Researchers search for “successful psychopaths”

Many people commenting on this blog have expressed the hope that sociopaths/psychopaths will pay in this lifetime for their evil deeds. Well, I am writing to tell you that if this is your wish, statistics are in your favor. You likely just need to wait it out because psychopathy is associated with life failure, as I will explain.

In a recent study, Psychopathic personality traits and life-success, Dr. Simone Ullrich and colleagues examined relationship success and life success in more than 300 men, they have followed for many years, these men are now 48 years old. In their study, psychopathy was not associated with success in any of life’s domains. When they examined symptoms of psychopathy the interpersonal domain (being charming and manipulative) was not related to ”˜”˜status and wealth” or ”˜”˜successful intimate relationships”. Impulsiveness and antisocial behavior reduced ”˜”˜status and wealth.” The authors state “ It is concluded that psychopathic traits do not contribute to a successful life and that the findings cast doubt on the existence of the successful psychopath.”

You may be asking, What about all the “successful psychopaths” we hear about? First of all, I believe that these are a very tiny minority. Remember that the disorder sociopathy or psychopathy is a group of impairments that I relate to an inability to love, poor impulse control and deficient moral reasoning. Confusion arises because some narcissistic individuals have impaired ability to love accompanied by grandiosity, but their impulse control and moral reasoning are not as impaired. These individuals may achieve some life success (Journal of Personality Disorders, Vol 21(6), Dec 2007. pp. 657-663). So if a person is unable to love and grandiose but not excessively impulsive or immoral, that individual may achieve some career success. But still an inability to love prevents any real relationship success.

So now you can move on. Fate and Karma will get that psychopath/sociopath. You can go about your life working as I do, on trying to love more and live better.

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338 Comments on "Researchers search for “successful psychopaths”"

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I’m not so sure that these are such a tiny minority because I think there is an untold amount that go undetected and unreported in varying degree. But I certainly do ascribe to the belief they are their own worst enemy. And without recognizing that the path of destruction that follows them is of their own making, without change that is also their future destiny where only more of the same also lies ahead in their empty search for futility.

As you’ve said before Dr. Leedom, we all have to make choices and whether we realize it or not, we are or will be at some point, responsible for them.

It’s very satisfying to read this report. For many years I was eaten up with wishing for the S to get his comeuppance. I eventually learned that I must let go of this as it was impeding my recovery. I did let go and I was able to forge ahead with rebuilding my life.

Still, every now and then I wondered if the time would ever come when he got what he deserves. I still hear about him occasionally, through the grapevine and recently I heard he had been sacked from yet another job and is about to lose his home. He will of course get another job at some point but it must be getting increasingly difficult. He is now in his mid 40’s and only ever holds down a job for a maximum of 7 or 8 months before he’s sussed. This time span is getting shorter and shorter with each job. The girlfriends are not lasting as long either.

I have a son with the S and every now and again the S turns up here and makes life difficult (to say the least). But I can feel the end coming. He s definitely getting worse and worse and I just know that before long he’s going to end up in prison. That is the day I will hold the mother of all parties. The day I can stop looking over my shoulder.

Are they “successes”? By whose definition of “success?” I think sometimes THEY think they are a “success” if you define the word by their idea of “winning” or “getting what they want” becaue they don’t see “failure’ the way we do either, they see prison as a “temporary” set back or as my son seems to do, seeings it as an “opportunity” to continually hone his skills and have a constant stream of small successes in putting one over on the guards or another convict, or getting someone to feel sorry for him and send him money.

I know several professional people that I would consider psychopaths by anyone’s definition and some of them are internationally famous for their work. Their personal lives suck, and they abuse wives and girlfriends unmercifully, but they consider themselves “successful” and people on the “outside” would look at them and think they were. I see politicians that I consider their behavior psychopathic, like the ex governor of NY and he was considered a “success” until recently, though those closest to him knew him to be ruthless and vindictive.

I do agree that many of them don’t acheive “success” like WE would define it, but I think sometimes even though they “lose” by our standards of “success” and go to prison or are publicly shamed, have no lasting relationships, etc. that they see themselves as “successful” or only “temporarily” inconvenienced because some one else did something mean to them. Heads they win, tails, we lose. If that is the way you keep score then, yea, they are all “winners”— but if that’s being a winner, I don’wanna be one!

Aside from my own personal experience, my job position, puts me in contact with lots of different people, all with a story to tell. Some of them would probably be labeled sociopath. Lots of men who are womanizers. Alcoholics, drug addicts, all walks of life. I’ve observed many of them over the course of the years, as some of them return. Several come to mind, and now, after all their years of chasing women, drinking, loose living, giving no thought to establishing something for the future, they return, bodies rebelling, looks gone, no money, no woman, no one to grow old with and share the rest of their life. They are now too old to be of much use as far as sex is concerned, and they are miserable. They have chosen their own end by the way they lived. I tried over the course of the time I knew them to tell them they all started at the wrong end. They spent their time in satisfying their flesh, and now the candle is burnt out and the spark is gone. Lots of poor choices, but they hurt a lot of women along the way. They are receiving their reward. They are alone.

I agree that what a sociopath considers being successful is far different from what a “normal” person would think.
To a sociopath manipulating a person to do what they want or buy them what they want would be a success. They are getting what they want.

I don’t think that a sociopath looks at the big picture. I don’t think that they look far into the future. It is all about them and what they can get from whoever their current target is at the moment.

Mine was juggling several women at once, but didn’t have a solid relationship with any of them. He used them to get things that he wanted and managed to juggle more than one relationship at a time.

I don’t see any of this as being successful in life or otherwise. Momentary pleasures would never be enough for most of us. We have values and a conscience which prevents us from using others for personal gain.

It would be nice to see the sociopaths be punished somehow for their misdeeds, but perhaps their lives are their punishment.

I am pleased to read of this research. I don’t like seeing the term “successful psychopath” as this is an oxymoron.

My ex-P is “successful” at work, but that’s only because he makes a lot of money, is able to manipulate those that work for him, and stays in a position for no longer than 2-3 years (at which point he is found out, either for his lack of ability or for his “inappropriate” relations with women that work for him).

