How childhood pain leads to involvements with sociopaths

sad and stressed woman

Lovefraud recently received this letter from a woman whom we’ll call “Nina.” I’m posting Nina’s story because many Lovefraud readers have told me of similar patterns in their lives.

I love this man like I’ve never loved before. He seemed to be my soul mate.  I have had two failed marriages (no sex in them).

I was touched by a neighbour starting when I was 10 and it continued for eight years. My father was totally controlling and I was not allowed friends or to go anywhere except to this neighbour. Both were depressed parents and did not show affection, only criticism.

I have always felt alone but now am parents dead, sister dead within last four years. I am 57.

I met him seven years ago and he was totally charming and enchanting.

He pursued me for 11 months before I let him kiss me, and a year before I let him “make love.”

I have got myself totally embroiled in a situation with him and my life revolves around him. He has a partner now his wife and seven other women that I know of.

He speaks to me in a terrible manner a lot and is demeaning and rude and cruel and thoughtless. Tells me he loves me all the time.

I can’t understand why I find it ok to let him treat me this way ”¦ I desperately want him to love me and can’t imagine not having him in my life. Feels not worth living.

We have good times together playing music and he is a good lover (I think, although I nothing to compare).

He doesn’t know I know about most of his other women but he often has us crossing paths ”¦

I don’t want to lose what may be a relationship worth keeping, yet it causes me so much pain and torment I don’t think it can be worth it ”¦

He owns a huge property and I live in same building paying rent. I help with any work that needs to be done, as my biggest dread is being on my own, so I work with him and his nephew.

I have myself totally tangled up with him. He sometimes seems such a caring man yet at other times a completely selfish one. Over these last six plus years I have let him become part of almost every bit of my life. I am trying to open other avenues, but have no family and no “true” friends.

I am trying to work out why it is so important to me to find out if he is a “sociopath,” as really, how he treats me should be enough for me to say that I deserve better. I have worked really hard on improving myself for over 25 years now, and although I have come a huge way, I still feel very stuck in myself a lot.

My problem is I would become homeless, know nobody and my greatest fear is being alone and rejected ”¦ can’t see a way out.

What is he just a selfish, inconsiderate, narcissistic, thoughtless man, or am I too fussy? Sometimes he can be very nice and seems thoughtful.

Don’t feel other option/s are worth considering ”¦ all feels hopeless and useless and impossible.

I feel when I tell what I’ve allowed that I am extremely stupid and weak.

Roots of the pain

Why is Nina in this situation? I believe the roots reach back to the beginning of her life, which she explained at the start of her letter. Nina says she endured:

  • Depressed parents, who showed no affection, only criticism
  • A controlling father, who wouldn’t let her have friends
  • Sexual assault by a neighbor from ages 10 to 18

After that, Nina had two failed marriages with no sex. So, as Nina says, she has “always felt alone.”  And even though her parents contributed mightily to her pain, they are now dead, so she truly is alone.

Seven years ago the man Nina writes about showed up. In the beginning he pursued her with charm and enchantment. After she finally agreed to a physical relationship with him, his treatment of her changed. Now Nina experiences:

  • Cheating the man has a wife and seven other women
  • He is demeaning, rude, cruel and thoughtless, yet still says he loves her
  • He arranges for Nina to cross paths with his other women
  • They have sexual relations
  • Nina pays the man rent and does work for him
  • The man is entangled in all aspects of Nina’s life

Cause and effect

I see a direct cause-and-effect relationship between Nina’s past and the mistreatment she is now experiencing at the hands of the sociopath and yes, he is a sociopath.

This man’s level of disorder may be low- to mid-range unless he’s also doing other things that Nina hasn’t mentioned. But he is definitely toying with her, cheating, and taking advantage of her. The guy is an exploiter, so in my book, he’s a sociopath.

Nina’s prior disappointments, betrayals and traumas primed Nina to be his target.

Hungry for love

Nina’s parents did not provide her with love, so I believe she did not develop a solid understanding that she, like everyone, is worthy of love. Now she is hungry for any scraps of love she may find.

“I desperately want him to love me,” she writes.

Inappropriate sexual contact

Nina was abused from age 10-18, and apparently her parents did nothing. (Her father may have even been complicit.) Nina then had two sexless marriages which may have been her own reaction to the childhood abuse.

Then she meets the sociopath, who takes a year to get her into bed. Because of his diligent pursuit, Nina probably believed his intentions were sincere after all, who chases someone for a year just to get laid? Well, sociopaths do they enjoy the game.

To Nina, this sociopath seems like an accomplished lover. This may be true many Lovefraud readers have said that the best sex they ever had was with the sociopath.

But that only covers the physical aspects of sex. Sociopaths are not capable of emotional connection, so that dimension is missing from the experience, although they can be good at faking it. But because Nina herself has not experienced healthy sex, she may not realize what it can be.

Fear of being alone

Nina says that she always felt alone. This likely resulted from the lack of warmth in her home when she was growing up, and the fact that her father would not let her develop outside relationships.

Now Nina’s family is gone, and she’s living in a building owned by the sociopath. If she wanted to end the involvement, she would probably have to move. Nina didn’t explain much about that situation, except that she fears being homeless.

Psychological love bonds

All of these issues created psychological vulnerabilities for Nina. And how do sociopaths hook their targets? They find psychological vulnerabilities and exploit them.

One way they do this is by hijacking the normal bonding process.  When two people become a couple, a psychological love bond forms between them. Intimacy, both emotional and physical, causes oxytocin to be released in the brain, which creates feelings of attachment. This is all normal.

But sociopaths then create fear and anxiety in their partners, perhaps by cheating or threatening to leave the relationship. Surprisingly, this has the effect of making the psychological love bond stronger.  The target wants the relationship to go back to the happy days of the beginning, and may beg, plead and appease to make it happen. Sociopaths may be willing to go along with this, if it suits their purpose at the time. So if the two kiss and make up, the bond is strengthened again.

Intermittent reinforcement

Another technique that keeps the target attached to the sociopath is intermittent reinforcement. This is classic psychology if laboratory rats don’t know when pressing a bar will result in a food pellet, they keep pressing and pressing and pressing. The compulsion to engage in the behavior gets stronger and stronger.

Likewise, if Nina never knows when the sociopath is going to respond to her with affection, she keeps trying and trying. Any time he responds with affection, it reinforces her efforts and strengthens the compulsion she feels.

Tolerating bad treatment

Nina writes that she can’t understand why she allows the man to treat her badly. It’s because she has psychological vulnerabilities created by her family of origin and her prior experiences. The sociopath found and targeted those vulnerabilities.

Nina has experienced a lifetime of pain. The sociopath presented himself as the antidote to her pain. The love he expressed was fake, but Nina didn’t know that, so she became emotionally and psychologically entangled.

Now she feels like she has no choice but to tolerate his bad treatment. In fact, she questions whether she is being “too fussy.” This may be a psychological defense mechanism. Since she can’t change him, she may subconsciously hope that changing her own expectations will make her feel better so she can stay in the relationship.

Except that the relationship is not healthy. Nina, like all of us, is deserving of love. Real, honest love. She’s never going to get it from this man.

Full recovery

Nina’s story demonstrates a big reason why sociopaths come into our lives: to help us recover from a lifetime of pain.

Involvements with sociopaths are bad. Really bad. They are so bad that, unlike other painful experiences we may have had earlier in our lives, the devastation of the sociopath cannot be ignored. We have to face it, or we’ll fall apart.

If we examine the experience with the sociopath, we can often see that it is linked to previous life experiences. So to truly recover, we need to overcome not only the injury and pain caused by the sociopath, but the previous injuries and pain that made us vulnerable to the sociopath in the first place.

Then we can achieve real healing, and a life more brilliant than we ever imagined.

Nina’s story clearly and concisely demonstrates how her past created an opening for the sociopath to exploit. I thank her for allowing me to share her story.

The next step for her, and for everyone with similar stories, is to address all the pain the recent experiences and the trauma from experiences long ago.


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70 Comments on "How childhood pain leads to involvements with sociopaths"

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First of all Nina, I have been through almost exactly what you are experiencing with at least 3 men, 2 of them I was married to for 10 years each. Actually, I believe the first one had a major psychiatric disorder other than sociopathy but I won’t get into that. I too, had severe childhood trauma. I then went on to “grab hold of any love that came my way”. I had relationship after relationship with men that just wanted to use me. I didn’t know. I was so desperate for someone to love me, I didn’t recognize what was real and normal and what was toxic. I think many of us here can relate to your story. Just let me say that you are not in any way being “fussy”. That is one of the huge lies that our inner broken voice tells us and the major reason I stuck with mine for so long. Donna, your followup was exactly right on the money too. Nina, I assume if you are paying rent you have a job. If nothing else, save up money and start looking for a place. Is there a local church where you could meet some people and make friends? You could possibly do this while he is a work or the rare times he does something without you? Don’t continue to lead this horrible miserable life with only random expressions of what you think is love. Love is NOT occasional nor is it conditional. Sociopaths aren’t capable of love. They simply use people and throw them away. Don’t continue, I beg you. I was alone for a while when I got away from him and yes it is very scary. But if I can do it along with may others here, you can too. I promise better days lie ahead. One more thing, a BIG HUG for all the pain you’re carrying around. But there is one reason why you are still here. You have a PURPOSE, not to be trampled on but to be the woman God intended you to be, healed and complete and filled with joy. I never really experienced that until I met my husband now. It took me a while to trust him but I recognize red flags now thanks to Donna. I got counseling and I made friends who stuck by me and helped me get through, helped me see what was “normal” and totally wrong behavior. If you aren’t raised in a healthy environment, you can’t know what is a healthy relationship and what is not! You aren’t expected to! So read and learn here and don’t doubt yourself. This man is a loser. You deserve so much more.

