By | March 30, 2009 83 Comments

Identifying sociopathic behavior is easy; giving advice is hard

Just about every day, Lovefraud receives e-mail from readers who are looking for answers about confusing, contradictory and abusive behavior exhibited by people in their lives. The new readers don’t understand what they are dealing with; they just tell, either in a few paragraphs or lengthy compositions, their stories. The e-mails describe some or many of the following behaviors:

  • Pathological lying
  • Pity plays
  • Shallow emotions
  • Devalue and discard
  • Cheating or promiscuity
  • Addiction to drugs or alcohol
  • Controlling demands
  • Financial irresponsibility
  • Manipulation of children
  • Broken promises
  • Claims of “you made me do it”
  • Pleas of “I’ll never do it again”

The readers ask, “Am I involved with a sociopath?”

For those of us who now know what sociopathic behavior looks like, it is apparent that the answer is yes—or that at least the readers are describing sociopathic traits.

More than 1,300 people have contacted Lovefraud with their stories—and others have told their stories in comments posted on this blog. In all of them, the same behavior patterns are described over and over again. In fact, many of you have wondered (facetiously) if you were all involved with the same person.

Asking for advice

When newbies, who have been confused by lies and broken promises, learn that there is a personality disorder that describes what they’ve been dealing with, they have a few reactions. One is relief that they are not crazy—they really are experiencing irrational demands and covert manipulation.

Another is horror at the magnitude of the problems they face—especially upon learning that there really isn’t any treatment for a sociopath. With that, the new reader starts asking for advice, and this is where things get tricky.

Here are questions that I’ve been asked:

  • He’s threatened to kill me—will he do it?
  • How do I get the judge to see the truth?
  • How can I get the authorities to arrest her?
  • How can I protect my children?
  • How can I get my money back?
  • What should I do?

As much as I wish that any of us who are further along the road of understanding could answer these questions, the reality is, we can’t.

Each situation is unique

Although we often see the same patterns of behavior, each sociopath is unique. Each victim is unique. Each situation is unique. As victims try to extricate themselves from entanglements with sociopaths, any and all of these issues may be pivotal:

  • How much clout does the sociopath have in the community?
  • How well can the sociopath manipulate the legal system?
  • How much money does the sociopath have to throw into the conflict?
  • Who believes the sociopath?
  • Who can the sociopath make into allies?
  • Are there any witnesses? Will they speak up?
  • How old are the children?
  • What office politics are involved?
  • Do legal authorities take the case seriously?
  • Are there any ties that can’t be broken?
  • How much money does the victim have (remaining)?
  • How much strength does the victim have to continue the battle?

Sometimes I feel so helpless. I can offer some generalizations about what sociopaths tend to do—based on the 1,300 cases I’ve learned about—but I cannot predict what any particular sociopath will do, how authorities may react, or if anyone will see through the deceptions. All of this makes it very difficult to give advice.

Solitary journey

In reality, extricating ourselves, recovering from, and coming to terms with the sociopath(s) in our life is a solitary journey. Other people may make suggestions, but we must ultimately make the decisions on how to cope.

And sometimes the range of the choices we have the ability to make is very narrow. A judge may decide on joint custody of children, or even award custody to the sociopath. Law enforcement may decline to investigate or prosecute. If we win our case in civil court, we may never collect a judgment.

In situations like these, decisions are taken away from us.

When that happens, our only choices have to do with our own attitude. Are we going to let the sociopath sink us? Or are we going to somehow find a way to heal?

Real response is internal

There is great wisdom in the adage, “This, too, shall pass.”

It’s been 10 years since I left my sociopathic ex-husband. I’ve processed most of the emotional trauma associated with the experience, so it doesn’t have the grip on me that it once did. In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that I’m running Lovefraud, it would have no grip on me at all.

Ten years ago, I was on the phone with another woman scammed by my husband multiple times a day. Although we are still friends, now we only speak two or three times a year. She’s moved on in her life—the experience is a distant memory.

The same thing happens here at Lovefraud. In the midst of their trauma, readers post frequently. But eventually we stop seeing their names and comments. I hope that means they’ve left the experience behind.

In the end, the real response to the experience with the sociopath is internal. We have to come to terms with the betrayal, the injury, the exploitation. So although it’s hard to give foolproof advice for dealing with the circumstances that the predator creates in our lives, the truly important advice is this: Find a way to heal yourself.

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I remember that day I lost her but really deep inside of me I knew I was losing her and at this point didn’t even want to try anymore. I knew I was at a point in my life that I was “used” up and there wasn’t any more I could give…

But because I needed some answers and needed to understand the “whys’ I started to ask myself and others some very seriously questions. I didn’t know anything about a sociopath or people that suffer from personality disorders. Then after learning just what I been dealing with for so long, like a bolt of lighting it hit me hard that I now understood that I really lost her for good. All my maybes (maybe we could work this out, maybe she see someday what a mistake this is, etc) drained from my heart like water from a balloon that have a hole in it. I also remember telling myself and feeling like I lost her all over again. The sick feeling I felt inside of myself is still indescribable to this day. I am a person that needs to understand any problem but never did I know the price for this knowledge would be so high. Still today I really don’t know what hurt me the most, her leaving or knowing the reality of my situation. Knowing I had no choice but to let this person go and let her go for the rest of my life.

The sense of lost is deep and long lasting…..


Yes giving advice can be hard and even dangerous. That is why I was shocked when I saw in your original post that you told Rosalyn no when she asked you if she should contact authorities about her suspicions of the child being abused.

And you are right in that each situation is unique and that is why giving advice is not something to be taken lightly or done with just a minimal amount of information or contact.


Donna –

Thats a powerful article. And at the core of the end of every toxic relationship remains the same thing that was there in the beginning and middle of the relationship and that is CHOICE.

I agree with everything you said, but I might add that for some of us the devastation is beyond comprehension, and as in my case, once the mask fell off in the middle of the toxic relationship all the way until the end and thereafter I didnt have the resources to know how to handle a toxic situation in my life, let alone after it ended.