Now, if people see that as “success”, then that’s their choice, but any non-P would not think of this as success.

He does have the “status and wealth” right now, but he is losing the status very quickly, and the wealth will be right behind it. He is making a bad reputation for himself and constantly has to run from his mistakes.

I firmly believe that in the end he will have nothing and no one. This is not success. Perhaps if there are “successful psychopaths”, the facade of success is only temporary.

I wonder if anti socials are lead by their ego into creating facades of status and wealth to reinforce and feed their ego energy of grandioseness. Others see the implications of these kinds of actions as being ultimately empty because we know that in the long term these will not bring personal fulfillment

Hi Everyone. You have to read Alexander Lowen’s book “Narcissism, Denial of the True Self” to get a comprehension of what you are dealing with of any of the anti-social personalities. Lowen. himself, is a Narcissist. He provides several of his patient’s profiles in the book to explain what we are dealing with. At the end, he states there is no cure for their condition. A condition of “a life devoid of emotion is beyond your imagination” or something along that line of thinking (I no longer have the book … I kept buying it and giving it away to friends as one by one, they too had a anti-social personality come into their space. So as you work through your anger and frustration and bitterness to what an anti-social personality is and the damage they left in their wake … remember this as you are healing … yes, the pain we experience do to these personalities are almost unbearable … and yes, they derailed our lives … and yes, they should have this or that happen in their lives … yes, yes, yes, we all agree …. but listen to me as I explain this theory to you … I’d rather feel the pain they left me … then to never FEEL anything at all, EVER, for the rest of my life. They are the walking dead, devoid of happiness, devoid of pleasure, devoid of pain, devoid of any of the precious emotions we are too feel. Zombies … walking zombies. That’s why Jesus told us to send out love to every one. Because we don’t know what any one is dealing with … we aren’t one of those that are DEVOID of emotions. Peace, Love and all of God’s good qualities to everyone. Remember, Jesus left us PEACE, he left us the holy spirit. The holy spirit remains within us … all of us, even the anti-socials of the world … you just have to remember to go silent, clear your mind, you will be with the holy spirit.

It’s funny to find this post here today right after I heard that the sociopath who has almost destroyed my life is being very successful in his career and with his girlfriend – the poor official one, not the slut who he hides from everyone else.
My mother’s friend who knows my story very well has told me about her sister who was deceived by a sociopath when she was young and caused huge harm on her. He was a very well-known man in their small town in the northeast of Brazil and everyone loved him. He had a very violent death when he was looking both sides to cross a street and a bus chopped off his head. I don’t think she meant to relief me when she told me that, she even seemed to be sorry for him, but I’m sure her sister might have felt that that was some kind of justice life has prepared.
Now, whenever I’m sad about his success in life I think of this story, to remember that divine justice is real. I know it’s odd, but it really helps me to have an example like this, despite all the sociopaths we see everyday being successful in their careers and seducing everyone around them.

I think a lot of this has to do with your definition of “successful”. To the world, my ex looks like a successful man-of-the-church. He has books published and out there on Leadership and Transformation, he is asked to speak at seminars and direct choral workshops, he travels around the country meeting witht he biggies in the field.

Maybe, in the eyes of the world, that is success, and on some level it IS. But his personal life – the place where we all really LIVE – is a mess. Two failed marriages, 3 grown children who only spend time with him out of guilt, a third marriage that (from what I hear) is already losing its luster, and a boat-load of former friends and associates who think he is a real jerk.

So what is success?? We can define it in terms of the way the world sees him, or we can go to the heart of success – the love of good and true friends and families. In the former, yes, he is a success, but the latter?? i am sure glad I am me.


I believe too that in the end, sociopaths will come up on the short end of the stick. I mean logically when someone puts so little to no effort into any relationship albeit a business, sociality and family (there own children) what can be expected but the real and present reality of a relationship that functions on very little investment if it functions at all. I believe that like themselves, all of their relationships are dysfunctional, empty and void of any real emotional ties. People who are once trusted, no longer will be. People who gave them love, understanding and compassion will dry up and quit on them. Even if they are in a relationship it will be void of any true love and understanding. Like anything else on this planet if no growth occurs the thing will just die. In short I really don’t worry or hope that the truth of what happens in the past will reveal itself and reality “hits” home. Because I know it will. You see, reality itself demands it own price. One that each of us must in the end pay. How many children, parents and businessperson just one day tell themselves, “God, I can’t take it anymore and I am done with this person!” You see that I believe the pools (money, love and emotional needs) for these people start to dry up. It then become harder and harder for them to lie, manipulate and control others to receive that which they need so much. This course of natural process would also explain why many of them get worst as they age. Manic depression becomes the norm. A lifetime of denial leaves them with “hazy” thoughts and memory. These same people wake up each day believing that the world has turn against them, which it has! We all wait for some type of “pay off” from our investments. If we invest in love, we receive love. If we invest strong emotional bonds, then we will reap a strong emotional bond with our love ones. If we invest in understanding and compassion we then benefit from that investment as well. Like any good and wise investment all we need know is to invest on something that can and will reap a reward. So putting our time and effort into a strong solid relationship will of course reap the best return!

my Psychopathic father sought after money, power and “glory” his entire life—he eventually got all of those things on a national level–but when he died, there was only one of his four children that would have anything to do with him, he no longer had the admiration of anyone. His family of cousins all thought he was a psychopath and wouldn’t even speak to him, his arrogance and ranting and raving had lost him the respect of just about everyone.

He died a pitiful old man, filled with hate for everyone, with only one of his kids there—who actually is just like him I hear, haven’t seen my half brother since he was a kid, and only talked to him once as an adult. My P-bio father was a brilliant man in several fields, and yet his arrogance and hate filled thinking kept him always angry and dissatisfied. It was a tremendous drain of energy I am sure for him to try to keep up his facade that was so important to him. He made no bones about despising others who were “inferior” to him, and yet, at the same time, he craved their addoration like a junkie craves drugs—and when he got it, he desipsed it even more.

