Sociopaths and their changing demands

When you’re dealing with sociopaths, figuring out what they really want is nearly impossible. Why? Because they keep changing what they want.

When my ex-husband, James Montgomery, moved into my house, I agreed to convert my basement, which I used as a small gym, into an office for him. I put away my gym equipment. I hired builders to install more electric outlets to run his array of computers, televisions and business equipment, which required enclosing the lower part of the walls. Making the improvements, and installing a small bathroom downstairs, cost me $6,000. (He promised to pay me back, but of course he never did.

When Montgomery first moved into the office, he was delighted.

When we had an argument, he complained about being forced to work out of a dark, dank cellar.

Then, when he was trying to butter me up, he was pleased that “Nuffles” (one of his pet names for me) made such a nice office for him.

Later, as our marriage was falling apart, he again bitterly complained about his deplorable working conditions.

Did Montgomery like the office, or not? I have no idea. The whole issue illustrates how sociopaths will say anything, even directly contradicting themselves, depending on their agenda at the moment.

Moving the goal posts

Many Lovefraud readers have described another, more insidious manifestation of changing sociopathic demands the phenomenon of continuously “moving the goal posts.” Here’s how this works:

Sociopaths tell you what they want, which we’ll call “A.” You give them “A” except now they want “B.”  You give them “B,” but now they want “C.” This can continue for “D,” “E” and “F.” In fact, it can continue through the entire alphabet, and then through the entire Greek alphabet. Each time, sociopaths insist that this will make them happy.

One target of a sociopath used a different metaphor to describe this behavior “moving the line in the sand.” This person said:

Moving the line in the sand is  a red flag.  It serves many purposes.  It damages the target.  But it also grooms, tests and weakens the target.  Plus, the target  commits and gets deeper and deeper to recoup the loss (remember we talked about  recouping the loss.)   Because it is used to test the target, I think it is an important red flag to look out for.

The target finds himself/herself tolerating more and more and doing more and more and the spath does less and less and  needs/wants /implicitly demands/expects more and more.  Sometimes its from an overt agreement, sometimes its  from implicit agreements that the line gets moved.

Off balance

What happens to you as they keep changing the rules? You are totally off balance. You can’t figure out how to treat them, or how to be around them, because you keep getting mixed signals.

Sociopaths then make matters worse by demeaning you for not doing what they want. You try to explain that you did what they wanted previously, but now they want something different. The sociopaths vociferously deny that they ever told you anything different, and insist that they always wanted what they recently demanded and that you misunderstood them.

Sociopaths are so convincing that you begin to wonder if you did, indeed, misunderstand them, and if you’re losing your mind.

Moving the goal posts is a form of gaslighting. It messes with your sense of reality.

Empty inside

Why do sociopaths do this? Why do they keep moving the goal posts?

I think the main reason is that sociopaths are not fully formed human beings they’re empty shells. They have no core personality, no inner fiber, no guiding purpose. Their desires are not based on stable objectives, but passing fancies. They make demands according to whatever they feel like doing in the moment,

Plus they get bored easily. As soon as they tire of one form of entertainment, they want another.

A key question is, do sociopaths do this intentionally? Given that some sociopaths actively try to crush their targets, I certainly think it’s possible.

What do you think? Did you experience sociopaths who kept moving the goal posts? If so, were they clueless or doing it in purpose?


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81 Comments on "Sociopaths and their changing demands"

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What an excellent article!Yes,I experienced this form of gaslighting;it is what made me feel like I was losing my mind. I have always felt it was intentional!He usually managed to ACT clueless…which is what made me question my thinking for a long time.It was only after a long time that I finally figured out that HE KNEW ME and that he was TESTING ME to see how far he could push me!

mThanks for this very thought provoking article Donna. The goal shifting is indeed crazy making and sets up a dynamic in which we are doomed to fail the test of whether we are sufficiently perfect to deserve their “love”. A book I recently read, Men Who Hate Women..by Susan Forward compared these relationships with abusers as like being forced to prepare for an exam each week set by the abuser that you knew you were going to fail.

In the beginning of my history with my abuser, the goal posts appeared fixed. He wanted an intelligent ” intellectual” who loved travel gastronomy and took pride in her home. Fast forward a few months. He enjoyed ” travel” to self catering apartments near his home town where he expected each meal to be cooked by me and all cleaning to be done by me. I was not permitted to read for more than 15, 20 minutes or he would incessantly interrupt me or express irritation that he was not the centre of my attention.
In essence, he wanted me to have a public veneer which would reflect well on him, e.g. Be well educated, work in academia, be trilingual etc whilst being a submissive provider of domestic and sexual services at home. So that was my experience of goal shifting. He wanted me to have, like him, essentially two entirely different identities. One for public show one for private abuse.

Oh My!You nailed it exactly as far as expectations regarding perfection in housecleaning,foods he wanted,wanting to be the center of attention and interruption of anything I did for myself!!!

Tea Light, it is as if you described my situation; wants a different veneer for me for public consumption and a submissive domestic animal at home willing to sacrifice her professional ambitions to uphold only his and surprisingly also for sex at all times despite the abuse …and yes, getting irritated and disturbing me repeatedly if I was working…and not making him the centre of my world… even if I did the latter, there would be SOME argument or grouse anyway, we’d NEVER be at peace with each other… we’d still be fighting over NOTHING at all…or he’d be staring at the juvenile shows on TV or working hard himself (but THAT was sacrosanct you see) and still I was manipulated into marriage..


It’s so affirming to read about your experiences with Montgomery because I relate them to my experiences. It’s a light bulb going off in my head, “ah ha, that’s what that was”.

The ex changed the goal posts but it was very subtle. I think I must have been really dense or had bad boundaries because now it makes sense. I don’t know how I put up with it for so long, for 20 years.

One example of moving the goal posts was our home. We moved from Maryland to Minnesota and stayed in a rental while our house was under construction. He didn’t participate in much of the planning except to comment on one or two things. I loved the planning and picking out carpet, etc. so I wasn’t too upset. His was of dealing with anything domestic was to let me handle it anyway.

The house turned out to be just as I had imagined and I loved it. I thought he did too. Then he’d make comments, out of the blue, about why we built a house so big. He’d make negative comments about driving home and seeing a dirt pile (it was a new neighborhood). I felt like I was to blame for the bad decision of building the house. All his comments were subtle, but he was never to blame.

When I finally was done with the marriage, he talked about how great our home was and how I did such a great job decorating and planning it. Wow, it was the first compliment he ever gave me regarding our home. He wouldn’t move out until I was ready to move out, then he finally moved out.

I know this sounds minor, (believe me, there were other major abuses of me and the kids), but it’s an example of moving the goal posts. It’s nice to finally be able to label it and understand it. They do it because they can and I believe they like to keep us confused. They love to manipulate and it’s another example of them manipulating us.

I have been thinking about this even before reading this article since yesterday. My pseudo wife engaged me in a conversation yesterday. She just needed an audience to share how she had to step in and resolve a debate between 2 shoppers. Maybe I’m getting better at this or just paying closer attention but by asking a couple questions very casually and listening to her responses I picked up on something. Yes I saw the lines shifting and was very aware that she needed to keep a certain amount of fluidity or elasticity to the facts surrounding the encounter. I know this sounds ambiguous or confusing and I apologize for that. Maybe I’ll be able to explain that part better another time ? What I am beginning to realize is that she exploits the ambiguity. It is the small often times left out details that provide a facile mind a route to take you to Totallyscrewyouoverville. I have always thought it was bizarre how she would leave pieces out and even my listening closely and being vested in the conversation enough to ask her questions to clarify would be criticized as clearly anyone else would be able to know exactly what she meant. I think this is probably a large part of how she is establishing herself as a dominant influence in our local region. By subtly deceiving, and manipulating through this technique and many others she has in her big ol bag of evil, others gradually are conditioned to defer to her. They figure out ( see are deceived and manipulated ) that she is just a bit quicker and sharper than most. How admirable. What ?!

O how they love audiences! An audience could transform my husband from a bored,”depressed” man who did nothing but look at the wall,to an articulate,bright and charming,charismatic man! Blow me away!

Hi Blossom. Funny, you would think having such a lofty view of their thoughts and opinions that they would be content and happy in their introspection, but no. They need an audience. Ok so somebody pull me back if I’m getting too far out here. Here goes. Don’t be afraid. I haven’t even said it yet. Lol. It seems to me that evil cannot exist in a vacuum. Eurica ! Without someone to share, to perpetrate their scheme upon, to deceive, to use as a pawn, or whatever else a perverse mind can come up with, it is only an empty musing. To bring badness to fruition they need us as victims, as allies, as pawns, and sometimes just as an audience.

As in Eureka vacumn?! Lol! Did you know that the original word used for “actor” and “hypocrite” is the same?! Coincidence?!

Blossom I in fact did not know that. Fascinating.( in Spock’s voice ) Yea I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.

