By | August 27, 2006 265 Comments

Red flags–if you see them, run

Last week Lovefraud posted an article that described one woman’s experience of romantic manipulation by a sociopath. Another reader responded with advice.

This woman had been married to a narcissist, which in many ways is similar to a sociopath. Once she divorced him and started dating again, she relied on a list of red flags. “If I saw even ONE flag, the guy was OUT of my life, period,” she says. Here is her list.

Red flags

1) Needing to be around you as much as possible and knowing where you are at all times.

2) Refusing to have any meaningful social life, even with his own family.

3) Telling you what to wear and advising what is “appropriate clothing” for you.

4) Requesting that you spend all your free time with him and NONE with friends. (In the beginning, you can see friends on a limited basis, but he has to be there.)

5) Absolutely NO male friends or hugging any male.

6) Dictating what you look like, i.e., you should wear glasses instead of contact lenses, less makeup, less jewelry, etc.

7) No more going to the gym, men might look at you there while exercising.

8 ) Outright anger when you join a church or any other “institution.” The REAL issue is…he is afraid a priest or other “authority” will tell you what to do and “control” you.

9) Encouraging you to engage in unhealthy habits like not losing weight. They use these “bad habits” later to criticize you.

10) You cannot be “too friendly.” People might get the “wrong idea,” especially MEN.

11) You have the feeling of walking on eggshells, waiting for a blow-up if you say the wrong thing or say the right thing in a way he does not like.

12) You know he thinks he is smarter and better than others by his almost constant criticism of others…words like “idiot” and “slow learner” are a common part of his everyday language as he discusses others.

13) He loves the thrill of a good “fight” with nearly anyone, but when he perceives himself as the loser, he is a very poor one and there are always rationalizations for WHY he lost and they have nothing to do with HIM, of course.

14) He acts like he cares what you think, gives lip service to being “liberal” and open minded but his actions are the opposite.

15) He thinks absolutely NOTHING of lying and will take advantage of anyone at anytime if it furthers his goals.

16) You have never met anyone like him”¦he does things that no one else does…his behavior is simply outrageous to others and they shake their heads and say what GALL!

17) The rules do NOT EVER apply to him…he is above them.

18) He resents, on many levels, having to care for his children unless a woman is around to take on most of the “burden.”

19) He often “forgets” what he is supposed to do for his children (especially when it involves anything to do with money).

20) He says things that simply make NO sense and you, as a rational, logical person, just cannot quite figure it out.

21) He shows up with no notice at your job or home (no common sense of courtesy).

22) When he thinks he is being rejected, he calls, emails, comes to your home or job obsessively and often actually stalks.

23) Early in the relationship you are his “whole world” and he does not want to spend any time with anyone but you.

24) He seldom thanks anyone for anything.

25) These men are VERY adept at fooling others”¦everyone thinks they are just great and love you so much”¦BEWARE!

By the way, the woman who compiled—and applied—this list of red flags has healed and met a wonderful man who is now her fiancé.

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Has anyone read The Sociopath Next Door. I found it fascinating and chillingly true after leaving a twenty two year marriage with a sociopath!!!


I would add another:- if other women are jealous of your relationship with him, he has probably already put out feelers toward them (he must be hunting new conquests at all times). Also, despite other women thinking he is “just wonderful” (and possibly trying to win him from you), he has a string of “unsuccessful” relationships behind him.


I apppreciate the article but I feel that it is written as if all sociopaths are men. I was married to a woman who only wanted me for financial support and I recognize many of the sociopathic tendancies in her.


A big red flag is that sociopaths make their victims feel so special. They can be very intense early on, saying the most wonderful things. “You’re the one I’ve been looking for, You’re so smart, You’re the most beautiful woman in the whole world, I’ve never felt so physically attracted to anyone, I’ve learned so much from you, Let’s have a baby, I want to marry you”, I’ll never leave you, You’re my forever….”

The whole ego stroking thing, and it gets to you if you’re at all feeling vulnerable or lonely in any way. It feels great to have someone be so attentive and loving, but it’s all part of the scam.

I think if we’re in a place that is solid with healthy self-esteem, and a willingness to listen to that inner voice that’s saying whoa, read between the lines, then we’re much less likely to get trapped in their webs. Let them move onto someone else, they always will.

will be okay

I just discovered my “perfect for me” boyfriend is I believe a sociopath. I caught him cheating, posted him on a “cheater” website, then mysteriously hundreds of fliers showed up on telephone poles all around the hospital where he works. His new victim saw the fliers and dropped him like a hot potato. In the following weeks, he lied to the police (making me look like a stalker type) he lied to our employer (partially responsible for getting me fired-they also wern’t happy about the fliers) then he lied in an addendum and got a restraining order against me. I wen’t to court to try to get it terminated- silly me I thought the fact that he lied would mean something. so I go in there pointing out all the lies- the judge says to me “you sound like your still mad” I said “I’m mad that he lied” the judge turned to him & said “I’m upholding the order”. The man played me for 18 months. Flattery is a huge red flag!! ie…text message every morning saying “good morning beautiful”. Mine was not at all jealous, but he enjoyed making me that way!! he had a ton of ex-girlfriends (red flag) SO MANY RED FLAGS THAT ARE SO CLEAR NOW. It has only been 2 months for me, so I’m still absorbing what just happened. I find myself wondering just how bad it was: How many women? Was he cruisin’ the internet? I think he may be bi-sexual I wonder if true? Did he ever even care about me? The truth is I probably don’t even want to know the answers to those questions- It’ll just hurt more!!! I still find myself missing him, but then remind myself the man I loved- NEVER REALLY EXISTED!! I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to trust a man again! This is so unbelievable!! In my case: yes everyone thought he was such a nice guy, but all our coworkers saw what he did to me, also exposing him on the website- Atleast he has been exposed!!!! And women have been warned!!! But I’m an absolute mess!!!

will be okay

I forgot to mention the fliers directed people to “check him out” on that website. Also now if you ‘google’ his name it directs you to the website, too. I do feel good that I’ve exposed this guy. I just hope everything will be okay!!


