By | July 24, 2010 156 Comments

Is redemption possible?

Last night Larry King Live of CNN hosted a discussion about whether criminals can be rehabilitated. I think it will be re-aired this weekend so try to watch. One of the guests drew a distinction between “learned” criminal behavior and psychopathy. She stated she believed that criminals who have learned to be that way can unlearn but psychopaths cannot be rehabilitated. I know many of you also hold this belief so I would like to tell you why I strongly disagree.

First I will tell you my position:

ALL criminality stems from an interaction between a person and a situation. A person is a product of his/her genetics and experiences. So in a sense what makes up personality (the “person”) is learned for everyone including the psychopathic. We are preprogrammed by our genetics to learn certain things better than others.

In terms of situational variables solid research has demonstrated that antisocial associates, poor work and educational performance, substance abuse, poor family ties and poor recreational achievement are all associated with criminality. These variables operate independently from personality variables and are important for even the most psychopathic individuals.

The more psychopathic a person is, the more deeply ingrained is the lifestyle of parasitism and predation BUT even those with lower levels of psychopathy can be very resistant to change and very dangerous to society. The definition of response to treatment depends on what you are looking for. If a person cheats 8 people a week, then goes into a program and cheats 1 person a week, that is a change. Everyone has a different definition of “rehabilitation”.

Coincidentally, I just read a great book, Persons in Context: Building a science of the individual. It is a tribute to Walter Mischel, Ph.D. one of the great thinkers of modern psychology. In his chapter “Intelligence as a Person-Situation Interaction”, Robert Sternberg lists five fallacies of thinking. He says, “There is another dimension to person-situation interaction: the extent to which particular situations elicit ‘stupid’ thinking in intelligent people.” All of his 5 fallacies occur in the context of perceived power or dominance. They are:

  1. The unrealistic optimism fallacy. This occurs when one believes that one is so smart and so powerful that it is pointless to worry about the outcome of what one does.
  2. The egocentrism fallacy. This occurs when one comes to think that one’s own interests are the only ones that are important.
  3. The Omniscience Fallacy. This occurs when people think they know more than they do.
  4. The Omnipotence Fallacy. This results from the power one wield or believes one wields.
  5. The invulnerability Fallacy. This derives for the illusion of complete protection.

Dr. Sternberg is one of many scientists who have discovered that the experience of power changes the mind/brain. Some people are more prone than others to these effects of power. Since psychopathic individuals seek out power constantly like a heroin addict seeking a fix, they are never free from all of the above fallacies of thinking. Life is a situation of constant power or perceived power.

In the absence of a loving nature all power pursuit becomes antisocial. Now power pursuit and attainment can also stomp out a person’s loving nature, if it was ever present in the first place.

To rehab the psychopathic we have to strip them of any power and teach them to love and care for others. To my knowledge there is no program that has yet succeeded in doing this even for those “sociopaths” who score at the lower end of the psychopathy scale.

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Ox Drover

Dear Liane,

Great article!


The most perplexing issue is the treatment of a sociopath. The crux of the issue here is that, regardless of what we may think, the sociopath is not suffering from their disorder. To the sociopath there is nothing wrong and moreover, there is no illness to deny. Everything is fine and everything feels fine. People around the sociopath may be troubled, even deeply troubled, by the sociopaths behavior. To the sociopath, this is everybody elses problem. It presents no difficulty to the sociopath and there is neither reason or motivation to change.


That’s exactly right! (unfortunately)



You are so right (your post being spot-on)! The normal people who are around the sociopath oftentimes end up being the sociopath’s conscience, trying to steer them in the right direction, giving them the lessons that they should have learned early on (like during their childhood). You end up realizing it’s pointless -these people are hard-headed, doing what they want to do no matter what the result is, being without shame. They’re set in their ways, unable and unwilling to change for the better, never recognizing their damaging ways. It’s beyond frustrating.

Ox Drover

I’ve gone back and read and re-read this article several times, it is a thought provoking one.

First: How and under what circumstances could you strip ALL POWER from anyone. Example. My P son is in prison, and has been about 99% of the time since he was 18…he is now 38. He still feels “In control” of himself and his environment, and even in control of his family. Even in solitary, he stays, he thinks, “in control.” He sees himself as powerful and in control, even when he is in lock down. Control for him, is his state of mind. Nothing is ever permanently stripped from him, just delayed. He’s a winner. He will win in the end.

He has the 5 fallacies completely. They all apply to him 100% at the high end of the spectrum.

He is bonded to no one, though he feels he owns his family members and they owe it to him to give him what he wants. He is entitled to punish them if they rebel in following his directions.

Just as I might punish a dog that crapped on the floor when it KNEW BETTER, he feels entitled to punish us if we do follow directions he has given.

If I had a dog that was aggressive and say turned on me when I punished it and bit me, I probably would put this dog down if it fought me, he feels entitled to put me “down” because I “bit him” when he tried to punish me for not following directions he had given.

