By | January 24, 2010 652 Comments

Forgiveness, sociopathy and choice

Although it has been many years and there is a new relationship, a friend of mine still wishes every day that the sociopath that preyed on her will “drop dead.” Wishing and hoping that some horrible end will come for the sociopath takes up time and energy in my friend’s life; as she searches for evidence that something bad has indeed happened to the sociopath and then is disappointed.

Recently, I discussed the topic of forgiving psychopaths with a psychopathy researcher who is not a clinician. He said he received a letter from someone complaining that friends were pressuring the victim to forgive. It was the psychopathy researcher’s opinion that people should NOT be told they have to forgive a psychopath.

Upon reflecting on this opinion, I believe that this psychopathy researcher may have a special insight that informs his view —that psychopaths should not necessarily be forgiven. Perhaps this insight is: in spite of their brain disorder, psychopaths still have a choice about what they do.

My son is now 7, he and I rough and tumble play every day. It is impossible to wrestle and not have some kind of slight hurt come to one or the both of us. From the time he was very young, perhaps as young as 3, my son has appreciated the idea that mommy didn’t “do it on purpose”. If he pokes me in the eye or lands rough on my stomach he’ll say “Sorry, I didn’t do it on purpose.”

This example illustrates our inborn social contract that says we do not hurt each other on purpose. If hurts happen in the course of life, they are usually unintended side effects of other behaviors and so should be forgiven. Cheating on a spouse could even be forgiven as an unintentional hurt if the person succumbed to temptation in a moment of weakness, realized the wrong committed, then repented. Even murder is not punished as much if it is an accident.

The problem with sociopaths is that their behavior is no accident. They hurt people on purpose, carefully planning, then executing their plans. After 7 years of reading research articles and talking to victims, I believe choice is part of a complete explanation of sociopathy and victimization. If you watch any of the TV shows about sociopaths you too will see that the theme of their choices permeates the media.

Friday night, Gangland on the History Channel told the story of Billy Wadd, a member of the Devil’s Disciples motorcycle gang who gained notoriety when he broke the biker’s code of silence and testified against his nephew who murdered a family during a home invasion. Wadd said he decided to aid the prosecution of his nephew, John Wolfenbarger, instead of “taking care of things the usual way” because “You just don’t kill kids.” It is clear he believed these murders were performed with an intention that not even another sociopath could accept, so even sociopaths believe in their own capacities for choice.

Now let’s reconsider whether victims should be told they have to forgive. It seems there is a natural human instinct that says forgiveness is reserved for accidents, unintended consequences, and perhaps intentional slights that are out of character. How then can you ever forgive a psychopath?

Psychopaths have been compared to predators. I think this analogy is seriously flawed. A predator such as a lion or wolf has to kill in order to survive. Psychopaths don’t hurt for survival. They hurt because they want to, because they like hurting. Their enjoyment of hurting increases the likelihood they will choose to hurt if given the opportunity. They also seek out opportunities to hurt -not for survival but for pleasure.

Since sociopaths, with intention, repeatedly violate our inborn social contract, perhaps they should never be forgiven.

Instead of forgiving, I hope, my friend, you will think about all this and thoroughly digest the reality of the sociopath you shared life with. The reality is terrible— you shared life with a truly evil person, someone who regularly, with malice and forethought, chooses to harm others. Don’t stop hoping to see the day the scourge of this evil person’s existence will be wiped from the Earth, but do not waste any more of your time on him.

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About Billy Wadd? Could it be that he is making a deal with the prosecution in exchange for his testimony so as to get a better plea bargain? If he is a sociopath, he will do nothing that does not benefit himself. And, ratting for a gang member can mean a death warrant on the street. Will he go to prison for a long time, but lesser than if he had not aided the prosecution? Does he hope that by the time he gets out of prison . . . he will be forgotten & no gang member will come for him?

Also, my S would agree that he had choices. He chose to commit an act. But, he did not intend to hurt me. Therefore, he was not responsible for that consequence. And if I was hurt, that was my fault. I should not have provoked him to act in such a fashion. Also, really, what he did was no big deal. I was just too sensitive.

There is murder wherein an act is committed with the intention to bring about the end of a life. Then there is an accidental death where in an act is intentionally committed but there was no intent to bring about the end of a life–the end of the life was an unforeeseen consequence of what was believably to others an innocent & justifiable act.

Sociopaths see all their acts as normal and justifiable. Or so they say. Can we really know what they think? What is real and what is the lie? Like Billy Wadd. Does he really believe that the other defendant went too far in killing children? Or did his lawyer tell him to say that because that was in his best interest? One never knows with a pathological.

Why forgive? The key is to forget. Truly forget.


this is a great post. every hurt large and small is perpetrated with malice and forethought. it’s about playing with prey and seeing if they can kill it little by little, winning a little something along the way (money, sex, loyalty!). it is a game of psychological torture; of having the prey think it is all their fault.

forgiveness implies a component of remorse. with these evil pods, there is none.
no remorse = no forgiveness.
and i’m just fine with that.


Dr Leedom,

Bear with me here. Because I am still so wounded from my experience with SPath, I have a tendency to read into everything when something is written about them, and need to qualify things a lot. When you write that spaths like hurting and they hurt because they want to, does this mean that they can make a choice not to? I know I’m at a place now where I am really hurt that my spath has found someone else and the illusion is one of happiness and doing all the things he wouldn’t with me like meeting friends and family, and so I wonder if he can just make a choice and not do any of those horridly pathological things he was doing to me and others. Intellectually, it just doesn’t make sense at all that he could turn off his pathology, but I need more reassurance about this. I hate having to go over and over this in my mind, but it’s where I’m at right now.


As I read the various posts, I wonder if my spath has a choice. Apparently some horrible things happened to him as a child as well (and I do believe they did as his brother told me about some of them) so maybe this has caused his behavior just as our childhood trauma may be causing our behavior today (just read blog on healing).

He did once cry to me that he hurts everyone and he needs to go to a shrink, so maybe there is some hope for him. And as I find resources for my healing, I am learning (at this late age) what MY issues are and in some small way, I am actually thankful to him because I now have more insight and therefore more tools to NOT be a victim anymore! Not that I forgive him, but I do see that MY dysfunction let me be susceptible and thus I don’t need to stay in victim mode. I can heal, I hope!

Of course, if I saw him today, I would still want to punch him in the face!

Thanks for listening!


personally, i don’t think they have a choice. i think they’d like to think they do. but i knew my spath for more than 20 years, and he always left a wake of destruction. i just never thought he’d do it to me. in that sense, i did think he had a choice. i was proven wrong.


