By | November 25, 2012 84 Comments

LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Cognitive Dissonance and the Psychopath

Editor’s note: The following article was submitted by the Lovefraud reader who posts as “Betsybugs.”

The term cognitive dissonance is used to describe the feeling of discomfort and confusion that results from holding two conflicting beliefs. When there is a discrepancy between beliefs or beliefs and behaviors, something must change in order to eliminate or reduce the mental conflict. Psychopaths use cognitive dissonance to entangle victims, to keep victims confused and docile and to create pain. My story is a story of cognitive dissonance.

My cognitive dissonance began in childhood when my father would go into rages, chase one of his daughters into a corner and beat the living daylights out of them while my mother stood and watched crying. When the beating was over, she consoled the victim (me or one of my sisters) and explained to all of us that Daddy really loved us but he just did not know how to show it. She was terribly emotionally abused too but drew the line at physical abuse for herself. I think that is why he beat us; he never laid a hand on our brother that I know of. It was a sick misogynistic thing.

First boyfriend

I had only one boyfriend before college and he broke my heart and was most likely a sociopath himself. He was a low class charming hooligan from the wrong side of the tracks, charming as in Westside Story or Rebel Without a Cause. He succeeded in getting me to fall head over heels in love with him and I thought it was “forever.” Stupid first love insanity but I was going to marry him and have his children”¦ in my deluded mind. All he wanted from me was my good reputation and virginity. After he got that he started lying, cheating, sleeping around and blaming me for not accepting what he was doing. His words kept telling me he loved me but his actions told a completely different story”¦at least in my book it did. Love was in diametric opposition to his behavior. More cognitive dissonance added to my book.

My mother was diagnosed with cancer when I was fourteen. I remember getting into a fight with my friend who I stayed with when Mother went away to the hospital. She knew and told me but I was not allowed to know; more cognitive dissonance. I had more and more cognitive dissonance as I went through high school seeing Mother have shooting pains and being told that nothing was the matter. I must have been told but then it was denied finally using Christian Science when she had six months left to live. My parents forced me to go to college knowing that my mother had six months to live. I did not want to go; I even tried to get kicked out of school and sent home. She always said she would have nothing to live for after her children were gone and I was the youngest and the last to go. It became a prophecy. She died before Christmas break. I blamed myself. It was cognitive dissonance again.

I tried dating but hated it. I was afraid of boys and badly burned by my first and only “true love.” I was love-bombed by a psychopath I met at enrollment my freshman year in college. He was a senior and was so overly attentive that it gave me the Heebie Jeebies. Red flag number one. There was a look in his eyes that I found terribly disturbing too. Red flag number two. I fled but to no avail. He love-bombed me until I finally just went out with him to just to get out of the dorm. I never loved him but he convinced me he was stable, caring and a good catch. I did not even want to love anyone again. I thought a nice platonic relationship would do just fine. I was alone in the world without my mother and no one in the family noticed. By now, cognitive dissonance was normal to me.

The big wedding

I guess we had sex a few times. It was nothing to write home about but I did not want that bonding sexual intensity again ever. I was afraid of loving again and he did not care or notice. He raped his roommate’s girlfriend while she was sleeping in her boyfriend’s bed and got thrown out of his apartment. She woke up with him on top of her raping her sleeping body. He was so pathetic and played remorseful and alone and I came to his rescue; I got pregnant and “had to” get married even though I did not want to. I was on the cusp of not “having to” get married I suspected I might be pregnant and just wanted to run away but he found out I was pregnant before I even knew and got his parents to plan a big wedding. I was still in shock from my mother’s death. I did not want a big wedding. I did not want to get married at all. I just wanted to have my baby and never tell him. But the wedding was planned in Kansas City where his parents lived and owned a jewelry store. All of their friends, colleagues and business associates were invited. We were registered for china and crystal at their store giving them all the profits. I had my family and three friends in attendance and all of the bills were sent to my father, all the way down to the bill for alterations for the bridesmaid’s dress we bought for his sister. That cognitive dissonance took me years to comprehend.

He violently raped me on our wedding night in a run of the mill local motel. No honeymoon, no romance, no expense for him or his money gouging parents; just violence and vulgar displays of his ownership of me. The cognitive dissonance was so bad I just wanted to die. How could I have made such a huge mistake? How could this be the same person who worshiped me, doted on me and wanted nothing more than to be married to me? Sex was his domain throughout the marriage and he wanted me to play dead. Now I see that it was just more rape. He tried arguing and anger to control me but I was smarter than him and better at both. He tried physical abuse and I told him if he ever did it again I would leave him. Finally he figured out how to use cognitive dissonance. I never heard him apologize, it was blatant mind control. He was Jekyll and Hyde but he knew what he was doing. The world thought we were the ideal couple. But I was being slowly driven insane. The marriage was nothing but cognitive dissonance. I suppose it is with all psychopaths and cognitive dissonance is what prevents us from getting out. It causes us to believe we are the crazy one, the one even at fault while all the time they are doing it to us on purpose.

Fortunately my Spirit was strong and my maternal instincts were stronger. I was only wounded, not destroyed and I finished college, got a job and got out. It only took ten years, almost to the day. I did not know that such a thing as a psychopath existed. I finally realized he was incapable of loving and when we moved and he started shunning my son and love-bombing all of his potential friends, the new neighborhood children. He had just graduated from law school and wanted all the children to call him the judge, invited them in to sing while he played the guitar and would not include our son. I finally saw the cognitive dissonance. I tried to talk to him to explain how much he was hurting out son and he denied there was anything wrong with it. That was his big mistake and my wake up call. I did not know what it was called but I knew it was very bad and then I knew that he was doing it on purpose. I also realized that he had been doing it to me on purpose. Before that wake up call, I believed that all people were good, if not on the surface, at least underneath. My parents were very dysfunctional, but they were very good people underneath. They were defective people, hurting people, hurtful people; but they were also loving, caring, and real. A psychopath is inhuman.