OOps, I got away….but I don’t think there is any way to rehabilitate him, or the other psychopaths in this world. Maybe a baby born with the propensity to become a psychopath under the right conditions might be nurtured as an infant and the psychopathy be avoided, but once it is there and SET in, imprinted, learned, the brain developed for it, I think it is un-fixable at that point. Where is that point? I’m not sure—might be 1 yr old, might be 5 years old, just no telling. But when we SEE the psychopathy I think it is, at that point, TOO late. Just working on “gut feelings” and thoughts here.


Thank you for the intriguing article, Liane!

My personal feeling is that a socipath cannot be rehabilitated – ever. If they don’t have financial, sexual, or emotional control, they’ll invent new and creative methods of control using any foothold that they can find. It’s not about doing what’s appropriate, it’s about doing what they want.

Just my 2 cents! 😉

Brightest blessings!


In all honesty, I do find the article fascinating on a professional level, however on a personal level THEY CAN ALL BURN IN HELL AND I DON’T GIVE DAMN!!!! JUST STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM ME AND MY LOVED ONES.

I once would have been the one to really research and find out more articles and studies that support the idea that spaths could be rehabilitated and then I would have used that material to justify my staying with husband spath because of the glimmer of hope. “Well, maybe I didn’t try hard enough”. “Maybe I didn’t believe enough to help him”. “If I really loved him, I would suffer through it all until he became whole again.” “Well, God will punish me as a wife for not supporting my husband.” I would actually have longed for the suffering because there was something deep within in me that believed that I didn’t truly deserve to be happy and would have gladly accepted the struggle and punishment of a difficult relationship so that I could really prove that I was worthy to be loved in the first place.

Right now, I don’t give a darn. I really don’t. Whether or not they can be helped is not a cause I wish to champion. I’ve taken on a cause that I’ve neglected for so long: ME! So at this point in my recovery, I can’t even (and don’t want to) think about how they can be helped.


The power cannot be stripped. The power comes from within. They would do very well and pretend to be rehabilitated. They will enjoy the silent power over those they fool. It would not be any different to have this program. Punishment and forced labor are the only things that make sense.
Any human being learns fear. If fear is present and power is looming, the Ps will pretend to be good and obedient. And – you know what? – it’d be good enough for me (in social terms, criminal terms and legal terms, not emotional, unfortunately)

Ox Drover

Healingfast! TOWANDA!!!!! That is the spirit!!!! You are so right on with that. It is NOT our job to take on trying to heal them, we first must take care of ourselves.

Even God doesn’t expect us to allow them to abuse us and use us, but unfortunately so many people use the “turn the other cheek” out of context and the “forgive” but we don’t have to believe that Gaslighting (twisting of context) because that is what it is, they take a statement of truth and twist it into a chain to tie us to them. Like a slave.

I’m glad you saw the light and broke free! “Follow the drinking goard to freedom!” “Throw up your hands and shout!”

I have a copy of a water color painting of a Conestoga wagon pulled by oxen in my living room that was part of a series of the done done by the artist about the Underground Railroad before the War Between the States. Abby Kelly, who was one of the first women in the North who fought for the freedom of the slaves and devoted her life to work and poverty to free people she had never met and to advance the cause of not only freedom for the slaves, but the right for them to vote, and the rights for women to speak publicly.

In a way, I think that we are advancing the cause of FREEDOM for anyone who is in domestic slavery, whose voice to speak out is silenced–by fear, by guilt, by shame. Taking care of ourselves is our first duty and our second is to speak out to those who are already free, and to advocate for those who are still in slavery. Being under the control of a psychopath is slavery, no matter what the relationship is because they dehumanize us.

TOWANDA for us!!!!!


I happenned to pick up a book at ayard sale and read it yesterday. It was called “Why He Can’t Love”…the “committment phobic man”. It was really interesting. When they described the men who have this “phobia”, it was so similar to “sociopaths”.
It’s worth reading. It gives women guidelines and skills needed to spot men who have this “phobia” and be able to “run” when they see the “red flags”. There are even “stages” of the relationship. They sound so much like what so many on here have been through. The interesting part is when the author interviewed these men and how they felt and why they tell women they love them one minute and then drive away and never call them! It was really interesting and a good warning for women to spot these guys…

He says that these men really want love and to be in a relationship, but once it happens, they have a deep seeted “fear” ….like claustrophobia….and they end the relationship. Some of the men interviewed claimed that they really did love the woman…but didn’t want to.

I’ve read alot of books on relationships, but this was something new. Worth checking out.

In the meantime, I am seeing my xb/f again and we have really discussed so many things…talking for hours each day!
We have agreed to rebuild our friendship first and rebuild trust. I feel closer to him than ever..and I KNOW that he is NOT a sociopath…although, my xhusband IS. It took me 5 yrs to even want to date a man again after him and he was professionally diagnosed, so I needed a lot of time to heal.

