Sociopaths, cluster B personality disorders and psychopathy

A sociopath is someone who has a pervasive and persistent disregard for the rights and feelings of others. This disregard is manifested in the antisocial behavior sociopaths show. While we usually think of antisocial behavior as criminal, not all antisocial acts are illegal. A person who slips up once is not a sociopath. Sociopathy is a lifestyle.

Since humans are designed to live in society, a healthy personality has prosocial inclinations. Therefore, people who are pervasively antisocial are disordered in the sense that they are not the norm (thank God). Although antisocial behaviors are observable actions like lying, stealing and assault, there are personality traits that cause antisocial behavior. It should come as no surprise that people who have a sense of entitlement, over-rate their own greatness and have poor self-control are more likely to hurt others and show pervasive antisocial behavior.

The American Psychiatric Association has defined a group of personality disorders it calls “cluster B”. According to a recent paper* by German psychiatrist, Christian Huchzermeier, M.D., “ The cluster includes disturbances of personality that go hand in hand with emotional dysregulation phenomena, a tendency towards aggressive—impulsive loss of control, egoistic exploitation of interpersonal relationships, and a tendency to overestimate one’s own importance.”

The disorders of “cluster B” go together because what underlies them is a disturbance in three developmentally acquired abilities I have called The Inner Triangle. These abilities are:

Ability to Love
Impulse Control
Moral Reasoning

These abilities that a child gains during development are a triangle because the development of each depends on the other two. A child begins to acquire ability to love in the first year of life, impulse control begins in the second year of life. At two years of age there is already a link between ability to love and impulse control. Children with the best impulse control also are the most loving/empathetic. Moral reasoning begins in the third year of life and its development depends on a loving nature and impulse control. Similarly the most moral kids are also the most loving and self-controlled.

I think of the cluster B disorders as different manifestations of damage to the inner triangle. I think of sociopaths as individuals who completely lack ability to love and have impaired impulse control and moral reasoning.

Given the Inner Triangle, it should come as no surprise that it can be difficult to find people who have only one cluster B personality disorder. For that reason individuals with antisocial personality, narcissistic personality, borderline personality and histrionic personality often have symptoms of the other disorders. If someone gets a diagnosis of only one of these, it doesn’t mean that the person doesn’t also have one or all of the others. The person making the diagnosis simply thought that the one chosen best described the person. You should know there is a gender bias in diagnosis such that women are often labeled “borderline.” These women can also be sociopaths who leave a trail of victimized friends, lovers and children in their wakes.

A recent study reported in Behavioral Science and the Law, “The Relationship Between DSM-IV Cluster B Personality Disorders and Psychopathy According to Hare’s Criteria: Clarification and Resolution of Previous Contradictions” examines the relationship between psychopathic personality traits as defined by the screening version of the PCL and Cluster B personality disorders. The authors of this study were careful to examine people who had only one cluster B disorder. They found psychopathy to be associated with all cluster B disorders.

The authors conclude:

“One clinical implication of our results, nevertheless, is that in cases where a cluster B personality disorder is diagnosed a high psychopathy value is to be expected, especially where antisocial, borderline or narcissistic personality disorder is involved. The PCL score is a better predictor of subsequent events, such as problems during (criminal) custody or a relapse into delinquency, than a diagnosis of a DSM-IV personality disorder, especially in forensic populations; therefore, an additional investigation with the PCL should be carried out, if a cluster B personality disorder has been diagnosed.”

It is important for Lovefraud readers to be aware of this study especially if there is a divorce/custody proceeding or a cluster B personality disorder has been diagnosed. Many people might think that if the partner has been “diagnosed borderline” or “diagnosed narcissistic” that means the partner is not a psychopath/sociopath. This study suggests otherwise. IF YOU ARE INVOLVED WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS THESE YOU HAVE TO CONSIDER THEIR HARMFUL BEHAVIOR AS AN INDICATION OF PSYCHOPATHY/SOCIOPATHY. There are some people with cluster B, histrionic, borderline and narcissistic disorders who are not highly antisocial. But if the person is lying, cheating and manipulating, that is antisocial behavior. This behavior in the context of any cluster B means the person is potentially very dangerous. As the authors state:

“Screening for PCL-based psychopathy can also be important for general psychiatric patients with a DSM-IV personality disorder, so that potential difficulties in the course of their treatment can be anticipated and this comorbidity can be targeted in the planning of therapy. Patients with both a DSM-IV personality disorder and PCL-based psychopathy can exhibit behavior that is particularly dangerous to therapy (Stafford & Cornell, 2003).”

If you have been diagnosed with borderline personality and reading this frightens you, I am sorry. You can improve by working on your inner triangle. Talk to your therapist about DBT a treatment that is very effective in improving the state of the Inner Triangle in people who are motivated to do it.

*The reference for the paper discussed is Behav. Sci. Law 25: 901—911 (2007).

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402 Comments on "Sociopaths, cluster B personality disorders and psychopathy"

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So many of us have said, “How can we tell if he’s an N, S or P? The definitions all seem to blend together.”

You say: “Many people might think that if the partner has been “diagnosed borderline” or “diagnosed narcissistic” that means the partner is not a psychopath/sociopath. This study suggests otherwise.”

This makes so much sense: The grandiose narcissist who has all those psychopathic behaviors of devaluing and discarding, not to mention even more dangerous behaviors of abuse.

One comment about the potential borderline/sociopath overlap: Anyone who has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and is concerned they might therefore be sociopaths, I would suspect that just by virtue of having such concern, they are not. A true sociopath, I think, at the very least would not care. Might even be proud. They don’t think there’s anything wrong with them anyway. Right? So they wouldn’t be here reading unless they had some ulterior motive, like to mess with our minds or show off. Remember…who was that guy?…had his own blog?…said he’d been diagnosed as a sociopath?…thought he could never get caught, although seems like he was…oh yeah, Perfect Monster. He made for interesting, perhaps enlightening reading (to whatever extent anything a sociopath says can be believed), but he obviously hadn’t the slightest desire to fix whatever might be “wrong” with him. He was quite proud of himself, and all he got away with. He knew that others perceived there was something wrong with him, but he didn’t care. The only thing he cared about was getting caught, which I think is the norm for sociopaths.