In the end, I had to do what you said…find a way to heal myself. That included motivating myself to read books, use the internet, and click on the links such as Lovefraud….

When I tell you that Lovefraud opened my eyes, I truly mean that. Lovefraud did not heal me, but it allowed me to no longer wander lost in a fog of sorts — it helped me find clarity, understanding, and resources to help me heal myself.

Yes we have to heal ourselves. Choose to heal ourselves. Make decisions how to best handle our own individual situations, as nobody can heal us, except each and every one of us, ourselves. But not having to go through it alone, and with support and guidance of friends, family and the gift of those who reach out to others at LF and other places in so many ways across the world – ultimately offers the best healing journey one could possible find.

We must remind ourselves to offer support more so than anything else, as each one of us has to find our own way to heal ourselves. Ultimately it is a choice we make. We choose to heal ourselves, because the truth is we are the only ones who can!

Ox Drover

Ogden Nash, on of my favorite humerous poets, was also a “serious” poet, and wrote a poem called “Listen.” The point of the poem was that we are “solitary prisoners” inside our own skulls, and that no matter how we shout or scream, we are still “alone” inside our own skulls, but reaching out for companionship.

I think the basis of our lives IS lived internally, by our thoughts and ideas about our external situation. I think things that go on in the “world of ourside” effect the physical, but our internal attitudes about those external things is what is really our “lives.”

Our frustration at not being able to influence our external situation, or some one else’s behavior becomes the driving force in our unhappiness. Changing our attitudes about what is going on externally, and moving away from noxious people and situations, rather than trying to change the unchangeable, and accepting that some things ARE unchangeable and out of our control, is for some reason very difficult for us.

Sometimes I know I have become so “crazy” with frustration, worry, fear, and stress that I couldn’t see “the nose on the front of my face.” It is difficult to focus on solutions when you are too “crazy” to know the problem. Sometimes it is helpful to have someone make suggestions, other times, I didn’t want their advice even though I needed it and it was good.

We are all on a solitary journey, a spiritual journey, a human journey, and it is unique for each of us, and to me it has been very comforting to look out of my “solitary cell” (my skull) and see Donna, Liane, M L, Steve, Steve, etc there with some comforting words of wisdom, understanding and advice, and know that I am not “crazy” and that this particular experience with a psychopath is not “unique” to know that others have walked through this fire and survived, and that just like child birth, I have to go through it myself, but it isn’t the first.

Thank you Donna, and all the LF bloggers and authors.

Elizabeth Conley

I’m grateful I encountered the Sociopath. He heightened my awareness. Before him I’d encountered a Psychopath about 25 years ago and a Narcissist about 5. I figured they were anomalies. The Sociopath finally forced me to examine the pattern, and why I was such an easy mark.

Life’s gotten so much easier recently. I don’t just stay away from The Antisocial and Narcissistic. I stay away from the Histrionics and Borderline too. I assiduously avoid stepping onto the Karpman Drama triangle with anyone.

It’s really paying off. I’m more cheerful. I sleep better. My social and family life is pleasant. My kids are having more fun. I have more time and energy for my marriage. I have more time and energy to put into home schooling my children.

It’s awful when you HAVE to play. If you have to deal with a nutty ex-spouse or employer, life can get tricky. Often there’s no choice but to deal with the Cluster Bs. Whenever there’s a choice, I advocate getting away from them and staying away.

These people have an uncanny ability to put you in “[email protected] if you do & [email protected] if you don’t” situations. Generally dealing with them is a win-lose or lose-lose proposition. Don’t do it!

Learn to read the signs cluster Bs can’t help but display. Be cautious.

I thought it would be hard to become a bit stand-offish, but it’s not. It’s actually pleasanter to invest more time and energy on people I know and like than on newcomers. It’s certainly more relaxing to stay away from the drama club. I still feel a bit uneasy when I decline to socially engage with a drama queen or king. It’s hard to get over the habit of being excessively polite and kind. Particularly with histrionics. Part of me wants to baby them, but my sensible self warns me that eventually I’ll lose my temper with their theatrics. Deep down in side, I’m really not as patient as I like to imagine I am!

Keep away from Cluster Bs! It’s good advice, if you’re free to take it. If you’re not, lovefraud is a great place to go for help in dealing with them.

I have cobbled together various sources on identifying psychopaths

Ox Drover

Dear Elizabeth,

YOU ARE SO RIGHT ON, SISTER! It isn’t just the Psychopaths it is all of the “cluster Bs” and Drama queens/kings, and people who have really poor boundaries, and little or no moral compasses, at least none that point in the same direction yours do.

I’m still working on weeding them out of my semi-close circle of people I do things with, one by just fading away, and the other by an outburst rom him when I confronted some of his behavior (silly me! I thought he would say “sorry” and we would still be “friends.” WHAT WAS I THINKING? LOL) He isn’t an N or a P, just not “healthy.”

I loved your comment “deep down inside I’m really not as patient as I like to imagine I am” WHOOO WOOOOO! Same here! LOL


Many good points made in this article. The last two weeks I have not posted much. I was out of town alot with my dad and his illness. I’m not sure if I was just so busy with him, but I realized that I hadn’t posted and the less I posted, the less I obsessed over the relationship with the S. Again, maybe I was busy but I had lots of free time to drive back and forth. I need to make this stop in some way and I think I won’t be posting at least for a while.

Maybe forcing myself to walk away from all reminders….. including still trying to relocate……will be the best thing for me. It’s not that I’m running away. I can’t run from something that is so embedded in me now. I can just heal and learn. I’m just trying to take care of me and do what is right for ME for a change. In this situation I’m not sure I can stay here checking parking lots for his car everytime I want to enter a building.

This is another one of those situations where what is right for me may not be good advice for someone else.

THis place at Lovefraud is like a good, safe home. You can walk away and still come back from time to time and be welcomed with open arms. I am hoping that will happen for me. My situation, as some of you know, was not as financially devastating or as criminal as some. The trauma that this man has caused to me HAS been devastation. When someone rips at your deepest hopes and dreams and portrays themselves to be something they are not for the simple pleasure of playing with your heart and soul……it is a horrible experience. I’m not sure anything could have kept it from happening, but I could have kept it from prolonging.

