By | July 13, 2011 56 Comments

RESOURCE PERSPECTIVES: Why we try to understand the psychopath

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.

Who is the fool?

By Sarah Strudwick

Sarah Strudwick profile in the Lovefraud Professional Resources Guide

A normal empathic individual will do their utmost to understand a psychopath, especially if they have no idea the person is a psychopath or has a personality disorder in the first place.

Throughout the ages most people have had a fascination with evil, so when we suddenly find ourselves coming across someone who ticks all the boxes when it comes to behaving like the Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde, or even the devil themselves, we are left with a reality check:  Do these psychopathic individuals really mean what they are saying? Are they just joking when they say things like, “I want to kill or hurt someone?” We think to ourselves, “Surely they can’t be serious,” “They really can’t be that evil.” We question, “Why would they do such strange things?”


When it comes to their crazy making behaviour, e.g. playing mind games and gaslighting, unless you have had the lovely misfortune of having met a psychopath or had a relationship with one, most people don’t actually know what has hit them until it’s too late. For those that don’t know what gaslighting is, it is a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented to the victim with the intent of making them doubt their own memory and perception. It may simply be the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, or it could be the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. The sole aim is to make the victim of the gaslighting behaviour end up thinking they are crazy. Usually the person doing it is crazy themselves, and it can also involve verbal projection, whereby they use creative means to project their own insanity onto the victims.

Recently I met a person who decided to do a bit of gaslighting on me. Fortunately, they didn’t know I had written a book about it, and they thought they had spotted the little red neon flashing sign above my head that says, “Come and get me.” They decided to play a few little mind games on me, trying to make me think I had lost my marbles, or that my memory was failing me. Had I not known about gaslighting or written Dark Souls, I would have come out thinking I was starting to lose my mind. It was done in a very insidious way, and involved lots of projection and moving stuff around. However, the fact was that I knew straight away what they were doing, becoming immediately aware of their games, they weren’t able to have any hold on me.

Trying to understand

Having spent much of my life around crazy people and thinking I was crazy myself, wasting time and energy trying to “understand” them, I have come to a realisation as to why we as victims may be so fascinated by them. It’s usually because of the cognitive dissonance that reminds us that underneath all people must be good. This does not apply to a psychopath, and is one of the reasons people are so fascinated with them.

Claudia Moscovici talks about the psycopath as Evil Jokers (The Dark Knight and other psychopathic characters). Remember the psychopathic person is all about mind games and winning, and without a willing fool to play games with, they will soon move on to another willing victim. Psychopaths are known for experiencing great pleasure at hurting and playing games with their victims.

But who is the fool really?

The psychopath sees the victim as a fool, an idiot, prey, a target that they can use and abuse. They hide behind a mask, thinking they are invisible in their disguise and that victims cannot spot them. If you have a history of abuse, the psychopath has an innate ability to home in on victims, but many victims learn how to spot a psychopath more readily if they have already been victimised.

No more fascination

Once victims empower themselves and uncover the mask of insanity, and we learn why and how they do things, we no longer have a fascination with trying to “understand” them.  We no longer want to help them by being dependent enablers, or figure out why they do evil things.

The victim understands that evil is not some glamourous, fictitious Hollywood character from a horror movie, whose sole modus operandi is to exploit and manipulate, who is trying to create a false persona so that we believe them to be something they are not.  We understand that under the facade of the psychopathic personality they are hard wired to be different.  We stop playing into their hands and we see them for the fools that they really are.

Once we educate ourselves, the fascination with evil suddenly dissolves from being a unhealthy obsession for what appeared to be the charismatic, macabre, charmer who we stupidly think “accidentally” does bad things to good people, to a more surreal kind of character that no holds glamour or real appeal.  Since the psychopath lacks empathy, and without willing players, it becomes a game of solitaire for both the abuser and abused. They may be evil, but the other three-dimensional attributes, such as empathy, kindness, charm and charisma, that we gave to them, start to slip away.

Once the joker exposes himself as the true trickster he really is, they are unable to play their games anymore. As their house of cards starts to fall around them they reveal themselves as nothing more than a cardboard cutout, hiding in the pack and the joke is then firmly on them.


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donna dixon

Thank you for this great article Sarah! And thank YOU, Donna Anderson for creating this site. I can’t tell you how valuable this site is to me! It has become my bible.

It has taken me 2 years to finally become convinced that I was married to a Sociopath. And by reading the articles and posts, one by one, all my doubts have disappeared.

It is unfortunate that true evil can exist within the person who I once believed was my “Knight in shining armor”. It was all just smoke and mirrors.

I am now following the No Contact rule ~ thanks in large part to Ox Drover 🙂 I feel I am becoming stronger each day just knowing in my mind that I control my thoughts and actions and my ex can no longer use me as his puppet of mental pleasure.

Thanks to all of you!


