself, to your own growth and happiness. What better commitment could you make?

Find the meaning. But don’t go on a self-help expedition to the exclusion of all else. Here’s a secret: When you focus on any joy in your life, no matter how small, and feel gratitude for the joy, you create an internal energy that attracts more joy.

Healing our hearts is always the answer. To heal, unearth the pain, and replace it with joy. The process may take time, but eventually the life spark will return, brighter than it ever was.

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Dear Lostgirl,

I am so sorry. I am only 2 years divorced, and already know that I “see it” everywhere. And live in fear that I won’t “see it” when it matters. And I rage about yet another thing that he has stolen from me, another thing I will have to fight to find again. As you said, utter psychological rape – and we perpetuate it ourselves in the aftermath. And I too feel “numb” sometimes. My screen name is not a reference to my ex spath’s behaviour – it is a reference to how I feel – disconnected. It feels like my own dirty little secret – as if I am a fraud, a fake – not so disimilar from him. And with family and friends telling me how strong I am, how far I’ve come, how better things are out there for me…how to explain to them that despite all the foundations I am laying for the future, sometimes it seems like little more than “busywork”, and that sometimes I don’t even do it for myself, but for them, for their sense of peace, building for a future that I do not entirely believe in, as a sort of therapy, but secretly fearing that once the last brick is in place, I will freeze. I used to feel so sad for what happened to my family, to my marriage, and would find myself saying “if only he recognised what we had”, “if only he could have been open to counselling”, “if only he would have allowed himself to be vulnerable”, “if only I had insisted”, “if only I had not allowed him to”, “if only….”, and then I read an article that made me understand that it all boiled down to, “if only he was not disordered…”.
The sadness brought on by that realization was overwhelming. Sometimes it still is. More often than I would like actually, and more often than I dare to admit, even to those who recognize what he is.
But I notice that my sadness has shifted – away from sadness for him and what he could have been had he been able to appreciate everything he had, to sadness for myself and my children and what we have experienced, and have yet to experience with him still in our lives. And then comes the fear and the anger again. Cycling back and forth. But I consciously refuse to waste more time being sad for a person who knew better intellectualy, if not emotionally. Now I just protect myself as best I can from him and my own pre-dispotions.
But a good friend told me that after a regular divorce, bank on at least five years before you feel normal again. Splitting with an s/p must surely take longer to recover from? That same friend told me to “fake it, til you make it”, which initially I recoiled from, as you can imagine, but actually, “going through the motions” has helped in so many ways. Though at this point, I still have trouble imagining myself entirely re-connecting with my life, without feeling “different” from “everyone else”, or ever connecting with a new partner the way I thought I had connected with him. The thought of such intimacy actually makes me feel nauseous – it feels like his disorder has spread to me. But I think it is just fear. I hope it will go away in time.
As for what Donna said, about finding the meaning – that is so hard – sometimes it makes me want to scream that there can not possibly be any meaning in something so cruel and senseless. But over the last two years I have come to realize that I should have had therapy 20 years ago, as a child of a narcissist. Well, two abusive marriages later, I finally have had that therapy. So maybe I take that away as my “meaning”. Just wish it didn’t take so long, and risking my own children to find that path.
Wish I could be of more help – but you are not alone.


I am fortunate that my experience with a sociopath was followed up six months later by meeting an exceptionally good person.

The good person helped me retrospectively realize not only that the x-spath was utterly manipulative and emotionally unavailable and that nothing I did in my relationship with the x-spath was my fault. I was not moving too fast, I was not “revealing” too much too soon and I was not being “overly” romantic.

The good person reminded me how a normal, nonsociopathic person treats you. There is no hot and cold. There are no WTF??? moments. There are no communication gaps, with “disappearances” and sudden reappearances. There is no covert aggressive behavior. There is no mirroring. There is no sense from a normal person that they are hiding something.

Normal people are, open, honest and expressive of their emotions. They tell you they care about you, that they feel connected to you. They do not shower you with shallow flattery.

However, certain aspects of the x-spath also helped me understand why I could never be in a relationship with the good person and one characteristic they both shared is something I must be very wary of in the future. The most important “positive” thing I learn from the x-spath was that perhaps I do need to be with somebody with shared experiences, both good and bad, but *without falling for a pity play* or a reclamation project.

Thus, while my interests and values were closer to the good guy, my life experiences were closer to the x-spath and that is an important positive lesson. Since both were long-distance relationships, I need to understand why I considered both these guys and acknowledge such relationship mostly don’t work.

Most important, my relationship with the x-spath reminded me that toxic people do exist and that they can come wrapped in a very benign and “chilled/calm” exterior. My subsequent recovery and introspection made me realize that when I take care of myself and when I have proper boundaries, I do not fall victim to such people.

But why did I? Simple. I was needy and fell for somebody who, based upon my own personal boundaries, otherwise would not.


Thanks so much for sharing your experience Lostgirl. I can relate to some of what you have described and for awhile I thought it might just go away, but it doesnt. Honestly, at times I have felt really tainted and stupid for feeling this way .I recently found a therapist to help me with what I am experiencing and that has been very helpful. Its been 6 years since I had an active relationship with my ex, but the memories and flashbacks remain, the good thing is I am working on it.He is a stalker and I discovered that he kept tabs on me and found clever ways to let me know he was doing it , the sense of knowing someone is watching what you do created alot of anxiety for me, for many years. He’s in jail now awaiting trial on murders charges. Realizing that a person I was involved in a relationship with and was at one time in love with stabbed a man to death over 80 times after stalking him is really hard to wrap my mind around. I feel a sense of freedom knowing he is behind bars and likely will not be free anytime in the next 25 years. That still does not take away the feelings of self doubt, doubting my own perceptions, wondering if someone is genuine or trying to manipulate me,wondering if I am being lied to, and sometimes I just feel anxiety for what seems like no reason. I have to remind myself what I experienced was a trauma. I still have trouble with that, but I am working on it.I felt really responsible for many things as he blamed everything on me. I am so grateful for this website, I am learning so much from Donna and everyone who has shared their experience. SO many things that I have been carrying with me for several years are making clearer sense to me. Lovefraud has allowed me to realize that although I did some really hard work when I terminated the realtionship with my ex, theres still leftover stuff that needs attention. It is hard, but judging from my past success by staying away from my ex,working with a therapist at that time and focusing on what was best for me, I know I can do it. I dont want the negatiity that I continue to carry with me to run my life. Theres hope, i really believe there is:)

Ox Drover


During my own numb times, when little held any interest for me, I realized that I was numb. (Which is also a sign of clinical depression). I started searching for meaning. I wanted to NOT be numb.

I realized I had lost my ability to TRUST–mostly to trust myself to keep myself safe. I HAD failed to keep myself safe. But, then I realized that as late as I had started to protect myself, I DID start to protect myself, that I did CARE if I lived or died even though I felt numb. I did care for my animals and get my own life out of danger.

I found a book that helped me more than anything I had read about self help, or even the stories here that let me know I was not ALONE in my feelings.

It was written by Dr. Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist who spent 3-4 years in a Nazi prison camp. He wrote this not as just a journal of what happened to him, but his EMOTIONAL responses and his observations of how others EMOTIONALLY responded to such OVERWHELMING LOSSES as they experienced. “Man’s Search for Meaning” was the name of the book.

Dr. Frankl lost EVERYTHING except his life. He lost a manuscript of a book he was writing which he had hidden in a coat. He lost his wife, his home, his health…yet he found MEANING in the losses he suffered. He also observed that some others did not find meaning and they literally lay down and died, not of physical stress so much as just giving up in finding meaning to their suffering.

Afterward, when he was free. He noted how some people became bitter over their losses and lived unhappy lives because they found no “meaning” in their experiences.