I also realized that I was very insecure and afraid to confront my x, due to my experience with my xhusb and this affected my relationship with my b/f. I finally confronted him with so many questions about things I “assumed” during our r/s and I was really surprised to hear the truth…and that I was mistaken on many things.

I believe that after my 8 yr marriage to a socio…and the abuse I dealt with…I was still not “healed” and strong enough to get involved with anyone. But, I did and I didn’t handle myself well in many areas. By ending the relationship, I have really built myself up and I now have the skill to set “boundaries” with people. Being more secure with myself now, I stand up for myself with everyone….and I have avoided much pain….just in the past few months…even with friends and family and my b/f. I’m different now. ….and the results are different.

So, whatever doesn’t destroy you, will make you stronger in life. It IS possible to rebuild and trust again…because you learn to trust yourself. I am now teaching my daughters the skills to have good relationships…how to spot people who are “toxic” and how to never trust anyone until they “earn” it…and how to take their time when getting to know someone.

Its extremely hard to deal with if these “toxic’ people happen to be your own adult children. But Im finally learning, no matter if the toxic person is your Mum, your Dad, your boyfriend, lover,
brother, sister, or child, if they are toxic they are pure poison to us, and they NEVER EVER change.Hell, they even fool therapists a nd pass lie detector tests.For years I was like,WHy are they like this? Why do they hate me? Why do they lie to me,/rip me off, use me/con me? Finally I GET that no, they never loved me. No they will never change,no. I can no longer see them.Even if this means losing my Grandkids,{they use their kids to torture us with}. Non negotiable. I WILL NOT be used abused conned lied to sneered at, belittled or stolen from EVER AGAIN. I cant make them love me, I cant buy their love or affection. I have to let them go, and its the FOREVER bit Im finding hard.Love, Mama Gem.XX

super chic

gem, you are in my thoughts and prayers,
I’m so sorry you have to go through this.
I am very glad that you have your husband and
“adopted” kids to help you and comfort you.
I pray that someday your grandkids come and
find you!!! That would be so wonderful!!!!!

Ox Drover

Dear Sweet Gem,

Yea, it is hard to realize the FOREVER part is well,,,…for-ever. But You know, sometimes that’s just the way it is and there’s nothing we can do to change it, we just have to accept it is what it is.

Each time we have loss of a “relationship” or what WE though of as a relationship, it hurts because we realize we have been betrayed by someone we trusted.

When it is our kids….well, we had such high hopes for them, and for being friends with them when they grew up…didn’t happen.

Today I went to a friend’s house and left off some baby gifts. She is having her first baby at age 38 (with a little help from the doctors) and she is due in 2 weeks and she and her husband are thrilled, she is soooo happy. Smiling all over the place.

I am so happy for her and yet, who knows what the child will turn out to be, or what is in store for him. She and her parents are close, but her husband’s family were so dysfunctional that by age 12 he was raising himself working cattle at an auction barn. One of the local ranchers took him in and raised him, got him through high school, and got him set up in business, in which he is very successful. Great guy!

But THAT set of genes is out there in the back ground, and you know I think some of us have more of it and some have less, but you just never know what is going to pop up in a human mating. I think every kid is an “at risk” kid. We do the best we can with the kids, love them, teach them…..and then we have to let it go.

Gem your X husband I think was a psychopath, and your girls got the gene. Let’s say that for example he had a gene that they got and they were mentally retarded but neither of you knew it would be that way. Could you accept it? Well, they got genes that makes them MEAN AS A SNAKE. You are going to either accept it or keep on trying to teach the MORALLY RETARDED To love…it ain’t gonna happen any more than you trying to teach a blind, deaf, mute, mentally retarded child to read or sing opera. It just ain’t gonna happen no matter how hard you work, or how much you love. They can’t change. There might have been a time in their early development in infantancy that you could have done something that would have turned that gene off, but WHO KNOWS WHAT? OR IF?

It is done, there is nothing you can do NOW, except take care of you. Your daughters are just as “dead” as So quit going to their face book page, too, it is only pulling the scab off the wounds. I know you are curious about the children, but is that really helping you to see photos of them? ((((hugs))))) Love Oxy




I know my X has a face book profile, I looked at it about a year ago. I am not tempted to look again, he has moved on so I must let it be. I need to go through a big box of pictures but I cant, not yet anyway. There is whole life’s worth of pictures I took of my mother but I cant look at her without feeling sick..There are pictures of my X – he looked so angry and evil , dark and mysterious, he looked so unhappy – hope he is happy these days…kinda doubt it tho..cause he didnt look happy in the pictures on his facebook profile..I would give anything if somebody wanted to take my picture – hell I would even smile..