I always knew there was some kind of link between spath’s disorder and his “boredom” and “depression”.I have gotten such an education here at Lovefraud!I love to read the articles in the archives whenever I have the time;and have actually been able to compile a profile of spath!Many of my favorite articles are by Steve Becker LCSW.The one I read today is,”Boredom and the sociopath”.

How about this from the Susan Forward book 4light, “..for many (narcissists/sociopaths/ borderlines) facts are like clay, to be moulded and shaped to justify their moods and needs at that moment”. Sounds like your faux wife.

Wow Tea, right on the money there. This thread is on fire today. So many interesting comments. Obviously another great article. Thanks Donna.

Does pseudowife go in for denial and blame shifting too 4 light? Plus are you allowed to ” say ouch” when she hurts you or does saying ouch meet with accusations you’re weak/ pathetic etc? All horrible horrible control and gaslighting mainstays.

Yes Tea, all of the above. There are no depths to which she will not sink,or rather dive athletically to. I actually had her figured out years ago right out of the gate you could say. I mean right after the wedding, and I mean figured out as far as Knowing I had made a huge mistake and that she was a liar, no ifs ands or buts about it. What Really has done the damage to me are the paramouric alliances, the proxies, false comforters, and the subtle calumny, and mendacious sweet poison that she uses to spike whatever recipe she feels will delight her eager guests. The community gaslighting has been absolutely devastating, and has actually almost completely destroyed my value system which I’m sure was her goal. Wow. And no, when someone says how are you today ?, I don’t immediately rip into a tangent about psychopathic mind control. People might think I was weird or something. Sheesh. Take it down about thirty notches dude. Lets have a brewsky ( that’s pint Tea Light) !

And their meanness;their stubborness is like hard dried out clay that needs to be thrown out…nothing else can be done with it!

Yeah 4light dude, like, take it down about forty notches and chillax. So the wife’s a sociopath. No biggie. (Sorry. Pretending to be one of aforementioned chaps.)

Yea Tea my real friends and my family still get a taste of my sarcasm and humor which helps me see there’s still a big part of the old me left. I know you get it but sometimes I have to remind myself. Glad I can let my Hare down up here on this psycho site.

Hare! Not hair. Nice. Lol.

Thank you for writing this article.
Of all the things that I had gone through with my ex, the gaslighting was and sometimes still is the most difficult for me to comprehend. About four months into our relationship he started changing the goal. When I would question the details of his goal he would tell me he had told me things had changed. When in reality he had not. That is when I started to question my sanity.
Was this done on purpose? For my ex, it was. He was crafting his skills on me until his next victim was groomed and ready to him to make his move on them. The ex continued on with the goal changing until he no longer had a use for me (financially and mentally broke).
During counseling, I had asked my counselor and others in the business about gas lighting. I had to explain what it was to them. Why is there not more known about it?

Jules, hope this helps answer your question…
I was once doing a group for men who had been mandated to get “Anger Management” classes. One guy actually had the audacity to say that his past therapist had told him that the reason he had a hard time communicating with his wife is because he did such “higher level thinking” and his wife was not able to keep up!!!! Needless to say we did a lot of hands on anger management when he was called on this!! Therapists ( licensed) know. The issue is that the disordered LIE. Evaluating that dynamic may take a little time but it does manifest itself in the therapist’s office….

Hi Imara. Always good to hear from you. I had forgotten this is what you do for a living. Very kind of you to check in here and help us with a little nudge in the right direction. I was hoping someone would step in to address Jules question and bam there you were. Thanks

Jules hello. Agreed. The attack on our minds is the most difficult part, and the most vile, indicator that they are in fact wicked or evil. That is my opinion anyway. Whether they crafted the whole scenario from the start or just manipulated an already existing situation, there was still a willful, deliberate action taken By Them. Opportunistic yes, which is still vile, but I believe some do craft it from the beginning. At least I wouldn’t put it past them. The situation with the counselor really concerns me. If I have to introduce basic tenants or concepts to my Counselor he or she can’t possibly begin to understand all the implications so as to guide and assist me with the intricacies he or she doesn’t begin to grasp. I’m sorry to be heavy handed here, and I’m sure having a counselor is very helpful in other areas. When you said others in the business, I’m assuming you mean psychiatrist or psychologist. I have to say most people I have spoken to about gaslighting don’t seem to know what I’m talking about. You are doing better than me in having a counselor or therapist. I’m sure that would serve me well, so don’t let me discourage you there, if you feel it is helping you, it probably is. Take care.

Thanks 4Light. Vile is how I feel about the wicked/evil game they play. If I take time to think about it all, I become physically ill. I have to process what has happened when it comes up in my mind, then addressing it.
In my particular case; he sat next to me, on one occasion, in the counselor’s office spewing his “insight” to the problems. Another session he had called in. He was able to blind us both which is what they do. I needed the counselor to talk through what I was going through and why I was thinking I was going crazy. For the most part it helped. I still have my moments. Best wishes for your recovery.

So thats what was happening:/
My exP want to open a recording studio. I provided all the basics to get him going. He never had any clients. There was always just one more thing he needed before he could bring in clients. A special drum microphone, a special sound pedal, mixers, sound baffles on the wall. Special drapery to make it presentable. But never a client. It was a place where his family thought he was successful. It was a nice place for him to get high and bring strangers there for sex, the place reeked of pot, beer bottles in the trash along with condoms and other evidence.Thank goodness he is out of my life. What a moron.

I too found the conceptual grasp of my therapist unable to adequately conceive of the “gas lighting” that was going on. She engaged in conversations with him and seemed to give validity to his excuses.

I believe it is difficult for anyone to perceive that someone could be malicious simply because they chose to be, and want to make you look bad. My departure from this analyst took place when I was told to try to appreciate his perspective…. and how hard our separation, that he instigated, must be on him.

I had tried to mitigate our rift by jumping through his initial hoops. I first did so unwillingly because I suspected he would change the rules once he achieved his goal. I was right. Once it took place, I wasn’t unhappy about having done so because, after all, he was my son and I couldn’t live with myself if I hadn’t given him enough rope to hang himself.

I’d read an analogy I found so interesting and true. In the Schultz comic, Peanuts, Lucy would lure Charlie Brown to kick a football that she’d hold for him each and every new football season. Charlie would struggle with his former experiences with Lucy but eventually, would side on the forgiving notion that everyone deserves a second chance. Lucy would inevitably snatch the ball away and tumble Charlie on his humiliated rump.

That’s life with a psychopath! And only removal from the relationship provides any protection. It’s much easier to do so when the predator is not related to you and you can close the door, than when it’s your very own child; but I know that without appropriate intervention, he’s unlikely to change- and that’s very unlikely to happen. Knowing what I’m dealing with, however, gives me a sense of peace. I only wish I’d known all along. I could have saved myself a great deal of heartache and money. The signs were there. I was simply his Charlie Brown.


I’m Charlie Brown too!!!
The issue with therapists is that we are trained to meet each individual “where they are”…. and sometimes that means engaging with someone who may not be quite all there!!!
It takes time to figure that a person lies!!!! And the disordered are so GOOD at doing impression management that sometimes what is glaringly obvious to the intimate person takes a while to manifest in a therapist’s office.

I’m Snoopy. Asleep half the time on AD meds.

Imara can I ask do most of the disordered you see come because they are court mandated or pressured by spouses at their wits end? I believe most of the cluster b’s have to be forced kicking and yelling. Or sneering at the idea of the stupid therapist being able to figuretthem out.

Tea, I was an outpatient therapist. The group I co-lead was one that I did under contract with my county. The guys were mandated. I’m proud to say though that we had an over 60% non recidivism rate after 2 years!!!
That said, many cluster Bs come to the therapist as dual diagnosis clients…by far the largest number are people dealing with addictions. Sex addiction is a BIG red flag. Many who come as part of a couple or family tend to drop out of therapy way before termination can be accomplished or before goals are met. Its ALWAYS someone else’s fault you see…..and of course when the mask slips they bolt!!!

Wow! Love this article! The demands these sorts put forward are always moving targets, always. Just when you think you’ve nailed down a solution to a concern/issue/need, it morphs into a different one.

It’s strange, I didn’t spend decades with any ONE disordered person. Instead I have engaged, dated, and befriended many of them. Each time, and always within a year or so of meeting them, I would get out of the relationship. Just get fed up with the games, lies, and chaos. But I would find myself engaged again with another one.

Now they seem to glow in the dark for me. So weird how it can take 45 years to really get it.

When I really GOT personality disorders the whole thing came to a screeching halt. I was absolutely woken out of my own false beliefs:

1. Everyone is equally responsible for problems in a relationship

2. We all want to be loved

3. We all tell lies, but everyone is honest deep down

4. We all feel the same things

5. We are all satisfied when we get our needs met

6. We all want to be liked

7. We all want to be connected

Once I got that these assumptions weren’t true for everyone, and what the red flags are that could clue me in that I was dealing with someone who most decidedly was NOT like ME, I started vetting people with new eyes.

Moving the goal posts is one red flag. It means “I am never satisfied”. Who wants to hang around someone NEVER satisfied? What a suck hole that person becomes. Doesn’t matter that they sometimes ACT satisfied (play-acting is what they do best). If they do this time and again…they are clearly showing us they cannot be satisfied, and that they will continue to drain us of our efforts to assist them.