I can’t believe I fell for him. I feel really embarrassed and foolish now. My boyfriend and I went back to university in out thirties. We were both studying engineering but he was one year ahead of me. We spent all our time studying. My boyfriend was very stressed, making it a very difficult time. I felt quite lonely at the university as I was older than most students and one of a handful our girls in my class. That is when I met someone that I now believe is a sociopath. He was intelligent, charming, slightly nerdish and engaged! He knew a friend of mine in class and we all decided to study at his house. I met his fiance. He seemed like such a nice guy and fun to be with. From the first time we were alone together…he seemed far too interested in me since he was engaged. We started chatting online and studying alone together. He would go out of his way to pick me up or drop me off after class. He seemed to find things about my boyfriend that bothered me and emphasized them. I even realized he was doing this. But it didn’t matter by this time. He would flirt with me in class, brush against my arm. He listened to me talk about my relationship and our problems. He pretty much told me he loved me (not directly but definetly implied). He told me he was attracted to me, and didn’t know how to handle it. I was flattered. We studied alone late at night at his house. One night while studying he touched my hair, and rubbed my neck and arms. It was like he knew exactly what I would like and no pressure to take it further. I felt guilty after this, but I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I told him I felt like a cheater and that this isn’t right. All the while we kept chatting, studying and spending time together. I even spent time with him and his fiance. But after I put a halt to things physically….I think things started to change. We spent less time togehter. The next year when I returned to University, I was there alone, as my boyfriend had graduated. When I met up with him he seemed very distant. I felt like he was trying to hurt me. He sat with other friends instead of me. I thought this was probably the best thing to do, since we were both in relationships, but it really hurt. From here, I felt like he was playing games. Suddenly he didn’t like the coffee shop we used to go to everyday. He never gave me rides home anymore, but would offer our other friends a ride. Basically just weird things like this. Like I knew he was playing mind games with me just to hurt me, especially now that I was there alone. My friend said he did something similar with her, but she cut it off right away.
I later recalled a conversation I had with him. He told me I reminded him of a girl he knew years ago. He could tell that this girl liked him, but that he never really liked her that way. I guess in the end the girl was hurt by him, and he told me he never wanted to do this again. At the time I was wondering why he was telling me this…I can now see this was a warning. He also talked about having sociopathic tendencies etc, but I didn’t really know what he meant. Oh, but I know far too well now. I think he made me fall for him, and then he purposelly tried to hurt me. He did a good job. My relationship with my boyfriend was at an all time low, we nearly ended it. I managed to walk away though and my relationship is now better than ever. I still email him occassionally, always wanting to believe the fantasy, but knowing it is not reality. I should probably cut it off, but somehow I can’t even after all this. The power of the seductive sociopath. Some other things about him that make me believe he is a sociopath is that he drank heavily, smoked, relied on his fiance to pay his bills while he was a student. He also found ways to get me to pay for small items, like it was a game or something.


I’m hoping posting a comment to this article will bring this article back up on the current topic list! This is a great red flag list. Others are a bit abstract and wouldn’t “click” with someone who has only recently met their sociopath.
My sociopath scored 20 / 26, a couple of weeks into our relationship.


Thanks for posting here – yes, this is a very very important list. Being a naturally trusting, optimistic, and open minded person, I tried to find rational explanations for many of these traits when I encountered them early in a 2 1/2 year relationship. And that only left me open for more abuse as the relationship wore on. I will definitely keep this list in my journal, and write it on the back of my hand to refer to, if I ever get up enough nerve to go out on a date again.
Happy 2010!


Yes, the constant being around you, and sticking to you like glue.. this is what mine did.. and I felt suffacated… and the constant comliments.. and calling and testing all the time.. I would shut my phone off.. red flag ! red flag! And I didn’t adhere to it… but I felt it in my gut.

Ox Drover

This list primarily applies to a male P and a female victim, but one of the things I noticed with my P BF at the time,

SECRETIVENESS, going places and NOT wanting me to be along.

TURNING OFF HIS CELL PHONE when he was gone.

Wanting to be FRIENDS with his ex GFs (who it turned out he was still either sleeping with them, trying to get them BACK (all at the time he was dating me)

ANY KIND of DISHONESTY–or tales of “pulling a fast one on Joey” and thinking this is admirable behavior because “joey” deserved to be scammed.

TALES OF TAKING VENGENCE on people who have offended him in the past, or wanting to get vengence on someone who has currently offended him.

FAILURE TO BE FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE–always needing to borrow money from anyone for daily living expenses. Buying “boy toys” when not meeting obligations to repay loans or pay for own expenses.

TALKING ABOUT ALL HIS/HER “BIG PLANS” for the future how they are going to be rich and famous with some “big deal” but right now, they are broke.

FAILURE TO MEET OBLIGATIONS to anyone, kids, parents, etc.

TRASHING and SMEARING past romantic partners as “crazy” or “a nut case” right from the start of your relationship before you really ever get to know them.

MANY [PAST MARRIAGES OR LIVE-IN RELATIONSHIPS, usually short term (not always though my X was only married once previously for 32 years, but he cheated on her from the first)

PRONE TO PHYSICAL VIOLENCE in anger or VERBAL RAGES over just about anything.

TRIES to secure YOUR PITY for how others have ruined his/her life and want you to RESCUE them from the unhappiness of life because you are so “special.”

WANT TO DO SOMETHING THAT INVOLVES RISK FOR YOU in any way. Whether it is unsafe sex, or drive your car with no license, if the risk is to YOU and not them DON’T DO IT.

DRINK AND DRIVE EVER, even one drink. Irresponsible and illegal and poor judgment. What do you need someone like this for?

A LONG HISTORY of drinking/drugs and multiple trips to rehab

A CRIMINAL RECORD OF ANY KIND. Yea, they may have “reformed” but most don’t.

Some one who GIVES YOU THE SILENT TREATMENT WHEN THEY ARE UPSET WITH YOU…..this is “punishing” you, it is a BAD SIGN.

Someone who NAME CALLS you or others with derogatory names when they are angry.

