By September 23, 2012 45 Comments Read More →

Psychopath’s noses don’t work

A new study out of Australia finds that people high in psychopathic traits did poorly when asked to identify common odors. Read:

Psychopaths have poor sense of smell, study finds, on CBSNews.com.

Story suggested by a Lovefraud reader.

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45 Comments on "Psychopath’s noses don’t work"

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Interesting article.

Question: How about people who suffer with allergies like rhinitis? They aren’t sociopaths just have a physical immune illness. I know people who are normal without personality disorders that suffer from rhinitis that at times do not smell the same odors everyone else do. Also I thought there is a disorder where people smell odors no one else does.


This “study” is VERY SMALL and I think the media reporting about it has exaggerated what it means in a BIG way. I also think this study was very poorly designed. The self report questions that the people took afterward don’t “prove” anything about whether the people are psychopaths or not. If a self report questionaire would prove psychhopathy, then Dr. Robert Hare would use it I am sure.

I get so “tight jawed” when the media exaggerates 1) the quality of a study and 2) the significance of the study

It is already known that there ARE some differences in the anatomy and physiology (shape, form and working) of the brains of KNOWN psychopaths (as judged by the PCL-R) and non-psychopaths, and maybe smell may eventually be shown one of those things, but with (A) such a few subjects and (B) no real way to judge psychopathy in the individuals, this study isn’t going to unleash any great amount of SOLID information.

Psychopathy isn’t an either /or situation where “you is or you aint” a psychopath. Psychopathy is a continuum of behaviors and thinking.

Smell and taste are determined by genetics and there are some things that can be smelled or tasted by X% of the population and Y% of the population can’t smell it or taste . I remember those tests we did in organic chem class to see if we were tasters or non tasters, smellers or non smellers.

Also, whether you smoke or not influences your smell as well, so this study didn’t really prove much, but the media makes out like now all we have to do is to ask our partners to smell the coffee and we’ll know if they are okay. LOL

Yes there are individuals in this world who have been born with weird hard wiring in such away they are referred to as sociopaths. They are toxic in one way to another for the rest of the human population.

Question: What is your term for a sociopath individual who doesn’t break the law versus; one who terrorizes others lives versus; commits horrendous crimes?

Raised by a sociopath,

The terms “psychopath” and “sociopath” do not CURRENTLY have any medico-legal meaning at all. The current diagnostic terms for what WE call P or S is “anti-social personality disorder’ (ASPD) but that is not exactly equivalent to either P or S.

I know that YOU give different meanings to socio and psycho paths but not everyone does.

Dr. Robert Hare uses the term “Psychopath” and other researchers use “sociopath” for what they both determine is fairly the same thing. There is no different terms for ones that break the law or ones that don’t or ones that are physically violent or don’t.

Part of the problem with DEFINING the terms is that PROFESSIONALS DON’T AGREE ON A NAME for the condition, or even the exact symptoms of the condition.

Dr. Robert Hare has developed the “psychopaths check list-revised” which is accepted by most law agencies as the gold standard to deciding who is a “psychopath” and who isn’t.

Research done in prisons shows that 25% of inmates score 30 or above (0-40) and qualify as Psychopaths….but the AVERAGE score is 22, meaning that half the inmates score above 22 and half score below, so the biggest majority of inmates are NOT people you would want to take home as pets.

You are of course free to “define” any word or words as you choose, but right now, there are no medical terms of P or S as a “diagnosis” yet there is a LEGAL term of psychopath.

I hope that the medical field will come to some agreement of what to call it so that the medical practitioners and the public can get an idea of what it is rather than think that all psychopaths are serial killers and all sociopaths are just normal kids who were raised by an abusive person.

AT this point in time, it is pretty well accepted that P or S (whatever your chosen term) is BOTH genetic and environmental, but that doesn’t mean that the child was EVER “abused” in terms that we would generally accept.

Some kids get more P DNA than others, and some are more violent than others, with less impulse control, and some were abused as children, but the bottom line is that psychopathy as Dr. Robert Hare defines it is BOTH GENETIC and ENVIRONMENTAL.

I read this report in the newspaper the other day and it made me smile as the spath I was involved with had very poor sense of smell!

Ex-spath was a superb cook, who knew how to marinade and spice food. And he was a freak about body odor. In his opinion people should shower at least twice to thrice a day (even in cold climate). There was nothing wrong with his smelling capability. But I consider him a psychopath irregardless.

My ex certainly had a decreased sense of smell.