Guaranteed, my ex would have no interest in this website or therapy or fixing himself. The only reason he ever went to therapy was for some ulterior motive. Like after we separated. He was vacillating, at times wanting to come home (I was still in bargaining/ denial and was desperate to find a way for him to do so), but mostly trying to find a way to end the relationship for good without looking like the culprit. Only way he could figure to do that was by trying to make it look like he really tried. Like by going to AA. And going to counseling. He gained nothing from the counseling, a source of women and NS from AA.


I twisted myself into a pretzel dealing with S’s never ending problems, never ending demands, never ending complaints.

I tried my damndest to get him into counseling. Oh, he made the right noises about going into it — when he knew he had pushed me to my absolute limit and he feared I was going to walk.

I still remember the night I drove him off. He said “You’re always pushing therapy on me. Well, that referral you got me to X Hospital? One of my exes made me go there and it did nothing!”

You’re right — unless they can get something out of it, its wasted on them, because they’re perfectly happy with their lives. As for getting caught, I don’t even think that matters to them unless then end up being sent to prison.


My husband, whoa, I wrote that automatically, I mean ex, has remarried, to a woman a lot younger (her parents are my age) and completely clueless. He has her convinced I am a lunatic, a bitter ex-wife, but he still fears she (or her parents) will learn the truth. He has so many plates spinning in the air: they work together and he has slept with many of the women they work with; he is master at knowing who will keep his secrets. But it’s dangerous for him. He likes the danger, adds to the excitement, but he’s never before had someone (me) who was completely onto him before. And what he got away with for 18 years is beyond belief. He slept with many of his co-workers (and his new wife’s) while carrying on a 4 year affair with a woman he planned to up and leave me for but did not–at least not like he planned (he ended up ultimately dumping that woman too, this past July, three months after he’d moved in with the woman he’s now married to)–because two days before his planned date of departure, I figured everything out. Then he could not go ahead as planned, at least not as far as he was concerned, because he had the rest of his family (and co-workers) bamboozled as well. He was not willing to look like the culprit, culprit being too mild a word, scum of the earth is more like it.

Years ago he and I went to counseling for problems we were having with his then-teenage son, who was a pathological liar (surprise!) I later diagnosed as a sociopath (still didn’t these traits in my ex). Anyway, the LCSW psychologically tested both of us. I don’t remember my results; probably your garden-variety neuroses, but I do remember my ex’s. I remember Gary, the counselor, saying (and he’d been a therapist for almost 30 years) that in all the years he’d been counseling people, my ex was “the most psychologically together person he’d ever seen in his office”!!!!

But part of his scam now is going to AA. Serves several purposes. One, and probably the main one, is that is serves as his personal trout farm, is you get what I mean. He goes to meetings all over the place. So this one won’t know about that one and that one won’t know about this one. Two, it’s huge ego strokes. I’ve told an al anon friend that he will probably be one of AA’s main speakers in a couple of years, he’s that good. He often leads meetings, and back when I used to still talk to him he’d tell me about all the compliments and praise he received. The third thing is that, to the degree he has to admit being a scumbag, he can claim he’s changed, he’s a new man–let’s see if I get this right, he said this many times to me–“God is doing for me what I was unable to do for myself.”

Oh yeah, he’s got the lingo down pat. Back in June, just before our 18 year old daughter graduated from high school, he told me that he’d had a “white light experience” (a la Bill Wilson, I suppose). He knew I’d been checking out the cell phone calls and text messages he sent and received. And there were literally hundreds a month! He had another cell phone, one on his then-gf’s (the one he married) plan, but he kept the one he had with me until the contract expired last August (so his gf wouldn’t see those phone calls). He was so out of control, that even after I’d throw names of women in his face, he would tone it down for a few days, then be back at it again. White light experience. Right.


So, God is doing for him what he was unable to do for himself. Hmmm. I was taught to believe that God helps those who help themselves. Silly me. I forgot we’re dealing with sociopaths. They get everybody else to do their work. Guess I shouldn’t be surprised that your ex-S can get God to do his bidding.

The only white light experience I want to see my ex having is the one on the final journey. Oh, wait. Wrong direction. He’ll be going head-first into the flames of hell.


“A child begins to acquire ability to love in the first year of life, impulse control begins in the second year of life. Moral reasoning begins in the third year of life and its development depends on a loving nature and impulse control.”

The parents of my S left him behind in his native country with his older and younger siblings when he was somewhere between two and three years old. His mother returned for them 6 months later.

Would that early “abandonnment” have accounted for his sociopathy or were the indicia already established in his personality?

I’m inclined to believe the latter, since I believe there’s a strong genetic component with these people. But, there’s a part of me that believe his parental abandonnment might have fed into his becoming an S, not that that excuses anything.


My S knew all the lingo from Cocaine Anonymous. Used it as a weapon when necessary.

Then, the minute he conned his PO and his group therapy leader to let him out of his therapy ahead of schedule, CA went by the boards.

I agree. The 12 step programs are good. But, they are hunting grounds for Ss.

Gillian: Remember the warning about “Too good to be true”? Gary, your couples counselor should have remembered that one. He said, ” that in all the years he’d been counseling people, my ex was “the most psychologically together person he’d ever seen in his office”!!!!”

So, as gifted mimics, they get past the professionals. Robert Hare has said the same thing. So why should we be surprised that they get past OUR defenses.

I’m so glad we have this website to work with each other to piece out the truth.


“Really I guess that was not his mug shot at the county jail I saw busted for possession.”

But, hope springs eternal.


I don’t understand why. After all, they take your photo from all 3 angles. You’d think there would be one that he liked.

Mine has only one trip through. But, I’m hoping he becomes a regular.


My ex is brilliant. Has almost a photographic memory. He can observe the demonstration of an extremely complex procedure and years later know just how to do it. He amazed me sometimes. Too bad he uses his intelligence only for his twisted desires. Back when I was starting to realize he had had an affair (at the time I was thinking singular and past tense; ha!) he offered to take a lie detector test. I have absolutely no doubt he would have passed it. He has utter confidence in his ability to persuade people of his sincerity. And with good reason, considering what he got away with for so long (that only came to light for me because of a couple of wild flukes, miracles, really). If I ever mentioned that anyone–friends, family, therapists, etc.–had a negative opinion of him he would say that was because they were only talking to me, that if they talked to him, they would think differently. Scary thing is, he was right.

