By | January 11, 2013 573 Comments

Sociopaths and creepy trophies

By Sarah Strudwick

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

First of all I want to thank everyone who commented on the posts that I’ve written over the last couple of years. Recently I did a post on How to speed date a sociopath. Whilst I make every effort to move on with my life after the psychopath, occasionally something will come up that causes me to think “Why do they do that?”

So the topic of this post is whether or not any of you have experienced the following:

In my book Dark Souls, I wrote about an occasion where my ex moved my cash card. A week later I found it hidden behind a bottle of sauce on the top of a very tall cupboard in the kitchen. At the time it went missing, I asked my ex if he may have picked it up by mistake, because he used the same. He commented that I was forgetful, and asked me whether I’d left it in the freezer.

This was a very strange comment. Later, I found a book written by a psychopath about how to manipulate people, putting the victim off guard so they question their own sanity. One of the suggestion was to ask victims if they left something that went missing in a freezer!

Being a complete idiot at the time, I looked in there, just to check I wasn’t losing the plot or going mad.

More items not returned

I also lent my ex some books and a heart-shaped crystal. At the time he was leaving his wife. He promised to keep it safe. When I asked for it to be returned, I got the excuse that he had let his children play with it, and one of his small children managed to drop it out of a two-story building and broke it. The story was preposterous—why would he let his kids play with something he didn’t want his wife to see?

I was also in a relationship with a man call Dan. I was doing acupuncture, and he as asked me if he could borrow my acupuncture books and also a book on Taoism. He also borrowed a cassette of a local radio interview I’d done when I was 19 about backpacking in India. When the relationship ended, I asked Dan to send me back the books and the interview cassette. He still has them to this day, and refused to give a reason for keeping them. Looking back, I think it was his way of keeping a little trophy of me.

Happening again

I was prompted to write this is because straight after I ended the speed date, I noticed something strange. Every day I wear a necklace, which I made myself out of resin and crystals. You could call it my “security blanket,” because I always feel happy when I am wearing it. When I bathe or shower I take it off and leave it in the bathroom as the string is made of leather. Lurch commented on the jewelry I make as he saw the resin and paraphernalia on the worktops in my kitchen.

A day or so after getting my head of the washing machine with all the mind games he played, I suddenly realised I wasn’t wearing the necklace. I searched the flat everywhere but couldn’t find it. I soon realised that a photograph of me was missing as well. It was an old photograph of me when I was about 16, dressed in fancy dress and looking reasonably young, fit and attractive. My son had seen it a few days before and commented on how young I looked. The photograph had been next to the computer, but was gone.

I like to think of myself as a rational person and don’t jump to conclusions before pointing the finger. In fact, I searched multiple times only to find nothing. Whilst I cannot prove that anyone took it, these were not items of value like money. But they had a lot of sentimental value, much like the cassette and the specialist acupuncture books, which, incidentally are irreplaceable.


I’ve read before that the psychopath likes to closet their victims, and I’ve heard stories about serial killers keeping “bits” of them as trophies. Whilst we expect the sociopath to steal our hearts, money and valuable possessions, the difference is that all these items are irreplaceable. Which begs the question that they will intentionally go out of their way to take such things, because they know how upset we will be.

I am still searching for these items, just in case I haven’t lost my marbles. Whilst it’s easy to let them go because they have no real value, the whole experience points to the potentially sick and twisted nature of their personalities and has “creeped” me out. Even with such a good understanding of psychopaths/ sociopaths, it’s still beyond all my capacity to understand what motivates someone to do something like this.

It’s for this reason that I shared this experience. I wonder if anyone else had experience the same kind of “creepy” behaviour.

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I experienced “losing things” briefly. It upset me so much that I finally made a doctor’s appointment. When I told him my “symptoms” he was slightly puzzled, but had me tested for MS. He ordered an MRI, etc.

I simply couldn’t “remember” where I put some of my household items. The one that threw me over the edge, was when I looked for the tub of butter for three days. It did not make it back into the fridge for some reason. Eventually, I found it in the utensil drawer next to my stove. There is NO WAY that I would have ever put it there, so I assumed I was either losing my mind or was very ill. Neither was the answer.

