By | August 10, 2012 39 Comments

Lovefraud Lesson #7: Sociopaths trap us into making promises

Donna Andersen explains why we should not feel obligated to keep promises made to sociopaths. Watch the latest episode of Lovefraud Lessons here:


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DONNA!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for this video!!! I’m one of those doggoned people, and my son has taught me a valuable lesson. He won’t “promise” to do anything because he said that he doesn’t want to break a promise, so he avoids making them in the event that something happens to where he’s unable to fulfill his oaths.


WONDERFUL, thank you for this terrific series!

Wow Donna, this was such a good one!

“A promise to a sociopath is not a promise made in truth.”

I remember having long conversations with me ex spath about how I would never leave him just because times were tough. Little did I know, times would ALWAYS be tough because his financial problems had nothing to do with “the economy” or “misfortune” and all to do with a syndrome called “I don’t want to get a job because I would prefer to just live off of my victims.”

40 years and never had a real job. I guess to the delusional spath, that is just a long period of “hard times”?


Oh, my, Donna that was a great video!

A promise to myself is what got me involved with the spath. He had been targeting me and I had kept him at bay for several days. It even came to a point where I rejected him. He was still acting ‘caring’ and such to me the rest of that evening, but came across as desperate and dissapointed, and I felt pity for him. (that was his pity play act). So, I went home promising myself that I would be a good friend to him and stand up for him if others smearcampained him… And two days later I was sucked in and defended him, when he was actually doing a lot of wrong stuff behind my back to others and myself.

Thruthspeak, I learned not only not to make promises to others, but not even to myself when it comes to another person’s character. There are but a few people I can vouch for, and those I have known intimately in all sorts of situations for over a decade.


Same as my ex-spath. He was 40 years old and he didn’t have a paid job, his job is to live off of his targets. He’s now living with the next one who offered him a place to stay and takes care of all his needs. What shameless audacity! it sucks.
I managed to get all my money back though.

My ex used to tell his older son to never make promises because they were meant to be broken and that he should only give his word. This always confused me since he relied so heavily on other people making and keep their promises. And now, this whole giving your word sounds even more ridiculous because my ex’s word is about as valuable as a wet food stamp.


Yes, Cappucinoqueen,

my ex similarly tried to “teach” his son morals. What a joke…he was obsessed with liars, his online dating profile proclaiming his hatred for people who lie!

Yes, CQ, it’s opposite day in spath land. With disastrous consequences. He could lie in a heartbeat. He swore to me on more than one occasion he wasn’t seeing anyone else….swore on his son’s life. He lied. Sick piece of shiat


Donna, this is a really important topic of boundaries, where I’m concerned.

On the one hand, it’s considered a virtue to be a person of one’s word. On the other hand, that “virtue” can quickly be used against someone by a sociopath.

I OFTEN wondered why that one question was on the target risk quiz! I can’t remember exactly how it goes, but it went something like, “Do you keep promises that you make to others?” Well, until you posted this video, I just didn’t understand how my integrity could be an assist to spaths, other than that they hated integrity and wanted only to dismantle it.

For a long, long time, I didn’t understand why my son would say, “I never make promises,” until now. Holy moley – and, I mean HOLY MOLEY.

Sometimes, I wonder if there will ever be a day when I’m going to be emotionally sound. Each new article peels away another onion skin of my vulnerabilities and personal issues, and correcting these issues is a daunting task. It’s a “good” thing to learn about these vulnerabilities that I have, but it’s also horrible to realize (and, process) that things that I had always believed to be “virtues” may not be all that virtuous.

Who would ever have imagined that keeping promises was a bad thing? I really, really have to contemplate this issue and sort out means to resolve it.

Brightest blessings


Strongawoman, that is probably the most pat response that I’ve experienced and read from other survivors with regard to the spaths. “I hate a liar,” is a screaming, flapping, waving, dancing, and on-fire Red Flag, to me.

The first exspath always said that exact quote, “I hate a liar.” The second exspath wouldn’t say that quote, but he would often point to other people’s inconsistencies and dishonesty – more like making the comment, by proxy.



Yep Truth and how did I read that proclamation? …….Sheesh is right, my friend. Running and screaming in the opposite direction, thats what I shoulda done. I saw it as an attribute, that he was honest.