Learning about cognitive dissonance

I only learned the term cognitive dissonance a few months ago and the definition is very mild compared to what a psychopath can do with it. A psychopath can use it to destroy his victims, get what he wants and seem benign all the time he is deliberately sucking the soul out of his prey. Before the psychopath I did not believe that evil existed. He took that away from me. I believed all people were good. He took that away from me. Now he has taken my daughter and I am seeing her cognitive dissonance. She is convinced that I am the evil one. Very few people believe me. They continue to treat him with respect and call me crazy. It is easier than believing in psychopathy. Even I know that. Cognitive dissonance is their shield and sword. But this time I can see the cognitive dissonance as I struggle to disengage myself from it with my daughter. I am again an invisible victim.

Knowledge is a tool. The knowledge that I am experiencing cognitive dissonance helps me from believing that it is my fault; that he is not a psychopath. It lets me know what I know regardless of what others believe. It helped me get out once. At this time I am not yet willing to give up on my daughter but I am getting there. I am not willing and will never be willing to give up my grandchildren. I know the insanity of the cognitive dissonance and this time I am using that knowledge to survive until I decide which way the situation will resolve. This time I may make a different decision and play the game my daughter wants me to play so I can have a relationship with my grandchildren. It will not be easy, but at the moment it seems to be the only solution. I am still in cognitive dissonance about it but knowing that it is cognitive dissonance gives me the power of sanity to protect myself and wait until I am able to make the right choice.

Comment on this article

Please Login to comment
Notify of

” The world thought we were the ideal couple. But I was being slowly driven insane. The marriage was nothing but cognitive dissonance. I suppose it is with all psychopaths and cognitive dissonance is what prevents us from getting out. It causes us to believe we are the crazy one, the one even at fault while all the time they are doing it to us on purpose.”

Add on “…and hope that ‘the nice guy’ will show up for us like he does for others”, and you’ve just described my 32 year marriage, honey.

I was blind as a bat to the idea that it wasn’t a bad day, a bad mood, a selfish attitude, finances – nope, it was a psychotic boy/man and his equally psychotic mother who were systematically destroying my life and my spirit. They cut me off from my adult children, ruined my business, and then when I got angry and called them out on their behavior – they called the cops on me and had me hauled off to the psych ward for ‘attempted suicide and murder’ (of the husband). It didn’t work, and I tied up loose ends and then left him. (the four kids are grown)

It took the total decimation of everything in my life for me to see my enemy: the man I loved most in the world. I was destroyed. He has not let up since I left him, either – the secretive lies, attacks, games, and schemes continued.

Now….. here’s the kicker: this guy who is SO good at wearing the mask except around me? The one who has convinced EVERYONE that he’s the greatest guy around (well, at least for the limited exposure they have to him)? He was killed on Wednesday in a motorcycle crash. His deception in life was so complete and convincing that the comments people are making about him now will have him canonized for sainthood… and I can say NOTHING AT ALL publicly about the truth of our marriage and why I left. Ever.

Now THAT is a narc with total control of his victim.

Knowledge IS a tool. Use it for yourself, to see, to realize, to understand, to plan, to LEAVE, to rebuild your life, to heal, and to move forward. Nothing will change unless you change it – and if you wait, well, you just never know what might happen….


deb….interesting,, what is important is that YOU are free, I mean really free of him now. l


Dance’s with Moon: That’s really the ‘prize’ at the end of all this, isn’t it? = We are free; I mean REALLY free of them now…

The Thanksgiving Holiday is an anniversary for him and me.
I didn’t realize or recognize the ‘outburst’ for what it was…

It’s back to being quiet again and I am grateful.
I really must condition myself better to recognize these

Thanks betsybugs for your post.
Cognitive dissonance is one of the tools (tricks) of their trade.
They inflict their poison upon unsuspecting victims and
the whole time they laugh and find it amusing.

I don’t know about you guys – but I, for one, am sure
glad “IT” is way on far down the road….!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let the ‘minions’ have him for their Holiday dinner; I am sure.

Dupey Doo

very good article. Cog/Dis is one of their main tools and it’s really important to recognize the role it plays in keeping their mask on.

I think that the book, “Mistakes Were Made, But Not By Me” may be useful to you in your efforts with your daughter. Perhaps read it and pass it on to her.

What I’ve found is that the more I educate myself (and it isn’t easy, there is a price to be paid), the more people are willing to listen to me — even when they have to get past their own cog/dis.

Deb, I know this sounds horrible but, thank God. Thank God he is gone and can’t hurt people anymore. Write a book, Deb. Get the story out there. People need to know.



I hate to ask this, but how DID you feel when he died? Was it mixed emotions? And perhaps this is a weird question, but why can’t you tell people the truth?


Betsybugs, thank you so much for this article – you’re one courageous human being, and your words directly reflect how far you’ve come in your recovery – a VERY empowering and inspiring journey.

Cognitive dissonance was such a factor in both of my marriages – the first one was horribly abusive, and the cog/diss took years for me to process. This second exspath wasn’t physically abusive, but the devastation was more thorough. Cog/diss plays such a huge role in victimization, and it’s a term that one only learns about AFTER they’ve been victimized, if they ever learn it, at all.

Deb, I don’t know how you reacted to the death of the spath, but when the first abusive exspath died, I went through a really weird series of grieving processes. I was sad for my sons, and I actually cried (hard, and long) for what “should” have been between us. I also felt relief that he could never hurt someone else, again. I felt GUILT for this feeling, too!

Louise, I didn’t tell people the truth about the first exspath after his death because it’s unseemly to disclose ugly truths after someone has died – yes, the spath would NEVER afford a former victim the same courtesy, but that’s how it went with me. The man was dead, so what would it have accomplished by exposing the truths about what he did? No, I never had the opportunity to confront him with what he did, and he was eulogized as a wonderful guy. So what? I couldn’t convince MYSELF that he was an abusive sicko for many years, and I sure as heck wasn’t going to convince anyone else of what he really was, especially after he had died.