Additionally, I had three candle sticks on the coffee table in my living room. They were three differednt heights. They “moved” constantly. I recall walking past the room, standing and looking at them very perlpexed, knowing that I did not put the shortest one in the back. The arrangements “changed” from timt to time. I truly dismissed it, but did find it weird. When I mentioned it once, I was told that I “needed my head checked” or to consider a “ghost.” Ok then…

Eventually, as things came to pass, things stopped going missing and my candles quit moving. My mind is in tact, just as I suspected.

I say you’re on to something, Sarah!


The sociopath hid things to gaslight me, so that he could be abusive for me “losing” things and being irresponsible. (He also intentionally broke his own things in order to blame me for it, but that’s a whole other story.)

He also kept trophies from various women. Some of the things were already there before I started seeing him but he lied about where they had come from and who they belonged to. Other things came later. It could be something like a cheap bottle of shampoo of a brand that neither he or I used appearing in the shower one morning, a mysterious hairbrush found in a bathroom cabinet, or him giving me a ring that he said he “bought” from some person I never met. I didn’t live with him, only saw him a few times a week, and I had no idea he was lying that these things were there the entire time he and I dated and somehow I just “missed” them.

There were some things of mine that he refused to return after we split. He said I’d get them when he wanted to give them, not because I wanted them. Some of those things he hung onto for a while, then they either appeared one day on my front porch or in my *mother’s* mailbox. The things he kept for good – I imagine they were given to the new woman as a gift, something special he got just for her.

Yes…my experience qualifies as gaslighting, rather than trophies. Something made me share that when I read this.

To the best of my knowledge, I can’t think of a “trophy.” But I don’t think it is unusual I still think you are onto something and that it is more common than most think.


I had some experience with this issue with the ex-gf.
Though this experience may not be from the same perspective as is talked about in the article – maybe it will be helpful to resolving someone’s problems.

To the bitter end, my ex-gf harped on me about violating her personal space and taking control of her belongings by ‘rearranging’ her furniture and other items.

I would often do the dishes. I would scrub pots and skillets in the sink and load and unload the dishwasher. I placed a cookie sheet in a cabinet adjacent to the one where she usually kept it – though I didn’t know it at the time. Also, I did the same with a collander. I never heard the end of it.

What I started doing was leaving items on a countertop if I did not know EXACTLY where they were to be stored.

But I NEVER heard the end of it. Until the very end of our relationship I was accused of taking control of her personal things. It didn’t matter how manytimes I asked to please tell me what I had done wrong or what I had misplaced or even taken!


Additionally, I was often accused of doing such ‘good deeds’ with an ulterior motive.
According to her, I was making dinner, packing her a lunch, making her a Vitamix drink, etc., all in some bizarre plot to control her and justify my presence. Man, it REALLY hurt to hear those things.

Yet, often she would say that her mates at work would remark and be envious at the wonderful sandwich or omelet that she brought into work – and that how her boyfriend had made it.

I did it because I loved her and thought it would be of help to her.


Sarah, I don’t think this kind of behavior is unusual at all in sociopaths. Whether they’re holding onto trophies for themselves, giving them away to the new woman as a special “gift”, or hiding things to gaslight others, there are common things in it for them: Cheap thrills & Duper’s Delight.

I bet that guy is just thrilled that he walked off with some things of yours without you knowing it right away, and that you’re sitting around wondering what the hell happened to them. I’m only surprised it wasn’t your lingerie.

Tea Light

Mine took photos of me as trophies. I can’t handle that at all.


Is this creepy?

I have many items from my travels. A piece of the Kremlin wall, small cobbles from famous plazas in Europe. Rocks from all over the world. A dried flower from a prom – another from a loved one’s funeral – pressed into albums. I had a relative from the old country that would press flowers onto the pages that she wrote on. I treasure those – like keeping baby boots or a lock of hair.

In a very touching and emotional moment for me my ex-gf took me to the place where she was born and from where her brother died. When we were leaving, I took a sprig of leaf from a pine tree. I kept it for a time on a shelf by my desk. I remember holding it close to my face and smelling the pine scent – and remembering that very special moment when my ex-gf shared some of her memories. I told her about it.

Months later, the last time I saw her, as she was berating me over everything and anything, she told me that the thing about the ‘pine sprig’ was ‘creepy.’

