By | February 21, 2008 56 Comments

On rumination

Not surprisingly given the painful experiences many readers have experienced living with psychopaths, letters to Lovefraud describe much troublesome rumination. This week and next I will be describing a two-pronged way of thinking about the problem of rumination – why it’s harmful to deal with these matters this way and next week (sorry to delay it) a very way that psychologists have found for processing such things.

You will appreciate that I am not in a position to give psychological advice in this forum. What follows is not a recommendation but rather a way to think about what’s involved when one ruminates. If it makes sense to you please discuss it with a mental health professional.

What rumination is and isn’t
Rumination is unproductively, endlessly going over something in one’s mind. When one is troubled by something rumination is an attempt to resolve that distress – but it is a failed attempt in that it doesn’t resolve anything. Rumination is circular and all it succeeds in doing is entrenching pointless and demoralising regurgitation. “I should have…”, “Next time…”, “If only…”, “Perhaps…”, etc.

Rumination is not the healthy experiencing of true emotions, nor is it working something out or through. If rumination is circular, feeling and thinking are linear in that they lead somewhere; it’s important to be able to recognise the difference. When therapists and psychologists advocate stopping rumination they are not suggesting that one stops feeling or thinking. It is on the round-and-round, repetitious activity of rumination that is being addressed.

Why rumination is unhelpful
Rumination can increase anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness; it can interfere with clear thinking, ordinary life, and regular pleasures. It is importrant that we’re careful about what we ruminate on because it uses up valuable megabytes and entrenches stuck thinking patterns.

The bad news is that in the brain ‘neurons that fire together wire together’. So obsessing about something produces and then strengthens a neural pathway where a thought leads to a feeling which leads to a memory which leads to another feeling which leads to another thought, etc. The more we activate that neural pathway the stronger it gets and the more likely stray thoughts will lead to the pathway and strengthen it further. Thus people say thay they can’t switch it off, or can’t stop thinking about something.

The good news is that in the brain the rule ‘use it or lose it’ also applies. The less a neural pathway is activated the weaker the connections get. That means that seemingly fixed lines of thought can be unfixed. And, what’s more, because of the ‘neurons that fire together wire together’ rule, new preferred pathways can be produced.

Neuropsychology tells us that it takes about three weeks to form and strengthen a new neural pathway. After that it becomes easier and easier to go down the new pathway rather than the old one. Thus the stronger the new pathway becomes and the weaker the old one. (To be clear – the problem is not necessarily conquered in three weeks, but by then significant neurological changes have begun.)

To summarise, constant thinking about, worrying on, a topic will entrench it and make it harder and harder to avoid, and vice versa. In this sense thoughts are things, as Napoleon Hill said.

Yes, but CAN it be done?
How does one stop ruminating? Here’s an old Bob Newhart clip which heartlessly shows what’s required.

Sometimes people distract themselves as they would distract a child: No, don’t look there, look here! They turn the music up, they cook a meal, they change seats…anything to interrupt the the endless chain of ruminative thought. I’d be very interested to hear from readers what strategies they’ve come up with.

Here’s an example of an ‘ever-present’ thought going away for a spell
A Doonesbury cartoon has this conversation between B.D., a Gulf War veteran, and his therapist:

B.D: The thing is I just can’t stop thinking about Iraq. It crowds out everything.
Th: Okay, B.D., I want you to do something for me…
First, think about the worst thing you experienced in Iraq. Fix it in your mind, Okay?
All right, now I want you to tell me the birthdates of everyone in your family as fast as you can. Go!
B.D: Uh…July 21, 1919, May 27, 1921, September 16, 1945, October 31, 1950, January 11, 1951, May 14, 1992!
Th: Very good.
B.D.: So what’s that prove?
Th: You said you couldn’t stop thinking about Iraq. Well, you just did.
D.B.: But that’s…that’s cheating.
Th: By making yourself think about something else? How you figure?
B.D.: Well, I’ll be damned.
Th: No, I’ll be damned. I’ve never seen you smile before.

The point here isn’t that B.D.’s rumination problem is over, but that he sees that it can be over – that he is able to think about something else after all. Now it’s up to him, the therapist is suggesting, to practice that.

Is all rumination bad? No
It might be that some rumination is part of one’s natural ways of coping. If, however, one is still obsessively thinking about something six months later, those mechanisms aren’t doing the job.

Can rumination actually be prevented? Sometimes…
I wrote a post once how I once narrowly avoided rumination:

At about age 10 I suddenly realised one day that eggs contain chick foetuses. (I say ‘realised’ because (a) in fact the eggs we eat have not been fertilised and so can’t produce chicks, but (b) it felt like a sudden insight.)

Horrified by the idea I began to think through the implications…. And then – here’s the relevant bit -caught myself in the act, as it were. In an early instance of metathinking I realised that if I continued this way that I would make it impossible for myself to eat eggs, to stand having eggs eaten around me…and so on. In short I saw that I was on the road to becoming what might nowadays be called a pro-lifer of the poultry world.

Vegans, please relax. Whether or not egg-eating is a bad thing is not the point here. The point is how to prevent oneself constructing a train of thought which in turn may construct us.

My realisation was enough and early enough to begin combatting the rumination. I stopped myself thinking about X (eating eggs is murder) and thought about Y (something else that caught my 10-year old mind).

No egg problems since.

Let me know your thoughts and experiences.

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The trick to prevent rumination is to become more like the ones who caused you to enter into this process in the first place. They don’t sit up at nights thinking about all the things they did to you. They aren’t worried about you at all. They don’t care so why should you? It’s easy for me to say all this because I can relate more to your ex then I can with you. But my questionable advice is to stop caring. What will dwelling on an issue really get you anyway? It’s done, it’s over with, move on and learn from it. Use your bad experiences to help others if you like. Or don’t.

I can guarantee you the longer you make yourself effected by what they did to you the more joy they get out of it. I am not blaming you for what they did to you. I am saying you have the power to enable your ex-sociopath to do what he does. Without your submission to his games he has nothing. He may appear to be the one in power, which is something he enjoys, but you truly have the power because he needs you. He needs you to create the circuit in his power/dominance relationship.

If you stop caring he no longer will receive any joy in hurting you because you don’t care if he does.


Mr Green I think I understand where you’re coming from, but I don’t think there lies the way to health, either. Narcissism and Psychopathy has been likened to a virus by some, and with good reason: once you’ve interacted with one for any length of time they tend to rub off on you for awhile — their coldness and attitude are somehow assimilated by the kind, caring, empathic partners whom they target.

It doesn’t last long…you come out of the fog, eventually. Still remember the day I came out of my unfeeling fog after the P left…I was driving down the road and saw a stooped-over homeless man shuffling along. I just started crying. It was the first time I’d cried in months, the first time to connect with genuine, heartfelt emotion since the P returned to my life.

It was a weird mix of sadness….and then GRATITUDE. I could FEEL again! My self was returned to me, not quite whole yet, but the recognition of who I had always been – for better or worse, a girl and then later a woman deeply touched by human suffering and sadness whose instinct is to help – was the first step back to reclaiming my essence he had tried to rob from me.

Asking anyone to care less, while good intentioned, seems a slippery slope towards us becoming more like them just to avoid pain. That’s why they do some of what they do, I think — because they have to win and refuse to feel pain.

I’d rather embrace pain because it’s genuine emotion – something that separates normal people from sociopaths. It’s important to get over being hurt by what they did, specifically, but there’s a thin line between getting over something and hardening or walling yourself off from emotions.


Thank you Dr. Steve for your great thoughts on ruminating and Mr. Green, for your insight. I’m also grateful for all the women who have shared their stories. This site has been a part of the healing process for me since I parted ways with a very dysfunctional man. I would love to read comments from women who have stopped ruminating and moved on – and how they did it. As for me, I believe I’m on my way to that good place. I’ve gone to counselling, I’ve gotten an order of protection from the court and I’ve tried to look on the bright side most days. One night last year, my ex raped me and told me he was going mutilate me and kill me but I got away. All that was after 2+ years of me putting up w/his addictions & lies. My counselor has helped me regain my equilibrium, given me sage advice, and told me, because I’m an attorney, that, and this is her belief (I’m getting there too – though I’m not sure I would put it quite the way she did), God saved me that very bad night so that I can use my experience and my education to help others in a way I wouldn’t have been able to do before. If anything, I want to ruminate on those kind of positive thoughts – though some times that’s easier said that done. I’d love to be able to come to this site on such a day when I’m vulnerable and low and find more comments not from the vanquished but rather from the victors which I’d like to think includes most of us who come here – if not now, then in the not too distant future.

hi dr. steve,

i find myself here a lot lately. i guess i am in the acute stage of ‘no contact’ and i need an outlet for my anxiety…

anyway, i am thinking about rumination…last night i wrote a little about why i think we begin ruminating.

i read an out of print book called “stop! you’re making me crazy!” and while much of the book didn’t apply to me, it did explain one crucial aspect of why i ruminated on my S’s behavior.

it begins with expectations. i have a close friend who constantly tries to get me to deny my expectations, who says i set myself up by having them. that they are too high.

i don’t believe that. i believe our expectations in life are what we have come to know as our reality. it is our security in trusting our perceptions. it is the way we are able to go out in the world and trust that we won’t be harmed.

the book talks about a waitress, who comes to your table and says ‘i’ll be your server tonight, whatever you need, i’ll take care of you.”

but then she proceeds to ignore you for the next two hours.

are you wrong to expect her to serve you? i don’t think so.

and if you complain and she responds with ‘screw you’ your expectations clash with her response.

you just can’t figure it out. was it something you did? did you not hear her right? don’t waitresses usually take your dinner order? isn’t that your experience?

you get angry and try to get her to change her attitude so you can feel more comfortable, knowing your experience of reality is sound. you are safe in your perception of the world.

but if you complain and she responds with “i am so sorry, but i just got a call that my father had a heart attack and was taken by ambulance to the hospital,” your anger, confusion and rumination ends immediately.

you end up caring for the waitress, forgetting your own immediate need for dinner, and realize that yes, she was supposed to take your order, but there was a good reason she didn’t. you are safe.

i think in our relationships with S’s, like i said last night in my post, is that our S’s tell us they love us, make us feel loved, and our expectation is that if they love us, they are on our side, they want us to be happy.

that expectation is not wrong at all. our expectation is reasonable.

but what happens is while they tell us they love us, they treat us like the enemy.

immediately, like in the restaurant, we try to figure it out. was it something we did? did we hear right?

and then throw in a friend who innocently says, ‘your expectations are too high,’ and it is easy to understand why we start to ruminate.

when we express our distress to the S, he/she seizes on the opportunity to garner our “caring” and pushes us to forget our own needs, just as we forget about ordering our dinner when we hear of the waitress’ misfortune.

