By | April 29, 2010 347 Comments

Sociopaths As Discarders

In my last LoveFraud article I discussed strategies for vetting your new partner for “personality skeletons” lurking in the “apparent” history.

I’d like to focus, here, more specifically (and in more depth) on individuals with a pattern of discarding the people in their lives.

Sociopaths and other seriously disturbed narcissistic personality types will have this history—that is, a history (past and recent) that’s almost certainly littered with friends, family, and anyone who was once useful, whom they’ve cast off ostensibly for one or another reason.

As best as possible we want to glean this history, if it’s applicable and somehow accessible. In such cases, we want to ensure that blinding defenses such as denial, avoidance, idealization and incuriosity (among others) don’t compromise our observational powers.

More than that, we want to be sharply astute to evidence suggestive of such a history.

And why? If for no other reason than that adults with a track record of cutting loose the people in their lives simply do not outgrow this pattern.

In other words, this is a deeply inscribed aspect of their character, from which none of us carries special privileges to immunity or protection.

Yes, we’ve discussed this and other aspects of pathological narcissism before, but it’s always useful, I feel, to take a fresh view of it.

As we know, sociopaths and similarly character-disordered personalities engage in relationships, and in a great many interactions, almost strictly to the extent that they perceive you to be useful to their interests.

I think we can agree that, just as soon as the exploitive personality perceives that your usefulness to him has run its course, it will follow like clockwork that his use for you will correspondingly expend itself.

These personalities measure you against the criterion of your useful shelf-life which, in a sense, puts you in a not so different category from, say, an appliance, or, for that matter, any possession or object whose utility depreciates over time.

From the height of his satisfaction with your optimal utility to him, the sociopath begins a slow, inexorable and, in some cases, disorientingly precipitous, phase of depreciating you. He may, or may not, begin this process by idealizing you. But even if he does, he won’t be idealing you; rather, he’ll be idealizing your utility to him.

I’d like to stress this point again: Sociopaths, and I include all pathological narcissists, never really idealize you; they idealize your present utility to them.

And, of course, from there, it’s all downhill.

When exploiter’s depreciation of you is complete, then it’s time to discard, and replace, you. This constitutes his “moving on.”

If he could list you as a deduction on his tax return, based on your depreciated value to him, he would.

And so his discarding may take a more literal form, like leaving or ending the relationship; or it may take the less literal, but worse, form of his staying (or hanging around) while abdicating, increasingly, any and all sense of accountability in the relationship.

Now that you give him so little of compelling worth, so little to value and use (except, among other conveniences, perhaps a roof over his head), the exploitive “partner” no longer feels he owes you much of anything.

This perspective conveniently enables his conviction of his right to pursue his gratifications elsewhere. Again, this constitutes a form of his “moving on.”

But let’s not mistake what “moving on” means to the sociopath and like-minded personalities: it means finding new victims to exploit.

He may not consciously process his agenda as such (although he might), but we know that this is his agenda.

Many sociopaths, in their warped self-centeredness, subscribe to the philosophy: I want, therefore I deserve. And so the next step follows with dangerous self-justification—taking what they want.

Again, the sociopath may not consciously think, “I deserve to have fun with the credit cards in that guy’s wallet.” But he will want the credit cards with which to have some fun, and whether consciously or not, because he wants them, he’ll feel entitled to seize and use them.

This also explains the prototypical sociopathic telemarketer: he wants the old peoples’ assets, and because he wants them, he feels entitled to take them. Deploying any and every tool in his exploitive toolbox, he then takes all the assets he can from the naive couple.

Once having taken what he can from them, they cease to have use for him, and so he cuts them loose; he discards them. That is, having fleeced them for what he could, he “moves on” in search of more gratification through prospective new victims, who may have what he wants, that he can take.

Very likely he won’t look back, and if he does, it won’t be with empathy, guilt, shame or regret.

(This article is copyrighted © 2010 by Steve Becker, LCSW. My use of the male gender pronoun is for convenience’s sake, not to suggest that males have a patent on the behaviors discussed.)

Comment on this article

Please Login to comment
Notify of
Dani S

Great Article Steve.
When I met my ex husband S, I had just had finacial settlement from my previous divorce. S had big plans for “us” to make money with “my” money and initially he paid back the first amounts so I didn’t have a problem lending him larger amounts the next time and so on.
By the time I left the marriage all my money had gone. S had assests in “his” name and then transfered all the assets into his “new” friends names so his bad wife “me” couldn’t get a hold of his hard earnt assests.
Luckily for me (and unluckily)I was married to him so I had a financial claim through the family court. The court turned over the sales to no effect and handed them to me.
Even having a child together and knowing it was originally my money that got “him” his assetts he did not for one moment think that I was entitled to anything.
He has done this behaviour all his adult life. One women he ripped off thousands from, he had a restraining order taken out on her because she was harrassing him. Yes she was, she wanted her money back. But with no proof she had to retreat.
S never had friends that lasted longer than 2 years, depending on how close he got to them and how quickly he scammed money from them. I was non the wiser beleiving as he would tell me there was something wrong with them that is why he couldn’t continue friendships with them. Funny how everyone he ever met had something wrong with them lol

As soon as I left the marriage he coldly shut the door on any contact between me and his daughter, not that I was complaining but I couldn’t at the time understand how he could turn his back on his own flesh and blood. I know why now!

