By | March 19, 2016 125 Comments

He was either the most incredible person I ever met, or a deplorable monster

Spath TalesEditor’s note: Lovefraud received the following story from a reader whom we’ll call “Adelaide.” Names are changed.

I met Joe at a bar. It was the first time I ever went out alone.

I was forcing myself to do new things on my own. Trying to prove to myself I did not need a man beside me to do the things I wanted to do.

After I ordered my drink I started to feel uncomfortable. I noticed a jukebox and thought it would give me some comfort to hear some music I enjoy. So, I went to put in my selections.

When I turned back around I noticed someone sitting in my chair. All my belongings had been pushed to the side. But my drink remained right where I left it. I immediately got angry … wrinkled my nose and stomped over to the stranger in my chair … ”You are in my chair!” I exclaimed in an irritated voice …. he apologized profusely … “Oh…I’m sorry!! This is your chair???”

I wasn’t even looking at him I was so ticked ”¦ I just wanted the safety of my chair back!! “That’s MY drink in front of you too!!”

He apologized again and he said it so sweetly that I felt bad that I had been so rude.

That’s when I touched his arm and finally looked up and said, ”it’s okay … just please pay your bill and let me have my chair back okay?”

It was in that moment I saw his face … so handsome!!! And he looked at me in a way that made me feel like he was looking IN to me.

He introduced himself. We started talking … we talked and talked … about everything … he told me about his brother’s suicide … I told him about my divorce and the horrific betrayal I had experienced …. yet when I told him about my divorce I told him I no longer had anger toward my ex … after all it takes two for a marriage to fall apart right??

That’s what I said … princess of empathy … I also told him I was a nurse … QUEEN of empathy …. Pay Dirt!!!!

When we left the bar he walked me home. We walked arm and arm … it felt like we had known each other forever … I already felt bonded. The night ended with, I swear, the best kiss I had EVER experienced in my life.

Our texting sessions started just moments after he left me that night. And they would quickly get more intense and constant.

(By the way, he would eventually reveal that he stole my seat on purpose as an excuse to talk to me…brilliant hunting skills!!)

But he never asked to see me…which seemed so odd. It was obvious we had a strong connection … why didn’t he ask me out? I thought maybe there was a girlfriend in the picture.

By the way, I forgot to mention, I lived in Pennsylvania and he lived in NY.

Finally I just came out and asked him when he was going to ask me out. I even sent him a picture of me in a pretty dress to remind him of “what he was missing.”

We arranged to meet the next weekend.

That meeting began the whirlwind of the most romantic, passionate intense experience of my life. On date number two, he picked me up and seemed nervous. He kept saying, “I need a drink.”

Finally, I asked him if he was ok and he said “NO!” and pulled over. He stopped the car and looked at me, unblinking… “I have to tell you something …. I’m separated … and I have two kids.”

The news was shocking and disheartening. Especially since I had promised myself I would never date anyone who’s divorce was not finalized AND I would not date anyone with young children … also on my list … I will not date firefighters or hunters …. Joe was all of these things.

It’s amazing how quickly one can abandon their principals when they believe they have met their soul mate.

We proceeded to have our date. I asked lots of questions. The following morning I had more questions and an off feeling in my gut and asked him to meet me at the diner. I had come up with what I thought were brilliant questions that would reveal if he was telling me the truth while also poking at his conscience if he was lying.

I reminded him of the horrible betrayal I had been through. I told him, “Joe, I don’t want to do to another woman what was done to me … only you know the truth ”¦ please don’t do that to me … or to her.”

Then I said to him, “You have gotten to know me over the last couple of months. Tell me, do you think I’m a good person?”

Yes, he said…you’re a great person.”

To which I replied, “Good … I think you are a good person too, Joe, so I’m choosing to believe what you are telling me ”¦ but again, only YOU know the truth. If what you’re telling me is not true, it’s okay. We can still part ways as friends at this point. Just don’t take a good person down a bad road.”

“I would never do that” he said. “I believe in do onto others as you would want them to do onto you.” (Oh, did I forget to mention that I had revealed to him that I was a faithful Christian?”) … He ended with “I understand that this might be hard for you to accept Adelaide … but I know, if you will let me, I will make you happy.”

What followed was a year and a half of intense love bombing and being mirrored. My friends and family weren’t buying it. “They just don’t understand,” I thought. Joe would tell me, “It’s okay Adelaide … they just love you and are looking out for you. I get it. One day I will prove to them who I am and that I’m for real.”

Everything with Joe was intense and passionate and perfect, I thought. He could read me ”¦ it seemed he could anticipate my every desire. I had never felt so loved and adored.

I told him my deepest, darkest secrets. Within months he knew more about me then the man I had been married to for 17 years.

Before Joe, I never believed in the notion of a soul mate. Thought it was romantic silliness created by the movie industry. But Joe changed my mind ”¦ he made me believe. Like a child made to believe that Santa Clause really did exist.

I was the happiest I had ever been in my life and I loved making him happy. I never loved so hard, so deeply, so purely before.

He told me all the things I ever wanted to hear but had never been told by a man. He told me he wanted to marry me (something before Joe I had sworn I would NEVER do again!) and I would feel elated at the thought of becoming this man’s wife.

He would look me deep in the eyes and say, “You’re going to say yes right? When I ask you?“

Even crueler ”¦ I had told Joe I hadn’t been able to have a child and that my ex-husband had never once told me he wanted to have a baby with me. I told Joe how as a woman I had so longed to hear those words from my ex, but they never came.

So Joe took it upon himself to give me my dream ”¦ to tell more during intense, passionate “love making” sessions that he wanted to get me pregnant. That he was determined. It would make me cry with such joy that the man I loved with all my heart would want this with me even though I could probably never give it to him. He was speaking the words I always wanted to hear.

The man of my dreams wanted to not only make me his wife but the mother of his child. Can you imagine what that did to my psyche?

We would have deep conversations ”¦ about everything ”¦ our childhood, our faith in God, our fundamental core values. We agreed on everything and at every level.

When speaking of Joe to my family and friends I would say, “I feel like I have met the male version of myself ”¦ I have never felt so understood and accepted.”

Many times after our long discussions, Joe would get very serious and again look me in the eyes and say, “Just please Adelaide, please ”¦ don’t ever lie to me. It’s the one thing I cannot tolerate. I hate liars. I was lied to my whole life. Please don’t do that to me. I always tell you the truth Adelaide so please do the same for me.”

He would always have the saddest puppy dog eyes as he said this and my heart would just melt. I wanted nothing more than to love him, heal his wounds and protect him for the rest of his life. I would have laid down my own life for his. That is how much I loved the man. That is how much I believed in and trusted him. There was so much more, but I think you get the gist of the magnitude of the lying and manipulation that was occurring

As our relationship progressed, though, there were times I felt that nagging feeling in my gut and the questions would start to fill my mind. Why wasn’t he divorced yet? Why hadn’t I met anyone from his life?

Really, I began to realize I didn’t know anything about his life outside of what he told me. Yet he had access to all of mine. He almost always came to my home. He had met my family and some of my friends. He knew everything about me and yet, outside of our little bubble, I knew nothing about his life once he left my home.

I started to express this to him. How I was starting to feel like I was being hidden. Which didn’t add up to what he had told me about the state of his marriage. That they were legally separated for years now and both had agreed to live separate lives until the divorce was finalized. So why hadn’t I met at least a friend of his yet?

Something started to feel very off. But he always knew how to reassure me.

In fact around Christmas, after expressing my disappointment over not being able to see him, he told me “You know what Adelaide, you are right ”¦ forget all this. I want you to come and meet my mother. Come to Christmas dinner with me so you can meet her.”

How well did this man know me? Enough to know that just the extension of the invitation would be enough for me.

“Oh Joe, you know I would love that but we can’t. We have to wait until everything is settled before I meet your mother. Its only right.”

Other times, when doubt would creep in I would ask “Joe you ARE truly legally separated right? “He would tell me, “Yes Adelaide, I have the papers. I brought them with me to show you. Do you want me to go get them? I left them in the car.”

I never made him show me. I thought it would make it seem like I didn’t truly trust him. The mere fact that he supposedly brought them reassured me that his word was good enough for me.

Still, many of my family and friends were concerned and they expressed this to me at various times. One night I was drinking wine with one of my close friends and her husband, Steve. After listening to us talk and hearing me explain once again how I chose to believe that Joe was a good and truthful man, Steve had had enough.

“Michelle, I have to say something and I hope you don’t hate me for it but I am going to tell you what you are ”¦. you are kind, and sweet and compassionate, independent and self-sufficient AND you live in another state. You are the perfect mistress!”

The words felt like a kick to the gut. I remember my reply to him. “Joe can only be one of two things … he is either the most incredible person I have ever met or he is a deplorable Monster … there is no in-between … and I don’t believe he is a monster … no one could be that horrible … no one could do and say the things he has and not be true … he would have to be the devil himself.”

I later relayed the troubling exchange back to Joe.

“He said that?” he asked. “Yes.” Joe frowned and once again said, “I understand. It’s okay. They will see. One day I will marry you and they will all see I was telling the truth. They will all see that my intentions were always true.”

Then he followed with, “You know I already have it planned in my head ”¦ where and when I am going to ask you ”¦ you said you would say yes, right?”

And with those few simple words all of my creeping doubts and fears would disappear and it was once again Joe and I against the world.

One day everyone would see just how true and magical our love was. And then we would have our fairytale ending where everyone lived happily ever after.

And then it began ”¦ quite subtly of course. The devalue stage was initiated.

I could swear I was starting to catch him staring at other women when we were out. I was never much the jealous type but I began to feel very uncomfortable, even insecure.

When I would call him on it, he would tell me I was seeing things. That he only had eyes for me. That I was the only woman he wanted. Yet I felt like I was beginning to notice it more often. I decided to take him on a trip to Nashville because it had always been his dream to go.

One night we went to a karaoke bar. There was a very attractive bartender, who for the oddest reason, made me feel threatened.

I remember I had excused myself to go to the ladies room and as I was walking back I could swear I saw the two of them engaged in an intense eye lock.

I walked right up to Joe and asked, “What the hell is going on here?” He told me he didn’t know what I was talking about. That I was acting crazy. Well, I felt crazy. I could have sworn I saw what I did, but he was trying to convince me it wasn’t so.

I wanted so badly to believe him.

In the end I demanded we leave the bar because I felt so uncomfortable. I kept apologizing to him for my behavior, telling him I didn’t know what was wrong with me and why I was acting this way.

It was the truth. I didn’t know what was happening to me, suddenly feeling so jealous and insecure!! I was not that woman!! What was wrong with me??

It was an awful feeling and an awful night. He managed to convince me that his version of the event was true and contrived a story that really the girl was looking at HIM as an indirect way to challenge me because she felt threatened there was another attractive woman at the bar.

Once again I chose to believe him because after all, this man loved me right? He wanted to marry me ”¦ wanted me to have his child. I had to have been imagining what I saw.

I let it go but the discomfort always lingered.

I began to pray a lot more. I had been praying all along but this time I changed my prayer. I told God, “God, I want to do what is right here. I have been asking you for signs to let me know if I am being deceived and going against your will. Please God ”¦ if you are sending me signs, I’m not seeing them or I am excusing them away. So, I’m changing my prayer today ”¦ If this is not right God, I need you to take this man out of my life because I’m too far gone. I can’t walk away from him. You have to do it for me if this is not right.”

Interestingly, I shared my prayer with Joe. I will never forget what he said.

At first I thought it was funny. I completely missed the mask drop in his words. “Ummm”¦can you change your prayer please? I mean I don’t want to wind up dying in a fire.” He was dead serious and I thought it was funny.

“Joe” I told him, “I think God knows what I mean ”¦ I think he knows that I’m not asking him to have you killed but if it makes you more comfortable I will clarify to GOD that I don’t mean that.”

I said it with a smile and small chuckle.

When I look back I cannot believe what I missed. My prayer frightened him because he knew what he was doing and it was the furthest thing from what God would want.

I only had to pray my new prayer a few times before the hideous truth was revealed.

Things suddenly started to fall apart. Joe told me his soon to be ex had begun trying to break into his phone.

“Why would she do that?” I asked. “Because she is crazy, and I am done protecting her about her craziness,” he replied.

“Crazy? You never told me your wife was crazy! You always said things between the two of you were amicable and that you were both in agreement that the marriage was over and would end peacefully. Don’t you think you should have mentioned to me earlier that she was crazy?”

I told him something was off. If things were as he said, why would she be trying to break into his phone?

To me the remedy was simple. I told Joe, “If everything is as you say ”¦ give her the phone records. You have nothing to hide, right? So show her. And also Joe, I hate to ask this but I need you to show me those separation papers as well. I never asked you to before but something is wrong here. Someone is lying. I’m sorry but I need to see them.”

He told me “I will show you. I brought them with me so many times, I could have shown you then. I will bring them and show you when I come back.”

I watched him leave to return to NY and “sort out the mess.”

“I love you “ he said. “Don’t forget that”.

That was the last time Joe was ever in my town. The next morning, as I was getting ready for church, my phone rang. Who on earth calls on a Sunday morning at 7 am I wondered??

I heard an unfamiliar female voice say my name. “Hello Adelaide? This is Joe’s WIFE. I’m calling you because Joe is too much of a coward to get on the phone to speak with you himself but he is here standing next to me right now. He told me everything. That you have been together for the last year and a half. He told me that he told you we were legally separated ”¦ we are NOT ”¦ we are MARRIED!!. He also told me that you never wanted to be the other woman. I hate to tell you this but that is exactly what you have been!”

After a few speechless seconds I asked in a quiet voice “So ”¦ you aren’t getting a divorce? You haven’t been going through divorce mediation?”

“NO!” came the reply.

“We have been working on fixing our marriage.

“So ”¦ he doesn’t live in the basement?”

Again “NO! He can’t live in our basement!! He lives in our house. He sleeps next to me in our bed every night!”

My mind was racing. How could this be? He had brought over the mediation papers and asked me to help him figure things out.

He had asked me to talk to my lawyer brother about referrals and had a list of questions for me to ask him about the legalities of dividing up assets.

He had me and members of my family racing around trying to help him in any way we could.

I began begging his wife to put Joe on the phone ”¦ he wouldn’t. He said nothing.

In fact I was starting to wonder if he really was there at all.