Not sure how much stock to put in handwriting analysis but it is difficult to discern my ex’s handwriting from Scott Peterson’s……..which I noticed while flipping through the book “Sex, Lies and Handwriting”. One of the key factors are a lot of “trick” letters and numbers. They go unnoticed as one is reading in context but if you look at them out of context they are difficult to distinguish. Scary.

Ox Drover
Thank you for your clarifying . It’s just that it seems now that I’m dealing with understanding or trying to understand this mental illness the mere fact they are so hypnotic to everyone is what I’m trying to overcome.
Could it be due to the fact I was raised by 2 psychopaths that would make me more susceptible to their trickery? I do notice now more people with this dysfunction then I had before. Ironic..

raised by sociopath

Just a note:

People tend to take others as they present themselves. Act confident people will see you as confident. Act happy same thing. But it doesn’t mean the person is confident or happy.


Very interesting post. Comments seem to agree – or – disagree. Just in case anyone counts the responses, my spath DID have trouble smelling. Supposedely due to a deviated septum caused by a motorcycle accident.

And, just curious, did anyone else have an spath that claimed to be quite sensative (in an emotional sense). He used to tell me all the time how sensitive he was and I used to laugh. He insisted he was but I never believed he had a sensitive bone in his body.

Anyway, hope everyone is having a good day, mine is starting to get better. Found out on Sunday that a very good mutual friend passed away. Thought about letting the spath know but I live 400 miles away and he is in town so I’m sure he will get the news.

I thought I was handling this a lot better than I actually am. Have started waking up depressed. Can’t seem to get going. Have no interest in doing much except smoking. I’m going to chalk this up to just having a bad day and leave it at that. Whenever this happens I come here. I always find comments that give me hope.

Keep in mind their tendency to inflate to the positive any thing about them that is lacking. i bet if they think they gotta shower three times a day(really?), its because they are paranoid about their own odor and cant actually smell it.

no its not a reasonable litmus test.(imho) duh huh?


Hi Stormy,

I often wake up depressed and sad and can’t get motivated. I also come here and find comfort and hope. 5 months NC and alot of healing to do. Have learned lots about them because I needed to know why.

In my quest for knowledge I read they can have traits of other syndromes and conditions. One of the many ASD traits is heightened sensory awareness. My spath most definitely couldn’t smell a thing and his senses were not what I would call sharp- maybe the sensitive ones were further along on the ASD continuum??

Dear Raisedby a sociopath,

When we grow up in a “dysfunctional” home we tend to think that is what is “normal” behavior….and we learn to put up with dysfunctional and abusive behaivor in others, to accept it as “normal.”

I suggest that you read the “Trauma Bond” by Patrick Carnes, this will give you some idea of WHY we put up with abuse even when we are hurting, and then allow them to do it over again.

It is by educating ourselves to what THEY ARE and how they work, and then by educating ourselves about how WE ARE and what WE need to do to correct our vulnerabilities.

There are tons of great articles here about psychopaths (by whatever name you want to call them) that you can start on. READ AND READ some more…learn about them.

There are TONS of great books to be had (look at the Book Reviews here) and keep on reading and reading and reading some more.

Of course blogging here helps, but there is no need for me to try to rewrite what is already written. So take advantage of the great books and articles here and the books available off Amazon dot com for very low prices. Good luck and keep on reading. (((hugs))) and God bless.

I’ve been wondering about that the last days. What becomes of us children of psychopaths? Some becomes spath as well, other’s don’t. Those of us who don’t still inherited some traits or dealing mechanisms from the spath parent, but what are they? The importance of healing and processes shows it has two sides to it. Not only look at the “Survivor” side of it, but also our dark secrets that are well hidden away from our selves. Children learn from their parents. My mother is a great pity player and has always worked for her, and as a young child I did the same, I thought it was a way to make new friends. To the outside world I looked manipulative. At home I was never allowed to have any feelings – I would be punished if I showed anything at all- and as the years passed by, I grew cold and distant – not in contact with my emotions made me look like a person made of stone, but nobody ever saw the crying within the four walls of the bedroom. There was never any time to show emotions either as my mother kept me busy with her ongoing drama. I had to be the strong one so I could carry her until my body couldn’t take it anymore and shut down, but to the outside world I looked like nothing could ever affect me.

Now as I am grown, got my not so lovely experiences with several spath relationships, I can see, in an absurd way, how those individuals connected with me on that particularly plan. I can also see how normal people didn’t want to connect with me as well.