Yea, I think in the end even the ones that acheive their own definition of “success” find it a hollow “victory”–you can’t take a U-haul to the graveyard. In the end the ONLY thing that really lives after us is what we have DONE in our lives, and most of the time what they have done is to sow discord, pain, discontent, and chaos. That’s not much of a legacy.

I doubt if there was one sincere tear shed over my P-bio-father’s death or anyone with the exception of my one half brother who felt any sense of loss (if even he did).

James and OxDrover, you are both so correct. I am watching my ex investing himself (what little shallowness there is to invest!) in a couple of stepchildren of his new wife. These pre-teens HAVE a father who is very much involved with them. My ex is trying to invent another image of the Perfect Family that he never had the inclination to do with his own children. In the meantime, his own kids (who are INCREDIBLE adults now) see him as the jerk he really always was.

My ex is almost 62 years old and he thinks by playing Daddy to a couple of faux children, he can create the “real” life he threw away when he had the chance with his own family. My kids see exactly what he is doing, and it disgusts them.

With idiots like this, EVERYTHING is an illusion and an attempt to create a kind of Fantasyland of their own making. They don’t really CARE that in private there is chaos and despair if to the world they can pull off looking like Mr. Nice Guy. Anyone and everything will be sacrificed, if necessary, in order to uphold that public image they so need however that might look. For one of them it might be the Power Image, for another it might be the Successful Businessman image, for another it might be Mr. Sensitive…….it is not the particular image of success they crave but that somehow, some way, they get the adoration they believe they deserve even if it means throwing people who love them under a bus.

My ex-sociopath does not fit my mold of successful. When I started dating him I felt like I was “slumming it”. But I thought it was fun to not date for money but instead for love (that is the last time I do that:) He ended up saving a little money during the course of our relationship due to my encouragement. But, his impulsive behavior has put him financially in the can again.

How does one measure success? So many I know, use dollars and cents to measure it. I like God’s words in Timothy that says, “godliness with contentment is great gain”. I don’t know a lot of contented people. I find contentment in the simple pleasures of life. To some, I’m not a success. But I want to have my treasure, my success, in heavenly places and not in earthly vessels. But that’s what works for me. I think if more of these men, who have such lofty ideals, but expect someone else to work out the details, would come down from their ivory towers and join the real world, they would be a success. I see lots who want to own the company, but not work for it. They keep striving, but get nowhere. And everyone they meet is a stepping stone, but they hurt their progress by hurting the ones who want to help. It’s a mixed up journey, because they live in a very chaotic state of mind. There’s no way any one could follow their line of thinking. They don’t do things in order. Or if they are a success by society’s standard, they think they are infallible. That’s when the truth of their living is revealed. What’s done in the dark will come to light.

I’ve known some who think they are successful if they score. Shallow successes, but one never the less. Maybe some think they are a success if they scammed and got away with it, time and time again. Some get invited into the “inner circle” and feel they have arrived. Name dropping and trying to be a part. I think if they ever find their true identity, recognize what they’ve done and admit it, they will be a success.

Funny you should say you felt like you were “slumming it”. I too could say I was “slumming it”; sleeping on the sofa bed and then a futon mattress on the floor because he had no furniture. But he was trying to get back on his feet and paying child support; I was in love, so who cared – we were together! Yeah – right!
He “appeared” successful to others; plane – boat; toys that I paid for. I remember how smug he would get when people would ask him about the plane when we would fly in somewhere, because it had floats on it (could land on water or land). Little did they know that he did not pay for it.
These “toys” were used to impress the other women, and then he would ask to borrow money from them. If one was paying close attention – that does not make sense. Wonder what he told them after they were taken away. He sure doesn’t have anything now to impress the ladies but lawsuits and bankruptcy. All he owns are his clothes and some misc. items – no car, no house. He has less now, then what he had 8 years ago. I don’t call that successful.


“possession is 9/10s of the law”—and I guess if you “possess” something no matter WHO paid for it or how much you owe, you can feel like a “big shot”—but not forever! It’s all about the ‘impression” and the “mask” not about reality, but for that moment they feel like a BIG shot and ohhhhh does that feel good. They don’t have to think about the REALITY of the fact that they don’t own anything, that they scammed it from someone else, but it does’t make any difference to those that are “impressed” by status, money or toys!

It’s like two little kids under the porch playing “show me yours” YUK!

My P-father was the perfect example of an unsuccessful psychopath.

He died in prison where he had been for 15+ years not surrounded by people who could have loved him deeply, but by strangers and enemies.

So sad and tragic.

my ex s p is trying to be a good partner to some girl who looks exactly like me, dont know if shes waking up its been going about 5 months now? i hope and say all the time i want him to get his pain and share of un happiness. it may be coming as he came into my work unexpected the other day sniffing around, strange behaviour if your in a happy relationship? he insists its still going strong. who knows. i hope she dumps him and realises. but he is so good at acting like the great boyfriend maybe she will never know or isnt perceptive. me im still trying to find what makes me happy, i would love a normal partner and family, keep hoping and praying. it all seems rosy for him though. there must be things she finds strange about him like weird phone calls at odd times, i dont call him though i am sure other woman do. he tries so hard to cover things up hes good at it, but sometimes the tiniest thing would stick in my mind a clue for certain then i would find out in the end. i hope she does too. poor girl. he wants a normal relationship and family so much i know for sure, but does he deserve this, i dont think so .come on karma. also in regards to sluming it with them mine had nothing when i met him he was living in share house with his uncles and wasnt happy there only owned his bedroom furniture, no car, and only worked casual. no wonder he found life with me attractive i had myown place and lived comfortable. he eventually got a real fulltime job with my encouragement only. now he still doesnt own much he has a place he is renting and a bit more furniture still no car though. wonder what the new girl thinks she sounds like she has a good job, go figure. very interesting isnt it. thanks

