Oxytocin, trust and why we fall for psychopaths

Invariably, once we realize we’ve been conned by a psychopath, this person has lied to us from the very beginning, and we fell for all of it, we ask why? Why did we believe? Why did we trust?

The short answer is that we did what we, as social animals, are biologically designed to do. Human beings have evolved over millennia to live in community, and trust is the glue that holds us together.

I just finished reading The Moral Molecule the source of love and prosperity, by Paul J. Zak. Zak spent 10 years researching a brain chemical called oxytocin and its role in human behavior. He says oxytocin inspires trust; trust is connected to morality; and morality is connected to the survival of the human race.

The video above gives an overview of the points he makes in his book. Zak briefly refers to psychopaths in the video, and the discussion about this personality disorder in his book isn’t much longer. I’m going to extrapolate from his work to discuss the role that oxytocin probably plays in why psychopaths do what they do, and why we respond the way we do.

What is oxytocin?

Oxytocin is both a neurotransmitter, sending signals within the brain, and a hormone, carrying messages in the bloodstream. It plays a huge role in pair bonding, especially for monogamous mammals. It has long been associated with sex, childbirth and breastfeeding.

Research now shows that both men and women release oxytocin, although women release far more. The substance is integrally involved with love and empathy. An article in Scientific American describes oxytocin as nature’s “love glue.”

Be mine forever: Oxytocin may help build long-lasting love, on ScientificAmerican.com.

Intimacy and sex trigger the release of oxytocin. So do feelings of empathy. An easy way to spark the release of oxytocin in people is to give them a hug. Another way is to show that you trust them. Conversation creates a sense of community, which builds trust, which leads to oxytocin release.

In his book, Zak describes a behavioral feedback loop based on oxytocin:

Oxytocin generates the empathy that drives moral behavior, which inspires trust, which causes the release of more oxytocin, which creates more empathy.

But it’s not all love and roses. Oxytocin also helps people know when to be wary. Zak says, “oxytocin maintains the balance between self and other, trust and distrust, approach and withdrawal.”


Testosterone is a hormone associated with aggression, motivation and drive, especially sex drive. Men have more testosterone than women, and young men have twice the level of testosterone as older men. Testosterone is elevated in all psychopaths, both male and female. Hold that thought.

Testosterone is the opposite of oxytocin. In The Moral Molecule, Zak says:

Testosterone specifically interferes with the uptake of oxytocin, producing a damping effect on being caring and feeling. (Page 83 emphasis by Zak.)

Zak also talks about a high-octane version of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which stimulates areas of the brain associated with aggression. Zak writes:

DHT’s affect on the brain is about five times larger than testosterone’s. It not only unleashes aggression, but also increases dopamine, which makes the aggression feel good. (Page 84)

Here are a few more points about testosterone:

High-testosterone males divorce more often, spend less time with their children, engage in competitions of all types, have more sexual partners (as well as learning disabilities), and lose their jobs more often. (Page 90)

Winning too big too often can have a corrosive effect by bathing an individual in testosterone. Always coming out on top, consistently and over time, can reinforce some of the more obnoxious stereotypically male behaviors associated with the hormone. (Page 94)

Administering testosterone has been shown to actually inhibit people’s ability’s to pick up the social cues that eye contact conveys. (Page 95)

Putting this together: Psychopaths have excess testosterone. Testosterone blocks caring and feeling, increases aggression, inhibits the ability to pick up on social cues and correlates with the type of behavior we’ve all seen in psychopaths.

Oxytocin receptors

Oxytocin works by connecting with “oxytocin receptors,” which are present in the mammary glands, uterus and in the central nervous system. However, Zak says that “5 percent of any population lack the oxytocin receptors necessary to bond and behave morally without external reinforcement.” Of course, 5 percent is remarkably close to official estimates for antisocial personality disorder 4 percent of the population.

Zak explains that oxytocin receptors need to be stimulated, starting when humans are babies, in order for them to grow. If the receptors are not stimulated by love and attention early on, they fail to develop, which contributes to a lack of empathy. In an interview with IEEE Spectrum, Zak says that psychopaths seem to lack oxytocin receptors.

Can one chemical be the basis of all morality? on Spectrum.IEEE.org.

In The Moral Molecule, Zak writes:

Psychopaths can have incredible social competence on the cognitive level the trouble is that they simply don’t care bout anyone but themselves. Their lack of empathy allows them to treat others as objects, and their cognitive skill enables them to get away with it. (Page 128)

Oxytocin and the psychopathic experience

Psychopaths do not form authentic, caring love bonds with other people. But they are very good at pretending that they do.

When psychopaths target us for romantic relationships, they shower us with attention and affection. They spend a lot of time talking with us, and conversation builds trust. They say and do things to indicate that they trust us, and we should trust them. They tell stories about themselves designed to appeal to our empathy. They rush us into emotional, physical and sexual intimacy.

All of this causes the release of oxytocin in our brains, which is absolutely normal. Because of the oxytocin, we feel calm, trusting, empathetic and content. We especially feel trusting of the person who caused this reaction in us the psychopath.

The psychopath, however, does not have the normal number of oxytocin receptors. Plus, the psychopath has elevated testosterone, which blocks the release of oxytocin. Therefore, he or she does not experience the effects of the oxytocin, and does not feel trust or empathy.

Researchers are finding many biological components of psychopathy, including the problems with oxytocin. But the oxytocin system operates just fine in many of us who have been targeted by psychopaths. So they love bomb us; we don’t know they are lying; we respond as human are intended to respond to displays of trust and affection, which releases oxytocin.

Psychopathic seduction hijacks the normal human bonding system. That’s an important reason why we get hooked.

If you’d like to know more about oxytocin and how it is supposed to work, read The Moral Molecule, by Paul J. Zak.

The Moral Molecule — the source of love and prosperity, is available on Amazon.com.



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101 Comments on "Oxytocin, trust and why we fall for psychopaths"

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I have read a lot about sociopathic types having an increased amount of sex drive and now this article says also elevated testosterone. In face, my ex spath was the opposite. Now he ACTED like he did at first because of the love bombing and he knew that the sexual part was important to me but once I was hooked and especially married, he had NO sexual drive. In fact also his testosterone levels were consistently low and he took injections to raise it. So just an exception to the rule? Just wondered if anyone else had that experience with their ex spath.

They married 3 weeks after her 1st husband died. After all the money was gone from the motorcycle accident, he had nothing to do with her, until the night before he had his kids come over and clean out the house while she was at work. Then he screwed her one last time.

Very fascinating statistics and information. Recently, when all of these testosterone gels began popping up, I thought, “Oh no! Just what we need. Now sociopaths can have even more victims all at once.”

The video was really good.I love learning.I never knew about DHT;that’s news to me.

Interesting posts,about the lack of sex drive!Count my spath in too! Don’t know if all his health issues caused low testosterone or what!

My sociopath had low testosterone levels but his drive was high. He had trouble in that department which of course frustrated him. Testosterone gel didn’t seem to make a difference so he “educated” himself via porn on how to please women in other ways. This, he said, made him “Superman”. Ha.

