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By September 10, 2007 25 Comments Read More →

Psychopaths use our best qualities against us

I am a person with a very strong sense of responsibility. If I make a commitment to do something, I honor my commitment. Generally, being responsible is considered a positive quality. But it is the quality that made me stay with my psychopathic ex-husband far longer than I should have.

I knew he was taking money from me. I knew he was lying to me (although I vastly underestimated the extent of his deception). I didn’t love him anymore. So why did I stay? I had married him, and to me, marriage was a commitment.

I’ve written before about how psychopaths find our weaknesses and exploit them. The scary truth is that they also exploit our strengths.

Nurturing qualities

It takes a special person to work in human services fields such as nursing, teaching, social work and counseling. People who choose these professions are usually empathetic, nurturing and supportive. Again, these are generally viewed as positive qualities. Psychopaths use them against us.

Dr. Robert Hare writes in his book, Without Conscience:

Psychopaths have an uncanny ability to spot and use “nurturant” women—that is, those who have a powerful need to help or mother others. Many such women are in the helping professions—nursing, social work, counseling—and tend to look for the goodness in others while overlooking or minimizing their faults. “He’s got his problems, but I can help him,” or, “He had such a rough time as a kid, all he needs is someone to hug him.” These women will usually take a lot of abuse in their belief that they can help; they are ripe for being left emotionally, physically and financially drained.

Exploiting competence

Psychopaths can exploit any type of competence or expertise. In his book, The Psychopathic Mind, Dr. J. Reid Meloy describes a process that he calls “malignant pseudoidentification.” He says mental health and legal professionals are particularly vulnerable to it.

Here’s an example of what happens: A psychopath is dealing with a lawyer. The lawyer has healthy self-esteem; he believes he is intelligent and competent. The psychopath compliments the lawyer’s intelligence and competence. The psychopath also subtly imitates the lawyer’s mannerisms, and, after engaging in some personal conversation, discovers that he and the lawyer have shared interests! Imagine that! The lawyer’s self-esteem is further enhanced, and he begins to identify with, and feel bonded to, the psychopath.

I can relate to this phenomenon as well. My ex-husband was always complimentary about my work. He kept telling me what an asset I’d be to his entrepreneurial ambitions (even though they were unrealistic). I was pleased that he recognized my talents. I fell for it.

Awareness is the key

It’s bad enough that our vulnerabilities can cause us problems with psychopaths. But so can our strengths? How do we protect ourselves?

The key is awareness. Awareness that psychopaths exist. Awareness of their ploys and tricks. Awareness that when our instincts are telling us something is wrong, we should listen.

Then we can use our strengths to help us heal our vulnerabilities, without becoming a victim.


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25 Comments on "Psychopaths use our best qualities against us"

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YES!! They will see a talented person and then flatter you s h a m e l e s s l y …. brush your ego … and then they will pity-play you to do everything their own skills lack… use & discard is their motto .. and not only do they feel nothing, they will make you feel guilty too!!

In terms of awareness : is it just because I’ve been recently researching this or is there a sudden influx of new websites exposing these inhuman specimens of society? I’m amazed at the number of these database sites, the names being named and the stories being told. It’s great and obviously necessary information being put out there but doesn’t it open one to potential law suits ?

Based on my experience, watch out for the person at work who flatters you about your competence and loves to work on a project with you. This is the adult equivalent of the high school kid who does nothing to contribute to a group project, but gets an ‘A’ because the rest of the group works hard.

The employee/sociopath is smart enough to know who is the smartest person in the office and align himself with them. The person I knew was profuse with his praise. He made me (and others) feel smart. He got me to do his work for him. A classic ploy was to show up after 90% of the work was done and then swoop in and act like he was the mastermind of the entire project. Since he was a good talker and often gave the presentation of the results of all the research, analysis, etc, it was easy to make himself look like he was really involved. And he was smart enough to understand what the project was about, just not smart enough (or ambitious enough) to contribute any good ideas or work. His greatest function was as a cheerleader, I’ll grant him that.

So true re the sociopath using the goodness in people. What is really bothering me, since I had the “a-ha moment’ is not just FINALLY realising that my own mother is a sociopath; but the 10 men in the past 10 years were all sociopaths I met online. Pattern huh? I am working at addressing this and it’s been a learning curve. As with dear mother, the sooner I get out of her and my siblings’ lives, the better. I feel liberated just knowing that there was never anything wrong with me. I can’t help thinking the hell my father went through and she turned us against him. Rest in Peace Dad. Thanks for a great website.