Dr. Frankl also talked about how our own losses, our feelings of betrayal and pain could help us to find MORE MEANING IN LIFE. How our pain was no more or less than his, even though he “lost” more than we did. His concept is that pain is like a gas, and it expands to fill —completely fill–whatever size container it is in, whether it is a “little” gas or a “lot” of gas. His pain filled him entirely. My pain filled me entirely.. Your pain fills you entirely.

But we CAN find meaning, and his concept and mine, is that humans are not just physical and mental, but we are also spiritual. We must address the spiritual concepts. Dr. Frankl was Jewish, but not particularly religious or observant, but he tapped this spiritual aspect of his humanness of his Jewishness to help him heal.

Dr. Frankl’s book helped me a great deal to see that how much or how little I lost is not the point of the recovery, but that it is a learning process, a spiritual as well as a physical and emotional journey.

I am more cautious in my relationships now, I tolerate less “drama” in those close to me, and have “weeded” my garden of “friends” of those people who are less kind and considerate. I have totally blocked out those people who are toxic, and those who do not treat me as well as I treat them. For the few people I have to associate with that I find less than desirable, I keep them at an emotional distance. This allows me to feel closer to and value the friendships and love of those who ARE trust worthy who have shown me that they can be trusted. I no longer feel terrorized or hyper vigilant and am much more peaceful and calm and enjoy the simple pleasures of being with people who are warm, caring, and trusting. People who care about me.


I want to share that I was in the ER til 5:30 am with HIVES.

Looked like a leper. They were everywhere on me.

I personally think it is nerves. I have never been allergic to thing.

Have been having constant anxiety over P.

I am now on steroids and benedryl.

anyone ever had these?
Any suggestions Oxy?

lesson learned


While I’m not as far out of this experience as you have now walked, I relate to every single emotion, or lack thereof you are experiencing and struggle with the “meaning” of it all.

While intrusive thoughts and flashbacks are a regular occurence for me right now, I work VERY hard at trying to find the meaning of it all. I’m unearthing what I hope are many GEMS in a pile of garbage. Myself. My past. Shame and guilt long suppressed. These things are excrutiatingly painful, but necessary in moving forward. It is frightening and it is filled with grief. My past a lifetime of abuse, my future uncertain, my present a consistent nagging oscillation from pain to numbness to anger and back again. What I’ve come to realize is that the reality that I feel anything at all, is truly a miracle in itself. Why is this? Because even though it is very painful, and very frightening, the OUTCOME will be worth the pain. It is hard work, lostgirl, very hard work. I often wonder, during those times of feeling the void and feeling numb are times to which my mind doesn’t want to bring up very painful memories that need to be exorcised. Perhaps this is an area where you are stuck, but that does not mean you are beyond hope. That you can’t move past it. Perhaps work in therapy to bring up the pain of what happened to you, and perhaps uncovering the layers as to why, would free you from the numbness you are experiencing.

I hope to see more of your posts here. Moving beyond the spath is VERY hard work. I think that this is also a matter of choice. I don’t want to be stuck in this place. The search for meaning means going through what frightens me the most. Pain. It’s easier to be numb, than it is to walk through the pain.

I want to share with you that I believe you are stronger than you think you are, simply because you recognize that something isn’t right within. That is a GOOD sign! The fact that you’re reaching out, I believe, is your spirit wanting freedom. LISTEN to that. You have awareness now. It all begins there.

God Bless, lostgirl. you can do it 🙂


lesson learned


Ironically, this article is well timed for me. The struggle for meaning is what I was thinking about this morning, prior to coming to the site.

In a sense, all you’ve written is a validation of my process and my desire to move forward, albeit slowly.

Thank you,



Huge hugs to you LL!!!!
Sometimes I don’t have the best advice cuz I am hurting myself. Not as painful today however- so I do feel hope.

One day we will look back and see these guys as losers– as hard as that is to believe now. I know– I have been thru it before.


I thank you so much for these kinds of articles. This one esp resonated with me. You verbalized feelings that I could not identify.

Yes, I too felt like I lost the ability to connect, to know when a connection was genuine, that nothing belonged to me, not my possessions, not even my reasoning thoughts which were so important to me b/c my reasoning skills is what saved me from childhood abuse. To not connect to anyone or anything makes a person feel very very alone.

Thank you for showing me another missing piece of my recovery. I see that I was right, that I lost the meaning in my life, a reason for living. I had dismissed it as being too needy, as a reason why I accepted life with an spath, b/c it made me feel like I mattered. I didn’t. That was false. But now, I will revisit the issue, b/c maybe resolving the meaning in my life will close the door to deceitful opportunists and open the possibilities for connection with someone with something WORTHY of connection.

All my best



About the hives…..hold that thought.

I have been realizing lately that I have had a lifetime of S/paths or Narcissists in my life. Now that I have broke free of dating relationships and decided to concentrate on me there have been a couple of women in my life…..well not really in my life…..but I can see that they were/are trying to take advantage of my good nature and generosity. Just when it is safe to breath, they broadside me. That is ok I recognized it in time. I am learning. I have a couple of close friends who don’t completely understand what I have been through, but I know that they don’t want to use me. For now, I am going to stick with them as I try to transition from being in the house and on line to going out more in real life.

When my first husband was doing his time overseas for the military, I met him in Hawaii for an R & R. My mother stayed home with my daughter as I was living with my parents at the time. I had hives my entire time in Hawaii. It seemed I started getting a little anxiety or some feeling that I cannot quite identify while in the hair salon getting my hair done. I went on double birth control so as not to get my period which made me a little nauseated. I blamed hives on Sun allergy in Hawaii. No, I think it was my body telling me that all was not right. I didn’t at this time realize how Narcissistic my mother was but had started getting panic attacks, but when I got to Hawaii my husband confessed to me that he had had an affair. He did it in a very very bizarre way. After we had sex, he started crying. It seems I have always had to take care of these jerks, now that I think about it. It was always “all about them.” Years later, when it was found it that he was starting to act out his homosexual tendencies in Korea where no one knew him, I realize that even the confession of infidelity was a lie. It was far worse than that.

I told no one because emotions were not allowed in my family. I always kept a stiff upper lip. I kept this all to myself. The hives went away on their own, but I am sure now it was body telling me that things were crazy in my life.

By the way, Lostgirl, stay connected with us here at Lovefraud. You may find that you just have to heal a layer at a time. I like what you said Donna…..
“When you focus on any joy in your life, no matter how small, and feel gratitude for the joy, you create an internal energy that attracts more joy.”

Lately I am letting myself feel the pain as it surfaces, but also giving myself a lot of credit for doing small things which sometimes turn into bigger things. I keep at AttaGirl Journal.

I know I am rambling, but oh well.


lesson learned





not rambling. Great post!

I like this article a lot too. And Donna, your advice to focus on joy is such a great reminder. I’ve had so much trouble doing that lately.

I feel like I’m losing my footing lately. Don’t know why. Used to be that when my BF began to get grouchy, I would just “fix him” by making him laugh. Now I don’t feel like it. I’m just tired of handling someone else’s emotions when I have my own to deal with. Well, this only makes it worse since his grouchiness escalates unless I stop it. He is oblivious that the grouchiness is his own, even though I’ve pointed it out several times and he acknowledged it.

It’s like raising a 2 year old.

lesson learned

Akita Chica,


While at the doctor a few weeks ago for my women’s health exam, she found that my genital warts were REALLY bad. I was also asked how much stress I was under. Um…..A LOT! I believe my “outbreak”, that is so bad, is because of the unimaginable amounts of stress I’m under. Not only that, but my head just itches and itches, enough to drive me insane. I thought I had head lice! I don’t. But since my break up with exPOS, my head has been exceptionally dry.

Our bodies react to stress, as I’m a firm believer in that.

Whether we’re in the moment of stress or reacting to the aftermath.

Hang in there Chica!