Someone who is NEVER WRONG ABOUT ANYTHING even when they are wrong, does not RESPECT others opinions or judgments or knowledge or skills. Especially yours! Have to oalways be “right.”

PUSHES FOR SEX EARLY ON IN RELATIONSHIP, or for pushing the relationship forward very RAPIDLY.

The list could go on “forever” but basically people who have these faults/personality traits are NOT someone I want an intimate relationship with either as a significant other or even a close friend.

Learning to watch for the RED FLAGS, honor them, and not “excuse” them is like saying “Oh, John is a great guy—WHEN HE ISN’T ROBBING BANKS.” Even the worst P can be a “nice guy” between bouts of abuse! (((hugs)))

Ox Drover

EDIT: The last sentence should have the word NOT in front of it. Sorry!


Mine would say.. you want me to stay here all day and not see my friends… I would say “your not doing me any favors by staying in the house… I did not keep him from his friends.. I just would not let him use my “car” with no license … since he had caused me to have my insurance cancelled once already…. hey so what if he dosent have a license… but then would throw it in my face when it was conveinent for him… to use the car for errands. If he wanted to see his friends so bad they can pick him up or he can ride his “mountain bike”….. I could not dress how I wanted…after all I am fat single and 40 now … and he is skinny and toothless… he also wanted me to pay his hospital bills… for being an alcoholic and having to go to detox… that is not my responsibility. He wont even pay child support. That is my responsibility not his… no accountibility or responsibility for creating a life…. just wanted to criticize me and how I live my life tearing down any self esteem I have.. and my childs… how he looks, etc how we eat….he did nothing but sit on his ass, smoke pot , drink, work LOL occasionally but had my support him on and off for the past 23 years…. yeah I am angry!!!! call on x mas cause I emailied or not… to try and humiliate me and my child he did not call cause he cared he called to get an update… what can he use and how he can demean my child…..still he sees through the crap…. uggghhhhhh still I will write and not send my emails from now on…


Good list, Oxdrover – about half match my ex! We have a huge list of red flags now.

Also – don’t know if these apply to all sociopaths, they may be a little bit too specific, but:

-Frequently said he had a bad memory – wasn’t good at remembering dates, names, details, etc. (pre-emptive strategy in case I spotted inconsistencies in his tales).
-Was very evasive about his previous relationships
-Would constantly complain about his cell phone not working properly (so that I wouldn’t wonder why he wasn’t answering or returning calls, when he was with other women).
-Would hardly even call me by my name – he used terms of endearment instead (so that he wouldn’t get names mixed up).
-Would forget/mix up my friends’ names, or personal things I had told him (didn’t care + got so many personal stories from so many girlfriends at the same time that he couldn’t remember all the details, or which girl had said what).
-Would talk about a “friend” (made up or real) who was carrying on multiple relationships and got his girlfriends to buy him things – and would defend him
-Some of his friends/family seemed uncomfortable in my presence (they knew he had multiple girlfriends)
-Was incredibly stingy – but blamed me for being stingy


21) He shows up with no notice at your job or home (no common sense of courtesy).

I would find him alseep in the middle of the night on my bedroom floor as a teenager… he would sneak into(break into my house) climb roofs to get in…. (drunk most of the time) how he did not fall off is amazing 3 stories high….

He also would stalk me at work, and one day he stole a pair of sneakers from the store next door to the store I worked at… I was so embarrased and I gave his alias to the cops… (protecting the jerk)……

He left me with drug dealers after he robbed them for their pot.

He left me took all his stuff and moved in with his next victim…

while I paid rent….. he look at how much money I saved honey? what you have money saved and I am paying the rent?

Slashed my tires and then gave me a hundred dollars to make up for the damage? tires for 4 cost more than that but I should be grateful….

Borrowed my car, the radio got stolen but no windows were broken no damage cept the raido was stolen…(those were his crack days)….. hmmm all the memories coming back…..


Oh sorry Red flags …. I blew them all off …but not any longer… Redflags, hindsight… and my GUT INSTINCTS not to be IGNORED ever……ever AGAIN…..

Ox Drover

That’s another one you reminded me of, the “you’ve got money” and “I’m broke” one. Why should I kick in on the rent when you still have money in the bank.

It never occurs to them to save for a rainy day. They spend to the last cent, so If TODAY they have “money” they spend it, but don’t think about the fact the rent is coming due TOMORROW. It is a day by day thing and if you are not DEAD broke why should they kick in on living expenses, ,”you’ve got money.”

Yea, stupid, I’ve got money because i don’t blow every cent I have on a whim, and I PLAN FOR tomorrow so I wono’t be broke like you! The SHELTER is down that direction—start walking, and NO I won’t give you a ride. LOL And yes, you are right, I don’t care that it is sleeting, or raining, or the winid blowing or that you lost your raincoat the last time you were high—not MY problem.


Oh! I was just going to post that one!!


Yes.. mine had no savings.. no profit sharing and pension … nothing and he is 57 and he spends money like water.. if he has it, he spends it and I am the opposite.. but I spent more when I was with him than I would have…
and he did spend on me.. I guess, he considered it his investment in his future… well… bad investment… I got him out of my house…
and I recall towards the end when I would leave him at my house, like if I was working out.. I got this real nervous feeling.. like he might be doing something.. I just didn’t like him being in my space when I wasn’t there…

And in the beginning, I have never had anyone call me, text me, email me, so much in my life.. and if I didn’t pick up, he would call until he got me.. and we went everywhere together when he was in town.. I felt like I had an attachement to my body.. and he would keep me up really late. He didn’t need much sleep and I told him that I like to get a good nights sleep.. and I had to tell him to not call me after 12 and that we were all the phone at 12.. no matter what.. it was exhausting.. I let him invade my boundaries.. then when I didn’t talk to him so much I missed the connection.. it was sick.. he hooked me into him.. yes he was trying to addict me to him.. and I hated it.. but also like the attention.. how twisted is that?


A really good con-artist will paint those red flags purple, or blue, or whatever YOUR FAVORITE color is, so that you are unable to pick up on them.

We need to be really careful, because there is a “Chameleon Quality” to sociopaths (I think Teacher123 pointed it out not too long ago).
If plan A is not working, they will morph into something else to break through our defenses.

