By | March 14, 2009 137 Comments

Man’s Best Friend

By Ox Drover

Someone sent me a forwarded e mail the other day that I had seen before, but this time, as I read the sweet story about how to tell the differences between heaven and hell, I started to think about my own life in relationship to this story. You may have heard it before, but here is the story.

A man was walking along with his dog one day down a pleasant road and he realized that both he and the dog were dead. The road was nice but he began to be tired, hot and thirsty. He came around a bend and saw the most beautiful golden gates, with a kindly looking person standing there. The gate was surrounded by flowers and he thought how beautiful it looked. He approached the kindly looking man and asked where he was. The man softly touched his arm, reassuring him, and then said, “Step into Heaven my friend, you are safely here.” The man started toward this wonderful golden gate, but just before he stepped through., the kindly stranger at the gate said, “Oh, your dog can’t go with you, he has no soul.”

The man looked at his dog, standing faithfully beside him in death as he had in life, and sadly turned away from the entrance to Heaven and started walking down the road again. Soon he came to a very plain looking, rustic gate with a rustic man sitting by the gate.

He approached the man by the gate and said “My dog and I are very thirsty and we would love a drink of water if you could provide us with some.” Of course the rustic man invited the man into his lane, gave him and the dog both a bowl of water and said, “welcome.”

When the man asked “Where am I?” The rustic old man said “Well, son you’re in Heaven” The man was confused and asked about the glittering golden gates he had passed because they wouldn’t let his dog in with him, and the rustic old saint said, “Oh, yea, that’s Hell, we use him to screen out the riff raff. We don’t want anyone here who would desert his dog or a friend for what appears to be the golden gates.”

I got to thinking of that man as an analogy of my life, and I realized that so many times I have deserted my best friend (myself) for what appeared a “golden gate” of the easy path. I have gotten off the Road to Healing long before I even approached taking care of myself. I have entered into the false Heaven because it looked so easy, so wonderful, and I have left my best friend — myself–standing alone out side while I entered into this wonderland of deceit and self deception—again and again.

This time, I am determined to bypass the “quick and easy” solutions and to stay on the road to Healing and to take my best friend with me, to care for her ”¦ she deserves my love and nurturing. No one who will not recognize that my best friend is valuable, that I cannot do less than respect her, deserves a place in my life. No one else can take responsibility and make me happy without her. She is ME.

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Thank you for this reflection! This reminds me that I would not tolerate anyone who would harm my child or sweet dog. Why then tolerate anyone who would seek to harm me? The great Commandment: Love thy neighbor as thyself. You can do nothing for your neighbor if you don’t love yourself!


Oxy, a wise and gentle post. Yes I walked through those gates, and there was quite a show going on in there. Flashy cars, expensive wine and very nicely tailored suits.

After more than a year on NC – I have come to realize what an emotional wasteland I tolerated and twisted myself into a pretzel trying to accept as “love”. Finally have realized that no one – ever – has given me the emotional support I need or want. But the false idea that I had it – “love” from my ex – made the need and confusion all the greater. Made the “what is wrong with me” thing become and endless loop.

Caring for myself now has truly become a pleasure. Trying to nurtue the “image” of a happy marriage, cost me the ability to nurture myself for many many years. No more.


Very sweet story- it brought tears to my eyes. Yes, I thought the SP in my life was my best friend. I never would have abandoned him but he dropped me in an instant for the “golden gate”- his new “love”( but as some of you have pointed out, really his new victim). Sometimes I try to think that he really isn’t a sociopath, that he just made a mistake and will eventually come back to me. But when I read the posts and review Ms. Stout’s book, he so exactly matches so many of the characteristics of a socioath. Maybe the “hell” in the story is what awaits him. I am trying very hard to focus on ME.

Ox Drover

Dear Blindsided,

He will never be “true” to anyone. You allowed him to lead you into the “golden gates” of his deception, but that is what they DO. Oh, by the way, leave your morals and your conscience outside the gate, standing on the road.

All that glitters is not gold, and the fool’s gold of their “love” that they show is is just that, FOOL’s gold. They fool us, they are FAKE. You are better off without him. You deserve the REAL THING, not some fantasy.

Dear Eyes, yep it takes a LOT of energy to maintain that illusion. Energy better spent on taking care of ourselves.

Dear Peace,

Yes, we cannot love our neighbor if we don’t love ourselves first. I think we forget that sometimes and give MORE TO THE NEIGHBOR than we do ourselves. I don’t recall anything in the Bible that says we should love the neighbor MORE than we care for ourselves.


Wow, apt metaphore. I can relate.


Yes, I always deserted my best friend, I never thought of myself that way, I was too busy taking care of everyone elses feelings because I didn’t want to feel my own. Thank you for the analogy, you are so creative and insightful, it gives me another way to think about myself.


Good one Oxy! Good one!

Thanks for sharing this story.



I was going to contact Donna to see if I could send you a private note but since you have a new article… here is your note.

I wanted to share with you that I just wrote a check yesterday that represents the END OF MY BAD MAN debt!

I AM BAD MAN DEBT FREE! (I think I got off really easy compared to so many… but it was still a mountain to climb)

Lately, people what have met in the last few years (post BM) have started to say that I seem changed. Two days ago, someone told me, “You look like you don’t have a care in the world!”

