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RESOURCE PERSPECTIVES: Psychopaths, victims and therapy

Editor’s note: Resource Perspectives features articles written by members of Lovefraud’s Professional Resources Guide.

Sarah Strudwick, based in the UK, is author of Dark Souls—Healing and recovering from toxic relationships.

Re-traumatising and PTSD
(Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

By Sarah Strudwick

Sarah Strudwick profile in the Lovefraud Professional Resources Guide

Everyone always writes about the positive aspects of coming out of a relationship with a psychopathic personality. You read things about how as a result of being in such a toxic relationship, it empowers you and teaches you how to recognise and spot predators. If you have never learnt how to have boundaries in the past, you learn how to have them. You learn about healthy self-respect and self-love, and most people decide, if they have had proper counseling, that they will never come have this type of relationship again.

When it comes to future dating, if you have never been able to spot the warning signs of what could be a relationship based on power and control, you learn those, too. That way you never enter relationships that are likely to harm you again.

There are many, many positives that come out of the relationship with the narcissist or the psychopath, but what is the downside of having had a relationship with a psychopath? And do people really understand how the relationship has affected its victims?

Triggers

Few therapists really understand what goes on with a psychopathic personality and the damage they can do to their victims. Chances are, the abuser will often turn the tables on the victim and try to blame them. Sometimes they might even tell the therapist that the victim is crazy, and being such charming, convincing characters, it’s not long before the therapist is on the narcissist’s side, questioning the sanity of the victim.

Most victims of psychopathic personalities suffer from PTSD long after the event. It takes many forms, and it needs a very understanding therapist to understand exactly what is going on, and to not judge the victim for being triggered. It could be something as small as a smell that triggers them, or the fact that they bump into someone in the street who looks like their abuser. If a victim has had a history of attracting abusive types throughout his or her life, then the victim may start to develop the “girl/boy who cried wolf” syndrome, whereby if they want to tell the therapist something, they feel the therapist won’t believe them. Perhaps the therapist may appear to be disinterested in what the victim is telling them. They will say things like, “Well you should be happy, after all, think of all the positives.” “You have a nice job now, things are going good aren’t they?” “Think how lucky you are to be rid of (fill in the blank).”

A small trigger like the above is fairly easy for the victim to deal with. But what happens if something more serious happens within a few years of leaving a psychopath? Say, for example, you are put in a situation where you meet another psychopath who threatens your safety. This is challenging enough for anyone who has never even been in relationship with one, but its even more challenging when you have already had a relationship with one. Victims are often left hypervigilant, and know exactly how to spot abusers far better than they did before. So when another abusers slips through their radar, the victims will immediately blame themselves, and say things like, “Why didn’t I spot them?” “Why didn’t I see it coming?”

Why? Because the person doing it is a psychopath, and they can trick and con anyone. Even with the best tools, experts get conned by these people day in day out.  My friend is an “expert” on psychopathic personalities, and yet she still got caught out again by these insidious individuals. The therapist, on the other hand, may just pooh pooh it, and think it’s just another trigger.

My friend’s experience

Most recently a friend contacted me who was unfortunate to have had a run-in with another psychopath after her relationship with the previous psychopath had ended. It had been more than two years, so she was already well on her way to being completely healed.

What happened was pretty disgusting and would have been enough to upset any normally stable person, but this particular situation sent my friend into a tailspin. The therapist, not recognising that she had PTSD from her previous encounter that was re-triggered by this new event with a different psychopathic person, decided to prescribe her antidepressants. As a result of her interactions with the therapist, when she eventually went back for counseling she decided to tell the therapist she was okay and that nothing was wrong.

Nothing could be further from the truth. But what happens is that victims may start to feel like there is no point in even telling their therapist anything, because they just don’t get it. The therapist may put the victims reaction down to being “hypersensitive” or “reactionary.”

To change or not to change

I have been in a similar situation myself and it puts the target in a difficult situation. They don’t want to go and see another therapist, because the new therapist will ask why the victim has left the previous therapist. If they do find someone else it, then means churning everything all over again from the past that isn’t necessary, and that the victim doesn’t particularly want to talk about, thus reinforcing any old traumas that may well have been dealt with. The therapist may blame it on the victim’s old pattern, and not even understand that this is a “brand new trauma” with a “brand new psychopath,” complicated by the fact that they are also dealing with re-traumatising and probably a bit of PTSD thrown in for good measure.

(Notice I use the term target, as pyschopaths will target both people who have been victims of psychopaths and those who have never had the misfortune of meeting them.)

Options

As a result, the target feels helpless and victimised again, and although, like any normal person, they may wish to seek help because of their previous experiences, they are left with a couple of options.

1) Sharing their experiences with people who have been through the same, i.e., other victims/targets. This can be okay, but sometimes this can prolong the healing, especially if they go on forums where the victims actually enjoy being stuck in victim mode and then they have to churn up all the old stuff again, which they don’t want to do.

2) Sharing their experiences with friends and family, most of whom do not understand at all and really don’t want to hear it all again, least of all that the victim may have met another psycho.

3) Internalising it and trying to figure out for themselves why they are being re-traumatised again, and dealing with it the best way they can.

The third option is okay IF they have done enough healing and had a good therapist in the first place. But what if the therapy they got in the first place wasn’t enough? The victim is back to square one, and may have to start their healing all over again.

Getting it

My hope is that one day, therapists really start to understand what it feels like to be in a relationship with a psychopath, and not just to lecture their clients about what victims should and shouldn’t do. Most therapists may have had a few run-ins with the odd narcissist, which although unpleasant enough in itself, compared to the psychopath is pretty easy to spot and a walk in the park to some degree. However few, if any, therapists have ever had to deal with a true psychopathic malignant narcissist.

Having had more than a few run-ins with psychopaths, when I wrote Dark Souls it took me many months after thinking I was completely healed to realise that PTSD was what was keeping me stuck, and not that I was some kind of psycho attractor. A colleague finally reminded me that the only types of people who are likely to read a book like mine are those who have been victims, or those who are psychopaths thinking they are buying a book that will teach some new tricks.  Sadly for them, my book is to empower victims of psychopaths, not the other way around.

The general public is not aware of psychopathic behaviour. Very few therapists, on the other hand, understand psychopathic behaviour at all ,unless they have worked directly with them, or been on the receiving end of one of their scams.

There is no quick fix when it comes to getting over a psychopath and you will only heal as quickly as you allow yourself to. The good news is that therapy works for neurotics who have been victimised by these people, so by seeking therapy you are on the first step to recovery.  My advice to anyone seeking help, if they have been with someone they know to be a psychopath, is to make sure you seek someone that understands their disordered personalities and has dealt with victims of psychopaths, sociopaths or narcissists, or you could be in for a long bumpy ride.

 


Comment on this article

170 Comments on "RESOURCE PERSPECTIVES: Psychopaths, victims and therapy"

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excellent article–thank you!