I have to tell you all what just happened. In my post I mentioned starting to worry about women spaths now. One is probably not a spath but a pesky person “down on her luck” who was asking for money. I didn’t mind at first really. “Three dollars because they locked me out of motel”….yes staying week to week….then 35.00, then she started ringing my doorbell at inappropriate hours. I didn’t answer. Before that, I gave her the location of a women’s shelter. By not answering I think I stopped that. The old me took in all kinds of strays….but I am putting myself first now. I decide when and how I will help someone.

Recently there is a woman who showed up on my FB page who is a relative of my cousin. She lives 2,000 miles away and I don’t know her. I did have a couple of interesting chats with her. Apparently her mother and sister live in my state and she wanted to know if I knew them. NO. She says they tell lies about her. Well that may or may not be true. On the other hand I tend to tell too much. I told her I was just coming off of a break up with an alcoholic boyfriend…..she also had an ex-alcoholic boyfriend. She was also very friendly and likable.

This past weekend was my birthday. I got a lot of birthday wishes which was really nice. When she wished me Happy Birthday, she posted right on the board that her mother was getting out of the hospital was ___old and she wanted to know if she could stay with me. I made a joke about it like yes but she would have to make her own bed. I would provide the saw and the wood. I then asked her if she was really coming here as an aunt of mine is coming in a few weeks. She said she didn’t know. She got kinda vague. It has bothered me ever since because I believe she was serious. She wants to be “instant” friends from long distance.l Yes, I love chatting with people even to the point of discussing boyfriend problems BUT…

While I was posting on here I started getting a weird anxiety feeling. Low blood sugar, almost lunch time? NO, I want to get her off my face book account. I do not really know her and she makes me uncomfortable. In the past I would have called my cousin or someone who actually knows her and asked. Instead I went with the red flags and my gut feeling. I deleted and blocked. GONE, I feel better.

Back to the topic. Do you ever get to the point where you can trust? I believe you do, but I am learning that people have to earn my trust. I don’t have to be polite. I need to do what is best for me.


lesson learned


TTS, I think if you feel you did what was best for you, then it was best for you.

I’ve done the same thing to others. One time just recently. It may not be because she’s a spath, just needy, ya know? I’m aware enough that I can see NOW when I do stupid things (acting out, reacting), that I need to step back and reflect and ask myself WHY, my own WTF Moments. I think if you actually wanted to be friends with her, you could have expressed how you felt and see how she reacted. Sometimes boundaries can be put down and people will either attempt to cross them or back off and look at themselves and respect you enough to either leave you alone or take it a little slower. You don’t know what her story is, BUT, if you feel absolutely uncomfortable, I’d go with that feeling, particularly if there is still trust issues for you 🙂



I just backspaced out my long rambling post that was here. I was over-explaining myself.

The problem is as simple as this, the woman on FB was starting to make me uncomfortable. She may not be a spath, but I just wanted to nip it in the bud before it went any further. I was already getting on the defensive. I have found that doing that takes way too much emotional energy.



Recently there is a woman who showed up on my FB page who is a relative of my cousin. She lives 2,000 miles away and I don’t know her. I did have a couple of interesting chats with her. Apparently her mother and sister live in my state and she wanted to know if I knew them. NO. She says they tell lies about her. Well that may or may not be true. […]

I then asked her if she was really coming here as an aunt of mine is coming in a few weeks. She said she didn’t know. She got kinda vague.

That’s one of those things that make you go “HMMMMMMM”…!

I wonder if she WAS a relative of your cousin? It’s interesting that she “got kinda vague” when you mentioned that a genuine relative of yours–your aunt–is coming in a few weeks, an aunt who might possibly be expected to know whether this other, mystery woman was authentic or not.

I don’t suppose she and this other woman were actual psychopaths–only a small minority of people are–but there’s a far larger class of people who are just plain MOOCHERS, especially like that first woman in the motel. They’ll try to bum this and that off you, or “borrow” money and never pay it back, and all the time they’ll try to guilt-trip you with their hard luck stories. Then if you give in to them, you end up feeling worse because now you’re not just irritated at them for being a nuisance or a burden, you’re also angry at yourSELF for being a sucker. And needless to say, it only “enables” them and encourages their leeching to continue. For anyone who suffers from guilt or other manifestations of codependency, it pays to remember those three little words: that some moocher’s hard-luck story is “NOT MY PROBLEM”! 😉


I way over explained. That is what I mean by “being on the defensive”. I had been thinking in the last few days that just when I am being very cautious and not dating now so I don’t replace one person with another without stopping to take a breath, I start getting targeted by women. I don’t mean that in a sexual way. I mean in a “user” way.

I am vulnerable now, but really do want friends. After a 25 year marriage and then 3 1/2 years of cleaning up the mess I believe I am now ready to get out in the world again. Maybe I am at the level of “dating in groups” If anything can be learned from my recent experience with spath boyfriend it is that that experience is helping me to deal with what was wrong with my marriage.

Regarding FB “friend”, lets say for the benefit of learning that she targeted me. How did she find me? She found me on my cousin’s friend list and realized that I lived in the state that her estranged relatives live. I could be USED for something.

I said in above post that we were at the cyber girlfriend stage. No, I don’t think it is even close to that. My radar is screaming at me NO NO NO!

For practice this is how I think a relationship like this should go. If she were actually going to come to my state and see her mother and sister, I could say at my invitation. “FB friend” since you are going to be in town would you like to meet for coffee?” That would be as far as I would consider going with anyone who I had not actually met.




I posted over you. Thank you for understanding. Yes, I do have co-dependent tendancies or wanting to help or fix people. I am just so tired of doing that.



Part of the meaning I find in the betrayal is a litany of failures in the criminal justice system. There are inequities and the worst of them beat the system over and over again.

This is partly true to poor inter-agency and intrastate communications. In part due to the lack of a central marriage license database and in part due to the fact that we rely so much on the internet and what we can see and read when it doesn’t tell the whole story.

History did not begin in the 1990’s and there is a lot of it on paper records and microfiche in libraries and courthouses all over the US. We should not neglect the breadth of resource available. Nor to question what we can see.

I take away it wasn’t my fault that he lied, it was for me that I listened. And I accepted the nice things he did do for his being a nice person. And a truthful one. I take away that very bad people can do very nice things if it suits them.

And most of all I take away that I can heal and move on in the life I choose the soonest I let go of pining for having been taken advantage of. It just doesn’t work.

Dani S

Great Article Donna, I so relate with some of what lost girl is feeling… Although I have not disconnected with my animals, children, family and close friends , I actually love them so much deeper now and are so protective of my children and my time with them.
I know why I ended up with a spath! As much as I loved my Dad he was an alcoholic and died when I was young and my first husband ran off with my best friend. Every man I have known and loved has disappointed me and abandoned me.

Men are drawn to me not in a Sociopathic way lol but because I have a smile for everyone and they tell me attractive. But like lostgirl my disconnection is with men! How I would love to be loved again and to share my hopes and dreams again with someone but I honestly cant move past the 3 month dating, by this stage I have stripped the relationship and the person apart.

I dont believe a word they say and when they are opening up I thing they are full of shyte. I start to feel repulsed at the thought of having sex with them and feel that they are only going to take my life away and I get really anxious. I choose ones that I know wont hurt me but I in turn hurt them and I wont go for anyone I think is what I am looking for because I think they are just going to leave me and I could not bare to go through that again.

I like lostgirl dont know how to move on from the intense feelings, I have had therapy but I cant reprogram my brain to make it ok to get hurt again! I am 3 years down the track of recovery I am still young(ish) lol and social I love my life but I just want to feel normal again, I want to feel love without fear. But I dont think it is possible, I have lost every man I have ever loved!!


True to self–
it is drama- stay away.


Lostgirl – thank you for sharing what you have.

I could go where you have gone – I could get in and stay in that shielded protected hell pit, too. Right now, a year and a bit out, I don’t trust. I don’t know if i will ever trust people, ever again. I have scorecards in my head, too. I am crossing people out quickly these days – and know there are very few 2nd chances with me now. burn me once and i use the fire extinguisher.