Thank you for your supportive words. I was in a church but when I divorced they were not supportive- exactly the opposite and I had to stop work due to ill health so I am on a very low pension.i will look at your suggestions to see if any are possible. Thanks again

Such an interesting topic and one that I’ve been exploring with my therapist recently. My sister is highly narcisistic (if not a textbook narcisist) and it has become clear to me that my childhood with the narcisistic sister in many ways set me for the 13 relationship with the sociopath in my adult life. A sad thing to come to understand but perhaps will lead to a road of complete recovery after lots of self-introspection. If nothing else, I’ve certainly had a lot of personality disorder in my life!

So sorry for your pain, Nina. I agree with Donna’s analysis that, of course, the lack of love and support you felt as a child as well as the abuse, of course, plays right into unhealthy adult relationships.

No sex with other husbands but “great” sex with the sociopath. It just makes me crazy because I completely understand it. I found myself in a similar situation (with my husband of 25 yrs!) where my sex drive just dropped out of sight right after we made the decision to live together. I don’t think I was sexually abused as a child but there were some comments made by a significant male adult that I know affected me sprinkled throughout my life.

When we made the decision to live together, basically cementing the relationship, I think I freaked due to my childhood, which involved many esteem-killing experiences and little support for my personhood, along with the weird experience described above. I used to say I was pushed through life by an unknown force as I had no goals or motivation to do anything. I felt fearful and useless.
A toxic, relationship-killing situation. Then there was my obsessive and critical mom to whom I was symbiotically entwined. Surely living with a man was a direct form of “cheating” on her. All subconscious, all ferreted out through therapy, all felt on an intellectual rather than a gut level. You are not alone, Nina!

Great sex with the sociopath..it just makes sense. A guy who treats you well is scary because it might involve a healthy relationship, something that you think you don’t deserve and won’t last. You believe you’ll be let down of course, just as you were as a child. “Home cooking,” as one of my therapists called it.
You enjoy sex with this sick maniac because he will always treat you badly, allowing a little fake kindness to bleed through, just enough to keep you around but not too much as that would surely scare you away. As well, he doesn’t have empathy, feelings, emotions, compassion, conscience so he’s unable to treat you well, much like a lab creation. Don’t forget, as well, that these creatures have not emotionally developed past a 3-4 year old. They are clueless but demonic, no impulse control and all ego. Me me me! It can be immensely helpful to realize that while understandable in a kid, these traits are repulsive and appalling in an adult!

Linette, your story is so positive and reassuring. There can be a rainbow at the end of the storm! Many warm wishes for a long and happy life, each day better than the next.

Nina, I wish you love and to learn to love yourself with weaknesses, warts, insecurities, all things which are part of the human condition. Once you are able to feel OK about yourself, which will probably include, as Donna said, therapy to get to the root of things and free yourself from that bondage/prison they create, you will not want any part of this pathetic individual that now invades your life at his discretion.
I look forward to that day for you!!! Best wishes and much love.
Hopefully you will stay tuned in to LF to help you get over rough patches on your way to inner peace and strength. You are not alone!

PS I didn’t talk about my experience w/a path, but it did leave me reeling, hence my screen name. Just to let you know, I was sucked into a similar horror and the resulting devastation.

Thank you for your supportive words. I find it hard to believe I allowed all this but I am slowly disconnecting. I like him less and less which also means I am changing. I am in therapy so hopefully this will allow me to move on. Warm wishes to you

” Don’t forget, as well, that these creatures have not emotionally developed past a 3-4 year old. They are clueless but demonic, no impulse control and all ego. Me me me! It can be immensely helpful to realize that while understandable in a kid, these traits are repulsive and appalling in an adult!”

Toddlers with fully loaded machine guns. As “””adults””” they have all the equipment to get their way and none of the impulse control, maturity or character strength to be able to get what they want in life without destroying others.

Recovering from childhood emotional neglect is a long, hard road (from experience) and it is hard to know where to put your trust. Because you have to trust SOMEONE, right? I know therapy is the key to recovery for many. For me, I seem to have some resistance to putting my trust in any of the therapists I’ve known, though I have given it a shot several times. I do believe in the healing power of a good relationship with a person you can connect with on a spiritual and emotional level, as well as perhaps on the physical. A book that really impacted me is “Getting the Love You Want” by Harville Hendrix. This is not particularly written for people who were abused or neglected in childhood, but he talks about how we all have unmet needs from childhood that can sabotage a relationship if we don’t know how to work with it. It is possible for two people to be involved in a good relationship, even if they both have unmet childhood needs. It involves learning how to ask for what we want from our partner, and how to listen between the lines when our partner has a hard time asking. In other words, we can learn to love someone else even if we are impaired, and learn to ask for the love we need. We can teach our partners how to give us what we need so that we can heal. And we can learn to give them what they need. Great book.

The catch to this is that we are usually only drawn to people who mirror our unmet needs, i.e. people who remind us of our parent/s. So it’s really easy for an outside person to point out that we are picking the wrong mates and we need to change our choices. But we don’t always have control over whom we are attracted to. We attract people in order to heal our past and resolve the unmet needs. In the case of a sociopath, the sociopath mirrors in so many ways a critical or neglectful parent. We may think their behaviors are normal. Or we may think it’s all we deserve. People on the outside judge us for staying with someone who treats us so poorly. But what they don’t understand is that we are trying the best we know how to fix ourselves through the other person. It doesn’t quite work with a sociopath. We never really get the love we want. We may get the initial promise of it. And then we may hold on through all eternity waiting for the promised love that never arrives, just like we did with our neglectful parents.

There ARE people out there who can deliver real love. In my experience, it takes a lot of courage to reach out for it and teach them how to give it to us. It is actually pretty terrifying to me. It is actually more scary to reach out to someone who can potentially really love me rather than someone who is disordered. The disordered person is safe in a certain way. They are so wrapped up in themselves that they cannot see you. For me, this is a comfort zone. I haven’t wanted to be seen because if someone really saw me, I was afraid they would see how truly unlovable I was. With someone who is really capable of seeing me and loving me, the stakes are much higher. Because they could actually see the real me and reject me. A sociopath or narcissist can never see the real you. But it is a huge risk to show a real person your insecurities, fears, areas of emotional blindness, flaws, and sometimes even your unique gifts and strengths.

If you can trust a therapist to the point of revealing all of these things, you can break through this. I have not found a therapist yet with whom I have opened up completely, though I got close a few times, and I’ve taken big emotional risks from time to time. It actually did help me. I would like to work through this more with someone. I don’t know if it will be a therapist. It will probably have to be a very patient boyfriend. And I will have to be meticulous in my communication skills and courageous with risk-taking.

I’ve heard that childhood neglect is the worst form of abuse to get over. Having been through all other forms too, I would have to say this is exactly right. But it has been so freeing to let people see who I really am, even though it can be quite terrifying at times.

I am just embarking on what may be a serious relationship with a man. Just at the very beginning stages. Taking it one day – one conversation – at a time. It’s scary, but the desire for love is finally bigger than the fear.

Stargazer, You said that you believe that child neglect is the hardest abuse to get over? That is interesting because I hear others talk about sexual abuse, physical abuse and other things and I feel that I am not worthy to compare what I went through (neglect) to their pain. So maybe I am justified?

Yes, I do. One of the reasons the neglect has been so difficult is that whenever I’d get a therapist, they would always ask me if I had any secrets. I couldn’t think of any to tell them, and it confused me and them. They were looking for me to tell them about a traumatic event like a rape or a beating. I told them all about the physical abuse, but it never helped me feel better. I’d already released the physical traumas energetically. Neglect is a form of abuse no one can really see. It is not obvious and the person often suffers in silence. Depression, isolation, inability to bond with others in a healthy way – these affect all areas of life. And yes, it is devastating. In my case I developed symptoms of BPD and was diagnosed as such in my 20’s. I had severe abandonment issues throughout my life. Knowing I was screwed up but not knowing how to fix it, I isolated myself and avoided people for many years. I still have abandonment issues. The difference is that now I am consciously aware of my issues and I do not have to act them out. As I survived to 53 years, I have processed a lot of the pain, and I’m in a better place (I would dare to say I’m even happy much of the time), but it’s still hard sometimes. I feel like I’m a little more fragile and labile than my emotionally healthier friends, and I lean on them probably more than is normal for advice and feedback.

Most of the emotional work I’ve done has taken place in various relationships I’ve had with men who did care about me over the years. (For the ones who were disordered, it just traumatized me, and I had to overcome this as well). There were key turning points over the years where I took big emotional risks and was able to clear out some of the pain. I have developed over time the capacity to care about myself and about other people. I also have learned to fend for myself in the world as an adult, to take risks career and travel-wise, and to build confidence and self-esteem as a result. I still challenge myself often by doing things that are out of my comfort zone. Recently, I started learning West Coast Swing and taking salsa classes with a new teacher who sees all my weaknesses in dancing. It’s really hard for me to let others see me like that. I usually stick to the groups where I feel I’ve mastered the subject and can be a teacher. But it’s helping me to grow as a person and as a dancer to let others see my weaknesses and flaws. It’s all the little and big risks that are helping me to get past my isolation and depression.

Linette, I would be interested in hearing how the neglect in your life has affected you and how you work with it.




Nobody deserves to go through this, don’t feel like you are being fussy, these people are very good at placing the blame on us and making us feel we did wrong so we will fight to stay and make compromises.

Something im noticing is that people that had childhood trauma or were mistreated seem to go 1 of 2 ways, they either wind up targets of sociopaths, or they wind up with a personality disorder such as borderline or narcissistic.