Hens – mine had the dark preoccupied mysterious brooding look in every pic ever taken of him – all the way stretching back to teen years so obviously this was his cultivated persona. He was also always unhappy – well that’s how I perceived it anyway – it’s called FLAT AFFECT. They don’t get the normal RANGE of emotions that all other humans experience so naturally their faces only show the ones they’re familiar with …

those being irritation, anger, tension and boredom.

I’d take lots of pics of you if you were near me 🙂 Smiling, just sitting thinking, with your plants and your pets, the car, the house, pulling funny faces and dashing to avoid Oxy’s skillet – my that’d make a Kodak moment!


Hens….I’d love to take pictures of you…..
spath had that blank…ttoothy fake smile or a dumb blonde look on his face in every picture ever taken….28 years of nasty pics….and not many at that!
It was easy going through the pics, a good reminder f what a schmuck he is.

I got more pics of his balls hanging out of his robe (unknowingly) on christmas morning than any other pics of him total!

Hey…hows the pups nose?


LOL Erin – I’ve got a few dick shots on my cam – he had deforested himself ‘down there’ and was trying to get it on with me. I just laughed and whipped out the camera. I wish to God I had captured his stupid face on it too to link the dick with the dick!

Mine tried to look ‘intense’ in every pic ever taken of him … and he didn’t allow pics very often at all. Hated them for some reason. So there’s years of my life gone by with no pics at all because of that ass.


No Polly….just balls only……hangen low as he had on this gawd awful red robe that didnt quite close…..and as he sat in the recliner, legs open…….they appeared.

I never realized it until one christmas (prior to digi cameras) I picked up the photos and the shop lady pointed it out to me……we laughed histarically!!!!!!! (she knew the spath). I went home and looked up all the other christmas shots and sure enough……there they were, in all their glory….same ugly ass robe and all. Jingle Balls shot.


I’m out….gotta be primping for b-fast in 5 hours!



Gem, it goes against nature for your children to hate you like’s disgraceful, LET them go…for now if not forever, and really have compassion for yourself and what you are going through. Thinking of you…blessings and love x

I WISH I could say redemption is possible but it would be downright dangerous and irresponsible. What I have disscovered against all the odds is that psychopaths do not care…not for redemption…(they wouldnt even have a concept for redemption because they dont see themeselves as sick)

I agree totally with Hens, To which I will add they are a different species, from some black hole out there and they will always be around..pushing spiritual evolution into being…(yeah by being evil)

Empathic people, normal people however can be redeemed and brought to another level of understanding about life as a consequence of tangling with the black hole..

How can a psychopath be redeemed? all answers appreciated

Thank you guys so much for your love and support . Im crying now as I type this.Ive been in god dam denial for so long it felt normal.I tried SO DAM HARD for so LONG to get them to love me back. I turne d myself into a human pretzel, god dammit. NOTHING worked.When my ex husband was sober,[for nearly 10 years} he was a good husband, and we had almost a “normal” family. Then when oldest spath D hit puberty and theshit hit the fan,{her running away from school. leaving home, disappearing for 6 months, the police refused to help me find her, and then after all that worry and anguish I find out that spath daughter 2 knew ALL ALONG where she was and didnt tell me!And me trying to convince myself that this was NORMAL teenage behaviour!There was a huge boulder at the top of my steep drive, and I used to sit there for hours at night,just waiting for SOMEONE to come home! the 2 cats on one side of me and my dachshund, Bentley, on the other. Husband out, getting drunk. Spath daughter 1 ,ditto. Spath daughter 2, out all night with friends.I thought Id get cancer from worry, if theyd come home at all, or Id geta phone call from the police.Sunday, lunch time, everyone but me sleeping off hangovers.Spath Husband used to ring me up to pick him up from the pub, to get taxi, there, and drive him home. If I refused hed say, “Put D on”. She was 16, no licence, but she went to pick him up, on the promise of a drink. “F–k off, you cant stop me!” shed shout, as she disappeared up the drive to her waiting cab.After Id made my bid for freedom and had been in my tiny rented flat a few months,{this was before I met David,} they persuaded me to go to their place for dinner. Foolishly, I went. C had prepared a nice meal, my ex was getting drunk in the corner. There I was, the dog and cat at my feet, my kids one on each side of me on the sofa,”Why dont you just stay?” said my ex. I cant drive you back, Ive been drinking.” I cant.” I said, I have to get back.”
Wall to wall guilt again, but I was so RELIEVED to get back to my tiny flat, my paintings on the wall,{the ones Id rescued that my ex and spath D had not trashed.}.My goldfish, Cleo, swimming around in her bowl. My blue candle, burning.And PEACE. Oh how good it felt! Id escaped and even tho I had wall to wall guilt still .I was FREE.”Ill NEVER go back there, I thought.
None of them love me, they all hate me, all of them.”Mamagem.XX I met an old friend months after Id left, he told me hed called around, and theyd told him Id left. he said,”It was as if the Light had gone out of that house.And the Light was you.”



