Man v. Mouse: “in sickness and in health,” as long as we are healthy

Life partners often vow to care for one another “til death do us part” and “in sickness and in health.”  But do these concepts apply to psychopathic partners or those high in psychopathic traits?  You guessed it.  They do not.  If we are involved in a relationship with a psychopath and fall ill, we will see their true colors quickly.  We can expect a marked difference between the behaviors exhibited in a real love and psychopathic “love.”  For if we have nothing to offer, they will not be there for us in our hours of need.

It may not be immediate.  We may feel secure in the first “hour” or two.  Those feelings, however, will quickly give way to reality.  Initially, their words will comfort us.  We will likely believe them when they tell us that they will take care of everything, even if our past experiences have taught us othrwise.  They tend to sound genuine and their displays of affection look real; at least real enough.  This will not last long, however.  Their empty words will lead to broken promises.  We will come to recognize that they are not the words and actions of “men” (or “women,”) but mice.

Fortunately, my mother did not marry a psychopath

In recent years, my mother’s health has been failing.  She is suffering from a degenerative neurological condition, which has now left her trapped in her own body.  It is an uncommon condition that remains somewhat of a medical mystery.  Onset seems to occur late-fifties to mid-sixties, the age that has the potential to be the best years of one’s life.  It’s symptoms and limitations are similar to those of ALS and first symptom to death is typically about seven to ten years.

Fortunately, my mother did not marry a psychopath.  My father has been by her side throughout.  In the beginning, they laughed together, as she began having trouble writing her name.  She just retired from almost thirty years of teaching and we joked that she was truly just “done” working.  Seemingly benign at onset, the lighter mood continued when she would occasionally fall, blaming a simple lack of grace.  No one realized these were the sneaky symptoms of this horrible condition.  In time, however, they became hard to ignore.

At first, things deteriorated slowly.  Now, her body has completely betrayed her.  She is pain and discomfort from very high muscle tone.  This requires medication and frequent massage and exercise.  She is able to eat, but very little, as the swallow and gag reflexes continue to deteriorate.  It takes several hours a day to feed her and communication is next to impossible, as she has lost most of her ability to speak and operate the speech program on her iPad.

Through it all, my father has been by her side.  He cares for her in every way imaginable and has been doing so for years.  Earlier, he held her side so that she could walk.  Now, he essentially walks for her.  At one point, he cut her food into small enough pieces so that she could eat with her “good” hand.  Now, he smashes the food and thickens her drinks so he can spoon feed her the liquid to prevent choking.  He wakes with her several times a night to tend to her, sleeping near her new hospital bed since she is not able to move to adjust herself.

She is braving this with grace, but he is a hero for all that he does.  Very few are able to understand the amount of selflessness one needs in order to get through something like this.  The neurologist recently told them that she rarely sees patients cared for with so much love and attention.  The other patients do not have my father as their caregivers; a “man.”

Imagine this scenario with a psychopath

These recent events have caused me to consider what would happen if this situation occurred with a psychopathic partner.  If the individual chose to stay near us in physical proximity, there would be no care or support involved.  In fact, we could expect some form of abuse or neglect, which could lead to serious complications or death.  One of the only reasons a psychopathic individual might choose to stay, would be if a significant potential payoff existed.  Sad, but true.

Think about your experience with the individual who brought you here.  Were you ever sick or did you require care?  Did you receive that care?  If so, was it for an extended period of time?  Probably not.  These individuals are notorious for being intolerant of any type of illness in those close to them.  Why?  They do not want our illnesses to get in their way or stifle their fun.  This extends to any additional responsibilities our situations may create.  They simply don’t want to be bothered and really do not care about anyone else’s well being.

You may feel confused because the behavior is not consistent with an individual who loves you as may be the claim.  While it may be natural for partners in care giving positions, whether short or long term, to tire or need to nurture their emotional health, it is not normal to meet with constant annoyance and anger toward the one who is not well.