Ox Drover

I don’t know if you would consider it trophies but a female “friend” of mine who is a psychopath continually stole things from me. Not of any monetary value, or even things she would use, but things she knew **I valued**

Actually, I am not sure this woman was not a kleptomaniac in the truest sense of the word clinically, I KNOW she was a hoarder on a massive scale, but as far as I can tell, I am the only one se actually stole from consistently. She and her husband had massive amounts of stuff stored in a building I owned and they didn’t come get it all after six months of being told to remove it and son D and I went through it and we found all kinds of things that had belonged to us that were there, a box of his pictures from high school. My favorite ice cream scoop which was easy to identify because it was a “gimmie” from a company my egg donor used to work at and their name was on it, an apron I had made for my living history costume, and many other small things like that….she had also stolen some things of value but mostly things of no value at all.

The moving of things to drive you crazy….I can definitely imagine that would be FUN for the psychopath–especially since under stress and PTSD we lose things enough as it is.


Sarah, I lost a number of things that I had either collected or inherited – small things, but important to me.

The first exspath kept all manner of things that had belonged to me, especially those things that he had given to me as “gifts” because he had paid for them and, therefore, they were “his.”

When I packed up and labeled the boxes containing the list of things that the second exspath “wanted,” I destroyed every photo, letter, clothing item, note, and card that wasn’t on his very short “list.” I also threw out the “organic” collections, as well – he used to give me heart-shaped rocks which I would display around the house.

The second exspath DID engage in the gaslighting in a big way. He would move car keys, ATM cards, and other items from one place to another and claim that I was “forgetful,” or that I was in the beginning stages of dementia. He would say these things using a tone of morbid humor, but it was an intentional gaslighting that he began after he had read one of the many spath books that I had. A few months before the separation, he actually attempted to claim that I was losing my mind. When that didn’t work because I didn’t allow it, he switched gears and tried to imply that HE was suffering bi-polar disorder – again, I didn’t allow that, either.

In my case, thesecond exspath hasn’t kept any “me trophies,” I’m almost certain. He is one of these kinds that is just wiping my existence and the relationshit out as neatly as he erased my portfolio images off of my computer. I simply don’t (and, never DID) exist. His treatment of me during the last 6 years of the marriage were pretty evident of this – I was present as an organism, but I didn’t “exist.” Once he had relieved me of my finances, I had no further value to him.

Fixerupper, do you still have that sprig of pine? If you do, it might be an option to pitch it out the window, along with anything else that has any association with the spath.

Thank you for this post, Sarah – it’s an interesting topic to discuss and consider.

Brightest blessings


OxD, now that is truly creepy…..

Ox Drover

Yea, I let her and her husband live here on the farm in their motor home because they had lost their house and I caught her stealing out of my food freezer one night…stealing food she could have FREELY HAD if she had asked. And I cried for 3 days because I was AFRAID I HAD EMBARRASSED HER. LOL Later, I asked them to leave, didn’t give them a reason and they didn’t ask for one, and they had some stuff still here on the farm and I set a boundary CALL BEFORE YOU COME well I caught her trying to sneak in when she thought I would be gone…I pretended not to be mad but you could TELL SHE WAS FRIED that I was here and she got one or two small boxes of hher stuff and left. But I did not let her out of my sight while she was here. I have NO idea what she planned to steal that day, but she didn’t get it. LOL

so after that we moved all their stuff into a building on the edge of the farm and gave them a key so they could come and go at will….then the roof blew off part of the building and I gave them 6 months to get their stuff out and they didn’t, so that was when son D and I went through there and took anything we wanted, and found all kinds of our stuff there….ODD THINGS…from books to his high school pictures. LOL We took what we wanted and lefty the rest and looks like the neighborhood kids got what they wanted and destroyed the rest. The building is full of black mold now and I won’t go in there without a respirator. It needs burning down and burying but will get to that one day. The couple moved on to the farm of another friend and after a while he got a call from thee local cops that they were dealing drugs there and HE made them move and after that they split up. He is living off his elderly mom and retarded brother and I’m not sure where she is living or how. They have none of their good friends left now that they haven’t “used” We had warned some about them but were not believed, until AFTER they had used those friends to, so I’m just about given up on “warning” anyone.

