By | January 23, 2009 237 Comments

Realities only family members know

Research into sociopathy/psychopathy has made a great deal of progress over the last 30 years. Even so, there is much that research does not address. For example, sociopaths are described as callous, lacking in empathy and without remorse for their hurtful actions. These sterile descriptors always fall short of really conveying the evil of the disordered.

A good 6 months before the Madoff story broke, I began a project to connect with the family members of professional con artists. The purpose of this project is to document the within family behavior of con artists and to link that “profession” to psychopathic personality traits. I have had good success connecting with family members and the exchange of information has been healing all around.

One con artist is in prison for affinity fraud- the use of a church, or other social connection to perpetrate fraud. This man was good at pretending to be a great “Christian” and used his church affiliation to swindle people. There is no doubt he is highly psychopathic as this is his second prison term and the descriptions given by his ex-wife are that of a classic sociopath.

Like many con artists, this man also has children. One of his daughters is the same age (within a couple of weeks) as my eldest daughter; she just turned 18. I spoke with this young lady with the permission of her mother and have had an ongoing dialogue with her. She wanted to talk to me because she was taking psychology in high school and had figured out on her own that her father is a sociopath.

This young lady is such a gem, so I’ll call her Gem here. She is smart, lovely and kind-hearted. In her own way she has been coming to grips with the reality that her father is incapable of love. He wasn’t physically violent but he has been callous, lacking in empathy and emotionally abusive toward everyone in the family. There I go with the adjectives that describe a sociopath.

Researchers are puzzled by the phenomenon of empathy in sociopaths. Although sociopaths seem to know all too well what others are thinking and feeling, they don’t respond in a normal way to what they know. Instead, they use their knowledge of others to manipulate. When the manipulation is perpetrated on a child or vulnerable teen/ young adult it is especially evil.

Gem shared with me the birthday communication she received from her imprisoned father. With her permission, I share it with you. She and I both hope this example will help other family members heal and move on. When I read the card, I was outraged and knew immediately the effect it had on my young friend. Without a lengthy explanation, a person ignorant of sociopaths would never “get it” regarding the manipulation I saw as blatant manipulation. Here is what the card said:

” My sweet baby girl, I miss you and love you very much. Happy 18th birthday. It seems like yesterday I held this little tiny baby with the biggest most beautiful eyes. I have so many great memories of you, handfuls of dog food, pretty little dresses. You played soccer but hated it. You danced and laughed your way into everyone’s heart. You are all a father could ever ask for in a daughter. I pray for you every day. May you find the best in life as you begin your adult life. I hope your dreams come true. You’re wonderful, beautiful, and always will be my little girl. God bless you.
Love Dad”

OK an ignorant person reading this would say, “What a sweet, nice card, to get from a father.” This communication might also be cited as an example of how hard it is for the kids of the imprisoned to be separated from their loving parents who made, “mistakes in life.”

A person who really knows sociopaths would react with outrage as I did. I know that just a few short months before this card, the father in question stole money from his ex-wife. Money she was using to take care of Gem, his little girl. Furthermore, all during Gem’s childhood he was conning people including family members out of their money. He never had any real connection to Gem. She never felt he loved or wanted her. This card in my view was pure evil, why? because it preyed upon this beautiful Gem, a young lady who always wished for a real father.

When she sent me what her father had written, I responded, “I am speechless over that card, it must represent everything you wish he would have said to you your whole life. I hope you keep it and believe in your heart, mind and soul that this is what YOU DESERVE always and forever from your parents and your boyfriend/future husband.”

Here is what Gem said in response to my interpretation, “it did just trigger something in me that just made me cry. I couldn’t help but break down and cry after reading that because I HAVE always wanted to hear that from a father-figure but now… it’s too late.”

This con artist, bored in prison is writing cards, hoping for some entertaining responses, while his family is working to heal, make sense of it all, and move on. The words of the card, if left unchecked by reality, delay the moving on that is so important. Gem is off to college next fall and is moving on to a great life that she will make for herself.

It is only my personal knowledge of sociopaths and how they operate that enabled the correct interpretation of the birthday card. Please feel free to share your own examples of a sociopath’s manipulation of your emotions. Particularly useful are examples of a sociopath’s use of words that are superficially appropriate, but very inappropriate given the specific circumstances.

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That is so true; sometimes the only ones that really see behind the mask of the s are the people in the family. Sometimes even the extended family refuses to see. Only the partner, child or spouse sees the real face. To society they appear desirable, healthy and upstanding citizens, holding positions of public servants, teachers, but behind closed doors is a different story. Sometimes it takes years for the person who lives with the sociopath to clearly see. S are more confusing than other type of damaged people because they make you feel good and important, good mixed with the ugly, so you cannot see straight. They go for the confusion. It’s never black and white, their techniques are subtle and deliberate. They can say the most amazingly beustiful things, write poetry about you then turn around and do the most sadistic and cruel things.
Over the years I have carried a fantasy of unmasking the S to others. I know that it’s probably not a good idea since I could be the one getting hurt. I think people would not believe. I have tried explaining to others as to what I have gone through and they looked at me as if I was the crazy and hysterical one. One person went as far as calling me toxic and cutting all contact because I spoke the truth.


I wish I could give you specific examples but I have burned everything the S has given and written to me. I had hundreds of love notes, cute notes, long adoring letters. One that particulartly stands out as creepy is a piece of paper he sent me not much after we met where he wrote my name a few hundred times. The whole sheet covered in my first name written hunfreds of times. Creepy! How could I have ever thought otherwise?

It’s interesting, after the split with the s, after all the ugliness and and the devastation left behind him, I got a b-day card 2 years later with the sweetest words and the picture of my favorite painting on it. It made me ill. The handwriting was very strange and very forced, some word were traced over and over, it was creepy. I never responded to it, I burned it also.

Next time I saw the S, he was with his new wife, he pointed me out to her, and they were laughing and pretending that I was not there. He was avoiding eye contact and laughing in the same time. I remember when I was with the s he used this same technique to shame those who were fallen fro his grace and no longer sociopath “worthy”. Later I have heard that cults often use this technique to shame and shun the members who have gone “astray”.

Ox Drover


In the case of my P-bio-father, most people who knew him feared him, and he did not paint a picture of the “Mr. Nice Guy” so if I talked to anyone who actually KNEW him, I had no problem being believed in the things I said about him.

My mother, who I really think is a toxic enabler, rather than a psychopath, who does the damage at the beheist of my psychopathic son (or other psychopaths) I have a BIG problem getting anyone to believe me. Mom keeps up such a benign and “sweet” face in front of the world, that very few people have EVER seen her “real face” and in some cases, I think the MOST TOXIC demonstrations of her “real face” have been reserved EXCLUSIVELY for me. Even my son C though he does “get it” that she is a bald faced lair, that she is a toxic enabler, has never seen the look of total perniscious rage on her face that I have. The look that if “looks could kill” she would have struck me dead on the spot. I’m actually not sure that she (at that moment anyway) wouldn’t have killed me if she could have. I do know though that if her “dream” of my P-son coming home from prison meant my death, she would go for him coming home over my life–oh, yes, she would somehow justify my death as a “mistake” or “accident” but none-the-less, she would DO IT.

My P-son writes letters like the one the man wrote to his daughter, filled with love and sweetness that IF YOU DIDN’T KNOW THE PERSON WHO WROTE THEM you would think came from the most loving wonderful person in the world to someone they dearly cared for.