Brightest blessings, and thank you for this inspiring article

EDIT ADD: Louise, one of the strongest arguments to AVOID disclosing the truths about a spath that has passed is that spaths effectively paint their victims as “crazy” while they’re alive. To make full disclosures shortly after a spath has died only confirms the illusion that the target is “crazy,” especially if the target is a former spouse or romantic partner. It only CONFIRMS what the deceased claimed. Hope that helps to sort that out a bit. 😀



Yeah, this makes a lot of sense. I can see it now. Thank you. 🙂

Ox Drover

Dear Betsybugs,

Growing up in a family that is full of cog/dis makes us in our child’s mind think this is “normal” and yet, even then we try to rectify the opposing positions. Seeing and REALIZING the truth is painful, and especially if the truth is that someone we love really didn’t/doesn’t love us.

All the people in my biological family that did love me are dead, but I still have the memory of that love, that closeness to draw on. Letting go of the living ones that I loved, but that are incapable of loving me back has been difficult, and to some extent is still difficult, but it is getting easier.

Your daughter I think holds those grandkids out like a carrot on a stick before a donkey….”donkey walk this way and you’ll get the carrot” but the problem is while the donkey walks toward the carrot, the carrot keeps moving away, so that no matter how far the donkey walks toward the carrot he never gets it.

One of my dearest friends raised her son’s daughter from birth til age 8, then he remarried and took the girl and wouldn’t let the grandmother see her at all. His excuse was “he wanted her to bond with her new step mother” My friend volunteered at the girl’s school so she could wave at her across the cafeteria, she went to the ice rink when the girl had skating lessons, and waved from the stands, she even made peace with the girls BPD mother who had visiting rights and would see the girl at her mother’s, well the girl is nearly 18 now and can’t wait to turn 18 so she can get out of her daddy’s house with her witch step mother and my friend who is now in her early 80s has a wonderful relationship with the girl who is doing well in life in spite of her father, her “wicked step mother” and her BPD mother.

So even if your daughter won’t let you see the kids now, send them cards and letters and small gifts and just keep in mind that they will grow up and there will come a time when they will make their own mind up about wanting to see you.



Thank you so much for your post and honesty. I felt for you.

I learned, eventually, that actions speak louder than words. People can tell you anything, but what they do shows their intent and where they invest their energy.

But that is true about me as well. My actions speak louder than words (theirs.) Like a lot of us here, I’ve been accused of being crazy, but I’ve held my ground. They can flap and yak all they want, but at the end of the day, where are my actions or behaviors “proving” their accusations? It’s true; living well is the best revenge.

My ex-husband, bless his heart, threw that into my S mother’s face. How can you say that when she’s…? If she’s that way, then why…?

He knows better now. He’s listened to both sides and told me repeatedly that my story is the only one that makes any sense. Theirs doesn’t add up. Their story is crazy. He won’t talk with them anymore.

But he’s only one person. However, since he is my ex-husband, it means the world to me that he supports me.

I will not play their game. I know them too well. There is no such thing as “just a little bit.” I’ve learned the hard way if I make an effort in their direction, it turns into, “We’ve been wondering when you are going to apologize.”

It took me many years before I reached that realization. I shudder to think how much time I wasted trying to convince them and others that I wasn’t the person that they said I was.

In part, I fault therapists for that. I know now that most therapists don’t understand about psychopaths and if they had any knowledge of psychopathy, they thought of violent rapists and murderers found in prisons and seedy bars or back alleys. Certainly, they did not thrive in upper-middle-class neighborhoods like what I grew up in. And because I lived in such a nice house in such a nice town, I obviously was being treated well so what was my problem, eh?

No, if the relationship wasn’t working, what was my part in it? What was I doing (to make it bad,) because after all, it takes two people to be in a relationship? Did anybody ever say that I was being abused? No. It was just life, differences of opinion; I needed to see their side of things. I wasn’t crazy. I was seeing things accurately. If there was any insanity, it was them (the experts/therapists) pushing me back to work things out with people whose only goal was to hurt me. What a waste of a life-mine.

Deb, my S mother will turn 90 on Thursday. As far as I know, she’s still going strong. Until she dies, I don’t think I will have true peace (although I do work hard to prevent her from living “rent free” in my head. The fact that I have to work at it means she still have too much space in my life.)

I’ll give a big sigh of relief once she’s gone. I have no intentions of going to her funeral or visiting her grave. I “mourned” my mother (the one I wanted, but never had) years ago. As far as my P sister goes, that’s a different story. I won’t go to her funeral, either, but tell me where she’s buried because I do want to dance on her grave.

Mincheff Joyce

Cognitive disonance,
Makes you believe,
As your mother I lied.

Born out of rape
Spawned from his sin,
Too much to handle
Your pain held within.

Better to turn off
The trust that you feel
When wealth and his stature
Hold treendous appeal.

Ignore his deceit,
Pretend you believe,
Distort his abandonment,
Hurl more loss; here I grieve.

My son was fooled by his father, the charlatan that lied about every possible characteristic; education, religion, marital status, age, etc, in order to seduce me- then turned his back on all responsibility, obligation and love. My book, “Carnal Deceit”, is in production. If you’d like a soon to be released copy, please let me know. Write to [email protected].


Thank you so much for your post. You are very brave, and so kind to post this, to help other folks here.

I’m connecting dots and afraid to realize what I’m seeing. Married close to two years to a guy whose ex was who I thought was the spath. Seeing too many red flags in his behavior which I began to see after reading here that “spaths team up w narcs often,” and there he is, but in a very very unhealthy spectrum manner, but toward me alone.

My husband also has this niceness facade like yours, debwk22, and the difference has been killing me since the first hour of the first day of our marriage, while his ex’s confusing-to-me behavior disallowing me from entering into their kids’ lives was evident in the first week and found me here.

