By | March 8, 2012 102 Comments

LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Layers of shame and guilt

Editor’s note: Lovefraud received the following email from a woman who is herself a mental health professional. Names have been changed.

The sociopath has an amazing ability to determine who can be manipulated or is vulnerable. When I separated from my sociopath, I had to recognize how I was conditioned as a child to be trusting and compliant. I was rewarded when I took care of others; my parents wanted a kind child. Their shaping was successful and I care very well for others. What I lacked was the ability to care for myself and to discern who deserved my care, who would return the love and respect that I gave. Lack of this discernment exposed me to many abusive personalities. I became a magnet for abusive personalities and I did not know how to transcend betrayals of abusive people. My upbringing induced a delusionary state that if I were kind, this kindness would be returned. After I left my abusive marriage, I was completely vulnerable and kept attracting more exploitive and abusive personalities into my life. I was shocked at the level of predatory behavior I encountered in landlords, therapists, accountants, attorneys, judges, magistrates—people who wanted to profit from my pain and vulnerability.

I was angry, confused and hurt that I had very little support. I appeared as the angry torn soul to the court system, and my ex was the funny, successful guy. My behavior was from the trauma of war I had endured and the frustration of trying to leave. I had learned to live with my sociopath, but I had no idea of how to deal with the corporate sociopaths: the legal system.

My marriage to an abuser

I married a successful man. The typical wine, dine and travel occurred before our marriage. After our marriage, the lies about his first wife, the lies of his divorce and extramarital affairs, and on and on, began to take a toll on my spirit. I became angry and defensive. My husband became repulsive to me. I didn’t want to bring healthy friends to my home, because I didn’t want to defend or admit to the shame of what I felt. I covered my shame with anger. My anger helped me cope and I was afraid if I faced the shame, I would crumble. I remained in the denial state for protection and to keep an appearance of a family for my stepdaughter. My sociopath would traumatize me further by making the home a chaotic environment. He had to keep me in this state to remain in control. My life was enviable to the outside world, but I was tormented and tortured by financial, emotional, verbal and in the end, physical abuse.

My therapist supported me, but he did not know how to help me. There were times when I wondered if I would be able to work again. I didn’t know where to turn or how to help myself. I tried spiritual healers; they also took my money with little support or help. Some even blamed me stating, “You stayed too long.” I found that professionals who were treating me wanted to project the cause of my emotional state upon me. Thankfully, my anger carried me away from these individuals and I did find those who could help me process, explain and understand the tools of the abuser.

The false self

A healing concept I discovered through Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Parents is the false self. This concept of a false self is purposefully reinforced by a dysfunctional parent or in my case, my abusive partner. Others call the process brainwashing. This false self kept me in a state of helplessness. My ex would shape this false self by stating, “You need to be on medication,” “I don’t mind if you are fat, all my women gain weight,” “You are always so negative,” “You are so uptight,” “No one will love you like I do,” “There should never be a dish left in the sink.”

My childhood shaping of kindness and respect left me with very little skills. I had been taught to ignore dangerous red flags and make excuses for mean behavior, work harder to fix it and to please others to gain their respect. Without protective emotional skills, I developed an internal numbing when I experienced these betrayals. In this numb state the abusive words and comments began to shape my own opinion of myself, feeding the false self. This false self had a constant internal message that I wasn’t enough, didn’t do enough, wasn’t pretty, wasn’t perfect, etc. Abusive people know how to pick a flexible, vulnerable soul. With each assault, my false self continued to grow, like a cancerous tumor. The strength that I had when I came into the marriage disappeared. The daily assaults of chaos, verbal, mental and emotional abuse, feed the monstrous false self, which echoed his words and thoughts that I was damaged goods.

Isolated by shame, without support of friends and family, feeling damaged, I began to go deeper into my state of denial. My ex would also gather his tribe of admirers who would reinforce his comments and behaviors. Sociopaths also have the ability to coerce friends and family members who are similar to them, to join them and inflict more harm on the mate who is vulnerable. When I left, I stumbled upon an email written about me by one of his friends. This friend had never met me, but stated in his email, “Gary is a nice guy, he just has a crazy wife.”

When I began to see that the relationship was doomed, he would not change and that I was in danger, I had no support group. I listened to a few who said, “Get out before you die.” If I had known of Lovefraud, I would have read that you must have a plan and save money before you get out. I slept on so many couches, lived in my office and cried daily because I was so vulnerable. I often wonder if it was the legal system or my ex who wounded me so deeply. I believe it was the legal system. I could leave my ex. The abusive legal system hit me by surprise and there was no help or way out of it. I knew that my ex was damaged and would never change, but I thought I lived in a country dedicated to justice and there was a just legal system that would protect the vulnerable, especially when they were paid so well. These sociopaths tried to put the last nail in my coffin instead of upholding the law of the land.

