By | January 30, 2009 102 Comments

Sociopaths, words and sharing

Old time psychoanalysts connect a young child’s desire to share experiences with caregivers to the development of a healthy personality. The idea that any pleasure is better if we share it starts shortly after the first birthday. That is also the time language starts to develop. Words then become a way to share experiences. Healthy people use words to share their feelings, interests and desires. A little child who has just learned to walk will bring her toy over to dad to share it. She is delighted when he makes some comment about it. We take for granted that everyone has this desire to share and take mutual delight.

As I write this I am sharing with you truths I have found deeply meaningful, so you are getting a part of me when you read what I write. If you read the many posts I have written you can get to know me to a certain degree. But what if my writing was not a reflection of anything I personally care about. What if I wrote only to cause some sort of reaction in you? I am not capable of that kind of writing because it is only my desire to share what I think is interesting and compelling that at all motivates me to write. If nothing interesting happens to me I find I have nothing to share and nothing to write. For me the sharing is everything, I wouldn’t write without it. After reading a new book, I thought about sharing this week and realized that if I didn’t want to share, I wouldn’t communicate at all. I like teaching at the university because for me teaching is a form of sharing and I feel affection for the students.

It has been nearly 6 years since I said goodbye to a sociopath, but I am just now coming to grips with many aspects of the disorder. This week I understood on an emotional level this idea of sharing through verbal communication.

Regarding psychopaths, Elizabeth Howell wrote in The Dissociative Mind page 251:

Used instrumentally, words do not share the self or communicate with the other, but function as triggers to effect targeted behavior in another person. Even when the psychopath uses words imbued with a highly symbolic meaning, such as religious words or words evoking trust, he is not operating in the realm of symbolic thought (because his/her words are not functioning to symbolize any inner feelings). Thus psychopaths may appear or seem to be involved with symbols, as others are, but they are using their knowledge of others'(use of words) ”¦and manipulating through them.”

Rather than for sharing, a sociopath uses words instrumentally or for effect. His or her words have no real relationship to anything on the inside”¦ truly remarkable if you ask me; a reality that completely blows me away when I think about it even after all these years.

Howell further writes:

Unimpeded by any concern for the other or considerations of conscience, the psychopath uses language in a manner that can be highly effective in achieving the desired ends. And to the degree that instrumental behavior is effective it will be repeated.

As I consider what Howell wrote I am reminded of the card Gem’s father wrote to her for her 18th birthday (see last week’s blog). The card was purely instrumental, designed to have an effect on the reader.

Consider the profound implications of the instrumental use of language. You will likely come to two conclusions regarding what your sociopath says. First you always have to wonder what the sociopath is trying to achieve with his words because it ain’t sharing. Second you realize that no real communication is possible.

If you are stuck in life with a sociopath or are trying to decide if a continued relationship is possible please consider that every word that comes from the sociopath is instrumental. The sociopath has never shared herself with you. The sociopath has never really shared a pleasure with you. Even the sex was not about sharing. The sex was about the sociopath’s pleasure and his or her prowess as a lover.

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Healing Heart

This is a really interesting point, and one that I’ve been thinking about, but in more of a vague way. Dr. Leedom explains it very succinctly.

My ex S absolutely used language to manipulate me. It’s like he figured out what words I liked, and then consistently strung them together when he wanted to make sure I was hooked. I look back on our emails, and see that it was when he started cheating more regularly that he started using stronger words of love, trust, monogamy, “US,” special, forever, etc, with me. It looks like right after periods where he disappeared for many hours in the middle of the workday, he would hop back online and write me an email stringing all of the magical words together. And I would be so pleased and mesmerized by these words that I would be certain that my worries about “where he had gone off to” were simply my insecurities, because clearly this man loved me so much. Just look at what he said.

As his behavior got worse and worse, he words in his emails got sweeter and sweeter. He invoked God, said our relationship was “blessed” and that God has brought us together. He even said God spoke to him at times, telling him that we belonged together. His words did their job for a long time, and I was eating out of his hands….he could disappear for hours in the morning or afternoon (when he cheated), but as long as he used all of those words when he came back on line, I would be assured that he loved me, God loved me, and that everything was fine. I would be thrilled, in fact. Thrilled that someone would love me enough to say those beautiful things, express those wonderfully loving sentiments.

It was not until his behavior was outrageous, and really that he couldn’t even bring himself to string together these words, he had so much disdain for me, that I started to see more clearly.

He was a master with words. And in hindsight, everything he said about love and life was completely without substance. In fact, his behavior was in complete opposition to his words.

If only I had paid more attention to what he did, rather, than what he said, I would have gotten out much more quickly. He used words to spin a very sticky web in which I got more thoroughly entangled with each passing day.


Healing Heart: My EX used those same kind and loving words with me. What was the worst of all of this … he did me in while I was being systematically destroyed every day by my bosses.

Talk about cowards and focused on greed and what was in it for them … destroying my life and career. I was nothing but a convenient stepping stone so they ALL could get what they wanted.

But, I did the best that I could. My attorneys (2 attorneys for 2 separate situations) played me, my bosses and their cronies played me and my fiance played me … all for what they could get and who cared about decency, never mind justice … which just flew out the window. They all got what they greedily wanted at my expense.

Talk about blinded sickness!



Wow. This is interesting. Bad Man was notably dramatic with his words. I noticed his way of expressing himself had an element of high drama.

Also, as a Minister, he used words to manipulate the crowd. He told me that the “alter call” was a “formula.” The later call is when in certain evangelical churches are praying and ask people to come to the front of the church for prayer of confessing. There is typically a lot of boo-hooing. I felt uncomfortable with this before and I absolutely HATE this now.

BTW, I am not going to partake in any religious debates today.

Healing Heart

I noticed that he adopted certain phrases that I used. The loving ones…..he would later say back to me as if he was using them for the first time. I would think “Uh, I said that exact thing to you 2 weeks ago, why are recycling it so precisely?” It was like he was collecting “things to say to your lover,” and then used them as part of his schtick.