On the “too good to be true” part, I remember something Secret Monster said here once, and I think my ex used the same tactics. S.M. would allow himself to get caught in maybe a small lie, or admit to some small infraction. That way his wife would think he’s such an honest guy and he’d get away with the big stuff.


I have said the same thing about my ex and his use of AA lingo. That he used it as a weapon. He would twist it around for his perverse use. Yeah, 12 step groups are great, but I think we have to be as wary of the people in them as we would the members of any organization that provides some kind of automatic cover for socios, like religious institutions, etc.. I know I am, well I used to be, a gullible, trusting person. I can’t afford to be that way anymore. A week ago I was having lunch with a friend and talking about the new husband of another friend. I was saying so and so was a really nice guy. Suddenly I stopped myself and said, “He *seems* to be a really nice guy.” When I said that I couldn’t help but cry because I realized this is what my ex has done to me. I can never look at anyone the same. I can never accept anyone at face value again. Heck, if my ex could fool me, and I lived intimately with the man for 18 years, how can I be sure of anyone else?


I know what you’re saying about never looking at anyone the same again and accepting them at face value.

At first I used to hate S for robbing me of my innocence. More recently I’ve decided for my own safety and sanity it is better to let people prove themselves to me. I think that’s a good thing. By taking a wait-and-see approach, it keeps me from jumping into anything too quickly.

“Diagnosis” of any mental condition is not always easy to get a handle on, not like if a person comes in and you can do an X-ray and see a broken bone, or a tumor on an MRI or CT scan. Getting the “whole picture” is like putting a puzzle together and takes time and an “over view” of their thinking and behaviior.

Unfortunately, sometimes counselors who ONLY see the patient in the office and more or less have to take the “word” of the person about how they are doing on the outside, etc. it may indeed be very difficult to diagnose a “personality disorder” especially if they are pulling their usual con jobs and mouthing all the “platitudes” and “philosophy” that they have learned in previous counseling or therapy or AA or whereever the learned to mouth the words that got them what they wanted. It is just another con job.

I have been conned, we ALL have been, to one degree or another, and counselors are just human beings who can only see part of the picture.

My mother (what ever her diagnosis is and I’m NOT sure) is very careful to NOT show her arse—she is a GREAT ACTRESS and keeps her mask up except when she is enraged, frustrated and then ONLY to me. I’m the designated scape goat now. I sincerely doubt that she is the only “dysfunctional” person who is pretty well controlled in how and when she displays her rage and bad acting. I can’t imagine any psychiatrist seeing only my mother and hearing her version of how her daughter (me mistreating her) znd looking at this very beautiful nicely dressed articulate soft spoken, tearful, pitiful and emotionally “devestated” woman could even get a glimpse of the FACE BEHIND THE MASK.

My P son is much less successful on keeping his mask up for long periods of time without showing his narcissistic grandiose opinon of himself as so much smarter than the rest of the human race, and with his limited life experience OUTSIDE OF PRISON, he lacks many social skills etc that he would have developed if he had been incarcerated later, rather than earlier.

When he was out of prison between the home invasion robbery where he went to prison for 2 years at age 18-20 and got out for 5 months, and then back in for murder at 20 yrs old, I was only around him for one weekend and it was a contest of wills and venom. So I can’t judge how he behaved except that he lived with my husband’s niece for those five months and she said that he was extremely crude in his language and stories he told, and that he appeared repulsive to most of the people in her circle. His table manners were horrible and disgusting, and the one time I saw him that weekend, his dress was pretty “low class” (He had had pretty good taste in clothing when he was a teenager and dressed nicely) The one time I saw him, he was dressed more like a “Pimp” than any other one-word discription I can give of his dress—“flashy,” but low quality clothing (fake snake skin boots) etc. Of course this all looked “great” with his jail house swagger.

He was trying to present a “portrait” of the “successful” ex-convict when he came home (of course to prove to me that he was “doing well.”) He had somehow secured credit to buy a brand new vehicle. After his arrest he was absolutely rabid about me gettin ghis truck out of impound and holding it for him (of course, me making the payments on it) I talked to his attorney about this and his attorney advised me “Mrs. Drover, I wouldn’t worry about it if I were you, he won’t be needing it for quite some time.” After that I have no idea what happened to it or any other of his possessions.

A patient have “dual diagnosis” is not uncommon at all in my experience. Dr. Leedom also mentioned many Ps are also bi-polar and/or ADHD, and if you add in all the different diagnoses so that maybe they have 4 or more, I think it increases the propencity for violence. (OF ONE SORT OR ANOTHER)

The fact that my son can seethe in rage and dreams of revenge for decades for the few times we went head to head and I “won” that round, lets me know that if he ever does get out of prison, we will come face to face in a Mexican-Standoff if he can find me. It wouldn’t bother him in the least to jump parole, he’s done it before, and haul out up here on the off chance he could find me, but I will cross that bridge when I get to it, so not going to SWEAT about it til he gets out.

They all CAN be dangerous I think if they are thwarted in something that they feel entitled to.

As far as the overlap in the Cluster B group of disoders, I don’t think they vary all that much from each other in many SIGNIFICANT ways.

They don’t bond well with the human race in general, and individuals in particular.

They have no “moral”compass

They either enjoy hurting others, or don’t care if they do.

The have a feeling of entitlement to special treatment and rules don’t apply to them.

I want what I want and I want it nowl. There are soem though that can plan “long cons” that can go on for years if the conditions are right, especially if there is a pretty good sized reward and they don’t get caught.

I wonder what the estimated population of “Cluster Bs” in the US (the percentage) If you included the Ns, etc etc and added them all up, I would estimate that somewhere between 15-20% of the general population coulld “qualify” for Cluster B.

I’m tired to night and not my usual fast paced typing or thinking

What I think of when I consider cluster B personality disorders and potential psychopathy is the ancient concept of an Achilles heel.

In other words, you can be aware that a person has histrionic, borderline, narcissistic or antisocial traits, but think to yourself: s/he hasn’t done anything awful thus far in his/her life.