“Dear Grandma,

All I ever wanted was to come home to the farm and be with you, take care of you in your old age and live peacefully. Mom and C are trying to keep me in prison, and you are the only hope I have. I love and appreciate you so much, and BTW thanks for the money you sent. You are the ONLY hope I have of ever getting out of here or having a life when I do get out. I would love to come home and be with you, but I know mom and C will never leave me alone. They will make life hell for me, only you can take care of me.

I am praying so hard that you are healthy until I get out. I just can’t imagine a world without out you, they will persecute me to the ends of the earth, and I never did anything to hurt them. I just want to be with you. Love, P”

Yes, Greenfern, the masks are pretty good in so me cases (like my mother’s) but my son’s mask only works for my mother NOW as everyone else that knows him sees through the WORDS to the DEEDS and the evil deeds SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES.

At one time my mother saw the deeds (through the REAL letters her wrote to his confederates in planning my death) and as she read them she said “They sound like they were written by two different people” so she GOT IT THEN, but like many dupes, she has GONE BACK TO BELIEVING THE LIES, because to NOT believe them, she would have to face the truth that her grandson is a psychopathic murdering SOB without a single redeeming feature to his mind or body. She can’t face the truth, it is too painful for her, so she falls back on the life-long patterns of avoiding pain by playing “let’s pretend we are a nice normal family” and punishing anyone who doesn’t go along with the program. Sad, but that’s the way it is and I can’t save her from herself any more than I can save my P-son from himself. I have tried for my entire life it seems, but finally got through to myself that every effort I gave down to and including my life and my sanity didn’t do a bit of good, so now I am focusing on the thing I can do, and this is to SAVE MYSELF FROM THEM. To heal myself of their wounds.

Thanks for sharing this Liane, very enlightening article.


it is like a rapist sending flowers and a note after the rape- “it was lots of fun, hope to see you again soon”.

Ox Drover



Stunned: How true. Sad, but very true.

I am astounded sometimes when I tell people what my ex-P did to me that they don’t think it’s that big of a deal. If they only knew what we know about him. I have a note in my son’s baby book that he wrote while I was still pregnant:

“I’m proud of you! My Wife you took not only my name but my heart as well. Now we are embarking on a journey of parenthood and I can’t be any more excited than I am now to know we are doing this together. You will be a great mom! I can’t wait to see our child. I love you and I hope that everytime you see this letter you smile. Please know that I’m here for you every step of the way. You complete me. Please know that when I say I love you, I also desire you with all of my heart. Love 4 ever, P (highspeed paramedic)”

Now, reading this makes me want to hurl. After our son was born he was very ill and was in the hospital as much as he was out. My mom or I were always the ones to stay with my son while he was in the hospital. P would always gripe about having to be there, wouldn’t stay for more than about 30 min., he was too tired, had something more important to do, etc. Whatever happened to the “journey of parenthood”? I was certainly on it, but he was and mostly is not now. He said then he would be there every step of the way, but he would frequently yell at our crying newborn, and now that we have divorced he doesn’t pay his child support or use visitation (I’m thrilled about that one). He keeps telling me that if there’s anything I need to just let him know. The one time I took him up on the offer, I asked him to bring some diapers for his son. He said he would, but that was in June 2008. I still haven’t seen any diapers! Surprised? Cause I’m not!!! It’s sad that they have to twist their words to hurt everyone around them. Gosh, do I HATE him!


The XS/P is a manipulator plain and simple. He and his older daughter, 25, had a very emotionally incestuous relationship. I don’t know how else to explain it. They keep each other in tow by talking about intimate things that they “would NEVER share with anyone else” (if I had a dollar for every time he said that). They withheld affection and conversation to punish, were both childish and spiteful. The younger daughter, 22, was in rehab and he would supply her with and smoke pot with her even when she was under 21. He managed to be “friends” with his kids and today they are an emotional mess.

The older daughter orders him around and he would not DARE tell her to not cross his boundaries. he got into a fist fight with her fiance. She was supposedly “negotiating” his divorce, then raised holy hell when he didn’t give her mother everything she demanded for her. They are a sick group.

However, I can’t help but believe that they have to realize the drama and behaviors are not normal. They are not adults who still cannot support themselves or function in the world and I don’t believe they will. HE is even embarrassed by them and should be. They are a product of him.

His sister told me once that his mother told him to have his older daughter checked by a psychiatrist. SHe had beaten up a boy in school and had behavioral problems. He didn’t speak to his mother for three years. His sister said they have no boundaries and that is why their father doesn’t have a life. She didn’t know the kind of life he had….affairs, lies, women. Then when I told her about the lies, she made excuses.

I think for most, sociopathy is shameful to all. Yet no one wants to accept, admit or deal with it. Very few will. The girl in this article is on a good path. I find it hard to believe that there can be much normalcy or peace in the lives of any of the family members.

I do understand the dram a bit better. It was necessary in order for all of them to get his attention. And when things were calm, HE created drama whether it be in the form of a “heartfelt note or phone call telling his daughters how much he loves them and sobbing as he spews the lies, or even in a tantrum in the middle of a restaurant starting a fight. In the case of the S/P I dealt with, they all need each other and I don’t see these behaviors ending EVER.

here is the funniest thing of all……this man lied to meabout almost everything and in the end, he told me that I BROKE THE TRUST. You know why? because I repeated the truth about him to others. I broke the trust because I didn’t KEEP UP THE LIES, just like his family does for him. In the end, they don’t want to admit them and are blind to them and also fear embarrassment because of them.


Litterbox: Don’t ever tell him what you want, because he will make sure you don’t get it. Give him as little information as possible. Smile. Be neutral. Don’t give up any emotion that he can use to get at you. If you get angry at something, he’ll know how to use that to make you angry. If you’re happy, he’ll know what to take away to make you miserable.

I remember when I was married only about six weeks. I was 18, with my new husband, in a small mountain community on our “honeymoon.” We were roughing it in a ghost-town/dude-ranch environment. I spent most of a day cooking up a stew for dinner: scrounging spices, figuring things out. Of course he took one bite and complained, making sure to complain long and loud in front of other people. (I had borrowed a corner of the kitchen to cook for my new husband.) I was a sweet little thing, always trying to do right. I remember a huge fury welling up inside me. Something I had never experienced like that. I very sweetly picked up the bowl of stew, looked at him, and said, “Maybe you’d like it better this way!” and dumped it on his head. He disappeared for a few hours.

I should have realized I was looking at one of those big red flags. Instead, I worked hard to make the marriage work for the next 6 years. What did I know? I was 18? Now I know why his mother tried so hard to convince me NOT to marry her son. She was a good woman, but no one understood why she felt that way about her boy.

This post has me pondering memories from my childhood, living for ten years with a Psychopathic “father”.

He was controlling, cruelly critical to all of us, physically and emotionally abusive to my Mother and she would leave him many times, just pack up her three daughters, put us in the car and split. Hopefully thinking she was away from him for good.

Well, I remember a very specific occasion where I was maybe four or five, and me and my two sisters are standing outside the apartments of my Mom’s friend who took us in.

My P father is there, crying great big crocodile tears, trying to hug us, telling us how he misses us so very much. I was confused by his tears and was overwhelmed by his seeming sincerity and I looked over at my Mom.

She had this look on her face, one of so much pain and anxiety that my confusion increased because I didn’t WANT him back in our lives, yet I was swayed by his fake tears. I was a child, I didn’t know jack about what was going on. But I instinctively KNEW he was bad, bad news….rotten to the core even at such a young age.

He didn’t miss us. He didn’t love us. He didn’t give a flying fig about me, my two sisters, or my Mom. He just wanted his free rent, free food, free sex, free punching bad (Mom) back and he calculating used his children, by causing us grief and misery, to put my Mom between a rock and a hard place.