The Internet has consistently proven to be a breeding ground for these swine masquerading in human form, but completely void of soul. It is said that it’s not the fault of the person duped that they have been swindled and conned, but in my case in I have had not just one, but TWO incidents involving Internet sociopaths. The first was my first experience on the Internet in a chat room. I was a single mom of a three year old who basically had no life except work and otherwise staying home with a small child. I was mesmerized by my new “social life” the Internet provided. I was too trusting and couldn’t imagine that anyone could lie the way I found that people can lie online. It took a month or so of being scared out of my wits by a “tax attorney” who spent an inordinate amount of time in chat rooms. All of my instincts and reasoning were asking the right questions, alerting me to the falsehood of this person, but because of my naiveté’ I got my first lesson in this pure evil that I had only heard existed. I gave him too much personal information and found myself very quickly afraid of him. He would say extremely odd things and make himself out to be not only to be quite a jet setter, but planted seeds of fear, what I now see as manipulative strong-arming. He made up relationships in his life that were powerful and could hurt me (though it was at first not a direct threat). He talked about how his mother was so unappreciative of him, but he still wanted to make her happy. He talked about how his brother was brutally murdered and how he had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to secure justice. He talked about his cheating ex-wife. When I wrote him and told him I didn’t want to talk to him anymore that’s when the real threats began. Since I was new to this whole thing I believed him and I was scared out of my mind. He had my work PO Box address AND work street address. He wrote threatening letters not only to my email threatening to come to my home town and harm me, but also to my work addresses. Thankfully, I was the only one who checked the mail. By the time I had received my second threatening letter (after numerous threatening emails including his intention to report me falsely to child protective services), and watching him talk about me in chat rooms while I was invisible, I stopped being afraid and became utterly furious. To his demise he had also given me his personal information so I did a little checking up on him. I called him the same day I received another letter threatening me physical harm and told him I knew all about his lies and named them one by one. This sorry $*%&$ had the nerve to threaten to sue me for harassment at the same time denying that he had never sent me any type of threatening correspondence. I did not back down. He hung up on me and I never heard from him again. A few weeks later I found myself in another chat room. Still trusting the human race and believing that my first experience was a fluke, I found myself talking to what I found out later to be the absolute mother of all swindlers. As this site discusses, he used every ounce of my compassion and nurturing to manipulate. He said he was a Duke educated psychologist and boy did he have the verbiage. We would talk for hours about child abuse, etc. He seemed to know what made me tick from the start. He also dropped the bomb on me that his wife had left him because he was “dying” from cancer and she just couldn’t take it. He then went on to play the martyr, never blaming her, always asking that no one pity him. He had led such a good life, and only wanted to be remembered for his charity. He had quite the Internet following. I recognized this immediately and called him on it. I zeroed right in on his game of playing a victim of life’s unfortunate circumstances yet forging on as a humanitarian, a true representative of all that is good in this world. His theme constantly was “don’t pity me” yet that is exactly what he wanted. To paint this pathetic picture of himself as some kind of downtrodden hero. He thrived on the attention and to say that he was grandiose is an understatement. He claimed to be from an extremely wealthy family where he and his younger brother were adopted under the “buy one get one free plan” as he called it. He claimed his rich parents only wanted to make themselves look more wonderful to the community yet at home he was being neglected and abused. In spite of it all, he excelled in school and graduated from Duke with his PhD before he was 24 years old. The inconsistencies in his story were staggering not to mention the absolute absurdity of it. I’m sorry, but I really have to take responsibility for being incredibly stupid on this one. After I sent him my suspicion that he was creating this image of himself to amass admiration, he responded with a very long, enumerated list of reasons why I should not believe he was a fraud. Of course, with his cancer and everything I felt incredibly guilty. The lies grew and grew and became more obvious and more absurd, yet for some reason I just didn’t want to see it. I know now that it was because I had allowed him into my life physically (he stole a car and drove halfway across the USA to meet me in spite of his excessive wealth), then abandoned the car in Chicago and flew the rest of the way. He wouldn’t allow me to meet him at the airport, which I thought was extremely odd. He had me book a hotel room for him with my debit card, but of course he paid me back immediately. Good cover. But I was really, really scared. If I admitted to myself that he might be lying I was struck with terror. Plus I kept thinking about his cancer. He even had fake doctor reports about it and arranged for me to speak to his doctor at a hospital on the east coast. If I questioned him on any level or if my friends questioned him at all he became enraged. How dare I question his integrity!? He absolutely never had any ID on him. When I asked him once after several occasions where he had “forgotten” it in this coat or that pair of pants, he gave me extremely dirty looks. He used his psychological “expertise” to make me feel I was out of line. There are just too many lies and scenarios to recall in this blog. Anyone who has been exposed to this understands where I am coming from. And, yes, these people do humiliate you. He was finally arrested in front of me and I was utterly traumatized. No more hiding from my gut feelings. I had to face it. When he was hauled away by the police I looked through all of his personal effects, which was something I would never dare do in his presence. He had me completely brainwashed and under his control. I was scared of him and didn’t even truly realize it. I had also exposed him to my child who later told me that “Rich was mean to me.” I wanted to absolutely KILL that man. I so wanted someone to love me and my child and he went RIGHT for the jugular. He had stolen literally thousands of dollars from a bank while impersonating a patron, which he kept in cash in a drawer in his hotel. How I wish I would have taken that money, because in the end, he wrote me a bad check which my bank covered and it bounced. Thankfully, it was less than $3000, but it was money I had to pay back over time, money I didn’t have. Monetary damage was the least of it. He lied to my son, lied to me, my friends, my pastor, my parents (all who believed him) except for my very astute sister who hired a private detective. That’s how he got arrested. It was my trust and the mistreatment of my child when I was not present that haunted me. This happened almost ten years ago, but my rage boils on when I hear about things like this. Since then I have corresponded a couple times on the Internet, but I have to shut it down immediately because I sense the lying right off the bat. Recently, I spotted a widowed man of a whopping one month was out trolling. He spoke of how his wife had died of liver failure from alcoholism, which was the result of postpartum depression. This poor man, he was left with his twin daughters, all of 17 months old. He would say how he tried to go out, but the “nanny” had called and said the girls were fussy so he had to go home and console them. The pathetic nature of this was my red alert, not that I was interested in him anyway. If I didn’t return his emails he would write and ask me if he scared me away from my computer or why hadn’t I gotten back to him? That really irritated me. Seems with his life as a single father of toddler twins he would have a lot more to do than wait for a reply from a girl he didn’t even know. Further, his twins were supposedly only 17 months at the time. He had posted his ad when they were 14 months old. His wife died when they were 13 months old. He said she was his best friend and they had a wonderful relationship, but he was really doing fine, that things weren’t that bad. Now I ask you, how does a woman have an onset of postpartum depression, start hitting the bottle and die of liver failure within one year? Further, if a man just loses his wife so tragically and she was his best friend and they did everything together, how is it that he is posting an ad on the Internet immediately and claims to literally be grief free? And what the heck kind of person posts their picture holding their child on the freakin’ Internet? I called him on every last one of these things.