Dave….OR they transform their pain and become healers. That is the third way. 🙂

Personally I don’t care how wounded a person is…………..the responsibility for all of these encounters is on the Spath. What about someone who was molested as a child but has no memory of it? What about someone who has some kind of condition and doesn’t function at a normal level and CANT protect themselves. It sounds like Nina tried to take precautions……I mean she was not intimate with the guy for a year! They prey on whatever they can and in whatever way they can and if you don’t have a vulnerability, they create one out of one of your strengths! all they need is enough time and exposure to get the bait on the hook and if one bait doesn’t work they use another.

No one is n top of their game 100%! Someone might ordinarily be a fairly strong person, self assured and confident, etc, etc, etc, etc but they loose their parent or parents or become ill or tired or injured or SOMETHING and BAM……they have a vulnerability.
IMO, once their mind/ emotional control is in place the victim is “trapped” and not untill SOMEthing happens to jar them loose from this dynamic or they are discarded, etc…..they are swimming in quicksand. They might ordinarily be a good swimmer and fought off many sharks in their past but now because of the love drug that they were covertly slipped……they are swimming in quicksand with ankle weights.

“Nina’s story demonstrates a big reason why sociopaths come into our lives: to help us recover from a lifetime of pain.”
Donna, I do not like this wording (no offense). They do NOT come into our lives to help us recover from a lifetime of pain or joy or ANYTHING. They come into our lives to get what they want……period.period.period. We may have some issues from our past but there are PLENTY of women who get targeted by one of these pricks who don’t have some traumatic past life events. No one’s childhood is perfect and there are a ZILLION women in this world who didn’t have an attentive, nurturing father. They have managed to create a good life for themselves in spite of that. Then along comes a Spathtard who wants something they have and gets it by any means they can.
I know people who have had as bad or worse childhoods than I have who have never been victims of one of these monsters and people who didn’t have the childhood damage I have who were! IMO…..ANYone is a potential victim. I don’t care how good of a swimmer you are, if a shark is hungry…….you are going down.

dorothy2”I think what Donna meant was that when these things happen to us, it makes us examine ourselves and find out why we were vulnerable and why we didn’t see the red flags. Speaking for myself, I absolutely believe this happened to me to make me heal and to make me STOP doing the things I was doing in life to bring these ordeals into my life. Yes, I was targeted and yes, he was the one who hurt me, but I also had a choice to say no and why didn’t I?? I learned big time from what happened to me and turned away from those things. I think that is all Donna was saying”that if we learn a lesson from what happened, it wasn’t all in vain. I learned a beautiful lesson”a lifetime lesson and I can thank him for that.

The strongest card they hold in their hand is peoples ignorance and naiveté they they are living in a shark tank. Most people are swimming around it what they believe to be a swimming pool, happily going about their lives, TOTALLY unaware that monsters like this exist in the real world. Looking back to my past life prior to this nightmare with Spathtardx, I now see that there were several men who were more than likely spaths. I just ran into one yesterday and on my way home, reflecting about the encounter I had with him, realized……holy crap! THAT guy is a TOTAL spath! But I cut and ran from that encounter because he was SO “in your face” disordered, clearly early on, he did not hook me. At the time however…..I didn’t even know what a ppath was really. It was some obscure term I was aware of but did I REALLY know?? Nope! I sure as Hell do now!

My heart goes out to “Nina” as I have been in similar loveless relationships. Just the fact that this sleaze-ball has Nina and the 7 others crossing paths, is proof enough that he is a sociopath that is purposefully making her and the others feel poorly about themselves, to keep them psychologically stunted from kicking his STD butt to the curb. Nina needs to ask herself, do I want to compete sexually with these other woman? Is he washing in between lovers and does he at least wear a condom? Ewww if he does not! Do I want to risk getting some potentially deadly disease (HIV, AIDS, HEP C), and if I do is he going to take care of me? This many women puts Nina in a high risk category.

I suggest going back to school, one class at a time. If there is little or no income, tuition is waived. She needs to look at getting an education so that she is not financially dependent on this clown or any other philandering cad that comes her way. Getting good grades would give her some self esteem back. It would give her the financial independence she so desperately needs.

Developing friendships is really important. Too often I hear women say, “I don’t have any female friends. I am only friends with men.” Then the reasons why come gurgling forth. Such as not having relational boundaries with the significant others of these developing friendships. Ladies! You have to learn to keep your hands to yourself and stop reliving your abuse by letting yet another use you like a public restroom. Are we still in the free love of the 1960’s? I don’t think so. If you want a true friend with morals, you are not going to find these women in nightclubs or in front of mirrors. Develop a hobby and you will find people with like minds who enjoy the same things in life as you do.

I too was abused as a child. Only I reported it right away to my parents who labeled me “a liar” and announced at the dinner table that “nobody in the family was ever going to believe a word I said again.” They all laughed and I ran to my room crying. I was also told, “Do not talk to your teacher, principal, school nurse, police officer, fireman” or any other person in authority to press charges of child sexual abuse. Their lousy parenting skills led to self esteem issues so that when I was viciously raped by my ex boyfriend’s friend in high school who claimed “he told him to,” I didn’t tell a soul. I followed their example.

Odd that years later when I went though therapy and talked about it with my parents, they pretended to not remember how they reacted when I told them about their friend, and that it ever happened at all. Denial! Also, I was shocked when my mother asked, “Why didn’t you tell me you were raped?” I responded truthfully, “It was because how you handled the situation with your friend when I was 9 that I did not feel safe to tell you.” I had also heard my parents say in their under educated minds, that “Girls that get raped are asking for it by what they are wearing.” I was a scrawny under developed girl, wearing baggy pants, turtle neck, parka, boots…nothing sexy and I still had a gun pointed at my head. Life sucks sometimes, but I rose above it.

All I can say to Nina is, find a friend or relative that can help you get away from this pig. You are worth so much more than this slob who has the business and the apartment house. Start documenting stuff. Get a letter of reference from him before you cut it off with him. Tell him you are applying for college. This is your proof that he values you as a worker and how long you have worked for him in trade for your apartment. I would record him too. Get a safe deposit box and put these things in there. Then make friends with ALL his other girlfriends, including his wife. You will find that that will give you the strength to drop tail and run like hell. Vibrators do a better job than sex addicts ever can. Invest in one. My advice might sound vulgar, but at this point, you have to cover your back and not find yourself evicted when you get older and he wants to replace you with someone younger. That is how these creeps work.

I totally agree that upbringing is key in setting a person up to get involved with a sociopath. I have spent much time connecting the dots in my own experience and find that I did and DO not have a strong model of what love actually IS

Since the sociopath experience in my life I have chosen to lessen/ cut ties with my Family of origin because I can see so clearly now how it’s inter related. My Family is a tangled web of mixed messages, double binds and dysfunction that prepared me to:

Not trust my basic instincts/ my innate knowing something is wrong- always doubting myself
Feeling unworthy and always in a state of proving myself/ justifying/ explaining
Believing lies readily because I was so used to believing lies from my parents and thinking it was truth
I thought love was sacrificing and giving and not wanting anything in return

I now trust my instincts and the first action I needed to take after the sociopath and recovering my equilibrium was to trust my feelings which told me I DO NOT come a loving family. They are Toxic and put up the front that we are a great family. I no longer agree. Communication is controlled, and any form of honest exchange is treated with suspicion.

Love is:
Being treated equally (not specially)
Trusting my instincts…my gut…my innate knowing something is wrong
Never sacrificing myself for the good of anyone again
Knowing I’m worth it, for myself
Calling a lie a lie, naming it and moving on/ Away
Love is never a demand or an expectation, love is a gift

I relate…and so does my spouse. We got together with my family after one of my brothers moved to my town (a very nice area…still a lot of country around…)
We were invited to his house a year back. Nothing surprised us. We decided to use humor, it almost always works.
My brother never bothered to thank us for coming nor did he say good-bye. We are much better hosts than he will ever be. He is the ultimate narcissist and will be marrying for the fourth time…poor woman.
Before we left I turned to face my family so I could douse them with my humor. “Nice time, I guess…if you don’t mind acting in a ‘charade parade'”. You could have heard a pin drop. Then I told my older sister (and that brother): “Now don’t go dissecting what I said or what it meant.” Then I blew them a kiss and we were out the door.

Anyone who is trusting can fall prey to a sociopath.

Anyone who produces oxytocin can fall prey to a sociopath.

Sociopaths know how to misuse social chemistry for their personal gain.

When we find out that we were used by a sociopathic predator, we are already deeply involved with them. There are life forces that can hold us fast and a betrayal bond can form and continue to glue us into the relationship even though we know it is a toxic one.

It can happen to anyone from any walk of life.


Nina, you had it worse than me. At least my parents were very successful (two beautiful homes in a very wealthy town). They tried to love but could not…they had no understanding of it. But they set me up just the same.
They were never part of ‘normal society’. My father would say, “I don’t care” even though he knew his kids were in pain. I think that is horrific.
My mother said it too and would not accept her responsibility in her lack of caring for me. In fact, she hated me.
This dark side to them was not evident to many others, including neighbors, because narcissists are ‘nice’ and ‘normal’ to the outside world but go home to abuse their kids.
I fell into the hands of a female sociopath and it haunts me to this day. What a creep. I am out of work now so it is hard to get her out of my head; but I thank God for three decades of hardly thinking of her at all because I married and was able to hold jobs.