Peeling away the layers

Part of my healing involved peeling away the layers of anger, shame and guilt I had plastered around me. The criticism of my ex, his friends, his family, judges, magistrates, accountants, the words of therapists, healers, jealous co- workers and neighbors haunted me. I knew this wasn’t me. I began to understand this is their tool to inflict injury. I learned to ignore them and to practice positive self talk when I sensed I was absorbing their energy. I would not allow myself to focus on the pain, but instead on the goal I wanted to bring into my life. I listened to motivational speakers. I could not listen to music at first and I gradually began to reintroduce music back into my life. I drew my inner being and then drew layers around her and began to identify how these abusers had thrown their hatred upon me and how I had absorbed it. This drawing exercised helped me to understand my personal triggers and I was able to consciously recognize these triggers when they were being used by abusive people. When I exposed these painful memories, I would ask God to remove the pain. I listed all who had harmed me and how they had harmed me. I prayed for the ability to let this go and to forgive. Amazingly, the pain would lessen. I worked with a doctor who practiced biofeedback and neurofeedback (another important tool to release the emotional pain), chiropractic medicine, and acupuncture. These techniques were necessary and I did not need to talk about the pain, which would trigger my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and I was not judged by anyone.

I have had to be gentle on myself. I left when I could, and did the best I could. I have to forgive myself for getting into such a mess physically and financially. I am aware of the parasitic sociopaths and can recognize much earlier when I am being manipulated or a boundary has been violated. I also listen to and ask for opinions of friends if I feel confused about a person or situation. I recognize that I am an easy target because of my nature and I continue to keep my eyes open and leave relationships where I am not valued. I continue to peel away layers of self doubt that were cast upon me by disordered abusive people who berate and punish the vulnerable.

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the sisterhood

Thank you for posting this, Donna. Very powerful for me.

Especially this-“Isolated by shame, without support of friends and family, feeling damaged, I began to go deeper into my state of denial. My ex would also gather his tribe of admirers who would reinforce his comments and behaviors. Sociopaths also have the ability to coerce friends and family members who are similar to them, to join them and inflict more harm on the mate who is vulnerable. When I left, I stumbled upon an email written about me by one of his friends. This friend had never met me, but stated in his email, “Gary is a nice guy, he just has a crazy wife.”

This is exactly the wound that would bleed the most for me. I hate to have to say it, but I am so glad someone else knows exactly what I went through.

I am in tears now because this author expressed so precisely my agony.

Thank you for Lovefraud.


Wow. This is so beautifully written. Thank you.

A lot of it resonated with me. The unexpected feelings of revulsion towards my husband and the SHAME of those feelings. The unexpected abuse by the legal system, heaping insult upon injury. Misunderstandings by absolutely everyone who could have been part of a support system for me (including therapists, spiritual healers, friends, family) who made things worse by blaming me or not believing me or by not SEEING me. It perpetuated and cemented that false self. The many attempts to self-heal, and finding success and progressw… but only through self-seeking, self-healing, and turning to God or seeking spiritual methods. I think it really is an individual growth and healing process. A lot of it has to do with re-discovering your true self and being that, getting stronger and insisting upon being that true self, and keeping out those who refuse to see you, or who tell you you are someone other than yourself, or who want to extinguish your self or spark. Evil.

You covered so many parts of this experience so well. Thank you.


To the author,
thank you for describing your journey. I can especially relate to the upbringing. If you ever figure out how to overcome that, please let me know.

Your experience reminded me of Jesus’ experience. He was slandered, accused and finally the legal system crucified him. This is the story of the scapegoat and that is how it always ends. The most innocent gets the burden of blame because we don’t fight back.

Ox Drover

To the author,

THANK YOU! You have described the upbringing of many of us, and that compassion for the underdog, the idea that we can fix anything if we are just kind enough to someone, is “bred in the bone and reinforced by the raising” in us and it does leave us vulnerable to the abusers, users and psychopaths.

I am so glad that you escaped and found your own strength again! Thank you so very much for sharing your emotional journey with those of us here at LoveFraud. This is I think one of the best and most informative articles here on this blog and I think I’ve read all of them. Again, THANK YOU!!!!

Thank you so much for sharing your journey. Your isolation, confusion and pain especially hit home with me, as you were dealing with a “successful” sociopath.

One is caught in a web of lies that is layer and layer of deception. To the outside world, you look like the happy and successful couple, and he of course wants you to project that image- and I know in my case I did, trying to protect his “ego” while our reality at home was constantly one of crisis and financial chaos.

Only after finally jumping off the cliff of the marriage did I come to learn that all of the chaos was manufactured, deliberately to crush me, to gaslight, to destroy.

I was actively being “false” to others on the outside ( including my children, to protect their father, and keep them out of the worry and chaos)and tortured by the unreality of my reality, while there was another lie on top of that, under which lay pure malice on his part.

The cruelest irony was the fact that – even knowing I no longer loved him- I felt I had to stay because he was doing his best and really, really, loved me. When that bubble finally burst I was free of guilt and shame. Gobsmacked by the deep state of denial I had lived in, but not guilty or ashamed.

What is so marvelous about LF “ers, is to hear again and again how the ultimate victory of the human spirit leads us finally to recovery.
Welcome to LF and congratulations on your escape and your healing journey.


Dear Author
So much of what you write is what I have struggled against. I know what it is to be depicted as the crazy wife, to be “worth less than nothing”, to be thwarted in every venture tried (so I could feel I had value) and to be contstantly exhorted that if I’d just accept how worthless I was and what a parasite I was, then all the drama would stop b/c the drama only came from my refusal to admit nobody liked me. And like you, the world seemed full of exploiters and users and abusers and “helpers” who affirmed there was NO protection, NO justice. The law is not followed, it is perverted in favor of spaths, the ones who know to “work the system”.