The one place where i do try to work things through is here. these people were here for me from the first exceptionally crazed moment i stepped foot on lovefraud. I am ready, at any time for any one of them to be a spath or a narcissist – but I treat them like they are not. these folks are the people i take healing ‘risks’ with. the rest of the world can sod off.

Realtionships? bwahhhaaa. no decade soon.

I feel myself going where you are. i surely do. and i think it will get harder with time, not easier. right now i am just trying to get stabilized. once i am, and want to take risks, it’s gong to be very very hard. i have almost no friends now, no family. i am more alone than ever in my life, no gatito either. and for the moment I want it that way (‘cept for the cat, i want a cat, i just can’t have one.)

I so don’t trust people, but i am thinking i will give the universe, just the tiniest purchase to surprise me in a good way. lately, i have become the tiniest bit interested in seeing if it knows what the fuck it’s doing.

i have felt some moments of joy, maybe three in the last 2 months – AND I WANT MORE OF THEM. My take on joy differs a bit from donna’s take: I don’t need to feel ‘grateful’ for my moments of joy – i just have feel them, be in them. they don’t require my reflection, just my participation.

I hear a real heartfelt repression of anger in you. the repression that turns one to stone. you have abandoned yourself to the pain of what he did. don’t lostgirl, don’t. You take you back. GRIEVE FOR YOU, NOT FOR HIM. You have lost yourself – he has taken you and you keep giving yourself to him – it’s like a sacrifice. Read the betrayal bond, and come to understand WHY you are still giving yourself to him….and then find your way back to you. It might not be safe to be ourselves, but it surely is dangerous not to be.

You have my heartfelt good wishes, my sympathy, and my boot on your butt if you need it.

Post – talk to us, and we will do our best to support you.

Ravenless Tower

Very good article Donna… thank you. There was one sentence, however, that popped out at me, “She looks for deception in new relationships.”

This is not necessarily a bad thing. It is important to take what we’ve learned and to be aware – as long as it isn’t “hypervigilent.”

My Spath experience was short, to the point, and though I got out as soon as I saw it, I was not quick enough to not be hurt.

Still, what it DID do for me was to allow me to find this site, to understand this personality type, and to reflect upon the relationships in my past that were similar and how the pattern I’d allowed to repeat in my life – though completely unintentional – brought me to the straw that broke the camel’s back. (Betrayal Bonds was a fabulous book for my healing process!)

Now, I still think about the situation, but I don’t miss the “Pretend Guy”… I miss the feeling of being in love, but not intoxicated by it to the point that nothing else mattered. That was his game, and it worked because we had a history.

I have been able to sort out past relationships, starting with my parents, with the realization that the “entry level” Spaths/Narcs don’t necessarily have to be discarded – but I DO have to create boundaries to allow myself clarity and to limit my involvement to a place that is safe for me.

“She looks for deception in new relationships.”

For a while, I felt like I had night-vision-Spath-goggles… but I realized it was an awareness, a new skill of understanding what I recognized to be “not familiar” and “glib”. (I never understood “glib” until last year.)

Now, though I am not seeking a relationship by choice, I know that when the time comes I will be better equipped to look for what I want and need – and to maintain boundaries that will hopefully keep me in safe relationships.

My sanity is important to me, after all!




I am a good person, I volunteer, I have empathy and compassion, at times I give more to others than to myself but I never give more to others than is healthy for me (at least I think).

When I met my sp, I was young and looking to fall deep in love forever like a fairytale and I wanted someone who could “see” me ”“ and so he could. He payed attention to me in ways no one had ever noticed and that attention never waned even through the divorce.

He had the sad/sob story and it wasn’t a lie because it was corroborated by people who had grown up with him and his family. His father was a drug abusing, alcoholic, cross dresser who would shoot at him (yes with a gun) in the house, and beat him terribly. This was many years before schools were trained to identify these things or had any power to do anything about them. Also, a lot was before he was school age. His father committed suicide when he was about nineteen. I define this period in his life as when he, as a small boy was emotionally murdered and a sp took his place for his own survival. He also has a debilitating lifelong illness (severe Crohn’s disease). He was, at times, deathly ill. There were things I didn’t understand in the beginning, his coolness about his childhood and his fathers passing seemed mature and calm, I didn’t know it was actually a lack of emotion.

Every part of what damaged me was covert (the deceit, lack of remorse, callous disregard, etc). I believe his use for me was actually stability. I pushed him to go to college, so he did. He was always a good worker, job = toys and freedom.

I saw ways I could enrich his life and in turn there were so many ways he was good for me and then so many ways he was causing me damage under my own radar. It’s like a smiling murderer who whispers in your ear the whole time how great you are, how much better you will be together if you only <>.

The “meaning and the reason” to how we attracted the sp, is not necessarily a bad trait of ours that attracted them to us or us to them. A good friend told me early in my divorce….my “goodness” should not be lost because he was an awful person because in the end that would be the ultimate tragedy. It would be more unhealthy to become cold or callous, without empathy, emotion or compassion, and to stop volunteering out of the fear of attracting another.

I have gone past the research, therapy and the introspection. I’ve spent a long time coming to conclusions and I have never thought for a moment that his behaviors were my fault or that I could fix him. I gave him resources to help himself and some he used (schooling) some he denied (counseling, choosing to be faithful?), I left. I don’t hate him, I do feel angry that he continues to hurt more women but that is the only anger I feel. I feel that the anxiety I have is driven by the fact that I didn’t leave before I could identify exactly what was wrong, I kept waiting and thinking that quite possibly I had the paranoia that my parents both appeared to have in their marriage (jealousy). My anxiety level grew unbearable as


You have given me a great sensation of company/comfort. I know that I am not the only one that feels this way; but, I have never read other people’s sentiments about it. I don’t have any “if’s” left, they went away long ago. I remember very well wishing the heart in my chest would just stop because of the pain. If, if, if, if only we could think our way out of THEIR dysfunction, we could have the life we had always wanted. It’s about the same as wishing to win the lottery, the longer you play the bigger your losses. I like your quote “fake it til you make it” – I’ve never heard that and it’s a great one. I have read in a study that patients suffering from PTSD who were forced to “debrief” repeatedly fared significantly worse in their recovery than patients who were told to just continue as best as they could and forget as soon as they could.


You have given me something to think about that I had not thought about before. You said so much with so little. “There is no hot and cold. There are no WTF??? moments. There are no communication gaps, with “disappearances” and sudden reappearances. There is no covert aggressive behavior. There is no mirroring.”

Your statement made me have an “aha” moment. Instead of looking at everyone for sp traits, how about trying to learn the traits that sp’s do not do well with or cannot do at all. How about looking for that piece of humanity that is trademarked NOT to be sp. The WTF moments are the ones that have sent me packing in the past short term relationships.


Your post “That still does not take away the feelings of self doubt, doubting my own perceptions, wondering if someone is genuine or trying to manipulate me,wondering if I am being lied to, and sometimes I just feel anxiety for what seems like no reason. I have to remind myself what I experienced was a trauma. “ definitely helps me feel validated. Perhaps I will always have these self doubts and I am on anxiety medication and even at times that is little help to me.

Ox Drover:

Thank you for the book recommendation, I will look up Dr. Frankl.

It’s true what Donna said about “no longer trusts herself to know when she can trust another human being” and I think that is a quantifiable statement. Ultimately that is my question, how can I bond with all the noise in my head?

Thank you for all your posts. I have new things to think about and you guys definitely made me laugh too (not at you; but, with you….! night vision goggles….good one 🙂 and no decade too soon, oh if only I could shun relationships wouldn’t my life be richer if I knew I could be healthy doing that?)


I agree that the horrible experience did help me understand my past relationships. My parents were the beginning also.

