Stop Asking Yourself Why and What

Patricia Jackson V3By Patricia Jackson

When you live with a sociopath or psychopath (the difference will be the subject of a future article) you find yourself analyzing everything he (or she if you were unfortunate enough to be targeted by the fifteen per cent that are estimated to be female) says can be a source of endless analysis.

The questions go something like this:

1) Why did he suddenly change? (Meaning why did he just go from being pleasant/kind/good/nice/reasonable to mean?)

2) What happened in his past that makes him act like this?

3) What did I say, do, fail to say, fail to do, that provoked him?

4) What if I do X. Y. Z? Or for that matter A. B. C. D. E. F. G. through W? (Maybe that will reach him.)

Sound familiar? How many hours have you spent trying to figure him out? Thousands? Hundreds of thousands? How long have you felt like a small animal trapped in a hamster wheel? These questions do not lead to the doorway out. Do everything you can to stop. Stop driving yourself crazy. (He’s already done enough of that.)

The more time you can spend not thinking about him (not easy) the better. Inside, in the midst of the madness, a small, still voice tells you that life should not have to hurt this much, that you did nothing to deserve this level of suffering and that there is a way out. That small and courageous voice is right.


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Thank You Patricia!! When I was first discarded I entered a vortex of whys and what fors and what can I do to change the situation…. What had helped me most at that time was something that I read from Sandra Brown….”He does not deserve even one more second of your time” It takes a long time to really believe that normal individuals do not behave the way these disordered people do. And if we deal with them we need to be aware that using the Gray Rock technique might serve us best…..
Also to be aware that liars lie. If we believe anything they say once the mask is slipped, then we put ourselves in harms way….
Once we see the real pattern they follow it becomes very obvious that they do not have a broad bandwidth….they follow the dysfunctional behaviors that are classic for people with cluster B disorders!!!! The best way to deal with them is to separate ourselves from their wickedness.

Imara, thanks for your comment. I especially like your last line. As a psychotherapist for 30 years I realize it is unpopular to talk about evil, yet those of us in the know realize that this is exactly what we are dealing with.


To Patricia Jackson…I had a therapist once who, without giving or offering a diagnosis for my then husband, just clearly told me to “get away from him. He’s dangerous”. I should have listened to her then. I believe she saw the evil in him. Is this subject taboo for some or is there not adequate training to identify this?

Ironically, I had almost the identical situation. Therapists, like people in general, do not want to believe in evil or be so direct. Now that I can spot these “people” a mile away I am on the opposite side of the experience. Most people do not want to be told the truth and of course there is that old “kill the messenger’ mentality. Denial is such a comfy place until it shatters.


My therapist had a way of getting to the point because she knew I was in so much danger. She’s the one who told me “he sounds like a sociopath” and that I must not go near him again ever again in my life. She said she was afraid someone would end up dead and that it would probably be me, either at his hands or because I would kill myself.

Nothing is more direct than having an uninvolved third party professional tell me that I was probably going to die if I didn’t leave. It definitely had the intended effect. I left him that night.


Hello Patricia,
I am also in Colorado and have been dealing with a spath in the family courts for years. He is a wizard around the court ordered psychologists that are appointed to evaluate our case and make recommendations. We have an eight year old son and the last PRE we had has accused me of parental alienation and recommended an extended period of no contact with my son followed by therapeutic visits in which I am to admit/repent my alienating ways. This is an absolute nightmare! Every action I have taken to protect my child has been used against me.

What do we do when the psychologists have no clue about spaths and abuse?


You are so right. I don’t question myself anymore. Why did he leave? Who cares, the fact is that he had no respect for his family and discarded us. Asking why does not change anything. These days I find myself thinking less and less about him, my past, anything that involves him. I am living in the present. Like someone said “the future looks bright, the past is dark”. I am picking up the pieces and mess that he left. Ever since I filed for divorce and there is no contact whatsoever (only the attorneys communicate ) I feel empowered. I survived 20 years of abuse, I can handle anything that comes my way. Bring it on. The sociopath in my life taught me to be much stronger, more resilient and most important I am at peace now. I know for a fact that he is in agony because his only son wants nothing to do with him. He is the one who made that choice. Good luck to everyone.