I was married to what one might consider a “successful” sociopath for 16 years. He was an F-18 pilot in the navy when I met him and now he is a Captain for a major airline. By all societal accounts he is a success. I left him almost two years ago because I found a man who is amazing and we fell in love. That gave me the strength to leave the bad relationship (lying, isolating me, cheating on me – lots of flight attendants, telling all his friends and our neighbors I was “crazy”, etc…) I had tried to divorce him two years prior but somehow he reeled me back in – with fear I believe. Everyone thought he was so great and how could I want to divorce such a perfect man? I had NO support, even from my family. When I told him I wanted a divorce the first words out of his mouth weren’t, “Oh my God” or “Please lets work it out” or ” I love you, Please don’t leave me” they were “I will destroy you!” He has done his best to do that. I left the divorce with only the minimum state mandated child support and 50% of the meager assets he had acquired. His 401K had about 1/2 of what other pilots of his tenure had in theirs. Where is all the money? He has manipulated my poor boys to the point where one of them barely speaks to me at the age of 15, the other has become disrespectful. Although he told them that he had cheated on me – they blame me for leaving. He only told them to head me of at the pass before I told them. The lies were unending. I too could write a book. I felt crazy. Well, I’m not crazy and most of my suspicions have since been confirmed. He is an intelligent and clever man but he possesses no soul. He is willing to try and destroy the mother of his children after I was a faithful stay at home mother for all those years. He is to the outside world A SUCCESS. He is to me a demon. There are successful sociopaths. They are charming, intelligent, have many friends and great professions. They leave in their wake nothing but devastation and will never be blamed or punished for it because they make their victims out to be the wrongdoers. My most persistent unanswerable question is: why do so many people believe thrier lies?

I really don’t know what personality type to put on my husband, but hearing what goes on in other’s lives, puts him in the running of sociopath. As I reflect, I see what I didn’t at the time. Naturally. 40 years ago, one just thought a man was a man. When I met mine, he was 34 and still living at home. At that time, I thought, he’s a devoted family man. How nice. WRONG!! He never left home even when he left home. I now understand the scripture that says a man is to leave his family and cleave to his wife. Home really is where the heart is. His heart never left his home and that was where he was the happiest.

I believed that we would begin our life with our traditions and start our own family. He never connected. Nothing formed a bond. It took 30 years to finally get the total truth. I suspected he felt that all we had was his, even though he didn’t have much when we met, other than a few possessions. Now I look at a person’s life and if they don’t have much to show for their years of living, I say, so long sucker. If they don’t have a car, apartment, etc., then I see them as a leech, looking for a home.

I can’t get inside the head of someone who is totally selfish. I truly believed that we shared everything. I still can’t get myself to understand how a man can so willingly share his body, but his possessions, mind and feelings are all his, but he wants us to share our money, time, body, emotions, everything with him. And if we pull back, he has the nerve to be offended.

How I wish I knew then what I know now. My kids would have had a lot less grief and we would have had peace. But I didn’t know and now I do. If I make the same mistake again, it will be my own fault. I will look behind the scenes and find out why he doesn’t have anything. I’m sure he didn’t lose it all in a divorce. It’s okay to find out the cause of a divorce if there was one. I’ve found if the wife(wives) all filed for divorce, there had to be a good reason. They all can’t be wrong. Pays to check.

Dear Truthonmyside,

Welcome to the healing place, and most of us here have had similar experiences. WE end up looking like the “crazy” ones because they keepup the “front.”

Yes, people believe their lies. We at one time believed their lies.

I suggest that you READ and LEARN about psychopaths and abusers and users, there is so much good information here on this blog. The essays are remarkable and the comments are very very validating to your feelings.

Information is the best path to healing. Internalizing that information. So that you can heal, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

His “I will destroy you” is typical too, it means–I don’t respect you, but you are my PROPERTY, how dare you leave me!

Believe him. Protect yourself., physically, emotionally, financially, socially, and with your kids.

He will be losing his “illusion” of the “happy family and the little wifie” so this may make him quite angry. HIding money, etc are par for the course, so I suggest you get a good divorce attorney and do the best you can, and then get on with your healing and your life. God bless.

Free, you are so right. I don’t think WE CAN heal completely until we get anger, rage, and wrath out of our system. For me it is a continual battle not to fall BACK INTO it (like recently when I discovered the vandalizm the Trojan Horse P had done to my machinery–to the tune of about $25,000 of damage to at least 3 vehicles–but it GETS EASIER than it would have only a year ago, and instead of 3 months or more of a tooth grinding anger and rage at the injustice of it, the sheer unnecessary destruction, it was only one day’s worth. BIG difference. “Practice makes perfect”—I “Ain’t perfect” yet or I wouldn’t have had the anger I did have, LOL, but I’m sure a heck of a lot better than before!

Staying in the moment, accepting the things we cannot change, and you are right—it is so good. ((hugs))))

Hiya dear Free – These things are so subtle arent they – but yet so powerful. Change your mindset and you change your world and even small changes in attitude can bring results. Some of us have no problems being assertive at work, but when we enter intimate relationships, we seem to lose ground, I know I have felt like that. Off the back of what happened to me, I am still examining my own mindset and although I am still in the tail end of recovery from the surgery and treatment, I am feeling a million times better. We are here to help and support each other – and that is as it should be!!! (((hugs)))

You know, Free, that psychopath was STILL even after “how long?” trying to SHAFT his X-wife and keep her from getting a job that she was applying for! HOW ROTTEN IS THAT, and the poor woman may never even know why she got turned down for a job that she may have been perfectly qualified for. That is just a perfect example—PERFECT—of what the Ps do, no matter how long it is after the break up, they MISS NO OPPORTUNITY to hurt you, even though it benefits them NOT ONE WHIT! Yet, he will chortle and laugh and feel superior because he HURT HER without her even knowing it…although who knows, maybe he will laugh and tell her later, just to drive another splinter under her fingernail.

CRAZY? I bet you she WAS, but BECAUSE OF HIM. I totally ADMIT I was CA-RAAAAAA-ZYYYY, if crazy means that you can’t thinkk straight, you cry all the time, you are paranoid, you can’t focus, you can’t function, —yep, and I bet that poor woman was too.

This kind of chit makes me sooooo ANGRY, and also angry at your unsuspecting friend who would take the word of a P. Unfortunately, we can only TRY to educate these “others” and not always successfully. It is a shame.