Now, I need to figure out what to do about this narc husband. They can never realize or change? He has said he realizes his bad behaviors, but in so doing can still do [the disrespectful stuff] to me whenever he chooses. Terrifyingly to me, his parents can too, while they also do nice things just to throw me off… I guess? My husband can’t stop mentioning the nice things he does, trying to distract me from the abusive things he also does toward me? It’s taking me some time to come to the conclusion that it’s pointless to try any longer, though have felt myself dying since I got here, yes, in my so called honeymoon days.

Probably like everyone here, taking years to figure out what to do, and to have the courage to do it, and then, heck, to feel happy doing it — what we’re all hoping for, right, a happy life?

Of course, that’s what spaths are saying they want too, while repeating abusive behaviors which they’ve been requested to avoid. *sigh*

I’m sorry to hear that you are finding your new husband is emotionally abusive. Hopefully, you can get out of it before you become pregnant with his children.

Since you already know the red flags, all you need now is to give him rope, so he can show his true colors and you can be certain of your assessment.

A narc can change but he will probably be 80 years old before he does. Your life is better spent doing something to make you happy rather than sitting around waiting to see the outcome of his personality disorder.


If my story saves one person from a psychopath it will be worth every word. I can no longer remain silent now that I know he was not just a one of a kind freak of nature but one of many dangerous freaks of nature. They must be exposed.


Deb, you are one lucky woman now you can heal and move on. Be sure to learn the danger signals to avoid another one.



Read everything you can on these creatures, journal, watch his actions not his words and protect yourself. You will know when to leave. Be safe.



I do not doubt the carrot on the I stick theory but I did get to see the children last week. My daughter is in charge of all of the affairs of my terminally ill sister. We were all helping her move and she brought the to stay at the new house with my sister and I while they directed the movers. It was wonderful.

I still hope she is just caught up in the refusal to differentiate the victim from the perpetrator and time will let her see. She still wants to believe her father and I are equal…which would be fine if he had not been using her to push my buttons. So at least he is out of my life for good now.

I cannot believe I got to the point of realizing that being rid of him with his influence on my daughter was more important than trying to save someone who did not want to be saved. It could very likely be that she was the special one and least abused and thinks that is his great love for her.

Meanwhile I am focusing on being the best person I can be because when she had the psychopath in my face I was not able to do that.

Ox Drover

Betsy, I’m glad that at least for a few hours you were able to nibble on the carrot for a short time. I know it is hard just getting a nibble now and then and never knowing if it will be jerked out of your mouth without any reason.

I hope your daughter will come to see reason, but the thing is we can’t count on that….so if we don’t EXPECT IT and it never comes to pass, then we are not disappointed, and if it DOES come to pass, then we are pleased and surprised. It is about what WE EXPECT versus what we GET. If that makes any sense at all.


Hi Oxd,

my daughter cut me and her brothers off from her and the grand children over 3 years ago. I raised my first grandson when she was an unwed mother and love that boy. She said that she cut me off because she did not want her grandchildren see their grandmother abused by the spath I was married to at the time. She would publicly humiliate me to run me off.
The spath is out of my life. I do send presents, deliver them to the house, but the 3 boys never get them. Even before that, she re-sold any presents I gave them within a 3-6 months period. She closed her email address. Is she spathy as well?
Her paternal grandmother did the same thing. She had 6 kids and never wanted to see them or the grand kids.

When I was a single mother of 4 and had to run on survival. I was looking forward to the time after raising the kids to do what I was not able to for them then…Any thoughts?

Distressed Grandmother

Betsy Whoa! this is very close to home for me and I hope things work out for you too! Oxy is wise and she is right protect yourself and do not get high hopes.Your daughter could be s spath too! This was the hardest thing for me to except. I kept blaming her boy friend who is a s path. There comes a time when you get hurt bad enough you will give up on your daughter you will stay away from your grand children so they are not hurt anymore because of the mind games the parents play on them.Having them walk by there grandparents they love so much and not being able to look at there grandparents because if they do they will pay the consequence when they get home. They are interrogated day after day about Grandma and Grandpa to the point they make things up that there mother and boy friend want to hear so they get off there backs.Be aware of them turning everything You say or do into something evil. It took my daughter to take me to court for a peace bond for me to realize she too has choices she is the one who signed the court complaint.I need to write a book to tell you all we have gone through. All the hurt the lies they build you up to knock you down.It is a night mare! 80 % of there statements were plain lies.It is costing a lot of money over stupidity and should not even be in court.The part that you do not probably know is that this is not costing them a thing to ruin my life the crown pays for it all. I go to court soon and pray every day for some justice. All your prayers would very much be appreciated.God Bless I pray you never have to feel the pain I have gone through over the last three years. Always keep oxy advice in mind she some times seem harsh but she has been burnt and she knows how to advise people on protecting there self’s.Her advice has saved me more than a few times from becoming more hurt.

Ox Drover

Dear Distressed grandmother,

I am sorry if my advice seems harsh, but glad that it has been a benefit to you as well. Unfortunately sometimes truth is harsh and difficult to swallow because it is not what we want.

Letting go of my sons, both of my biological sons, one a psychopath and one just a jack ass, but neither the kind of men they were raised to be, has been the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. Accepting that my son Patrick is a monster without any conscience and that there was no way I could “save” him took me years to accomplish.

Accepting that my son C is not the kind of man I want for an adult friend, not someone I can trust completely, and that he has betrayed me in the past and lied to me again….and it’s going on two years now since he is essentially out of my life except for cooperating with me concerning his brother. I am sad about that, but it is not my choice, it is his. HE is the one who lied to me, not the other way around. It is just MY CHOICE not to continue to interact with a man who lies to me knowing that the LIE WILL SEVER OUR RELATIONSHIP. Frankly it is just like if we were a married couple and he had cheated on me repeatedly and I caught him in bed with another woman AGAIN, it would be OVER. That is just how seriously I took the LIE. He knew in advance that he had his “last second chance” about lying to me and he CHOSE to lie.