My court case cost me around $30,000 and with the credit cards and car/ motor bike loans I was left with, what I got back through the courts I was a long way behind. I am just so glad he ended up with nothing out of our relationship as it made me so angry that he pranced off with an expensive car,boat,motorbike and business and thought that he had stitched me up.

I had worked hard all my life at I found myself at 40 to have nothing but debt. Of course I have my beautiful children that mean more to me than any money. He has “moved on” a couple of times since me with the same result. And as you say Steve without empathy,shame guilt or regret for the emotional damage and leaving me financially bereft with small children to raise without finacial help.


I posted the following in the Lara letter but it is worth repeating.

Wikipedia’s article on Psychological Manipulation is an excellent read.

The “Basic Manipulative Strategy of a Psychopath” is particularly valuable:

1: Assessment Phase
Some psychopaths are opportunistic, aggressive predators who will take advantage of almost anyone they meet, while others are more patient, waiting for the perfect, innocent victim to cross their path. In each case, the psychopath is constantly sizing up the potential usefulness of an individual as a source of money, power, sex or influence. Some psychopaths enjoy a challenge while others prey on people who are vulnerable. During the assessment phase, the psychopath is able to determine a potential victim’s weak points and will use those weak points to seduce.

2: Manipulation Phase
Once the psychopath has identified a victim, the manipulation phase begins. During the manipulation phase, a psychopath may create a persona or mask, specifically designed to ’work’ for his or her target. A psychopath will lie to gain the trust of their victim. A psychopath’s lack of empathy and guilt allows them to lie with ease – they don’t see the value of telling the truth unless it will help get them what they want.

As interaction with the victim proceeds, the psychopath carefully assesses the victim’s persona. The victim’s persona gives the psychopath a picture of the traits and characteristics valued in the victim. The victim’s persona may also reveal, to an astute observer, insecurities or weaknesses the victim wishes to minimize or hide from view. As an ardent student of human behavior, the psychopath will then gently test the inner strengths and needs that are part of the victim’s private self and eventually build a personal relationship with the victim.

The persona of the psychopath – the “personality” the victim is bonding with – does not really exist. It was built on lies, carefully woven together to entrap the victim. It is a mask, one of many, custom-made by the psychopath to fit the victim’s particular psychological needs and expectations. The victimization is predatory in nature; it often leads to severe financial, physical or emotional harm for the individual. Healthy, real relationships are built on mutual respect and trust; they are based on sharing honest thoughts and feelings. The mistaken belief that the psychopathic bond has any of these characteristics is the reason it is so successful.

3: Abandonment Phase
The abandonment phase begins when the psychopath decides that their victim is no longer useful. They abandon their victim and move on to someone else. In the case of romantic relationships, a psychopath will usually seal a relationship with their next target before abandoning their current victim. Abandonment can happen quickly and can occur without the current victim knowing that the psychopath was looking for someone new. There will be no apologies for the hurt and pain they cause because psychopaths do not appreciate these emotions.

Phase 3, the Abandonment Phase is particularly relevent.

Regarding discarding Jamie did this to both his father and an x-partner. There are probably more, I simply did not know him long enough to learn if there were any more, although he did allude to perhaps one, “a person I knew at that time…”

“From the height of his satisfaction with your optimal utility to him, the sociopath begins a slow, inexorable and, in some cases, disorientingly precipitous, phase of depreciating you.”

In one week, I went from Jamie’s convincing me I had found a soul-mate to being dumped. The whole after lasted four weeks.


Terrific , Steve,

Once again – if we could only start over knowing what we know now .

I can see now how he mistreated his ex-wife and held no regard for her struggle with 2 toddlers – I see now why she hated him so much as I said regarding your lst article.

The discard comes as such a shock – I don’t think I ever really thought the FINAL discard would come – I just thought he would always need me and his heart would eventually soften and realize what a good wife I was…….hhmmmm – NOT !!!

And I don’t think you CAN discard someone so easily unless you NEVER did have much invested in them – otherwise our hearts would ache at the sadness of it all. But him – he moves like a chameleon from one to another – apparently multiples at a time . He has secured his next victim – maybe the ONE he will mellow with over time – he sure is outwardly doing all the things he stopped doing with me and for me – a long time ago.

And of course , there is my daughter – he doesn’t seem to suffer much from the lack of a relationship with her .

He has told her – HER lack of respect for him is intolerable – so he focuses on our son for attention – and virtually ignores her very existence.

Yes, it is obvious NOW – when we become less useful, less rewarding, perhaps too eager to see our own wishes fulfilled – he easily walks away – breaking a heart and saying all the while – it’s us not him !!!!