I still have plenty of worries but it is true. I can close that chapter.. my tropical debacle as I call it, at least financially!

And I have been accepted to Graduate School for a Masters of Social Work in the Fall. My career has been restarted in a new field and I am using my pain to work with others in pain… and I don’t mind. I really don’t.. because it makes use of what I went through.

I guess I wanted to share with you because you have been such an amazing, truthful, uplifting, skillet waving, encouraging presense at LF and I feel like you are Aunt Oxy! Funny isn’t it?

So thank you for all your wisdom and wise cracking! I just love imagining you on the farm… I just love it!

All the best! Elise


OxD, what a wonderful story. The only thing that would have made it better is a skillet. I’m sure there must be skillets in heaven. 🙂

Yes, how many times have I done what was not in my best interest because I was dazzled by promises of greed, false hope, and dazzling images of the future? I still don’t always know how to take care of myself. Sometimes I only figure it out by accident when I have been neglecting myself too long. I’ve got the physical part down–eating well, sleeping, and exercising. But getting emotional needs met is still a challenge for me. While so many people regard themselves as too needy, I am hopelessly self-sufficient and private–to an extreme.



You have let us into your life. That’s progress, isn’t it?


Ox Drover

Dear Aloha,

I would love to get a note from you off line, there are some questions and advice I would like to ask you that are not really appropriate here on this blog. If you are agreeable, please tell donna.

Thank you so much for all your kudos! You don’t know how much that means coming from such a strong wonderfull woman as yourself! You have been MY inspiration since I came here and “met” you. I have seen the growth in you through the many months. You have no idea how GLAD I AM that you will be going to school for your masters in social work! You are a natural!!!!WAY YO GO!!!! TOWANDA!!! That is the way to make lemonaid out of the lemons (of the BM experience). What a wonderful victi advocate you will be!!!!!

I know you have been busy, but I miss your daily posts when you are gone for a few days. I know being retired gives me more time to get on line than it does you (and the frequent breaks I have to take during the day etc)

CONGRATULATIONS for paying off your debts! That is great Aloha, I know tht has been a heavy burden on your back all this time. DEBT FREE!!!!! TOWANDA!!!! again.

I’m anxious for spring to get here and STAY here, after a few days of 70 degee weather we went back to ice, snow, and cold rain. Not much of the first two but plenty of the last one. Sons are gone housesitting for a couple of weeks so I am mainly just vegging inside til tomorrow when it will warm up!!!! I’m ready!!!!

When will your classes start on your masters? Where? I am so excited for you! This is just great news!!!!! WOW!!!!! If you will let me know when and where you will graduate I will BE THERE, if I have to walk (or ride Fat or Hairy) cause I can’t afford a bus ticket! ((((hugs)))) and always all my prayers for you my friend!!!


AlohaT (your new hiphop name lol),
Yes, I have a little. It’s different with people in real life though. I think it’s easier to hide behind the anonymity of the internet where you don’t have to even look into people’s eyes and let them see into yours.

I’m so glad you are doing so well and also that you drop in once in a while, even though your bad “incident” is long past. Good for you for starting school. Sounds like a stepping stone for a great life ahead.


I am in the same situation as you are. I can take care of the “physical me”, but I sadly lack the ability to take care of the “emotional me”. I don’t honestly think I’ve ever learned how to do that. I had my first child when I was 20, & I think for the last 34 years, I have been meeting the needs of raising 4 kids, working full time, & the 10 wasted & exhausting years with the s, I get a total case of the guilts if I even think about doing anything for me. I’ve thought alot about that this week. I have always been a nurturer for as long as I can remember-to everyone but myself. All of my kids are out on their own, now, & the only person I have to take care of is me…but I don’t know how.

Oxy & Henry,
I do have something good to tell you both. I got a phone call on Thurs. night from the couple who had adpted my dog. It turns out that they wanted to bring her back, because they couldn’t get her to eat. They loved her to pieces, but they said she just missed me too much, so they brought her home. I know I’ll probably have the dickens to pay when my 2 kids find out. They never liked my dog. But at least I’ve got my ole buddy back! We’re like 2 cranky old cronies who are used to each others ways.


From another animal lover, it melts my heart that you got your dog back. Here is a link to another animal-human reunion that makes me cry every time. (Caution: You will need Kleenex to watch it). Some of you may have seen it already but this is the full version.

Ox Drover

Dear Stiles,

Well, if you gave up your dog to “please” your kids, tell them to take a hike and keep the dog. A good dog is TOO hard to find, you can replace the kids! LOL I AM glad you have her back. That kind of love and devotion makes all the trouble they are worthwhile.

I had one once years ago that I ended up having to put to sleep because I could NOT take care of her and there was no way she could be re-homed (she would have died) and it broke my heart to do so. Even moving my old Pyrenees that summer I had to run traumatized her as much as me. She was terrified of gun fire and it was July 4th and where we were it sounded like a mexican revolution of fire crackers for two weeks. A 110 pound dog that is terrified is something, too, and she was not a house dog. I chained her and she ate the tree dow, I penned her and she destroyed a THICK chain link fence with her teeth, pulled so hard she broke toes. I finally would put her in the RV at night in the “toy room” but had to chain her to the floor with only about 6 inches of chain as she was trying to claw her way out the window otherwise. She did have about 2-3 months of good life and run loose before she was murdered on thanksgiving day. She was a great dog and I still miss her. She dicdn’t want to eat either when she was so upset, I followed her around with hamburger begging her to eat, then cooked it, in various kinds of done, put gravy on it, etc. so I did keep her from starving to death at least.