She was clueless as to his pathological personality disorder. She thought she was doing right for her children and maybe he just might change for the better.

When she finally left him for good, divorced his lying evil self, it truly was one of the happiest days of my life.

I don’t regret having a psychopathic “father”. Without his presence in my life, I may not have the insight that evil incarnate exists. It does and I am now forewarned and prepared to diligently tend to my safety and welfare as my self-preservation is paramount to me.


JS: He also wanted his “possessions” back. I think that’s really the only way they relate to their families: as possessions that they own. The S/Ps that walk away and don’t look back are probably easier to deal with. The controlling “owners” will do anything to get their “possessions” back, but they don’t actually want the people, just their ownership of the people.

I’ve said before that I think an understanding of personality disorders might be more important in high school than sex education! Your poor mother, with all the social pressure to keep the family together, and no understanding of what your father was about.


I too wonder about family members of my ex s/p. I really (I never felt comfortable around her family) never had much to do with her family members. I spend as little time with them as possible. In fact it was like my ex s/p had two families. Ours and then hers. Our children too experienced the same “feeling” when going to her family for special occasions but after awhile they too didn’t want to go with her on these “visits” which again cause conflict between us. Damn everything was a “conflict”! Anyway I did ask them to go with her to stop her from yelling at us “what is my family gonna think because the boys don’t want to come with me?” Again it was always about her needs never our wishes…

The following that I wrote is what little I did know about her family members. Much of it is from what she told me..
Sorry it’s so long….

Red Flags for a Narcissistic dysfunctional family

My Ex D : Mom and Dad”.

My Narcissistic personality disorder partner (classic NPD) mother would Fly into a rage almost over anything. A classic NPD. Controlling Manipulative, lying and evil person. Cheated on her husband many, many times. In fact, one time my ex S/P told me about a family get together and that all his Children verbally attacked Mommy dearest because their father found out that she was seeing yet another man and of course Daddy dearest just let the children take care of this matter, like well that’s what his children are there for to help Him out!. Well he just sat there with his face looking at the floor. Per my ex , Being a compulsion liar herself. I take all her stories with a grain of salt, but this one I do believe. Yes, Mommy and Father Dearest. To know them is to love them. In fact mommy dearest loved her children so much that (again, per my ex S/P) her mommy dearest would kick her children out of the house in the hot summer months (summer vacation from school) and then wouldn’t allow them back in until Daddy dearest soon would be returning home from work. Yes, dear reader’s to know them is to love them. When this dysfunctional family gets together for their annual (holidays) doses of NS (Narcissistic supply) this is the only time does the brothers and sisters see each other, never do they just drop by to say hi and see each other and only the main family members attend these get together. No outsiders allow unless of course they can use them for something.

My ex S/P brothers and sisters”

Let’s start in order from youngest to oldest”.

MC, well, he received a felony (residential burglary) at a young age of 19. As a young boy, stealing bikes and then stripping them and Exchanging parts to build him a home made bike. Guess He didn’t care that the other children would be sad that he took their bikes. Married a woman (very fat woman) that had money, or should I say that her family does? Can’t you smell the money? Oh, I mean love in the air”..

MC, Don’t really know too much about her, my ex S/P didn’t Say much concerning this sister or in fact any of them. What I do know is that she stayed away from home, when She was younger as much as possible. She married a man who had some issues himself. In fact they moved from a house into a apartment and was told that he is on some kind of Social Security Benefits. He suffers from some kind of illness, but that was never made clear to me. What I do know is that after my ex S/P left my children and I and demanded some of her property in which I did give back to her, She had her brother-in-law tried to run me over with his big red truck and when that didn’t work, He and another friend chase me into a store. It’s always been so fun to have these little families NPD’s gets together”. Oh what nice people these NPD can be.

JC, well again I know so little about JC, my ex S/P doesn’t really Talk much about her brothers and sister, but she does a hell of lot talking about their spouses. How she always loved to put people in their places which is alright just right below her. Soon after JC married his wife, she started working as a bartender and meet a nice man that gave her cocaine, guess He wanted to be friends? Well, when JC (guess you can tell I don’t really like him very much and you would be right. Which I will explain later) found out that his new wife was sleeping with a drug pusher, he ask her to leave. But don’t worry dear readers become his wife parents called JC and got the two back together, Guess her parents didn’t want her druggie butt as well, no better to pawn her off to another loser. Well, the only other thing that I can remember about JC is that for some reason at his wedding (yes, same cheating, druggie loser) he came up to me when I was sitting at the bar and tried to cold cock me”

Well, when this didn’t work his new bride started pushing me out of the building And yelling at me to leave, “guess she thought I would hit her brand new hubby”. Well why did JC hit me? Oh, because his boss (why I never did find out) gave me a dirty look and I returned the favor. And I shouldn’t have done That to JC’s boss”.. JC boy needs to get his daily dose of NS from him on Monday.

Here is were my DC would be, but this is about her brothers and sisters So, let’s just skip DC”.. And just continue with this wonderful me family…

DC, oh D were do we start? Remember that old nursery rhyme? “They was a old woman that lives in a shoe, she had so many children she didn’t know what to do?” Yes, dear readers she lived in a shoe. No, but she did have a lot of children; guess it was a good Narcissistic Supply for her! But she didn’t know what to do with them, Then one day DC drop off her children To her sister, yes, mine ex S/P and didn’t come back for them for Weeks and weeks. Her children asking my ex S/P and I, “did my mother called tonight?“. Tell me readers, how do you answer that question to her children? She Didn’t care, didn’t call”. She, this poor old woman in the shoe would pawn her children to anyone that would take them so that she could party and have fun and sleep around, which she did a lot (somatic?) with men. Her other NS, I guess. Were is daddy you ask (for these two anyway), gone (guess HE knew what to do, run!) Again a coke addict like DC. But not to worry she would just found another NS. Oh, I mean new hubby”. Well, with this new relationship they both have an agreement; “You sleep with whom you want too, and I will do the same.” Isn’t NPD family’s grant?

Just to recap on this issue, I hated going over to their dysfunctional family so much that in my 17 years with my ex S/P. I spend maybe few months in their dysfunctional family get together. Our two boys hated going over there and never had any kind of relationship with their mother’s family. And because these stories are from my ex S/P you will need to take it with a grain of salt. One thing I have learned about S/Ps is that they lie, lie and then lie again. I do believe these because it must have been a great source of narcissistic supply for my ex S/P. They love when other people suffer don’t they! One other interesting thing about her brother and sisters, no one finished high school except for DC (my ex S/P guess I had some positive effect on her life).

*A child, after all, is the ultimate Source of Narcissistic Supply. It is unconditionally adoring, worshipping and submissive. But it is also a demanding thing and it tends to divert attention from the narcissist. A child takes too much of everything that the adults around him have to offer: time, energy, emotions, resources, attention. The narcissistic can easily be converted to the view that a child is a menace, a nuisance, utterly unnecessary.

This makes for a very shaky foundation of marital life. The narcissist does not need or seek companionship or friendship. He does not mix sex and emotions. He finds it hard to make love to someone that he loves. He ultimately abhors his children and tries to limit and confine them to the role of Narcissistic Supply Sources. He is a bad friend, lover and father. He is likely to divorce many times (if he ever gets married) and to end up in a series of monogamous relationships.


JS: He also wanted his “possessions” back. I think that’s the way they relate to their families: as possessions that they own. The S/Ps that walk away and don’t look back are probably easier to deal with. The controlling “owners” will do anything to get their “possessions” back, but they don’t actually want the people, just their ownership of the people.

I’ve said before that I think an understanding of personality disorders might be more important in high school than sex education! Your poor mother, with all the social pressure to keep the family together, and no understanding of what your father was about.