Maybe not. Maybe his or her behavior has thus far only been mildly annoying or inconvenient from time to time. What’s going to happen if him/her put under pressure? What’s going to happen if you decide to divorce him/her?

Now you’re dealing directly with the very aspect of his/her personality that is a serious problem. You’ve rejected a Narcissist or Histrionic, causing them to feel horribly wounded. S/he is going to “fight back”. (Yes, all the awful things about to be unleashed are defensive as far as they’re concerned.) You’re deserting a Borderline? Their deepest fear is abandonment. Of course s/he is going to go absolutely postal. As for having entered into a contest with an anti-social, well of course s/he is determined to win at any and all costs.

You can end up in deep trouble with any one of these personality types, without any warning (in the form of personal history) that they have psychopathic tendencies. They may not ever become dangerous, unless you strike at the very heart of their most serious personal issues.

This is how the “S/he suddenly snapped and became a monster” scenarios come into being. This is how “He’s a pillar of our community. If his wife is desperate to escape him, she must be a basket case.” church responses occur.

S/he does have impulse control – in church. S/he does obey the law – unless s/he is desperate to retain control of an escaping spouse. S/he can explain ethical and moral issues in intricate detail – but all’s fair in a war with an “enemy”. S/he oozes love and compassion – for anyone who doesn’t threaten his/her self image.

I have gone a few rounds with cluster Bs. I’ve got a modestly valid opinion. Here it is:

If you observe a relatively benign manifestation of cluster B in someone, you should become acutely situationally aware. There are specific ways to get on the bad side of each type. If you do this, you will encounter the “Psychopathic” aspects, even if they’ve never manifested in this person before.

Most of us don’t spend our time on parole boards or trying to figure out how to negotiate our survival in a prison population. We’re not parole officers, nor do we attempt to rehabilitate the criminally insane. We’re just trying to make it through the next family reunion and stay out of hot water at civic league meetings. We need to know what to do with the cluster Bs who haven’t gone psycho…


One of my fellow Marines has a grenade he’s very fond of. Really and truly, the two go way back. They’ve got history. Sometimes he picks it up and runs his fingers over it, as if it were a string of worry beads. Over the years, a few people have wondered about his sanity. They’ve asked him about his odd little memento. He rolls his eyes and says, “Well it’s not like I’d ever pull the pin!” It sits on his desk in an oasis of martial training and warrior bonding, far away from curious children and people naive enough to mistake it for a paperweight. The old grenade belongs there, and it makes complete sense in that context.

Don’t remove it from that context, and for God’s sake don’t pull the pin.

Elizabeth: I love your thoughtful observations and/but . . . with some of these, they may be controlling the situation in ways that you can’t see. Your fellow Marine sounds “relatively safe,” considering. Taking it two steps further, a P with a long-con strategy might be saving that grenade for a visit from the kids at the daycare center.

We don’t know what’s in their heads, and I agree with you, I really don’t think their history necessarily predicts their next behavior or their level of danger to society.

In your example of the “Pillar of the community,” I suspect that either the pillar or the wife could be disordered, and who knows who is telling the truth? And assume that both of them have some dysfunction because they’ve been doing the dance of accommodating a disorder that may originate with one, but that affects the behavior of the other as well.

Did Scott Peterson “snap”? I was once married to someone I now recognize very clearly as an S/P. His whole family lived by the rule, “Now you know how he is. Don’t make him angry.” The problem, of course, was that anything or nothing could “make him angry,” and that was how he manipulated generations in that family. Yes, he turned into a stalker, and wreaked untold damage after I left him, and he sort of fits your description — and I don’t know how I could have gotten away sooner or cleaner.

This last life-destroying adventure was with someone who played “pillar of the community” — apparently — up until his divorce. His involvement with me looked like a real romance, until he dropped the mask and I realized I had simply been the target of his long con. There was no precipitating event. There never was violence, no “actionable” threats — nothing I could take to the police. That made it all the more devastating. Now that I know what to look for, I think he’s the guy who would take the grenade to the daycare center and leave it in the toybox, eagerly watching the news for word of the inevitable disaster.

Dear Rune,

“I suspect that either the pillar or the wife could be disordered, and who knows who is telling the truth?”

You and I know how to see the patterns under the words that reveal who’s telling the truth.

Anyone who observes that using the congregation to manipulate and/or punish the wife is controlling, exploitive, manipulative, abusive behavior is privy to the truth. A wife in such a situation IS absolutely bonzo. Controlling, exploitive, abusive, manipulative behavior has that effect on victims. The question isn’t “Who’s crazy?” The situation is crazy! The question is “Which of them, if either, should we actively aid?” The rest of us need to stop playing along with the agendas of N/S/P personalities.

Before encountering a Cluster B we used to think these situations were he said/she said. Now that we’ve been there, and done that, we are capable of deeper understanding. People who assume these situations are he said/she said are hearing without listening and seeing without observing. To be fair, they don’t know what to listen for; they don’t know what to observe. We DO know what needs to be discerned. All we have to deduce is who’s doing the controlling, abusing, manipulating and/or exploiting. The rest is static.

I truly believe that if you were privy to such a situation, you would have the insight to perceive the truth.

As for the Marine, that’s someone I failed to describe well. Don’t sweat that one. The world’s a better place because of his beautiful brand of crazy.

I’ve read recently 48% of people diagnosed with BPD can be treated and CURED. I’ve also read that if totally untreated, 1/3 of the people diagnosed with the condition will not fit the profile two years later.

The only person I personally know who was diagnosed was made miserable by her therapist. She saw someone else and was successfully treated for depression. Today she in no way fits the profile. When she was diagnosed, she somewhat fit the profile, but I would have described her as an unusually ethical person with no worse than average impulse control. As for her ability to love, there did seem to be a bit of a problem there, either in her ability to express it or her ability to understand it. I’m still not sure which. Any how, the diagnosis didn’t really fit, and she found the label extremely distressing.

Is it possible that many people diagnosed with BPD really suffer from depression or post traumatic stress disorder?

Not trying to rock anyone’s boat here. Just wondering!