There are other things that I understood as well, which had bothered me all my life. Like the way my Aunt N, who was married to a spath and died of cancer, suffered. And my best friend Mary, she died because she laid down in the snow and froze to death after being in a crazy making relationship for so many years. My friend Rebecca who became addicted to crack and now has no teeth, but used to be a model has never known anything but spaths. She was molested as a child.
Now I understand these things.

Ravenless Tower


You DID say so much with so little. “There is no hot and cold. There are no WTF??? moments. There are no communication gaps, with “disappearances” and sudden reappearances. There is no covert aggressive behavior. There is no mirroring.”



Such a brilliant article, thank you. I can totally relate.


Yet another person writing my story,this is where we all belong.Thank you so much for this website. I am a year past my 16 year relationship with my sociopath.I totally resemble everyone here,sadly. I hope I can pick myself up faster than 5 years thou. I am just now able to look at my own face in a mirror.I am serious. Has anyone else not been able to look at them self in a mirror? My face was permanently sad and angry. I haven’t seen my happy face for many years.I have joined a few recovery groups and when I say I am recovering from 16 years with a Spath I instantly feel the disconnection from the group. So this is the place to be, and thank you for todays lists of books to get .I need a long vacation from life so I can heal myself.

“There is no hot and cold. There are no WTF??? moments. There are no communication gaps, with “disappearances” and sudden reappearances. There is no covert aggressive behavior. There is no mirroring.”


I also so agree , actually we all own that statement. My kids and I call it static. There is no static in our minds anymore, and we live in a no lie zone. Peace and love to my new friends here. May we all pray to our own God for ourselves and each other.Sue


Flog Em

I read your post Lostgirl and can honestly say that every word you write is my story too. I encountered my first Spath over 30 years ago..he was my husband that I adored..he left me pregnant, rejected and abandoned, it took me over 12 years to overcome that – I even emigrated to get away from the memories.
Here I am 25 years later and still meeting the wrong men. My last relationship ended 2 years ago he was and is the worst Narcissist that Ive encountered. I became totally addicted to him – my friends cannot understand why I pined after him especially as he did not treat me well during the relationship. The pining has stopped but now I am empty and cold inside.
I do not want to run the risk of dating again in fear that I will meet the same Spath again ..(it seems to be my choice in men).
The pining is over but the thoughts are there constantly, I am empty inside I look in the mirror and see an old ugly person (even though people compliment on my youthful looks). I am still vibrant to the outside world but inside I am dead. My only pleasure in life are my little grandbabies and everything else has no pleasure for me. I wish that I could have a relationship with a wonderful man but I know that will never happen.
I dont know that there is a cure for this morbid feelings.
“They” do not know what they do to us..and if they did it would not matter to them in the least.

I have to be grateful that the addiction is over!


There IS a cure for your feelings…therapy.
You need to go WAY back and resolve old issues and reroute your neurons.
Its SO possible.
YOU have to change and then you will attract people in your life who are NOT disordered.
I am proof. I did it.


I am nearly 2 years divorced after a 16 year marriage (20 years of togetherness). And, yes, there are days when I think when am I going to be “me” again?

For 20 years I lived in a world of denial. I was in love with a man who used every bit of me, and I so wanted that fairy-tale love story that I pretended over and over again that it was “okay.” I was so good at putting the happy face on, creating the “perfect” marriage/family (the image was more for me than for others) . . . that I denied my own unhappiness, and the constant physical ailments that were caused by my ignored stress.

Yes, I grew up in an emotionally and sometimes physically abusive environment. I knew that and thought I had overcome it . . . in fact, I would tell myself it was okay, that I wouldn’t be the person I am without my life experiences. Yet what I was denying myself was that I wasn’t okay . . . that my outward appearance of a strong, independent, confident woman was actually masking the insecurity that was deep inside me.

My ex found that insecurity almost immediately and he used that to trap me. He knew my weakness. He knew my need for validation, for love. On the outside I said I didn’t need it, but deep down I yearned for it. And he fed it . . . with words of encouragement, of “you can do it,” “I’m so proud of you.” So as a result, I worked harder, gave more . . . all so I could hear those words that I never heard as a child.

But what I didn’t realize was those words of encouragement were simply a means for him to get what he wanted — they were never meant for me, but only for him. What I thought was “love and support,” was just words so that he could do all the taking for all my giving.

But what he didn’t expect from me . . . the outwardly independent, strong woman who knew how to pick herself up by the bootstraps, was my need for security. Because at the end of the day that’s all I wanted. I didn’t want fame and fortune. I wanted a man who loved me, a family, a roof over my head, and a happy ever after as we sailed into the sunset.

That’s when it got ugly. That’s when he realized that I didn’t want him riding on my coat-tails forever. I needed him to be the provider, to take care of me, to take care of the family. And that’s when the true deception began . . . not just his deceiving of me, but my deceiving of myself. Because I actually told myself over and over again and the world around me what a wonderful husband and father he was . . . when in fact, he was not at all. I created the illusion, denying myself that what I was doing was only creating a fantasy that I was hoping to turn into a reality.

Though his leaving was not my choice, because I was still in the thick of denial when he walked out on me for another victim. And it took months after his leaving to realize the full extent of his many years of lies and manipulations . . . I’m finally getting to a place where I am starting to believe that maybe I am happier/more relaxed/at peace than I’ve ever been.

No more guilt of not being a “supportive” wife, no more empty promises, no more financial stresses, no more confusion of thinking I’m the crazy one, no more of his pity-parties, no more uncertainty or wishful thinking. I no longer am counting on someone else to provide my “happy ever after.” It’s up to me, and only me.

This past Sunday I visited a Sunday School class and the subject was idolatry. The question was asked — during your moments of quiet what do you think about? . . . and I realized that all I did was think of him — not me, not my children, not God, not work . . HIM. And then the question was, what is your worst nightmare? And my worst nightmare was being a single parent, of being alone.

Well, I’m living my nightmare . . . and though its not fun, I’ve realize that I’m surviving. Oh there are days I still cry, I still get angry, I still obsess, I still wake-up in the middle of the night realizing another lie/deception. But as the Sara Evans song goes . . . “every day I get a little bit stronger.”

And, so my lesson learned, is that what I thought was my giving, my being a good person, my being the supportive wife was not necessarily a good thing. That what I was doing was denying myself and as a result also denying who I am to those around me who are “true.” And because of my denials, I became consumed with a “false” idol.

I always thought I was spiritual person, but I now know I was only going through the motions. That the time has come for me to put my absolute faith in God and in myself. Yes, its not easy . . . and the concept is sometimes overwhelming. But its far better an option than placing your love, faith and trust in a person who only mirrors what you want him to be only to discover that what he did was actually rob your soul (the Devil indeed).

My dreams of the past 20 years may be gone, but at least my eyes are finally beginning to see the truth and the way.


Woodrow….I could have written your post!
I finally decided that the pain of being out of this type of relationship, was less than the pain of being in it…but it took time. In time, I felt better and better being alone. I realized that I was also fooling myself into thinking that I was in a true love relationship….when, deep down, I knew he wasn’t even capable of loving. I was responsible for feeding into the “illusion”. Once I took responsibility for MY “fooling myself” and living in fantasyland…I was able to leave it.

I don’t cry or feel anger anymore, or obsess. I totally understand that HE is really a mess…a disordered person who could NEVER love and give me the love I wanted from a man. I ACCEPTED this fact. And, I also realize why..HIS awful background and what he is made of….and I said…”It is what it is”. He is never going to change and become a loving person…and I AM a loving person and I DESERVE someone who is like me.

I don’t fear the future…I like being unattatched to a man right now. I fill my days with things I LOVE….I am taking better care of myself and my body than I ever did. Its all about ME and when I am totally healthy and happy, THAT is when I may someday attract a man who is where I am at.

I believe that we attract people on the same level WE are at. When I attracted my x, I had very low self esteem, and I attracted someone who, deep down, is the same. Only HE puts on a mask and runs from himself and is really more needy than I was!!