My female spath had a very high sex drive. She had sex almost every day and if she wasn’t having it, she told me she was thinking about it. I only had sex with her twice as I was not her primary relationship. I became one of her victims on the side. She had told me that she was a single lesbian but it turned out that she was not single but was a married man’s mistress and she sleeps with guys and girls of all ages.

Isn’t it quite common for them to withhold sex to humiliate/frustrate/ punish? So refusing their willing partner sex becomes sadistically pleasurable in itself?

Hi Tea,

Sex is power. Humiliation of others is a turn on for spaths and under the right circumstances an aphrodisiac. Publicly, sexually humiliating a target is the ultimate high.

The one of the spath’s ‘girlies’ wrote a blog about this. He took her shopping in a sex store in Major City USA where she tries on a latex and metal dress. She asks if he will buy it for her and he replies only if you wear it and we take public transport to ‘our’ place. Like an idiot,she was 48 at the time, she agrees. The weather is still cold and she only has a short jacket for cover that’s hiding nothing. While blogging that she is turned on, she goes on to say that she is afraid she will bump into someone she or her family knows; that doesn’t know how to act and wants to hide in embarrassment. All of her bravado disappears in this blog entry as she admits that men, women and children are staring at her. She closes her blog by saying, when they got ‘home’ how he smacked her butt red and still hurt the next day; oh and how he enjoyed the sex.

Sick person, spath; and sad person, escort.

God that’s horrible losteverything. I once saw a woman in central London dressed in fetish vinyl boots and a very short dress in central London. With a man who was dressed normally. She was middle aged. People were double taking and staring as it was just…wrong. Inappropriate. I assumer they were exhibitionists. Maybe it was the same dynamic as in your story.

TeaLight…..been there!

Tea Light,
Thank you,I finally understand why a husband would withhold sex from the woman he married!

Blood running cold again as I remind myself of psychopaths and humiliation being a turn on for them…how could an unsuspecting oxytocinned person have a snowballs chance in hell of working it out until terrible damage is done?? so unfortunate for a fully human sensitive loving being to be debased by a sadistic liar…breaks my broken bits all over again..I can safely say my heart is shredded

So true, Donna. The educational information here in the Archives is truly a treasure trove. Thank you.

Bulletproof: I think your post is very helpful because, as you state, a person with a large dose of Oxytocin pouring in because of phony behaviors and false words, is too vulnerable to catch themselves. I forgive myself for not understanding that a very addictive, natural substance took over my mind and heart and body. Then, I take care of myself after it goes away and I can see clearly what has happened. Then, I take the steps to protect myself from whatever the spath does. Someone here wrote recently (I think Blossom or Tea Light) that the goal is to stay neutral with people. Stay neutral and read Donna’s book as well as any others that you find on this subject and your neutrality and education about it as you go very slowly with one of these predators, will be your salvation. Once I know what the red flags are, no amount of any chemical in my brain can keep me from seeing them. I am still in the spath’s life right now by choice. I see the red flags all of the time, I stay neutral most of the time, and if he is nice, I know some type of manipulation is coming up and I just wait for it. Then, I say no or yes based on what works best for me and I am much more capable of staying neutral no matter what his response is. I have been studying narcissism for over a year and now am studying sociopath information as well as the narcissism. Education is the key.

Fight: I am also still involved with my Spath. I have never let him “know” that I “know” what he is… He will use the term Psychopath now and then, watches the Jodi Arias trial and calls her that…. but for himself? Like what I read about Spaths, they don’t want to see what they are. I have become so educated about them since I found this site..and although my heart tells me I must get out of this relationship at some point (sooner than later, I am sure) I am like you in that I watch for the red flags and adjust my responses/reactions accordingly…and try to remain “neutral”.. He will say the words “I love you”.. but I know it is only in “his way”… and that he doesn’t “feel” it.. we don’t live together.. and that in and of itself is a good thing… and I know that I am not the only woman in his life, but he doesn’t know that I know. He makes the rules…. and I go along…. I hate to admit this.. but I’m not ready to say “Goodbye”… I really get down on myself because of this…. I know I am savvy about what he is, but then I choose not to do anything.. so I hurt and cry sometimes, but then I say “it is what it is”.. when we are together … unbelievable most times… I could go on … .but it’s pointless.. but thank you for your writing….. Education is indeed the Key.

Savvy, I just wanted to say I believe LF is for all who have experience beinginvolved with the disordered ( or wanting information about disordered people), so that includes those of us who are still living with or in contact with a disordered person. So don’t feel any need to defend your situation. We all know these people wreck terrible damage on others, psychological, emotional, physical, and the best course of action is to remove ourselves from the relationship as they are not going to change and there is no cure for their disorder. Maybe if you drag a narcissist into psychotherapy under duress then they may modify their abusive behaviour over time but anti socials and psychopaths….let’s not kid ourselves. There will be no improvement. So getting out is the ideal. And is a matter of life and death in many cases. But not everyone here is at the stage of wanting or being able to leave and noone should feel judged for that, it’s a painful often lengthy process. All the best to you savvy and stay safe.

Hi Tea Light and Savvy:

I don’t know if there is any estimate of people here still in relationships (and that can include blood family members) of some kind with a sociopath. But, I have found (as Tea Light’s response shows) that the people here are accepting about whichever choice we make regarding our own spath.

I have learned a lot here and found support. I also read a lot and work on my well being. I was a member of Al-Anon for many years through my first husband (who certainly had many attributes of a spath) and through the spath. I don’t think I could ever live with one I couldn’t stay separate from. My situation is like a duplex. He has no key to get to spend time with me and the tables have turned as I garner more and more information about how sociopaths think and I how I can protect myself. IE: A year ago, I was begging for attention from someone who enjoyed withdrawing. I found that if I withdrew, he didn’t get to enjoy it. He then began complaining that I wasn’t spending enough time with him. Translation: He wants someone to watch TV shows with.

I also found if I didn’t tell him much, he couldn’t hurt me. My relationship at this point is about 75% based on money. The other 25% is someone to talk to sometimes when another person isn’t available. I am older and a lot of older people will tell you that survival goes to the top of the list at some point.

I do feel shame for what I put up with. But, I am of the mind that addictions are a choice. I have watched people addicted to substances and activities all of my life. I believe it is a narcissistic choice. Sooo, I then have to know that my choice to be addicted to a person who is on the sociopath spectrum is my choice. You would be surprised at what a difference that can make in your pain along with training yourself to be neutral about the things they do and say. I am choosing this situation. I can end it any time I CHOOSE. If it is my choice and I decide not to feel shame, or as if I am the only one living this way, I feel better about it. I need to eat and this is the way I’m doing that right now.

I agree with you that they think they love in some way. But, for the most part, the adore themselves and every moment is spent trying to acquire more of what they want from anywhere they can because that is who they are. Just as we crave a heightened sense of unrealistic love, they crave things they want and they will stomp on anyone to get it.

Some of the books I’ve read discuss no contact, contact with the understanding of what you are dealing with, and contact with no understanding of what you are dealing with. Right now, I am finishing up “The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists.” She offers information and all three choices and how you do it. I would recommend reading as much as possible and never share a thing with the spath about the book unless you have read the whole book and done a lot of thinking.