Thanks for your comments, however remember your statement “I know he is in agony” would remove him from classification as a sociopath/psychopath. Actual sociopaths and psychopaths are incapable of emotionally agony. This is why they are unreachable and cannot alter their behavior.


Thank you for this clarification. Can you tell me why he keeps reaching out to his son , my son cut of all contact, he is 19. My family therapist diagnosed my husband as a narcissist/borderline sociopath. I personally think that he does not miss his son but rather the image of portraying the perfect father. Does that make sense? Thanks so much for your comment. I think what I really meant was “I wish he was in agony over his failed family. “

Thanks for your candor. Out of professional respect, I defer to your family therapist and encourage you to ask them for their opinion. If you would ever like to schedule a professional consult with me you can do so at
Thanks, Patricia


My father kept in communication with his children until we didn’t have any “use value” left, and then we were forgotten. My ex spent a great deal of time trying to keep me engaged even after he had moved on to a new woman. Kaya, sociopaths don’t like to lose control of their property. They keep after people until they decide it isn’t worth it anymore. Even then, they might pop up after years to see if they can still get a hook in us.


That small voice is saying that but the pain won’t stop nor the constant thinking about him. It actually has gotten worse. We were together for 15 years and have 4 children. I could write a 500 page on the emotional abuse I put up with. He tore me down to nothing, cheated numerous times, abused drugs and took no responsibility for anything. The good times were really good and the bad were really bad. We’ve now been seperated for 7 months but were still in touch over the kids even though I had an ex-parte on him. Yes, he still had that hold over me, knew just what to say. 2 weeks ago I was being promised the world and all the love, continuously telling me how much he missed the kids and me. Fast forward 2 days, yes 2 days, he’s in bed with my ex best friend (who is an ex because he had already cheated on me with her). Now they are in love and have found true happiness with each other. He has not spoken to our kids since. They can’t stand her either so they want nothing to do with her. I feel like a piece of trash throw away. I am broken and see no light. Yes, I have the kids and am lucky for that. But I just want the pain away.


accook, my heart hurts for you!!! Please know that one of the main diagnostic criteria that we can use that proves they are disordered is their inability to form caring empathic love in their relationships. He is unable to find “true happiness”… and we all understand that finding happiness is really an inside job!!!! Those two cheating hurtful people may deserve each other…. You please take loving tender care of yourself!!!! Find activities that you enjoy….and make yourself do them. Indulge yourself as best you can!!!! You may be a treasure that he discarded because he is ignorant of the value of the treasure!!! Allow yourself to interact only with people who recognize your value and admire the treasure!!!
Please just keep saying to yourself that he does not deserve even one more second of your valuable time!!!! Treat yourself with love and respect, and I’m sending you tons of it from me to you!!!!! Use mine freely till you get some for yourself!!!

As a personal experiencer and a psychotherapist for 30 years remember two things:

1) count yourself lucky that he has not discovered what he could do in the courts. Psychopaths are highly effective in getting full custody of children from even the most exquisite mothers.

2) Your experience is so recent. Recovery can take years. I hope you consider getting professional support.

Best to you.


accook, please hang in there. I, too, felt like you “trash thrown away”. It was 5 years ago (after being with him more than 10 years) that my mister wonderful turned into the devil incarnate overnight. He, too, left for the girl he was cheating on me with, married her and less than a year later, having had the marriage annulled, tried to run back to me. Of course, while he tried to convince me that he loved me and had made a mistake, the lies continued and he continued to see her all the while. This young woman tried to commit suicide when he left her (the first time), leaving 2 young teenagers for him to look after (not his). This story is just as crazy as the other stories you will read about on this site. I could go on and on.What I want to say though, is that your pain is real.Feel it, claim it and then do whatever you need to to let it go. HE! is the trash and best thrown away. Lucky for me, I never had any biological children with him. My son, who he helped raise for all those years, wants nothing to do with him and I’m glad. It may take years to truly feel whole again but it’s worth it. My ex lives in VERY close proximity to me but I have had NO CONTACT with him in at least seven months now. Of course I think about him but that is part of this sick aftermath they leave us with. The work continues for me everyday. I shy away from any new relationships because I don’t trust. Not yet. But I am happy. Of course, my ex is again back with “her”. I thought he was my soul mate but now I know he could see into my soul and use it to his advantage. My experience has truly made me a stronger person. My children think that I am more myself than I’ve ever been and say they admire that. I found something good out of the mess. But again, it’s day to day work on my part. If you cry any tears over this, and you will, let them be for yourself and your children that you’ve had the misfortune of meeting the devil.