I have found a measure of healing by focusing on my anatomy/physiology/biology. I would be very grateful for you to write more on the process of your healing, esp neurofeedback, maybe recommending an author or resource where I could do some research?

And bless you for finding a way to care for yourself. I had a very good therapist at one time who told me that most in such a situation commit suicide in some form. Your article proves that ultimately your existence has profound meaning, in the now where you are such an inspiration, and in continuing to be “NOT LIKE THEM”.



To the author,

Thank you for your contribution. I really needed to read this today. Especially helpful to me were the concept of the false self created by the abuser and the section on peeling away the layers.

It amazes me how similar all of our experiences are with the absuer. I am still haunted by the words and judgments of those within the ex Spath’s sphere of influence. And the harsh judgments of “friends” who don’t understand what I’ve experienced.

I met with a new counselor yesterday who claims to understand what I mean when I say my ex is a sociopath, but later in the session said “He does care about you, he just loves himself more.” I don’t think she gets it. I told her that would be dangerous for me to believe, as it might promote a malignant hope (just finished Ox’s article the day prior!).

I will try what you did, practice positive self talk and not allow the energy to affect me. All of the disordered and those influenced by disordered people are away from me, but the words and the pain of the experiences are still with me. I don’t know how to focus on the goal instead of the pain. I want to learn. I’m tired of suffering. I deserve to be happy and healthy. I continue to strive for this. I guess it’s probably just part of the process, with victories and setbacks along the way. I have been praying to God, too. Asking for release of the sick people and for protection against attracting more. I’ve become very afraid of others, and when I see the slightest suggestion of narcissitic traits, I’m watching.

Ox Drover

LP Marie,

I think I would find another counselor….that counselor saying “He does care about you, he just loves himself more” shows that he does NOT get it. Trying to get you to believe something so WRONG concerning a psychopath would put me at risk I think of having him get me to believe something else wrong….like maybe it is best for my child to have contact with her father….”after all a child needs two parents.” WRONG!!!!


It’s hard for people to understand the thinking process of a spath. The truth is that when he says, “I love you” it’s because he HATES YOU.

Even after 3 years of thinking about it, I STILL am sent into cog/diss by this realization. It’s just so bizarre, so out of touch with reality.

So your therapist may or may not ever get it. So many therapists only understand narcissism, in which case, the statement that “he just loves himself more” may apply.
But it doesn’t apply to a spath. Not at all.



I think you are right about the counselor. I’m limited in resources with counseling, so I’m not sure what to do. She has a background with counseling addicts, and I think she is seeing my ex primarily as an addict. I explained to her upfront that I believe he became an addict because he was first a sociopath, but honestly, it did seem as though she just didn’t get it. I think people are unwilling to condemn another as an evil person, believing that everyone has some good in them, which is precisely how my spath got me! I’m glad to hear from you! How are things for you?


Thank you for your feedback. I’m still figuring it all out, so I’m not totally 100% understanding what you mean when you say that when he says “I love you” it really means he hates me. I’m certain he enjoyed hurting me and the other women he has victimized. If you have time, can you explain the love hate thing for me? How are things going for you?

Ox Drover


“LOve” is more than a squishy feeling, it is an ACTION VERB…which means that how someone treats you displays how they feel about you in truth.

Psychopaths are unable to bond with or to form attachments (i.e. “love”) others, but they learn that by saying the WORDS “I love you” they can get others to respond to them and give them what they want…money, sex,. etc. Dr. Hare says they know the “words to the song, but don’t get the music” He mentioned one woman P who said “Of course I LOVE MY KIDS!” but she didn’t get it that “love” included FEEDING THEM, washing them, sending them to school etc.

There are several books you need to read to educate yourself and one of them is “Without Conscience” by Dr. Robert Hare. That is the “bible on psychopathy” and then there are many others like “The Sociopath Next door” and “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing” and Donna’s new book “Red Flags…” There are also others, I have a shelf 15 ft long with books on psychopathy alone.

A psychopath may feel OWNERSHIP in a child or a spouse or a dog, but that’s NOT love or caring. They feel the same kind of ownership in a couch or a TV or a car, but that’s not love either.

That enjoyment of hurting you and other women, that is called “duping Delight” and is a form of pride in doing what they do which is to CONTROL and hurt or punish others.

Keep on learning and reading and you will be able to use that knowledge to heal yourself and to educate yourself enough that you will not be caught by another one in the future! (((hugs)) and God bless.



I used to say that to him ALL THE TIME: “Love is an action word.” I knew WHAT was wrong in the relationship, except I did not know he was a sociopath. I had some knowledge of sociopathy due to one I was involved with in high school, but I did not know that I was seeing the same thing again with my D’s sperm donor. He’s a bit older than me, though always seemed younger somehow. I think he’s probably had a lot of time to become exceptional at what he does. I’ve met a woman in my building who knew him in high school and she said he was very charming, but nasty in the end. She wouldn’t elaborate. I think he duped her, too.

Much like the author of this article, in the end, I was repulsed by my ex, too. I realized he was very sick, but still didn’t know it was socipathy. I was reading about NPD, realizing that was likely what was up with his rotten b of a mother, and I came across the criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder. I read the criteria and a flush came over me, realizing that this was him. I’d been duped again! Since coming on here, I’ve realized how many of my “friends,” romantic partners, and relatives are disordered. It’s almost like I’ve spent the bulk of my life dealing with N’s and P’s. I think because my mother is likely an N and raised my 2 sisters and me with such cruelty. I didn’t know what “normal” was.