But then she ranted, “I can’t BELIEVE he was being intimate with you while we were supposedly working on our marriage. It’s disgusting!”

That’s when I finally heard Joe mumble something in the background and I yelled into the phone “JOE!!!!…HOW COULD YOU???…I always said, you were either the best person I ever met or the absolute worst…now I know!!!….

“You said that to him?” his wife asked me.

“Yes” I replied.

“That’s funny … I’ve said the same thing to him.”

There were a few more respectful exchanges between his wife and I. She was obviously upset but her anger was not really directed at me. It seems she understood I was a victim here as well.

I apologized to her. I promised her that I didn’t know. That I had been terribly deceived.

She ended the conversation by saying there was nothing really more to talk about. That our relationship was now over and she and Joe would see where they would go from here.

I hung up the phone ”¦ and that was the end. Gone. Finished. Over in an instant. Life dream toppled, hopes destroyed.

The silence that followed was unbearable. I contemplated ending it all but my faith kept me from doing so. In reality, I was actually blessed. The monster was taken out of my life just at the start of the devalue phase. If Joe hadn’t been discovered by his wife I’m sure it would have gone on much longer. Until he was truly ready to discard me on his own terms.

The level of pain I was experiencing was excruciating ”¦ I can’t even imagine how much harder it would have been if I had been taken full circle. I questioned how anyone could survive such a horror.

The realization that true evil does exist has been hard to accept. But now it is very clear to me that it does. Not every human being is inherently good. And there are those among us who are inherently bad.

Joe had made contact quite a few times after, professing his love. Promising he would “fix” himself and come back to me ”¦ yet one thing never changed ”¦ no one ever filed for divorce. He was still trying to keep me in his clutches while salvaging his marriage.

It suddenly became so clear. His plan all along was to break me to the point that I would accept the role of mistress in his life at least until he decided to discard me and find a new victim ”¦ a new source of supply. And I realize too”¦I probably wasn’t even the only one.

It may sound like I am a strong woman but truth be told this has been the most devastating experience of my life. The betrayal was more severe and the recovery even more difficult than that of my divorce.

I am still not completely healed. I’m still working on it. It is a constant battle, but with the grace and strength of God and his unfailing love, I’m getting there.

I am changed but I will not let this man destroy who I am at my core. I can’t ”¦ if I do then he has truly won, hasn’t he?? I WON’T let him win. He’s not in control of my life … I am.

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Hope Springs


All laid out and it is almost easy to see who Joe was, when it is all laid out like this. In the moment, he really did seem almost ‘perfect’.

How is one supposed to see that something is wrong when everything seems so right? It is said that ‘too good to be true’ is often a warning sign, but come on. What person would not fall for any or all of what happened in the beginning? It feels too wonderful! By the time doubt starts to creep in, one is almost fully emotionally invested in the SP.

I am so sorry for you. What an awful thing for you to go through.


Oh Adelaide, how familiar your story is to me from so many years ago….mine also claimed to be separated. His divorce was always about to come through “next week.” It kept getting delayed, and he had all kinds of plausible explanations. Meantime, he loved and wanted to marry me. But he was hardly ever able to come and see me – there were all his obligations to the army blah blah blah. I also knew something in my gut was wrong. There were inconsistencies in his stories. And then there were the times he promised he would call and didn’t and the no-show with no explanation. I did the same as you. I prayed. I went away on a 4-day camping trip and prayed for the truth. I hoped for the best but feared the worst. I returned to 25 messages on my voice mail telling me how much in love with me he was, how his divorce had finally come through, along with his medical discharge from the army, and how we can finally be together. I was elated. He came down to visit me and to be intimate. It was our last time together because he was supposed to bring his young daughter up to meet me the next day. He never showed. He never called. That’s when I knew something was very wrong. But I didn’t know what until I saw a photo of him on our mutual internet forum where I had met him. It was a recent picture he had just posted. In fact, he was posting it during the time he was supposed to be driving up to see me. I guess he was unaware he was wearing his wedding ring in the photo. That was the beginning of the end for me. I still hadn’t fathomed what had just happened. So I had a girlfriend who didn’t know him call him and three-way me into the conversation unbeknownst to him. That’s when I heard him lie three times to her without missing a beat! It was not his wedding ring; it was a friendship ring; that he loved me so much but the army was interfering with his divorce and his medical discharge, blah blah blah. His lies seemed so convincing that my friend believed him. When I finally told her he had lied to her, she was enraged. Her rage helped me to finally see what he was – some sort of monster. Just like yours.

Fortunately, because he truly WAS in the army, my testimony was very damning to him. He was trying to defraud the army out of a phony medical discharge. He was faking symptoms with them for 2 years! But he had never done that with me. I ended up showing them photos and turning in the 25 voice mails. The army believed me. I don’t know what ever happened to him except I know he was convicted of fraud and adultery. I will never forget the humiliation and despair I felt the day the two army officers, dressed in full uniform, sat in my living room and took my statement while I cried. I even feared for my life after that because I didn’t know what he was capable of!

The moral of the story (I mean this in a humorous way) is that if you are going to meet a sociopath, meet one in the army because the army doesn’t put up with that crap. It was very satisfying to me to hear he was caught and punished, though I’m sure wherever he is, he’s scamming a new victim.

This all happened 8 years ago, Adelaide. I only dated him for 3 months and yet I remember the utter and total devastation I felt. I wanted to take my own life for several months. The only comfort I have to give you is that the same spiritual power that showed me what he was also helped me recover. It took about a year for me after the mere 3-month relationship. However long it takes for you, you will recover, and life will be good for you again, too.

Would anyone care to comment as to why Joe told his wife he had been with Adelaide for a year and a half?

I’m absolutely positive it was a scheme.
Number one, he wanted to keep her in check, and number two, I bet he got all kings of pity when he cried to his wife about how sorry he was.

And Adelaide, I’m sorry for your experience. Thank you for sharing your story. Knowledge is power!

💖 Dee


Erica Dee,
In my opinion, I don’t think Adelaide spoke with Joe’s wife. Adelaide got too close to the truth and she was coming strong on suspicions, so Joe had to push her off from his comfort zone a bit. He probably got an old friend with fringe benefits to call pretending he’s Mrs. Joe
Read that paragraph again of the 2 ladies’ first conversation on the phone. The demeanor presented by the wife is not consistent with a woman who’s just found out her husband has been cheating on her. Look at the Hollywood line, “oh you told him that? That’s funny because I told him the same thing.” That’s a staged reaction. Joe’s real wife is probably not aware of this mistress, she’s playing the good mother and wife role. If those separation papers were real and they were trying to work on their marriage, Joe got a friend to help fix the mess so it doesn’t ruin things which he’d supposedly been working on with his wife.


I feel really sorry for Adelaide because she’s so trusting and boy do those sociopaths ever use that to hook and trap their victim. It almost appears as if even after the volcanic discovery of the truth, Adelaide and Joe still tried to perhaps work on their relationship. I’ve been there done that. I know exactly how you missed him and took him back. I’m glad you’re free from that trap now. It’s not your fault. You are not the one who looks out for opportunities in others to exploit them, so you were blindsided by this man.

For you own sake, I hope you’ve really worked through the pain and forgiven yourself because that’s the first step to clear vision. Know that you are not the wrong one. You are not a victim either, but a two times survivor. Try to read a bit more about the mind of a sociopath versus Psychopath and also read a lot on narcissistic personality disorder. As a nurse, I’m sure you’re familiar with those conditions. However, trust me, as a survivor you’ll find that nursing school and career barely scratched the surface of these disorders. Arm yourself will and prevent a 3rd one from finding your vein to suck on.

You are brave Adelaide, to have the courage to come out of the closet he’s tucked you in, and talk openly about it. You’re in the right path to recovery. Don’t stay on the ground for too long. If it gets overwhelming, get a good Therapist.
All the best,

From another survivor


It’s possible that it wasn’t his wife, but it’s also possible it was. He could have set up a situation with a ‘confession’ and ‘promise’ to end the affair if the wife found out and he didn’t want to lose her for whatever benefits she provides him. A woman manipulated for many years by a cheater may not have the emotional resources to think and act rationally.
Saying she tells him the same thing may be a staged line, but it’s also possible that both women would respond to him the same way since he’s the same person in both exploitive relationships.
There’s no way to know, everything a cheater says may be a lie or it may be true. It’s random – based only on what he thinks he should say to get him whatever he wants.


His wife gets the prize. And you are free.


Becoming strong: i like your comment…short, sweet, and the TRUTH! I try to apply it to myself by saying i’m free and my sociopaths fiance’ has the “prize”.


These stories just break my heart. I’m still dealing with the pain the sociopath caused in my life. After i figured out and confronted him about having a fiance (that i had to find out about on my own)while proclaiming to be in a loving relationship with me for 6 months the first thing i screamed was EVIL!!! This is some kind of evil and i still have a hard time believing people can do this to other people.

Hope Springs

It is indeed hard to believe that some people can hurt others intentionally.


Bev- i always tell my therapist i feel like i’m in denial that people can be this evil and that a sociopath is not always a serial killer and she tells me to keep reading and educating myself as much as possible and she’s right…100%!!!

Hope Springs

I know…she is right!

I have to keep reading and absorbing this site and ither things on SPs all of the time, because doubt always seems to creep in eventually.

I think that we must reinforce the facts, often.


Quote: “the first thing i screamed was EVIL!!! This is some kind of evil and i still have a hard time believing people can do this to other people.””

Quote: “It is indeed hard to believe that some people can hurt others intentionally.”

Begging your pardon, but when I read comments like this I wonder if some people still don’t QUITE get it about psychopaths and the way they think.

I could be wrong of course, but the way I see it, in cases of this kind, this fellow Joe and others like him are not “hurting others intentionally” at all!

Mind you, I’m not denying for one moment that they ARE hurting others! They’re doing that all right! And I’m not denying either that psychopaths very often DO “hurt others intentionally”—out of anger, to punish someone, or often simply to indulge pure sadism. For instance, I remember that female from “Sociopath World” admitting openly that she took pleasure in “ruining” people—her own word!

All I’m suggesting is that in situations like the one described here, people like Joe are not doing whatever they’re doing for the express purpose of hurting anyone. That’s not their goal. Their goal is something else—in this case to enjoy the many pleasures of an affair—and the fact that they’re hurting someone by doing so is to them just “collateral damage” they couldn’t avoid. They’re not necessarily hurting people for the sake of hurting people. Rather, they simply don’t care one way or another that they’re hurting people. Since they have no compassion for others, it’s all immaterial to them. All they care about is their own gratification.

It reminds me of that old saying that “you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.” I might have to break several eggs to make an omelet, but I’m not doing it out of any hatred of eggshells or some twisted desire to destroy as many eggshells as I can! My only goal is to get at the egg inside! The fact that eggshells have to be broken to get at the contents is neither here nor there. Except of course that eggshells don’t have feelings and don’t object to being broken—but PEOPLE do!

This may seem a purely academic point, but I have a suspicion that it might cause a mental block when normal people—particularly people who are very empathetic—try to comprehend the very existence of psychopaths. To start with, I suspect there’s a lot of “victim subjectivity” in some people’s understanding of psychopaths. As human beings, we’re all concerned with our OWN feelings and things that are done to US. And if what’s on our mind is being hurt by something that some abuser did, it may be too automatic to assume that OUR pain must be on the abuser’s mind as well. “I got hurt—therefore the abuser must be aware of that, and must have intended to hurt me!”

Yet that may not be true at all, and in many instances the conscienceless abuser probably didn’t even care whether we “got hurt” or not—and quite often wasn’t even thinking about it!

When people imply they have a hard time believing in the existence of evil, or something of the kind, I often wonder why—or whether I’m understanding them correctly. Surely there are enough cruel and terrible deeds in the world (and always have been) that nobody could deny the existence of “evil” in general—if we choose to call it that. Of course, it’s easier to see why people are in disbelief that evil is being inflicted on themselves! We all know that accidents and disasters are things that happen to other people, never to ourselves! Irrational or not, it’s part of human psychology to think that way.

Most of all, it’s easy to see why people would have a hard time believing that a person they thought they knew well and could trust was in fact a ruthless predator. I wonder if that’s what many people really mean when they have difficulty “believing” in evil: not the fact that evil exists, but the frightening fact that evil can take such deceptive forms and be hiding in places where we least expect it. If so, that’s entirely understandable!

However, I’m sure that projection plays a major role in this difficulty as well, particularly since some people seem to find it harder than others to grasp not only the existence, but the nature of what’s being called “evil.” Up to a point, we try to “understand” other humans by mentally “putting ourselves in their place” (consciously or otherwise). That works fine insofar as other people are similar to ourselves, and think and feel the way we do. Unfortunately this method of “projection” falls short insofar as other people are different from ourselves, have different values or think and feel in different ways. To comprehend someone like a psychopath, however “human” they appear at first glance, it may be necessary to see them more “objectively,” like an alien specimen being examined on a microscope slide.

I suspect this is what highly empathetic people are less likely to do on the whole, preferring to try to “understand” other humans through their own “feelings.” If so, this method is most likely to fall down when it comes to understanding psychopathic specimens of humanity (if they can be called “humanity”), and could very well make it harder for highly empathetic people even to grasp the existence of “evil.” (“I just can’t IMAGINE being like that—because these monsters are NOTHING like ME!”) By the same token, it’s one more reason why very empathetic people are more vulnerable to being taken in by psychopaths and other abusers.

Yet as I suggested at the beginning, an abuser’s desire to hurt other people at times may not be the hardest thing to grasp. Surely we can all at least imagine being angry enough at someone—for some well justified reason—to want to hurt or punish them in some way. We just wouldn’t want to hurt someone we love, that’s all, or profess to love.

Rather, my suspicion is that simply not caring—not even thinking—about the pain of others, the total absence of such concerns in the psychopath—may be much harder to imagine. This may be especially true for highly empathetic people who always have the feelings of others on their mind, and take those concerns for granted. The psychopath’s total absence of such concerns may to them seem utterly inconceivable.

It’s much the way we here on earth are surrounded by gravity that pulls us down all the time and keeps us, quite literally, “grounded.” Without being told otherwise, and since few of us have ever been rocketed into orbit, we all take gravity for granted and never imagine what the weightlessness of space must feel like if we were free of gravity.