They choose.. to do exactly what they want when they want and watch us…then they get excited watching us get all riled up….forgiveness is for people who actually have values and morals and human decency…the people that choose to do good with their lives..they deserve our respect…and forgiveness.. callousness , parasitic lifestyles do not deserve forgiveness…and wishing harm on them is like hoping Karma works its stuff and fast…


Hope… I still wish my ex would get run over backwards and forwards…its a refreshing wish……


I now know why some cheaters have been run over! My spath is so lucky he is in another country and so am I or I may have gotten in big trouble!

My situation is so fresh (I just found out yesterday that he still lives with his x – yet another lie of many) so I am going through so many emotions! Trying to sort out the lies, which is an impossibility, trying to come to grips with my dysfunctions, grieving over the loss of dreams and hope, anger, anger, anger, frustration with not being able to confront him (actually that’s a blessing) and feeling like crap because I have let this paralyze me for the last few months. I’ve been missing sleep work etc and HAVE to pull myself up! This site helps so much.

I have a question to pose, although I already took action, but curious what you think.

I emailed via facebook the ex who I believe has been lied to herself and is probably a mess as well, although I could be wrong about his involvement with me and told her I was sorry but he lied to me and I didn’t know he still lived with her. This was a big decision and also I thought would bring me some closure. I haven’t hear back and am now obsessing if he got to the email somehow. Please forgive my behavior but it wasn’t a nasty email to her and I thought she should know what he’s been doing while in the States. Well, since I haven’t heard anything, I don’t have closure! Should I write a snail mail letter? Or just get on with my life and assume she will find everything out anyway?

I just feel crazed as this is so recent!


I am no expert… do what you feel is best for you…if it makes you feel better to write and figure it out…? putting the pieces of the puzzle together is not simple, they can also purseuade others to lie for them as well with their charm and manipulation…I only figured out my ex years ago a narc/but now I realize he has always been antisocial/spath…/narc etc…and have my own theory on how it came about for him…dont care though.. I now realize I do not love him at all…not a bit..he was not real ..just a facade, who places more value on power control and possessions? than human beings like his “family”.. he is not my family, never will be and I do not care if he fell off the face of the planet , I would not shed a tear if lightning struck him..twice …I just hope karma works quickly for him…as I am sure its just a matter of time…I am not judging your behavior..its not for me to judge…. a saying I saw somewhere said before you judge me make sure your own hands are clean…..assumptions and judgements only make us look stupid and like asses…I have faith and hope I have not given up on my life or my families lives …he who fights and runs away lives to fight another day…hope I answered your question..everything happens for a reason when its supposed to happen..that is why we can not control everyone and everything…we are not supposed to.
let go….and let the powers that be.. its …easier said than done..


Forgiving them only serves to keep us stuck believing that they are capable of insight. It is more important to accept that they exist, have always existed, and will always exist and to forgive ourselves for believing otherwise.


Thank you Spirit.

I am learning so much on this site, I’m in overload! I will make it through though and am lucky that at least I wasn’t married to the man, nor had his children! I am still in bargaining mode because part of me cannot fathom that he was so calculating and didn’t mean any of it! But of course, as every lie became apparent, it was harder and harder to believe anything. And then it culminated with me finding out he stills lives with her which was the straw (I am not a “mistress” and do have my morals!). Whereas the ex or whatever she is has to deal with this day in and day out for the rest of her life.

Small blessings! Tomorrow I am going to get out and start aggressively taking care of myself. I’m allowing the weekend to be my grieving pity party!

Thanks so much for your responses and being an ear for me! I dont feel quite so alone!



So true. I have to say one of my biggest struggles is trying to fathom how someone could do something like this. BUT like you said, these kind of people do exist and we can never understand how they can do it. I mean, I can see being damaged (believe me) and having issues but once you’re an adult, you should at least have learned to stop such destructive behavior.

Speaking of destructive behavior (speaking of my own), he warned me in his own sly way from day one! He said he was a bad liar on many occasions until I asked him what he meant and then he never said it again. He also gave me other clues. He totally toyed with me. Forgiving myself for not taking car of ME is where I’m looking to get to now.


Dear Dr Leedom, thank you for the post. I definitely think they have choices. The X wrote me yesterday another card stating that he has emptied all the bottles of wine I brought over to him (he clearly aknowledged that the bottles were mine and I had suggested he bring them over to my sister who lives about half a mile away from him). Why on earth is he writing me this? It can’t be other than another attempt t torture me (he still cares about me, he enjoyed the wine without me, and he finished the stealing of my good French burgundy). We split in April 08, and I wrote the last card to him in September 08, then it was only him sending me cards every two months, NC from my part. So what the hell was he thinking? Well, each card had less effect, and the card yesterday did not even raise my heart rate. I thought well he is done with the bottles, so there is nothing left from me over there. Fine. Done. I have choices too!

Today I took a test about “Positive psychology”, where there are 6 virtues and 24 characteristics tested.

1. Knowledge and wisdom
2. Courage
3. Humanity
4. Justice/Rightfulness/Fairness
5. Temperance
6. Transcendence

I had some weaknesses in “friendliness”, forgivenness, social binding; well, they asked for “NSP first class target qualities” I try very hard to to overcome!! It was like the LF-test “Are you a target” in reverse!

Dear Hopeforfuture: welcome to LF, and sorry that you qualify as a “Club-member”.

There is no such thing as closure (the X I had dealt with is a fine example!). The closure has to be within yourself.

No answer from her is a very fine answer! It is a NO! Or it is Speechlessness! Or Stop this, I do not want to hear anything because he is my soulmate and I do NOT wake up from this dream (yet).

It is you to chose the answer. Just let it be, because it will hurt you even more if you GET an answer (I have been there!)

Just relax, enjoy the quietness, enjoy the non-drama of being in the best possible, understanding company (of yourself), and pamper yourself, take a bubble bath, clense thorroughly, and let the bad thoughts sink and disappear in the drain of the bathtub, and make yourself a nice cup of orange flower tea and snuggle in your most comfortable bed and imagine your place you liked most when you were a child.

One step a time!

And read and vent and rant, and get knowledge as knowledge is power. I recommend the archives; for me Kathleen Hawkes Steps were most helpful!

The best thing to do is make the decision of going No contact, take back your power you have handed over to him.

Not to read, listen, call, email, snailmail. Him and all the people connected with him. Just walk away. It takes away his power he still might have and diminishes the hurt; this will hurt like hell, and doing this “Cold turkey” is even worse. Come here, read and blog! There are always people who know and can accompany you through the very first times.

By the way, the “hard youth” is a classic “pity ploy”, and most bad people use this as a handy excuse. This is a choice as well!



Dear Hopefrofuture, I want to make an addition to my above post to you.

I just read your other entries, and you too had choices regarding your past! You chose to not become a jerk, evil perpetrator and tormentor cheater, although you had prime examples to copy from!

You go girl! You can be VERY proud of yourself for not chosing this way that was presented to you from an early age on! Congratulations!!!