My an-i-mules are part of my family, but if my situation calls for it again, I would put them down before I would traumatize any of them by forced unhappy re-homing again. I’m glad she is back with you.

Learning how to nurture youself and NOT feel guilty is a thing I have had to work hard on, Stiles, and I think it was really hard for me because I didn’t have PERMISSION to take care of myself. I always wanted someone there for ME, but except for my late husband and son D it seemed that there was never anyone there for ME—it was always me being there for THEM, but when my “turn” came, I was expected to take care of myself, but since I didn’t hve permission to, I didn’t know how or that it was even OK. Now I do know it is okay and I am working on the guilty feeling of doing it. It is getting much better, but I do have to remind myself it is OK. My sons have been telling me that for years, but I never believed them.

If they are working around here and I don’t want to that day, I tell them and they will say “GOOD go paint a picture or whatever” and I get a twinge of guilt, but it is getting better. So you CAN DO IT!!!! You are stronger than you know! (((hugs)))


Sometimes learning how to nurture ourselves is easier said than done. I recall having mild anxiety attacks when I was young of “wanting something” but not knowing what it was I wanted. Even then, I didn’t recognize my needs. I used to assume is was thirst, and I’d usually have a coke or a root beer (root beer was for the extreme thirst).

As an adult, it’s still tricky sometimes. The voice in my head says: “You should get up and clean your house and work out”, while what I really want is to sleep in, cuddle my animals, and meditate. It’s hard sometimes to figure out what I really need and want. It is most often found in silence.

When I say I’ve been finding joy in life lately, it’s because I’ve been actually identifying fun things I want to do–things I used to do, like go to flea markets, ethnic restaurants, and independent films–and doing those things again. It brings me back to my mid-20’s when I was living in San Francisco and doing those things all the time. It’s funny–something many people take for granted–figuring out what you want/need in the moment is like pulling teeth for an adult child of narcissists.



Good post. Oddly enough, a friend who runs an animal rescue in one of the Southern states sent me the “golden gates” story a few weeks ago. Still, I know well the wonderland of deceit and deception.


I guess you have a big “free at last, free at last, thank God almighty she’s free at last coming.” Congratulations on paying off the last of the debt. I think one of the true hells on earth is having to face credit card and other debts long after the sociopath is gone. Last month I paid off the last of my sociopath debt last month — now that S is out of my life, I really am free.

Tonight I’m sitting here pondering one of life’s little ironies. I mailed my 2008 taxes today. I came home to find a letter from the IRS audting certain parts of my 2007 taxes. So, I’m sitting here tonight with a scotch and sorting through receipts (once again).

Of course, in the middle of the sorting I’m looking at my AMEX statement for 2007 when the S came into my life. My blood pressure is steadily rising as I look at what I racked up in the last 5 months of 2007. If I looked at my 2008 AMEX and mastercard statements I would truly blow my brains out.

Of course, it could be worse. I could still have S bleeding me dry. All together class “free at last, free at last…”



“Sometimes learning how to nurture ourselves is easier said than done.”

So true.

Now that I’m out of work, obviously I’m worried about money. Suze Orman says “get rid of the things that make you feel poor. This morning when I woke up, I looked at my tattered, stained bath towels. And I thought how depressing to look at these things. And then, after I mailed out this year’s taxes I came home to a letter from the IRS that they are auditing 2007.

I got all bent out of shape. And then I thought — what can you do to make yourself feel better? And I thought — nice bath towels. You start the day out with a shower, so a nice towel to dry off with will make you feel better about yourself.

So I went out to Bed, Bath and Beyond and found a few nice towels on sale. I started to put them back thinking I couldn’t afford them. And then I realized that I’d feel so much better psychologically — and the 20 bucks they would cost me was a heck of a lot cheaper than spending the money on a therapist or going to my doctor for some stress related ailment.

Moral of the story, we need to take care of ourselves.


Matt, I was smiling when reading your towel story. A year or so ago, I did the same thing. I got tired of my Walmart towels so I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and bought the softest towels they had in the store. They cost a small fortune, but I love the way they feel next to my skin. Last December I traded in my old torn Craig’s List sofa for a gorgeous Italian leather set (again from Craig’s list). I felt so guilty about it. But sitting on them is like sitting on a cloud. I have a hard time spending money on myself. I do it anyway, but I usually feel guilty about it.



If we don’t spend it on ourselves, who are we going to spend it on? Not the sociopaths, not anymore we won’t!!!


Damn straight. I never spent any money on a sociopath. He only played me for sex. It’s the army that is his sugar momma. They have way more money than I do! lol



I love my new towels. God bless Wamsutta.