I have a very strange feeling that my last one tried to make me become very much alike him self, when he discovered I was not quite like him (first he somehow assumed that his world was normal to me,as if I could have been his accomplice and he had strategies on how he would train me, rough me up because I was so mentally “weak”), he got furious – and I was in shock of how he didn’t have the same view on love or caring for other people as I did. I tend to ADJUST to people, not to manipulate, it has been a mechanism for me to survive. “Oh are you angry? What can I do to help the anger go away? If I become what you want you will not punish me with your anger”. I will adjust my self to a person so I can escape the punishment, abandonment or whatever it is that’s bothering people and so on.
Spath on the other hand use the same strategy, but only to hook a person and get what they want by manipulation. They are driven out of ego, I was driven of fear. Point is, same strategy, but from a different angle, both side’s not healthy. To begin with, when I first started reading about the subject of psychopath, I misinterpreted this trait in me as mirroring, comparing it to the strategy of spaths and my self blaming really set in. To the outside world it looks the same.

These realizations was not one of the good ones at all.I truly believed I was the crazy one. It worried me sick and it really gave me a punch in the stomach – But having said that, I have never cheated, lied or done anything close to what Spaths do. It helped talking to my therapists about it, they’ve said they’d had not seen any traits in me, only the ptsd. It made me relax and calm down. Thank God. the blame has shifted there as well.

I understood this after listening to John Bradshaw, that I view my world with my inner child’s eyes. Now, as I am aware of it, I’ve stopped to “pity” my self infront of others, taking more responsebility for my state of emotions and thinking. I try to find out, who am I and keep my self to ME no matter what others say or think about me. If someone thinks I’m too directly, then fine, that’s how I AM and proud to! If someone like my neighbour or a friend has a bad day that’s got nothing to do with me, but takes it out on me, well, fine not my problem or anger to deal with. They can take responsibility for their own emotions and put it where it belongs, I am not their personal garbage can. My inner child would former immediately jump and think in such a situation: “Oh my god I’m bad aren’t I? What did I do wrong? It’s all my fault and I feel so bad. I feel bad so its my feeling, I will fix it somehow -before it feels even worse. If you are okay, I’m okay.” Now I know it isn’t, they aren’t my emotions at all to cope with.

I’ve learned from a very young age that my parents feelings and problems we’re mine, so for a long time I though that all emotions are mine who ever it belonged to. Now I see how I willingly took the blame and responsebility in my relationships with my boyfriends. For some time, I saw this pattern as psychopathic trait, since I couldn’t distinguish my self from others. I struggled for a year and a half worrying thinking about it, but now I see I was trained to be the can. Spaths just love giving away their shit to others and I guess my mother trained me well. Still the angels must have watched over me -something in me was intact, cause I knew from a very young age that this wasn’t right, my mother was ill.

I do not differ from what we all agree on, “When we grow up in a “dysfunctional” home we tend to think that is what is “normal” behavior”.and we learn to put up with dysfunctional and abusive behaivor in others, to accept it as “normal.” I’m just saying as a child I learned som destructive skills I am now letting go off.

It’s interesesting to study the spath; ie, his nose doesn’t work, but I propose that we should study our own sense of smell, or lack there of….can I smell a rat? Do I? If I do, what do I do? Do I lie to myself saying that nasty smell doesn’t exist because I didn’t really smell it? NO. I SMELLED A RAT.
Once again we are talking about trusting our instincts. If you get a whif that something aint right…then it aint right. Respect your sence of smell. If it smells like a rat, it’s a rat.

Sunflower, that is why I say that we start out learning about them, but then we must learn about ourselves in order to heal. It is a growth process. Keep on learning, KNOWLEDGE=POWER so we must take back our power.

Wow, Sunflower! Your post is so empowering and insightful. How great that you have so much awareness. It has me thinking, and I think I will pick up a copy of that book. So happy for you and your personal endeavors. It is no wonder that you are making so much progress, as you had explained in a comment you posted on a different thread. For what it is worth, I appreciate what you have shared, above. It is helpful in many ways.

Much Love~

… if there is in fact a book? Otherwise, is this a CD that you have? I will look up author…

Hi Kim,
We all have different smellabilities. Mine, sucked. I didn’t smell a thing. But now it’s different. I smell a rat immediately.

Ex-uberspath really harped on his ability to smell mold. He made it seem like something to be so proud of. A lie? perhaps. They lie about everything and when they tell the truth, it’s only to mislead you about something else.

yes, our families do change how we see things. Because of my family, I lack fear. Fortunately, so far, there has been something else, that warns me about the impending doom of a spath planning my murder. It’s not fear. Not sure what it is. I just always know. And get out just in time. It always shocks them, that I slip out at the last minute. Their plans derailed. It’s interesting isn’t it?