Thanks for this great article!
“Gaslighting”…never heard the term before but what you describe is exactly what has happened to me. IN THE WORSE WAY! I just so HATE “IT” for the horrid things it done to me. Just so HATE “IT”. Wow, Donna: only two years? You did very good. It has taken me almost five years to realize that ‘the love of my life’ is a trickster; an evil demon from hell. I believed every single lie and as soon as I got real good and ‘dependent’, the rug was pulled from underneath me as it walked away laughing that it almost killed me.

Oh yes, No Contact is absolutely the only way to go. WITHOUT A DOUBT. What Sarah said about NOT PARTICIPATING anymore works: they will just move on to their next victim.
Good bye to bad rubbish.

Your article, Sarah, truly validated ‘gaslighting’ for me.
Thank you. Up until now, reading your article, I seriously thought that perhaps I have lost a few marbles somewhere along the way. But I never lost sight of the ‘real me’. I just have to find a way back to me and get over this overwhelming shock and disbelief I have been left with after all this time.

Oh yes, Donna: every day you will get stronger and stronger. Yes, “WE” control our thoughts and our actions…NOT THEM!

I like what you said: “my ex can no longer use me as his puppet of mental pleasure…” Yes! That is the mark of a true psycho: when they get down into your very being and your brain and are still there after they are long gone. They do that to keep us on the edge of our seats. They find it amusing.

I would like to ask my x sp: “WHO IS LAUGHING NOW?!”
“IT” is looking at 13 years in prison, for what “IT” has done to me….which “IT” actually THOUGHT it was going to get away with…first tried to swoon me out of it; then after that didn’t work: tried to THREATEN ME OUT OF IT!
Not going to happen. So sorry.

“IT” is in for a rude awakening; like it will even care….
Yah, right.

Thanks Sarah and thanks Donna…
You just validated me one more time you guys.

(Zeesh: how I love this place!)


donna dixon

Dear Duped_In-SoCal,

I feel the same…..each article I read here just keeps validating everything!! Everytime I start to feel down I jump on this site and read, read, read. It’s wonderful therapy!

And, speaking of therapy; I finally came to the conclusion the other day that therapists are there for the SANE to be able to deal with the aftermath of what the crazies have inflicted upon us…….. No Spath seeks out therapy to heal themselves because they are either too crazy to know they need help or just plain don’t want it!!


Oh yes, Donna…

No spath seeks out therapy. Good point.
To them there is nothing wrong with them.
They have no need to change.

Oh yes, the validation helps so much when there isn’t hardly any place to be found but “here”, at LF.

hahaha: yes, therapists are there to help us over the aftermath of the crazies….sometimes it feels like an endless battle…I want to know who helps the therapists over the aftermath “WE” have brought to “THEIR” lives? 🙂 No matter how you cut it: “WINNING!” without SP!!!!

BUT: just keep plugging away!

Blessings to you donna…



I was cleaning a bookcase today and happened along a photograph of “IT”….I think I sat here and looked at that photo for such a long time, just in awe and amazement that this could have all gone so horribly wrong the way it has.

All I ever done was love “IT” and try to be good to “IT” and it about decimated me and I will never understand why except for that they just don’t value things the same way we do, I suppose.

I used to feel special and important and suddenly, “IT” was trying to kill me and do such horrid things to me. Nobody will ever understand what that ‘mind control’ was like. It’s undefinable. Truly. Gaslighting to the max.

I haven’t torn up the photograph yet. I just put it back in the book where I found it. Maybe I will find it again in another 10 years; hmm? I will look at it and say: “WHO was THAT?~!”



don’t rip up any photos. They may serve as evidence later.
Just put them where they won’t bother you.


Don’t worry, I am not going to do anything stupid. There has been enough STUPID going down…
Time for something different.

Every day that I learn more, I become better educated and knowledgeable, HOWEVER, it’s tough realizing these things about someone you used to love so much…someone you almost gave your life for; literally. The sorrow I feel inside my heart is so unbearable if I allow myself to feel it. Seriously.

He has ruined my life just like “SHE” (the OWx8-the new victim) said he did to her. And, she’s right…he has. He has ruined everyone’s but his, apparently. He must like it the way it is or he would change it. Right? Yah, yah, yah; sick-schmick…

I felt the same way about my biological ‘mother’….if she really loved us kids, she would never have put us in harms way the way she did all those years – susceptible to all her drug dealers and pimps. I used to tell her that, too, when she would say: “You know I love you…” (Yah, right). Same thing. Just wasted time on waste of flesh.

I am going to be alright now that I am starting to get in touch with my HATE personality. He just better hope he doesn’t pull any surprise visits because I can’t promise what will happen. I know it would suit me just fine to delay dialing 9-1-1 for about five minutes so I could get a couple whacks in of my own!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Trying to do a million things at once and then I found that picture and got stopped dead in my tracks.
I mean, I sat here, looking at it, thinking: “How could I ever have loved you?” “How could I ever have believed all of your lies and deceptions?” How could I let this happen to me? I guess ‘love’ does stupid things to us. It’s sad. It just shouldn’t be this way at all but it is. There is nothing I can do or say that is ever going to change it.