I love this post. It describes so much of my journey: The upbringing that left me vulnerable to abusive people, recognizing my denial & emotional blindness & my continuing evolution to reclaim my true self.

Skylar, these books really helped me overcome my upbringing:
Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life by Susan Forward

Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-Up’s Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents by Nina Brown

Adult Children Secrets of Dysfunctional Families: The Secrets of Dysfunctional Families by by John C. Friel and Linda D. Friel

If You Had Controlling Parents: How to Make Peace with Your Past and Take Your Place in the World by Dan Neuharth

Also, Hay House Radio is wonderful for spiritual growth and grounding:

Ox Drover

Clair thanks for those books that helped you and the link!


One analogy might be to say that a predator spots his prey and feels the urge to kill it. We could say that the spath feels the way a predatory animal feels. Except that would be partly misleading because the human predator has a more complicated reaction, he feels hatred for his prey.

When I dislike someone, I will usually avoid them. If I want to mislead them and hide my dislike of them, I might be polite and cordial. But I’d never MARRY THEM! My sense of revulsion for the person would prevent me from pulling that off. Yet the spath not only CAN, he CONSISTENTLY DOES exactly that. His hatred is intense and his reaction to it is to LOVE BOMB the object of his loathing. That’s 180 degrees the opposite of what a normal person would do – COULD do. And to hold that hatred in for 25 years, to pretend for a quarter century… WHO DOES THAT?

You are probably wondering how I “know” these things. Well, as it turns out my own parents heard the spath say that he was only with me for my money within months of meeting him. Yet he stayed for 25 years. pretending the whole time. Who can do that? I can’t.

There have been a couple of times when I encountered someone that inexplicably made me feel that they wanted to kill me. It was an overwhelming sensation of someone wanting me dead. Each time, it was a stranger in a public place and no contact or even eye contact was made when I got the foreboding feeling. Sure enough, they eventually found an excuse to approach me or get close to me. Most times I walked away. The only time I didn’t was when I met my spath.

There are other clues: Imagine that you broke your husbands favorite (fill in the blank). You might go up to him and say sheepishly, “don’t hate me…” and pause before your confession. A GOOD husband would say, “What? What did you do? What happened?”
Do you know what a spath husband would say? “I DON’T hate you, I LOVE you!”

I’ve had something similar happen twice. One was by accident and the other was a test. same love bomb each time.

Spaths don’t get that you were just using an exaggeration to express your apology for breaking the “whatever”. They think you’ve figured them out. And they need to make sure you don’t ever suspect, so when you say, “don’t hate me” out of the blue, they respond by love bombing you. No normal husband would ever assume that you and he would ever feel anything but love between you. So his automatic assumption is that you are approaching with a minor confession.

When spaths lie, they automatically default into the most outrageous lies. The lies are so completely the opposite of the truth that you’d never doubt their veracity because nobody lies like that. The truth, that spaths will lie such immense lies and be so convincing, is unbelievable. So you don’t and can’t believe it. Spaths know this. The bigger the lie, the more convincing it is because we want to think of them as being like us – even though they aren’t.

I don’t know why spaths do it, I just know they do. In the book, 48 laws to power (the spath bible), they say, “keep your friends close and your ENEMIES closer”. My spath neighbor, who was one of my spath’s minions and was helping him to plan my demise, actually quoted that to me in a “tell”.

I know that they are at least partially aware of what they do and, like my neighbor, they think they are diabolically clever for being sooooo duplicitous. But I also suspect that it is often a knee jerk reaction and not completely under their control. In other words, when they choose to lie, they automatically choose to create a scenario that is a “reversal” of the truth without much effort. I wish I could understand why they do it, but I don’t.

here is a quote supposedly by adolf hitler:

“The size of the lie is a definite factor in causing it to be believed, for the vast masses of a nation are in the depths of their hearts more easily deceived than they are consciously and intentionally bad. The primitive simplicity of their minds renders them a more easy prey to a big lie than a small one, for they themselves often tell little lies, but would be ashamed to tell big lies.”


thanks for the list, I can use all the help I can get healing from my parents’ abuse. But I can’t afford them all. Can you recommend the one that you think was most helpful?


I am relating to the childhood environment which left me vounerable to preditors. I often wondered why people were always crossing my boundries, I now know it was because they were invisable. I had Victom written on my face. I am so greatful God gave me to courage to draw the line and walk away. This last experience the a sociopath- who knows what else almost destroyed me. I will overcome. I have worked through Adult Children, group therapy, counseling, Ect. I still did not keep my from chosing another bad relationship. This man was clever but I was able to untangle enough of the lies to save my life and escape. Now I am working through the healing process again in Celebrate Recovery. My life if being restored and my learned behaviors changed. I will no longer be victomized by others. It is my desire to share my experiences with others who may need suport and encouragment in recovery. The experience will not destroy me it will make me stronger and better than ever before. I am greatful for you sharing your experience with me. It helps me grow and understand what happened and how I can change my weeknesses . Secrets create shame and gulilt which in turn creates the victom mentality. No secrets, free from guilt and shame. I can stand up for myself and I choose to be of sound mind and healthy realationships. For me God is doing the healing. Thank you God for the courage and common sense Thank you for sharing.