I think the last one I was at would have been ZXZZ. Those questions are so familiar and so clear in my memory. It’s the answers that have always remained so clear. I think that is because I wasn’t asking the right questions. I was lucky enough to meet one of the 15% estimated to be female. I asked myself those questions during 5 years of seperation, making me emotionally unavailable for a the few possible connections that slipped through my defenses. At the end of those 5 years, swept off my feet again, though I didn’t yet know what a sociopath was, I knew what kind of abuse I was walking into… the kind that you think you can’t put your finger on, the kind you feel like you can’t point out to others, the kind that make you feel insane. She was so good at harvesting those feelings. It wasn’t until I was devalued until I finally was able to see her through other peoples eyes (the one person who saw and cared enough to share). It wasn’t until I was discarded (again) that I allowed good advice to set in. Today, over a year after her departure, because I have the children, and I’m just starting the divorce/custody process, I have to think about her more, as she lurks, keeping the children on a string. But, thanks in large part to this blog and other support groups, I’ve changed my thought process a bit. I changed my behavior in ways that were much more effective. I looked at my role. As a victim, I still played a role. I chose to project my ideals on to her.


Good advice from Patricia about “not questioning yourself”! About “psychopaths” versus “sociopaths,” here’s an account of a murder that happened way back in 1965. I’ve only changed one or two names and other details “to protect the innocent” (and the guilty), as it were. I wonder whether people think the perpetrator was a “psychopath,” a “sociopath,” or whatever, and what they think of the sentence he received for his crime.

This man—I’ll call him Lewis—was born on 27 July 1942. He was married on 27 April 1963, which made him just shy of 21 at the time. But his marriage only lasted a few months. He left his wife, claiming she was “abusive” to him, and had an affair with a young black woman.

Lewis must have gotten this woman pregnant in early October the same year, a bare six months after his marriage, because she bore a child to him on the Fourth of July the following year, 1964. (No problem remembering that date!) They named their baby girl Deborah.

Although the two of them were lodging together at the time, this black woman said she didn’t want the child. She felt she was “too young to be a mother.” After a few weeks she disappeared, leaving Lewis literally “holding the baby.”

For a few weeks Lewis did his best to look after little Debbie, getting help from babysitters while he worked his day job, since he had no family who could help him. But he didn’t feel up to the job of being a single father in the long term. So he found an older woman named Laura who was willing to act as foster mother to the baby for a while.

Laura and her husband looked after little Debbie for the next nine months of her life. But Lewis wanted to have the little girl permanently adopted, and he wasn’t having any luck. As fond as they were of the baby, Laura and her husband, who had four children of their own, felt they were too old to raise another child from infancy. They kept pushing Lewis to make some permanent arrangement for the child’s future before she got much older.

Lewis meanwhile was running into barriers of his own. Because the baby was of mixed race, back in the 1960s Lewis was having trouble finding anyone willing to adopt her. As if that wasn’t bad enough, because the baby’s mother had disappeared and couldn’t be traced, Lewis couldn’t get her official permission to have the child adopted. He did apply to an adoption agency, but they refused to help him because they believed the documents he gave them were forged.

But after much pressure from Laura about the baby’s future, Lewis was able to tell her in May of 1965 that the problem was solved. The baby’s mother had reappeared and changed her mind. She did want little Debbie after all. However, she’d moved to a city some distance away where she’d found a job, and Lewis was flying out there with the baby the very next day. He promised to let Laura know how Debbie was getting on as he drove away from her suburban home. When he left, the little girl was seven weeks shy of her first birthday.