Elizabeth, you said something I think is important:

“If you observe a relatively benign manifestation of cluster B in someone, you should become acutely situationally aware. There are specific ways to get on the bad side of each type. If you do this, you will encounter the “Psychopathic” aspects, even if they’ve never manifested in this person before.”

There are many examples of murderous results from individuals who had “seemingly” normal lives, described as quiet individuals. As I read this article and looked up info on histrionic disorder, it occurred to me that the XS fit that description as well. I also thought he was NPD AND BPD….I’m not sure why I want him to be diagnosed so badly…..

The reality is that he is just a bad, immoral, unethical person, pathalogically lying person whether he has done something “illegal” or not. HE VIOLATED MY LAWS AND I DIDN’T TAKE THAT SERIOUSLY ENOUGH. Friends described him as rotten on the inside and unstable and attention seeking. The reality is that he did things that I did not take seriously enough at the time they were happening….. chasing me down in his vehicle, circling a parking lot when I was having a conversation with a man he didn’t know, following me 50 miles to work, leaving threatening messages at all hours of the night, leaving notes at my home accusing me of having sex with men and left them where my kids found them.

The man wanted to destroy me and looked for all kinds of reasons and excuses and placed blame where he had no reason. It was like his entire belief system was corrupt and changing by the minute….. He was convinced that all he believed about me was true. He still believes all the lies he tells about himself. He is now unemployed and one of the trainers at the gym told me that the XS is telling people he is retired military….. WTF? this guy is nothing good but a good actor.

I guess my point is that all of these things could have easily escalated into something more dangerous. And the drama and lies continue….. and always would have. I am not an expert in psychology, but what I have experienced is bizarre and abusive and I want my life back……. There doesn’t seem to be enough distinction to me, in each of the Cluster B disorders for a confident diagnosis but I do agree they all have potential to be dangerous in many ways. I am grateful to be out of that mix. I do consider myself lucky and smart because I questioned things that his new victim(s) may not, that his x wife did not. It’s sick that I now know more about his past and his affairs and his disgusting lies than even his own wife of 26 years and his family.


“I’m not sure why I want him to be diagnosed so badly”..”

For the same reason we all do — we’re all logical people. When we’re faced with a question we don’t know the answer to, we research until we get an answer.

Problem is, we keep trying to impose logical and deductible logic in trying to solve the mystery of these destructive creatures we let into our lives.

I know you already know this, but I’m just responding to your point for the benefit of our new members who are still grappling with this issue.

Fact is folks, none of us are every going to be able to figure out sociopaths. All you can do is accept that you let a severely disordered and destructive person into your life and you’re finally getting him out.


One more point that keeps gnawing at me….. in all of the stalking and harassment and false accusations….. HE WAS cheating and lying and screwing other women and being deceitful. He was telling people all these lies about me…..there were so many instances that still haunt me and please just bear with me here because I don’t understand why they STILL haunt me. One instance: he tells me that when he returns from NY after his daughter’s wedding he wants things to change for us and promises to always be there for me, no more running away from issues and how he loves me and thanks me for all my patience and understanding in that he just has to attend this wedding alone…… I found out that he took the trashy x stripper girlfriend…… I STILL don’t understand why….. why put this trashy chick in front of his friends and relatives? Why did he NEED to have someone on his arm at HIS DAUGHTER’s WEDDING? It wasn’t about him. On another occasion he asks me to spend a Saturday afternoon on his boat, then calls me that morning tormenting me for two hours threatening not to take me. I finally told him I’m done and if he isn’t giving me a solid response by 11:00 AM I’m not available. he called at 11:10 and I told him sorry I made plans….. he freaked out, called my cell all afternoon. I later found he took the trashy girlfriend to pick out a car…….

I’m sorry, I know we all have these stories of lies and deceit to tell. Will they ever stop haunting me?

Keeping_faith: GREAT POST. I noticed that they all purposely keep the bad behavior percentages of their personalities out of the equation. They insist people focus on only the positive aspects of themselves and refuse to acknowledge, therefore will not (which continues to never) accept the percentage of their bad persona.

If you do not acknowledge and infraction, the infraction never gets resolved.

Just typical of being selfish.



As usual you have some interesting posts! The “diagnosis” of BPD I think is sometimes tagged in error on people who are VICTIMS and are under such stress for so long that they start to assume the thinking and behavior of a BPD but are not “really” disordered, but more just “dysfunctional” due to the stress they are under.

The Nazis performed some horrible experiments in psychology and “normal” people were driven to such extremes that they killed their own children. I won’t go into details on this one experiment I read about but it made my blood boil, and also convinced me that under enough stress and pain that ANYONE can do ANYTHING.

In looking back at my own behavior over my life, I realized that under enough stress and pain, I too would strike out at those reaching out a helping hand to me (for details go back and read the article I Wrote on forgiving myself) that “striking out” behavior could certainly be labeled “borderline” behavior.

The people who ARE genuinely PPD (Scot Peterson for example) had a pervasive and long term history of PPD manipulation and behavior though on CASUAL meeting, he appeared “fairl normal”–my guess is that behind closed doors, he was abusing Lacy more than anyone knew.

It was ONLY AFTER my son C’s wife tried to kill him and he was out of the relationship and she was in jail that I found out that she had ABUSED him verbally (and tried to physically) for almost the entire 7 years of their marriage. I knew he was unhappy but didn’t realize he was literally being abused. He kept up as much a cover over it as he could and kept us at enough of a distance and “in the dark” that we didn’t really have an idea of what was going on behind closed doors.

That’s part of the thing sometimes is that the abuse goes on behind closed doors. Maybe he didn’t physically or verbally abuse Lacy, but I bet he was doing something in the way of controling etc. Maybe she didn’t even perceive it as “abuse,” but I am betting it was there. We know he is a pathalogical LIAR and we know what Pathological liars are, and what they are capable of if “threatened.” Lacy’s baby was a “threat” as he perceived it.

Yes, they can escalate into something “more obviously dangerous” quickly, and just because one doesn’t appear to be “physically dangerous” doesn’t mean that they can’t become that way in a HEART BEAT if they are threatened to the core of their mask. Scot is a good example of that.