I have learned from this and now I need to move on. Thanks Donna for keeping this site available and for helping so many people. Because of all of you, I can walk away knowing I AM NOT CRAZY. I just made some bad choices at the worst possible time of my life. Thanks to all of you for your support and help along the way.


It’s too bad that since these people seem to come out of cookie cutters, that there’s no cookie cutter advice to deal with them.

There’s only one piece of advice that I ever got, that I always give, that seems to be right in most situations: And that is to strictly limit personal interaction with the sociopath or narcissist. If possible, to have no contact at all.

Unfortunately it also seems to be the most difficult advice to take and act on.


Keeping faith,

Thanks for sharing, and posting and returning from time to time. It sounds like you are doing exactly what Donna referred to by taking steps and doing the things that are right for you, for your own situation and healing. And you recognize that your positive energy and healing is coming more and more from distractions around you and time spent with your father, and just generally trying to figure out a direction that is best for you.

As you move on, and heal one thing is certain and something that I will keep close to my heart when I am ready to fly again….Lovefraud will always be here, for all of us to return to for words of or encouragment and wisdom or to share a thought or an update or to simply say hello.

God bless you on your healing journey…


Thanks learnthelesson. We learn so much from each other as well as validate what we already felt or knew. It’s an experience I wish on NO ONE except the S himself. As I tried to imagine what may go on in his head……..some days I imagine that the way I felt after all was said and done……is the way his life feels to him every day. The turmoil, drama, fear, anxiety!! Couldn’t happen to a worse person!! I am done being tortured and torturing myself.

We will all “fly again” we are flying now, our wings are just a little weak as we rediscover the path and ourselves. I’m ok with that. Best to you always. We will be OK.

Elizabeth Conley


It’s an imperfect world. Like you, I want to keep my friends. They’re precious to me, even though none of us are perfect.

I’m sorry your friendship took a turn for the worse.

I distanced myself from a very emotional woman lately, because dealing with her was going to belose/lose most of the time. She was an unusually intelligent woman with a martyr complex. No matter how people tried to cater to her, she’d see herself as the helpless victim.

Her conversation was about 85% whining, so I was goin to give myself an ulcer refraining from booting her backside up between her ears. I’m trying to counter a bit of heartburn as it is. I’ve becom too old for certain games.

The old me would have catered to her and tried to solve her problems. I’d even have agreed with her about how put-upon she was. I don’t miss the old me at all!

Ox Drover

Dear Elizabeth,

The thing is, I realized iin both cases, I think, that it wasn’t much of a friendship with either of them….the one with the “blow up” I had been having some little nagging disquieting things from time to time, but they started to become more and more apparent, and this was sort of just the straw that “broke the camel’s back” and I decided I had to set a boundary—not expecting that there would be a loss of the relationship, but at the same time, willing to have the loss if that is what it took.

Now, I realize I was RIGHT all along about the “feelings”—nothing big, just little unpleasantness and inconsiderations. No P abuse, but just things I didn’t like. Any time you set a boundary you have to be prepared for the relationship to end in a bang or to go away gradually over time. So far with the people I have set boundaries with, one I am fading deliberately away on, this was a blow up one on his part, but I’m not grieving over the loss of the relationship, and two (a couple) that I set boundaries for, the female keeps trying to try them from time to time, and I keep building them higher and higher (she is doing it by being sneaky, thinking I won’t know) but the relationship IS fading away though I will not have a big “blow up” with them I don’t think, but if it comes, it comes, it doesn’t matter, I’m not interested in a “drama” with them. I would go NC completely with them and not be upset by it. One friend of long standing, I set a boundary, and she has respected that boundary completely and our friendship seems to be much better than ever. So I am batting 1 out of 5 at this point as “successful.” that’s not too bad, a 200 batting average. LOL


Great posts and article! Oxy you rule!.

One of the things that took me the longest to comprehend, ( until I was smacked with a giant 2×4) is the idea that the P can and will engineer your misery, and act like he had nothing to do with it. Stuff just “happens”

It is hard to learn that all our fogiveness is wasted on one who actively wishes us ill. Especially when the words don’t match the actions.

Armed with this knowledge tho’ through learning here what I was dealing with, has been very empowering.

I can “read” him now. I know there is only one motive for EVERYTHING he does and says, and that is his gain and anothers loss. Period. Whatever it takes. Sadly, inflicting pain is a gain for him and many P’s .

Over time, and as an avid student of current events, I have come to view “the news” as what “they” want us to know, and what is presented as “what happened” is usually, engineered and planned long before if one is willing to dig. So the motto is follow the money and then decide the veracity of a claim or story.

Had I followed those pricipals in my private life with the P, I would have awoken much sooner.

Bottom line, reject the habit of accepting “events” that are injurious as chit happens. Chit is engineered by P’s and their willing and sometimes unwitting accomplices.

As for the healing phase, the first step is diagnosis. It hurts to discover you have been enabling your abuser, but it is the first step.

And to all the newbies in the early stages of discovery and healing, trust us grizzled vets, there is freedom at the end of the journey, freedom from abuse, chaos,and false hope.
There is, regardless of how difficult the circumstance, a new beginning, a life of integrity and grace, of acceptance, of peace.


P.S. I would like to add a comment about NC. While I agree it is IMPERATIVE to detach, get some perspective and heal – in my own case I have bent the rule. I have continued to communicate – ONLY on matters of our divorce settlement $$ etc. And I will admit it. I have played with him.. Asked him stuff, tweaked and bruised his ego.

I hope to soon have my day in court and I will let y’all know, but his vanity and arrogance led him to write some rather incrimminating emails. I have a paper trail of his carrot and stick bullying, his broken promises and shady accounting.

Not sure yet if it will help me in substance, but I like having that paper trail, proof of his abuse, his pettiness and sense of entitlement. I have felt more genuine happiness in the last year since leaving than for many many years. Part of it comes from the exuberant relief of recognizing what I left behind me.

