By | March 26, 2006 64 Comments

Risking death to stand up to threats recently heard from a woman in Illinois, who we’ll call Mary. Mary is trying to protect herself and her eight-year-old daughter from her ex-boyfriend, the daughter’s father, who has guns and has threatened to use them. Not only is Mary fighting the ex, but she’s fighting lawyers—both hers and his—and an unresponsive family court.

Mary left the ex for good in 2001, when their daughter was three. The guy has an alcohol problem and a 20-year arrest record. He has five arrests for DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol) and 14 DWLR arrests (driving while license revoked). He has two arrests for domestic battery. Two different women have sought protection orders against him, including Mary.

In July, 2004, after three years of seeing his daughter sporadically at best, the ex decides he wants to be an involved parent. Coming from a wealthy family, he can afford to initiate a lawsuit and hauls Mary into court to get visitation rights. Mary works full time, but as a single mom, struggles to support her child. She can’t afford the best lawyers money can buy, and she doesn’t qualify for public assistance.

Arrest and conviction

Now, prior to filing his petition for parental rights, the ex was arrested for DUI and DWLR in February, 2004. He gets arrested two more times, in July and November, 2004, for DWLR. So on November 15, 2004, family court awards him supervised visitation rights. Eight days later the ex beats up his current girlfriend. She gets a protection order against him. Then in December he goes to jail for the DUI conviction. He serves 90 days of an 18-month sentence and is released on parole.

All of this happens while he is petitioning the court for his parental rights. The court appoints a clinical psychologist to evaluate both parents and the child. After 20 hours of interviews and evaluation over four months, the psychologist reports that the ex has a history of alcohol abuse and is vulnerable to relapses. He recommends that visitation continue to be supervised, and that the father complete an intensive substance abuse treatment program before overnight visitation is allowed.

Mary’s days in court

On November 15, 2005, Mary is back in court with the ex. Her legal counsel is less than stellar. Mary’s lawyer refuses to subpoena the woman who filed a protection order against the father. Mary talks the woman into showing up in court anyway, but Mary’s lawyer never calls her as a witness. And, Mary’s lawyer never asks the psychologist any questions related to the ex’s violence.

After a six-day trial, the judge rules. In giving his decisions, the judge notes that the ex’s alcohol dependency has not been resolved, and that the man’s mother and stepfather both believe he still has an alcohol problem. The judge notes that the ex has a tendency to disobey court orders. Yet he says the psychologist’s recommendation of no unsupervised visits until after the father completes a chemical dependency treatment program is an unwarranted restriction of his right to visitation. The judge rules that there is no risk to the child, apart from the alcohol issue, and awards the ex unsupervised visitation. He orders the father not to drink alcohol during visitation or for 24 hours before visitation.

Threats of violence

Two days later, the ex calls Mary and tells her he still has his handgun and that he would be a better parent if Mary were no longer around. Mary interprets this as a threat on her life, and asks her lawyer to get an order of protection against the ex. Her lawyer refuses.

The ex continues his threatening and abusive behavior. By February 8, 2006, Mary has had enough. With the help of a family advocate, she gets a protection order on her own. A different judge hears her case.

In the meantime, the ex’s lawyers file a petition to reconsider the parental rights decisions. They want the ex to have unsupervised overnight visitation immediately upon completing a substance abuse program, without an additional court hearing. And, they want his support payments to be reduced, arguing that he really doesn’t get any income from his two trust funds.

On February 16, five days after being served with the order of protection, the ex follows Mary as she drives home from work. Mary photographs him in his car with her cell phone camera and calls the police. The ex is arrested again for DWLR and charged with a criminal felony.

Mary is nervous about testifying against her ex in the felony case. Here’s what the police officer says to Mary: “I have his record in front of me and I can tell you from experience that he is capable of killing you whether you are a witness to this case or not. You need to make a choice to stand up for yourself or let him keep coming after you.”

Back in court

The ex’s lawyers ask the court to combine the protection order hearing with the parental rights case. So on March 1, Mary is back before the family court judge about the protection order. She no longer has a lawyer, so she tries to represent herself. Her ex has two legal teams, who claim that the man has never harassed her. The judge refuses to admit any of Mary’s evidence and vacates the emergency order of protection. The judge further orders that Mary and her ex communicate in a non-abusive and non-harassing manner, and that the father is entitled to telephone visitation daily with his daughter from 7 to 7:30 p.m.

Mary begs the judge to allow her to communicate with her ex only by e-mail. The judge refuses, stating that all communication must be by telephone.

Last week the ex harasses Mary over the phone again. She gets another order of protection.

The next day Mary is back in court in response to her ex’s motion to reconsider the rulings on his parental rights. Although she contacted 43 attorneys, none will take her case, so she is there alone. The judge postpones the hearing, but tells her that if she doesn’t have an attorney on the next trial date, Mary will have to represent herself.

On March 23, 2006, the ex’s home is searched by his parole officer and a representative of the sheriff’s department. They find guns and drugs. He is thrown in jail again.

Can you help?

“It took a long time for me to really understand that he is as dangerous as he is,” Mary says. “I have always been someone who believed all people had some good. I don’t believe that anymore. No matter what I do (try to help him or speak out against him—I have done both), his only goal was to manipulate me and keep me from achieving success of any kind in any aspect of my life. If he does kill me I am not taking his secrets with me.”

Now that’s courage.

Mary still needs to respond to her ex’s demands for visitation rights. Her goal is to keep her daughter safe. If you know an Illinois attorney who can win her case, please contact Lovefraud.

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DAMN….this pisses me off.
We need to understand that attorney’s do not always work a case in our best interest.
Attorneys have reputations of their own….most do not like to get involved with muddy waters… can tarnish thier reputation. It’s like marrying the lovely, beautiful POOR girl.
The legal system is a game…..and to be successful….YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THE GAME…..
Know when to keep your mouth shut, know when to make demands of an attorney and Know when to plow forward yourself…..WITH or WITHOUT your attorney.
I have heard the crazyest things from attorneys…..
One recently told his client (my gf) that he would NOT go back on an agreement….because HE GAVE THE OPPOSING ATTNY HIS WORD. Well…..the financial situation of the STBex hub changed substantially, to allow the agreement to change and be updated……it was a very reasonable demand of my GF…..and her attorney wouldn’t budge…..I GAVE HER MY WORD. She said, she would refuse to sign any agreement and he said, fine…..and you can also fire me…..this was one week prior to trial on a 1.5 year divorce.

I am so very glad MARY fought, fought fought…..and i agree and will advocate….THIS IS WHAT WE MUST DO!!!!

I’ve said it before….and we all must come to the conclusion however we may….mine was cancer…..Mary’s was fear…..
BUT WHEN YOU TAKE THE FEAR OUT OF DYING…..IT TAKES AWAY THE POWER FROM THE S. You will do whatever it takes, and move forward without being paralyzed by the threats.
YES….its scarry….
YES…’s un nerving….
BUT….i’ll tell ya…. this is what they count on….and manipulate….is you through fear.
ONCE you power through the fear, and do what is ‘right’ and file orders, follow through, expose these behaviors to the courts… protect yourself or/and kids etc….THEY WILL BE SHOWN ANOTHER, VERY UNFAMILIAR TO THEM, SIDE OF YOU…..and they can’t predict it……they don’t know what you will do and it turns the fear table on them.

I think this is the only way I have been able to keep the S out and away… he finally see’s…..I’m not to be fucked with.
I have followed through EACH STEP, EACH WAY….
FILED numerous police reports…..some he got away with….some he didn’t….but the reality was/is…..each time the cops were called, he was the one who took the risk of going to jail….sometimes he did, sometimes he got off……
BUT…..the unpredictability of it…..he couldn’t control!

“If he does kill me I am not taking his secrets with me.”