It is never ever too late to start a healty love affair with yourself! You took already a great step coming here, taking off the rose colored glasses and start digging within yourself to become the wonderful you who you were meant to be from the very first cry at your birth.



libelle, thank you so much!!! Your words have brought me some true joy today! Made me cry but still! Thank you!!! I will take you advice but first one last “whine”:

One of the things that also hurts is that I just feel so worthless – as if I’m the “other” woman that is easily discarded and meaningless because he goes back to ex. Like their relationship is so valuable. I was just reading other blogs on how to survive infidelity and making your marriage work, etc…(and even though I didn’t know he was still with ex and they are divorced, I’m curious why she would stay) and they all come off as if the other woman is nothing but fodder for his ego. Which I guess we are but I don’t understand why they validate this kind of behavior in men! (or serial cheaters anyway). Like the marriage is so vital and sanctified that staying with a spath is more important to the family than getting rid of the cheat! This is some strange co-dependent behavior as I see it. And I think I need to stay away from those sites because it is hurtful to me.

Okay, now onto your advice and start that healing!!!


P.S. You rock, libelle!!!


Hi everyone, I’m signing in after a long absence under a new screen name. Unfortunately, I was, like some of you, feeling a bit ignored when my comments were so often not answered, that I chose to stop writing. I have continued all along to read the articles and blogs which have been a never ending source of strength for me, and I apologize for my sensitivity possibly standing in the way of a contribution I never wrote, that may have helped someone else. I think we all need to remember that when new-comers finally get the courage to start writing here, they are in such a tender, needy place”they are the new kid at school”and unless several classmates make a real effort to continually connect and welcome them, they will pull back and withdraw to the last seat in the corner thinking, “they don’t REALLY want to be friends with me..they didn’t even notice how sad I was today”

For the most part, this site is full of wonderful, caring and supportive women (and men)”Having been one who survived a suicide attempt, I can tell you all firsthand”sometimes it’s a battle to keep from slipping back to that place. Hopefully, without the P/S/N’s in our lives, none of us will ever feel that desperation”but all of us should remember that anyone who posts could need so much more than they let on”

Now, my reason for writing”.

to Hopeforfuture”Don’t bother trying to “warn” the ex about her Psycho”even if you manage to contact her, she won’t believe you”she’ll tell him”he’ll say you’re crazy”she’ll tell you you’re crazy”and it will make you crazy!!!! Don’t waste your time, she’ll find out on her own”.go NO CONTACT You CAN do it, and it WILL get better and easier.

Stargazer”I’ve been praying for you and your kitty, for peace and comfort ;“(


Hopeforfuture: They are true masters of invalidation and manipulation! “Mine” managed to make me tremble at the simple question “where is the sugar?” in the grocery store, and he looked with contempt at my wrong answer as they had rearranged the shelves….

“Your” X is not invalidating you, he is PLAYING both of you, him being the trophy (never possessed by the winner, but has to be handed over to the new winner)! You can be lucky having handed over the “prize” to the new winner, and now PLEASE stay away from the game/competition, will you?! (((((Hugs)))))

Timeheals: welcome back! I look at LF being my lifeline, and the blogs are just to let go the sorrows into cyberspace, and when I really needed help I got it. I was persistent then, blogging and communicating with others, because answering others gives often more insight about one’s own quirks, I have found out. Lf is wonderful, isn’t it?

By the way, have you al,l LF gang, a relaxing evening/start of the week!

Ox Drover

Dear Liane,

What is the definition of “forgiveness?” To me that is the crucial question. Does it mean we just pretend it didn’t happen? Does it mean that it was okay for them to do it? Does it mean we must go on and have a trusting relationship with these people again?

As I was growing up, my egg donor’s “definition” of forgiveness was that I had to pretend that the hurt hadn’t happened, pretend that the person who did bad behavior repeatedly was “trustworthy” and that “my hurts” did not matter or were acknowledged. In order to foster this idea in me, I was told from an early age that to be angry with someone for hurting me either deliberately or accidentally was wrong.

My earliest memory of this was in second grade (age 6) when a girl in my class repeatedly beat me up in school every day for most of the year. When she broke my jaw it finally became apparent that something had injured me seriously. However, I was told that I could not be angry at her, that it wasn’t her fault because she lived in a very crowded situation and was simply taking her frustration out on a weaker kid (she was the youngest of 21 children from the same two parents) and that I had to play with her afterwards.

As the initial abuse was going on, I felt ashamed that I was being beaten, and did not tell. After I had the broken jaw, I felt ashamed that I was “found out.” The entire “counseling” I got from both my teacher and from my egg donor was that I should not be “mad” and only excuses for why I shouldn’t be angry at her, and why I must “forgive” her and play with her.

This indoctrination continued throughout my life, and I partly bought into it, though it never felt right that my feelings didn’t matter….but eventually I realized that my feelings DO matter, and that “forgiveness” does NOT mean that I must forget, or trust that person, but rather, that I get the bitterness out of my own heart, the rancor, the wrath, the negative feelings I have, but I can acknowledge that they hurt me, that they did it intentionally, that they are not trustworthy, and that I do NOT have to have a relationship with someone who uses or abuses me in any way. I am NOT obligated to associate with these people and I have made boundaries that I think are reasonable and rational and I will enforce these boundaries.

People (no matter WHAT the relationship) who cross these boundaries will not be in my intimate circle of trust….unless they make the effort to successfully show remorse and a change in behavior that convinces me of their true repentance, acknowledgment of the harm and hurt they have done to me.

By acknowledging my own feelings of justifiable anger and hurt, and disengaging in trusting these individuals, I am able to give up the bitterness that EATS AT ME without condoning in any way the behavior of the other person. What they did is wrong, and I don’t have to accept it, but at the same time I do not want to be filled with rancor and bitterness at what they did for the rest of my life. It doesn’t hurt them because they don’t care, but it hurts me by pushing peace out of my life.


**Sigh** I am a little frustrated. I am frustrated that I can’t seem to get over this feeling that he’ll be happy with this new girl. I get how pathological he is. I completely get it and I keep telling myself that he just can’t turn it off at will. But I also know how incredibly smart he is and I know his capacity to fool people. So, he goes from brutal, just absolutely brutal, cruel behavior with me to joining the community crew team with this girl and spending the holiday with her family. Even his sisters went over to the new girl’s family’s home. I really do feel like this is such a personal slap in the face, since he got together with her immediately after me. He kept calling me afterwards, and was so pissed that I wouldn’t get together with him. I didn’t know it at the time, but while he was seeing this girl, he called me and was apartment sitting for a friend and invited me over to watch movies, just as friends, as he said. He was so angry that I wouldn’t and then said that he should just stop calling me because he wants to see me even more when we talk. He was definitely seeing this girl then! I never met his friends or anything, and now he just got off the dating site he was on, the one he used to cheat on me. Sometimes I am so certain that he is doing whatever he needs to do to feed this woman’s illusion, and that I guy this pathological simply could not be treating her in a normal way. I hate him, hate him, hate him. And I can’t help but be feeling very sad for myself tonight.


timeheals –

I used to sit along the sidelines in class too….scared (not all women who love pyschopaths are extroverts). I’m glad you survived and are back here to share at LoveFraud.