Peace to all


PSS. The communication was ONLY through email – totally NC otherwise, even when in the same room. And ONLY when I had lots of time to proof and reread my answers etc and felt strong and clear headed.

Ox Drover

Dear eyeswideshut,

In some ways, you are not breaking NC and if it helps you gather evidence that is to your benefit, you go girl! TOWANDA!!!

There are “degrees” of NC that apply to different situations, and sometimes TOTAL NC is not possible, or even desirable. It just depends on what is happening and your state of mind as well as the Ps state of mine and how bad they are. If you can have limited e mail contact and not let it upset you, and gather evidence for your day in court, great! Go for [email protected] if it upsets you , sets you back, makes you feel bad, or cry, maybe it isn’t worth what it costs, but if the cost is low, and the benefit possible, hang on and go for the gusto!

Elizabeth Conley


Yep, enforcing boundaries can be the beginning of the end, or a healthyl upswing in the quality of a relationship. There’s no predicting what will happen. Some people fly into a snit when they find out rules and limits apply to them as well as the little people. Oh well!

We’ve got an unusual variety of drama queen in our family. There’s really no figuring out what the underlying problem is, she’s the consummate gas-lighter. I admit to not being sufficiently curious to become fully engaged in solving the puzzle. Luckily for me, she’s on hubby’s side of the family, and he’s always known how and when to go no contact! I’m happy to follow his lead. She acts out, we draw further away. Long periods of peace divide moments of brief contact. The longer between incidents, the better prepared I am to deal with her odd little games. Who cares what her diagnosis is? Why ask why, when the solution is as simple as distance?

I never knew life could be this good!

Ox Drover

Dear Elizabeth!

Yea, ain’t it the truth! Distance in time and location is a wonderful thing! ABsence doesn’t ALWAYS make the heart grow fonder though! LOL But at least it gives you peace to regroup.


Yes, choices on attitude, that is what it all boils down to. I’m not going to let him make me sink! I’m trapped inside my head and I am trying to make it a pleasant experience. Thank you for the article, I am still wondering how to get my money back! I hope it will be easy for me to identify any S’s I might come across, I’m certainly getting a good education about it here!


My divorce is about to become final and things with my Ex have been worse than ever? Last weekend he has very late to pick up our children for his visitation which was making me late for work. When he finally got to my place of work he put the kids in the car with his girlfriend and then proceeded to verbally abuse me in front of a customer and on of my employees (I own a hair salon). He said things like “you wanted a real family with me, well you are looking at a real family right here in this car”, he also said, “you are ugly, no one will ever love you, you were an awful wife…and a few more things I am forgetting. He then drove off and started calling the salon and pretending to be the IRS, and then called me “horse face”. I went to the police station after work and filed a police report and yesterday I tried to get a restraining order but because I have no fear of ‘Phisical Harm” the judge will not issue one. My question is why now? He has what he wants, his girlfriend and his kids for the weekend. Why is he still trying to torture me? I thought things would be getting better not worse now that we are almost divorced…

Elizabeth Conley

Dear Princesspants,

Is Matt still prowling the boards? You need to consult with him. If your nutty X is acting out at your business, then you have lots of witnesses. His acting out is now effecting your ability to make a living. There may be grounds for some sort of civil suit or criminal charges we wouldn’t naturally consider.

Businesses can usually get protection from oddballs who interfere with their ability to function. If you describe your X’s bad behavior in that context, you might be able to get some help.

I know that having him pick up the kids at your salon was not your intention. It happened that way because he was misbehaving – yet again. Still, it’s a good idea to have him picking up the kids in a public space you control.

This is another one of those cases of a cluster B setting up a no win situation for his/her victim. If there was something you could have done to have made the child visitation calm and gracious, it’s not immediately evident.

“…then proceeded to verbally abuse me in front of a customer and one of my employees…” The best defense against this behavior is a soft smile and dead silence. Smile at your customers and employees, and say “I’ll be with you in a moment.” Walk to the door, hold it open for him, and wait.

You can score social victories on him by being unfailingly ladylike in the face of his boorishness. Treat him like an uncouth stranger who passes gas loudly and audibly, rather than an intimate who is making remarks that hurt. That’s what his remarks are – malodorous expressions of his lack of self-control. There’s no need to treat his remarks as if they were intelligible speech.

Witnesses will see a long-suffering lady who’s been unfairly burdened with a classically abusive knuckle-dragger. Your graciousness will make your point more effectively than any amount of protest, explanations or tears.

Remember this: If he ever so much as grabs your arm or blocks your way, you can reasonably claim fear of physical harm. You have a right to physical movement. If he gets mad about your decision to walk away from his verbal diarrhea, and so much as touches your arm or blocks your way, you’ve got grounds for that restraining order.


Thank you Elizabeth, I am proud to say I responded to him in the exact way you recommended! It has taken a while for me to learn that this is the best way to handle him and it drives him crazy…which isn’t necessarily my intent. He had never come even close to touching me even in our earlier more crazy years so I don’t think he will. I am not interested in any more legal actions at this time and will avoid my place of business as a drop off spot. As of now it is at either my house or his, would you recommend I change that to a more public location?


I haven’t posted on here for a long time and happily it is because I don’t feel the need to very often. However, recently I was given some information about the P I was involved with concerning another woman he was targeting. Once again the rage and anxiety was back, all those terrible memories started to haunt me again.
At first I went overboard trying to warn this other woman’s friends about him and what he was. I think some of it got through to them and fingers crossed she has been put off. Predictably though there are others who don’t believe what I say and “feel sorry for him”. After a few weeks of obsessing about this I finally hit rock bottom, fortunately in the company of two good friends. I had a good rant and a lot of tears whilst they comforted me. They both said that they had never truly realised the devastaion he had caused. Once I calmed down I came to a very important realisation; even with the best intentions of saving others I AM HURTING MYSELF. The past is something I have to live with but how many more weeks, months, years am I going to let it spoil my life? Most of my advice has fallen on deaf ears anyway.
So – I have told my friends that from now on I do not wish to hear anymore about him. I am no longer prepared to spend any more of my time on this subject. They have all agreed to respect my wishes. Since then I have felt so much calmer. I feel that I am moving on now and taking control of my emotions.