Thanks Barb,
I tend to believe there is no ” better” or ” worse” as feeling unloved, unwanted, and so on have a long lasting effect on our emotional stability. I managed to get two degrees, and had a good job for twenty one years, but ended up unable to do anything due to chronic fatigue thirteen years ago. I feel bettering last four years than I have and ironic thing was that I felt truly loved by this man for the first time in my life!
I’m glad for you that you have a good relationship now and know that inactivity means I’m ” in my head ” too much which is why I work with him! -I couldn’t hold down a proper job now as neither have emotional capability or physical. My best wishes to you .


I clicked on “report this comment” instead of “reply”. Sorry!
Just wanted to say that no amount of pain can be “measured” or “compared”…
and my comment about having wealthy parents ‘helped’, in truth it did not.
I would have preferred a small ranch house that abounded with true love and concern. We are just a tiny fragment of the ‘walking wounded’ in this world.


I too understand the feeling of being unloved, alone and unwanted. I never my entire life heard the words “I love you” from either of my parents. I don’t remember being hugged or held by either of them, even as a young child. There was a lot of criticism and physical abuse by my father. I remember being picked up and hurled across the room into a wall, and being spanked with a 2 X 4 at the age of 17. I also remember watching my mother cower and live in complete submission to my father, whom I now believe was a sociopath. I believe this set me up big time as a target. Knowing what I know now and looking back, every relationship I had was definitely with a sociopath. Even as far back as junior high. However, I am armed with the knowledge of these losers and tread very carefully as I feel I have a huge target painted on me. I can empathize with your feeling you can’t hold down a proper job because of the spath in your life. I was so ill for years and got to the point I could barely walk. I was horribly ill and no doctor could find anything wrong with me. I was finally diagnosed with PTSD once I found a doctor who took the time to really try and figure it all out as opposed to just stuffing me with pain meds, anti-depressants, sleeping pills, etc., etc. I had been very successful business-wise and was too weak to function in any capacity. You might try what I did. I was so over qualified for the job, but it was a job. I began searching for a job at a call center. I knew I would be sitting all day and I could at least do that and I knew I could at least repeat the scripts that they provided. It wasn’t what I wanted but for 2 1/2 years, it was income. Within 6 months I was promoted to management. It was baby steps like that which has brought me to where I am now. I am 52 and thought my life and future were over. I have nothing but great hope for what the rest of my life will entail. You will too. Just keep moving forward, even if it’s just an inch, it’s a move forward. You will get stronger, but it’s a process.

Me again. It is hard to be humorous when you are very devastated by abuse. But years later maybe (just maybe) you can find ways to laugh at your abuser. It can take decades but it is worth it.
ALSO: I used humor on my parents (my Dad was SO serious), but my mother loved it when I did…especially if anger was involved. So there are bright spots.
Have a talent night for women … ask them to ‘act out’ their former boyfriends/spouses…men are fun to laugh at anyway. It can get really hilarious when women bring out their humorous side.


not everyone who is trusting falls prey to a sociopath- because they trust themselves first

anyone who produces oxytocin is ‘in love’ and vulnerable- we need education about this

sociopaths know how to misuse social chemistry until it is understood by all of us so that it is no longer possible to bypass this comprehension

It is attracted, it is summoned, it is a law of attraction tool to wake up and get real….understand it

Hi Bulletproof-

I could be wrong but it seems you’ve interpreted my comment as
“Everyone who is trusting “will”” instead of “can.”

Not everyone “will.” But whether or not they will depends primarily on the ability of the predator to seduce them. Some predators are much more skillful than others.

And yes, people who are capable of love are vulnerable. Romantic LOVE is an addiction. Society does need to know this!

The addiction to oxytocin is not much different than the addiction to any other mood altering drug. The difference is principally that we don’t knowingly ingest it, so we don’t knowingly recognize that we’re addicted to it. When we’re separated from it, we long for it in much the same way that a drug addict or alcoholic would when separated from their drug of choice. And once the betrayal is recognized, a victim can develop a Betrayal Bond that is extremely difficult to break out of.

I’ve been very interested in the Bachelor series this season. I’m not saying that the current bachelor is a sociopath, but he is very skilled at seduction, and there seems to be very little substance to the relationships. The result is that 2 women out of 27 walked away. And the reason behind their doing so was that there was no “cerebral” connection. Even the ones that walked away were emotionally torn, by virtue of their raised oxytocin levels, but recognized there was something missing.

Most of the women melted into his arms when he stroked their face or caressed them. His love for his daughter created a sense of trust for the man. And even though they knew he was seeing a myriad of other women, they hoped that their relationship, the way he stroked THEIR face and looked THEM in the eye, was “special.”

Even the two who walked away had to fight internally with themselves in order to do so. They were entranced with his seduction and the internal conflict between their oxytocin pulling them one way while their thinking mind tugged another was a struggle for them.

You are absolutely correct that society needs to wake up to this phenomenon. In order to be safe from a sociopath, we need to comprehend that our “chemical reaction” to a suitor can be falsely induced. And there are people who are extremely skilled at bringing us under their spell.

Not every victim of a sociopath has a weakness by virtue of upbringing or former pain. But having a weakness or former pain might make it more difficult to break free. Particularly because being abused seems a natural and familiar state. It does not bring about the same red flag reaction that it might with someone who had a strong, supportive, loving home.

I believe:

A. It’s the predator’s seduction, not the victim’s past that causes the problem, just like any other type of fraud. I think anyone can be seduced by a sociopath. Look at all the highly intelligent, even intellectual, folks who fell prey to Bernie Madoff. Do we blame his victims for their abused pasts?

B. Here’s where I think the person’s past fits in…. their past (including their moral compass) determines whether they will develop a betrayal bond and/or remain “stuck in it.”

C. Keeping stuck in it is why society faults the victims. Most people, victims and society alike, don’t understand the emotional and chemical connection that keeps them stuck.

D. If society began to recognize the impact of love “chemistry,” there would be fewer victims and more caring support for people who are victimized. (That’s one of the reasons I wrote my book. It’s an attempt to get this message out.)


Thank you for this, it is really interesting.

I tend to view the whole event as a law of attraction event rather than perpetrator and victim. I still don’t feel like a victim, more the creator of my life.

It devastating to co create an intense loving relationship with a cold blooded liar, the shock waves 5 years on still impact.

I am seeing how MY past fits in and it is without any doubt in my mind, not so much to BLAME but it formed me and my childhood causal injuries that were never acknowledged were inevitably acted out in a repeat cycle till I got the message: There are people willing to exploit my vulnerabilities and rob me of something they want and they USE the impact of love “chemistry” to do it. My parents did it. it’s normal right?

As a society, due to upbringing and emphasis on ‘loving family’ ASSUMES we all have loving families. Many families are unloving dangerous places for children yet we assign some magical right to the natural parent that they are loving. We don’t want to get involved because well they are her parents etc. the parents know best….when the dog on the street knows home is far from loving…EVEN the supposedly loving ones and maybe especially the supposedly loving ones!

A man and a woman can have sex for 5 minutes, create a child and then we EXPECT them to be loving parents.

Rather than see myself as a victim falling prey to the cunning skilled sociopath I could just as easily link it to the way family treated me. Because I didn’t feel loved at home, I feel a hunger for being loved and I am willing to throw myself at someone offering the love I crave- thus leaving myself vulnerable to predator. Oh and the answer lies in loving myself and learning how to do that is a course in miracles in and of itself! because I was taught NOT to love myself, it was wrong…selfish and lots more baloney goes with that

The hormonal response is a powerful sedative effect to the danger yet that in itself could be taught. “falling in love” is dangerous because what if the person is pretending to love you and has activated this hormonal response and I thought it was “real” but the only thing real was the hormonal response! this can be learnt.

The feeling of being loved is directly linked to mother child bond…it’s as primal and unconscious as that. We crave that bond and if it presents itself to us in the guise of sociopath- we take it because we were taught it. We can be taught differently

What if we are forced to re evaluate the whole love phenomenon because we have got it utterly wrong on so many levels.

I believe when we know what love is, there will be no holes for the sociopath to slink in- but until then we are destined to attract that which we NEED to learn the lesson, to become who we truly are destined to become which is loving beings, and the sociopath is created by our desire to evolve..

Maybe I’m just telling myself a pretty story to cope?

Joyce, what I believe is this….and i can only speak for myself. What kept ME stuck is this…….I did not know WTF was going on, plain and simple. I had never met someone I felt the way I felt with Spathtardx. As soon as that illusion really took hold, I was emotionally invested. I was SO confused……it was his semi/ sometimes promises and semi illusion of really wanting it to work, my wanting it to work,,,,,,it was just a big pot of vegetable soup…..stirring and spinning and I stayed and stayed stuck because for the life of me i could not imagine someone saying all the things he said to me and spending all the time he spent with me and not meaning it. I’m still having a hard time digesting that! I mean if I don’t really like someone……I’m just not ABLE to spend time with them…..it’s like fingernails on the chalkboard (to varying degrees).
So, I stand by my belief…….it’s the not knowing what these monsters are doing that gets you hooked, keeps you hooked and prevents you from spitting the hook that you have unknowingly swallowed out.

“Nina’s story demonstrates a big reason why sociopaths come into our lives: to help us recover from a lifetime of pain.”

Again……it is the wording I’m having a problem with here. Sociopaths don’t come into our lives for any other reason than to take what they can from us. What about people who don’t have a lifetime of pain prior to being targeted by a sociopath?
I’m sorry if i’m being picky here but I don’t believe that this situation happened because I had “issues”. I’m not saying that i don’t have issues, but I am saying that I have a LOT of very good people in my life……..and along comes this POS and upends me issues and all.
Another way of looking at it is, if some elderly man is walking down the street (vulnerable due to his age)…….99% of the people he encounters are going to walk past him without incident. but along comes some sociopathic POS and mugs the elderly man. WHy? because the man was elderly and therefore vulnerable? NO! Because the sociopath is a sociopath.
There is not one “issue” in my past that I needed a piece of crap like Spathtardx to “help” me recover from! I don’t see one thing this involvement has helped me see or heal about my past! The ONLY thing this has done is to show me that there are people in this world who are different than anything I could ever never have imagined….