Wow, what a beautiful thing to say…”it was as if the light had gone out of that house. And the light was you.” What’s bizarre is that your family members weren’t attracted to the light, (the warmth, the goodness of you). It’s interesting that outsiders could detect that the positive energy (of you) was absent from the house. I read your posts and feel for you, being saddened by your whole situation – unfortunate that you have two daughters who are plagued with this disorder. Unfair.

Thank you so much, BlueJay. Its so special that we can type away from any corner of the globe, and some loving, understanding soul can read it,somewhere else, and empathise.Thank God for Love Fraud!Writing is such a release for me, and its great that we can all share our lives, good and bad bits of it.I dont know if we EVER get over this sort of trauma,maybe we just learn to live with it,like withered leg, or a hunchback!But I feel if we stay human and hopeful and loving and dont get bitter, it will get better.
I like the Chinese saying,
“If you keep a flowering branch alive in your heart, a winged bird will surely come.”
God has given me my new family, and Im very grateful, but how can you forget your own flesh and blood?
Letting go, {maybe for ever,} is so hard. Mamagem.XX


Gem the light is within you and it sounds like you brought it with you to the tiny flat…no matter how small it was.. it was yours, free from abuse and pain. I so deeply appreciate my little haven, my 2 cats and all my little precious things around me…to look at my life you would think “failure to launch”…but I know it was “crashed into U.F.O” you don’t have to justify it to anyone but yourself…what an incredibly unlucky throw of the dice to have 2 daughters that treat you like that…ah I’m just reading you have a new family!! I’m not famliar at all with your story… wow that is heartening to hear…yes how can you forget your own flesh and can’t ..but if you can’t be with the ones you love the ones your with…I can only feel bad for your daughters and what they have chosen to do. xx

Frank Lee Speaking

Maybe one day they can invent a microchip to be placed in a sociopath’s brain in order to get them to at least to control their behaviour.

But considering that sociopaths run the world and hold most of the positions of power in everything from; politics, to science, to industry, to health care, to media… chances are they’ll declare non socipaths to be mentally insane and put a chip in our heads to make us accept being treated this way without complaining.



We can all relate. I wonder if this is our “thorn in our side,” bearing something that nearly flattens us out at times, hating the whole experience, but being unable to completely detach from it. It’s a part of us permanently. We have to learn how to detach, not think so much about it. The pain will stay.


Mornin Crew…Pollyannanomore that was a nice response to my post about taking my picture. What bothers me the most about my involvement with him is I was his only option when he moved in with me. There was never a big romance or dating, at least on his part. I was having a sexual fling with him that kinda developed into a friendship. He told me his current relationship had developed into a roommate only thing. (Lie) To make a loooong story short. he got kicked out on his ass and I literally picked him up out of a ditch he was hiding in one nite during a very ugly fight with his (roommate) here I was trying to turn this nitemare into a ‘once in a life time love’ and it was anything but that. I was just his meal ticket. But he did enough to make me think there was hope.. He would always say he wished we had met under other circumstance’s. But anyway the humiliation and embarrasment on my part lasted along time after and still continues. But I volunteered to be his victim. He is gone and I am doing ok..I just wonder if he is going to haunt me the rest of my life? We all talk about our healing journey and getting in touch with ourselves, loving ourselves etc. I just wish I was not so lonely and alone, but I guess that is something I will just have to accept..
ErinB You can be so graphic in your post, my dog is doing well she has recovered and back to her onry self…thanx for asking about her…


Good morning Henry. I understand what you are talking about. I am so busy with getting in touch with myself and learning to love myself but sometimes I really do feel the loneliness. I am a late bloomer like my girl Mariska Hargitay. She and I have a lot in common and she was able to meet the man of her dreams and have her baby in her early forties. I hope it works out the same for me. It’s hard not to dwell on it sometimes.

I have to just put it out of my mind and tell myself that I’m OK all by myself. At this point I’m not ready for all that anyway. If I tried to kiss someone or have sex I would start crying and not be able to handle it. I’m just trying to make the best of it now. I’m glad your dog is OK. You will be OK too.


morning hens!

you said: ‘so here I was trying to turn this nitemare into a ’once in a life time love’ and it was anything but that….the humiliation and embarrasment on my part lasted along time after and still continues.

this is the crux of it, isn’t it? we projected what we wanted, didn’t deal with the real – and now judge ourselves and feel/ fear the judgment of others. i think that is lovefraud’s greatest achievement – it is a place to be where we know some, if not most of the people here will not judge what we did.