Today I go to face the Trojan HOrse P in small claims court, that is if the State did transport him for the hearing, to try to keep him from keeping title to the vehicle he conned my mother into buying for him. I’ve got on my “big girl panties” and I am going to put on the best performance of my life in front of the judge–BTW the judge is the same one who RAISED HIS BAIL after my speech at the bail hearing, so at least I bet’ya he will REMEMBER the P, so maybe that will help!

But whatever happens, I am SECURE that I will behave in a dignified manner and appear to be a rational human being and he will appear to be nothing but the reptile he is–and the funny part is that he will THINK he came off as a “Big Shot.” (In his prison uniform no doubt!) Wonder if they will unhandcuff him for the hearing? Since the deputies all know him I doubt it. I’ll let you know how it goes later this afternoon.

Hi there Free. Yes, ONCE WE KNOW the patterns of behaviour it is much more obvious what we are dealing with and if we are feeling really confident, we can throw in the odd test or two. I have recently tried explaining personallity disorderto people who have never come across it and they look at me vacantly, because they are like I was, at the beginning, not knowing who i was truly dealing with. Yes Knowledge is great power.

Your confidence shines in your words and yes I agree, when we are on the other side of the experience and have grown from it, – I agree it is wonderful ((hugs))

Well, the judge didn’t show up, so we are rescheduled for August 20th. the Trojan Horse P wasn’t there either.

Hiya Free. Yes, agreed and that is why I think that bad things happen to good people, the innocent ones. Dont we have to accept that all people are not innocent and that in a sense it pays the innocent ones to be aware of the tricks and ploys of the not so innocent ones. In a sense for me it is about accepting that evil exists in the world as duality. And how do we work out lives around that, – what we resist persists, so if we reject evil, in my experience ‘its volume’ gets turned up – almost like a naughty child seeking attention through its misdemeanours.

If we have an attitude of acceptance with non reaction coming out of our inner emotional state then in buddhist terms we can work to have a sense of compassion for other’s blind spots, their ignorance, we dont forget but we are not ruled by it and therefore we do not enter their mindset.

I am reading a Buddhist book about anger, because where I live I have had a fair degree of damage done to my property by unruly children which culminated in (I think one of my next door neighbours 5 children) breaking my front window on Sunday. So I have approached them in a non angry state, but acknowleging that I feel angry, because I am a reactive person and I know that when I was with the N, I reacted to everything he said and did, which gave him immense power over me. (((Hugs and love to you Free)))

Bev, it is interesting about Buddhist philosophy, my P-son in prison has for years read about Buddhist beliefs and in fact has corresponded with several Buddhist monks for years.

He has even taught himself to read and write Chinese, some Japanese, etc. His readings about Eastern philosophy has gone on for years and he can”quote” all kinds of non-violent philosophy, including Christianity, etc. but he doesn’t GET IT at all, it is just his MASK–

My gracious, I used to TEACH a class for nurses and nurse managers about HOW TO DEAL WITH UNREASONABLE people, patients and their family. How to come on in a non-threatening way, how to realize that these people are hurting, scared, etc and how you can by NOT reacting to their anger, keep the situation under control. How you can pacify them, and at the same time keep yourself from becoming frustrated and angry, etc. Great Class! I just didn’t practice it with the Ps. I WENT CRAZY INSTEAD. The Ps remained “calm”—OUCH!! ! I let them turn it all backwards on me!

When we let our irritation build up to anger, and we retain that anger, we LET GO OF control of ourselves. Then they take control. Even Jesus was angry, but He didn’t “lose control” so we need to make sure that our anger (even justified anger) doesn’t let us give away our POWER to another. Jesus said “be angry and sin not” which I thinks mean that even though you are angry, keep YOUR CONTROL.

I have noticed that most of the time my P-son, and my XBF-P kept CONTROL (at least outwardly) with their anger and used that “calmness” to work on getting control of me.

What was used to be called “cold blooded” or “first degree” murder, was a murder that was NOT done in the heat of anger, but one that was cauculated and calmly planned in advance. That was considered the worst degree of murder, and at that time people were executed for first degree murder. Now, I’m not too sure murder of any kind is still much of a “crime” as unless it is multiple homicides, or particularly heinous ones, or of a policeman, etc. it seems that they eventually get out.

Bev, I don’t envy you living around 5 unruly kids, we had a family of 11 of them on a corner of our property that ran wild over the countryside, stealing and vandalizing. A mile up the road we had 3 brothers who were budding Ps, one killed himself in a motorvehicle accident, and the two are now iin prison (again) but their reign of terror was over the time they were from 10-12 to 21 or so when they finally went back to the Big House for a lengthy stay. They loved to burn buildings too. With the bigger group of kids, the bank foreclosed on their house and 1/4 acre and we managed to buy it! It was so dilapadated that no one else would live iin the place so we got it pretty cheap to use as a storage shed until the roof starts to leak and then we can bull doze it. I admit that my frustration with that group of kids turned into frustrated anger many times. I’m sure the local sheriff felt the same way as well.

Keeping our own peace in trying circumstances and in dealing with people who are evil and unreasonable is difficult, but for our OWN mental and spiritual health we need to make I think every effort to do so. (((hugs))))

Dear OxyD. There will always be situations that test us to the max and I identify so strongly with the rage and anger that people here have felt towards their predators after realising the utter despicable behaviour and betrayal – it would test anyone to the limit. I had to ‘contain’ myself more than once at the beginning, the desire for revenge was deep, and I cant tell you what depths my imagination went to, but I know that this is not the right way, so like many here I practised much restraint and journalling here helps to release.

Applying what we learn in ‘real time’ is the difficult bit and I always consider myself ‘work in progress’. I noticed that your Pson and XBF-P like my exN had a superficial veneer of perfect control – but inside, my exN was a seething cauldron of rage and anger. One of his pet sayings was (and he text me once when I had upset him (not conformed)) ‘An eye for an eye’. But they dont express at the time, and they dont share what they are thinking – I think that is the dangerous bit – they store it all up and do alot of thinking about what they are going to do. And if the lid gets lifted on all that rage and they do out of control, well as you know, the result can be murderous and as you say premeditated acts are even worse.