I have no idea why I even looked out there except that I have been single for 14 years now. All of the things that make you a “target” are real and they apparently don’t subside. However, I can say without exception that I am positively through with the Internet, which I can’t believe I even tried after my experiences so long ago.

Liars on the Internet I have found have at least two things in common that are blaring – GRANDIOSITY and they act PATHETIC. There are more clues, but these seem to be the two major ones. Run like a bat out of you know where if you see even a hint of this.

AHHH THE INTERNET.. MY STORY
I MET THIS MAN IN APRIL OF 1999 HE ANSWERED MY DATING AD ON LINE STATING HE WAS A PROFESSIONAL 41 YEAR OLD SINGLE MALE. . WE MET FOR LUNCH. WHERE HE TOLD ME HE WAS DIVORCED FOR 4 YEARS HE WAS A COP IN THE NEXT CITY¦ WE HIT IT OFF. HE WAS CHARMING FUNNY. WE CONTINUED TO DATE FOR THE NEXT. 5 YEARS .
ALTHOUGH WE DID NOT SEE EACH OTHER ON A DAILY BASIS. HE TOLD ME HE WORKED A LOT AND DID A LOT OF UNDERCOVER OPERATIONS HE WAS GOOD TO MY SON 8 YEAR OLD WHEN WE MET TOOK HIM TO GAMES ETC. HE SAID HE LIVED WITH HIS MOTHER IN A SMALL ROW HOME. OVER THE YEARS I ASKED TO MEET HIS KIDS HE ALWAYS SAID THEY ARE CLOSE TO THEIR MOTHER AND WOULD NOT LIKE IT I BELIEVED EVERYTHING THIS MAN SAID TO ME I WAS SO TRUSTING