But let’s not forget that gravity is in many ways a good thing. Paradoxically, the “freedom” of weightlessness makes many things harder—like pouring ourselves a drink, or going to the toilet! Despite our eternal wish to fly like an eagle, there are many good things about being “grounded,” in the sense I’m talking about here.

In the same way, with the psychopathic type of abuser it’s the absence of any concerns of “conscience” or the feelings of others that gives him or her the freedom to hurt and abuse people—if doing so happens to be part of the cost of indulging the psychopath’s greed or lust for other things. It may well be hard for a very empathetic person to imagine the emotional “freedom” to wreak such devastation on people’s lives.

But again, a “freedom” of this kind, unlike most freedoms, is not a good thing. What it amounts to is “freedom” from conscience—the conscience that keeps the rest of us, frustratingly at times, but very humanly, “grounded.”

Hope Springs

Your post helped me.

Of course my SP son could hurt intentionally. He is probably not even thinking that at the time. He just wants what he wants.

Anyone can hurt intentionally if they want to. Any person. Like you said, for revenge, say. We all feel that at times…like we want revenge. I can’t say that I have ever intentionally hurt someone, though…I may have ‘wanted’ to or felt like I wanted to, but I can’t ever bring myself to intentionally hurt anyone.

SPs / Ps also do it unconsciously. Maybe we all do, if we are not aware that we are going to hurt someone at the time.

It is all so deep…


Brilliant post Redwald. I have in the past written here that when I finally ‘depersonalized’ the actions of the psychopath I was set free. I was never so eloquent is saying what it is I meant by depersonalizing. You have said it well, and it reflects my experiences with psychopaths.

At some point I realized for him it was “just” getting what he wanted, and having the freedom to do so; unencumbered by guilt, or caring how it would effect me.

Intellectually I could see that he registered how much he was hurting me, and he could see the tears. I could also see that he had zero feelings about my pain. Even more, he seemed to like that I was so hurt. As if this were further evidence of his greatness. My hurt served to further support his personal sense of importance. But I don’t think he wanted to hurt me…more he wanted to feel wanted, to have sex with lots of women, and to get as much money and support as he could find.

Totally detached. As you say he has the freedom to hurt without conscience.

Hope Springs

That’s the difference…they are not sad that they hurt you…they are sometimes GLAD and HAPPY that they hurt you.

THAT is what I (we) cannot understand, perhaps. The joy that THEY get from hurting others…


You know Bev I don’t think he was ‘happy’ that he hurt me. He was inflated that I was hurt ABOUT him. He was self-congratulatory that HE was THAT important (Narcissism). It had nothing to do with me. It was totally about HIM. All of it. And, in the end, I saw him as more robotic than happy. Just a human simulation.

Not happy, not sad, not anything really; other than driven by his narcissism, entitlement, and dominating/twisted personality. He could only ‘animate’ himself by taking his ‘life force’ from other people’s reactions to him (be they good or bad).

In devaluing and dumping me my HURT became food for him, making him feel powerful. I think his final ‘blows’ to me were just about how he could feel more powerful. Like he was sucking the marrow from the bones, before he threw them in the fire.

He could MAKE me feel something, and it ‘sounded’ like what I felt was devastation over HIM. And in his mind he is totally amazing, and this helped to further confirm it.

No matter what we feel, if they are the reason we are feeling it, they feel powerful.

They need to be in control, feel powerful, and be the center of whatever ‘action’ they create. This position is like a drug for them, and they can and will do whatever it takes to create situations that will boost their sense of themselves (as powerful, in control, and central to all things). And because they have zero conscience they can do it over and over and over, and not care one iota about what it.

After a considerable amount of time NOT dealing with him or any other seriously disordered person, I can say what I really felt (besides betrayal) was SHOCK that such people exist. I believe much of my sadness and depression were about the horrible reality of it all. Not so much about him.


Hope Springs

Yes, that makes more sense. Power. Look what I made happen.

Got it!

I see that for sure, in my SP son.


We can be glad that we don’t understand being happy from hurting others. I know that people like that exist, but I don’t really want to understand it any more than that.


Granted, P’s don’t care. But they often get ‘entertainment’ from hurting people. Perhaps it keeps them occupied. That sort of thing is written about on the P blogs and in forums and blogs for survivors. And in cases like this I think there’s a very high chance that part of the ‘entertainment’ is in the hurt that’s going to be inflicted. A lot of Ps are very, very aware of how the relationship is going to progress and drop tells to that effect (made up examples coming, but based on a lot of research): ‘Did you know I’m a monster?’, ‘There’s always pain in relationships’, ‘One of us is always stronger than the other and that can hurt the weaker one’, etc. Extra dupers delight from the tells. And there’s the additional angle that – possibly – they feed off emotions and that the more hurt they can inflict, the more emotional energy they can feed off.

Maybe some Ps are just focussed on get married – get money – get out, but perhaps other Ps are focussed on relationship = ‘entertainment’, where ‘entertainment’ = hurt? And obviously there are other reasons for relationships, too.


Spaths often do get pleasure from the power and control they feel in causing others harm. However, their precise motivation doesn’t really matter to me – if someone chooses behavior that he knows is causing another harm and pain, it’s deliberate enough regardless of what level the payoff is for him.

Hope Springs

That’s the rub…it is deliberate. Especially when they get ‘discovered’ and they become angry and vindictive.

Hope Springs

Hello everyone

I need some help / advice.

I was keeping a sort of journal, in my drafts in my email, where I had written all of my feelings about my SP son in sort of a letter to him. I actually did not intend to ever send it…however, while I was revising it this morning, which I do from time to time…I hit SEND instead of SAVE.

I had absolutely NO reason to send this letter to him. I have not had any contact with him for months. I was not angry at the time. I simply hit the wrong button.

Why am I worried? Mostly, I think, I am worried about my wonderful husband, his father, who has not full on board with me on this issue. The first thing I did when I had realized that I sent the email to my SP son, was frantically tell my husband that I had mistakenly sent it. It is instinct for me to tell him everything.

Now, I wish I had not told him. He was very angry with me and said that I need to phone my son and apologize! Well, no, that is not happening. I cannot even talk to my son any more.


Hi Bev,

I sympathize, as I’ve sent sensitive emails meant for someone else to the very wrong person a couple of times in my life. Here’s what I did when it happened to me.

Consider that it would probably not be breaking no contact with your son if you sent his email address a second email stating that the previous email was sent in error, please disregard it. You can add an apology for sending the email by mistake, which is not apologizing for your discernment, opinions, and decision not to have contact. It may appease your husband if you can tell him you apologized for sending the email, even though not by telephone. If your second email is very brief and business like it sets the tone for what you do wish to convey.

Beyond that, probably all you can do is hope and pray that there will be no negative consequences from your son having the information he has.

I understand your ambiguity about regretting telling your husband. Even if he’s disturbed and angry about the situation, there probably won’t be negative consequences from him knowing you sent it. If your son uses it in some way in the future, it may be good that your husband knows.

In your situation, it sounds like the repercussions in the family of knowing your thoughts could be a problem. I understand about not wanting your Father in Law to know. Your son is likely to use whatever you have written against you, to cause harm and trouble, if he can.

Here’s a couple of things I did when I sent emails by mistake:
I had replied to “all” with some advice for a friend who had forwarded me a hostile email from her family member. As soon as I realized what happened, I sent an email to him saying that “the email was sent by mistake, it was meant for someone else.” I felt so bad, but it blew over. My friend felt that in some ways it was good for him to know how she felt about things.

When I sent my ex psychopath (not yet ex at that time) an email by mistake, I went to the web email, was able to guess (or maybe I knew at that time, his email password) and I deleted my email from the web before he downloaded it to his computer. I tried not to look at any other emails in his account while I had it open. If your DIL knows your son’s password, maybe she can delete it for you? Trying to do that can make things worse, though, if it doesn’t work out right.

I wrote my ex psychopath probably hundreds of emails over several years that I never sent; they are still on my computer as a journal record for me. I found it very helpful for me to express myself in that way.

Hope Springs

Thank you for helping me, AnnettePK.

I was freaking out, but of course, hours later, I am calm again.

Just to clarify, I only meant one person…my husband. My son’s father. That is who I was worried about telling that I mistakenly sent the email. My husband was fully aware of and has read that letter, so he already knew that I had written it. What caused me to hit SEND, this morning, I do not know. Fate perhaps.

I really did not intend for our son to ever see that letter. It was not necessary in any way, like I said.

I did try and email him again to say that although it was all true and how I really feel, that it was not intended for him to see. It promptly bounced back…yes, he blocked me. Oh well…lol…poor me 🙂

Now, hours later, I am thinking that this should have happened. I mean, why not? What is really the harm? My SP son will just think it is bullshit and get angry. Nothing new.

My husband, of course, tried to ‘smooth’ things over, quickly phoning our son to disregard and delete the email and not to even entertain the contents.

Am I angry about that? Not really. I know my that husband’s intentions are NEVER bad ones. It grinds my gears a bit that he ‘sided’ with him in this instance, but I am also a rational adult who can put myself in my husband’s shoes.

Thank you so much for listening. I was SO scared and worried and sad for my husband…but not for my SP son, who the letter will just slide off the back of.

Cheers and appreciation for the time that you took to help me. What a lovely person you are.


I have always been bothered that your husband has chosen your son over you. Your son has shown his colors and that doesn’t seem to matter to your husband.

I think you need to consider that when push comes to shove, your husband isn’t there for you. That’s not a happy thought, but he’s not “wonderful”, at the least, he’s enabling, and at most… he’s part of the abuse of you and your soon to be DIL and part of the abuse of your grandkids.

It is especially telling that he didn’t side with you or even empathize with your mistake. He holds you to a standard that he doesn’t hold an SP, that is HUGE. I know it’s hard. But I have learned a terrible lesson, but a very necessary one: Facing the truth serves me better in the long run. Had I done so, I would have protected myself better and set up support network and an escape plan. B/c when I finally could not avoid the truth anymore, I was nearly destroyed.

IT’s not a trivial thing that your husband is this way. Please take care.


Just a little clarification what I just posted.

Your husband is behaving like this situation is just two people in miscommunication, just butting heads, can’t see eye to eye.

I WISH it were so. But it’s not. Your son is Malevolent. He is DANGEROUS. Your husband is putting you in a very vulnerable position, you would have NO protection, he would be the one who opens the door to the ultimate destruction by your son. Remember, for most of us, murder is nearly impossible, but for your son, it’s merely a menu choice as unemotional choice as chocolate or vanilla.

And telling you to apologize to your son, You are an ADULT, not a child. That was totally inappropriate of your husband to have that attitude. As you know, it’s nothing to your son; it’s NOT like your son is open to an apology. he’s NOT made that way!



Thanks for the update. It sounds like it’s turning out ok, and not too much harm done. Thank you for clarifying that ‘his father’ doesn’t refer to a third person, you were just pointing out your husband’s relationship and viewpoint.

Having a son with spath behavior must be so tragic and complex, and put huge strain on your marriage especially when you and your husband don’t agree on what action to take.

You might consider that from your husband’s point of view, he took the initiative to call your son to ask him to delete the email without reading, based on you having come to him in a panic. Your husband may be trying to do what he can to help, and as long as he didn’t put you down to your son, he may not really be taking sides. Your husband knows that you don’t want to call your son, so in that way he is supporting you and acquiescing to your desire not to make the call, and doing it himself if he wants it done. It may be an unrealistic request that your son not read the email, but that result would be almost as good as not having sent it by mistake in the first place. Your husband may have conveyed in his phone call the same basic message as you conveyed in your second email that got bounced – that the first email was sent by mistake.

It sounds like your son pretty much knows how you feel and that the contents of your email aren’t a surprise to him, anyway.

Consider that if your son wasn’t choosing pathological behavior none of the stress of these events would be happening. It’s part of the ripple effect that damages people and relationships, and consumes time and energy.

Once when I once sent the ex psychopath an email I regretted, I sent another asking him to delete without reading. He said ok; I have no idea whether he read it or not, but he acted as if he hadn’t read it.
Once the cat’s out of the bag, there’s not much one can do other than to say it was a mistake to send, if we believe exactly what we wrote.

After a couple of mistakes like that in my life, I now turn the manual wifi switch off on my old laptop when I’m editing something sensitive in email, so I can’t send by mistake.



I can see your point, but it’s worth considering that the husband didn’t ultimately force Bev to apologize, so the effect of it was expressing his opinion on what she should do. She did go to him for help in a crisis. His opinion can be valued and considered even if she doesn’t agree with him. If they can have open discussions, he may come to see her point of view more in time; and they can learn from each other.

You’re right that apologizing to a spath doesn’t have meaning to the pathological. When I apologized for something I’d done wrong to my ex spath, I did so for me – to ‘keep my side of the street clean.’ I knew that there was no valuable relationship between us to be repaired by my apology.

In Bev’s case, apologizing for the mistake of sending the email to let her son know that she did not make a decision to share the letter with him at this time, is not the same as apologizing for its contents nor for how she feels about his choices.

Hope Springs

Oh my goodness…thank you all so much for everything that you are doing. You just selflessly avail yourselves to help us when we need it.

Both AnnettePK and Not…

You both are beyond wise and have valid points. Not is correct…my husband does not seem as if he is in my court, and he isn’t.

AnnettePK is also right. I know my husband. I have been with him for almost 40 years. A truly good soul, however, not always the best decision maker. This was a bad one on his part, to run to my son’s aid and try to head the letter off at the pass. I do not want him to choose a side…I want him to have NO CONTACT with our son, like I have. I cling to the hope that this will eventually happen. My husband clings to the hope that things could be different…never going to happen, of course.

I did not apologize to my son at all, but rather, sent an email stating that it was a journal for me and that I erroneously sent it instead of saving it. There was no ‘sorry’ in it nor alluded to. I have nothing to ever apologize for, Not, you are so correct!

You know, I am not going to let our son destroy us. I love my husband and we have a great life…when our son is not in it.

My husband sees that, but is hanging on to that last vestige of hope that is really non existent.

Thank you both so much. Like I said, I don’t know what I would do or where I would be without people like you that are so selfless and willing to help.

My god…this is almost surreal



Thanks for your thoughts. In my experience everything about this kind of pathology is surreal and beyond true comprehension.

