By | March 30, 2012 58 Comments

Knowledge is power

By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)

If you are not willing to learn,
No one can help you.
If you are determined to learn,
No one can stop you.

A friend shared that saying with me today in an email and it made me think about what we say here at Lovefraud when we encourage a new poster to read and learn about psychopaths, to arm themselves with knowledge: “Knowledge is power.”

Knowledge is a powerful tool in our lives. If we have no education, we are powerless, as we see in people who have dropped out of school illiterate. We encourage our children to do the best they can in school, to go on to higher education, so that they are better prepared in life, have more power to determine their life course.

In dealing with a psychopath, our knowledge of them is important. It shows us what to expect out of them, and that we are not going to be able to help them. Our knowledge of the psychopaths shows us that we must take care of ourselves (and our children) first and not worry about trying to “fix” the psychopath. Our knowledge of the psychopaths shows us that the best way to defend ourselves is No Contact. Our knowledge shows us that No Contact protects us from further wounds and that each and every time we break this “contract with ourselves,” we are injured, wounded.

Learning about ourselves

The knowledge that gives us power, though, isn’t limited to knowledge about psychopaths. Our power-giving knowledge extends to learning about ourselves. I’ve often said here that, “It starts out learning about them, but ends up with us learning about ourselves.” The more I learn, the more I realize that what I have learned about psychopaths is small indeed compared to the huge amount I have learned about myself.

The learning about the psychopath encourages me to stay no contact and to realize that they are dangerous, but the learning about myself has encouraged me to change. The learning has encouraged me to learn what I need to know to keep myself safe from the next trolling psychopath looking for a vulnerable victim. It has also taught me how to set boundaries, and how important boundaries are for keeping me safe from anyonewho would use or abuse me in any way.

The knowledge I have gained has also made me take a long, hard look at my own “moral compass,” what I know to be right and what I know to be wrong. It has made me more determined to hold fast to keep myself on that “straight and narrow” path of the “do right” rule. If I am doing right, I know that I am doing okay. It makes me realize that the people I want in my “circle of intimacy” are also people who adhere to the “do right” rule and are honest, trustworthy and reliable. The Bible says that “evil companions corrupt good morals,” and this is right. If we are around people who do dishonest things, then those things become more “normalized,” and we tend to think, “ah, it’s not so bad, everyone does it.” So the people we associate with have a profound influence on our own moral compass. Just as I wouldn’t want my kids running around with or associating with “thugs,” I also need to be cautious of who I associate with.

I am worthy

Learning more about myself, and what I want out of life, has also taught me that I am worthy of being treated the way I want to be treated. I deserve to be treated well by those I associate with. I treat others well, but I will also expect that they will treat me well as well. I will not associate with those who treat me poorly.

I have also learned that I must treat myself as well as I expect others to treat me. This means that I stop doing things to my body that are likely to cause health problems: over eating, over drinking, use of nicotine or other drugs, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, lack of proper medical care. I will care for myself well—mentally, physically and spiritually.


Meeting my responsibilities to myself is important, but meeting my responsibilities to others is also important. Seeing that my children are properly taken care of, and parented well, that my job is done well both at home and at my employment are important aspects of the life plan for myself. I will allot my available time in such a way that all my responsibilities are met in a timely manner, and that includes recreation and relaxation.

Another thing I have learned about myself is that, in the past, I tended to take on as “my responsibility” things that were actually not my responsibilities. I had been taught and believed from an early age that other people’s happiness was my responsibility. I have now learned that I am not responsible for others’ happiness. They are responsible for their own happiness. By not taking on things that are not my responsibility, I have more time for myself and those things I am responsible for.

In addition, I have learned that now that my kids are grown and my husband passed away, I am not responsible for providing room, board and shelter for anyone, no matter who they are. While I believe that it is my duty to share with others less fortunate than myself, it is not my responsibility to provide for those who are unwilling to provide for themselves. My hospitality to my friends and family is entirely voluntary on my part. When people come to my house, it is my house, my rules.

Taking back my power

Knowledge indeed is power. I have assumed my power. I’d like to think I have taken “back” my power, but I’m not sure I ever really knew I had it, or if I did, I sure didn’t use it when I didn’t take care of myself, and took on responsibilities for others that were not legitimately mine. I didn’t exercise my power when I allowed others to repeatedly use and abuse me.

Now that I know better, I am doing better. I am taking care of myself, allowing others to take responsibility for themselves, even if they fail. I am setting boundaries and eliminating the people in my life who do not share a complementary moral compass. My life is starting to be filled with joy and peace, love and laughter, because it is not weighted down with cares brought on by lack of knowledge or by failing to use that knowledge to take care of myself.

Learn and take hold of your power!

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Great article, thank you for posting it! The part that really struck me, personally, is the part about responsibility. I am currently struggling with where my duty to my almost-grown children begins and ends, especially if I take on another relationship in my old age. How do I divide my financial responsibilities between my children and my partner (who had nothing to do with the raising of my children)? I do not currently have a commitment to such a partner, but it is under consideration. I mean, it is easier when you meet when you are young, debt-free, child-free, and go through life’s ups and downs together, whether you acquire debt or wealth — it is together. But what about if you meet when you are close to retirement age, and one person is heavily burdened with debt and the other one has no debt but not a lot of money and not a high income? Does the solvent one have a duty to self and children to remain solvent and not get dragged down by the burden of the one with all of the debt? Or does the solvent one have a duty to take on the previously-acquired burdens of a late-in-life spouse? I’m not talking about dividing inheritances; I’m talking about maintaining one’s solvency until one’s death, so as not to be a burden on society or one’s adult children.

It is always easier to choose to be single and independent, if no one appears who is a wonderful match for you. But if someone like that does show up, then the questions about duty get tougher.


20 years,

That was a great article.. I agree.

You posed some good questions about responsibility and support of others. I think much depends on your potential future partner and what he (or she) is willing to contribute financially. My sense would be to keep your finances separate as much as possible, at least until the children are grown and on their on. In the meantime, your partner may be willing to contribute a set amount towards your children’s expenses until they are self-reliant. You are smart to consider all of this before making a commitment.