But that was a case of TWO psychopaths hooking up and staying married for 25+ years—and they are not the ONLY P+P relationship I have known.


OxD….wow…… What a couple of LOONS!!! And, I understand why you cried! I would have, too. Trusting people used to be a “given” with me. Not so, anymore.


I think you’re on to something.
My exspath had a “stash” of things hidden in the RV. His pilot logs and some other papers. On top of that was a little photo album all with pictures of me in it. At first I wondered why he would take my pictures and hide them. If he wanted to see them, he could see them in the house.

After I left him, I came back to check on the house when he wasn’t there. The “stash” was gone. I know now why he needed pictures of me. He planned to use them in his STORY about his beautiful wife who went crazy and committed suicide. Of course that story has changed a bit. Now it’s his beautiful wife who became a drug addict and is now living under a bridge.

Ok, so I’m not that beautiful, but the exspath is REALLY REALLY UGLY and without those pictures, people might not actually believe he ever even HAD a wife.

I think our pictures are being used as props in their facades to impress the new victims.

As far as them taking things that we value, well, that’s just par for the course. That’s what a spath does. He looks for things WE value because they don’t have their own values. Then they envy us for those things and they want to take them away.

I was talking to an elderly woman, the mother of a girl I went to school with. Her daughter got divorced and the ex took her family bible. It was an heirloom it had generations of names recorded in it. He wanted ten grand to give it back. She paid him and he STILL didn’t give it back.

It would have cost a lot less than ten grand to hire some muscle to beat him up and take the bible.

Ox Drover

A friend of mine has a P for an ex husband and he took her debutante dress which is packed away in a box and preserved, for her daughter to wear…but he is holding it “ransom” for what he wants from the house….HER record collection from when she was a teenager…DUH????? He has several things like that….but my friend is NOT going to give in, let him keep it is her motto. What’s he gonna do, wear it? LOL She is finally Gray Rocking him and nothing he does gets to her any more. She only communicates with him via e mail, but unfortunately she does have to let him have time with the younger children, but all 3 of the older kids are NC with him.

HHe is frustrated as all get out that the older kids won’t have anything to do with him, and was mad that the older boy who was home from the Marines for Xmas would not come see him. LOL He tried to get his X wife to “make” the boy go see him, but she refused to even try to do that. As each kid reaches 18 they are going NC with him. The 15 year old is about ready to refuse to see him as well. He is sheeting in his own nest with the kids (there are 7)


OxD….eugh…..debutante dress, REALLY?! LMAO!!! GOOD for your friend! TOWANDA to her!!!!

The only “bargaining” that the exspath tried to do was this little deal as presented by his attorney: the exspath would drop the Restraining Order if I agreed to waive alimony! ROTFLMAO!!!! Uh…..the first thing that almost came out of my mouth was “Fugov, are you CRAZY?!” I was “strongly” advised to reject the offer by my attorney. LMAOLMAOLMAO


Yeh I’m definitely convinced that sociopaths like to keep trophies. The ex spath kept things belonging to me……he even left a cup (with the dregs in) on the fireplace all weekend when we’d had an argument and I had gone home for the weekend. He has a particular penchant for cutlery. …..Crazy I know but he was a definite hoarder of trophies. I’m also convinced that some of the stuff he had was from previous women. Stuff he claimed was his…..Ye rite.

He also tried to gaslight me…..he turned the page over in my book when I left the room. I suspected it was him. Trying to make me look paranoid. I have wondered how many other things were “set up” by him.

It all sounds ridiculously banal and petty ….but it was like a war zone. I never knew where the next thing to unbalance me was coming from. What kind of creature does that?


Same here. He had TONS of little trophies, that he tried to pass off as part of his life. As if he had bought them. I think he used the stories (that actually belonged to the original owners) behind these items to create a life for himself. Totally copycat.

He left tons of stuff at my home, right away. Trying to mark his territory and invade my space. As soon as he was gone EVERYTHING he had ever given me, or left, was unceremoniously thrown away.

Though I don’t recall anything missing, there were certainly lots of gifts that he had from me, that to him were souvenirs. My stories behind these gifts are now probably incoporated into ‘his’ life story. THAT is creepy.

I cleaned my house from top to bottom, trying to exorcise his presence.