Even Stranger

Further, we may find that they become oddly jealous of the attention we receive.  They cannot be the center of attention if our issue is currently in the forefront.  Since this is not a position we want to be in, we may also become sad or depressed.  In turn, this drives their assertions about our emotional “states,” which they utilize to gain outside sympathy.  Who would have thought that being sick or encountering a complicated pregnancy could be so complex?  As if the physical concerns are not enough, we have to still cover ourselves from their disordered actions.

I recall a time when I was told that I would not be able to do my normal activities for several months.  I was content thinking that all would be well.  After all, I was told that things would be taken care of for as long as I needed them to be.  I didn’t realize that I would be looked at in disgust a mere three days later and interrogated as to when I planned to “get up off my a_ _.”

As with everything else that occurred, I was hurt and looked to the individual for answers.  Why the cruelty?  Was there an understanding of the severity of what was wrong and exactly what was at risk if I did not comply?  I felt as though I was being teased and taunted to get up; almost forced since nothing that needed to be done was getting done.  I could not comprehend why we were not on the same page.  Try to resist looking to them for answers.  You will not find them.  Conversely, you will be left worse off.

As mentioned, it is entirely possible that they may not even recognize the gravity of a situation.  Although, I believe they usually do and just don’t care.  However, this is not an excuse.  This occurs frequently with children of parents with psychopathic traits.  The parent cannot and will not address a need if they are not able or choose not to recognize it.  Frequently, they do not.  Unfortunately, this is often to the detriment of the child, again, with serious or deadly consequences.

Reverse expectations

While attached to individuals with such features, we should hope we stay well.  Our lives may depend on it.  Oddly, they would expect us to be at their beck and call if the tables were turned and treat us miserably if we were not.  Somehow, unafraid of what would become of them upon our departures.  Yet, if we remain entrapped, they know we would be there.  Therein lies the difference between normal love and commitment verses theirs.  Therein lies the differences between the actions of the “man” v. the “mouse.”

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English Elle

Hi. Thanks for the welcome. Donna’s books and this website have been a lifeline,providing huge insight. I would love to help spread the word over here in UK. Does anyone know of a group or contacts in England? I really do believe that awareness and education about dangerous relationships is key to helping others. I would be very grateful if anyone out there has any ideas about how I can contribute to this . The US appears to be way ahead of us here.


I think my mother had spath traits, along with her other mental disorders. When I would become sick or injured, I would get mocked and shamed instead of comforted and cared for. I learned to just not mention it if I had a cut or a bruise or felt sick. The worst time was when I had the measles and she left me in a darkened bedroom with no company for hours at a time, for what felt like weeks (but was for just about 4 days.) Even though I was only a small child of 5 or so, I think I went partially insane from the isolation. After the 4th day I was so wild with boredom that I left the darkened bedroom to go find a toy or a book in my room, anything to occupy my mind, and when my mother found me there she triggered into a red-faced rage at me, screaming that I was going to go blind for doing that and it would be my own fault. I think I became hysterical at that point, crying in terror because mother made me believe that I was going to go blind at any moment.

I believe my mother was way too disordered to have been raising kids. We would have been better off with relatives or in foster care, seems to me. Her other “spathy” trait was that she felt justified in getting back at anyone she felt had disrespected her or thwarted her or somehow otherwise crossed her. I think revenge behaviors are “spathy.”

How terrifying for a child of 5 yrs to be left in a darkened room for days and then shrieked at and told they’ll go blind because they sought comfort!Mothers do make mistakes as no mother is perfect,but one would hope she would atleast be able to comfort her child!


My father is the self involved narcissist in my family. Even mother’s day is about father! He hated us when we were sick and we were hardly ever taken to the doctor when needed.

Both of my husbands were abused as Babs described. Both by their mothers. My second husband’s mother broke his arm and he just had to ignore it and tell no one and it healed on its own I guess, but broke again later and that’s when the doctor asked him about when he had broken it as a child because of the x-rays.