Right now, my goal is to get rid of my shame. Shames that were there long before I met sociopaths outside of my family. Shames that we all end up with in one form or another throughout our life situations. If I choose to enjoy what I am getting out of the situation, accept that includes some forms of loneliness and anxiety, accept that it is my choice, no shame. I made the choice unless I change my mind and make a different choice. We have all felt shame. We can turn it around to a life choice in the present…a choice where we feel a need is being met…until we don’t feel enough need is being met and then we change it.

Donna has said here recently that education is the key and she is 100% correct in that. I hope you keep coming back, reading articles, commenting, checking the archives for subjects that apply to you, and accept your choice as it is today.

There is a spectrum to the sociopath brain and there is a spectrum to our addiction to their words and actions. We are the only ones who make the choices about how and when we choose to interact. Right now, he feels nothing and you feel everything. That can be turned around, evened out, and you can find a neutral place of being with him. And after you get to neutral, if you are in a position to get out and meet new people, maybe you will decide neutral isn’t best for you or that it is. It’s all up to you. No shame in it.

I know I still feel addicted to the spath, even though I am not with him and don’t have any contact with him. I still think about him all the time. I still want to be with him. It is so crazy. I wanted him to love me like he said he did. I wanted him to be that wonderful person that I first met. I wanted a lot! But what really happened was that I GAVE a lot. It was like selling my soul to the devil, so to speak.
I know one day he will be out of my head but I’m not there now. This is the worst thing I have been through.

One who took me over during a terrorizing crisis was a reporter. He was something else. He killed himself last year and I still think about him. There is a true chemical reaction in the brain (the Oxytocin article explains that) to people when we feel love…and it never goes away.

I’ve always said that I live for that first few months and throw away years on a loser because I’m still searching for that fake “high” from the first few months.

Right now, I have had to choose being lonely. I have decided to MAKE it a CHOICE. Not wallow in it…at least most of the time. But actively choose to feel lonely and educate myself while I’m feeling it. There is nothing more lonely than having a sociopath in my life after that first two months…again…another time around the Scary-Go-Round with HIM. Nothing more lonely and bad for my health.

Any time, I spend time with one, or glamorize the memories from that first two months with one, I make myself remember what happened after reality set in. Lonely and devastating. Now, because I am choosing. I choose lonely. It is the same thing as a drug, alcohol, gambling, sex, etc. addict. It hurts. I have to feel my feelings and I don’t want to. I want my lovey-dovey phony to come back into the body of the spath. My addiction.

After I educate myself and face up to my addiction to people who are fake and unrealistic, I might venture out and see what happens. But, I am not giving in to the red flags any more. They are tricks on my brain to make it crave a person to whom I am addicted. They are tricks by a spath to suck me in again and again. When they are tried one me, I think of the bad things. I can say no. I will like being by myself and learning and reading and watching movies and coming to lovefraud to read and learn and share. I will always have to fight my addiction with reality and education.

All addictions change the brain. My brain is changed. But, I am alive and I am learning to know the red flags and recognize them sooner rather than later and I am going to get better at it. There are addicts addicted to substances and they work until they die to fight it. I just have to accept that I get addicted to the wrong people and I will fight that until the day I die.


I want you to know this comment of yours spoke to me today. I was kind of down today. My ex sent me this super sappy love song video via email. And for some reason it made me cry. That was the other day. I thought I’d brushed it off. But something has been just weighing me down emotionally since I watched the stupid video.

I know it’s what you describe here. Even though I’ve been strong in my decision making and I never let the ex (who is OUT of my life) know it, I have painful moments where I, too, miss that dream bubble I was in for nine weeks. But as you say, I know where it leads and that the “drug” is a combination of lies, manipulation and a natural human response to being lovebombed.

I find it helpful to replay all the idiotic, insensitive and incredibly selfish things my ex used to say. I recall this one time he said he used to communicate online with this 20 year old girl who posed for a sex web site he was involved in. He is 44, mind you. Anyway, he said he bonded with her over her fascination with Hitler. He called her a Nazi freak and thought it was funny.

Also, I replay the spiteful and hateful comments he made about ALL of his exes, referring to one as a fat b*tch who freaked him out when she wanted to have sex with him. Of course, I found out he was trying to reconnect with that ex-wife as well right before I came along. He slipped and told me then tried to cover it up with a story about how he did her taxes for her for a fee at his condo.

I just think about all the crap, and then that old lovebombing era starts to lose its sparkle.

CassandrasDream: I am glad I helped you. You have helped me also with your response. Crying is good for us. Research shows that all tears are not the same. There are different chemicals in the tears we cry for each reason: Anger, Fear, Mourning, Loneliness, etc. Different chemical mixes in our tears for each thing! So, when we cry, our body is crying out the chemicals it automatically knows we need out of our system. Can you imagine that? So just as Oxytocin can become our enemy when we fall in love with fake love, our tears have chemicals that can heal us. I hope you feel more centered today.

Donna, I’m embarased to say how many red flags I, not ignored exactly…..some, yes ignored, but also SAW. You are very right…..I just didn’t know. It’s still hard for me to wrap my head around it and I STILL find myself questioning my suspicions. I still think these thoughts……what if I’m wrong? What if he’s just off base…on and on. But it’s clear that with the package of issues I come with, this is not a man I need to hang my hopes, welfare and safety on. he would and has dropped them on the ground, slam dunked them into oblivion. Nope, there is something wrong with this one, something that can’t be mended.
I feel sadness for his way of being because he will always face the same end with a woman. If he can’t help what he is and can’t fix it because it’s not fixable…..that is truly sad, is it not?

It is something that people have to be aware of and at the same time, can’t really grasp until it’s too late not a rosy picture.


I have note been here in several months and actually stopped by to comment on a few headlines in the news. However, I first saw this Oxytocin and had to comment, as trust and manipulation are hallmarks of a sociopathic relationship.

We all saw Red Flags and ignored them. We all questioned our own questioning of our misgivings regarding the sociopath. In my case, like many others, I blamed myself for his transgressions. In the end, however, he is what he is — a dark, manipulating individual with not a shred of empathy.

Nevertheless, while I intellectually recognize this, I still admit to harboring positive feelings FOR THE PERSON HE PRETENDED TO BE.

Why? Oxytocin. Since we have normal Oxytocin responses, we build trust and caring whereas the sociopath cannot.

Thanks for the poem!It’s so full of meaning and I agree with Donna!After all the havoc and harm the sociopath has wreaked,they deserve to be lonely at the end…let them see how it feels!

Hey everyone, I’ve been gone for a couple weeks trying to keep a clear head and VERY proud of myself for going NC for almost a month now. Last Thursday I got an email with old photos of his son and I. i recognized immediately what he was doing I then get an email on Sunday Evening saying that he was missing me, missed sex, and wanted to go for dinner this week. I replied with a “I thought you have a new serious girlfriend isn’t this innappropirate? He replied with a big email about he only was dating casually and would never repeat mistakes and cheat on a girlfriend….

Today the most amazing incredible thing happened….

I live in a city of 1.5 million people….on my way home from work I pulled up beside his car at a stop light…there was a girl driving….I don’t know what came over me but I felt this incredible feeling and I flagged her over…. I rolled down the window and said is this so and so’s car? She said yes….I said are you his girlfriend?….she said yes….I asked her to chat. She said yes.