The S’s are masters at this, i truly believe it is at the core of all of this insanity.

i think one of the ways to stop ruminating is to try to understand why it begins, at least that helped me. i no longer go over and over and over things in my head. just understanding that simple, logical idea has helped me a lot.

my expectations when i entered this relationship were reasonable and sound. when someone loves me, they want the best for me. that is reasonable. i didn’t expect too much when i believed he wouldn’t crush me.

that is why i think we have such trouble letting these relationships go.

the waitress never comes back to the table and gives us a reasonable explanation. she just says ‘screw you.’

our sense of a secure reality is shaken to its core, and is replaced with a fear of the dangerously unknown. nothing is as we believed.

but then i remember that when i go out in the world, police have guns, but they don’t open fire on innocent people. other drivers don’t purposely crash their cars into me. my son’s teacher doesn’t let him out of the building on his own.

so except for this small number of S’s, i think we can be pretty secure in our perception of reality. our expectations are reasonable.

so, despite what my friend says, i will continue to keep my expectations. lowering them is not going to do the world, or me, much good.


Ruminating—something I did for several months after I discovered I had been conned. But I had to get my life back in order. I had to hire an attorney out of state. I had to sell a boat. I knew I was going to be looking for a new job in several months. And I knew that I was going to have to get a loan so as not to lose my home. Guess what? I accomplished all of these on my own!! I was on that race track, going round and round about what happened and what I could have done different. My therapist suggested I read “The Sociopath next Door”. Wow! Was she sitting on my shoulder? Then I read “Without Conscience”. What is going on here? Now I was on to something – so I started digging. I “googled” sociopaths and found out more information and ended up here at Lovefraud. I’m not alone!! After reading everyone’s posts I felt that I could have written yours – and you could have written mine. Sociopath’s seem to have come from the same cookie cutter. And now I’m sure I know what my S is doing to his next victim. They don’t change their behavior – the same bait and switch. To get my mind off the ruminating I also started crocheting again. Last year I made 11 baby afghans that I donated to the local pregnancy crisis center. If I keep busy then I can’t sit and dwell. And if thoughts do come through, they are quicker to vanish and now without pain. When I’m at work, it puts me in an atmosphere where I don’t have time think about it. I’m on a bowling league and watch my grandson one day a week.
For me, education has been the key to recovery. Everyone had to told me to drop it and just move on, but I knew there had to more to this story (and I am the type that needs to know everything). My S had to be more than a womanizer and a jerk. He does have a deep seeded problem and it has nothing to do with me. I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I have also educated his family. We all knew something was going on, but couldn’t put our finger on it. Now we all know. I know he will never change and that he never loved me, just the money. And after all the money he has taken from all these women – he owns nothing and now has filed bankruptcy, chapter 13 for which I am back in court. I just laugh now, sure he is thinking that he picked on the wrong woman, because I’m not giving up on my money.
Thank you Donna for this site, and to all of you that have posted. It is comfort knowing the you have felt the same why I have – even using words and phrases that I have to describe the experience. I too feel I have come out a better person, and have had to look at myself to see what led me done this path. I decided I had to take this bad situation and spin it into something positive. As someone posted – it is hard to thank the S for this discovery of ourselves, but people do come into our life for a reason, and I quess this is why he came into mine. I have learned that I can do things on my own, and I’m quite proud of what I have accomplished in the last 2 years. Moving forward I would like to be able to help others that have fallen into the anquish of a sociopath.
God Bless all of you!

Donna wrote my true lovefraud story. I am the woman from Chicago that was conned by the pilot.


EMJ17OORD: First of all, sorry you were told to “drop it and just move on”. We talked about that in other posts on this site and it is frustrating to be told that as it is so unlike other relationships you heal from.

The rumination seems to be so common with all of us. I dont ache in my heart so much anymore. I think I got so exhausted by the end of my 2 years with him that I felt almost a relief in my heart to be done. But the mind is another story. I catch myself having fleeting thoughts often throughout the day – little memories, things that were said, promises, deceptions, they continue to simmer on the back burner dispite my knowing that I am best without him.

Mr. Green: of course its hard for you being a self proclaimed sociopath for those here who didnt know that yet… to understand disappointment. Being let down, being finally loved like you didnt know before, promises made, living life with this person happy, content, and believing you both felt the same, lucky to have found each other… only to discover that it was all a coverup. Lies, cheating, manipulating… etc.

I think that is mostly the content of my rumination: the shock and disbelief that someone has that evil spirit inside to play with someone’s mind and heart at such a deep level. I replay all our wonderful times together and try to fathom how he could have been enjoying us so much (I believe he did) yet one woman was never enough. He had me as his constant, day-to-day relationship, safe, loving, secure…and on the side he had all his playmates. And the circles of lies that were told to keep it all going. It baffles me, I am able to stop loving, able to stop missing, able to stop caring —but I am finding it so hard to believe the ugliness I’ve discovered in another human being that professed so much love for me.

Also, they consume so much of your mind, body, time, and attention that their absence leaves a great hole in your life. It is a slow process to begin to piece together things to fill in all those gaps. It leaves too much time for thinking (ruminating) and is so clear to me now that no relationship in my future should ever be so all consuming. If it becomes that way, get out!

Ox Drover

In some ways, I view “rumination” a little differently. I raise cattle and so I see it a bit like the cows do. They take in large amounts of tough food, then let it ferment a while, then they burp it back up and chew it and then swallow and digest it.

If you define “rumination” as obscessive rehashing, yes, it is not beneficial, but to me, analyzing the situation (rechewing) …i.e. first, what happened? second, what was my part in it? third how can I prevent this in the future?

My situation with the multiple Ps in my life and my family recently almost resulted in my murder, and did result in the almost total destruction of my family’s peace and security.

Fortunately, it was not successful, but re-chewing (rumination) over what happened, and what my part in allowing it to get to that stage, why I ignored the red flags for so long, how the Ps turned the rest of my family against me, making me appear to be the “crazy” one—until finally, they were arrested…and I eventually got “vindication” that my assessment of them and their intentions was right.

Before the arrest, I think if I had not chewed and rechewed what was going on, I might have missed one of the clues that literally saved my life.

Now that I am SAFE, though, if I continually and obscessively continue to dwell on the PAST and “what might have happened” or to castigate myself for why “didn’t I see this sooner” or “how could I be so stupid”—etc. then it does become counter productive.

We will I think, NEVER be truly able to understand how the Ps think/feel because they are as alien to the rest of humanity as if they were from Mars. They do not share the same “value systems” built on emotions and feelings, and on empathy or respect for laws and “right and wrong.” Trying incessantly to “understand” them can drive us to distraction, or worse.

Total NC to me, and not just physical NC, but EMOTIONAL NC as well, is the key to being able to “stop thinking” about them. The cartoon about BD is very good…we can make ourselves think about other things, count, say the ABCs, do your multiplication tables in your head, meditate, read, watch a movie, sing a song (inside your head if you can’t sing aloud) or a million other things to keep from thinking about them incessantly.

I won’t rent them “space in my head” any more, any more than they can have a room in my house.


I have never heard of rumination before, but it makes a lot of sense to me. I think it is easier to stop ruminating if the abuser is out of your life completely. This is hard to do when you have children with this person and live in the same town as this person and his family. The other day, I was driving to the drug store, and when I reached a stop sign my ex happened to be right across me. I tried to avoid making eye contact, but in the split second it took me to recognize him, he was laughing at me in an exaggerated, mocking way, like, “Ha! Ha! I win! You lose!” He laughs at me this way every chance he can get away with it…even when we have been in court. This private laugh is so contrary to his public performance of him being a wonderful, caring father who only wants the very best for his children. In the restaurant example above, it is like I am being told that I have to eat at that restaurant only, regardless of how the waitress treats me, when I complain about the service to the management they tell me, “Put up, or shut up! We don’t know what you are talking about …that waitress has received the “Waitress of the Year Award” two years in a row! Then when I look around the restaurant in disbelief, I catch the waitress’s eye and she mockingly laughs at me…Ha! Ha! No one will ever believe you, and the great thing is….you have to eat at this restaurant for the next eighteen years! I think if I am forced to eat at that restaurant and deal with that waitress for such a long period of my life then it is important that I minimize the time I have to spend in that restaurant to the bear minimum, and do my best to try to sit in the part of the restaurant that the waitress doesn’t serve. I also try to make my life outside the restaurant really positive. I have a job and part of my life that is so separate from my ex , a part of my life that he can not touch. My job, my church and my own family (brothers, sisters, father) are a part of me that my ex can’t touch. He isn’t standing in the background mocking me and even if he tried to, these people know me for who I truly I am, so his lies would have no effect on them.

hi fran,

i wrote about the restaurant, i am sorry you are getting food poisoning…

my S lives about a half-mile away, and while i luckily don’t have children with him, the stop sign encounter is inevitable. i am laying low for now to avoid it…

i hope in the face of the waitress of the year award, you hold on to your sense of reality. his laughs are still shaking your perception of reality, the support he gets from others is doing it too.

that’s what he wants, that’s what gives him his power trip. with a glance he can rock your world.

but maybe what you don’t see as you are rocked, is YOUR power over him. you have qualities he lacks, you have something he will never have.

you have so much and he is so empty, trying to feel like a big man by beating up on you. he’s a bully, and bullies love it when they get to us.

hold onto your reality, trust your gut. your gut is your most powerful weapon against this madness. it will pull you through, i promise!

the only way to defeat them is to believe in our gut.

when he laughs in your face next time, try to picture his bloated, swollen, waterlogged body and say this to yourself:

‘if i sit by the river long enough, my enemy will float by.’

I really have a problem with this. It’s like no matter what I’m doing, I am always thinking SOMETHING about the sociopath.
It drives me crazy.


I think part of the trouble (at least for me) with the rumination issues is that he took a very detailed oriented, analytic woman and trained me to be downright obsessive. He flooded me with calls, texts, and attention. I willingly dropped whatever I was doing to respond, every single time. Once a habit like that becomes ingrained, it’s very difficult to change it, and they know that. They keep us guessing, it’s part of their ploy to keep the game going. Personally, I wound up a slobbering Pavlov’s dog, completely at his whim. And I still miss him, miss that heart-pounding feeling when my phone rang, miss the thrill of a ding when a text message arrived, miss the calls at odd hours “just because he missed me,” when he was actually checking up on me. And a part of me still stupidly wishes I’d never figured out the truth, too. If I just didn’t have to know, I could have gone on blissfully ignorant that he was doing several other women and that I could NEVER be enough for him. That one sticks with me. Why wasn’t I enough? The truth of the matter is that we are all enough for a normal guy, but we were trained to question everything about ourselves and can’t seem to give that up. Like dodged_a_bullet says, I’m always thinking SOMETHING about him, whether it’s remembering good things or anger about the lousy ones. I want to let this go, and sometimes I can for a little while, but it always seems to come back. Just like he does.

Ox Drover

Today I had an “ah ha” moment while I was e mailing a friend. I have pretty well stopped ruminating about the Ps in my life, and the “episode analysis” is —completed (as a member of my volunteer fire department, after an episode of either fire or a medical emergency we had an episode analysis to figure out what went wrong, what went right and how we could improve, if there had been a death involved in the episode either from injury or medical we also worked through how we felt about the death)—any way, I realized that now that I am OUT of the clutches of the Ps, that my life is CALM and I do longer think about the “episodes” or details of life with them, or if I do think about it, it is sort of like telling the plot of a movie I saw or a book I read, it isn’t painful any longer, just a “story” or a “plot”

But at the same time, it is a new experience to live in PEACE. In a way it almost seems ABNORMAL to not be angry, frustrated, scared, terrified, frantic, depressed, etc. on a daily basis. No longer waiting for “the other shoe to fall” or expecting the next crisis to happen any minute.