“I’ve said before that I think an understanding of personality disorders might be more important in high school than sex education!”

I agree… How I wish they would offer this type of class in schools…


reminds me of a teacher I had in high school – she said a good con can tell you to go to hell in such a way you look forward to the trip



I’m sitting here tonight trying to recover from a “family get-together” with my two N brothers and my con-man brother.

Oh, there’s no question he’s a con-man.

You want an example?

I will never forget him on the phone with a group of investors (aka dupes). I hear him say “The name of my company?” He glances up at a sign which reads X-Beach. He says “My company is X-Group.”

He took them for $6 million bucks.


My parents personally guaranteed business loans of his. When he went to sell the business, I told them “let me make sure you’re released from his guarantees before he sells.” Their response? “Oh, no. We trust your brother.” They ended up out several hundred thousand dollars.

Then he had kids. Like all cluster-Bs, he got custody. Of course, now that the kids aren’t babies (aka accessories) anymore, he ignores them. My parents, surprising for Ns, are beside themselves with worry. Of course, my brother uses the kids as a means of bleeding my parents for more money, because they’re afraid if they don’t pony up, they’ll never see the kids again.

I love my nieces and nephews, but realize my hands are tied. I survived two Ns and numerous other bad relationships before the S did me in. I only hope those kids survive this.


Henry: Does this sound familiar? “Dear, you look tired. When you get the next big check, we should take a vacation to someplace nice and warm so you can rest up.”


I guess you needed to post that comment twice and I read it twice…haha.

Yeah, we were his possessions. He never offered my Mom any child support after their divorce and that was super with her….she just wanted him gone!

He would show up on Christmas every once in a while with these ridiculous, extravagent presents like me and my sisters were suppose to OOH and AHH over his generosity! No way!

We were polite, considerate children and quietly said…”thank you” to him.

I had a conversation with my Mom once about his fraudulent gift giving, and she said it hurt her tremendously to see our excitement over the gifts. Like they were more important than not only the presents she bought us, but the loving and caring mothering she gave us for many years.

I told her..”Are you kidding me?! We can’t STAND him! We’re only being polite, maintaining peace by accepting the gifts. Just don’t let him come over anymore on the Holidays and that would solve everything.”

And…she did and he….didn’t.

All the village people rejoiced!



JS: I’m glad you could share that honesty with your mom. For some reason the LF system didn’t register my post the first time, and then told me I had already posted, but it didn’t show up. Sometimes I need to hear the same thing several times before I get it, and as we posters know, we may be writing so that WE will get our own message!


my ex-s/p/n’s mom — a close friend of mine — used to call him ‘dr. jekyl and mr. hyde.’ when she would do something he didn’t like, he’d throw a tantrum and trash her apartment, being sure to break or destroy something she loved. before she passed, she used to tell me that she was going to take her grandson (the son that the s/p/n didn’t see or pay child support for) and leave. of course he’s her son and she loved him dearly, but she was very aware of his underlying manipulations, cons and impulsive and destructive behaviors. she once apologized to me for ‘protecting’ him, knowing he often lied to me throughout the years. she would often tell me that the only way to deal with him was to NEVER listen to a word he said. sound advice which i wish i had taken.

Ox Drover

I can trace the line of abusers on my mother’s maternal family all the way back to before 1850 (using family stories and court records) There are several murder/suicides, and many men who were abusive drunks, wife beaters…but all “good upstanding citizens.”

My mother’s maternal grandfather was an abusive drunk. Mom’s brother, that I call Uncle Monster, was a VERY abusive and violent drunk, that I also believe was bi-polar. He was acting violently by age 7 trying to smother his new baby sister when she was born up until he was age 14. He hated women in particular and held his x wife and his children and his mother at gunpoint in drunken rages that lasted for days on end.

My P-bio-father’s mother was at least a toxic N (everyone who knew her hated her guts) and my grandfather offered her half of his estate 3 days after marrying her for a divorce. Divorces weren’t easily obtainable in 1920s in Arkansas.

Her father was a Methodist circuit riding minister in Indian Territory (Oklahoma) born in 1860 and had at least 4-maybe 5– “wives” several at the same time (census records and family oral history) My GM was the second wife.

My P-bio father had me and my 3 half sibs, one of the half bros is apparently a P (worships my late bio-father) the other two are also NC with him (or were until his death) He was married 7 times, my mom was the 2nd, but only had children by 2. All of his sibs and half sibs were okay except one half sister who “had a mental break down” a couple of years after she finished medical school. I think it was schizophrenia but am not entirely sure. She was never able to practice medicine again and apparently was not in touch with reality.

My P-son also has a P-grandfather on his father’s side of the family. I know very little about the rest of the family past my x-ILs.

So my P son’s genetic pedigree of psychopathic genes is pretty complete. Almost all of these people were also very intellectually bright, and many were “successful” in business and the professions. For the most part, their family lives, inside the family were “hell on earth” for the participants.

Matt, what makes me “wonder” though is HOW WE got out of the genetic pool and didn’t get enough of the genes/environment to become Toxic Ns or Ps. Sometimes I think if I had known what I know now, I might have chosen to NOT have children. My son C says that he has NO plans to ever have biological children because the genetic pool in our family is so polluted with Ps. As much as I would love to have grandchildren, I am NOT pressuring him to marry and have children. My adoptive son D has been engaged three times, but thankfully before the wedding, one turned out to be a bi-polar anorexic (just like her mother who was also an N or a P, I’m not really sure which). OUt of her 4 sibs, only one is “normal” and he seems to be a nice young man. Fortunately, son D is a very bright young man and now aware of psychopaths and other personality disorders. He will I think choose a life mate with his head as well as his heart, as I think son C will again when he starts to date again.

I’ve finally come to the point that I feel good “by myself” and am no longer needy for a companion. Which is a big relief really as I don’t have to obsess about that any more. LOL


yes – we are writing so that we will get our own message. LF to me has been like journaling – love fraud is a class room – Lovefraud give’s you hope when there is none. LF pick’s you up and dust’s you off and helps you put back a life that is healing instead of dying – I may be on a healing journey from here on out – but at least I am healing.


LIG: I had that kind of relationship with my mom-in-law, the mother of the guy I married at 18. Unfortunately on many counts, she died before I divorced the guy. I’m sure she would have been my champion, because she knew the truth about her son before I married him.


rune: yea. but while championing you, there may have always been that truth that her loyalties were greatly divided … after all, it is her son. when my ex’s mom died, that is when he really lost all boundaries. our relationship was always close before then. once she was gone, he really went off … withholding sex, being verbally abusive, saying he was coming over and never showing up. the last year with him was hell on earth. and after 20 yrs together, i was floored that he would give me up. but finding a youngun’ with a nice butt trumped years of loyalty and closeness. and so it goes…



I just logged on after spending a couple of hours going round and round nd round with my parents and the situation with my con-man brother and how he is treating his children.

Like you, I wonder how I managed to escape the toxic gene pool I came from. I never wanted kids for fear of continuing the line. Ditto my youngest sibling.

As for the one who had the kids, I see how neglectful they are. Are my parents there for my nieces and nephews? Yes. But, they’re in their 80s.

I told them point-blank that they have to draw a line in the sand. Insist he go to a parenting class. Insist he move out of the house. Insist he sell his expensive toys and start paying bills.

But, they don’t want to hear what I have to say.

Instead I got martyrdom. And mind-boggling statements like “We don’t understand how WE could raise a child who could be abusive. We don’t understand how WE could raise a child who could be neglectful.” Etc, etc., etc.

Nothing like revisionist history, I say.