I understand completely. I now understand what I was involved with but sometimes still find it very difficult to accept that the man who told me everything I wanted to hear but was still living with his wife and had other women. I did not have proof of everything, but a lot,just instinct, as he was the most brilliant liar I have ever met. Before I met him I was a successful and confident woman but now I doubt everything. My childhood experience was not one of actual physical abuse but it was emotional abuse, I now recognise, based on withdrawal of affection for slight misdemeanours and having to be the main emotional carer for my mother who felt her life had ended because I had a sister with Downs and other huge problems which she was incapable of coming to terms with. My father could not help her in anyway so I became the main source of support at the age of seven and she blamed me for being who I was. I developed nervous tics and entered a fairy tale world of imagination and failed in everything I did. Somehow I came out of it and succeeded, married to a calm and loving man but I met HIM and somehow I could not resist the love that he seemed to give me in every way. I ruined everything, my relationship with my husband children and grandchildren. He has now moved on to his next trophy and I am attempting to pick up the pieces but it is taking a long long time. Sometimes I doubt sociopaths exist when I am feeling at my lowest but I can find no other explanation for his behaviour. Yes, I think I was a vulnerable child but I had managed to overcome this until he arrived and then I responded like a Pavlovian dog to what I knew. I hope this helps in some way.


I not only agree, but I also believe that trying to find some weakness about ourselves that attracted these, pardon me, pieces of cr-p, undermines our ability to heal and prevents society from recognizing and penalizing their behavior.

That mentality plays into the societal view…… “since
people bring it on themselves, who needs to look at or do anything about it?” What an easy out to say that a parasite took what they could get because there was something wrong with me! He took what he could get because he was a lying, thieving, cheating louse!

Guess what…… they are opportunists that will turn anyone into a mark for any reason that strikes their fancy. They behave the way they do because they want to, and because they know how to.

Yes, it may be more difficult for some to grapple with the aftermath because of issues they faced previously in their lives, but they didn’t say “kick me” to the creep who ripped them off. They said, “I love you.” What a horrible thing to do to someone who cares about you!

All the best!

jm_short…..if you look at any predatory animal, they hunt because they are hungry. They will stock, lay in wait, camouflage themselves, out run, out jump, etc etc etc…. basically they will do whatever works FOR THEM. Sometimes they pick off the easy meat,,,,,if and when they can, but other times they have to dig a little deeper, run a little faster to catch what they are after. Spathtardx is now 48 years old and has been doing his gig since he was who knows how old. I actually kicked him to the curb once at the beginning because of all the red flags( more to it then that but…..) but he managed to set the trap in a better way the second time……in a much more subtle covert way. it’s just so complex to try to retell because there were so many aspects to “the bait” and how he played the fish(me). VERY multi faceted but if I could sum up the way I felt in my head it would be a picture of me with a look on my face of utter confusion and bewilderment. Every time i thought I was in over my head, even though i had no idea I was actually drowning, he was there with just the right thing to say and just the right thing to do. For example……I usually don’t even like greeting cards. I find them sappy and trite. He gave me so many cards (mostly “Im sorry/ I love you Dorothy” cards) that were THE most perfect cards for me that I’ve ever been given! I can’t tell you how many times I told him that. “you pick the BEST cards Spathtard”! AND we live in a very small area! I kept thinking…..WHERE does he GET these wonderful cards??? Like with the slim selection we had? I don’t think if you had all the cards in the world you could find a better cards! It was WEIRD! Plain and simple……….he was VERY good at what he did.
He did enough to keep me on the hook while the entire time I was bonding and bonding deeper and deeper because I really LOVED him. He had a very soothing quality about him, we had fun, on and on and on,,,,,,,,,
the things he said to me?? I just couldn’t imagine someone saying these things and not meaning them. Was I skeptical? Yes! I always am to a certain degree but I was reassured and reassured and I know my own issues so it was easy for me to take those into consideration. just such a complex mess!
SO I see, at least in my case, the situation with Spathtardx as a separate problem than my childhood issues. I’m not saying that there aren’t areas that over lap……..my issues are a part of ANY “relationship” in my life, but i just don’t agree that there is some inherent vulnerability of mine that if it were “fixed” would have prevented this from happening. In fact, it may have been just the opposite. it may have been the fact that I ended the relationship initially that set the stage for him to dig deep and get REALLY Spathy in some kind of revenge campaign that would make MommySpathtard proud!
All the best to you Joyce!

Joyce…I love the way you say these things. My feelings exactly. I keep looking for the like button. LOL

Hello Donna
This article had my attention from the get go. Yes yes yes, I can relate in so many ways with Nina. I wont go into detail about my childhood but , yep it was messed up to say the least.. So many things that happened I blocked out ( couldnt wrap my head around it then ) so I swept it under the rug and spent most of my life in a haze…
I have said before and will say again, the encounter with the sociopath changed my life. At first it was all about ‘him’, how could he do that, how could he..why..I was consumed with what made him tick. And like Nina I thought I would die without him. But I found LoveFraud 6 years ago. In my search to figure him out I found out so much about myself. Door’s were opened for me to examine my childhood, untangle the nightmare, lift up that rug and deal with all the pain that I had swept under it. I dont know if I would of ever done that had I not been near death in a fetal position on the floor because of the relationship with the sociopath. It was get up or die, I was a mess. Lovefraud , Donna and many fine people here gave me the strength to fight for me. The sociopath was the catylist for change, do I want to hunt him down and thank him? HELL NO…To Nina I would say you are only an option to this man.. If you have come to a place in your life where your reading about sociopaths, then you are being given a life lesson – dont fail it…


I love your analogy. Spot On!!

I hear folks pick apart what made them a “mark” countless times, and it breaks my heart. Even as victims, we look to find a flaw or a fault that attracted him/her to us.

The fault, very simply, was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Your paths crossed. That’s it.

Your path to the exit door and recovery, however, can be littered with your past. We all react in different ways and many of us heap blame on ourselves for the moral code we developed that kept us blind and glued.

Unfortunately, society does the same. It has not become sufficiently enlightened to separate cause from affect. Having a tough time breaking away should never be the means by which the predator gets off the hook for the harm they did.


Joyce, I don’t doubt that many people discover many things about themselves and their pasts and their childhoods on the path to recovering from an encounter with one of these monsters, Just as people discover many things about themselves when they quit drinking, drugging, battle a major illness, accident, etc, etc, etc……. BUT, to say that the “reason” they were targeted, manipulated, used and abused is because they were treated that way as a child, to me just doesn’t make sense. I just think is’t way more complicated than that.
Personally I have not discovered one “issues” of my own that I can credit to this entanglement with Spathtardx. I am trying right now to think of something that was uncovered, previously unknown, etc. The thing that REALLY lets me know that it was something about HIM…..something different about HIM, is that I have broken off other relationshi*s in my past with men who were f’ed up. In fact…..this loosers best friend in the area where I live, lived and mooched off of me for two months under the guise of it being a mutual arrangement. “Yeah Dorothy…..this will be great…..I can help you do a bunch of things around your place” and he needed a place to stay at the time. Of course he ALWAYS something else to do, take care of, to go, other than he;ping Dorothy. I finially was able to get him to help with a couple things after b*tch*ng enough but then that stopped too. I kicked him out.
I didn’t go into this with no kahoonas…..total putty to be molded by any guy that came along. It was what HE DID, SAID, etc……how he manipulated me plain and simple and the way he did it crushed my mind, heart and more.
I’m fortunate that I didn’t marry the POS, or that I didn’t loose money to HIIM but it has cost me plenty indirectly and if he knew how much I’m sure he would be elated.
That being said, sure……along this path of destruction I’ve traveled since discovering what I believe to be the truth about him, I’ve continued to examine my past and my childhood and my issues……….once that process was started in my thirties, it’s never stopped. I was seemingly set on that path the first time I stopped drinking and my eyes were opened to things I had never seen before. So again, this encounter with Spathtardx deserves NO credit for anything positive, other than enlightening me to their putrid presence in society . Maybe I will see that differently in the future and I mean no disrespect to Donna in taking issue with the wording I’m questioning.

Joyce, it is the nature of the human mind to explain things, to have a reason, something to point to and think that it KNOWS what is wrong, how to fix it and prevent it from happening again, or in some cases to assure that it happens again.. A mind that thinks it KNOWS will never learn.

I agree. And like yourself, I’m hardly the mold of needy, low self esteem that folks like to ascribe to people who are targeted by emotional predators.

It can happen to anyone.



there is self esteem and there is self respect. they are not one in the same. i had high self esteem my whole life. i had no self respect by age 35.
was i needy tho? i have lived close to 15yrs with NO mate (preSpath or NPD). the 1st 3 of those i dated maybe 6x total. the last 10-12 yrs NONE. i dont think that qualifies as needy lol
yet i am looked at as needy now, becuz i put up with the babydaddy spath and then found myself with a NPD 2yrs after the spath had left.
today i am dating again (4 mos post-NPD) but i find it FUN. I find life FUN. Is this how ppl have been living their whole lives??? DAMN im getting me SUM.
if someone wants to think i am needy, so be it lol
all i know is my self respect is back, i know again, i am a good person and no one’s crossing that line again and making me feel bad…foe OR so-called friend 🙂

I think getting hooked is a natural reaction to seduction. It’s our oxytocin hard at work.