The above statement I can SOOOOO RELATE to!!!!
Immediately after I discovered what I was dealing with……I said something similar…..
I owe him nothing….YOUR secrets are NOT mine!

” “I have his record in front of me and I can tell you from experience that he is capable of killing you whether you are a witness to this case or not. You need to make a choice to stand up for yourself or let him keep coming after you.”

Folks….by standing up….and doing what is right… the only way we can ‘fight’ a Cluster B.
If they are going to kill us…..they will do it whether we are silent or not……
So we may as well raise a ‘ruckus’ and bring attention to our situation……following through on charges, claims, orders and TPO’s……. Whether your shot down with one judge keep on trying……SOMEONE WILL LISTEN!

I said…if he kills us…..EVERYONE knows where to look first!

I always knew, if he did have us killled…..he would NEVER get away with it.
Plus, with the stand I took…..and how I did it….and what I gave to it…..I don’t have a friend that could just lay down and ‘bury’ our murders……with a conscience.
I taught my friends about these persons…..and I have earned much respect by what I did to fight the fucker…..and ‘win’.
So I know…..claws would come out for me, If I was killed.

This is the legacy we leave……we effect others through our journey’s and fights…..

The legal system is NOT what is ‘seems’…..but it IS doable…..
we just need to know HOW!

I hope Mary is safe and sound with her child 4 years later….
I am very glad she stood up and empowered herself. I know it’s a long and exhausting, degrading and discouraging road….but in the end…..we will have to travel it one way or another….so we may as well be in the carpool lane and get there successuflly!!!


Dear Mary….I hope god gives you the strength to keep fighting…unfortunatly it is a battle even though it is soooo obvious. It is so frustrating and takes forever but you are doing this for your child which I am sure is the most important thing in your life as mine are.Even when you get an attorney…you have to guide him exactly what you want him to present. They will never be able to have the passion that you have….having not lived in it.Go fight girl!!! It is exhausting, stressful,unfair, but fight to win. I am in battle now…and it got worse because I left.But the Sociopath NEVER leaves…God bless you and your child…

Ox Drover

Though I don’t understand why we are giving advice to a woman whose problem must have been resolved one way or another a couple of years ago when this was first written—-

It is obvious to me, that “trust fund daddy” was from a family with influence, who obviously owned both attorneys and the judge in that small venue, in which case “Mary” may have had to appeal to a state level or a federal level to even hope to get a fair ruling.

She might also find representation by calling Mothers against Drunk Driving or some other rabidly anti-drinking/driving group.

In this situation I would never suggest that Mary give up trying to defend her child or to keep her child out of this man’s clutches.

It is obvious to me that any judge who would pass such a ruling as the one in this case did is either SENILE or BOUGHT AND PAID FOR in a crooked “good old boy” net work.

I would also if I were the mother see if I could get a media reporter involved, nationally if possible, but at least state wide and document as much as I could publicly.

This kind of situatioin makes my blood boil. Pox on the man and the judge,


I am in Illinois also and am not surprised by any of this article I read. I am going into 4 years of the most hellish divorce from an attorney. Reporters, people in the legal profession, even the state will not listen or be bothered by any of it. I don’t see any justice or protection legally for this poor woman and her child–short of full out fleeing and going underground from the state of Illinois. Wish I had! My husband gave a big smile and nod when the judge gave him custody of my little boy, who isn’t his child. Illinois courts are revolting–remember baby Richard? There is a prime example of what goes on in the family courts here

They have just moved Judge Albert Purham out of misdeamenor court and made him a family court judge because he got a DUI in Peoria, Illinois. Reason being is that he can’t rule on DuI cases now that he has one is under court supervision, but it is suddenly qualified to decide divorce and custody cases. Disgusting!!!!


breached said: ‘They have just moved Judge Albert Purham out of misdeamenor court and made him a family court judge because he got a DUI in Peoria, Illinois. ‘



Good Lord.

Here I go sayin’ it again: “The Inmates are running the asylum.”

Going back to the original article. It was written almost 4 years ago. I wonder what happened in the case. Some GOOD NEWS would be wonderful!!!

Keep fighting the good fight everyone <3


Oh, no worries….by the third DUI they move them to mediation.
How screwed up is that!
I had a GF who was remanded to mediation….the mediator was chosen by her attorney (good ol boy)…..
Her stbex husband was a street whore regular…..(hence the divorce)
GUESS WHERE THE former JUdge got his last DUI…….ON 4th street! (big prostitute area) at 3am!
Hmmmmm……how do ya think mediation went?


ouuu, vaseline on the judges glasses no doubt.

how could he possibly see past HIS dysfunction???

sherry winter

I respect Mary. My sociopath was not violent, however he’s left a trail of broken lives and hearts clear across the country. He’s used his position at work, every place he’s worked, to manipulate and use women.

I am the only one that has spoken out, and for that I am considered a trouble maker. He was my lead worker, and I’ve seen him get involved with other people under him, while keeping it secret, just as he kept us secret. I never denied it, and told people up front that he was my boyfriend, and yet I have an office full of people who are split down the middle. One half still believe we were never involved and that I wanted something more that he wasn’t willing to get. The other half believed we were involved, but that I am crazy for being so shattered as they have had their own work affairs and see nothing wrong with it.

They litterally are paying me to work in a different agency so that I can’t tell the TRUTH about him to my co-workers. Threats of losing my job… trying to encourage me not to tell any one because all the new people don’t know about it. Upper management accusing ME of abusive behavoir because I want people to be aware of the danger he brings. And all around me, other women, some that he was sleeping with when he was still my guy, “or so I thought,” treating me like I was the problem, and refusing to come forward.

I would give my life to a solution to the s/p problem. I would give every waking hour to find a way to expose and protect the innocent from them… and yet there appears to be no way. It goes against every thing I’ve ever stood for, to run for the hills and just protect myself, but it hurts all over again to watch him lead someone else on and expose them to SDT’s while the victims look at you as the problem. It’s like grabbing to save someone from in front of a car, and instead a whole mob of people are now eye witnesses to THEIR version of the truth, which is YOU PUSHED THEM! And why, well the same reason you probably got picked as a victim of the sociopath…. because you cared.


It can be hard to know what areas to post some comments, but I’m wondering:

Are there any examples from LF involving two people (one a N/S) who play some new non-romantic role in each others’ lives — in a new situation with positive, mutual benefit — years AFTER the relationship ended and enough time had passed for the non-disordered person to heal and have clear boundaries?

If so, what were the outcomes?


Hi Recovering,
I don’t know but I doubt it – I’d say someone with clear boundaries wouldn’t want anything to do with their ex-N/S anyway.


I have not heard. I think if we change our thinking and upgrade the boundaries…..maybe… some instances we could ‘woo’ ourselves into having some sort of relationship.
I also think ultimately……there are no boundaries possible to keep someone from exploiting us.
I have often thgouht about the S coming back at some point….and I feel strongly he will…..and make a peace offering…..
BUT….I also know a duck is a duck and a tiger doesn’t change his stripes.
So given this knowledge… would be way to risky for me to put myself in a position of trust with the S.
and I would NEVER do this….just for my own sanity.

WHy also would we want to……we have lived so much pain and destruction…..and taken so much time to heal……that any sort of ‘mutual’ relationship would entail some sort of trust……and I just don’t have it for anyone who has betrayed me iin my past.
Now….this is different from a ‘small’ betrayal……where the person shows remorse and NEVER does untrustworthy behaviors again EVER……I beleive trust can be earned back in some situations…..
BUT…….most of our experiences with S’s are so devastating all around…..I just do not see building a trust again.
They are NOT trustworthy.
Now….we could go into our fantasy and make ourselves believe they have changed……but the bomb WILL drop again….