Ox Drover

20 years,

Thank you. To answer your questions I agree with Hurt95–my husband and I married when he was 55 and I was 40 and I had kids (teenagers still) at home.

Even though we had known each other for almost 30 years previously and trusted each other completely, we had a pre-nup drawn up and for about 10 years kept our finances separate. After that they ended up being co-mingled when we moved here to the farm….and actually, after his death his kids received no financial inheritance from him due to the co-mingling of our finances…there just wasn’t a way to separate it since it was pretty much all tied up here in the farm where he build his little airport on my family’s land. But the way he and I both look at it is that it was HIS money, he earned it and had a right to spend it on anything he wanted do and if it meant that his adult kids didn’t get a financial inheritance after his death…so be it. HE earned it. HE enjoyed it.

When one partner in a late-in-life marriage is say VERY wealthy and one is debt ridden and poor it probably isn’t a problem with the wealthy one supporting the life style they are accustomed to, but in a “middle class” situation that might not be possible.

It is to some extent a “play it by ear” but at the same time, I would NOT support someone else’s bad business decisions to the detriment of my kid’s education.


hurt95 and Oxy,

I appreciate your insights on this, and yes we are older than you were, Oxy, when you married. Yep, I’m the one who is barely middle class (I fit into a “low income” category) and he is the one who has crushing debt. I’m scared of being pulled under by his debt (because it truly is crushing — not something easily paid off and not something that can be discharged in bankruptcy. It is student loans for his child, and parent loans have fewer options 🙁 These debts will follow him until the end of his days… they won’t die until he does.)

and I view couple money as “fungible” so it will affect me. I am working hard on sorting out my responsibility to him, should we become partners, or even if we marry. I don’t mean that I would get my name on the loans, but that he would bring a negative drain to the relationship, and I don’t know if I make a sufficient amount to not be pulled under by his debt. I wish I made more money so that I didn’t have such a dilemma.

But what you said gave me an idea, which is to take it slow and keep things separate for as long as it makes sense to do so, and later on if it makes sense, we could change it. I am very self protective, but then that is the part of me that causes me to wrestle with what my responsibility is. Selfish? or self protective? haha.

Debts are hard stuff.

Ox Drover

20 years,

HE is the one who made this debt, and in my opinion he is the one who should discharge them.

So, let’s say he makes $50,000 a year and you make $50,000 a year, and he has $15,000 in payments to discharge his debts, meaning he has a NET spendable “income” of $35,000, so you have more income than he does, so if you and he live on his $35, and $35 of yours then you would both contribute equally to the every day living expenses and you would have some money to spend on yourself, or to finance your own kids’ college.

Now if he has say $25K income and $15K payments then there is going to be a problem with living in a “fair” way with both of you contributing equally to every day expenses Which would mean that you would be paying more of the everyday living than he would be or you would have to lower your standard of living very sharply.

I don’t think it would make sense for you to take on HIS RESPONSIBILITIES or to take on someone to “raise and support” either. I thought long and hard about this in case I might ever have another relationship in my old age…keep the finances fair and separate. I’m not taking someone on to raise at this stage of the game.


Sigh. Yes, it is more like your second example, but a bit worse than that. This just might be one of those cases where “the gods are laughing” because it looks like I have met someone genuine, very kind, nice, mentally and spiritually aligned with me… but there is worldly stuff getting in the way.

Yes, I have “spathdar” and I suppose I could be fooled (not easily, though!), but that is why I take it slow. I think the reality is that he made some unfortunate choices with good intentions, assuming his stable financial situation would continue, but the economy went south and so did his net worth and job, and now here he is with debts he took on during more optimistic times, which he would gladly repay if he could, but probably cannot. Like many of us in this economy, he has struggled to regain full-time employment so while he works very hard and is always willing to work, the most he has been able to get are “odd jobs.”

It is an interesting situation I find myself in, without easy answers! Most likely… I will remain single and separate, as you say… I have been supporting people all my life, and I don’t want to take on another dependent this late in life (in my present economic situation, I don’t see how I could). But I could and would take on a partner. There is a difference. Wishful thinking won’t make it so.

donna dixon

20 years ~ So happy for you that you have found a genuine love!!

I just have to add my “two cents” to your questions about finance.

For myself; I have NO intention of ever combining my income/expense with anyoone in the future. What I have when I am gone will be left to my children. I personally have no desire to put them in any future entanglements.

If I am lucky enough to find a GENUINE love then that is what it will be…..a love that I can share my heart; but not my finances.
For me, I just don’t see a need to be tied “in paper” anymore.

Ox Drover

20 years

Yea, taking on a DEPENDENT at this this point in life is not something I am willing to do either….they would have to be able to carry their share of the load…grocery bills, utilities, etc. simply because I don’t have enough resources to support a dependent without sinking my own ship.


great article. thank you for writing it.
Knowledge is the ONLY thing we can use against spaths because it provides the clarity we need to extricate ourselves from their manipulations.

Without knowledge I languished for 25 years in the spaths clutches. Then, I told one human being who understood and explained the word, “malignant narcissist” and “being boring” to me, and I was free.

Since then, only knowledge has been my shield. Spaths may try to twist and contort the facts, but we already know that they will, so it’s easy to see through it.

Knowledge of the red flags should be taught in grade school.


20 years, It will be almost impossible to maintain vigilance every single day about who pays for what because you will find yourself wanting to make up the difference for the things he can’t afford. Furthermore, he will do things for you and you will feel grateful and also selfish if you don’t reciprocate. Then things spiral from there.

If he moves in with you and helps with the mortgage, now you owe him equity, etc…

What might work best is if he pays a set amount monthly for “room and board”. You would HAVE to report this on your income taxes so that it is legitimate as well as having a contract.

Then you can use the money to pay for those expenses that come with the homeownership. It won’t be that bad because you can depreciate part of your home and write off part of utilities etc… talk to an accountant about that.