The days passed, and turned into weeks, but Laura heard nothing further from Lewis. She called the house where he’d been lodging, but they said he’d left weeks before, leaving no forwarding address. Disappointed, Laura wondered if everything had gone as planned. She called the airline on which Lewis said he’d booked a flight. They had no record of anyone of his name taking a flight on the day he’d mentioned. Or the next day, or the next. Lewis and the baby seemed to have vanished off the face of the earth.

Weeks turned into months. Then in August of that year, a man was walking his dog in a nearby forest when he came across some tattered baby clothes lying on the ground. He poked at the bundle with his stick, and found to his horror that they were concealing the badly decayed body of a baby. Both hands and one foot were missing, having been chewed away by animals. The man called the police, and they published a description of the clothes the dead child had been wearing. Laura saw it on the television news. Right away she knew it was Debbie.

It didn’t take the police long to trace Lewis to the city he’d moved to and bring him back. Despite what he’d claimed, he never had reconnected with the child’s mother. It was all lies. At first he refused to cooperate with police inquiries. But after intense questioning, he eventually admitted he’d killed his baby daughter, the very same day he’d collected her from Laura’s home.

After a car journey during which the baby cried most of the time, he took her straight to a nearby river where he drowned her in deep water. After that, he wrapped the dead baby in a sheet, laid her on the floor of his car and bashed in her skull with two or three blows from a car jack. He didn’t have the means to bury her there and then, so he had to leave her in his car until the next day when he borrowed a spade from a friend, drove out into the woods and dug a shallow grave for the baby’s body. When he’d finished, it was lunchtime, so he went to a local bar and drank several brandies. He then met some friends in a nearby town and had a few beers with them. All along he kept up the pretense that nothing untoward had happened.

Asked to explain his actions, Lewis said:

“It was my duty, as her father, to give her the best I could, and what better place than heaven… I had nothing to offer her. I thought about taking her life for some time. I can’t remember now just how long, but I felt she was getting bigger all the time and it had to be done soon, because the bigger she got the more difficult it would have been to take her life.”

Lewis claimed that after burying his little daughter, he had “said a prayer” before placing an old log over her grave. Afterwards he fortified himself with those shots of brandy. He went on to say:

“I passed judgment on my own child and tried to do what would be best for her without a mother, home or love. I put her into a life of utter bliss, with God in heaven.

I strongly feel that, being the father of the child, I had every right to do this and that it was God’s will.

I would never have taken her life could I have felt sure that there would be some happiness for her, but to be faced with the above circumstances, it just did not seem fair. I feel I gave her a true Christian burial.”

Whether Lewis was sincere, or whether this was a bogus sob story to gain sympathy—not to mention whether he “had every right to do” such a violent deed—is up to the reader to judge. Though I can’t resist thinking that even if a parent did work himself up to perform an act of euthanasia on a child he supposedly “loved,” surely he would have chosen a gentler method of “putting the child to sleep,” such as smothering, instead of bashing in the poor kid’s head with a lump of iron.

I’ll only add that when Lewis, 23 years old by now, appeared in court to answer the charge of murdering little Debbie, he was able to find two doctors to give evidence in his defense. One of them said:

“There is a history of psychoneurosis and instability in his childhood. This was aggravated by his unhappy marriage, by finding himself alone with an unwanted baby, and, possibly [but only “possibly,” please note—this was obviously pure speculation on the doctor’s part]—in a state of anxiety and depression which culminated in the killing of his child. Therefore I think at the material time Lewis had abnormality of mind amounting to disease which substantially impaired his mental responsibility.

Would you buy that as an excuse? All of this happened in the ultra-“liberal” Sixties, when the latest and most “progressive” thinking about criminals held that they’re “not responsible” for their acts, that they “couldn’t help it” because they’d all had such a terrible childhood (and all the rest of it). So all we had to do was treat them kindly to make up for the dreadful time they’d had, and they’d soon reward us by reforming and leading upright lives from then on.

In this remarkable climate of forgiveness, Lewis was able to plead guilty to a lesser charge than murder—and the court accepted his plea. What’s more, he didn’t even have to serve any jail time! As he stood in court with tears in his eyes, the judge let him off with probation!

So what do you think? Did Lewis hoodwink the court? And was he a “psychopath,” a “sociopath,” or what?

In answer to your last two questions: yes and yes. Thanks for taking the time to tell up this tragic story.