Staying hooked could be related to our pasts.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers about what keeps us engaging. Some think it’s a metaphysical thing, some say it’s the result of prior abuse as we developed. The reasons can be as many and varied as the number of people who are preyed upon. And I would never chose to judge what those issues are.

But I do want society to recognize that the fault for predatory behavior lies with the predator, not the victim. And I hope to see people accept that they did nothing wrong to deserve or cause the harm that was dealt to them.


Dorothy, JM_short is right, it was not my messed up childhood that brought the monster into my life, it was what kept me with the monster for so long. What better time to examine one’s life then after being run over by a monster. Everyone’s experience with a sociopath is different. I have been a long time reader of LF and many people like you had good a childhood, strong character and were still taken. Dont compare everyone’s experience to your’s. I have taken some responsibility in letting him treat me the way he did. That does not let him off the hook. A relationship with a sociopath is unlike any other, I could only move on in my life when I stopped focusing on the monster and focused on myself.

hens, I’m not comparing everyone’s childhood to mine. I did NOT have a good childhood, by the way. What I am saying is that this, I don’t look at this experience as anything beneficial in regards to healing my painful past. being involved with him did bring an apparently much needed reality check into my life but I would never give him credit for that even!! LOL
My involvement with this looser was much different than a lot of the stories I read. It was much more covert, insidious. If there was ever an appropriate person to use the term “wolf in sheeps clothing” he would be it. AND because it was so insidious and covert, even now…..over a year after the breakup, 9m basically NC….I am still having a hard time wrapping my head around what was true/ untrue, real/ false…….and swallowing the probable fact that it was ALL false, all a game, all a lie, etc. Why? because it was not slam dunk in your face bad, abusive, horrible. Why? because he was VERY good at what he did and I made it very easy for him to do it. I don’t know how to be guarded….it’s very confusing to me…..it feels like lying and I just can’t keep it all straight. What have I told this person about myself, what haven’t I told that person about myself? I just can’t withhold things….so I handed him a playbook on how to manipulate and use Dorothy and he aced it. During the time he was weaving the web and I was in it, I was happier than I have EVER been in my life. All the while there was a sinister subplot that I was unaware of in spite of the problems that were more obvious. 100% without hesitation I totally “believed” this one thing that he said……..”You know what Dorothy? no matter what, we always come back together. You know why? Because we love each other.” I believed that. Honestly? I would have to say that I was SO confused during the relationshi*, I didn’t know what was going on. I was so confused I didn’t know how confused I was!
Sorry……just on a ramble there. I don’t know….my mind is a jumble today seemingly.
I understand the concept of what you are saying about your messed up childhood being the thing that kept you with the monster so long but I really can’t say that I believe that either……for me. When I look back at the time we were together, it’s like it wasn’t even ME! it’s just bizarre! It really is like some bizarre dream in which I was replaced with someone who looked like me but wasn’t. Holy carp! Maybe I was being drugged the entire time or off and on? that is how it feels! And right now,,,,,,HE is like a complete stranger to me so i honestly don’t know WHAT he is capable of. THAT is disturbing to say the least!

I don’t think there is right or wrong way to look at or for possible circumstances that may have contributed to our getting involved with a spath as all of our experiences are unique (albeit there are so many similarities!) to us as individuals. Our uniqueness makes all of us correct in this because that’s the way WE as an individual feel and that’s what we uniquely experienced.

dorothy2, your description of your relationship so closely mirrors (for lack of a better word) exactly what I experienced I had to read it several times to make sure I wasn’t the one who posted it (-:

lifeisgood……..I’m sorry my relationshi* is like yours was………….I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. This may very well be the first time in my very well rounded, unsheltered life that I can say that i hate someone. this just occurred to me today. What he did is just so low life and sick and twisted……AND he doesn’t even have a clue how much damage his little baby face poo poo pants game has caused me. He knows only a fraction and I would never give him the satisfaction of knowing any more. I have provided him with all the entertainment he’s going to get from me. From now on…..no more smiles or self satisfaction. The only thing I am going to give him is the egg I rub off of my face and onto his. My sleeves are rolled up and I’m ready to pi** on his party.
I am probably 75-80% out of the heartbreak phase of this mess and seemingly into the anger phase. SO, I will use that anger as fuel and get my two cents in.
The thing that I take away from this is the utter disbelief and frustration that there is no legal recourse for someone who has been raped in this way. If this would have been a case of someone breaking into my home and raping me, I would be at the hospital and having samples taken. They would be fingerprinting my home, etc….. but no…….I let what turns out to be a perfect stranger in the friggin door, allowed him to live here, cooked for him, ate meals at my table with him, pleasured him and gave him my heart, so somehow that is different. So even though it’s him that played dirty, I’m the one who gets penalized.


all my friends said it wasnt ME. it was *bizarre* behavior.
they were really upset when i did it again and so fast.
im having to prove my sanity again also. ppl are so sure its me and not the disordered ppl. i say, bless u in ur ignorance. wish i lived there still. u can watch me the next 20 yrs, i may be alone but i’ll live in JOY. i may be with someone but I’ll live in JOY.
now i just live in “dont wanna hear ur crap, don’t care to hear ur excuses” and i Give It No More Space In My Head after i say it to the losers i come across…of which there are many lol
There are so many fish in the pond that now u better jump up and shine or get off my radar!!

I think it is very natural to look for the reasons you came to have a relationship with a spath. If you don’t understand what happened, how do you prevent it happening again? It gives me a sense of some choice, control and hope for the future.
Understanding my vulnerabilities and where they came from plus being responsible for MY bits in the pain and loss fiesta that occurred gave that experience meaning and value for me and stopped me being so stuck in fear, sadness, endless eddies of why me’s, and frustration.
Sometimes it seems you ARE in the wrong place at the wrong time with the cocktail of love hormones creating a neon lit landing strip for the conscienceless BUT even knowing and understanding that is useful.
For myself there were a myriad of things that made me a mega beacon, some I wanted/needed to change and others I love and wont change but be more discriminate with now. Those same things could also have made me a beacon for a loving, kind, honest and generous man.
In this process I have learned to love me in my entirety (most days, not all!) and that is so lovely.
I never thought I could live alone, never, ever Nina. But not only can I, BUT, I LOVE it. I really really do. Apart from very odd times, when Im over tired, not well or over stressed and they are really far between and short now. Everyone has those and to be honest I felt that loneliness and need in the middle of some relationships anyway.
Ive learned to know myself, how to be so kind to myself, nurture myself and enjoy my company. My confidence has grown a lot just through knowing I can take care of myself.
That means I can choose relationships I want and enjoy, not need. I like that
I don’t believe I deserved in any way what happened to me BUT it happened anyway so I will take from it any growth I can

The idea of finding what vulnerabilities or weakness a victim has is an important issue and some further distinctions are useful, I think.

It is generally accepted by the experts in this field that working out why a person is caught by a psychopath is an important part of their recovery.

However, the first part of the recovery process should be an undoing of the negative effects of the mind control that the person has been subjected to. Only then will the experience begin to make some sort of sense and the individual comes to an understanding of the extent of the control that the psychopath actually had on them.

Only then is it appropriate to look at any potential vulnerabilities that the individual has that made them susceptible to the manipulation of the psychopath.

Some important points. It is (also) accepted that there is no particular personality that is susceptible to being caught by a psychopath. That means that everybody is susceptible.

Secondly, ‘vulnerabilities’ are NOT always weaknesses. Liking to help people, being good at connecting people or simply having emotions are not weaknesses in and of themselves and are often things that allow people to be very successful in their lives. And psychopaths know only too well how to take advantage of these strengths, too!

And thirdly, there are some things that a victim comes to believe are vulnerabilities, but these may have been installed by the psychopath! This often leads to nasty closed loops from which the victim cannot exit alone.

Vulnerabilities can be divided into various groups.

On a societal level, the law is not set up to protect us from psychopaths and this leaves us all open to the machinations of psychopaths.

On a journey through life, there are typically times of change and/or stress, such as starting in university, changing job, the death of a family member or friend, loss of a job, breakup of a relationship, etc. These things happen to us all and at such times people are more susceptible to being caught by a psychopath. And these things can in no way be considered the fault of the victim!

At the level of beliefs, the biggest danger for people is not understanding mind control or psychopaths. Also very dangerous is the belief that ‘it would never happen to me!’

Most normal people (I don’t consider psychopaths normal, no matter how many people try to sell the idea that psychopaths are more evolved than the rest because they have no emotions) consider that others are basically good. This helps to make the world go around and keeps society functioning, so it has it’s benefits. However, it is not true and it gives psychopaths a hugh advantage because they don’t even have to hide the fact that they have no conscience!

On a personal level, other vulnerabilities include feeling lonely, seeking spirituality, a regard for authority, feeling discontentment with society, concern about what others think of you, a desire to take care of others, being idealistic, having been the victim of a psychopath in the past etc. etc..

Again, being like this is not someone’s fault. In fact, we teach our children to share, look our for others, and so on!!

Why is it important to know what your vulnerability are? (And not just for those who have been victims already, but for everyone”)

The reason it’s important is that when you notice someone paying particular attention to your specific vulnerabilities, you see the red flags, and instead of going ahead to see what happens, you can cut off the relationship there and then and you don’t get suckered into another bad situation.

You will also be able to notice when others (who are not psychopaths) are using these things in their favor (even if they are doing it unintentionally). This gives you considerably more choices and freedom in your life, where you are making your own decisions, and not just automatically responding to things which you later regret.

So I believe that knowing your vulnerabilities has it’s place (and it’s not the first thing that a victim needs to do), but this knowledge has to be understood in the proper context, i.e.. that of mind control and psychopaths.