All my Ps are either in prison, dead, or NC so I am surounded only by positive people that love me, and no UNNECESSARY drama–the worst thing that can happen is an act of nature, a plumbing problem, or some other thing that is NOT deliberately out to hurt me.

I realize that people who have children by these monsters are in many ways chained to them for the length of the time it takes the kids to reach 18, and depending on other things, maybe longer if the kids don’t “catch on” to what the N or P parent is and decrease or stop contact. I can only imagine how much of a living hell it is to have to share your children with these monsters. To know that they will actually hurt your children to “get back at” you.

I have a great deal of sympathy and admiration for men & women who survive this hell on earth and somehow keep their sanity. I just thank God that I never had to endure that. I have been blessed that I can be away from them totally NC because 2 are in prison and one on a restraining order and on parole after 7 months in jail which scared the dickens out of her apparently, and the 4th N is NC and no chance of violence.

But, after years of thinking about nothing but them, dreading the next attack, trying to figure out from which one and which aspect it would come, peace somehow seems abnormal. I LIKE IT THOUGH! LOL ROTF.

I am still healing, regaining physical and mental and emotional stability and strength, and the need for analysis, and the need for hypervigilence is gone. I think the hypervigilence that goes with a lot of this, wondering where the next attack will come from and in what form is one of the most damaging things to our psyches.

Constantly thinking about them also seems to increase this hypervigilence.


Notquitebroken. Remembering back to the start of the relationship he flooded me with text messages, 48 the first night, he worked nights, so the mobile was his main means of keeping contact. But I resented it, remember sitting waiting for his texts to come in like Pavlovs Dogs, I remember actually saying that. I too am a very conscientious I dont like unfinished business and loose ends, so this was ripe to engage my mind.

His nonsense all calculated and covered by excuses was all designed to throw me off balance, make me suffer, punish, insult, demean and he could do it so easily once he used the push and pull technique. He must have used this formula on his other victims, that is why he knew it would work, and he was very good at playing the waiting game. He would rather sit in his home round the corner alone than see me which was very odd for someone who adored and ‘cherised’ me, I couldnt get hold of him, he was the master of privacy – you felt that you could never call on him unannounced. He kept his privacy and his phones very closed, he used pin number on his phone (he had 12 phones) so that I couldnt get into it. then with great glee he gave me one of his used phones with all his women’s phone numbers on it. I rang one of them, it was a married woman at his work, who was adament they were work colleagues (even though he sent her intimate text essages). This was his cover, telling me it was reasonable to have phone numbers from ‘mates’ at work (all married women), and mentioning them sometimes to reassure me that it was a working relationship. What lies.


Oh how I did this, MONTHS and MONTHS lost. I drank to try to make the thoughts, and memories stop. I cried myself to sleep in a new tiny apartment I had escaped with my son to live. No furniture, no appliances nothing but my thoughts, no TV,,, then instead of doing this circular thinking that got me only sicker and sicker, I got up and did some good things, volunteered to help others. Now I don’t repeat my story over and over. I told it to the judge, to a spiritual leader, and to my best friend. When it pops into my head, it is of no use, unless I am helping another woman that needs to hear my story and see me today. Otherwise I am stilli n the grip of that dangerous man, and I am free today. I have everything I need, I am grateful that I was strong enough to leave when I did, I tried long and hard to GET MY MONEY BACK… had liens put on everything — but he foreclosed, lost that lien, cars disappeared? Well, I just said F it. It is not worth 35 thousand dollars to be sick, so let it go. And from that day forward, no more crying to sleep I don’t feel the need to tell the story in my head over and over and over, reliving and resenting, just sinks me to no self-worth. I am worthy, and loving and deserve a kind man. If I want to attract the good I must allow myself to feel loved BY MYSELF… i can’t love me if I am a prisoner in my dark thoughts. There is nothing to figure out. I married a psycopath, and am alive!!! Live is here to be lived. I am sharing only to this posting site some of me. And therapy when necessary for the damage of the sexual abuse… but moved ON and yes it was IN PAIN, but pain is going to happen, suffering from it, well that is an option, and my choice of suffering is NO way, I choose to live!
Girls, Women, Choose to live, don’t relive… LIVE today.
Give yourself a hug, and don’t look back, it can’t follow you if you just put it down! me…Thank you for this reminder!!!

Dodged :

“I really have a problem with this. It’s like no matter what I’m doing, I am always thinking SOMETHING about the sociopath.
It drives me crazy.”

Me, too, in years past more so than this time around. I foolishly thought it was further proof I loved him – wanting to share all the parts of my life with him, get his advice on matters that concerned my heart and soul…and you know what? On my part, maybe it was. I keep trying to pare the equation down, knowing that he felt nothing real for me I keep trying to rationalize my feelings for him down to the same level…maybe to avoid that feeling of being duped or gullible. But, really? I think I did love him sincerely, warts and all, and part of that thinking about him all the time was normal. The other part was brought-on by his keeping me off-balance, by never knowing what hoops he’d require my jumping through on that particular day and not being able to break the cognitive dissonance that comes from someone doing unspeakably mean things to you while saying they loved you.

He conditioned me. I even said as much, saying that “if you don’t like the fact I question everything, blame yourself. Your actions and inconsistencies created this mistrust in me.”

Like a normal person, I thought sharing that would result in him trying to be more consistent. It wasn’t until reading all this stuff and the lightbulb moment of discovering it had a name that I realized he WANTED ME to be insecure and mistrustful. He wanted me to do that because then I would think of nothing else BUT HIM. The perfect supply for a person who suffers from the feeling they are all that’s important in the world — a woman who will also feel that way.

It’s a long journey, I realize, to getting this virus out of your soul permanently. Still think about him too much. Wish I had an answer as to how to make it stop. Eventually it does on its own, but I remember that in the years between the last go-round and 2006, nearly every morning for about two years or so I woke-up and the first thought I had was of him — -and we hadn’t even seen each other for years.

Now what bothers me is that I compare everyone else’s actions to his, in a negative way, and am so distrustful of people’s motives. The virus is still there.

Finding myself again :

“It baffles me, I am able to stop loving, able to stop missing, able to stop caring —but I am finding it so hard to believe the ugliness I’ve discovered in another human being that professed so much love for me.”

Wow – that’s the greatest explanation (and I did not know about Mr. Green so thanks for that, too). I refuse to even really look right now at the way waking up from an illusion of his loving me to the reality of his abusing me feels, because it’s a terrible, awful betrayal. Right at this point, I’m just walking around the perimeter of it, looking down, measuring it, but refusing to jump in because doing so might mean never getting back up again. But eventually it’s a requirement, or else being stuck where I just won’t ever trust anyone who says they love me.

Remember finally admitting that the space between his “love” and his abuse kills me to think about, and having a good cry over it with my father of all people…the notion of love and someone else telling me they loved me, now feeling contaminated in light of what he said, did and didn’t mean at all.

This area is where it seems, more than anything, time is what heals, experience with people who are not Jekyl and Hyde, whose words match their deeds. We slowly begin to trust again through exposure to good reality and this will happen for you, too. I am sure of it.


LilOrphan. I still have the same problem too. Although dubious about him from the start, I threw myself into the relationship and gave him my best gold star relationship, but he had another script in his head and it had nothing to do with forging an honest bountiful and loving relationship. I feel a fool for that. But as a single mum, I had been bringing up my child and had not had a proper relationship for 16 years – I just fell for him as the first bloke that seemed to show genuine interest in me.

It is 6 months since we split, but I think about him every day which I am annoyed with myself for, because out of all the men I have been out with, he is the one who had the least prospects and the meanest character. I am annoyed because if he turned up at my place, I would have to send him away knowing he is no good – but yet I am still expendin mental energy on him. He did a good job on me. When we first split he was the only thing I thought of from waking till bedtime, but I am trying to do things in my home which temporarily takes my mind off him. He really does not deserve my mental effort.

Findingmyselfagain. For me that betrayal was the biggest shock, the most hurtful and biggest con in the name of love – thinking that they are being loving. Feeling ‘contaminated’ (virus) and abused are feelings I too have had. This episode has really changed me and I only went with him for a year. I get days when I think, yes I have really learned alot and grown through the experience – I get other days when I sink down, especially to think of him and his new girlfriend (which I know wont last) – but he has denied any responsibility and ran to the next person without giving me any explanations at all – I have had no closure and I hate that.

Ox Drover

BEverly, the trick is you have to MAKE YOUR OWN CLOSURE. And that is I think one of the most difficult things. I wanted to “tell him off” (insert one of the names of one of my Ps in here) to get that closure and unfortunately that doesn’t get through to them. NC is the only closure you will get, and you have to make it yourself. Physical NC is good, but EMOTIONAL NC is the ultimate “end” of it all–when you quit renting them emotinal space in your head.

I can still think about the Ps, but the details of what they did are not so importnat to me and even talking about them on this forum etc doesn’t bring up the EMOTIONS like it did, if at all. Off forum I do not talk about the Ps much at all, and then only to people who know the situation. Outsiders don’t understand or get it or believe it in some cases, so no sense in speaking about it.

The trauma and recovery may be the center of your focus at some time (or for some time) but others don’t find it interesting unless they are very close to you and really CARE. Otherwise it is just the plot to a bad soap opera.

There was a time Ii had to FORCE myself to NOT think about them, and of course that is like the joke of “I will give you a million dollars if you don’t think about pink elephants for 1 hour.” Of course before I said that, you were NOT thinking about pink elephants, but after I have suggested pink elephants and a reward for not thinking about them, you can think of NOTHING else! LOL

Sometimes not thinking about them was as simple as “singing” songs inside my head (you DON’T want to hear me singing with my mouth, but inside my head I should pretty good as long as my lips are not making a sound) LOL

Self meditation and relaxiation techniques were also used, ANYthing to keep my thoughts focused on something else, ANY thing else….and sometimes I failed and obscessed, which I think is a better word than rumination for this behavior.


OxDrover – many thanks for your suggestions. When we split I did write him a scathing letter calling him a deceitful coward amongst other things. He quickly sent his sister round to tell me not to contact him or he would threaten harrassment. To be honest, I was pleased to get shot of him because I knew he was no good. But that one letter did not quench my anger when I realised I had been ‘had’.

I talk to one friend regularly and if someone asks, but I no longer make it the main topic of conversation – so that is progress. What I also realise is that I have time on my hands and this was my life before him. So that I need to expand my life more and make some changes to occupy more thinking and doing time. A project is good.

I also have realised off the back of this, that my father was a narcissist, so I have had the double whammy, which explains some deep rooted beliefs for me which have damaged my self esteem and worthiness and being with him has compounded that – and on top of that I now feel like I’m damaged/tainted.