Welcome 🙂


hopeful – there is a buddhist mediation called tonglen – giving and taking.

it might be helpful if you want to give it a try:

you start by thinking for a few moments about something that expands your heart in a big way (for me it is my long gone kitty) – until you actually feel a little lightness or openness in your chest;

now give attention to this horrid feeling of having been devalued and discarded – do this for a few moments, until you can feel it with you;

breath into your heart, and know that your heart can transform this horrid feeling through its capacity (don’t’ try’ to transform it, just do a little experiment – just breath) breathing in your own pain deeply and breathing it out as something positive – light, or happiness, or a wish for healing, etc.;

then after doing this for only a few moments, know that there are others on your very block feeling the same thing you are. breath in their pain, with complete confidence that your heart has the capacity to transform their pain, breath it in deeply and breath out your wish for them;

extend this exercise to the people on the other side of town;

to the city limits…you get the drift;

and extend it to her – because she WILL be where you are, and this exercise knows no bounds of time – so the future and the past are fair game;

when you have done each step (and just long enough to feel it, and move on to the next), have given your best wishes for everyone, bring your attention back to yourself, and breath a few moments more;

wish that all beings benefit from what you have done;

sit and be with yourself.

best, one step


One Step,

I love that, and I’m going to try it a little bit later when I am getting ready to wind down. That’s beautiful. Thanks so much for your support!



hey, hopeful – you are welcome. I am glad it looks interesting!


hopeful6596 I know EXACTLY how you feel…what finally did it for me and my exP was knowing that he wouldn’t commit to me, yet I was good enough for sex…and then he starts a relationship with a new woman…sleeps with BOTH of us on the same weekend mind you…and I’m sure he planned on continuing to do so, if he thought neither of us would find out about the other. Of course that was it for me, as I found out, having suspicions anyway…and within 2 weeks he brings her to meet the family as someone he’s crazy in love with! We had been together almost 3 yrs, and he kept saying he was “getting there”…just couldn’t fall in love because of past hurts. Now they are living together and at first it hurt a lot…but you have to know something…Psychopaths are never REALLY’s all part of the game…everyone serves a purpose to them…a source of supply for something they want…sex, power over another…control. I used to feel so bad and think “why couldn’t he just say “I love you”…what’s wrong with me, that I’m not good enough for him? Why did he fall for her so easily? Well, maybe he knows she’s an easier target now that I’ve been suspicious for so long…she has money…he simply got bored and needs a new game…WHATEVER…it doesn’t really matter! EVERYTHING he says is a lie just like your P/S…he lied to you and he will to her…and right now I’m thanking God that I never did hear those 3 little words or I would have been taken in even deeper than I was…maybe married to the jerk. These men are dangerous and the more you read, the more you will see the potential they have for ruining your life if you try to keep any type of relationship with them.

Hang in there…keep reading…and writing…we’ve all been in your shoes …hugs

lightsaber…thank-you thank-you

to innocent to know

I tried to warn the next victim down the road, and she would not listen, surprise! They have to find out for themselves, and I tell you now, they will. it might take some time, but they will. It has been 6 months almost to the day and they are broken up. She’s still friends with him, probably because he gave her the” you will always be special” BS and she’s probably willing to be hoovered back into the relationship. My feeling is, he already has someone else on the take, so to say. She’ll learn, poor her when she does. Just try to put it past you. Work on helping yourself get through this, and you will. You cannot fix everything with them, there is no way. Move on and forget about them.



Thank you so much, too. That’s why I am here. Because everybody here has gone through the same thing. And I don’t think there is anyone here or anywhere that has been involved with a true SPath, and has any story that they ever really changed. I do know that is just isn’t possible…and yet….you know the drill. For some reason, it’s especially hard tonight. Thank you, again. I appreciate it

sherry winter

I am so tired of the abuse I recieved from my sociopath defining who I am, but it does. It takes a long time to heal, and no one really understands that hasn’t experience a p/s abuse. I have CPTSD, from almost 3 yrs of being exposed to his lies, and forgiving over and over again… thinking it was ME that was messed up… and then finally coming to grips that he didn’t care if I lived or died.

To reduce the triggers in my every day life that cause terrible flashbacks and suicidal thoughts, I’m having to find a new job, and have given up some groups and hobbies I really loved. All in the attempt to rid myself of the nightmares and daymares.

I too have thoughts of revenge and hope he dies a terrible death that will expose him to the world I have known as the sociopath he really is. But I’m realistic… like the song says, only the GOOD die young, and HE IS NOT!

He took me from a good marriage that was just going through a tough spot. After all, that’s what sociopaths do well, spot someone when they are weak and hurting. My ex remarried on the rebound just a few months later, so there is NO going back. I have remarried, and though there is no romance in the marriage, he really is the friend that the ex s/p pretended to be. I find I have created a SAFE place in his home to try and rest as I slowly heal. Still, even this new life is defined by what the sociopath did to me. I am painfully aware that I would not be here, in this house, or in the position at work, if it wasn’t for what the sociopath did to me, and the many MANY people who have chosed to believe HIM, because the TRUTH is too painful, or simply doesn’t play into what they WANT!!!

I get some relief. I don’t think of my hatred, or my pain 24/7 any more, but every day, some part of the day I will start crying because my life is a shaddow of what it once was. Or simply cry because I used to trust people and I don’t any more. Or cry because I don’t know who I am any more. Maybe the worse is knowing that I can go back to my old job because I would be forced to watch the sociopath prey on other inocent women, and because I have refused I am marked as a trouble maker, and have no future there.

Do you know how hard it is to be labled a trouble maker, when you have been a peace maker your whole life? There are half a dozen women in that office that he has abused, and used, but I’m the only one that had a nervous break down that in time turned into CPTSD.

Some times I wonder if I will carry this neon sign as long as I live, that says, “my life was ruined by the one I loved the most!” I am scared, and yet struggling to make some kind of life I can look forward to. The flash backs and nightmares are the worse, because you can’t really control them.

I have found my “version” of forgiveness for my sociopath, but it’s not really so much forgiveness as understanding his illeness. He is a sociopath, therefore since that IS WHAT AND WHO he is, what he did to me was mild. There are others he did worse to, so the fact that I was so easy to take advantage of, and he restrained himself even a little, is something I supose.

I will not truly forgive him ever… and that in itself is something someone who has always had a big heart and able to forgive, is hard to do and painful it its own way.