I think that ANY personality disordered person CAN be “pushed to the limit” if the “injury” to their core is deep enough or traumatic enough. Some are EASY to push, my son and my biological father for example, and others take a bit more to push them. I certainly would NOT have predicted my X-DIL would have been capable of murder, but in retrospect, I should have been more aware of the possibility.

I also knew my mother was an enabler and pretty hard core about it, but I thought she would be “half way reasonable” with PROOF that my P-son tried to have me killed, encouraged the affair my X-DIL was having with the Trojan Horse Psychopath, etc. (shaking head here) but I was the naive one in that mix, and in retrospect, “I should’a’known” she would waffle. Having accepted those TRUTHS (and yes, they pissed me off) I have now freed myself from the denial and the delusions that a personality disordered person (regardless of “what” diagnosis it is) can be dealt with productively in our lives.


Thanks, I know you get it…… it just disgusts me. Sometimes I wish I was the kind of person who was able to say…..”I don’t need to figure it out. I’ts just wrong. I’m done”.

Maybe I’m starting to be that way. Here’s an example: This weekend a guy asked me to go dancing on Friday night. I waited for a call and finally at 4:00 he send a text and says “meet me at ________” It’s a dance club. So I texted and said I’m not interested, maybe I am too traditional for this kind of dating but I don’t go to bars alone but have fun. He was texting for another hour telling me he will do whatever….. SORRY.

Maybe I’m being a snob. Maybe I have learned my lesson. I just don’t think thi is good treatment do you? Another guy called me yesterday and left a message telling me not to call back in case his girlfriend is with him. I told him that the biggest turn on is a gentleman who is trustworthy and shows integrity, so please don’t call me anymore if I can’t call him. Am I wrong here?

I feel like I am starting to weed all the shit out of my life LOL…. Give me a guy perspective MATT. Even if you are a gay man, you are still a man!!!

I meant to write “If you do not acknowledge an infraction” …

Sorry for the typo.


Your ex sounds very much like mine. Expert in the “long con,” and able to fool even the professionals.

I was thinking about some of the very same points you have made as I was driving home the other night. After a chance meeting with an old high school flame, I was thinking about the changes to my own perceptions, post-P. Now, when I think “What a nice person!” or “What a nice thing!” there is the little P-shaped demon sitting on my shoulder, whispering, “But you could be wrong, Tood.” Or “What you are seeing and hearing could be a lie.”

I’ll never be able to trust again like I trusted before. In the long run, of course, this is a better, healthier mindset. But it takes some getting used to, this new suspicion.

I hope we are all able to integrate this new mindset with perfect balance. I guess we are ultimately the only valid judges of what is “just right” and what is “cynical and bitter.”

Keeping_faith: You go girl … kick those ego buttheads to the curb … where they belong.

I am with you on this. An arrogant person will push their infractions right from the beginning … coming right out of the gate. It’s their secret/subtle game they play. If you aren’t savvy to the game, you will not pick it up and you are doomed because you gave away your power in the very first play. You picked up on it. YOU DID NOT GIVE AWAY YOUR POWER!

Keep your head up high … where it belongs.

Peace. You did what was right.

Thanks Wini,

Maybe this is a good sign of the healing process even thought I am still haunted by the bad episodes…… I have become more comfortable being alone and sometimes I prefer it. Now, I prefer it to these bozos who just don’t know how to act like adults, let alone to treat a woman right ! I appreciate the support and almost feel silly that I am asking the questions…..but there are things we just can’t let go of and for me and going forward it’s about how I allow people to treat me!

Keeping faith: Thanks for sharing. Sometimes when I am alone with my thoughts I also wonder WTF? How did this happen; why didn’t I see before I gave ten years of my life? It angers me beyond belief the lies that he is telling about me and making me out to be the crazy one! Of course I’m the one with actual proof that none of these things he has said occurred; but still…it really bothers me. I want so much to have a rational conversation with him and have him take responsibility. I had the opportunity meet the mother of his children yesterday. We had a long discussion about him. It was very enlightening. Of course all the things he had told me about her were not true (now I know, then I believed him). She told me that he hasn’t changed a bit; he’s just gotten better with what he does. Now he has moved on to another victim. I actually sent the new woman this link and tried to ‘warn’ her about him. He has already told her I’m the crazy one(this is per his sister when she was still having contact).

I know he believes all the lies he has told about me. And that is just eating me up inside. I want to scream at him “you know I didn’t do any of that”! I have never had this kind of thing happen to me before and don’t know how to get past this. I still cry all the time. I’m still under investigation at my job because of his lies. I’m having to declare bankruptcy now because of going in debt with him (everything was in my name). He promised to help me pay the bills, but we know how that goes.

You say “HE VIOLATED MY LAWS AND I DIDN’T TAKE THAT SERIOUSLY ENOUGH. Friends described him as rotten on the inside and unstable and attention seeking. The reality is that he did things that I did not take seriously enough at the time they were happening” that is exactly what I have also gone thru.

It’s been therapeutic for me to get on this site and blog knowing there are others out there who understand what I’m going thru.

Keeping_faith: IF the red flags go up … they go up.

You are only human … and you have a right to protect yourself.

Just imagine that you were in a plane crash and you were the sole survivor. All the other passengers, perished.

You walk around dazed and confused and anyone you talk to doesn’t really understand what you mean. You feel like everyone almost gets it, but you realize that don’t understand the whole of the situation.

So you walk around … and walk around … wounded and out of sorts with the rest of humanity.

Until, that one day, you meet another survivor of another horrific situation… and that survivor gets you. They understand. It’s unspoken … it’s kinship … it’s like minds.

That’s what LF is all about. IT’s bridging everyone that has endured a horrific experience together.

With that said … of course the average person out in the dating scene isn’t going to get you. You are on another level. There is no turning back. You have to meet another who has gone through the soul searching after dealing with a horrific situation in life. It’s not the same as yours … but, that person will be on the same level as you.

Everyone on here … has to understand this truth.


Swehrli, Wini,

Wini, I think you are right…. it’s almost as though life will never look the same to me. I almost want that naivety back again yet I feel like the next man in my life will have to run much deeper. There will have to be PROOF of real meaning not just empty words and empty promises.

Swehrli, I hear you and I feel for you. I hesitate to keep telling the same stories yet as wini said in her post it’s almost like we are the walking wounded and we get it. It’s not that misery loves company. I just get so angry that STOPPING it is out of our control and all we can really do is learn from it and protect ourselves in the future.