We really have to be educated about Cluster B’s, vigilant about our boundaries, and probably most important…..Trust our instincts!!!

I think the people on this site have a definite advantage over the average citizen in that we have all had encounters with Custer B personalities. That gives us the “street smarts” that you need to identify a sociopath early, before too much damage can be done.
It may not always work out that way, but I still believe we have the advantage.

Happy New Year everybody!

Eye of the TIGER in 2010!!


yes.. yes.. mine was always stating that he is the flexible one in the family.. first, we were not a family and second, of course, he is a chameleon to fit in wherever it is that he needs to fit to survive…one woman to the next, one state to the next, one company to the next as he does his consulting work..ripping off people…
nothing about him has roots or is grounded.. he is looking to attach … and have that grounding but he has little to offer…he is used to chaos, trauma, stress drama.. we all have some in our lives and when I have it I react, get past it and even out.. he rarely gets flustered… except about things like if I didn’t respond You’re welcome to his “thank you” after I DID HIS LAUNDRY!

Happy New Year to you too, Rosa.

I totally agree with what you say about our advantage. The education may seem expensive at the time, but afterward it’s an amazing thing to be able to understand more of what we’re seeing around us, and to know how easily other people’s problems can become ours, if we don’t have a clear sense of what we want and don’t want in our lives.

You sound great! I meant to tell you that when I saw another one of your posts. I hope your life is going well.



I wonder what is the average recovery time….for us? and our children who have witnessed this and must be even more baffled than we are? how do we explain it ? to them…even though my son has seen through it … mom why are you buying Dad a present when its your birthday? how stupid was I ? and how come sometimes I feel like the S/P/N bad nasty meanness has rubbed off on us … I do not feel sick to my stomach anymore because he is no longer spewing the toxic fumes around us but… I do not know if its anger when I keep getting triggered and then I want revenge, and I want /wish that his “luck” would run out and he gets what he deserves…. how could they keep using and abusing others… is that why he always wanted us to move to new cities” fresh meat” new victims?….. My ex -S/P/N actually went to high school with Matt Damon … and I remember vividly.. something innocent happened when we were hanging out in Harvard sq. near Aubon Pan… he out of no where slaps me.. in front of Matt and I could not believe it? He also bragged about him and a friend breaking into his house as teenagers and stealing a radio from his house…..( Matt’s) before he got out of high- school 87 I think they become jealous because they claim to be so Intelligent my ex in the 93rd percentile but they have no ambitions to pursure a true occupation or goal… he must have felt threatened by something… of my walking up to him while talking to Matt.. I can not remember my actually provoking being slapped in public not just his friends but in public…


Happy New Year Kathleen!

I have to ask. How was the movie, “Sherlock Holmes”?
I thought I read that you went the other night?
Is is worth seeing, or shall I wait for the DVD?
I ((LOVE)) Robert Downey, Jr.


Style… mine had weird sleep pattern and also would tell me what adult goes to bed at 9 or 10 p.m. they kind that work asshole…..for me I had been hooked since I was 17 and then decided to have my baby at 27 of course I left when I got pregnant but he had to keep his hooks in me and came back then left 3 days before I had the baby always an excuse being an ex con they may be looking for him petty criminal that he was ….his grandiose fantasy that he was actually that important….it is co dependent… an addiction… we get sucked in and its hard to let go… we have poor boundaries but they do not have any and makes it harder for us, they critiicize, demean, humiliate, they always look for bigger and better never satisfied with what they have….ugggghhh


Spirit.. it was just in the beginning.. it was like he didn’t need much sleep and I needed my normal amount.. and he was inconsiderate of my needs… Yes, I know what a surprise…

Then later he slept long.. not as varied as bi-polar.. but definitely an energy change.. when I am consistant in my needs for an amount of sleep etc..

He wore me out in the beginning.. exhausted me.. and I told him so.. and he just kept on.. let’s do this and that.. and going back and forth and dealing with his mother’s needs.. and here I was wanting to rest after my move and focus on my house…
when he would leave I would dance around singing.. “I’m free! I’m free! This is my house! This is my bed!

It was like his energy just took my house, my property and my energy over.. and I let it for awhile… Crazy me!


For me, many of the items on the lists, esp. Oxy’s, were things I had normalized, since my mom would do the silent treatment, for example, for a week or longer….to a child! So I was programmed to minimize or discount red flags. Now I’m probably way over on hyper alert but that’s fine with me.

Ox Drover

Spirit–HOW LONG is recover? As long as it takes, there is no calendar limit or fast way around it that I know of. It takes each of us different amounts of time. It isn’t like a “gestation” period that is fairly well set in months or days. Plus, I just thought too, just like a baby though, it can be aborted….unfinished, or die, so we must work hard to keep our healing going.

I view it as a life long JOURNEY, not a destination as well. But at some point, we will “give birth to a “new US” and that new baby us must be nurtured so that it continues to grow. I wrote an article about this analogy, so if you want to read it, search on LF for Ox Drover, and it will pull up my articles all together.

Rosa, you do sound wonderful and I am so glad for your progress and growth!

Dear JAH, yes we get sort of hyper about the flags, but my own choice has been to SEE ONE FLAG—out of the “inner circle of trust” with that person. If I must deal with them in RL then it is at a DISTANCE that is SAFE FOR ME! Literally not trusting them at all, not allowing them to weasle their way into my EMOTIONS so when they do crap on me, I am NOT SUPRISED OR HURT emotionally.

If the relationship has been a close one, I usually go NC with them pretty much and that helps. But I am not in the BUSINESS any more of dispensing “second chances”—I shut up shop on that one and WENT OUT OF THAT BUSINESS. If people don’t like that, tooo bad. Not my problem. My stock is gone. LOL


I didn’t need to look for red flags on this latest guy (that I found out after just a few days). He actually made a total ass of himself and showed he was a player–all by himself. It wasn’t until after the fact that I went back and looked for the red flags. Sure enough, they were there. He should have at least waited the month or so to “hook me in” before showing his true colors. This one was a little on the stupid side. He didn’t have the patience to wait to hook his latest victim. lol

Spirt40, you asked how long recovery is.