And he sometimes said flowery words to me that didn’t sound like him – they were something new. I realize now that he was incorporating something someone had said to him in his “sweet nothings” to me. Sometimes the things he said were something a woman would say. Ick

I think sometimes he wrote one email and then cut and paste different email names and addresses. Sometimes I noticed that they were very loving, but never said anything specific about me. Just talked about how wonderful and magical our love was. And some of the emails were really long and looked like they took a lot of time (another reason why I thought he loved me). I think they were recycled. He almost never used my name in emails. It was always “Baby.” And he never said specifics like “I love the way your blonde hair looks” it was all vague and generic. But it didn’t seem that way because it was incredibly loving. It seemed anything but generic, it seemed like fiery, passionate, devoted love. But in hindsight, it was probably something he sent to four women at once.

But his use of words was excellent. It’s amazing now to look at them (old emails) and realize that they were completely hollow. He did not mean those things – I don’t think he even understood them. But his language was powerful.

I saw his profile on a few weeks ago. It was amazing. It read like an incredibly wonderful, generous, loving, supportive, compassionate man. But it didn’t sound like him. It certainly wasn’t him. It’s an incredibly alluring and sticky web of lies.


i never got emails … or letters … or cards. i wasn’t allowed to take photographs of him either. he always thought ”the words will someday be used against me.”


This article is incredible! I think it hits the nail right on the head. In fact, I’m tempted to print a copy to acompany all of my P’s emails, IMs, and blogs when I go to my lawyers office.

As some of you know I am divorced from a P, but we have a son together. He has managed to harass me all week. I filed a case with the child support people and now he is really mad. He called my home several times and wanted me to explain why his support payments are higher (because he is in the rears that’s why) and why I attempted to file a restraining order on him (he had been harassing me through all of the above mentioned ways and I tried to get a restraining order. Since he hadn’t threatned to kill me they denied it). He told me that by me attempting the restraining order that he was passed over for a promotion at work. Doesn’t make much sense to me….
Anyway, at the advice of someone here I have adopted the “No contact” policy as much as I can. I am having my father handle all phone calls and pick up and drop off my son when the P has visitation. I told my P today and he responded by telling me that if he could not talk to me then he did not want my father parking in his girlfriends driveway when he came to pick up my son, and that he did not want me taking my son to visit his parents anymore. This all came after I received a “heartfelt” (bleh! That was me vomiting…) email telling me how sorry he was that he had hurt me and his family, that he was happy that I had a good relationship with his foster parents, and oh by the way could we modify visitation?. My thought is that the motivation behind the email was to A. butter me up, B. get more visitation, and C. have a sappy letter to show a judge what a wonderful person he is and how hard he is trying (insert vomit here!). I believe that the motivation for him telling me not to visit his parents is that he believes that I get enjoyment out of seeing them so he wants to try and take that away.

BTW, I am reading Without Conscience right now and it has been enlightening to say the least.

At this point I am hoping that the no contact thing will make him rethink seeing his son at all. I really think the only reason he sees him now is so he can get to me. I hope that if I’m able to take myself out of the picture, that he will leave forever.

My biggest concern is my son and his well-being. I have already scheduled him to see a child psychiatrist. He is only a year old, but is already showing more displays of temper than most children which concerns me.

I don’t want to be in trouble with a judge for cutting off the P. I don’t think, as has been discussed several times over, that a judge would understand the weight of the situation. Any suggestions? I’m open to all.

Ox Drover

Dear LB,

I think your idea of not letting your X see YOU is a good thing. He will continue to try to see YOU as long as he can get a response out of YOU. He doesn’t give a rat’s behind about a one year old or “visiting” wiht a one year old who can’t give him any positive feed back and will cause him trouble. So, if you hang on long enough and don’t communicate with hi AT ALL except via your dad or attorney or court, he will get blooming tired of changing diapers etc. for “visitation” if it doesn’t get him ACCESS TO MAKE YOU MISERABLE.

NO CONTACT as much as possible is the ONLY way I think you have a chance of winning against him. At some point when he is waaaay in arrears with the child support payment mayybe you can trade him a pass on thepayments for a release of parental rights and visitation. In other words, buy your kid from him. I’ve seen that work with some of them.

I have h eard though that somecourts won’t vacate the parent’s rights unless there is another person to “adopt” them, so you might have a problem there so you might check with your lawyer and see what your state would accept.

Good luck and hang in there for your child’s sake. (((hugs)))


Dr. Leedom: This raises some very interesting questions for me. It’s my understanding, from my wide-ranging study of literature on brainwaves and thought patterns, that the intuition and emotions are pre-verbal, rising up from the lower, slower brainwaves (theta, alpha, and perhaps even delta), and then being articulated through the speech center via our higher, faster brainwaves — the beta waves that have to do with analytical thought: typically listmaking, judging, criticizing, etc.

Between the lines, you are suggesting that those words the S/P uses never did come from anywhere close to either the emotional or the intuitive realm. The words come straight out of analyzed, processed observations, memory, etc.

From my experience, and from my synthesis of a lot of reading on psychopathic behavior, I keep feeling that any of our tit-for-tat or other negotiating and communication tools are worthless with an S/P because anything they say doesn’t come from anyplace that is true. Does this also suggest why the observation is that the S/P has a shallow affect? Glib, superficial?

I’m intrigued. Great post.


Dear Healing Heart

My ex P recycled phrases in exactly the same manner. In the very early early days on meeting my ex P, i remember clearly saying to him ‘i like to treat others in the way i would like to be treated’. This is a regular statement i have made throughout my life and try to abide by. On one of our final talks on the phone (i was still acting a little crazy at this time as i was not aware of what i was dealing with), he quoted the exact same words to me with no depth or emotion, just as if he were reciting them for a play.

The generic words were always used by him also. It was only after seperation did he call me by my given name. I actually wonder if he even remembered my name in the time we were together. lol

I also clearly remember, over time, making statements that i am fully aware never came from him. Statements that id heard others use, he would use them as if they were his own and that they had never been said before. Yes, the occassional statement where i would wonder where who he collected those group of words from, or a idea , turned out to be other victims hed sucked in. My exact same response to his recycled quotations, HUH!

lost in grief – i to, was never allowed to take photos and never received anything in writing in the 8 years we were together. Now i see it for what it is, there was to be little or no evidence or our relationship, so he could manipulate his next victim.