Shane: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5q2tZa1gp8Q
Was it Spoon who posted all these great videos and artikles? Shane check out Spoon, she got many great and insightfull posts.

Skylar: Mhm, yes it is.
The lack of fear is interesting. I’ve been struggling with angst for many years, but when everything fell apart last year I discovered I lacked fear. I suddenly took risks I never would have done before and in a sence it felt liberating, but in the other hand I needed it to feel alive.I had it mentally, but I couldn’t feel it. Now as things have been calmer and my head is clearer, I do feel somewhat fear again. I do feel fear in situations that can cause me harm, like falling of the horse or a car accident. I no longer have angst, only some few minor things, but not in the scale as it used to be.

And I have always been able to smell a rat, If I just could have believed in my self…

The spath I dated in 2008 had no problem with his sense of smell. The first time we met, he kept trying to get near me because I “smelled so good”. He did the same thing the day he stalked me at the expo. He kept getting close trying to smell my hair.

Sunflower, I’m very impressed with your insight. I remember the day several years ago that I realized I had some narcissistic traits like my mother. It was very freeing to see this element of my “shadow”. It’s not just that the spath is SO bad and we were SO good as to why we hooked up with them. We are all complex as human beings. We have positive and not-so-positive traits and traits that are “hooks” for others with complementary traits. For us normals, however, if we can identify things that don’t work for us, we can change them. It’s good to be realistic about ourselves, accepting our strengths and weaknesses rather than to feel as though we are bad, screwed up, etc. Sounds like you are arriving at a realistic view of yourself, your patterns, and motivations. Good for you.

My observation of a lot of people who have been traumatized by spaths is that their opinions of themselves tend to be much lower than they should be and they fail to see their positive traits. This is understandable after you’ve been torn down for a long time. Recovery is not only realizing you’re a good person and have great qualities, but also seeing your weaknesses and the unconstructive behaviors – especially the unconcious ones – that keep attracting the things you don’t want into your life. The more parts of yourself – good and bad – that you can accept, the more you can become a creator of the life you actually want, rather than a victim of circumstances and repetitive patterns. When you can see, love, and accept all parts of yourself, you start to become whole again.

Thank you startgazer for your kind words. I agree, we need to accept our own destructive qualities as well. The hard part is to not blame your self when you understand what you have done to others. As much as we’d like to hear we’re perfect, we must realize we’re not. We are humans and humans makes mistakes. I think another key is to forgive thy self, because it’s the hardest part. Not necessarily just forgiving others.

Ya know, After having been slimed last week-end, I’ve been reading up on triangulation and narcissistic abuse, and I realized something….for me, these people have an energy around them that I can feel get inside of me…really. I know it sounds strange, but it’s like a chemical combustion…a very real physical force feild. I FEEL it physically, and it’s a feeling that is very hard to describe. I think it’s something like the feeling little kids describe as, “yucky,’ when something bad has happened to them, but they don’t have the adult insight and/or language skills to describe it.
It just feels bad.
SIL has a way of slamming me off guard. He attacks when I least expect an attack, and I am instantly sucked into a vortex of energy….it’s really something, how I am physically affected…shaking, sick tto my stomache, dizzy….adrenaline pumping…fight or flight? Swirling, instantaeous search for self defence…angry, confused, intimidated…all at the same time.
I am the perfect conduit for this narcissistic energy, because I am the negative charge….truly…..this combustion doesn’t happen with other people, only between me a a narcissist.
I rale against domination, and abandonment, they rail against not being worshipped and powerful….and there’s something in the air I can smell when I’m around them.
It isn’t a good combination, and I try to avoid them, and just focus my attention on becoming independant, and taking care of myself.
Life is pretty good, today.

Kim, The entire descriptin of the reactions you have is exactly what the Cluster B’s provoke in others. That is good that you try to avoid them because I think it is truly the only way to avoid being triggered by them, and in turn, continuing about the healing process in a successful way. So glad life is good for you, today! I hope each day keeps getting better and better. : )

That’s a great description of slime. And it turns out slime is actually shame that they are trying to put on you, but you are rejecting it. Instead, your response is outrage, which is appropriate because you have no reason to feel ashamed.

I think that the dynamic is this: Spaths are overwhelmed with shame for whatever reason. They also, like you, react with anger and outrage and all the things you described, confusion, feeling intimidated, etc… The spath’s response to his feelings is to project them onto you so that YOU will feel what he feels. When you react by showing that you are feeling slimed, by being angry, confused and intimidated, that is when he knows he has won. Then the spath no longer feels bad. He has kicked his dog and now his dog feels bad and spath feel better.