I had an interesting conversation with my insurance co. today, just prior to reading your post…..seems as if my policy has been paid for the whole year. ODD…..because it wasn’t by me!
Now….who the hell paid my homeowners policy?
My first thought was did the S pay it? WHY? what benefit was it for him??? I had paid 1/2 the year….so they sent me a refund check for the balance…..
The agent I spoke with said, maybe it was the ex……being nice.???? I said NO WAY! WHy would he spend so many years trying to destroy….only to pay and try to rebuild?
Uh, yeah…..don’t think so!
But…’s got me thinking…..who did this?

It was a whole year…..several thousand dollars??????? AND i got a refund check sent to me for what I had already paid????

I don’t ever see having any sort of relationship, never mind a mutualy beneficial one with the S I was involved with for 28 years!!!


Hi Eileen and ErinBrock — Thanks for your responses.

This question came up for me because I still owe my ex money he loaned me for my business. He recently gave me the option of allowing him to have a percentage of ownership in the business (there would be no direct authority for him, just dividends) instead of getting re-paid in cash from me, which would free up cash flow for me in near future.

He also indicated possibly investing more money, which would give me even more cash to work with for next steps.

As for whether to deal with the ex-N/S in any way, I have mixed thoughts about that — was in situation for 1.5 years and no children together.

I still co-parent and talk regularly with my son’s father (the guy I was with before meeting my ex-N/S). The son’s father could have been a N at least — in hindsight — but we work well together on behalf of son after a long period of him trying to be controlling after the break-up almost 4 years ago.

I’ve found, as a business owner, that one cannot escape dealing with the whole range of characters. Doesn’t mean I have to be friends or lovers — can just do business when necessary and limit the contact.

My whole thing with most people now is, if I generally know who/what I’m dealing with, I can detach enough if there’s enough mutual benefit — I don’t have to like the person or their values, as in the case of interacting periodically with some family members who are toxic.

recovering, think about what you would do if you had all the money in the world. Do that.

If you need money, get it elsewhere. The more of your company he owns, the more emotional and legal leverage he has over you. You know what he is. He may be being nice now, but while you’re being the empathetic, fair-minded person you naturally are while you’re building your business, he will be figuring out how to turn it into a cash cow for himself. And if that creates problems for you, well, it’ll be unfortunate because you’re a nice person, but not anything he can’t live with.

You know what he is. There is no way this is going to come out well.

Contact me offline, if you want. My e-mail is on the author’s page. Maybe I can help you think this through and find some options.



This is some dangerous talk going on here.

Letting a N/S come back for a mutually beneficial situation?
First of all, a business deal would be the last arrangement I would enter into with a S/P/N.

It does not matter that you know what you are dealing with, or how well you are able to detach, sociopaths do not play by the rules. So, even if you know what you are dealing with, they are going to do what THEY want.
It might be legal….it might not. It might include you….it might not.

Recovering, I come from a business family. So, I would tell you one of the golden rules of business that was brainwashed into me growing up is to NEVER sacrifice ownership!!! Find a way….ANY WAY…to pay the money back that you owe. But, do not give up a piece of your business under any circumstances.

I just read that your ex is even willing to invest MORE $$ into the business??? That’s nice. That means he wants more power!!

It’s one thing to sell to a sociopath (and that’s bad enough). It’s another to give them ownership in your business.

At the end of the day, I think No Contact from a sociopath MEANS No Contact, if at all possible.


Recovering: look at your name. keep doing THAT. no no no to business with the spath.

please. respect yourself.

there will be other ways.

there is help and guidance here. i see kathleen has offered to help you think this through.

you don’t have to do this. THERE will be a way. keep respect for yourself as the bottom line and work from there.

nothing is worth losing yourself in this situation – no business, no hope of it being possible, no unhooked chains. nothing.

it IS an opportunity to become more free. this is the blessing of it. (((((girl))))), i see a good head on your shoulders. don’t make me come over there with a random kitchen implement!

all best,
one step


I agree with the others….DO NOT LET HIM ANYWHERE NEAR YOU!!!
No Money, no nothing……

It sounds to me as if he’s throwing a carrot of “And I may have more to invest”…..same as ……theres more where that came from.
Yeah, yeah…..

What also concerns me is your last statement of
“My whole thing with most people now is, if I generally know who/what I’m dealing with, I can detach enough if there’s enough mutual benefit I don’t have to like the person or their values, as in the case of interacting periodically with some family members who are toxic. ”

Yes…but business is business.
AND….when your dealing ‘superficially’ with a Cluster B…’s much easier….this is how they continue to carry on the cons….by people dealing with them on a superficial level and they are never exposed, can continue on with the cons and it’s the ‘lovers’ or ‘partners’ that are hit hard. (not minimizing the parent/child victims either). But in your case, you were married…..if all was fine in the divorce…for one….you wouldn’t be here naming yourself recovering, for two… would have taken him on as a more involved (financial or active) partner in your company. YOU DIDN”T! So what has changed….time and water under the bridge? He hasn’t!
You better believe it! Maybe your situation or needs have changed…..but i’ll tell ya……if you take his offer….it’ll be your biggest regret to date!
If money is your problem……I’d suggest prostitution before I suggested going to him for anything……it’d be the same thing….but worse!!!
Steer clear my dear…..there will be other opportunities for you to uncover and the empowerment of doing it on your own is so worth the dig!!!!
Good luck!


Thanks all of you for your feedback, which I will keep in mind.

Rosa, please…please… don’t make this sound so alarmist/extremist with the “This is some dangerous talk going on here.”

It’s not that serious. My ex is not your ex….let’s not confuse our different circumstances please.

ErinBrock — I was not married to him”..My name of recovering has as much to do with the family-of-origin stuff I’ve been working on for 20 years as if does with any ex-relationship — no doubt, the encounter with the N/S for 1.5 year relationship was a major turning point, but he did not cause all of my painful emotions.

What the situation is and has always been for several months, is that I have never been full NC — I’ve always had periodic phone contact with the ex related to updates on money (and occasionally his dad wanted to talk to me), but there’s no physical contact.

ALSO: My ex is not threatening me, and neither of us wants the other back.

Sorry, but my experience simply doesn’t fit the full stereotypical script — it shares many components, but not all.

FOR EXAMPLE: My ex didn’t borrow money from me. I owe him money. It was contributed before the relationship came to an end. That is a fact.

My ex only has power over me if I allow him to, now that I know enough at this point and respect my own limits and boundaries.

And just for the record, I do believe in No Contact — and feel also that limited contact has its place, depending on the people and situation. Each person has to decide when and how for them, not go through motions to please others or get kudos.

So I don’t count the days of NC as the gauge for how I’m doing, nor do I believe in changing phone numbers and email addresses to prevent someone from getting in contact with me. I look at how I am functioning and living my life.

If that makes me have a philosophical difference with most people on the degree of NC matter, I understand.

I will certainly think about all of what you’ve shared.


One more comment: In an ideal world, I wouldn’t owe my ex money (and therefore maybe wouldn’t consider adding more to what I owe him), but we live in a current United States where banks are giving small business owners a tough time, and the middle class is at greater risk.

It is what it is. Most entrepreneurs raise money from family, friends and acquaintainces to get their products to the next highest level, hoping for breakthrough. There are lots of costs involved.

Many factors required to maintain/grow a small business in this currect economic situation. Sometimes it means biting the bullet for a temporary period and pulling resources together however one needs to — that’s just the way it is.


Kathleen: Regarding your suggestion to think about what you would do if you had all the money in the world and do that:

Thanks for the offer to correspond separately. I’m truly not falling apart over this, just mulling over options. My original post asked for examples.

I have already sent out notices to various networking contacts, and there’s a deadline for people to respond as potential investors.

So maybe the decision will take care of itself based on how many people are interested in investing.


I’m sorry I confused your ‘story’. My mistake.