Ox Drover


Many of us were/are surrounded by Ns and Ps and didn’t really realize that they were “disordered” we just thought they were jerks, or mean or A$$es, but didn’t see the symptoms of the disorder in an orderly fashion. Once you see the order in the chaos, you can see that you have met them BEFORE in various places and times.

It is a bit like when you get a poodle dog, you start looking arond and it seems that EVERYONE has a poodle, they were there before but you just didn’t notice them, now you do.

The Ns and Ps are a reasonably large percentage of the population in some form or other,and are 99% (my statistic!) of the TROUBLE in the world. They to me are responsible for almost all of the interpersonal pain in any interactions between people.

Some are of course worse than others but they all leave a trail of chaos and pain in their wake as they skate off into the search for their next victim. Some, however, will never turn loose of a victim until they have killed it or destroyed it completely (the stalkers etc) others just leave it behind like a used kleenex, and with as much consideration for it’s disposition.

Thinking about them is necessary in order to see the patterns, but obscessing about them is counter productive. I think at the first when we realize “we’ve been had” we DO obscess as a natural part of the grief process, it fills our being with pain, but if you STAY in that mode of thought your soul shrivels up and dies or goes underground at least.

I am sure you have met someone in your life at some time who had some unfortunate event happen to them, the death of a spouse or child, a cripling injury or whatever, and they NEVER turn loose of that and “get a life” beyond that. And you have also probably met people who had some other horrible thing happen to them that “eventually got over it” and made alife for themselves—even in a wheel chair, or bliind, or whatever the disability or loss is.

What makes the difference in those two people’s outcome?

We can be like the first or the latter person, we can CHOOSE to let the Ps and their trauma to our hearts souls and bodies, define the rest of our lives or we can work towawrd going forward or we can let thaT determine our life for the rest of our life.


I am so grateful for this blog. I continue to feel so humiliated by all this man has done to me over the years. I continue to ruminate every day because I keep having forgotten memories pop into my head. Everything I thought was true for over 13 years was all a total lie. I so agree with the quote from Findingmyselfagain: “I am able to stop loving, able to stop missing, able to stop caring —but I am finding it so hard to believe the ugliness I’ve discovered in another human being that professed so much love for me.” That is exactly how I feel. How could there be such evil in a human being that you trusted with all your heart?

I hate when I hear from people, “just move on, it is what it is”. That’s fine if you’re dealing with a “normal” situation, but we are all not. These people we have let into our lives have deceived us, betrayed us and manipulated us. It’s not possible to just move on. I believe it is going to take a very long time for me to get over this. I think part of the healing process involves a bit of ruminating so that you can process the thoughts and eventually get them out of your head.

He has moved on with no problem. But, these are people with no conscience, no remorse, empty souls. We are human beings with real emotions. We need to work through all of our thoughts and emotions so that we can move on.

I know that ruminating too much is destructive, but some is necessary. The thing we can’t do is let them get to us so much that we continue to focus on them and lose ourselves even more. We have to put ourselves first and stop letting them continue to control our thoughts.

This whole healing process is so difficult and painful. It is a relief to read some posts of people that have been healing for years and truly have moved on. I thank them for their insight and helpful words.

Good luck to all of us.

“He really does not deserve my mental effort.”

Amen, Beverly. I’m finding as I get older, this applies to anyone, male or female, who does not have my best interests in their heart as I do them. Makes it much easier to just walk away if someone is mistreating you.

As a person who grew up with the idea constantly reinforced that I was to love those who mistreated me and ignore what they were doing, the best boundary I can have is to walk away at the first sign of someone manipulating, abusing, lying or hurting me.

Not a bad boundary, I think.

Ox Drover

Almost_free, I like to use the “term” obscessing rather than rumination. Thinking, analyzing (in moderation) is I agree “necessary” to “getting your head around it” and learning what hit you–what actually happpened instead of the “fog”—but at the same time if you obscess over it forever you will never heal.

At some point you have to let the pain go, but the “oh, just get over it” comment is very invalidating of the huge traumas that victims have lived through. It shows that the person saying that does not comprehend (maybe can’t relate to or comprehend) what has happened to you.

It is almost, I think, like saying to some one who has recently lost a loved one though death, “oh, get over it”—the grieving process (and all it’s steps) is NECESSARY to healing. Believe me, we are all in some stage of the grief process even though we have “only” lost our fantasy love. There is no “time table” on how long grief resolution takes, it takes different times for different people depending on multiple factors such as the “importance” of the loss, the coping skills of the person who had the loss, and the support that they have.

It is “normal” to think about the loss, to cry about the loss, to be angry for the loss, to try to “bargain”and make the loss “not real” or to recover the lost, but eventually, the process should lead to acceptence and resolution of the loss.

The “normal,” or expected time, in the lost of a spouse is from 1 to 3 years. The death of a child, or other terrible and unexpected and unusual losses can take even longer and still be within the range of “normal.”

How much upheaval and how much you had in terms of care, time, etc. you had “invested” in your Psychopath will also determine how “long” resolution takes.

If you have suffered other stresses at the same time, such as financial losses, job changes, stalking, moving residence, anxiety about children,your safety, etc. etc. these can ADD to the time taken to resolve not only the P but the entire “mess” that goes with it. Almost 4 years after the death of my husband, I am pretty well in acceptence of the loss of my husband, though, of course I still miss him. The trauma with the multiple Ps and the fact that I was deeply invested with these disordered persons, and barely got out with my life ON TOP of the grief I was suffering due tomy husband’s death, made the relative trauma worse as I had less resources available to deal with the Ps.

Dealing with the Ps when you are “tired” and “worn out” by other stressors makes it much more difficult to “deal” with them.

There were months where I could do NOTHING but obscess about the DETAILS of every injury they had done to me. Now, that I am healing, or at least well on the road to healing, the DETAILS are not import to me emotionally and don’t elicit the same PAIN in my gut that they did previously when it was all so raw.

I am also very fortunate that one of my sons was by my side the entire time for support, and one that was distanced from me by the Ps smear campaign has restored our relationship even more close than it has ever been, since he has first hand seen the devestation that can be done by these disordered and EVIL people. He too, though, has suffered grave losses of people he trusted and loved, when he realized that they were also DISORDERED—his wife of 8 yrs tried with her P BF to kill him. His P-brother had fooled him, and deliberately let the other Ps “do evil” knowingly. So he has lost a “Friend” a “wife” and a “brother”, had to move out of state, get a new job, suffered financial devestation, on top of the fact that he is no longer able to trust my mother (his grandmaother) who has malignantly enabled these people and would today if my son didn’t keep a “clamp” on her by telling her he would go NC with her if she continued this behavior. He is now her only blood relative that will even converse with my mother, and he dosn’t trust even her to tell the truth without EVIDENCE. So my son has also lost a great deal and is starting from scratch learning about Ps and what they are capable of. Fortunately, over all, he has good sense and is LEARNING FAST. As well as, he has his other brother and me for support and understanding—and he knows that we have been in THAT FIRE ourselves. And he knows that WE DO KNOW how he feels about it all.

The restoration of my relationship with him has been “worth it all” in the end and I would have gladly paid that price for the restoration of the relationship. So good can come out of their evil designs. I have all the Ps out of my life, NC, and as well, am working on healing, and PEACE. Peace which is starting to “feel odd” as well, no drama or toxic people in my life.

Let yourself go through the grief process and all the “stage switching” that you will go through as you progress on that road. It wont go “straight” though, you will bounce back and forth between different stages from sadness to anger, from anger to bargaining, from bargaining to denial, etc. and back and forth and back and forth, but even with 2 steps forward and one backwards, youj will progress.

Read some books about GRIEF resolution, and you will see the similarities of how your feelings are involved in that part of it too. LEARNING about all aspects of it is a good way to help yourself and realize what is “normal” and what is pathologic in the processes. Good luck and God bless you.


Oxdrover. I too believe and have faith in the way that my physiology goes through its ‘own’ order to adjust and rebalance itself even though I may not understand it. When I was with him I felt that I was in torment – a kind of mental hell, but six months later without him, that feeling has now gone and I am more calm. You are right, I have found myself going through the different stages back and forth and it is not a straightforward process. What I have found though is that when I feel angry again, it is not the intense hurt anger I felt the first times, but nevertheless it still needs a voice.

I too have been told ‘get over it’ but I think this is because the listeners are feeling mind blown by listening to the details, it is too much to take in and they feel overwhelmed.

My story in comparison to other people here is small and I am in awe at the living nightmares that people have survived and from what I have read I can think of nothing worse.

LilOrphan. A great boundary, especially for those of us who were children brought up in dysfunctional households where we had to comply with all sorts of ragged behaviours, we are finally growing up too and refusing to be like that any longer. My mother developed schizophrenia after being dumped with two young children (me and my bro) by my narcissistic father. I was then put into care and rarely saw my father ever after that. My mother was left as a single parent to work and bring us up on her own. I yearned to have my father back – how could he desert me and leave me to go into care and leave my very mentally unstable mother to bring us up without any practical or financial help at all from him ever -after 50 years this veil has been lifted and I now know my father was a narcissist and I have learned this as a result of being with a Narcissist boyfriend who felt so familiar and I knew how to ‘behave’ with him, their was a strange comfort about being with him and the pain when he was distancing and cancelling hit the very painful early childhood buttons I felt – like Katalyst said, I have been given the opportunity to really understand myself (both my parents are now dead) and I might never have had this opportunity. Would I have been able to learn this lesson through love, possibly not.


Hi Ox,

You said:

“but the ‘oh, just get over it’ comment is very invalidating of the huge traumas that victims have lived through. It shows that the person saying that does not comprehend (maybe cant relate to or comprehend) what has happened to you.

It is almost, I think, like saying to some one who has recently lost a loved one though death, ‘oh, get over it’, the grieving process (and all its steps) is NECESSARY to healing. Believe me, we are all in some stage of the grief process even though we have ‘only’ lost our fantasy love. There is no ‘time table’ on how long grief resolution takes, it takes different times for different people depending on multiple factors such as the ‘importance’ of the loss, the coping skills of the person who had the loss, and the support that they have.”


I whole heartedly agree with everything you just posted. In addition, I would like to add that statements such as “oh just get over it” are not only invalidating; but actually very traumatizing and abusive in their own right (even if unintentional) b/c it sends a signal to the victim “something is WRONG with you”; that “you are damaged or flawed” … which IS abusive! Without even realizing it – you’ve been victimized again!! All the more reason to surround yourself and ONLY confide in SUPPORTIVE people. There are some who’ve never experienced the ‘wrath’ of a psychopath but CAN and DO separate their lack of experience from yours and realize that – whether or not they *understand* it; it was very traumatic for you – and they treat you with kindness, RESPECT and empathy. (minimizing your experience and/or reaction to it IS NOT respectful of or for you!) These folks are somewhat rare b/c I believe most in the general population have to have the ‘experience’ in order to be able to identify with you; relate to what you are going through and then be able to be supportive. Some people just cannot empathize with what they do not know or understand. Support is essential in recovery! Not everyone fits this bill. I personally have found, that finding those who have had similar experiences have been the most beneficial in my own recovery. Reciprocity is truly worth MORE than it’s weight in gold.