Dear author,
thank you so much for your input! I can so relate to your description: shame, guilt, upbringing; actually (and very puzzling) to a t, and it relieves me that I am not crazy, sick or alone with my situation. The last year was the real mayor peeling off of a big chunky layer off my soul for me, like bearing down pains. Thank you for sharing your journey.

Ox Drover

Sky, that’s a good quote from Hitler! Thank you. I still haven’t made my way all the way through the biography of Hitler. There is so much in there about him….so psychopath even from teenaged years, that it triggers me actually, and I find it difficult and upsetting to read. Don’t know if I should force myself to do it, or just put it down and quit trying. I think both ways.



Thank you for the explanation. Actually, I copied, pasted, and printed it to reread again and again. I appreciate you taking the time to educate me. It caused me to recall a time when I was in a restaurant with my ex spath and this song came on that he was intensly interested in and kept telling me to listen to the words. I cannot recall the song, except that it was about a relationship and it kept talking about love and hate, singing back and forth “I love you, I hate you” in the refrain. He REALLY wanted me to listen to it. I look back on different moments like that which I now believe he was giving my cryptic messages.

Toward the end of our relationship he actually said something to the effect of “don’t you ever think I treat you this way to keep you?” I cannot usually recall the exact wording he used when he would say bizzare things to me. I believe I would automatically suppress the horror of what was actually going on, sort of a survival mechanism to keep myself in denial, causing a sort of amnesia, and things still remain fuzzy.

Like another time when I KNEW he was cheating on me and he lied and denied, but revealed in another comment a mere moment later that I was supposedly a better lover, making a comparison with other women he supposedly wasn’t cheating with. He event commented on the ugliest, mosquito bitten legs of the one woman he claimed he didn’t sleep with. She actually left in some of my clothes and left her dirty clothes at my house, which I am certain he wanted me to discover and be devasted in the same way that James had Donna find the photos of his daughter in the lockbox. He admitted to letting this woman take my clothes, because he claims I had told him that I was going to donate them. Truth is, I was still trying to lose weight after giving birth to our daughter a few months earlier. Awful memories, no wonder I’ve tried to repress so much.

Thank you for sharing your experiences on here so openly. You folks keep me sane with your shared experience.

Ox Drover

LP Marie you keep talking about how he would say something like denying the affair but saying you were a better lover….it doesn’t make sense that he would “admit” it sort of side ways, but that is one thing about psychopaths is that they will deny something even while admitting it….if that makes any sense at all. Dr. Hare in his book “Without Conscience” talks about how they don’t “get it” that you can SEE the evidence and they will continue to lie, it has something to do with the way their brain is wired differently than ours. Hare calls it “they can learn the words to the song but not the music.

They learn to say “I love you” but they don’t know what it really means, they only know that when they say those words to people that people will do things for them. I strongly suggest that you read Dr. Hare’s book “without conscience” it is the primer on psychopaths and one of the books along with others that will let you learn more about psychopaths, how to spot them and how to defend yourself from them (mostly stay away) and to heal. The articles here on LF will also help you, go back through the archives and read…read just the articles themselves to start with, and keep on blogging here. It takes time to learn and knowledge is the best protection we have. It is strength!



I think “Without Conscience” is a book I looked into on Amazon months back that was like $90 or something outrageous, but I will look again. I’ve read “The Sociopath Next Door,” “Lovefraud,” and “Getting it Through My Thick Skull,” so far. I agree, though we can CLEARLY see the evidence (i.e., his shirt on the floor next to the bed, paint missing from behind the headboard and we were not having sex due to recent childbirth, my shower and make up used…ewww, getting grossed out remembering…etc.), I’m supposed to believe his mangled words and ignore what I’m seeing with my eyes.

I am likely a person they refer to as a Highly Sensative Person (HSP) and that my brain (and the other 15-20% like me) is hard-wired to be more sensative. The amydala is actually hyper-sensative, the polar opposite of the psychopath who’s amygdala is under-active. All my life I was berated for being “too sensative” and I believe I spent the vast majority of my 20’s on anti-depressants without true depression. I think I was misdiagnosed, like my sensativity was a disorder. I’m learning to trust my sensative sense of intuition. This is really where the experiences with my spathy ex have helped me. I could FEEL a lot of insincerity, but choose to believe the lies over my own intuition. And since splitting with him, I’ve rediscovered that intuitive part of me and I believe it has saved my daughter and I from other dangerous people, the way Skylar was talking about feeling/sensing people that wanted to harm or even kill her, even without making eye contact with them 1st.

I’ll stay active on here. Once I get that GRE behind me, I will have a lot more time for my own healing and learning. And to put the relocation plans into high gear! I hope you are enjoying a lovely Friday 🙂

Ox Drover

Marie, It is 10.61 cents NEW on Amazon

Good luck with the GRE!


I confused it with “Mask of Sanity” which is in the $60 range. Thanks, I can’t wait for it to be over (the GRE).

Ox Drover

Marie, you can get Mask of Sanity on line, it is down loadable or you can just read it on line, I did.

Yea, the GRE is a biatch. I enjoyed it back when I took it but not now….brain is getting old now. LOL


Ha! Oxy and Marie, they DO speak out of both sides of their mouths.