We exchanged stories for about 20 minutes…poor young girl totally hooped. We had an 8 month crossover in our dating. I showed her the email from the other night. We were both shaking. It was such an incredible profound moment.

He emailed me about a half hour later and said: “Why are you trying to ruin things for me….I really liked this girl.” I’m just in shock!

Since I started writing on here I really felt like it was ME who was the psychopath. To be honest I was googling bi-polar and personality disorders and sociopathism came up… now that I educate myself I see how dangerous he was. And every day I’m away I know I’m not crazy… he was. And I am hurting today that I fell into this trap

What does all this mean? How did it happen that I ran into this girl 2 days after he sent me these emails? I was doing fine with him stonewalling me. I was so hurt that he discarded me and then when I got the emails I’m not going to lie I was pleased that I could respond shortly and not care…. and then this happens and I uncover more lies. Why?

Serenity, astonishing coincidence! And a fantastic opportunity for you to now utterly discard his pitiful attempt to lure you back into his web of abuse. Duping delight, infidelity, bait and catch, discarding, assaulting you in the presence of his son…he really is the full package serenity. He is dangerous, yes. To you and to other women. You know what he is. No denial. No contact. No more email. Open a gmail account if you don’t have one. Go to mail filter in settings. Set it so all his mail bypasses your normal inbox, the one he knows, and goes straight to the gmail account. Don’t open the gmail account ever. Get a friend to set it up and to chose à password and tell her or him not to give it to you unless you need to check it to build an RO file in future. They don’t let go easy some of them. You have to be the one who let’s go. Peace and love serenity.

Just a reminder…they don’t come back because they love us. They come back because they enjoy hurting us, frustrating us, duping us, toying with us, taking what they want ( sex , housework childcare and money usually) and then leaving us or forcing us to leave them. And then as with yours the game is ” despite the fact that I have treated serenity like dirt I have the poser to make her come back for more. I’ll give that a go to prove she’s a fool who can’t live without me”. It’s just a game to them serenity. They don’t get hurt by it, they get results (sex, etc) which satisfies them temporarily, or they can’t persuade you back and they shrug and move on to fresh meat. Stay safe.

Tea Light: Great advice about opening a new email account and/or blocking their address. If you are on FB, you can also go to security settings and block their name and email address so they can not see you on FB at all. Very helpful.

Serenity12: I’m so glad you found this website. It is just terrible to go through that feeling of “Is this me?” Hopefully, his new victim will find the right educational information and figure him out. It was quite a gift of kismet for you to see her driving his car. Now you know what you know and no one can talk you out of it.

Thanks. I feel so numb today I just want to cry. I was SO upset that he was stonewalling me and so wished he would just contact me saying that he wanted me back and I’d be strong enough to say EFF OFF!! Which I was… and I thought getting the revenge of warning his girlfriend would make me feel better. I fantasized about all this like so many people on here do!! My “fantasy” came true 100% but why do I feel so crappy still? Just more proof the NC is the way to go for EVERY reason…

It’s tough not to trust a person you knew whether since childhood, or just a few years ago. You have shared many past experiences; same pizza place, many of the same people, same shops, etc. . You never heard or saw anything bad about that person. If life circumstances happen to let you randomly reconnect with that person during a vulnerable period of life (new college, new job, after a bad break up, any form of personal trauma), you could see that person as a form of stability, normalcy. It’s a built in link, a ready made bond.

In many ways, a physical link to your past, at a time of upheaval, is a drug. You think of a candy coated vision of what use to be, it’s easier than a somewhat unpleasant today. If something happens, doesn’t have to be earth shattering but just somewhat frustrating, during your new circumstances, you will turn to the person from the past. That person becomes a ‘quick fix drug’. They can put ‘today’ into perspective and remind you of something good from ‘yesteryear’.

That is all good. People, by nature, help each other. Unless you are a hermit, it’s hard to make sense of life by yourself.

But if the person from your past is a spath, it’s the road to certain destruction. A spath does not work like an aspirin to relieve a headache and done, rather they are much more insidious like heroin or meth eventually causing you to put your life on the way back burner in favor of them and only them. You no longer matter, all of your strength is zapped either by trying to please them or fearing them.

Some maybe be even like LSD or any other hallucinogens. They have taken so much of/from you that you only see the person you want to see, the person they told you they were, that you can not bring yourself to see the person that is really there. You actually hallucinate about the spath to others and worse to yourself. You don’t see the financial con man, rather the person who is going to pay you back next week, month, year. You don’t see the unemployed bum, you see the dream job right around the corner. You don’t see the abuser, you see yourself as the one deserving to be punished. The pictures your mind paints are a lot prettier than the reality of the spath.

I like your phrase about seeing a “candy coated” version of the sociopath. A very helpful way to look at it.

Hi Donna,

Once again, I am so grateful for this site and the education that I gather from reading here. I do not post as often as I did when I first began to wake from my trauma, but I surely have come a long way since I first found LF; a long way in my understanding of what actually happened to me and why. Thank you Donna for posting this article. I had heard of oxytocin’s role in these type of relationships, and this post just takes away any humiliation I have over being in love with someone when it all turned out to be a ploy and deception. The more I understand the dynamics of the natural bonding process, the less I blame myself for being a silly little girl.

Hello to Truthspeak, Blossom, Tealight, Oxdrover, and many others. I read many of your posts, and know that your words of mental sobriety touch more souls than just the one you may be addressing. I am grateful for your being here and still sharing what you have learned to help us understand how to go forward.
I did allow a break in NC. It was a further sliming. I think a little part of me still missed him, I was wishing there was something in him that missed me…quess I wanted to find out the hard way that he really did not care about me at all. Well, he let me know in his cold-hard way, that I meant nothing to him. More tears followed. I put blocks back up. You are all so right, when you say NC is the only way to begin to heal. There is nothing to hold out hope for…only ourselves and rebuilding from within, with solidity this time.
I have begun to look at myself. I am up and down on how I feel, some days, so much despair and self-recrimination. I took more slights and mistreatment from this man than I have ever tolerated before. The why of my willingness to submit and love a man who treated me with dishonor is a huge part of looking within to heal for me.
I need to be in love with me so much, that I will not love a man who is showing me in a million ways that he thinks I am worthless.
So much of what I did, was to please him, win his favor, get him to show me the love he poured on in first months. A desperate plea on my part, to get love out of a turnip. LOL
Still reading, somedays sad, some tears. So much to clean up in my lifestyle changes, that were not healthy choices. On a good note, I have gone from hysterical-devastated…to conscious and growing wiser in the 6 plus months since I have last seen him. It has only been 3~ wks. since I let NC break. I have no desire now to ever break NC again. I have no desire to ever see him again. There is still an ache within, but I think it is for something that had nothing to do with him, an empty place in me that he found, exploited.
Hugs to you all, thx for being her, for all you share.


The Moral Molecule ”“ the source of love and prosperity HAH! What an eye-opener!