Thanks for this insightful article, Sarah….while many therapists don’t get it….it is like a “specialist” physician may be the only good option for treating a specific kind of cancer, rather than a “general practitioner” physician, but finding the SPECIALIST therapist who is very skilled at dealing with the victims of psychopaths may be difficult. On the other hand, though, for “garden variety neurotics” it may be better to go to a general family practitioner….

Being victimized by a psychopath leaves a very specific pattern of damage I think that requires the “specialist” who does have experience rather than the general practitioner who may actually decide the target/victim is “crazy” or imagining the persecution/abuse.

As a retired advanced practice nurse who worked for many years in general family medicine, I’ve had patients who came to me with vague complaints that I passed on to physicians when I couldn’t find anything wrong and even to specialist physicians who could “find nothing wrong” with the patients, who continued to complain of ill health….and eventually something very serious WAS Found to be wrong with the patient…and I’ve also had patients who were continually complaining about this or that, and were known to have psychogenic and hysterical problems…but even those patients sometimes have REAL heart attacks even if they are “crazy,” so must be taken seriously as well…

I was fortunate that both my psychiatrist and my therapist believed my bizarre story (though I did have to take a witness and some court documents to show the therapist!) ….and both “got it” about psychopaths, but I know other therapists who don’t get it about Ps.

Thanks again for this insightful article.

sarah, wow. thank you so much for writing this. I think that there seems to be far less information about retraumatization out there and it is so refreshing and validating to see you elaborate on it. I mean if there’s anything to make someone feel more alone it’s being retraumatized by another sociopath and not being able to make sense of their situation, what with having dealt with PTSD from a previous encounter already. I related a lot with what you wrote, having encountered more than one sociopath in my life myself and as such am very grateful that you brought this to light here on LF. Very insightful, thank you. Bless

I have just been triggered by my ex-bf, a sociopath. I don’t noticed it as it is occurring, but immediately after any contact, I feel abused again, and yes- mad at myself that I didn’t notice it while it was happening.

I am in fear. I am just over one month from finding out if he is about to walk out of jail again, into the world, and escape from 14-21 yrs worth of charges. And he may just do it- he has charmed his way out of everything but 5 yrs prison time of those charges already- despite the fact they have evidence he committed every crime he’s charged with. I am in disbelief and FEAR this person could likely escape everything.

The relief I felt in my heart when he was finally sent to jail changed my life, and I’m going through the horror that none of it made any difference at all and he could walk.

This is my first time posting here. I have often read the blog for support, but only now feel up to posting something and standing out there in it…

Lily

one/joy_step_at_a_time

New Lily, hello and welcome. There used to be another poster here by the name of New Lily – who passed away , so i was a bit shocked to see your screen name. If you get some odd responses that is why.

It is good that you notice that you feel abused with contact. As you have been reading the blog, you know that most often we advocate no contact as an important part of healing. Do you have children together? Is there any reason that you have to have contact with him?

Have you blocked all phone and electronic access he has to you? Does he know where you live? Do you have the means to move if necessary?

I don’t know the circumstances of his crimes and incarceration – and there are other people on lf who are more qualified to speak to this than i am, but i will say, they can amazingly get away with all kinds of crap BECAUSE they are spaths. but it doesn’t mean that he will in this situation. i think you need more information about what is going on with him – and NOT from him. Are there ways of finding out?

i would suggest you begin to put together a plan to get away in case he does get out. People here will help with ideas. So post some more, and ask for help. You might want to consider changing your screen name (easy to do) because it is going to shock people every time they see it for the first time.

welcome, and keep reading and posting.

best,
one step

New Lily, ditto to what one/joy just wrote…
and I’m glad you have reached out and posted.

Has he threated to harm you? Is he incarcerated
due to violent acts against others?

There is one person he can’t charm anymore… and that’s you!

Dear New Lily,

Yes, I too was surprised to see your name, but the blogger who had that name is passed away now, and she was well loved on this blog and by those of us who knew her outside the blog.

I have a son in prison who is a psychopath and I am scared to death of him as well…If you can get away from him I suggest you do. Move, but do your best not to leave a paper trail….no utilities in your name in your new place….a PO box for an address in a city near where you actually live not in the one you really live in. Live with some friends or relatives if you can for a while (hope he doesn’t know them) and hopefully he will move on to a new victim and forget about you.

If you are really heavily in danger, go to a shelter….

California is also a very victim friendly state and will actually help you change your name legally if you are being persued by a stalker.

There are several good books about how to hide from stalkers, and lots of good information here on this blog. Good luck, keep reading and TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST! God bless.

Hi New Lily,
the person whom we used to call Lily was actually “A New Lily” but pretty close. We loved her dearly.
Welcome. Perhaps you could tell us more details and some posters here might have advice.

Really interesting article, thank you! I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to hear from friends or family or therapists “Oh I remember my first breakup! I was so heartbroken and sad and ate ice cream for two weeks!”

It’s not the same. They don’t understand what it’s like to want to end your own life, and feel physically too sick to even consider eating food.

Does anyone have any helpful tips for getting beyond the triggers? Every time I see something that reminds me of what the spath liked/enjoyed, it makes me get a nasty anxious feeling, like my entire chest tightens up and puts me in a bad mood. It could be something as simple as a TV show, which I all the sudden will associate with arrogance and fakeness (even if the show has NOTHING to do with those things. even if it’s a show i used to like!)

I used to be such an open-minded person, excited and ready for any new idea. Now I feel bitter and cold towards things that have absolutely no sensible reason to hate, aside from the fact that my ex liked them. When does this stop? How can it get better?

one/joy_step_at_a_time

new winter, i had a very good friend, someone i like very much say to me, ‘it’s hard that you have had two bad relationships in a row’. ‘i said, i wasn’t in a bad relationship, i was targeted by a spath.’ fuuuuuuck. so, yes, i completely understand (and she is a therapist)

i have been getting neurofeedback treatment (http://www.brainandhealth.com/) for the PTSD. it has helped a lot. The other thing that has helped is time. I still get triggered association to the spath when i see things and think things. but it isn’t my ONLY thought now. i have others as well. i have been being mindful of the fact of the thoughts, and am starting to challenge the need for them to still come.

i relate to your last few lines. ‘cept i don’t hate them, I FEAR them. it takes time and sanity to un-jumble all of this, layer by layer, piece by piece it comes together.

Thanks so much for that resource, one joy 🙂 I’ve also heard hypnosis can be incredibly helpful to some PTSD victims. Especially to someone like me who believes everything everyone tells me (which was the main reason I fell so hard for that liar). It’d be so great if someone could undo all of that with just some simple words of encouragement, you know what I mean? I respond SO well to positive re-enforcement, and I give it to others all the time, but rarely feel it back. I know happiness must come from within, but when you’re used to an external force brainwashing you with kindness, you need some GENUINE kindness to really start healing/trusting again.

And like you say, it’s NOT a bad relationship! I’ve had a few of those now. They’re not the same. They’re just awkward/wrong/weird. They don’t leave you feeling destroyed and devastated and paranoid. They don’t leave you apologizing to the man who cheated on you. It’s awful!

