By | May 16, 2009 219 Comments

PTSD: That was then, this is now

According to the National Institutes of Health website “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat.”

Signs and Symptoms of PTSD are grouped into three categories:

1. Re-experiencing symptoms:
• Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
• Bad dreams
• Frightening thoughts.
Re-experiencing symptoms may cause problems in a person’s everyday routine. They can start from the person’s own thoughts and feelings. Words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing.

2. Avoidance symptoms:
• Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
• Feeling emotionally numb
• Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
• Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past
• Having trouble remembering the dangerous event.
Things that remind a person of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her personal routine. For example, after a bad car accident, a person who usually drives may avoid driving or riding in a car.

3. Hyperarousal symptoms:
• Being easily startled
• Feeling tense or “on edge”
• Having difficulty sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts.
Hyperarousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic event. They can make the person feel stressed and angry. These symptoms may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.

Unfortunately whenever a psychological experience is dubbed “a disorder” people get the impression that the person who has this experience is “defective” or “crazy” or of poor character. The thought that PTSD symptoms are related to some core defect in character/personality serves to further increase the sufferer’s anxiety and level of symptoms. Not wanting to consider any predisposing factors to these symptoms may also prevent a person from doing real soul searching.

There is one main reason to emphasize that PTSD symptoms constitute a disorder. That is that the symptoms greatly impair a person’s ability to function. They also rob people of love and well-being. Overwhelming anxiety is not conducive to well-being or loving relationships.

Because PTSD symptoms are debilitating we have to address them, face them and ultimately conquer them. That means acknowledging the other fears/concerns that go along with having these symptoms:

1. Am I crazy?
2. Am I defective?
3. Will I ever be normal again?
4. Why did this happen to me?
5. How can I prevent this from happening again?
6. Can I trust myself?

To start to recover, notice that if you reduce PTSD down to its core essence it is simply difficulty processing that the trauma was then and today is now. For people whose PTSD is related to an experience with a sociopath, the problem is that the sociopath may not be gone. The then and now is blurred. The worst things done by the sociopath are in the past and there may be protections in place but the sociopath is still around. Sometimes that source of trauma is the other parent of beloved children.

Recovery in such a context means having a clear head to really sort out what was then and what is now. Next week we will consider other roadblocks to distinguishing then from now.

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Dr. Leedom,
This is so enlightening, and goes beyond the DSM lV definition of PTSD in its brevity, especially as it deals with the thralldom of living with or having a relationship with a sociopath. I never could figure out where the PTSD came from in the present, and for me I think it was an exacerbation of PTSD already in place from having grown up in an abusive home. Being with a sociopath in marriage for many years, and having been involved in a cult together for 16 of those years, definitely contributed to many of the symptoms I have today. When one has children with the sociopath, it doesn’t feel like the sociopath is ever really gone. My son looks just like him, and I find myself watching for symptoms way too often, to the point of it almost seeming an obsession. I’m sure this will recede in time. It has only been a month since I had the moment of clarity that my ex is indeed a sociopath. Then, given evidence that it is in the DNA, I am concerned. Just this morning when I took my son to work and he said to me, “We need to check the oil in your car”, or “It’s not normal for you to be getting so many headaches. You need an MRI”, I try to figure out if a sociopath would say that. It’s an ongoing process. “Your words of wisdom contribute greatly to those of us trying to extricate ourselves from harm’s way!!

Ox Drover

Wonderful post, Liane!!!!

Housie, I gave birth to a child with PPD, and believe me, your son’s words do NOT indicate PPD…your son is showing CONCERN and CARING with THOSE WORDS.


My son that is a wonderful, caring individual is THE physical IMAGE of my psychoopathic sperm donor. Everything about him is a PICTURE of my sperm donor physically.

My P son somewhat resembles my P sperm donor in the facial expressions and hand writing, but his ACTIONS ARE A DUPLICATE. He is a liar, he manipulates, he is greedy, he is jealous, he is hateful, he has no conscience. He is violent, he is angry, he is FAKE.

If at age 20 your son is not ACTING like your X, you can be relatively sure he is NOT going to suddenly “morph” into your X. Almost always they START their crap by the teenaged years, in fact, it is a “requirement” that they act up before age 18 for an official diagnosis after age 18. (Which always seemed stupid to me that yo ucan’t “label” the behavior psychopoathic if they are not 18, but they MUST show it BEFORE age 18. DUH! Seems wrong to me!)

Anyway, if your son at 20 isn’t “one” then quit worrying! Believe me you would have seen the signs before age 20! Lots of them. ((((hugs))))

Jim in Indiana USA

“The worst things done by the sociopath are in the past and there may be protections in place but the sociopath is still around. Sometimes that source of trauma is the other parent of beloved children.”-Dr. Leedom

That’s the tough part…minimum contact…mitigating the damage, on a daily basis…but time, boundaries, and Lovefraud help.

and housie…my ex-tox, during the devalue and discard, develped an obsession with “air in the tires”, and was sure I had “medical problems”. My “medical problems” seemed to disappear immediately after the divorce. My daughters all laughed at the tire/air obsession…I took that as a good sign.