He is a sociopath… and if he hadn’t been raised by his father to feed of the good will of women around him, he might have chosen to be the next Ted Bundy… It could have been worse, I might have actually killed myself, one of those times I tried when I was with him.

I am so ready to be freed from the nightmare he brought into my life, but every day, and every moment, I remember I am HERE and not the trusting soul I once was, and that I will never have the life back that he stole from me. I can build a new life, and I’m working on that… but nothing will ever replace the life that I had.

I can get a new job, or so I hope, so that I will not have to watch him victimize others with managaments protection if not approval, but it will always be the job I got because I HAD TO to stay sain, and not because I had ever wanted to move on.

I simply wonder every day… will who I am NOW ever be who I want to be, or will I always be defined by the devistation he did to my life, and to my heart?

to innocent to know

Amen timeheals, he did say he loved me but the words were lacking! Other than that, same story!.

to innocent to know

love your blog, Sherry!


Dr. Leedom,

Thanks for your response. I am just beginning to snap out of the depression and getting the perspective that I really need to start caring for myself and getting on with my life. I also just read your post, “A Deepr Understanding of Love, ourselves and the Sociopath. Crystal clear. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂



I relapsed a few weeks back, and I looked at his facebook page. I had a horrible dream that night because he portrays the perfect life. He is lies…nothing he ever says on a public forum is true. The truth is in her facebook page, which she has protected so I can’t access it anymore (thankgod!). I know in my heart that I won and she lost, because he is living with her. When he left, I looked at him and said “the worst thing I could do to her, is send you to her.” He looked at me and smiled; he enjoyed that I would want to do her harm; and further, that he was the harm.

Ox Drover

Dear Bird,

It is sometimes easy for us to “relapse” and have emotional contact with them even without physical contact–especially in times of stress.

I realized recently that my over-reaction to my son C’s lie to me was because I was already stressed from the documents I had to read and go over in the preparation for my P-son’s upcoming parole hearing. It was a form of contact with P-son. Sure, my son C shouldn’t have lied to me, and I no longer trust him, and do not want him living in my house, but the absolute “melt down” I had over it was I am sure, made worse by the stress from the parole hearing which caused a form of “contact” by going over those letters he wrote to his Trojan Horse psychopath on how to manage our family to get me out of my own home or if all else failed to kill me.

I’m currently at my best friend’s house or at her cabin in West texas and just relaxing some. I need the time to chill out. I am having night mares every night about people hunting me to hurt me, or interacting with my son C, but I’m doing some better since I (with my doctor’s okay) raised the dose of my antidepressants.

I’ll get through this mess, just like I have gotten through all the rest of the mess.

Sure, Hopeful, Sherry Winters, and others, it takes TIME and we may never be exactly the same person we were before the betrayal, but different doesn’t have to be “bad” it CAN be “better”!!!! ((((hugs you all))) and always my prayers!


What a great insight. To me, forgiveness means understanding of the reasons why the hurt occured, seeing it from the other person’s point of view and accepting their reality. I did forgive. Once. Twice. Three times. Each time, more hurt followed. The P will continue to hurt as long as the door is open. But, when the door shuts in their face, they are just that – pathetic beings, not worthy of the thought. In great times, and bad times – never forgive a P. Forgiveness is for those who learn from their mistakes, and these ones don’t want to.


I hope the seperation you have, will give you the clarity you need to make the decisions you need to make. I am sorry you are dealing with what you are. I know your nightmares well, because I have had them as well. You are a strong mama, and you do what is best because only you know for sure. I wish you the best with caring. Do you have a dog? Get a big one!!


Dear Sherry Winter,

I just saw you post. This is the first one I have seen because I don’t spend as much time here as I used to. I just wanted to speak to you from where I sit now… I am 4.5 years past my “Bad Man”experience.

That is a tough question you ask…

Will you always define your life by this moment in time?

Maybe. Probably. That’s okay.

An experience with a Sociopath is very very painful, violating and confusing. It changes how we see the world and at first we will feel as if we can trust no one and it makes us angry…. “Gee, I used to be so trusting! Now I don’t trust anyone! I am so angry!”

But what is wonderful now, from where I sit, is that I do trust.. when trust is warranted. Aha! Sometimes, I even take my trust back if evidence shows that an adjustment needs to be made. And that’s okay! You know what? I feel a little safer in the world somehow.

I have grown up tremendously. I wasn’t taking care of me before. I was taking care of everyone else.. and their feelings and their crapola. If someone beat me up and then told me it was my fault, I would have believed them and then tried to fix myself so they wouldn’t have to chew me out or treat me bad again. What the heck?

Since the Bad Man, I have learned that other people’s behavior is not all about me anymore. It’s about them. I didn’t know that before. Also, these days, I am more of an observer than a reactor.

So, will you always define your life with a division? Before Bad Man vs. After Bad Man? Probably, but it’s okay.

It is a long journey and this lesson is one you will carry for a long time. It’s the hardest times that give us the most knowledge. I suspect that as you heal and move along the road, you will eventually find that your life is better. Mine is better now, and I am not talking about fancy cars and perfect relationships. I rent a room from some friends and I drive my poor old car that I have sent on 4 trips across the ocean. But my life is better.

What I have now that I didn’t have before is me. I have me in a way that I never thought possible.

Anyway, I don’t know if anything I am saying is making sense to anyone but me.

I just wanted to acknowledge your pain and hurt right now and tell you that I have been down that street. It does get better and you will continue to heal and grow. Be open to the possibility that life can continue to get better and a life you never imagined awaits you. I know how it feels to be mad about what you gave up… I gave up my dreams of living in the islands because I let a psycho Bad Man stalk me and torture me practically from the moment I set foot on the island. I take responsibility for that too. I know for sure I will never do something like that again…

Final answer: I do define m life by what happened to me. I see a distinct line of demarcation in the development of my character. If I were a tree and you cut me in half and looked at my rings, you would see a lot of rain in those years. It’s all good now though.

This experience will change the course of you but in a few years, maybe you will have the same experience I am having… that you will see it was for the better and greater good in some way. I hope I am right. And believe me, I do not mean to diminish your pain in anyway. I totally get it… and I totally get that people don’t get it. I gave up on that a long time ago… that is why we have LOVEFRAUD. :O)

All the best… E

Sherry Winter,

I want to echo what alohatraveler wrote you. It will get better.

Healing from these relationships becomes transformational after a certain point. We become better than we were before, stronger, more certain, wiser about our own lives. For many of us, the healing triggers more healing of older issues as well, relieving many layers of PTSD.

It sounds like you are taking steps for your own wellbeing, and that you have both personal and therapeutic support. That’s good.

You have every right to be angry about what happened to you. You are learning how to take better care of yourself in the future. And that is really, really good.