The key is to not react to a spath’s rages with any self defense. The key is to laugh, smile, change the subject. This is the emotional equivalent of dodging a bullet. Do not accept the slime. Don’t let the slime touch you at all.

My ex-spath use to rage at waitresses and baristas. He came home one day and told me proudly how he had made the girl at the espresso stand cry by just yelling at her. Apparently she deserved it because she touched the lid of his coffee cup with perfume on her hands and ruined his coffee. He said he hates perfume.

Yes, Skylar, I do agree, it’s shame they are projecting…for some reason I trigger that shame in narcissists, and they dump it all on me….then I carry it around for a while. The scenario goes a little like this:
Daughter was irresponsible about setting up child-care, and as usual, did not communicate with me about it until the last minute and assumed I be there to pick up the slack.
I have been pretty much ousted by him, and rarely deal with him at all….unless he wants something from me.
I have been very dependant on her in the past, and she has done one hell of a lot for me. I am extremely sensitive about that, and probably a little ashamed.
I have been working very hard at becoming independant, while still maintaining a “new” kind of relationship with my daughter.
All these things contribute to my resenting his entitled attitude that his week-end get away was so much more important than anything or anyone else involved in the scenario. And then to make that power-play by going strasight in for the throat…(shame-core)…..but it was all triggered by my assigning shame to him….that he should be ashamed to be heaping this on my daughter, while she is out of town and powerless to do anything about it, and why the hell can’t he stay home, where he belongs and take care of HIS family obligations…..he then disowns hios shame and attacks me where I am the most vulnerable….Feeling ashamed for asking so much, and then not doing this ONE LITTLE THING, not for him, mind you, for her….It seems that she always escapes the shame game, she is always the good and selfless one, and he and I are always in this shame dumping, musical chairs game, where we accuse the other one of letting her down.
I have been trying to decide what tact to take. Whether I should have this conversation with my daughter, or just show her through less involvement. This stuff has everything to do with the fact that I’ve been dependant on other people for most of my life……it’s how they can continue to abuse me (trauma bond) and it’s really time to start establishing boundries, and developing self-esteem and self-reliance, and self-confidence…in a really big way.
I really don’t want to seem ungrateful, but, I refuse to be abused anymore, and I dont want to pass around the shit-turd either.
I know all about gray rock, but when you are being slammed out of nowhere, it is so hard not to react, especially when everything in you is in fight or flight mode. Sheesh.

You said, “I don’t want to seem ungrateful.”
let us not forget that you DID raise her, so it isn’t as though you’ve never done anything for her. You also left her dad while she was young, to your credit, so she didn’t have to deal with that abuse.

So leaving the abuser out of it, concentrate on what you WANT to do. Not on what you feel obligated to do. Out of love for your daughter and your grand kids, you want to support her. On the other hand, never do anything you don’t want to do no matter how others may try to obligate you. Your SIL called you an ungrateful bitch because he knows this obligation is your trigger. Furthermore, while you were living with them, you took on many responsibilities, so you owe them nothing.

I think that when you love someone, you don’t keep score about who did what for whom. You just do because you want to. and you don’t if you don’t want to, but that doesn’t mean you don’t love them. It might just mean that you don’t feel it is appropriate at the moment or convenient or whatever. Because if you do something for someone and keep score or feel resentment about doing it, then it negates the “gift” of what you did.

In this situation with your daughter, I don’t think the answer is boundaries around your actions, but rather boundaries on your emotions. Gray rock needs to become not just something you show, but something you are.

For example, if you decide not to babysit because your SIL is abusive, but yet you feel guilty about it, then you haven’t established any boundary at all. Your son in law isn’t trying to make you do things for him, his REAL goal is your emotions and your acquiesing to babysit is just one way he has evidence that he has succeeded. Another way, is when you REFUSE to babysit, he still has evidence that he succeeded. Heads you lose, Tails he wins. The only way for you to win is to ignore the coin toss and just do what YOU want to do because you want to do it.

I know it’s unreal to believe that a person could be feeding on your emotions. It’s easier to believe that he wants power and control over you so that you will be subservient, but that is only the surface cover he presents. His real goal is JUST YOUR EMOTIONS. So you know what I always say: DON’T GIVE HIM ANY.

In this case, I would propose the “switch the typewriter keys” strategy to confound the spath. This means, whatever button he pushes, be prepared to respond in some random unexpected way. laughter is usually a good one.

You also said, “…but when you are slammed out of nowhere, it’s hard not to react.”