Thank goodness for the information we all (now) have available to us!!!!!!!!

Take care, Slim

Great post slim!

This is both succinct and on-point; thanks very much for posting it.

Wow,I grew up with Charlie Brown and the gang,and this is the first time I looked at it in any other light than a comic!

What say we grab the the football from Lucy,give her a running start for the goal….MARS?!

Then we’ll celebrate with a little piano music and “danth”!(oh no,that’s another thread!)

Careful with the humor here! It could be misunderstood!

Thanks Blossom. I noticed. It just makes me sad. I’ll try not to step on anyone’s toes. Not at all my intent. Just like a beauty pageant contestant I only want World Peace.

Let’s just leave it to Donna to resolve. Take care both.


nitey,nite dearie

Not sure this is along the same lines as your story but I experienced this through my ex telling me what I had said and not said, what I liked/loved and what I did NOT like or love. For instance, we would go to a restaurant of his choosing (always) and if I had the nerve to say, “I don’t really like to eat here (which he likely already knew anyway)”, he might say, “Yes you do”. I would say, “No you KNOW I don’t”. He would say in a much louder voice and say my name with it, “YES YOU DO”. Last time you said such and such. It might be that I had said this dessert is good or one tiny comment about something that wasn’t so bad but he would twist it to his advantage. I got where I thought I was losing my mind, that there was something wrong with ME, that maybe I was misleading him. That is just one example, there are MANY many more time he would tell me what I had said, thought, done that I had never done. I truly started believing that I was the one who was insane.

Hi Linette: Crazy making! Your story about your ex’s behavior reminded me of my father. He is a food addict. Before I found a way to get out of ever going out to eat with my parents, I used to call the drive “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” after a crazy, theme park ride from when we were kids.

He doesn’t eat often enough and is starving by the time he decides it is the “right” time to eat. So he drives like a maniac to get to the restaurant. He is as fidgety as a speed freak at the restaurant, always in a hurry to order and very upset if everyone doesn’t know what they want quickly.

He always decides where they are going. I am not sure if my mother even knows what food she wants or likes any more! And when I say “right” time, I mean he believes that one must eat a certain number of hours after their last meal….not before or after. Normal response to normal hunger mean nothing to him.

This was very hard on skinny kids who needed to eat small meals more often. We are very lucky none of us ended up with total food disorders, but we all do have a lot of anxiety about food. When, we were kids and would go to the fridge for a snack, my father would say, “Are you eating again?” He was overweight, but watching our eating like a hawk while he would binge!

It caused all of us a lot of eating issues where if we were under stress, we had no appetite. It took me a long time to be able to state that I eat to live and I don’t live to eat. This concept was very confusing to him, but got the point across. My sister has celiac and my doctor told me to go gluten free. My Dad actually told us that he would rather be “dead” than have to be on that strict of a diet. He looked as if I had said I had seen a dinosaur in the backyard when I said, “Dad, it is just food.”

As I became an older adult, and he would fidget around and cause anxiety on holidays because he would not eat for several hours “saving” up space to eat too much, I would say, “Please just eat a cracker now. It is just food.” He just looks insane.

My cousin told me a couple of years ago that she can remember coming to visit us and my father making our plates and putting our portions on them. She said she felt sorry for us. I don’t remember being hungrier than what I got, but it affected me. He used to love to go to “all you can eat” and all I could eat has never been much. He would actually make me physically ill from stress beforehand because he would pronounce that I better “eat enough to make it worth the cost.” I would have been much happier staying at home and eating cheese!

There are so many ways to have power and control over people. A lot of people don’t realize how much abuse involves controlling the eating of others. I have experienced it and understand it.

Yes, yes and another resounding yes! My ex spath changed the game plan on a few fronts to keep me interested until I married him. I was in a near sexless marriage for 12 years (bc of known and accepted ED, but nonetheless, I was interested in making up for lost time), and my ex spath gave it to me alot to hook me and to butter me up when he felt me slipping away from his temper tantrums (which were minor compared to after we married. He also tricked me with money and living locations suggesting he was inputting more on the $ front than he was and refused to accept my logic about it (which was correct) telling me I just didnt understand money, and that he would be “open” to my location in discussion when he actually created more fear of my ex in order to get me to want to move further away which happened to be right where he wanted to live… perfect for him. So after we married, I had no sex unless he was having maintenance sex to appear “normal,” was commuting 2-4 hours a day bc of highway construction traffic (anyone know about the express lanes in VA? I commuted in it from Annandale VA to Rockville MD to take kids to school, drive back to Annandale, then leave by 1pm to commute back to Rockville, and then sit in my car and nap or take a walk until kids school ended at 3:30pm. If there was soccer, we had to find something to do without a home to go to until 7pm when we would sit in traffic and be home by 8 or 8:30pm. The construction began 1 week after I moved to VA. Normal traffic is bad enough, but that was a nightmare. I made do with it bc it was the only good part of my day… I never knew what he was going to be when I returned home at night… and my kids were well rested from napping in the car. Then, if we did discuss and “resolve” something, he would change what he wanted and would also never do his part in the resolution… it was so confusing. Fortunately, I had a therapist who had worked with both of us for 3 months and stayed with me when he dropped out through the end and beyond. She was incredibly patient and knowledgeable of his game…

SO glad to be out of the confusion 🙂

Agree with this assessment of sociopathic behavior…My cousin is a sociopath and have watched her destroy or make attempts to take and destroy what she cannot have: normal! In her sixties now, estranged from so many for the hurt she causes, feared by other family members who keep a distance and victims who she robbed, threatened ….always morphing into a facade in order to victimize a stranger! There is no doubt in my mind or other interviewed victims/relatives that it is done purposefully, because “she wants what everyone else has…”! And, for a bipolar sociopath, normal is something she probably does not know. Having a personality disorder does not mean there is no other mental illness!!

Of course Donna! That is IT…their demands keep changing ever so imperceptibly that the stealth of the change itself amounts to gaslighting… because you start feeling stupid for having been busy doing one thing to make him happy when he now appears to be angry about something else entirely… so now you bend over backwards to do this recent thing if earlier you had bent over sideways to do the previous thing…I am still with mine for the sake of our child and it really is hell even though I now know what he is and what to expect… I do like your comment that they are incompletely formed human beings.. just wish they did not come loaded with so much cunning that causes so much damage to the targets..

great posts all, and resonate with my experience of 20 years. when I finally got his diagnosis and started ignoring his tantrums or demands, he did not even bat an eyelid.. just stealthily groomed another target.. a married student 17 years younger than him..and started ignoring ME….

How old is your child? I did the same thing;staying with my husband for the sake of the children.But it kinda backfired in my face.The oldest daughter moved out of the home in her Jr yr of HS because it was more than she could stand.The younger daughters started rebelling at the ages of 14 and 16 yrs.Yesterday I saw a section on the news about how divorce affects children and their parents.It’s worst on the very young children,ages 3-5 yrs.

Now,my daughters are grown and living on their own and doing well.
But there’s alot of chaos and pain in our backgrounds that still haunt us.

Something I noticed that’s kinda related to this topic: When you’re dealing with normal people, they acknowledge & respect that it is up to YOU to ‘draw the line’ (‘limits & boundaries’) for what is and isn’t acceptable to YOU… but when you’re dealing with these individuals, it’s altogether different– they believe it’s their place to draw the lines on other people’s lives, and then move those lines when it suits them.

gatitosmommy that is a really good point you make. Seeing that right off the bat even before we are drawn into whatever twisted agenda they have can really help keep us grounded. It’s not that we are being judgemental or overly rigid in doing so. We are being normal, applying healthy, reasonable thinking. Problem is most of us extremely empathic people haven’t given ourselves permission to impose those healthy boundaries you mentioned. Look where that got us.

Divorced from Gaslighter

My ex husband always focused on one special issue at a time. He would say that if I really loved him, I would understand how much “A” meant to him and would agree to it, and that if I wouldn’t agree to “A”, then I obviously didn’t love him enough, and he would have to re-think whether or not the marriage was working for him, etc. This worked pretty well, since my religious beliefs did not support divorce.

Of course, once he had “A” he then started talking about “B.” There was absolutely no limit to what he wanted. He picked out my engagement and wedding rings without consulting me, then insisted on picking out the wedding ring that he was supposed to wear. We were married for 12 years and he picked out every stick of furniture, every house & apartment we bought or rented, every piece of china, every car, every vacation, etc.

He always said that he was a “perfectionist” and this was true, but it was also his built in excuse for having everything his own way ALL of the time.

He had impossibly high standards for everything: cartons of milk and cans/bottles of soda had to be washed with soap and hot water BEFORE they were placed in the refrigerator, wine glasses had to be rinsed THREE times before they were put on a special rack to dry, he chose bedsheets that were fancy and imported but weren’t permanent press, so they had to be ironed every week, special light fixtures were very fragile and difficult to clean. I was working full time outside the home, and he never helped clean and polish all of his perfect stuff. I look back and can’t believe what I did to try to keep the marriage together.