Princesspants & Elizabeth: Don’t underestimate the danger this man presents. We tend to minimize the danger — we still don’t want to think that they could be THAT dangerous!

Matt can speak to this better than I can, but there are two terms: Assault and Battery. Assault is the threat. Battery is the actual blow hitting you. Perhaps you need to reconsider the threat you feel, PP; you’ve spent a long time becoming accustomed to his chronic level of threat, and you may no longer be reading it correctly.

He sounds dangerous to me.


I have an acquaintance that I believe is a sociopath, why it took me 3 years to realize it amazes me. The thing is, he is smart enough to know he is unable to con me but yet he still contacts me on occasion I guess when he is bored. Unfortunately I did see him 3 times or so. He acts charming but I catch him lying although I do not call him on it, he lies severely. This is why I believe he is a sociopath. He is also likely a cheater, he shows no remorse for it either, like it is no big deal, likely as he has not morals in the first place. At first I actually thought one of his lies that he was a former model was just a joke, that he was joking, etc. He is not bad looking nor do I desire male models as I think it is just a job and a pretty boring and shallow one and not one I really respect or admire, I like intelligent hard working men. I thought it was meant as a joke. Second he always says he is in the bahamas and I know it is a lie. This is due to him thinking I like the Bahamas as I mentioned I enjoyed a trip there. I do not think going to the bahamas is a big deal, certainly not enough to lie about. Anyhow I am concerned as to how to end our lie of a friendship, on one hand I have read since sociopaths have no real feelings it won’t matter but also I have read they might be angered by rejection and can be dangerous. So I am unsure what to do, I can continue to ignore him but I would honestly just like an end to this madness. Any suggestions?


My point is he is not getting anything from me, sex or money as many of you mention, in the reverse, he actually made a disturbing comment about how I could make money if I was a bad girl, he is sick. I have a pretty good moral code. He thinks I could use men, but I have a conscience, something he lacks.

Ox Drover

Dear TErrilee,

Welcome to LF and glad you have not been “conned” and devestated by this man. GOOD FOR YOU!

My suggestion is to just “fade away” without any fan fare, just be “too busy” if he manages to contact you, or if you know it is him calling, don’t answer the phone, don’t return e mails, or if you do, make them 1-2 words, “Too busy”—

He gets “supply” (attention) from you when he talks to you, tells you lies, etc. and is on the troll or con trying to hook you in. I am SO GLAD That you have stuck with your moral compass and not been “impressed” by this con man.

He is pulling all the cons that they do, so sounds like you have pegged him very well.

It does take time to recognize them, and I suggest that you read here the articles in the archives so that next time one comes along you may spot him sooner. They seem to act out of a “play book” of manuvers to suckk us in, and mostly when we are “down and out” from some other devestation that has hit us. When you have broken up with a lover, your mate has died, you are “down” for any reason, and more vulnerable to these at first very “charming” individuals. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER so learn more, but sounds like you have a good grounding already, but it never hurts with these people to learn more and more!!!! to learn the “red flags” of their manuvers.


I am in the process of “fading away” very quietly from a drama queen “friend,” who though she is not a psychopath or sociopath, is a “drama” queen that I don’t wish to interact with any more.

Elizabeth Conley


With regards to your ladylike composure: YOU GO GIRL!!!

“As of now it is at either my house or his, would you recommend I change that to a more public location?”

He shows a cluster Bs gift for making all interactions win/lose or lose/lose. You’re going to have to put some serious thought into this.

Do you have a third party? How old are the kids? Schools and daycares are good places to make exchanges. So are police stations.

If you go to a public location to meet him, he’ll jerk you around by arriving late.

If you have him come to your home, he’ll come in the house and act like an @ss.

If he picks the kids up with a 3rd party, it may cost you money.

If he comes to your place of employment, he’ll interfere with business.

I like the 3rd party idea, but my guess is that you can’t afford to pay anyone for this. His mother’s house would be good, but that’s probably not an option.

If the kids are old enough, stage their things at the door of your business or home, then have them keep a look out. When he arrives, have them meet him right outside the door, ready to go.

Don’t compromise with him or be flexible about the rules of visitation. That just leads to opportunities for him to misbehave. The less you negotiate, the less you speak. The less you speak, the less chance of conflict there is. Being kind, patient or gentle with him will backfire on you, so don’t!

It would help if I knew how old the kids are. I home school, and I’ve learned to expect a lot of the kids on all levels. Expecting your kids to wait by the door and watch for dad is very reasonable, as long as they’re over the age of six. Let them ask, “Dad, why were you late? We waited for-e-ver!!!” Kids being kids, they’ll rake him over the coals if he’s more than 5 minutes behind schedule!

Elizabeth Conley

PS: If he arrives early to pick up the kids at your home, he waits outside!

We know enough about cluster Bs to know they’re going to look for ways to be a pain. I figure that will be his next move, after being late becomes a bigger problem for him than it is for you. Be ready for it.


Ox; thanks for the response. Does it sound strange if I say I was on to him but still went along with it for some reason knowing he would never be able to truly con me? I am concerned as if I was trying to teach him a lesson he could never learn. I also never called him on his lies as to not embarass him, lol, in retrospect, I guess as a sociopath he would not feel embarassment. He claims to be seperated for 3 years now, yikes, that alone is crazy and I can only pity a wife that had to live with his madness. I do not know how he can even think I believe his lies, it’s crazy, I guess he judged the cover of the book so incorrectly, lol, I am much more intelligent and cognitive than he realizes.