Oh dearie me……


Strongawoman, well, we have to remind ourselves that we were living in a world where a person’s word was their bond, right? And, this “quality” or “virtue” of honesty and holding to promises was something that we expected from everyone else because we had done that, ourselves.

Today, and for the rest of my life, promises are out of the question. Not because I wouldn’t love to be able to keep them, but because keeping them became a weapon that was used with surgical precision by the spaths that I’ve encountered.


Yes Truthspeak: we WERE living and do live in a world where a person is only as good as their word.
Promises are not meant to be broken.
At least to a ppath; hm?
I mean, THEY can break them to us
but NEVER can we to them. Hm?
Of course, we know what value we
place upon our promises but we are
in the minority not the majority, I am finding.

Words are words and how we say them and the way we choose to say them makes all the difference in the world.

Once words are said, they can’t be erased.
They stay with us always.

That is another weapon they use.
At least in the deep mind control “I”
have experienced all these years.

It’s not easy coming out of that.
You like to think you are strong enough
to come bursting through the exposure,
however, you don’t notice how much it
has ingrained itself in you until you try to
let go. Until you try to get out. THEN
you can see the control and the addiction.
Very clearly. Absolutely.

We must pick and choose where our hearts attempt to lead us.



hey all! had a pretty good weekend with wife and family! been thinkin about it. read some of the above and wow thats how she got hooked. she said he did this pity play and then once she crossed the line he had her making promises not to BETRAY HIM. i wanna puke here.
So i thought about it whenever i had the chance here this weekend. i think i have a ton of really bad crap lying around in this heart of mine. i am looking for a way to vent it that does not involve her, breaking the law, or some immoral act. . . . . . . hmmmmmmm. well lets see. a few months ago, i had something push me over the edge, dont remember what it was but i flew off the handle and let fly and broke some stuff out in the garage. i really had a fit and when i was done, i cried a lot and then laughed at myself for being such an idiot. i sat there in my man cave, amidst the wreckage, and thought Gee im glad no one witnessed that!
funny though, looking back i think i let some of it out and i didnt hurt anyone else. so im wondering, if i throw eggs, or break things, does the rage inside come up for the party or what. I mean, that time i was triggered. oh, i remember now! I was up working on our new porch roof and my wife was helping me by handing sheets up and our little two year old grandson was toddling about below. now my wife isnt the likes of anyone who would let that little guy get hurt, but you all know how stubborn we can be. i was a bit ticked off already when she ignored my suggestion that she have our grandson stay in the house. after all he’d cry or throw a fit and she couldnt have that. then it happened, he got in her way and some stuff fell over on him! he didnt get hurt but got knocked over and i was stuck up on the roof helpless but to watch. wow! i thought for a minute here that i was pissed off because she wouldnt listen but it just came to me that it may have been deeper. i may have been watching her fall for a childs pity play. I know most youngsters do it. most of our four kids pulled that all the time. but my wife and i learned by the second one how to read and react to it. I was wondering why she was so soft as a grandma. i mean really soft! our little grandson was born about a month into her affair with this maniac. and he used pity on her. it was like she lost all the wisdom she had over the years!
also wanted you guys to know that although my wife is the diagnosed co-dependent here, i may have picked up some of this along the years. someone here made a comment to the effect a few days ago and i gave it some thought.
my therapist says im a “type A personality” or at least an analyzer. duh. might make me a halfway decent engineer huh??
so if i coax out the anger this way, what about the pain? and the betrayal, god knows what other damage done to my brain by the three ten minute conversations i had with my wifes pschyco boyfriend? oh and all the letters i was priveleged to read once she was sick of him.


last weekend we went to a wedding. had mostly fun but my wife pulled some creep off our seventeen year daughter out on the dance floor while i wasnt looking. ok thats cool but then later, he starts hitting on her, she’s giving me that come save me look and i let her handle it herself. i figured, she’s a big girl, i’m not gonna be rescuing her. then i get crap from her. it really twisted my chain cause heres some creep with his paws on a minor, and she doesnt have the guts to walk away from him when he starts on her.
do any of you folks find yourselves having difficulty saying no?