Our children were small when we divorced, and so he kept the divorce and custody fight going for fifteen years. But I’ll never forget that the first emotion that I felt when he told me that he wanted a divorce was just a flood of relief. I no longer had to try to keep the marriage together — I no longer had to try to make Mr. Impossible to Please happy.

I can so identify with the relief that it was over. He had made his plans, came in with a moving van and moved into his girlfirend’s house, turned off the telephone…and I felt only anger that he would do that to his own children and a flood of relief that he was finally gone for good.

Delores and other new people. Keep checking the site out. There are a lot helpful articles in the Archives. If you go to the About link above, you can hit the Archives link.

As the Administrator here says, Sociopaths are everywhere and I plan to try to never forget it.

Your story sounds similar to mine.My husband claimed to have OCD.He HAD to have the house in perfect order ALL THE TIME,even though we had 3 small children at the time.He expected me to never run out of cleaning supplies or groceries,despite a strict budget-because he wouldn’t work.I began to observe others who have OCD and noticed that THEY did their own cleaning,whereas my husband never lifted a finger to help!Neither would he go to counseling sessions to help him cope with OCD!Pretty telling,huh?!

We’re not divorced,but I’ve followed the NC rule and I’ve felt peaceful and happy!

I cannot identify with changing the demands, just adding new ones to the list until I could not breathe. I was supposed to look good for him, dress like he wanted, clean the house imaculately, take care of the children, work full time, intertain his friends, join social clubs to get clients for him and let him have sex with me whenever he wanted to…while he mowed the grass and worked his way down the career ladder. I worked my way up the career ladder so it was a great relief when he left.

As some may know, I am reading a book the sociopath ordered from the library. I have to run his errands for him. I took the book and have been reading it off and on. The author discusses why psychopaths are so successful.

Today, I read a portion of the book where he discusses research concerning people whom have tested high on the PPI scale compared to those who are not psychopaths. I have to say, that although I feel the spath ordered the book to rattle me, he has achieved the opposite. It is much more education for me! According to the research, psychopaths score higher in recognizing and UNDERSTANDING facial emotional cues! This is contrary to what I have always thought and what many of us have felt to be true in our discussions here. Psychopaths CAN see and understand how we feel better than others. They just don’t FEEL any of the feelings. But, their grasp on the definitions of the feelings and their ability to read our faces is at a much higher level than that of a normal person.

The author interviewed a known psychopath. The psychopath told him one of his favorite ways to scam someone. He said that he will meet a new person and charm them and listen to them. He said that everyone will reveal something….deep and important to them. Here is a synopsis of one story the psychopath told. He said that one guy revealed that he worked a lot of long hours at work because of something that happened in his childhood and he felt the two points were “connected” for him. The psychopath said that all normal people end up revealing something. Then, he said, he bides his time while “working” on a “friendship” with the person. Then, he said that he will actually take this story the “target” told and make it his own story just changing it a little. IE: The target tells him the story above about work related issues because of a childhood issue. The psychopath waits a few weeks and then tells a similar story of a loss related to his own personal issues. The psychopath said this type of reflecting the “target’s” deepest emotion back to them in a different way causes the target to feel empathy, emotion, and then a bonding with the psychopath because their “stories” are so similar. The psychopath said THAT is when he will go in for the scam.

I think this is a very good explanation for the many changes we can see in one spath. They are constantly watching and changing with, and for, whomever they are trying to scam, or manipulate, to meet their base needs. If they rage and we show them fear and do what they want, they will continue to show rage. They can see our fear on our faces better than a non-psychopath! They read us and use the definition of our emotions against us even though they don’t feel them themselves most of the time! They listen even more attentively and watch us even more closely than a kindhearted person would. Then, they go in for our personal “kill”…whatever that may be.

When I think about the three people I’ve had in my life that I believe are/were sociopaths, I can see that this is true. Two of them actually told me they were of one political party when I met them. They chose the one that is most popular in my region. I told them I was in the other political party. A few weeks later, they both switched on me and expressed that they were in MY political party. When, I said, “But, I thought you said….,” they looked confused and told me I was mistaken. This is just one example where I have experienced sociopaths “polling” me, so to speak, and then a few weeks later claiming to think and feel as I think and feel. Then, once I am comfortable again. BAM! They are trying to create what is often called “switch back” where someone tries to get you to switch back to what they demand you be….like them and to meet their needs. The two I dealt with were not as good at it as a complete psychopath, but they did have that ability and it can be effective when one doesn’t understand it.

The one affecting me in the present will sometimes repeat my very words back to me days, or weeks later. I have been noticing this for about a year now. Before I thought it was an attempt at empathy. Now, I know it is for his own coldhearted purpose.

For most of the time I have known him, off and on, he shows disinterest and disdain for most of what I say. He discourages any emotional, or even companionable, relationship. Yet, he does later remember everything I said and the more emotional the situation, the more he remembers. He uses it later to manipulate. IE: He is going to be wanting something in the next few hours, so he becomes attentive. He brings up the subject I had been talking about a few days ago because he needs to access it to get me to do something for him. For a while now, it left me feeling as if I was talking to two robots pretending to be one human. The first one was disinterested or irritated with my worry. Then, a few days or weeks later, the second one is so concerned about me, HE brings it up.

I am much older and wiser now than the first time around. It is like watching a computer scanner. He expresses to me what he remembers me saying a few days or weeks ago. He tells me that he knows it is a tough situation for me. He will often then repeat word for word what I SAID my feelings were as if he is FEELING and has EMPATHY about what I said. He is not feeling any feeling or empathy. He is only understanding the definition of what my feelings mean and working to use that to get what he wants in this moment. That is what the research shows.

I didn’t used to know that. This research makes it clear to me what he has been doing. And they do it to everyone with whom they come in contact. Like computers who look like humans scanning us and then biding their time to repeat back to us and draw us towards the scam. They, then switch back to their initial plan. They want us to believe, do, or think as they do. They want power and control over us. They “condition” us as one article here discusses to accept this behavior which causes “cognitive dissonance” which as also been discussed here recently. We are drawn in because they are so much like us! Then, they begin to tell us how we need to change to become “better”….meaning more like them and what they want.

According to the research, psychopaths have areas in their brain that light up differently than normal people as we have known for a while. But, the recent research is showing that they are even better at recognizing emotions and feelings on the faces of other people than normal people are. Their connections are quickly translated from the amygdala to other portions of their brain in ways our brains do not as we are evolved humans and everything we do doesn’t stem from the amygdala any more. This also explains why most psychopaths have low impulse control and are addicted to anything and everything. A devolved brain with the amgydala more in charge is telling them what to do.

How can any normal human being compete with that kind of devolved brain chemistry? We can’t. Our brains have evolved beyond just our base lizard brain instincts. Being with a sociopath is like being with half human/half lizard. Evolved humans can not cooperate with a person run mostly by his/her amygdala. These devolved psychopaths will do anything, risk anything and they do not feel fear unless a certain belief system was abused into them from a young age. They are like reptiles and just waiting for the next instinctual need to be met in whatever way possible. If they have to bite you to get it, they will. I guess that is why many of us state that they are like chameleons. That is exactly the part of their brain they use to live amongst us. They look like other humans, and to meet their needs, they can act like other humans. But, they are not. The truly are, according to their brain scans, evolved lizards.

Yes, my sociopath husband changed his mind constantly. I would even pick a subject that he believed in and when I would try to get on the same page with him he would take the opposite side. He had my mind so screwed up I did not know if I was crazy. He told me once that to make a man unhappy was to give him what he wanted and not give him what he wanted. In other words nothing made him happy. I would give him sexually what he wanted and then laugh at me. He wanted to mess with my mind. I would fight with him at first but I soon learned what got to him was to not fight and then it scared him as he did not have control over me.

When I got away from him and ran with my kids from the east coast to the west coast I had PTSD so bad I could not complete a sentence. When he left me before I ran I laughed at the relief of the pressure off of me.

He came after me but I ran with the kids and was homeless for 3 years. I divorced him and he is remarried. By the way, he was a pastor.

Vi. Thank you for sharing about what you went through. I am needing to move back to my real home on the west coast and I am scared to do it until my house is paid off. I am older and afraid of being old and homeless. I am glad you got out and to a better place. I have two evil uncles who are preachers. One molested me. Those types of charming “leaders” can be very charismatic and very dangerous.

I can relate to piling more and more ever changing responsibilities on you because there was no way for him to lift a finger with a can of beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other. The only thing he could do was spew orders, demeaning remarks, bold lies and accusation out of that evil snake pit we call heart.
Somebody explained to me some time ago how it works. They charm you and ask you to dance your favorite dance with you. You are thrilled until he tells you not to lead. You say I was not leading. After that the tells you that you may be a little out of practice because you keep stepping on his feet. Finally he tells you, maybe if I count it out for you, you could follow. One two three, one two three. YOU are glad that he is so patient with you when you had no idea you were so rusty with your dance steps.
You go out again. You dance. You count in your mind, one two three, one two three when he stops you in the middle of the dance and says: “Sweetie, have you forgotten? It’s two five six seven”. Next time it became four five purple green….. After that he may grab you by the throat for being such an imbecile of not grasping a simple command.
You feel stupid for not getting simple things down and you are so glad to have him to lead. It must have been pure luck that you had met the right people to mentor you to amount to anything.
Yes, he is also holier than thou profaning the name of God with his inhumane abuse and emotional rape.