When I say I was on to him, I meant I thought he was playing those games some insecure guys think they need to play with women after they have read stupid articles in magazines and such. I thought I would get past that and get to know the real him, and I did have some feelings for him obviously as this is a bit upsetting for me, but I did realize something was wrong. The things he said continued to not make sense and I continued to catch lies. I guess the red flag was the compulsive type lying, there is no reason for that in my mind. I also thought a few times that he might have cared for me, especially since he remained in contact with me and was not getting anything from me other than friendship a bit of intimacy when we did meet, unfortunately there was chemistry with him. Also his assertiveness worked well on me as I am the shyish type in a relationship.


I guess to sum it even though I will end this. I still want to know what his motives were although I know I should just let it go. I am wondering did he just want to try and hurt me emotionally? If so this does not make sense, if sociopaths have no emotions and can’t understand them, why would they want to mess around with yours?

The thing is when you first realize the person might be a socipath there are so many puzzling questions. It is like trying to understand a nightmare.

Elizabeth Conley


” Once I calmed down I came to a very important realization; even with the best intentions of saving others I AM HURTING MYSELF. The past is something I have to live with but how many more weeks, months, years am I going to let it spoil my life? Most of my advice has fallen on deaf ears anyway.
So – I have told my friends that from now on I do not wish to hear anymore about him. I am no longer prepared to spend any more of my time on this subject. They have all agreed to respect my wishes. Since then I have felt so much calmer. I feel that I am moving on now and taking control of my emotions.”

Good Job! Almost all of us have tried to warn future/new victims, only to be accused of slander or simply being bitter. Further, it keeps us in victim mode and prevents us from enjoying the life we deserve. It’s hard, because we all care. We have to let future victims learn the lessons for themselves.

Live well Swallow. You deserve it!

Ox Drover


We ALL Want to know the why, and the thing is that it is just like “why” a snake will bite you–it is just what they DO!

Why does a dog hike his leg when he pees? Why does the sun come up in the east? It is JUST WHAT IT IS.

The thing, the take home lesson, I suggest is that THE MORE YOU KNOW ABOUT THE HOW and as much about the “why” as you can, (i.e. LEARNING ABOUT THEM) the safer you are from the next one whose lies may NOT be so easily seen through. They are pathological liars, and “lie when the truth would FIT BETTER”—and it is easy to “trivalize” these lies and their motives behind them.

The thing is NOW that I have finally gotten to know their “Plays” out of the “Psychopath’s play book” is that I am NOT TOLERANT of ANY lie. Lie to me ONCE and you are out of my circle of trust—-no matter who you are or what your reason for lying—a big reason or a small reason, lie and you are OUT. I may “kick out” some people who are NOT Ps, but by kicking out all liars I will ALSO elliminate ANY psychopath in my “circle.” I would rather “eliminate” 99 “normal” liars than miss the ONE psychopath in the 100. The damage they can do if they slip by our “P-dar” is so intense, so life destroying that it is not worth it to me to give “second chances” to liars. EVERY TIME I have given second chances to liars, even when I DID confront them about the lie, IT BLEW UP IN MY FACE.

If it is a “social” lie like you guy pretending he is “bigger” and “grander” than he is to “impress you” it doesn’t matter—I don’t even “call them” on that kind of a lie, I just drift off into the sunset quietly, but if it is a lie that I confront because it impacts on me, I will cut them off completely forever from any kind of trust. Siince I am retired, I don’t have to deal professionally with this kind of person, and I have in the past had to (usually to my own losses) but I will NEVER GIVE THEM THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT. All Ps are liars, and not all liars are Ps, but BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY in my book!

Elizabeth Conley

“Why does a dog hike his leg when he pees? ” To elevate the urine scent up closer to the noses of other dogs. That way other dogs can keep their noses at a natural height and still read their “tree-mail”.

The effectiveness of this evolutionarily engineered instinctive male behavior is somewhat undermined by the breeding of great danes and miniature dachshunds, but the urge remains.

This may also explain why Sociopaths seem to make such conspicuous spoor.

Elizabeth Conley

…now if they were only neutered early enough…

Oh, sorry, just musing out loud!

Ox Drover

Yea, Elizabeth, I have a very sharp knife, and would be glad to volunteer to “neuter” a few of these things, a couple of million of them ought to keep me busy for a while and at least WEED OUT THE GENE POOL a bit. If my knife goes dull before I get done with neutering them all, maybe a dull knife will be more fun (for me!) LOL

Yea, P’s DO mark their territory, it is “just what they do” for whatever reason, just like a dog does.


Yup…Karma IS a bastard, and mine is getting his. I now refer to him and his new gal as Humpty and Dumpty.
His house won`t sell even though he has dropped the price by 80 grand, his truck was supposedly stolen, but I know he can’t afford it and he likely arranged it…His new gal is a bow-legged, beer-bellied, fat, insanely jealous, haggard, bleached blond, alcoholic – one of the sisters he was screwing around with…Because of our court experience, her attempt to have her son move in with them has been thwarted by the courts – she isn’t at this point allowed to have him in the N’s house, and my friend who was going to buy his house saw them last weekend, he had the shakes really bad and he wouldn’t introduce them. Dumpty was giving my friend the evil eye the whole time.
I see him at work and for the most part he won’t look at me, but he did say Hi this morning…The loser is getting his…and I’m able to look at him and laugh now.
The other sister has apologized for getting involved with him while we were together and is sadly being blamed for their troubles. I told her that there isn’t only the matter of a Peace Bond between us, but that he is also on probation because he admitted guilt in court and was forced into therapy and alcohol counseling. I don’t think she knew this…
So aside from my genuine concern for his daughter, whom I will always love and be there for; I am free. I no longer miss my ex-best friend – she can blow it out her boozing shorts too.
And he so deserves that jealous cow (she knows he isn’t to be trusted but defends him – they are mutually screwed).
Life is good, and sometimes almost fair.

Elizabeth Conley

” …he so deserves that jealous cow (she knows he isn’t to be trusted but defends him – they are mutually screwed).
Life is good, and sometimes almost fair.”

Adulterers who try to make a go of it together have a lot of strikes against them. Given that they took wrecking balls to their former families in order to build their new marriages, I love to watch ’em sweat.