What a terrible act this man committed . Being the wife (soon to be divorced) of a police officer I was often very afraid. What if he would kill me and stage my own suicide ? He was capable of about anything and I honestly think his sheriffs department would protect him. Even when he was active duty army and he was abusive, the so called “chain of command ” did everything to protect him. Not me,but they protected the abuser since he was a highly respected soldier. My husbands remarks “I would rather run your through a wood chipper than give you half of my army retirement in a divorce ” still scares me to this day. And then he had the nerve to file an injunction against me because he was “afraid” of me, which the judge dismissed right away. I am glad this evil being is out of my life and I truly hope he will move far away from us after the divorce.

I cherish the times I hear of a wise judge. So often I hear from my clients and colleagues of judges obeying the will of psychopaths. Thanks for your comments and please stay safe.


I too felt like “trash” thrown away believe me. After 20 years it was the biggest shock to be discarded for a 20 something year old co worker of him. With time this feeling disappears. Of course it still hurts at times, what is only normal. I am trying to focus on myself and my son and we will go on as a “team and family of 2”. The so called family I was missing at first was an illusion. My husband was never a true part if it. As a husband and father you put your family before your own needs. I learned narcisisst and sociopath look out for their own pleasures and needs. I don’t miss his porn addiction, his lies and cheating. He is the one that belongs to the “garbage”, that is so right. Try to enforce the no contact. I had many slip ups at the beginning and I even begged him to come home. How ridiculous, he put his wedding band on the counter and told me he does not love me anymore. I knew there was another woman but he tried to “demonize” me in any way do his actions were justified to him. He cannot handle to tell the truth because this is what they do, lie and blame others. My son knows the truth and we can see it clearly now. Like I said we don’t want him and we don’t need him. If a man treats you right there will be no tears because a normal man doesn’t make you cry. Hang in there, things will get better. I have been there and I came out more resilient than I have ever been.


Trying to figure out a sociopath is like trying to figure out a Zen koan (sp). A Zen master might give his/her student a koan (riddle) such as, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” The student strains and strains to figure out the answer. But after exhausting every mental pathway, the mind finally just gives up. At that point, there is an opening, and the student enters into the present moment. This is the intended purpose of the koan.

Similarly, after I broke up with the sociopath, I obsessed and obsessed, trying to figure out why and what if? I went down every imaginary pathway……what if he were to come back and I took him back? What if he really loved me deep down? Why would he say one thing then behave opposite? Around and around my mind would go for many many months, close to a year (which was a significant amount of time for a 3-month affair). Eventually, all the imaginary paths led to the same place: WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? I realized that no matter what the cause, contributing factors, or possible outcomes, NO MATTER WHAT I DID OR DIDN’T DO, HE WOULD END UP DESTROYING ME. All of my fantasies led to this conclusion over and over again. At a certain point, I just gave up and got on with my life. With one last cathartic cry, I was ready to let go. The obsessing had run its course.

Five years after the fact, I never figured out the what’s and why’s, and I don’t care anymore. It wasn’t until I read this article this morning that I realized how similar a sociopath is to a Zen koan. It’s a riddle that cannot be solved by an empathic person. Ironically, the only way to resolve it is to let it go. Giving these creatures our mental energy keeps us trapped in the imaginary relationship we wish we could have had and prevents us from moving on.


Amen, Stargazer!!!!


i’m doing that myself right now. my psychopth ex boyfriend is now “nice.” it started yesterday after two weeks of hell once again… aka his real self. it’s like i have to figure it out. in someway if i do… i will know who i am. because i have no feaking idea. i’m in so much pain right now. i got asked out by this man in april when i started my new job and was cutting down my hours at the job we both worked at. i picked up on the cycle quite fast but was confused about it all. i know now. :/


Having studied Buddhism and the kooks among us, I can answer your question, Stargazer.

To the Zen koan: “it is what it is”.

And regarding the socio/psychopaths: “they are what they are”.

This is Zen.


Love your Zen of Sociopaths! Fantastic!