I love my soft towels, world’s softest bath robe (that I never wear but I get relaxed even looking at it!) and Italian leather furniture. When I lie down on that sofa, I become one with it. Perhaps some day I will buy a matching set of dishes and silverware. Nah, I’m good. lol

I still feel guilty because I pride myself on being resourceful. Also, I think about all the homeless cats (and snakes) that money could feed. 🙁

Elizabeth Conley

Decent Stuff and $$$$

One of my girlfriends and I spend Saturday cruising the thrift stores. We had mixed results. There are plenty of nice things to be had at good prices. There was also a surprising amount of inflation at the thrift stores. They’ve been doing a land office business since the economic downturn, so they have been able to raise prices. I guess that’s good, since each thrift store in our town supports a worthy charity. On the other hand, some of the prices were more expensive than the objects would have cost new.

I still think thrift stores can be a bargain hunters Paradise, but you can’t leave your common sense behind. Thrift stores are good places for me to acquire things that aren’t fashionable, but still have value to the buyer.

I use the old fashioned corning ware cooking and serving pieces. I can always find them at the thrift stores. Equally thrilling is that I can replace lids very easily at the thrift stores. There’s always a bin with orphaned casserole dish lids waiting to be adopted for a nominal fee!

My girlfriend was searching for craft supplies. She bought several unfashionable prom dresses at cut rate prices which she planned to turn into silk flowers. Her silk flowers are stunning, and quite unique. Some clever knitters buy old sweaters made from high end angora, cashmere or lambswool yarn. The cost of luxury yarns at a craft store is astronomical, so this really makes sense. Old candles can be melted down to make creative new candles at a fraction of the cost. The list goes on and on.

I buy depression glass and well made baskets at the thrift store. These items make great gift baskets or gift cookie plates. I also buy dishes from patterns that are no longer easy to find. Many of my relatives and friends selected their “every day” dishes from a pattern that was readily available from Walmart, Kmart or Target a decade or two ago, but has now become a specialty mail order item. No problem. I can find them replacement pieces at the thrift store. They appreciate this more than something new I might purchase them for a gift.

While most prices on new goods are going higher and higher, some are getting lower. Electronics are getting downright cheap. I am on the market for an electronic keyboard to help with my children’s music education. The prices are down on these items by a whopping 30% or better. In general, musical instrument prices seem to be dropping. Computers are getting less expensive too.

If you’re unemployed now, take heart. You can now dine out at breakfast time and really cash in on lunch specials. My husband and I routinely go out to breakfast together. It’s way cheaper than dinner, much quieter, and just as fun. Lunch is a meal most folks are forced to rush through. If you don’t have to get back to work, you can really enjoy a lunch at a nice restaurant. Your meal costs about half what dinner would, and you’re free to arrive early and leave late, having savored both the meal and the atmosphere.

My husband and I ofter refer to the time vs money factor. By this we mean that if you have time to invest, you can often spend less money. If time is at a premium, you often are forced to pay much more. If you’re not working, you don’t have much money, but you can invest time in finding the bargains.

You should be able to “treat yourself” regularly.


Hi Folks – I was posting a few weeks ago and you all welcomed me with support and advice.
I was not able to post for a few weeks –
I had gotten up the day the appraisals on our houses were to be done and wanted to mop the floors fresh since we had a March snowstorm – you know -salt, yuk – anyway – I fell and really ripped my back up.

I am finally able to sit at the computer this morning, I did however, print out the blogs to read while I was on the heating pad so I have kept up.

For me – appraisals are done but the lawyer bill is climbing excessively due to My n-husbands lack od cooperation and meeting deadlines – AND HE FILED!!!

So , now a bill came yesterday for $8000.00 for January and February services. I am devastated- this after $10,000.00 from August thru December.

Has anyone else experienced these delay tactics ????

NH knows I have NO money here at the house – he took all of it and did what he wanted.

How will I proceed with the divorce if I cannot pay the lawyer?

I have no one to go to – who would loan me money I can’t pay back?

And I don’t want to take a loan out I know I cannot pay.

What would my next steps be???

I have read alot of good progress here- all of you supporting and encouraging each other.

Is opn

newlife08: Welcome back. I am sorry to hear you have injured your back. And that you have been able to print out the blogs.

re: the lawyer bill is climbing excessively due to My n-husbands lack od cooperation and meeting deadlines – AND HE FILED!!!

An option may be, since your N is causing the delays by not cooperating, that you could have it written in the divorce that N PAYS YOUR ATTORNEY FEES.


Dear Newlife08,
Yes I experienced problems like this. However, I did not even have a house to get an aprasial for. My “bad man” knew exactly what he was doing by keeping me from having any resources money or friendship support wise. If you truely have no money there are community agencies that can assist you. Call your local women’s domestic violence shelter. Even if you were not physically abused, mental and emotional abuse can be just as devestating. I did not think I would ever get through the whole divorce process. My Ex was good, very good at having things turn out his way, while dodging all responsibility. Because of the love and support I received here and by contacting and accepting advice of local agencies, I was granted a divorce. I totally, represented myself. My ex never complied with anything and did not even show up to court. The Judge did not take kindly to his actions and was more than fair to me.
Please be good to yourself. Remember to breathe. You will not react appropriatly if you allow yourself to crumble. I thought of it this way…If I crumble…he really does win. When I left (excuse me “escaped”) I only placed afew box’s of my belongings in the back of my truck and moved 2000 miles away. Stuff is stuff. I had gave him my heart and 45 years worth of belongings…I was not going to give him my soul on a platter.
Here’s the scary part for me, even after going through all the above, the second after reading this blog I told my self “SEE, YOU ArE NO GOOD, YOU ABANDONED HIM. SHAME ON YOU.
Even though the last sentence said “She is ME”. I am still stuck on him.
This is the saddest, sickest part of this whole ride. However, I am getting much better. I now have more strenght getting through this whole economic thing, because If I made it through my leaving and divorce…I know I will get through anything. Hang in there. Keep coming back. No question is a stupid question. We can only offer our experience, strenght and hope.
P.S I also was fighting the IRS who said I was responsible for my EX”s large tax big. Again I was scared to death. I had no attorney. I just did the best I could do. I had to go through a appeal. I wanted to say screw it because I was so tired of fighting. I am glad that I did not give up, because I received a call the other day saying that they are granting me innocent spouse relief.
Just don’t ever forget to BREATHE>>>TAke Care