Rune-i love your insightful posts.

I love you all and may not have survived if it was not for this site xx

Elizabeth Conley

Wow Liane Leedom,


“Consider the profound implications of the instrumental use of language. You will likely come to two conclusions regarding what your sociopath says. First you always have to wonder what the sociopath is trying to achieve with his words because it ain’t sharing. Second you realize that no real communication is possible. ”

I thought I was the only person in the universe who had ever had those thoughts. A few years ago I left an organization headed by a Narcissist because I felt huge angst with respect to the ethics of appearing to support his agendas.

Over time I had observed that almost everything he said was designed to manipulate someone, attack someone or further some unwholesome agenda. The trouble was, on the surface his remarks always seemed benign. It caused a huge crisis of conscience for me. I couldn’t figure out what his “angle” was most of the time, at least not ’til after the fact. Then I’d realize I’d contributed to his successful gaslighting, denigrating or worse because by my mere presence and silence I’d seemed to support him.

I wish I’d slipped away silently, but that’s another story. I’m just thankful you’ve stated the problem so succinctly. If nothing a person says can be trusted, then just being around him/her is a huge source of ethical conundrums.


Elizabeth: You were one of the N’s unwitting accomplices. This is another level of destruction that they wreak on us — the way they use other people to further their weird agendas. But they can do it in ways that you can hardly imagine. For example, the N might want to “prove” to you that someone else, “Jack” we’ll say, endorses his program. He’ll tell you all about what he did for “Jack,” like last October, and he’ll tell you a story in some gory detail (maybe something embarrassing about Jack like how he went on a drunken bender, or he lost his house payment playing poker, — some lie about Jack) and then elicit your silence by saying, “Of course you should keep quiet about this, because Jack wouldn’t want to know that I told you.” Then he’ll call Jack over from across the room — Jack may not have any real relationship with N, but Jack will come over and N will say, “Jack, we were really lucky to get through October, weren’t we!” And Jack will look slightly confused, but you will think it’s just embarrassment over the story, and Jack will say, “Yes we were,” (while he thinks, “What was that about?”) and you’ll have the impression that N helped Jack (this bolsters N’s reputation and tears down Jack) and you won’t question Jack about N because you don’t want to embarrass Jack.

So you will have just gotton the weird N/S/P version of “social proofing,” and Jack will have become an accomplice to N, without ever having a clue.

Later, when you start having the ability to peel back the layers of deception, you might replay that incident, or not. Meanwhile, you will have been used by the N in just that way to validate him with other people. Like, the N could use the fact that you and he were in conversation to relate to some other person a fictitious version of your conversation — something embarrassing (and fictional) about you, and then call you over . . .

I think that people who endorsed Bernie Madoff to other trusting investors must be feeling the horror of being the unwitting accomplice at this point. When it’s in a church that is supposed to exist to further you along the path to salvation, is that worse?

Elizabeth Conley

Wow Rune,

You really get it. I’ve had the hardest time articulating my angst over even the most casual association with a certain N. Describing phenomenon like the one you just outlined made me sound certifiable – yet subtle little games like that happened almost continually.

It made me feel like Alice felt when she dropped down the rabbit hole. The only difference was that Alice’s transition to “Wonderland” was sudden and obvious. I had no clue how or when I’d ended up in an alien world.

Ox Drover

Good analogy, Rune! My mother is my P-son’s dupe (she also has problems of her own) and I call it “psychopath-by-proxy” as he persuades her to do his dirty work for him, in the name of “protecting” him from my “unjust attacks.” He lies to her, very convincingly.

He is also a GREAT STUDENT of philosophy. He is continually reading and learning language to use to manipulate others. Philosophy that sounds SO PROFOUND and sooooo DEEP, and he knows how to USE that language, but has NOT A CLUE of the meaning. He does not see any of the contradictions between what he says and what he says. Robert Hare mentioned that and that is one of the REAL telling points, a REAL RED FLAG to me when a person says one thing, but does another. Or when one minute they are spouting “What would Jesus do?” and the next it is all about something horrible and evil.

As Jesus said, you don’t find two different kinds of fruit on ONE TREE. So in other words, if you find rotten apples and beautiful oranges growing on the SAME TREE, you can bet that the oranges have been tied on with “string.” LOL


So my mom and I have been talking and she is afraid that if I cut off contact with him then the only way left for him to hurt me is through our son. I DO NOT want my son endangered more than he already is by being in the P’s presence. So should I renig on my no contact? I am afraid he would hurt my son to hurt me. After all someone on here said never to let him know what I love because he will make it his goal to take it away from me. He obviously knows that I love my son very deeply. Should I sacrifice myself so that my son can be safer or will it not make a difference in the end? I really need some direction….


Oxy: As the pseudo-catsitter, pseudo-minister said, “Jesus Christ!” And he wove that into a next sentence that sounded like he was his “humble minister” persona, when he was just a punk, the teenage thug at age 73.

But notice, how this isn’t even your garden-variety liar: as Robert Hare said, “They know the words, but not the music.” And they’ll memorize those words, and drag them out in inappropriate ways, and if you’re not paying very close attention, the words almost make sense.


totally off subject…but i got the most rediculous news today. the OW that my ex was with has now put a PPO out on me. ive never even met this girl in my life. ive never talked to this girl on the phone in my life. I would love to know how im a theat to her? i’d like to know what evidence she has to prove this? we dont even know each other. its completely rediculous that ive moved on with my life and i get drama from a past relationship.


Litterbox: Read my post above. ANY contact with the S/P is going to give him ammunition to use you, in ways you can’t imagine. If you can somehow become NOT INTERESTING, that’s you’re best bet. If he thinks he can’t get to you, you’ll be less interesting. If you can act bored, you will be less interesting. He wants a fight, or your pain, but he really doesn’t want your boredom!