It has got to be so difficult that you and your husband don’t agree on whether to have contact or not. I imagine the everyday logistics are very stressful. Is your husband respectful of your choice? Does he acknowledge your point of view although he disagrees with it? Will he cooperate with you in your choice not to have contact? Is it possible for each of you to respect the other’s choice, even though you don’t agree?
With patience and respect of his choice to continue contact, it may be that in time as your son continues his pathological behavior, that your husband will find that no contact is the best choice for him, too. It would be wonderful if your son changed his motives and his behavior, but sadly, it’s not likely to happen. You may be ahead of your husband in figuring things out, and if you are able to step back and out of the pathological dynamics, your husband will experience the reality of your son’s motives and behavior.

Hope Springs

Yes, AnneteePK…yes

My husband definitely knows about acknowledges my point of view and does understand why I cannot have contact. He does cooperate on that. He has finally stopped asking me to go visit, or to have him come here.

I am not convinced, however, that it is possible to live with his choice of wanting to continue contact…FOR ME.

I am truly hoping that what you said will eventually happen. That my husband will be hit between the eyes, like I was, with the glaring reality of the situation and that no contact is the only way.


Sounds like it’s worth seeing how things go and if you and your husband will find a way to deal with the situation.

Some things that come to my mind:
You probably won’t have complete no contact as long as your husband is interacting with your son. If your husband shares with you details of their interactions, etc., it may trigger the effect that your choice of no contact is supposed to protect you from.
As long as your husband is having contact, situations may arise where you inadvertently have contact. There is a helpful technique for interacting with spaths when one must have contact called greyrock. In my experience it is the only thing that ‘works’ in dealing with a spath.

If your husband doesn’t share things with you about his interactions with your son, it creates a part of your lives that are separate and has the effect of drawing you apart from one another – there is always this part of your lives that you cannot share with one another. That is bound to be a difficult effect to deal with.

I wonder if your son does not ‘hook’ your husband as much as you get ‘hooked’ in, due to circumstances or whatever reason, your husband doesn’t get as embroiled in the effects of your son’s pathological choices.

It also occurs to me that your son likely will do whatever he can to create conflict between you and your husband; and he may feel it’s a victory for him if you and your husband separate, and he will do whatever he can to bring that about.

I understand that if your husband continues to interact with your son it may be a deal breaker for you. If you’re like me, it wouldn’t work for you if your husband goes along with no contact just because you have made that choice, without really believing it’s best.

I wonder if your husband feels like he has to choose between you and son. It would be inaccurate for him to blame you, rather than your son’s choices and circumstances, for the position he’s in, but it’s often human nature to do so.

If you get to the point where you cannot live with the situation of your husband having contact with your son, I can only imagine how complex the decision facing you would be. Considering the pros and cons of separating, and considering how you feel your marriage vows fit into things, and how separating would affect others, seems incredibly complex.

I’ve been dealing with a situation in my life where an on going situation contains a deal breaker for me – I have been waiting for years for something to change, meditating, praying and fasting about it. It’s like a black cloud that hangs over my life that just doesn’t go away. There are so many factors to the situation that make it almost impossible for me to come to a decision to make a change – I can’t find peace for me in either choice I see. I just continue to wait, and hope something changes.


I always appreciate that you have a different perspective than I do, you give me other things to consider, whereas sometimes I am merely responding to the words as I read them (echoing in my mind).

Like you describe, I have had things get “stuck”, and seemingly not see the solution. I have a process that has helped me, might seem silly to you, but worth trying. If it doesn’t work, you haven’t lost anything.

I am a faith based person. I pray when I go to sleep. I state the problem (but not my solutions or the “stuck” part) and only the problem. I ask for GOD to help me find a way through my dilemma, and end my prayer, “YOUR Will be done”. That’s it, I do not ruminate on it any more. If my mind tries to take me there, I force a story into my mind, or think about a beautiful place I have enjoyed, but I make the prayer and let it go.

THEN, the next morning as I begin to wake, I think on the problem again. (Sometimes I have to write out a note to myself and tape it to my bedside to see it as I wake. This is something I would have done BEFORE I said the prayer the night before.) The answer may not come the first morning, sometimes I’ve done it for a week, but… I get an answer.

Just a technique that has worked for me.
(I think the prayer and letting it go during a certain brain wave phase is like clearing the mind psychologically, so that the mind can answer back… but I am faith based and choose to believe that GOD sends a message via an angel.)

Hope Springs

Yes on so may levels, AneetePK.

Thank you for another thoughtful post.

Being so called ‘type-A’, I definitely take my SP son’s pathology much more to heart. I swear my husband can just let that go and look beyond it. My husband is so laid back.

He truly believes that my son and I are simply personality clashing…yeah right. Of course we are!

Yes, our son would love to see up break up, ESPECIALLY if that looks like my husband choosing him over me. OMG, what a victory that would be. It’s almost stupid that I have to be careful to not let anything ‘look’ like it is a competition, to my husband.

I am not trying to sway my husband to ‘my side’. I want my husband to truly SEE…that is all.

Also, I believe that my husband does think that he has to choose. I tell him that he does not even have to declare to have no contact. He doesn’t NEED to tell my son or anyone anything. I didn’t. My husband is mostly the one who initiates contact now, anyway. Like, after I erroneously sent my son that email yesterday. He felt he that he had to stave things off at the pass and apologize for me. All my husband has to do is fade out of the picture and not initiate contact. I swear, that at this moment in time, it would be that easy. My son is aware that I am finished with him.

It is becoming more and more of a deal breaker with me that my husband has contact. I know that kit cannot work for us as a couple. My husband yearns for me to ‘just love my son’ and ‘just be a mother’. He can’t let the fact go that he and I both love OUR mothers, and our mothers love us. What is the matter with me? Can’t I just be an adult and accept him?? Also, the fact that my husband has my son’s back more than mine, because he feels sorry for him and thinks that nobody else cares about him. When they spend any time together, or talk, tensions between us get worse. Not just on my part, either, but because of what they talk about…like ME.

It’s the HARDEST thing. I really hope I survive this dark cloud that is always hanging above us…

Like you, I too seem to be waiting for something to change. Am I waiting for my husband to see the light?

It sounds pathetic, but I want to spend the rest or our lives together, like we planned for all of our so far almost 40 years together.

I’m reading The Sociopath Next Door. It’s helping me so much. I fully recommend it.


EricA: i am also reading it at the recommendation of my therapist. It is very informative and an eye opener. Good book!!!


Does the sociopath, psychopath, narcissist INTEND to inflict damage, or is he/she only unconcerned with damages? The chicken or the egg, it seems.

I just read “Transforming Narcissism: Reflections on Empathy, Humor, and Expectations,” by Frank L. Lachman.
Note that this is a professional study, and the author does NOT claim that an individual can “transform narcissism.”

He writes about “transforming aggression,” stating that “these men recreate their own experiences of betrayed trust, shattered self-confidence, and the violation of all expectations of feeling safe in a predictable world by creating repetitive betrayals of others and violations of their expectations of living in a safe, predictable world. They act with intention to establish a feeling of trust JUST TO VIOLATE THIS EXPECTATION.”

AND THIS VERY POINT, according to Lachman, “constitutes the essence of perversion.”

Many primary models of the dynamics of abuse are based in victim-blaming, claiming such things as the victim choosing to be the victim, or claiming “trauma bonding,” or claiming “Stockholm Syndrome,” or claiming that the victim has a history of abuse or co-dependency.

READ “Stalking the Soul,” and EXCELLENT book that cuts through these victim-blaming concepts and practices.


If someone hurts others inadvertently, as soon as he comes to understand that his behavior harms others, he stops doing the harmful behavior, he apologizes, he asks forgiveness, and he makes amends if possible; in order to repair the relationship.


You know Annabelle…I think they can DECIDE to hurt us, just like anyone else. They have a choice about crashing your car, or telling you something hurtful. They can consciously decide to do that, just like the rest of us.

Whether they come up with an idea or act on impulse is not so important. Because if they are far enough along the continuum of being disordered, what they cannot do is stop themselves from taking what they want whenever they want it. They don’t have ‘breaks’ on their psyche, so they are compelled to do things to get what they want, even if it is devastating to people around them.

The ‘breaks’ we normal people have are our conscience, empathy, and guilt. These act as emotional breaks for us, so we generally don’t choose to do awful things, because it makes us feel BAD.

Imaging if you didn’t feel BAD. But instead felt either nothing, or felt satisfied that you got what you wanted, or felt powerful for making someone else react. Or maybe you felt ‘tickled’ that you ‘pulled one over’ on someone?

You could do just about anything if that was your emotional feedback system.


I absolutely agree with you. In fact, I KNOW that my ex-husband planned for many years to financially destroy me when I retired. A top-ranking professional in sex addiction recovery told me that my ex-husband calculates for long-term damages, likely already has next steps planned out for several years. I also know that he enjoys manipulating people, and that he feels deep, sadistic glee at causing damage.

It took me a long time to fully accept and understand that he acted with intention to destroy me. He created a convincing false self of a nice guy, supportive, loyal, committed to me and my children. The entire time, he was betraying each of us in multiple ways, smearing our characters, sabotaging our relationships, discrediting us, and, most of all, he was involved in hundreds of sexual affairs, and even ENGAGED to several other women! He is a predator, and I think that the ONLY way that he would ever become a healthy being would be RADICAL, long-term, residential, intensive treatment, and then spend his life alone on an island. Not going to happen. Further, he has NO real desire to change–he greatly enjoyed playing therapists, attorneys, 12 Step colleagues, family, everyone.

I also read Lachman’s work as stating exactly that the “narcissist” acts with intention to shatter the sense of safety in other people’s lives.

Yes, yes… I agree with you… I did not mean to claim that I believed that they were innocent victims of their own flawed personalities.


FURTHER, IF he had any remorse, any desire for wellness, he would be paying the meager alimony ordered by the court. Nope. He acts with intention to manipulate and damage others. Absolutely.


IN FACT, I know that my ex-husband FABRICATED many tales of childhood abuse for his therapist… It was part of his sadistic manipulation–he played victim and EVERYONE believed him. None of it was true.

So, do psychologists ever understand the sociopath, narcissist?

I did see one therapist who told me to stop all contact immediately, AND she became very frightened that he might at some point attempt to damage her. She had previous experiences with sociopaths, and she knew the extent of the damages he could inflict.

Oh my, the stories he told therapists… even about his mother… all false.

You could do just about anything if that was your emotional feedback system.
Slim, you could literally have not said it better.
Like a car with faulty breaks, that may run over someone, by accident, a car without breaks should never be driven.


And given the reckless driver, I certainly wish I had either stayed off the road or had been driving a faster car so that I could have quickly passed and avoided getting run over and landing in this big valley!


@Donna Anderson

You’ve left her real name in:

‘X,I have to say something and I hope you don’t hate me for it ‘


I just finished reading your story, twice.

It sounds so familiar,unfortunately.

Please be careful as these types will try to come back.
My story is so similar except he came back and actually got divorced.
Please, please do not ever talk to him ever again.
These people do not ever change and only get worse with age.

You have described the stages of a full blown spath/narc entanglement.

Hugs to you,



Dear woman….what a horror story. How despicable he is. Like Stronginthecity, I also had a similar story. Totally fraudulent love. Complete falseness at every turn. Even the ‘true’ facts twisted with omissions and injections of lies.

I don’t know how long you have been out of contact, but I suggest you NEVER speak again. Any time they are talking they are telling you a lie. Each and every time. Like snakes crawling in your ears.

They do come back, divorced, in therapy, whatever. Even when these ‘changes’ have occurred, they are nothing but ‘props’ to create a facade of real change. But no real change can happen if your brain is not right. No amount of therapy, drugs, isolation. The outer appearance often changes, but the compulsion to ‘get’ whatever they want, at at means, continues for them.

Protect your precious heart and life.




I understand how confusing things were for you.

Your wrote:

“And then it began ” quite subtly of course. The devalue stage was initiated.

I could swear I was starting to catch him staring at other women when we were out. I was never much the jealous type but I began to feel very uncomfortable, even insecure.

When I would call him on it, he would tell me I was seeing things. That he only had eyes for me. That I was the only woman he wanted…”

I actually had many dreams that my ‘spath was betraying me. I would wake up from one of the dreams feeling sad or angry, and I would tell him about it. Clearly, my subconscious mind was trying to tell me that my husband was a liar, betraying me. But he would actually say, “you poor dear…why are you so insecure…what can I do to help you feel more secure…” etc. etc.

I did not feel insecure. I had a strong professional career, a good salary, and I thought I was in a good marriage –

But, since I kept dreaming that my husband was having affairs, and he assured me that he would never betray me, that he was sooooooo happy that we were together….

I felt increasingly foggy….and unable to identify why I felt so slow, hazy…

After he told me that he had betrayed me since we were married 18 years earlier, he continued to play these mind games. He claimed he was completely committed to therapy for sex addiction, and therapists claimed that he would get well and become the man I had always thought that he was… My first inclination was to RUN, file divorce, and stop all contact. But, I was advised to WAIT FOR ONE YEAR.

THEN, EXTREME INSANITY PREVAILED. He would tell me that he was working with his therapist and 12-Step groups, but then he would let slip that he had only “relapsed several times the past week.” By “relapse,” he meant that he had gone online and hooked up and had sex with several women!

Over and over and over … I had long since asked him to leave the house, and increasingly detached, but he was still contacting me and I was still reacting.

Then, I realized, he was telling his therapists and his 12-Step colleagues that I was not able to forgive and move forward, that I was “too angry” and “too resentful…” and they all believed him. He did not tell any of them that in that time period that we were separated, prior to filing for divorce, about 18 months, he had sexual affairs with 37 more women!

I felt deeply humiliated that I had believed him, and more humiliated that I had reacted, that I had engaged in any communication with him at all.

Now, I see how manipulative and deceptive he is, though, so I am disappointed that I had previously believed him. While going through an ugly, bizarre divorce, though, I could witness just how he manipulated others–I often wanted to stand up and SHOUT “he’s lying… he just twisted that around and you believed him!” Of course, I could not usually say anything, but sit and observe the craziness.

Yet, by observing how he manipulated and how others absolutely believed him, I was more able to forgive myself for also previously being played by him.

My children are adults now, and we have been able to talk in depth about the many ways that he played each of us, including his intentional sabotage of our relationships. I am heartbroken that I let such an ugly man into our lives, and heartbroken at the damage that he inflicted on us. And yet, the blessing is that we are all much wiser, and we have connected more closely and tightly than I would have even imagined. Without deconstructing specific situations, we would have spent the remainder of our lives misunderstanding what happened and having very flawed relationships.