– as the song he plays constantly says :

” Next time I fall in love – I’ll know better what to do !”

Do you think he has learned anything more than how to spin his web even more seductively ?


Thanks for another insightful article, Steve. Here is a website that I found interesting regarding socipaths.


Such a right-on article! My h-spath discarded me, staying in the marriage (hanging around), “while abdicating, increasingly, any and all sense of accountability in the relationship.” He stopped working on our relationship years ago, ultimately being incapable of having a marital relationship. This man has betrayed me in more ways than I thought (or knew) was possible (eg. lying, stealing, etc.), and to this day, I don’t think he “gets” why I dislike him, having lost all respect for him, wanting nothing to do with him. I am thankful that he is out of the house.



My h-spath is big on RESPECT. After all the bogus things that he’s done to me, he still expects me to treat him with respect. He called me last week on my cell phone and said, “you may not like me, but when you talk to me, I want you to respect me” (something to that effect), and I responded by saying, “I don’t like you and I don’t respect you,” hanging up on him. What I have figured out recently is that these people could rip you apart and they seem to be genuinely surprised by the intense dislike that you may have for them.



Don’t you just love it when they (socios) put themselves up on the “morality pedestal” and get all self-righteous??

Isn’t that the most priceless thing you’ve ever seen?!?!?

That’s one of the many things about these varmints that really mystifies me….how they can do it all with a straight face.


yes, Bluejay,

I called him an a–hole over something last week and he responds ” Now, why do you have to resort to calling me names ? I don’t call you names ! ”

My response was – ” well maybe you should have instead of screwing everything you could, taking our money and squandering it – putting us in debt , building yourself a house behind my back – I could have handled a little name calling instead of all the sick shit you did !!!! ”

And his last comment :

” Wow – your counselor is really just taking your money . He’s not doing you one bit of good!!! Listen to yourself !!!! ”

Thank God and my counselor I know better now than to take his words into my head and heart !!!

Yours and mine , Bluejay – brothers !!! – reading from the same script …. God
Bless !!!

Ox Drover

As always, Steve, great article!

I had to laugh though,, as if someone “vetted” me by the fact I have “discarded” my enitre biological living family and about half of my long term “friends” I would for sure look like a psychopath if that was the only criteria used. LOL

Looking back though, I am not sure “who went NC with whom” and it sure was with a great deal of pain and suffering on my part to end the relationships or distance myself from these relationships that I did value, but found to be toxic, manipulative and abusive to me.

Though I realize also that in the past my egg donor had D&D’d me, and I had conveniently “forgotten” these episodes, or glossed over them, and then I came crawling back to her. Ditto the P-son.

It is only now, decades after going through all this being “used” and feeling guilty about not keeping others happy that I am finally seeing the light in my own life!

I laugh about the fact my “story” was so bizarre that my therapist had to have documentary proof and witnesses to decide if I was a paranoid nut job or if this bizarre tale was true! I am not the only one here with a bizarre tale, in fact, I am probably in the mid-line of bizarre tales on this blog with others having ones far more bizarre than mine. How bizarre is Liane’s tale? Or actually tales, when you consider the Rodney Alchoa photo-op?

But I definitely think you are right about looking closely at a person who has been “victimized” repeatedly (their stories) by all these terrible people and find out the real truth behind the stories of victimization. That is more than well pointed out by a woman I met last summer that presented herself as a homeless victim of countless sociopaths, and in fact, she was an abusive, manipulative, conniving sociopath herself, and was using her “poor victim” status to worm her way into makiing me her next victim. Fortunately I kept a “cllinical distance” from this woman and was able to find out in a fairly short time that she was NOT a “victim” but was instead a sociopath who had been whipped in her last few battles, either with trying to victimize other sociopaths or being outed by her victims.

When I confornted her, telling her that I could not help her and that she had to move on, the writhing pity party that she went into was right out of the “Text book for psychopathic behavior.” I was somewhat gratified though by some professional mental health people who also “got it” about what she was….but even a couple of that group, still were willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

I was actually kind of proud of myself for figuring her out by her behavior, rather than listening to her words. As well as keeping a “clinical” distance emotionally from this woman and not allowing her to suck me into the FOG. I’ve always been much better at “outing” those that were not members of my family or close friends, though.

Now, finally, I’m learning how to do it with anyone, even my family and close friends, to shed them as negative and toxic. It’s been a long journey. “Physician heal thy self.” “take your own advice!” “Do as I say….” and sometimes those are the hardest things to do.

Thanks Steve!



I am totally floored by these people. There have been times when I have been rightfully angry over some misdeed, yelled at him about it, and he will not respond, be without emotion, keeping “a straight face.” Once you’re away from the person and you have time to replay the stuff in your head, you realize that you’ve been put through craziness. Sometimes during the day, a thought will pop into my head, the latest one being, “they’re deceptively self-centered.”