My daughters….yeah, I watch for signs every time I see them, adults and teen both. But with the adults…nothing I can really do if “red flags” show up. So we go on.

Life is peaceful, now, at least. You do what you can, when you can….


“The thought that PTSD symptoms are related to some core defect in character/personality serves to further increase the sufferer’s anxiety and level of symptoms. Not wanting to consider any predisposing factors to these symptoms may also prevent a person from doing real soul searching.”

I think that is so right on and also true of thinking about emotional rape, pathological betrayal, whatever you want to call it!

First you have to realize what happened could not have happened without the bad person. You are a victim and you are NOT to BLAME for what happened.

But as a victim you have the ability to to learn new tools to protect yourself better in the future, which includes learning about your vulnerabilities, weak spots…..just like someone learning to defend themselves physically has to acknowledge their weaknesses (as a woman, I’m not going to win in an upper body strength battle with a man…I have to look to what strengths I have compared to a male such as flexibility, lower body strength with the right moves, the element of surprise that a woman knows self-defense moves, a gun and weapon retention training, etc.) And as a person who had a betrayal bond as a child, I need to vet people carefully and over the course of time, with some outside input from friends who love me, before I enter into an intimate relationship with someone. I simply can’t be close to a bad person. I’m still vulnerable to being manipulated….I’m getting stronger, and sometimes I think no one could hurt me again, but why chance it and why get involved with a bad person regardless!

Thanks for putting it so clearly and succinctly. The blame of the hurt is not ours, but the responsibility (the ability to respond) to learn how to protect ourselves better, being aware of BOTH our strengths and weaknesses is ours.


Dr Leedom:
Thanks for your article. True, so very true. But you break it down to understandable!!
I have seen the symptoms in one of my kids….we talked about it in counseling.
After my divorce was granted on Wednesday…this particular child felt such relief.
I was taken back. I never included them, it was MY divorce…but oh how it affected them all having mom in her office, wondering how the car showed back up here for the ride to school the next am, why did mom lock her office, computer etc…. MoM was very busy preparing ….they saw what was going on, they knew, but I couldn’t come right out and include them in ‘what I was doing’…..This child was the curious one, he always asked, if I left my computer unlocked or my office….he was snooping….he told the therapist, she keeps me in the dark….I didn’t want to be accused of involving them in ‘adult’ issues, I was trying to protect them. My S was a drug dealer (this child alerted me), S was abusive, kidnapped the kids after lying to them about my cancer etc….
What I saw in this child when I got him back after being taken, was severe anxiety, jumpiness, memory loss, defensivness, agressive, avoidance, lack of sleep, bad dreams…..all of it….
I am seeing less and less of these symptoms as the S is farther and farther out of his life. Now the courts have eliminated all contact, unless initiated by the kids….they haven’t chosen to contact him in 16 months.
The end of the week has been very relaxing for all of us….the divorce is final, we can talk about the future plans and all have some sort of normalcy to move forward. This child has been home and hanging around after school…not out avoiding ‘home’ as he has done the past few years. He has redecorated his entire room… cleansing himself of the ‘past’.
He asked if he could talk to the judge….I set that up. He got the opportunity to speak to the judge in private prior to the hearing…..He told the judge “My mom has gone to court a lot, she has spoken for me, my dad has spoken for me….But I want to speak for myself. This judge said…what is it you would like to tell me….HE LAID IT ALL OUT….was able to feel like he could have some control or input into his relationship with his father…..when he left his meeting with the judge, he didn’t feel heard by the judge, I think he was expecting to be validated right there. That is not the judges place…but he sure felt validated by the outcome. IT was obvious he was heard.
I told him, Oh yes….you were heard, no doubt you were heard LOUD AND CLEAR…every word you said.
The judge had high praise for him!
This made a big impact and is a healer for him.
I am sure he will have ‘flashbacks’ of his past, but I see progress, in him and in situational things that effect his PTSD.

The anxiety in me has gone to nil. I wasn’t anxious seeing the S in court this past week. I think being prepared and armed was key to reducing my own anxiety.
Maybe my son is preparing himself too, in his own way.
Anyways, Dr Leedom, Thanks for your contributions to LF…your insight and knowledge are priceless!

Ox Drover

QUOTE: Dr. L “”Not wanting to consider any predisposing factors to these symptoms may also prevent a person from doing real soul searching.”

In my experience, both clinically and personally, I have seen time and time again victims who are unable to FATHOM that their own vulnerablity ALLOWED them to continue the “putting up with” the abuse, and it seems that if they acknowledge that they PERMITTED the abuse to go on and on and ON, somehow they seem to think they are accepting “blame.”

While many people do “blame the victim” I am certainally NOT NOW one of these people. I do NOT blame the victim. But, at the same time, having BEEN a victim, I also must acknowledge that my own vulnerability to being abused was because I had no healthy boundaries, I was a “people pleaser” and afraid to offend anyone that I THOUGHT loved me or that I “should love” because I was related by blood to these people or by “long time friendship.”