So, we win. We are connected. We are wiser. We will NEVER fall victim to him again.

BUT, knowing that because we were kind, trusting, open-minded, generous, and loving left us vulnerable to a predator has been difficult to understand.
Of course, now we are more able to be kind, loving, and more wisely skeptical and careful… But, now we can SEE, and I think it is very difficult to see such pathology without ever having experienced it.


AND while he was involved with more sexual affairs, convincing his therapists and treatment centers and 12 Step groups that I was “too angry” to move forward and forgive, he also told the IRS that I had stolen funds from his prematurely cashed out pension, filed fraud charges against me with three banks–all proven to be false accusations, called every person I knew and played that he loved me and was just so sad that I was “too angry,” refused to pay the mortgage although he claimed he was paying it, refused to stop the mortgage foreclosure process while he had his newest girlfriend buy a new house for him, collected every angry response I wrote and called police and reported me for harassment, came to the house with police to demand that I give him my car although once police saw the title of the car they had to tell him that he had no right to take it…

I was absolutely TERRORIZED and developed extreme PTSD and THEN I had to go through a crazy divorce process where he refused to settle but had his attorneys accuse me of more crimes until I was out of money paying attorneys to help me and finally had to represent myself, including an actual TRIAL where although I had asked the judge to order that my husband provide funds for legal fees and the judge refused, although I had presented medical documents re: PTSD, I had to cross-examine my husband in court for hours. His attorneys were trying to get the court to order that I pay school loans for HIS daughter, that I pay many other bills that were NOT my responsibility, my name was not even on them, and I no longer had any income!

So, betrayal and betrayal and betrayal. And any time I expressed any frustration or any anger, I was slammed as an aggressive woman who was “too angry” to forgive a poor man for a little mistake of infidelity.

I simply could not ever have imagined that a man that I believed cared for me and my children would be so absolutely dangerous to us.

Of course, no one believes me. If this did not happen to me, I would not have believed me!

Hope Springs

Yes, annabelle…

Like I said, if what has happened in my life because of my SP son had not happened to me, I would not have believe that it were even possible!

Like a freaking movie, I swear.


Sounds like my ex. Minus the divorce-we are both female and couldn’t marry until near the end of our relationship, and she then refused…until I told her I was leaving lol. Then she changed her mind real quick. This sounds like her, the vindictiveness, the severity and persistence of it. I’m so sorry.


I can relate to some of your experience. My ex psychopath also told others that I was unforgiving, accused me of being bitter,etc. He characterized a lifetime of porn addition, child porn, cross dressing, and whatever else I didn’t happen to find out about, as a little mistake of infidelity, making people think it was one time with an adult woman. He called the police on me, too. I am recovering from PTSD.

Hope Springs

I believe you!!


Thank you. Your statement is very helpful to me.


I think the “unbelievability” is a big part of the crazy-making. As I was being charged with fraud, it all felt too unreal to be believable, even to me. I felt crazy that I was believing that it was happening…
And the twisted statements, so distorted, I began to question my own reality even more.

I am still digging out of a massive hole from layers and layers of damage he caused, but I am digging out. Each day is a lighter.

I am also filing petitions with the state bar association re: ethics violations on the attorneys and the judge.

I usually want to just let it go, but then I get stuck thinking that IF I do not report them, I am more victimized. I hate looking at the legal documents, the craziness, but with each report I complete and send, I feel lighter…

Then, I take a long break from it, and put together the next report.

I have filed spousal innocence, and actually the IRS is the most compassionate agency I have been working with…
And I am hopeful that money I OVERPAID and that he had the IRS levy against my salary will not be refunded.

Bit by bit, step by step… Once it was overwhelming, but with each step, I feel closer to my previously grounded self.

Hearing that other women have struggled with this same insanity is VERY VERY VERY VERY HELPFUL.

I wish you great peace.


Correction: “I am hopeful that money I OVERPAID and that he had the IRS levy against my salary will not [Correct: NOW!] be refunded.

Hope Springs

And I wish you the very same.

It does help immensely hearing from others, the same things that you know to be true.


If the IRS doesn’t refund, perhaps you can file a civil suit against your ex for what he owes you, if he has any salary or other assets you can levy if you get a judgement.

Someone please tell my ex sociopath’s current victim, with whom he had a child, what she is in for. She recently caught him cheating again, and kicked him out. He’s already posting the “look what a happy couple we are” photos of him and the latest victim he moved in with, after the put out. This gal has no idea what she’s in for. I can’t tell her. She needs to know, to be prepared for the fight of her life.

Hope Springs

What a disgusting piece or *** this guy is!

Boy, do I know what you mean about posting ‘look how great my life is’ pictures for all of the world to see.

My SP son did just that, at least for the first few years of his marriage and young children’s lives. the marriage was a sham, but he liked everyone to see the ‘false’ happiness of the pictures!

When his ex realized what a fraud he was, the pictures dwindled, and then just stopped altogether.

It is now all over except for a nasty custody battle and divorce, filled with his anger and vindictiveness.

Time for him to find another victim…then I am sure more ‘look how happy and great we are’ pictures will pop up like flowers in the Spring.

Man, how I hope not.


I understand how you feel… BUT I realized that anything anyone said would just be material for the sociopath to INCREASE the confusion and manipulation, making it more difficult for the next victim to become aware of what he was doing…


It may be helpful, depending on circumstance, to let the next victim know that if she ever has any questions about him you’d be happy to talk to her. When things got bad I wanted to talk to my ex psychopath’s first ex wife, but I wasn’t sure how she would feel about it or if it would upset her, so I didn’t contact her.


I FINALLY learned that whatever he was PROJECTING everything that he was doing. IF he claimed I was hiding money, HE was hiding money… etc. His claims were then CLUES about what he was actually doing…

Hope Springs

Yes, to both posts.

He is so adamant that SHE (his ex) was cheating, that I know that HE was in fact, probably the one cheating!

He is just way over the top about how moral and faithful he is. No man I know has to shout that from the rooftops like he is doing.

That old saying. he who doth protest too much, is usually guilty of the same thing…


Wow. Great point. Creepy.


They love to give us clues, and then watch how we ignore them, or become confused by them. They think that makes them more clever than the rest of us; instead of deeply flawed and deceptive.

That was a source of great embarrassment for me when I figured out how MUCH he had actually told me, by projection. I couldn’t believe I didn’t see it when it was happening.

I was accused of being a flirt and unfaithful. He slept with at least 8 other women, in 9 months. Lol. I really can laugh now, because I don’t really see him as having any value any longer. I see myself as having value, and him as being nothing.


Yes! I am still finding many items that he played to dupe me. Often, there was absolutely no reason to lie or set up some fake situation, except for his own sadistic pleasure.

Throughout the divorce, I noted countless “clues” he put in his affidavits, including $2,100.00 per month for “household maintenance,” although he was also supposedly renting an apartment. I kept telling my attorney, “he had his girlfriend buy a house for him, and that is the $2,100.00 cost on his budgets.” Even though his attorneys told him to take it off, “you don’t own a house,” and the judge commented that the expense should come off “because he doesn’t own a house,” and my attorney told him to take it off for the same reason, he kept putting it on his list. I knew what he was doing, but I couldn’t prove it.
No one else even believed me because it must have been simply so fragrant that they could not process it.

The deception and trickery so devious… just creepy and weird.

Now, I just shake my head when I encounter another DUPING item – I am not able to actually laugh about it, not yet… just too weird.


I think sometimes they drop hints, ‘tells,’ to see how much we are willing to accept and put up with.


Good point. Like sonar testing…



I have been reading your posts and wondering what about your son’s childhood could have turned him into that personality. I’m not saying this in any way to trivialize all your efforts or parenting skills. It wasn’t until Saturday that your husband’s name came into the picture that started to wonder if perhaps your son is Psychopath instead?

It’s never ok for you to panic like you did, at how your husband would react when he finds out you’d sent that email. That alone is cause for concern.

My heart truly goes out to you because mine was a covert one like that. I lived only to defend his calm, solemn demeanor to everyone who tried pointing out to me that he was controlling me. I never saw my angel with those set of eyes that a few discrete people identified through that mask. 16yrs I vouched for his innocence. Our little girl couldn’t even turn to me for help because I’d been trained to stand by my husband through thick and thin. Watch closely what’s happening in this picture now. My husband on the other hand never defended me against anyone. He would tell me he’s got to keep the family’s face by extending a friendly hand. When his parents or siblings treated me badly, he would take their side and they’d team up against me. Then he’d privately say to me he did what a Christian ought to do – love those who persecute you. At the end of the day, I would be the one to apologize to him and his family. Whenever I failed to defend my daughter, I pretty much did what he and his siblings used to do to me. I always worried what my husband would think or say when he found out I made a mistake here or there. It was beyond worry. I feared his reaction. He wasn’t violent with me, but he’s very much skilled in mind control. He would chair a church board full of strong men and women, but only bus agenda would pass. He’s a very calm and collected man of very few words.

It wasn’t until after I took the mid and fled, that I started to realize the truths in all the warnings given to me about him. All the fear I had of his opinion of my actions just added up.

As long as you feel safe around your husband there’s no cause for concern. My only suggestion to you is that you dig deep into your heart and find out the reason why you’re so afraid of your husband’s opinion of your actions….. Not what he tells you, but seek the real reason; it’s going to be right there where it’s been sitting all the 40yrs. It’s in your subconscious and it keeps trying to surface through the panic and numerous cries I’ve been reading from you. Also while you’re at it, ask yourself why he takes your son’s side to the point of being hostile to you when he comes back from trips with him.

Also, please don’t confront your husband in a new tone that you’ve never used regarding this, because this support group is here so we can help each other through our own experiences. My experience was that, the mask fell of when I challenged him and refused to apologize nor back down. He intensified the gas lighting, devaluing, putting me in solitary confinement, escalating abuse on our daughter, tempering with my meds etc. Had I kept the good girl image of apologizing to him each time he wronged me, I believe I could have spared our kid any myself all the trauma we’ve endured and continue to deal with even after running away from home.

Wishing you the best,

Hope Springs

Hi, and thank you.

I am not sure how to answer this. My husband does not control me at all. I , myself, tend to simply ‘worry’ about him getting hurt, more than anything. Sending that letter that I had written for myself, to my son, mistakenly, did put me into a panic.

Why? I asked myself that. I know that I have cut off contact with my son, and my husband has not. I do not want to rush my husband into that unless he is on board. I am not trying to win or make him choose. That is why I panicked, I think. If I had not told my husband what I had done, he would have been none the wiser. I doubt that my son would have even acknowledged it. (How I wish I had not told him now, as all it did was make my husband think that he had to contact our son and tell him not to read the letter..just delete it). At the core of this is my husbands intensely strong sense of family. That is basically it, I believe. He is our son, no matter what. I don’t feel the same…thus our troubles.

My husband is, most times, so nice to everyone, even the the wrong people, that he often gets taken advantage of.

Also, it is my son that has actually been diagnosed with a personality disorder, not my husband. Yes, my husband wants to stand by his son and defend him. I believe that my husband STILL feels guilty because we placed our son into foster care at almost 8 years of age and my husband somehow thinks that he can ‘make up’ for that fact since we all came back into each others’ lives when our son was 16. Since that time, at age 16, we have seen him only sporadically, but I swear that my husband tries to have a father son relationship even though I know it cannot happen. I know because there is nothing real on my son’s part. He is not wired that way. My husband still does not really believe that our son could be disordered…just that he was a screwed up kid. My husband appears to be trying to create something that was never there and never will be. For himself. My son could care less.

I do not feel guilty about placing our son in care, at least not for a lot of years now. We did right by him, not wrong. We were not selfish.

As a 5 year old, my son falsely accused my husband of molestation. The police were involved. Our lives turned upside down. He admits to lying about it now. That was the last straw for us, as there were many questionable behaviors prior to that, like intense lying, hurting animals and killing one, theft, school problems, etc.

I think I may have misrepresented my husband somehow? I don’t know how to articulate the perfect words for what we are going through. For the dilemma that we are in.

Since I can see my son for who he truly is, and my husband cannot, this is where the problem lies. My husband does get defensive with me, I think, because he cares how my son feels. He thinks that he can feel. I know different. My husband wants me to love my son, no matter what, just like my husband seems to be able to.

Does that make sense? My husband is not abusive to me in any way.

I have never apologized to my son and I won’t. I don’t have to. I did not apologize to my husband, either, for sending the letter because everything in that letter was true and the truth is all that matters to me.

I do wish that my husband ‘had my back’ more often when it comes to our son. Perhaps he feel that he has to play the yin to my yamg, or the good cop to my bad cop?


Most of us naturally see others’ experiences through the lens of our own situation. I think readers tend to project their own experiences and the natures of their own husbands/partners to others. It’s a natural tendency, and worth considering when you decide what to take away from others’ posts.

Tragically, evidence suggests that some people are born with physical and metabolic differences that correlate to the symptoms of personality disorders. Perhaps a physical remedy will be found sometime. Also, individuals have choices and can learn and know right from wrong. The brain undergoes physical changes based on choices of how we use it and ‘exercise’ it, like a muscle.

No parent is perfect. In my experience, good parenting cannot ultimately cause someone to make right or wrong choices, nor can good parenting change a physical handicap. Because parents have such a huge influence on their childrens’ lives, it is easy to blame bad childhood experience or ‘bad parenting’ for psychopathic behavior. However, the evidence is overwhelming that the same parenting results in very different personalities and character in children, in the same families.

It’s very possible that the more you step out of the dynamics involving your son, the less your husband will feel the need to balance things, as you describe. That is a natural human tendency.

Falsely accusing your husband of molestation is pretty far out there – at the time did you wonder which of them was telling the truth, did you doubt your husband’s innocence? That incident alone is enough to stress a marriage to the point of breaking apart. How does a five year old know what molestation is? Do you know where he got that from?

Don’t feel like you have to answer, my questions, this post, or anything here – I sometimes read and get something out of a conversation, but don’t feel like I need to add something more.


Hi AnnettePK,
Thanks for the pointer that perhaps I was projecting my husband’s behavior on her. I will try to consider that in the future before commenting.

It’s only that Bev had highlighted a number of things that looked familiar, which made me wonder if her panic was perhaps because of those.



I know I project my own paradigm in my responses. It’s why there’s so much value in different views.