DO NOT give up your son to him. That will not make your son safe.


I have to give my P the court ordered visitation every week. The way I was going to handle no contact was to have a 3rd party handle all the telephone calls and pick up my son for me after visitation. I don’t understand why when he has already moved in with another woman and her parents why he is still trying to irritate me. I have to confess that I have a severe form of anxiety disorder which makes me….apparantly very interesting to him. How do I become boring. It’s not like I can just turn off my own issues. If I could I would have done it years ago.


I’ll be back I just have to put my son down for a nap.


“Unimpeded by any concern for the other or considerations of conscience, the psychopath uses language in a manner that can be highly effective in achieving the desired ends. And to the degree that instrumental behavior is effective it will be repeated.

As I consider what Howell wrote I am reminded of the card Gem’s father wrote to her for her 18th birthday (see last week’s blog). The card was purely instrumental, designed to have an effect on the reader.”

I like the way this was written. In a manner that can be highly effective in achieving the desired result and about the card (any communication) being an instrument to have an affect. In my case ALL of this was true. As I continue to have “flashbacks” and many memories of more and more lies that become evident, it is true that it was all designed to have an affect…..either to make something more attractive to me or to make something appear more believable or to seem more intimidating…… and none of it was consistent with any action or behavior, at least to show any level of integrity or to follow through on one positive thing he said.

His body was attractive and he was incredible sexy (steroid induced and artificial) but he achieves his end result, to attract women. Then he talksabout and pokes fun at guys he likes to accuse of abusing steroids as if he was not. he didn’t even care about the consequence (heart attack, liver, kidney problems).

He likes to show off his loud cars and offers to pay for things (then he walks out of the restaurant and complains that no one else grabbed the tab. When asked about his loud cars, he didn’t consider that other people may viw him as ateenage thug, in his 51 years, but it gets the attention. Everyone looks).

At a time when the country is at war, what a better time to sport the dog tags, diving watch, military bracelets. (he didn’t consider that the FBI may want him for inpersonating a SEAL or NSA agent who kills terrorists). Short term thinking.

It is a profound thing when you read this article. It’s the very thing that can keep us from making the same mistake. YET it takes time to see the consistency in one’s words and behavior. But at least now, I will be more vigilant about looking for it.

A physician told me said “He reads you like a blind man reads brail”. My therapist said, “You gave him the script. All he did was repeat the words.” It’s play acting to achive THEIR result, shallow, short sided and narrow as it may be or seem to those of us who run a little deeper than impulsiveness for immediate gain like theft, sex or attention. It’s who they are. It is what it is.



I believe what you are talking about is ON subject. It’s just another way to “document” their own fury because they believe if they can get someone to verify something in writing (truthful or not) that it must make them look like a victim.

The XS had his OW sending me text message at one point, then told me she was going to have me arrested for harassment (no proof). After I had 30 stalking incidents documented and he raged at me in public one afternoon (with witnesses) he went to an attorney and had a letter sent stating that I can no longer follow him and I should stay away from his house….blah blah blah. I had not been near his house and it was HE who had been following me. he did it for effect so that he could tell his friends and family what he did, before he would be arrested. SO good for him he paid a few hundred dollars to an attorney who sent me a letter with no proof. Essentially that’s what they are doing to you.

It’s about the show, not the truth.


Litterbox: I hate to suggest this, but with a third-party doing the transfer, are you still giving him ammunition? Can you trust the third-party not to fall in with some new game he might try?

Can you possibly be there to hand over your son, with the third-party keeping you company, so that you can SHOW HIM YOU ARE BORED, and you have a witness? I know this is profoundly difficult, but I’m thinking that if this just become tedious for him, and he’s not “getting to you,” that he just won’t get his thrill out of it.

That would mean that you have to have your psychic shields up so he doesn’t get to you, no comments, no “hi, how are you?” No interaction. Just the absolute minimum, with no glare, no fear, no anger . . .

Believe me, I know how hard this is. Truly.


how do you defend yourself when you did nothing wrong? they are not even together anymore.

Great post, and very interesting thread.

A lot of it made me laugh. Semi-hysterically, but I can’t help but think about doing a stage play about a bunch of robots staggering around, spouting words they’ve collected from television or from each other, getting more and more garbled with every repetition.

When I was a journalist, and I couldn’t figure out what was going on in a story, I’d “follow the money.” That is, figure out who profits. It usually helped me shake things out.

When I’m writing PR or marketing documents, all the writing is not just intended to inform, but to stimulate someone to act. To pick up the phone or write an e-mail to ask for a product demo or more information.

I’m trained in NLP, which is a change-management process that begins with developing rapport. Developing rapport involves reflecting back another person’s language, values, body language and interests so that person feels comfortable with you. (It’s not supposed to be unethical, just a first step in getting to the real meat of the process, which is discovering ways to correct dysfunction or pain.)

So with all of this, how could I be possibly suckered by a sociopath?

Because he got me to talk about myself. He asked flattering questions, and I told him everything about me.

My experience completely matches what Dr. Leedom wrote. Not one word, not one thing that happened wasn’t calculated.

Now when I look back, I ask myself “What was he after? What did he get out of it?”

But a funny thing is that, when I asked him to be more expressive about his feelings, the only feelings he had were disgust, anger, resentment, envy and desperation.

When I told him I was starving to hear him say “I love you,” he said it but the words wooden. Likewise when I told him that I wished he would care about how I felt, and he started saying “How are you?” It sounded like he was struggling with a foreign language.

Clearly, I wasn’t involved with the same kind of smooth talker some of us were.


KH: With a psychopath, you can’t even “follow the money.” This is part of why they are so mystifying — their motives are not like ours. You can never develop rapport with an S/P.

With yours, you must have programmed him, kinda like those old Disney “audioanimatrons.” He had a bit of “artificial intelligence,” but you thought you were working with a REAL human.