THEN AT FIVE YEARS A FRIEND OF MINE SAID HE MET A GIRL THAT SAID SHE WAS DATING HIM TO FROM ANOTHER TOWN I WAS SHOCKED. WHEN I CONFRONTED HIM HE SAID NO WAY ITS NOT ME . WELL THE GIRL CALLED ME AND IT WAS HIM. SHE TOLD ME EVERYTHING. JUST STARTED TO DATE HIM . I WAS CRUSHED BECAUSE BY THAT TIME I WAS IN LOVE WITH HIM DEEPLY THEN HE SAID IT WAS AN UNDERCOVER OPERATION AND HE WAS USING HER FOR INFORMATION . I DID NOT BELIEVE HIM . I STARTED TO LOOK A LITTLE DEEPER AND FOUND OUT . BY GOING TO HIS MOTHERS HOUSE . THAT SHE HAD NO IDEA WHO I WAS .. AND THAT HE STILL LIVED WITH HIS FAMILY AND WAS NOT DIVORCED. WIFE 2 KIDS IMAGINE THIS PAIN
WHEN I FINALLY FOUND HIM ( OH AND OVER THE YEARS HE WAS ALWAYS BORROWING MONEY) BUT PAID IT BACK . HE CAME OVER SAID HE WAS SO SORRY. HE COULD NOT TELL ME ITS A MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE AND HE LIVES IN THE BASEMENT AND HE DIDNT WANT TO LOSE ME. WE CAN WORK THIS OUT I WAS DEVASTED BUT I LOVED HIM. YA THINK I WOULD HAVE ENDED IT THERE
. WE CONTINUED THE SAME RELATIONSHIP . THEN I HEARD ON THE NEWS THAT HE WAS FIRED FROM THE POLICE FORCE FOR TESTING POSITIVE FOR COCAINE. AFTER 24 YEARS ON THE FORCE I WAS SHOCKED AND SICKEND. I SAID THATS IT. I HAD NO CONTACT WITH HIM FOR 7 MONTHS THEN HE CALLED AND SAID HE MISSED ME SO MUCH HE WAS INBARRASSED TO CALL ME. ETC. AND SAID HE HAD FILED FOR DIVORCE .WE WILL BE TOGETHER ETC. HE DID NOT DO THE DRUGS IT WAS A SET UP AND HE IS SUING THE CITY. FOR BACK PAY MEANWHILE STILL BORROWING MONEY HERE AND THERE. . TO THE TUNE OF 6,000
HE DID GET A DIVORCE. THINKING IT WAS FOR ME. I ASKED WHERE HE WAS LIVING AND HE SAID BETWEEN HIS 2 COUSINS BACK AND FORTH.WE TALKED OF WHERE WE WOULD LIVE WHEN THE KIDS GOT OUT OF COLLEGE. AND HOW MUCH HE LOVED ME.
MEANWHILE MY BROTHER DIED I WAS DEVASTATED HE CAME TO FUNERAL AND CONSOLDED ME CAME OVER FOR 2 WEEKENDS AND HIT ME UP FOR SOME MORE MONEY. AND POOF HE WAS GONE . SOME PHONE CALLS TELLING ME HE WAS WORKING UP NORTH WITH HIS NEW JOB DRIVING A TRUCK AND COULDNT GET DOWN HERE .
FINALLY . I STARTED TO SPY ON HIM BECAUSE HIS LIES WERE JUST GETTING TO HARD TO BELIEVE. HE TOLD ME HE WAS UP NORTH. BUT I KEPT SEEING HIS CAR ANY WAY I CONFRONTED HIM AT HIS CAR HE MADE UP SOME MORE LIES HE JUST GOT BACK. AND THAT THEY PUT HIS CAR IN THE WAREHOUSE IN AND OUT .UNBELEIVABLE L IES SO A BIG FIGHT HE TOOK OFF . . BUT HE STILL OWED ME THE MONEY. HE CHANGED HIS NUMBER I HAD NO IDEA WHERE HE WAS. I SENT A LETTER TO HIS MOMS ASKING FOR THE MONEY. NO RESPONSE
. THEN 10 MONTHS LATER A FRIEND CALLED AND SAID HE GOT RE-MARRIED .I ALMOST PUCKED LIKE SOMEONE PUNCHED ME IN THE STOMACH. . I TRACKED HIM DOWN BY PHONE BY AN INTERNET ADDRESS SEARCH SIGHT. AND TOLD HIS NEW WIFE THAT HE OWED ME THE MONEY I WAS HIS EX GIRLFRIEND. SHE SAID . WHAT DO YOU MEAN . I HAVE BEEN SEEING HIM FOR 7 YEARS.HER KIDS CALL HIM DADDY ETC. SHE WAS 320 POUNDS WHEN THEY MET . BUT GOT A GASTRIC BYPASS ETC. HE PERSUED HER . OFF AND ON TILL HE FINALLY GOT HER. SAID THEY WERE OFF AND ON BUT SAID THEY WERE LIVING TOGETHER FOR THE LAST 2 YEARS..SHE WAS PISSED. MEANWHILE SLEEPING WITH ME AND PROFESSING HIS LOVE AND STILL ASKING FOR MONEY. HE WAS A CHARMER. THE NEW WIFE CONFRONTED HIM HE TOLD HER ABOUT ME BUT SAID WE WERE JUST GOOD FRIENDS. MUST HAVE MADE ME OUT TO BE THE PSYCHO. AND SINCE THEY WERE ENGAGED HE WAS NOT WITH . ANOTHER LIE HE WAS ENGAGED TO HER AND SENDING ME LOVING E CARDS. AND SLEEPING IN MY BED.AND ETC ANYWAY. HE CALLED TO SAY HE WOULD PAY ME MY MONEY AND IT GOT UGLY.HIS NEW WIFE SAID MY HUSBAND DOESNT LIE YOU WILL GET YOUR MONEY AND LEAVE US ALONE. HE CHANGED HIS NUMBER I WAS PISSED SO
. I CALLED THE WIFES SISTER AND LEFT A MESSAGE THAT TELL THEM YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR NUMBER BUT I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE AND I WANT MY MONEY. THIS IS NOT A THREAT
3 DAYS LATER POLICE WHERE AT MY HOUSE WITH AN ARREST WARRANT. FOR A RESTRAING ORDER AND HE FILED HARRASSMENT CHARGES ON ME. I WAS ARRESTED . HOW HORRIBLE IS THIS.. THE FIRST JUDGE SAID NO GROUNDS FOR RESTRAING ORDER. I COULD TELL HE WAS PISSED HE WAS CURSING WHEN LEAVING THE COURT HOUSE . . BUT I HAVE TO GO TO THE CRIMINAL COURT FOR CHARGES OF HARRASSEMNT . IMAGINE THIS PIG.. I HAD TO GET A LAWYER. IS HE A SOCIOPATH SO THE LAST 7 YEARS OF MY LIFE WAS ONE BIG LIE. EVERYTHING OUT OF HIS MOUTH WAS A LIE I FEEL SO ABUSED. AND USED FOR SEX AND MONEY CAN YOU SHED SOME LIGHT ON THIS TYPE OF PERSON AND HOW I COULD HAVE FELL VICTIM. ADVISE. IS HE A SICK MAN CON SOCIOPATH. OR WHAT. I NEED TO KNOW . I WAS NOTHING BUT GOOD TO THIS MAN I HAVE SHOCK AND DEPRESSION AND DEEP RAGE FOR WHAT HE DID AND NOW HE IS LIVING HIS LIFE RETIRED AND PLAYING GOLF AND NEW WIFE.
. I VE BEEN READING THE POSTS HERE HE DOES HAVE MOST OF THE CRITERIA FOR BEING A SOCIOPATH THE LIES. THE COCAINE .THE CHARM THE MANIPULATION. EXCEPT . THAT HE SEEMS TO LIKE ANIMALS OH AN ONCE IN THE BEGINNING OF THE RELATIONSHIP HE WROTE ME A DEAR JOHN LETTER SAYING HE WAS NOT ABLE TO GIVE ME WHAT I WANTED AND HE IS SORRY IT UPSETS HIM SO MUCH HE DOESNT HAVE THE TIME CAUSE OF HIS WORK. AND WHO EVER IS LUCKY ENOUGH TO HAVE ME WILL BE VERY HAPPY. I WAS DEVASTATED . BUT HE CAME CREEPING BACK. DOES THIS LETTER SHOW THAT HE HAS EMPATHY OR JUST ANOTHER MANIPULATION. ITS BEEN A MONTH MOST OF MY FRIENDS DONT WANT TO HEAR ME . SAY JUST GET OVER IT MOVE ON . EVEN MY DR. YELLED AT ME . I SIT HERE NOW FEELING SO ALONE. ABANDONED. . OH AND ANOTHER CREEPY THING IS HIS NEW WIFE TOLD ME SHE FOUND A BOTTLE OF VIAGRA. CAUSE COCAINE USERS CAN’T GET IT UP AND HE USED THAT WITH ME I DIDNT KNOW. I FEEL LIKE I NEED TO SCRUB WITH BRILLO. THANKS FOR LISTENING.

BETRAYED.