“IT” asked me when it was here, last, if things were always going to be this way between us now…
I said, “Yes”. I was betrayed deeper than anyone can imagine. “IT” knows. If I were “IT” I just couldn’t be dealing with myself right at this moment. Realizing the things it has done to me. But “IT” doesn’t care. Quite the contrary, “IT” threatens me some more because I AM ON TO IT NOW. AND I AM NOT CHANGING MY MIND.

The cops can have the photograph, I don’t need it anymore. I gathered all “IT’s” things (what little there was over all this time) and put it in an envelope with “IT’s” name on it. I am also going to put all those emails, texts, photos, etc., that I removed from my computer to CD, those are going in there as well. It is going to be given to my attorney. Period. I mean every single word I say and the more time that goes by, the more I mean it.

(((thanks skylar))))))

Yep, it’s all going away where it won’t bother me anymore.



Hey Duped!

How are you? Yes, a photograph and an address – that’s about all it will take for us to make sure that he is out of your life for good! -heh heh.

You sound like you are doing well so I hope that’s actually the case. It was a beautiful day here today, though it’s been a pretty mild summer so far (at least out here in the East!). I haven’t been to California for a while, but I’m guessing it must be pretty hot out there – especially if you are in the South. However, there’s nothing like an hour or two of direct sunlight to put you in a good mood! (You are getting out at least for that, right?)

Have a wonderful week, Dear Duped!


Dearest (((Constantine)))

Thank you for popping in like the Guardian Angel you are appearing to be, My Friend.

I am flattered that you make reference to a photo and address. HAHAHAHAHA….when I turn it all in, it is earmarked; trust me. 😉

I am doing alright. Been sobbing for the past 2 days again and not really sure why. Just at the drop of a hat. Just like before. I don’t understand it because it really isn’t “IT” inspiring it. Or is it?

It finally cooled off out here; been in the 100’s the past couple of weeks. Even having to use the a/c at nightime. Has been real hot and humid; very different for SoCal. It reached 90 today. You can really feel that 10 degrees when it has been as hot and humid as it has been.

Yes, it is truly very beautiful here despite the bazillion people!

I get out when I do, Dear Friend.
“Getting out” is not one of my better skills at the moment. 🙂
I tend to shy away from situations where someone might make me blow a gasket at them because I am not a pretty sight. Trust me. Came with the territory, I guess and growing up in an inner city.

YOU have a wonderful week my Dear Friend, Constantine.
Thanks for the shoulder when I needed one. mwah! xxoo

Always here,



PS Duped,

It sounds to me like the bouts of sobbing have mainly to do with the “curse” of hypersensitivity that we were discussing earlier. That, and the fact that you are burdening an already delicate nervous system with all these other kinds of trauma (i.e., the heart surgery, weight loss, the spath, etc.) So it’s only natural that there would be this kind of delayed reaction that manifests as what seems like “crying for no reason.”

At the same time, make sure to keep a sense of proportion about things. It’s easy to get frustrated over all the injustice and suffering in the world. But there are definite limits to what we can do, and we have to remember the oft-quoted “Serenity Prayer” as far as, “Changing the things we can/accepting the things we cannot, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Well, sometimes when the “empathy function” goes into overdrive (i.e., during the Jaycee interviews or the Casey A. verdict, for example), we lose precisely that ability to “know the difference” between where we can help and where helping is beyond our capacity. And yet when that happens, we usually just end up contributing to the sum total of the world’s misery by adding our own small share!

But most of all, keep close to the good and simple things of life: Holding your granddaughter’s hand at the park, getting your sleep and sunlight, leaving the house even when (especially when!) you don’t feel like it, etc etc. It’s hard to say for sure, but it sounds like this is what you need right now. Even going to a massage therapist once a week would probably be an excellent idea in terms of restoring some more calmness and equilibrium to the system. (But preferably no young Chippendale types – that could end up creating other kinds of disturbance that are perhaps premature at this point!)

Peace and Blessings to you.


Thank you. This blasted sobbing. It has plagued me for almost the past five years and is very embarrassing. Sometimes I can be at the grocery store, picking out plums and break down and not really know why. Just something overtakes me and I sob. Been like this for almost five years. EMDR therapy has been helping a little. Haven’t done it in months but going to another session this coming Friday. It’s like a purging of those deep seated emotions that I have buried away for so long.

I have to admit that once I put CLOSURE to this relationship, on MY TERMS, ON MY TIME, the sobbing subsided for quite a while. I would say several months and now it’s back again. I don’t know why I do it and wish it would stop. It is like I have no control over it at times.