About a year before I filed for divorce, a wise counselor told me I would have to travel all the major roads in life but that I could profit if I just believed that staying rooted in a horrible abusive marriage was NOT stability. Rather, it might have been some false sense of being a martyr, of feeling strong for having endured a hell of some sorts. She said she admired fidelity in people, but not at the cost of mental health. I pursued my divorce and 3 more years until it became final and have had no regrets.
I believe it takes leaving until we realize just how awful things had been and how abnormally we did live. Keep hope and trust in yourselves. Follow your gut.


Thank you for your help….Many hours have been spent trying to figure out the madness…Some parts seem so good…so normal …and then it becomes a twisty, miry,mess!!!I am trying to stay away and end the crazy….I see better now and that I must….I have struggled with the Faith factor of my life….not wanting to give up…not wanting to be unfaithful to God….I can forgive but I am not willing to stay in something that I will lose my mind…family and friends….thank you for this site….I want to be able to help others…when I recover….

Grace, I have been in your shoes. It gets better. I stayed far too long, and let my kids believe their father was a far better person that he is. It’s been hard, but I know that had I stayed, I would either be dead (perhaps of my own hand, though sometimes I wonder if he was capable) or incapacitated by mental illness. It wasn’t until I left that I started realizing the only time I felt crazy and doubted myself was with HIM! My other relationships all worked quite well. You will recover, your life will be good again and you will help others. Have faith.


I used to spent hours trying to figure him out. I am a bit on the analytical side so I packed a double whammy of intense “reasoning” him out….Going along with the why and what, I also kept hanging on to what I saw then as “good” or something “kind” he did or “nice” or “caring”….and it was hard to let him go as I hung on to these feelings…although all the bad and nasty and uncaring acts sure outweighed these few and far between “good” acts…

In his book, The Betrayal Bond-Breaking Free of Exploitative Relationships, By Patrick J. Carnes, Ph.D. (sold here on Lovefraud) Carnes writes how trauma/betrayal bonds keep us holding on to the “good” as “there is always something kind, noble or redeeming about someone who has betrayed you.” He compares this entrapment to how monkeys are captured in Africa.

He writes: “Tribal people put out slotted crates filled with fresh fruit. The cages are anchored securely to the ground. Monkeys discover the cages, reach in and grab the fruit. Of course, they cannot retrieve the fruit because as long as the hand holds the fruit, it will not fit through the bars of the cage. The monkey is then trapped. They could always let go of the fruit and escape, but they refuse to let go. Even as their human captors pick them up, they hold on.” He goes on to state: “Victims of betrayal will hold to those good things even while the world crashes in around them. BY HOLDING ON THEY STAY STUCK, JUST LIKE THE MONKEYS”

After I read that I realized I needed to let go of the why, what, and those so called “kind” things he had appeared to do…If I kept holding on, I was like those poor trapped dumb monkeys…I just needed to let go…or stay trapped in my own prison….

I recommend this book as I helped me tremendously. Carnes helps to clear your mind and see the light….and why we have a betrayal bond….


I also read the Betrayal Bond. This should be LF required reading!


This is an excellent article and so very pertinent to having lived with a sp. When my daughter left for college, she returned home once to tell me that new friends she had met at college told her that she analyzes and hyper-analyzes everything. Then she said, “I got that from you.”

In fact, she probably did get it from me. After having spent 21 years married to her father I became this way. I wondered, I pondered, I questioned (few answers), I observed, I asked why, how come, I thought he always had a mysterious quality about him,what was his childhood like, and on and on and on. His mother once told me that I thought he was raised wrong. Thank you ex-mother-in -law for letting me know how I think. I was often baffled, in awe, in surprise, is it something I said, do I owe an apology, again on and on and on. What if I changed me, what if I don’t react? I said to him, “Life just doesn’t have to be this hard.” Yes it is, he would reply.

The only way out is divorce and no contact. It’s totally true. Cut them out like a malignant tumor and you will experience remission and energy again.

I have been reading here on this site and trying to understand “why” did this man do this to me? Why make all the promises and continually profess his love for me”all the while cheating, lying, and deceiving me for years. I have cut and pasted some of your thoughts to help me get through this horrible time and move forward from this betrayal of trust. If this helps just one person move forward and break free then this will have been worth it.