I hope you stop fearing your spath soon, because the next step is hate, then forgiveness. I’m working on forgiveness now, which is the absolute hardest. But with a lot of self-discipline, it is getting better.

But you should never fear him. He’s a coward, which is why he had to lie to you, because his true self is pathetic. It’s nothing. I was terrified of mine too though, and constantly obsessed with what he thought of me and how he judged me, even long after the breakup.

It’s the most freeing thing in the world when you realize you JUST don’t give a sh*t 🙂 It may not happen this month or even this year. But one day, it’ll just hit you randomly. You just stop caring about his opinion or thoughts or words. When that day hit me, I finally took a hit back and Facebook messaged everyone in his life (including the new boyfriend) to let them all know exactly what he is and how his mind works 🙂 He went through and tried to log into their accounts to delete the messages, but many of them wouldn’t let him.

And now they’ll all be thinking it. Even if they think I’m crazy, as he’s brainwashed them to believe, they’ll ALL be thinking it. Every time he lies, slips up, or hurts someone… Hmmm… What’s a sociopath again…? 😉

I take some pride in knowing that I have permanently changed his life and made his game a lot harder

Dear new winter,

It is sort of like a roller coaster ride, with ups and downs and switch backs, and you will think “I am all healed” and then something will hit you and you go back to square 1 or 2—that is normal, so don’t get in a RUSH, just take one day at a time…one hour at a time if necessary. It is normal to want to “get it over with” and get done healing, but it takes TIME and work…just be patient with yourself and with the healing, it will come. Keep on reading and learning…about him and about yourself as well. (((hugs))))

Thank you so much Ox 🙂 hugs back to you, you always help so much. Roller coaster is right– Have a great night!!

one/joy_step_at_a_time

new winter – i do hate the spath. i fear her still, also (but much less so) but i fear/ feel disconnected from the things that remind me of her, whereas you hate the things that remind you of the spath.

i do not care about her thougths, opinions, words; that has been gone a long long time; and i have outed her in all the appropriate places. i don’t know if i have made her game harder. quite possibly.

new winter said :
Really interesting article, thank you! I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to hear from friends or family or therapists “Oh I remember my first breakup! I was so heartbroken and sad and ate ice cream for two weeks!”

omg, ditto. it really perhaps inadvertently trivializes the reality of your situation. i mean the thought process certainly comes from a place of naivete ( they often don’t know any better, even though they like to think they do ). I’ve experienced this in several forms. So frustrating and feels somewhat invalidating ( though it might not have meant to ). And painful, even more.

i also wanted to add new winter, forgiveness is not a necessary step to healing ( from an encounter with a sociopath ). personally i think it doesn’t quite register logically, but I respect those who choose to forgive based on their own circumstances and/or leanings.

I would also invite you to check out the following article on healing and forgiveness by Kathy Krajco ( RIP ). I think she is spot on, and her logic coincides with my feelings on the subject.

Healing & Forgiveness by Kathy Krajco

I must say that my environment reacts very supportively and openly. When I say it turns out it is someone with psychopathic traits, they are open-minded enough to know why I say that. And when I mention, it’s not the break-up that I’m dealing with, but the whole of the relationship and what I mean by that (the aftermath effects), then they simply listen and nod, and express the understanding it’s not just a bad or hurtful break up. I don’t pour my story on them in details.

It’s true one/joy, you end up back seemingly at square 1 at times. Last night, my dreams were almost like ordering me around. Don’t remember exactly what, but they were task dreams. It was like a rally, where I had to accomplish something and move something and then reach the next point for another task. I’m certainly dealing with a lot of emotional stuff in my dreams, because when I wake up it’s a new insight day. And this morning I had flashes of very early events, the first few weeks, within the relationship and I could finally feel how hurtful those small events were. Don’t remember what exactly it was anymore, but I felt the cold uncaring real man behind the mask at those instances, and I felt hurt at the time. I just did not acknowledge it then.

All in all though, for me it still means progress. I would not have been able to remember the feelings of that deeper layer, if I had not yet dealt with the pain of the more obvious issues.

Thank you so much for your replies,

Any similarity with the username was entirely coincidental. It was available at registration, so I went with it, none the wiser. However, I have changed my name now so as to avoid any further confusion, and thank you for letting me know : ).

On the subject of no contact… towards the end of when he was free, I began no contact, and it lasted a few months including over the time where he was put to jail on these current charges. I had no choice as the harassment had grown to such a level. The main problem is that his family is basically my family, and closer than my own. It has made it difficult to avoid hearing from him. Despite the fact that even if the rest of his family are oblivious, his mother does understand his spath tendencies.
There was a time a couple of months back, where they all believed, and managed to make me believe too, that after he was sent to jail on this occasion, that he had turned a corner and was making good progress. This was what reestablished contact. At this point I feel silly for believing him. I see that he has changed in some small ways, but those are only ways that have fine-tuned his abilities to get what he wants out of people, including me.

He was in court for violating probation (for a failed drug test), and on 5 new charges. They had video evidence for the 5 charges, but he convinced the judge that he thought he would get 14 yrs solely for violating probation, and he “said” that he still wanted to be a dad to his daughter someday, so the judge dropped all the new charges. However, in the past 2 weeks, they have changed probation officers, and the new guy in charge of his case says he’s not pressing for jail time over a failed drug test. So he will basically be able to walk from what we thought would be 21 yrs, if a new judge agrees.

His mother knows he shouldn’t be out, but she didn’t want him to be put in prison for more than a decade, so she fought for the new charges to be dropped too, thinking he would face time for the violation, now is facing the prospect he could walk away from everything, and put the family through what he did before. But she believes he is sick (yes true) and feels sorry for him because of it, and feels he needs healing, and it is more about his drug addiction than his inherent personality.
However, she says that he cannot forgive herself if he walks and hurts or kills someone this time which she knows is not impossible.
Everyone else seems to have believed he has changed and deserves a new chance at life. Yes, he is very charming.

None of them know my address right now, and I have just moved 2 states away, and the only address they have is a PO Box. My spath has frequently said that his mistakes for us not working out involved not following me when I have moved before, and that he would just fly in at airports in future and call me when he gets there, because he thinks I’m too nice to leave him there.

We do not have children together, though not for his lack of trying, as he said many times, he wanted me to be tied to him.

The problem is that I see glimmers in there of the person I once thought he was, and I cannot face that a person is beyond redeemable. I have said to people, yes at times he can be very thoughtful. I know how foolish that sounds in the face of everything. But deep down, I know that he destroys my energy, or any good energy I have for life. He turns me black inside, like he is. Nothing is ever enough. Someone told me recently that if he wasn’t in prison, I would have been devoured 5 times over by now.
I used to feel empty, drained and sick after only 2 weeks in his presence, let alone the rest of it.

My reactions to him have turned visceral. When I have contact from him, or even not from him, but he tries to reach me through sending messages through others, it brings about a reaction to this sensation of being pushed or manipulated where I am so angry and sad and attacked and where I already feel like an empty shell left by the side of the road after what he has put me through over the last 3 years. It is a similar story to many others here I am sure.