I admit I had no grandkids for him to use as a carrot to make me sit up and beg to be allowed to visit with them, to love them. I can’t even imagine how it would have felt for me to be deprived of visiting with those children. I thank God every day that I have no grandchildren to be separated from. Grandchildren used to be my fondest dream. I think I had kids so I could get grandkids. LOL

And my egg donor TOSSES her grandkids that loved her away, tosses her only child away, in exchange for the psychopathic murderer, so go figure.

God bless you Grandmother and Somebody’s dream as well! (((hhugs)))


Newstepmom, I survived an extremely abusive marriage, and the one thing that I learned in my recovery from domestic abuse is that it never, never, NEVER “gets better.” The abusive exspath would make grandiose promises to get involved in counseling, but never actually did until I demanded a divorce.

As far as wanting to be involved in the stepchildren’s lives, don’t count on it, and don’t allow those children to be the motivating factor for your personal decisions. Your life, your quality of life, and level of personal satisfaction is SOLELY your responsibility, and not that of someone else’s. It is not our job to pacify everyone else on the planet, nor are we responsible for THEIR happiness. We can only control our own choices and behaviors – we do not have the power to control anything else except ourselves.

Somebodysdream, life is what we make of it, especially after we have earned some hard-won wisdom from our own personal experiences. My choices have to do with me, alone. Although I consider others in my decision-making, I’ve become very, very self-protective over the past year. And, one of the reasons that I no longer jump at the opportunity to “help” other people so much is because that “help” that I was once so ready to render wasn’t help, at all. It was a trading of responsibilities and expectations, rather than assisting someone that needed serious help.

So many, many people have cried over the decades, “But, what about the children?!” Well, the sad fact is that “bad people” reproduce for the express purpose to have a living, breathing “carrot” to dangle (OxD’s insight) in front of source targets. Most often, whenever toxic people reproduce, the children are the pawns and the extended family members are the ones who actually believe that they have to parley with the spath parents in order to be involved in the children’s lives. Well, we know from reading articles, posts, comments, and responses that parleying with spaths results in ZIP, zilch, nada, nothing. Nothing except more drama/trauma for the source targets, but especially for the children.

I’ve not seen my nephew in 10 years. I’ve not seen my niece in 23 years. I very much wanted to be a part of their lives, but their disordered mother disallowed it, and that’s simply the way that it was. Today, I don’t know if I ever want to see these adults, now. They have been raised in a wholly disordered environment and are, themselves, quite toxic. I don’t know these people. These people don’t know me. And, I don’t believe that I’m obligated to attempt to force a relationship with these people simply because we are all related.

So, I don’t have much insight into this issue except where my own feelings and beliefs are concerned. The only thing that I’m certain of is that too many people experience such misery and damage because children are produced and used like socket-wrenches to tweak and tighten the noose of obligation around empathetic family members.

Brightest blessings

Ox Drover

Dear Newstepmom,

While he paints her (and she may indeed be) as a psychopath, my guess is that you chanced up onn what I call a “gasoline and fire” relationship in which BOTH of the parties are disordered, maybe one more than the other but essentially both parties are high on the psychopath trait scale.

You are right, HE WILL NEVER CHANGE, no matter what he says and unfortunately it is pointless to continue to try to change him, or expect him to change.

Oh, yes, they can keep up the “mr nice guy” image when they want to but when you see TWO FACES on a person, one good and one nasty, it is the classic sign that they can’t be trusted.

I know it is difficult to come to a decision to cut and run and divorce but Ii suggest that you read Donna’s book “Red Flags of Love Fraud” if you ahve not, and then you can decide what you need to do. Good luck and God bless.



In my experience when the “nice things he does” start to taper off he is starting the discard process. Mine brought up the “nice things” frequently all the while messing with other women behind my back and treating me like a thing to use for his fun and entertainment. You are doing some research already. I didn’t do any real reading until four years later. Wish I had done it as soon as you. He was right out of the book. Beginning to end. They are all basically the same. They never change. It’s a game for them.



Just get out. I know it’s way easier said than done, but you will ruminate for years while things only get worse and then ten years down the road when you finally divorce him, you will wonder why you didn’t do it at two years. I am not cruel…just stating facts. I know how things can come across in writing; I don’t really like it. You can’t see my face or hear the inflections in my words so it sounds flat; cruel. But it’s not at all. Take care of yourself. HUGS.


Ox Drove, et al,

I hear y’all loud and clear…no expectations, perhaps no hope. Sure did enjoy that nibble on the carrots though. I nibbled on each little neck, cuddled with them and showed them how much I love them.

How interesting that most of the joy comes from loving, not from being loved…and the poor psycho-bastards never get to feel that.

And sometime the harsh truth is what we need to hear.


Distressed Grandmother,

I am so sorry. I hope I do not end up in court…it would be easy because the psychopath sperm donor is a lawyer but I have too much on him for him for him to risk it. There are three ex-wives and we all like each other and know his number. A court case would ruin him forever.


Distressed Grandmother

Don’t always count on that. These people all have pasts but they think they can conquer anything.I am in court for no reason. I did nothing illegal. All I am guilty of is loving them and trying like a mother bear to fix it. Oxy warned me from the beginning she saw things I over looked because I did not want to become hard it was not me. But guess what I have came to bless them everyday so that I can live with this. Hatred is a horrible thing and it can chew you up. Learning the wisdom to know the difference is what we need and it takes time lose sorrow and most of all acceptance. Who wants to admit lose? Who wants to admit that after all your love time and hard work that you raised a child capable of all the lies and deceits.The child that blames you for every choice she made. They do not see what they do. They justify everything they do. They are not afraid of you or anyone else for that matter. Whether I win or lose in court does not matter to them. What matters to them is all the hurt and pain they put me through that makes them feel powerful. As much as I love my grandchildren the best thing for them and for us is no contact because the punishments are not worth it. Be careful is all I can say!