Strongawoman, the type of creature that does that is one that does’t have a conscience. A spath is worse than a one-celled organism in that they have a force of free will and cognizance. Amoebas simply go on instinct.

Slimone, I felt NO regret or sadness when I lit fire to things that the exspath left behind…I burned it all and actually did a cleansing ceremony throughout the structure to exorcise his negative energy. Yeah, sounds crazy, but negativity often lingers, especially when spath’s belongings aren’t discarded or destroyed.

Brightest blessings



He kept a watch I had left at his place the 1st time around. Kept it for 4 months. I repeatedly asked for it back. We got back together and that is when I finally got it. Other things disappeared the last time around. Dremel tool (that one left permanently), bike lock that he had replaced for me. I had emailed him about this. Claimed he didn’t have it. It reappeared in the back of my car after he came over for the last time. I assume he used it for the new target who was here for the summer. Bet he got a real charge out of that. Twisted a–hole.


Mine didn’t do this; I guess he wasn’t around long enough.

Ox Drover

Yea, come to think of it, my X BF P took some tools I never got back….ah,. well, no big deal. You know I’ve had more valuable things stolen by better folks.


My x-spath’s FB profile picture is still one taken the day we met…

My husband kept a picture of me when I was 5yrs old,in his Bible.I purposely removed it while gathering his personal belongings together to be taken to the nursing home.He was upset;I think he actually thought it belonged to him!

I don’t know what to think about this development:my daughter came back from visiting her father today and brought a bag of women’s lotions;nail care that he “won at games” there at the nursing home.Oh yeah,there was a few pieces of women’s jewlery.That just doesn’t make sense!Why would he be given feminine things as gifts;surely they would give him things for a man.Unless he purposely told the activities director he wanted to choose something for his wife….I foresee another call to the Social worker there!

I heard the stupidest thing today about characterics that one USUALLY sees in a trustworthy person…..BROWN EYES,WIDE FACE….why that describes my husband….blech!


My Xspath’s Trophy was a Holy Bible, he kept it in a drawer, never read it or followed it’s suggestion’s.


I read the same article – brown eyes/wide face – and instantly thought of my X!husband. He had canned remarks, one of them… “Me? With my honest face?!” He knew he got away with carp b/c he was handsome and seemed genuine. But as he grew older, his appearance changed to look weazely. I wonder what he says now.

I mentioned him keeping photo trophies that weirded me out way back when we first married. I refused to let him display me in his photo book. He had photos in there of people, one in particular was of a woman he eventually had an affair with, but she didn’t know him from adam while he displayed her photo for YEARS.


Would inappropriate pictures of women saved in his cell phone be considered trophies?


sumpin to do this weekend….


Is he a porno man or were the pictures from women he had contact with?



He did the porn but the pictures were from women he had met online.


sorry you got infected by such a lowlife spath. what a WINNER.

My husband SAID and ACTED like he deleted pics of me off his computer.I gotta admit,I’m getting a little nervous wondering if he actually did!Thinking about having one of my daughters check through his computer…..but they still think I’m paranoid!


Daisy, keeping photographic images like that are, indeed, “trophies.”

That’s why there will be NO photographs of me taken with anyone under any circumstances. Especially “intimate” imagery! Not that there will ever be another intimate relationship, but people just never consider that the person that they’re with would use “intimate” imagery as weapons of destruction. If someone wants an “intimate” photo of me, they can jump in a pool of lava.

Blossom4th, I wouldn’t recommend involving your kids in this – keep them out of the loop even if they “get it” about the spath. If he did, he did. If he didn’t, he didn’t.

Brightest blessings


I never thought of it as being trophies. My ex brought in his things when he moved in with me. There were little things around his computer, like a small scandianva boot, a stamp picture of Elvis with a couple of ornaments. He never listened to Elvis’s music. Gem stones and pouch from a friendship he didn’t have. Found that out after the fact. His life was a lie.
Now that I think about it, those things could very well be from the other victims he has stolen from along with the stories he told me. Sad…

Tea Light

KatyDid you said what a WINNER lol Daisy yes he seems like quite the catch. I think many dangerous men are drawn to photographing their victims, looking at the images is like returning to the scene of the crime. Having galleries of sexual images of women is just clearly creepy whether the man knows the women or download them from sites. Even if the women consent to the images being taken I feel a man wanting them /collecting them is a massive red flag


KD, Truthspeak and TeaLight,

Thankfully the pictures were not of me. No one has pictures like that of me. NO ONE. His new “target” told me about the pictures saved on his phone of women he had met online. I told her that was a red flag all by itself, not even knowing about the “trophy” connection.