we can’t stay here hens, can’t stay stuck in that fear of our past, or in the fear of new people. i put HUGE pressure on myself to ‘be’ normal (bwahhaa) ‘out there’, and i REALLY have to work to bring my sotry out, to lose the shame. we’re queer – we know this landscape of shame and what coming out does for us. it’s a long road to integration. it took me years to not get baited by others re lesbianism. i am pretty rock solid now. it may take (fuck, i hope not) as long with this thing. i hope not ’cause i don’t have enough years left in me. i am giving a presentation – probably a spoken word piece – at a conference on poverty this fall. i am wondering if i will include the spath stuff. it is part of the pic, but i don’t know – there will be lots of peeps there i know professionally. being forthright has always been part of who i am – so, if i am taking my life back from that pustule, then don’t i need to be forthright? this shame/ humiliation has me by the ankle. i gotta hack away at it.

and you, you have to take some risks to meet some folks.

re pics of x and mom – why don’t you just burn the whole damn lot?

one step

Wising Up

I read the articles and all the comments here on a regular basis, but I don’t post often. Today I just wanted to let you all know that you inspire me, you make me laugh, and you make me think. My x is an spath and my 3 year old son has started really showing his true genes. I try desperately to show him love and compassion, teach him patience. Every other weekend when he goes to his dad’s it seems he unravels at least half of what I’ve done. It’s a constant ravel-unravel-ravel-unravel. Sometimes I fear that I am going to lose this battle no matter what I do. But I will persevere. Lately he’s been worse and I’ve been worse with everything on my shoulder’s but I finally went to the doctor and got anti-depressants. I’ve always thought that people should try to resolve their problems that are making them depressed instead of taking anti-depressants, now I see that some problems are not resolvable and I need help to get through this. Last week, because my son didn’t get his way, he kicked me, told me he wished he could turn into a bird and fly away but first he would come back and bite me with his beak. His dad tries to pit him against me and sometimes I wonder if my love is enough to overcome their genes. Of course I know the x won’t change but it is damn hard to change my son when he is subjected to the xpath so often. I can’t move yet. He will take me to court of course as soon as I move to try to get custody and with his convincing lies, he may win. At this point I have no good reason to tell the judge I’m moving other than to get him away from the xpath and of course I would be the villain there so I am busting my butt in college so I can get my degree, get a good job lined up far away from here and I will have valid reasons for the move. This will take me years. What can I do in the meantime to keep him raveled?


Hey Henry….

“I just wonder if he is going to haunt me the rest of my life?”

Only if we let them. Only if we agree within ourselves to let them remain in our thoughts…

There comes a point and time where we no longer have to beat ourselves up for choosing to be giving caring loving and hopeful. The person we were with could not genuinely be that person. Sure they could talk the talk but they couldnt walk the walk.

Henry, you seem to hold on to this thing that it was something to do about YOU. Let that go. You know by now if he could treat one person that way he can treat many that way. Imagine what he put his previous “bf/lover…turned roommate…turned enemy” through!!

The one who should be humiliated and embarrassed is him – but he is a self=centered sick monster.

And Henry, we were both lonely and alone when we were with these particular losers…. in a different way in that they kept us busy with negative attention or have to come to their rescue or be their doormat – but the bottom line is its a much more lonely and alone feeling to be involved with an abusive user.

What are you doing with your free time these days Henry? If you wish not to be lonely and alone – there are many things you can do to fill that void. It doesnt mean having to have a bf…it may just mean finding meaningful things for you to do and enjoy with others. I know it sounds trite, but it has helped me to get out of my rut…

Im not haunted as much anymore. I look at it as I loved and cared about someone who didnt and couldnt love me back. period . the end.

ps. I too look back and see I was “TRYING” to turn a nightmare into a once in a life time love…. I needed to stop trying and started to just look at what and who came into my life at face value. No more trying to make things right — those things that are meant to be that way really do happen on their own naturally between healthy people…I really look and take in now – and process it for what it is — not what I want to make it be or want to fix. And for things that are just off, or uncomfortable or not right…I accept that its not something I need to delve into to fix or save…its a red flag waving me away from it and into another more positive direction.

So the question is when do you want him to stop haunting your life? Because you have the power to make that happen when you choose the day! Xoxo


learning – thank you for your post to henry – lots in there for me.

one step


Hey Learning – I want to thank you and Onestep and Erin 72 for my morning dose of reality. I think this oppressive heat has thrown me into a depression. Learning I am staying busy with work, I have lot’s of energy and have regained my health and have lot’s of ‘things’ that keep me busy. My ladyfriend is moving back from Ohio in a few weeks, she and I do lot’s of things, movies, dinner, lots of laughing etc, she also has dachshunds..Erin72 when that new man comes into your life you will be ready to do it right and so will I – no more illusions for any of us..thanx again for the pep talk I am sure Ox will be here with her skillet before too long…


Onestep – I love weiner dog races, my lady friend and I went to one a few years ago it was a blast. I think Crickit woud win because she is fast as a bullet and fearless. Onestep you asked if you should include your spath experience in your speech on poverty….NO~! thanks for the clip it made smile..


Hey one_step,

Your welcome… its such a process…Ive come to find the answer for me was – when I am ready, willing and able to commit to releasing myself/letting myself let go of an experience/time in my life that wasnt to be long term – just long enough to get me to the place I am today.