Dear Newstepmom,

Just a warning of what might come. My sister spent 20 years of her life raising two ungrateful step-children who deserted her when their psychopath father threatened to kill her and divorced her for a younger woman. They left her with nothing, destroyed her in an evil court battle and now she is dying of cancer. It is no different than if that if they had taken an ax and mutilated her. And the lawyer (who is now a children’s court judge) and the judge in the trial in Leesburg, VA laughingly allowed it. They enjoyed ruining her. I don’t remember your names but you are all guilty of murder.



That’s so sad. I’m so sorry for your sister. 🙁


It’s awful to be happy that somebody is dead, huh? — but sometimes we are, and shouldn’t blame ourselves if they mistreated us until we wished we’d never been born.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, the deceased often pass into a sort of automatic sainthood whereby the dissonance is resolved by a forgetting of everything negative about that person. Most survivors blame themselves for any flaws the decedent may have had, or damage that was caused while he or she was alive — and this makes it even easier for imaginary positive qualities to be infused into memories of the dead person.
When somebody said “Don’t speak ill of the dead,” they may not have just been referring to the ears of angels — but also addressing the need to preserve surviving relationships, and the self.
I am happy for you that the battle is over — but sad for you and all of us, that life will never be the same as it would have been.


ColoradoKathy, it’s not so much about being “happy’ that someone dies, but more “relieved.” On one level, it seems as if the spath’s demise will put an end to the horrific carnages that they left in their wake, but the reality is that there is no closure, even when they pass.

Because it’s pointless to speak truthfully about what these people did even after they’ve died, the lie simply continues as the deceased is extolled as such a wonderful guy/gal and what a shame it is that they’ve been taken so soon. Well, the survivors of those spaths not only know the truths about what the spath did, bu tthey know how far and wide the swath of damage extends. Yet, if they open their mouths and speak truthfully about what the spath did when they were alive, THEY will be the ones viewed as “speaking ill of the dead” and only confirming what the spath contended about them while they were alive. Even with the passing of a sociopath, it’s a “NO WIN” situation.

And, with a spath’s death comes a host of conflicted emotions: relief, satisfaction, sadness, grief, helplessness, and unfinished business. Even in death, the carnage continues.

So, it’s not really “over” when a spath dies. The only constant is that the spath is no longer able their machinations. But, the enablers and fence-sitters will support the “wonderful memory” of the spath up to their OWN deaths.

Craziness, right?

Brightest blessings



I agree. Even in death, I think there is no closure. It’s the unfinished business you mentioned.


Such sad stories of how people use innocent children….sometimes I wonder if it can ever be “over”. It’s been 13 months now since I have seen any of my five little grand daughters. After going NC with both mothers…that part is worth it , but the most hurtful part of all is how my husband continues to blame and punish ME for it. He is extremely passive aggressive so he can’t really talk about his feelings, he just “messes with my head”. He has withdrawn pretty much all physical touch, never talks, etc. He will answer a question if I ask it, but that’s about all. Although he knows the daughters are at fault he thinks that for the sake of peace I should have just let their evil deeds “go” for the sake of keeping the family together. Most of you know my story …I haven’t been on here in quite a while though. This is my safe place to come where I know you all “get it”…I really feel like I am slowly dying of a broken heart. I feel like I have lost everything by calling these 2 women out on their evil deeds….all I ever did was state the absolute TRUTH. Does this grief go away? I think if I had had my husband’s support I could have handled it…I never dreamed he would turn on me too….his silence is deafening , but I KNOW in my gut I can’t go back !!!!! Love you all


While I would feel relief at the death of the ex, I actually think I fear it as well.

I don’t want that evil dark energy hanging around in any other form than the one I can see.

Going no contact and learning to get ourselves to a state of indifference in our hearts and minds with the evil ones, helps in more ways than we may want to know.

you can always hire an exorcist! Hiring a hitman is illegal and probably more expensive.



True true. He’s made a well known performance harley shop owner MAD. I think the owner filed an order of protection to stop himself from doing anything illegal. Psycho said the shop owner “owns and gun and said he knows how to take care of guys like me”. Those are psychos words to the judge. I sat in the parking lot of the harley shop twice in my car contemplating going in and having a talk with the owner. If nothing else, I want to thank him for putting psycho on record for the sake of my daughter.




My husband is hurt and angry about the no contact with our daughter and grandchildren too. She did it but I am blamed by everyone except my husband for causing it. And so the psychopath says. All I did was try to get her psychopath father out of MY life after 30 years of putting up with him for her and her brother. I simply could not do it for the grandchildren and saw no need to do it for them…he is next to nothing to them and I like it that way.

My husband and I both read some on point topics from this website and we went to therapy to help deal with the loss. I think it has helped him see that I am right even if we die both from the pain. Not that the point is being right instead of happy but the choice is what will hurt the most and kill us faster.

I just got to the point that I could not stand to see my daughter emulate her evil psychopath father and treat me like dirt.

Good luck to you and I hope your husband will try to understand. Mine says he did not want to have to choose sides but if he must he is on my side. I am blessed by that and hope you will be too.


Ox drover,

It is a carrot even with my sister dying. My son (her brother) and his wife came to visit and I asked if we could take the grandchildren to the airport to pick them up. She just said no, not to the airport. I asked if they were busy and she said no they are with a babysitter but no, not to the airport, not now.

I am learning her practiced ways of saying no. Not that no is bad but cold uncaring no’s for no reason are bad. This one seemed so. Six people, including her children would have been thrilled but she did not even consider that.

She did bring the grandchildren over to my sister’s house much later but I was too upset that evening to tolerate her presence. So we left. She said to me, “Your grandchildren are here to see you now, go enjoy them.” And I said, “We both know they are not here to see me and I am leaving.”

I was exhausted and we did leave with me in tears. Next day the children were there almost all day. Maybe she thought I would not come back even to see my son? We snorted at each other then I apologized for being upset and got nothing from her but I had a wonderful day with everyone else in spite of her.