I am going to start reminding myself of what a “winner” he is every time I feel that I miss him.


Truthspeak wrote:
“Fixerupper, do you still have that sprig of pine? If you do, it might be an option to pitch it out the window, along with anything else that has any association with the spath.”

Well, it’s kindlin’. And every thing that was not discarded has been sealed in a container. I read some advice somewhere that the thing to do is to remove stuff from your sight that remind you of the ex. Then, to deal with it at the later date when you are strong enough and you have “figured things out” in your mind and the pain has subsided.
Unfortunately, we live pretty close to each other and this part of the state is shared territory and, there is hardly a town or street that I am in or on in my travels that doesn’t trigger a memory of our time together. So, I have given up on trying to reroute or avoid places. I take it head-on and force myself to work through the feelings. I am thinking that you have to relish it and let it flow over yourself to get through it – since it is all unavoidable anyway.
But it seems that the triggered memories – in addition to the realizations of how bad her spathic behaviour and treatment of me really was – generate an emotional paralysis and other symptoms that seem like those typical with PTSD. I am trying to get an evaluation on that now because it is so debilitating and I need to find a way to deal with it. I am experiencing memory loss ( Forgot my bank account PIN number today at the supermarket check-out, forgetting people’s names, things to do, etc.), having chest pains and headaches – among other things.

I attended a memorial service recently. During the service I heard a quotation attributed to Mary Oliver on what it is to live. Part of
it goes something like this:
‘Love what is mortal. Hold it to your bones- like your life depended on it….and then know how to let it go.’

About a year ago I found a diary that I had forgotten about that I kept when in a relationship more than 20 years ago. Very educational and enlightening reading!

But this discussion about trophies has me worried and a bit self conscious. I have been examining my attitude and behaviour in this regard. I collect stamps and coins and rocks (Have a degree in geology.), and have a few souvenirs from my travels. But these things, and the things given to me by my ex (Which I will deal with I some way when I can.), and the few pictures that I have of her – do not feel like ‘trophies’ or some form of owning or possessing her.
Reminds me of a story of how in some cultures persons are afraid to have their pictures taken – because they believe the camera captures their soul.

Oh, well, it is late and I have rambled enough.

I can see that there is a line between keeping articles and souvenirs to trigger a memory or help one to remember and relay that memory or reminisce – and it being a way of ‘possessing’ someone.


Mine had asked me to send him a picture of myself via text. He didn’t ask for it to be nude, but I assumed that is what he meant. I did not do it! I may have been stupid, but I wasn’t THAT stooopid! No way and now I am REALLY glad I was smart enough to not send him a picture of myself. Who knows who he would have shown? I know why he wanted it of course.


Fixerupper. Like you, many of MY personal fav places had been tainted by memories of him. So I did a pagan thing. I took sage and cleansed them. For other areas, I REMADE my memories. I went and did something different, I reclaimed MY Space. I considered what I did as purification, doing even something as simple as sprinkling holy water. Sounds silly but it worked for me. Kinda like lysol killing germs. I’m the one who share MY special places with him, I just took them back.

The forgetting stuff you are experiencing may be the byproduct of stress. I had to set a timer EVERY Time I cooked b/c I’d forget I had a pan on the stove, I had lost a sense of time. I learned to meditate and focus on the pure light of love falling over me, and after a time, the stress dissapated. Though a word of warning, it can come back but it doesn’t hang around for months on end anymore. When it comes now, it’s just a short 2-3 days and I know to bathe myself in God’s love again. I hope for the same for you.

And NO. You don’t have trophies. Trophies are when spaths want to relive dominating and crushing a victim. You have momentos of special CONNECTION, BIG dif, ya know?!


Fixerupper……………..collecting coins and souvenirs is NOT a symptom of socipathy. It’s something that nearly everyone does and it’s not a symptom of some kind of pathology. My father was involved in geology for a corporation and he collected all manner of minerals that I found fascinating (peacock coal was my favorite!), and this wasn’t a pathological “collection.”