Ox Drover

Dear New Life,

Dear, I know they are unreasonable and will do everything they can to kick you while you are down!

Molly’s advice is good, and as hard as it is try not to despair that there is no way out. Take her suggestions and see if you can find assistance. Take care of yourself. ((((hugs)))) and always prayers.


NL08: Just wanted to say Hi! Glad you are feeling better. The advice Molly gave about contacting local agencies sounds very good, and knowing you’ll get through this and hanging in there is exactly what I wanted to say!

MOLLY: Yes, it is the same for me! I blame myself and I’m still stuck on him, I guess I’ll just have to ride the wave until it flows back into itself.



I can relate to the bad back thing — I threw out my back a week ago — off to the chiropractor again tomorrow.

Your S is playing the classic wear her down by dragging your feet game. He is determined to run the clock down and run your bank book out.

I think at this point I would have your lawyers go into court and tell the judge that your husband is refusing to cooperate and have the judge make a judicial determination on what the fair value is of ALL the holdings — limited partnerships, C Corps, S corps, limited partnerships, LLCs, the works, and then assign you an interest in the accounts, assets, whatever you can lay your hands on.

Regarding your lawyer’s fees, if there is substantial equity in the properties, you could ask your lawyers to take a piece of the backside (divorce settlement) — essentially paying them a contingency fee. However, in a declining market lawyers will probably be reluctant to do so. While you can ask the judge to award you legal fees, your lawyers will be looking to you for the money, and then you are the one who is going to be chasing your husband for the money.

I still think your best leverage is with the tax authorities and the liquor licensing board. I recently looked at the licensing criteria for a friend who is having similar problems with her husband who just happens to hold a liquor license. One of the licensing authorities requirements for them to issue and allow a permittee to continue to hold a license is proof of financial soundness.

Since your S is obviously hiding assets and draining equity out of marital assets, I suspect this might not sit well with your state licensing authorities. It is common knowledge that restaurants make most of their money off their liquor licenses. No license, I suspect his Protugese barbeque isn’t worth a hell of a lot.



Two other quick thoughts.

Regarding leverage on your husband — he may claim he can’t remember who his partners are, that they’re dead, that they were eaten by aliens. Whatever. The implications for the state licensing authorities would be that your husband is fronting for bad guys. That is something they take very seriously.

REgarding your lawyers, when they give you the bills, are they giving you the actual back-up (the computerized printout saying X had teleconference with client’s husband’s attorney — .5 hour) or a blanket bill (for services rendered, $8000)? If the latter, demand the back-up. 8 grand seems very high to me, unless they’ve been in court or endless conferences or drafting extensive briefs.


Thanks for the welcome back !!!!

You folks are a treasure – more heads are always better than one…
OXY – I see you are still keeping everyone in line – good job. I can’t even look at my iron skillet without smiling now.


You have a great memory to go back to all the facts of my first posts and I love the eaten by Aliens reference – I am going to have to use that one.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kindness and expert opinions. I will be on the phone tomorrow getting details of the invoicing. I hope that -some of the costs will get paid by him because he is stalling.

Matt, Can you tell me what happens when a liquor license exchanges hands for less than it is worth or how can I find what market value is? I called the town administration but no one there would help me.

Sorry about your back – it is so tough when you feel emotionally drained and physical pain on top of it all. Thank God my kids have been pretty helpful with the lifting and bending stuff. My daughter even went food shopping with me to help out-of course she also snuck a few of her favorite things.


I too have the tax complications – he has been walking the edge and probably over it from the start. And of course – I believed and signed anything he wanted….I thought we were a couple building a future for us and our kids. Well, I don’t have to tell you folks who has it all right now. He left just enough savings for me to pay the lawyer these 6 months- after the next payment – it is all gone. Innocent spouse is something my CPR sister is looking into for me.

Ox Drover

Dear Newlife,

I can sure tell that everyone on lovefraud is AFRAID of my skillet! LOL Yep I’m a bad old biddy! My sons are as “afraid” of my “threats” as you guys are! My son C says if I’m not nicer to him he is going to put me in a nursing home, take away my false teeth and feed me LUMPY oatmeal through a STRAW! (BTW I hate oatmeal) LOL

I just come back at him and tell him that the “beatings will continue until morale improves.” He and D sometimes refer to me as “Osama my mama” LOL We have a good time with each other and LOT OF BAD PUNS! Now my little cowboy hired hand is starting to make jokes like my sons, he now says that I need to “get my lazy ass up on my Fat Ass and ride more.” LOL You just can’t get any respect any more. Me and Don Rickles!