Back in the days when i was doing pro bono health care for teh victims at the DV shelter and their children, I saw so many of these women go back to the men who had sent them to me with broken bones, black eyes, cracked teeth, etc. and I could NOT BELIEVE that these women would GO BACK over and over and over! I actually did feel “superior” to them. I knew that I would NEVER go back to a man who had broken my arm or molested my child. I did have THAT boundary, BUT at the same time, I was ALLOWING MY P-SON TO ABUSE ME, take money from me, manipulate me, etc. So was I “superior” to these women, OF COURSE NOT! I could not see the “moat in my sister’s eye” because of the BEAM IN MY OWN EYE! My own arrogance! Now, I no longer feel that way, I realize I am JUST as much a vulnerable person as these women were/are. I (like they did) ALLOWED the abuse, but that does not mean I am RESPONSABLE for the abuse.

Since I cannot stop my abuser from abusing, I must assume responsibility for removing myself from the abuse. That is the ONLY way it will ever stop. I now realize WHY these poor women went back adn back and back to these men. They were trapped in the FOG (Fear, Obligation and Guilt) like I was trapped in the FOG. I thank God every day that I was liberated from the FOG, and I hope that I can in the future help others to liberate THEMSELVES from the FOG.

Accepting that my early childhood training (and who knows, maybe my DNA) predisposed me to being vulnerable, I have to go back and find out WHAT made me vulnerable so that IN THE FUTURE I will NO LONGER be vulnerable to the NEXT P, and I know that there WILL be more Ps in the future. I have to ARM myself with KNOWLEDGE and self confidence, and overcome my fears of “offending” anyone for any reason. I have to stop blaming myself for not “loving enough” to fix these disordered people. I, in short, have to acknowledge what is “wrong” with me, and FIX it!

Fortunately, what is “wrong” with me was that I gave unconditional trust to the wrong people and now I know why! I am being CAUTIOUS now about dispensing trust without proof that these people are worthy of my trust. My trust is a valuable commodity and I will protect it carefully.

I am as JAH’d said, learning to protect myself and respond appropriately.


A Christian is taught or I was taught , growing up Episcapalian(sp) that we are to love our neighbor as we love our self! To forgive others 7 x 70 or as many times as it takes. That Love conquers all ,that Faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains!
I still believe these things! 110%

Like OxD said from the Bible . Remove the beam form your own eye before you try to remove the splinter from someone else.
Sometimes the Mountain that we want to remove from infront of us cannot be moved before we remove the one we are carrying. Food for thought!

Thanks Dr . Leedom


[Signs and Symptoms of PTSD are grouped into three categories:]

Thanks Dr. Leedom for breaking this down into layman terms and categories. Deep soul searching is essential for our healing progress. Dealing and understanding our own PTSD is also essential to the acknowledgement about what happen to us and is still happening within ourselves. When we acknowledge the symptoms and then try to understand and work on them one by one then we can overcome the emotions and emotion memory associated with the symptom(s). This brings understanding and personal control which aids us in our recovery which give us personal power which helps us with our self-esteem. A serials of walking through a door to reach the next door.

Thanks again 🙂


Awesome article Dr Leedom.
When I was in the nuthouse having my nervous breakdown (after the solicitor and the legal system stole everything from me, charged me and destroyed me), a woman came in who was so badly beaten, starved and brutalised by her “partner” that I could hardly look at her. And I have seen the works.
I remember telling her my story (when I married the P rapist/murderer and lived with it for more than 12 years and had two kids to it), and feeling that I had escaped and now I was giving her “guidance”. DUH!! I didn’t mention to her that I was in there because a solicitor would have been struck off if he didn’t find me crazy, I had been terrorised for a year and lost my inheritance, my house, all my assets and all my money to a psychopath!! It didn’t cross my mind. The physical and emotional abuse I endured during those 14 years was nothing compared with the legal abuse I came up against by the solicitor. The police told me I should leave town because the solicitor had a contract on me. All I had in the world was my 11 year old son and me and my dog. That was it.
I didn’t leave.
The worst thing was that five years after that was over and I had started to recover I walked into the arms of yet another psychopath, (the “dentist”).
I remember one of my shrinks at the hospital saying to me, “I think you are catastrophising your events with the solicitor, it has been a year since he took your home and since you were charged, you must stop thinking about it” ! I walked out of his office feeling guilty for my PTSD. He was the top forensic psychiatrist on the Gold Coast!!


Dr. Leedom:

Is there anything that can be done if you see PTSD symptoms in a small child (5yrs) who has been abused?


Something I am curious about is the trauma bond and if it always remains with a particular person. I mean, say you don’t see the person for years, and your ptsd gets under control, but for some reason you have unavoidable contact with the person. If you behaved in a somewhat robotic fashion with them previously not acting in your own best interest , would the bond still be there so that you would tend to react that way to them again, or does it finally go away entirely. Has anyone read anything on that?


Dr. Leedom:

No, she has NOT had a professional evaluation. This is not my child. It is my brother’s child, and his wife is the abuser.

She starts kindergarten in the fall. If I notify the school of this situation. Will they give her an evaluation at school, without mother’s knowledge or permission?


Dr. Leedom:

What if I have people that will testify on my behalf that she is a child abuser? What if I have documentation and photos of abuse? Then will they give this child a confidential evaluation?

P.S. Is your book available in all book stores?