Very good article, but can anyone explain why the sociopath in my life (daughter) will not “discard” me??? I quit being “useful” to her many years ago. Why won’t she just leave me alone. I want to be discarded. She didn’t seem to care until I went no contact, then her number one goal in life is to “get back into the family”.

Help !!




My guess is that she wants something – you can be “a source” for whatever she thinks she needs.



You said:

“There have been times when I have been rightfully angry over some misdeed, yelled at him about it, and he will not respond, be without emotion, keeping ‘a straight face’.”

By not responding to you, that is emotional abuse right there.
He’s basically telling you….without saying a word….that your anger is invalid, and that he did nothing wrong.
By keeping silent with a straight face, he’s invalidating you, “paralyzing” you, and refusing your desire to be heard.

Avoiding dialogue is an effective way for an abuser to aggravate the conflict, and to silently put the blame on the other person.

It’s ugly and insidious.



It has also occurred to me that he will intentionally remain silent, rarely admitting to any wrong-doing, deliberately not confessing to “his crimes.” He does avoid dialogue, that is true. I have realized that talking to him is futile, that he is incapable of telling the “whole truth.” I expect not “to be heard” as you say – it’s just a fact of life when dealing with him. He is the only person that I’m aware of that discounts my feelings, total lack of awareness regarding the emotional upheaval that he has produced in the past. I realize it, accept it, and I’m getting past it.

Ox Drover

Dear Milo,

I know exactly what her deal is!!! When you went NC with HER, YOU, not she, gained control of her being in the family or not, by wanting back in, she is trying to take BACK HER CONTROL over the family situation.

My egg donor has discarded me in the past to punish me for not allowing her full control over me, then when I would come crawling back and we would play a round of “let’s pretend none of this happened.”

This time she discarded me in favor of the psychopaths because she thought she had control over them.When they all went to jail except son C and he left the state, she wanted me back….when I refused, she became angry because I wouldn’t let HER control me. She tried several times to get back CONTROL. When I maintained my control she still thinks sooner or later it will all get back to she will get me to either “pity play” back to her or something else, she doesn’t realize it is REAL NC forever.

This is just another hand in the cardgame of life she is trying to win, and if you let her back into the family then things will go right back to HER CONTROL AGAIN. She will respect no boundaries. NC….is the only way you can maintain control but she won’t give up for a long time. And, will use and try to con other members of the family as a way to sneak back in and make you look like the bad guy. Good luck.


Yes, trying to communicate with him is futile, BlueJay.
He does not want to have a conversation with you.
He wants to USE conversation as a way to keep you destabilized and under his control.

It’s not something he will probably want to change.

Don’t take it personally, BlueJay.
It’s part of his disorder.



You are correct when you say that he doesn’t really want to have a conversation with me, being straight with me. He does his best to avoid having any serious discussions with me, sometimes making up lies to make himself look good, leading me on at times, getting me to think that he’ll do what’s right, but in the end letting me down. I never really thought of his behavior as a form of emotional abuse (toward me) until you mentioned it in your post. I want to study more about what emotional abuse is, being able to recognize it when it occurs.


Bluejay & Oxy,

You are both right, she doesn’t want to get back into the family, she wants to control it, with drama and chaos.

Unfortunately, she is using her 9 year old son as a pawn. After 4 years of not seeing him, she is trying to take our custody away. I will probably be forced into at least visitation order. I will once again be made to have contact.

Thanks guys, I know you understand and that helps.


Ox Drover

Dear MILO,

Some courts are getting it about kids not being just objects that you can farm out for a few years and then decide you want to come back and pick it up and everything is hunky dorry, kids have to have consistently loving parents and abandoning one for 4 years doesn’t seem to me to be CONSISTENT with anything but not caring about the kid.

If she had cancer and was in the hospital during that time I might see it, but NOT the way it happened. I would get my attorney to point that out to the judge and maybe he can see that contact with a person who would WILLINGLY do this to a child is not in the child’s best interest! AT worst, try to get SUPERVISED VISITATION maybe with a therapist or professional as the observer. Good luck! Ps. Milo, do you also post on aftermath?



My prayer is that she doesn’t get custody of your precious grandson. I don’t know what she’s up to, but she wants something. Personally, I don’t think that she truly wants to be a mother to her son (lacking the motherly instinct). If she has custody of the child, I’m assuming that she can profit money-wise since her son is a special-needs child, is that right? My heart goes out to you and your family, hoping that she would get it into her head to “discard” all of you, staying out of the picture.


There was a great many years that my husband was in the discard stage, now, when I finally have some self-esteem, I can’t get him to leave. It’s like a big game, he seems so sincere, I think he just wants to reel me back in without really changing the broken parts in him. He still is a sex addict, still is narcisstic, but he saying all the right words to seem like he cares.

The point is, I wish he would have stayed in the discard stage, I would be happy to be discarded. He said once, I sometimes people (at work) will find out I’m really a fraud. I thought it was because he didn’t have a college degree, now I know he’s really a big, fat, lying, fraud.

Ox Drover

Dear Steve,

I just lost a post, very profound as usual, (LOL) but will try to come up with the gist of it.