The ‘curse’ of hypersensitivity. Perfect target for a sociopath; right? He kept saying: “You are such a nice person.” Yah, too nice for the likes of YOU! 🙂 😉

Yah, a whole ball of things has built up on me, My Friend, over these years I have been around. Keep a sense of proportion about things. Yes. I try really hard. Yes, there are limits as to what we can do, unfortunately. Empathy function: overdrive…right. I have been locked up inside this situation for way too long. It has definitely changed me as a person and I am trying really very hard to recover from this. I truly, truly, am. I wake up every day and give it all I got and I seem to fall short somehow.

I don’t wish to contribute to the world’s misery.
I have been searching for the answers without “IT” because “IT” is never going to give me any. “IT” will never say “I am sorry, Duped” and actually mean it.

Looking at his life, from the time I have known him, he has been all about ‘faking people on’; manipulation and doing so thinking it was very humorous. Like entertainment almost.

Yes: keep close to the good and the simple things in life. You are right. No…won’t be no Chippendale masseuse for this ‘old bird’, I am afraid. The male species has chased me away on this one. Let me die an old spinster, sewing quilts at the ladie’s circle, talking about days gone by. PLEASE!!!!!! 😉

I am thinking about starting a YOGA class but have to get permission first from my cardiologist. Yet, like today, busy, busy, busy…..I am exhausted and still trying to function and yet still dealing with all this inside me. Makes me feel like going outside, digging a huge hole, climbing in and pulling the dirt over my head, JUST to get some PEACE from all of this.

I feel like an insane person; like a chicken without a head…(ever see one of those?!) 🙂

No, no, Dear Constantine: we don’t need any other kinds of ‘disturbances’ in my world. Not from now until the time my soul departs my body. Nooooooooooooo thank you! xxoo

Thank you so much for being here to talk with me.
You somehow make the ‘owies’ a little easier with your hugs.

Love ~ Dupedster



Your posts aptly describe what many of us have experienced (and still experience) on an emotional level. I have times where I am so wanting to sob (usually at an inconvenient time and/or location), but don’t get it out. Instead, I hold it in. I think it’s healthy to release the emotions that your inner self knows needs to get flushed out. I know, I still wonder how it all could have gone so wrong, my relationship with the ex, how and why I got snared by one of these people (it’s just so hurtful down deep inside). I think that you are an inspiration. I have to remind myself, I do not deserve what has happened to me (courtesy of the spath). He is an absolute low-life.


G,mornin Dupedster – I got rid of all triggers, replaced most of my furniture, dug up the lillies, mowed down the evidence that he was here..I even destroyed all photos..I thot.. but i came across a photo not long ago of him, I sat there looking at it ..yep that was THE IT that I let take over my life for a few years, the IT that seems to still haunt me at times, I could not throw away the photo tho, maybe I will come across it again someday, and remember the pain and see how much I have grown and healed from his charade – keep it as a reminder that I will never be nobodys fool ever again…..


(((bluejay))) (((hens))): good morning!

Oh yes: got rid of all the triggers. Yep; until I found that blasted photograph…it’s alright. I stuck it back in that book and probably won’t remember it until I run across it again someday. If ever.
Thank goodness it wasn’t in a book that I use all the time!!!!!!!!

I so hate “IT” for the horrible things it has done to me! When I told it that, a long while ago, “IT” laughed and said: “What have I done to you? hehehe – YOU DONE ALL THIS TO YOURSELF!”
Yah, imagine that….I DONE IT TO MYSELF. Yah, I suppose I did. So, guess what? I AINT DOING IT TO MYSELF NO MORE!


I have been in the fight of my life with this emotional monster.
I am going to win or I will die trying BECAUSE THEY DONT DESERVE ALL OF THE THOUGHT, ATTENTION, WORDS, ETC., THAT THEY GET FROM US. They just don’t deserve it. Sick or not, THEY DO NOT DESERVE WHAT WE GIVE THEM. Period.

Thanks you guys for the support: another morning: another cup of decaf and some more ruminations. Sure wish I could find a way to wake up in a better mood….



PS: hens, hahahaha, now you got ME using that name! 😉


they rationalize, justify and change blame – it like Sky said – its like a nervous tic – just the nature of the beast – dont waste to much time hating him dupedster – it’s energy that can be used for something good – ok out of here – got to go make a dollar…


they rationalize in their own sick, perverse, twisted, minds that they are justified doing the things they do. Nature of the beast; right. I am trying not to waste too much time hating “IT” because I refuse to allow it to suck THAT MUCH of my life force.

You are right hens…you are right…the more I learn, the more disgusted I am becoming by it.

mwah~! xxoo

Happy make a dollar day, Lovey….
Break a leg…



Read your posts and have to giggle. Getting this ‘visual’ of a kick boxing warrior woman. Can see you kick boxing a large boxing bag with his photo on top. Just call it his ‘attitude adjustment’ by proxy. You bring back the memory of all the anger I felt after the big bust.
I admire your willingness to post and share your experience. It gives hope and strength to those who find it difficult to put our feelings out there. Been here for four years and never did. Without the courage of all who have, I could not have healed. Thank you.