I’ve said this before but the creepazoid I knew kept looking at other women, with lust, when I was standing right next to him. Just ogling like them.

Later, at a restaurant, I told him I found it disrespectful and hurtful that he would ogle other women, particularly in front of me, and that I would not tolerate it.

He denied it. Totally. THEN, in the next breath he said the solution would be….

wait for it……..

That I quit looking at him while we’re together!

Their thinking is SO screwed up it’s hard to believe.


Skylar and All,

I just started reading the book Donna recently reviewed titled
something like Character Disturbance: Dilemma of our blah blah.

Anyway, he talks, in the beginning of the book, how these disturbed and disordered individuals behaviors are basically automatic, that they even lie when the truth might serve their ‘purposes’ better. So the lying is automatic.

He says their behavior is automated ‘because’ it has given them enough rewards and goodies that they have no ‘real’ reason to change it (along with the inability to feel guilt and shame). But, he says, this is NOT the same as being unaware of what they are doing and why they are doing it.

And that this ‘automation’ of lying/manipulating/misdirecting can leave a ‘normal’ person, and therapists, thinking perhaps the spaths don’t have control of their choices. But he is emphatic that they know exactly what they are doing, despite this automated appearance.

I am not into the meat of the book, and I am not so good at explaining the nuance he brings to this discussion. But it is, so far, very compelling.



great book, here’s the download.

That’s called a double bind, I think!

Ox Drover

Of course they KNOW what they are doing, they just DO NOT CARE that it hurts you.

Therapists are people too, and some of them think like any person would, “they think like I do” and that is JUST NOT SO….PSYCHOPATHS DO NOT THINK LIKE WE DO. They are hard wired differently and their motives are not the same as ours.

Words don’t mean the same to them as they do to us.


Double bind for sure. It was the night I went home, threw myself on the bed, and cried like my best friend died. I knew then that it was SO over….that I was in a train wreck of a relationship.

It also was the beginning of opening my eyes to what was happening with my spathy boss and several other pretty narcissistic folks in my life.

I think it was Libelle who said in another post it was like the spath rubbed off the last bit of protective ‘denial’ or naivete I had to protect me from the truth of The Bad People, and the many that were around me in different roles.


I’m reading the same book right now. (when I have time).
It IS a very comprehensive book, so far.
I am pretty sure that the lying is automatic, but that isn’t exactly what I was referring to. I was referring to the WAY they lie. It’s a very specific manner of lying that normal people DON’T do. They invert the truth.

In other words, we can all see the truth and if I was to decide to lie, there are myriad of crazy things I could make up that are obviously not true. Spaths specifically turn the truth on it’s head when they lie. So whereas my lies could be based on anything, the spath’s lies are 180 degrees the opposite of the truth. Maybe they do it so it’s easy to remember!?
LOL! I hadn’t considered that! hmmm…..

I suppose that they might lie in the “normal” way as well, but normal people will lie with the smallest lie they can use to subvert the truth, where as spaths will pick the biggest lie they can. freaks!

And it appears that this method of lying is automatic.


Thanks to everyone for the books/links. And slimone’s comment about her ex’s ogling brought back another creepy memory. We lived close to a middle school and high school and he would constantly look at young girls on the sidewalk. When I would say “Spathy, she’s in middle/high school!” he would always say “That’s my friend’s daughter.” Ok. So he had like 100 friends in that area with daughter’s in the schools, and we just happened to see them all the time? No clue to how stupid his lie was. I never suspected he might be a pedophile until after he made comments about my infant daughter having a nice butt (yes, gag, he really did) and saying that he was afraid she was going to “turn him on” when she attempted to latch onto him (breastfed baby). After those comments, I never wanted him alone with her, ever.



Regarding the books, hard to pick the most helpful because they are all good. Regarding cost, just want to mention that some of these books can be purchased used at Amazon for a penny, but there’s a $4 delivery charge. So, some of the books cost about $4 used. Also, check your library and if they don’t have a book, you can ask them to order it.

I suppose the ’must read’ is Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life by Susan Forward.

Next, I recommend Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-Up’s Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents by Nina Brown.

Next, I recommend Adult Children Secrets of Dysfunctional Families: The Secrets of Dysfunctional Families by by John C. Friel and Linda D. Friel.

Lastly, recommend If You Had Controlling Parents: How to Make Peace with Your Past and Take Your Place in the World by Dan Neuharth.

Also want to mention this excellent book: The Narcissistic Family: Diagnosis and Treatment by Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman & Robert M. Pressman.

It’s been a while since I read these books, but I’d say that a unifying theme is that in order to recover & heal, we must essentially re-program our brains by removing the negative messages which our parents conveyed. The negative messages which our family implanted in our brains at a very early age allowed us to become the prey of abusive disordered people. So, we must replace the negative messages with positive ones. I find Hay House Radio to be an excellent source for reprogramming my brain with positive, empowering messages.


Thank you Clair. the parental units have been my biggest stumbling block. The programming from my infancy is the hardest to overcome. It became part of my identity so it’s incredibly painful to take it apart.

I didn’t have the shame and guilt from what my spath did. I never owned it, it was always his. My problem has been my parental units. They programmed my identity as a scapegoat. How do I stop sacrificing so others can be happy? And btw, those others aren’t even capable of happiness.

Ox Drover

Sky, I’ve read some of the books she recommended and I think they might do you some good in reprogramming from the Parental units’ programming.