First off I was a bit tongue-in-cheek with that post, but also the thing is that if someone has had multiple BAD relationships, EITHER as a repeat victim or as the victimizer, the person may not be someone you would want to form a close bond with as a partner unless they have LEARNED FROM their role as repeat victim. Not that I am blaming someone for being a repeat victim, I was a repeat-repeat-repeat victim because I did not set gound boundaries, and I tried to fix my abusers, to placate them, to keep “peace” with them, etc.

I really don’t want a romantic relationship with someone who doesn’t set good boundaries and is continuing to be repeatedly victimized by psychopaths or other toxic people. I think I am NOW a better relationship risk than I was before when I had poor boundaries. But, if I were a potential partner looking at me, I would look very closely at me to see if I had learned anything from the repeated victimizations.

Either way, chronic abuser or chronic victim (without insight), is not someone I want to form a romantic attachment to.

Ox Drover

Oh, I forgot to mention that sometimes (frequently, in fact) chronic abusers MASK AS repeat victims. They throw the pity ploy on you, and so I think it is a really good idea to check back on someone who has had multiple “victimizations,” and that isn’t always easy to do since the people they victimized (then pretended to be the victim OF) are probably not in their life to be cross examined about the situation.

And BTW sometimes these “pseudo-victims” are very “insightful” about what they learned. I’ve been fooled by a few and caught on to a few more, but it is quite difficult to do in any short period of time, and just takes watching how they ACT vs how they talk.


Oxy –

Yes, same MiLo, same old farm girl. If only the court we are in could see ANYTHING. The GAL on our case is accusing us of “disparaging” our poor daughter in front of her son and putting negative thoughts in his mind. She is what we have looking out for “best interest of the child”.



OxD, that makes sense to me. The latest spath encounter seemed to have SO many tribulations – NEVER a good day, NEVER grateful for good health, ALWAYS having something happen because of someone else. Lost a job? Someone else’s fault. Missed a car payment? Bank’s fault. Etc., etc., etc. There seemed to be so many “reasons” that she was miserable, and it took me nearly 4 years to figure out that they weren’t “reasons,” at all.


I should add that she never discussed anything “insightful” or lessons learned.


On the topic of spaths discarding people….we may be facing a situation and any suggestions will be helpful.

Youngest son seems to be preparing to ask to live with us – leaving the spath elder brother. Now, I have my good days and my bad days, just like everyone else. But, I think I’m prepared for this, but I don’t really know what to expect as far as HIS reactions are going to be. He has been thoroughly controlled for 13 years, horribly neglected (emotionally, at least, physically, most likely), and abused by his older brother, definitely.

Any insight on this? If he does make this choice, one of the expectations is for him to attend counseling. I don’t even think he realizes that he’s been a victim, simply because he has no frame of reference as to “me before the spath” and “me after the spath.” Yes, I’m rambling, now……



I read your post and I’m not sure how to respond. You will make the right decision regarding your son and I expect that if he comes to live in your home, good things could be in store for him, much needed healing, a stable home life (no trauma allowed).


bluejay, thanks for the vote of confidence…to be quite honest, I’m fearful. I’m not afraid of my youngest son, but I’m afraid of the multiple triggers, if that makes any sense. I hope that I’m in a good enough space to keep my head wrapped a bit tighter than it has been in the past.


Sorry to be a broken record, about IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT, no matter how many times you are a victim, but no bad guy, no victim.

Oxy, it may have taken you quite a few hits before you realized some self-defense would be a good idea, or until you got much better at the skills, but I feel compelled to boink YOU, and say don’t you ever forget that in a “lovefraud free” world, you would have been just fine as you were. Yes, I know that is not how the world IS, so we DO need to learn self-defense skills such as those Steve is teaching. But with my last breath I will still say, WE ARE NOT THE PROBLEM, even if changes in us can SOLVE the problem.

And also, sometimes someone is just in the wrong place and the wrong time through no fault of their own. Yes, with a super vigilant woman, maybe Ted Bundy’s fake broken leg wouldn’t have gotten her in his room, and yes, maybe if the woman had trained in karate for years she could have escaped….but still not her fault that she got killed by him.

I DO advocate people learning AS MUCH AS THEY CAN about these evil people, how to spot them, what to do when you do spot one, etc. …and my husband says I am a very changed woman. I agree I am. But I still accept 0% responsibility for the evil a sociopath did to me, because HE was the evil one, not me.

I think a lot of women who are conned by a sociopath tend to accept blame…that is one of the traits the sociopath uses against us, and ANY hint that “I was the idiot who let myself be used over and over” just encourages that self-blame. More correct is “I was the person unfortunate enough to be targeted many times before I was able to learn to defend myself effectively against this pure evil.”

I was physically assaulted three times before I was an adult by a complete stranger. Twice inside a locked house, once inside a locked hotel. I was revictimized three times! Was I the problem??? Absolutely not. Was I damn unlucky, especially as I lived in the “nice” part of town? YES! Some people are just as unlucky psychologically….though I agree USUALLY there are some self-defense traits they need to learn.