“Victim Trophies” are a completely different matter. They are “collected” as a means to “re-live” their victims’ destruction.

I LOVE what KatyDid posted and I did the same thing – almost verbatim. I was hesitant to post the “pagan” thing about burning sage bundles because I don’t want to “offend” anyone, but there’s something TO this ritual.

KatyDid provided some sound insight, and you may want to be a bit gentler on yourself, Fixerupper. Those places will cease to have so much power, in due time.

Another technique that I found helpful in managing triggers and extreme anxiety was “Getting In The Now.” In a nutshell, when you begin feeling that uncontrollable surge of emotions begin and recognize it as “anxiety” about a certain place, song, or other stimulus, it goes something like this:
* Tell myself, out loud, where I am – in a store, by a creek, in a car, etc.
* Tell myself, out loud, where my hands are – on a steering wheel, beneath a faucet, etc.
* Tell myself WHAT my hands are touching – textured fabric, water, tree bark, etc.
* Tell myself where my hadns are in relation to my feet – am I standing, sitting, walking, etc
* Tell myself what is beneath my fee – gravel, pine needles, carpeting, tarmac, etc.
* Tell myself what kind of atmosphere I’m experiencing – outside in the rain, indoors in air conditioning, in the forest, etc
* Tell myself what I can smell, if there is a breeze, if there is a distinct climate, etc.

Okay, it sounded like absolute hocus-pocus when my counseling therapist first told me about this technique. I honestly believed that she wanted me to shut up, stop crying, and get the HELL out of her office because I was that much of a mess. At some point, the anxiety that I was experiencing compelled me to give this technique a cursory attempt. It took a number of attempts and frequent intervals (sometimes, one attempt right after the previous), but it DID work! I was amazed at this because I had been so out of control with anxiety. And, that’s just one technique to try – there are many that are listed on another article thread.

You’re okay, Fixerupper. Really. You’re NOT the spath and it’s not uncommon for recovering victims of spaths to wonder if THEY aren’t the disordered ones because of the carnages that have been created by the spaths. You’re okay. Okay? Okay!!

Brightest blessings


Thanks for your advice, encouragement and kind words, KatyDid and Truthspeak.

Truthspeak: I have only held a piece of ‘peacock coal’ once. A friend that worked for the USDA had some.

I am not sure about the ‘cleansing’ rituals. Having grown up in a family with lots of Orthodox Christians and Catholics – with relatives that kept ‘Holy Water’ right after the cinnamon and the dill on the spice rack, one might think that I would try it.

But, it just seems like whitewashing to me. NOT to disparage or doubt the effectiveness that it has for you!

However, I have been to places that mean alot to me – that hold special significance to that relationship – and I have prayed and meditated there. It ‘was like I was trying to extract something like GOOD memories or vibes – as a way to comfort myself and remember how DEEP the love was and is. I know that for me it was REAL. But, for her -obviously not. I still deep down hope that I am wrong.
This leads to profound sadness – but it may be a step along the way to recovery.


That starts to make me think now. I moved out of my old apartment quickly right after N discarded me and moved out. When I put all his things on the porch, per his request, he accused me of stealing his 1911 because he misplaced it and when I moved into my new apartment I had tools that were missing. One was a small multi tool that I used to sand small detailed areas. I haven’t been able to find that thing to save my life. Now I’m going to have to replace it because I have some furniture I need to finish re-finishing. I bet he stole it.


I am not sure trying to connect to the love you felt for her is leading you to recovery. It’s VERY hard to give up on hope. But the one thing that I found was a trap for me? Was HOPE. MY HOPE was wrong. It was Malignant Hope. B/c HOPE was wishing for the future to be different than the past, it was waiting for someone else to make the future different. I had to learn to let go. I had to learn to connect to God rather than to disconnect from God and HOPE for evil to become good. Instead, I now trust that IF he, in his spath free will, did change, then it would flow that he would repent of what he did to me. But hoping for Evil to choose me? Was NOT good for me.