This is what I did with my spath. I wanted my money to be separate because he did nickel and dime me to death. It still ended up being a disaster but the whole reason it took 25 years for the final implosion was because I was very tight fisted whenever possible.

I know it doesn’t sound romantic but you won’t have to think about it all the time, it will give you more control and you will be making sure that he doesn’t have a way to grab your assets later on down the line.

On the other hand, my spath, knowing I had protected myself that way, conned me into putting him in my will and buying some life insurance for myself. Then he had to kill me to get what he wanted. So be aware…

sharing the journey

20 years

I’ve been thinking about this too.

At this moment I don’t forsee another relationship developing and am extremely enjoying singlehood.

I am 50 and have contemplated what if. I have also discussed possibilities with friends who seem to make a point of pointing out that somehow another relationship is the way to go.

This is my conclusion.

IF I met someone whom I would consider with my high ideals we would remain in seperate abodes with seperate finances. We would permanantly date and be friends.

My brother and his girlfriend found each other late in life and it works so well for them.

Although I would have did it with my husband of 22 years if he had not been a spath–I do not want to be a caretaker in my old age if he became ill.

Also–I have become quite fussy in my habits that I think only a spath with their mirroring could handle. And that’s not real. I so need my own space and value my freedom highly that it is unlikely that I will now bend to accomodate the other person.

Lastly–I enjoy my own company and never get lonely. If I feel like a gab I just go out and there is always someone to pass the time of day with.

I have my kids and animals.

Just too much going for me to give it up.

This probably doesn’t help.

Aim for happiness.


Ox Drover

You’re welcome Sky. I had the “knowledge” a long time before I put it into practice. Now I am going to PRACTICE WHAT I PREACH!


STJ and Skylar,

I’m 50, too. Actually, it does help a LOT to hear what you guys think. And have done. It helps tremendously because you have thought about this for yourselves, and because you have a spath in your past, like I do.

Apart from Lovefraud, I don’t really have folks I can discuss this quandary with, whose lives bear any resemblance to my own… so thanks. 🙂

Don’t worry; I am cautious, cautious, cautious.

Also, yes I enjoy my privacy and my own company.

This would be far easier if the guy in question were not so severely financially struggling (and could maintain his own separate household). I find it verrrrrrry interesting from a karmic perspective that I’ve happened onto someone like this, at this point in my life. My spath ex-husband was rich, and I was in the position of being the financially dependent stay-at-home mom/wife (3 kids born within 2 years will do that to you!). So this is a new experience, to be clawing my way to solvency, building a fledgling career and financial independence, kind of late in life without much time to catch up, and then there’s this temptation of a potential “dependent,” just as I’m ready to launch my 3 kids. Hmmmm….

Well, I’m just going to be very self-protective. That feels right, and loving towards myself.

(it’s nice to be older and not headstrong, haha)

I do grieve, though, for the happy, intact marriage to a normal husband/father of my children that I never had, that I never will have. But it is not the end of the world.

sharing the journey

20 years.

I too still grieve over what could have been. But then I remind myself of the reality if I had stayed with him.

After 22 years I was left with a choice–leave or die.

Yes be careful that you are not filling the void of the empty nest syndrome.

I’m curious. How would he manage his finances and a place to live if you weren’t there.

It felt like the end of the world to me when my life and dreams of a happy ending nurturing our future grandkids and each other blew up in my face.

But there is great wisdom in the saying.

This too shall pass.

I think I will be keeping an eye on you with this romance. LOL

P.S. I was in a mess financially, mentally, physically and spiritually when I threw him out. I was in deep survival mode to recover. Now I love the challenge of each problem that arises. Yeah. Yippee. I am totally independent and thriving with a new awareness that I can cope. The phoenix always arises.


Oh My ~! Has anyone missed my whining and complaining? I dont have a computer, the old peice of crap finally crashed big time. I am going to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the internet world for awhile.. I do miss you all and to those that know and miss me just look up at the moon on a night when it is full and bright and wave and I will be waving back at ya and sending my love….hens


Yeah, I missed ya! I was thinking to myself “where the hell is he?” Now I know. Have a good time and come back soon.



I miss you!!


STJ, to answer your curious question: he currently rents a room from some people he knows, and they are doing him a favor by this (below market rent) but it is not clear if the favor is “for as long as you need it” or if it is intended to be time-limited. As for finances, I’m observing how hard it is for people who have so little that they pay high bank maintenance fees because the balance is too low to get a better deal, and there are many weeks when he eats only peanut butter and crackers. He constantly worries about his cash flow, down to the dollar. That is what is hard for me to stand by and watch without helping… I have plenty of higher-quality food so I do share and he doesn’t have cooking facilities, but there is also a limit to what I can provide. I have to be more careful with my food budget since I feel this tug to help feed him… and he doesn’t want handouts from anybody, not public assistance, no money loans from me not even small amounts like $5.

So to answer your question, he seems to be accepting of his situation and unable to change it for the better on his own. (He had a very comfortable life until about 5 years ago when things fell apart).

Really, the only way he would allow me to help him is by having him move in with me, but that cannot happen while I still have teens at home, which he and I both recognize. No promises have been made. So that’s a couple more years. Time may solve this one without my needing to make any decisions anyhow.

I’m keeping an eye on myself, too! 🙂 (that is one reason I posted here about this… I need a sounding board of people who do not know me personally, who don’t have a personal stake in this, if you know what I mean…your advice is objective and comes from a good place. Thanks.)

sharing the journey

20 years

Sorry for probing but we are at a vulnerable stage in our lives. Kids growing and leaving and off course the menopause which I have to say is not too bad with me.

I think you will be alright with this. A couple of years can make a big difference–so there is no rush for you to settle right now.

It looks like if he has to leave his place he will be forced to find somewhere else if yours isn’t an option.

P.S. I am an EX RESCUER cured for many years now. I had to learn all about healthy selfishness. It’s great.