Ox Drover

Rosa, it is available in the lovefraud bookstore, you can click on it here on LF.

For what it is worth, I encourage you to continue to document, both photographically and video or audio, whatever the child says about “mommie hitting me” or whatever. since her mother is an RN, though, it makes it doubly difficult to get a court to see that SHE CAN BE AN ABUSER, also the old “unify the family” crap that is “politically correct” today will (I have seen) MANY TIMES give back a child to a parent that has STARVED them, beathen them, used drugs, manufactured drugs around them, been in prison, etc.—it is very very frustrating. Why the courts think (it seems any way) that a blood connection is more important than the child’s PHYSICAL SAFETY to say nothing of emotional safety, is beyond me. Sorry for the soap box, but I think you can tell I don’t trust the family courts to do what is RIGHT!



I don’t trust anyone, either. That is why I have not come forward.


I have plenty of evidence to proove it is unsafe to trust the family courts in our patriarchal society. Years ago, in South Australia, there was a pedophile ring known as “The Family”. All of its members were high ranking officials in parliament and corrupt police and government/member workers. There were so many unsolved missing children directly related to this pedaphile ring that it became infamous. It is still a cold case.
I have been in my own personal fight through the family court where I had to go to ridiculous extremes to get my youngest child protected from the N/P. They ALWAYS believed the P’s lies and not me, without exception. It took me seven years of hell and fifty grand to eventually protect my child.
The P got two days a year of supervised access . The P manipulated the supervision to be by a mutual female “friend”. I finally got a male friend to dress up in a suit and pretend to record the psychopaths tantrums at these two horrific events per year, before the P lost interest. I introduced the “male friend ” to the P as a “court official” and he never questioned it. And never turned up again. I guess it was the wrong audience for him.



I know. Going to the authorities is such a “Pandora’s Box” when dealing with a P.

I stumbled onto this website while researching ‘child abuse’ online.

I was dangerously close to packing a bunch of food & clothes in my car, putting my niece in the back seat, and driving to Canada.

You all would have seen it on the Evening News. I would have been the one in the “Amber Alert”.

But, then my better sense prevailed. I realized I would probably be apprehended by the authorities and thrown in jail. Then I would definitely lose contact with my niece.

So, I decided an “abduction” is not the way to go. But, it has crossed my mind many times.

P.S. See the crazy thoughts these P’s can put into your head?


I reckon! But lucky we have got each other to bounce off…why is it I can’t kill my ex p again ???(I keep forgetting). Oh thats right, I’ve given myself up.. here on love fraud.


Great article. I am very interested in victims of trauma and PTSD.

The article defines PTSD as having been exposed to something terrifying event or ordeal.. blahblah.

The thing is Bad Man was definately an ordeal. There were a few moments where I was in fact, scared of him. But the ordeal was more mental than anything else.

But I do believe I had PTSD. I noticed that any thoughts that were distressing or movie plots that were too familiar would cause my throat to constrict with a coughing/chocking effect. A distressing thought could be as simple as realizing that someone was trying to manipulate me during a conversation (this scenario caused a fainting spell once that produced a cartoon like lump on the side of my head followed by a bald spot.. the hair fell out where the cartoon lump had been… I think it’s funny now but it’s been a long time).

Anyway, I haven’t seen any descriptions of PTSD include psychological trauma as a cause.

BTW… I am much better now but it’s been quite awhile. I have been dealing with feeling emotionally numb and not sure why. I pour my heart into the youths I work with rather than in a man.


christie lee

I do not want to think of myself as a person suffering from PTSD. My psychopath never hit me. Actually. people used to call us “lovebirds.” He appeared devoted, caring and he spent a lot of energy trying to please me. He said all the right things and I was eating it up. Of course, what I did not realize was that I was gorging myself on lies. When the light came on, he was already gone, supposedly to a funeral. He cried as he lied about the death of his best friend. I doubt now that his friend even existed, or that he had a son who died. He lied so easily, and I believed him.

Now, in the aftermath, I find myself unable to focus, I can’t sleep, and when I do, I am frightened awake by horendous dreams, in which he has hurt the people I love. He is on board all of the time, And he is poisoning me still. I do not understand why he is so violent in my dreams, though. The worst thing is that I usually forgive him the horrible crimes he has committed, and in the morning when I wake, I almost feel the need to apologize to the people he has hurt…but explaining the dreams to anyone will most assuredly cause folks to think I am losing my mind, after all they are just dreams. But the reality of it is that I am affected for weeks by events which never actually happened, and I fear going to bed. When I wake screaming, in a cold sweat, I just want to die. I have to find a way to deal with what this monster has done, even though he never laid a hand on me. I have tried taking something for sleep, but all that got me was disqualified for a job when traces of sedatives were found in my drug test. Unfortunately, employers do not want to know the “why” about the presence of drugs, it just “is” They do not see my efforts to go out and get a job as a step toward my recovery, and explaining anything about it only shows them that I am not stable and not a good candidate for employment. I just want normalcy. I want it badly. How can I explain the inexplicable, without sounding like a crazy person? I am tired of him still being a part of my daily life, even though the last time I saw him was February 10. I want to be truly free.


christie lee:

You are describing a lot of the signs of PTSD. A person does not have to physcially abuse you for the victim to suffer from PTSD. It is all about trauma. And speaking from personal experience, emotional/psychological trauma is far worse than physical trauma.

christie lee

Matt..Yes, I agree that it would have been easier to deal with this if he had actually hit me, and I can’t believe I just said that. At least then I would have known how to react….leave the loser, file charges and so on. I would have been over with this by now, at least partially. I am 52 years old and am so tired of starting over. I feel myself becoming stagnant, stuck in a world where fear rules, and the odds are stacked against me.That sounds so pathetic…yuk!!