The contact I had from him yesterday was where he was implying that I should be there the week he walks out of there so that he’d have someone to have sex with. The strange thing is, that he put it in such a way that that wasn’t clear to me during the phone call. I knew something was wrong and it took all the strength I have left to disagree to everything he was saying because it was my instinct, but it was only after the call that I realized what it was truly about, and I blamed myself for not standing up to him even more than I had tried to.

I feel like I need to remain in contact with his family or him at least for the next month because I need to remain aware of what is happening with regards to his release. It frightens me every day. He is an angry, relentless person. And a black hole, to whom nothing is ever enough, and nothing will ever fill it. Sometimes he can be very calm, and very reasonable sounding, and he is getting much better at this. Especially recently, I have noticed. However, I am beginning to feel that this is not him changing his life for the better, as others are saying, but I’m actually thinking he is just becoming better and more aware with hiding his intentions.

Thank you so much all for your support. It took a lot of courage for me to post here as I have been in a very small mental space (if you know what I mean) for many years now.

Dear Snowsettled,

quote: The problem is that I see glimmers in there of the person I once thought he was, and I cannot face that a person is beyond redeemable.

I am the mother of a psychopath who is in prison right now for murder—been there for 20+ years, and he is soooo good at convincing folks that he has been “redeemed” etc….that my egg donor (Female DNA donor) supports him against all the rest of our family…which is small as I am her only child and my two bio sons are her only biograndsons….and the thing is that THERE IS ALMOST ZIP, ZERO, NADA chance that he is redeemable.

Holding on to the “hope” which I call MALIGNANT HOPE just like cancer eats us, so does this malignant and aberrant hope and the only way to survive this is to cut it out…..just like a cancer operation to remove the malignant tumor is painful, we must cut out the malignant person from our lives. Total NC.

Sometimes as with the malignant tumor, we must also lose other tissue such as an arm or a leg…..and with the psychopaths we lose the collateral relationships to people we love. I am NC with my egg donor, and essentially NC with the rest of the extended family because of it all.

My son is still in prison because I hired an attorney to FIGHT his last parole hearing, my egg donor hired one to fight FOR him to get a parole….I will continue to fight his paroles, but will most likely have to go into hiding (again) if and when he gets out. I’m 64 years old and will have to leave my home and go somewhere else, and he will stalk me with the idea to kill me if he can. I know that…but in the meantime. I have chosen to live in caution but not terror, but I have cut the cords, and the ties, with the others who support him.

I’ve got to put myself first and recognize that HE IS NOT REDEEMABLE no matter how much as a mother I want him to be.

God bless. I know it hurts.

@dancingnannies Thank you for that Kathy Krajco post on ‘forgiveness’!! I’d been looking for it for some time now, but couldn’t remember where I’d read it. Duh, of course it was Kathy Krajco’s – who else could it have been (she wrote such wonderful stuff)?

Also, it’s always good to send people to her site from time to time. Since she’s passed the only thing keeping that site up is the number of hits it gets (which I believe is still very high). Her stuff is so powerful.

It bothers me that most of us who have been victimized by predators are viewed by the mental “health” professionals as being “mentally ill”. I’ve been noticing more and more that when public officials speak about mental health services they NEVER speak about victimization. Which leaves the sublte but oh-so-powerful insinuation that we need services because we’re “ill”, not because we’ve been “injured”.

I found a blog written by/for mental health professionals, and posted the following comment after a post about what mental health practitioners really think about their clients. That post was such a superb but insidious example of ‘othering’ that I had to comment:

==================
“I worked with therapists for many years: social workers, GPs, psychiatrists, psychologists, etc” Some of them gave me short term relief, but none of them provided me any assistance that worked for the long term. In fact, most of the guidance they gave me was detrimental in the long term. None of them ever identified the real problem, even though I’m sure many, if not most, could have identified it.

A serious illness left me off work with time on my hands to do my own research. Researching corruption in my field of work (financial services industry) led me to the book “Snakes in Suits”, which introduced me to the term “psychopath” (which I, like most people, had always associated with “serial killer”). My world started to shift, and what for years had been inexplicable re: my family of origin suddenly started making sense. Predictable behaviour and situational patterns emerged and everything started to line up and become clear. From there I eventually found my way to the term “sadism” (which, again I had only associated with de Sade and sexuality). And there, finally illuminated, was my mother ”“ in all her “glory”. Luckily for me, my father, paternal grandparents, and maternal grandmother were loving, kind and caring, which provided a good deal of ’immunization’ against my mother’s influence (but not, unfortunately, from her harm). I have classic PTSD type problems, but I am an honest, loving, hard-working person. No thanks to the many many therapists I saw who always made any mention of my mother’s problems verboten, and made my therapy “all about you and your behaviour choices”. What’s really turned things around for me in the ’home stretch’ of my self-therapy is an understanding of victim selection, and how growing up with a sadist/psychopath sets you up to be the world’s perennial prey unless you get the right kind of help. And in this regard is where all of my past therapy was the most dangerous: it trained me to convince myself I was exaggerating fear instead of clearly and accurately learning WHAT to be genuinely fearful of, or that as a former victim, most particularly as the former victim of a sadist, my vulnerability is heightened.

What I’ve finally learned to conclude is that most mental “health” professionals, like most of society, have neither the skills, training, inclination, nor courage to understand what is involved in the most severe interpersonal violations. Most of society is truly afraid and prefers to deny its existence, which then leads to patronizing its victims. […]

For most of those victims, the only ’diagnosis’ that is required is naming the situation ”“ not the individual! And from THAT diagnosis, giving them sympathy, compassion, and then appropriate skills to recognize and deal with it (which requires putting yourself in their shoes and seeing them as equals) is really all that’s needed. If, after THAT, the individual remains disordered, THEN you might look at diagnosis of the individual.

For the uninitiated I would highly recommend:
1) read about the Greyson/Stein study;
2) find the documentary “I, Psychopath” available for free download on the net and review the work of Professor Angela Book (starts at 34 minutes into the doc);
3) teach your clients how to recognize interpersonal violation and victim selection, and what to do about it
e.g. http://www.protectivestrategies.com/victim-selection.html

Annie, interesting site. Thanks. But seems it refer to mostly physical violence. You’re right most of people do not want to recognize emotional/psychological violence is VIOLENCE.

YIPPEE!!
TODAY IS MY 2 YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!
on May 17, 2009, I escaped from the spath after 25.5 years with him. OMG, I’ve got to celebrate. No matter what the hell I’m suffering now, no matter what the aftermath, it is a blessing to know that I escaped. I think I’ll rent the movie, Shawhank redemption.

Thank you Donna and all the posters who got me through the first few months. My gratitude is endless, no matter what.

I never would have imagined that complete strangers would be my salvation. My family was not what I thought. I had no friends left. A total stranger, in a sushi bar, explained malignent narcissists to me. He might have been a spath or N himself, (he touched my leg and felt it for muscle tone) but he pointed me in the right direction and I learned, thank God.