Oh boy, did I ever beat myself up along the way and did I rip his being apart (in my mind)…and yes for me this process was necessary so I could find the parts of myself that were unhealthy for me which I wanted to improve/strengthen and I could find parts of him in others that I could recognize as unhealthy for me as well – and accept that! Not try to change that – but rather just move on because some people just arent good matches

Im ok now with acceptance that once the jig was up I made some choices that kept me in it because I didnt have the tools to deal with it. Im ok now with acceptance that he can and will only survive in life off of people who either dont have the tools to deal with his type or people who have yet to learn the importance of taking care of oneself/protecting oneself and wanting basics of respect/truth/trust etc from themself and from others. And if its not given to get the heck OUT.

I seriously want to interview people in their 70’s/80’s about their relationship experiences along the way….I often wonder if the majority of the world has been matched up with an unhealthy partner and it caused some to spiral down and others to rise above….I guess Im saying I dont think we are in the minority in terms of having experienced an unhealthy partner — I almost wonder at times if its a right of passage for many of us who choose to learn and grow and move on…

Im rambling, I know, but when Donna shared what she believed about (Im not quoting because I dont remember exactly) but it was about her soul wanting her to go through the experience she did/ or choosing a painful lesson for her – for a reason….to learn more about herself and others and ultimately realizing the right path and direction to take going forward in relationships – was something positive that came out of that experience in her life…

Anyway, went off in left field in this post…but guess what Im trying to say is we have alot of power and control within to end the haunting and move forward with newfound ways and protections and insights for a better life ahead with ourselves and with others… xo


it’s such a beautiful picture. i miss my folks’ weiner dogs!

well your opinion will be taken to heart. thing is, it IS part of what created my poverty. i wouldn’t speak to the whole of it, just to the aspect of PTSD and how that has affected my ability to find and maintain work.

x one step


learning – you have ‘normalized’ the experience. categorized the disordered with the dysfunctional or unhealthy. there is power in diminishing the disordered to this, and that’s one of the thing si found so good about your post.


i wasn’t in a bad relationship with an unhealthy person – i was purposefully conned by a ppath. you know my story , right? there is NO maybe she loved me or cared….this was purposeful, impersonal, evil. and perhaps that is the big diff – i am not integrating a ‘bad relationship’ experience, but the concrete experience of evil in the world.

that may take a little longer. 😉



I was purposefully conned by a ppath.


I was in a bad relationship with an unhealthy person.

To me both statements are saying the same things.

Why? Because the bottom line is both are an unhealthy painful horrible experience. As well as in the beginning maybe joyful, exciting, fun, memorable….

To me a ppath equates to unhealthy. Mine stole from me, mine cheated mine chose me based on my goodness/kindness but Im not sure I can label mine a ppath….and yet others can say with 100 percent certainty theirs is a ppath – the end result is still the same — it was an experience in ones life that wasnt meant to be long term. Even Donnas relationship was one with someone evil – it was purposeful impersonal and evil too. To me an unhealthy relationship experience runs the gamet from dysfunctional to selfish to narc to ppath ” There is no maybe he loved me or cared about me either…there is only he was a person who didnt love or couldnt love me – there is only the acceptance I met an unhealthy human being – no matter what the label is. Now what can I do to protect myself going forward, recognize red flags and find my path and direction with healthier souls that DO exist in the world . 🙂

Take as long as you need for it to take to get to the place where youre willing to release yourself, let yourself go from that experience. It took me nearly 2 years… its an individual personal healing journey and a long tough journey coming out of and releasing /freeing oneself from that experience


Henry –

So glad to hear you have lots of energy and have your health back and are keeping busy.

IF pep talks are what it takes to rid that haunting feeling for good , then I am willing to give you 1,000,000 pep talks until you reach the day you choose to release yourself from that experience in your life 🙂

ps. I am not immune from needing pep talks every now and then too. We experienced hell and back…and sometimes we just dont have the strength to completely fight off the haunting moments completely…but if we keep chipping away at them – they will GO FOR GOOD! Warm hugs of sunshine to you Henry or cool calm breezes may be better to send your way in this awful heat!xo LTL



As the normal parent, you’re the stable parent to your child. Right now, I would suggest keep doing what you’re doing, being good to yourself and your child. If you sense that it would be helpful to get counseling for yourself and/or your son, go for it. I would suggest reading the book (that you can find on this website) about parenting an at-risk child, finding helpful parenting advice. As long as the child’s father is in the picture, you will have to contend with his disorder for most of your child’s life (unfortunately). I say, do what ever empowers you and your child.

Ox Drover

Deara Gone too far,

Go over to Liane Leedom’s blog “raising the at risk child” and by her book “Just like hhis father” and e mail her, she’s a wonderful woman anfd she is on the same road you are in raising the child of a psychopath with hoping and trying to teach the child to love.