They’ve earned their lives of insecurity. Their spouses and children from the previous marriage will bear the scars of their selfishness for life, but they’ll heal. If the adulterers look over their shoulders for the rest of their lives, Oh well!


Elizabeth- My Children are very young, 4 and 22 months. He is coming to my house tonight to pick up the kids for there 2 1/2 hour visit. I am going to take your advice on the whole ready and at the door plan. Yestrday he asked me for there SS#’s for the DUA, he is on unemloyment. I feel a little nervous about this but we have joint legal custody so he is entittled to it?
Lastly, I had an awful nightmare last night about him, has anyone else out there struggled with nightmares?


You asked “why?” I think you already know the answer, but here’s how things work with these guys.

The initial phase of the relationship, that I call the “incoming” phase, is when they scope you out, figure out what’s important to you, reflect it back to you so you’ll think you’re getting your heart’s desire, and get you to surrender to what they’re offering. In other words, fall in love with them.

Once they’ve got you well and truly hooked, you go to the manipulation phase. They start intermittantly giving you what you want (the wonderful guy you fell in love with) and withdrawing it. All of this is in order to get you to participate in whatever exploitative plan they have to make use of you and your resources.

You say you feel “chemistry” with him. That probably means one of two things. You are attracted to intense, energetic, high-testosterone men, which the majority of these guys are. Or two, he has been successful to some degree in showing you want you want.

You are in danger if you feel any attraction at all. That may sound extreme, but if he’s got a handhold — either by knowing what attracts you or knowing what can trigger your pity response — he can build on it. That is, learn more about you and figure out what more works.

If you’re wondering whether you’re right about this guy being a sociopath, you are. Everything you say about him sounds like a sociopath. And you’re impulse to get away from him is spot on.

You’ve had some advice about fading away, simply not being available. That’s good advice. But if you find him becoming more persistent, here are a few other ideas.

Tell him you’ve started dating a policeman. Or an attorney. And that they’re curious about his background. (Sociopaths don’t like exposure and they really don’t like encounters with the law.)

If he calls you, ask him to lend you some money. Don’t give him any more information than that, and make it a substantial sum. Make it a yes or no deal and that you need an answer right now over the phone. When he waffles, say “I don’t have time for this” and hang up on him. (Sociopaths don’t like other sociopaths. If he follows up that call, tell him he’s not useful to you and hang up.)

Tell him you’re getting engaged. It’s a surprise and a big secret. It’s someone you’ve known for a long time, and who you never imagined cared about you this way. That he’s a major power in your industry (or church or whatever you’re in that he doesn’t know much about), and that you’re busy doing pre-nups and redoing your wardrobe to fit with his lifestyle. And you’re sorry but you’re not going to have time for him in the future. (Again, sociopaths don’t like other sociopaths, and he’s not going to compete with another one over you. Especially if his “best” offer is to turn you into a prostitute and this guy is turning you into a trophy wife.)

Terrilee, you’re in a good position here, because he hasn’t gotten anything from you yet. He’s still in the incoming phase, trying to recruit you and still not having a clear idea of what he can exploit you for. That’s the best time to get rid of them. In fact, it’s the only time to get rid of them without damage.

You have to be cool to pull off these lies. And you have to remember that the only objective that matters is getting rid of him. Not being smarter than him or playing any kind of game with him other than getting rid of him. Not being a nice person. Nothing but getting rid of him, which boils down to convincing him that you’re not worth the trouble.

The only other thing you may want to do is deny the relationship ever happened. No I never said that. No I wasn’t there. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m afraid you’re deluded. No I don’t remember any of it. You can get away with it at this stage. And there is probably no better way of communicating with a sociopath that you’re not someone to mess with. Selective memory is one of their favorite strategies, and they recognize it when it’s used on them. He may call you crazy. But you can just brush it off.

If you have the slightest concern that he’s dangerous, consider using the “dating a policeman” defense. And if you have to, rent one to take you out to dinner a few times. If he knows where you live, do whatever you would naturally do to protect your home if the neighborhood suddenly became more dangerous.

And next time, when you get these impressions that a guy who’s chatting you up is not a nice person, finish it off faster. They cruise for people who’ll let them into their lives. The sooner you shut the door and act like you’re prepared to take care of yourself, the more likely they’ll move on.



Kathy Oh my goodness … Im going to be late again today….and it was so worth it! Your post to Terrilee PRICELESS… ALL OF IT!!!

How to ward off a Sociopath – take a few simple measures to give him a dose of his own doings… POOF…. HE IS GONE.

Easy, simple 1,2,3… mirror THEM for a change…and watch them run faster than you can say GoodBye Sociopath! And an added bonus you have great conversation next time you are in the company of likeminded people who share how they set themselves free — without many tears — and lots of positive reinforcement that they protected themselves and made alot more room for healthier prospects to enter their lives.

Enjoyed your post!

Great post!!!

Thanks for the kudos, LTL. But I want to be clear about my intentions. This is not a game.

These are dangerous people who WILL do damage to us and our lives, if we let them in. The only reason to try to “game” them is to get them out of our lives and minimize the damage. Long-term, if we continue to interact with them, we will lose. Because they are not burdened by any of the sense of social responsibility we live with, because they are totally addicted to winning (whatever that means to them), and because that addiction makes them do crazy and foolish things that are likely to harm them, as well as us.

So there is no real way to control them over an extended period of time, though we may have an occasional “win.” What we can do, however, is convince them that it’s not worth the trouble to mess with us. That we’re not going to feed their addiction for “winning,” and we’re not going to be the source of anything else they may want.

And this last bit, about being the source, is especially important because they are socially incompetent, and it makes it difficult for them to survive on their own without parasiting off other people. If they’re parasiting off us, it means that what was ours becomes theirs, and we don’t get anything back for it. That’s the real and lasting nature of the damage that we’re trying to avoid.

So “being a sociopath to deal with a sociopath” is a palliative effort. It’s something we do when necessary. Those of us who get involved with sociopaths are probably not naturally inclined to do this. To stand in our own shoes, recognize a threat to our lives and resources, and to act quickly and decisively to remove ourselves from the threat, or to convince the threat to go find an easier target. But we learn, in a school of hard knocks.