Shalom: ‘shalom’…

Thanks for the ego boost this morning.
Yah: most people DO have that visual of me…
Came with the territory, I guess.

Attitude adjustment by proxy; ahahahahahaha
Does the time I dumped and trashed my kitchen over “IT” count?
Oh yah…big time. When I went to grab the microwave, I decided then and there that I needed to take a deep breath and “move away from the microwave”. But pretty much everything else got it.

And to think THAT could have been ON HIS HEAD! That chicken. He was miles away when he sent me off that edge; trust me. Lucky for him HE WASNT HERE and I told him so at the time. He doesn’t like my temper. It takes a lot to push those buttons in me but once they are pushed: BINGO! 🙂 It always seemed to take him by surprise too. He would always shrink away. I have major PTSD from years of public service and a lifetime of oh so indescribable traumas…I am not pretty when riled. So, I have chosen a solitary life. UNTIL “IT” came along…and used me to the maximus: that slimeball slug.

I am so happy to hear that my misery is giving hope and strength to those who find it difficult to express their feelings and emotions. We are all the same. We all have emotions and feelings, unless you are a SOCIOPATH, then emotions and feelings turn into something they “USE” and “MANIPULATE” in people for one reason or another but it’s always about control.

Yes, I hear you: without the courage of all of the people here, who HAVE shared and opened their hearts, I am so very grateful. Grateful for everyone here. Even Ox and the skillet! 😉

Have a wonderful day Shalom…




Gaslighting –

the first time I had heard the word was about a year when I started seeing the counselor I’m still seeing.
I had told her about a situation when me and my XSpath had gotten into an argument:
I had been literally throwing up sick for 3 days straight. started on thursday and this happened on Saturday. I was laying in bed and he came in and asked “Are you mad?”
I told him “No – I just really don’t feel good”. then he kissed me on the cheek and got into the shower.
15 minutes later after he gets out of the shower he starts throwing things around – slamming dresser drawers, slamming bedroom doors, throwing clothes out onto the bed.
sent the dog hiding under the computer and his own son looking completely as befuddled as I felt. I asked him what his problem was and his response was “don’t tell me nothing’s wrong” WTF – he then said that he had asked me what was wrong while I was in the kitchen earlier making mashed potatoes cuz it was the only thing I could keep down and I replied “nothing”
he then asked his son to confirm this, this good kid told his dad to keep him out of it.
I kept trying to convince him that THAT was not at all how things went down…
We had a tax appt that day and he drove like a mad man down the road – we got to the tax dude 20 minutes early, interrupting his lunch, but the x didn’t care. he kept giving me dirty ugly hateful looks that I just ignored.

anyway – so skip ahead skip ahead.
I had told my counselor about this and I asked her “did he do that on purpose or he just really that screwed up?”
she replied – “that’s gaslighting – think about it, only a matter of minutes had passed, but while he was in the shower he was concocting how/what he gonna do to you to screw you up that day – it probly wasn’t the first time was it?” and of course my answer was “no”.
so she told me to research gaslighting and sociopathic relationships.
and she led me here.

I’m so glad I learned. sometimes you really do feel like you have lost your mind….

Thanks LF!

Ox Drover

Deear Backintothelight,

GOOD thoughts! The gaslighting does make us think we are crazy….but sticking with reality, the reality that we know now, will help us focus our healing on ourselves, realizing that we cannot help them and they WILL not help themselves.

You are on your way toward the good life, and the best revenge is to live a good life!


Dear Duped,

I am also in socal, and my It is a 45 year old who is now with the 27 year old “OW.” I have been reading your posts for the past few days, and I wanted to tell you that they are VERY helpful to me. I have been in complete NC for 3 weeks now, and it’s better every day. I do have triggers, and I have to watch that I don’t trigger myself. I have to drive by “Its'” house sometimes, and her car is there whenver his kids are not. It still upsets me!? He sent me an email 3 weeks ago wanting sympathy for “jumping into something he shouldn’t have.” Barf…I guess he jumped in with both feet with a cement block tied to them!

Anyway, this article got me wondering. “It” used to poke at me anytime I had an injury, and would ask, “Does that hurt?” I was wondering if anyone else experienced this type of behavior with their spaths? He thought this torture was cute or funny for some reason. I think he tried to do the same thing with my emotions whenever he could-just pick and poke at me for drama. The relationshit lasted 18 months, and the break up lasted 10 months-talk about drama!! I’m so grateful for NC and for all of your heartfelt postings. They really help.

PS. When I used the term “gaslighting” with him, he said, “I don’t know what that means!” He sure knew how to utilze it!


“The sole aim is to make the victim of the gaslighting behaviour end up thinking they are crazy. Usually the person doing it is crazy themselves, and it can also involve verbal projection, whereby they use creative means to project their own insanity onto the victims.”

OMG OMG OMG>>>>>>>> This is what happened to me…..It’s projection…..but you call it gaslighting…. wow..and now, I am a little bit smarter!