Stargazer said: I think about all the homeless cats (and snakes) that money could feed.

And I think of all the snakes I could feed to the homeless cats! *wink wink*


I Love this post! Especially in Oxy context!

I’ve decided to think of myself as my best friend. It was an instant adjustment, because I know how to be kind and attentive to my friends, and do my best to give them what they need and ask for. WHY wasn’t I doing this for myself? How could it be too much trouble? Why did I always put myself last in line?

I was taught it at home as a child, with an alcoholic Dad, who did a great s/p imitation when drinking. I married two guys over the years who expected to always be first, and I chose a career that put me dead last by its nature. I had learned well!

It’s not easy to fundamentally change one’s self; all people struggle with change. It’s especially tough when your self-worth has been tied into a certain role or behavior — BUT it can be done! Reading these posts has convinced me of that.

This may sound fluffy, but I stand by it: I’ve started asking what makes me happy right now! It’s usually basic things (like new bath towels), but it can be as simple as having a laugh with a friend, eating a few almonds, sitting in the sun, hot, fresh coffee, the soft scent on the top of my cat’s head…the things that make me feel wonderful and whole! Then I pay close attention to that feeling, I take a couple deep breaths, and I tell myself that I have love in my life because I have it in my heart. Whatever works: this morning I stood on my head — I used to do acrobatics and tumbling. It made me laugh, discovering that I can still do it!


Jen. LOL! The snakes would probably eat the cats instead of the other way around. ha ha ha

Betty, I loved your post because you talk about being in the moment and asking yourself what will make you happy in this moment. Often the answer is not something complicated or expensive. A stroll in the park, a snuggle with the cat, a laugh with a friend, a healthy meal……..such a powerful statement you made.

Yesterday, I decided I wanted to change my look. My hair has gotten too long and damaged. So I went into a wig shop to try on different wigs to see what style looked good on me. I was planning to just go out and get a haircut that matched the style of the wig. But I found this one wig that looked so good on me! It was the Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice) look, a short inverted bob with bangs, long in the front and stacked in the back. I ended up buying the wig on an impulse and wearing it out of the store.

I don’t know if it was the new look or my new attitude to go with the look, but when I walked through the grocery store, I noticed a lot of men looking at me. I haven’t worn the wig again and may not wear it that often. But I can’t believe what a difference changing my look for a few hours had on my attitude in general! That’s why some new towels, a vase of fresh cut flowers, a healthy meal….these are all little things. But these little things in the moment can make a shift in our thinking and attitude. And it can lead to more good things!

Ox Drover


WHAT IN THE WORLD is “Oxy Context?” ROTFLMAO This is too funny, the other day Aloha said I had “diplomacy” ROTFLMAO


“Oxy Context” is your interpretation of the story! It’s a nice story, I liked it, but you made it come alive for me. Thanks!

I realized that I had come full circle : I can talk to people again (I really get what you’ve said, Star, about how difficult this is), I can laugh, I am my best friend, I didn’t loose trust — I just learned to be much more selective about who I give it to.

I’m beginning to understand that part of how I arrived at being such a good victim is that I almost totally depleted, an easy target. Part of it was family history, but part of it was that I didn’t know how to take care of myself very well physically, emotionally, spiritually, and I isolated by not finding friends I could really trust. I had no or very little energy and could barely make it through the day.

I FINALLY put it together today that there’s a great deal of energy in happiness, and it’s not hard to tap. Those little things don’t even cost money most of the time — like this post! Talking with you guys makes me ridiculously happy! (Even though we deal with very difficult topics much of the time, there’s joyous stuff here!) When I let myself experience the things that make me genuinely happy (not the things I’m told should make me happy, but the ones that really do), I notice a very nice shift of energy and well-being. Whoo-hoo!

Oh, and Oxy, Aloha is right: you do have diplomacy. My dictionary says it’s “subtly skillful handling of a situation; statesmanship.” That’d be you!

Lifevest user

Ditto what Betty just posted at 10:54. (Hope you don’t mind that I “ditto-ed” you, Betty, but I am no good at writing out my thoughts; you’s were just right for my feelings too, about this site, all you helpful hearts.)


Dear Betty,

On treating ourselves right… I used to have nice soaps, lotions and bubbles baths that I was *saving*… for what, I have no idea. Then one day I realized, LIFE IS NOW! So, now I use them… I’ve got my plumaria and gardenia lotion.. my honeysuckle bubble bath… and I USE IT!

Many of us have that in common.. we take care of others before we take care of ourselves. My new job constantly preaches to the staff “self care” and I am learning that I MUST do this. The population I work with can be frustrating and draining… and there are endless needs to be filled. But if I don’t fill myself up, when I tip my little teapot, nothing will come out!

Lastly.. diplomacy and a SKILLET! What more could one ask for?!



You will have more than three years to save for your bus ticket. HAHA! I will be going to San Jose State in CA. Once I am finished with that, I think I will move back to Maui and state a non-profit to help the many victims of the Bad Man. JUST KIDDING!!! No. I don’t think I will move back there.. but I might leave CA. Who knows.