But Kim you weren’t slammed out of nowhere, he does this all the time. Expect it. I submit to you that when he isn NOT being abusive, he is only setting you up for the “slam out of nowhere.” KNOW what he is. KNOW what to expect. Don’t let cog diss fog your perceptions. When he is being civil, it’s an act. He’s always looking to feed off you.

Thanks, Skylar. I will work on being gray rock!! Excellant advise. If I can’t always be gray rock, I will sure as hell fake it tell I make it. (((HUGS)))))


That’s the thing about being independent, it is equal to the same amount of RESPONSIBILITY.

You are right, you were DEPENDENT on your daughter for a whhile, BUT keep in mind that at the same time, you PAID YOUR WAY with baby sitting, cooking, etc. as a LIVE IN NANNY, so seems to me like you and she are “even” now.

NOW you are paying your own way, with your own home, your own job, etc. so as far as I can see, neither you nor she “owe” either one of you any favors to the other one.

THAT being the case, you are now equals….She is an adult, you are an adult. She has her responsibilities, you have yours.

IF you CHOOSE to help her out with some of her responsibilities, then it is your CHOICE, but if you CHOOSE NOT to do so, that is your RIGHT too choose that option.

She has NO RIGHT to expect you to assume her responsibilities because you two share some DNA.

As for Dickwad, well he has NO right to speak to you in that manner and I suggest that you show him that by NC–total NC, and if you two are together some where you give him the POTTED PLANT TREATMENT which is where you pretend he doesn’t exist at all, even if he speaks to you, he is INVISIBLE AND MAKES NO SOUND…you cannot either see or hear him.

TOTALLY ignore him. LOL

mine had an excellent sense of scent…. it was VERY important to him!

Well, I dont know about that statement about smell.

I do know that my ex psychopath almost burned the house down one night because he didnt smell the hot pad burning on the stove. I attributed his poor smell to being a smoker most of his life.

I think a psychopath has the most “predatory” traits. My ex looks for women to take care of him. He will give them what they want – attention, sex, “love”, and money. He lived with me for a few weeks and then we got married. I know I had to ask him to start contributing to the household expenses. ????? At any rate, to me the sociopath is much more verbally abusive and “in your face” with abuse. For me psychopaths fly under the radar most of the time making them very difficult to spot. I also think the checklist indicates a “range” of dysfunction. My ex had 17 of the 20 symptoms. Making him NOT a rapist or murderer. He was very Ted Bundy except for that trait – thank God!

I think it’s interesting that while we are with the sociopath we notice their “quirks” (to put it mildly) and because we are trying to find an explanation for them, we decide that:

He can’t “whatever” because he is:

He can’t smell because he is a smoker, he is easily bored because he has ADHD, he’s trying to make me jealous that is why he flirts with other women, he is an alcoholic, so that would explain A LOT of things, he is “blah, blah”, so that explains why he does “whatever weird thing he does”.

Today, I’m wondering as I go into my fourth month of NC, what the heck was wrong with me?!! As my brain slowly becomes unscrambled, why didn’t I stop, look at what was going on and call him on it in no uncertain terms, the way that I would have before. Well, we all have the answer to that, but of course, it may be a different answer for each of us. I may of posted this before, but the other day a woman said to me, “Don’t beat yourself up” ‘Why shouldnt’ I’, I answered. “Because it doesn’t change anything”. So, just like that I stop. Because I want things to change, for the better.

Kim, I just had an idea for you. For several years I used to get aura cleansings every week. There was a place that did them for free (they are walking distance from me nowadays). It sounds strange, but these healers are able to remove negative energies from your space or “aura” that come from other people. Often they will tell you what the energy is and what kind of person left it there (and often you can recognize the person from what they tell you). I did this for a number of years when my work environment was more negative. Though I have not felt the need for it for several years, while I was doing it, it probably was life-saving for me. I would leave feeling like a different person. If you have anything like this near you, you might enjoy it. The people at places like this are also very gentle and non-judgmental. I considered taking the training myself but it was something like $5k.

There does eventually come a time when you don’t absorb these negative energies any more – maybe when your boundaries get better. But until then, hey, whatever works, that’s how I look at it.

((hugs back))
I’ve been thinking about your situation and the advice I gave you. Then I realized that what I advised you is not gray rock and will likely antogonize him. But that’s ok, because who the heck cares?

He will up the ante for a long while. Eventually, when he sees that he can’t get to you, he’ll get bored. You can still be boring and gray rock, but setting emotional boundaries is not EXACTLY gray rock.