Hope Springs

Oh no AnnettePK, I want to answer this one!

You are correct. Everyone come to this site with very unique and differing experiences in so many apects of each situation.

How does a 5 year old know what our son accused my husband of? That very question sent us into a tailspin of trying to figure out, first, if he had been molested at all, and then, if so, by who.

Firstly, knowing my husband the way that I did (and do), I was incredulous that he could have done anything like this. Of course, many women are just that, incredulous, only to discover that their husband is indeed a pedophile. There was a nano second, (when the police contacted me, who themselves were contacted by a daycare worker at my son’s daycare program and told me that my husband had possibly molested my son) that I was sick to my stomach. I think that is normal. A child is to be believed…a child does not lie about such things. Keep in mind, this was the early 80s. One or maybe two nano seconds. I was quickly playing over in my mind that my son did not seem any different or was not exhibiting and odd or out of the ordinary behaviors.

My husband was also told, and asked to go for questioning to the police station. My husband was beyond devastated. Sorry…I am crying and trying to type…It was a horrible thing for him to have gone through, and that is putting it mildly.

After that, he was cleared and released. That fast. Then, our son had to go to a psychologist for further questioning and testing, etc. It was determined that he had not been molested, ever, by any one. We were joyful for that, but could not experience that because now we wondered why he would accuse his own father and how he would even know what he vividly (for a 5 year old) described.

My son, before it was determined that he had not been molested, had been trying to make me believe that he had, by my husband. for weeks. He had my undivided attention while this was going on.

Well, apparently, and we did not learn this until weeks later. A little girl at the daycare was actually going through the things that my son accused my husband of. She was obviously talking about it to other children. Imagine that.

Why our son did that to his father, again, is still beyond us. Attention? He always loved bad attention. The mind boggles.

We had him for three years after that, before we placed him in care. There were many other behaviors and incidents prior, and after. We came to the realization that we felt that he was very off and that there was more wrong with him. Things were never the same.

Hope Springs

Actually, the part about a little girl in my son’s daycare possibly influencing our son to lie about his own father was mostly speculation, on my, my husbands and the daycare workers’ part.

There was talk of a little girl, to that effect at that time, who was in the same daycare as our son. I don’t remember any one actually questioning our son on exactly that little girl or if that is where he got the mere ‘idea’ from.

I am not sure if that was a fact or merely speculation, because, I am not positive that we were actually told this for certain, or we were all just trying to come up with reasons WHY. Or even, who was told what. This occurred in 1987 or so. I am trying hard to recollect exactly what happened but can’t seem to.

My stepping out of our son’s dynamics is exactly what I have been doing for about 6 months and that was actually ‘working’ very well for all of us. It does seem like my husband is always trying to ‘save’ both of us whenever things ‘break out’ and I become upset or involved.

My husband and I are very happy and content when our son is not in our lives. Of course, he is always at the backs of our minds, but when we are not actually involved’ with him at all, all is well.

Damn me for hitting SEND instead of SAVE on that journal letter…otherwise, we would not be ‘here’, at this point, again. This was all my bad.

Thank you again everyone. Any and all input is always welcomed.


I’m not sure that a little girl’s account of molestation would provide enough info for a little boy to describe being molested. Many children are pretty confused about what’s what regarding sexual things at that age, but it can vary widely depending on what they have been exposed to even just in the media and news. Could it have been a misunderstanding by a teacher?

I’m sure you regret hitting send having done the same thing a few times myself, but it’s a mistake anyone could have made (and do make).


Ok Bev,

I’m sure you guys have been through a lot as a family and as a couple.

Thanks for your clarification and yes you articulated it very well 🙂

Let me try to answer your question without implying any disrespect to your husband. If it comes across that way please pardon me.

There’s a rising awareness in neuroscience that has been caught on MRIs of brains studied on psychopaths. They have a lesion on their brains which can be detected in families of criminals. It is hereditary. However it takes flipping the switch for the bad behaviors to kick in. If the P is in a none stressful environment he can go through life without doing the vilest offenses his peers engage in. there may be one or two pointers here and there like being cold sometimes or an obsession to achieve advice everyone all the time etc. without the switch being flipped they’d go through life without incidents. Psychopaths’ brains are set out in a certain way. I have often wondered how they team up so fast and so well to sabotage anyone who is a threat to one of them. I have learned that it’s because they are skilled at identifying those of and feather with them and those threatening their freedom to do whatever they want.

So that’s why I started to wonder if your husband empathized with him so much because perhaps he understands all too well what you and I don’t understand about your son’s state of mind.

You have clarified what you meant, so please don’t take too much of what I said to heart.

I hope you find peace soon because you’ve carried this burden for a very long time in your family. I’m glad you have this group who can help you as much as they’ve helped me too.

Hope Springs

Thank you so much…man.

That is so insightful and I had no idea of the banding together of Ps part.

Looking at my husband and his past, there is really nothing (and I am open to it if there was) that shows that he is disordered, other than having his son’s back, almost to a fault.

I also was thinking a lot, and wonder if my husband and myself have both felt the need to protect each other, because what we have been through since our son’s birth, parent-wise.

I think I am extremely protective of my husband, since, and because of what he went through when he was accused of the unthinkable, by our son.

My husband is protective of me, because he has lived through what all of this has done to me. I won’t elaborate here, but my husband feels bad for me that I cannot have a ‘normal’ relationship with my own son any more.

I mean, we already knew before the accusation, that something was different about our son, but were young parents, so we thought that our son would grow up and change.

When the accusation happened, well, that was over the top strange and life changing for all of us.

My husband is just that way naturally. ‘Protective’, to friends who have been in his life a long time, and to any and all family, no matter what their personalities or foibles. That is totally my husband. To a fault. I always say that he always has to try to save the world! It’s kind of a running joke with us…but I am digressing.

Then, add this problem to the mix. We have a disordered son. Things go very bad as a young family…and my husband is STILL trying to fix everything. I know that all he really wants is for us all just to be normal, whatever that means to him, and just get along.

I don’t see peace in the near future, that’s for sure. I see this as a lifelong burden, like you said. I guess I have come to a place where I see the only solution is not to have contact with our son. That seems to be the only ‘happy’ place for all of us…yes, even our son. I have just decided to be happy and live each day one day at a time, and not even think of the future any more. It seems like the only way that I can survive, at least, without falling into the depths of depression.

I care about my husband so much. Perhaps too much. I don’t ever want to see him as hurt and destroyed as he was way back when, again. For some reason, that really matters to me. I also do not want to feel that way, either. My husband does not want me to feel that way. There is no good way to deal with any of this. I feel such sorrow for the both of us for having to even go through THIS now and for having to try to figure out what is the right thing for all of us.

I even feel sorrow for our son. Yes, I do. He did not ask to be disordered.


Hi there Bev,

You are such a loving person, it just radiates through your speech. The cries you have repeatedly echoed about your son, even though they appear bitter and frustrated – quite honestly, love shines through them.

I hope you realize that none of us here, let me speak for myself mostly – I am not giving out diagnoses of any nature on any member of your family. I am a survivor like you and all of us in the forum, so what I share with you does not constitute or substitute professional opinion.

Bev, if ever a mental health practitioner has a couple, pointing fingers at each other and saying the other is the abusive one – an astute clinician only needs to sit back just a few minutes and watch them talk. The abuser will throw one or two bomb shells that incriminate the partner. The victim of a COVERT narcissist and – or psychopath / sociopath will take just that one sentence and answer in volumes of explanation and defense, citing various examples of why she is saying what she says. This is because the victim has been trained to account for his/her every step and statement. The abuser projects his / her bad behaviors on the victim. The victim then takes it upon herself / himself to prove that he/she is innocent. In no time, the victim has developed the skill to defend and justify convincingly. At that point, the clinician knows what buttons to press for the truth to start coming out on its own.

Bev, I am not saying you should go home and pick a fight with anyone, anymore than you already have your hands full. Majority of these personality disorders are either inherited or acquired. If it doesn’t run in your son’s family to have this disorder – there is someone within very close proximity to your family who could have brought this on him. It could be family or friend. The point is not to go on a witch hunt, but to look at yourself and see how many years you’ve carried someone else’s mess and made it yours to shoulder alone. I know you have very well pointed out that you and your husband are in this together. That is good. Please search your heart and see why you are reacting the way you have handled your son’s ordeal. It is painful I know to see your child turn out this way. What is more troubling is that for so many years you guys have not found a working tool that will strengthen you as a family to fight this sickness. You are still hurting dear Bev. Your bruise is bleeding like it’s a fresh wound. That is because the environment is not allowing for it to heal. Find out what is causing this. You are full of love Bev. It almost seems to me that you are running around in a rabbit trail, hurting but not finding your way out to get help. Knowledge is power. Once you know what the real problem is – you will come up with a plan to solve it. Your family is a victim of some unidentified sick mind….your son included. He is a victim too.

Although my communication may come across as if I am pointing fingers at your husband – please understand that this could be anyone else in your proximity that is gas lighting you all. Only YOU can and when you are ready, WILL find the truth.

My heart really goes out to you Bev. You really have such a big heart. I hope you can find healing.

Hope Springs

Wow. That is stunning.

You are like a therapist…and I mean that in a good way, Survivor1.

The only things that frustrates me about therapists, ad I do know why they have to do as they do, is that I am left to find the answer…the solution…all on my own.

I do find myself wanting someone to TELL me what or who the problem really is. It is me? Is it my husband? My son?

It is definitely in the dynamics of the three of our relationships.

I can think of nobody else in close proximity that could be a, or the, catalyst. I know that that is somewhat simplified, and likely not exactly what you are trying to point out.

Both my husband and myself had relatively normal childhoods. No big bad events to speak of. I am an only child, my only sibling passed away at age 2. I love my parents and they, me. My husband is from five, he being the youngest. All things in his have always family seemed ‘normal’ as far as normal goes. He loves his parents, and they, him. I come from a divorced home, but no drama from it. My husband’s parents have been together for over 60 years so far.

I hope it is not as simple as I am very loving, like you say, and my husband is really not (like some men have a tendency to be undemonstrative, etc)…therefore he longs for me to simply be loving towards our son in a motherly way. Like my mother is to me and his is to him…

I almost wish that in my small city, that I could find a therapist trained or at least aware of personality disorders to really knuckle down and help me to sort things through.

Thank you so much Survivor1. Your input and suggestions will be very valuable to me.


It sounds as though your feelings are natural given the circumstances. I can’t imagine things ever being ‘right’ with a personality disordered adult child. It seems as though it’s worse than a death, as you have the loss of a real relationship with a child but no real closure. The grief must be endless, and also fear of him stirring things up or causing harm to you or others.



In my experience intuition is a good way to get answers from one’s subconscious. Alternatively, I’ve also made lists – pros and cons, my feelings, people’s actions, what I want ideally, what I want realistically, detailed steps to effect changes I want, etc. etc. Lists, and writing things out, help me sort out my thoughts and get in touch with what I do know. This is different than writing what I’d like to say to my ex P, that is more for emotional catharsis and to get in touch with how I feel. The lists help me with what I think, and unraveling confusion.

Hope Springs

Those are really helpful ideas. I did not think of doing that!

I only thought so far, to write my feelings to my son.

The ‘letter’ did end up sounding angry and hateful, because as I revised and revised, I removed my actual emotions, which were really fear and sorrow from the it.

I removed my fear and sorrow from the ‘letter’ so that my son, if I ever did send him the ‘letter’, would not see those weaknesses in me and use them.

Like I said, I had no intent to send it as I figured that it would serve no purpose other than me trying to hammer home my ‘points’.

UPDATE: My son replied (of course…he always must have a rebuttal) and told me that I needed help and that he was not hurt, but only felt ‘sorrow and empathy’ for me and that he hope I could heal my mind! He must be trolling personality disorder websites, as those are the two main ‘buzzwords’ that disordered people apparently lack…wow.

If I was in the least unsure before, I am not now.

Hope Springs

Oh…were you meaning that my son is a P instead of an SP?

I just say SP, because that is what I first used on this site. I consider them the same, actually.

Or do you mean that you think my husband is the one who is disordered?

Sorry…I am not quite sure, but I hope that I have explained myself better…lol.



I am sorry that you are going through all of this… I understand how confusing everything can seem.

I do not know your exact situation, but I would like to share a piece of my experience. Please trust that I am not analyzing your life, nor assuming any “answer” to your situation. I am just sharing, in case it is helpful to you…

As I noted before, I was married for nearly 18 years, and my husband was kind and supportive…In fact, MANY people often said, “Thank God for ____.” He was generous, fun, helpful… I did not think that we had a “perfect” marriage, but it was acceptable, and I looked forward to our life when children would be grown and we would have more time together…

Increasingly, though, my children seemed to be angry at me, and resentful. I thought I was a good mother, and so I found their attitudes distressing, and confusing. My siblings, too, became increasingly cold, sarcastic, and dismissive toward me. My husband was very supportive of me, and listened with patience when I talked to him about my confusion and distress about my relationships with loved ones. He would confirm that I was not at fault, and then he would ADD things that he had noticed about how people were treating me. “Your son has an entitlement problem….”They don’t appreciate you…”They manipulate you…

At other times, when we had any disagreement, he would say, “this is why your children get so angry with you…you never let things go… you expect people to be perfect…” etc.

It took me a number of years to realize that when I was concerned about one of my children or any other situation, my husband was subtly pushing me to perceive it as far more negative, far more destructive than I would naturally think. Then, when I would “catch” what was happening and tell him, “NO, I don’t think it’s that extreme…” he would immediately agree, “no, of course not, you’re right…” As such, there was not ever a clear line of disagreement nor conflict that I could define.

I once heard my youngest son tell someone that he was not at all close to me, that we didn’t get along. I was heartbroken. I had thought that we were close, and I had done everything possible to be supportive and attentive, etc. WHAT was wrong?

“Entitled,” my husband would say.

My husband was so sweet, so supportive, that he pushed me to take an early retirement, although my pension would need to be untouched for 5-6 years to “grow” to an investment level really needed for my financial security. My husband insisted that I had done so much for his career, had been so supportive of my four children for many years, that he wanted to “gift” to me time to write, my lifelong dream. We discussed at length that once I signed retirement contract, I could not return, not ever, and that I was nervous about it. He assured me that everything would be absolutely great – and he pushed, pushed, pushed for me to sign that contract, ending my paycheck for the first time in more than 30 years.