((hugs)) to all of you for saving my life and continuing to do so every day.

@Annie I would be devastated if Kathy Krajco’s blog were to ever be taken down. She is a beacon of light amidst the whirlwind of information out there, some of which is downright unhelpful and even more damaging (ie : S*mV*k ) for those who’ve encountered sociopaths. I think her material is saved on webarchive, so hopefully it never becomes an issue. She may not be here in flesh, but her message is carried by all of those she has so selflessly and tirelessly helped.

@Snowsettled
I don’t know what your circumstances are exactly with the P’s family. My thought is that if being in contact with his family is detrimental to your own well being ( mental or physical ) and healing, some tough decisions should be considered ( such as his relaying messages to you through them. I know you’re working on this though so no worries. ). What an unfortunate case for the P’s mother, I pray that she wises up and realizes just what she’s dealing with, too. They are leeches and will resort to anything. I am so sorry that you have to deal with a P, the implication that you should be there as a sexual object for him is absolutely revolting in a very visceral way, yet typical P-thinking.

Let me say, all other things aside, I am so glad you decided to open up here on LF. There are some great people here ( as you may have already observed ) and let me tell you, it really is such a comforting feeling to be able to connect with others who GET IT, who KNOW what you’re going through, who have been in the depths of this hell before. I encourage you to continue to feel free to share any of your concerns/thoughts/musings here, we are here to help. (((((big hugs)))))

(((((hugs))))) skylar! TOWANDA! 🙂

i think a toast is in order.

Hi, Guys! Just a quick blog to let you know Im back from my weeks holiday in New Zealand with David. Had a lovely relaxing time with Daves family who are all it seems, SANE, nice, normal, kind, fun, generous, and spath free !Hooray!
We stayed with Daves sister Heather, most of the week.
Didnt do much, just ate nice delicious food, looked at the stunning views, and spent time together .It was over 5 years since we saw them last. Got back quite late yesterday, so have been unpacking, doing washing, and buying food most of the day. Jeff, our guy who cuts the grass,and minds the dog when were away, brought Bobby the Poodle, home at 4.30.Hed had a great time being spoilt by everyone it seems!
Will read your blogs and catch up soon. Love all you guys!
Mama gemXX

Happy anniversary! Tequila!!!!

Skylar –

So happy for you babe! I’ve been out of action (dealing with the Superspath in Property Settlement proceedings in the Family Court – we have almost reached trial stage, so the last hurrah, really…) and I am still not really IN action yet, but I just checked in and saw that it was your 2 years and couldn’t let it pass without a huge TOWANDA from downunder.

I miss you guys but I’ll be back when I have something worth sharing with everyone.

xxxxxxxxxxxxx

(PS: New Lily/Snow settled – welcome and so very sad for you that you have to be here BUT so very glad that if you do have to be somewhere, HERE is where you have landed. You are among good and kind folk now so listen to their collective wisdom. We will prevail. x)

Excellent article and definitely reaffirming. Probably the single most difficult thing in trying to live with, leave or heal from the trauma of life with a sociopath that I have found is therapists are fooled by sociopaths every time. Oddly enough I can empathize with the therapist because I’ve been there, been fooled, and about the only thing positive to take away from this kind of nightmarish experience is to know that even a professional can be easily conned… so therefore you’re not stupid or foolish or to blame for anything that has happened to you. But, that does little for getting the help you need and in fact the victim learns not to trust therapists, particularly when the victim becomes aware that the sociopath is using the therapist like a very useful tool. The sociopath will taunt his victim with his own knowledge that he has “power” over a therapist while portraying himself quite convincingly to the therapist who is now treating him as a victim and the victim as the perpetrator. When this happens – end the therapy because it is just plain dangerous to continue this kind of sociopath manipulated therapy. In many ways I believe therapists are even more vulnerable to an accomplished sociopath than the average person because it is their nature to and job to want to cure all people and when sociopath and therapist meet the sociopath recognizes this “weakness”. Yes, I say weakness because that is the way a sociopath views people who empathize with others.

This happened to me. I had 2 relationships in a row that were back to back sociopaths. I was in my late 20’s. I hate to say it but I believe there’s a man shortage and when you reach a certain age you’re more prone to run into spaths because all the normal folks are already married.
My first relationship with a spath I was totally naive and unprepared for what lay ahead. He married me, used me, & a year later moved on to another wife. I was not warned about him, although many in his inner circle knew what he was.
I could not warn his new wife because he went out of state when he deserted me and I found out about his new wife several months after the fact. He eventually left her as well.
What bothers me is his stupid mother knew him like a book & never warned his victims. He played her like a harp too.
Well to make a long story short, he’s gone a full year & unknowingly to me, another spath comes into my life.
BUT THIS TIME I COULD IDENTIFY HIM! AS soon as I realized what he was I broke it off. Do you know what happened to me? He set my rooming house on fire with me & all the occupants in it. I got out alive with the clothes on my back.
Everyone made it out of the house alive but I could never prove it was him. But my gut told me it was. The fire department ruled the fire was of suspicious origin.
Why did he do this? Because I knew what he was & rejected him! I think Donna put it nicely in several threads when she stated that when you leave a sociopath you must make them believe it’s their idea. I didn’t. It was my idea and I almost paid for it with my life.

LOOK FOR SOMEONE WHO PRACTICES EMDR
I finally found a therapist who knows how to treat trauma, and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) has been amazingly effective.

Sarah, thanks for this article which affirms the frustration that I have felt in trying to get therapists to understand what I was dealing with — both when I was still in the relationship and when I was working on recovery.

My therapist while I was in the relationship kept saying that he appeared to care for me because he was so involved in my life. (Of course, did and was, because he had to keep the golden goose functioning so he could keep funneling my resources into his hands.) Even working with a specialist in childhood sexual abuse, who should have been aware of predatory types, the most concrete comment she ever made about my ex was that he sounded a bit narcissistic.

However, I still think that, despite the lack of awareness of targeted victimization by sociopaths among therapists, the recovery work we have to do can be guided by therapists who work with other abuse scenarios. One of the most useful books I read in my recovery was one on verbal abuse. The author understood the patterns of seduction and the damage to the victim. Another book, recommended by Matt, about controlling parents was also excellent.

When abuse traumatizes us, the results are fairly well-known among the therapeutic community. If they are uncomfortable doing second-hand diagnosis of the predators who targetted us, it doesn’t mean the we aren’t clearly suffering from the effects of abuse. The crucial issue, I think, is to find a specialist in recovery from abuse, who will affirm that we are suffering from the after-effects of abuse. (And we can be adamant about requiring this from them. If they can’t start there with us, then we should find someone who will.)

That said, I think that what is missing from the therapeutic community’s approach to recovery is some kind of structured program for training in awareness and response to situations that have an abusive quality. As I’ve written here before, I believe that becoming good at dealing with “sociopathic transactions” is probably our best defense against getting lured too deeply into another relationship with a sociopathic or narcissistic personality.