Stlill gonna keep an eye on you LOL.

Take care


sharing the journey


I will wave to you across the sea when the moon is full.

See you again
Take care



Hey Hens!
missed you.

think of it this way: you aren’t going to help him become a stronger person by cushioning him.

Regardless of how well he was doing 5 years ago, these were HIS decisions not to save for the future. We all know that calamity can happen.

You and I were stupid enough to make the mistakes we made and we are paying for them now. I’m in a similar boat as you, my spath poisoned me so I was sick all the time and couldn’t work. So I don’t have a career and am struggling to establish one.

He needs to struggle through this on his own, and you need to learn to let him, no matter how bad it looks. This will be a test for both you AND him.

If he is a good and strong man, he will accept his responsibilities and be proud of it.

Ox Drover

20 years,

Of course it is tempting to “rescue” him…but I am glad that you are not allowing him to move in and taking him on as a dependent.

He is suffering the consequences of his poor decisions and also the general economy.

You say he has not had a regular job in 5 years. What did he do before he moved in with these people? What is his relationship history? His history with his family? Etc. There is just something that doesn’t ring true to me. Did you know him before his financial crash? Do you know people who knew him before his financial crash? How about his ex wife? What is their relationship like? His kids? Sibs?

The more you KNOW about the man, not just what he tells you, the more I would trust what he says. (if that makes any sense)


Wonderful article Oxy, Thank you.

Hi 20yrs,
I agree with so many of your posts, so thought I’d throw in my 2 cents.

I’m concerned by this:
“He constantly worries about his cash flow, down to the dollar. That is what is hard for me to stand by and watch without helping”I have to be more careful with my food budget since I feel this tug to help feed him”

I agree with the notion that even though the economy went south, he really did not plan for his financial future. Personally for me, I’d only get involved with someone who can truly stand on their own financial feet. Please be very cautious.


The history… this is all true (verified): his wife died suddenly/unexpectedly 5 years ago, after many years of a happy marriage and a few kids. She had been the primary breadwinner and he had been employed in an industry which has suffered great cutbacks in this economy. At the time of her death, he was employed. The death was a shock, he still had a couple kids not yet launched, no outside family support, and in the shock/aftermath he ran through the inheritance funds very quickly (like many families unfortunately, no life insurance provisions and no will! So the family home had to be sold so that the children could get their half share of the inheritance, according to state law).

It is a true story, although yes it is a “pity” story. I did not know him then; only for the past 2 years. I have met family and friends of his and have been with him in different settings. There is no “mask” as far as I can see (I am careful). He’s a nice and decent person who always paid bills on time until this sudden crisis.

The kids are grown now and he is too ashamed of his situation to let them know how truly poor he is. All of them are struggling to establish themselves, too. He wishes he were in a position to continue helping them, but he cannot.

I handle things differently… I am someone who plans for disaster and have always had plans in place to cover the unexpected.

It really can make a difference, and I have other friends who have also lost spouses suddenly, but had insurance and wills and things, and their situations turned out better.

I don’t believe that rescuing people is helpful to them. But to turn back to the subtopic of the article… I’m wrestling with where my duty lies, to be helpful and supportive without rescuing, within the context of a relationship I would like to be able to consider a developing partnership.

I myself have been in tough financial circumstances during the past decade, while trying to rebuild… and I received some help from some quarters, and it made a difference in my life and the lives of my children.

And I’ll bring up again that awful but wise book, “The Giving Tree.” I am NOT a stump. 😉 That doesn’t help anybody.

Anyway, this will (slowly) unfold, I guess. 🙂 I appreciate everyone’s offering your takes on it. It really helps me. Sometimes I think I get lost in my own perspective.


20 years,
something doesn’t sound right. most states when a spouse dies, the surviving spouse gets everything unless the will specifies otherwise. And if the kids are underaged, I don’t get it….why would they get any money?

This is not my forte, I know nothing about it, does anyone here have more information?


in our state (yes, I looked this up! It is true…) if a person dies intestate (without a will), there are complex rules to follow… in the case of a married person with children, the estate is divided in half; spouse gets one half, and the other half is divided evenly among the children.

Different states do it differently.

It doesn’t mean that EVERY asset is divided this way, just the value of the estate. In this case, I believe the bulk of the assets were caught up in the equity of the home, so there were no other fungible assets which could be assigned to the children.

It doesn’t matter how old the children are — they inherit. Only one was underage at the time, but close to adult age.

This is stuff I didn’t know before. You better believe I am having my will updated! As should we all…

Ox Drover

It is odd that the kids would WANT to force Dad to sell the family home. Most kids would at least let Dad live in the family home and then IF he decided to sell it take a share.

Him going through the inheritance unwisely brings up some questions to me….

HER being the primary bread winner also brings up questions….

While all these things may be TRUE it doesn’t make him sound like he has ever been very good at working and earning or managing finances. His “keeping secrets” from his kids and worrying about “helping them” when he is SO POOR sounds a bit squirrely too.

This man may be very nice and may have had some bad breaks, but it just doesn’t sound like he would be a very good financial risk or a good financial manager.

I am a VERY FRUGAL person, and I also like to live WELL….so I manage my money very well and carefully. I know that not everyone has the “good sense” or the ability to manage money as well as I do, but at the same time, I would not want to mingle finances with someone who didn’t….and I sure wouldn’t want to support someone.

donna dixon

Dear 20 years, Call me cynical but I agree with Skylar and Oxy….something is OFF! Sounds like a PITY story to me….I would tread LIGHTLY.

Perhaps I am just “too damn old” to give anyone a second chance but how does that saying go….”ONCE BITTEN, TWICE SHY?”

I was out to dinner with an old girlfriend tonight. And I realize that she and I had so much in common. Although her husband may not be a spath like mine was there are a lot of the traits in common; charming, manipulation, etc, etc.

For YOUR own safety please tread lightly. I hope to goodness that you really did find a genuine love but some of what you are sharing scares the CRAP out of me!

sharing the journey

20 years

If you care about him-keep it slow–don’t rescue. It sounds like he has been in a dependent mode for most of his life with his wife then you.