The spath is an ex-boyfriend turned semi room mate. He is the sick one now. Very sick. He can’t go anywhere without a walker and I am letting him come back from the hospital because I need the money and he helps here and there when he wants something. One day, I called the VA hospital and I told the nurse, “You know he can be very charming, but he is a sociopath.” The nurse said, “OH I know. My wife taught him in college.” He confirmed things I suspected and it was very helpful. Same thing when I called the Social Worker at the VA. It really helps to get validation from them. The nurse said, “I think smarmy is a good word to describe him.” I agree. But, it is easy money if I stay away from his living area which is completely sealed off from mine and he has no key. I have let him torment me with his yo-yo behavior from adoration to ugly rejection and making fun of me for wanting him. I SHOULD be made fun of for wanting him!!! This summer I hope to change the dance steps. He likes to stay in his room and do whatever he does…which is a lot of weird stuff on the computer and stupid Japanese movies. When he gets too bad, the VA takes him for good. But, for now, I will live half a life to pay my mortgage. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever lived a full life for more than a couple of months.

I have the thyroid, the fibromyalgia, the CFIDS, also. I think the stress causes a lot more of it than doctors know. I have gone gluten free because my sister has celiac and the doctor recommended it. That improved my thyroid quite a bit and I am mowing my own lawn for the first time ever so far this spring. I think I am luckier than most even though I get depressed and have PTSD. I own the home and I never married him. It’s either here or a VA home for him. And he can’t be cruel unless I’m around him and the only reason I plan to be around him is to clean up his place (for extra $$) and see if he is OK here and there. Otherwise, looking forward to my garden and watching movies this summer. Onward and this time, he pays the bills.


My ex s/path gf always claimed to be unhealthy.We lived apart so once in a while I would get a call from the hospital and she had been admitted for stomach problems,back problems,migraines etc.I helped pay for some of this–as she said she had no insurance.Too many instances to bore you with I d get calls that were hysterical concerning her health….her lungs had holes in them…she needed a special inhalor…prescriptions etc.I always helped.Do you think she would remember my birthday—even ONCE in 4 years????When I found out she was living with a guy,I dumped her and now follow her activities on the daily police mugshots we have locally on the Internet.Arrested twice…called the cops on her new boyfriend for aggravated domestic assault for which he spent a month in jail.She was just picked up last month for vandalism of the apartment she lived in with the guy that beat her up.and so it goes.

The user name you chose,and your post tell your sad story.Sorry that you are eligible or qualify to be a member of Lovefraud!But the support here is wonderful,so hope to hear from you again!


Hey blossom4th…I ve posted on here before about this woman …who said to me after I caught her red handed that she was LIVING with another guy..”Well I guess you were too stupid to figure it out all these months”!!!
It started with her telling me she was moving in with an older lady as a roommate—which I didn t jusy accept–I asked to meet this lady,since I was going to help her with rent…which I did.The lady said this and said that…all the right things”she loves you and talks about you all the time”.
Turned out….this lady lived in another apartment in the building and was asked by my gf to lie to me about the situation—probably in exchange for money.
I stopped by one day a month later and asked the old lady (I saw her in the parking lot)how it was going with my gf as a roomie.She said she never lived with another person for YEARS.I said why did you tell me you did a month ago….she said “I don t know”.Anyways further investigation narrowed down who it was she was living with—and most of her medical problems were lies…to just get money.And I m not gullible…its just that lies are hard to prove.

It’s bad enough that your ex lied to you!But involving another person takes it to even greater lengths!Really Rotten!

well….all I can say is that for your own sanity,you need to focus on yourself and improving your life….sometimes it’s best to let bygones be and stay bygones.Take care.


Yes I have moved on….that was a year ago.But as others said to me when I told them this story,karma is going to get her—and it has.Also I told her many times:if you use someone–eventually you will lose that one.I m fine.She tried calling me 6 months ago to bail her out of jail,but I didn t answer the phone.It would have cost $9.00 to talk for 2 minutes!!!!No.way was I going to take that call…lol.

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