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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125 Comments on "He was either the most incredible person I ever met, or a deplorable monster"

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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,

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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…

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.

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.

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.

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.

Oh, if only.

Somehow I doubt this will happen in our lifetimes…

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.



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.


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!

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.

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.

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 conned..as 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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