You said, “the only feelings he had were disgust, anger, resentment, envy and desperation.” Are you sure he even had THOSE feelings? Or was that just what you interpreted, because you still thought you were dealing with a normal human?


when i found out about his prego gf, i asked him if he had an emotional attachment to her.
he said, ”sure. we are exacty alike!”
so i repeated, “but what’s your EMOTIONAL connection.”
answer: “well, she looks a lot like my mom when she was young.”
me: i said EMOTIONAL!
him: ”i TOLD you. her and i are a lot alike.”
he didn’t know what i meant by ’emotional.’
it floored me. this, from someone i had known and loved for 20 years. it never occurred to me that all those years his understanding of ’emotional’ never rang an internal bell.


Rune– what do you mean that with a p– you can’t even follow the money?

Elizabeth Conley

Hi Akitameg!

How are you doing? It’s cool to have you back on a regular basis.

I’m sorry the airline thing didn’t work out. No matter what, I think you’re going to come out of this year with a great job. You seem like a real go-getter.

As for “with a p – you can’t even follow the money?”

I am looking forward to reading what Rune has to say. In my experience, the N/P/S don’t make sense. They occasionally choose destroying something or hurting someone over gaining financially. More frequently, they just can’t behave themselves, even when it’s clearly to their financial benefit to act civilized. They often allienate/infuriate/devestate their targets too early. Behaving themselves for just a short while longer would have netted them greater financial rewards.

Elizabeth Conley


I thin I remember you writing that you had to leave your dog behind when you moved. (Am I confused about this?) If not, how’s that going?


Hi Elizabeth!!!
I had to leave my beloved dog– with the hope of getting him back– down south with dear friends.
I am now staying with my sweet, humble exhusband– wow is he proving to be a friend or what- in a studio apartment. My dog is an 80, gorgeous, white akita.
yeah– my body– and my foot– getting a major foot prob (Used to dance– now have a huge bunion from flat feet) — could not handle the flight attendant thing. What a lifestyle. Never now when or where or how long you will work. Always on your feet- very active. With my depression to bot– it was very difficult. You do not want a distracted flight attendant!!
Keep me in your prayers if you pray if you do not mind. I am emailing resumes as we speak. God bless you and yes– i am still and always plan to be in NC.


Yes, I am sure he had those feelings. These people feel a lot, but it’s all about them. And it’s mostly about the gap between what they have and what they want. If I had to boil their feeling spectrum down to a single thing, it would be ripped-off. And their emotional structure is built around that.

And that, ultimately, is how they leave us feeling.

You misunderstood me (or maybe I wasn’t clear). I didn’t train him. He did or said whatever he did or said to keep me on the hook and keep me funneling my resources into him.

I don’t find them mystifying. They’re actually pretty simple. They can’t trust, can’t feel empathy and can’t bond. Their best effort at understanding human relations with those handicaps is that they are about power dynamics (who’s up and who’s down), and their idea of a successful relationship is one in which they are winning.

Their handicaps make it impossible for them to navigate any area of human affairs that requires compassion or trust, so they use what they have to neutralize those factors. They use bullying, intimidation, sabotage, emotional abuse, and anything else that levels the playing field to power issues, at which they’re better than anyone else because they’re not distracted by caring about anyone else. Unless that person has more power or something else they want, which they will suck up for, until they taken all they can.

So the net of it is that you can’t play with them, unless you like losing. You can’t invite them into a communal situation (including a relationship) unless you want to see it turn into a bloody power drama. And if you’re stuck with one of them and can’t get rid of him, you’re only chance is to use their own tactics against them. This is — hold out a big gold ring with “Total Power, Universal Fame, Enforced Adoration” written on it, pick a time when the sun’s in their eyes, and use it to guide them right off a cliff.

What’s not to understand, unless you’re still waiting for them to snap out of it and act like a communal animal. It’s not going to happen. That side of their brain has all the lights turned off. All they do is me, me, me.

As far as following the money goes, it’s not money with them. Or money isn’t the primary issue. It’s winning, domination, status. More of the power stuff. When I look at my history with this guy, and ask myself what he got out of any given interaction, 99 percent of the time it was about power positioning. Getting what he wanted fell under that umbrella.

The other one percent was about thrills. Something that would penetrate the dead zone around their hearts. Dangerous sports. Weird sex. High-risk whatever. That’s my take on their famous lack of impulse control. They are desperate to feel something more interesting than triumphing over the rabble. It keeps them from getting depressed about how boring their lives are.

And their lives are boring and depressing. Can you imagine what it’s like to always be hanging around with lesser beings? Or to keep winning and winning and winning without it ever really changing your feeling of being ripped off?

Even if they’re bipolar, which a lot of them are, and they get occasional times of manic optimism, reality returns and their reality is black and bitter.

As I said, they’re no one to play with. But they’re great to feel sorry for, if you can get your mind wrapped around it.

Elizabeth Conley


I know you miss your dog, but the more I hear from you the more confident I feel that you are going to do well this year.

I will keep you, your sweet ex husband and your dog in my prayers.




I agree with you about how simple they are. They’re good at using whatever tactics they have in their grab-bags to try to keep the upper hand during the course of a so-called relationship.

Mine was always the master at using words to keep me on the hook. Now that I think back on it, he always knew which ones to trot out just when I had reached my limit — “you’re right. I’ve been running from my problems. Between prison and my ex, I do need to see a therapist. yada. yada. yada” Exactly what I wanted and needed to hear.

But then the brain fog lifted.

I don’t think you have to wait until they have the sun in their eyes to lead them over a cliff. I’ve recently come to see my S for the one trick pony he really is.

Personally, I’m surprised at how easy it has been to manipulate him into the spot I wanted him. Healing Heart and I both commented on this on another thread. After the extended browbeating and financial beating I took from him,. I expected more.


Do you keep a journal or date book with where you are at particular days and times and with whom? If so, have pull this stuff together so you can counter the charges in the PPO.

The complainant (aka psycho bitch) is going to have to give the DA’s office specific examples of when you supposedly harrassed her. It will help bullet-proof yourself if you can present evidence or witnesses that you were no where near her or ever contacted her on those occasions.


Personally, if you were my client I’d advise you to continue no-contact and doing the third party drop and having all communications go through your lawyer.