I am still connecte as much as I can to LF. I try not to miss an article and I try to keep up with the conversations… but I can’t. I am trying to get away from this little blinking curser and get on with life.. but this is important to me and all the readers here are important to me and so I lurk… :o)

LF is a part of my education and I love all the articles about human motivations and stuff like that. We are talking about the same stuff in my field and I get to see people in “lizard brain” all day. Ya know what I mean?

It was weird about paying off the debt. I paid my last $300.00 with an online payment and then I felt a wave of something.. it wasn’t actually relief.. it was more like an anxiety attack which I do still have occassionally. I almost cried but I didn’t. I just felt a surge of happiness, sadness, relief, disbelief, eveything at once. Maybe that is why the anxiety. It was kind of like… does this mean it’s al over now? This nightmare? I remember sitting with my Mom two or so years ago and asking her, “Should I file for bankruptcy?” She said no. My credit rating is better than even because I never defaulted on anything but it was a scramble many times… and my friends that I live with put out their hands and helped me to climb out of that deep dark hole…. I just gave them a raise on the rent. :O)

Anyway, that’s just my story.



You are such a treasure! I can’t believe your generosity in helping people here with advice. So many readers have been so screwed over! It is wonderful that they can ask you for some tips and you really get where they are coming from.

I just wanted to say that.. :O)

And yes, I am FREE AT LAST!

That still gives me a little anxiety feeling. I wonder why? I think it hasn’t sunk in. Perhaps on my next pay day when there is no one to pay but me.. what a novelty.. then I will feel peaceful. It doesn’t seem real. The theme of my life has been feeling overwhelmed by debts for so long.

I realize I am lucky that the debts I incurred were possible to pay off. I know there are readers that lost so much more than I did.

Ox Drover

YOu guys are TOOOOO FUNNY! But the nice thing about you all is that you all know me well enough now to take me with a grain of salt or two! LOL

It IS the LITTLE things that makes you happy in the NOW. You all talking abot your “good bubble bath” and plush towels, makes me think about me doing that very kind of thing!

Of course I am am a very limited budget for the “nice” things I like, but I frequent a local auction which you NEVER know what you will find there. I bought this huge pile (a pick up load) of blankets and pillows for $5 for the entire lot! Most of the blankets washed up nicely and I will sell them at a yard sale or donate them to a shelter (they are all almost new) but there was a bed skirt, comforter and pillow shams that were totally new, still in the wrapper, soooooo plush an sooooo soft, and one side is satin, the other is tapestry. I saw one advertised in the paper in a “ritzy” store for over $300. It is now my “winter” outfit for my bedroom and goes perfectly with my carpet and wall paper in there, and I feel so ROYAL sleeping under such a wonderful comforter. My summer bed outfit is a gorgeous antique quilt made of the most tiny pieces and quilted in museum quality stitchery that I paid only $15 for at the auction. My egg donor is a super quilter (several best of state show winners) and I have learned quite a bit about what makes a truly valuable quilt, including the 16 stitches to the inch etc. and this one qualifies. It is probably from the 1920-30s and was probably someone’s wedding quilt. Very thin batting and is in excellent condition. I love it in the summer time with the white background and colorful flowers…It is so “summery” and so RICH I just love it. It is actually probably “worth” a great deal of money, but I decided to KEEP IT FOR MYSELF because I deserve NICE THINGS TOO! Actually, my home is filled with various antiques and unique pieces that I have picked up here or there, but each piece is individually chosen because I LIKED IT (and if I got a good bargain, I liked it even better) but it makes my house uniquely mine. No one could ever go to a furniture store and reproduce my unique house with some 120 yr old antiques, some 150 years old and some more modern pieces from the 20s and 30s— just deciding to keep that quilt though made me feel good about and for myself.

I don’t mind picking up new jeans for around the farm at the Good Will, Fat and Hairy don’t care and neither do the goats or the dogs, and as long as my own arse is covered it’s fine with me. Having MY things about me though is nice, but I realize too, after I took the plunge and took off for parts unknown that THINGS don’t make me who I am. I am the same person in a pair of Good Will jeans that I would be in the most expensive dress or slacks. It isn’t about impressing others with WHAT I have, it is who I am that matters.

Being good to myself when I can, and enjoying the little things IS wonderful. While I didn’t have the money to splurge on a $300 soft comforter, I did spend my time and found one for $5—I think someone else said something about time vs money today on one of the threads, so I do have more time than money and I use the time to find good things to enjoy.

Every night when I go to sleep under that very light and very warm comforter I AM comforted. Aloha, you are so right, “LIFE IS NOW.”



It is difficult to let people in to our world.. especially when we don’t feel so good about it.

Some readers might remember when I was dating the man we call “Pizza Man.” He didn’t get me. I think he thought I was nuts… I think he thought I must have been the one with problems because I told him a little about the BM and then I was very uneasy and paranoid when I was with PM. He told me to not contact him! ACK! How horrible!!! That was very upsetting. But.. in retrospect.. my story did sound quite improbable to him… and my behavior was quite paranoid. I am sure I did seem like a nut job. I was not ready for dating though it had been three years or so, I think. I just wasn’t ready.

Anyway, letting people in is hard and looking someone in the eye is hard too but for me, I went through a phase where all I wanted to do was sit side by side with someone that understood how damaged I felt right down to my soul. I just wanted to be deeply understood. I think I may have that right now… being understood is what helps us to let it go, I think. That is what is true for me.