Thanks Foolme2wice…
Jeez, think our x sp’s are related? 🙂

I am so glad my posts are helping you, Foolme…
It helps me, as well, getting it out and putting it down so others can learn and glean from the error of my choices….

I am trying to chronicle this limited journey with all of you in the hopes that after you get through picking the bones, you will actually have some meat. I am kind of doing the same in therapy: I am a case study. Imagine that. I don’t mind as long as I know my pain and sorrow through my experience is helping another over the hurdles and I am so grateful for your kind words…Thank you FoolMe.

“gaslighting”…right on word; hmm? Yah….didn’t think that had a word before…now I know it does. 🙂 Of course they don’t know what that means: they are in too deep – kings and queens of denial about themselves. They will be lost in that denial the rest of their lives too. WITHOUT ME. I have better things to do with my limited time other than playing “IT’s” games.

Hold your head up Foolme and don’t even give those losers the time of day. Put your high heels on and don your ‘big girl britches’, Foolme…. xxoo





Hugs to you! I’m going out now (with my big girl britches on) to have some fun with my friends! Keeping busy helps me a lot!


FoolMe –

Mine used to make fun of my name – some people spell it wrong so it’s pronounced wrong and it bothers me to no end, and he would call me by the wrong pronounciation all the time.
he used to sit there and literally poke, poke, poke, poke, to see how much I would tak. I knew what he was doing towards the end so I would ignore him.
It really is our best defense against them – they are like little kids wanting attention all the time – whether it’s good attention or bad attention. total NC – I have been total NC w/ mine for 4 months now – it was alot longer before that, but I tried to get a restraining order against him for all the harassing emails, texts, calls so I had to see him in court in Mar.
the order was dismissed because they weren’t actually threatening, just ugly hateful accusations that didn’t matter anyway – the relationshit had been over for over a year.

but to answer your question – YES!
I think they all do it to us in one form or another..


Dear Backintothelight,

Thanks for your response. It’s so strange how they are all so similar, like tribal members raised in the same manner.

As far as NC, I went on Google to find out how to block “It” from texting or calling my phone (which worked) and emailing my Yahoo account (which did not work). I hope you have not had to have contact since March. Congrats! They really take too much of our precious time…


I think the thing that drove me crazy about gas lighting is not so much what they did, it was the reaction I got from people when I told about my experience.

My son’s dad was stealing money out of my bank or he’d insist on buying stuff and that stuff would disappear. I think he hocked it for pennies on the dollar?

Every time I questioned him he said I did it. Then he’d say my kids did it.

One time I found a ATM receipt on the floor of the van. He had taken $50.00 out of the grocery store ATM at 5:30 am. I showed it to him. He said how does he know that I didn’t do it when I was sleeping.

I was so outraged and got no where with him. I told other people cause I was on a mission to be validated. They asked “do you sleep walk”?

They believed him. Just because I repeated some ridiculous comment he said…they believed him!

I had to point out that if I walked to the grocery store at 5:30 am in my PJ’s and used the ATM it would get notice. I also pointed out that sleep walkers look either blank or confused. The grocery store would have called the police to escort this confused PJ clad women out of the store!

I was actually defending myself in this nonsense! And, all attention was OFF him. No one was looking at him for taking the money. They were looking at me like there is something wrong with me.

My ex-boyfriend Mike. He lost custody of his kids and he was trying to get visitation with them. I felt bad for him and I got a few small gifts for his kids at Christmas. I thought it would be a little something extra for them to open. Well, he didn’t buy them anything. My little something extra was all they got.

In the diary, for his daughter Mike wrote a message and then closed the diary, locked it, and handed it to me saying “wrap it”. I wrapped it.

Days later a call came from Mikes attorney saying that something bad was written in that diary. It upset his daughter and her foster parents.

Mike told his attorney that I read it.

This shifted the blame from Mike to me!

I stupidly went to court with Mike to “be his support”. All the court wanted to know was if I read that diary.

No I hadn’t. He wrote something and locked it and told me to wrap it.

The court didn’t believe me. They continued to question my credibility by asking me questions.

I finally got them off my back by asking the court what does this have to do with what Mike wrote? And then I explained to the court about the fast one he just pulled off.

I was seen as being guilty of whatever he wrote just because he blamed me by saying I read it.

Again, my point is not the gas lighting itself, it’s that I can’t tell my story without people blaming me.

Ox Drover


The only way you can “defend yourself” from this kind of thing is to stay away from people who are dishonest, irresponsible, or liars.

That means at the FIRST SIGN of a lie, disengage from any contact with these people FOREVER, COMPLETELY…..

Learn the RED FLAGS that point to a toxic person (psychopath or not) and when you see one waving….just wave “bye bye” to the person, no second chances.

It took me a LONG TIME, almost 6 decades, to get that, and to disengage from the person the FIRST sign of a red flag. It was a long painful journey, but from here on, the first sign of a red flag keeps a person out of my “circle of trust” FOREVER AND A DAY!