You didn’t create the monster raging in front of your eyes. And you are powerless to stop him being who he is. Your power lives in stopping his abuse in your life by stepping away from the source of your pain. His abuse isn’t going to change. He doesn’t have to. And all the wishful thinking in the world will not make it happen someday.
To end abuse, you must wake-up to its reality
1. Go NO CONTACT with him. Believe it or not, he enjoys you telling him off because you are at least noticing him, giving him attention, and that is what he wants more than anything is to BE NOTICED, to realize he has “zinged” you good. Every time you talk to them, they get “supply” and you get “another wound.” he would gloat, knowing I was so upset
2. You have not done anything wrong, you have been used, abused, manipulated, lied to and mistreated beyond belief. The reason he tells you that you are “worthless” is because HE IS WORTHLESS and he is “projecting” his own self on to you.
3. They are INCAPABLE of bonding to other humans, it is a “short circuit” in their brains, this is not just the way they act, and they are HARD WIRED TO BE THIS WAY. They are not capable of caring for others. It is all about them.
4. It is almost like you could “write a book” predicting the “stages” that they go through in the way they romance us, hook us, then cheat and lie, and use and abuse. There are some plot variations but not a great deal of them, as far as the patterns of abuse go
5. If you had been Miss Universe, you would not have been “good enough” or “pretty enough” to make him faithful or make him love you. Darling, HE IS NOT ABLE TO LOVE, he can only FAKE IT.
6. Do Not Engage: A sociopath cannot survive without drama. They will accuse, blame, slander, rant, cry, yell, threaten, lie and intimidate in order to get their opponent to engage in the verbal boxing match. The truth is there is no ’winning’ an argument with a sociopath, just as there is no winning an argument with a two year old. The only way to really win is to ignore everything they say and do and focus on your own healthy path.
7. Keep Records: They hate to put anything in writing. It is an automatic deterrent of their verbal abuse and lies. He knows I will keep a record of everything, and if he puts it in writing, he cannot pretend he didn’t say it.
8. Believe in Yourself and Trust Your Instincts: Don’t let a sociopathic partner or ex make you question yourself when you know in your heart what you are doing is the right thing. Remember that these ’people’ have no regard for other people, including children, and are only concerned with their own childish needs.
9. Don’t Give Up: It may seem that sociopaths come out strong right at the start, but they do not think things through all the way. If you are consistent and persistent, eventually, their lies will start to reveal themselves.
10. Don’t Respond To Anything Right Away: it is much easier to not engage when you give yourself time to let emotions settle, sort through the provoking verses necessary information, and decide if it’s even worth responding to.
11. When they deceive you about their character in order to cause you to feel a love bond with them. Denial keeps us paralyzed unable to act to protect ourselves. When the denial can’t continue because they hurt us so badly we can’t pretend it’s not abuse any longer. Painful to make the adjustment from denial to the harsh reality that “this is abuse, he knows he is harming me and deceiving me and this is not going to stop because he is a sociopath and he will never ever change”just look for another victim when he is done with me
12. He tries his hardest to knock me down, if I am doing too well and if I am too happy. I’ve learned that when another really loves us, they embrace our happiness, not try to destroy it.
13. This is what you get—..
Chaos, cruelty, tantrums, manipulation, grief, lies, hurt, hate, disrespect, anger,
confusion, stress, unhappiness, loss. He got off on hurting me, betraying me, deceiving me, and confusing me. Duping, pity ploy, devalues & discard” reptilian stare. . ”..Emotionally isolated”.. Repeatedly pressured to accept what we don’t want to accept.
14. Diminished”. Confused”. Self-doubting. Raped of my self-confidence and self-esteem— Self-centered, lack of emotions, lack of personal responsibility, false and frightening smiles, extremely controller personality.
15. No honesty, no integrity, no conscience or empathy. Just exploitation, entitlement and blame-shifting
16. The lies and manipulation are the same, the devaluing, the abuse, the soul rape, the gas lighting, the devaluation and the pain. The mean, vengeful shell of a person is the only thing that he ever really was.
17. When you get to that place of realizing that if you have to FIGHT for him to be considerate of you, then you’ve already lost the war, and then you too will know your only option is to LIVE a REAL LIFE FREE from his oppression and the ONLY way for that to happen is to live FREE from him in your life.