I never saw my exN lose control in any situation. A horrible situation once, we were sitting in a bar and a black guy came in and the guy had no money (we have alot of different cultures moving into the area) and was bumming free drinks off women. My ex got so insensed that when the guy was thrown out of the pub by the landlord, my ex followed him into some woodland and God only knows what he did. My ex calmly sat and finished his drink as though nothing had happened – I was really shocked.

Yes, BEv, my son and my X-BF-P are both very vengeful, my XBF actually burned the home of the woman before me because she “dis’d” him. There is no legal proof but there is NO doubt in the minds of any of us that he did it. I made the mistake of telling my P-son that he was disinherited from my estate when I saw that he was not in any way repentant.

That was when he formulated the plan to get around that by making sure I died before my mom did so I couldn’t also disinherit him from the Family Trust (which is worth far more than I am personally as all my land, airport and home are in the trust as well).

Yea, I know the rage that they keep bottled up, so that they don’t give you a clue about what they intend to do. I have been too open and honest with him, and it was all used as ammunition to shoot back at me. The more information they have the better armed and the better their aim is. I didn’t start withholding information until it was too late.

Looking back though, I can see that he slipped a few times and gave me some clues. I picked up on them at the time, but I talked myself out of doing anything about them, again, until it was too late. He counted on my mother “taking his side” and he played her like a harp–he knew just which string to pluck to get the note that he wanted and sure enough, before long she was playing his tune perfectly.

The ONLY thing that went wrong with his plans was that after I left home and they couldn’t find me, that the Trojan Horse started having an affair with my DIL and my son C caught them and the whole thing back fired and blew up, landing the DIL and the TH-P both in jail. Of course then we had the TH-P’s letters from my son P to read and figure out all the “plot”–I can almost laugh at it now, but it COULD have worked.

In the eyes of the world my P-son is certainly not a “success” in any way, but in HIS OWN EYES, he is.

I know other Ps though that are considered “successes” in the world’s eyes, professionals, financially successful, etc. and though most people who know them don’t personally “like” them, they still consider them successful because of the professional or business stature that they have acheived.

Around here in the farming community of Pa., there is a saying that fits these sociopaths…They are the kind of person,(man), who could fall into a pile of manure and come out wearing a three piece suit. They are like cats. They always land on their feet or someone else’s.

Thank you thank you thank you. I am getting free. I am doing this I am winning this game. The Prize???? MY FUTURE!!!!!!!


hi all,

as much as I want to believe this is true, I don’t.

I think because their core values are different, they do not have quality or lack of quality lives in the same way we see it.

Their lives are just fine by them. They are successes at what is important to them.

It differs simply because what is important to them and important to us are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Living up to our values is what makes US a success, using and abusing people is what makes them a success.

Would you feel bad about yourself for hitting a nail with a hammer? Would you judge your life unsuccessful if your refrigerator didn’t like you?

I can’t see how any of them suffer. The only way I see them suffering is if they are locked in a room ALONE for the rest of their lives.

Otherwise, I see them being successful at what is important to them, which is not the same as how we would judge our lives. But I wish I could be convinced otherwise.


Thank you for the support. I need all I can get. I had a huge breakthrough. DOesn’t mean I am not afraid of his next move. He normally barks and then gets quitet for a while. I’ve watched and learned for a long time. But you never can tell.


Your story is much like mine. My ex has custody and has poisoned the kids against me. If you want to be able to understand this phenomenon, I recommend “Divorce Poison” and “Adult Victims of Parental Alienation Syndrome.” These books explain how a P can turn kids against you, almost overnight.

My ex was able to convince the judge (who at the least is incompetent and a fool for allowing it, and at worst may be a P himself) that he was the better parent, after essentially ignoring the kids for 15 years. He convinced the kids to choose him by bribing them with expensive gifts and permissiveness. I refused to play the game and told the kids directly that I would continue to do what I thought was best for them even if they didn’t like it. I hope they will come around eventually. I think deep down they know I’m right, but it’s hard for a teen to give up the permissiveness and lavish gifts.

My ex was able to fool a lot of people. He still is. But I think he is less able to do so as he loses his looks and he is beginning to see a bleak future. The kids will soon be grown and he is now old and without any real friends. He has short term “friends” that he has been able to “buy,” but no real relationships. I don’t believe he made any friends in college, which is surprising, because I have deep and lasting relationships from those years. He exchanges Christmas cards with a couple of people from his military career, but none that seem very close at all. Only one that has ever visited, and that was just once in over 25 years.

He claims that he is a “family” man and comes from a close family, but the kids from his first marriage only call when they want money from him! And he seems to have to “buy” his other family members, too. Everyone in his extended family (not just siblings and nieces and nephews, but even grandchildren of his siblings and beyond) knows they can hit him up for a cash gift whenever there is a wedding or a birth, but not a single person from this supposedly “close” family came to our wedding. Although we were expected to appear for all of their special occasions and also to visit them regularly for no special reason, they could not be bothered to come to see us. Except for about 3 times in 25 years, no one has ever visited us even when they were “in the neighborhood.”

Maybe outwardly he looks successful. He has managed to rip me off financially and for now at least he has the kids. But I can’t believe that he has any inner life. As sad as it is for me to realize that I was so used by him, it must be even worse to be him and realize that ALL of his relationships are ultimately built on using or being used.

I am thinking about this post, and I am at a point in my life where I am sorting out my thinking.

I am wondering, if a psychopath who has inflicted suffering on people ends up with a terrible life in the end and we, the victims, end up with a terrific life in the end, what is that saying?

Right now, if you ask me, it is the opposite. I am struggling. I am suffering. He is on a whirlwind trip through the luxuries of life.

I am in debt, my dog almost died, I have lost all the support and friends we had in common, they are with him, and calling him and taking care of him. I am eating lunchmeat from a paper bag. He is on a tropical island sipping frozen drinks with umbrellas.

If we apply the thinking that bad people=bad life, that actually has me doubting who is actually who is good and bad here.