This could be a hard pattern to break. There are some people out there who look for rescuers.

If it is a partnership you want then over the next few years you could help guide him into full independence.

I am not a big fan of duty-but what I replace it with is doing whats right. Kids and yourself come first.

I hate to say this as I think you care for this person–but he has had five years to rebuild.

I myself am 4 and a 1/2 years out and I went from nothing to something in that time with three kids 2 dogs 2 cats and 2 guinea pigs. I was a wreck at the beginning and still suffer PTSD.

My life is decent now and like you I don’t have a lot of money but I make it work for me. It helps that I have simple needs.

Watch that old soft heart 20 years.

Enjoy his company but beware.

Also a wise counsellor told me many years ago-women confuse pity with love. Think about it.

I’m with you if you need to talk.



20years, I don’t know how long you’ve been on LoveFraud or how far out you are from the spath experiences, or what steps you’ve taken to recover and emerge from them, but I will tell you this: PITY is the most effective tool in the Sociopath Toolbox. It begins with pity and ends with the victim blinking like a deer caught in the headlights of a Peterbilt truck.

I PITIED my first AND second exspath – both in different manners and for different reasons, but the PITY was well-designed, well-orchestrated, and this most recent exspath has done the following: set me up before we married, played me like a violin during the marriage, relieved me of over 1/4 million via forgery and coersion, maintained a violently deviant and risky double-life, walked away from the marriage and all financial obligations, and will NOT SEE A SINGLE CONSEQUENCE FOR HIS ACTIONS.

PITY……….sob stories………..puppies, kittens, and butterflies……….RUN, 20years! Run like the wind and call it a day!

Brightest blessings.


I had a good night’s sleep and just woke up!

Oxy, you sound pretty similar to me. I appreciate your reading what I’ve written about this so carefully… I think you are picking up on exactly the same red flags as I am (“red flags” in this case not NECESSARILY meaning he’s a spath… could mean a dependent person who will not be able to break out of that, and yes, hiding things from his kids…)

STJ, like you, I have been able to rebuild, though it has not been at all easy. It was just necessary, and I did it (and am still doing it). And you are correct; the duty to kids and self come first. My dilemma in my mind comes when I wonder about marrying him. Why would I think of marrying him? I am “the marrying kind.” But now I’m at an age where I’m starting to think maybe I don’t have to marry men I love, who love me. My tugging really has to do with a spiritual/biblical view of marriage; specifically that “the two become one” which is something I think is a very high ideal. The oneness — not the separateness — I think it is sacred and I seek it! But this financial stuff is really getting in the way. I don’t think you can have the “oneness” in a marriage if you keep finances separate. since I am not willing to co-mingle finances, I don’t think I could be satisfied in a marriage of separateness… it seems totally counter to the very idea of marriage. So then my mind says, “well, you can’t marry him then.” Then I start to feel sad.

Truthspeak: you are correct to call it what it is: PITY. And even though in my mind/heart, the jury is still out on whether this is a well-orchestrated pity PLAY (I really don’t think it’s a spath case… I think he is in a genuinely pitiable situation. but that doesn’t mean I can’t drown all the same, and I won’t let that happen because I’m not a rescuing type of person), it is true that the PITY comes into it. Actually, it is the fact that I am not a rescuing type of person that is tugging at my feelings of doubt over whether I’m being selfish, or where my duty begins and ends.

DonnaDixon: I think I have found a “genuine love” however, there are these few things (they are few) which are huge and significant (yes, these few things overshadow the tremendous number of good things). I suppose I am lucky that my kids are “in the way” because as long as they live here, I am not moving him in. It forces us to live apart and gives me at least a couple years to figure this out.

You all are so smart and I appreciate your pulling apart my dilemma to look at it from different angles. It’s very helpful.


I forgot one part. The question of why he didn’t use the five years to rebuild. I do believe what he tells me (even if I think I would have done it differently — it is hard to say since I never was suddenly widowed). He said that when his wife died, he was kind of numb for awhile but did whatever he could do to get his kids launched, and that meant spending the money (one was in college; hence the loans after the money ran out — college is expensive), getting them cars (not expensive ones), food and shelter. As for the divided inheritance, he likes to always do “the right thing” which meant that he believed the kids should get their inheritance right away according to state law — so there was no question about selling the family home (also I doubt he could afford the mortgage payments…). The money went quickly. He then was so grief-stricken that he simply wanted to die. He gave the rest of his assets away to his kids and to friends who had helped him out (by providing shelter). Then he had hardly anything. But he didn’t die, after all. (he says he honestly wanted to and thought that he would). Then he met me and didn’t want to die anymore. He said he never expected he would meet anyone else or could think of having another relationship, after the long, happy one he’d had with his wife.

I don’t think this is a made-up story; it sounds plausible from everything else I know about him, but I do think it is an unfortunate story. I know that my feeling pity does not obligate me to rescue him. And I’m aware that people can confuse pity with love, so I guard against that. In my case, I did not know any of this when I met him and became attracted to him. He was just a nice and interesting man who has many things in common with me (and some differences). He didn’t hide it from me, but his situation just didn’t come up right away. Since I have kids, I do “distanced” dating at first — I’m very cautious. We met for coffee and stuff. None of that set off any red flags about finances. He can pay for coffee, he has a car, he has clothing, he is well groomed, etc. His family is nice, seems very normal.

Having said all that… I am now in a very cautious, take-it-slow frame of mind.


20years, I would love to say that I would pity this guy’s journey, as well – being an empathetic individual, it’s very difficult NOT to pity someone who has such a story. But, even his wanting to do the “right thing” rings like a klaxon in my ears: MY exspath always assured me that he was always doing the “right thing” and that I always had reason to trust him.