The reason it will aggravate him is because he will see you as being in control, authoratative and happy. It will drive him crazy.

Gray rock is a bit different, it shows you as being boring, dull, indecisive, dull witted etc…It takes all your emotional hooks and hides them.

Whatever you decide, just remember to not give him what he wants. Do everything and anything, but do not react to his machinations. EXPECT THEM.


I loved your description of the sensation after a spath attack on us. That’s exactly how it feels for me: as if someone suddenly commits an onslaught on all of your system. It feels like someone just speared all their malice into you, like a rape, but energetically.

I remember one time when I realized this feeling after I was attacked on a forum for totems after I explained the unorthodox meditation technique my friends and I used. We meditate by physically connecting with one another: we lie in a circle and connect our feet, with one foot as a receiver, the other as a giver. This creates a pool of energy multiplied by the number of persons involved, but it is at the same time shared with everyone full circle. In many meditation schoolings to be in physical contact with someone else is forbidden, because someone can then abuse the energy of the other and drain them of energy. It’s seen as a way to vampirize someone energetically. We don’t vampirize each other of course, because we share the energy with each other; it’s flowing freely in the circle, and all with respect to starting with grounding, then going through the other chakra levels and coming down again. And nobody is allowed to break contact before everybody is grounded again (meaning: everybody gets his personal energy back). Anyway, this moderator of the totem forum became extremely vicious to me and well treated me as if I was some demon to be ousted. And that’s when I felt as if she had tried to penetrate all her malicious energy into me. I responded calmly, wishing peace and goodbye for all its members, envisioning love in my heart for them as well as myself.

I had the same energy-rape feeling after the phonecall from the colleague past summer about his maps and such.

In any case, I treat this penetration of another one’s malicious energy as if it were a demon: by shrouding myself in an energy of love and telling it to return whence it came from. When I do that, it shrinks to baby-size levels and recedes. If we respond in anger or rage or in fear to this type of energy within us, it usually just gets bigger. This type of malicious energy hurled at you feeds on anger and fear.

Note: I’m just talking about the sensation you described of suddenly having someone else’s energy and malice (the ‘slime’) running amock within your system. I’m not saying that there isn’t a time and place for anger and fear. There very much is. But our anger and fear should be ours alone, and not feed the malicious energy implanted in us by another being. Because ultimately the energy they shoved into our system is still theirs and connected to them like an octopussy’s tentacle.

Oxy, Sky, Star and Darsmom, Thanks, so much. I got something out of what each one of you said.
Ox, do you remember Eric Berne, and the 60’s TA movement?
Well, I think the rebellious child in me gets triggered by the authoritarian adult in other folks.
For instance, when I managed to get Daughters car around SIL’s deliberate attempt to cut me off at the knees, out of spite, we were both acting as children. But he was cloaking his childish behavior in the authoritarian parent role. When I thought better of taking the car, I responded from the adult role. ie, I texted him that I had the car and would return it before work. 2:00.
He then, reinforces himself as dominant parent by texting back, “You better have that car in the driveway by 4:00, or else.”
When I calmly returned the car, and made no furthar attempt to contact him, I was acting from the role of adult.
And Dar, your talk of introjected bad energy plays out here as well. And Sky, your talk about emotional boundry’s, too. Changing the buttons on the typwriter key board is like not responding to the authoritarian parent who is simply trying to manipulate me by relating to me as if I was a reb ellious child, while he is, in fact acting out his sence of himself as a rebellious child. It is trying always to stay in the adult mode.

Exactly Kim!

It’s like Timothy Leary’s behaviour rose (you probably know a derived kiddies version of a circle with animals – lion in the right top, a turtle in the bottom left and so on). Without going too much into detail about it, the basic premisse is that a certain type of behaviour evokes an instinctive reaction. If someone acts in a dominating way, the other person will automatically take on a more ‘following’ or ‘submissive’ role. If someone takes on a following/submissive role, then the other will instinctively become more dominant (take initiative). And if someone acts against you, it provokes an against response within you. If someone shows behavour to work along or help you or wants to be helped, then it evokes an ‘us together’ response.

You can never truly help the instinctive response or reaction within you. For example, when someone starts shouting at you and towers above you, for at least one tiny moment you’ll feel small and probably flinch. It’s not a sign of weakness and nothing to feel guilty about. It’s not something we have control over much for the initial second.

However, you can become aware enough that these are interaction laws and recognize it, and you can then choose to ignore the instinctive response and choose to respond differently.