That dance analogy is right on target! My sociopath liked phone sex when we were apart and he insisted on a certain story in a certain way…if I deviated due to sheer boredom, he would sweetly remind me how the story went, and I eventually gave up and stuck to the script. Right before he abandoned the relationship, he complained to me that I didn’t make the phone sex good for him because it seemed “rote”. I was speechless.

I completely think they do it on purpose. When we bought our dream home together and I moved ahead of him while he stayed behind waiting for his house to sell, he specifically instructed that he was not to arrive and find he had walked into Hanaleimoon’s house…to wait for him to set it up together. When he arrived, I was berated for not having bought hom comfortable furniture for his tv room. When I reminded him of what he had said and told him the furniture selection needed his input he accused me of not caring about him. One of the requirements of the new house was room to build an additional garage and office for him…the home search was lengthy because of that specific requirement for him. All he talked about was the new garage he was going to have. Once we bought the house and had a contractor come over to discuss plans and cost, the sociopath wanted it so gold plated it was far out of our budget. He immediately blamed me, saying I got him to “sign on the dotted line” to buy the house I wanted but now his dream garage could never happen. I tried to reason with him, saying that his current idea was never what we had discussed and a reasonable garage was definitely within reach. He pouted like a child and kicked the dirt and said I got what I wanted but he would never have his dream garage now and refused to discuss it again. I was heartbroken, because I was so invested in making sure he was happy, and the whole home search had been controlled by his garage requirement. I have a hundred of these examples, and I believe they were all intentional to mess with me. He never moved into the house and abandoned the relationship with no warning or explanation, and I believe he never intended to move. Monster.

And, what is really scary, is that their brain scans show that they enjoy doing it when they are doing it. Our brains become ill from what they do, but their brains thrive on it.

All of you are so right! the spath is a snake in sheeps clothing. I have been divorced for two years, and I feel great. The drama, the lies, and the manipulation will not happen again. Just the other day, I received a letter from the spath stating he was sorry for the way he treated me. Years ago, I would have fell for this, but not anymore. If they gave out academy awards in the courtroom, he would certainly won! Karma is coming his way, and the snake knows it. I lost everything during my divorce, because of his manipulation, but I had to do what I had to do. I turned him into the IRS, and now he is loosing everything, and especially is freedom. This spath , looking back most certainly loved bombed, and I did not know this at the time. Spaths are dangerous people, and the best thing to do is no contact! When I received the letter, I made a copy, sent it to his attorney, and stated I want a cease and dissist from any communication from this snake. Whatever we all encountered, and endured from the spath, made us stronger, and more intuitive to these people. Run as far as you can, and never,never look back. Remember, no contact! The spath will always return when his supply has
vanished. , and try to snake his way into your life again. Stay away!

edge of sanity,

These people are incapable of being genuinely sorry about any of their misdeeds, not caring one iota about who has been hurt. You’re right – they are snakes.

I remember when my mind had been so badly affected that I was having trouble connecting thoughts and speaking.Spath wasn’t a bit concerned,noooooo!He just kept INCREASING his demands!I remember wondering why stress hadn’t killed him yet,with all his health issues.I’ve got it figured out now why spath seems immortal! He makes those around him VERY SICK!He’s laughing inside while making the people who know him,completely miserable!

For a very long time I have been a lurker here. For over five years I have been seeing a wonderful therapist, who has told me countless times that my father was a psychopath.

People sharing about their hateful children prompted me to finally post here because if a child can still affect a parent there is no reason for me to be ashamed of not having been able, as an adult, to escape the clutches of my controlling sadistic father.

Thank you for this post about shifting goals. Until reading it today I have felt like a complete loser in life.

My father would beat us up, and he tried to break my leg when I attempted to stop him from beating my mother up. For that I was taken out of the home. Today father would have done time in jail, back then he lied and I was put into an institution for emotionally disturbed kids. While I was there my mother took my young siblings to Germany and left me behind. I was not a teenager yet.

Now I read about and recognize it for what it was, the love bombing he did when I was in the institution.

When I lived with father my shoes were boy’s shoes because they lasted longer. My parent’s excuse was that I bit a dentist even though I do not remember ever having seen one. Father’s teeth were all taken care of yet the first time I saw a dentist was in the not so bad group home type of institution, where a lot of dental work had to be done; he was very cheap with his offspring. Yet when I was in Browndale father would come bearing gifts, even though he knew he was not allowed to visit. He knew how to make sure I would be around to know he tried to give me a guitar etc. He got suggestive lingerie to me and another time wrote me a letter with a Dear Ann Lander’s clipping of how a girl did not listen to her father and got an infection and pregnant. Many ugly insinuations came in the mail.

I ran away at the age of 15. I lived as a runaway /transient / hippie till I met my husband in Seattle. I was underage when I first met my husband and being Canadian I could not live there legally at first. We lied to my husband’s mother and told her that I was a fellow student; Dave attended the University of Washington. Those lies worked in my father’s favour in the future. I would get part time jobs from my husband Dave off the job board and make up names and Social Security numbers to be able to contribute to his mother supporting us. I truly loved Dave.

One Christmas I thought there would be no harm in calling my father to tell him I am married and happy because it would just be a long distance phone call and what harm could that do. You see my husband’s family found it strange that I did not have anyone.

A week after that fateful call my father showed up with his girlfriend and they charmed my non dysfunctional Seattle family to the point of allowing their son to move to Canada even though he had one more year of studies to complete. My father had promised to give us a house he owned in Hamilton, as a wedding gift. He also had Dave’s family convinced that their son’s education would be taken care of.

We became tenants, one of five other families of the most cramped tiniest apartment in that house. We were happy in love; therefore the size of the room did not matter. So my father moved us to Toronto and in no time we were fighting due to his meddling. My father purchased a one way ticket for Dave to go and visit his sister in the States, saying that Dave needed a holiday to get away from the stress. When dad purchased that ticket he promised Dave and me that he would get us back together again.

Immediately my father forced me to sign a postcard that said I was hitchhiking all over the continent, happy go lucky on my own while doing drugs. I forgot about that postcard till much later because I had no idea my father would send that card forward in an envelope to my aunt in Long Beach to put a California stamp on it and mail it to my father to forward to my husband’s family. When I did not hear from them my father had me convinced that Dave did not want me anymore.

After Dave was gone the goals kept getting changed. Father moved me to my uncle’s house in Toronto. I found a really good job as a cocktail waitress; I was able to find a nice apartment and live on my own from the tips alone. My father would come and collect my paycheque on paydays and deposit it in his joint bank account. I was not allowed to touch it, according to father. That job was not a place to be proud of working according to my father. Actually it was a nice place with nothing sleazy about it.

One of the times when father came to the house in Hamilton a tenant had a visitor who later told me that she knew my father had two children who were kidnapped away from him and taken to Germany (funny he never mentioned having me) and his brand of beer and cigarettes. When I asked her how she knew so much about him she said she would never forget those blue eyes when they were making love. She actually did work as a prostitute and was proud of it. But the place where I could make up to sixty dollars a day in tips legally back then was too sleazy for my father.

Father decided it was time I go to school so that was the end of that job. He took the money from the joint bank account to put a down payment on a house near High Park and he put the house in both of our names. That house became my prison because he had put my name on it.

At first I used a tiny screened in veranda facing the back yard as my living quarters then when I complained that it was not insulated he made a small ten by ten windowless room in the basement of that house to be my living quarters. I got to share the first floor kitchen with the tenants who rented the first floor. My father collected the rents and gossiped to the tenants about his wayward daughter. He taught them how to treat me.

He would come on the mornings when I had to go to school and in the basement act out drama about how he and the woman he was living with were getting along. He also played other games, think I was his entertainment and amusement. I felt as if I would not be a good daughter if I did not stay and listen. I was very late for school a lot. That first year my tuition was paid from the house income. I do not know how I survived because I had to beg whenever I needed anything and my groceries were brought when my father came, I did not even get an allowance from the house that was originally supposed to be paying for itself and my education. I remember that I did not even have a telephone while living in that house and I begged for one.

After the first semester I could see the surprise in his eyes when he saw that I was able to continue. That was when he refused to pay for the second semester saying that it would cost to much and take too long for me to make anything of myself.

So I applied for a student loan. But with the drama created in that house I could not function. When I washed the floor and the stove shocked me from the wet floor dad laughed with pleasure. If the other tenants would not have complained he had no intention of replacing that stove. Father rented to a male person who tried to rape me and after the rapist moved out he broke into the basement and then came to visit and bragged about being the one who stole my stuff. I got an English sheepdog and father promised free rent to the couple on the third floor if they would poison my dog.