“Launching” our children through college, vehicles, etc. is something that we do to the best of our ability and withing reasonable means. The fact that YOU are his Saviour and responsible for removing his desire to die is a screaming, flapping, waving red flag. He experienced a loss and “wanted to die.” He met you and he “didn’t want to die anymore.” HIS CHILDREN should have been reason enough to want to push through the hell of personal loss, NOT another woman.

And, so you clearly understand: whether he’s got a car, clothing, or is well-groomed or not does not EXCLUDE him from being someone to watch very, very closely. Knowing what I do, today, I would run from someone with a story like this like my butt was on fire – and, not because I wanted to be mean, either. I need to protect myself, first and foremost, and I will never, ever accept the responsibility for another person’s “happiness” or desire to live, ever again. Why? Because that assertion is FLATTERY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is meant to make ME feel GOOD!!

You have my most positive healing thoughts and energies, 20years, my dear.

sharing the journey

20 years

Marriage is a sacred union to me also so I know how you feel. But it takes both to feel this way about it to have some meaning.

All I can say–is to reiterate your words–is to take it slow over the years and see how it unfolds..

In the meantime–enjoy his company on your terms. I’m sure you will work it out. I personally now could quite happily not marry to have a relationship. I have come to detest the ownership and possesion that some men assume tied to it. Most times you don’t see this in them until after the union.

Also my ex took the car. He is well groomed and his mask is a quiet unassuming man. He lives with his mum and he takes care of her as she has early stages of dementia. All looks good–but he is not. I pity his poor mum and through the grapevine I have heard that he has took total control of her home, finances and behaviour. All in the matter of 4 1/2 years. My kids are worried about her–but I have to tell them I have no power to help their wee nana. I’ve known her for 25 years and I loved her. She became one of the relationships I had to give up after I threw him out and divorced him. Funny how she was doing fine on her own after losing her spath husband–I think enjoying her freedom–and then all of a sudden dementia when he went to live with her.

He has the perfect pity story and family to support it as they are all glad that he is the one caring and not them. He has total control of their perceptions of her. They are a selfish bunch but you have to know them for a good while before you see this.

He is now not working (sacked cos of the economic climate) and this just adds to his sacrificial image. He isn’t bothering looking for work as he has to pay child support to me if he does.

He also dropped his older two kids when we split. I wonder how he explains their absence in his life to people.

Take care



I can’t tell you how helpful it is to hear these words from all of you who have thoughts about this. A sounding board is what I need right now, and you guys are perfect. There is something very sacred about this place (Lovefraud forum), too.

Well, today is a day with my kids 🙂 so I’m off to enjoy time with them!

Ox Drover

20 Years, I am glad that you are taking t his “talking to” in teh spirit in which it is intended….rather than becoming disturbed because it may not be what you want it to be. LOL

Sometimes we are kind of blunt here and I think this guy has had 5 years to rebuild and has not done so, in fact, has essentially gone to more or less homeless except for the grace (rescuing) of his friends.

I went through a horribly traumatic divorce that left me with a kid on each hip, a 10 yr old truck, a dog and a cat,, and no home, no furniture, nothing….In 3 years I finished college, worked full time during the school year and two jobs during the summer, kept an A average, graduated first in my class, and at the end of college had money in the bank.

I figure that anyone who really TRIES can do okay and keep their head above water. Maybe that is not the case, but that story (can’T remember the name of it –CRS) of the homeless black guy with the little boy who became a stock broker, shows me that no matter what, you can succeed if you try. Maybe not to the extent that he did, but if YOU DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO you can succeed. I lived in the back of my pick up truck for a summer with my two kids and my cat….because that was what I had to do. My egg donor didn’t offer me a roof though she had a 4 bedroom house…and I’m glad I never asked her for a roof.

At the end of the summer I had a roof that I had negotiated,, I was enrolled in college, got my PEL grant and a small loan and paid my tuition…traded my truck for a small station wagon, traded my camper shell for some furniture and was on my way. Barter, trade, and working hard put me back on my feet.

My INDEPENDENCE helped me feel good about myself….doing it for myself. I’ve hung on to that independence to this day, because when others “do things” for you many times there is a HOOK attached, a string, a debt that they call in in CONTROL at a later date. My egg donor is good at this…but I have refused all “gifts” and “help” from her because I know that there is a STRING ATTACHED. She attached a string to the “gifts” she gave to the psychopaths and they betrayed her giving. LOL So she kept offering me money as “pity” but I refused every time. She actually got mad at me for refusing her “gifts” (and therefore control) LOL

The Bible says to “be not unequally yoked” and I think in a situation where there is poverty on one side and plenty on the other the relationship is unequal. Dependence on his part (on the first wife) and now failure to adequately provide himself housing etc. is problematic. Even if he gave the money to his kids for their college this is a poor choice, because he is HIDING THE FACT that he made poor decisions (sacrifices) for his kids.

If I had been in that shape, I would have said, “Junior, I am really sorry but I won’t be able to pay your college tuition next year, so I suggest that you move back home for a year and work and save up the money for your tuition, or go to a cheaper school and we will get your degree if we cooperate, but that’s the only way I can help you.”

But to give the money and borrow the money so Junior could go to school and NOT KNOW that daddy was spending his housing money to send him is DISHONEST and shows that the man is more EMOTIONALLY invested in APPEARING solvent when he is not. He borrowed money he can not pay back so that is in effect THEFT in my book.

The more I think about the things this man has done and his dishonest relationship with his kids where finances are concerned, I think shows that he has some “big issues.”



I’m posting this on my Healing Board:

“PITY is the most effective tool in the Sociopath Toolbox. It begins with pity and ends with the victim blinking like a deer caught in the headlights of a Peterbilt truck.”

It’s wonderful. Thank you.

ps: being a City girl, didn’t know what a Peterbilt truck is, so I googled it: Yikes!

Ox Drover

Clair, old truck drivers never die they just get a new Peterbilt. LOL

Yea, one of those old peterbilts barreling down the road will turn a deer to jelly!


That’s a good one, Oxy.
Also like your line that “gun control is shooting what you’re aiming for”. LOL, but very true.