Ox Drover

Loux2, some people have difficulty expressing “painful” emotions. Some people avoid funerals because they can’t cope with seeing the grief of the family. Or maybe it is thinking about their own eventual deaths that causes them to avoid the displays of other’s griefs.

Growing up, I was socialized to “keep your dirty linen” at home, and that you had to “appear” as if everyting was hunky dory even if your world was falling apart. I relize now that is completely wrong, but at the same time, sharing your “story” of “trauma” with casually met people isn’t good either. There needs to be some middle ground.

In listeningn to the posts of many people I perceive the “grief” process in their pain, and their lack of knowledge of this very normal process of healing after loss. What should be normally expected when we suffer a trauma/loss from interaction with the Ps?

Stress of loss, or multiple losses, also contributes to the grief and the inability to cope with it, the prolongation of the grief from lack of understanding that what you are going through is “normal” and “to be expected.” Education about grief and loss doesn’t “cure it” but it does reassure each of us that we are REACTING NORMALLY. That our symptoms both mental, emotional and physical are NORMAL. Intense, but normal. At least you are reassured you are not losing your mind!

Even knowing the process for grief resolution, you must still go THROUGH the pain. You cannot go around, over, under, but must EXPERIENCE it, FEEL it, as hurtful as it is, you have to endure it in order to overcome it.

Rumination to me is chewing the cud, just like a cow, examining the things you ahve “swallowed” again to get “meaning” out of them, however, obscessively rechewing over and over and over is definitely in my mind counterproductive. A cow would starve to death if she did that, and we emotionally “starve” if we do it too. At some point, you have to “swallow” it. It may be weeks, months, years, before you have re-chewed, gotten the meaning out of, and reswallowed every piece of important memories, but once you have done so, those DETAILS don’t seem to have any emotional pain attached to them any more.

I can think about my late husband and laugh at our jokes, smile when I rememeber him, and still miss him, but those thoughts are not painful any more. I have resolved the grief process WHERE HIS DEATH IS CONCERNED.

My grief at the loss of my “fantasy” relationship with my very dysfunctional mother is more recent and though I am resolving it rapidly I think, there are still some aspects of anger, etc. that are there from time to time.

The grief process is also a LEARNED process. We are taught how to grieve if we are given the opportunity.

Children who lose a pet grieve over the loss of this animal. Many times I see parents run right out and get the child another puppy or kitten to keep the child from grieving for the first one appropriately and completely. The child may cry and feel sad at the loss of the first animal, and at some point they will resolve that grief and be ready for another pup or kitten, but I do think that they should not be prevented from grieving. Grieving for the loss is a very important learning experience for the child, in my opinon.

Grieving is never easy if the loss is important, and is in proportion to the importance of the perceived loss. With some of our friends, people who genuinely love us, they are at a loss to comfort us and say things like “I know JUST how you feel” when you KNOW that they have no idea.

A positive, silent listener who just says “I know you are in pain” is much more a supportive friend than one who says “get over it.” But again, learning how to be a supportive friend is something that we must be taught. It doesn’t come naturally.

The commonalities of our feelings about our P-encounters helps us (on forums and blogs) to feel that the other person DOES KNOW how we feel. Therefore we are more open to listening to each other’s views, even though we may not agree with them.

It is very affirming to also know that we are NOT ALONE in this experience as some of our real world friends seem to think that our story is too “out there” to be true.

I am very thankful for the internet friends that I have made and for the life-affirming advice I have had from some caring people whose faces and even names I will never know.


I find that healing over this relationship has become such a secretive and silent healing for me. I’ve had some people in my life say the “get over it-he’s a creep” statement. My mother, who heard more of the ups and the downs with him – basically understands the difficulty to disconnect from it due to the control they take over your mind… but over all I have had to come to a point with everyone that I basically pretend everything is fine and I’ve moved on. No one wants to hear anymore of the tragic happenings or feelings. I have not seen my S since December – which I guess to other people is “the past”… but getting all the mental over-processing to end is taking longer than I would hope.

Someone said above, exactly what happens to me.. that you suddenly remember things and in their popping up in your mind, brings with it a whole slew of emotions and feelings to get under control again. Sometimes I even remember situations that I now put together two and two.. and things dont equal up to four. Or I remember promises and lies that suddenly link together — its like my subconcious mind is still examining the evidence of all this and still coming up with determinations.

I do worry though about the toll that ongoing ruminating and ongoing dissecting of all this will do to our health. I run out of ways to distract myself from continuing to think.
I’m curious if anyone here has begun dating again? I have not but I guess all this ruminating needs to end before anyone can be given a fair chance with me. I find it hard to not assume everything everyone (men) say to me is a lie. Its not fair I know, but how do you make the thoughts stop?

hi guys, i read this once and copied it – i don’t recall where i got it – but it was something that helped me:

Ways to Healing (from my experience):

You begin in shock. In disbelief. You may suffer from Post Traumatic Stress (I did). As you are beginning to re-remember, the feelings are going to be overwhelming.

Every emotion under the sun. Chaotic feelings. Tremendous ambivalence. Anger, hatred, vengefulness, murder, all the really nasty stuff. Terrible, soul-tearing loneliness.

This is normal, this is you being human. Feel all the feelings, cry an ocean.

This is grieving. I cried for 3 years, almost every day. I was comforted by this saying from mystical Judaism, “God counts the tears of women” (and men, I’m sure).

At the same time,

Learn everything you can about psychopathy and pathological narcissism. We are not talking just immature jerks here, or the abusive, but hardcore pathology.

Return to the past and remember and review in detail.

This is not obsessing- this preoccupation is very necessary for healing because you are starting from square one — what you thought existed, did not.

So you must find out what really existed- replace the pathway of emotion laden remembrance with the stark, unyielding reality.
this is me again:

i agree with this – we need to go back over the relationship again and again to validate the reality we knew existed, but denied.

so actually, while we may not want to ruminate, it may be healthy for us to go back over these hurtful situations and revisit them in a healthier state of mind.

when we are safer to experience the rage and pain that we denied while we were with the S.

so i am not sure “rumination” is something we can deny. in my humble opinion, this is a process that needs to be experienced, step by step.

as we re-fill our lives with what we knew before the S, i truly believe the ruminations will stop.

keeping the S out of our lives will help too. avoid where they go – don’t go to the romantic places you remember. NC is key.

as for me, i got 14 days of peace and today he sent me a text message. during that short period, i had some peace, i was able to accept that he is a scorpion and even while i still ruminated, i was able to laugh a little and reach out to new friends.

now, just seeing the text and i get the wind knocked out of me again.

it is so unfair that we are left with this nonsense all because we fell in love with someone.


Ox Drover

NO CONTACT—physical or emotional–is the easiest I think to deal with. While I was in contact with the Ns and Ps in my life I was so “out of it” emotionally and mentally I could not think logically or see past the pain. I over reacted to any stimuli.

NC at first physical only, because there was definitely mental contact from my end—I couldn’t get them out of my head—but as the physical no contact continued, I started to become “rational” again. At first I still wanted to contact them to “tell’m off but good” and as I refrained from that physically, I still “talked to them” in my head and “told” them what I thought of how they had treated me, so I had not acheived EMOTIONAL and MENTAL “No Contact”–as time went by though, the need I felt to “tell’m off” decreased.

Then, the need to “tell’m off” was gone one day. The need to obscess was also gone. I still think about the situation from time to time, or even a few of the details, but I am more logical and rational than any other feeling.

Accepting REALITY is much easier than wondering if we even see reality, or if we might be wrong.

I have always thought it is more anxiety provoking to WONDER if you have cancer than to be told that you have it for sure. When we are with the Ns and Ps we somenow keep the malignant hope alive that we can salvage the relationship some how, some way if we can just find the “magic words” to say. Of course we now know that there are NO magic words to fix the situation or the Ps.

Once we truly come to the conclusion that there is NO fixing it, I think that helps us get past the denial and the anxiety of trying to find those magic words. We finally accept that there aren’t any and that THEY will not change EVER.

At that point we are out of denial and more able to deal with the sad reality of what has happened.

I’ve been in the fog for so long that I am not sure what REAL peace feels like, but I am finding out—I even had to call my mother for business reasons the other day—and I did it without getting upset. I “broke” physical NC but the emotional NC is VERY MUCH intact. I am really kind of proud of myself as I have not had a single time in the last couple of years that even an e mail with my mother didn’t send me through the roof in spasams of emotional pain. This was a first!

I am “sad” or disappointed, whatever word you want to use, that I never have had nor ever will have a good relationship with my mom, or that I could ever trust her again. But I cna’t change that, I can only accept it as REALITY. It IS sad that anyone can be so disordered and dysfunctional, and I am sure that her remaining days will be lonely (I’m her only child) and anxiety ridden, but that was her choice not mine.I have forgiven her, gotten the bitterness out of my own heart, but forgiveness does not mean that I ignore the realilty of her TOXIC behavior, or that I can ever trust her again.

Life is moving on, I am moving on—and the overpowering feelings are quieting down to a calm and a peace. Acceptence of what was, what is, and who I am.


i dwell a lot. sometimes i waste whole days doing it. i would like to move on with my life and be happy and really live. but i get caught up by different things … i think a big indication of my lack of happiness/depression/frustration/status quo is my dwelling. when i start to dwell more that function it is a red flag for me about what is going on.

but i think writing of resentment and rumination is sort-of stupid. it is not as easy as cliche’s make it sound. maybe part of it can be helpful and other parts a waste of energy.

i am aware i am happier and more at peace when i am not thinking about any of those things though.


hi all , im a guy 36 yrs old and i live here in ireland , my story is a long one and involves soo much pain . for me i was married for two years to my wife at the time before i awoke to a nightmare beyond all proportions … we have a beautiful daughter together , who is my light and kept me alive throu the mos horrundous abuse and crultey one could only imagine … i will try to explain a little to you to give you an indication of what i and others of you are experiencing out their … i consider my self to be a deep thinker and find my own ways to research and find solutions to emotional suffering , which also importantly involve spiritual work on a deep core level to “cleanse” and protect ones space ..

mywife and i got married about 1.5 yrs after we met . in this time our beautifull daughter was also born to us both .. it was a very stressfull time and required a clear level headed approch to be their as a dad /father/ man … all the things a guy worries about fill your mind in supply warmth comfort and a place of safety … i guess bec my work load and internal pressure was so high , i didnt have time to think too deeply of what was going on …. everything was “has to be right” and “needs to be done ” .. as a genuine guy i put the head down and worked as hard as i could … doing regualar night feeds and housework ..on top of a long drive and commute ..