Rgc, absolutely, I have always had a problem saying, “NO.” As Donna’s video clearly points out, I can’t say, “No,” and I loathe breaking a promise. So, why can’t I say, “No,” and feel comfortable about it? Why do promises hold so much meaning to me?

I couldn’t say, “No,” because I lacked self-assurance, self-esteem, self-worth, and every other positive “Selfism” there is. If I said, “No,” then I risked rejection and abandonment.

Promises became hyper-vital to me because it was an oath. And, people who make oaths never break them, right?

As per the rage, anger, etc…..Rgc, this is sort of where I was going when you felt that I was picking at you. If we do not express our feelings, we end up exploding in an uncontrollable fit that either destroys possessions, or harms other people. In my case, you may know that the exspath left (and, never returned) after I attacked him in a fit of uncontrollable rage when I discovered hard proof that he had been engaging in the most vile sexual activities with another person (at least), and possibly spending a load of money going to group gatherings where violent deviant sexual fantasies were acted out.

I had known that he had been doing these things for about a month, and I had repeatedly told him that he needed to tell me if he had been having sex with someone else, and he flatly denied the obvious, again and again. It wasn’t so much that he had engaged in his violent fantasies as much as his denial of the absolute obvious. I mean……..REALLY……..a box of condoms and all of the other physical evidence that I found, and he still denied what he was doing?

So, Rgc, this is what I was trying to put forth – speaking about YOU and your feelings, your sense of betrayal, your disgust, your disappointment, your anger…..these are things that are primal in each of us, and we need to talk about these things or we risk going off the proverbial deep end like I did.

With regard to the guy that was hitting on your daughter, and then on the wife, BRAVO!!! Although it would be wonderful if it were true, nobody is a knight on a white charger. I know it must have been difficult to resist the urge to rescue her, but good for you!

Yeah, it twisted your chain because you’re reading more, absorbing more, analyzing more, and “seeing” more about this whole situation. And, you aren’t required to save anyone else but yourself.

Brightest blessings to you



Anger and rage is a very physical feeling. The best way to get it out of your system is in a physical way. So, yes, even if you’re angry about something else and end up breaking something you suddenly might feel the urge to wreak more havoc.

We think it’s wrong to break stuff, regard it as violence. But if you do it methodical without hurting anyone and even witnessing it, it can be the best way to relief yourself of anger.

I think you did the right thing by not rescuing her from the creep. She needs to learn to get rid of creeps herself, because you can’t be around to save her from them every time. She needs to learn to save herself, say no to people and even dare to risk being impolite to jerks.


thanks both of you! its funny how my brain has all this stuff in line and down pat. but the way it affects me seems to be an amalgom of the effects i study. i guess im unique so im not gonna find “how this feels to me” in a textbook.


its my day off after the family party! she’s working and i’m gonna have some fun! c-ya! your all amazing!


me again, don’t know if this is where I should be. Unless I am too ashamed. ugh.


Useless2010, only you know where you need to be.

Brightest blessings


I need to be right where I am. That is home with my loving family. We just can’t seem to get past this affair I had. I am different and need to change or it will ruin us. I don’t have rage and even if I did, I don’t think beating something will help. That scares me. rgc, what does your wife do for a living if I may ask? Would that effect her personality at all? The reason I ask, is that it seems to affect some people.


Useless2010, I would recommend individual counseling to help you sort it all out.


that didn’t work. The guy used me, and tried to break up my family. Whatever, he’s gone now. but shadows haunt my hubby and it isn’t helping.



stages of grief have several set of feelings, not only rage, and it’s different for each individual how they go through the stages, which will dominate at first, while for others it all comes all at once. And nobody here is advizing each other to beat someone up. 🙂

It sounds like your husband needs individual counseling. Your individual counseling may not have worked for you because you didn’t have the right counselor for you.

Of course shadows haunt your husband. And no, of course it isn’t helping. But your husband is a person who has feelings and grief and who has to go through it as well and needs time for it.

Yes you are changed. And yet you seem to expect it’s possible to turn back the clock emotional wise back to before the affair and seem to expect from yourself to change back into that previous person and wife. You can’t! It’s the one thing neither of you can do, especially since the previous person you were was the person who got hooked into an affair by a spath.