Am I right in understanding you believed you were involved with a Cluster B in this former relationship with $$ man in question?
If he wasn’t any of the above and it was just a bad relationship…..then different story all together….
But your original question was:
“Are there any examples from LF involving two people (one a N/S) who play some new non-romantic role in each others’ lives in a new situation with positive, mutual benefit years AFTER the relationship ended and enough time had passed for the non-disordered person to heal and have clear boundaries?”

They don’t have to fit ALL the ‘bills’ or characteristics to be ‘dangerous’ in your life. And they evolve as they learn what works for them… ‘who’ he may have been yesterday is NOT who he is today…..but evolved…..and not in a good way. (IF n/s is indeed an issue with him)
Dangerous means a number of things…not just violence.
Emotional, financial, physical and all around wellbeing.

A con is a con.
Your a smart person….you’ll do what’s best for you.

I guess the only answer you needed from the original question was a simple.


ErinBrock — No problem with the spirited responses. It all makes me think, so it’s all good.

But also: I’m not enamored with my ex. I see him as a reg person, disordered however he is, no magic to make me forget myself.

I think I’m coming to terms with the fact that I have to deal with all kinds of people. You wouldn’t believe — or maybe you will — how many people (probably otherwise nice) never follow up as they say they will after business networking events. Nor turn promises into action. I don’t take it personally anymore.

So I guess I’m just taking a lot with a grain of salt and not having major expectations; just paying attention to what people do more than what they say, and quitely making my assessment of them in my own mind and dealing with them accordingly.

So it’s new territory, but having a small business with majority ownership is important to me — I know I can’t do corporate America anymore. Too taxing.


And being a small business owner myself, I TOTALLY understand the lack of follow through, promises, promises, promises and lack of action by others.
My biggest frustration.
Fortunately, I am in a position where my business is based on ME and the work I do, the promises I make and rarely do I have to rely on others to fulfill my income….in a sense.
I trust myself, show up when I say, keep all promises, return all calls and am in control of the product produced… it’s all up to me.
It’s a nice feeling, in these times. After the S (who btw was my bus. partner) I swore I would never rely on anyone in business or for my living ever again. It was good while it lasted, probably the best part of him…….but in the end…..he destroyed his reputation and fortunatly mine spoke louder along with my character. I have kept 100% interest and pushed him out.

Good luck to you, I hope you can find alternate investors…..


ErinBrock: Thanks for sharing your business journey. It’s a different life, but worth the struggles.

By the way, my ex, who I know for sure is NPD and believe he overlaps into S, came from a culture that breeds narcissism.

And yet, he always got “outwitted” by his girlfriends, including one of his ex’s I talked to once, whenever he tried to manipulate usually for keeping control over the woman during a relationship.

He has a basic honesty and even gave me access to so many of his personal resources that, if I had been a S/P, I could have ripped him off. LOL.

At any rate, sometimes I wonder if my ex’s N/S is more culturally-rooted versus personality structure…in part because he talked more “con” than he actually carried out during the time I was with him. He gives himself away — his lack of patience with outcomes accounts for this in part, I believe. He’s generally a loner NPD — a paradoxical one — is all I can say.

We didn’t work out because of emotional abuse from a lot of projecting and immaturity/non-sense taking up too much of my time. He was just too unconscious about a lot of stuff and wasn’t working on his issues. I got worn out — didn’t have the energy to keeping playing lover/mother to “fix” him — when I had my own life to live and businesses to run.


The cases of sociopaths conning trusting individuals out of their money is very well-documented all over this website.

I believe the owner of this site was taken for approximately $250,000 herself.

I stand by everything I posted, and I hope anyone out there searching for help will take it seriously.


Rosa — We have the benefit of knowing that conning is part of what N/S/P might do — they are certainly capable of it! As a result, we have the ability now to decide what to give and not give away, and can deal accordingly in our interactions with others regardless of their intentions.

Have you heard it said that when someone tries to dig a grave for someone else, they might just end up falling into it themselves? Many N/S/P end up going in circles too.

I owe my ex money, not the other way around. I’m not so much blindly trusting as I am a negotiator these days, willing to do mutual benefit — giving only what I’m comfortable with. I’ve learned not just from my own experience but from the lives of others.

Trust me on that.


It boils down to the concept of gambling……
Bet only what you can afford to lose.



Are we really talking about sociopaths here??

Conning is not what a sociopath MIGHT do.
It’s definitely what they do, at least from my experience.

One big walking lie.

Be careful, recovering.


Yes, Rosa, I agree conning can happen on many levels — financially and emotionally, in terms of people lying about love, intentions for a relationship, etc.

So yes, one must be careful.

But must I deny my own experience — I have $25K from my ex, given in increments of $5K at a time over a year. He has not yet been paid, and didn’t even require anything in writing from me — I’m the one who insisted on putting it in writing for his protection, in case something happens to me.


Yes, recovering.

I know that game, too.

Be careful, recovering.


Thank you Rosa. I sense your concern, and appreciate it!


recovering and Rosa,
Just my two cents….I think the one thing that can happen is that “once removed” from the DAILY crazy making and the daily con jobs a cluster B can spin into our lives, it is sometimes difficult to remember CLEARLY how they really do operate. And have the capacity to turn our lives upside down and inside out.

In other words we do know it was BAD, but as we start to get a grip on our own reality once more, it can be “fuzzy” to try and recall how it was that they DID manage to zap the life out of us and distort everything, including our own reality at times. And how exhausting it was.

Kind of like childbirth. You remember the pain as being the worst pain you ever experienced (for most of us) but that recollection gets “fuzzy” as far as the details of it all as time goes on. If it didn’t get “fuzzy” most of us would never have more than one child. You tend to remember that pain VERY clearly again when the labor starts, with your second or third (or whatever) birth.

I am not sure that any encounter in business or otherwise can be mutual benefiting that involves a cluster b.
I certainly haven’t heard of any stories of this nature.
I am not good at explaining myself sometimes. But you are a very smart and articulate woman recovering. I always admire the wisdom in your post.
Be careful with this decision. It seems to me the smartest sociopaths always have an “angle” or leverage. For many women it is their children they share with the S. With yours it could very well be this money you owe him.


witsend: you provide wise words about the necessity of remembering, “once removed” from the DAILY crazy making a cluster B can spin into our lives. And there is danger in forgetting how they really do operate, and have the capacity to turn our lives upside down and inside out…And I do remember how exhausting it was.

I wonder if there’s a part of me that hopes he gives me more money and moves back to his country before I get a chance to pay his money back, so I can feel like he paid me a full year’s salary for all the trouble. LOL.

No, but seriously, I am engaging with diverse people, not isolated like I became somewhat during the relationship except for attending business functions with the ex. So I get lots of “sane” fun and reinforcements from spending time with people who don’t do all the non-sense. It’s refreshing and helps keep me aware that I no longer have interest in a personal relationship with the ex.

As far as I know, he might be into new narcissistic supply by now. We only talk business, when we talk occasionally.

recovering, my offer to talk was based on my experience in staring up several businesses, and owning this one for for a little more than a decade. I have a variety of experiences with investors and lenders, both positive and negative. I know something about the legal and accounting issues involved. And I thought it might be helpful for you to discuss both your options and some of the potential outcomes.

It’s not clear whether you ex’s loans were personal or to the business. And that makes a difference. What is clear is that the company needs outside cash, and it sounds like the need is because it’s growing fast enough that cashflow can’t support the need to invest in the business to support the growth. I hope that’s the case.

You sound like you believe that you can handle him, in terms of keeping the loan separate from ownership and control. Although you do talk about “investing” in the business, which suggests that at minimum you’re putting equity up as collateral, if not actually giving him ownership in return for the cash. This is where I get concerned.