Just when I think I’ve gotten it all into perspective, he’ll do something that brings the paranoia and fear back. I get over it quicker, but I wish I wouldn’t react at all. Sometimes I have to remind myself of all he did so I don’t succumb to his charm and make sloppy decisions regarding our three year old son.

And now, his 23 year old girlfriend (he’s 36) seems to be aiding and abetting his behaviors. Per the custody order, he gets drug tested every month. This one came early this month so he knows he’s free and clear until June. I think they were both stoned when they dropped off my son this evening…I think they knew I was suspicious and she said things specific to a drug test for work she just past, to improve the con.

What she doesn’t know is that her only hope to not be mentally, emotionally and physically abused by him is that he might actually be stable if he’s not doing drugs. Don’t know that he would be, as I don’t thing he’s been sober long enough for anyone to determine.

And, I have to face her now at every drop off, birthday party and occasion for our son that’s on common ground and not warn her?!?!? I have to pretend enough to not upset him but show enough reaction that I’m not aiding him in conning her.

How does one overcome PTSD entirely when the abuser remains in your life and continues to work his sadistic magic? I’m much better at not reacting to his direct attempts to manipulate and make me uncertain and question myself. But I can’t stop questioning him and the safety of my son when he’s with him!


im on the most incredible downer..

christie lee

Hey muldoon….that was me a few hours ago…now I have to try to sleep and I am dreading it. I remember being “up” and it was all about being so in love and finally having someone to trust. So, up is overrated, and I’ll take this “down” anyday over being lied to and manipulated. I know my experiences with my sociopath have changed me, how I will turn out is still a matter for debate. I’d say cheer up but that’s dumb….that is exactly what my friends and family tell me all the time …I am angry at them for minimalizing my trauma/pain. Like it is so easy to just “get over it” I want to tell them to try living in my heart for just one minute…they would be in for the shock of a lifetime…..

christie lee

Dear Duped…
Oh my goodness….It is too bad that the young woman and you will probably need to form some sort of recovery group when he is through with her. She won’t know what hit her. They are getting high together, or she would not have been so quick to talk about the drug test when she saw that you were suspicious. When you do suspect that he is violating the custody clause about drugs, what are your options? As the parent with custody, can you report this to anyone and have him spot-checked? I know this will piss him off to no end, but how can the courts expect you to leave your child in his care when the situation calls for intervention? Do you know the parents of the young girl? If I were her mom, I would be very interested to know what is really going on, and that my daughter was in real danger. They probably think that she has caught herself a keeper, because of all the “charm” When they need to pick up the pieces of her shattered life, they will see just what you have been dealing with. Good luck to you

Jim in Indiana USA

duped…I saw your post last night, but had to think about it. My daughter was 10 when the ex-tox and I divorced, now 13.

The girlfriend, her family…you probably can’t “help” them. You most likely have been “smeared” as the crazy ex. He has to bring the new girlfriend to “get” you.

If the “custody clause about drugs” is under someone’s supervision, contact them. Talking about drug tests (gf) in front of the 3 year-old?…not cool.

Perhaps you could arrange the “drop-offs” at a police station…since you have “fear and paranoia”. Let ’em show up “stoned” there. Have the custody papers with you.

Beyond that, do what you can when you can. Over time (over 3 years for me), it gets better. You can pick your battles. At school functions, I treat the ex-tox and her married-to-someone-else (still)boyfriend as “potted plants”.

Take care of yourself and your son. The effects of PTSD with minimal contact (controlled by you: if it’s not directly related to your son…no response, no discussion, ignore it) will lessen.


Thanks, Christie Lee and Jim, for the replies. It has been about 2.5 years and this is where I’m now at.

He is tested every month, but he is lean and she worked in a supplement store for years. They know how to cleanse on short notice. The testing, while through an agency, is not monitored by any officials. As long as those are clean, I have no legal recourse directly associated with consequences for drug use. The only card I have is taking him back to domestic relations, as he pays less then they would hold him accountable if I did…and money is what he cares most about. But once I play that card, I no longer have it.

She has money in her family so, while she’s only a college student now, he’s playing the long con. I know I can’t help her and any efforts made to do so will only make me look like I’m the one lacking mental health. This I get! And I realize he tries to do things to get me to do just that, so he can point the finger and say “see!” She is not my problem, my son is!