Kids that age often say things like that to parents, they are trying to become independent and make their own decisions. I don’t doubt you have an up hill struggle with him because of the weekends he is with your husband.

If he would say the “bird thing” to me, I would say back something like “I love you and I would miss you if you flew away and it would hurt me if you pecked me with your beak. Are you angry at me because I said “No candy until after dinner?”

I”t’s okay for you to say ‘Mom I’m angry ” everyone gets angry sometimes but we still have to act poliltely with in the rules. So why don’t you sit down jin the chair for 5 minutres (bring out a timer) and thnk about it.

Something along those lines.


Your words really stuck a cord with me about your son. Please don’t let your fear overcome you. It is really a good thing that your son is only three years old and that you know what you are up against when it comes to his father. Awareness, early on, is a good thing to have when raising an at risk child. But don’t become paralized in the fear of this awareness. Try to focus on what you CAN do.

I am going to give you some advice, and this advice comes straight from the heart.
Focus on compassion and empathy. Ask both questions. When he is showing frustration or sadness or anger over something. As him how he feels. Let him verbalize it. And “talk it out” with him. But always ask the other question as well, how he thinks he make others feel when his behavior is unacceptable. Such as if he takes a toy from another child or whatever behavior is in question.

If he does something to hurt others, such as when you said he kicked you, ask him “how do you think that made mommy feel” and talk this out also. Always give him other alternatives what he might have done differently when he is angy or frustrated. ALLOW him to feel his anger/frustration but give him acceptable ways to let it out.

I know this is all simple stuff that you are probably already doing with a three year old but with the at risk child there could be alot more rinse and repeat behavior….So that calls for alot more rinse and repeat parenting as well.

At risk children often times do NOT respond well to consequences to their behavior such as time outs or whatever the consequence might be. (age appropriate) They tend to respond to the consequences by getting more angry or out of control. This does not necessarily mean that there shouldn’t be consequences for bad behavior. It just means you have to pick your battles VERY carefully.

Save your energy for the important things. Don’t concentrate so much if he cleans up his room to your liking…..Vs if he is being rough with his playmates. Always look at the big picture. How important is this?

And what sometimes could work better is giving him (small) positive rewards early on (at his age) for good behavior. Lots of praises, for what he is doing that is positive.
Make sure to put as much emphasis on what he doing that is good as you do on what he is doing wrong. Because sometimes when a child is difficult it is easier to overlook the “good” things when they are doing so much bad.

The at risk child also sometimes has alot of impulsive behavior. They don’t seem to think things out. They just act out.
Again always speak to him afterwards about what his other “choices” were. What he might have chosen to do, instead of what he might have done impulsively.

And also be aware that many personality disorders also have layered DX. Many S/P/N are also Bipolar or have addicted personalities as well. And self medicate with alcohol and drugs.
Even if your x was never Dx as bipolar it doesn’t necessarily mean that he isn’t. And Bipolar can be genetic in nature. Bipolar children or adolescents can be very difficult to raise. Especially if left untreated or undiagnosed.
You will know or sense as your child gets older if he falls into what is considered normal behavior for his age or not.

Maybe your child is just experiencing a bump in the road. Going through the “terrible” twos at three. STAY STEADY. Parent with lots of love and patience. Have balance. But don’t turn a blind eye either if you see a problem…..Go to counseling, or a pediatrition and voice your concern.

Listen to your gut when it comes to your child. If you think there is a problem, then their probably is.


hello witty. 🙂



That’s the advice..from Oxy…you need to really listen to this advice…wish you all the best, blessings and love…stay in relationship with your child…stay in with it…do not give up ….it’s hard but not impossible…read the books…talk to him, relate to him as a human being…good luck


Hello One Step! How are you doing with your new job?


honestly witty – really struggling. i am not the woman i used to be. this new one is not so quick cognitively. have bee going through lots of pain and that makes it hard too.

but, one day at a time.

how are things going?


OxDrover and Witsend,

That was good advice to gonetoofar, all of us who have at-risk children being able to do what you both suggest.

Ox Drover

Thanks, Bluejay,

I would be a better parent today than I was back when I was younger, I think. Unfortunately we don’t have a lot of experience when that kid pops out and starts then to walk and talk. I read Dr. Spock from cover to cover a thousand times I think. I literally had never held a new born when mine was put in my hands.

I think I trained him like a puppy! LOL But oh, gosh, how I loved those kids…used to sit and watch them sleep and hope they’d wake up so I could play with them. Even though I can’t say that my bio kids worked out all that well, one P and one Arse, I’m still glad I had them, cause it was wonderful to sit there and watch them sleep and love them, melt in your heart. Nothing lasts forever, and my late husband is gone, but I’m still glad I had the time I did have with him. Same with the little kids. I loved them, just should have taken them off “relationship-life-support” a long time before I did—pulled the plug when the relationship got so sick it couldn’t survive.

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