Ox Drover

Never again,

Darling when it is “stranger” rape or battery or abuse that is one thing ENTIRELY DIFFERENT, than when it is PERSONAL CONTINUAL ABUSE by those close to us (as adults, kids don’t have a choice to stay or go) and we continue to allow them to abuse us…sure, there is Stockholm syndrome, and there is “survival” both emotionally and physically, but I KNEW BETTER. I knew I was being abused and I stood for it, and tried to FIX them. That was POOR DECISION MAKING on my part. There are lots of excuses why I stayed, but no reasons.

I am NOT blaming the victim, in NO WAY am I blaming the victim dear.

But just as Liane Leedom walked into Rodney’s house (he was the serialkiller photographer) she had NO IDEA that she was dealing with a SERIAL KILLER but her decision to go into that house put her life at risk. HER decision to trust someone she did not know. Does NOT mean she is to blame, RODNEY was the serial killer, but our decisions and judgments do put us at RISK of being abused by the bad guys. We have to learn BETTER decision making. Not to beat ourselves up, but to admit we made poor decisions that put us at risk.

Yep, we do not live in a perfect world, we have to learn self defense, but OUR THINKING we are not needing a self defense mechanism is not realistic thinking.

NOT and NEVER will blame myself for my P son trying to have me killed. I do ACCEPT that I should have told him to hit the road when he was 16-17, I should have learned to set boundaries. BUT I AM LEARNING THEM NOW! And, better late than never! (((Hugs))))



Sometimes you think love can conquer all, I found this to be magical thinking. To lose a son to this terrible brain rot called sociopathy, I can’t imagine what that would be like. Finding the strength to let go… Just in the short time I have been on this web site I finally feel like people get it! Reading many of the older posts and advice, I am so grateful you are here.

So thanks to you and the other supportive people on this site. I know I wil be posting more needy questions that kind of feel like I’m obsessing about my own problems, so thanks in advance. I had stop crying because my husband liked when I cried, so I detached. Reading these wise posts and seeing that I’m not alone, made me feel happy-sad and cry again. Feeling that it’s okay in this instance to cry.


Hopeforjoy, to lose anyone to sociopathy is a tremendous blow. For me, I refuse to enable him by pretending that he hasn’t done the heinous things that he has. He is what he is, and I can’t change that. What I can change is myself, and sometimes, I’m doing a good job, and other times, I’m stumbling on my face. But, it’s all good in the end. I don’t have to live in that environment, again. I have to make better choices, play my emotional cards closer to my vest, and maintain those boundaries.

{{{{{{{HUGS}}}}}}}} You aren’t alone.

Ox Drover

Dear Hopeforjoy,

Buttons is so right! We can’t change anything about what or who they are and it doesn’t matter if it is a friend, lover, husband, wife, child, parent,, it hurts to love anyone you love by finding out they are a monster. DECEPTION is the hardest way to be injured!

But once we KNOW what they are, we have to quit deceiving ourselves—or as I call it, “the 11th commandment” which goes along with the first 10 commandments, but this one is DO NOT FOOL THYSELF! And believe me it is violated more times than the other 10 put together!

We just have to quit fooling ourselves get our heads out of our collective butts and LOOK AT REALITY.

This is not like Neveragain said, “stranger rape” this is someone who has raped us over and over again and we keep opening the damn door, we don’t even wait for them to break it down. We open the door and hope that THIS time they will be nice! Come on, girlie! Believe me, I have now put in bars, and built a brick wall, and covered that with a steel shutter, they may get me again, but it will NOT be because I OPENED THE DAMNED DOOR AND INVITED THEM IN! You can do it, and you have this whole army of support behind you!!!!! ((((hugs)))) and my prayers for us all!


The part of this article that hit home for me was the statement that discarding and moving on meant “abdicating all sense of accountibility”. SO TRUE! My ex did not move on by divorcing me, but instead he had his own life and schedule that I dare not question. BUT I had better go along with the public image of being a lovely family and never question him.

I finally learned that he cannot be trusted and the one and only important thing to him is that public image. In the aftermath of our divorce he is outraged that I won’t play along with him as the “amicable” couple; despite threats to kill me or ranting at me privately if I set boundaries.

Our children saw their psychologist this week. He thinks their father has his own agenda but they are coping so well. He says that they “have fun” with their dad even if it is superficial. How is being manipulated, lied to, criticized or neglected deemed “fun”? They forgot about an upcoming big trip their dad had “promised” them. The psychologist thought it was because they would rather go on trips with me. I pointed out no, it’s because this trip wont happen…like all the other broken promises.. He said no, of course they will go.. cant he see they dont want another disappointment!

When will the professionals GET IT?? Do I need to give him a copy of these articles? Is this a cover for the children to keep them happy with their dad? I was told to focus on the good in their dad and I do. But the truth is that he lets them down alot so why sugar coat it! They look for actions; his words mean nothing.