He is doing fine. And, as long as he is, the less I react the better. I know this…in my head…but I still feel the anxiety in my chest, have trouble sleeping, have bad dreams and wake with the situation at the top of my brain. That’s the PTSD this article addresses and THAT’s what I want gone…it’s been 2.5 years for crying out loud!!! I see a therapist every other week and take good care of myself and my kids. I get it…but can’t shake it!!! And so, I hate and feel anger…which I hate…and feel anger to myself for still feeling!!!

Processing it helps, as long as I get it out and then let it go. And I will…but the latest incident just happened yesterday and is still fresh. I will give myself till tomorrow…

Your feedback and presence in this with me is greatly appreciated. It’s important for me to commune with people who “get it” when this is happening. It helps me remember it’s not my fault and it is what it is.

Ox Drover

Dear Jim,

I have missed your posts and good sense, my friend, but you must keep in mind that I DO wield the CYBER IRON SKILLET and have been known to severely BOINK someone on the head when they “displease” me, so take warning, my dear friend, that if you don’t keep in contact more often I might just be provoked to get on Fat Ass and come after you! LOL ROTFLMAO Since Poor henry is being such a dear, now that I have his head sufficiently flattened that I think aniother concussion from the “skillet” might do brain damage, I do need another foil for my latent hostilities! ((((hugs)))) glad to see you back!

Ox Drover

Dear duped,

I too had very severe PTSD and I was referred for “Rapid Eye Movement Therapy”—it is the ONLY thing that has really helped and it DID HELP A GREAT DEAL! I got more and faster results from that than conventional “talk therapy.” I am a retired mental health professional (couldn’t work because of the PTSD) and it was AMAZING to me how much it helped and how quickly. Most of the worst of the PTSD symptoms almost “vanished over night” so I suggest tha tyou might see if you can find a therapist to work with you on this. It is not “alternative” treatment, but “main line” but little used, I think should be used in all cases of PTSD. good luck. sounds like over all you are doing a great job!


Everyone reacts differently to trauma, so this is just my experience of it. I lived in hurricane territory and had a house flooded with 18 inches of water and had to toss out most of my furniture onto the side of the road, no electricity for weeks, red cross delivering meals, National Guard all over the place etc. Compared to the P and the stuff he did, for me, the hurricane was small potatoes (not to minimize the experience or what it does to people)
The P duped me out of scads of money. Unpleasant, but I got over it. He did all the gaslighting stuff and abusive talk–I’ve been called every vile name in the book, other women thrown in my face, including riding one by and then calling me to make sure I saw her and telling me all sorts of graphic sordid details on voicemail and to my face (re the sex, how much better she was than me, etc.), stalked me–showing up unexpectedly doing property damage, threatened to kill me, kicked my door in, dumped trsh in my yard, broke dishes all over my yard, damaged my car and put it in the shop, called upwards of 75 to 100 times per day for months and no matter when I would turn my phone on he would pop up on it on that damn walkie talkie link (I left it off most of the time but had to turn it on sometimes to check messages because my Dad was also dying during this time), threatened to burn my place down (and he had burned someone else’s place years ago so I knew he was quite capable), gave me 30 days to leave the state or else blah blah, had to pack up and move and abandon a business I was in the process of starting……..well, the list goes on and on. The constant harrassment and threats of DEATH and fear of the unknown and what he was going to do next were the worse for me.

It has been 15 months since I saw or talked to him last and I kept my vm full for a year (on my new number) after he filled it up with threatening voicemails. I emptied vm 4 months ago and I was doing sooooooooo good, life was great. Then two weeks ago the SOB called and left a voicemail and has been calling every few days ever since. Of course, I never answer. He is being as sweet as syrup on the vm’s now–just like none of the other stuff ever happened–even calling me “baby” and saying how he “needs” to hear from me and how he hopes I am doing ok blahb blah blah, defnitely in his luring phase–doesn’t even sound like the same HORRIBLE man. Using every manipulative trick in the book to try to get me to answer, including having one of his friend’s girlfriends call and leave a message. I didn’t have much reaction at all to the voicemails other than thinking GO AWAY, so still I think all is GOOD and I’m over it.

Then he called the other late afternoon, and still I am fine. UNTIL some dude rides thru my subdivision (small town, small subdivision, one way in and one way out and anyone coming in is noticeable as very few people ever come in that don’t obviously belong here). This dude is on a motorcycle just like the exes. He is wearing a rain suit, helmet, and has a luggage bag strapped to the back of his seat. He rides by my house to the end of the street then comes back by real slow and turns all the way around looking at MY house. I FLIPPED OUT. When it started to get dusky, I turned on every light possible–porch light, ceiling fan porch lights, flood lights, moved my car right under the flood light, checked and double checked all window locks and doors…..then tried to calm down.

When it got dark, I was trying to distract myself with tv, then suddenly started to feel PSYCHOTIC or something. I couldn’t breathe, thought I was having a freaking heart attack, and felt like I was in some sort of vacuum or deep tunnel. A nurse I know said she thought I probably had a panic attack. I’ve experienced lots of anxiety before, but NOTHING like that. I KNEW I was in a different state now from him, knew it was unlikely it was him, but rational versus irrational thoughts–well, lets say the irrational won out.