Sociopaths are little children who feel that the whole world is bad…and they are angry and hurt and they go around grasping at anyone to fill THEIR needs…without caring what another person needs.

They cannot LOVE because they really don’t love themselves.

And, “I” didn’t love myself when we met. I was down on myself. So, I attracted him into my life.

Now,I am strong, confident…and I’ve worked on building myself up for the last year and a half. Now, when I meet disordered selfish people…I walk away. So, my future is bright because I will only surround myself with people who are like me….Strong, good self esteem, confident, secure, caring, able to love.

I have faith in myself and that the “universe” (or GOD), will supply me with all I need. Right now, I just need ME…

Its good you woke up from the dream…the illussion.

Someone once said…”Everyone is figment of your imagination…even you”.

I see myself differently now…..I see the TRUTH.
I approve of myself and love myself .

You can’t get better than that.


It has been three years since I run away from my relationship with “Satan—Yes that’s what I call it. That’s right I run away” I didn’t broke up because you break thinks up with real people and for me he was not real, he was fake, in one word ”he was Satan ambassador and from these entities you RUN AWAY. There are millions of them in this world. Anyway, as I was telling it has been three years since. The first two years were a nightmare in my life it feels like I was buried alive ——..It was a living torment, thinking about this “entity” every single day of my life, living with the pain of betrayal and deception. But time is the greatest healer and I learned that I had to break free and live again. The first thing I did was to destroy every single thing that could remember him”even pictures”all GONE. Today I can tell you that this experience helped to know myself better in a way that I could not imagine, also revealed strength that I didn’t know I had. Interestingly I learned that true happiness comes from within and this is the one I am really working hard on it in my life now. I learned that you can not find true happiness in a relationship with someone else if you are not happy with yourself. I learned to enjoy time alone and still feel the joy and the pleasure of life and happiness. I got closer to my spiritual life and I found guidance in God. I learned that it takes time to get rid of all the messy baggage the “Satan ambassador” left in my life but I will eventually clear up everything and be happier than I was before the encounter. In a way I can tell and someone can correct me if I am wrong “we can consider ourselves blessed” because even tough it was a painful experience it gave me the tool to recognize that evil exist and we have to protect ourselves, but good people also exists and we are able to love and appreciate them even more. I learned that the some way we eat to nourish our body and we exercise to be physically fit, we also need to exercise inner happiness in ourselves everyday. Since last year I have been exercising inner happiness in every single aspect of my life and I am feeling so great and healthy. I changed my eating habits and I am eating so much healthier than before with more fruits and vegetables, I am sleeping much better and even the walking gives me joy, I joined a new church and enjoy the worshiping service it just releases all that is good in me, I am singing more when alone “singing loud” and listen to good and spiritually inspiring music “the feeling of releasing all bad energy that he brought to my life is amazing when I sing loud”. I decided to laugh a lot more even when alone, so I bought some comedy shows and videos and sometimes after dinner or so I just laugh and laugh” what a joy. And little by little I am introducing more and more ways to exercise my inner happiness. I am not dating at this time and decided not to date until I am again completely happy with myself. What I learned from the experience with the “Satan ambassador” is that true happiness is within me and I have to exercise it everyday, I can’t find happiness in a relationship with other person before I find it in myself. If someone else comes to my life to help improve this happiness I will welcome him, but if not I will be happy anyway. I am really exercising to “change myself forever for the better”.



Ox Drover

Dear Woodrow,

That was a very good post above!!!

We do start to make denial into a form of idol worship—-denying the truth and “worshiping” the thing we have “created.”

I know I lived the “lie” because I was afraid to face the “truth.” I kept trying to make the lie become truth—in every instance in which I was involved with a psychopath or even just a run of the mill jerkwater arse!

Thank you for this well written post. God bless.

Ox Drover

Changedforever! TOWANDA for you sister!!! RIGHT ON!!! Also an excellent post!


Wow! I can soooo relate to lost girl’s feelings and what she’s going through. It has been over 2 years since the ex dumped me on my birthday but everyday I still feel a great deal of sadness and loss. I feel so hurt…I no longer cry myself to sleep every night. I am coping, I am functioning…I get to work and perform my job like I should. I provide and care for my son. But I feel no joy…I find no pleasure or meaining in my life. I go to bed wishing I never wake up again. I get up and get out of bed for my son. Inside I feel dead…I go through the motions. I look okay from the outside but I feel no hope, I look forward to nothing. I am just here breathing and alive so there is someone to provide and care for my son. I’ve come to believe that is all I’m here for. Maybe joy…happiness was never really part of the game plan in my life. I feel dead on the inside…therapy doesn’t help. My feelings remain the same. I wish I were dead and get this misery over with.

sherry winter

“A very wise spiritual counselor once said that unresolved anger becomes rage, and unresolved rage becomes numbness.”

I look forward then, to the realm of numbness. I was angry for the betrayal. I was enraged when he then ruined the relationship I’d built from the ashes. The anti depressants encouraged that rage to burn.

The meds are being reduced now, as I almost got me fired over the mood swings, paranoia, and hostility. But then it’s hard NOT to be paranoid when you are forced to walk into the lie he as built around what happened at work.

I have been told that I will continue to hurt until I forgive. I spent over 2 yrs blaming me, and not him… apologizing for my anger over his lies. Obviously it was MY fault he couldn’t love me… right?

I have come to the place where my form of forgiveness is simply the realization that he could easily have used, lied, and injured me more then he did, and yet, for what ever reason, he chose not to. Perhaps it was too much like taking candy from a baby, but for what ever reason, I am thankful for it.

I can not apologize again, and will not. My reactions and anger where valid. I will not play into his game, that says you can do ANYTHING to ANY ONE, and in 2 yrs the other person will HAVE to forgive you, or every one will be on his side, and reject the victim. It is TRUE… and yet I would rather be rejected by all my co-workers, and ex friends then to live by the rules of life that play to HIS favor.

I look forward to a future where I can be numb. Where I can walk into work and hear his voice, and not cry in quite at my desk. When I become numb, maybe I’ll finally be able to find a job somewhere else, as I wont throw red flags up in interviews because I’m DAMAGED GOODs. Or perhaps it wont matter that I work with a sociopath that used and abused me, who has more honor then me, and who I helped to MAKE into the power that now makes my life a daily hell.

I am remarried. I also LIKE the person I’m with. I simply am not able to love unconditionally and innocently as I was able to 5 yrs ago. I am changed. I don’t like the person I’ve become either, but it’s who I’m stuck with. Feeling affection for my husband and being able to trust him, is better then slowly killing myself, “or quickly” over a man who simply wanted another notch on his belt, and didn’t bother to tell you for years after you’d given up your life for him.


Woodrow, What a great post! I can so identify with it. I was married for 25 years and he left me. I felt there was some mistake. It has taken me 3 1/2 years since the separation and going through the divorce process to realize just how defective he was.

Tobehappy, Your quote:
“I don’t fear the future”I like being unattatched to a man right now. I fill my days with things I LOVE”.I am taking better care of myself and my body than I ever did. Its all about ME and when I am totally healthy and happy, THAT is when I may someday attract a man who is where I am at.

I believe I have honestly come to that place myself. It seemed I had non stop dated since the separation replacing one person with another until I found the spath boyfriend. He was the hardest one to break free of even though he is so empty. His life is NOTHING.

Changedforever, I sing, talk to myself, or God. I know he is listening. I journal. Sometimes I just talk out loud instead of writing it down. My sense of humor has sustained me. I was always able to laugh. I came to the point where I was not able to cry. I am there now as emotions and memories are rising to the surface. I just don’t want to lose my joy…..and SATAN will not steal it.

Deceived, I was where you were at at one time while I was still married. I didn’t want to kill myself, but I found that I didn’t pray to live either. The person who kept me going was knowing that my daughter needed me. There is hope. Really there is. The sun is starting to come out in my soul again.