A lot of what we have to get over is what we did to ourselves. But we do get over it, because we come to realize that we were dealing with seductive, but heartless people. We might have been able to change what happened by saying no earlier, but we couldn’t change them, no matter what we did. We don’t need to forgive them. But we do need to forgive ourselves.

Ultimately, as aloha says, you’ll get better in ways you can’t imagine now. There’s a lot of helpful material to read here. Stick around, and write more. We’re at all stages of healing, and you’ll find lots of support.

In the meantime, just be kind to yourself. Healing and getting all the good stuff out healing takes time. You’ve done a lot of work already. It will pay off for you.


Oxy, my thoughts are with you. I think your analysis makes a lot of sense. You’ve had a lot of deal with, and you’ve been so brave and careful. You didn’t need one more thing to make you feel unsafe and especially not now. I’m glad you’ve got this good friend, so you could get out of Dodge for a while.

If there is anything I can do to help — editing, phone calls, whatever — just get in touch.

A big hug —



Great article.
I was told ‘early on’ that I need to forgive the S…..I just can’t grasp this……
I think my way of ‘forgiving’ is having the peace of mind and confidence that I KNOW something bad will happen to him, I am confident someone that does such harm to others is not coming out of this life skipping and whistling dixie… far!
I can let that idea ‘be’ and move forward…..
I have no desire to cause harm to him…..and I never have….because of how I feel about the universe doing it on behalf of all the chaos and pain he’s inflicted….on the world….not just us.

I have to say though…..I do take some solice at how he is in misery…..losing everything and feeling jilted. I take some sick ‘power’ over him and continue to when he thinks he can play me for a fool. Each time I can ‘shut him down and out’…..I giggle when I think about it… if…..and YOU thought I was stupid….
MY revenge was taking everything…..and leaving him only with his million dollars plus in drug/dirty money…..
I WORKED my ass off for 28 years and I wasn’t going to be taken for my hard work too…..

I know it kills him to know we are fine, moving on, rebuilding, and working the business….shoveling the snow ourselves and still in our home. He wanted us destitute and me dead!
This is satisfying to me……VERY SATISFYING!

But forgiveness….I just don’t see it in me……and I won’t give him my soul……I allow this situation to empower me and I see all the various lessons!
NOT bring me down!!!
Maybe one day I might feel differntly…..or at least indifferent…this is the closest I see to forgiveness….with him.

BTW…I have forgave numerous people in my life….and I got to a place where I forgave AND forgot……it wasnt worth the space…..
YET…..I’m not convinved I can do this with the S….OR my parents!




“it takes TIME and we may never be exactly the same person we were before the betrayal, but different doesn’t have to be “bad” it CAN be “better”!!!! ”

I second that……I am soooooo NOT the same person I was…..and I am thankful for that…..I (wish) it didn’t have to be so tragic a journey to these lessons and growing up…..But I really do think it was necessary.
I look at my life now……
I have great friends….true/honest/genuine relationships…..
I have been able to weed my garden of fakes thus far…whether they are family or friends….
I don’t have to be nice just to be nice…..
I also have been empowered…..and I feel like I can do anything…..(well???) But I have confidence I had as a kid….prior to being broken down. I know my worth and I know my value to my community and my kids.
My worth will never again hedge on someone else’s opinions…..

So….I agree….different is just different….not bad….BETTER!!!
New and improved….AND APPROVED!!! (by me)

Oxy….you sound like your digging deep…..and processing….
There is more enlightenment on your educated horizon…..
I have confidence you’ll be okay….just keep heading down the same path your on!


Hi Mamma Gem……
I’ve missed my late night rendesvous with you darling….
Weve got to hang in there huh…..
Your a beautiful woman!!!!


I have changed my name – some big things happened in the last few days and I now know for a fact the P is out to get me. So you posters knew me as someone sunny and optimistic who said no more to that – I’ll edit this reference once it’s been up for a while. I have been editing my comments carefully. Sorry to do this to everyone but I just can’t take any risks at the moment. He is out for my blood – not literally you understand, but he wants to destroy me and take everything. It seems revenge is his number one obsession now and the spotlight is firmly on me. Yay! As if I haven’t been through enough.

I have wondered as well whether I will always be defined as someone who survived a hell relationship with a P – it saddened me to realise that going back to who I was is impossible knowing what I now know. Thanks to those of you who said they are somewhat defined by the experience. I see it as a line in the sand as well … before that I was this person … and after it = well I still don’t know quite who I am yet!

Aloha and Erin and Kathleen and others … I hope I can get to that point where I am ok with it. And be really appreciative of the self knowing it has brought me. Right now though I am still struggling with the unfairness of it all – that he got to do whatever the heck he wanted (and still does) while I am left being the responsible one who takes the upper road and shows maturity and class. He slanders me behind my back and … that’s ok with society – ‘just ignore it’ seems to be the advice I am being given.

How can I ignore such injustice that totally blew my reality, personality, values, goodness and worldview out of the water? I don’t even have a metaphor for it – it is that huge. I want to be able to say – ‘It would be like losing every limb to a partner who ate them while I was conscious and aware … and I am meant to just ‘forget about it’ and ‘move on’ WTF That isn’t even close though – it’s more like a heart removal and burning, a brain torture with a drill and a brainwashing from a sect all combined … and even that doesn’t come close.

How can this exist in society and nobody does anything about it? Worse than that nobody even acknowledges the damage he did! Or recognises the wounds. And this cannibal that he is gets to be the big Mr Wonderful to the outside world. The injustice of it all makes me want to vomit and scream.

I can’t and won’t forgive him. For me forgiveness is only possible when the person who did wrong acknowledges what they did and the damage it caused, promises and follows through on never doing it again and makes some ammends. Not one of those actions is possible with him – so forgiveness is an impossibility and would be very wrong for me. I have had several people talk with me about ‘you need to forgive him’.

No I don’t. I need for him to get big tastes of his own medicine. I need for him to suffer really badly so he starts to understand what he did – probably even that is impossible – his suffering is an irritation not the depth plunging despair and grief that I suffered through. Sometimes I couldn’t even talk in trying to express it – I would scream and bellow like an animal. He doesn’t deserve forgiveness and I don’t think it’s doing me any harm in hanging onto that grudge for now.

The person I most need to forgive is myself. And I KNOW without a doubt I am taking those steps necessary for true contriteness and forgiveness – I am setting the ledger straight with myself first and foremost. I know my ‘I’m sorry’ is sincere and heartfelt. I know I won’t transgress against myself in this way again and I am trying to make ammends with myself by finding out at any given moment what my soul needs. It’s hard – I had forgotten how to listen to that voice – it’s irrational sometimes.

I had shut it down completely in trying to maintain this perfect facade of being in control of my life that everything was ‘fine’ – the pressure of it became far too much for me – especially when compared with the chaos of reality that he created around me. The dissonance was too much for me to reconcile.