Then he left another voicemail. His voice when he is trying to be “sweet” has a very hypnotic, melodious sound to it. I’ll be damned it GOT to me, even if only for a little while. I had to mentally take Oxy’s fying pan and slam my ownself upside the head with it.

I asked in an earlier post if the traumatic bond ever fully goes away or if you are always susceptible to the person once that traumatic bond has formed. Based on my reaction to that latest voicemail, I’m thinking for me anyway, in spite of everything horrible that has gone on and that I rationally “get” he is a BAD BAD BAD EVIL person, that IF I was ever around this dude for any real life contact, I think I would be very susceptible to him. Of course I am in a different state and won’t allow any contact. But still it is a frightening thought to realize that I still have that weakness after all this time and in spite of everything I have learned both here and in reading on psychopaths.


You know, it just occured to me that even though he had been nice in his recent voicemails, when I saw the dude on the motorcycle and had such a fearful reaction, THEN when he called the next day and left the NICE voicemail—I suppose maybe my relieved and positive reaction to the “nice” could have been some version of the trauma bond being reactivated. I mean that cycle where someone is really mean, then when they are nice, you are so grateful for the nice. I suppose since I have been afraid of him for so long, that could account for my reaction to that latest voicemail and that weakness/positive feeling or reaction I had to his voice of niceness?


I am so sorry that you are going through this. It is a terrible to feel powerless, over what another person can emotionaly do to us.

I wanted to mention that it sounds like you might have had a panic attac. I had them many years ago. And you do feel like you are having a heart attack/asthma attack and maybe even loosing your mind. My heart would race and I would break out in a sweat and the more I couldn’t breath the more my heart would race.
My panic attacks always blind sided me as they didn’t occur when I was feeling particlarly stressed. Kind of crept up on me out of nowhere.

You might have had this attack because of the stress caused by your experience thinking that he found you and it will be an isolated incident and you won’t have another. But if you do experience another do go to your doctor because if the panic attacks keep coming you can develop a fear/stress of the attacks themselves. The doctor can give you some meds. I HATE taking medication. But I hated the panic attacks more.

I took these meds with me everywhere (I literally didn’t leave the house without them) until the fear of the attacks subsided.


I’m scared to go to sleep tonight as i am always having nightmares about my daughter or the ex p and his enablers. I have been getting about 5 to 6 hours sleep a night. But its been very “broken” sleep. I keep waking up as I yell out.
Maybe i am giving too much energy to this whole thing. Maybe I should do something else instead.
Yep, I think I will try that. x0


Jen: I don’t know the answer to your question, but just wanted you to know I am thinking of you and saying a little prayer for you. You have been through so much, and I agree with you, it is startling to realize they can still “get” to us (even for just a little while), even after all we have learned. I would be interested in knowing myself if the traumatic bond ever completely goes away.

Jim in Indiana USA

Dear Oxy…I just read your post from yesterday! Now I have PTSD, fear, and anxiety. Life is good. I went to my daughter’s middle school “variety show” last night. Someone said my ex-tox was there…didn’t look for her…didn’t see her until leaving. Didn’t talk to her. Didn’t acknowledge her. I didn’t know “potted plants” were allowed to drive. LOL.

shabbychic2: “I would be interested in knowing myself if the traumatic bond ever completely goes away.”….for my part, finally, yes…given time.

Oxy…you can’t leave and come after me now. “Flat-head Henry” is coming for a visit, remember? I’m working on my internet addiction, but will try to post some nonsense when I can. But, just in case, I’ll get some red flags from the utility-marking company and put them out on the property line.

I’m now into “conditional love”…thanks.

((((HUGS)))) to you, too!



The “rapid eye movement” therapy mentioned by Oxy, has been the best and most affective therapy I have recieved too! ! !

I thought I was dying of a heart attack many times over, almost lost my job over loosing myself and my ability to function, until I was diagnosed with PTSD by a therapist who specializes treating abuse victims, and applied this therapy in conjuction with talk therapy.

I also attribute my healing journey to all of you here at love fraud….I’ve been reading all the letters and posts and it’s validated my experiences, given me good advise and let me know I’m not alone. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Peace and love to all.

Ox Drover

Dear Jen,

I would say you NAILED IT ON THE HEAD!!!! He “reactivated” the trauma bond.

What is the cure? STOP LISTENING TO THE DARNED VOICE MAILS!!!! That ended up just like having “contact” so go back to NO contact—either fill the VM back up, or delete them with the first HALF OF A WORD in his voice.

It also sounds to me like you did have a panic attack. In my experience, the BEST alternative treatment for them is to exercise—run, swim, jump rope, anything that will burn off the stress hormones AND tell yourself while it is happening, “this is a panic attack, I am okay” I’ve only had ONE of these things myself, but WOW, they ARE miserable!!!! You aren’t crazy, it is just your body/mind reacting to the stress.

Hang in there Jen, sxweetie, you are made of TOUGH STUFF, I know you are!!!! This is one of those big holes that you have stumbled into on the Road to Healing, when you least expected it. This deep dark hole you are in now, isn’t a permanent address, so don’t bother having your mail forewarded [email protected]!!! ((((hugs))))) and all my prayers!


I have a question to all of you on this forum.
How can you tell if a therapist is not right for you?