Based on what you’re saying, it looks to me like he’s startng to crack and you’ve got him on the run. It’s clear to me that he’s desperate to engage you because he thinks he can manipulate you. By keeping out of the mix, you’re taking that away from him.

I hate to say that the only thing most people understand is a hit to their pocketbooks, but I think its true. You can try to reason, cry, and everything under the sun. End of the day, its money (aka sawbucks, moola, greenbacks, dead presidents, cash, dinero, etc) that speaks loudest.

Right now, your ex-S is in a “pay to play” situation. He’s paying child support for the right to keep playing with you and your child. Any engagement with him keeps the playing alive for him. When he finally realizes you won’t play, he will most likely, move onto a new playground and stop paying.

If he doesn’t pay child support, you’ve got some pretty potent weapons in your arsenal. You can attach his income tax refunds. If he’s in a licensed profession, in a lot of states he cannot renew his license (hence, no livelihood). You can garnish his wages. If he owns real estate you can lien his property. You get the idea.

The point is, your two most potent weapons against him are refusing him what he wants — contact and making it hurt financially. When he sees there is nothing to be gained, he’s going to want to cut his losses.

That will be your opportunity, as OxDrover pointed out, to bargain with him — you terminate parental rights and I stop coming after you for money. A lot of states are reluctant to terminate parental rights — unless the parents is willing to have his rights terminated. Something tells me yours will.


blondie, I had been working with a woman in victims resources and her take was DO NOT RESPONND or you just look defensive when you are not required to be. she probably is pissed at him and lashing out at you. the XS had all kind of female responses to protecting him….his sister, daughters, trashy girlfriend. they are all poisoned. we are not crazy but can be made that way with that kind of craziness. ignore them. its not something that you can respond to in a positive way.



I just want to clarify. I agree with you about her not responding to the girlfriend. I was referring to blondie’s having to respond to the authorities if they approach her.


Akitameg: When I said, “you can’t even follow the money,” I mean that even GREED is not a reliable indicator of what they will do. In fact, you may see them do something that will cost them money, or destroy money that they might have gotten, just because they get a bigger thrill out of sabotage (a power trip) than out of getting money. They may also go along on a predictable course to lull you into security; then they’ll jump out and do something dangerous or destructive.

As Kathleen said, “As far as following the money goes, it’s not money with them. Or money isn’t the primary issue. It’s winning, domination, status. More of the power stuff.” And I add, that I’ve seen pointless unpredictability, just because being unpredictable is another power trip.


Matt: I agree with just about everything you’ve said, except your confidence that money will talk. It doesn’t hurt to work that angle, but don’t be thinking that you really can control the situation that way. By all means, get back all you can, and use every part of the system to do it. I’m all in favor of that.

But I think it’s important to remember that this is a Personality Disorder, and you are dealing with a Disordered Person. Thinking that the horse will follow the carrot can get you in trouble. The horse (jackass, Oxy?) may follow the carrot only long enough to lull you before galloping off in the worst possible direction to take you over the cliff.

I also think it’s important to remember (and experts tend to agree) that this disorder runs along a spectrum. You may have been dealing with an 8, my neighbor with a 3, Oxy seems to have had everything from a 4 to a 13, etc., etc. (I’m making up those numbers just to illustrate a scale, not to refer to the PCL-R or any other diagnostic tool.)


Kathleen: I think I had a different breed. He was excellent at faking emotions, but I don’t believe that one of them was real. Maybe mine (I hate to claim him, but I guess he was my personal “lab rat”) was further along the spectrum, and the emotions were approaching non-existent. But, wow, he was great at faking them.

I didn’t get rages from him, a bit of weird jealousy that didn’t play well since I was running construction crews that were virtually all male, but I got a lot of tender solicitous concern. “Have you had breakfast, dear? Let me bring you coffee.” While he was burning money with his stupid sabotage maneuvers behind my back.

You say, “Yes, I am sure he had those feelings. These people feel a lot, but it’s all about them. And it’s mostly about the gap between what they have and what they want. If I had to boil their feeling spectrum down to a single thing, it would be ripped-off. And their emotional structure is built around that.”

No, I saw him matter-of-factly turn away from a situation where he didn’t think he had anything to gain, and move on to the next situation. His brother was his long-lost brother, dearest man in the world, until suddenly he didn’t have anything to say to his brother at all. Couldn’t be bothered to go to a 5-person dinner to feed his brother on his birthday. It was like the brother just ceased to exist in the S/P’s mind. The only time I saw him angry was when he felt thwarted by something. I was more likely to see him just calmly setting up his next maneuver, with no emotion at all.

I do remember him getting misty-eyed one time early on when he described his family life. “I was working from before dawn until late in the evening, but I would come home from work or from a business trip and the children would all run to the door and dance around me, shouting, “The King is back, the King is back.” He looked mournful as he said, “I really miss that.” Was that an authentic emotion? I have a hard time putting that anecdote and what I know about the guy into any meaningful emotional spectrum. At this point, I think he was mostly telling me that story to try to get sympathy out of me, while remembering how good it felt to have all that narcissistic supply.



I agree with you. in fact, in my case, I had over 30 incidents of stalking documented and witnesses and this was after a call from the sheriff to the xS. so yes her own documentaion of even sightings of these people or person is important for he to keep as well.

its no wonder WE start to think WE are crazy. look at the lengths they go to just to be on the offensive.

Rune, I think the anger you saw was genuine. I think your circumstances were different than mine, but not necessarily the emotional make-up.

I’m probably being too abstract about the ripped-off thing. And I’ll have to think about how to be more articulate about it. It doesn’t mean that he’s projecting that, just that it’s a core value that his personality is constructed around.

Where your situation was different that mine was that he was projecting a facade. Mine wasn’t, or not to anything like that degree. Mine would push the occasional button to get something he wanted, or put on a cheery or amusing bit of charismatic facade to hold onto his position, but mostly he didn’t bother to hide how he felt. I knew what he was. He knew that I knew what he was. I was so hooked it didn’t matter.