I guess I am just rambling here.

You have us here at LF that understand. I gave up having lots of people undersand. I did find one person, a real live person in my life, that has taken the time to understand all this and for that I am grateful.. and it’s enough. That is all I need.. just one.

I hope you enjoy your towels and your sofa! You are worth it!


Ox Drover

Dear Aloha,

That is a strange feeling when you come to one of those milestones with something like that….I know you have been plugging away and sweating over getting it paid off for a long time. I remember when I paid off the last of my student loans and the last of my credit card balances…so I can relate too. I hate to be in debt, I guess it is my grandparents’ “depression era mentality.”

Congratulations again! and I am so happy for you. You have a goal IN SIGHT, and that is a wonderful thing. I know paying off your debt is wonderful and gives relief not to ave to worry about it any more, and a sense of freedom,, too, I would imagine as well. Reaching that milestone I hope will give you courage to keep on reaching for the “stars” with your other goal, And, I am serious about being there to see you graduate! Nothing would give me more pleasure! We’ve walked down this rocky, bumpy, pot-hole-filled road together quite a while my friend and it brings tears to my eyes of JOY to know you are doing so well….of most of the people who were here when I first started blogging, you are one of the few still here with me. We have both made a lot of progress from those days. I can’t even remember exactly how long I have been here at LF…I’d be afraid to go back and re-read some of my earlier posts! (embarassed? LOL)

I am sure you will be busy with your studies and your RL, I am sort of “home alone” the last few days with bad weather but will be off to house sit for a few days while the guys come home with good weather tomorrow so they can work outside.

Take care and glad you are still lurking around! ((((hugs))) and always prayers for you my friend.


I am just re-connecting to old friends, 5 years after the s.

Unfortunately, I have cut ties with many dear friends and family because the s make fun of them and told me that he thought I deserved better “quality” people.

In reality, these people were my friends and family. Now I realize that they were my true friends and they loved and love me for who I am. I feel lucky to be able to re-connect with them. They tell me that they felt concerned about me when I was with the s and I changed while I was with the s. They did not want to interfere. I also did not reach out to them.

I guess this is pretty common in relationships with sociopaths. They slowly cut off social networks by bad-mouthing, devaluing. They want to be the only one for you. Trapped.

Thank you for the post about the man and his dog. It really reminds me to value of what I have lost and found again.

Ox Drover

DEar greenfern,

I am glad that you are able to reconnect with your family and friends from Pre-sociopath. Sometimes they destroy those connections, or we allow them to. It is sad, but common.


Hi OxDrover,

I was discussing this with my therapist last week…
In my case, often, the self destruction was carried out by me. What is weird that the s I was with just set the destruction into motion and then set back and watched the “show”.
There are receptor cells in the body, and viruses plug into these receptors. I felt like the s has plugged into my insecurity and fear receptors and sent my own systems into a self destruct immune response.
He knew the weak points and used them to turn myself against myself. He did not outright tell me to stop to be friends with a person, but did it more by proxy, criticizing them and telling me that they were using me (projection perhaps?)
So, in order to make my relationship work with the s, I have cut off my friends.
That’s what can be so maddening after the s leaves, there is no hard proof what the s has said or done. He did those things through us. Does this make sense?

Ox Drover

Dear Greenfern!!!

ABSOLUTE SENSE!!! You absolutely nailed it in my case. By making me appear “crazy” the P son alienated me from the rest of my family and put himself in the place of their “savior” which considering he is in prison, him manipulating this situation was really one of “musical chairs” on the DRAMA TRIANGLE of “rescuer, persecutor, and victim” The music went so FAST and furious and the chair changing of the roles of VP&R went so fast, I didn’t know if I was coming or going. He played it to perfection and I fell into the trap and cut my own “thoat” and of cousre, he was “innocent.” LOL

REAL and COMPLETE healing is I think when we start to learn what it is about ourselves tht allowed them to tap into our weaknesses to make us dance to their piping! This I think is the first time I have gotten far enough along the road toward healing and not gotten off before I fixed myself. I don’t intend to get off, ever, but to live life and enjoy it, but keeping my eyes OPEN for red flags in others and for signs of a “limp” in myself. Learning should be a life long task, not just learning one aspect of ourselves or them. Good for you!!!!


I think the rescuer, victim, persecutor triangle is a very interesting concept. I have gone in full circle and more on number of occasions too.

In most cases people can play this triangle from the heart; in other words most people actually play those parts from their unconscious needs and desires. In the case of the sociopath, he uses these roles of the rescuer, victim, persecutor as a mask, but he stands outside this triangle observing. He never actually “feels” these parts. He is playing from a logical, poker-faced position. They are just roles for him, a way to engage people.

Getting in this triangle with the s is far more complicated than doing the same with “average” person. I would like to think that in a healthy relationships, people have to play all three of these roles at once, and help their partners through playing through these parts, to finally arrive to a place in somewhere in the middle. In the relationship with the s, it’s a never ending cycle of being chased around and around, and when you look over back over your shoulder to see who is chasing you, the s pulls himself out and disappears, just so he can observe you running in fear. Then you start questioning your own sanity, perhaps there was nobody chasing you, after all you ran from yourself!
Wow, I have managed to work myself into a word-frenzy 🙂

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