Dani S

Oxy- So true ex S was always so hard done by, by everyone…. Everything he did was in response to being a victim of everyone else. I cant believe I believed him for a long while, everything was always someone elses fault! Poor S! to meet such bad people his whole life lol

Buttons- much love and thoughts to you with your son, will be thinking of you and hope all goes well.
There will prob be some issues anyway, there always is with kids But try to relax and dont stress and deal with the problems when they arise. You are a smart, knowledgable women and with your love your son will fortunately for the first time in a very long time know what real love is. All the best 🙂



I love the 11th Commandment! LOL

Dani S

behind_blue_eyes thanks for the link… This part hit home…

traumatic one-trial learning – using verbal abuse, explosive anger, or other intimidating behavior to establish dominance or superiority; even one incident of such behavior can condition or train victims to avoid upsetting, confronting or contradicting the manipulator.

Reading this I think I knew more than I thought about S but I was conditioned! conditioned not to ask questions! 🙂 I always thought he hid it well from me but now I know I was soooo conditioned…..


DaniS, thank you so much. The conversation over the phone, last night, was as I had expected it with one interesting glimpse into the past.

I wast speaking to the youngest son (ongoing victim) – the second conversation in a week after NC for a year. Prior to speaking with him, the woman who has been allowing him to stay in her home, eat from her table, and see to his needs told me that a number of programs had been put in place for the youngest son – food stamps, financial aid, college assistance, etc. All of these things were initiated by other people – high school counselor, etc., and the gal that I was speaking with was (literally) astounded that my son didn’t “know how” to fill out any of this paperwork, himself.

Here’s what the glimpse into the past was:
Me: “So, have you given any thought about coming up for a visit?”
Son: “Yeah, but I have to think about it.”
Me: “You’re welcome to visit, any time you wish, and stay if you want.”
Son: “Well, I have to really think about it. I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up.”

As an adult, I had a frame of reference with I was still married to the spath. This was “me before him” compared to “me after him” and the difference in who I was became so stark that I realized that I was in terrible danger of losing my Self, forever, if I stayed. This kid only knows “life with dad” where he didn’t have to make any decisions, choices, or take any personal risks – EVERYTHING was so controlled that he’s not getting the gist that his own life is not a game.

So, I’ve processed this exchange since last night. My son feels that he is a prize in a game to be won. After all of the years of programming, he still can’t see beyond the game, and now I’m beginning to wonder if taking him into my home and my life would be a terrible error in judgement. Get my “hopes up?” Is he KIDDING????? What does he think I’m hoping for? The opportunity to take on a victim of abuse and neglect who has, to date, preferred to remain a victim? Does he honestly think that I’m getting my “hopes up” to disrupt my entire life to take on an adult with the emotional maturity of a 12-year old?

Once again, I’m starting to feel quite angry. I’m angry at how thoroughly the spath controlled this young man’s life. I’m angry that the Courts refused to hear me. I’m angry that his talents and abilities have been supressed to the point that his level of self-confidence and self-esteem is nonexistent. I’m angry that this young man is wilfully choosing to remain a victim and that he was so thoroughly brainwashed that it’s unclear if he ever WILL take control of his own life’s path. But, one thing I’ve decided is that I’m not playing this “Beg Me To Let You Save Me” game. Oh, hell to the nizzle.


Can I share that sometimes the people closest to us do see how the spath is hurting us before we get it. They usually fool just about everyone, but occasionally leave hints to their disordered way of thinking.

My oldest daughter, (from my first marriage), saw things that I didn’t. I met her friend for lunch and she told me that my daughter didn’t like the way husband was treating me. I knew it in my heart, but he manipulated me all the time and I end up thinking I am to blame. Oldest daughter also thinks dad is a misogonist (spelling?) and just likes the outward appearance of the great suburban, we are perfect, family. Thats such a lie. Also, my 16 year old daughter read “The sociopath Next Door”, (I didn’t tell her it was to get insite about her dad, but that it looked interesting), she told me after reading it, that she thinks her dad is a sociopath. How did they get so smart?

I am truely blessed many times over to have such beautiful smart, daughters!!!! Son is a great person too, he is just under the spell of spath. Hoping he sees his dad for who he is, but I’m not going to hold my breath, it took me 19 years to wake up!

Husband always liked things to be ‘normal’. As an example, he would constantly get mad at our son because he didn’t like ketchup. He would also push it on him, but son stood his ground. It bugged husband to no end, I could never figure out what the heck his problem was. Husband didn’t like anything out of the ordinary. Daughter became a vegetarian and he gave her heck for it. What was it to him anyway?

More ramblings, thanks for listening.