Your description of him sounds like someone who is, comparatively emotionally immature, and who was not concerned about looking at his assumptions (perhaps cultural) about the terms of your relationship. You didn’t like the role that forced you into, and the personal relationship ended. But it sounds like neither of you are carrying around lingering resentments, or at least both of you can separate the personal issues from the business ones in your current discussions.

I guess that the question this leaves open is this. What role or involvement or benefit does he foresee as a result of his “investments” and how much of a hassle will that be for you in the future? Or maybe, how do you foresee the interplay between him and you in the future as his equity involvement grows or the business grows?

Even in very small businesses, an equity stake gives the stakeholder the reasonable right to demand full access to the books, as well as the right to communicate his opinions and concerns about how business is conducted to protect his investment. If you have a majority stake, you clearly have the power to override anyone else’s opinion. But you can’t make that person go away, and you are vulnerable to legal action, even in a small business, if the stakeholder feels that you are not acting in a way that is conducive to protection of his investment or reasonable returns for that investment.

Most businesses do start up with “family and friends” money. And most entrepreneurs are psychologically not particularly open to input, beyond advice they seek out. But the reality of taking money in exchange for equity is that you are going into business with someone else, no matter how you want to characterize the relationship. And that creates obligations and unavoidable involvement between the business and the equity holder. If you extend equity ownership to anyone else, your role is permanently altered, because now you are not just the majority stakeholder, but also the manager of his investment, and as such answerable to him.

This is why most people, especially after they’ve been through a few rounds of creating start-ups, become very conscious the money they accept. There is “good” money and “bad” money. Good money ideally comes from people with business expertise and possibly connections with potential customers. They recognize that, in investing, they are also responsible for supporting you and the health of the business. Bad money comes from people who are looking for too-fast, too-high returns, or have some other ulterior motive for investing that has nothing to do with the long-term growth and health of the business.

There are ways to extricate yourself from bad-money situations. I’ve been forced once to deliberately destroy a corporation in order to force an equity holder to agree to a buyout. It seemed like a terrible, emotional mess at the time, but in retrospect, it was fairly simple. My intentions were not to screw the stakeholder, but just to do the payout and get free to run the same business as the sole owner. It eventually worked out with a fair settlement, although the other person was not happy.

So, except for some factual details that we could share, I think I’ve said what I would have said to you, if we’d talked. If you do have a sense that this business can and will become something substantial, think about who you want to do business with over the long-haul. And that includes who you respect, who adds value, and who you trust to be in alignment with your own vision and objectives.

Good luck with it —



Hi Kathy — Thanks for such a thoughtful overview. Your holistic approach to this thing, with many aspects to consider, certainly offers much to take into account.

In terms of the creation of “obligations and unavoidable involvement between the business and the equity holder,”
and being answerable to others, I definitely know accepting money from others will require compromise to some extent — regardless of who they are.

That’s why I’m casting a wide net to invite different potential investors, before consulting with my business attorney on final decisions.

A journey of discovery and more life learning it will definitely be, I’m sure.


Kathy — One more thing. Thank you for your succinct description of my ex, about whom you wrote,”sounds like someone who is, comparatively emotionally immature, and who was not concerned about looking at his assumptions (perhaps cultural) about the terms of your relationship. You didn’t like the role that forced you into, and the personal relationship ended. But it sounds like neither of you are carrying around lingering resentments…”

That really sums it up very well. Yet, I get the impression others think I should be living in fear or trepidation about any communication with the ex…but this approach doesn’t fit for me.

Sometimes, I feel like my experience wasn’t worth complaining about because my encounter with the ex N/S was in hindsight not overly extreme — yet it was damaging…this emotional immaturity, with the emotional abuse/gaminess…to make me take notice and realize I needed to get a grip, and somehow get out/detach personally.

Perhaps I was able to heal sooner rather than later in part because I had reasonable boundaries when I entered the relationship, and once I got more information about “backwards approaches”(a concept from Patricia Evans’ book, “Controlling People”), found Lovefraud and other websites, it helped me to put more pieces together, not take his issues personally and set consistent boundaries over time.

And — although there was no full closure for some things, since he sometimes mixed lies and truths knowingly or unconsciously — he did get honest enough with me after a while about his cultural upbringing, which made a light bulb go off further about the NPD stuff. That may have enhanced my healing in some ways.

With the intermix with my own family-of-origin stuff, there was no way I could fully blame him for everything — after the dust had settled — related to my emotional meltdowns. I’d started a new business when I met him and had insecurities around that as well as old personal relationsip stuff. And he was a good trigger who mirrored me in ways no one had ever done.

Sure, I got angry at the time and do wish he’d told me many things sooner rather than later, but I could not fully blame him anymore than I could blame myself for the lack of awareness that led to more consciousness as a result of being in the 1.5 year relationship.

So, I really am not angry with him anymore. He’s just not the right man for me, regardless of the reason/s. I have no need to trash him even though I know he is a NPD (with traits on the S continuum).

Whether the NPD is more cultural for him due to survival orientation or not (when he was in his previous country) is his job to figure out — if he wants to. Who was I to say he should have gone deeper into his cultural/personal issues to become healthier mentally — maybe he couldn’t handle what it would require, after having lived a certain way for so long. I don’t know.

My responsibility was was to identify that I couldn’t handle a relationship with him as he was with all the intense neediness and related chaos.

It’s as Steve Becker once wrote in a post about “nurture vs. nature” in terms of the origin of someone’s disorder — after a while it can merge to where there is little distinction between what is nature vs. nurture.

So what matters most is not the “why” but the whole set of behaviors and how being in a relationship with someone with major issues affects me/us.

recovering, I’m going to take this a wee bit further, and risk aggravating you. I probably wouldn’t even try, except that you’re in a healing and reconsideration process in the rest of your life. So maybe you can see something here that is related.

My “holistic” overview comes not just from my experiences with my own companies, but from counseling dozens of entrepreneurs. This is what I do for a living. There are certain consistent patterns of psychology and behavior. The same characteristics that impel an entrepreneur to do the hard work of creating a vision and then building a business that reflects his or her idea of personal independence or a “better way of doing things,” can also sabotage or limit the business growth, and unless the entrepreneur learns something from it, will probably be reproduced in the next thing they try.

One of the books I’ve thought about writing, but probably will never get around to is on “founder-itis” and the stages of growth and decision maturation that every entrepreneur has to go through.

So let’s get this back to you. I’m going to cite a few quotes from your previous posts on this topic.

Probably the one that struck me the most was this one: “having a small business with majority ownership is important to me I know I can’t do corporate America anymore. Too taxing.”

I’m not sure how long you’ve been running this business, but if it’s less taxing than working for someone else, I’m not certain what you’re talking about. However, I suspect that by “less taxing” you mean you got tired of dealing with bureaucratic BS and decided that you could control your own career and see direct returns from your work and not be subject to other people’s ideas of how things ought to be run or how you ought to behave.

If that’s what you mean, then you’d be a pretty typical entrepreneur. They have problems with authority (usually because of background issues) and they want to be their own authority. And any interference with that is something they don’t handle well.

(In fact, one of the reasons I have the “voice of authority” that I do now, is because I’ve had to face down so many entrepreneurs who wanted to tell me how to do the job they hired me for my expertise to do.)

So I understand your idea that you’ll have to make compromises to get the money you need. However, as I tried to explain in the previous note, seeking funding is an opportunity to recruit a valuable team. Not a management team (although you’ll have to get to that and delegating authority eventually if you want to grow), but an advisory team that can significantly enlarge your knowledge, understanding of potential next moves, and provide references or guidance in terms of finding and serving new customers.