I am seeing glimpses of that greater self knowing you talk about … but to be perfectly frank, I could have really done without this harsh learning. I would have been happier to have not met him and continued in my ignorance thinking the world was a great place and all people have some good in them.

I wonder sometimes if the ‘greater self knowing and what a blessing it is’ is just a story I tell myself to make me feel better about being so used and abused. That if I yet again look for the silver lining and make lemonade out of lemons then I won’t feel so dumb and bitter and jaded and tarnished. I just don’t know which is more honest at the moment and whether I’d rather just tell myself a few soothing lies for now. Anyone else have that doubt from time to time? Is that thought just a stage or part of the process? It comes and it goes – I am still quite up and down, two steps forward and three back at times.

I want to see laws against this – I want SOMETHING done about these people. It’s no good for lawmakers and politicians to rub their hands in s ympathy and say ‘Well we don’t really know what causes it and we don’t know what to do’ – while they stand around deliberating thousands more GOOD people are being annhiliated by these monsters – it’s not good enough. The VERY LEAST they could do is mount and fund an extensive public education campaign.

And hey I am all for diversity in humans and ‘we all have our faults’ but these people don’t harm themselves – they harm everybody else. Our leaders have let us down in not preparing us for enslaughts with these idiots and not providing support for us. Why are we being discriminated against in this way? Every other victim in society has stronger people to advocate for them, to fundraise, to heighten awareness … why don’t we? Apart from this blog and a few others … there is nothing. Unless you count women’s refuges … and how many of us got help from there? I was afraid to go there for help as it would be taking resources (which are already pitiful) away from women and men in physically abusive relationships. I know many others are the same.

My mind keeps coming back to wanting to do something … healing by itself in isolation isn’t enough – I want some form of social justice and some change so this doesn’t happen as easily to someone else. I feel like I fell through the cracks in society I never knew existed.

As to choice – after much reading and pondering – yes I think they make the choice to abuse us. Based on what evidence? They don’t abuse everyone else usually – the abuse is kept covert and behind closed doors so their charming facade isn’t besmirched. If they really couldn’t help it – they would be the same with everyone. It makes me sick to consider that concept – that he deliberately and with forethought and malice thought up ways to hurt me and carried them out. My brain and heart don’t want to believe it but that is the harsh truth. Therefore they are a problem and shouldn’t be walking around free in society with equal rights as normal people have.

They don’t deserve any rights. They should all be jailed for life as soon as they’re diagnosed. Sterilised and some use found for them for the betterment of society. That would be preferable to them USING all of us who try to love and support and do the right things even when nobody is watching us.
Bah! I am hormonal and icky today 🙂


I don’t feel I need to forgive the P. For there to be forgivness, there has to be some acknowledgment of the pain that has been caused and as we all know a P is not able to do this or if he/she does, takes pleasure in inflicting the pain.
I have however forgiven someone who does deserve it – ME!
After this rollercoaster recovery, I understand enough to forgive myself. I was a target, I had weaknesses and vulnerabilities which allowed him into my life BUT I am not a thief, liar or con artist. That is his problem.

Elizabeth Conley

Sometimes English is inadequate to the task, particularly when describing emotion.

Much has been made of the fact that most languages have many more words to describe Love than our does.

Perhaps we need more words to describe “Forgiveness” as well. After all, the forgiveness we offer normal people who err and repent is very different from the kind of forgiveness one offers a sociopath, who hurts us on purpose and will hurt us again at the very next opportunity.

I cannot help but remember the last time a sociopath tried to offer me one of those goofy pseudo-apologies. It began with “I’ve been having a lot of trouble with my pain medications lately…”

It was all I could do not to roll my eyes in derision. He’d been stoned out of his gourd for months. When high, he’d become belligerent, irrational, aggressive and paranoid. There’d been no reasoning with him, and the toxic waste that had spewed from his mouth had done a great deal of damage to our organization.

He saw the tight expression on my face, and new instantly that this hackneyed ploy wasn’t going to get him out of the necessity for genuine repentance. That, he’d never offer. He stalked off, and hasn’t bothered me much since.

That doesn’t mean I’ve been sitting around stewing in my own bile either. If I did, I’d get sick. I fully recognize that my desire to “help” him was misguided. No matter what he said, he never sincerely wanted to pull himself together and realize his immense potential. He just wanted another dupe. He did me a favor, and I’m grateful. By observing him over the course of several years, I learned more than anyone cares to about sociopaths and their ploys.

He still operates on the fringe of my social circle, and he’s still immensely popular. People fall for his act hook, line and sinker. As a rule, very little harm results. I couldn’t care less.

He’s the 2nd cluster B to cut a swath of destruction through my social life. Right before him was a malignant narcissist. Between the two of them, I’ve been thoroughly innoculated against drama.

I learned that most lies are not direct falsehoods, but rather elaborate acts where the dupe comes to a false conclusion without the liar actually having to make a false statement. I also learned to be instantly suspicious whenever pity is being used to manipulate me. Because of these lessons and countless others, I’ve thwarted play after play from the two cluster Bs who operate on the fringes of my family life.

So really and truly, I bear the narcissist and the sociopath no malice whatsoever. They’re textbook cases of social failure. They exist to model their disorders, so that anyone ready to study their illness can learn from their example.

Forgiving a normal person means putting what s/he did wrong in it’s proper perspective. Yes, s/he did hurt us, but s/he’s sorry. S/he know what s/he did was wrong, s/he empathizes with our pain, and s/he is going to try hard to do better in the future.

Perhaps forgiving a sociopath also means putting what s/he did in perspective. S/he hurt us, and s/he wishes we’d forget all about it. S/he knows what s/he did was wrong, and is amused by our pain. S/he can’t wait to do it again, just as soon as we drop our guard.

In the first case, it’s sensible to give the repentant person another chance. In the second case, it’s time to cut your losses.

In neither case does it make sense to stew about it.

Forgiveness for ourselves is another matter entirely, because we have to do the work of both the repentant and the forgiver. This is a pretty messy thing. On one hand, we see that we fouled up by trusting someone we clearly should not have trusted, ***usually*** again. Of course, we feel our own pain, our own sincere regret and our genuine desire to do better. The trouble is, we quite reasonably wonder if we can do better in the future. We don’t trust ourselves not to foul up again. We need some kind of reassurance that we can acquire the new skills or habits necessary to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again.

Of course forgiving yourself is a difficult thing. It’s at least twice the work as forgiving someone else. Besides, both your repentant party and your wounded party are privy to every doubt and fear the other half experiences. It’s enough to make you nuts, but I probably don’t have to tell you that. If you’re reading this, chances are you already know.


“They’re textbook cases of social failure. They exist to model their disorders, so that anyone ready to study their illness can learn from their example. ”

I like that…..EC…..well put!!!