There are bits and pieces of this kind of training in different disciplines. Self-defense training coming out of martial arts, assertiveness training and verbal judo, refinement of awareness from meditation and other Buddhist practices, and of course the recovery of a renewed sense of identity and entitlement to take care of ourselves that should emerge from therapy or personal work on ourselves.

But if anyone has put this together into a program for identifying and dealing effectively with situations that I call sociopathic transactions, I haven’t seen it. And we certainly know enough now how to do this.

This first step would be simply identifying interpersonal situations in which our needs, feelings and instincts appear to be made irrelevant, denigrated or twisted to serve someone else’s purposes. I think that it may take some recovery work to even get to the point that we trust ourselves in making these judgments about what’s going on. But if that becomes a priority in our recovery work — which can be our own choice of what to work on, if we’re determined to keep ourselves safe through the recovery and afterwards — I think we can get there faster.

And then, the program would include training about concepts such as informed trust (rather than automatic trust), persistence in communicating our level of comfort and requirements for self-care, proactive awareness of physical circumstances and safety strategies, and understanding of how to present ourselves as “expensive” victims to discourage predators who are looking for easy wins. These are just a few ideas, I’m sure that many of us could contribute better ones if we put our minds to creating this coursework.

It’s true that we can’t really protect ourselves from any encounter with a sociopath, if we define them as people whose intent is to exploit us for their own purpose without any interest in what it costs us or how we feel about it. These people are actors who ingratiate themselves by “reading” us and initially presenting themselves as mirrors of our dreams. They makes their livings and get their emotional rewards by scamming us in this way.

But all of us know that eventually this “perfect” relationship starts to warp into something else. And we know it by our own discomfort and pain, as they begin to show who they really are or what they really want. No matter how subtle the changes, they make us feel uncomfortable because we are being pushed out of our comfort zone and personal sense of reality. And how we respond to that determines how deeply we get pulled in.

I had five years with the man I now believe is a sociopath. A long time to observe him. Although I was obsessively attached to him, we were not together all that time, and I also observed the women he dated. Most of them got rid of him early, and they got rid of him because they were irritated or insulted by his little “requests” that they change to please him or his persistent denigration of their personal values or their social circles. He was handsome, charismatic and seductive, but these women recognized early that he had a private agenda that had nothing to do with them, and they didn’t want to be used.

We don’t have to call everyone who tries to use us a sociopath. God knows, the entire structure of business and employment is about usage of people for corporate goals or for the aggrandizement of more senior managers. But we can learn how to deal with sociopathic transactions and also manage to get our own needs met. But it’s something we have to learn, often through unlearning a lot of erroneous thinking that comes from our histories.

This can be done. And I think it would be helpful, not just to us but to a whole world of people, if such skills became part of the objective of recovery. And part of the therapeutic model. It’s not enough to do the emotional work of “taking back our power” or our lives. We need to learn how to live in this new world, in which awareness of sociopaths or abusers is part of our everyday reality. So we can take care of this baseline business of survival and move on to creating better and happier lives.

Dear Oxy,

I am back. I haven’t been able to comment much due to heavy work and family issues. BUT….I wanted to say that I feel for you.

I have been reading here and even you and I had our talks, the iron skillet, fried green tomatoes, etc.

I have learned so much from listening to you. I recently watched Mildred Pierce, the latest one on HBO. After a while I realized I had seen this once before. It was from the 1940’s starring Joan Crawford. She did an excellent job portraying the victim. Her daughter was a true PS and so was Mildred’s boyfriend turned new husband. Wow….I loved both versions and must say that I liked the ending from the 1940’s movie much better then the latest one.

But if anyone has a daughter/son who is PS, then watch this movie. You are right. They will never change…….I can’t totally understand that kind of pain…..My daughter has border line personality disorder. Her husband is mentally slow and seems to have no reasoning power. He is child like and threatens her and such. My poor grandson who turned 5 is rescued by me, Grandma.

I teach him what I can and am getting the book “Just like his Father.”

I put up with my daughter’s crazy ways. She is with a doctor now and hopefully will receive the meds she needs.

Maybe more to come later but I just wanted to stop by and say thanks to everyone for all the years. I have passed this site to many many women. Some talk in the stores, hair parlors, and such and I send ’em here.

Thanks Oxy. BIG WINK!

Wow, glad to see so many people posting who haven’t posted in a while….Aussie girl, hope all comes out well for you in court! You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Welcome home Gem! Glad you had a wonderful time!

KATHY HAWK—glad to hear from you and great post. you are so right. Not everyone who tries to exploit us is a “diagnosable” psychopath, but maybe high in the traits….and those that ARE truly “diagnosable” level are truly dangerous!

I too have some empathy for the therapists…and it IS ABOUT OUR CHOICES…but how those choices are subtly manipulated by the psychopathic abuser almost take away our “free will” by hood winking us into believing we are doing what is right, what is best for ourselves and the other…the FOG closes in—the fear, obligation and guilt. Sure, we DO make the “choices” but our choices are limited by the FOG.

The gaslighting and the changing of reality is also a big factor in what “choices” we make….so yes, we make those choices and we need to learn to make other choices, but that doesn’t dismiss the trauma bonding, gaslighting and just plain twisting of reality and abuse. Emotional abuse is sometimes worse than physical abuse I think.

Many of us also have families of origin or previous dealings with psychopathic behavior that set us “up” to be serial victims of serial abusers. Learning how to spot the red flags of abusers, and gaining the strength to honor those flags, and to realize that we can’t “fix” those people who come to us with their “pity plays” or their “control issues” and that our best hope of survival is to RUN!…That is what will help the victims become victors survivors and our decisions will become better decisions as a result.

Dear Vision,

We posted over each other….welcome back.

There is some debate about BPD diagnosis in women being somewhat equivalent to PPD in males, and there are some definite over laps in the thinking/behavior of the two, and of course there are different levels of BPD from not too horrible, pretty functional all the way up to willing to murder.

Back in the days I worked in psych inpatient with adolescents many of whom were BPD, it amazed me that one minute they could be trying to kill you or do you great bodily harm and the next they were trying to hug you and you were their best friend. The black/white, instant on/instant off of their emotions was disconcerting. It sort of gave me a WTF? feeling. I have also learned that they many times have the “Hi, my name is , Sue, you are wonderful, we are best friends, now it is your job to make me happy or I will punish you” introduction.

I call it “making application to be my best friend upon meeting.” ANYTIME I have someone I have just met come on to me that strongly, it immediately raises my RADAR for personality disorder of some kind…PPD or BPD. Using that RADAR in meeting new people has actually been almost 100% right on with those people. And, keep in mind that they can be very very charming if they are trying to manipulate the chosen “friend/victim.”

Interestingly enough the culture of the rural Scots-Irish community in which I grew up was actually protective from this kind of person. Accepting “favors” was never done from anyone except a very close friend or blood relative who had PROVEN THEMSELVES a good person…you might DO a favor for someone, but you would never accept a favor unless that person were within your circle of trust.