Dear Betrayed,

First of all, let me say as a victim of the same “crime” that has been committed against you I want you to know that you have my sympathy and compassion. Unless someone has gone through something like this they don’t get it. It is humiliating beyond words to be deceived by someone on such a grand scale and to have people see it. It doesn’t surprise me that others “don’t want to hear you.” They cannot fathom being duped on such monumental proportions. But, as this site has stated, there are some of us more vulnerable to this type of thing because of our trusting and nurturing nature, but no one is immune. I’m sorry your doctor yelled at you. Obviously, he is not a psychiatrist or psychologist, and if he is he’s not a very competent one.

If you go back and read the portion of this site that says what a sociopath is feeling, you will find that it is not empathy that you are hoping is in play here. His Dear John letter, unfortunately, is not about your feelings or empathy, it is about trying to save his own face. Funny how they don’t care how anyone feels, but here he obviously cares about what someone “thinks” about him. Probably to make sure his bridges aren’t burned in case he has to go back to you once his wife (who is not stupid either, she is a victim like we are) finds out the truth about him. He is not being truthful or faithful to her either (duh!) and I’m guessing that with your tenacity you will most likely come across more women he is playing right now. The irony I have found is that once you realize what these people are, everytime they open their mouths they make themselves look worse, not better.

Regarding the restraining order/harassment charge – I was being stalked and threatened by someone on the Internet and he was scaring me very badly. When I finally had enough and called him to tell him I was onto him and had found out the truth about who he was and all of his lies, he had the audacity to threaten ME with harassment. I wasn’t afraid of this, I was incensed. I could not believe the NERVE of him although by then nothing should have surprised me. I was new at this sociopath thing though. He hung up on me and I never heard from him again thank God. As you will read, these sickos do not like being confronted and when they are they act like a cornered tiger. They are not big on accountability.

As far as learning the basics of Sociopathic behavior, you have been indoctrinated more than you realize. You are way past Sociopatholgy 101 and when you heal a little bit you will be able to recognize this and help others. It may not feel like it right now. This man hurt you badly and because you are a trusting, nurturing person, it is difficult for you to move past this. You will look back on this with anger for a long time. It’s only been a month. It’s okay if you need to vent and process this. Just be careful who you talk to because you don’t need to be invalidated. This site addresses “emotional rape” and how devastating it is.

You have a huge network of support. As you can see there are a lot of victims of this type of psychotic behavior to the point where an entire website (I’m sure there are a lot more) devoted to it.

You’ve done nothing wrong. You are a good person. You are not the bad person here and there is nothing about the way you are responding to this that is abnormal. Not even chasing him down for the money and calling his relatives. You go, girl.

~ Barb

Dear Betrayed: Isn’t it a shame that love can turn so quickly into something so ugly. I’m also recovering from an experience that still has me scratching my head. For purposes of this story, I’ll name my sociopath “hockey ref.” I met “hockey ref” at a local wine shop. He wasn’t the most handsome man, but he was very intelligent, dressed well, was a great conversationalist and smelled delicious. He was an engineer and made a good income. We immediately connected and the dating game was off to a running start. He told me that he had been divorced for 5 years. He had two adult children, his parents had died years ago and he had no relationship with his brothers and sisters for some unknown reason. He picked me up for our first date in a Mercedes and I thought WOW. He was a gentleman and I was immediately attracted to his gentle, yet confident nature. Within one week, we were coordinating our schedules so we could spend more time with each other. But from day one something did not feel right about him. There were times his smile seemed fake and his laugh disingenuous. His lack of past relationships always concerned me, but I figured he just wanted to leave behind bad memories. Within two weeks he told me that he loved me. Within a couple of months he won me over and we were talking about our future together – even shopping for homes. He showered gifts, attention, and trips on me that summer. He never asked for money or expected anything financial from me. By fall, I thought I was in love and he was securely embedded in my life. Then one day he said he needed to fly to Houston to see an investment opportunity. It was only for a weekend and I trusted him completely. He called me several times while he was away and we spoke lovingly on the phone. He returned on Sunday and we talked that night on the phone. Everything seemed normal. On Wednesday, I received an email from him that said he needed to be forthcoming about a situation between him and his ex and that he would call me that night. I was stunned when he told me that he had just been served with papers and that his ex was suing him for a large amount of alimony. He claimed that he and his ex had worked out the settlement years ago and it was just a formality of proceeding with the paperwork. I never suspected that he was still married. He had talked about his divorce many times and it seemed VERY real. But I rationalized that it was just a legality — afterall they had been separated for 5 years, so I could support him emotionally during this difficult time. For the next three weeks, he continued to talk about how difficult the divorce was going to be, and that he didn’t want to drag me through the mud with him. During this time, his behavior changed and his appearance even took on a different look. After three weeks of being pushed away and mistreated, I finally told him that we should end the relationship until he got his life back in order. He said I was breaking his heart but that he understood. He returned all the items I had in his apartment to my home when I was at work and that was it. He didn’t answer the phone when I called him and all contact just stopped. I was completely baffled. I expected our romantic relationship to end but I never expected him to just cut off all contact. I spent the next two months worrying about him and his state of mind, but I respected his wishes to handle this alone and fully expected him to contact me when it was over. Two months later, I walked into the wine shop where we had first met and I asked if anyone had seen “hockey ref.” They said that “hockey ref” was incredibly depressed after I had broken up with him but he was now dating a woman from Texas. She was a high powered executive with a lot of money and he was very happy. You can imagine my surprise. I went back to work and had my legal department run a divorce search on him and found out that his divorce had been final for a couple of weeks. Granted he was still married when he was seeing me, but he was single now and he was seeing a woman from Houston. I connected the dots and drove over to his apartment to confront him. I asked him if the trip to Houston was to see this woman and he said yes. I also asked him if he had been served with papers when he returned from Houston and he said that in reality he had been served in July (four months earlier). I became very emotional and when I broke down and cried, HE SMILED. I could not believe what I was seeing or experiencing. It was clear the entire month of November was a charade to make me break up with him. Even worse, I realized that he had been holding the “I’m Still Married” card for the day he wanted to end the relationship. The “real” hockey ref was truly meeting the “fake” hockey ref that night, but he still kept up some of the lies. He said that he was still in divorce proceedings and that he was never going to be good for any woman. That’s when I asked him what had happened at the hearing on Jan 22. For the first time in our relationship he stumbled with his response. The only thing he could say was that “nothing had happened. The hearing had been continued.” It was at that moment he knew I was onto him and he asked me to leave. We never talked or saw each other again. Since then I have replayed a lot of our conversations in my head and there were simply so many lies I don’t know what to believe. Many of the lies were completely unnecessary and served no purpose. The good news is he was laid off from his job recently and moved to Texas to live near his wealthy girlfriend. I know that as long as she provides what he needs and wants, he will remain the devoted attentive man that she believes him to be. She will never find out about me because I never found out about the other women in his past. So beware – sociopaths don’t have to be slick, good looking or even charismatic — but they are innately evil. Thank goodness he found someone else who brought more to the table, but I also truly hope his new girlfriend discovers his inner soul before it’s too.