For me, all the studies in the world will not convince me that the good guy wins. I used to believe that, but when the good guy is up against a bad guy who will stop at nothing – absolutely nothing – to win, the good guy stands no chance.

Just because someone lives a good life does not mean that good things happen to him.

If someone lives life as a predator, they lie in the shade with a full belly.

The prey dies.

I don’t need a study to tell me that the prey actually ends up happier than the predator.

I know we want to believe that the predator suffers, but thinking that way is not good for me.

There are predators in the world. Stay away from them. Stop trying to make sense out of someone who preys on his own kind. Not even lions do that.

I stopped trying to understand. Now I am figuring out what makes me happy. I have neglected self for a really long time. I am also afraid of what is next to come from him. Divorced with two children I have to hace some contact. If you are in this situation tell me what works, I am willing to do anything to protect myself and my children.

Dear Lillygirl – I laughed when I read your post, not at you or at what you had written but at the absolute RIDICULOUSNESS of the situation. But isnt it right. My ex who doesnt know I have undergone cancer treatment, quite likely caused by him, has carried on in sweet oblivion with his new target, which he so quickly got on the scene. It makes you want to spit. Doesnt it. But getting down to the nitty gritty questionning of life is A GOOD THING. Asking quite reasonable questions like why do good things happen to bad people, could turn up more gold than you ever realised, but you have to keep digging thru the dirt to find the treasure. Keep questionning, This will increase your consciousness and your wisdom.

Dear Lillygirl, If you asked me whether I have had a good life, so far, I would say that at the moment I am reasonably comfortable, but my past life has had a fair amount of anguish, angst. I too have grappled with the notion that sitting on a tropical island sipping cocktails is the fantasy of a good life.

If you asked me if I have achieved huge growth in my consciousness as a result of living a painful life. I would say OH YES. I have probably travelled very far in the respect, and isnt that what we are truly here for? Sometimes I feel that I have lived quite a few lifetimes in this one life!

Yea I want to spit. I want to puke.

I am a single mom and he is a bazillionaire and when he knows I get strong enough to get rid of his butt, he dangles the EXACT carrot he knows I want, and eats it in front of me.


I just ordered that book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, I need a change from reading about N’s and how Bad THINGS ALWAYS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE…

I am digging, I promise. And as for the questions, you can count on me to always stir up the pot, I have learned through countless hours of nonsense from books and “professionals” that I will not swallow something just ’cause it’s dangled out there.

I will sit by the river and hopefully someday he will float by.

Iradessa, my condolences. You have an awful situation. I have a child with my ex too. It is not easy.

The author Lundy Bancroft has been remarkably helpful to me in my situation, he understands how these abusers come between us and our kids, how they use our kids to hurt us (one story he told was of a dad purposely feeding his baby spoiled milk to inflict pain on the mom, and to cause her anxiety anytime the baby was alone with him).

Anyway, Lundy has written several books, many about the children of abusive fathers, and I just ordered a second one with the Bad Things book. He is a true hero.


I think when we have to have contact, knowing the way our abusers are trying to manipulate us goes far as we try to protect ourselves and our kids.

I also am a HUGE advocate for Alice Miller’s books, who believes as long as ONE LOVING WITNESS stands up for the kids even under the most severe abuse, the children will be okay. She has written tons of books. She helps me understand why some people grow up to be P’s and some people grow up to be kind, empathetic and loving like us.

I am thinking these are the only two kinds of people in the world anymore.

Dear Lillygirl. You go girl!! I am a single mum too and I know how hard it is believe me and I had no support at all from anyone. Yes the lack of money and drudge is the hard bit, but you will get through it and what you will gain from it in your own personal qualities will be amazing. Determination, ability to survive on next to nothing – yes, multi talented, cook, first aider, counsellor, taxi service, cleaner, organiser etc etc. I can fix cars, I can do almost anything if I put my mind to it – because I HAD TO. Yes I have a room paved with self help books some written by middle class professionals and their formulas dont fit.

Okay… let’s sing it together…

I can bring home the bacon…fry it up in a pan….

Hey, I just checked Lundy’s new website and there is a TON of helpful, practical advice on it, really really healing stuff.

Please, even if you don’t have kids, if you have been abused, read it.

The way I see it, I know someday my N will lose it and really hurt someone physically and I think he will likely end up in jail. But you know what? I cannot and will not worry about him, what he is doing or think about what will happen to him in the future.

Anytime I think of him lying on the beach while I am scooping dog poop up in my yard I think to myself…yea, but today I didn’t cry.

If I was with him on the beach…I know I would have just cried, would be crying while we were there and I would cry when we got home.

Pina Colada? $7

Pina Colada on the beach in the Bahamas? $907

Scooping dog poop and not crying today? Priceless.

Dear Lillygirl, when we look at life in this one dimensional way, everything looks unfair. I think that if we dig deeper and see that life is not one dimensional and that there are all sorts of other forces and dimensions in play, then things are not as clear cut as we think. I personally believe in karma and I know from my own experience that when someone close to me has died, I have sensed and experienced their energy after their death. Will cocktails in the sun improve that energy?

Dear Lillygirl, You could get some plants and some lanterns and make your yard into a mini paradise and you could fix your own cocktails!!! Hows about that then.

I was thinking too how unjust life is. I just wanted a life, too, and I end up being a statistic. Reading sites such as this is like shock therapy. It puts a name to the emotional side of these emotionless men. I do what comes naturally and it seems to me like they are living a scripted life, that is being written line by line by them. The conversations are very disjointed. Like they are thinking what to say before we get done speaking. They are planning their next line and most often it isn’t about the subject.

That in itself I could deal with. It’s the way they steal our emotions from us. How can they be convicted of emotional rape? They could charm their way out of anything.

I’m having a downer of a day today, too. I keep getting these reality checks and wonder why no one could see what was happening. It’s so frustrating to deal with someone who denies and denial is nothing more than a dressed up lie. But now that I know that so many go through the very thing I did, it makes what I went through real. Doesn’t bring me a lot of comfort, but I know it could be so much worse.