If you look at the cost of money as all bad, you’re missing this point. And if you don’t think about it, you won’t look for money in the right places. Money that comes with these benefits. And you won’t make the right pitch for the money, which is that you want these people’s involvement in your business — expertise and guidance as well as their money — because you believe this business has real potential and you want the right kind of backing. And then, when you do your stand-up presentation with the PowerPoint, you will be directly addressing the biggest problem (other than revenue weakness) than any early-stage entrepreneur faces. And that is your own credibility in terms of management capability. If you are frank that you’re looking for the best advisors you can find, along with the money, it will make you look smarter than if you BS them about having everything under control.

You wrote: “Many factors required to maintain/grow a small business in this currect economic situation. Sometimes it means biting the bullet for a temporary period and pulling resources together however one needs to that’s just the way it is.”

I disagree. You’re not including one very important option in this statement. That is the possibility of walking away from the whole thing. I realize that is the last thing you want, but the statement about getting money “however one needs to — that’s just the way it is” suggests that your idea of the most important thing in your life might bear scrutiny. If you’ve got your identity pinned on this business, you’re going to have a rough time when it fails, which it is statistically likely to do.

Yes, if you want to succeed, you’ve got to throw your whole self into it. But you’re “whole self” means something. You don’t give up your integrity. You build and run this as a reflection of who you are and what you believe in. And if your beliefs include humane treatment, that extends to you. You don’t invite chaos into your life, because you think you’re going to die if this thing fails. And you regard its existence not just an opportunity to get direct rewards for your work, including the credit for being smart and successful, but also as an opportunity for experiences you want, including sharing a building experience with some really cool people.

Which brings me to this: “My ex only has power over me if I allow him to, now that I know enough at this point and respect my own limits and boundaries.” And this: “he talked more “con” than he actually carried out during the time I was with him. He gives himself away his lack of patience with outcomes accounts for this in part, I believe.” And this: “I wonder if there’s a part of me that hopes he gives me more money and moves back to his country before I get a chance to pay his money back, so I can feel like he paid me a full year’s salary for all the trouble.”

And I want to go back to issues with authority. People with really good boundaries don’t have these issues, because they trust their boundaries. And the first statement in that sequence may sound like that, sort of, but I don’t really think you’re out of the defensive mode. Or the resentment mode. Or having a significant (and rightful) amount of concern about what this man’s potential influence on you (not to mention your business) might be.

What he doesn’t sound like is the guy with so much business intelligence that every time he says something, it either opens your eyes to something you never thought of, or is actually so beyond-you smart that it takes you a few days get a grip on why he said it, and then you’ve moved up to a whole new level of smart.

What he does sound like is walking chaos — immature, selfish, out of touch with reality, and, worst of all, someone who needs other people to be impressed with him. Of course, you two are getting along fine right now. He’s the important guy with the money. He may even give you money to prove what a great guy he is and bask in your gratitude. But after your history with him, I doubt you really expect this to go on, once you’ve got the money and have no need to pay him so much attention, and he starts upping the ante to keep that attention coming, because he’s “earned” it.

You wrote, “As far as I know, he might be into new narcissistic supply by now.” As though that might protect you. Do you think that any of his relationships are about anything but narcissistic supply? Do you imagine that if he gets enough from one person, he can just be a regular guy with everyone else? Maybe. You’ve had the eye-opening experience of being his main source, the one who gets to deal with his sense of entitlement. But what do you think the difference would be if he got his hooks into you through your business?

And then think about this. Entrepreneurs are narcissistic. They have to be. Their business reflects them, and they are out there everyday making that business match their personal vision — whether it’s dealing with customers, managing staff, the bills, the facilities, the marketing. It’s all about them, and like real narcissists, they have big control issues. (Which as I’ve been trying to explain to you, can start hurting you at the beginning if you don’t understand that you want and need the best partners, and that hurt gets worse as time goes on, until you realize that you are bringing up a thing that isn’t you, but an entity with its own life and systems logic.)

So what happens to you when you have to start kow-towing to someone whose narcissism isn’t creating anything, just eating time and energy pointlessly. What does this do to your productivity and ability to focus (the most important positive trait of corporate leaders) and ability to imagine the future? You know this guy and you already know the answer. There is no question that you’re going to be dealing with lots of narcissistic folks in the business world, and you’ll have to learn how to make them feel good while getting what you want, but in no other part of your world would you bother, if there wasn’t a really good reason for doing it, something really important to get out of it.

So you may think the money is that important. And if you were just dealing with some kind of daddy, who would give you the money and say “have a nice time, dear,” and you could forget about it, that might be so. But you give him equity, and you’ll be paying for that money until you figure out how to get rid of him. And all these extra payments will be nothing but hemorrhaging energy. Nothing in return, like you could get from that really smart investor who could help you in daily ways with all the tough problems you’re going to face.

A really long time ago, back when I was a partner in a New Age bookstory in the ’80s, I read that owning your own business is one of the fastest paths to higher consciousness. At the time, I was pretty smug that I knew what that was about. Later, even before that year was out, I learned that I really didn’t. A business will rub your face in whatever is dysfunctional about you, and you will either lose everything or change, and sometimes both.

But it’s all good, because trying to do something big, taking on the responsibility of building something, pursuing a vision, getting your ego involved, all adds up to a chance to really stretch yourself. One way or another, you grow in ways that you never imagined.

So, I know you’re going to do what you’re going to do. I also hear you putting together a rationale for re-involving yourself with this guy in a way you can’t walk away from. And the one thing I want to say in parting is that the quality of your vision is the greatest determining factor in your results. I’m not arguing with your claim that you can defend yourself from him. I’m arguing about whether that’s the best thing you can imagine for yourself right now.

Apologies for all the unrequested advice. I know I’m meddling. If it’s any comfort to you, I usually get a lot of money for this.



Wow Kathy! “When the pupil is ready, the teacher arrives”. I just returned from a talk with my colleague with whom I want to set up a partnership. We were determined to split the costs of building new offices (he already has an outpatient clinic for 16 years now and asked me to come because he is too busy). His business advisor told him to do it on his own and hire me for two years and grow it organically, with a low fix salary but improving when things get better. He has also to hire new staff, and after all I sit into a “made nest”, and the cost of THAT i.e. his good name and his investments in the previous years we still have to figure out. So it takes lot of tension of both of us as we can see how things are going.

I read from your advice to recovering the exact argumentation about the money that it gives obligations and “faits acomplis” you can’t solve later, and money is a VERY STRONG BONDING TOOL. Although my colleague and I were both determined to do it “50:50”, and we both want fairness to prevail, and I am very sure about that. Even the bank manager I consulted afterwards said that it is wise to proceed like this (I made an appointment to get a huge sum to start the business; we had a nice and very informative talk about start ups, loans, risks and checks and balances and the like; I am completely clueless in this field, whereas my colleague has been seasoned with time and he has learned all the tricks with time and knows all the pitfalls).

Yesterday evening I met the staff of the office, and it was very pleasant, we had a great evening, and today I saw a very nice flat I will try to rent if possible.

But proceeding with caution is not a bad thing, especially if you KNOW that the other is a N/S/P. They NEVER EVER LEARN!!!! My father (P) now lives in our holiday home and made comments about my mother’s mental state that she was “peculiar” lately and she was not wanting to see him around any more. (They are both 80 years old, both sick father cancer, mother broken foot). I asked my mother about it all and she said he can come back any moment he gives up his girlfriend he still has around. This said girlfriend is 30 years younger, was a former client of my sister and is the GF of father for some years now. She is after money my father does not have any more but said GF does not know that. Father refered to her as “my stinky cheesebread”. VERY DISGUSTING!!
I asked him today whether this was true with the GF as mother stated, and he asked back “Which one?”. Wrong answer, father!!!!! I stopped the conversation immediately. I had started to feel pity for him for having radiotherapy for prostate cancer, being on hormonal therapy that shuts down testosterone, and I felt awkward towards mother who was not nice to poor him. But in the same time he tried to manipulate me into questioning my mother’s mental capacities. And without any doubt he still has this OW around! Not my problem!