Lady Ruiz

Oooooh, the PITY!!! That is what I felt for him from the beginning. “Oh, this POOR man! I must SAVE him!” I am so angry right now. ANGRY. We spent the first year either having amazing sex (which I was SO hungry for after years in a sexless marriage) or with him in the fetal position with his head in my lap. What the…??? And then it stopped. Not because he got stronger, but because he changed his tactics.

I see it all laid out in front of me, and it makes me sick. The last year, whenever I’ve confronted him with the Truth, all he’s said is, “If you don’t like it, you can walk away at any time.” What a remorseful and loving thing to say, huh? And why didn’t I walk away?

I think why I, and so many others, I’m hoping someone can relate, have had such a hard time seeing them for who/what they are is that we don’t want to admit that we were so dumb? I don’t know. I don’t think any of you are dumb. I don’t think I’m dumb. I got caught up in thinking how complex life is, and how delicate human emotions are, and how we hurt the ones we love the most… BS!!! I love my kids more than anything in this universe, and I try my best every day not to hurt them.


I love this article. Knowledge makes me angry.


“I think why I, and so many others, I’m hoping someone can relate, have had such a hard time seeing them for who/what they are is that we don’t want to admit that we were so dumb?”

It’s called avoidance of cognitive dissonance. Our brain (we) doesn’t like to be in a state of cognitive dissonance – ending up with a result of a choice that cotradicts our beliefs. Everyone does avoidance of cognitive dissonance for meaningless everyday stuff (like buying gadgets we don’t need, want or even know how to use, but ‘hey the sales guy said it had all these functions)… If we hate to be confronted with the disparity between our choices and results of our minor everyday stuff, then how much will we avoid this awareness state for more important life decisions, where we got into more trouble than we’d ever could imagine and with bigger emotional impact?

The avoidance of cognitive dissonance in our brain is a short term survival tactic. And EVERY victim of a spath used it to their long term detriment. It’s a NORMAL response. And EVERY normal human being does it EVERY DAY for meaningless stuff.


Lady Ruiz, yepper – the spath changes tactics with the ability of a bloodhound that can pick up a cold trail! If Plan A isn’t coming to fruition, switch to Plan B. And, Plan A is usually involving pity. Once our empathy and desire to help/save/rescue another human being is confirmed, then they begin circling the victim like a shark taking tiny nibbles out of the target until there’s so much blood in the water that they can’t help but to go in for the kill.

Everything you’re feeling, Lady Ruiz, is a normal reaction to what you’ve experienced. Keep reading and posting. {{{HUGS}}}


20 years- I would be careful if I were you. SPaths always offer ’proof’ along with their pity ploy. So his ’verified’ story is not a reason to not see red flags. If all you have is his spoken word, that’s not much. Other causes for pause in your story; ‘his wife was the primary breadwinner’, of course. Then you mention that there was no future planning, no insurance provisions and no will. You sound like a careful planner that would not have kids and a spouse without being able to a) provide for them, and b) save for a rainy day. He did neither and wasn’t too concerned until the other shoe dropped. Hmmm. Responsible people don’t all of a sudden turn irresponsible. SP have lots of excuses, to fill in for the inevitable questions of their dodgy stories that just don’t add up, both are plentiful in your post. Another weird anomaly is her sudden death, accidental?, I saw that there was no insurance policy, so that is some relief. Unless, her sudden death was a consequence of not making a policy or naming him the beneficiary. Hope I’m not being too cynical here. Are you sure he always paid his bills on time, until this sudden crisis? Did he tell you that or do you know it? I, like you, save for an emergency fund and my SP knew this- he called me the stable one. Irresponsible people are always attracted to responsible people, naturally, they are getting the good end of the bargain and don’t feel guilty on the take. He seemed really comfortable taking, not a quality you or I share. Is he looking to you to be the primary breadwinner that his wife was? No thanks. He can keep looking (and probably is/will) to find a more receptive supply if you don’t bankroll him in any way. Mine found a doctor, so I was off the hook. Find some one like you, who proves it in ways that don’t make you debate their sincerity in your head.


Thanks, Anon-o. I have been thinking especially deeply about all this, since posting about it initially. I do have misgivings and doubts, as well as the interest in and affection for him. But I am not moving quickly in either direction. I’m being very, very careful.

One reason why this is hard for me (to reject him because of his poverty) is because I myself struggled to get back on my feet after my divorce, and it was only slightly over a year ago that I landed this currently stable job (even though it is not making me rich, it is stable and I can pay my bills). Up until then, I temped, I took part-time and odd jobs, did whatever I could, but really struggled. So, “who am I” to judge him? I have always had excellent credit, but my rating did slip some during my struggling period — if you don’t have steady income, sometimes it is hard to pay the bills on time, no matter how frugal you are. I kept believing I would find a job and my situation would improve, but I never dreamed it would take me YEARS for that to happen.

Most of what I wrote about him has been verified, including how his wife died (I’m convinced there is no foul play — it was a 30-year, happy marriage with expectations of it continuing for at least another 30 years). I suppose I can be fooled, but I am also open to new experiences — just going to be cautious and do my best to take care of myself (not be vulnerable, or get out quick if things turn out to be something other than what I think they are)

Some of it is impossible to verify, such as his lifetime credit history.

It is probably good I didn’t win the lottery last week. 😉 My true financial situation is a good “weeder outer” in some ways. No one could reasonably be after me for my money — though they could be after me for my apparent stability and sense of responsibility. And I have fairly simple needs and would love to find a similar partner, who can also take care of himself.

Well, I’m going slow and careful.