My favoirite of them is the “if you had controlling parents” and it is part of my permanent library! I reread it every once in a while.

And BTW the reprogramming is an ONGOING PROCESS….none of this is “one and done” it is something we must work on for the rest of our lives I think….just like keeping the bitterness down is a work in progress, not something that is ever completely FINISHED.


“The programming from my infancy is the hardest to overcome. It became part of my identity so it’s incredibly painful to take it apart…..My problem has been my parental units. They programmed my identity as a scapegoat. How do I stop sacrificing so others can be happy?”

Skylar, I almost want to say “Good News” because, imo, you can do this!!!! Sounds like you are half way there. Just knowing you’ve been programmed as a scapegoat is (imo) 50% of the work. And, you know you need to re-program your brain, so, sounds like you’re almost FREE!!

“How do I stop sacrificing so others can be happy?”
This is what I think: If you’re sacrificing for others, sounds like you suffer from codependency. So, really read all you can on Co-D.

Also, read about the scapegoat archtype in the dysfunctional family. There’s a lot of stuff written about this.
Scapegoat dynamic:
The Scapegoat

Another book that deals with “How do I stop sacrificing so others can be happy?” is “Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them : When Loving Hurts and You Don’t Know Why by Susan Forward. ($4 used on amazon)

Additionally, please check out a web site which reminds me of LoveFraud, in that it is very informative, life changing & has a wonderful & supportive forum. It’s called “Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers”:

One of the moderator’s at DONM is named “Light” & she also has a great web site:

Lastly: Boundaries!!
This is one of my favorite Boundary books:
Where to Draw the Line: How to Set Healthy Boundaries Every Day by Anne Katherine

I think one of the reasons people raised in dysfunctional FOOs (families of origin) have so much trouble as adults later in life is that we were NOT raised with Boundaries. So, we don’t know where we begin & someone else ends. And, therefore, we assume the burdens & emotions of other people & do not see ourselves as separate human beings. We undertake to “fix” other people’s problems & fail to focus on our OWN lives (Co-D). Often, we have failed to individuate & become our own person. So, because of the role we had in our FOO (ie: scapegoat), we lack Boundaries, believe our self worth depends on making someone else happy & we “sacrifice” (Co-D). We never saw ourselves nor felt that we were strong independent people who have a right to enjoy our own individual lives, whether or not we make someone else happy (individuate). This mentality left us vulnerable to SPs, Ns & disordered, abusive people. But, once we see this, feel this, grieve this and do the work, we can free ourselves, turn it around & change our lives.

Sorry for the rant. But, Skylar, I think you’re half way there, girl! 🙂


““The programming from my infancy is the hardest to overcome. It became part of my identity so it’s incredibly painful to take it apart”

Also want to acknowledge this: Yes, it is going to hurt to undertake the “work” I described. Yes, it’s very painful. It is a grief process. It’s best if you can do this work while seeing a therapist. But, imo, we can’t set ourselves free w/o undergoing this pain. So, that’s really something to consider. Please try to line up a 3D support group or a T if you undertake this. I had to face the truth of my FOO & myself & it really hurt. Lots of tears. But, there is a reward & that reward is freedom & release from the goo of my FOO.

Best to you, sweetheart.


“And BTW the reprogramming is an ONGOING PROCESS”.none of this is “one and done” it is something we must work on for the rest of our lives I think”.just like keeping the bitterness down is a work in progress, not something that is ever completely FINISHED.”

Amen, Ox Drover. Agree that this work is never finished. But, I’m starting to think the non-ending quality of the work is the spiritual aspect of the journey. We keep refining ourselves everyday. I kinda like being a work-in-progress, always growing, always more possibilities.

Ox Drover

Clair, I am so glad that you are here….your information to Sky was wonderful and you have obviously done some work on yourself. I am glad you agree with me on the “work in progress” because that was my FIRST mistake decades ago when I was attacked and mutilated by my psychopathic sperm donor, I thought I would just “get over it” and there were times I thought I had, but I realized (many P-encounters later) that THAT IS NOT HOW IT IS DONE. It is a spiritual journey and a refining in the fire, like fine china and 24 K gold. It is an ongoing process and I will continue to work on it til the day I lose my marbles or die (which ever comes first) LOL

Some days we keep the ducks all in a row and some days they get out of line and we have to herd them back…but over all we can pretty well keep them in line easier and easier as we train ourselves to watch for the ones trying to cause trouble.


Oh, Ox Drover, Thank You So Much! It means a lot to hear you say that 🙂

“It is a spiritual journey and a refining in the fire, like fine china and 24 K gold. It is an ongoing process and I will continue to work on it til the day I lose my marbles or die (which ever comes first) LOL”

I totally agree, an ongoing refining in the fire. And the more I think about it, this journey is comparable to the journeys of heros in Ancient Greek Myths. We keep encountering the dragons and if we don’t fight them, they will maim or kill us. And, I’m really embracing the spiritual refinement of the process & the journey. I’m imperfect and I can always improve and learn.