My advice to recoverning would be to avoid at all cost THIS money you already know the psyche of the owner of. There might be others with their money who are alike, so stick to knowledge and guts (I assume you were not sure, otherwise you would not have brought up the issue but went head over heel as I was intended and determined to do!) Good luck, and thanks to you for bringing up this timely topic!

And Kathy, thanks a lot once more for clarifying the facts . As my colleague brought up the issue of proceeding with caution and him getting all the money on his own I initially had a slight insecurity for a split second, “He is not sure to commit fully, hire means fire afterwards”, but he addressed my concerns in this resepect as well and afterwards I felt much better. It is not so much of a HUGE commitment at first on both sides. Relaxing! And we have plenty of time to figure out how to proceed in the future; I will start in May this year, and that is pretty soon!

Have you all avery pleasant sunday!

libelle, I’m not certain how this is a 50/50 arrangement if he owns the business and you are an employee. That may give you security (which you don’t get as a business owner) and possibly some precedence as senior employee. But unless equity is in the deal, it’s not really a partnership.

This actually may be best for you, if you’re still recovering from a very bad relationship or a very bad history. Partnership really is a kind of marriage with children, with all the potential for disagreement that entails. If he owns the company, and you are an employee, that at least sets up an order of authority and the two of you don’t have to be jockeying for position everytime you disagree on something.

The other thing for you to consider is financial risk. One of the reason the owners are the owners is because they risk their own money. (Or as you were trying to do with the bank loan, money that you’re responsible for paying back.) People who are employees may have a job at risk, but the owners have that and the money they invested. They set up the whole thing and they have more to lose. But also more to gain, because the company is designed to provide them with profits (as well as salaries, though often owners defer their own salaries and live on their savings while the company is getting off the ground).

Make sense so far? So for you to be an owner, you have to invest something. It might be money. It might be sweat equity. Unless you’re so famous that your name is an asset that will bring in clients, or you have some really obscure and vitally important skill that warrants an unusually beneficial deal, the general rule of thumb is that something that you can be hired and paid to do (and you are hired and paid), doesn’t count as reason for equity ownership.

That doesn’t mean you can’t get equity, it’s just not how you get it.

I’m bringing all this up, because I personally think it would be better if you started with a bit of equity. It doesn’t have to be half. But if you’re starting this business together, and you’re approaching it with the kind of commitment that an owner would bring (long hours, a lot of planning and discussing, and being will to “be there” in ways that a nine-to-five person wouldn’t be), then you should have a stake in the company’s overall success. That means, the profits and a piece of the action if the company is bought out. He obviously wants you to help him start it for some reason, and I’m assuming he’s regarding you as a partner in putting it together.

So I think it would be reasonable for you to say to him that you would be more comfortable with being involved in all the intense focus and responsibility of getting this off the ground if you had some equity stake.

What you do not want is to find yourself in the position of “corporate wife.” That means, you’re someone who is totally involved with everything, like a wife would be in helping her husband get off the ground, including helping him think through things and taking on all the important “little” tasks he needs to keep his mind wrapped around the “big stuff.” And then to find yourself regarded as a smart and generous person, but not important enough to be considered a partner or even management.

I’ve been there. It’s a very seductive role for people who thrive on feeling needed and who are tempted to think that the thrill of accomplishment is enough. It’s not. Business is about money first, then visibility (social power) and control (operational power). If you think it’s anything else, you’re setting yourself up for a lot of resentment when you realized that you’re not getting what you didn’t ask for (but just “thought he’d do the right thing”).

After being involved in a lot of business situations in which I was either the owner, a partner, a client, or a vendor, one of the most important lessons I learned was “start as you mean to go on.” People imply a lot of things when they’re trying to close a deal. Once the contract is signed, you’ve got what’s in the contract, nothing more. And if you start out in a position that you don’t really want to be, but you’re trusting that he’ll remember whatever he said, believe me, it’s not going to happen. Not least because he’ll have bigger things on his mind, and a higher valuation of his own role (as you will of yours) once the place starts hopping.

I know that you’re one of the most polite people in the world, and I suspect you’re not the most assertive. (I may be wrong.) I had to learn how to negotiate from my last business partner, who used to blow my mind when I’d hear her talking to prospective clients about money. She’d said things like, “You may not be aware of this but Kathy turned down three contracts in the last month, because she didn’t like the companies. She’s regarded as the top strategist in this business, and if you don’t want to pay her rates, we can put your account in the hands of one of our junior people.”

Whew. I was really grateful, because her negotiating kept a lot of money coming in, and more than that, it made the clients feel like we’d done them a favor by taking them on. So our relationships with them were a lot more respectful than if I’d done my usual “well, whatever you think is right” or “whatever you can afford.” Before we were partners, she actually helped me negotiate salary in my last job before I got into PR. She told me to tell them I wanted twice as much as they were offering, and remind them that I had 15 years experience in the field, and see what they did. What they did was meet me in the middle. And it took a couple of days for my knees to stop knocking.

Later, when she was gone, I had to do this for myself. And I think you’ve seen other posts where I talked about boundary issues in negotiations. This is what my hourly rate is. This is the contract with the non-negotiable clauses. This is what I need from you to get the job done. This is how long it will take to get results.

I’m not sure what you really want right now. I know you are really happy to get out of where you were living, and you feel comfortable with this other person. As I said earlier, a job may really be what you want, rather than a partnership. Just being involved in creating a new office is going to be a tremendous learning opportunity, whatever your position. And stability and a good income may be just the ticket to let you rebuild after this long stressful period.

But if it were me, I’d ask for equity, just for your commitment to building the business that will go beyond the commitment, energy and loyalty of any hired person. And then, I would sit down with him and decide who is going to be in charge of what, so you know where you’re decision-making authority is and where he makes the decisions. (If he has majority stake, he can always override you, but on a day-by-day basis, it’s really better for everyone to know who’s the go-to person.)

Or if he doesn’t want to give you equity, ask him which parts of the business he wants you to handle anyway. This is one of those crucial questions that helps to clarify everyone’s assumptions, helps keep you out of “but I thought …” territory.

Finally, I know I’ve said this before, but I’m saying it again, if equity is not in your original package, and not specifically mentioned in your employment contract, forget it, it’s not going to happen. Lawyers, accountants and bankers will all advise him against it for a lot of reasons. (I went through this when I wanted to give my employees equity stakes for performance or longevity.) If you want to be a partner, and it’s not happening at this company, put in a year and then start looking for what you want elsewhere.

bnd do get an employment contract, and a get a labor lawyer to look it over for you. If he quibbles, just tell him your lawyer insists. (Blaming the lawyer is time-honored negotiating ploy.) What you want is a self-renewing two-year contract with no-fault termination by either party after a year. The contract doesn’t mean much in terms of job protection after the year, but it’s a mutual expression of commitment that spells out things like insurance, holiday time, and liabilities (if you’re an employee you don’t have any because you’re protected by his business insurance).

Really finally, do yourself a favor and see if you can find any information on starting and managing an office like yours in books or on the Web. There are a lot of factors in different businesses, like profit margins, how much of those profits are reinvested in the company, normal operating procedures and expenses, marketing budgets, payment and accounting process, and probably in your business, dealing with third-party payers. You’ll get a lot more out of this experience if you do a little research on your own.

I hope I haven’t overwhelmed you. Good luck with all of it.



Hi Kathy — Really great stuff in your entrepreneurship/business post, and I will take what I can use if applicable.


Hi libelle, regarding your: “My advice to recovering would be to avoid at all cost THIS money you already know the psyche of the owner of.”

Oops — I already have money that was borrowed from the “owner of the psyche” I speak of. So my hands are already dirty. LOL.

Unfortunately, I’ve also accepted money in the past from racists, sexists, philanderers and other assorted people of ill repute, I’m sure…should I return that money from former bosses in corporate America too? LOL again.