I remember that Oxy wrote a post under another article, stating that her home is a sanctuary, getting me to think that this should be the case for each of us. Who knows whether your son would want to “return home,” living with you. I just would hate to see the harmony in your home disrupted. Personally, I want to start establishing my home as a refuge, a sanctuary for myself and my children. I have allowed my turmoil to affect my home life in a negative way, needing to put an end to it. In the end, it really is about taking control of your life, deciding what it is you want (being specific), and reaching for it.


i have been bloody minded for the last three days. this am, stewing in my bloody mindedness i decided to use it.

use it to work on some of the prelim for the ppath fake identity reveal. and for a bit this day i expect the anger that came surging up may play around for a while. and that’s okay. i know i don’t want this anger living in my life and taking it away from me. i contain it mostly. but it may very well be part of what is causing the bloody mindedness the last few days.

so, i did some stuff that the thought of doing has caused a sense of revulsion in the last while. and it’s done. and i realize i don’t have to do any more stuff to ‘get ready’; it is all ready.

i also realized last night, that i will not be doing this alone. you are all here. and i will ask one friend who is interested in this stuff to be with me when i post the info to the website.

scary – but i am not alone.

and now i am going to call the AG’s office and talk to them about the real boy who the fake boy stole pictures form to give the story cred.

sigh. this stuff is scary. but i will contain the amount of time spent on it, and then i am going to use the energy of the anger to get me into the day.

one step

Ox Drover

Dear Buttons,

I forgot who had asked about their son returningn home. You talk about him having been under the influence of his older brother for 13 years (and I don’t know how this came about OR WHY) The thing is your son is 19 now I believe and you think he might have (I could be remembring this wrong) some learning disabilities?) I also think that you haven’t had much contact withj him?

I agree with Bluejay that your home is YOUR SANCTUARY so if for whatever reason your younger son wants to return home as a 19 yr old he must realize it is YOUR HOME=YOUR RULES that I would suggest you lay down the rules IN WRITING and expect him to stick to them.

Pick up after yourself, do not leave stuff laying around in the public part of the house
xyand z chores on MWF, and A chore on Saturday

Monetary rules: He to pay something out of his income even if only a token toward R&B, and to spend his money re4sponsibly not blow it on toys and not pay his bills.

Social rules—-if you are not going to be home at the expected time for ANY reason. CALL so we know you are safe.
TREAT others with RESPECT.

Make sure those rules are understood and that he also understands that it is a PRIVILEDGE to stay there not a RIGHT.

Make sure that you HELP him, but do NOT enable him to live irresponsibly. Good luck! ((((Hugs)))) and my prayers!

ps I just junkied a son out for telling me a lie—one lie about some financial irresponsibility—minor stuff, but HE LIED. OUT! No liars here. NONE ZIP ZERO NADA liars! He knew the rules, he chose to ignore them. And over something so stinking small and stupid, but HIS CHOICE, HIS CONSEQUENCES.


Dear One Step,

Using your anger productively helps in the healing process, keeps you motivated. It sounds like you are doing all the right things, hang in there, we are all cheering for you!!! You were duped, you have the right to be angry. When this is all behind you, the anger will subside and positive feelings will take its place.

Good luck and best wishes


hopeforjoy – i love your name; to me it says, there is hope for joy.

thnx for the support.

Assisant AG was out but i left a message. I did all the screen captures i needed to. unfortunately one of the pictures changed on one of the accounts – probably needed it, but i couldn’t do this a while ago. c’est la vie.

vibrating a bit, but should be able to use it, not ‘lose it’.



I just posted my rant on another article page BEFORE I read the excellent suggestions, above.

MY SANCTUARY……..yes. And, nothing “has happened,” as yet. I’m going to have to cogitate on this for the rest of the day. One thing that I do have in mind is to ask the “hard” questions, if the youngest calls again.

To clarify…the Courts decided that our sons would not be permitted to live under one roof, as the eldest boy had been accused of molesting his younger brother. Even visitation between the brothers was denied. So youngest son stayed with the spath father, and the eldest boy came to live with me and his step-father.

As time went on, the spath’s manipulations of the eldest boy were so intense that he began acting out, disobeying our house rules (NO drugs, NO porn, GET a job, ETC). Finally, after the eldest boy turned 18, the telephone visitations from spath stopped, suddenly. Spath son began abusing drugs, bringing porn into our home, etc. There came a point when we would take turns sleeping at night with our bedroom door locked because we feared that spath son was going to harm us as we slept. I made the decision to eject him from my home.

After this, ex spath refused to cooperate with the Court Order to “frequent, liberal visitation” and I could no longer afford making the trips to court hearings, court-ordered psych evals, court-ordered this-and-that, and threw in the frigging towel.

I had not seen my youngest son in 4 years and, after the ex spath dropped the f*ck dead, I’m all of a sudden drawn into this whole fray. Money coming, youngest is impaired, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit…….and, the youngest comes to visit during Spring Break, last year, and he’s NOT impaired. He’s NOT the Rain Man. He’s NOT all of these things that had been described to me. But, he is obviously a victim.

So………having provided that wee bit of history, I hope that helps to clarify some of this angst. And, I must say that I am PISSED, right about now. (snort) “…get anyone’s hopes up,” indeed. (snort, snarl, hiss, spit)

Send this to a friend