One of our tenants is a quadriplegic and has been since she was around 16. She’s now in her late 20’s. I look at her and thank God that I can at least keep myself moving. Her life’s cross is physical, while mine is emotional. But I’ve been set free and I just need to keep reminding myself of that. For me, I had set my heart on the words of my husband and figured we’d be there always and finish what we started. It’s like I have all these loose ends and that is frustrating to me. And there wasn’t even a death. As long as I put things into perspective, I come back to the present. I’m just tired of fighting the emotional war within myself. Out thoughts can consume us.

But we were designed to be with someone. When you think you have that someone, to have them abuse you, use you, then toss you aside, brings a pain so deep inside, that only time and distance will heal. Or else we hurt so badly, that we just don’t feel the pain anymore. I don’t know other than the fact there are lots like me. I’m not the exception to the rule. I am the rule.

Lillygirl. About a month ago, a friend of mine has a paved back yard measuring not more than about 5 metres square, nothing in it, except a barbeque and some rubbish. She asked me if, whilst I am off work, I want a project to do her garden. So I did, I made lots of containers of plants and her back yard is now full of flowers and plants and looks lovely.

ApptMgr. When I get down, I often give myself a reality check, and give thanks for what I have. I could have been history earlier this year, so I give thanks for my life. I do understand, I would have thought by now that thoughts of him would have ceased, but it is still going round in my head, that is one of the reasons I want to move to another area, where I can get involved in new activities and get my head off him. I think it takes a long time to accept what has happened to us. I only went with him for just over a year, but he has occupied over two years of my life, but oh looked what I have learned. Look at what you have and what knowledge you have gained ApptMgr and the support you have given to others – that is all so valuable.

Beverly – believe it or not, my yard has never looked more like paradise…I got myself little dragonfly lights that are connected and “fly” from a solar powered fake stone…they take turns glowing all night…I smile when I think of them outside, lighting up the darkness, and luring in the fireflies.

Aptmgr, after 10 years of marriage, my son’s father began cheating on me when my son was three months old. I survived that, and took care of him happily 24/7 (and I mean 24/7 – I had NO help from anyone)

My son was 2 when I met this N. I actually had never had any really pathological relationship ever before, so I had no idea what I was walking into.

He brushed my hair from my eyes…told me he would take care of me and my son (remember, he’s a bazillionaire) and that he loved my son so much he never needed to have children, just as long as my son was with him.

Talk about thinking I had someone…he made me believe that I went through all that pain of the cheating, leaving me when I was most vulnerable, the destruction of my son’s family…just because God wanted me to be with this new guy who loved us.

Talk about hubris. I was full of it.

Screw you ex-cheating husband…look at how much better off I am now…your son has someone who will love him and not hurt him like you did…someone who wants to be with us…we will have a comfortable life and you can go screw ex-cheating husband.

Ha. Ha.

Well, the joke was on me. No wonder he as a dream come true…he was a walking nightmare in disguise.

He saw my vulnerability and he stalked in for the kill. When he would abuse me, I’d leave.

I’d get the crying, begging, crawling back to me on his hands and knees asking me to take him back. I got marriage proposals, I got promises out the wazoo.

Again, my dream come true. Someone who really cared and realized he hurt me and would make it up to me, unlike my cheating ex, who never made amends. This time the guy would treat me right.


My life is always a struggle, but I have noticed that when he isn’t around, my struggles are normal struggles.

Lundy Bancroft says that when a woman gets away from an abuser, she realizes just how good life can be without him. Every second away is a clarifying second. It clears out the glue he poured into your brain.

Even if you go back to him, you go back having that taste of clarity in your mouth. Each taste makes you stronger, until finally you don’t need these sites to help you understand.

You just know. Then you have arrived at the place you need to be.

I’m not there yet, but I am almost there. If he leaves me alone this time, I will get a big dose of life without him, and I know this time I will get free.

But he knows how to manipulate me. He knows how to play me.

It’s like I just broke free from a cult and the cult leader knows my phone number, where I live, that I am alone, and vulnerable.

Every time the phone rings and it is not him, I am grateful.

Dear Beverly and Lilygirl,
I really like all you people here. It took me the most of my life so far, to find people I could relate to and with. I always knew my children loved me, but could never understand what it would take to earn the love of a man to finally wake up and realize that I don’t have to earn it. It’s a choice. I think of all those years of marriage, 30+, trying to figure out what was wrong. To be with someone who will tell you one day how much he loves you, then almost in the very next breath he’s cutting you down. For me it was done in such a covert way, that I just knew it had to be me.

I knew our character says a lot about us, but the only ones who could see his true character were myself and the girls. I still don’t know the extent of what was so distorted in him, but I got the most of the truth. Financial ruin and turning the kids against him. He sure missed the mark. But that was his concept of our marriage. He can’t see how he would fake illnesses and such to get attention. How he would try and get out of work any chance he got and how that would throw us behind. But that’s all done. I no longer try to make a point.

The funny part is, I really don’t miss the man. I miss the man I met. I miss the life I had. Being a housewife and mother was what I set my heart on. I loved the day to day routine of living and making a house a home. I think once we can get our house sold and I can finally tie up those loose ends, I can begin to live. I’m in this state of limbo and that’s what sets me on edge.

I was thinking today, too, of precious Mother Theresa, and what horrible truths she had to face. I know I can survive the end of a relationship. It didn’t kill me. It just killed my trust. I think, too, the most of what I endured was a test of my faith. I don’t blame God. I blame those who proclaim Him and claim to follow His precepts for living.

I love the idea of your back yard, lilygirl, and the one you prepared for your friend, Beverly. That’s what I need. Someday I hope to get that all back. But in the meantime, I know I have to go on. I miss my children and have no family around. That makes it rough at times, but then there are those who have family and children and all they do is fight. This just wasn’t the life I envisioned for myself all those years ago. And I didn’t help create the change, so it’s more difficult to cope.

I don’t know which is worse. To have the man cheat on you or cheat you out of the life he promised to make. Either way it’s a major let down.

I think how nice it would be to stop over for a spell and commiserate together. But this is almost as good. Talking and writing are great as far as a panacea is concerned. Reaching out and touching someone would even be better.

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