Well, this article only reinforces the fact that I need to LOVE BOMB MYSELF, to raise that level of oxytocin in my body for MYSELF, to learn to trust MYSELF and do what is right for ME. How do I do that? One step at a time, slowly, being VERY conscious of the choices I am making, not being pushed and rushed into decisions that I don’t feel comfortable with, not ignoring signs that something isn’t right for me.

It feels so odd to be nice to ME! To choose what I want to do! To protect and take care of myself. Even the ME, ME, ME tone of my response is offensive to me. Why is that? I am doing this now on a day by day basis, but it feels weird and selfish. Never who I was before. I hope I get used to it, because I like feeling this way and I’m a good person who I feel deserves it after being the “Giving Tree” all my life. Not just to the ex-spath, but to everyone. Wish me luck as I wish ALL of you luck on your road to (I hope) a speedy recovery from the damages. I am so happy now! My brain is not used to it!!

Newlife: Yes! Love Bomb ourselves. I like that. I had a therapist once who told me when I felt selfish for not rescuing everyone, to call it “self full” instead. To be selffull and take care of me.

Hi fight, the political theorist Iris Young borrows the feminist philosopher Marilyn Frye’s birdcage metaphor to describe the constraints we often face in life :

”The cage makes the bird entirely unfree to fly. If one studies the causes of this imprisonment by looking at one wire at a time, however, it appears puzzling. How does a wire only a couple of centimetres wide prevent a bird’s flight? One wire at a time, we can neither describe nor explain the inhibition of the bird’s flight. Only a large number of wires arranged in a specific way and connected to one another to enclose the bird and reinforce one another’s rigidity can explain why the bird is unable to fly freely”.

No one should judge a victim of abuse for facing difficulties in removing themselves from the abusive situation, whilst we should always, I believe strongly, advocate that leaving is always the ideal and should be carried out if at all possible.

Hi Tea: I don’t judge someone for leaving or going. I don’t judge any choice by a victim. Your discussion about birds in cages reminded me of one of my favorite short stories. It is called “Trifles” and I recommend it to everyone here. I believe you can find it on line and read it. It is a wonderful story about a community helping a victim. It is a very interesting perspective about making decisions about what is right and what is wrong. People can read “Trifles” and some may see the main characters as either good or bad depending upon their subjectivity while reading the story.

Fight, it was a general comment , what I wrote about noone having the right to judge those not ready to leave, not directed at you, it just followed the discussion with savvy.

It is good to hear from you again! Congratulations,you sound stronger and more focused than ever!You’re gonna make it!

I had a difficult time learning to think about myself and be nice to myself,too!I’ve always been a giver,not a taker.But pampering myself in a balanced way has helped the healing process!

Blocking is our weapon and our shield. You have trouble building a file asking for an RO with the ones who keep coming back if we send them email and texts. It has to stop if we have made the decision that we have ended the relationship. It’s pretty straightforward in practical terms if you don’t live with or have kids with them to just refuse any digital or telecoms contact. Then their options are turning up at your work or home where you can refuse entry and call the police or can get witnesses to the stalking chiche is what it then is after This Relationship Is Now Over. That is not to minimise the trauma if those posters being stalked in exactly those ways. My point is just that call and text and mail blocking ZILCH from me for 2 months seems to have worked. Fingers crossed.

I have’t read all of these responses, but find this very informative. Can blood tests be done on criminals locked up for psychopathy symptoms, you know, to help keep them IN JAIL as long as possible? Funny thing is, my ex, true lovefraud story mark ledden, was on testosterone THERAPY because he was a steroid addict for years, messed up all his hormones and stuff, so he was on HRT from the day I met him.

Difficult but a combination of Testosterone levels, monoamine oxidase activity, brain scan activity plus general questioning would give a good indication of sociopathy. There are also some reaction tests and word association tests that could be used.

They problem? It would not hold up in court.

I wanted to post something objective to show how easily sociopaths can fool people. On one gay dating site, one guy posted how ‘really sweet” he is — when I saw that I wanted to puke. Charming, yes. Sweet no.

When I found this profile (I was going to Europe and this is the main Europe gay site) I was curious if the x-spath had a profile there. I did find one, but at first I did not think it was him. All the details were off a bit and the picture did not look that much like him, as in the other profiles I found.

I just went to that site to get the exact words of this complement and I was stunned. The x-spath post two more pictures and he has really, really aged. In fact, none of the three look like the same person.

On one, he looks like an average 40-year old. Interestingly since the first profile I found of his four years ago he looked 25 in the photo. When I met him, he was 35 and attractive, but showing his age. However, I thought him a bit younger, like 32 and was actually happy to learn he was 35.

His looks have aged 8 years in 4 and probably 16 years in 8.

Many say that sociopaths burn out. He smoked when I knew him and drank heavily, but I am stunned how old he looks in these pics, almost to the point where I was even wondering if somebody was using one of his pictures (the best one) and the whole profile is a fake.

Unreal. I guess we reap what we sow.

Behind Blue Eyes – have you considered that he may be a crystal meth addict (meth ages people FAST)? I throw that out there as mine was/is and I’ve taken delight in seeing recent photos of him where hid entire facial structure has changed/aged dramatically and he is clearly not as cute as he once was.

Entirely possible. When I met him, he looked at drawn and hollow, with premature deep nasolabial folds. We I first saw him with his shirt off, I was shocked because he clearly did not take care of himself. I thought alcoholic at the time due his thin arms and legs but having a bit of a paunch.

But he looked much better in pictures from a year late and even the first one he posted on this site. In the next two, he looks horrible.

The other possibility is HIV medication side-effects. Could be both. Plus, he does smoke and drinks heavily.

I do not take delight in this. There is nothing worse for a gay man then to look old. I do, however believe that we all reap what we sow. My only vice is occasionally drinking too much Pale Ale and I fully intend to cut that back plus I will redouble my exercise.

Perhaps this is the closure I was always looking for — a warning of the effects of a shallow life, party and sex oriented life.

BBE! I’ve known a couple of gay gentlemen since I was a child, one was my mother’s boss at the day centre for children with disabilities she worked at. They are both now elderly and as happy as a couple of sandboys. They have a lot of love in their lives and give a lot back. I still have Mr Men books one of the gentlemen would treat me with when I visited my mother’s workplace.

I’ve never dated on line. But a few years ago, I got on one to look around. I created a profile but kept it hidden. I began getting emails from the site with “matches” they had chosen for me. There was my sister’s ex-husband. A spath alcoholic who woos her and cheats on her in a repetitive cycle she has chosen to keep in her life for her own reasons. I told her about it. I don’t know if I felt worse for her with her ex-husband on there telling a bunch of lies about himself looking for women or ME for having him be chosen for me! I don’t think the online thing would be too safe for me.

Sociopaths try to cover their tracks but the Internet is smaller then they think, especially in the gay world. The first time I found a profile of the x-spath, it was accident via “matching” questions, as i said on a primarily American site that is primarily straight but inclusive of gays. Just by googling that profile name led me to other profiles of the x-spath on porn sites and sex cam sites. He is no longer active on this site.