Oxy and Jeannie:

Oxy is so right. There really is no other way. Keeping in contact with anyone like that just keeps the drama and the hurt going.

I have noticed this past year that I will tell someone something and then they end up using it against me to hurt me. I don’t need that. So I have become very careful with what I tell people. People make assessments and judge while we are telling them things.

I know I have been through nothing near what so many have been through on here, but I have been feeling bad the past week. I am praying a lot and letting God have control, but it hurts. I haven’t been able to sleep very well the past week and I don’t like that because it adds to the feeling badly. Sigh. It’s so tough when there are all these horrible feelings and you just don’t know what to do with them. I get that “restless legs” feeling only it’s my whole body instead of just my legs! Bigger sigh.

Hope to heal

Dear Louise ~ I’m so sorry to hear that you’re having troubles. Getting good rest is so very important in the healing process.

I have sometimes had good results doing a sort of self-hypnosis sort of thing. I just force myself to clear my head of whatever is buzzing around in there by thinking of my favorite place to just sit and enjoy mother nature.

It’s a secluded beach, I’m all alone there, the waves are crashing on the rocks nearby… The breeze is gently blowing my hair back from my face… The stars are shining above, casting a gentle light on the seascape

Oh my gosh, I just get so relaxed when I do that!! I need to get to bed. G’nite all and sweet dreams.


Ox Drover

Dear Louise,

It will pass…try some meditation….a simple oone is lie on your bed with your eyes closed, and count your breaths. The first breath IN is “one” and then when it goes out it is “and: and then the next breath in is “two”> and out=and” just keep on doing that untiil you get to 4 then go back to ONE, and just repeat it over and over. It will help relax you, make you focus on something besides what you don’t need to think about and eventually you will fall off asleep. Give it a try. (((hug))))


h2h and Oxy:

Thank you…I will try both of these techniques. I need to do something. It is very late and I am still wide awake.

Thank you all so much for realizing that no matter what we have gone through, it still hurts a lot even though it doesn’t seem very damaging. It was damaging.


“Once victims empower themselves and uncover the mask of insanity, and we learn why and how they do things, we no longer have a fascination with trying to “understand” them. We no longer want to help them by being dependent enablers, or figure out why they do evil things.”

This is true. Once I learned everything there was to learn and understand about my ex-socio, I lost the fascination with his personality disorder.

After everything that I went through, all the pain, the anger, fear, hurt, etc… it all came back to the fact that sociopaths are just sad characters.

Parasites – yes dangerous and yes manipulative… but, once you shine the light on them, get them out of your life and recover – not so big of a deal, afterall.


HA! “…not so big of a deal, afterall.” 🙂
You sure got that right, purewaters!!

I had no fascination with IT’s disorder: I just didn’t KNOW what the disorder WAS! I knew something wasn’t right but didn’t know until I came here, to Love Fraud, JUST what the disorder WAS! Such vileness!!!!!

Parasites – that somehow doesn’t adequately describe what they are. I don’t care why it does the things it does; all I know is that it isn’t going to continue doing them to ME!

And you are right…once you get through all of the pain, the anger, the fear, the deep hurt and ugliness, you see how sad their pitiful lives really are.

Someone said earlier that we spend too much time here, talking amongst ourselves when we should just be ‘living’! THAT is the greatest justification we can get: just living our lives and trying to find that peace and happiness PAST this. That is true but there is A LOT to be said for ‘working through’ our thoughts.

Love Fraud and being able to come here and share this journey has been an amazing tool for my recovery and I am sure it has for all of you as well. It is important we give ourselves validation and we can’t find that anywhere but here; with others who understand.

Yes, they are dangerous and manipulative.
Yes, shine the light on them – they fear the light.
They evaporate when you shine the light on them.

It is going to be such a VERY ‘not so big a deal’ once I am finished with my journey and it’s getting there. A little more hypnotherapy and a little more EMDR and my life will be manageable again. That is something I haven’t been able to do in just about five years.





I did the counting before I tried to go to sleep and it worked! Thank you! 🙂

Hope to heal

Louise ~ so glad to hear you were able to get a good night’s sleep. It is so important to be well rested!!

Have a good day!

Ox Drover

Louise, WONDERFUL!!!! It is a simple technique, and the main thing it does is that our brains can NOT hold “two conversations” at once, so if you are focusing on the counting, it makes all the other “voices” and worries and thoughts be quiet….the monotony of the counting also helps to relax us and doesn’t take much thought to keep on counting (though sometimes I forget to go back to 1 after getting to “4-and” LOL)



“It is going to be such a VERY ’not so big a deal’ once I am finished with my journey and it’s getting there. A little more hypnotherapy and a little more EMDR and my life will be manageable again. That is something I haven’t been able to do in just about five years.”