Remember that psychopaths know the difference between right and wrong, they just don’t care. In the past, there was doubt in the courts about mental illness/responsibility and psychopaths bounced from jail to mental institutions and back again. Nowadays, the legal system in most countries will hold psychopaths fully responsible for their actions.

I can say that I had a fairly normal childhood, well outside of my parents divorcing when I was 5 (which unfortunately nowadays is normal) Both my parents loved me and provided for me, and put me in my place when I needed it. They never badmouthed each other when I was growing up.

I don’t know if I have some kind of love addiction or what, maybe I feel unworthy when a relationship ends? And look for another to fill that void in my heart? But a lot of us don’t even see any red flags at first as these people put on the charm, sometimes we don’t see anything wrong until there is a pregnancy or you start living with them,, by then its too late, your in love.

David stated no laws to protect us from them, you would be right, however if we look at the constitution, all have a right to pursue happiness we just aren’t guaranteed to find it, we also are not allowed to impede anothers right to pursue it, well spaths ppaths do just that, they impede us from pursuing happiness, so in some sense they are sorta breaking a law, but our judicial system does not view a relationship that way, only if they physically assault you or steal possessions will the courts really step in, but if they just destroy your life, manipulate you, break your heart/spirit/self esteem the courts will do nothing, and its a shame cause that is one of the worst things to do to someone, especially a child, and when this is done to a child by a disordered parent, it usually can set the tone for the child to grow up disordered with any number of things from borderline/narcissistic/sociopath/histrionic and on and on.

I have met my exs mother, she is a full blown narcissist,with socio traits, its a no wonder my ex is so messed up. I still believe she is a borderline and not an spath, but that doesn’t make it much easier to deal with. Borderlines are “I hate you, don’t leave me” constant tug of war, they fear engulfment, yet fear abandonment which is why one min they love you and pull you in, the next they hate you and push you away, and they only see in black n white, my ex fits this to a tee. Not once did she ever let me leave her, only for 2 months later to leave me and kick me out every year. She once told me she has just wanted someone to help take care of her (as her parents failed miserably at that) but at the same time she said in the next sentence “ive been on my own for so long im not sure how I would deal with that” In other words she wants love and care, but she doesn’t want to feel like she is not in control it scares her, so she pushes away, then realizes oh crap and pulls you back in. She is worried to death that others will see flaws in her and judge her negatively since that is what her mother constantly did to her made her feel nothing was good enough, ironically that is what she does to me, to maintain control and also push me away at times.

I believe in her mind if I leave her, she feels at fault and others will see this too and shes terrified of that, but if she leaves me then in her distorted reality it MUST be my fault and she did no wrong.

Spaths just flat out don’t care, they just stomp on whoever they can with no remorse of what others think. And they actually get off on this stuff.

But I agree, anybody that is normal can fall victim to them. You don’t have to have a messed up past. By normal I mean those of us that are not spaths, by normal I mean those of us with feelings.

I’d written a long post but changed my mind…….maybe a little later. 🙂


i think that was a good post for ppl who are there. many ppl on here are not. they need to hear it too as our stages of recovery overlap but they mite not be able to implement it yet.
and dreaming dreams…oh to dream dreams again!
my dream(s) have never changed from my childhood. it’s proving unattainable but it’s hard to cherish a dream for 50 YEARS and have it stripped from u. its a slow let-go. the worst thing is i tried very hard to let go of it 10 yrs ago, implemented changes and pursued other dreams — and wen push came to shove, i cud not do it. my life purpose is just what it is.
some dreams like travel are nice too, but not wat i cud build a life around. and some dreams like writing books and teaching seminars/classes need other steps 1st.
i age, i age, i age. and i think i may be aging out of those steps. but i can still try writing books, etc even while age-d lol i just wont reap compensation for them like i had hoped…a way to support myself.
to have one path, u can not travel another path, except in very rare circumstances. as long as this is conscious, it can bring joy.

Ain’t, what is the dream you can’t let go of?

I age too. I made my first trip (alone) to Costa Rica when I was 50. I learned to speak Spanish when I was 51. I learned to dance salsa when I was 52(!). And now I’m starting to teach it. One of my regular dance partners who salsa dances 6 nights a week is 76. He has two hip replacements! I saw a video of a woman salsa dancing in a wheelchair. It was incredible.

Age has nothing to do with the price of rice in China. I feel so much more capable at my current age because I’m so much freer inwardly then I was when my body was younger. People tell me I have the energy of a 25 y.o. So much is possible when you rid your mind of toxic anger and resentment. I do feel that is a choice. It’s not that I think people choose to be resentful or unhappy or that they are “not ready” for change. I think it’s that they truly do not realize that they have a choice about it.


Age is important in STARTING some endeavors. one example, one dream–I always wanted to homestead. Had I been for a couple decades now, I could still be, till my late 70s probably. To start it now would be absurd. Too many yrs of trial and error i wud need, that i wud never get. i need to sleep in a bed, or at least a mattress, i need consistent heat, if only from a woodstove. i need plumbing lol. I need to be able to feed my kids every day, good food. This things u fudge on wen ur young and without responsibilities other than urself.
Ive dreamed of running, if not just helping out, an orphanage overseas, teaching the co-servers to homeschool the orphans & teach them skills and teach the locals to plant more effectively, more yield, less space and water (square foot, etc) If i had been volunteering at one for last 20 yrs, I wud have an in with the locals and be trusted. Most mission boards wudnt look at me either, almost 50 with 2 small kids to boot? i have a bad knee (no cartilage in one kneecap) and as ive said, even tho i am losing, i am rly overweight.
I could go on, but u get my drift.
Im not denigrating my age, just being realistic as to what to put my efforts toward. And to not frustrate myself with wat ifs that are unobtainable. getting my car on the road is DREAM Come True to day! it was obtainable, i just had to get back my tax refund lol now its off to the mechanics YAY
i can make some cash flow now, part time 🙂

Dear ain’t: Congrats on your car. This is wonderful. 🙂

You know you can always re-set your dreams. 🙂 Dreams don’t have to be on a grand scale. You may not start an orphanage overseas, but you could certainly make a difference in a child’s life in your town. If giving and helping are what make you happy, there are so many ways to do that.

I dropped out of a masters in Counseling Psych program in my 20’s. It was my dream for 25 years to go back to San Francisco and finish my masters. When I knew I might get a small inheritance, I looked into it. When they told me what it would take, I considered it carefully. I decided that is no longer my dream, so I discarded it with no regrets. I used to dream of starting a healing center where people could go to recover from severe trauma. Though I never built the center, I help others heal in so many ways I never thought possible. There are so many opportunities to serve others. The opportunities are everywhere.


yes, exactly. i DO think i will finish my bachelors finally at SOME point. i can not believe i have that desire now. i have always been a self-learner, a non-traditional/non-institutional student so its funny to me. i still have to discover why i keep leaning that way now. but i will.
i have to regroup sometimes, but i still have one over riding dream. will i die without fulfilling it? of course not. but its nice to dream 🙂
of course, i am active in my neighborhood wherever i am. making a diff. i used to take my brother’s stepsons all the time cuz he was so rotten to them and made their mother be rotten too. they wud hardly feed them, i am not kidding. i always am the neighborhood koolaid mom (altho i wud never buy it, let alone serve it lol) and used to have a minvan with only 3 kids, cuz i was always draggin extra kids around lol
anyway, i can start doing classes again for moms to cook healthily for their families and doing lactation counseling too. just gotta get the word out.

Dear ain’t. It’s so great to hear about your hopes and goals. I like seeing people when they are in transition/transformation in their lives. I hope you don’t underestimate the people whose lives you influence and help.


i never have. ppl have sincerely thanked me for my wisdom — and help, especially wen i rly didnt think they were listening. wud that i cud apply it to mine own life.
im resolved henceforth i will 🙂

I will write a lot more of my story shortly. Its just ended in the last couple weeks. There so many details it sounds like everyone else is. I’m a shell of a woman. Everyone thought it was gorgeous. You should see what I look like now in the way that bus the part that’s making me more sick is I told him my deepest darkest secret. That I’ve never told anybody. I felt safe with him. I told him this. I was molested by my grandpa. Because I was. We thought it was over

I didn’t finish the rest of my last post. This is the first time I’ve ever written lease candy toast. Anyway I feel so betrayed but I told him I was molested by my grandpa. There’s so many other things custom details. I feel so used and humiliated. I’ve never been destroyed that you need one like this. The other thing I told him was the only thing I wanted from him for sure was to not be a cheater.I told him my other two x’s had both cheated. I said the rest of the relationship was wonderful but that was one thing I was sensitive to. He said he knew exactly how I felt and told me his to sob stories and cheating one with his wife a month before they got married to another notary officer the other was supposed to leak on the park with you married men having sex. She supposedly cheated more. I cannot believe this sweet charming wonderful man whatever toleratthikind of horrible things from a woman. Anyway so a man

trusted him. And he made me think it was because of my grandpa and displaced anger. The funniest thing of all is for me that’s not funny I’ve never accused me of cheating before so many times I told him my gut says it I’m so sorry I know I’m being paranoid. Actually said crazy windy. All those times that I was being paranoid and crazy and he actually every ounce of my self worth any kind of self esteem I had I’ve lost 20 pounds. I’ve been on eggshells for months now. The worst thing that happened is two months ago I don’t know where he changed his phone number he called back the other day with a new number and he explained it but it didn’t make sense I just found out he’s got a girlfriend and he was actually told me to move on the other dayhe’s never ever said that before. I’m sure that’s because I’ve been replaced obviously. He’s also given me to STD. I don’t know if I’ve written it yet. So many other twisted distorted stories I can’t believe I fell for all this. He did sweep me off my feet.&I. I know that I was the cross over his last relationship it was 6 month in before I realized that he’s been with her the whole time. I couldn’t believe after I said that was the one thing I didn’t want him to do is cheat. You can.. Glee brutalized almost raped again like I was with my grandfather when I was a kid that I told you about that.was over the moon unbelievably happy.y

“Nina” (if you are around): You seem much too hard on yourself. No wonder: Getting trained at such a young age to become a master of self condemnation by parents, too depressed to be nurturant.
1. You’re astute: You get the background influencers. (Okay, so maybe you missed the one about how well trained you are to have self contempt… You’re allowed to miss one even if obvious.)
2. You’re prudent: You took your time before you fell into bed or in love with him. You’ve kept what you know about his caddish conduct to yourself. Good girl! You’re not into drama or victim.
3. You’re enterprising: Your chronic fatigue syndrome laid you out and had it’s part in your isolation. So, too, did having lost all your family. Yet, within those confines you did find a way to connect with both the landlord and nephew. Makes perfect sense. And you did find a way to put yourself back to “work” which, I presume, you wanted…Good for you!
4. You’re no dummy: You tell a good Cliff Note version of the account. You capture it compellingly without all the mundane details. And your focus is correctly and mainly on you… What is happening to you.
5. You’re a survivor: You’ve sustained many losses/disappointments/discouragements and yet, here you are: Still making a life for yourself in some fashion albeit not the one you want. That’s okay, you have the stuff to get there and the dalliance doesn’t equal a detour down the tubes.