For me, it took more than a year to get really angry. Not resentful. Not hating myself. Not struggling to understand if I had a right to be angry or if I was just being childish or if I should have handled it differently. Getting to the point where I realized, in no uncertain terms,that I was dealing with someone who didn’t give a s**t about me, and who had used me without caring what happened to me for his own selfish purposes.

Uncapping the anger was complicated. I never felt entitled to get angry about anything. I always felt like I was supposed to understand everything and be “above it.” So once I finally took the lid off, there was a lot of backlogged stuff. And I loved being angry. It made me feel like I was living in my own body, and not giving up everything to make everyone else okay. I used to have conversations with my “spiritually evolved” friends about how important anger is. (Of course, they were horrified.) But I started teaching other perpetual victims how to be angry, and for a while I thought that was going to be my new life.

So it took maybe another year and half to get through that into facing my losses and grieving, and also starting to make decisions about how much anger I wanted to live with and learning how to stop giving energy to things that were just making me unhappy.

At that point, the recovery turned into something about me, not about him. It become more positive, more creative, more a matter of changing my life for the better, and using what I’d learned from the experience. I still had to deal with the occasional painful memory or face the fact that I’d lost a lot of money and other resources, and that required another round of trauma-processing. But I’d become good at it, knew the way it worked, and didn’t get hung up on the hard parts.

So for me, it was about three years before it turned into something positive. Maybe another year and a half before I felt pretty certain that I’d turned the disaster into a personal triumph, and was actually glad it happened. I know that sounds strange, but he was the catalyst for the greatest leap of personal growth in my life. It doesn’t change my opinion of him, but the whole experience turned out to be a good thing.


Feeling anger is a good thing.. just a part of recovery and release..

and Star.. I think that it is a sign of the times.. and or our personal awareness… they are revealing themselves really fast and we are seeing it…

There are more and more desperate people in this world.. and they can’t hide as easily as they once could.. and they are trying to attach to any and everyone…

I had a date with what first appeared in the first few seconds as an upstanding attorney.. and in thirty minutes I am thinking something is off with this man..

and but the end of the date.. I knew something was wrong but couldn’t put my finger on it.. he began saying things like we are dating and I am going to take you to Paris.. blah blah.. we had one more date planned and I almost cancelled it .. but he had driven a long way so being ‘nice’ I didn’t.. and wham…
he became abusive.. he was a dominating control freak.. and was the one that asked if I was one of those women that waited until marriage tohave sex…

My answer was … “Who ever said that I wanted to get married?… good bye!”

Ox Drover

Kathy, I can so identify with what you said about the anger. In so much of my life, I also wasn’t “allowed” to feel anger, justifiable anger, because with my egg donor’s definition, if I felt angry at someone for abuse, then I had “not forgiven” them and therefore was condemning myself to hell-fire-and-brimstone for my feelings of anger.

that’s a powerful message to lay on a child and when the child feels anger at another, they shame and castigate themselves for being a failure. For being “bad.” Just verbalizing this, seeing a pattern here, and then looking back over my life from an early age and seeing how I crushed down my feelilngs of anger, I can so relate to what you said about when it finally came out, it was a huge feeling of anger.

But you are right too, I don’t want to live with this terrible burden of BEING ANGRY all the time—so since crushing it down isn’t the answer, and feeling it all the time isn’t the answer either, so some how I had to come to a way to feel it, acknowledge it was justifiable (or not as the case may be) and then RESOLVE IT. Since I had no way to know, no training in WHAT is justifiable, or HOW to “resolve” it in a healthy way, it was a trial and error method for a while and I would over or under do it. Just like a kid on a bike making over or under corrections for balance and then falling. but I learned, and AM STILL LEARNING, how to acknowledge, assess, process and resolve my angers so that they are done with.

I have not, I know, 100% resolved my angers at my egg donor or my son, though I think I have with the X-BF-P, and even with my X-DIL, primarily I think because I cared less about those two Ps in the first place than I did with my P-son and my egg donor. Even my P-sperm donor I’ve pretty well I think completely resolved and processed my anger at him. I didn’t totally realize that until he died and his estate contacted me to let me know I didn’t get anything. LOL LIke I expected anything, I was suprised though, that he cut 2 of my other 3 sibs out of the will as well and left it all to his youngest son, a “clone” of himself.

I can STOKE my anger if I try, but I don’t see a benefit in doing that so I don’t. I do acknowledge my anger though, and if it is justified I try to acknowledge and resolve it rather than supress it.

In some cases, “resolving” the anger includes that I disengage from the person who made me angry and limit or stop my relationshiip with them. Resolving the anger for me means taking ACTION not pasively enduring iinsult or injury, and for sure, not allowing that same person to re-insult or re-injure me again.

The action may be verbal, or the action may simply “voting with my feet” and quietly slipping away from the cause of the anger. I realize now that all ACTION doesn’t even have to appear to be action, but can be a stepping quietly away, witout slamming the door, giving them the finger, or yelling names at them. I’m learning through that QUIET ACTION to get my own closure, my actions are my “last words” and maybe they don’t even realize I’ve HAD the “last word” but I have. I’ve made a DELIBERATE CHOICE of ACTION and validated myself. That lets the anger resolve and drift naturally away.

Setting boundaries, enforcing them, can be done with deliberate action and there are many ways to accomplish that. Sometimes it is with a verbal setting so there is no unclearness about my expectations, and sometimes, it is simply distancing myself from the person because they are not actually ‘worth enough” to me to confront it. Some relationships simply aren’t worth the hot air in the breath to try to explain to the person why what they are doing is not appropriate.

I think I have finally grown past the need for the “last (audible) word” to the person or relationship that has made me angry, cause most of the time, it is wasted effort and doesn’t accomplish anything expecpt frustrate me.


Somtimes expressing the anger or the last word is for you not the other person.. it’s getting it out… but agree disengaging is good also..