Decided to work as a taxi driver after the school thing did not work out because I thought my father could not go to my place of work and demand my pay cheque. Cab drivers are self-employed in Toronto.

My father would go up north every Thanksgiving to close his cottage up. On thanksgiving I pulled a double shift driving cab and when I came home the girl from the third floor was sitting on the stoop crying. She said that my father and Stacy had put my dog Freedom in the trunk of the car and taken her up north to let her go in the woods ‘where all animals belong’.

For the first time I really got angry with him because to me the dog was the child I never had and helpless. I went to a cabby friend’s and kept phoning dad’s house till he finally came home from the cottage and angrily I told him that in Canada people go to jail for killing pets and he would be calling a jail cell his new home. He said nobody would believe me because he is family. He was right. He abused me all my life knowing that nobody would believe me. He was the charming father who could make me look off because he knew how to trigger my PTSD.

I went to stay with another cab driver and we found a lawyer Roger Timms. Roger got the house put into my name because of a technicality. My father told everyone that he had bought his daughter a house because she was not capable but in truth the down payment came from the deposit of my paycheques into that joint account. To this day I have heard gossip that my father bought me a house and I squandered it. My father still collected the rents because I could no longer go back to the house after getting angry with him, due to what I now know to be PTSD. In retrospect that cabdriver I thought was a friend was an opportunist who wanted to collect the rents and when he saw he was not getting anything from me he became my father’s friend. Toward the end my father opened up all of the windows so that the pipes burst. Lambert oil was another bill for me to pay; they would fill up even with the windows open that winter. That winter the year was 1980 and it was a relief to put that house behind me because my father no longer had a place to come and terrorize me.

I did move out of the city and with time became emotionally healthier. Father stalked me and when healthier I would think that I was strong enough to see if maybe this time he had changed and after all does not the bible say to honour thy father and mother. The parental love bombing would then turn into an abusive relationship with my dad over and over and over again because of my stupid belief that good would triumph in the end and that people mellowed as they got older. All my life I lost people and jobs because of my father to the point of not being able to function anymore.

For example when I was still driving taxi my girlfriend discovered the TTC was hiring women. My father found out that I was going to apply the next morning and he threw a fake heart attack fit in the basement, holding his chest at his heart while heavily panting, stating that if I went I would be putting my father in the grave. My girlfriend Cindy, who had only driven cab a very short time, got hired. I would definitely have been hired but could I have kept that job with my father meddling?

Only after his death have I been able to own a pet that does not suffer abuse because of my father. He would kick my pets if I did not talk rough to them. I knew he would kick them hard if I was not doing a soft shove that I faked to be hard. Father separated me from most of my girlfriends. Lillian Davidson is the only person who saw through him but she is no longer with us. Now I realize just how lucky I was to have lived with her and known her. She is the only person who told my father off for the way he treated me and he actually did not try to turn her against me. Think God brought her into my life at that time because she kept me safe from him when I most needed safety. Without Lillian I do not know if I would be alive today and that is not an exaggeration because I was an emotional mess when she met me. She got me on a disability pension because I was so emotionally beat up that I was giving up and the streets would have been my last place. Now I believe my father would have wanted that for me. My life had a semblance of normal in Lillian’s company and home until she died. After Lillian died my father and his girlfriend beat me up really badly, at his cottage in 1992, because I refused to give his girlfriend my Pembrooke Welsh Corgi puppy. Yes the same girlfriend who a dozen years earlier helped my dad put Freedom the sheepdog in the trunk of the car and drive out with my dad to abandon the dog in the woods.

My father has bad mouthed me to the point of where, even though I do not have a criminal record, people who knew him thought I am a prostitute. When I rationally explain to them how ridiculous that is I have been told to ’get over it’ or how liberal in their thinking they are. This is a discovery I made after he died. Imagine the surprise if your cousins were to, in a matter of fact way, imply that you may still be working at that. The cousin’s I saw after my father’s death have lived all this time thinking that. Now I know why I had not seen anyone for over forty years while they had Christmases, family get togethers, weddings and funerals. My cousin’s told me I am a prostitute and it was impossible to convince them otherwise. Father had 13 siblings and I remember the get togethers for any and every occasion with these cousins, prior to Browndale. Think this ugly gossip may have started when I went to Browndale because in that day and age the child was always seen as the one who was wrong. I lost my husband’s family and now I know why. Wish someone would have clued me in a long time ago about the things dad was saying but I guess that if they believed him they thought there was no reason to say anything to me. With that knowledge everything has fallen into place. The ugliness toward me when I was first introduced to people and the way that people, who I knew never had a chance to know me, turned on me always puzzled me. For example the women who had the cottage next to my father’s sold hers because on occasion he would bring me up to his cottage. That seemed a bit extreme, like a strange reason to sell her place at the time even though she very strongly showed how much contempt she had for me.

I have an opportunity of getting subsidized housing in a lovely Lithuanian place for people over 55. None of my relatives would be there because they all own property and shall be taken care of by their children. I put in the application last December and earlier this week my girlfriend and I went to see where on the waiting list I stand. While there I spoke to a tenant, who was sitting outside, about the apartments. She asked me my Lithuanian last name and when I told her it seems she is a good friend of my cousin’s wife’s mother. On one occasion when the mother of my cousin’s wife saw me she let it be known that she had absolutely no respect for me. It was shunning at its best. I am reconsidering moving into this lovely place near a beautiful Toronto huge park, for which I have waited a very long time to be able to become old enough to get into. Because of my father’s poison the PTSD is kicking in big time. I am too paralyzed to even see my therapist because I do not believe that she can change the actual facts. I do not think it is possible to move in without being shunned in my new home and if they are anything like my father’s family Lithuanians do love their gossip.

Six years ago, when my father died, I felt relief I had never known before, thinking that he cannot hurt me anymore. Moving into this place has been my goal that my therapist and I have spoken about since I first saw her over five years ago. This goal has kept me going but now I am not so sure. To be emotionally abused again in my old age because of my father would damage me spiritually.

Divorced from Gaslighter

Canuck: Move into the apartment despite what the neighbors think. If you can make one or two friends there, you can explain the situation and perhaps be accepted by most of the residents sooner or later. If not, well, lots of people don’t socialize all that much with their neighbors anyway. Join a church, get a part-time job, do volunteer work with animals, etc. Don’t let your sick father control you from beyond the grave. Don’t back out of moving to a place that you have wanted to move to for a long time based on garbage he said ten years ago.

If new neighbors say that they know the real story about you, look them straight in the eye and say that you know that your father always told everyone he met that his daughter was a prostitute. Then ask them to think about what kind of man goes around telling everybody that his daughter is a prostitute. Even if it were true, a normal father would try to hide his daughter’s shame, not broadcast it. Only a sociopathic jerk would try to get people to feel sorry for him by telling a tale of woe about a “daughter gone bad.”

I hope that you are able to get the apartment that you want, or that you will find another that you like even better. Keep posting here — this place is very therapeutic.

Divorced from Gaslighter

Canuck, I don’t know if you are still reading this thread, but I wondered if you have ever tried to use the Salvation Army to track down your mother and siblings in Germany?

Thanks for your advice Divorced from Gaslighter.

I have ‘fixed’ myself for my father so many times, when nothing was broken, only to be torn down that I am very tired of ’fixing’ myself and just want to grow old in peace. ‘Fixing’ myself to please my dad and never being good enough, thus I posted under Sociopaths and Their Changing Demands, so he could further destroy my spirit has kept me too busy for real opportunities for advancement or when found he would insist I ‘fix’ myself out of them, hence I am poor.

In my defence, I have ’fixed’ myself to the maximum of my capabilities of what is available to work with in my situation now.

I am a professional volunteer and I do have a part time job as a Drop in Worker, Peer Support Worker and WRAP workshop facilitator. Have countless certificates of gratitude for my volunteer work and thus a pretty good resume but nobody hires with Rob Ford pulling the funding for the type of work I do, shall lose my part time work. Therefore, because rent is steep in Toronto, I have only two options. To live out my old age here amongst the crack addicts or go into the beautifully located partially subsidized Lithuanian senior’s building because rent in Toronto is steep. Here I am respected yet most unhappy and uncomfortable with my surroundings, there it shall be the flip side and I am not sure if my mental health can take being shunned in the community.

In the community where I now live, due to cheap rent, I am known for my volunteer work / advocacy and can hold my head up high. But this community is extremely rough around the edges and not a pleasant community where one can look forward to enjoy aging gracefully. The reputation of this community may also have helped my father’s rumors in recent years. During my advocacy work I have been in the local papers, Toronto Star and Toronto Sun many times with my community mentioned and my full name. When my name is googled these articles come up, archived back to 2006 and yes in retrospect that March my father died, and no the articles are not about prostitution.

The idea of having to explain myself, after having been accepted by the Canadian community, is debilitating to say the least. People from my past have spread the rumor that my father purchased a house for me and that rumor of having a ‘rich’ father has spread in this very poor community and yes people wonder what happened to me to be here. The world really is a small place. What one says about their past does not make the rumors go away.