When you said 5 years, I cringed. But, then I thought back to the beginning of my journey which was Dec of 2007, 2008, 2009 and then forward to my recovery years 2009-now… this December will be FOUR years… incredible.

What an incredible loss of time. I am just thankful that I did not end up losing any more time to him… there have been many, many up’s and down’s… some days just hoping to God that things will be different tomorrow, and slowly and surely… I am getting there. I’m feeling my motivation, my excitement for life, and just peace grow.

Lovefraud is a helpful place, for sure. Leading the way for awareness which is KEY to empowering people to steer clear of sociopaths.

I actually get happy when I see tests for personality disorders on Makes me realize others are waaay more educated, than before. This kind of thing just needs to continue, until the majority of the public can spot a PD from a mile away 😀



Thank you! I am also trying your “thinking of a beautiful beach” technique!



Thank you again! Thanks for explaining how it works because I didn’t see how just counting could do so much good. I also took REALLY deep breaths. Can’t wait to practice it again tonight.

Hope to heal

Louise ~ The important thing is that you get a good night’s rest.

Oxy ~ I plan on trying your method also. It seems as if it would be extremely relaxing.

The next thing I would like to learn is how to STAY asleep, without waking up multiple times throughout the night. 🙂



I can relate to waking up, too. In the last week, there were a couple of nights where I fell asleep, but after two hours…boing!! What is up with that?? With me it has to be menopause.

Hope to heal

Louise ~ I think it may be menopause for me too, at least partially. I also think it has to do with processing all the garbage that keeps going through my mind. It’s amazing how many childhood issues have come to mind recently… all I can say is WOW! I need to run now… the lawn is turning into a hayfield as I type. LOL be back later on. (((hugs)))


Ox Drover


My law is turning into a desert even as I type….NO RAIN and 100+ temps for over a month…grass isn’t just dead, it is GONE! Bare earth!



Yeah, me too…menopause and all the other noise in my head. But in the past, once I fell asleep I was good for the night, but not anymore. So that makes me believe it’s more menopause because I had the other issues before and would sleep through the night.

h2h and Oxy:

Same here. Extremely hot and no rain at all. There was supposed to be a chance of rain today, but not yet. I think maybe this weekend, too…we shall see!

Hope to heal

Oxy & Louise ~ We have had just barely enough rain to keep the grass alive. On top of that, we live in the hollow at the bottom of a fairly steep hill. So all the water we do get seeps down into our lawn. It stays pretty healthy even over long dry spells due to some underground springs also.

We have also been in that extended heat wave with very high humidity on top of it. YUK!

Louise ~ I had the issues before the sleep troubles happened too. I think that more recent events have triggered memories from childhood that I had suppressed. So now, in my sleep, I am dealing with them to some extent. I guess I need to figure out how to deal with them while I’m awake instead so that I can SLEEP!




Sorry to hear about your childhood memories popping up…I hope you are able to deal with them OK. It seems like it’s never ending for me. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever really be “OK?” Sometimes I wonder if I am not damaged beyond repair and not just because of the X spath, but so many things.

Hope to heal

Louise ~ Thank you. I hear you on the feeling of being damaged beyond repair. Sometimes I feel that way too.

I think we KNOW that it is not true though. We ARE going to be just fine. It’s a matter of working through the crap, and DISCARDING it like we do any other garbage in our lives. WE CAN DO THIS!! I have no doubt in my mind. We can get past the pain and continue on the journey of a happy healthy life.

We’re here to listen, and offer help if you feel like posting about the other things too. I believe that our past is what led us to be vulnerable to s/p type people. Now that we know what they are, we are better prepared not to be taken in by their bs again.




Thank you for letting me know you and the others are here. I know you are…you all have helped me so much; you really have.

I will never put up with that BS again. I find myself just not dealing with any drama at all. As soon as I see myself getting into a situation where things seem like they could get a little ugly, I just drop out. I don’t want to even be around it or bothered by it. I can’t handle it and I know it so I just stay away from it.

Ox Drover

Guys, as we get older our sleep patterns change….the REM sleep is not as much….and the wake ups are more frequent. Also, I have sleep apnea and that “restless legs” syndrome…I didn’t know about it until my last sleep test when they told me that it was extremely bad, with me kicking 60+ times per hour which woke me up out of deep sleep, so that even when I was sleeping I THOUGHT, I wasn’t really getting restful sleep, even with the apnea machine.

Sleep is an important part of our restoration and healing, and we don’t always know what is going on in our sleep—even if we think we do. I’ve been using the C-PAP machine for over 10 years but have started to go back to my sleep doctor in the last year or so and am doing much better now.

It is funny, my little dog used to sleep under the covers on my feet, and the last year or so he has started to sleep on the other side of the bed, now that I know about the “restless legs thing” I realize it is because I KICKED HIM AT NIGHT….

Louise, “as soon as I see myself getting into a situation where them seem like they could get a little ugly, I just drop out….I just stay away from it.” GOOD POLICY

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