I have to express until I get it out… I don’t anger often but when I do .. I express it clearly. I have been told that it why that I am so healthy.. I express.. I emote… I don’t hold it in.. I express appropriately though.. as a child I I was clearly taught how and how not to behave and this stifled me until I went into therapy and learned that I should honor my feelings and to express them and if someone can’t handle it .. tell them so long…
Abusers don’t want to hear or feel your anger.. or your emotions.. emotions are caused by feelings that this is what makes us sentient beings.. denying feeling will make us sick….


I see the past 3.5 years as a gift…..I wholeheartedly feel this way….
The emotions have sucked, the pain and lonliness have sucked and the being slapped upside the head with a 2×4 of reality has been hard…..
BUT… I am…..growing, learning and living my choice!
Sometimes it’s not so good…..sometimes it’s great…..
I embrace my anger and I know that stiffeling it has hurt my health……I wrestle with the ‘old’ EB and her ways of coping, and responding to what I go through day to day……and am in need of constantly reminding myslef that it’s OKAY!
I have learned patience…..this was the gift of my divorce……I shut my mouth and spring when I need to ……without warning……
I used to feel the need to have the last word….and only found (through patience) that by blurting our the ‘last word’….it only provides a warning.
No need.
I am now a sponge…..I watch, observe and learn through others actions…..I think, and I think some more……how I wish to proceed in any given situation…..good or bad.
I guess I have become ‘cerebrial’ in that sence.
I look forward to the angry stage dissipating……but I know it’s a necessary part of the process…..I try to use it to empower myself…….
I do know that none of us can come out unscathed…..and I know in my heart……one day…..they will get what the universe decides they must!
I just need to learn how to not look forward to that day coming so much and concentrate on living MY life.

GRRRRRRRRRR…..from a growling EB!

Ox Drover

Dear EB,

Oh, yea, having that last word DOES give them WARNING! and HOW I have learned to my regret–over and over—in fact, got one of those “letters from God” that said “Dear Oxy, You need to learn PATIENCE, so I’m going to give you another chance to learn it! Love God” Oh, yes!

Actually the people who make us the most angry are of two kinds…one: the ones who INTENDED to make us angry, so by spouting back at them we give them REWARD and show them they got what they wanted–they pithed us off! Two: This kinid doesn’t CARE if you are angry, so spouting off at them just doesn’t faze them and ultimately they could CARE LESS if you are angry, that’s your problems.

SO, in either case, I think, spouting off, even in a “lady like” manner doesn’t accomplish a darn thing AND in some cases it warns them. I have SHOT MYSELF IN THE FOOT many many MANY TIMES getting that last shot at them to show them just how angry I was. Like you, EB, I am learning PATIENCE though it has taken me a looooooong time. Also I am learning CRAFTY and CAUTIOUS because what GOOD does it do, really, besides give you a vent to let people like that KNOW how you feel? They don’t deserve it from me, and now that I really SEE that, any of the “feel good” I get from “tellin’ the [email protected] off doesn’t really give me any satisfaction at all because it doesn’t really accomplish anything positive at all.

However, walking away calmly and quietly sometimes does make them sit up and take NOTICE.

Where I developed the POTTED PLANT treatment was when years ago my friend was dating a P that hated me, or any of her friends actually. I was refinishing an antique chair in her garage adn had it in pieces.

One day he went out of town and we went over to his house to feed the dogs and let ourselves into his house through the garage, and what should I SPOT lying right there on top of another pile of junk, was a couple of the rungs and a back piece from MY CHAIR that he had taken just for the hell of it, so that I wouldn’t immediately miss it and would then wonder what happened to the pices of my chair and why some were missing.

When he came back, I was over at her house and had the pieces lying on the BAR so he would KNOW I KNEW and KNOW where I found them, but I refused to act like he was even in the room. I gave him the POTTED PLANT TREATMENT and it INFURIATED HIM.

Later when she tried to break up with him, he came into her house while she and I were gone and backed a truck up and had a couple of kids LOAD UP EVERYTHING SHE OWNED INCLUDING HER KIDS’ PICTURES AN DPUT IT IN STORAGE. He was her land lord and lied and said she owed him back rent which she didn’t.

She got a lawyer but it was going to be terribly expensive to fight it, so she ended up being friendly to him again and every weekend he would return ONE OR TWO of her things and my BF and I would have to go over there to help load them…so after a week or two of this when he would only give back 1 or 2 things I had my BF who was a huge guy, quietly tell the guy that “up til now, suzie and oxy had kept him from killing him, but he had decided he’d wasted enough weekends so we either got it ALL that day, or my BF was going to crack the guy’s spine and put him in a wheel chair since Oxy and Susie made him promise not to kill him.” LOL Guess what, we got it all back that day! LOL

a year or so later the guy came to the company my BF worked at, driving a borrowed truck (he was really cheap skate) and he wanted a “pick up truck load” of gravel lwhich was $3, but it didn’t FILL the truck because it was so heavy, it was just what a truck would haul WEIGHT WISE not volume wise. So the crane operator put the weight amount in the truck and the guy jumped up and down and screamed cause he was being “cheated” he wanted a TRUCK LOAD like he was supposed to get, so my BF who was teh foreman, looked at the crain operator and said, “Fill the man’s truck up, don’t cheat him John” So the guy FILLEd the truck, broke the axle in two and the wheels blew off and the tires blew out.

The P stood there jumping up and down and said “How am I going to get this out of here” MtyBF handed him a shovel and said, “Have it out of here at 7 a.m. by Monday or we will push it off with a bull dozer.

We would drive out there off and on all weekend while the guy was there shoveling gravel all weekend before he could call a tow truck. LOL What goes round comes round! I love it!

Sometimes these old HAPPY MEMORIES of dealing with a P and actually getting one over on them makes me smile. I guess there is really an evil streak down in old Oxy’s heart after all, but some things are just TOO GOOD to forget! ROTFLMAO



I don’t even question anymore, I have the evil deep down….I can’t tell you how many moments of chuckle I have had with the S biting hs own nose, tongue , lips and WALLET!
One of my favorites that pop into my mind, mostly when I’m drivning, is the “macully Caulkin’ home alone face ‘smear’ jaw drop the S did in court……THEN for me to have it recorded for eternity on DVD is even more CLASSIC!
This was his motion even before the judge ruled!!!!
Oh, heavin!!