Interesting. I hadn’t considered that my psycho had denied me sex and physical attention to force me to break up with him. But I see through your post, babs, that that is what happened.

My psycho also smiled the last day we saw each other (happily more than a year ago). I was furious and broken hearted and I was storming back to my car after I had decided we had to end it, I noticed he had an amused smile on his face.

At least our last written communication is close to one year ago also, and I am far beyond it, but it never ceases to astound me, and probably always will, that such an asshole of a person (and apparently there are lots of them) — mentally ill — are out there lurking!

To Iaman2
Yes it’s been almost a year, but I’m still haunted … just not hurting anymore. I wonder if I will ever be the same after being so deceived. I’m trying not to punish the man I am dating now for the actions of someone else, but it’s hard to open my heart again. If you wanna chat further my email is [email protected]. It helps to communicate with others who have experienced the devastating effects of a sociopathic relationship.

Yeah, haunted is a good word for it. But, the busier I keep myself the less time I have to dwell on the experience. Emotional rape is what I’d call it. There are people that would bandy that term around, but those of us that have experience a real psycho (and the more I reflected the more I realized how I had encountered the real deal), understand that “emotional rape” is not too heavy a description.

However, after surviving a crises, you end up coming out the other side stronger and wiser, if not bruised.

The haunted thing is CREEPY, no doubt. We should just be glad that we didn’t encounter the even worse kind of creep, the kind that would cause us and those we care about physical harm!

Train yourself to not think about the experience – ever. It is possible, and you will find many great things in the present and new people who are decent, to focus all your energy on.

I must admit, the experience remains a benchmark, if nothing else. I am always aware of the date contact ended and how long it has been since. Sort of like an alcoholic marks the date they gave up the sauce. 🙂

dear babs. and attagirl.
thank you so much for your responces. and i am sorry for your encounters too. . the sociopath dropped the charges for harassment. sent a letter to the court. i think he knew he couldn’t win. meanwhile i had to go to court anyway for the judge to dismiss…. and i’m out 2500 to the lawyer. and the 6,000 he owes me. …. my lawyer told me we can go after him for “abuse of process” some tort. and we would win . but then even if i get a judgment . i might never collect. so i am contemplating what to do. since i don’t want to regret not standing up for myself. and letting him get away with what he did. …… dr. says best thing is to let it go because as long as i have the anger . i am not going to move forward. i agree. but then there is the justice end of it……. so i’m giving it some thought i don’t have to make a decision today. . it means alot to me to have all of you who understand what the manipuation feels like. and thank you so much……..for your support…………

Everything I’ve read sounds so familiar. After 5 years, I discovered that he was cheating. Right now, I’m not up to discussing the entire relationship. But, like all other postings, he started out so sweet and made me feel like no other man ever had before. But, things started to disappear from my house, except every time they did, there were other friends who could’ve been blamed, and those were the people I did blame. Like the others on this site, he and I looked at houses together, talked about a future together. He introduced me as his wife and called my daughter his daughter. Gradually, he started changing, and I asked him repeatedly if he had met someone else, but he denied it. He finally “broke up” with me because he was tired of hearing me accuse him of something he wasn’t doing. He still claimed he loved me, and I believed him. Until I found a message SHE posted on the internet, calling him her boyfriend. Her userid was a deviation of his, which I created, and it had been created two years before I found the blog. And he had the nerve to get mad at me for “checking on him on the internet.” Now, I’m preparing paperwork to take him to court to recover costs for damages he’s done to my house. The ony thing I can rely on is that he never divorced his wife and they aren’t legally separated. Living in a community property state, her wages are fair game. He may have devastated me emotionally, but he will not devastate me financially. Even an uncollectible judgment will afford me some small slice of justice. And it allows me to take back my control. And it renews my faith in myself, in my intelligence, in my inner strength. And, regardless of his sociopathy, it teaches him that when a woman says “don’t mess with me because I will succeed” that she may just mean it. I must admit, though, that this hurts like hell. It’s a pain that sometimes brings me to my knees. And what hurts the most is that he’s acting like I’ve done him some terrible injustice. A sociopath depends on women like us — faithful, caring, loyal, dependable. For me, it hurts so badly to hear him say the things he has. I guess sociopaths don’t understand that when they hurt someone, when they betray someone, when they devastate someone emotionally and financially, they should know that they have also just destroyed the loyalty, faithfulness, and devotion they’ve come to take for granted. Wouldn’t you agree?