Hey Matt: Can you do the Asian cultural thing and give them a way to save face? Like, “Sometimes these things just happen, and it isn’t necessarily about parenting . . .” Because, they are unlikely to budge even a little if it means admitting their part in any of it. (Especially in their 80s.)

I find it amazing that they can even acknowledge that there might be abuse and neglect going on!

And, part B, parenting classes, etc., are unlikely to change the problem person, if it’s as you say. So, what other solutions might be available?

(Ahhhh, . . . I feel for you.)



Interesting that you bring up the Asian cultural thing since my S was Asian.

Among the many clubs he would bludgeon me with was “You’ll never understand. It’s an Asian thing.”

So, since I was in love with an Asian, I read the literature on Asian culture. He saw the books. His response? Why are you poking around in my background? Sigh…

AS for the situation at hand, the neglect and abuse aren’t bad enough (yet) to haul him into court. Instead, he’d probably uproot the kids again, until my parent caved into his demands again. I agree parenting classes probably won’t work, but that’s about the only card that can be played at this point.

As for my non-Asian parents, the discussion, as always, rapidly went from the rational to the ridiculous. I just finally told them I gave them what as I saw as the only options and I would always be there for the kids, but I couldn’t go up against my brother.

Ox Drover

Matt, my mother will be 80 in April this year. She has been in DENIAL for her entire life. My stepfather, bless his heart, kept her somewhat squelched down while he was alive, but she is alone and desperate now.

In many ways, I see a trauma bond (her brother physically abused her from age infant til age 7, her mother protected him) I see enabling, I see denial, I see bald faced lies (something I never expected, though Iguess I should have) I see protecting the family “image” and I see controlling in her parenting, I see manipulation, I see guilting, I see holier-tha-thou hypocracy, I see all sorts of dysfunction in her life.

Yet, putting it together I can’t see enough of a pattern. Maybe it is histrionic personality disorder, maybe just toxic enabling, I see some push-pull, but not enough elements of any one disorder to say “Ah ha” that’s it! So I invented my term of “Psychopathic by proxy” and I guess that about sums it up. Maybe it is Stockholm Syndrome with her brother and now placed on my P-son as a surgate for Uncle Monster.

I don’t guess it makes a bit of difference what the label is. It is TOXIC.

Matt, I know it may sound radical, because I never dreamed you even COULD “divorce” your parents or your kids, but I have “divorced” my mother and my P-son. I never could have dealt with ME without doing that. Even if my son was not dangerous to my life, I HAD TO DO IT. Even if my mother had not been sending money to him, I HAD TO DO IT, for me.

You cannot convince your parents (especially at this age) to accept a belief that is so foreign to their “happiness”—they are past the age of being able to make drastic changes. You know how it hurt you, how painful it was, to accept that your P was a P–can you even imagine how they (your parents) would hurt if they accepted the truth at this late stage in their lives? They don’t have the strength, the ability to bear pain as they “wind down” the history of their lives, as they face their own ultimate ends. Denial is the only thing that protects them. It isn’t much of a protection but it is all they have, and they will not give it up.

You have only two choices as I see it. One choice is to NC both your parents and your con-man brother, or the other is to keep some form of contact and KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT and “let’s pretend we are a nice normal family” and pass the sweet potatoes, Please.

Sure it is how could “WE do X?” It is all about them. Their NS depends on their children being successful. Their NS depends on others thinking well of them.

Your neices and nephews are “on their own” at this point in time unless they have another parent to be there for them. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do aobut it one way or the other. Matt, you can’t fix your family any more than I could mine.

My 2 half sibs that are not Ps and haven’t seen me since they were little children don’t want contact with me (though that pained me very much at first and for years) but that is their call not mine. I’m not sure why they want NC with me I’m sure my P-bio-father told them God knows what about me, but I am sorry they feel that way, but I have to accept it.

I don’t want contact with my half bro who is like my P-bio-father, so I am “out of” siblings, even half sibs. I have a very distant relationship with the two daughters of Uncle Monster and a fairly close one with their brother (the only first cousins I have on that side) and I don’t even know my first cousins on my P-bio-father’s side, so my two sons and I are essentially all of our own family. But you know what, it is BETTER now than it was when I was trying to “deal” with all the drama and pain. I realize if I was all of my own family, I would be enough as long as I wasn’t dealing with the drama, as long as I wasn’t trying and hoping to fix the unfixable.

Sigh, Matt, I do know how much I hurt having to admit that my family was TOXIC, that my visions of this “nice normal family” was a fantasy my mother had dreamed up, and imparted to me to carry on the “family tradition.” I don’t want that.

The Bible tells us to “do not be unequally yoked.” (I know this is taken out of context here but it works anyway) Since I have trained oxen and other draft animals I KNOW what that means. If you yoke a horse/mule/donkey to a plow with an oxen they are UNEQUALLY yoked and they both suffer. If you yoke a big ox with a little ox to the plow they both suffer and you get prescious little plowing done, AND it goes crooked.

We yoke ourselves to the people we associate with, and if it is UNEQUAL then nothing goes right. It never will. The only thing you can do is to get out of that yoke, NC–pull the plow alone if that’s the only way, but being “UN-equally” yoked makes it harder on you than trying to pull the plow yourself, because you ahve to drag not only the plow but pull the yoke-mate as well so your load is a lot more heavy.

I have UN-yoked myself from anything or anyone (regardless of the relationship) that hampers me getting on with life.

Matt, it must be very frustrating for you to watch the drama unfold with your con-man brother and your parents…but ask yourself, and decide what is right for YOU. What it all means to YOU. I did and I came to my own conclusion that was right for me, the only real choice I had, and I chose what was right for ME. I’m only responsible for ME. (((hugs))))) You’re a smart man Matt, and I bet you can decide what is right for YOU.


Oxy: I’m seeing a pinball machine, with your mother bouncing around using all these dysfunctional patterns to just get herself to the same end result. Same behaviors expecting a different outcome? I sense panic, desperation.

I also sense the push-pull that happens when we try to change someone else. The more we try, the more they resist. Sometimes we can facilitate change by not pushing on the issue. To go just a tad bit metaphysical here, have you tried “releasing” your own emotional charge?

I’m not suggesting that you plan “family night” for Sunday dinner, but just a simple, personal exercise of letting go of your desire to make your mother aware of what she doesn’t want to see. Just sending out that vibration that since this is bigger than you, you are turning it over to other powers. And feel the feeling of letting it go.

If on some level she’s desperate to be loved, then she will turn to the one person who offers “love,” as toxic as you know that to be. She sounds bitterly lonely, and as if she has no tools to build bridges to reclaim any grace in her life. How very, very sad.

And none of that is meant to take away from your need to protect yourself and your recovering strength.


Matt: Of course you know that an S/P will ALWAYS find fault with anything you do. Rather than be complimented because you cared enough to explore a cultural heritage, it was just one more thing he could use to rile you up.

I learned many things in my short time in SE Asia. I learned about a rigorous cultural attitude about always allowing people to save face — which, apparently, your ex did not understand. Somewhere I believe I read that the S/P rate is only about 1% in Japan, versus 4% in our society. You know, of course, that you richly deserve better!


It’s kind of long, but I think I have a good one, a letter my S gave me just before Christmas, 2007. At the time he was involved with another woman–the woman he’d had a four-year affair with and planned to leave me for in May of that year (a plan foiled when I figured everything out)–but wasn’t willing to admit it. Oh no. He’d spent too many years perfecting his image of adoring husband and devoted father to ever let anyone know that, in actuality, he was pure bastard. So his challenge was twofold: one, to make it look as though he loved me and still wanted to be with me (he had moved out in June after I said something that provoked him to get angry and leave) and, two–and more importantly–to manipulate me to be the one to say our marriage was through.