I hope that someday one of my relatives some way somehow comes across my two posts as I never had the opportunity to explain my side to any of them because my father made sure I was never in contact long enough to find out about his lies and thus dispell the image they had of me created by those lies. The PTSD is beyond extreme in that direction, to the point of poor communicaton skills… blubbering / blabbering, shutting down and thus I seem crazy. My PTSD elicts the ‘fix’ yourself advice. Not so in this known for its poverty, halfway houses, refugees and shelters Canadian community.

I attempted to connect with my niece on Facebook in Germany, whom I have never met, and the rumors have gone that deep. Think my father Sidney somehow also got to my German relatives because money really does make a difference in how much one can convince others. Or maybe money is more important and the community where one lives cancels out the good work one does.

Perhaps the newspaper articles could even hurt my chances of moving into a very different ‘class’ of community, although my appearance is clean, conservative and pleasant, lacking in tatoos or any other stigmatizing outward appearance.


I agree with Divorced from Gaslighter – get the apartment and the heck with what anybody else thinks of you. You have been through ENOUGH. To anyone who even mentions that you were a prostitute, tell them the truth (not that you owe anyone an explanation), that your sperm donor (he doesn’t deserve to be called a father) was pathological liar (and worst) who spread lies about you – he was a psychopath, stirring up evil the whole time he was on this earth. If people want to know the truth about you, then, go ahead and share it. You’ve got nothing to hide, unlike, the spaths that roam this earth. Your sperm donor just spread chaos and destruction in your life – you deserve to be happy, free of his tentacles.

Hello bluejay.

You are right.

‘Not that I owe anyone an explanation’, I like that way of thinking.

Thank You,

Canuck – your story has many, many parallels to my story with the spath mother I had. Wow – so sorry for all you / we / all of us have been through. My current family on my mother’s side believes all kinds of evil about me. My first cousin lives in the same town and I’ve never met his daughter and only met his sons once almost 20 years ago. I have a job which requires a security clearance, so how could I possibly have done jail time or been as you say a prostitute or addicted to hard core drugs. How could “normal people” believe any of it ?? I know – I’m among people here who completely understand. So sorry you lost the love of your life Dave and I struggle with being 58 years old and not being able to change my life history.

As far as the topic of do they mean to do the things they do – absolutely. My mother would occasionally for no reason give away all my clothes and tell the Good Will donation center that her daughter had died. Then she would tell her church buddies that I had thrown out all my clothes – what an ungrateful daughter I was. She did crap like that whenever she was bored. Deliberately just to get something going.

She also once said to me that I was the person in her life that she could do whatever she wanted and that I just had to take it. She said it was up to me to find my “whipping person.” Yuk.

I don’t even know how to list all the deliberate things that went on and all the lies and all the manipulations. I do know that the phrase, “I’ll be happy when ____” was a daily complaint from her. When I was 19 years old, having been sabotaged about college and going to a nearby small college and living at home, I decided to try for one whole year to do everything she wanted, except for deviant activities. At the end of the year, she was still the same bottomless pit, needing entertainment and money and attention every second of every day. That was when my mind broke free and her opinion no longer mattered. I was still in her world and it took me another 8 years to walk away and when I did it was permanent. I love, love, love the analogy of “empty shell.” That was absolutely her. That explains so many things to me.

When she died in 2003, I received some of the weirdest, offensive “sympathy cards” where total strangers stated how spath mother had “shared” with them all her “disappointments” in her children. Really – how about being “disappointed” that I was starved, abused, beaten, lied about. But “normal people” would never believe me, so I burned all those cards. The truth is I paid for my own college, I paid for my own wedding, and she embezzled funds from me, while claiming I wrote “hot checks.”

A crazy making thing she did to my brother was to deliberately break him up with the love of his life. Trashed her completely and she went back to Arizona. Then the spath mother did a 180 and made big friends with Arizona dream girl, inviting her to visit and saying that my brother dumped her for a party life style. And of course all the lies being told without my brother having any idea what was happening. So very sad and frustrating.

I appreciate the post above that said when doing horrible things, spaths get pleasure from it, while the rest of us decent folks would be sick doing those things. Spaths really are a different breed of human – a different way of being human on the planet.

I appreciate all the lucid writing and understanding that I have gained on this site. I would be lost, lost without it. It is a Godsend. Thank you.

Wow OpalRose. We have so very much in common!

I also am so very sorry about the life your mother put you through and totally hear you when you say sorry for all you /we / everyone has been through.

‘I struggle with being 58 years old and not being able to change my life history.’ resonates strongly. When you were a little girl bet you never imagined life could turn out like this. Where is the sense and the meaning? Why?

I will be 60 come December and feel like my life has been a total waste because of a lack of any reference point other than the ‘father knows best’ teachings.

If reincarnation were possible I would have children next time around, but even my pets were abused by their ‘grandfather’. Therefore many normal human undertakings I knew it would be best to avoid got bypassed in this life. Not having had children is my greatest regret.

I really really struggle with my life history and it is difficult not to feel resentment toward the dead, as bluejay calls it, sperm donar.

People cannot fathom how ‘sacred’ parents are capable of such evil and that is when we are excruciatingly hurt again. We become doubly abused by those who have no comprehension that we did nothing to deserve the cruelty, so we suffer in silence.

When a woman was abused by her spouse people totally get it but when it is a parent nobody wants to hear it as it affects their sensibilities. Yet the damage done, when one is young and escape is impossible, is so much more debilitating.

The old teachings of honour thy father and mother must be rewritten.

If the evil ones would have just killed us at one fell swoop it would have been much more merciful to us, I do not try to speak for others but I feel the pain was unnecessarily drawn out and that is torture. There is prison for murder but no consequences for the murder of what should have been a life lived, which in my humble opinion is just as evil if not more so.

I am allergic to the evil ones. My body goes into high alert uncomfortable and PTSD really kicks in so badly that I am unable to act any other way than crazy, when I am in the presence of someone who is a potential danger. That individual can be the nicest person and have nothing obvious that would be considered a red flag yet if I get involved I find that the warning was spot on. I have learned not to ignore my senses although the PTSD usually puts them off me anyway. Do you also have that allergy OpalRose? I have often wondered if it is common for people abused from childhood.

There are so many similarities in our stories that it is uncanny. OpalRose I thank you so very much for sharing.

I thank the others who took the time to respond. Thank you for some excellent points to ponder….

Canuck – everything you say above – everything – is absolutely right on !! As a little girl, I knew what I wanted – children, a good job (I wanted to be a librarian), a pretty little household – very simple things. The older I got, the more the spath mother sought to destroy all my dreams and make me her exclusive slave – not that total devotion to her fixed anything anyway.

My greatest sadness too is that I didn’t have children. There is a part of me that knows they would not have been safe around her family and so perhaps it’s bitter-sweet. But still, if I had understood the situation the way I do now, there may have been paths to take that would have included safety and children. I am so sorry we share that grief.

Thank you for sharing about the fateful phone call to your father. There is no way you could have known the evil heinous behavior that would follow. I have worked on coming to a place of understanding about my making choices that turned out badly. There was no way, no way, no way that I could have known the depth of busy evil she was capable of.

I love the “allergic reaction” to evil – brilliant !! Yes – I am allergic now too. Sometimes it takes me a little while to recognize what my hyperventilation is about – but then I see it and I run the other way. Yes – I babble in the presence of evil – but that’s my intuition knowing that any interaction with them is nonsense anyway.

And I have been financially destitute in my life as well. No roof over my head, no decent food to eat, no job. For months at a time. I know that so well. And it makes no sense for survivors of abuse to have to live that way. But I think that is part of what spaths do – strip us of needed resources that no one in their right mind would ever, ever do to a family member.

Every time I thought through what was going on, trying to figure out spath mother, the truth was always much, much worse than my wildest dreams. I think that is because the extreme of “normal” doesn’t even come close to the reality of evil and disordered people.

Finally, I struggle with meaning and feeling like my life is wasted in terms of normal history, normal needs, normal wants (like having children). I do know that I have learned such priceless lessons and I hope, hope, hope that means something.

See what you think of this article – it has helped me.


If the link does not work – try searching on “The 180 degree rule” and looking for the “Precious Pearl of Purity” article.

I wish you all the best – let us know how you are doing. I am not a regular poster, but feel my support for your journey even if I do not post often.

Wow a true female Spath.

I can read the devastation in your story;I am so sorry!Take Divorced from Gaslighter’s advice!I live in a secured apt complex for senior citizens/disabled citizens.I am disabled.Does the apt complex have a “service coordinator”?! It’s a fairly new job here in the U.S.The service coordinator is very helpful in helping tenants get the help they need with disability,insurance,food programs,etc.It’s like having an advocate in the same building!Don’t worry about neighbors~~~enjoy your apt,attend activities & meet your neighbors and decide if you want to associate with them or not~~~there’s nothing in the lease that says you have to associate with them if they make you uncomfortable!