as the relationship continued our arguements continued and got worse … no amount of sensible thinking could make her see her unrealistic and distorted point of view …
her occupation was psychriatric nurse , which i put her stress levels down too …

slowly slowly i started to see a different side to her / and her family … and this made me question “who she really was” …
but bec i loved her from the bottom of my heart i tryed to ignore her hurtfull comments …

but alas like all things , they usually get worse before one awakens to the nightmare one is “trappen in ”

in this time of about two yrs .. i started to suffer terrible stomach aches and distortions of my own reality and how i felt about things … i didnt feel like myself anymore .. slowly i did nt go out with friends and eventually not even my hobbies i cared for anymore …

i was always spiritual and a seeker of answeres which was my own type of bed rock i relyed on in life …
i came from a difficult childhood myself but it thought me to reconise many things that were not right in our marriage …

after very vicious arguments i would dwell for hours on what was said and how/why etc etc … to the point of insanity …

one night again after a huge arguement over something trival … i decicded to sneek out and around our house to see if she felt the same way as i did … as i looked in the window .. their my wife lay ..reading a book and smokin a ciggeret…. she seemed like nothing had occured .. calm /happy and at ease with herself … i was shtttered and went into shock … but i still loved her … especially bec she was our daughters mother !!!!!!!!!

time went by and i started to get and suffer greatly from panic attacks … one day she came back home from work and put pills on the tablle for me to take …. mentally i was suffering and my “resolve” was starten to crack …. so i started to take them … did they help ?? no!!!

as i knew at some level of my being that they would nt , but i didnt care .. as my heart was suffering from what was happenin to me and what our little daughter was seeing … this was grinding me away slowly … she would blame me for creating such and that i had an anger problem ….

one day about two years ago , we decided to take a break in the south of ireland .. the night before she and i had another row .. i decided their and then i could not go on holidays … it was better to get some rest and time out on my own …

the next day they left on holidays without a word said in appolgy ,which was normal for her … no remorse ….

when i went to see them the next day she had left and told me on the phone'” to get the F## out of her home ” when i tryed to explain to her how “i” was feeling she swapped the phone over to my daughter and as i didnt know this was rambling on trying to get her to listen …

my little girl who was 2 said “daddy , daddy” ….
this went throu me like a missile and shattered my core …

i put the phone down , and at that moment” i died ” for i knew how cruel “she was ” and “a failure” i was . i decided to take my own life … the darkness engulfed my soul , i could not see a reason to live … being so isolated over time , i couldnt see any resourses to call upon to help me and somewhere safe to feel understood … i did want to admit the truth … “that i was in a very disfuntional marriage and married to some one who was very sick indeed and publicly our marriage was over ”

that night i wrote a quick goodbye note and gathered 60 pills together and proceeded to take my own life ,as each pill i swallowed ,i cryed and cryed … such bleakness and pain ….it was done !!!!

6 hrs later i was found and rushed to hospidal and their transferred to intensive care … i had multi organ failure … my kidneys and liver where in total collapse .. the pain was hurrendous …

shock waves went out among my family and friends …. but i was to survive .. 8 weeks later i got disharged from hospidal … only to be put into the psychritric services … for observation ..

when i did get home straight away the bullyin and putdowns started … the first night i spent in a locked room , tryin to feel safe … i called my brother late in the night and he told me to “make an exit from the house slowly over the next few weeks …”!!

three weeks later she did it first and demanded i leave the house …with no where to go and no food or warmth and my body achein from all the trauma , i found repfuge in my little car … keepin my hospidal appointments and hanging on until i would see my little girl again …

my brother was the only one to believe my story and slowly throu immense suffering and pain , i slowly started to rebuild and get to see my daughter again . i found the system here in ireland to be crroupt to the highest levels and so called proffesionals acting with impuninty to my care and needs …

today 18months on igrow stronger and wiser in dealing with the wife who i consider to be very dangerous , and see my girl regularly … she is good and i work throu playin and been a great dad to be their for her as she grows ….


1/ find one person who is wise and believes your story …
2/ drop all others , keep all info to yourself as they will infiltrate your support systems ruthlessly
3/ close all loopholes and a/c .. change e-mails bank a/c and such
4/ get protection from a support network
5/ set up journal and note book to keep your emotional focus … i.e. an emergency card,
bec your thinking will be shattered
6/read ,study/rest/ time off work / tell your boss /call in every faviour you can find
7/ work out routine to deal with severe anxiety and trauma … prescription drugs are not to be relyed on !!! they cloud the mind …big time
8/nature and time alone in nature … animals/pets … caring sharing love …
9/believe /displine and courage will have to be your bedrock
10/ cut out all negative talks within the mind if you can

1/warm sea salt showers and baths ….
2/ art /drawing and painting ,flowers.. surround yourself with things of beauty ..
3/ dont expect anyone else to understand … even councellors
4/ do cerimony to release her from your life …
5 / study up on “psyic protection ” …. master it !!!!
6/ see yourself free and reguarly visualise …

i hope this helps … i will post again soon for you all … thank you once again for a great website ….

The problem with RUMINATION in trauma situations (for those recovering from involvement with a psychopath) is that you can’t just tell someone to “stop thinking about it.” PTSD causes a lot of circular thinking and UNTIL the victim recieves:

2. Some modicum of explanation (though not from the psychopath – they never provide closure or reasons)

They can’t stop… and even then stopping is slow. You don’t just GET OVER a psychopath – you adapt and move forward. This rumination isn’t a choice but a symptom.

Also, we advise for those who feel safe enough to do so to EXPOSE them because telling your story and externalizing the “poisonous” words & thoughts psychopaths implant in your mind to control you helps put things in perspective and start to heal.

Ox Drover


Thank you for sharing what I am sure is a very painful story. You sound like you are on the road to recovery from this painful episode in your life…and the fact that you can be there for your daughter is I am sure comforting to you and to her as well, as she has to deal with this woman for some time yet.


Your post is ver concise and succint, we DO need validation and that is the most difficult to get sometimes…and so is the “explanation”–my son is recovering right now from his 8 year marriage to a psychopath (possibly “just” a Border line) woman who tried to kill him…she is out of jail now, on probation with a strict NO CONTACT injunction, and he so wants and explanation, but has come to realize that he will never get “the TRUTH” out of her.

She is back to her old ways, still trying to “rip off” the family financially along with her P-BF who is in Prison at this point–but she has even seenhow she can get arond the legal “no contact” with him. He gave her a power of attorney for managing his finances so they can LEGALLY converse even though there is a NO CONTACT order from the Judge.

They learn “fast” how to get around the system, and she is being very careful to walk on that line between what is “legal” and what is “moral.” She stays ON the “legal” line but is again flat footed on the immoral side.

I absolutely understand the need to ruminate, to re-chew the details, and don’t think it is bad unless it passes to the point of obscession with the details.

I still think about the “situations” of all of my Ps, but not so much the “detals” any more, or the emotional ups and downs, but more about MYSELF, my own feelings, my own thoughts, my own healing, and what I need to do within myself, on the journey toward healing.



What a nightmare, what a story. All our stories are really unbelievable. My best friend who has listened to me endlessly going over every minute detail again and again, as I discover more bits and pieces of information and tie them together, she and her husband knew my husband, thought he was the most devoted husband and father on the planet, and time and again she says those words: “It’s really unbelievable!”

It really is unbelievable. It makes no sense. Such astonishing duplicity and cruelty coming from one we’ve given all to. It’s one tidal wave of pain after another.

Ten months ago I was almost as low as you were when you took those pills. I wanted to get in my car, drive somewhere and just die. I thought about going to Yosemite, renting a tent cabin in Camp Curry, bring along a few jugs of water, lay there and die.

I’d pretty much already stopped eating. A cracker and half a banana a day was all. Even having to eat that much was annoying. So quitting food altogether wouldn’t have been difficult.

I just could not see how I could go on living, knowing this man I adored had betrayed me (and I didn’t know the half of it back then).

The world was gray. Everything had lost its color. I could barely hear any sounds. I remember one time a ding-dong friend of my older daughter told me that in spite of everything my husband had done, there was still a lot of beauty in the world.

It totally pissed me off when she said that. It made me angry to think anyone could even think of beauty when I was in such pain!

A few weeks later as I sat overlooking the Pacific Ocean, I took in the birds and the sand and the sunlight glinting off the water and I thought to myself: There IS a lot of beauty in the world. No matter what he did, he can’t take this beauty away.

I realized that even if I never find someone else, I can appreciate the gift of that beauty, which is something he’ll never be able to do.

At first, it’s hard to see the beauty for pain. Thankfully, the pain starts to ease up after time. After a while, maybe a long while, it’s not there every minute anymore. I still remember the first time I laughed. It was back in July, 3 and a half months after I’d started my descent into hell.

My daughter and her boyfriend and I were watching the movie Little Miss Sunshine. For a blessed hour and a half I didn’t even think of my husband. I laughed out loud. That almost startled me.

Since then, I don’t laugh very often, but sometimes I do to the point of tears. And always with family and friends who I was the lucky one to end up with. He threw them all away. What a fool.

I am so glad I didn’t give into that impulse to drive off and die. And I am glad that you failed in your attempt to die too. I’m sure that there are people out there reading these posts, people who have never posted themselves, people who are in absolute agony. Your post offers so much hope. It’s hard to see hope in the beginning, but, truly, these evil people who have stolen so much of our lives are not worth dying for.

There is still so much beauty in the world.


P.S. At my lowest point, I even did a google search on painless suicide. All that came up were these Christian websites that sucked you into thinking they had good suggestions when all they wanted was to give you hope. Pissed me off. I didn’t want hope. I wanted to die.

A couple of weeks later one of my daughters was being rude to me. I begged her for compassion. I told her she would never treat me in such a way if she knew how I was feeling. (Of course she was dealing with her own anger and pain too, and I was the one she could take it out on.) “See that ground there?” I asked, pointing to the driveway I was standing on. “I have been feeling lower than that.”



thank you for sharing your stoires and pain … “it is so very important to express the truth ” … please believe me when i say that … these are some of the last taboos in society to explore and break the walls of silence upon ..

last christmas , i talked with Roy Sheppard by accident, after i found his book .. “the dark side of venus ” which had just been advertised following publication .. it felt like my world and the wheel of life was starting to turn and my personal story was real experienced by many others … hes book is for guys but equally also for women in such a position … no parent /person or child should ever have to experience that unbelieveable pain and cruelty … from such people … sites like these are essential to give people a place to freely express … long live the freedom of speech … for it is our soul longing and key to our whole being …….!!

for many years my self i have had a deep way at looking at things and lifes problems and why we, and others suffer . … i believe no one model should be used to classify certain disorders .. “But” it is a very good place to start the search for truth !!!!… and a very important step ..
my philospy is that their is “many levels” to these personality diorders , usally laid down or exhasberated by childhood tramas in these peoples lives , … but also in particular theirs more going on in the background that the nacked eye eye cannot see , so their for “our”senses become key !! …it all depends on how far you want ,or ,are able to travel down into the darkness … to where these people minds reside … the darkness of the human soul ..

for me i went the whole way !!! “to death and back !” and for a good reason i feel .. to unlock the patterns and behaviour and the “darkness” that drive these people minds .

so here goes …. you dont have to agree what i am about to say but see and sense for your self your own unique truth … for this is key …

from a spiritual point of view a persons “mind” and “soul” are the two parts that make us human … ownership of both is critical for them to have the “control” and “power” they so badly crave !!!!!