Enough time has passed now that I can view what he wrote as almost comical. At the time, it was anything but funny because I was still in the phase where I could not bear to think that this man did not want me. Here’s the letter:

“My dearest Gillian,

“I don’t know where to start. I want you to know I know the depth of your pain. I hear it, I feel it, I hate what I’ve done to you. TO US! It hurts to see how bad you hurt. I understand why you can’t trust me and I hope that someday you will see how much I regret what I have done.

“I’ve been depressed and really wish I could make it up to you. I can’t keep hurting you like this.

“The problem is I will never be able to say the things you need me to say. I don’t think you could ever forgive me unless you hear what you need to. Even if I tell you that which you need to know, I still don’t think you will ever trust or forgive me. That is a place neither of us wants to be.

“The fighting must stop. It will destroy us both.

“I know if you could forgive me, the trust still won’t be there.

“If I could earn your trust and forgiveness our lives could be restored. I don’t know how to do that from here. Do you think it possible? Could it be possible if I were home where you could see change?

“I think it possible but not from afar. I feel, for the sake of the family, you should let me come home and prove myself. I don’t say I’ve made a complete transformation; I have much work to do but you won’t be able to see it unless you see me. Could you do this?

“I want to come home. I miss you. I miss my family. You don’t know how much I love you. You don’t know, even with all I’ve done, how blessed we have been to find each other. And you don’t know how tragic I think it is that we should ever part.

“I ask that you consider carefully what I have said, know that I want to be with you for the rest of my life. Losing you would be a shame. We are so good together.

“Please don’t let my mistakes cost us our family. I know you could be glad we found each other again. Let God’s plan work for us as a couple. Our family will benefit greatly and I know you won’t regret it.

“But we both regret things as they are, accusing, fighting, suspecting, hurting, doubting, missing each other without a solution.

“Forgive me please Gill, or let me go. Send me away or summon me to you, but either way move forward. Don’t look back lest you regret your choice.

“I’d rather spend the rest of my life making it up to you than live my life without you.

“Love always, ____________”


Gillian: What an extraordinary letter, and how courageous of you to share it. To both save it and share it.

Either A, he’s telling the truth and he’s a prince of a man, or B, he’s the same lying, cheating sob who had someone groomed to be his whole new game. I vote: B.

Now that we’ve disposed of that, how are you? How are you holding up? What are you doing for yourself? Are you OK?



There is a trick I learned when studying “Graphology”…

When ever you get a letter or email count the number of times the writer refers to I or Me or We. The higher the number of I or me will tell you what the letter or email is really all about. If there is a high number of I or me then the email/letter is all about that person and not about the person they wrote too…


James: That puts an interesting filter on the letter to Gillian.


Doesn’t it….. I know I use this trick all the time.

For those the didn’t destroy or throw out all those letter. If one has the time it’s kind of fun to look at them again with this in mind.

Also reading a book on Graphology will give points on what to look for whenever you get a “written” letter. You won’t believe the amount of information we give whenever we write a letter. And it’s better to have a few sample of their writing…

Ox Drover


I think that last episode of meeting her in Wal Mart cured me of EVER thinking I can manipulate her to stop sending money to P-son. ACCEPTING that there is NO way it will ever happen (giving up that malignant, impossible hope that I can out maneuver her or manipulate her) is freeing really, so I look at the encounter as a painful but worthwhile LEARNING OPPORTUNITY that will prevent further pain, anxiety etc on my part.

I think God (or the Universe) gives us “learning opportunities” when we need them and if we don’t “get it” then we have to REPEAT THE CLASS. I have obviously been a slow learner and have repeated whole semesters over and over but this was simply one small lesson, but I GOT IT THIS TIME, so now I can accept it, turn it over to God and move on, realizing that I can’t do a darned thing about it.

When I got to the point before the arrest of my DIL and the Trojan Horse Psychopath, I finally realized I was POWERLESS to effect anything positive, I ran like a rabbit to a hole, and then shortly thereafter THEY SELF DESTRUCTED. I think partly because they didn’t have a “common enemy” to work against and if the TH-P couldn’t find me (to kill me) he wasn’t wanting to hang around for months or years waiting, so they made different plans, which landed them in jail.

Sometimes, the best response is to “give’m enough rope to hang themselves” and stand back or sit back and let them do it. I’m at that point with my mother and my son, let them hang themselves if that is what they are intent on doing. I can’t fix the problem, but will make contingency plans to attack her sanity and his “undue influence” after her death to at least DELAY him getting money if not stop it. I’ve got copies of enough letters from him to her that show his “undue influence” as well as the letters from him to the Trojan Horse outlining their plots and plans, as well as my son C’s testimony about some of their plots (he didn’t know them all).

I am not a patient person, but I am learning to be patient, and realize I don’t have to have all problems fixed TODAY, some can wait til tomorrow or the next day or next year. Learning to not worry and sweat and stew about the future has been a difficult lesson and I’m still only making a C- but I am getting there and hope to at least get a B+ at some time. LOL In the past I was FLUNKING patience classes completely.

James, that’s a good “trick” but I think it should be called an OBSERVATION.

On another blog I used to post on there was a gal there who was soooo FUNNY. She would take a letter like the above one and “Translate it” from Psychopath into ENGLISH. LOL She was great!

Let me see if I can do it, it won’t be as funny as hers, but you will get the idea and I bet there are some folks here that can take it and RUN with a “translation.”

“My dearest Gillian,

“I don’t know where to start. (Yes I do but I am not going to say so)

I want you to know I know the depth of your pain. (And I love it that I have done this to you.)

I hear it, I feel it, I hate what I’ve done to you. TO US! It hurts to see how bad you hurt. I understand why you can’t trust me and I hope that someday you will see how much I regret what I have done. (I’m trying for a fake empathy here, to try to get you to trust me again so I can shove it in your face. The general “apologetic” statement still leaves me without accepting responsibility for a darned thing. I’m also trying to give you some “hope” that I have changed, you always fell for that in the past and I think you will again.)

“I’ve been depressed and really wish I could make it up to you. I can’t keep hurting you like this. (a pity play about how depressed I am)

“The problem is I will never be able to say the things you need me to say. (I have no intention of being nice to you)

I don’t think you could ever forgive me unless you hear what you need to. Even if I tell you that which you need to know, I still don’t think you will ever trust or forgive me. That is a place neither of us wants to be. (prove to me that you will pity me and that you will trust me again and then I can lower the hammer on you again.)

“The fighting must stop. It will destroy us both. (I’m losing here now, so we have to quit this so I can win again)

“I know if you could forgive me, the trust still won’t be there. (more general P-speak to try to get you to reengage to prove me wrong, which will hook you back in again)

“If I could earn your trust and forgiveness our lives could be restored. I don’t know how to do that from here. Do you think it possible? Could it be possible if I were home where you could see change? (Look, bitch I can’t abuse you from a distance, you need to let me come back so I can get a better swing at you)

“I think it possible but not from afar. (let me get close again and I will show you who is boss)

I feel, for the sake of the family, you should let me come home and prove myself. (If you don’t let me come home, YOU are the one breaking up the family, don’t you feel guilty now?)