Once my sister dies it may be back to no contact; as far as I can tell it will be. She offers nothing to me and dotes on everyone else. When asked, she gives as little as possible to me but over compensates to everyone else. But for now, I have my sisters, my daughter helping my sister and occasionally I see my grandchildren. So I am living one day at a time.

If in a few months I lose them all, so be it. I have been through it before when my brother died and she moved away from us to her psychopathic sperm donor for an inferior job he talked her into. She came back but she was a different person; one who is very regimented and unhappy, it seems to me.

I am grateful for my wonderful son and his wife, my loving daughter. But they have no children…I only have grand cats unless my daughter changes her mind.

raised by sociopath

It is this that made me feel like I was going crazy because no one wanted to believe that this man/woman could be so evil. They play such a game out of pure enjoyment towards everyone foolish enough to try to get close to them. Once a foolish person or animal does they are never the same again.

Who was it that said during the ending times wolves will be dressed in sheep clothing? God did forewarn us about such evil the psychopath. The psychopath are doomed to hell because they are from hell. Don’t ever feel sorry for them because that’s what they are hoping for so you can be manipulated by their demented sick ways.

raised by sociopath

The wolves in sheep’s clothing have been foretold to deceive many yet their appetite will never be quenched. God did forewarn us. I find this rather interesting.


There is a Russian saying: in the calmest waters swim the ugliest fish.

Ox Drover

Dear Creampuff,

Welcome back sweetie, we do GET IT. You said from the frist that your husband was passive/aggressive but passive/aggressive IS AGGRESSIVE. It is his way of functioning and he is unlikely to change. Your choices are living in a loveless marriage with the “cold shoulder” or leaving and trying to make a life for yourself.

If memory serves me correctly, you have another daughter don’t you that is healthy? Excuse me if my memory is poor.

Only you can make up your miind what you want to do…stay and suffer or leave and make your own way. I can’t tell you what to do…no one can. ONLY YOU can make up your own mind.

Personally I applaud you for going NC and standing up to the psychopaths in your family. It took courage and back bone! TOWANDA!!!! (((hugs)))) and God bless and keep you.


Creampuff, long time no type!!! It’s good to “see” you, again, but I’m so sorry for your grief. Losing a child because they are spath is not the same type of grief that we’re equipped to manage. Other grieving makes sense – the loss of a parent or a radnom act of nature. But, when people deliberately choose to harm others for their own purposes, it’s unlike any other experience.

OxD is spot-on, Creampuff. A “loveless marriage” isn’t a marriage, at all. And, the Silent Treatment is one of the cruelest of abuses because, through silence, we aren’t even acknowledged as existing. This simple act virtually invalidates our very existence and place in the Universe, and it is VICIOUS.

I don’t do the silent treatment and I won’t tolerate it. If your husband cannot “get it” that bad behaviors are bad behaviors and tolerating them to “keep the family together” is bullshit, then he is lost to the games. There is no such thing as “family” in the World Of Sociopathy. “Family” is simply another weapon in the spath’s arsenal – “family” translates into minions, fence-sitters, and enablers, and TOWANDA for you for going NC for all of the right reasons, and sticking by it.

Brightest blessings


Betsybugs, I’m so sorry that you’re going through all of this, seriously.

I don’t have any grandchildren, and it is likely that I never will. Although I would love to have one to dote upon, I am grateful that there isn’t an innocent life being jerked around in spath games.

I cared very deeply about my neice and nephew and loved them both, tremendously. For whatever reason, I learned very early that my brother’s wife was NOT supportive of my forming any type of relationship with these children (now, adults), and I didn’t try to force the issue. It pained me, deeply, that I didn’t enjoy an extended family with them, but the ex-sister-in-law held SO much control that I understood that a relationship with either of them would be impossible because she would not allow it.

Today, I don’t even know these people. And, I don’t really want to know them. They are a product of a VERY vicious dynamic, and I can’t accept that simply because they’re my brother’s offspring.

I watched the ex-SIL deliberately prevent interactions and, right in front of me, disdain MY aspirations and talents as being “insignificant,” and supporting her family members as “good examples” of family. They’re ALL disordered to the point where my neice actually left the country to get away from the madness.

So, as sad as this is, Betsybugs, nothing that we can do or say alters bad people, even when they’re our own family members or offspring. And, it IS sad, and it’s okay to feel sad about it. Having typed that, my feeling sad isn’t going to change the fact that I will probably never set eyes on my neice or nephew for the rest of my life. And, the fact is cold, hard, and unpleasant. But, that fact is also just that: a fact. I don’t have to like it, but I have to accept it or grieve over this loss for the rest of my life.

Brightest comforting blessings to you



Thank you for your response. I was not able to digest all of the implications in your comments for awhile. It is so painful for me right now I can hardly function.

How can I deal with my sister dying and being forced into contact with my daughter who treats me like an outsider. She pretends a good team effort but is totally shut off from me emotionally and tells me I will never see my grandchildren alone again because she cannot trust me.

Trust is my highest moral principle. I base my life on honesty, integrity, truth and openness. It sounds like she is getting advice from a psychopath who knows that or it is an uncanny coincidence. I wonder if she cannot trust me how she can ever trust anyone.

I raised her, love her unconditionally, was always there for her, adore her children and have never been deceitful except about Santa Clause and that bothered me. All I have done is try to help and support her and her husband in every way in raising these lovely children and give the children joy and unconditional love.

What I have done is say my piece and I always have and she still holds it against me. I did not agree with all of her wishes and tried to discuss it with her. She everything she wanted and did it her way anyway and I am thrilled that she is happy. I did not prevent her from a single wish except for me to be forced to have holidays with the psychopath.