My GF, is going through divorce curretnly….trial in early Jan…..
She’s getting really angry….and there is a lot of alimony money at stake for her…..A LOT!!!

She called me yesterday really pissed off. More at herself.
She said, she had called him for money, he refused and she went ballistic. She has bills ot pay and is feeling cornered.
He has 200K cash in the safe at the home and he changed the combo.
Her attrorney advised her to drill the safe, when he wasn’t home, but make sure she had anything and everything she wanted out of the house prior….because he would most likely get an order giving him posession of this home. (keeping her out)
She said to him… better send me a check or i’ll have the safe drilled.

I told her…..well…..that was fruitless….now all the money has been removed from the safe…YA THINK?

This is a perfect example of self control……
What is our goal? Purpose? (of having the last word)
Is it just to make us feel better…..cuz it’s false feelings…
It is to threaten or bully someone into doing what we want????

What is the goal here…..TO GET THE MONEY, so she can pay the bills…….

She should have shut her mouth……..bit the bullet, hired a safe driller dude on Christmas eve when he was gone with his family, and gone over and accomplished her goal.

Better outcome, no confrontation.
Sure, he would have been mad…..Oh well….she has the money now……be mad!

I’m worried about her going into trial not being able to control her outbursts…….she went ballistic in mediation….they know her weakness…..she won’t fare well……
\It ‘s all about self control and patience….
Who cares how we gotta get our point accomplished SILENTLY is best, as long as it gets done……that’s the only important ‘last word’ that we need……the pudding!!!

Back to the snake under the rock analogy……
SOmetimes we gotta let them pass on the trail a few times before we strike…..sometimes they will trip themselves and break their own ankles before we bite them…..and we can save our ‘venom’ for a next time…..
Stay hidden and cozy under that warm rock folks……and ONLY strike when the strikens hot and there is no antivenom available for miles……


Geez! I agree… she blurted out something when she should’ve acted…

She should’ve gotten everything that she wanted out… drilled the safe and left….

Darn it! Why did she tell him what she was thinking about doing…?



That snake analogy is one of my favorites on this site.
I’m actually utilizing that one in my real life.

My other favorite is Kathleen Hawk’s? dolphin analogy.
I’m using that one, too.

On a full-time basis, I think I’d rather be a dolphin than a snake, because dolphins are so much more friendly and lovable.
But, sometimes, ya gotta do whatcha gotta do. 🙂 (HiSSS)

~A locksmith can open a safe. There’s a price to pay (nowhere near 200K though), but the good news is that the money is removed from the safe, and the safe is left unscathed.


Thank you Oxy, and Kathy….( I emailed you a while back a month ago , I may have an old address for you Kathy) its not funny my best friend actually went through a similar situation and says she refuses to change her phone # because of him she has had it for 17 years… its only bill collectors that call for her ex s/p/n…but she is standing her ground..

I just wish there was an easier way to deal with it… I have been told the Hopi Indians do not have language for past tense action or verbs. Because they deal with what happens in the “now” easier said than done.. its hard not to be angry and in hindsight feel anger for not listening to your gut, and the “redflags” just living in ignorance is bliss…. NOT… Thanks for sharing it helps a lot more than you know. I appreciate your words and experience sharing helps to know that I am no where near alone in this . Thanks Hugs !


this is a really interesting site, and this page was extremely helpful to me in further understanding just how slimy and brutal these m-f-ers are:


This is one way I got through my divorce and learned patience.
I love it too and think of the analogy every day.
I also loved the dolphin one……
Not particularly a snake fan……but your right……
Gottadowhatchagottado sometimes.
It’s also a nice venom release!!!!


Yes, good site.
Thanks for the reminder….
I have SO many sites bookmarked that it’s overwhelming to go into my Cluster B bookmarks and find something…..

Ox Drover

Yea, I opened my big mouth back a couple of years ago when I threatened to hire an attorney and FIGHT his parole, so he KNOWS NOW…if I had kept my freaking mouth SHUT instead of trying to “scare him” into cooperating with me, how much ahead would I be with him not knowing what I was doing?


But now I know where and when to VENT safely and it is not in the hearing of the Ps or dysfunctional cluster Bs. Their cunning and thirst for revenge is way too over the top even for us when we are mad.

EB I am sorry that your GF is needing to learn the lesson you and I have so PAINFULLY learned but maybe this is “God’s letter” to her to LEARN PATIENCE and keep her stinking mouth shut.

I have learned, and even here lately, that under intense pressure I LET IT GO and spout off so I am NOT going to testify before the parole hearing, because I don’t want to give myself the opportunity to do something STUPID.

It is like if we have some sort of “fault” or “weakness” we need to learn to defend that short coming by using one of our SUPER STRENGTHS so that is what I am going to do.

None of us are great at everything, so we just play the game we are most equiped to win. If you are a sprinter, don’t run marathons and if you are a short person, don’t go out for basket ball, put your best qualities where they will SHINE and you can WIN!

We need to look at the BIGGER PICTURE and keep our GOALS in mind. Blowing off steam may feel good for the moment, but like your GF she probably paid $200,000 for the priviledge of shooting off her mouth! I’m sorry she is letting her buzzard beak over come her hummingbird butt! I hope you can get her some help and maybe get her to come here to LF. I’m glad though she has you for a friend, and I hope she listens to you, but you know, I’m coming to the conclusions that too many people don’t—and I include myself in that group, there was a time when I would not listen either.

I think some of us take our “teeanged” hard heads on into adulthood…I know I did! LOL but I’m learning!

As they say about some things (which shall be nameless) “SILENT, but DEADLY!” LOL ROTFLMAO


She also happened to mention to some key people in the divorce that she had a video of her STBX’s illicit behaviors with street prostitutes……
She did that to intimidate……
Not sure why….and I asked her WHY…..
Now she is being deposed as to a PI she MAY or MAY NOT have hired…

I think, before we do something we need to STOP….and make real clear we know WHAT we are trying to achieve from the words or statements….
If it’s intimidation…..SHUT UP!
You can intimidate from the ‘back door’ by DOING IT!!!!
If your too afraid to ‘do it’…..then still shut up…..
It’s like threatening your children….If you don’t finish your dinner, no dessert……
then serve them dessert..anyways…..
you lose credibility….
If your really trying to get a point across…..then get it across with 100% validity….