The next two times I found profiles of his, where on trips of mine to Europe. The first of these was the type of site where I did not expect to see the x-spath’s profile, but one was there, albeit inactive. The second time was a mainly Continental European site and he was and is very active there. Not surprising for a flight attendant but I noticed a pattern — as far as I could tell, he was not active on the main British gay sites, although he does have profiles there. He is very active on non-British gay sites. On the one I saw again today, he is very, very active judging by the number of profile views (over 15,000). Here he lies about his age, location in London and personal details.

The implication is obvious. For whatever reasons, he is not very active in London, but very active internationally. Could he actually have a “partner” and is trying to hide his activities? My take, however, is that uses these international sites to arrange liaisons in cities to which he is flying.

But, just like your sister’s husband, he was found out.

I do not like online dating and find it a waste of time.

Hi Donna and Tea Light,

Yes, it has only been ~ 3 weeks since he last e-mailed me…and a call. I admit I missed his voice and at the same time, it made me feel fear?, scared?, I am not even sure what I felt, but I did not speak with him. I did not want to, I was certain of that. The last face to face was over 6 months ago. It seems like forever. It did bring up more pain. NC really was the BEST piece of input I first received here.
I do feel somewhat stronger, but I also still feel very sad. I feel deep- sad. I loved someone who did not love me. I know he cannot, but that he did not…just hurts. I am no where near as angry as I was. I think the education on the disorder helps alot with that. I had once given my Father a complete pass and forgiveness on his lack of love and proper nurturing, along with alot of abuse. He was a very unwell man, maybe spath. He is gone now. Point being, I get it, that someone cannot give what they do not have within to give. If there brain does not feel love, they cannot love us. I do accept that now.
Serenity, I too thought…”maybe I am the spath, maybe I am the sick one??!!”
A terrible feeling, to be sure. I asked my ex-H, friends, family? What did they think? Well, I certainly do have some not so desirable traits, but I am an empath to the core…they all assured me that they always felt loved and cared for by me. I do think this is part of the shame/blame “they” try to leave us with. The man I knew wanted me to believe I was discarded because I did not measure up to his needs, expectations. I was put down alot at the end. It can leave us reeling and questioning everything we thought we knew about ourselves. It is still feeling that way to me.
I am going through time now where I look back over things he said and did that hurt so deep, cry them out…again. I want to release any residue. I am also seeing that I ought to have never wanted the love of a man who did not treat me with honor, respect. Unmet love in childhood. The boundary problem. Trying very hard to catch myself when I walk out in the world with my heart and mind open for all to see. Dangerous way to live.
Love and hugs to all, I am so very grateful for this healing place!


Showing someone you trust them sparks a release of oxytocin…my spath knew that well. Almost from our first date he would slide the check over to me to figure out and write in the tip. It DID make me feel trusted and more receptive to him. Later, when I discovered receipts for various dinners that didn’t include me, the tips were always written in a feminine hand. He worked that trick with all of us.

The psycho I was involved with knew exactly what the chemical reaction I would have be during our love bombing phase….She even told me as such. She rewired my brain and I was totally oblivious to it. I’m the world’s biggest shmuck for trusting this psycho slut!!

Hi Everyone,

I’ve been around LF for a long time, but don’t post much. Just to say I feel a kinship with everyone here, even those of you who are new. This site makes my Oxytocin levels go up!

Great Ted Talk. I nearly spit my tea out when the speaker said that massage, hugs, and DANCING all raise Oxytocin levels. The last spath I was entangled with teaches a dancey kind of exercise, and ‘self-awareness’ movement workshops. That’s how he gets all these women (and a few men) to pay his rent, buy him airline tickets, and basically lives a parasitic lifestyle. They are so flooded with Oxytocin they practically give him the shirts off their backs.

In his private life he was generally busy love-bombing several women, and in his public life he was using dance to raise hormone levels. A real hard worker this one!

I can laugh now. This would have made me puke several years ago. Now I shake my head and wonder where science will take us over the next however many years. There is so much to understand about how and why humans are the way they are.

For those of you still pining (sometimes) for you ex’s. Imposing a strict NO contact (no spying on social media, changing your #’s, etc…), so you have absolutely no knowledge of them is what worked for me. That, and I did yoga, got massages, tried to sleep well, stayed away from drugs and too much alcohol, and spent time with only those people who were totally supportive and kind. Probably all things that helped tweak my Oxy levels.

Tending to our own wellness is really important when we have been flooded, and then denied, these feel-good hormones. For me exercise, hugs, massage, sleep, therapy, and nature helped me find my own source of ‘feel good’.

I hope every one here finds theirs…..

Much love, Slim

Slim, I read through your post and although I feel I’m past the stage of pining over him and missing he himself, I am still pining over the loss and waste of 4 years as well as feeling foolish, crazy, and stupid for staying in so long and listening to my gut. how did you tackle that and when did you notice a change?

I’m also struggling with motivation. I became very alcohol dependent during the course of our 4 year ordeal as a coping mechanism and now its become a habit to have a few glasses of wine after work and still party hard on the weekends. I’m working on cutting that out. I used to be a super athlete and did any and all kinds of activities. My life for the last 4 years was him so I’ve stopped doing those things and I’m out of shape. I keep thinking to myself: “Am I too far gone?” I was young 29 at the time I met him but he’s AGED me beyond belief!! Now I’m 33, 15 pounds heavier, and not feeling that I’ll ever feel physically “normal” again.

I understand that I need to just get out there and start doing things to love myself….quit drinking, start exercising, getting massages etc….but I still feel like crap MENTALLY as I’m doing these “things” What do you tell yourself??



I felt the same. Total crap. For probably close to 3 years. Then just weak, like a new born baby for another year. Then it started to lift. During those years I simply kept at it. I went to yoga or for a walk, sometimes when it felt like torture. I cried buckets and buckets of tears. I went to therapy and grieved over the loss of innocence about the world, my childhood, my dreams and fantasies- about how most everything worked in the universe.

I would say, without question, it was the most difficult awakening I have ever had. Really, probably THE awakening of my life. And when I woke up it was dark, lonely, confusing, exhausting, empty, and a big giant trudge.

I didn’t ‘fake it’ till I was going to ‘make it’. The pain and work was real. The effort was real. But it was the only way for me. I didn’t pretend to be happy, or content, or even the slightest bit excited by much of anything. But I had a couple of really supportive and understanding friends, my therapist (bless her!), and some tiny desire to rise from the ashes of my sadness and loss. I cried in the bank, on airplanes, at work (I got fired for underperformance..and a hard-hearted boss). I took antidepressants, for a few months, until the side effects just weren’t worth it for me. (they work well for some).

And, Serenity, I did not love myself during this time. I felt ashamed and humiliated. But I didn’t stop. Something deep in me knew I could get to the other side of HIS shame (that HE left me with), and my own deep sorrow at having been so thoroughly naive to the malice of those who cannot feel love.

The experience of painful betrayal and second-hand shame slowly became encased in knowledge. It became a gem of wisdom and strength. It no longer swirled around in my feeling body, or my mind. Instead it was firmly contained in all that I learned about the subject of personality disorders, and other related subjects.

We can never get those years back, or our innocence. But we can gain a kind of strength and deep understanding that we are born stronger, smarter, and more capable. More appreciative too.

It takes time, time, time and perseverance. You are still a spring chick, Serenity. I promise you that! You have lots of years ahead to accomplish so much. I was in my late 40’s and felt my world come crashing down. In a way it was a greater beginning than I could ever imagine.