Within one month of my signing my retirement contract, my husband, so kind, supportive, generous, told me that he was a sex addict, that he had betrayed me since we were married 18 years earlier, with HUNDREDS of people.

I was devastated, and I was ENRAGED. I had NO INCOME. I had NO WAY TO EXIT.

One may think that he set this up so that financially I could not leave the marriage because he wanted to save the marriage, that he did not want me to abandon him.

I asked for a post-nuptial agreement so that he could demonstrate his commitment to saving the marriage, but he played me on that, too.

IN fact, he had played me all along. As the truth of everything came out, I realized that he was NOT a “nice” guy… that he had said very disturbing things about me to many people, and that he was quite skilled at playing everyone.

He told me that he liked to create conflict, that he loved to set someone up and then sit back and watch what happened, that he didn’t care what the results were, didn’t care who ended up being blamed or upset, etc., that he enjoyed simply watching the drama that he orchestrated.

I will not go into more details about his intentional deceit, manipulation, and what I later realized was extreme sexual offending behaviors as he “conquered” hundreds of women in his deceitful seductions…

I will tell you that I was BLESSED with sons who were able to help me sort through the damages he created between us. We were alarmed to realize that he had set us up against one another for many years. One day I was upset with my youngest son and he was able to say, “We need to stop, now, and deconstruct what we both think is happening because we got set up to feel this way about each other and it’s wrong.”

One of my other sons told me that he had reached the point where he thought I was VERY difficult, and that although he loved me, he thought I was contemptible!
He described the many times my sociopathic now-exhusband would walk into a room and tell them, “your mother is driving me insane…she is so pissed again…I don’t know how much longer I can take this…” —

When I then entered the room, everyone was awkward, grim, and totally resisted ANY idea I had for an activity, or ANY thought I shared, essentially anything I said.

On and on. For years. All absolutely heartbreaking.

IF my sons had not been able to step back and rethink how they had been played by sociopath, we would have never been able to reconnect and restore our relationships. We are now more close, more connected, more supportive of one another than ever, and we are SO THANKFUL THAT THE SOCIOPATH IS GONE.

The sociopath told me that he had intended to totally isolate me, to “keep me for himself,” and that he had nearly accomplished his goal. In the end, he pretended that he was deeply involved in his therapy, although he had an sexual affairs with an additional 37 women in the final 18 months of his completely pathologically terrorizing endgame. He pretended that he paid the mortgage, he pretended that he was suicidal, he pretended that he wanted to stop his sexually compulsive and sexually offending behaviors… And then he told me, and he confirmed, that he was ONLY intending to “get back in the house and back in control so he could continue living the same way he had always lived, only now I would SHUT UP and obey him.”


Over 18 years, he carefully AND INTENTIONALLY set up my complete destruction. He carefully and INTENTIONALLY set up the complete destruction of my family.

He was never that “sweet, kind” man he presented to us. That “sweet, kind” man was the behavior of his sexual offending, his playing martyr, victim, innocent…
His way to ensnare everyone into his malicious drama.

IF I had known what I now know, I would have done everything in my power to NOT react. I would have quickly, quietly hidden assets, appeared supportive, and carefully calculated a quiet retreat – and divorce.

Unfortunately, I was so traumatized, I could not think that clearly. Not then.
And, it has taken me nearly four years to fully comprehend the true depth of his intentions – so dark, so cruel, that even as I write I am tempted to find reasons (excuses) for such behavior.

Be careful. Be very careful. Take time to step back and take care of yourself, regardless of what is the truth in your life right now…



How sad to have given your all and only to have this dumped at your lap like that.

That is so cruel. Someone once asked me why abusers do this to people they love, why they are attracted to someone they get jealous of and sabotage without relief.

In my humble opinion – abusers hate your strengths and love your weaknesses. They get attracted to our soft, trusting hearts which are ready to share love (because they have none to share, and likely never received much if any at all.) They hate the potential they see in a strong woman / man. They hate the love they see you getting from others, because they can’t get it themselves – they can only steal love. That is why they isolate us from people and keep us for themselves. They hide us like stolen merchandise 🙂

Is he still alive? Does he bother you or he gave up and moved on?


Thank you for your insight!

After he refused to pay mortgage, refused to provide any financial support, closed all bank accounts, charged me with fraud, dragged out divorce process with relentless accusations and attempts to make me responsible for his massive tax debt, etc., and drained ALL ASSETS, he now refused to pay alimony, refuses to pay toward joint debt the judge assigned to him, and is waiting – waiting – waiting – waiting – for me to file contempt charges for delinquent alimony so that he can drag out legal process once again.

So, he “appears” to have moved on – a new partner, a new home, new car, new friends, BUT in reality he is lurking…

IF he had actually moved on, he would simply pay the modest alimony payments, and resolve the joint debt – By not resolving, he keeps a hook waiting…

I am BROKE. But, I am returning to school to get a degree in counseling so that I can generate income, I am intending to hold him accountable for court-ordered alimony and debts assigned to him, but I am NOT reacting but instead waiting to meet all legally advised timelines. I cannot afford an attorney and he has a vicious attorney, so I must be careful. I sell furniture while I wait until okay to file court order for past due amounts. I have filed with the state for income withholding from his employers, but he is paid as an independent “company” and so they stopped complying with income withholding claims. BUT, the state continues to document unpaid sums, so it cannot be my word against his…

He is VERY dangerous, acting VERY viciously behind people, and he totally creeps me out.
I avoid social media – do not post resume info on Linkedin, do not post on Facebook, and keep a very low profile because IF he knew any of my plans, he would act to sabotage.

IF I could establish income, I would gladly forfeit alimony. I am now 63-years old, applied for hundreds of jobs, and no offers. As he intended, waiting for years…
I had OFTEN told him that one of the most important goals in my life was to establish enough savings to provide for myself throughout my retirement. When he disclosed his “secret life,” he also actually said, “SO JOKE IS ON YOU AND YOUR STUPID RETIREMENT SAVINGS!”

A professional in sex addiction told me that he had actually planned, for many years, to leave at precisely that point – and that he had set it up and gotten a BIG sadistic fix watching a professional woman prepare for NO INCOME.

All too ugly to fathom…

Hope Springs

I agree annabelle.

It is like disordered people are angry at the world because they see others ‘experiencing’ happiness, love, etc, and they cannot really feel that.

They want it…or do they? I am not sure what they really WANT. They covet it. Like you said, stealing it and hiding it like stolen merchandise.

Perhaps that is why they turn SO nasty when yet another of their relationships breaks down, and they all inevitably do. Because it is hard to get that all back again, from square one?

It is a no win for everyone concerned.

Hope Springs

Excuse my language, but JESUS.

It IS all too evil too fathom…yet, we know, all too possible.

It is like watching a fiction MOVIE to be involved with SPS.



If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear you are reading a script from a page of my life. Abusers are no respecter of persons. They are found in every zip code. If they were so easy to spot, nobody would fall victim to them.

I’m sorry that you’re still looking for stable income.
I hope you’ll find a job soon. Even if it means changing your line of work, do what you have to do …. Just please, don’t stay on the ground for too long. Seems you’re doing well swimming against the current. Don’t allow the victim mentality to rob you and slow you down. I find myself counting how many years I lost



If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear you are reading a script from a page of my life. Abusers are no respecter of persons. They are found in every zip code. If they were so easy to spot, nobody would fall victim to them.

I’m sorry that you’re still looking for stable income.
I hope you’ll find a job soon. Even if it means changing your line of work, do what you have to do …. Just please, don’t stay on the ground for too long. Seems you’re doing well swimming against the current. Don’t allow the victim mentality to rob you and slow you down. I find myself counting how many years I lost to my husband, then I get up and say I donated that many years…. NO MORE. I won’t donate another day in his absence. I’m done.

In all honesty, unless we’ve learned to identify what attracted the abuser to us, we will continue to attach more of them. Ever wonder why people say they have a nose for bad relationships? We attract them. They want soft hearted people who grew up spoiled because they have a tendency to be dependent and that’s so easy to bend into subservience. The abuser was either the golden calf at home pumpered with abnormal love, which they now demand from their partner. The abuser was either the scapegoat of the family, being made to be responsible way above his age. Then they see a reflection of their parent in their spouse, and have mixed emotions of love-hate. As long as the spouse can still blindly love them, they will string them along. In the mean time, they are revenging slowly, what their bad parent did to them or whoever that gender of abuser who was proximal to them perpetuated. It takes almost a lifetime for others to realize this because the abuser isolates the victim. When no friends or family are close enough to see what’s being done to the victim, the abuser then shapes their mind into seeing live through his eyes. In essence, some practitioners say these people shape themselves into gods. They create for themselves a stage where we can worship and adore them. When we default from that routine, they withdraw the blessings and send a curse of poverty by sabotaging our attempts to get and keep jobs because that’s where our independence comes from.

They hire attorneys who are like them. They search and find therapists who are like them, who can double dip by not fighting hard enough to stop the behaviors. They team up and network so easily. It’s no wonder why fighting a Psychopath really puts you in harm’s way. You need a clear mind to navigate from day to day. To them each new day is a new battle zone. To a healthy mind, the pain from yesterday adds on. Most of these guys have dissociative disorder which helped them during the early years to survive. That trait is what makes them fight all the days of their lives without getting tired. Each new day is just that….. New day.

I wish you the best.

I’m not sure if my phone sent an incomplete reply earlier. It blinked and made it seem like it submitted. If so, I’m sorry.

Hope Springs

Hello again annabelle,

Thank you so much for everything that you have shared with me.

What happened to you is devastating. There is no other word for it. My God. It is what the word nightmare means.

I would hope, as we all would, that this is not going to happen to any of us!

You’re correct. I am confused. I have received so much help and advice and shared stories of peoples’ lives pertaining to my question, that I am questioning everything now.

My husband, who I have known since we were both around was 14 years old…if he were this person that you describe, who would be so foreign to me and nothing like I could ever imagine…was that person, I think that I would leave and have m y own life. No matter how much I love him, he would not be the man I thought he was, that I loved.

You are right. I only know and see my truth as I see it at the moment.

I see and am taking in, your suggestion for me to open my eyes, and see, and be careful to take care of ME.


My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Hope Springs

Thank you.

Mine with you, as well.


What a horror story and a nightmare. Betrayal and being manipulated and used by someone who is supposed to be in a love based relationship with you is the absolute worst. Sounds like my ex P (secret life of porn, cross dressing, pedophilia), but I was only ‘married’ to him for a couple of years. His first ex wife was married to him for about 18 years I think and they had 2 children.


Hi Bev,

I am amazed at you and your husband’s resilience. The whole molesting thing must have hurt so much. And from a little kid.

Your husband doesn’t sound disordered, he sounds lovely. Overly naive, and too idealistic perhaps, but pretty normal by the sounds of it.

Obviously I don’t know, and these things do run in the genes. We have it running rampant in my mother’s side of the family. Bunch of personality disordered folks. I stay away from all of them.

My friends kid (the Japanese one) brought a knife to school when he was 9, and had a list of kids he was going to stab. He also told his mother that he didn’t care if she died, but he wanted his bedroom window locked so no one would kill him. It baffles the mind, these young disordered people. So incredibly sad and frustrating that we have tried and true method of prevention or treatment.

I hear you when you say you also feel bad for your son. I feel bad for my mother. She didn’t ask to be born so messed up, either.


Makes me think of how little autism was understood up until the 80’s or later. In the 1950’s it was thought to result from a cold mother who didn’t bond with her child. What was actually happening is the autistic baby was withdrawn mentally and emotionally, and continually fussy and colicy usually due to physical discomfort, and did not return the mother’s interactions, so the mom was responding to the child when her the warmth in her interactions waned.

Hopefully someday psychopathology will be better understood.


Yes, I also hope that we will learn more about people with this severe psychopathology AND ways to heal their broken brains.

Hope Springs

Oh, if only.

Somehow I doubt this will happen in our lifetimes…

Hope Springs

Thank you slimone.

This is beyond torture.


“He was either the most incredible person I ever met, or a deplorable monster”

My spath was both; that’s how she got close to me. And monster trumps everything. Sometimes we need to see things in B&W, and I think when dealing with spaths, especially in the beginning of breaking away form them, we need to characterize them as monsters to help us firm up our reserve.

I just want to say a few words about trust. I am searching for Kathy Hawks writing on LF, which are about trust. This issue is one I circle back to, time and again. I continually come up against the damage the spath did to my ability to trust. I would have to say my’picker’ was already broken or I wouldn’t have gotten involved with the spath, but the experience left me damaged beyond my wildest nightmares.

With every step I take toward intimacy with people I bump into walls of hurt, fear, indifference, and vulnerability within myself. The indifference is the most surprising, and the vulnerability leaves me humbled and hopeful. I may just heal. It’s a long road. If I can honour that I am on a road, that it is long, that i can learn and change and find love in my life again…well, that’s about regaining my confidence and that was one of the casualties of the experience. The loss of confidence/trust in myself is the most devastating of all. But again,

I may just heal. I wish it for all of us.


What is it about how spaths con us that we can’t see it? and why is it that others often do? I know that the chemical bond is strong, but…

I always think about it as if spaths are in a play when they are conning us, and they have their playbook. If we know the playbook, we can SEE them. It’s the META pattern that matters, but that’s not we see when we are being conned. Is it because they are engaged in hooking the minutia of our dreams and needs? Is it because we are engaged in the microcosm, that we don’t see the macro?

I know that I used to say that my spath made her ‘character’ weird, because weird hides odd.



[email protected],

They fool us because they are so crafty. They are skilled in telling lies and training us to see them as gods. we are honest and they capitalize on that.

My soon to be ex seemed infallible to me. All in one day the ugly person behind the mask came out. When I told him I knew the true self that he is, he swung that at me and started saying I was stringing him asking all these years acting like I was normal and as if I loved him.