When we’re first experimenting with standing up for ourselves and winning, it can be a really thrilling experience. When we discover that we can be Machiavellian and work through a complex challenge, it’s like getting a diploma in basic survival skills. We can do this. We can exert our will and make something turn out the way we want, despite a lot of obstacles and people who are trying to exert their will. Time to pop a bottle of champagne.

So we can do this. But it’s not who we are. It’s just something we can do. We’ve got new skills for defensive and aggressive maneuvers that incorporates judgment about what’s good for us and choices about what we want in our lives.

My point being is that we do not want play games with sociopaths. Or with anyone else. Addiction to winning is another form of avoiding ourselves. It’s why sharks are sharks. It’s a way to avoid facing the reality of loss in their lives and growing through it.

We get into win mode, when we have to. And hopefully we’re good enough at it that we win the important ones. We can negotiate contracts that are fair and reasonable. We can speak up for what we want when we are in a challenging situation. We can eliminate obstacle to our happiness, and walk away from no-win situations. Dealing with the hard stuff — and especially dealing with people who don’t under the benefits of good relationships — is part of life.

But it’s not where we want to be. We want to be surrounded by the good stuff. Relationships based on mutuality and good feelings. Work and family situations where we get back rewards for our investments. Personal interests that enrich us through learning and good experiences.

The rest of it, we finish and walk away.


Dear Kathy,

Thank you for pointing that out. I very much agree with you. This is not a game, especially if you are involved in a dangerous situation with someone. This becomes quite serious and your above advice is valuable information for survival and removal and should be taken very seriously.
Its not something you can do repeatedly, its something you have to be commited to and walk away immediately.

I was looking at it from where I am now in the healing journey. Going forward – and with the first “red flag offenders” from this point on, I can “get rid” of them by choosing any one of your options, or “creating” one of my own as I see fit for the particular situation as it relates to Sociopaths, and toxic people. More often than not I should be able to just fade away, no response, no followup. But if there are any persistent types I can mirror them in a way that sends them away on what they will perceive to be their own choice to go target a more vulnerable victim. Not this ASS!!!

I really want the space in my life to be filled with healthier prospects entering my life.

Thanks Kathy.


mirror THEM for a change”and watch them run faster than you can say GoodBye Sociopath!

Nice one!

Thanks for understanding.

I think part of my concern about this is based on remembering how much I used to enjoy playing with these people. I liked the competitive mind games. It’s actually what happened at my first meeting with my sociopathic ex. It was a job interview — him interviewing for a job in my firm — and we spent the whole lunch in some sort of game about who was more literate and who had the broadest vocabulary. It was fun, but it also was a breach of boundaries, his first attempt to get close to me in a way that had nothing to do with a relationship with an employer.

Whose fault was that? Mine, absolutely. I had boundaries like a fishing net. And I was excited that someone so “interesting” had shown up, someone who “shared my interests,” and flattered by the attention.

I know, I know. If I could go back, I’d smack myself and say, “Stop fooling around and do your job.” But I was lonely, overworked and desperate for a friend from my “old life” as a writer. So I opened the door and he walked right in.

I can remember other times when I was younger that I agreed to ridiculous things — like continuing to support and man and his two children, after they had virtually bankrupted me — because he was just so charming and made such a good speech about why I should do it a little longer. I did it because I thought the speech was excellent, not that he actually talked me into it. (And who was taking care of Kathy and her resources in this scenario, while I was giving trophies of my money for great speaking? Hmm, I have trouble finding the person in the room.)

I look at these memories and I think that I was over-impressed with my capabilities to play these games. I think I wanted to, because it made me feel like I had some control, however temporary, on what was happening to me. Because it was fun. But I didn’t have control, and the temporary pleasure of playing didn’t turn into anything but more usage.

So, it concerns me that we get might too enamored of the fun of playing the game with these people. We’re not really players, when it comes to life. And they are.

This is just a case of me projecting my worry about myself onto everyone else. I’m sure that you and everyone else have more sense than that. I’m the silly girl who used to think she could go head-to-head with people who don’t have ethics or scruples.


My ex sociopath cancelled his visit for tonight so I can rest easy for another whole week! The down side is I had wonderful plans with my best friend I had to cancel. If I could could how many times he has had “car problems”!!!!




Kathy So by anychance are you 5 ft 9 and a redhead w/green eyes? Sounds like there are two of us in the room!!!! I NOW have MORE sense than that — but I sure did think I could go head-to-head with HIM! Especially in the beginning. Word for Word.. Match point for match point. We would make eachother laugh so hard!

But then it slowly changed into something much different. There was still laughter and “the game” when he wanted to play…but then after a year, an awkwardness about so many things in so many ways seeped into the relationship. Needing loans. Job to job to job. Controlling. Disappearing. Reappearing. Lots of lies. Some days he would be on cloud nine and then way way down low some days….Well you know the drill.

I really enjoy laughing and joking. But not at the expense of another and certainly not to cause harm. I thought I had found a real friend, someone I could go through life laughing and his business venture(s) were going to take off and he was going to “find himself” and get it all together… but all that kept happening was feeling more and more used and confused and the jokes would come and go depending more on more on what he needed. Eventually he was probably laughing at me more than anything. I had spiraled into a game of heres a bread crumb, now go get it! Whats the saying when you play with fire….you get burned.

I do not enjoy the memories, i do not ever want to play mind games with a Sociopath again. I like to play on words, and have fun joking and teasing and being myself. I never want to challenge a Sociopath to a game of keep up with me or lose yourself…

I want them gone. I learned too much chemistry is a red flag… I learned that if they are trying to get too close to me to soon by fun mind games – its a red flag… and most of all I learned to trust myself I dont ever want to let myself down in that regard. Its a red flag for me if Im having fun one upping someone or being mindfully competitive for more than a few sentences. Because I know all to well the outcome is its just a game or like playing with fire and I will get burned and lose my self respect, my money and my way again.

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