You have to grow and learn from the affair, the spath and the issues between you and your husband. Your husband has to do the same. And then the relationship between you two has to grow and learn from it as well.


useless2010. i dont know abouy you hubby, but what i (think) i need is for my wife to learn to explore this. I feel like because i did a lot of research, my intellect gets it. but my heart is a different matter. i think it still doubts. it may still believe that this happened to our marrige because of me. i think our hearts and minds are two separate entities. and i think they are supposed to be more in sync than not. sure one leads the other occasionally. but when something like this happens, they can become way out of sync. its like my mind understands it, but my heart keeps arguing that its all my fault. i think i could see this in my wife a lot. keep studying here. these people have definitely experienced something unique. and people who havent simply dont know. resist the temptation to push it all down inside you. i’m pretty sure it will come back up. i think this is how my wife is dealing (or not dealing with it). i know her mind knows this guy was trash and he was ALL lies. but her heart seems to be taking its time. hang in there. it takes time.

raised by sociopath

Thank you Donna for this truthful video.

I have and am learning not to keep promises with people who manipulate me into feeling sorry for them as diversion to get what they want from me.

I’m working on creating a distance from a man who had become my friend through a meet-up group. This man right from the start obnoxiously stuffs his religious beliefs down everyone else’s throats. He obnoxiously professes he’s following God and this great person however; he sleeps around on his Sweet mate (he calls her) and calls me if he wants someone to go outside and play with him (this man is in his late forties). He lives off his so called Sweet mate and lacks the maturity (possible sociopath) to seek employment as most human being adults do. So if I tell him to not contact me during the day because I’m spending the time looking for employment his retarded comment is “well I have no job and God takes care of me”. When I brought my sons home from college (ten hour round trip) this retard contacts me and tells me arrogantly and in a childish way that he’s in my town now during my town’s carnival days. Yeppie (sarcasm)! When I try to explain I’m tired and finally have my much happy for me awaiting sons home this arrogant self-centered retard comes right and says “well they have bikes don’t they”!
He sends me text messages of Bible scriptures and ask stupid religious questions from me.
I’m always worried about people not liking me and causing drama for me because I don’t behave in the positive way they want. I’m trying to deprogram myself from this self destructive thinking. This type of thinking is making myself easy target to be manipulated.

I’m not responding to his text messages and have blocked his calls. He will hopefully get bored after the temper tantrum.


my wife is in the medical field. also a community volunteer. if you go looking, youll find some commonality here. people who are born nurturers are also targets. my wife fell for the pity play. nurturers love to help people. thats why you’ll find lots of them in medicine. this makes them targets and easily identified by the disordered. keep studying. it will ultimately help you understand why this happened and teach you that you didnt get what you bargained for. that its not ALL your fault.


heres one for you donna. last night my wife and i had a discussion about this stuff with her and her ex boyfriend. I think she is curious and when she sees some of the similarities, i think her jaw will drop. she still seems to think she has processed all this stuff. so, denial? or do people actually get it through and through by themselves. ??.seems to me the closer she gets to really gripping this, the easier it should be to talk about it.


useless, i think that there are several things required in order for therapy to work.
(1) we must be willing to open up about our feelings or our therapists hands will be tied.
(2) we need a therapist who understands pathological bonds. also known as trauma bonds. without an understanding of this phenomena, they’ll assume your affair was garden variety and that time alone will cause sufficient healing. it took me a few tries to get someone who understands this.

Divorced from Gaslighter

I grew up in a home in which it was considered extremely disrespectful to disagree with my parents about anything. I was never allowed to form my own opinions about anything, much less express them openly. Whatever they wanted, the only acceptable answer was “yes.” Even today, my mother will try to shove me into doing something she wants me to do (generally involving spending time with relatives I don’t like,) and she will get really frustrated and angry if I don’t do what she wants AND act as though I am pleased to do it.


thanks rgc, I feel that my hubby is slipping away before giving me the chance to heal from this. He gives me little time to heal and seems so anxious to be intimate. I am so nervous around him for fear he will bring things up again. I have other issues in my life that I am trying to deal with too and I feel I should take one problem at a time first. I actually don’t give a hoot about Mr. spath and want to move on. He thinks I need to explore my past when there is no past to explore. confused in Kentucky….