I don’t say I’ve made a complete transformation; (don’t expect miracles, Bitch)

I have much work to do but you won’t be able to see it unless you see me. Could you do this? (Ah come on and let me back close to you so I can manipulate things, this trying to manipulate by letters sucks)

“I want to come home. (see this is the point of this letter)

I miss you. I miss my family. (I have no one to abuse now and I’m bored and lonesome)

You don’t know how much I love you. (Thank God you don’t really know the truth. )

You don’t know, even with all I’ve done, how blessed we have been to find each other. And you don’t know how tragic I think it is that we should ever part. (Look I am getting tired of coming up with these pity-ploy phrases, but if I come up with enough of them you will fall for it again, Idiot”

“I ask that you consider carefully what I have said, know that I want to be with you for the rest of my life. Losing you would be a shame. (I may never find another sucker like you again and I have to have someone to depend on to be my victim)

We are so good together. (You are the perfect foil for my abuse)

“Please don’t let my mistakes cost us our family. (see if YOU don’t take me back you are costing the family)

I know you could be glad we found each other again. (We will go right back to the way we were, but in the meantime I will hold out another carrot for you)

Let God’s plan work for us as a couple. Our family will benefit greatly and I know you won’t regret it. (Another pity ploy, bringing God into it to make you think I am sincere)

“But we both regret things as they are, accusing, fighting, suspecting, hurting, doubting, missing each other without a solution. (Yea I don’t have anyone to abuse and it is the pits, I do miss the power I felt when I lied to you, etc. and it is the pits.)

“Forgive me please Gill, or let me go. Send me away or summon me to you, but either way move forward. Don’t look back lest you regret your choice. (How noble that one sounds, don’t ya think? So self sacrificing of me)

“I’d rather spend the rest of my life making it up to you than live my life without you. (how self effacing of me, this one ought to reel her back in!”)

“Love always, ____________”


2007, the eve of my birthday. He got drunk, blacked out, and spent the entire night yelling at me. It was horrible. He would think half a sentence and say the rest; expecting me to respond. I was screwed if I did say something, and screwed if I didn’t. It was absolutely horrible. I’ve actually blocked most of the night out.
I had been trying to study (I realize now that even though he was the “big man, Mr Generous” and paid for my courses; he didn’t actually like the competition for my time), and finally asked him why he was being such a jerk.
He grabbed a pencil and scrawled across a piece of paper, “You f**king jerk” and eventually passed out at about 3 AM.
N woke up in the morning and acted like everything was fine, until he saw the note on the table.
“Oh Jesus! What did I do?” he asked. He knew it was bad, but he doesn’t remember it.
That day was Easter, and we were to be at his brothers for dinner…Gee, I didn’t want to go. I was emotionally drained.
He lied and told his brother and wife that I was “sick”, and came home with a card for me.

Printed front:
“So like there was this guy in line at the coffee shop and he’s all like hitting on the Barista and saying how some DUMB band he saw at some DUMB bar was like, “THE BEST LIVE PERFORMANCE” he had ever seen, and the Barista she’s all giggling a FAKE giggle, and all I could think was Thank God I don’t have to FAKE giggle anymore, and Thank God I don’t have to talk to DUMB guys about DUMB bands anymore, and Thank God my weekends aren’t about DUMB BARS anymore, and just Thank God my life is about YOU and about US and about STUFF that’s a whole lot different, and a lot less DUMB.”

Printed inside:
…just wanted you to know.
Happy Birthday with love”

He wrote inside:
“I DO love you!! I’m sorry that I have issues and you have to be on the receiving end.”

Happy freaking birthday, eh? We had only been living together for three months.

Yeesh! If a gal were paranoid…All of a sudden the words “DUMB”, “FAKE”, and “THE BEST LIVE PERFORMANCE”, all in CAPS are jumping off the page at me!


Heh! Ox, I love the translation! I wish mine had written more, but he had a hard enough time with speech.


Nice translation, Oxy. Regarding patience, I decided at one point that if I ran into a string of red lights when I was desperately hurrying to get somewhere, that God might be giving me opportunities to PRACTICE PATIENCE! When I began looking at those red lights as that sort of a joke, I seemed to hit a lot fewer red lights, and sail through a lot more green. These recurring lessons are the pits, though!

I’m glad you’re learning to protect yourself better, and can give yourself permission to stay away from the toxic pond.

Ox Drover

I don’t have the twisted sense of humor to make the “translations” really REALLY funny. My sense of humor is TWISTED, but not enough to be really funny very often.

The best ones I come out with are spontaneous and are very rare. My P-son, however, was GREAT with frequent spontaneous “one liners” that would roll you on the floor and make you choke and wet yourself.

My son C has some horrible puns that are always funny, and does them spontaneously or brings out an old one at just the RIGHT moment.

My son D is pretty good, but when he comes up with a REALLY original one it is enough to choke you andyou can’t breathe for laughing. Usually they are punch lines to the “family jokes”—we have told and retold the same jokes so often we can “speak” in punch lines to jokes that don’t make any sense to anyone else in the room but make us ROLL. It’s almost like a private language!

When my husband was alive and we usually had a house full of people who were witty and bright it was a constant stream of laughter and good humored “carrying on” as well as good discussions and conversation. Son D and I just the two of us, even with occasional friends over didn’t keep it up all the time, but with Son C home, it seems to be a never ending stream of good conversations, bad puns and good company.

I enjoy the college age friends of my son D from his Boy Scout group and his bio-sister’s college group. She’s going to school only 35 miles from us. Don’t see her often enough, but enjoy her when she comes and her bright friends too. It gives me hope for the “next generation” to listen to them. The brightest of the bright!

PB, yep you are so right about the “dumb, fake, live performance” that’s what they give us! LOL

Oxy, that was truly freaking wonderful. Translation from sociopath-speak ought to be one of the tools we teach here.

I was just going over some old letters and notes to work on my new post, and I ran into something he said to me in one of our in-between episodes. (When he was still sucking off me, but we weren’t living together and we weren’t a couple.”

He called me to announce that he was going to Belize for a research project. But just in case anything happened to him, he wanted me to know that I loved him.

At the time, I totally immersed in the struggle to get over him, and I was touched by the uncharacteristic sentiment.

It took me about a week to figure out that what he really was saying, “I’ll let you know if I get in trouble. Of course, you’ll bail me out.”

Oops, that was a Freudian slip.

He said, he wanted me to know that he loved me.

Yeah, right.


I laughed a couple of months ago when N’s current favorite victim called him one night. We were watching “Hancock”. N had only admitted to the relationship with her an hour before, and decided to take the call in front of me. She had obviously asked him what he was up to.

“Oh, I’m just watching TV, getting something to eat, and then going to bed.” He paused and asked, “What else would I be doing?!”

I almost laughed out loud. I was “what else” he would be doing.

I’m amazed now at how he had shifted things with that one question. He put the onus on her by inviting her to question him; by appearing willing to be questioned, and in doing so managed to look as if he were being honest or had nothing to hide…

By the time she gets to where she questions his questions, she’s going to be so mixed up – poor thing (even if she did yell at me on the phone; I feel sorry for her – sort of).

Ox Drover

DEar Kathy,

Yep, they speak their own language. WE are like the early Christians on the day of Pentecost, WE HEAR in OUR OWN LANGUAGE but it is NOT what they are really saying. LOL We do need to learn to “translate” their words into the MEANINGS that they are thinking, not what we are HEARING.

Some people can do it by “turning off the sound” and watching their actions, bt they can even fake those sometimes. But if you put the two things together –the actions and the “translations” of their written words, you can SURE get the message that they are passing, but avoid what they are trying to get us to believe.

I also read a book years and years ago (1971 I think) called Body Language, which discussed how people “speak” with their body language. I reread the book here recently and it was not nearly as good as I remembered it being, but it still is a good primer and will give you insights into a great deal of the body language, space issues, and power trips. I am sure there are better and more current books out there on the same subject.

My mother is EXCELLENT in controlling her body language, and I had noted that years and years ago. She isn’t as good at controlling her expression though if you know her. She gets “that look” just like the Ps do but pretty well controls it in public.