The stories are gross. the XS’s X wife of 26 years must have also been through hell and back. I am sure that all he said about her was not true too. He told me she was insane as he now tells people that I am. It is abuse plain and simple. I feel for her too. We have to keep our “laws” in place and not let anyone else violate them!


Good point….so is this why we struggle so much afterwards? Is it the inability to rationalize? is that why they can just walk and not look back except to point finger? They rationalize but their basis is a disturbed belief system. I can’t tell you how many times I asked why????? from the very beginning…… NEVER an answer…..except “because he can”.

Yes, it is so hard to realize that he will never “get it” that I could talk til I’m blue in the face trying to convince him to see my side of what he did to me…and yet, I still feel that need to do that. I won’t though. It’s been five weeks since any contact and I can’t turn back now. I really need to heal from this mess and “move on” as my friends tell me. At this point I cant even ever imagine going on a date let alone trusting another man again. I don’t know how Keeping Faith is doing that. Keeping Faith: How long have you been out of your relationship with the S/P?


First of all……what you are feeling is a source of my constant nightmares about the S. i am so frustrated in my dreams working hard to try to convince him that what he is saying, thinking, feeling is not correct. I wish I could get rid of all of that and maybe then the constant thoughts of all the bad events and bad behavior would end.

I have been out since Oct 2007. It’s over a year. I was in the relationship almost 2 years. If you read “not one thing about him was real” on LF you will understand my story. Not so different than the others.

I go on a lot of first dates, not so much anymore because I am so intolerant of bad behavior. I have met a lot of jerks but have also met some friends even though I don’t date them. I rarely go on a second date but if I do and I’m not feeling for it, it doesn’t seem fair to continue. I look at it this way…… it’s all in the name of having fun and getting to know people. If someone expects too much too soon and it doesn’t feel right to me I will politely tell them but I don’t owe anyone anything. I’m done feeling obligated for any reason.

I dated a guy around Christmas time….he is 34 and we went out four times maybe, I am 48. He told me he loved me on the third date. He owned an air mattress and a table. That’s it. Little by little I find out he has lived in three different countries in the last seven years and has has basically lived with women off and on in all of these places. He is $60,000 in debt and starts hinting around about moving in….. RED FLAG RED FLAG!!! Done.

I am finding more men who are looking for someone stable than they are comfortable in their own stability. But I also have hope and I feel like you don’t know if you don’t try.

I met the S right after I separated from my husband of 22 yrs…..new town, no friends, lonely, sad, vulnerable, horrible messy divorce……here he comes to save the day. AND RAPE MY SOUL AND SPIRIT.

So I look at dating as an opportunity and if it doesnt’ work as date maybe the relationship will become a friendship.

What book, what did I miss?

At one point the XS had about three garbage bags full of stuff that I delivered to a parking lot too !.

LOL…… A few years ago I may have thought this guy was sweet and attentive (and he was) but even in terms of material things (and I don’t want to sound like a snob) he can’t measure up. There is something to be said for a man who is 34 and owns an air mattress and a table….right? He did say to me at one point “you aren’t materialistic are you?” I recall that standing out as a red flag…… for a guy who owns nothing and wants to move into my fully furnished home with a pool after knowing me four weeks…..that’s easy for you to say!!!! It was like he wanted me to feel bad for him and give up something of mine…..that had FRAUD written all over it in his very passive way !

LOL….bring it on. I have a nice spare room with it’s own bathroom. If I can fire the lawn guy you will be worth it !!! I’ll teach you how to put chemicals in the pool in summer 🙂

OMG I am laughing so hard……it hasn’t happened in my pool YET anyway. And not one ear infection since I have been taking care of it !

I would imagine someone in a panic in the water could be a danger to you as well…… so you can relate to the Navy SEAL XS/P I dated? LOL NOT!!!

Dear Keeping Faith,

“I’m not sure why I want him to be diagnosed so badly”..

The reality is that he is just a bad, immoral, unethical person, pathalogically lying person whether he has done something “illegal” or not. HE VIOLATED MY LAWS AND I DIDN’T TAKE THAT SERIOUSLY ENOUGH. Friends described him as rotten on the inside and unstable and attention seeking..”

There were several months of dealing with the N when I was desperate for an explanation as to what on earth was going on! When I stumbled on the answer by reading anything and everything I could find on abnormal behavior, I became equally desperate for validation of my assessment from someone, anyone! His behavior and that of his cronies was crazy-making, and I was desperate to know I wasn’t crazy.

I really get it about wanting a diagnosis, and wanting someone else to provide it. Boy, that would be so validating! Trouble is, I don’t think many of us are going to get that.

You’re friends say he’s a real loser. Go with that! That’s probably the best validation you’re going to get in this case.


Dear Keeping faith,

Where are you meeting these “first dates?” that never seem to go anywhere?

Maybe you might try looking in another place for dates. You might not have as MANY first dates, but there might be a chance they might be more second dates. Obviously the place you are finding these guys doesn’t weed them out real well.

Yea, the old “I love you, let me move in with my grocery sack of possessions and we will be so happy in your place, I really do love you” PLOY! ha ha ha ha ha

I haven’t had ANY dates in a couple of years, but at the same time haven’t been looking since I broke up with my X-BF the P, though I hang around places to meet guys that I COULD have had an invitation for a “date” but wasn’t even interested enough to even allow them to ASK me, when it got to where they were talking like they might ask, I let them know I wasn’t interested (in them at least) LOL Most of the guys I know, even the “nice guys” have something about their lifestyle that I can see from the GET GO I would not want to get involved with—lack of good money management, kids or grandkids still at home, etc. The nicest guy I have met lately is a really sharp, nice looking black guy who is about my age. I even think he was “interested” but because of the area I live in, he would be “tossed out” of the black community and I would be “tossed out” of the white community, it would be as “bad or worse” than coming out as “gay” as far as the way folks would treat us…and while he seems like a really really nice, guy with a lifestyle I could handle, I am just not ready to buck the trends here in this part of the world for anyone. I just couldn’t handle the stress it would produce. My sons would back me if I really loved him, but knowing what would be there eventually down the road in the way of stress etc. I just can’t allow myself to get into the position OF loving him.