One of my very close friends now, an older, country farmer, I had known for several years and socialized with fairly often, but until he was WILLING to accept a favor from me, until he ASKED for a favor from me, I realized he didn’t truly consider me a “friend”—now, I KNOW he is my friend.

As for your daughter—I definitely understand dealing with a PD adult child….and being attached to your grandson makes it more difficult I am sure because SHE has him for a weapon to use against you. God bless.

Kathleen, It’s great to hear from you!!!!
I so agree with what you say about that gnawing feeling of discomfort. That is so telling. And when you talk about feeling pushed out of our comfort zones. I understand it like this: Someone has entered into my comfort zone and has deliberately disrupted it, in order to gain something at my expense. Simply speaking, my boundrys have been violated! Someone who is out to manipulate you will always deny it. They will cajole and connive and lie. They will use your empathy, shame sense of reponsibilty, unresolved guilt, low self=esteem, and anything else that works to their advantage, against you.

I have come to realize that this discomfort often presents itself in the form of a WTF? moment. You are thrust into a chaotic sense of cognitive dissonance, and feel confused and unsure about what is happening.

You may be called upon to abandon your own instincts, perceptions and feelings, and enjoined to enter into the abusers camp. You may be asked to ignore your feelings and join in with his. HUGE RED FLAG. Why would any of us do such a thing? Because we don’t trust ourselves, or value our inner wisdom; because, we, too secretly think the abuser must be right, we must be wrong, and because our boundrys are not well established, and our sense of our own identitys is easily shakable.

I am glad this topic came up, this morning. I dreamed last night that my mom woke me up and started tearing up my room, because she thought it wasn’t neat or clean enough. She pulled the sheets off my be and threw them on the floor. She pulled my clothes out of my drawers. She turned over ashtrays and scattered papers.

At some point in the dream she turned into my Xhub. In reality, my mom would never have done such a thing. She was pretty gentle with me, but she was OCD, I think. My Xhub was OCD to the max, and Narcissistic, I think, and he was constantly critical, and self-righteious. Nothing was ever good enough, and he always had to be in control of everything.

I woke up, this morning knowing that these two people who had been so important in my life, had been disrupting my comfort zone, and leaving me to pick up the mess. My dream ended by me screaming at hub to get out of my room. A boundry, and a boundry violation, for sure.

But the boundry, at this point is a mental, and spiritual one, because neither of these people is physically able to cross my boundries. They can only cross them in the mental space of this moment. They can cause a lot of trouble, if I allow them to, and it’s my responsibility not to allow them to.

Just brain-storming. Great to see ya Kathleen.

Oxy,

Yeah, she is good/bad swinger. She did try to use my grandson and switched things saying I was the nutcase and needed to be evaluated. I told her in a very big way that she didn’t want me as her adversary. AND she knows I would do whatever in my power to do what I must if I have to.

After that, she has either switched to the good. or cleverly disguised it all…..she IS good hearted… More to come when I have time…

See you soon!!

This article confirmed the experiences I’ve had with therapists over the years. It seems to be a crapshoot, with my experiences being more negative or neutral than of truly being helped. Given that, I keep wondering if there are other healers or other forms of technology who can be more helpful. I keep looking, and until then, I rely on myself, which comes up a little lacking at times.

Very good article with great insights and advice. What I’ve found from members of Family and Friends Affected by AsPD (another term for sociopathy) is that many of us have had sociopaths in our family circles going back to our childhoods. Being able to recognize a sociopath in the dating arena may only be the tip of the iceberg.

As I reviewed my life history and family relationships as well, I spotted that behavior disorder in close family members. As I delved into my reactions to their control and manipulation, I realized how inured and accepting I was of being ‘handled.’ It was like the lights coming on or peeling off the layers of an onion.

Sociopaths are all around us and they excel at convincing people in authority (therapists, judges, etc.) that they are right and the ‘victim’ is really nuts. Gaining insight into how others are being affected by sociopaths is part of the recognition factor – and many therapists aren’t aware of the agenda nor the interaction.

Vision,

If your daughter is a BPD, a true BPD, saying she “ISA good hearted” is sort of like, I think, saying “she’s really nice, when she isn’t robbing banks.” Ted Bundy was really “nice” when he wasn’t raping and killing, the BTK killer was “nice” neighbor and church member when he wasn’t killing women after torturing them.

So “good hearted” between episodes of abuse (like my egg donor) doesn’t mean that is the primary focus of their lives….even Jesse James didn’t rob a bank every day and he did give money to poor people, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t a killer and an outlaw.

Settiing boundaries with various personality disordered people, depending on how close you let them get, and how disordered they are may work to an extent, but I don’t believe you can EVER trust them not to stab you in the back. Sometimes when we feel the hatchet buried to the hilt in our back is the FIRST indication that they are disordered….but I will never ever give them another chance to have my back to them if I MUST for some reason have association of any kind with them. I will watch them like a hawk.

This is a very interesting discussion. I’m not sure whether the earliest of red flags can be generalized for everyone. I think it requires insight into ourselves, what are our own traps and the first mistaken interpretation we make from their mirror or mask.

I think for myself personally it is the demeanor of making me sympathize, and I’m starting to think that if I feel this, it should be my warning signal to instead take a step back and remain detached.

I originally thought him a bad boy I should stay away from. We got thrown in each other’s path anyway, and he started to target me. I was flattered, but originally not interested. As I kept rejecting him, even if I started to feel attracted, at some point he seemed to give up, and for me had an appearance of disappointment which he showed. And all of a sudden I felt sympathy for him, and I actually compared him to a friend of mine.

I have a friend who is also very dysfunctional. He works in bars and djs, but can be erratic. Sometimes he can turn into a little devil, pushing a button over and over until making someone angry. And then he’ll laugh. He’s a total clown for sure. Loves nothing better than clown with the police. Other moments he can be severely down, and will cry publically and be totally miserable. So, yeah a drama queen. However, he has friends and will protect them as a lion and he will honour his promises. He has morals, just a pretty messed up life, including failing relationships. He’s the messed up guy who’ll keep messing up but as far as I know he has a golden heart. He certainly has some disorder, but he’s not using or conning people. I’ve never experienced any money trouble with him.

Anyway, while this messed up guy is someone I count within my larger friend circle, I never considered to date him, though I consider him attractive.

I’ve been considering other people that I befriended, such as women, whom I felt sympathy for. When I let them come too close, they would have a hard time understanding boundaries. Not in a way that I feel they were trying to control me, but were messed up enough emotionally that they started to think that in order to help someone else they should act for someone else, rather than just listen. I eventually had to cut them out of my life to protect my life and my own responsibilities.

When I consider my long lasting friends I don’t feel this overall sympathy. They don’t need it. Of course I sympathize with them when they are dealing with a certain issue, but I can generally be confident that they are alright.

Not everyone who is needy for general sympathizing with them is a spath imo. But they are at least in a mental and emotional place where if I let them too close they would mess up my own life.