When I watched this video, I almost thought they were talking about me being the wife of a narc. The description met a lot of criteria


@survivor1, in her post on trust kathy hawk wrote about emotional dependency and how that propensity is exploited by the spath. it range true to me. so honest (and I’d say earnest)people who deeply need the reflection given to us by spaths may be more likely to be duped. I think i fit this description.
I live in Canada, and a famous, beloved Canadian broadcaster was found out to be a violent sadistic sexually abusive person. This guy championed a progressive society and was inclusive of a number of oppressed groups in society, many of which I belong to. he had helped define a new sort of society in Canada. I had listed to him for years. I was well shocked when his BS became public knowledge. When I talked to my male heterosexual friend would say, more often than not, that they never liked the guy, that there was something about him that was off. THEY could see it. I could not. He had a carefully build self-deprecating charm, which most men could tell was faked. For about 6 months (and way post spath) before all this became public knowledge I did see that there was something off in interviewing, that he asked the same question about fame and the toll it takes of all his guests, whether it was relevant or not. So, I was able to detect the crumbling of the facade, but hadn’t known for years that it was a facade. I applauded his success, needed the social change he was both reflecting and bringing about, and delighted in his charm. I needed him to be as I saw him. That’s dependency.

Thanks for your reply…it got me thinking further. 🙂

one joy


sorry about all the typos and a couple of bad cut and pastes….can’t seem to find the edit function anymore.

Hope Springs


I too am a Canadian who ‘loved’ that ‘beloved’ Canadian.

However, when everything ‘came out’. as disappointed as I was in who I thought that he was, I believed it immediately.

We are all taken in by charm and even a bit of what we think is delightful ‘oddness’.

Too bad we have to be wary of these characteristics…especially now that we are AWARE of it…

Cheers to you 🙂


@Bev – yah Ghomeshi. And I believed it immediately, also. funny that!

Hope Springs

Your posts are very good, one/joy.

You said that you had a crisis in your life that needed to be healed. I do not want you to elaborate, however, did this crisis occur when you were young, like as in as a young child? This makes sense, as we are so affected by good and bad events in our young lives. It helps to make us who we are, for sure.

Also, it is really interesting what you said about an emotionally immature parental figure, leaving their children feeling as if they have to take care of things instead. They likely keep that fact as secret, as well.

Unhealthy dependency. Yes, Spot on.

Hope Springs

Oh yes, and Gomeshi.

His being found ‘not guilty’ was something that I am sure most of us could see coming.

His accusers should have told the truth about seeing him after being abused the first time, no matter what they thought that would look like. Instead, they hid it, hoping that it would not be found out.

I think that had they been completely honest, things may have gone a different way, regardless of them continuing to see Gomeshi. Going back out with him is really classic ‘victim’ behavior and I am sure that the judge would have recognized that, had he heard the story from their own mouths.

Oh well…he has another trial in June from a fourth accuser. Let’s hope she tells the court everything.


Hi Bev,

The new way that comments thread on Lovefraud confuses me. I don’t know how to reply to your March 31, 2016 at 9:35 pm comment, so I will respond here.

There were early traumas, but I was actually referring to a crisis when I was 23.

As a kid: My mom had a bad car accident when I was a kid, and her long absence and ill health came to act as a focal point in the home – much in the way alcoholism does. She came from an abusive home, with an alcoholic father (she was the favoured one, and to this day thinks fondly of her dad…..)she became an enabler, and tried to get us to do the same. Between her codependency, her ill health (and years of pain killers) and dad’s narcissism, it was a toxic household.

Hope Springs

Wow. Thank you one/joy.

I don’t know what to respond regarding your post about your family.

If I really look back at my own childhood, my sister’s death at age two was extremely traumatic she got very ill and died within hours, of spinal meningitis. For awhile after, my poor mother sort of shut down. Understandably.I was age four myself at that time, and I suppose that I felt that I needed to take care of my mother and be really well behaved, so that she would not cry so much.

Some of us have these tragedies in our young lives. Perhaps that is why we became such empathetic people. We learned at a very early age that we had to ‘grow up’ and sometimes, not only take care of others, but of ourselves as well.

One Joy,
I am moved by your statement regarding reflection.
I am the survivor of a narcissistic father who drove my mother to suicide when I was nine.
It seems that all I have wanted as an adult is for people to empathize with my trauma.
The moment I met my Spath, I fell in love; I wondered why, long and hard, after knowing my father was disordered and leaving home at sixteen. I thought I understood human behavior well enough to avoid someone who could never empathize. I was wrong…
But here’s the deal; what I saw in Al was a reflection of myself. I wanted to fix, love, understand the man I fell in love with. What Al needed more than anything was empathy, understanding, love; things he simply could not grasp. It was me, however, that I saw in him. I needed love, empathy, understanding.
I learned from Al that I had not healed from the abuse and trauma subsequent to my father’s narcissistic behavior. It led me to an amazing therapist, who said to me yesterday, that I am not that which my father created; it’s just a part of who I am.
It may sound trite to express my particular gatefulness regarding Al, but I am grateful for him. I’m no sociopath, but I did recognize my own pain in him, and that is one of my greatest blessings.
My advice: realize empirically, that you are not the sum of your abuse, you’re the sum of all your parts, and look at that relationship as a way to learn something about yourself.
The difference I feel for Al and my father is incredibly different.
Many of us have been abused before. Ask yourself why, it’s not your fault, but why. It may be you your trying to heal, disguised
as the person you fell in love with. It’s you that you love.


Hi Dee,

I think we learn to be extensions of the family narcissists (my dad is one, too), as that is what they require of us. they are emotionally immature, and demand things of us that leave us emotionally dependent. So, we grow up at risk for being we are so used to relationship in which unhealthy dependency is the norm. We learn that relationships are about reflecting the brilliance of the sun back to it, ergo we expect the same.

One of the things I came to know was that there was a specific incident/crisis in my past that needed to be healed. That it wasn’t healed was one of the big reasons I could be conned by the spath.

one joy


I am saddened that so many victims of SP/narcissistic personality disorders, etc., continue to describe the REASONS that they were targeted and abused.

This is all victim-blaming, and although one may in the end become more empowered and able to heal, it often causes secondary trauma to victims of domestic violence.

Predators prey on people.

People once blamed rape victims for being victims, using many “reasons” they were raped: short skirts, out too late, on a dark street, at a party, on a date, drank alcohol…

If one is held up at gunpoint on the street, one is not then confronted with WHAT DID YOU DO THAT MADE YOU A TARGET?

OF course, we are taught how to conceal wallets, how to put away expensive items in certain areas of a city, how to walk down a street, etc., etc., etc… And of course we can always learn more about how to protect ourselves from predators.

Emotional abuse causes an erosion of identity. Abusers intend to erode the identity of their victims. It is intentional. They may not directly think or state: “I am going to erode her identity,” but they do think and say things that stem from their desire to destroy their victims.

Two important books to read:

Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity by Marie-France Hirigoyen


Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence: A Workbook for Women, by Edward S. Kubany, Mari A. McCaig, and Janet R. Laconsay.

In Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence, (AND YES, emotional abuse, gaslighting, financial abuse, duping, etc., IS domestic violence), much focus is on removing the bias of “hindsight.” The should’ve, could’ve, would’ve thinking that is based in guilt and shaming that is only destructive. The bias of hindsight information makes VERY clear that the victim does not know that the abuser is an abuser – the the victim does not choose the abuser based on any previous experience.

Abusers abuse. Predators prey.

In “Stalking the Soul,” Marie-France Hirigoyen clearly explains how and why American psychologists and counselors started using the “it takes two” dynamic, and how it is based in faulty thinking and essentially originated to protect the therapist from the SP abuser.

Victims struggle with guilt and shame because we had our trust, integrity, and safety violated. We did not choose to be violated. When the abuser does not demonstrate any remorse and act to atone for his /her violations of another person, the victim is left to find a “reason,” to try to understand HOW such horror happened. Then, if the victim seeks help from other people, including counselors, the court system, police, social services, etc., the attitude that she somehow was a willing participant in the dynamic, she is simply further abused by such discrediting.

I often wonder HOW did I allow this to happen to me???? WHY didn’t I protect myself? WHY didn’t I see that he was a liar, a cheater, an abuser, that he was discrediting me to everyone, that he was bit by bit diminishing me, my sense of self, my identity, my confidence? How did I miss the clues?

This thinking keeps me diminished. I missed the clues because he LIED, he covered up, he created confusing, distorted realities all around me and my children and everyone we knew… He is a PREDATOR. He duped us, he duped his therapists, his 12-Step colleagues, his friends, his family, my family, and hundreds of women. He duped people TRAINED to catch liars…
He is still duping them, still conning, lying, manipulating, deceiving…

Perhaps we simply “woke up” faster than all those other people…Perhaps we are actually the healthiest.


It’s a balance between not blaming oneself for a predator’s evil choices and figuring out ways to protect oneself.

In my view, I was lied to, betrayed, abused, manipulated and otherwise harmed because my ex psychopath is a pathological liar, manipulator, abuser, bully, sadist; and he likes harming other people and getting them to give him things under false pretenses.

It helped that I’d been married and widowed (to a wonderful, normal, loving, honest, giving, family oriented man) before the psychopath targeted me. I know I was the exact same person in both marriages, and my first husband was happy with me. Fairly logical that the spath is the cause of all the problems he blamed me for. He had a previous failed marriage, ‘coincidentally’ everything he said was wrong with me was pretty much the same as what he said was wrong with his first ex wife.


Excellent post Anabelle,
I can remember my flustrations. I LOOKED for explanations. I went to therapists about what I was doing wrong, trying to fix my part in my marriage. All that effort, and NOT ONE PERSON, not one professional mentioned that he might be disordered. Why? B/c they hadn’t diagnosed him. Yet, I was blamed for not knowing. If he had beat me, then they would have helped me, but b/c the abuse was not physical, there was NO guidance.

At a time when I was a puddle mess, my self worth stripped to nothing, no assets, very VERY sick from stress illnesses, my very life was on a very fine line, I, a housewife, was expected to know and to act on that which Dr’s of psychology did not.

I do know, once I stumbled on this website and learned about sociopathy, I was awakened; it ALL made sense, ALL the confusion fell into order once I realized he is a sociopath and confirmed by testing my hypothesis, I was FULLY AWAKE and there was no more ambiguity.

I’m agreeing with you, my ex was a predator, an opportunistic covert predator. But his behavior was compounded by professionals who refused to help me. They didn’t have to diagnose him, they could have just INFORMED ME, and that would have been enough for me to free myself.

Like you, like everyone here, my ex is as you write… still dupping, still lying, manipulating, scamming and if anyone asked me, I’d tell them the truth about him. Otherwise, I have worked to move forward and create the best life possible FREE of that nightmare and now informed enough to free myself faster if ever another disordered being tried to trap me. It doesn’t make me cynical, it made me EDUCATED.


Just saying Annabelle,
It was very flustrating, they didn’t hold HIM accountable, they blamed ME for being his victim. They KNEW the truth about him, they LIED to me about it, and they blamed me even while they withheld the truth from me. I got a lesson in more than sociopath, I got a lesson is how people enable sociopaths. Yes, I am emotionally healthier than them, and far wiser. But ya know what? It’s a very lonely place to be, b/c the general population doesn’t have a clue and aren’t interested, not until or unless it happens to them…

At least I will not lie or withhold info from a victim. Victims may have to figure it out but I will tell them about sociopaths and give them the resources so they can assess and verify… something I wish had been done for me.


Yes. I understand… I experienced similar things, and was stunned – and further traumatized – by attitudes from many professionals…

I had to finally simply isolate and find healing by reading, journaling, music, and complete detachment from EVERYONE –

I think that you are right about how people enable the sociopath…I had not thought about it like that, but I witnessed – and experienced – the same thing.

We need to stop blaming the victim, stop asking or thinking that the victim is part of the dynamic.

As Mr. Bundy writes, we need to stop asking “why does she stay,” but instead ask, “WHY does he do that?”


I think you’re referring to Lundy Bancroft – his books were a huge help to me. Why Does He Do That was the first book I read and helped me realize that I was the object of abuse.


Yes – thank you for correcting. I ALMOST looked up his name to make sure I was remembering correctly. 😉


I strongly recommend reading “Stalking the Soul.”
This book, most of all, confirmed my thoughts and experience.

I most strongly recommend particularly for professionals. The author, Marie-France Hirigoyen is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and family therapist based in Paris – “Her studies on victimology in both France and the U.S. led her to further research in the area of stalking and emotional abuse.”



Stalking the Soul was a very validating, helpful book. I underlined so much of it. AND Lundy Bancroft’s book, “Whey Does he DO That?”… there was so much to underline that I stopped marking it… b/c it was ALL turning into an underline. Both of these books helped me get to the truth , but esp Marie’s book, b/c her book helped me get to the truth of ME, of that manipulation trap…that I thought “IF ONLY” I stopped making mistakes, our relationship would be resolved. No. That was a lie b/c my ex NEVER intended for us to get along, which is why NOTHING worked except for a moment.

My book, Stalking the Soul is fire engine red, at the time I thought it the color of my broken bleeding heart.

I am free, but sometimes I am aware that my heart is still sad, still wary of others. I have more work to fix my tendency towards depression, that awful feeling that I am unable to manage my life on those days when ordinary stuff goes wrong or on days when I feel so alone and ignored. Those are the feelings I never had before I married a sociopath.


I want to be careful and not get distracted b/c your posts are SO important. “Stalking the SOUL” was especially valuable to me b/c she also had the chapters about consequences.

Consequences of seizure of power, and what it does to the victim.
Long term consequences.

This book is written by a professional but this is the rare professional who GETS IT. She writes in a way that any of us can understand.

She’s especially helpful for those who were abused long term. She talks about how this type of abuse and abuser strips us of our very identity, of the way we think about ourselves. So it’s more than getting free of the abuser, we have to rebuild, to think about, and reset our very identity. We are SHATTERED, our potential is stripped from us b/c we have had our attention Misdirected, we spent our time trying to make sense of the crazy, trying to “get along”, trying to figure out what we were doing wrong… when that wasn’t the problem. The problem was, the abuser was assaulting our emotional senses, and our life turned from being productive caring loving giving partners into being defensive, wary, suspectful, angry, responders.

Leaving my ex stopped his bombing of my senses. His emotional bombing was continuous, I never got enough time to recover. I was always pulled off balance. But… free from him? I still have to recreate a sense of being… recreate WHO I AM, who do I think of myself… NOT what he said of me or smeared about me, but WHO I will stand up and claim about myself. ANd that takes healing b/c at first, we may not know that answer.

VERY VERY Important book. I am re-reading now and boy, now that I have the ability to think, it’s VERY educational.

As you write, a must read, now and again after a while. Powerful validation, words I didn’t even see before.


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