Here’s the thing: “It’s all in the story that you tell yourself”. That’s what makes or breaks anyone…. the story; not the truth because there is no absolute truth.. it’s all relative stuff. There’s a story here of a smart woman whose struggling with a situation, that’s all. That struggle ends when you see yourself (graphically) as man on top. And that is the name of the game: To feel you have things in control… nothing is going to go to catastrophe. Here’s my opinion on how to get there:
1. Quit the self condemnation. Quit it! Quit it! Quit it! You’re pained; act accordingly. Give the kindness and latitude to yourself as you would anyone in pain. Every time you can notice that you are kicking you, whose really talking here? You or the parents… who were a disappointment to you anyhow. Retrain you to do what should have been yours in childhood… It still applies.
2. Don’t use counseling to forage the past and (supposedly) heal that in your state.. Ain’t gonna happen there, ain’t going to happen for such scrutiny and ain’t the time to be scrutinizing anyhow when you’re hurting. Does it make sense to scour when you’re scoured? No. Akin to going to pick raspberries butt naked and sunburnt. Raspberries are great; just go picking them clothed and not sunburnt; ie, do the forage/introspection stuff (if you want) when you’re on top of your game. Yes, I’m a heretic about traditional psych: Show me the real, measurable benefits and maybe I’d convert but they ain’t out there. I take it that you have done counseling: Could it be the fact that you had someone to confide in and as years passed, you got a handle on some things… like we all do as we get older? Use counseling for another purpose, I’ll describe later.
3. I’m taking that your lover is only an emotional threat to you… not a physical or financial threat to you. If so, I tender this to you: He doesn’t have to be an emotional threat to you if you will rewrite this story. First edit is to see that you fell for him and have had gratifying sexual experiences for the first time. Wow! You were capable and strong enough to do that. Given it’s your first experience, how about you finding out that your trancelike rapture is the norm? And it should be on everyone’s bucket list… as much as seeing Paris should be. It’s delicious and it’s agonizing, too.
You just happened to fall for a cad; nothing unusual there. Whose going to be a better pursuer/lover than a dude with a lot of experience doing it? Nothing insensible about you falling for him…. Makes absolute sense. How about you rewriting the version of yourself as: Not being the fool but being a tough cookie who’d need a masterful lover for love/lust to bite?
Falling for someone is more a visceral thing than we want to believe/think. Ella and Frank singing “Old Black Magic” paints the truth of falling “in love” aptly. Ponder and chuckle on this: What love song has ever been recorded that sung about “great character, responsible adult or good citizen”? For a reason there’s no song about this: It isn’t what captures us; it’s mysterious visceral stuff that does. You could lie on a shrink’s couch for years trying to dissect what it was about the dude that hooked in for you and it wouldn’t do a thing to really change the spark you get. Spend your time more wisely…
In gamesmanship; getting to be man on top. It’s the powerlessness you feel that’s driving you to feeling wacked. What if you knew better that being in the throes of “in love” is just this and that you can play the game superiorly. Life isn’t a game; but gamesmanship does serve our lives well. You just have to tool up for shrewd gamesmanship, that’s all.
Look at this dude clearly to get a good game on: He’s a hound dog running around to every female dog in heat. (Let’s be impressed by his energy: Wow!) He’s on his best game when he’s in heat… The rest of the time he might be rather unpleasant… Let his wife, not you, have him then: She gets paid to put up with the down time. Your don’t. And you aren’t aiming to be the next “Mrs” either because that really means putting up with all that down time. No Sirree!
You want to be going for his “in heat” times… not his off times. When he’s off you make your lady-like exit; you are not amused nor going to keep company when he’s unappealing ( BTW:You do come across as a lady.) You’re staying in the game because, it is engrossing to you and the energy it gives off you can use to tend to your other concerns: Your financial stability and isolation. You’ve wisely identified these concerns as sources of your vulnerable and fearful feelings. And I know you do want to tackle those, why not do it while mobilized from being on top of the game? Too, I think it’s near impossible to cut something out when it means there is a big void left. So fill the void before you cut out of the affair.
And you will or you won’t… It really isn’t necessary to cut it, it’s just necessary that you think on the lines of gamesmanship, see him as just a houndog (not necessarily, by design but by fate) and you understanding that you do have a lot more power than you think. Just watch a male hound dog when the female is in heat… He’s crazed, following her up hill and dale. She’s the one with the power. (No disrespect to any man in this forum or anywhere: It’s just the law of nature.)
I’d use the counselor to support and encourage you in those two endeavors and sort of like your “Weight Watcher” club’s support and accountability… A light handed approach. If you find yourself too distracted by the affair to attend to these endeavors, then you know you’re not man up but man down. And you are going to definitely change that… Of course, you will! You just have to get the self talk straight.

Viewpoint, this response was so well written. I agree 100% with what you said. I, too, was impressed as heck that Nina took 11 months to be convinced to have a relationship and even longer before she elected to make love with him. Sounds like this sociopath was completely intent upon luring her in. I do not like how we pathologize the victim and it is so easy to do. I have known some very strong, very bright AND very healthy individuals, both male and female, who have been completely duped by sociopaths.

The only way I know to break that enticing bind with a sociopath is distance. The more time away the more clarity and strength you gain. In the beginning of my separation I remembered often the funny moments we shared, the “oh my god I have found my soul mate” intimacy, and his alleged vulnerability but now after a year of no contact whenever I think of him, it is only as a threat; I do not miss him and I have no more romantic illusions about him. It is almost as if you have to break the spell by staying completely away from the spell caster. Pulling his criminal history, reading the details of his arrests, talking to his other victims allowed me to see his patterns of predatory behaviors. Reading the comments on this website from others who were reporting almost identical statements and behaviors from their sociopaths helped me see that he was not unique nor was I. Now that I know what is behind the façade he has no more power over me. I finally get that all that I thought was good about him was a façade. To Nina and those in the early stages of this process: be strong and know you are not alone, there is a posse of strong healing individuals right beside you who, like you, are in the process of reclaiming their strength and their lives.

I just want to thank you again viewpoint, for your st
Ring support and intuitive, spot on comments and insight.
Very supportive and strengthening.
I am quietly moving forwards, hopefully.

Thanks for your encouraging words. You seem very tuned in to where I am at the moment? Uncannily so!
Yes I now feel as though I am gently detaching, and am trying to subtly make new beginnings so I can leave when I feel I am emotionally and financially able.
Your words have soothed me and will strengthen my resolve to get away. Thank you

You indicate a fear that if this perp is no longer in your life you could lose your place of shelter. (very scary)

Psych. 101…air…food…shelter…then the rest (self actualization is at the top of the pyramid -the self goal!) It is difficult to think clearly about any thing else when concerns about losing your shelter (one of the very basics) monopolizes your daily thoughts.

I think you would be wise to seek out counseling and/or information at a battered woman’s shelter. Someone there could help you recognize your potential possibilities/opportunities. Knowing there are alternative options if/when you leave this situation (Plan B) will empower you to make better decisions/choices.

If you’re kicked out of your current apartment, or can no longer afford the rent…what are your options? (Knowing alternatives might give you some peace of mind!)

You also have an ongoing fear of abandonment…you’d be alone w/o him (at least he’s “something” and something has got to be better than an unknown alternative…but in his case probably not!). You have no close friends (other than him…really?…he’s a FRIEND…really?…look up the word “friend” in a dictionary…does that describe him (or only if you pick and choose what to believe about him)? Without his manipulative tactics messing with your mind, life might seem like free falling without a parachute that’s filled with holes! (He’s like an ironic joke!)

Maybe there’s a healthy support group with meetings you could attend. Talking with others who’ve witnessed/lived similar life experiences and have learned how to cope/survive might be helpful. Force yourself to seek help. Yes the internet offers a lot of information, but your local police department might have a helpful handout with local resources and phone numbers.

Detaching s/b less fearful once you realize that you have options and caring support from abuse survivors to help you.

Knowing you have options can be empowering when you feel powerless…please seek help.

Nina, thank you so much for sharing your story and helping so many others. I can relate to so much of your story. Stay strong and may you be filled with peace and serenity.

This was a good article/post. It helps to move on by exploring why we are seemingly magnets for the character disordered. Why we settle for unconscionable treatment. And, why we stay when we should go. Information is power.

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