So, I think that is my personal warning signal: provoking an overall sympathy within me. And I should keep such people at a distance and remain detached. Some may benefit from therapy, others will make very little progress, and a few are projecting it to get more from me than just sympathy.

WOW! My Therapist recently told me, I have PTSD. I’ve been educating myself (THANK YOU SARAH!), now that I’m getting divorced from Ignorance, & my husband. I was going to change my name, but my inner voice said ” why run? face it, I’ll be Mrs. John Telford, just as he wanted me to be. Hence my email address.
I will admit, this almost killed me. Only 7 years of marriage, & I felt like death was better than the emotional & mental rape I had endured. Not since my deceased mother, had I experienced such vile incompetence. Total abandonment, as if I never lived.
Please, If I can give advice, RUN! Do not stay, unless you want punishment in the most intimate, severe ruthless ways. It may be hard, but have a funeral & leave the relationship alone. Should he/she make contact with you, just know, getting on with YOUR life, is best.
Talk about recovering? All this week I have to drive by & see my N’s giant billboard face, one block away. Friday the 13th, he had a book signing, where he promptly informed his followers, ” I’m divorcing & back there is my new lady friend”. My recovery is going to be successful because I will stand up, face up, & stay up. I’m not the first (THANK YOU ALL), & I won’t be the last, but Now I know exactly What I am standing up for. N’s will get exposed, if have anything to do with it.
PS I was blessed to be in a play this week, rehersal has been like therapy. Seeing his billboard will not enrage me. Thanks to Sarah & you all, I feel strong enough to get through this week. Peace.

On another situation I have in exposing the N’s of the world, the media is checking the facts about my N’s droctor raping me ( report is state verifiable & another witness has come forward). I had to report my former divorce lawyer to the attorney grivience commission for being N enough to send me text messages about kissing me,,& stuff.
Like I said: N’s will get exposed, if I have anything to do with it.

Kathleen,
I agree, awareness is the key. We need to know what toxic looks like. Growing up my parents were extremely controlling and didn’t care about my needs as a human being. But I ASSUMED that because they were my parents, they loved me. And I did love them desperately, in that trauma-bonded way, that abused kids do. So because I loved them, I ASSUMED that they were good people, because of course, I wouldn’t love BAD people, right?

So when I met a man who was controlling and who neglected my growth as a human being, it looked like love to me. Being treated like an object looked like love. Imagine that!

Donna’s outreach to high school kids is great. but it’s not enough. In the catholic schools we attended, we had a religion class each day (both gradeschool and highschool), I knew the bible inside and out, but I didn’t understand a word of it – I now realize.

What is needed is a class, each day, on healthy human relations. Starting in first grade. It’s never too early because by age 5 we are already programmed.

I just don’t think it will ever happen because too many parents would end up with their kids removed from their homes (like botox mom), who think they are doing nothing wrong by objectifying their children. The child welfare system would be overrun.

What needs to be acknowledged, though, is that it may be expensive, initially, to implement this curriculum, but the cost savings JUST WITHIN THE FIRST GENERATION, would easily make it worthwhile.

I have a few friends who have confided to me to having PTSD after their experience with sociopaths. It is bad enough to have ever had a sick narcissist/spath in someone’s life and, even if their next partner is a better partner in most respects, and not a sociopath, that partner may add insult to injury, when he/she has no idea of how PTSD can be chronic enough to still affect the victim years and years later (even if less & less, with ongoing therapy), when that next partner (or any therapist) he/she sees, says insentive things like, “You’re wallowing in it” (entirely disconfirming of the victim’s experience)… I get this article, completely.

Dear Mrs. Telford,

I fail to see why it is important to you to hang on to your designation as “Mrs John Telford”—while I understand your desire to expose abusers, I can’t imagine wanting to be called by their name rather than YOUR unique name unconnected to him…while I have also fallen victim to more than one psychopath, I can’t imagine wanting to be called “Mrs. Psychopath” for the rest of my life, I think I would rather be called by my own name…of course we all have different opinions about this sort of thing, but it just was something that I hadn’t ever encountered in a former victim before.

I agree with dancingnancies that “forgiveness is not a necessary step to healing ( from an encounter with a sociopath )”

I once thought that it takes twice as long as the relationship lasted, to “get over” it, that the longer the relationship, double that length by two, and that was how much time it would take to heal. That might be true with “getting over” the hurt from a NORMAL person who hurt you, but not so with a SPATH. I’d been hurt before the spath came into my life, by a couple others, and I healed from them. That healing process was a piece of cake compared to the healing process of healing from years of gaslighting from a spath. Too many JUST DON’T GET IT..they don’t KNOW what a spath is, nor about their gaslighting techniques.

I read above that it is easier to allow sociopaths to think they ended the relationship. Why is this? Can they not stand the rejection? I left my spath due to cheating and its funny every encounter we have had since, he has found a way to always boast about getting rid of me. Who cares, who ended it, thank goodness its over! Why did Donna suggest this, though? Just curious…

Oxy,
I can understand Mrsjohntelford.
that is her name and she has the right to use it. She has the right also to discuss what happened to her. So if you google John Telford, you will know why she is using her name. LOL!
It’s her way of backspathing. Mrs, please tell me if you want me to delete this statement after Oxy has read it.

Farwronged, because some of them try to kill you.
they don’t want anyone leaving them, that’s a narcissistic injury.
The spath is a case of emotionally retarded human. His emotions are those of an infant and all infants are afraid of abandonment. It makes them feel like they are dying. Which, in the case of an infant, it’s true, but with the spath it FEELS like it’s true, just as much as for an infant.
This makes them rage in frustration. They must have control over you, or they will die, so instead they kill you.
It is an ego thing, but not an ego thing that has to do with pride. It’s an ego thing that goes much deeper than that. It’s their ego telling them that the world must revolve around them or they will die, because they are an infant and that’s what infants believe/feel.

Sky, you may think you know why she is using the name, and you may even be right, but on this thing I wanted HER thinking on this…as it is 180 degrees away from how I would feel.

I am not condemning her for it, just found it odd. I did google him and he definitely sounds like a psychopath—who glories in his own feces. My P-sperm donor was quite famous, and I sure wanted to “out” him, for sure, but you know, I did not use his name or bill myself as “P-sperm donor’s daughter” even though people would have known who he was—actually I didn’t want my name connected to him in any way because of how he was. I just wanted AWAY form him.

Later, after he died, I realized I had let go of the bitterness toward him, and I didn’t want anything to do with him, or even if he had left me money (fat chance!) I would not have taken it, I didn’t want anything to do with him at all. If that makes any sense.

Assuming that Mrs John Telford is the x wife of this creep whose life is profiled on amazon along with his books, I can understand her bitterness, I was very bitter against my P sperm donor for many years, and this guy sounds like someone who would make ANYONE who associated with him bitter….and especially someone who was married to him. So I understand her bitterness and I think she has every right to be bitter toward a man who is admittedly (at best) a serial marital cheat (for one thing) and I bet there are other things she has a right to be bitter about as well.

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