Sherry Winter, Anger is a valid emotion. You do not need to forgive until you are good and ready. Maybe you will never be ready. The forgiveness part is for you and not them anyway. Having affection for your husband without losing yourself is good. Hang onto yourself. The only thing I would like to ask is is it possible to get another job or are you stuck in the one you have with the Sociopath Boss?

This has been such an encouraging thread.

Lostgirl, I hope you are getting a little encouraged now just knowing that you are not alone. We are all at different stages in our realization of what happened to us and in our recovery. Everyone goes at their own pace. I remember the anger and the rage. My husband used to throw little verbal darts at me and watch me blow. I did. Now I have to remind myself that anger is all right. I do not have to go with the agenda of other people including my mother (a story for another time) but I need to do what is best for me now.


Twice Betrayed

I really looked forward to reading this article, as soon as I saw the title! I’m looking for meaning in all this and sometimes I find it, only to lose it again, in anger or sorrow, at all the betrayal and fraud. Especially, how easily they just move on, to the next victim, after years in a marriage, family, children, as if it’s nothing. They don’t waste any of their time crying over lost time or trying to learn WHY-it’s onward to the next victim, that can introduce them to a whole new world of ‘worship’. We’re the ones left in the wake of all that destruction. They shake it off like water off a duck’s back and keep moving. Still; we would NEVER want to be them!

I really enjoyed this letter and Donna’s responses and poster’s comments! Thank you so much!

I’ve been numb and I don’t want that void again EVER! I’d rather be angry or hurt because I am feeling, at least, and I can deal with that. I know how to cope with emotions, it’s lack of them that threw me for a loop! Thankfully, that has passed now.

Oxy: as usual, a fantastic post regarding spiritual!

Sky: I relate! I don’t want to manage anyone’s emotions again-I’m all burned out. Still: my kids come at me to dump and wring me out to dry. Sheesh: the reaches of these P’s is genetically waaaaaay out there! *sigh


Since we’re dealing with abnormal people, our reactions are normal. The article was another one that was so helpful. I go through the motions of life, being numb most of the time, but having times where I can glimpse how things could be emotionally. I feel like I have been run over by a train – it’s taking more time than I want to recover (and I truly wonder if that will ever happen). In the end, I want to win, become a better me, not having this awful disorder take me and/or my children down.

sherry winter

I’ve been looking for a job since BEFORE I found out he was a lying cheating jerk… since his con was that we couldn’t let people know about us because we worked together. He’s a lead worker, and is not held accountable, but protected by the same union I belong to. He knew NOT to get into management, having lost many MANY jobs over taking advantage of employees, back when he worked in the restaurant business. Of course no one here checked those references, since his brother in law, and mother both worked for the agency, and were big wigs. Back when it started he was not my lead worker, then when I found out about his lies, I had a break down and management sent me off to “cool down,” at another agency.

Well, the COOL DOWN time was for almost 2 yrs, and don’t you know the statue of limitations with abuse of his position ran out after 2 yrs. I am told to LET THE PAST STAY IN THE PAST… blah blah blah.

The job market is hard. And I’m damaged goods. If I quit, I would lose the only thing I had left after he destroyed my life, my job and my farm. I’d rather burn in hell right next to him, then give him one inch more of this lousy life then he’s already taken.

OK, obsessive there. However, he’s spent 50 yrs taking advantage of people like me. KNOWING that they will either go away by choice, or others will run them away when after 2 yrs they are still complaining of his abuse. He just uses people, never confesses, and waits knowing that after time every one including the victim will get sick of it.

He ruined my life. Lied to me. Cheated on me. And had every one believing that I imagined we had a relationship, after I’d divorced a man who worshiped me for his lies. My fault, my problem, blah blah blah. I was going through an emotionally unstable time, and he totally pushed me over the edge, and then stomped on me. I have been trying to get a better job, or even a demotion for 5 yrs now… and the insecurity, and head trip he’s given me, make me a time bomb to employers. That and I’m old enough, employers would rather hire someone at my stage of training and experience that are 20 yrs younger then me.

Sorry, I’m sitting here, listening to the jerk talk to my boss within ear shot. It makes me sick.


you just wrote the story of my life as it is these days:
“…as if I am a fraud, a fake ”“ not so disimilar from him. And with family and friends telling me how strong I am, how far I’ve come, how better things are out there for me”how to explain to them that despite all the foundations I am laying for the future, sometimes it seems like little more than “busywork”, and that sometimes I don’t even do it for myself, but for them, for their sense of peace, building for a future that I do not entirely believe in…”
Yep, they all tell me the same things, & I’m doing all those “busywork” things, & all the time I’m doing them, I feel like they’re only “gestures” for “them”: the people who tell me how much they believe in me. Far more than I believe in myself!!! I made an attempt to get back to my artwork about 10 days ago: I got a nice sketch down, hit a few licks at the shading, & laid the pastel on the page, & there it sits….not more than 3′ from my elbow as I write.
Gestures. I try to see them as more than that, but all the time, I feel like “the fraud”. I really DO want to get on with my life, a new & improved life, but like you, I have to honestly question myself about how much I believe in it….& to convince myself that YES I DO believe in myself & in life!

I’ve been applying for jobs online for months now….but, seriously: how many people want to hire a 66yo woman who hasn’t had a “job” since 1976 (when I took up my artwork full-time). So yesterday I went to an in-person interview for a restaurant hostess job—after all i had Playboy training & 10 yrs of upscale restaurant experience…BUT IN THE 60s & 70s!! It was horrible. I was just awful. Instead of telling them how good I’d be at the job, I kept APOLOGIZING for not having had a job in 35 yrs! I was so embarrassed at my inability to present myself confidently, that I just fled from probly the shortest interview ever!

….& yes, Gem, I know it’s because of the same thing you expressed:
“The pining is over but the thoughts are there constantly, I am empty inside I look in the mirror and see an old ugly person (even though people compliment on my youthful looks). I am still vibrant to the outside world but inside I am dead.” And, as SueK talked about, my “permanently sad & angry face”. I don’t know if that’s what other people see, or if it’s just the way I feel that I MUST look, since that’s the way I feel inside.

It’s all but destroyed my already-unsteady sense of self-confidence! I don’t feel attractive any more—my body looks great (if you don’t glimpse the suddenly saggy skin on my arms….arghhh), but I’m so paranoid that my inner turmoil is showing in my face. I’m so paranoid that my inner turmoil is audible in my voice & that the things I say are tinged by the sadness, bitterness, depression & loss that’s so dominant in my psyche. And so I’m not only obsessed by the constantly repeating thots about what happened between J & me & the lies & betrayal & lies & abandonment & the lies & what & why brot me to this place: I’m also obsessed by constantly 2nd-guessing everything I’ve just said to people! I’d always been known for my personality & sense of humor & intelligence, & now I feel like the village idiot. And I’m so concerned about it—so frickin paranoid—that I can feel it tripping me up in all my exchanges, even with BFFs & family!

So THAT’S what THE BETRAYAL did to me. I don’t meet that many new people, especially new men, so I don’t have any occasion to mistrust others’ motives or to wonder if they’re going to betray me. I don’t trust MYSELF anymore! I didn’t have a Great sense of self-worth when I met J, but I felt like I’d done fairly well in my life, in spite of my rotten childhood….And so for 8 yrs, he constantly reassured me of how perfect I was, how much more lovable & likable than other women, such a perfect companion. And then he walked out & turned around to reiterate again & again what an unlovable & unlikable person I was….that “not one day in the past 3 yrs had been good enough” for him.

OMG. I was just going along, being who I am, thinking life was good & about to get better & better as he was about to finally hit success in his work & we’d be living our dream in Mexico….& I’m told that none of it was true. That’s what the betrayal did to me. So the meaning I’m trying to find is the same Oxy quoted from Frankl: I’m trying to find new meaning in my life starting with new meaning in who I am. As you’ve all said, it’s not easy, it’s not fun, in fact it’s HeLL…..but it has to be done. And one of these days I’ll look back at where I’ve come to & realize that this period of time was probly one of the most vital periods in my life. At least that’s my hope & my prayer.