Not poking fun at you or anyone.

It’s Saturday night, and I needed some comic relief after such a lengthy exploration of the topics.


Not sure where to put this – tired and need to not spend time searching for the right article.

Today, while concentrating and working away on a grant under I experienced whole minutes of time when the experience of being with the spath didn’t take up brain space on a conscious level. which was really nice.

When i got up to take small breaks (mostly freking out about my impossible time line) the information about Haiti and how people are using social networking and technology to find each other, report on conditions, rally support and donate money. Even google has a link on the search engine’s home page has has been filtering into my consciousness.

Now, part of the reason the disaster is so serious in Haiti is because sociopathic government and social systems exists in the world. So, it is the collision of economic conditions (enbaled and created by bad people doing what they do and good people not doing enough to mitigate it) and natural disaster that has devastated Haiti.

And I am thinking today as i walk into the kitchen for yet another cup of tea: here is this dire situation, tragedies too numerous to collect and tell – these visceral life altering tragedies. A nation has been affected; it will take decades for it to recover and find its feet.


Now, maybe she HAS NO CONTROL. Maybe, that’s the truth of these creature’s brains – BUT I FUCKING DOUBT IT!!!! SHE IS ALSO STILL ACCOUNTABLE.

Like there isn’t enough tragedy and trauma in the world; these people are evil.

I have so much work to do! For my own love affair with myself; to construct a a well laid out plan to slow her down; to learn about sociopathy and warn others.

But first, I sleep. Flaming sword by my side.

one step


…well, let me restructure that 3rd paragraph so it makes sense:

When i got up to take small breaks (mostly freking out about my impossible time line) the information about Haiti and how people are using social networking and technology to find each other, report on conditions, rally support and donate money has been filtering into my consciousness. Even google has a link on the search engine’s home page.



Dear Kathy! Thanks so much for your detailed answer.
We were initially planning to set up this partnership right from the start in May this year, and friday he told me that it would be wiser to take things slower and start with me as employer and then later in one to two years go into partnership.

I told the bankman, my mother and my godmother who all are in business and all told me that it would be a good thing to proceed this way. But you are also right, that I have to fix this future prospect in the actual contract, and why not put right now a small amount (say 10% – 15% of the investment) into it as a sign of commitment on my part? I have some money on my bank “for bad weather” and it would be a part of it that does not harm.

I will discuss it with my sister this afternoon (she is a seasoned lawyer with special interest in contracts, corporate law and the like).

You are right, I am polite and not assertive at all (some people mistake it for stupidity). I will have to sit down with him to define my role being “one of the bosses” and in the same time being “employed”. I did not think of that either; it is another weak boundary of mine that needs refurbishing I think. That was one of the crucial things at my old place: the bigot colleague who was initially below my position but was brought by my new boss from his old working place and I were battling over the position of “FIRST corporate wife” with me being runner up.

And I will have a contract with the commitment and the possible partnership fixed in it.

It is hard to look up the special business plans in the internet as it is very specific, but I know from other colleagues that mostly they are first employed but after a year they have to “buy in” into the partnership with a huge amount of money. I will ask them as well now with specific questions! Then I can get specific answers as well. It is not usual in my country to talk about salaries and business plans and the like, but with you in my imaginary back I will dare to go for these informations!

Thank you so much, and have a very nice sunday!


further to my above post- the spath was always *dying*. serious/ several illnesses and operations during the time I knew her. And emotional meltdowns. and surgeries. and suicide attempts. and a prognosis of 5 years to live at most….if she could make it to wednesday….CONSTANT trauma. all a lie. every. fucking. word. of it. it served to keep me in a loop, keep me off balance, and hide some of her oddness and emotionally disconnectedness. She revealed that later, much more clearly. she is an evil thing. evil evil evil.

evil is my new fave word in learning about and unraveling this.

I mean someone spends ALL their time every day doing this shit. I mean who DOES THAT!!!???? Crazy people. Evil people. That’s WHO.

I am starting to feel some disgust. hmmm, ya think 😉


one_step_at_a_time: Your comment, “I mean someone spends ALL their time every day doing this shit. I mean who DOES THAT!!!???? Crazy people. Evil people. That’s WHO.”

I understand your sentiments — just the audacity of it all. I once asked you where the S you were dealing with found the time to do such an elaborate scheme, such gaminess, when there was no certainty of apparent reward or outcomes she hoped for.

Requires that a person does not have an inner life of their own, at the very least. A very empty shell and lost soul.


I would like to share a little nugget of wisdom that my salesmen mentors always stressed to me as they trained me in sales many years ago.

They would tell me, “Rosa, a contract with no money attached to it is like toilet paper… can wipe your ass with it.”

To sum it all up, a contract with no money behind it is like talk with no action to back it up….both are USELESS!!

libelle, I forgot that you are in another country. So what I “know,” except for the parts about dealing with narcissistic business people (to be expected and worked with), may not be valid in the details. I know that here, if any partnership or equity expectations are not agreed upon up-front, they are unlikely to materialize.

But there may be other standard progressions where you live.

However, buying into the partnership with a great deal of money after working there for some time, does seem odd to me. If you are a salaried employee, unless that salary is very high, it seems unlikely that you are going to accumulate a great deal of money (except in a retirement plan).

So, as you said, probably the most meaningful advice is to get clarity about your career path with your partner. As well as clarity about your job function and possible areas of authority.

European cultures (as well as former European colonial cultures) present challenges for woman. Possibly the Germanic and Scandinavian are are less so. I’ve done well with them, for the most part, but I have the advantage of an American specialty, because American marketing is globally regarded as the most advanced. But even so, I’ve been astounded by the way women are generally assumed to be rightfully placed in “serving” and “housekeeping” roles, even if they have executive and managerial titles. And the absolutely worst experience I had with this was in the U.K.

I know that you won’t take my advice to be assertive as a suggestion to be “in your face” or confrontation. Politely stubborn in your question for information and your requirements for yourself would probably be more like it.

And congratulations on coming in second for the corporate wife. That’s not a role I would wish on anyone.



Recovering- i suppose she is like all the spaths out there jerking people around – sometimes its for money and sometimes it’s not. i suspect that besides being a spath she is a very creative individual. WHY in hell she doesn’t channel that into novel writing…well, she doesn’t cause she is disordered and i suspect the tedium of writing is not something she could possibly endure. she got LOTS of feel good endorphins from me. her main character was VERY impullsive – hell, all of them were – which suggests to me that she isn’t actually aware of the extent to which she is impulsive/ or how much it shows.

i am very happy for this time of unraveling – seeing her in context of all of the traits and behaviors of all the writing here. i looked for weeks, online every day before i came across the term ‘love fraud’, and googled it and found this site. I am thinking about what i want to do in terms of public education on the net about spathness and about HER. she doesn’t get away with this one. and it won’t be the first time she has been outed publicly on the net. i know who she is because of what exists about her on the net. i surmised she was a sociopath before i found lovefraud and before i knew who she really was. it is an onging learning, and unlearning.

and then there is all the personal work i need to do and the work of keeping roof over head and stress levels down. SOOO much. but it feels kinds exciting in a positive way.

i didn’t sleep much last night – i am stressed about the grant deadline and the neighbours were noisy (whcih they never are). Upstairs guy wa sup and down all night and coughing his lungs out from smoking too much dope, and the young ones across the stree thought that middle of the night outdoor partying was a great idea until i leaned out the window and told them to shut the fuck up and they had 5 mins, then i was calling the cops. i put up with that shit at my last place for way too long. not now. this is a residential neighborhood – quiet quiet. nope, not putting up with that. and fuck them, I have my pepper spray.

okay – well, staying away from the day isn’t going to make it any easier – i gotta get to it. first a walk in the beautiful outdoors.

one step

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