Even though I have NO IDEA who you are……
I wanted to do a loreana Bobbit on the S… the beginning…..train a tiger shark and let it loosse in hawaiian waters to attack him……not kill him….just maime him…..really badly and permanently…… (although this thought may still exist…..I think it may be impossible to train a tiger shark!!!) 🙂

After time…..and reading and becoming connected to how MY life has turned out and all the puzzle pieces etc…..
It may appear he’s doing well….and I’m sure if you met him today….you’d be convinced for a bit he’s got it going on…….
I know he has diareah.
I know he has NO relationship with his kids.
I know he lost the best thing that he will EVER have as a wife….(and I say thing….because tha’ts how they view us)
I know he lost all tangible assets and property and businesses…..except his drug sales operation……
I know he has to be covert in all his dealings.
I know he has an IRS audit on the horizon…..(that I won’t keep quiet on!)
I know he has the DEA watching him.
I know he has a shitty relationship with HIS family.
I know he’s been exposed and needs to keep on the run.

Now….what he’d show YOU……

He pays cash, insinuating he’s got money…..
He travels extensively…..(runs) which he portrays as being flown by ‘clients’ to all destinations across the us and bahamas….
He doesn’t have a car….Yet he drives nice, new fancy cars he claims are his….but they are ‘friends’ he cons.
He claims to own a farm in Hawaii….yet he rents from an old lady room mate…..he just grows pot on the land…..
He will cook you the best meal you’ve ever had….and you will be so enthralled you will never know he is way too cheap to take you out to dinner.
He’ll even have the rose petals and champagne, blender drinks and dessert……and YOU will be whoood…..
You will be whood in to sex early in relationship…..yet he will never tell you he fucks men and has herpes and whatever else…..
you might think he’s such a good catch… won’t mind him not wearing a condom….and winding up preggers…..
but you’ll think he’s a great father when your child is an infant and can’t speak or have a ‘mind’ of his own……I did! Wait until they develope independance….that’s when You’ll already by so hooked in and the abuse will start them…’lll reminisce about the ‘past’ wonderful years…..and think you can change him…..

The only problem is…..He’s all a fake!!!!

So knowing this…to my core……
He won’t be able to walk the universe without repurcussions of all the bad he’s done… He just won’t!
So…..once you find that peace…..through education and knowing what your dealing with…..and how to move along…..
You can move along to YOU….back to YOU……and leave him to the SHARKS, or the falling trees, or the out of control tractor tailors on a mountain road, or ………!!!!! It just won’t be up to you!!!


One of the signs of a sociopath is:
A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core.
This I believe it where all their aggression comes from. They may not have the emotion of love,but hate? In buckets full! And according to the definition above it’s that deep seeded repressed hatred that is at the core.
My S woman even whispered to my back while laying in bed those three words”I Hate YOU!” and she did it more than one time over a span of three months. I shrugged it off as she must have said it in her sleep or if she did say it awake didn’t direct it at me. But looking back at her mental abuse of cheating on me, walking out on me, game playing;I am certain the only way she could have done those things was through a deep seated hatred for me. In the 27 years of our friendship/3 love trysts she had to hate me. How could she do the things she did without hating me?
This last time she knew I was married and crossed the boundaries from friendship to carrying on(with me) a 2 month non sexual emotional affair over the phone and emails. She initiated it this time with a lie saying she thought she was dying. She knew even as a friend that I loved her and I”Had to tell her” before she died that I loved her and always had.” She took that and ran with it. I don’t blame her exclusively for my part of the affair. But she led me into this (again) by manipulation. What real FRIEND could that? If she really valued my friendship 1) She would not have lied about “dying”2) would not have manipulated me to cross that boundary from friend to emotional lover knowing I was married.
all this I believe because she knew about me coming into my dad’s inheritance soon and she wanted some of it.
Forgive her for 27 years of anguish? Nope. Not now. Because SHE KNEW what she was doing all this time. While I kept thinking she still cared about me and somehow would “Change” with age. A sociopath doesn’t change. I know that now. So as of this second, I forgive myself for my emotional adultery. It shouldn’t have happened but it did. At least I didn’t travel 580 miles to carry the affair out in the bedroom. I have some grace saved there. And some grace left in my heart because before I didn’t know what I was dealing with. Now I do!


I wanted but I found so hard to forget and forgive this person. I find myself praying everyday for God to punish him for all he did to me and I know I’m not a resentful person at all. I forget and forgive so easily but in this case it has been a battle for me to do so. When I look at myself and my feelings of revenge, resentment and hate towards him
sometimes I feel ashamed of myself, but at the same time I think that for sure I was not dealing with a normal human being but with an “evil entity”, because I’ve never had this type of feelings with no one before.

Ox Drover

Dear Elizabeth Connely,

I agree with you that there should be “multiple words” to describe “forgiveness” and I think of the one my “egg donor” used, of “let’s pretend that this didn’t happen”—-YEA, RIGHT!

“Let’s pretend what I/they did to you did not devastate, hurt beyond measure and rip you apart, and oh, BTW, let’s pretend that I/they won’t do this to you again!”

Forgiveness and “approval” or “trusting” do not always go together. I will never approve of what someone does that hurts me, and I will tell them that. If they DO care about me, they will discuss this with me, and do their best to not do it in the future. If they are NOT interested in discussing this, acknowledging what I have said, shown an awareness of the fact that the behavior is hurtful, etc. and stop doing it, then I can only assume that they do not care about me. Therefore, I am not going to trust this person again. I will “forgive” them, (in other words get the bitterness and rancor and wrath out of my heart) but doesn’t mean I will trust them, or care for them like I did before the abusive behavior.

Of course, if the person doing the abusive behavior is someone whose relationship you value, the wound will be doubly painful because you not only are hurt by the behavior but by the loss of your illusion that this person also loved you as you cared for them.

When we set a boundary, such as “If you lie to me I will no longer trust you” when and if the person DOES lie to you, and you enforce that boundary after X-number of lies show a pattern, then you must be prepared for the relationship to be lost. It hurts.

I think I could have forgiven my late husband if he had cheated on me once, and I think I could have learned to trust him again, but I could NOT have ever learned to trust him after the second cheat. That was my “break point” in a relationship even back in my enabling days.

Now, with those close to me, any deception (other than hiding a birthday present or something like that) is a DEAL BREAKER, any LIE and those that are close to me know this….and sure, when someone you love lies to you, destroys your trust, it hurts like HELL (the more you loved them the more it hurts) and having lost so many of those I loved to deception, abuse and so on, each one hurts as much or more than the last one, but I do not second guess myself about being able to trust this person even if they do try to convince me they won’t do it again. I am looking at the BIG PATTERN as Steve’s recent article pointed out, looking at the pattern of their deceptions, their abuses of me or others, and if the pattern is there, the relationship as far as I am concerned is gone. I’ll do my grieving and move on.

EC, your comments are always great! (((hugs))))

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