Donna — This is an excellent article, helping people understand how to find meaning from any difficult life experience.

The power of emotional healing is very real. It (not just intellectual awareness) shifts our psychological DNA at levels that can truly transform us. How we get from point A to Z is not easy, but it is a truly incredible process. Amazing and awesome, this access to invisible resources (God, universal love, etc.) that provide assistance in our ongoing personal growth is both humbling and empowering.

Profound stuff, with potential for much joy to emerge at the end of painful experience. I have been privileged to witness such healing and growth in other people. And I am so grateful for my own journey of ongoing healing from family-of-origin issues (having grown up in a family damaged by abuse and alcoholism) as well as subsequent encounters with pathological narcissists, both professionally and personally.

For these and other reasons, as seems to be the case with OxDrover, “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Dr. Frankl is one of my favorite books.

Ox Drover

Sherry winter,

YOU ARE NOT “STUCK WITH” who you are now, you can experience joy again…but you must BELIEVE YOU CAN. As long as you think you are “stuck with yourself” where you are now, you will make that very thing come true, be true.

I have been in the “stuck” phase time and time again, and crawl out and then fall back into the pit of stuck again, but keep on crawling out of the pit, do not think you can’t get out. DO NOT GIVE UP at “stuck”!!!!!

Fallling back is part of the “process” but eventually you can and will get out if you keep on working on it and BELIEVE you can.

Fannie, yea, great book, huh? It turned me around and started me on the journey that led to LF and to healing.

Dear Yes, YEPPERS, THAT IS IT!!! But next time you will do better at the job interview….this was just a trial and you will make it next time! As for the wrinkles and such, you know, I saw Ann Margaret on the TV the other day and she has had so much plastic surgery—BAAAADDDD plastic surgery, I might add, that you know, I’d rather have my authentic wrinkles than her “melted Barbie Doll” plastic looks. LOL So churp up chickie! Put on your bouncy hair and go get’em at the next job! ((((hugs))))


When my life as I knew it, blew up in my face, I immediately began seeing a therapist. After a few sessions of hearing my story (but, not nearly all . . . because even then I was still in the dark as to the lies and deceptions), I asked my therapist, “Why did this happen?” Because I’m one of those people who genuinely believes that all things happen for a reason.

I asked this simple question, because this time I was stuck . . I could see no reason why it happened to me. Because in my heart of hearts, I believed I did everything “right.” I did everything you do for a person you love, for a marriage, for a family. I did everything that God expected of me, that my marriage vows said I should. I gave up my career for him, I moved for him, I raised the kids alone for him, I took care of the house/finances for him, I was the pretty wife on his arm for him. So if everything that I did was for HIM, then why then would he leave me?

My therapist’s response was rather simple and it hit home big-time . . . “Because God was protecting YOU. He saw you were in a bad situation and you were never going to get yourself out, so HE got you out.”

Wow! it was powerful stuff . . . because that was the first time I saw that maybe someone was looking out for ME, and not me looking out for the other person.


I am trying to find meaning in it…. but when I realized he PLANNED this and was “working it” behind my back for months I wanted to die! That loss of innocence, trust, and the overwhelming unbelief that evil is THAT EVIL!!

BUT: I can’t find meaning in losing my children and Grandchildren to his lies.

How would you ever find meaning in that??????????

I was married to a Psyco man who I was his “image” and “mother” for 29 years,but I raised a beautiful family. I poured my life into them. Cookies out of the oven in the afternoon for the smell…..field trips, hmeschooled, We became missionaries while husband would not tell me what was causing my colitis, panic attacks, anger….I knew there was something wrong! But I was always told …nothing!! !! So smile some more and pray that God “heals” your husband. My “rage turned to numbness” and I died a slow death married to him. I thought we were to “lay down our lives for our friends” and I took it literally!!!!….. until i died spirtually, emotionally and in every way. I was 110 lbs. and had huge sores in my mouth and throat and Mono-like symptoms. Just today I learned that was probably the toxins generated through stress leaving my body through open welts in my mouth. I sat in a chair in the backyard. Numb. Then his double-life came open, Porn addiction, leaving for 3 nights at time…. lies, money gone, terrible abuse!! I divorced him but still loved him. Thought it was best for my children. I built a business, healed. Prayed. Thought I knew the signs of abuse to look for…..Then i met Satan himself.

He makes my first husband look like a walk in the park! He deliberately takes anything and everything that means anything to me. Poisoned my kitty that I loved and now it is brain-damaged and mean. He convinced my children that my responses to my first Psyco husband were really that I WAS CRAZY,that there was NOTHING wrong with that husband. It was all me!! Even after 15 marriage councelors, a Dr. that diagnosed him pathological, he stole 100,000 dollars from me. etc. But he convinced them that the first hubby was fine and I am the one with the problem. Ladies…I did not even fight, raise my voice…I would take 2 weeks to think about how I would approach him on a subject because of his rage!!!

…but my RESPONSES to the lies when you are believing them and rallying all your strength and doing everything for them….. and then the rug would be pulled out again….and they #[email protected]% with your mind!!!! The SHOCK, HORROR, UNBELIEF, CONFUSION….. they were responses. I did not cause what happened. I was too busy being Mom and wife, and Missionary, and everything else everyone needed.

So, my precious childen were told that these things were happening in my marriage to Satan as well behind their back,….which is a lie!!! I loved him, cherished him and would do nothing to cross him….. When I did cross him once. He went to all their homes crying about how he loves me, and is sooo worried about me but that I show all the signs of BPD. He bought books and underlined them and gave them to friends and family. Emails showed he was spreading these lies for months while I was trying to be the best wife in the world. One way to my face…another to my back. We were only married 10 months! It was all a game to him. Control. Manipulation. Destruction. Lies. We were pawns in his game, while I was believing in a future……and nearly worshipping him!!

So….my children began to believe this “wise, caring, man who cries for their Mom…but just can’t help her” Who is so believable he could sell ice to an eskimo!!

So, I am trying to heal from the realization of the evil, and what he truly was. But, then, and so much worse is ………the loss of my daughters and Grandchildren. “He told them to cut me off and protect my Grandbabies from me.” It’s almost a year now…….

I do not believe there is sense is losing your life’s work, love, devotion and treasures ( your babies) to lies. You know what…. I had natural childbirth for 4 children because I didn’t want anything “bad” to get into them. But I brought this Demon into our family, and they were so nieve, gullible and vulnerable they belived him!!!

I hope heal from him. Learn. Let God use it for others. At least, that’s what I tell myself……

But I can’t heal from knowing that I am me…the same loving Mom that gave her life for them, and they won’t even look in my eyes to see it for themselves!!! Everyday is robbed from me!!! Mornings are a slap in the face.

So, I understand. Nothing matters when every person you have ever loved is ripped from your arms. When you have kisses and hugs, and prayers that go up to heaven every minute of everyday….and they are believing you are crazy.

Even Job had 3 friends! I have 2 sisters in another state….and a 16 year old son. I am serious, that’s all that’s left of a huge influence of people over my life!!!

But nothing takes the place of your daughters and precious grandchildren. I walk around dead. I got a job. but i only exist after him……

if there ever is an “after him”…… he lives 3 states away and I have caught him stalking me 2 out of the last 3 weekends. That’s a 10 hour drive!! Yesterday he stalked the people I work with to 4 places and finally they helped me call the police to make a report, with them as witnesses. As he was parked not even 30 ft. from the front door of my work, where i am in an office alone.

I have lost my abilty to feel “scared”. I almost wish he would just get it over with….but that would be too easy. He likes to see me die a slow, lonely death instead.

Thanks for listening…… hugs. and thank you, your posts are so helpful!!!

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