>raised by a sociopath

he already thinks he’s “your man”. just that remark about the kids.
is that where you see him? in your bed? cause sounds to me like he does.
i’ve known some seriously crazy that hide behind exactly this kind of beginning. get him out of your life totally, and do not be nice about it. every nice to him is a win.
& he’ll possibly come to your house, since phone is blocked, don’t open the door,don’t talk to him– if he doesn’t go away call the police. just do it.


RGC, I wish all men were as open and intelligent as you to self introspection. It sounds as the wife is a little immature, looking for attention? It’s difficult if you are out dancing to not have fun, dance with everyone, etc. I also had to learn to look hard at the pity party type dudes. It’s a childish way to get attention, and a childish woman will fall for it. Good luck to you and keep up the good work. Never stop learning.


This was good video and it took some weights from my heart. Before marriage, spath and I talked about his mom and my older son to be issue once we are together. I told him we know the issue points and we will deal with it together as a family..

But a little I knew his mother is a living mostor,she wanted to break us as soon as we got married, she lived with us, and he would come home jumped all over me, you promised me to take care of my mom, means you make sure my mom doensn’t get chance to complain, I said as you told me she has issues, these are the same issues we talked, how come it became my promise. This guy twist and turn everything I said in to my promise bucket, before I new my bucket was over flowing, and he got none. Every time I had to bring up something how and when whole thing would turn to me and suddenly I who was supposed to be victim of the situation is getting loud yelling and I would try to figure out what did I wrong here.

It was a very suceessfull manipulation, spath make you so confused that you forget to ever bring anything to resolve, and they forcefully throw everything at you as you promised to solve the world for them and guess what in the confusion you find yourself saying sorry that you didn’t fulfillthe promise you never made.



I love the promise bucket analogy .

“guess what in the confusion you find yourself saying sorry that you didn’t fulfillthe promise you never made.”

That is powerful!!


my wife seems to feel the same way. what we mean by things in our past, are things that may have compromised our self esteem. when we have sufficient self esteem we are usually ok with telling people no. without self esteem we might be easily induced to feel obligated, or might be easily impressed without first seeing more proof of someones sincerity. we also have problems with boundaries and limitations. we take peoples word and invest in them before we have proof that they are worthy of our time.

our self esteem is built upon our past experiences. plain and simple. most people agree that we as humans are really the sum of our experiences. for example, before i was married i was kind of a lonely guy. i as a teen, got my high school girlfriend pregnant, endured quite a bit of crap. (no the girl isnt the only one who gets crap) rumors flew and first thing you know, the freshman girls are literally moving to the opposite side of the hall when they see me coming. this had an effect on me and i didn’t get over it for a long time.
now obviously i didn’t deserve to be treated that way. and at the time i would even joke about it. but it stuck with me foe a long time and i didn’t realize that until l looked back and kind of uncovered it. it was kind of dirty and nasty to do but now it carries much less weight. i now see why i had so much difficulty dating or at least getting a date. back then i just thought i must be some loser but it was the lack of confidence that the girls could see was missing. and that lack of confidence was caused by my experience. when your a guy and chicks run away from you, well it leaves a mark.
my point is here that when we dig back in the dirt of our past, it is more common than not to find a few bones if not whole skeletons.
its scary till you do it a few times.



thanks for the compliment but i wish i’d spent more time thinking about these things years ago. guess better late than never.


Spath told me all the time with a big pride, he believes in “conditioning” children and I guess wife as well and his mom. He uused to say when you enforce a repeatition people around you will do things without even thinking. And when one of the kid will not do what he thought is right, he would yell and yell.

Even on 7th birhtday of my son, after we were done wiht the party, and he was happy oepning gifts in his room, this guy went and start yelling at him, why he has all thei gift papers everywhere in the room.

He made sure that none of can even feel joy even for one second, for the celebration regarding graduation and birhtday. “Fear factor” is his mantra.

I looked at this person and tried to figure out, who is he, what does he want from us, what will make him happy, but as soon as I would think I know what will make him happy, he would bring something else, you promised this but you didn’t do this, or children didn’t do this.

Sorry even writing about this making me upset.

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