About the sentimentality. Yeah, that’s their version of participating in human emotions. It always makes me think about Nazis singing song about the homeland and crying in their beer about their mothers and girlfriends in between rounding up Jews, gay people and gypsies.

But I actually have a wonderful/horrible story about my ex. After he’d left me in California to go skiing for the winter, taking income (from a client I gave him) that could have saved the house I’d been renting for him and supporting him without a cent of contribution from him (including the months he was working on that client), and I lost the house, and there’s more but I don’t want to bore you or embarrass myself, after all that …

He called me one day to tell me, “you aren’t the only one who had feelings about the end of our relationship.” Oh really?

It turned out he’d been driving through one of the flyover states between Colorado and his parents’ home out East when a song, a piece of pop rock he’d liked when he was a teenager, came on the radio. And wonder of wonders, he found himself remembering how nice it was to live in that great house in the Hollywood Hills and — drumroll, maestro — feeling something like missing me.

I was so impressed that I wrote a phony article for the Journal of Paranormal Events about the sighting of a mysterious feeling in the Midwest. I sent it to him with a note about how, if I’d only known that was the trick, I’d have run it like Musak in the house, and maybe I’d still have the house.

My father was sentimental too. He could make himself cry by singing “I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen.”



KH: Perhaps “ripped off” = “entitled,” as in, “I was ripped off, so therefore I’m entitled. I think the S/P I was with just lived in “entitled,” to such an extent that the thought no longer even flickered in his brain, he just WAS entitled, and he changed situations like he would change channels with the remote (on my TV, with my remote, with my money backing the cable service!).

In the early days, he put together a music sequence that was just astounding (classic): great stuff that conjured up all sorts of “home, hearth, security, great love, etc.,” with lots of dreams, wishes and romance. The music was on a computer he had borrowed; he claimed that when he gave the computer back, there was no way for him to download the music, so it was lost. (Lie.) After that, the music he insisted on playing continually in the house was lite jazz — emotionless, Muzak-style covers. I think that was his real personality (disorder?) showing through.


KH: I don’t mean to be difficult. I think when we’re discussing this issue of emotions, we are addressing a core issue, and if you and I see things differently, we might be both Brailling our way around the elephant, but we’re likely to meet and learn in our exchange of info.

You bristled when I suggested that your S/P had “trained you.” To be more clear, I read from you, “he got me to talk about myself. He asked flattering questions, and I told him everything about me.” And I understand that in that exchange you downloaded the info he needed to be able to manipulate you. As did the S/P I was involved with. I “trained” him by telling him what mattered to me. He was also a good observer, quickly picking up on little things that he could use to “reassure” me. Nothing substantial, like getting the oil changed in the car, but fixing coffee, which he also liked. Or bringing me half of the breakfast he’d gotten at the bagel shop (as if he’d only done it for ME!).

I used to watch “Northern Exposure” whenever I could. I didn’t have regular TV service during much of the series, so when it came out on DVD, I was looking forward to watching it all in a piece. I thought it would be a great thing for us to share. He told me that other people also thought he would like it, but he just didn’t “get it.” I watched one episode with him — one of my favorites — and he might as well have been Teddy Roosevelt sitting up on Mt. Rushmore for all that he responded to the show. Later, when I had read “Without Conscience” and understood more about the disorder, I thought that the “Northern Exposure” test might be an interesting one to apply! The entire show is founded on nuances of relationship, humor, compassion, doing inadvertent harm, asking forgiveness . . . all sorts of alien concepts.



Mine also lived in “entitled”. At about month 3 (some pathologist really needs to start looking to see if these guys have a bell that goes off then) mine announced “From here on in I’m only looking out for number one.”

I should have taken him at his word. But, silly me didn’t think that me — surely S wouldn’t do that to the man who was giving him his all?

It’s wierd how they also all seem to have some “Kodak/Hallmark moment” they trot out. Mine used to tell me how “his father said he was a good son” and how “his family was always there for him.”

And yet, I still remember a friend telling me “I never understood how his family, to a man, turned their back on him when he was sent to prison.”

Personally, I think their pasts are as big a fabrication as the rest of their lives.


Just a comment for Litterbox. I certainly feel your pain and angst, as I’m guessing others here do, also.

You might want to try your No Contact without so much fear. If your anxiety issues are flaring up, could you set up a schedule on paper (typed page/envelope; no signature), use the answering machine. Brief email?
This is only if you feel confident he is not going to hurt the baby.

Everyone is so right. He cannot see you sweat. But if your dad does some of the pickup and delivery (maybe he can be friendly with the GF parents and check them out), then you could pop by for one of the pick ups, when you feel up to it.
Eventually BabyDad won’t want to be bothered, I think. If he can stir things up, he will. Expect it. It will taper off until he gets a new hair bothering him.
Unfortunately, while you have this child together, you will be challenged.
Saying/doing litttle or nothing, and STAYING AWAY from him is the best advice.


Veryfamiliar & Litterbox: I’ve talked about “The Sedona Method.” Very briefly, it is one of many techniques that suggest that we can look at these emotions — fear, anger, even despair, etc. — and learn to “release” them so they won’t control us. I’m not saying to become a robot, but to step into a space to understand that these reactions might be learned responses, and the truth could be different. Only when we aren’t caught in the tornado of the emotion can we see what’s actually going on. And as we shift our emotional response to a situation, we might also shift the way people respond to us.

So, for example, the BabyDad likes to feed off of fear, because it makes him feel powerful. But if the fear isn’t in your vibration, he has nothing to feed on. If you’re angry, that can be a cover for fear, and it’s also likely to incite him to want to fight, to score over you in another way. If you are neutral, he doesn’t have anything to grab onto.

Do you ever watch martial arts movies? The attacker who comes in with emotion is invariably the one who loses, because he’s the one being ruled by something outside of his control.