Just like my college guy buddy that I pal around with, NICE guy, but has 2 kids at home, doesn’t manage his money in a way that I could “live with” and his house looks like a storage locker and his yard looks like a salvage yard. I couldn’t handle that at all. Plus, I totally disagree with his “parenting style” which is more about being “buddies” with his kids than guiding them. (Unsupervised and unlimited access to the internet for his 13 yr old who has already been into the really rank porn on the net) etc. So I can see that a relationship would never work with him though our FRIENDSHIP is great and we enjoy each other’s company and going places together. I wish I could have a relationshp with him because he would never abuse me or cheat on me and would “treasure” me, but our life styles and our philosophies on some critical things are just too far apart. There are too many “deal breakers” involved.

When you are younger there don’t seem to be so many “deal breakers” involved with picking someone to date, but when you are a “mature adult” (anything over 30 at least) and you have established a life style etc. have kids, maybe a house, etc. there are more deal breakers or at least it seems so to me.

I actually sat down and made a list of “deal breakers” and it sort of opened my eyes.

I also made a list of “requirements” and that too opened my eyes. At 62 I’m not likely to find someone with ALL the “requirements” of list two and NONE of the deal breakers on list one. LOL I am not going to “lower my standards” because I do know that if I had a relationship with someone who had ANY of the deal breakers, the relationship would deteriorate into a bad situation before long.

I’m not “into money” or “status” either, but at the same time a man who is around my age who has been such a “rolling stone” that he has GATHERED NO MOSS and is looking for a place to lay his head to be provided for me, or is still supporting pre-school kids from his 4th or 5th wife, isn’t going to “work out” with me. I’m not looking for a “fixer up” project at this point in life! LOL


You made me laugh really…… “You’re friends say he’s a real loser. Go with that!”

I should have listened to a few of my friends who questioned several things about him early on.

I guess I didn’t look at it in terms of the validation, but I would not have learned as much as I did if he didn’t try to convince me that I had BPD. He learned this by the way when he went to one counseling session. he and his counselor diagnosed me!! That’s why I started reading….can you believe it? Thinking well maybe there is something wrong with me? And damn it I’m gonna fix it if there is!!!

Truly, I have gotten validation from therapy and people like you on this site who “get it”. I guess we are all crazy in our own way. I like my crazy better! Mine doesn’t leave a trail of hurt, abused, abandoned people.


Thanks for validating a few things for me and for wanting me to look in some better places for quality. I met my loser dates that go nowhere in a variety of places…..the last few were through friends. (the 34 yr old). Here is a funny one. I may have told you about the friend who introduced me to a guy and told me he was an optalmologist but he is really an unemployed optician..> LOL. I was already on the date when I learned this!

The guy from Friday I met at the same dance club where he wanted to meet me last Friday. Very professional guy……but he’s lazy. He didn’t want to drive a few extra miles to get me. He wanted me to make the date easy for him. The other guy I met through a friend. I gave him my number, then he tells me he has a girlfriend. I tried online dating but that’s like fast food and they are not usually what they seem in photos.

Honestly, I am not even looking. I have just been trying to do some different things, dance lessons, art museum events, to meet different people, not necessarily dates. I need to SCREEN them better. That’s the problem.

I am only divorced two years. This chaos with the XS happened in the midst of my divorce and I had not dated in 24 years! I needed time to recover from my divorce let alone this sociopath. So I just want to broaden my self right now and not look at the people I meet as a potential husband. I got burned by my x husband. he too wanted to be “taken care of” financially. I’m over it. If someone gives me an indication that they are looking for a support system they are out. I’m good at it but I don’t want to. At least not right now.

Wana cause panic at a public pool ?

Pack a fistful of powdered lemonade mix in your kid’s swim diapers.

Where do I get these ideas? OK, I admit it. I spend the whole day, every day with a 10 year old boy. I’ve learned every toilet humor joke and rude noise germane to 4th grade.

Elizabeth Conley: Regarding diagnosis — I worked for a woman who told me she had been diagnosed BPD. I took that into consideration as I watched her behavior. Eight months of progressive hell later, she dropped the mask. PPD, pure and simple. Controlling, manipulative, lying, dissociating, gleeful over causing other people pain, grandiose, did I mention lying?, complete disregard for other people’s feelings, property, or her obligations in business . . . a screaming delight in making other people squirm, her own grandchild included.

But it took some time of watching to fit the behaviors together. I’m sure a therapist might well have diagnosed her BPD. She “played” at “best friends” almost instantly, and kept it up as long as my resume and qualifications served her other agendas, but she continually abused me, knowing I had few options at the time.

I’m skeptical of those statistics you quoted above, just because I think Borderline can look like other things, and psychopathy, well masked, can look like totally normal.

As to your crazy Marine, I also have room in my heart for the fringe element, if I also see that their hearts and their moral compasses are intact.

Wow Rune,

Your BPD run in was awful. She sounds like her other car was a broom.

What you’re describing sounds classic. I have known some heartbroken men who’ve described similar scenarios, only romantic in nature.

The lady I personally knew was someone I grew up with. We were tight. She wasn’t perfect, but none of us are. She was and is one of the most ethical people I know, as well as one of the most intelligent. She went through a living hell of emotional illness for years. It crippled her from the age of 15 to the age of 40. I was so glad when she finally got the right treatment and the right medication, I cried with relief for her.

She was a difficult patient, in that she was very, very sad and experienced severe disruptions to her sleep patterns. She simply didn’t get well, no matter what anyone tried. I guess that explains the BPD diagnosis, but it was a godsend when they finally found a drug that set her free from sadness and let her sleep at night.

EC: This so-called “BPD” acted out like the absolute classic psychopath — except I had absolutely no emotional connection with her. From an educational standpoint, I learned a lot about how a P looks in female form, acting out her disorder in a context other than a romantic relationship. The experience allows me greater insight as I look at my own life, and at the situations others describe here on the LF site.

From a personal standpoint, that was months of work, no pay, and the last straw in my effort to resist homelessness. She was quite the follow-up to the romantic/financial con of the S/P I had been involved with for 18 months.

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