I am a person who pursues a relationship with God. One thing that helped me A LOT was some common sense talks by a Pastor that I like, Dr Ed Young. He has a series “Overcoming Pain in Your Life”. They helped me disconnect from my spath and connect to God. It’s a WONDERFUL feeling. ( and online store)
p.s. I was raised Southern Baptist and converted to Catholicism so I understand the churches views but I also believe “don’t let the church get in the way of your relationship with God”. In other words, there are things that happened in the church that I didn’t approve of so I think that the church can handle it if I listen to ALL WISDOM. I have learned that Pastors and Priests interpret that which I know GOD had NOT intended.

All my best.


Yeah. Perhaps you are correct.
I think that there is an element of ‘hope’ inside. But, I am really not sure what I am hoping for!

“I done forgot the Lord.”

Thanks for the link. I am going to check it out, now.


We got a little silly last night and endulged in play on words but CS Lewis wrote a wonderful book, The ScrewTape Letters. It’s a way to view how an evil little worm covets your soul.

But those 30 minute talks by DrEdYoung “Overcoming Pain in Your Life”… they were POWERFUL for me b/c they spoke with common sense.


I love Ed Young. He is great! I have watched a couple of his series in a Life Group I was in.


Did you watch Dr Ed Young or his son Ed Young? I prefer the father. His message is more direct, simple common sense. His son is nice but the message for the youth is more metaphoric and sometimes I get lost in trying to decipher what he is trying to say. Still, the son reaches a lot of the younger people. Mebbie I need to accept that I am NOT one of the young things anymore. LOL!



Oh, the son. I didn’t even realize he had a dad who was also in ministry. I really like him. I like someone who preaches more modern day in a way I can relate. My church is like that, too. Still preaching the word though…no funny business!

Ox Drover

I believe that we (humans) who have a conscience also have a spiritual aspect to us. Going back to the times people lived in caves, there were signs that they believed in an afterlife and in something besides what they could see or “feel”–I think it is in our genes.

That spiritual aspect is in us even if we do not believe in an afterlife or in a “god” of any kind in my opinion.

I think in healing our traumas from the psychopathic experience includes mental, emotional, physical and SPIRITUAL aspects and that we must address all of these issues.

I also realize that healing is an ON GOING PROCESS…it is not a destination it is a journey and at any point we can get side tracked and “fall off” the road to healing in to the abyss of pain and dysfunction.

It behooves us to climb back out of that abyss and to get back on the road to healing again and practice the things we have learned about taking care of ourselves. Recently I “fell off the road” into the abyss by allowing the stresses of my preparation for my son Patrick’s parole hearing to send me into a tail spin. When I allowed the EXPECTATIONS I had that some people I considered “friends” would be glad to write letters and found out that they would not even go to the trouble to write a letter. I allowed the disappointments I had when I realized that these people didn’t take my situation seriously, or if they did they didn’t really care much.

It wasn’t that I didn’t KNOW that pinning your own mental and emotional health on your expectations of others’ behavior was a poor choice….or that focusing so much of my energy on the parole preparation (emotional and mental) that I was failing to take care of myself. I KNEW and still I didn’t take care of what was important–ME.

So now that my body has said “STOP what you are doing” I am listening and taking care of ME.

There’s a lot of good information here on how to take care of yourself in every way….and I’ve written some of it, but KNOWING and not DOING isn’t gonna get us better, it is KNOWING AND DOING it that we have to do. So, I will slap myself “up ‘side the haid” and say “get with it Oxy!” and get back on the road and work on staying there.



Awesome post!! Because I am a believer in God and believe that He is our Creator, it makes sense to me that we would all have a spiritual connection because He made us that way. I realize not everyone believes in Him though and I respect that.

Healing is most definitely an ongoing process and I fall off the wagon all the time. I used to beat myself up about that and question why I just can’t get over this, but I swear I am not going to do that to myself anymore. I will get over it when it is time. I do try very hard to be good to myself so on that note, I am off to the gym! 🙂

Tea Light

Recovering is no picnic Oxy that’s for sure. It feels like my job, and my actual job which I’m returning to tomorrow for the first time since my breakdown feels very, well unimportant. No of very secondary importance. Maybe that’s the depression. I’ll do my best but my health is my priority. Thank God we get statutory sick pay in the UK for a few weeks. Anyway I know I’ll have meltdowns and setbacks but what can you do but keep rowing? Walk the plank? He’s not getting that notch on his belt. No way.

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