Dear Litter Box,
The first thing you need to decide is what you want from the p (it can’t be “to be normal”).I decided what I really wanted was for my daughter and me to have as little contact with the p as possible and for the p to pay child support. I have found that reverse psychology works quite well with the p. It’s essentially about giving him his own medicine. The p started off the divorce fighting for full custody. Knowing that he doesn’t have any real interest in his daughter but is very interested in control and domination and just loves to fight and to WIN above all else, I gave him 50% custody. That took the wind out of that sail and saved me lots of money and fighting. Then I proceeded to limit engagement with him. Mind you, I was very involved in his manipulations before I saw the light. I put myself under strict rules. Step over any and all comments, references and information the p offers about himself. I allow myself absolutely no comments. I don’t hear it. I volunteer no information or comments , NOTHING, about myself or anything about anyone else. Except my daughter. Knowing that the p isn’t really interested in anything to do with anyone but himself, I blabber on endlessly about all things to do with her. I yak on and on. Big things, little minutiae things, any and all things daughter, forever until he gets so bored and irritated that he cuts me off. With me, there is no other conversation, period. If the p has something to say about daughter I can hear. Outside of daughter, I don’t hear. I don’t even tell him I won’t talk about something. I just don’t hear it. The result has been that he stopped trying to get any attention from me. And we all know that’s all they want (besides your money, of course). Now I’ll tell you how I got his involvement in my daughter’s life (thereby mine) down to a minimum in regards to shared custody. To the p, people are really no more than objects or, more pointedly, instruments to be used in service to the p. The p hates to be used and is keenly sniffing the dangerous air for a whiff of this form of abuse directed towards him. I would try my best to look dressed up as for a date, outing with friends, or business every time I would have to give him my daughter. I would always be in a bit of a rush to do the pass off. I had places to be you know “ta ta, have fun you guys!”. I would thank him effusively for his time and help taking care of my daughter. I would remind him frequently that I didn’t know how I could ever have been able to afford the help if I had to pay someone. After a while, a short while, he had the sense of being taken advantage of and would make excusses for not being available for babysitting. End of Story. Good luck with your p.


I just caught your last posts here. I think we’re talking about the same thing. Yes, in that sense, I trained him, like training a voice response unit.

And yes, he was also good at picking up little things, when he was on the “incoming” phase, and had some motivation to charm me or gain my trust.

Something he did in the early days that probably got him more points than anything else was knocking at my office door before he walked in. I was managing about six employees at the time, and we had an equal number of large accounts. I carried a lot of the client work myself, particularly the writing. And my office was right in the center of the suite, Everyone had easy access to me, and I kept my doors open. People walked in for any reason, asking questions, sharing a joke, anything. Every time they did, my concentration was destroyed.

The first time, he stood outside my doorway and knocked, waiting for me to invite him in, I almost cried. It was the nicest, most respectful thing, and I hadn’t realized until that moment, how stressful all this traffic in my office had become. It got him huge points.

When I think about how he rampaged through my boundaries later, it’s hard to imagine that it was the same guy. But at that point, he was still working hard to cultivate me.

One of the things about this that I find interesting is that his disgust or boredom with what he did to get into my life wasn’t just about how tedious it all was. (As I heard about it later.) He seemed as disgusted with himself or his life as anything else. He imagined he deserved better things, and there was an element of constant anxiety and beating himself up for being stuck with what he was stuck with.

It was the flip side of his grandiosity. He was never happy with anything. One of my employees used the word “petulant” to describe him. When he got something that seemed to match his image of himself — the European suits or the BMW convertible — it gave him a temporary boost, but it didn’t last. Everything he looked at seemed to be a reminder of where he was versus where he should/deserved/was entitled to be.

That’s what I meant about the ripped off. My theory on him is that it started with a too-early and too-late separation from his mother, who put him up for adoption. He was old enough to have some faint memory of her, and I suspect he was something like a year old. Pre-verbal time frame, but well aware of his source of all good being ripped away. And then he spent a year in an orphanage. In some ways, it’s amazing he survived with any emotional system at all, but what was left was severely damaged.

So ripped-off is a kind of shorthand for a larger and more complex syndrome. Yes, it included a sense of entitlement, but that’s more under the umbrella of being emotionally stuck in a survivor mode where he trusts no one, depends emotionally on no one, and feels no human connection, except in terms of whether it supports his survival, ambitions or sensory pleasure. In an emotional sense, he is alone in the world, and always will be.

He is also perfectly aware that other people have more emotional capacity than him and all benefits that go with it. He lives with a kind of inarticulate envy and resentment that expresses itself through spite. Hurting someone else, making himself feel powerful or superior, is a way to make himself feel better or confirm that he’s not an inferior model.

None of it makes him a good person to play with.


Kathleen Hawk: Your EX and mine have the same MO. They hide behind the mask of sugary honey … oh so kind and considerate at first. Acting like the responsible man that anyone would love to have in their life. Doing their damage behind your back, using and destroying everything you worked for.

Talk about jealousy’s destruction! They hated us before they ever met us. Men (and women) that are FOOLS … love to come into an independent woman’s life and do total damage to her psyche as well as her belongings/bank account.

Peace to your heart and soul as you heal from this FOOL. It has nothing to do with who you are, it has to do what these folks are lacking. Actually, they are broken people who want to break others.


KH & Wini: Me three! While they do their damage behind our backs.

While I was sitting in a coffee shop this morning, I heard two men at the next table describing their last work environment. As they went on about the new manager who arrogantly and willfully hired a young, unqualified guy, who would tie up people’s email accounts for several weeks rather than do a two-hour job to get them going again, who would rage and bully, who had a hot-shot resume, but that might have been falsified . . . I just couldn’t resist.

So, I caught the attention of one of the guys, and asked him several questions. “Do you know this man?” he asked. “How did you know that! It’s like you were there with us and saw it happen!”

Well, now at least these guys aren’t taking their job losses quite so personally, and I clued them in on where to look for more information. One small step . . .


Good for you Rune.

So many of the anti-social personalities jumped over others and climbed the corporate ladder … then bully everyone into submission so no one can get close them to figure out they can’t possibly do the job they sit in .. and everyone’s heads roll.

I hope Obama’s team understands this … and I hope before any more of the American money goes out of his hands to these corporations … change of officers and CEOs in said companies should be taken place if they haven’t done so already. Can’t be handing money to psychopaths.


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