Yikes, “impossible to verify” is another cagey situation. My situation (and yours) is straightforward enough to hear and not question, is his? Is it because you are triangulated from all of the historians of his prior life? Did he hit the ‘reset’ button and start over? Those are signs. Don’t think you are ‘staying in control’ by being careful, remember the SP always wins. Every woman on this blog thought “I’m smart enough to handle this.” He has the tremendous advantage of no conscious. You need to keep the little bit of money and emotional stability you have to keep your job. You are investing trust, energy, reputation and your self esteem thinking you can get your emotional and romantic needs met by walking a thin line with some one you believe to be secretive and/or deceptive. You will be right back to square one, rebuilding if you give him any thing. Money isn’t their only agenda, of course, they love to destroy people’s lives, even if it is a seemingly meager one, just because they can, it is a power ploy, they only way they feel emotion. You have been through enough, you are already seriously depleted on energy and resources, so he should not expect you to be a lifeboat, yet you get the feeling that he does? My SP told me he was in the same situation as me too- we were in school together with no family, no help. He claims he had toxic parents like mine, that he could not count on. Hmmm. I thought it weird that that fact alone didn’t make him super responsible and industrious- like it did me- had a job since I was 15. I had saved enough to pay rent and tuition, but he was just counting on love bombing some one to live with. He did it before and after me too- same story, different girl. There was always some ’emergency’ on why he had to move fast and move in. Ways to verify; Do you hang out with other couples from his 30 year marriage? Surely they must have made good friends? Does he try to get you to pay for 50% or more of your dates? If you pull back, (if you ever have?) does he disappear and try to find another supply? If you state some honest concerns does he get really angry/ugly and discredit you?- BPD and sociopaths do this when confronted. Read through the blogs and watch for other telltale signs, they are all subtle, so don’t explain them all away.

Ox, so true! Poignant article!

I finally have the courage to face parts of me that I was afraid of so much before. Now I’m doing the work, getting through it. That experience made me braver than I’ve ever been.


I mean that word really has weight for me now and I can actually identify with it. Brave enough to face my issues and grow. I used to be too afraid, cause I always worried about the worst case scenario. After a sociopath experience, the worst case scenario is already behind me and all I have to do is learn from it and get that KNOWLEDGE so I can take control of my life and avoid this for sure.

Ox Drover

Panther, glad to see you back and glad you are progressing!

20 Years, just because he is “poor” is not a reason for “rejecting” him, it is WHY is he poor? Irresponsible? Was he giving money to his kids when he didn’t have it, so they wouldn’t know he was poor? Keeping up a “front” with his kids is a BIG sign to me. RESPONSIBLE people don’t spend money to keep up fronts.

Nothing wrong with being “poor” in terms of not having money but there is irresponsibility in trying to keep up with the Joneses when you can’t afford to. IRRESPONSIBLE PEOPLE who don’t plan well and don’t spend wisely then get into a tight place because of it…that’s a problem.

Lady Ruiz

Thank you, truthspeak! I am seeing less red today. I am working very hard on drawing myself back to stillness when I start to get worked up. It dawned on me about a month ago that the root of all of my angst is, well, ANGST! Since about the age of four, I’ve had a steady stream of adrenaline coursing through my veins, and I am physiologically addicted to it. I’m not an expert on this topic, it’s just my lay research, but it makes SO much sense. So I work to catch my thoughts and reframe them before I get too much of a fix. Does that make sense?

NC today, and I was a little anxious because my kids are at their dad’s and the bf is usually over here on this night. No word from him, and as I stated before, I deleted all of his info on Sunday. I will probably rely heavily on these boards tonight! 😉

20 Years… Sadly, I can identify with your story, and I can only echo OX Drover’s question of “WHY is he poor?” (((Hugs))) to you!

Anon-o said: “Every woman on this blog thought ‘I’m smart enough to handle this.'” This. We were also smart enough to google, “I think my ______ is a sociopath.” 🙂

Lady Ruiz

To take this further, this just popped up on my Fb newsfeed, from Pema Chodron:

“Emotional reactivity starts as a tightening. There’s the familiar tug and before we know it, we’re pulled along. In just a few seconds, we go from being slightly miffed to completely out of control.

Nevertheless, we have the inherent wisdom and ability to halt this chain reaction early on. To the degree that we’re attentive, we can nip the addictive urge while it’s still manageable. Just as we’re about to step into the trap, we can at least pause and take some deep breaths before proceeding.”

This is what I consider knowledge right now, it sheds light on how I’ve dealt with the spath in the past, and how I treat myself in the present. Not the future. One day at a time. The present. The knowledge of Now.


I’m taking it all in, what all of you are saying, and I’m considering it carefully. As I’m sure most or all of us have been in this position at one time or another: heading in one direction in a relationship (towards it), then getting some doubts, then coming to a point of pause and wondering which direction to go in, needing to know some underlying reasons…. I don’t want to decide “wrongly” (one way or the other) which is something I would deeply regret.

I have kept from posting some “identifying” details about him which might further illuminate, but I also think I have given you all enough of the gist that the situation is being expressed clearly and fairly. (I have not said anything that is not true; just that I still have a sense of privacy about me… and so the more specific detail, I have a hesitation in sharing).

Your comments and thoughts are very helpful to me, in giving me some things to consider. Particularly “why is he poor?” and also the concerns about his keeping his situation from his children. He has used biblical rationalizations about his financial situation… and his views on “not storing up treasures” are not my interpretation of the bible. (he seems to think that if he has $20 and that’s all he has, if his able-bodied, adult child comes to him and “needs” $20 to buy gasoline (that’s debatable, since this child also seems to have some pretty nice, new clothing) then he should just give the $20 away… even if that means that he himself will not have money for food (seriously — not at all) or gasoline for himself so that he can get to work.

I do not think at all, this is what the bible means about money. I do think that we are allowed to “save” money for emergencies and the future, and that this is not a repudiation of “we must keep faith that God will provide for all of our needs, and if we store up treasures then we do not have faith…”

He is not in any respect but this one, what I would call a bible “nut.” Otherwise he seems very much in line with my thinking, and he is intelligent. I just think he misinterprets this part, maybe on purpose? I’m not sure… but it is a definite red flag.

It is hard for me to turn the horse around midstream, but I’m not saying I can’t do it. Just that the way I tend to operate is with deliberation and to get to a point of being quite sure — as opposed to a sudden, abrupt about face.

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