Spirtual we must start to protect our selves .. from the “psyic driving” and negative thoughts that are pushed into our minds and souls ..via the charkra “(base , second and third charkra)…

for me the mind is not all present within the brain but also fed from the energy points of the chrakra system..

if people google “psyic protection ” they will see similar stories and patterns from people who have experience also what we have here …..

for me i was able to see and discover patterns within my wifes family and esp with the her mother in this case …
i find also that one generation conditions another in this behaviour … please bear this in mind … usually an emotional shattering occurred for them at some stage in life .. esp during childhood … thus the behaviour is “played” out

the phyisical and bodly experiences are very important also as they are “keys”.. to understanding the patterns of “energy” at work .. in the house where i lived .. i got little sleep … bec of phyisical pain in my solar plex area ,stomach, and intestine area .. headaches , anxiety attacks .. bowel problems .. distorted dark thoughts that are not normal ..
flashbacks form child hood … distortion of my own sexual feelings etc etc .. when the heat is really turned up .. thoughts of insanity!!!

so the bombarment is on all levels of experience that we day to day in our reality ….
bec of this …tiredness… becomes our greatest enemy .. as our natural impluse is to fight and such we expend more energy .. phyiscally and psyically with our tormentors .. which leads to further fatigue …and exhaustion .. the goal is “emotional shattering ”

another thing to bear in mind is also our place of residence … where we sleep and rest …. become very aware of patterns .. study them if you can and note them .. how you feel , in your body and patterns of phyiscal pain / time it occurs.. go to another room and see if abates etc

the primary objective is to build the resourses to exit out of the situation safely ….and to do this we need all our courage and strength

but be prepared as it does intensify when you do leave .. either by been on a phyisical level , but more particually on a non phyicisal level .. throu ‘tortorious thoughts “… and self doubt

you must start very slowly to rebuild solid loving structures and protect yourself on all levels … the power of the mind is immense .. trust me !!

visualisation techniques are essential in clearing your mind and phyisical space .. it may sound not workable but like all things … the mind is a muscele and like all musceles it needs to be exercised and strenghtened so it can be up to the task in freeing itself from the thoughts that interlink us with these very dark and nasty people …

often also it involves a total change in our behaviour and view of life … its like a massive emotional cleanse that one goes throu .. time and disipline are required , their is no other easy answers ….

i found keeping a journal became an essiential tool .. why ? bec it recorded my memoires and such prevented further distortions of the truth of experiences i had experienced by this persons behaviour … in events that were going on

for them it is critical that they “inject in ” doubt in their victims mind . also too i found it gave revelance to my feelings .. a place for us to take these very painfull thoughts out of our heads … and rest awhile
now dont get me wrong , it is just one tool to assist in moving forward …

i hope this helps all of you .. i will post more info …

thank you ….gillian 🙂
oxdrover 🙂

even thou we are all out their.. we are all connected by thought …xxx

Ox Drover


I believe very much that healing must encompass not only mental and emotional, but spiritual aspects as well. Regardless of what your spiritual path is, whether you believe in God, or are an Athiest, agnostic, etc. it doesn’t matter…whatever your spiritual aspect is, it must be included in the healing process.

If we allow our painful experiences to devestate us totally, and do not grow and learn from them, find some MEANING in them, some good that has come out of the process, then we have lost, not gained.

If we allow this experience, as terrible as it is, to make us bitter and ugly inside, as bitter and ugly as THEY are, to kill our souls, all the good that is in us, then they have “won.”

You are right, there is no easy answer. It takes time and work. When we come up against something that we cannot change, it requires that we change ourselves. We cannot change them, the unchangable, we cannot “help” them, we can only change ourselves and help ourselves to cope with, grow and heal.


Good morning OxDrover. As a spiritual person I too found the advice given by Tauruswinds very very valuable. Yesterday, though, it was the anniversary of the day I met exN, I had a recall on breast check to be told I have breast cancer. I dont know at this stage what the future holds for me and I may be off this site for a while. On a holistic level, I felt relatively well before him, after him my health went poor and my state of mind punctured. Im sure he helped me press my ‘self destruct button’.

Ox Drover

Dear Beverly,

I am sorry to hear that you have breast cancer. There is a blog on here about the effects of stress on the body/mind and believe me, it is TRUE! Stress and grief has a big effect on our health physically. I ended up coming down with rocky mountain spotted fever this summer (a tick borne fever) and it threw me for a big loop, I am only now, months later starting to get my physical strength back. I got to the point that I could not even climb one flight of stairs without huffing and puffing. I had just about every test known to medical science to find out why I was so very weak. The fever itself can do that, but the stress as well + the fever= poor health.

Sooooo the point I am trying to make is that now is the time it is VERY important that you TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST. Put everything off that is not critical, take care of YOU physically and emotionally and spiritually. YOU come first.

Eat a healthy diet, exercise (both of which will raise your good brain chemicals) meditation (you may need a teacher for this for a time or two, but it’s really very easy) and be aware of your fears and emotions but don’t let them “drive” you. If you are depressed, see a provider about some medication for that—in short—do ALL the things that are important for your healing. (((((hug))))) to you and my prayers for your speedy return to full health—you are a strong woman, and heck, if you can beat the P, you can beat this one too!


OxDrover. Thank you for your kindness. I only suffered just over a year with the N but 2 years in all. During that time I was menopausal, I couldnt sleep, I lost 1.5 stone in weight, smoked too much, had no appetite, bad back etc. Then on top of all that, 2 deaths in the family and a friend died, all happened together, problems at work, plus other niggly things as well. Yes I will look after myself finally, I have to now. Thanx for the hug. I will still keep reading and blogging whilst I am able.

Ox Drover

Beverly, I can relate to your MULTIPLE crisises, in a 4 yr period my husband burned to death in a plane crash here at our small airport (one of my sons and 2 friends were also severely burned in the crash and I was the one to be first on the scene for medical support, I am a retired registered nurse practitioner), then my step dad died after 18 months of cancer, my mom had 3 major surgeries and complications, one of my foster kids from years ago committed suicide, my P-son sent a “Trojan Horse” P to infiltrate my family by renting a house that I had for rent and then “befriending us” with my mother’s declining health he became her “caregiver” and then started an affair with my daughter in law who lived next door to my mom with my son C. The TH-P was actually sent to murder me and make it look like suicide—when I realized what was going on, they had drugged my mother and convinced her that I was the “anti-christ” and got her to put her assets in their names. All the while my P-son, who is in prison was “controlling” what was going on. When son C found out about the affair (about 3 months after I had literally fled my home (I bought an RV and left for parts unknown) my son’s wife and the TH-P tried to kill him and make it look like “self defense”–fortunately, thank God, he got through to 911 before they could kill him and the police arrested them.

Since the TH-P was an ex-convict (also sex offender with children ages 9, 11, and 14) he was sentenced for being in possession of a fire arm and she was sentenced for buying it for him, knowing he was an ex-convict. He is still in prison and she is out on probation, and my son C is divorced from her. When I went to a new psychotherapist, after telling him my “story” it was so “outrageous” and sounded so “off the wall” I actually had to bring in court documents to prove to him I was not some paranoid delusional nut case! (I was not offended! I knew how it sounded) LOL Sort of reminded me of the plot of some trashy novel. LOL It would have been funny if it had not all been true.

After all that, my mother, who is a HARD CORE ENABLER, and my P-son is her “golden child” that she sees NO BAD IN, or excuses any she does admit, LIKE THE GIRL HE MURDERED SEVERAL YEARS AGO, or the multiple felonous crimes he has committed, and EVEN KNOWING that he tried to have me killed, she was still “feeling sorry ” for him and sending him money in prison. He is still trying desperately via mail to regain control over her and over us…the letters he has written to e veryone he can think of pleading how pitiful he is and how UNchrisitian we are to not give him UNCONDITIONAL LOVE (READ: send money) are simply unbelieveable.

Getting out of the fog of insanity that I have been in, and realizing that all of his “remorse” is nothing but manipulation, and realizing that I had held on to MALIGNANT HOPE for so long, and been actually DELUSIONAL for so long, failing to see what I was doing….took me to the depths of despair and grief. It took my physical and mental and spiritual health to the utter depts of despair and loss.

Now, it is difficult for me to believe that I was ever in such a quagmire of DENIAL at what should/would have been “obvious” to anyone “with one eye and half sense” is almost unbelieveable. I am starting to finally HEAL mentally, emotiionally and spiritually.

I also realized that the spiritual aspect of my healing meant that I had to recognize that my mothers SICK ENABLING was just that, that her “concept” of “Chrisitian forgiveness” was in reality “let’s pretend it never happened”—and I realized that I could not deal with her and her twisted “religion” and until I finally was able to throw off the guilt-trip that she had foisted off on me from my very earliest days as a child, I could not heal because of the unreasonable guilt “tapes” that played in my head.

Until I separated myself from that guilt of spriit and realized that until I separated myself from HER I would never heal. I was literally physically, mentally and emotionally DYING from the stress because until I examined why I felt so guilty, why I had been in DENIAL so long, and separated myself from that I could not do the things that I needed to do for myself.

I was just as “sick” and disordered and dysfunctional as my deluded mother. I realize that she is from a LONG line of enabling women who have been associated with disordered Ps who have been abusive, and she actually believes that she must “-protect” them from the consequences of their behavior, and she will NEVER CHANGE and though she is just as unhappy as I was at 79 she does not have the insight or strength to even want to change, she clings tenatiously to her dysfunctional views.

I actually feel a great deal of pity for her, as she is alone and desperate (I am her only child, her “golden child” grandson is in prison and most likely will never get out—if I have anything to do with it) her only other grandson has left the state since the attempt on his life, and I am NC with her and she actually does not know where I am.

I was actually totally surprised and relieved that my son C who l ives out of state now, was and is very supportive and understanding about me being NC with my mother. My adopted son D is also very supportive and understanding about that as well.

I retired about 6 months after my husband’s death as I was no longer able to function in a high stress and critical medical job in which people’s lives depending on me functioning at a high level of responsibility. My short term memory is still very poor from day to day but is improving, my physical strength is slowly returning, and my life is beginning to have meaning and worth again. My faith in my God has become very strong and is totally different than the “TOTAL FEAR OF AN ANGRY GOD” that my mother had instilled in me from my earliest years. I can actually remember being afraid of this angry God that could read my miind and send me to burn forever at 5 or 6 years of age.

The thing is, as awful as my “story” is, I am actually thankful that it finally got so BAD and SO STRESSFUL that it actually made me TAKE ACTION. If it had not become “so bad” I would have lived in that world of pain for the rest of my life and not even known that there was anything I could have done about it. I had a therapist tell me once that I had the thickest set of “rose-colored glasses” she had ever seen. I realize now that what she told me is absolutely TRUE. I could look at a pile of cat crap and if one of my abusers told me it was candy, I would have eaten it and tasted the “sweetness”—(shaking my head) but now, I am at last becoming a real human being, and realizing the good and wonderful things that I am, not looking for validation of my goodness, or my emotions or my thoughts from anyone else. Not allowing others to cross boundaries and abuse me. Yet, trying to use common sense and caution, but not becoming paranoid.