We shouldn’t hear the actual words…..we need to ‘read’ the meanings behind the words….
It always brings me back to when the Ex S stated…..”THE CAR IS NOT RUNNING”.

One would assume the car is broken down and at the shop…..needing repairs….
NO….in spath speak…..that was what he wanted the judge to believe…..but in reality HE/S didn’t see it as a lie….because his car wasn’t currently running……THE KEYS WERE NOT IN THE IGNITION!!!

Yes….my GF has been divorcing for 1.5 years and it’s coming to the end….it is imperative she SHUTS UP!!!!!!
Dig, recon, document….but keep the mouth shut!!!


Hey, Rosa,
Snakes can be very friendly and affectionate. I wish I could post a picture here of me cuddling with my snakes with their little heads under my chin!

I have been reading the posts about how to deal with anger with great interest. Tomorrow I go back to work after a 5-day break, feeling angry at a few of them. I am trying to decide if and how I could just distance myself from them. I don’t really want to express my anger toward them because they are work relationships. I would prefer to just distance myself. But I don’t know if this will be sufficient action to release the anger. This is my biggest problem. I am terrified of expressing anger. I’m so afraid that with work relationships, if I get angry, it could come back to bite me. It has happened once before with very dire consequences.

Ox Drover

Dear EB,

The thing is with my kids I only bluffed my kids ONE time, and so my kids know when I said something that I DID it. I got away with the bluff because I never broke my word to them.

If you are going to bluff, you have to have a good track record in the past with NOT bluffing, AND your bluff has to be so outrageous that they dare not take a chance. I learned to be a good “horse trader” from my grandfather….the rules are that you NEVER LIE, but you don’t have to VOLUNTEER any information unless they ask you. LOL I should have kept that in mind with my dealings with psychopaths.

I DID bluff my vengeful X-BF (the one who burned his previous GF’s house) because he knew I was a “woman of my word” AND because he had seen how PROTECTIVE my sons are of me, so he BELIEVED me and dared not cross the liine and burn my house or anything of the sort. I told him that if my house burned, and I SAW lightening strike it and start the fire, that my sons would still BLAME HIM and come after him. There were no witnesses of course, and my sons would NOT have, but HE DIDN’T KNOW THAT, ,so it was a great and successful BLUFF.

Generally, though, unless you are WILLING to carry through or you know the person is pretty sure you will, it is NOT A GOOD IDEA TO BLUFF, or even worse, spout off the truth!

I’ve learned that to my regret. MANY TIMES. However, I did tell my egg donor, the TH-P and my P-son that I would be there for the parole hearing. The TH-P actually believed me I know for sure, and that was though ONE REASON he changed his plans and dumped his plans with my P-son because if P-son never got out of prison, the plan wouldn’t do any good for the TH-P so he started the affair with X-DIL, and they made plans of their own to steal a lesser amount and hit the trail, leaving P-son, high and dry still in prison.

BUT, I still think P son will know I WILL be there and won’t take any chances I was just bluffing. The thing we did last time before the parole hearing though, was to hire an attorney (egg donor paid) and we prepared this LOVELY package of materials including 18 or so letters from every prominent person in the county including the SHERIFF (at the time) that WE WERE WONDERFUL PEOPLE, however, the current sheriff who is completely familiar with this whole chaotic case, I am sure will write a letter to the parole board NOW, and I can also get several of the other people who wrote letters and are familiar with the chaos to WRITE NEW LETTERS if the lawyer thinks it is a good idea. Including my psychiatrist who wrote one to my “sanity” for the court appearance with the egg donor, and so I think we can present a pretty good case for keeping the P in prison for another 5 years at least! I sure hope so. I am hopeful about this and becoming more so as I think about the logic and logistics of this.

Star, “releasing the anger” by an outburst or a direct confrontation is probably, in my opinion, not going to do you any GOOD at your job. If these people do not like you, and are trying to get you to be miserable (and are succeeding) the best thing in my humble opinion, is to give them the “I didn’t notice you were being an a$$hole” routine. Don’t let them SEE YOU BLEED. Don’t let them know they have gotten to you. I know it is hard, but come here and SCREAM and vent, we will listen, we will care…but they don’t. Hang in there sweet cheeks! (((Hugs)))) Love Oxy



After having gone through all of these phases successfully, what do you think started what you called a new phase in your recovery, when you started focusing more on yourself?

Looking back, is there a way that you think you could have jump-started into the next phase and out of the anger phase sooner, with hindsight? If so, what would it have taken to do this? Is there any advice you can give to someone who is ready to go to the next phase? If I rush into the next phase, will I be glossing over important things I can learn about my emotions? Or do you think that just my desire alone to get to the next phase and be done with it is enough to propel me into it? Because lately, I am sick to death of thinking about my ex and being angry about him and and everything and everyone I lost becuase of him. Now, I have also lost the last couple of years worrying about him and each second I waste on him is one more thing I am losing and I’m damn tired of losing things to him.

So, I am looking for practical advice on shaking free of the anger phase and moving onto the next and hopefully final stage. I appreciate any thoughts you have, Kathleen. I always learn a lot from you. Thanks, in advance.

Ox Drover

Dear Jill,

So good to hear from you! Hope your Christmas with your baby boy was good and that you enjoyed watching him open presents and play with the boxes! Don’t they all?!!! LOL

Give him a big hug from “auntie Oxy” and I’m glad you are still working hard on your healing! (((hugs)))


Hi Oxy,

How was your Christmas? I hope you are well.

My son and I had a blast this Christmas. I did all the traditions and was really happy. It is the first time I have felt the Christmas Spirit in a few years and it was a very welcome feeling because who doesn’t need a reason to celebrate life every now and again? 🙂

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