Keep learning. Keep being honest with yourself about where you are (it’s OK!). Keep waking up, eating, sleeping, listening to music that you love, being with your friends, petting your dog or cat, working hard, giving love to other’s (when you can, even in little ways), saying ‘no’ and ‘yes’ when you want to……

As for drinking. It isn’t going to derail you unless you feel you have a real problem. Check in with yourself. Only you can take care of you. Right?

Take good care,

Serenity, slimone’s comments are directly on point. I can identify with your feeling of having aged, but you are so, so young. In my case I was cruelly abandoned almost two years ago after a seven year relationship…I was 56 at the time. It is hard work on a daily basis but know it does get better. I can’t stress the no contact enough. Although I have had no direct contact with him since the day he pulled the rug out from under me, I had been googling him once in awhile since he has been in the press for harassing some female employees at his job. Unfortunately a couple of months ago I found out that way that he is getting married next month. Now, I don’t wish he was marrying me or want him back but it did set me back a ways knowing I have spent every day of this time cleaning up the mess he left me in, and have a long way to go, while he has moved on like nothing happened. I knew that intellectually but didn’t need evidence. I’m now protecting myself from ANY contact in any form. We still share a piece of real estate that is being handled through attorneys and that is contact enough.

Slimone, I am printing out your posts and keeping them close by…great insight and advice.

Thank you. I cut and copied and high lighted and printed this out!!

Really grateful for this encouraging post Slimone, I’d like to hear more about your recovery advice , I’d appreciate a full article from you on this subject.

How true it is that we must tend to our own wellness. I, too, grieve at times for the loss of 10 years of my life with this psycho. But I make a point of surrounding myself with those who truly love me. NO CONTACT is difficult as I live a mere 5 houses away but I do the best I can. Life is not easy for me but I try to take time to count the blessings. Like any addict, I have my days when I feel as though I might fall apart but that feeling does subside. I feel all the feelings that we all who come to this site feel. Love life. Be brave. Karma is a bitch and I know in my heart that he WILL be taken care of.

So true…I did get him his karma a few days ago by running into his new GF and warning her and telling her everything I knew. I too only live down the street. I worry every morning to work I’m going to see him. I hope that goes away soon:(

This is the thing therose, there are some posters here who live very near their abusers and therefore even if they do not have children with them No Contact in these cases has to be managed within that context, meaning that blocking their means of contacting you by phone, email or text, returning gifts or mail unopened, or simply binning it without any reply, all these measures that we speak about here. But obviously if you are in the same town or even city or streets away or on the same street and moving is not an immediate option then you run the risk of unwanted sightings. Simple ignoring is best in those cases, though the ideal is obviously to get as far away from them as possible. All the very best with all your efforts to stay a far away as you are able at this time.

I got to thinking about a part of this thread, about no contact. Some of us here are still consciously engaging with disordered people for a variety of reasons (children, debility and dependence, or other unknowns). I don’t have any particular judgement regarding continued contact, not really. But I do have feelings about it.

Primarily I feel worry and sadness. Worry that more and more harm will come to any of you. Sadness at the limitations to your potential for happiness, fulfillment; for each person’s self actualization this decision brings. I know life is complex, and one solution cannot fit every set of circumstances. But for those of us who have the ability, I believe no contact is currently the best starting place for real healing.

And I hope each of us here who has that option will make the commitment to start it and keep it going. I think because, as this article so eloquently points out, these relationships trigger deep automatic responses in us. Much like ‘drugs’ or other addictive substances.

It makes sense that we cannot fully ‘detoxify’ if we are in contact, or using, a substance. Even if it is in small amounts.

Studies show continued contact with a substance, set of circumstances, or even circle of peers who still use drugs, is detrimental to the full recovery of an addict.

If we are addicted to a substance we can continue to choose to have some kind of contact or relationship with that drug. We can go to bars, but not drink. Hang out with our old coke-head buddies, but not use. But what does this do for our TOTAL recovery, our ability to reach our potential as individuals?

We aren’t going to get much support and healing from our old drug buddies, and we will be constantly tempted to join them in their addiction. We can get caught in the cycle of trying to save them, while we are barely above water ourselves. Another way of looking at it is we can still keep using the cocaine. Getting the false sense of importance, energy, and vitality the drug provides; all the while slowly dying inside……If we really have a choice why choose this one?

Likewise, we aren’t going to get much from keeping tabs on the lies posted on the ex’s facebook page, or reading their snake-charming texts, or trying to convince their ‘true believers’ that they are crap. It only drains us of our energy, takes up our precious time, and keeps us in the cycle of addiction. The one where we use, feel high, then feel like poop, then are filled with remorse and regret, and then crave to use again to relieve ourselves of remorse and regret (or shame). Just like cocaine, the disordered person CANNOT relieve you of the very awful results of being in contact with them. Any more than cocaine can help you feel better from using cocaine.

The love-bombing we ‘felt’ was intense (maybe more intense than any Oxytocin ‘hit’ we’d ever had before!). But just like a chemical substance it delivered temporary and limited results. Results followed by deeply negative feelings and experiences.

But with non-disordered people, who have empathy, and the biological ability to create lasting commitments to one another the possibilities are great. We can find extended periods of joy, contentment, fun, tenderness, shared grief, community, support. These are the people to tend to, to nurture, and give our time and talents to (besides our selves..).

In the meantime, if you can, stay no contact. Say NO to those who would destroy you.


A psychologist said to me that brilliant people live in their own world; sociopaths live in a world far from reality; a brilliant sociopath lives in the most dangerous world of all.


Lost…an interesting comment. I always thought my exspath was so intelectually(book smarts) dumb. I am a science teacher and I don’t think in 4 years we ever talked about a science issue…what I struggle with is that if he’s so intellectually DUMB how could he LIE so easily and trick ME who IS intelectual and I didn’t think I was life dumb either….

Another consideration regarding Oxytocin and bonding is that anonymous sex makes normal people feel empty and depressed, mostly likely due to the bonding process, something very important for child rearing, is broken. Thus, there is negative reinforcement in a normal person.

This does not happen with sociopaths, probably due to their non-functioning Oxytocin receptors. They do not feel empty after anonymous sex and go after more for the excitement.

Well, hello, back to you, Donna! Thank you again for this website. Without you and all the posters on Love Fraud, I’m afraid I might have chosen a very permanent solution to a temporary problem, although when I was in the thick of it, it didn’t feel temporary. It felt as unmovable as a mountain sitting on my chest. But I kept reading LoveFraud and hanging on by my fingernails…and I kept praying to the Almighty.

Let me say a word about that…
If you need a lawyer, He is the best in the Universe.
Need a best friend? You couldn’t ask for a better One. He always listens.
Career counselor…well, I found a job I love and that pays me more money than I have been making for many years. All on the spur of the moment, falling into my lap when I thought all was lost. Thank you so much, Lord!
Lonely heart? Ask Him to pick someone for you, you won’t regret it! He’s the best Match Maker around and He’s free! You won’t even have to write a profile. He knows everything about you.