I can apparently do “a look” that will turn people to stone as well, but I can’t purposely get it (my kids say I have it). When I was dating the XBF who was a P we drove up to the farm in separate vehicles once only to find a friend’s P son on the place after he had been specifically BANNED from ever coming here (he is a thief). I was startled and jumped out of my vehicle and went OFF on him, tellinghim to leave NOW. Of course he said “Why?” I replied quite loudly “Because you are a freaking THIEF! Now get back across the cattle guard.” He smarted off to me that he was “waiting for D, not you.” I came back with “D’s name isn’t on the deed to this place, MINE is, now get gone before I shoot your butt and tell God you died.” He left.

Later, the XBF asked D about the way I had “gone off” on the kid (22) and D asked the XBF if I had been shouting, and he said “MY God, yes! I’ve never seen anything like it from her it was totally unexpected!”

D said he laughed and said, “Nah, she was just irritated, if she had been dangerous, she would have been QUIET! She wouldn’t have even raised her voice.” LOL

I think the XBF wasn’t used to assertive women who spoke their minds (at all) much less loudly (going by my knowledge of his last few GFs and his X wife).

Rune, I think your “translation” of your X’s comment is perfectly right on. “Bail me out” LOL And, if he had needed bailing out and you hadn’t, he would have bee i ncensed, “But I told you how much I love you” Waaaah!! Pity me!

Oxy, your reference to a book about body language reminded me of one about “reverse speech.”

The theory is that we hear differently in our left and right ears, which feed different sides of our brains. And one of our ears hears “reverse speech,” which is much more honest about what the speaker really things and feels.

The book talked about recordings of speech played in reverse, and the surprising frequency in which discernible words and phrases could be heard in the reversed recordings. And how this reverse speech tended to be more emotionally expressive.

I never read the whole book, but was impressed with the idea, and started listening more for undertones of what people were really thinking and feeling.

In my relationship with the sociopath, I was constantly struck by a weird awareness of “layers” or harmonics in our communications. Like there was more than one of him in the conversation. And maybe more than one of me.

Now I don’t find that so weird, because I believe that there were two separate layers of him — the controlling robot and the desperately needy child. Maybe two similar layers in me in dealing with him — the responsible adult and a much younger self that was attracted to him because of unfinished business in my past.

That may sound odd, but I was in constant inner conflict during the entire relationship.

My sister once said to me that we were both acting like addicts in the relationship. Viewed from this perspective — that a major part of it was conducted between his needy little kid looking for a replacement mother and my somewhat older child trying to get him to repair the damage my father had done — maybe it makes some sense.



Thanks for your long post and advice. For years now I have played “lets pretend we’re a normal family” and keep my mouth shut (aka “keeping up appearances”). And it has worked for me.

The situation with the con-man brother was occasion for them (admitting there is a biggggg problem) and me (actually discussing something substantive with them).

While NC would make my life extremely easier, the kids are far too young to be left in the lurch. I don’t have enough evidence to get them away from him= and his ex is completely out of the picture.

My only way to throw them a lifeline is to make myself available and keep myself inserted in the picture and try to do for them what I can. Those kids are desperate for some semblance of stability and normalcy. They’re desperately trying to make sense of the conman’s nonsense and thinking they did something wrong. If I bail on them they’re going to feel completely abandonned. I can’t do that to them.

So, once again, I’m going back to “giving a performance.” I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t try to let those kids know they are loved and that there are some sane, loving people in their lives who actually give a damn about them.



Loved your sociobabble translation. I used to work as a writer. And it always boils down to subtext — what’s the meaning underlying the words — in the case of a S — ME, MYSELF and I.

Ox Drover

DEar Kathy,

I can see the analogy very much. They cannot supply their own “needs” for adoration and excitement, (NS) they MUST HAVE SOMEONE ELSE TO FEED OFF OF. Just like we cannot manufacture our own vitamin C, so we must find a source for it.

We (victims) apparently have some unsatisfied NEED from childhood (or earlier life) that we didn’t develop a way to manufacture some thing that we need. Let’s call it “Factor X”

Maybe in you Factor X is the need to be cared for, or nurtured and in Me factor X is some other need like self esteem that I can’t supply myself, so I must have someone else that meets that NEED in me. So in a way the P and the victim form a symbiotic relationship. Each is unable to survive and prosper without the other half.

I think that accounts for the fact many victims get out of one relationship and jump into another P relationship. Whatever Factor X is for them, they miss the supply of it and MUST find another supply as fast as possible.

Ditto the P, in fact, they have such a fear of losing NS that they will keep multiple women/men on the hook at the same time so there is NO chance they could be without NS for a single day.

I think as we heal, if we do, we find out what Factor X is for each of us (self esteem or whatever) and we learn how to supply it for ourselves and NOT depend on others or external sources of supply for this critical component to our happiness and well being.

Because the P has little real insight into anything except learning external ways of supplyng their NS they never even try to learn to supply this for themselves. So they are ALWAYS dependent on outside sources for supply. WE on the other hand, if we heal completely and well, will develop ways to identify and supply FActor X so that we are no longer afraid or terrorized at becoming deficient in that factor.

I hope that makes some sense.


Ox, it would also make sense to me that the S/P will not learn to supply themselves with whatever they need EVER because it may stem from the need to control or need to feel power and you need people for that right? It’s not just about attention from a woman. It seems to be a need to control and get her to believe the lies.

The x S/P would be on the phone within hours with the x stripper girlfriend…..and he had no problem telling me that she constantly contacted him. It’s also funny that most of his accusations towar d me had to do woth me cheating, men having contact with me, sleeping with every guy I worked with ….but he had no problem telling me he was being hit on constantly. I think he liked generating negative feelings with this information. But when I would respond to him telling me he was being hit on with: “well I don’t blame her you are an attractive guy.” He didn’t get off on it so he learned that blaming me when it was unjustified was a better way to get me to react. thereby giving him a reason to d&d me and feel the power. When the stripper girlfriend wasn’t available he would use his daughter and call her with the pity ploy. Which I thought was also inappropriate.

You can’t get all that alone. The source is some unsuspecting person to give him the “drug” whether it’s positive or negative.

Am I making any sense?

He clearly knew my weaknesses……UNRELIABILITY. He constantly made plans and cancelled if he was mad. That was my punishment. He would promise something and not follow through.

It has taken me this whole year that I HAVE always been the most reliable person in my life and I don’t really need a man for that !!! But I will not hesitate to make sure it is there in the next relationship. We DO have a right to ask for the good things we offer.



“The x S/P … had no problem telling me that she constantly contacted him. It’s also funny that most of his accusations toward me had to do woth me cheating, men having contact with me, sleeping with every guy I worked with ”.but he had no problem telling me he was being hit on constantly.”

For some reason I never realized that about S. He constantly accused me of cheating, etc. He hated it when anybody would compliment me. If I even met a friend (whom I had made a point of introducing him to) for drinks, I’d be bombarded with text messages.

But, for some reason I never picked up on it when he threw his exes in my face. The one “who would do whatever it took to win S back” and the other, now a priest, whom he sandbagged on the altar.

Lost in the Brain-Fog. Coming soon to a theatre near you.


Matt, I hear you WE DON’T THINK THAT WAY. That’s why this shit lingers for us because we aren’t naturally able to blame and place responsibility on others….. it comes easliy to them that’s why they see the fault of others so clearly. AND they project because they trust no one. We trusted. They can get conscientious people to react as we did…… as my therapist says it’s called the untimate mind f*&^.

I didn’t see most of it until I decided I had enough.

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