I think one of lowest points in my whole life was when I had to make the decision to pursue justice or just let it go. My ex submitted a document to the court during my divorce proceedings that was so slanderous and full of lies. It is a long story, but I did not see the document until after the trial and never had the chance to refute it. Also, my ex convinced me to file our taxes jointly the first year after our divorce because we would get a bigger return. Foolishly I did this and then he kept and spent the entire return himself. This was thousands of dollars lost to me. When these things happened, I wanted justice. I wanted the document removed from the court and I wanted my half of the return. I filed the necessary paperwork, and on the day of court, my ex, his lawyer, my lawyer and I all had to meet. Basically, my ex came in with a list of receipts for how he spent the money. He felt he spent it in a way that benefited my children (this was with no consent from me) so that he shouldn’t have to pay me back. He also said the document he submitted to the court was true and he would not agree to have it removed from the court file. To pursue the matter would have required additional court dates. My lawyer, knowing my financial situation which was not good, encouraged me to come to an agreement with my ex. She suggested that I would spend more money pursuing the matter than the tax return was worth. She also suggested that we agree to have the slanderous document “sealed” so that noone could look at it without the court’s ok. On that day, I struggled. I really wanted to pursue justice, but I felt really pressured to end it. My lawyer was also of the mind that we needed to put all this bad stuff behind us and start rebuilding our relationship for the sake of our children. She urged me to be the bigger person and reach an agreement. I listened to her and signed the agreement. That night after I put my kids to bed, I cried so hard I thought I was going to have a breakdown. I felt so devastated and crushed. My ex had lied, stolen my money, and then I agreed to drop it all in court. I had no one else to blame but myself. It was such an unbelievable low in my life. I cannot even begin to describe how hopeless I felt at that time. The crazy thing is, the next day my ex had visitation with the children. When he came to pick them up, he was all chipper and happy. He had a large Dunkin Donut’s coffee..”Just the way I liked it” he said. He also bought me a muffin in a bag. I took the hot coffee and threw it on the driveway. I was so angry! His response was a look of oh well are the kids ready? Looking back now, I wish I hadn’t agreed to drop it. I should have pursued it because peace of mind is worth those dollars. Also, in my case, we ended up in a custody battle. The GAL had access to that document and I am sure that cast doubt on my character. Also, I think that whole process empowered my ex. He had lied and stolen and got a way with it. It was easy! He felt he could get away with anything. For a while he was right, it wasn’t until I finally said, enough is enough. When I started to pursue things to the end and he realized that there could possibly be a consequence that his behavior improved a little bit. I would say, if you can at all manage the finances of pursuing justice, then I would go for it. You may help his future victims.

I didn’t state that last part clearly. The day after our court appearance, my ex brought me a coffee and said, “It’s just the way you like it”. When he tried to hand it to me that’s when I threw it on the driveway. This was an action I regretted because later in court, he said I threw a hot coffee at him. Craziness for sure!

“Nurturing qualities

It takes a special person to work in human services fields such as nursing, teaching, social work and counseling. People who choose these professions are usually empathetic, nurturing and supportive. Again, these are generally viewed as positive qualities. Psychopaths use them against us.

Dr. Robert Hare writes in his book, Without Conscience:

Psychopaths have an uncanny ability to spot and use “nurturant” women—that is, those who have a powerful need to help or mother others. Many such women are in the helping professions—nursing, social work, counseling—and tend to look for the goodness in others while overlooking or minimizing their faults. “He’s got his problems, but I can help him,” or, “He had such a rough time as a kid, all he needs is someone to hug him.” These women will usually take a lot of abuse in their belief that they can help; they are ripe for being left emotionally, physically and financially drained.”

This quote certainly applies in my situation. I was TARGETED BECAUSE he knew I’d be the first to lend a hand to someone who I saw suffering and who just needed a break to be a better person and who I believed really, really wanted that. I was working in a helping profession at the time he came along and I now know that I was not only targeted but, mirrored too. He told he also had a degree in social work and it was three years in before I found out just about everything he’d said about himself was a total fabrication. THAT is how good he is. He had even gone and looked up certain theory to discuss with me saying “You know I really had a hard time when I had to meld all those theories together at once, I mean Jung and Horney and everyone else meshed together at once. It was challenging”

He then proceeded to discuss this with me and there was really only one or two tiny things that sounded “off” about his claim….this is a man who only went to the eighth grade as I later found out!!!

But the targeting of those they know they can play on precisely for the good qualities you possess is so damaging. It makes it VERY hard to reconcile later on who to help in life, when or for a long time even IF you should any longer. There is so much anger tied up with all of this once you see what really happened to you and that it was done on purpose.

It doesn’t make it any easier to be financially devastated WHILE you are trying to heal emotionally. The cunning and targeting that goes on puts me so in mind of a shark with absolutely no feelings, just hunting and feeding and moving on.

hi all . pockeybana …. fran…. my story was above.
this is the hardest thing to get over. if i could just turn off the dvd in my head that keeps replaying the whole relationship . “that was a lie.. ” was that a lie.” the lovemaking yuk. its creepy. its awful but i am glad i am out of it…i know its the best . but i think it will haunt me for a while.
the day before the court hearing for the harassment charges he wrote a letter to the court asking to drop the charges . he knew he couldn’t win since the first family court judge. did not issue a restraining order.so the charges were dismissed but still i have an arrest record. so the last 2 weeks i was comtemplating if i should take him to court for the money he owes me and for filing false harassment charges. i said to my self like pockeybanana and fran. i have to do this . to stick up form myself. so i went to my lawyer yesterday he says we have a case and we are proceeding with a claim… i was not financially devastated like some on here with hundreds of thousands of dollars. thank god and it will cost me a little more money to pursue it. but . i feel i would regret not going for it….. i may not win. but it will show i stuck up for myself. and it will make his life right now a little more misreable. right now he thinks he is home free… NOT. LOL……….. AFTER THIS HOPEFULLY I CAN MOVE ON AND DO THE THINGS I WANT OUT OF LIFE. EVERYTHING HAD REVOLVED AROUND HIM FOR 7 YEARS . I AM A LITTLE LOST AS TO WHAT IT IS OUT OF LIFE THAT I WANT. ONE DAY AT A TIME. thanks for listening

Yes, they do use our nurturing qualities against us.
They twist them in a way that makes us prime enablers.