In fact, He’s the BEST at everything. Just lay the whole mess in front of Him and stand back. And thank Him even before the solutions start pouring in. Gratitude is so important. Act as if things are ok, because they are! And don’t forget to mention who is helping you to others. No preaching, just let others know He doesn’t let us down. Because He doesn’t, if you let Him do it. Be still and He will fight for you.

I pray for all of you every night. God Bless You!

Hi Slimone,

Thx for your post on self care. I had a break in NC, and I feel humiliated and sad again. I appreciate your posting, the simple and direct means of how to take care of ourselves. I have lost the clean lifestyle I had when I met him. During my time with him, I let all the healthy behaviors I once practiced, drop away from me.
My nutrition was clean and simple, I am now readdicted to some level, to sugar. I was a non-smoker, I am now readdicted to smoking. (I had 5 yrs clean) I regularly did exercise and outdoor time. I still do, but mostly because it is my field of work, not because I feel as energetic or fufilled by it as I once did. I have had sleep problems since early on in relationship. I still wake between 3-4 am.
All of it has really taken a toll on me, how I feel. My inner being is in distress.
Mostly, thx for being here still, to show us that in time we can heal. I feel so broken, this has definitely been a huge life lesson, and I am still in a pit of thinking about him.

Serenity, Hugs to you! I once felt so happy and full of “light”, and then he came…like a vampire, he sucked me dry of the light/joy I had. I pray for us both that we will be happy again and at peace like the ones here that are further along in recovery. And stronger..wiser.

This article is really amazing. The intensity I felt for him was an oxy-tocin high and a delusion. Mind blowing and sobering at the same time.


Newlife: Thank you for the post. It was inspiring to me today. I was starting to feel sorry for myself because of the holiday weekend is here and I don’t have any plans. I would have been with him at the festival and concerts. The pain of rejection has been unbearable at times. And then the fact that another has taken my place. (of course, my head knows what she is in for).
I am trying to hold onto my faith, which is very important to me.
One day, I want to be totally healed.

To Be Free, I understand how you feel, and almost two years in, certain times and events make me start to feel sorry for myself because I am alone too. I am starting to think the time is coming when I will want to be with someone again, doing similar fun things. But not him. I too can recall activities we were doing together in years past and thought I was so happy, but now, with the wisdom of time, knowledge and insight, I know a lot of these “fun” times were not what I thought they were, and many (most?) of them were marred with him dictating my behavior, manipulating me, getting angry for no reason, him getting mysterious texts (from his daughter, his trainer, his doctor, his boss, haha) and sometimes just randomly getting angry and embarrassing me in front of others. Many (most?) of those days included me crying at some point or scrambling to make him “happy”.

My therapist told me something that helped me a lot and may help you. As I began to recover and went from thinking of him constantly to hourly to daily to weekly to once in awhile, there were some times where I seemed to relapse and get back into the obsessive thinking. She told me that our systems are wired (my words) to subconsciously “recall” anniversaries, and she pointed out that this was happening at certain significant times, and that it may happen for a long time. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed I had started thinking of him often for no seeming reason when I realized it was an anniversary time. As soon as I recognized that, the thoughts lost their power and I got past it very quickly.

You are doing great to realize that the one who has taken your place is in for a rough road as will all the ones who will inevitably follow her. He will never have an honest and real relationship with any of these women and they will all end up hurt, or worse, destroyed. You are the lucky one. My ex is getting married next month and I fear for the woman, though I have never met her. But this is not my business…I am the lucky one.

Do something fun with yourself this weekend if it is only taking a walk in your neighborhood, hanging in your backyard with a cold drink and a good book, renting a movie you’ve been wanting to see or taking a minute to look up at the stars and be thankful to be alive. I think everyone here would tell you that the tiniest of baby steps add up to healing.

Thank you for the post.
It certainly has been baby steps, but at least it has been in the right direction. It has been almost 6 months when I broke up with him for cheating and of course the many other spath behavior that I just couldn’t live with anymore. But it has only been 1 month of total NC.
So, of course it has been a roller coaster ride for those 5 months.
I do feel lucky that I didn’t marry him. I know that I was spared from even more heart ache.
I know what you mean about always trying to make him happy and never measuring up, according to him. It was so frustrating.
My children hated him. He never wanted them around and they knew it. I was the one who tried to make the whole picture work. It only turned into a color of dark/gloom!
It is great to hear others have come along in the healing process and it gives the rest of us hope.

To Be Free: You made a good choice not to marry him. I hope you are giving yourself credit for continuing to work at protecting yourself. It’s you doing this for yourself and your kids.

Here is that article that explains a brain chemical that keeps people addicted to people who become bad for them.

This explains why I miss him so much when he is not around, why is life chaotic when he is around, and why he keeps changing jobs often and cannot learn from mistakes.

Interesting article. Before I fled my spath I discovered that he has been taking testosterone (probably to help “jump start” his waning virility). His behavior during that time was becoming more and more aggressive and intolerable. I didn’t know until after I left him that he’d been cheating on me since I first met him more than 20 years before. His taking testosterone was like pouring gasoline on an already overly aggressive fire, but his relationship with his family obviously to a back seat to his sexual prowess and performance.

I don’t want to belabour a point but I left a comment here http://www.lovefraud.com/2013/04/26/truth-sex-sociopaths-3/ asking for a link to a reputable study that shows that psychopaths have high testosterone levels. Otherwise it’s just an urban myth.

Very good article.

“Psychopathic seduction hijacks the normal human bonding system.” This is the part that still leaves me feeling so confused. Its difficult for me to understand how/why someone could intentionally target an empathetic, caring person in a romantic relationship–just to emotionally obliterate me. Its pure aggression just for aggression sake. Its evil…

uwfrog there is alot of good information here.

uwfrog….their motivations for interacting with other’s are totally different than ours. Understanding their motivations can help minimize some of the dissonance we feel when we wake up to the hurt, and try to make sense by connecting the dots. In the case of sociopaths, when we connect the dots (like we would in analyzing any other situation) they don’t lead us to any normal sense of understanding. In fact, we can feel even more hurt, stupid, and confused. Because we just cannot make sense of what has happened.

This is because they are not motivated by the instinct to build relationships. They are motivated by personal gain. Period. Everything they do is to gain something, not to give something.

Even when they give something it is to obtain a future gain, or gain the immediate attention that pretending to be generous provides them.

Things they can gain: Sex, money, prestige, image management, material goods, escape, etc….

When I think back on the sociopathic behaviors I have witnessed they now register to me like a very intricate game. That all the players in the game are not real to the sociopath, and are considered ‘pawns’.

Their motivations certainly are different from ours.

slimone This is a great explanation of spath behavior.

again, a great explanation of spath behavior.

I am 1 week into the devastation on my experience. Currently I’m going back and forth on whether I believe he is a true sociopath. I was lied to from the very beginning of our relationship. I have read the book psychopath free in 2 days and 24 of the 30 red flags stick out in my mind about him. I go between is this really the truth of what he is to did he really love me. I keep replaying the scenarios that made me believe he loved me. I’m anxious today. I’m debating on calling or texting him. I feel so alone like the people close to me really don’t understand what I’m going through. I feel empty every morning I wake up. I don’t know what to believe….

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