So yeah, if someone acts like the dominating, but aggressive parent (top-against), it will make you feel like a rebellious child (bottom-against). While you can never can provoke an ‘us’ response in a spath, you can at least choose to respond in a different way that makes you feel much better about yourself than if you follow the instinctive urge: for instance, a leading person who has no issues with anyone (top-us).

I don’t know anything about the TA movement but what you said is exactly right: we can never truly help the instinctive response or reaction within you. It’s because we have empathy. It may also have to do with “mirror neurons” in our brains, which help us to put ourselves in another person’s shoes.

The other day, I was sitting in my truck and the crazy-husband stealing spath neighbor walked up and knocked on my window. She was wearing an expression meant to elicit some kind of bonding, and she said, “Skylar, I know you probably don’t like me very much, but I just want you to know that I have no hard feelings.”

I felt my body respond to her pity ploy. I felt an automatic something such as you would feel for a contrite human being. If I had been approached by her 3 years ago, before I knew that there walk among us people who habitually fake emotions with the express intent on feeding on my emotions, I would have responded according to my nature and said, “It’s ok, don’t worry about it. I have no hard feelings either.”

I realized though that she wants emotions. So I said, “I have no feelings for you at all.” Her face contorted into the evil that she is. The pity ploy disappeared because it wasn’t working, or at least she couldn’t see that it worked. I responded from a place of knowledge rather than emotions.

Because appearances are SO OFTEN deceiving, it’s best to “check your emotions at the door, before they exit you.”

I know it isn’t easy, especially if they don’t give up or if you are confused about what they are trying to achieve with their tactics. But one thing my friend reminds me to do is “don’t take other people’s behavior personally.” Their behavior is about them, not about you.

Sky, that was a PERFECT RESPONSE….good for you!

“check your emotions at the door” LOL Yep, they will only “shoot” you with them if you show them.

Sky, loved your response!

Yup, exactly. We cannot prevent an instinctive inner reaction… but we can choose to ignore it and respond by choice instead.

That’s why I’m not severe upon myself when someone jumps my throat out of the blue and I feel rattled inside by it, nor when I feel a first response to be empathic and helpful with someone who pretends to portray ‘us’ behaviour. Nor will I react instantly. I’ll observe and then choose my response on my own time and terms.


I did everything reverse osmosis to the way I was raised. I had NO idea what love was until my son was born when i was 18…before his birth I was running around blind trying to fit into a broken world.

Once I realized what love was I knew I had to raise my baby far differently than my family`s way (abuse abuse abuse anchor).

My mother had four children, my father had five. Of these children one is me (always sensitive and emotional, carries the weight of the world on my shoulders; lives in deep shame and guilt – holds myself in high accountability – even when it is NMP (not my problem). My older brother (turned to crack, likely won`t see 55); My younger brother (turned to alcohol – wakes up to an immediate need for several beers to get started). Then my young sister…cold, calculating, gathers supply to do her bidding, mean, abusive, seeks to ruin people`s lives (so much like my parents). I have a half brother who hated my dad, but interestingly has the same cold personality. It took me a long time to see that.

So, here I am, holding all of the emotions of the family because every one has checked out in one way or another. I have been through therapy, treatment centers, and my training in being a coach and counselor has all helped me pick up tools I need to live.

I still have post traumatic stress but it is only aggravated when an extremely serious issue raises it`s ugly head – something that affects me directly. And I still suffer from low self esteem, but I am working on that through hypnotherapy. I can already FEEL the change in myself to the positive. I feel stronger and stronger every day.

I don`t know if my siblings put any effort into having a good life, but it doesn`t look like it from where I sit. It looks to me like they all ran and hid under drugs, alcohol, and sociopath detachment and lashing out.

Feeling like I`m choppy, not articulating well…

Ok, bottom line is this…

I can really only speak for myself…I have had to really work to stay alive in the circumstances I was raised under.

Speaking up, I’m sorry, I’m having a hard time to understand what your point is. Sometimes google translate isn’t good enough.

Uhm, yes, I can say I can relate to you, I have same role in my family as you did in yours. I also had to really work to stay alive under the circumstances I was raised under and I think my parents did as well ( questioning my mother, but that’s another story) . In my family we have a long line of abuse and I think it is a learned pattern for the most of my family members. They too hide under different strategies instead of working with them selves.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think most people do as good as they can based on what their abilities and resources are at the time.

This article confirms a lot. It is also hillarious. No, they don’t have the same sense of smell and even taste. I watched my last spath eat a million peppers on a sammy from subway. At the time, I realized 90% he was “a thing” and it disgusted me. So freaking self indulgent and oblivious to anything except their own needs. Just gives me the creeps.

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