Realizing that it is OK to take care of me FIRST. If I don’t take care of ME, I will have nothing to give to anyone else.

I visualize my “life” as a journey in a canoe, and if you love me and want to share my canoe that is wonderful, we will paddle along together, but if you think you must take an ax and chop holes in the canoe, then I will pitch you overboard. Or if you want to sit in the canoe and me do all the paddling, that is not acceptable either. We can take turns doing the paddling or we can paddle together but there are NO free rides in my canoe for people who are too lazy or narcissistic to paddle. Neither will I allow someone else to defend the person in the canoe that is chopping holes in the bottom either. Even if that means that they both go over the side. It doesn’t matter if I gave birth to them or they gave birth to me, I won’t let ANYONE chop holes in the bottom of what is left of the rest of my life.

I know that the “road to healing” is not a destination, but a journey and that I must continue to walk that road for the rest of my life, just as an addict must take one day at a time in their recovery and that as they are never “cured” neither will I be, but living one day at a time, enjoying that day, giving thanks for that day, makes the road good, and sharing it with those I love, and giving a helping hand, or a hug or a pat on the shoulder to others who are walking that same road helps not only them, but me, to continue on in a healthy manner. But I also realize that I cannot walk that road for them, I must walk it for myself…we all must. But a joy shared is doubled and a trouble shared is halved.

God b less you Beverly with your cancer treatment and I do hope that you can keep us aprised of your progress with that. I will keep you in my prayers.



May I ask which part of the PAcific Ocean you were looking at? I would love to meet someone from LoveFraud and I noticed you mentioned that. I am in Santa Cruz quite often. I wonder if you are in my area. If you don’t feel comfortable answering, that’s okay.

Aloha… E.R.



I was looking at the Pacific Ocean from Carlsbad, which is where my mom lives. I live in socal mountains. I do head up to northern Ca from time to time, and I think my daughter is going to go to Humboldt (she has applied to UCSC also, but I think she’s made up her mind), so I will have another reason to head north. I’d love to get together with you sometime.


Wouldn’t that be cool!?

The ocean is healing. It keeps doing it’s thing no matter what is happening in our world.

Just for fun, here is my email: [email protected].

Keep it in case you pass through.

Aloha… E.R.
P.S. that email is registered under a fake name so don’t be thrown off by the false initials. I did that to protect myself from Bad Man.


Your story is really moving and you must be amazingly strong having survived all that. Congratulations for starting on your path to healing. 🙂 I know of a few people who have died in a state of denial and who, until the end, refused to acknowledge that anything was wrong in the family. My grandmother was one. We never talked about our family problems and she loooved my socio stepmother.
It must be really really hard to be NC with your own family members but I admire you for doing it since it is the best thing for your health and the health of your “normal” loved ones.
I can’t go completely NC with my stepmother because she and my father are still married. But I try to have the least contact possible.

Denial really makes us sick, doesn’t it? Inside and out. Once I acknowledged that I had been psychologically abused as a child (I was ashamed to say the word “abuse” before because she never hit me or injured me physically) I got over the crushing depression that I had for years. I am really the healthiest I have ever been. Right now I am still dealing with my difficulty in trusting anyone and I am reading everything I can get my hands on about sociopathy.

Stay strong and I’ll be praying for you. We are all rooting for you here.

Ox Drover

Yes, denial makes us sick–of mind, emotions and soul. I am sure my mother will die in a state of denial, she clings to it so desperately. I think she clings so desperately because her entire life has been based on denial of reality and if she gave that up, she would not be able to face what she has done in the name of “Christian forgiveness”—

My mother is not a psychopath, yet her clinging to denial has enabled the psychopaths in our family to function for decades. I tried desperately to “toe the line” but doing so was so painful that I eventually had to accept reality or DIE.

I chose to live. Seeing reality, letting go of every delusion that I had was so painful, emotionally and mentally, that I felt as if I had lost everything I held dear. All the fantasies that she protected, and I had helped protect, came tumbling down.

I am strong…I was strong in holding on to fantasy, almost as strong as my mother…but I had to turn that strength into survival. I think if the situation had not gotten literally to a point of life and death I might have also held on to my fantasy, albeit a bit less “happily” that my mother seemed to.

Though her MALIGNANT enabling has done as much damage as the psychopaths’ themselves, and has been done with as much tight control, I don’t think my mother is so much a geneticly made N or P as she is a “trained” one—yet, she can look at me with that LOOK of utter rage and frustration that I have seen in the eyes of my P-son, and my P-bio-father, when she is unable to CONTROL my rebellion against her enabling of the P-grandson (my son).

The passage in the Bible in II Samuel, where King David’s P-son, Absalom has rebelled against his father, and been killed in the final battle reminds me of my mother’s attitude.

Upon hearing of his P-son’s death, King david goes into a loud wailing in morning for his son, tearing his clothing and heaping ashes upon his head. His loyal general goes in to the King and says “I perceive that if the young man had lived and ALL of us had died, you would have been well pleased.”

When I read that passage of scripture, I realized that my mother would have been “well pleased” if my P-son had gotten out of prison on parole while she still lived, and if I had been killed, even at his hand, that would have been OK.”

Fortunately, King David saw the justice and rightness in his general’s comment, got up and washed his face, and thanked the people who had sacrificed so much to retain his kingdom.

My mother, on the other hand, still “damns” me for doing everything I can to keep my son in prison. Even though she knows that he plotted to have me killed, and quite frankly I think not only me, but my other sons and her as well…in order to obtain the family inheritence. There is NO doubt about this, it isn’t a fantasy on my part…two people are already in prison over this so there is no way she can deny the truth of it—and she doesn’t deny that truth–but she “forgives” it– literally in her words “Let’s pretend that none of this happened.”

When she said that, and with thinking about the story about King David’s enabling of his son, I turned to her and said, “Well, I can’t play let’s pretend any more, and if you want to play that, let’s set places at the table for daddy and for my husband (both deceased) and pretend that they never died. It will do just as much good.”

That was the start of my healing–I started to say “recovery” but I think RE indicates that you have lost something and regained it, I am not sure I ever HAD IT to start with.

Since then, since NC with my mother, I have become stronger each day both physically and emotionally and spiritually as well. Her twisted view of Christian “forgivenss” was “let’s pretend it never happened”—and letting that person back into your circle of trust—or “O TO HELL AND BURN FOREVER–and on top of that, if you don’t “play pretend” your mother will be angry with you and withhold her approval.”

When I think of the decades of pain I have endured because I couldn’t hold on to delusions and reality at the same time (they are very hard to reconcile in a sane way) I realize that ALL the pain I have endured in my life with the exception of labor pains and a few minor injuries, has been from trying to reconcile the painful delusions with reality. It amazes me how much EFFORT and ENERGY it takes away from the joy of living in order to do this.

I can never recover those decades of lost living, but the days ahead of me will not be bowed down by the weight of the pain of trying to reconcile those two things–which can’t be done!

I am sad that my mother is in such pain, has endured a life time of such pain and wasted living, but she is not likely to change now, to give up everything she has worked so hard to maintain–I think if she did give it up, the weight of reality would crush the life out of her and send her to her grave in such great grief she could not endure it. It is easier for her to blame me for being so “cruel” to her grandson that I would never want him to have “another chance” outside prison.

But I realize that he is PROUD of the horror of his crime (murder) and brags about how much more horrible it was than the “cops even knew.” Which I do not doubt in the least.

I can forgive my mother and I have, but forgiveness to me, means working the bitterness out of my own heart, not trusting the person who injured you. Fortunately for me, both of my other sons totally support me in this NC with my mother and understand the reasons for it, and that it is NECESSARY to my survival. The fact that both my sons are also NC with their brother, and only limited contact with my mother (in order to make sure she doesn’t continue to send money to my P son and give him the wherewithall to send another of his ex-convict friends to kill us).

Having the validation and understanding of my sons is important to me, but I was prepared to go it alone if they did not support me in this.

The malignant enabler in many ways is as destructive or more so than the P themselves, and having an enabler inside the family to “defend” them allows them to perpetuate their reign of terror in ways that they could not without that assistance. I realize that I have participated in maintaining the delusions, in my mother and in my own mind, but NO MORE. I am FREE…and life is good, one day at a time.


Ariadne. Thank you so much, I am rallying round people in support of me, something I have never done before. You are so right, denial is one of the big hurdles. I have realised recently how much I have denied in myself. A child without a voice. A voice that was asking for help, but was ignored. Now everyone is listening to me, and right now I am being as real as I have ever been, even down to telling my daughter’s father (my ex ex) that despite my requests to him over the years to help me, in just little ways, he has not helped me at all and has ignored me, to get on with the struggle of bringing how a child alone, working and running a home.

I have realised that we are all in a state of denial and different ways and that when you really start listening to yourself, your life changes. I am finding also that I have been reacting to old worn out scripts – like poison in my system, I have believed them to be real. I gave them my attention. Like you, I have only recently reconciled the fact that I was an abused child, by being emotionally neglected and I now own this fact and it has taken me along time to realise that. I never reconciled abandonment and neglect with abuse – but it is the pain in silence, operating in the background. As one contributor on this site said, it is the final taboo, operating quite strongly in the culture.

Ox Drover


I am so glad that you are coming to a “healing place” in your heart. It is so important to your physical health and your battle with the cancer. Our “bodies and minds” are not two things, but ONE and what effects one effects the other. Positive imaging, yoga, meditation, or whatever you use to help you with your healing journey WILL help you as long as you believe it will. Belief is the thing, but also Research has shown too that having others pray for you also improves medical outcomes. (Groups of patients chosen at random who had no idea they were in a “study” were randomly picked to have people pray for them or not, and in the studies, patients who were prayed for had less pain, and better outcomes medically)

The strength and wisdom that you now have is apparent in your posts, God bless you and godspeed to your recovery from this latest hurdle to cross. (((hug))))


Dear OxDrover. Just this evening I have made a list of all the things that I need to do, visualisation, yoga and meditation are on there. I have people backing me, in prayer and offers of support. People say I am a strong woman, but I have been tested to the limit many times in my life and I am determined not to be deprived out of the dream I had to at last give myself a better life. God bless you for your comfort.

Ox Drover

For what it is worth, Beverly, I think that “spiritual” strength is just like physical strength–those people whose worst “life hurdle” has been a broken finger nail don’t develop the strength of character that those of us who have been challenged to the uttermost depths of our strength.

Just as “pumping iron” challenges your muscles to grow and develop, I think so does exercising our spirits to overcome the most difficult challenges. Dealing with the Ps certainly separates the “wheat from the chaff” in that those who are not strong of spirit in the first place don’t survive and grow or they give up. I can tell that you are not a “giver upper” and that whatever happens in life, with this, or any other hurdle that you may have to cross you will do it with strength!

I can’t remember where I read it or heard it, it has been part of my “one liner vocabulary” for a long long time, but it goes “the FINEST CHina has been through the hottest fires without cracking.”

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