This is the second therapist I have seen over the last six years. The first one I was working with for about five years passed away quite suddenly from cancer.
I started seeing the second one because I felt that I needed to continue the work on myself.

The current therapist I see is okay except I feel that sometimes she crosses the professionalism line.
I see her at the office at her house. These are the things that I feel like not ok.

1) Continuous interruptions by the phone, she answers quite regularly. Also too many emergencies by other clients.

2) She keeps talking about stuff that I do not find very revelant to my work there. She talks about how she got her window blinds fixed, the fundraiser dinner she attanded, her nephew etc. She will sometimes take up 15-20 mins talking. I have told her that I felt like these stories were not relavant to me and I am not sure in what context I can incorporate them. She had a far fetched explanation for it. It would go like this: I would talk about my role as a women in society and it’s difficulties then she would say “speaking of women’s role, I was at this all women’s fundraiser, blah, blah etc +15 minutes of winding story)

3) She talks about her clients in the past. She does not name them or identify them, but she talks about their situation and how they have resolved something. More than likely I will never know who these people are, but I think I feel uncomfortable with the idea that she might share my story with someone.

Also often, when I speak she yawns, looks at the clock or tinkers with her fingernails, looking bored.
She is a licensed psychotherapist, her creditentails check out.

I feel uncomfortable going into further criticisms about her “therapy and professional style”. I have a feeling she might write it off as hostile transference or something like that.


Btw, I was diagnosed PTSD by both therapists.



Get out and get out now. You’re paying good money for her to talk about her life. What’s the point?

We’re in a severe recession — there are plenty of psychotherapists in the sea. Find one who works for you,

And if she wants to waste your time and money discussing “why the therepeutic relatioship is not working” — the answer is NO. I had one pull that on me and I told him that I cannot charge my clients when I draft bills, so I am not going to let me charge your failure.


Hi Matt,

Thanks for your comment. One thing I was not sure if I understood correctly:
“I had one pull that on me and I told him that I cannot charge my clients when I draft bills, so I am not going to let me charge your failure”

Draft bills, you mean write out a bill for the session?



Sorry. Not really clear. The point I was trying to make is I would NOT pay to discuss why I was ending therapy and why the therepeutic relationship did not work. By deciding to end therapy I had determined the relationship did not work. If he wanted to discuss why it did not work, he should not expect me to pay for his time. Hence, I do not charge my clients for preparing a bill and he should not expect me to pay for him getting the answers to his own questions.


Got it! Thanks Matt!

Yeah, given to my history with a s, I have become accustomed to questioning myself. Even in this situation with the therapist I wonder if maybe I am not being tolerant enough or perhaps she has a different “style” than my old therapist. But then I keep coming to the conclusion that it does not seem right and even if I tried explaining in detail what bothers me, it would not make much difference.

I guess it’s normal to sometimes feel like the therapy sessions are not going forward or feel like they go in circles, but it is different when I as a client become the listener and the time keeper. I have to look at the clock to make sure my time is up. She does not stop when time is up. That bothers me too. There has been times where I lost track of time and she did not stop the session. We went over 15 minutes. The clock does not face me, so I have to lean over to check. It’s not my job, right? I feel terrible when we run over, it feels uncomfortable.

Yeah, I think Matt is right about maybe not going to details about why terminating therapy with her. The thought gives me total anxiety. I feel like she will try to intrepret my stop as resistance. I just feel like I do not need that.

I also feel like I have spoken up about my needs for her not telling me her life story, so I did my part. I did tell her, but it did not stop. So….anyways. Has anyone else had any experience terminating work with therapists?



New York Magazine did an article back in the early 2000s about running away from your psychotherapist — the extremems people are driven to to get out of therapy — moving cross country, changing phone numbers, etc. It was a funny article, but I realized that when you live in a major metro area where there is like one shrink for every ten people, that losing a patient means a altered lifestyle, that probably accounts for why it’s so difficult to get out of a therepeutic relationship.

Me? I endorse at the end of the session saying you are stopping therapy, you won’t be back, and you walk out the door. Or, if you don’t want the headaches, just call and leave a message on her voicemail saying you are not returning. Punto.


I would urge you if your uncomfortable with her sevices to do as Matt says. It defeats the purpose of going to therapy when you are distracted by these kinds of things.

And the longer you let this happen, the harder the break.

I wanted to terminate the counscelor my son sees several months ago but because of insurance we are stuck with the same facility, and I felt uncomfortable with going with “another” in the same facility.

Now I wish I had listened to my instincts. Your feelings about this therapist likely will not get better as time goes on.



If all else fails, and you are that afraid of confronting this therapist to tell her that you will not be coming back, tell her you can no longer afford her services. (One thing they understand is $$$$)

Or, if you live far from her office, tell her it is not feasible to drive that far anymore.

Or tell her that something else (another appointment) is conflicting with the sessions.

Tell her one of your family members suddenly became ill, and you need to take care of them.

Any of these could possibly work for you.

Basically, when I am afraid of confrontation, I give the old, “It’s not you, it’s me” scenario.
Makes it easy to get out without upsetting the other person.



How about since she shows as much interest as an S.
Just go NC on her.




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