No joy, No passion, No pleasure. Nothing in life gave the latespath any pleasure nor did he appreciate anything: accomplishments, accolades, abilities, not even material possessions.

He had no real ambitions. He lived in terms of fantasies. With his intelligence nothing was impossible. With his lack of work ethic everything was impossible.

He always liked/had sports cars; he turned everyone in to a rolling garbage scow.

He loved to drive, even took multi day racing courses; when he got his license pulled for failing to register, inspect, insure his car, rather than sorting out the situation he choose never to drive again.

He wanted to go to law school; after graduation he worked for less than 5 1/2 years out of 28.

He said he wasn’t happy being ‘labeled a lawyer’; rather than get a subsequent degree, he chose unemployment.

His words:’I might have loved the wife, but that was decades ago”; I pleaded for a divorce, instead of being free and having a chance of happiness, he insisted on a relationship and made everyone miserable.

He wanted a work space in the basement, the furniture is still in the garage, still packed, 20 years later.

When he graduated law school, he wanted to ‘dress like a lawyer’ so over his first few weeks working he bought himself 10 suits in some of the best stores in NYC; he would come from work and leave the clothes strewn all over the floor, not caring about walking into work dressed as ‘wrinkle-man’.

Instead of being a productive member of society, he chose to be a criminal. I do not believe that anyone who was committing serious crimes like he was, could face the people he was destroying, for 5 years and 3 months, only to take further advantage of them; unless they were a sociopath.

He bought things and did things that society as a whole may ‘want’. I don’t believe he understood what it meant to want something himself.

Nothing could ever satisfy him, because there was never the understanding of true satisfaction.

I believe that latespath could feel frustration. Some people find retail therapy a good cure for frustration. Perhaps spaths believe that as well. New things equal feel better but that does not work for them.

Strangely enough, I believe that his ability to successfully commit crimes, to live multiple lives, to be lionized in the sub-world, gave him the most satisfaction of his life. But even then he wanted more; he needed to break the norms of the pay for play world and be praised for it.

Hi lost:

I find myself wondering over the last couple of years if “dissatisfaction” actually brings this type of person the only form of satisfaction they can achieve? I know from what I have read, that they love negative energy instead of positive, so maybe being miserable causing misery to others is the only thing that makes them feel good.

I have had two days of no contact. Even though the firecrackers (my town allows three day permits!) affect my PTSD, it is usually cool for this region right now, and I am looking forward to going outside and looking at the stars in the middle of the night after they have all gone to bed. So, some peace is resuming for me because I have my rent and I am not having to play nursemaid, mommy, laundress, and housekeeper right now. I can watch old movies and relax. I wish it could always be like this.

A person imbibing in multiple addictive and destructive habits can never be peaceful. I am happy to just eat my sandwich, watch a movie and wait to watch the stars later.

I guess I am just saying that sociopaths must really enjoy the awful things they do and say. And according to what I’ve been reading, they can define and deeply understand what they put us through, but they do not feel it so even if there is a fight about it, it never affect them. They are truly content, and often happy, with the negative attention they received.

Wow Ladies. It breaks my heart to read what you’ve all been through. I consider myself lucky that my experience with the ex-spath was fairly short 3.5 years, although it did result in a child and he has pretty much disrupted my life on a continuous basis since. But I had a decent foundation, albeit not the best as my father was a callous alcoholic, but as long as I steered clear of him, life could be calm a lot of the time. I can’t imagine going through what you’ve been through…and to still be paying for their ‘evil’ even long after they’re gone. 🙁

Kudos to you ladies! You are heroes in my eyes. Remember the saying ‘Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind’. Forget about those people who judge you without even knowing you or having a clue what you’ve been through. Excuse my french, but f*ck them! You don’t need people like that in your lives.

Sending you all big virtual *HUGS*…and I know you don’t think it’s possible but I pray that you all find happiness eventually…God knows you deserve it.

SS – thank you for the hugs – and well wishes – they mean so much. Hugs back to you dear.

Divorced from Gaslighter


One of my therapists was a Christian pastor who grew up in a dysfunctional home. He said that it was his opinion that “honor your mother and father” meant living a life of integrity, so that any normal parent would be proud of you. (The fact that your disturbed parents don’t appreciate you can’t be helped.) My advice, which you can take or leave: Don’t blame God for other people’s dodgy theology. Also be aware that your relationship with your father on earth affects your ability to conceptualize a Father in heaven. Your father has messed you up in many ways, by being selfish, evil, deceitful, manipulative, etc., etc. God doesn’t expect you to candy coat the situation and pretend that everything was OK when clearly things were about as bad as they could have been.

In my own family, many members of my extended family don’t really understand what my childhood was like, or what my father was really like. My mother and sister are still living, and they choose to have only sunny memories of the past. My sister was the family favorite of the three children, so she was protected to a large degree from the pathology of my father. In my extended family, a few people have indicated to me that they realized that things were bad for me, but the whole subject is pretty much shoved under the rug. I’m slowly learning to accept that I don’t really need any sort of validation from the rest of my family. My memories may not be 100% accurate, but I know what I know.

I also have a lot of deep regrets about how my life has turned out. Nearly all of my cousins have had marriages that have lasted twenty to twenty-five years or more. My two children are doing well, but to some extent they blame me for their own unhappy childhoods. To some extent, I could have done a better job of raising them, but I was dealing with the insanity of having an ex-husband who did everything possible to destroy my life after the divorce.

When I was in high school, and tried to talk to a couple of different adults in my life about the craziness at home, they blew me off by telling me that “these are the best years of your life” or by saying something to the effect that whatever was going on, “deep down inside, your parents love you with all their hearts.” I think it is very, very difficult for people who had pretty good childhoods to understand how bad things can be for other people. Some of them can understand that life can be bad on the wrong side of the tracks, especially if you are a minority, but for a lot of people, if you lived in a large house in a leafy suburb, and your parents were married and employed, then they just don’t see how there could have been any problems of a serious nature. My parents were very presentable in public, the craziness took place in the privacy of our home.

I hope that you do go forward with moving to the Lithuanian apartment complex near the park. It sounds so nice compared to your description of your current home and surroundings. I think that you will be deeply sorry if you let the opportunity go by. You can always move back to the ‘hood, but a chance to LEAVE the ‘hood doesn’t happen often. Take the opportunity that is presenting itself. (Ha! This sounds like a fortune cookie!)

Very few people have more than two or three true friends. It sounds as though you have at least that many already. Even if it takes you a while to fit in at the new place, being in a neighborhood where you can walk around outside without being mugged will be great for your physical and mental health.

I’m packing boxes myself right now, although I’m not sure exactly where I am headed. But I’m pretty sure that it is time for me to move on sometime in the next six months or so.

Very best wishes to you!

“What happens to you as they keep changing the rules? You are totally off balance. You can’t figure out how to treat them, or how to be around them, because you keep getting mixed signals.”

Exactly. This was my experience as well. I gag as I read Donna’s account of the basement office and how Montgomery reacted, constantly shifting his feelings about it. My mantra is “G-d, if I’d only known.” But once again I have to say, “They choose well.” They have the mental apparatus to determine a victim almost at first glance, certainly after a couple of sentences. Even a woman (or man) who is not wired or nurtured to fall for a socio might be cajoled by one, but it wouldn’t last long. If he acted like Montgomery did about the basement office, she’d boot his a** out!! This truly fires me up as I would have done the same thing Donna did. Love knows no bounds for some of us.

I noticed the contradictory nature of the path in my life the first time I met him during an interview, no less, actually afterwards as he walked me out of the bldg. He became very silent as we walked to the elevator, which I thought was kind of strange after being so friendly and forthcoming, so I made some comment or other and he nearly bit my head off.

A few min later, he said something flirtatious and wildly inappropriate for someone in his position to an interviewee and possible employee. I was so shocked, on some level, I was unable to believe it.

On the way out of the place, after making a face and saying “Smarmy!” out loud, I noted that he was a cheat and that I didn’t respect or trust him. That was the very first time we met. I am SO sorry I went to work there. I never thought in a million years things would get out of hand. I have always had a thing about authority and had just finished being undermined by management at my job of 20 yrs. in corporate America as they threw us all out, one after the other, protecting their buddies and getting rid of the rest of us. I was both vulnerable as well as mistrustful of management at that time.

I was perfect, just perfect fodder for him, so vulnerable, even tho distrustful, as he knew just how to get under my skin by being essentially the ying to my yang, then pull the carpet out from under me whenever he felt like it. He was one big contradiction and I allowed it because he told me stories of his personal and work “stress” and how he was just in a fog…. Poor baby. Had I known better, I would have told him to have his pants sewn shut for starters. Thankfully, I never got that close to him. THANK HEAVENS! I believe he got into trouble before he could get me into trouble…

There is nothing that would make me feel badly for him. Absolutely nothing, sick or not. He is just plain dirt. He had a choice and decided to just play with and tease me like a clueless kitten and I allowed it, also knowing better myself. I am no less guilty or despicable for having allowed his smarm and sleaze into my life and reacting to it as I did.

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