And when you finally become aware, sociopaths accuse you of doing all the things that they have done to you (while you were UNAWARE).

To onlookers, you look mean, hateful, selfish and prideful. This is how they socially rape you, and disable you publicly.

This is where the ax must drop right smack between the lines.

Hi nightmare,
Your comment hit home about the “creepy” lovemaking. I mean we gave ourselves to these parasites while they were plotting, scheming and planning their next move. All the while, we thought they were being genuine, sincere and loving. It still creeps me out.

I took you into my heart,
My home
Shared my child,
Even gave you your own

These gifts you took
With occasional gesture
To keep me hooked
While you enjoyed your leisure

I gave my faith
My trust and forgiveness
Only to be exploited and used
By your sickness

Have I not paid enough
For your mistakes
The torture I endure
So you can reclaim erroneous stakes

Our child cried
While you slept through the night
Never cherishing mornings
Until claiming a right

You feel entitled
To that which was and is not yours
Didn’t work, earn or sacrifice
Effortlessly watching others own the chores

Weakness is your plight
While you leverage the strengths of others
To empower yourself
As means to have your druthers

To not hate
Is my challenge
While I resist the bait
And protect from revenge

For twisted perceptions
Designed to avoid
Accountability for actions
And the consequential void

Now I know what a sociopath is
Can’t change my mistake
But can fight to save my kids
And limit your take

Do us a favor
And go far away
Climb into a hole
And save those you may

Fran, I have to say… OH MY GOODNESS!!

During all this insanity, he would get my favorite eggplant parm, get my coffee how I liked it when we were together, help me clean my car etc.

I was like awe, he’s really trying.

BULL it was all a con… just like everything else in our relationship… all the nice things he did for me… con con con

He will con this new crazy woman into marrying him, having his baby for him, etc… and who knows what else… and then cheat on her most likely and who knows what else…

Ha they know eachother for three months and they are trying to move in together when there first date was at the psych ward, their second date in a tent at a park, and their third date at the motel.

(Though I can’t judge this is how he lured me in too.)

It’s a patterns I think when he is done with one… he goes back to the psych ward to pick up his next victim.

This post is great!

Im a therapist and, having been in the field for 11 years or so, I feel I ‘understand’ pretty well.

My ex would TOTALLY use my ‘profession’ against me…example:

When angry over being accused or insinuated that he had acted ‘shady’, he would use words and phrases I use such as…’Its offensive to me that you would do…or say…”-“You have been highly disrespectful towards me and I am expecting an apology”-“It is an insult to my integrity that you would…”-

After he would say these things to me, things he doesnt even know HOW to say, he would follow it with, “c’mon, and YOU study human behavior” or “as a person who studied human behaviors you would think you would know…”

It was as if he was trying to ‘act’ like me…a normal person with normal emotions but he didn’t know how to do it, so, as he’s watched me in different situations, HE took on my persona when it fit HIS needs…

He’s SUCH an ass

Dear R-babe,

Oh, yes they are GREAT mimics—just like my parrot is, but you know, I think my parrot has more sense of what words mean than the Ps do. He knows angry words and he knows words that are “sweet” and how to use them approporiately, but the Ps don’t seem to really get it and use them appropriatelly all the time. LOL

BTW, I understand your use of the word, “ass” but please don’t insult my donkeys! They are a bit narcissistic, but they are NOT psychopaths. LOL ROTFLMAO ((((hugs)))

This is a great article and somehow I seem to have missed it in my reading through all the archived articles from the start of LF. Don’t know how I missed it, it really is a great one, and yep, they definitely use our strengths and responsibilites against us! BUT we can put those same strengths to work for ourselves now that we are not wasting them on the UNchangeable dorks!

one/joy_step_at_a_time

ouuu, glad this one was dragged out of the vault.

oxy – you made me laugh aloud about your N asses.

and robxsykobabe, one of the spath’s other dupes calls her, ‘a lying sack of shit’. Crass but, somehow it is sooo descriptive.

i think you need a little button to wear on your jacket, LED, ‘HE’S SUCH AN ASS!’ It would light up immediately upon your remembering a bad memory, or when in contact with others at risk of being sucked in by the anal void.

This article is so true. I think that my spath totally was attracted to me in the first place because he knew i was nurturing. He honed in on me right from the start.
He knows how to pick women who fall for his bs then charms them into thinking that he is so wonderful. I have never met a bigger liar in my life. I have found out so many things that make me sick to my stomach about him. He has absolutely no conscience at all. I am sick that I was ever attracted to him. I remember friends telling me to beware of him but I thought that they were not seeing the wonderful man that I saw, Ha, they were seeing the real him–the liar, the cheat, the sick person while i was blinded by the smooth charm that spath’s have. I was at a real low point in my life when I met him and now I know that he really exploited that and saw his opening. He knew that I was getting money from my divorce, he helped me out of several thousands of dollars. His newest victim, I have heard, inherited money from her late husband so he is all over that. I wish I could take out a billboard warning women in the area he is living that says “Beware, sick man pychopath will take everything you have, give you heartache and take your money!”

Petite –

I am dragging this older thread back up because I believe that the article would be a good thing for you to read. xx

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