I have said at least two things to the children that she does not like and I either told her about it immediately to see if she was offended or did it in plain sight in her presence. And yet she still insists that my granddaughter told her. I do not doubt that my granddaughter told her but my daughter insists on the implication that I was breaking her boundaries and doing it behind her back in a secretive way. That is just not true. I admitted it as soon as I brought the children home first time…my granddaughter asked me if Granddad (the psychopath) was mean and I said yes. Daughter had no reply when I told her, maybe she just was not listening. The same question and answer was repeated a year later and daughter went no contact with me over it and took away the grandchildren.

The other thing I said was when I left my dying sister’s house the other day because I was so hurt by my daughter’s cruelty and attitude about the children and me. As I walked out I said out loud in front of everyone, your mommy treats me like dirt. Both comments were true and fairly minor in my opinion. That is not a violation of trust or boundaries. That is simply being human and her wanting to micro control me, deny communication and blame me for being human and everything I do and say that she does not agree with.

I am ready to make the no contact from this end too. I pray I can survive or a miracle happens before my sister dies or I will loses them all at once. My daughter is on self protection mode and does not even seem to register or care about the pain she is causing or feeling if she is feeling any. The attitude to me is simply sheer indifference and the most painful thing anyone can do to me.

I am sure not perfect, I have said hurtful things I shouldn’t have but I never intentionally hurt her or anyone. I did try to protect my grandchildren from her father. She is just determined to cut my husband and I out of their lives instead of trying to resolve it. I guess the psychopath is cut out of her life too and she thinks that is fair and honorable…equal treatment so she sees evil everywhere instead of good and evil. As he laughs and we cry and the children cry and miss out on the joy and unconditional love we so much want to give to them.

Yes, I am fed up, tired of this unbearable pain and see no hope of her ever coming to her senses. Time to cut my losses and pray my grandchildren will not forget how much we love them.

Ox Drover

Dear Betsybugs, ((((ugs))))

You say “I am ready to make the no contact from this end too. I pray I can survive or a miracle happens before my sister dies or I will loses them all at once. My daughter is on self protection mode ***and does not even seem to register or care about the pain she is causing**** or feeling if she is feeling any. The attitude to me is simply sheer indifference and the most painful thing anyone can do to me.

Betsy I disagree with your daughter not knowing about the pain she is causing, she KNOWS and she is DOING IT DELIBERATELY. She knows the MOST VULNERABLE SPOT FOR YOU IS THE KIDS and that is what she is taking away. THE THING YOU VALUE MOST is what she is withholding.

(head shaking here) As much as I hate to say it Betsy, your cog/dis is still kicking in and “protecting” you from what the truth is…the truth is your daughter is punishing you to the full extent of her power to do so….and there is not a damned thing you can do about it except accept what the truth is, and cry..grieve…recover. God bless. (((hugs))))


Betsybugs, huge hugs of comfort for you…..

OxD is spot-on. Of course, she is aware of what she’s doing because she continues to pull those strings and simply sit back and watch (with glee) the drama/trauma unfold. And, your response to her actions by making public remarks and direct statements with regard to her actions are just the nightmare fuel that she’s delighted to pour upon this smoldering situation.

OxD is also spot-on that your grandchildren are your Achilles Heel, and your daughter not only “knows” this, but you’ve made it crystal clear that your love for them supercedes anything else. What she is doing is deliberate, malicious, and 100% machinated.

Please, I hope that you understand that I’m not attempting to add to your current misery, but I would like for you to consider one direct question: What empathetic human being would engage in reward/withold with another human being who is experiencing a long, slow, and devastating passing of their sibling?!

And, the truth is not pretty, Betsybugs – NO parent or grandparent wishes for this kind of scenario, but we ALLOW it because of cog/diss. Who want’s to accept that their offspring deliberately harms other people and uses their own children as tools to accomplish that harm?

My most sincere blessings of comfort are with you, Betsybugs


Betsybugs, to address your desperation as your sister is passing, we are equipped to process this type of loss. This type of passing allows for our loved one to be a focus of love, concern, and care – both my mother and father passed away and my mother’s passing was very slow and dreadful. But, it was my chance to hold their hands, tell them how much I loved them, and that they were good parents to me – to let them pass without negativity or concern for me.

You will endure this, Betsybugs. And, you’ll be able to focus upon the one who is leaving in lieu of expending so much energy dealing with the living. Right now, this very sad situation is about letting your sister go, and not about telling your daughter all about herself and trying to grasp at the grandchildren. We are equipped to experience and manage this kind of loss and grief. We are not equipped to manage the loss and grief that spaths generate.

One day at a time. One minute at a time. And, for now, it’s about the loss of your sister which is an immediate concern. Allow all other concerns to sit on back burners.

Again, brightest and most comforting blessings

Ox Drover

Betsy, I agree with Truthy, focus on your sister….coming to grips with her passing and spend the last times you have with her letting her know how much you love her. In the end, Betsy, LOVE is all we have left in this world. Your sister is blessed…you are blessed to be able to say your good byes. I had 8 hours with my husband before he passed away, I had 18 months with my beloved step father and I treasure each minute of those times.

Don’t let your dread of what your daughter is planning on (or is doing) to you about the grandkids take away the opportunity you have with your sister to say your goodbyes and come to resolution of any confliicts with her.

What your daughter is doing to punish you for not doing what SHE wants you to do about her father, your abuser….that is deliberate and she sounds “just like her father” to me.


OxD, when my folks passed, it was a lesson in control – I could not stop the inevitable, and I experienced a bona fide helplessness. This wasn’t an experience for me to interpret as “humiliating” because I was powerless to stop my parents from passing away. It was an experience of acceptance and gratitude.

I still get very emotional (weepy) when I recall those final days and hours, and your recollection of your last hours with your husband and step-father is so sad to me. Bittersweet in that it’s a time to surrender, let go, and not only express that love but to FEEL it in the deepest part of our souls.

And, when people use those bittersweet and mournful times to their advantage is thoroughly disturbing. What kind of person does that? A toxic person, only, regardless of whom is influencing whom.

Brightest blessings

Lovefraud is being upgraded. Comments and forum posts are temporarily disabled. Dismiss

Send this to a friend