It has been quite awhile since I have posted on here..altho I have checked in often to keep myself grounded….
My ex has not seen his child nor myself in over 2 yrs. he has recently attempted to get his mother to contact me and get info…the courts are after him for contempt for not paying support…I received this letter today…..I can definitely read in between the words as I am stronger now…but any advice insight would help….please:

I am writing this letter to you so we can decide what to do about Dylan. I am willing to do what you think is best. I have tried calling and sending text. I miss him and know I am missing out in his life. I am giving you an opportunity to make this easy for all of us. You just ned to let me know what you want me to do. I dont want to disrupt Dylans life. Or Yours! But, as you know my child support payments are adding up. And if they continue to do so I will begin court proceedings and fight for time with Dylan. I know neither one of us want that. Please let me know your thoughts. I just want to talk, and see what is best for Dylan and his future.

Ox Drover

Dear End the Pain,

Okay, he is making threats…..and the child support is probably adding up to where he is unable to pay it….and if the court is after him, he is going to have trouble getting a job and staying out of jail.

Sooooo. My suggestion is to try to BUY him off. He says that he wants to do what is BEST FOR Dylan….so I think what is BEST FOR DYLAN is to grow up without him in his life, and if it were me, I would contact his mother VERBALLY only and tell her that you will talk to the creep (for which you have bought a disposable phone that will ONLY be used for him) and when the creep calls your number, you tell him that you will LET HIM OFF THE HOOK FOREVER FOR CHILD SUPPORT (Big deal, cause you are never going to see a dime anyway!) if he will give up rights to Dylan so that your new husband can adopt him and Dylan can have a stable life. (BTW some states will not let a father give up rights and if you are getting any kind of welfare because you are not getting child support they won’t do it, but maybe you have a friend who would fill in as “daddy” and adopt…be careful on that….but it is something to think about.

That’s about all I can think about suggestions. He has you over a barrel, he can fight for visits, but at the same time, if he does he is going to PAY child support and all that goes with it, and we know he doesn’t want that, don’t we? Good luck.


LOVE that he is scapegoating you and blaming you. Says he doesn’t want to disrupt Dylans life and then proceeds to threaten you, “child support payments are adding up. IF they continue to do so, I will begin court proceedings”???? That needs to be reported. Got his MOMMY to contact you? Shows his character, doesn’t it?

Well, here is MY thoughts. HIS time with Dylan DOES disrupt Dylans life. You have NO obligation to answer this and in fact, it is my opinion that you should not. Do you have an attorney? All of his communication should be via your attorney. And this should be forwarded to your family law attorney.


thank you for your support and vote of confidence.
Wow, that article on the Golden Child / Scapegoat dynamic is really really dead on. It described my family dynamic. I can see also, that my spath brother is someone who is acting out the “bad seed”. Yet he’s not just acting. He transformed himself into that.

It’s so difficult to understand why parents would want to damage their own children. It makes no sense. Still, there’s nothing I can do about it, so I need to dust myself off and see how I can fix the damage that was done to me. Thank you so much for caring, for the links, and the book recommendations.
I’m so grateful that you’re here sharing what you’ve learned on your journey. One thing I’ve learned, the people you choose to travel with make all the difference on how you perceive your journey.


End the Pain,
DO NOT RESPOND. Remember NO response is the best response to a spath. When they threaten, it’s because they are trying to get a reaction from you. YOUR reaction will be mined for clues. These clues will tell him what you want, what you value and what your hooks are. Then he will proceed to do everything possible to make your life miserable. He doesn’t care about Dylan or you. He only cares about making you miserable because in his mind, you deserve it. There is nothing you can do to make him NOT want to make you miserable, so the only thing you can do is not give him any clues about what’s important to you.

If there is ANY contact with him at all, and you must say something to him, make sure that you don’t let him know what you really want.

He will keep trying to fish for info. He will threaten different things to see if you react. The only thing that will keep him from acting, is not having any information to act on. If he does begin proceedings, do not struggle against it. He will lose interest if he doesn’t think it bothers you.

In the end, if you must come to some settlement, let your attorney’s do all the interacting. If he must see your face, show no expression. Act bored.

Ox Drover

Yea, No Contact is probably the best way to go, or through the attorney, but dog gone if there was some way to buy him off for the child support that she’s not gonna get anyway. ….sigh….just wish he would flush himself down the toilet and leave her and the baby alone!


eventually she will probably do just that, but he doesn’t WANT to go away easy. So it’s necessary to let him go through his melt down drama, get it out of his system and let him think he “won” because he didn’t pay everything he owed and because she is so boring that he’d rather have nothing to do with her.


Thank you for the feedback. I have no intention of responding or reacting. I do not have an attorney but will seek counsel as soon as possible. My thought was to use this as leverage to get him away completely…but do not want to settle anything with him,as of now. I now the state is coming after him with charges of contempt..NOT MY PROBLEM….I hear the threats in the letter and the warped way he thinks he is trying to hook me….I am strong but he still ruffles me, a bit…


when it comes to money and past due child support….how far do you think he will takes this when he doesnt get a reaction from me?? It seems to me he is not expecting me to sit back and play this out….it seems court is where this needs to go??

Ox Drover


I think the point of his letter is that the court coming after him is starting to hurt him in some way….so he is threatening you to get you to call off your “dogs” (the court) or he will get visitation with the baby (which I think he figures you don’t want)….and I agree, talk to your attorney ASAP.

He may be just “bluffing” because when he shows up for court they will arrest him. LOL But who knows? I think you will maybe be able to buy him out at some point. I hope so anyway. Good luck. Keep us posted on the outcome. God bless.

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