18. Your weaknesses and your strengths. He targets both. You are being subjected to psychological warfare NO DIFFERENT from what a prisoner of war is subjected to. NO DIFFERENT. He “can be wonderful” because it keeps you hooked
19. Any time ANYONE shows you what they are, BELIEVE THEM the VERY FIRST TIME and never look back.
20. If someone is not HONEST and KIND”.you do not need them in your life, no matter who they are. So use RULE NUMBER 1 in all that you do with everyone. If you see a sign that someone is dishonest or unkind—ANY SIGN OF THAT—run from them, get away from them and STAY away from them. If they steal or do drugs, lie or cheat, you do not need them
21. They are victims of their own success as children. They were so good at emotional manipulation that they never bothered to learn a better way and they stayed emotionally retarded unable to stop manipulating, unable to feel for others, lacking empathy and therefore evil.
22. He always had another woman on the side. They operate this way. They always have a backup individual because they know something or someone is going to give, so to be on the safe side, they have someone on the back burner. Someone they don’t have to give much attention to, someone who has low self-esteem and won’t require much from them. That is who they keep on the back burner. When one woman becomes too much, they let her go and take the back burner girl until the next “challenge” comes around and so on and so forth
23. When we treat others well, we expect that others will reciprocate that treatment, but when it doesn’t happen, then we think, “well, there must be something I can do to show X that I love them, I will treat them BETTER and then they will treat me better” It will all be in VAIN it is like a never ending rollercoaster.
24. They have rage and passive/aggressive tendencies, view themselves as “special” They are insecure and needy and having affairs validates their masculinity
25. Tired of the repetitive lies. There is always a lie waiting to be confirmed from details given a few days prior on any given issue. Always have to be on alert for the next lie.
26. It got to the point it was healthier to miss him than live with him—sure I still think of him but our relationship was toxic, unhealthy and there was so much pain/bad history he had caused that there just was not a place to start over and make all that craziness go away, I will never miss the way I felt when we were together
27. They’re not about to walk into therapy for help, because it’s never them, and what can be done anyway? It doesn’t seem that any of them change that much over time. Possibly because it works and that’s all that matters to them. They all need to win, and to get one over on people. If nothing else, the shame of admitting what they’ve done to others seems to keep them immune to the truth.
28. There are so many things we experience with individuals like this. It doesn’t seem real. Never real. How could someone so loving, turn so quickly. The feelings were never real to begin with. That is the scariest part of all. Someone who could FAKE AN ENTIRE RELATIONSHIP.
29. They seem to have an innate ability to find the weakness in people, and are ready to use these weaknesses to their own ends through deceit, manipulation, or intimidation, and gain pleasure from doing so. The lack of a conscience, the manipulation of others, dishonesty and the inability to love and/or have lasting and profound personal relations and cruelty are key signs of a sociopath.
30. Facing the truth of what I had done and what I had become hurt. But, to be free of the past I had to face myself and love myself for the wounded, abused woman that I was and acknowledge that I did not have to stay there. I had to accept that only I could create the change in my life that I desired, that it was up to me. If I wanted to move beyond his abuse, move away from that painful place I found myself in, I would need to find my courage and turn up for myself so that I could step into forgiving myself.


Dear Sick

Great refresher list. Very consolidated. Ouch did that hurt. Very good reminder though. Thank you. I’m going to save it and put it on my fridge.



Thank you so much for creating this excellent fact list. Very interesting your comment “I have to accept the fact that only I could create the change in my life.” I think this is one of the most difficult decisions to make. I always knew I needed to get out but I never had the courage to do so. I thank God every day that he made that decision for me by leaving his family one night and discarding us. After 20 years of lying, betrayals and cheating he left for the mistress. I don’t miss him anymore and I filed for divorce. The no contact is so important. You are so right about him not getting any reaction out of me anymore. Why answer and suit myself to more abuse, more insults and more pain. For what? So he can have his pleasure out of it ? No thanks, he can now do this to my replacement. He had her all along on the back burner and when I did not “meet his standards” anymore she came into place. And yes even I was “miss universe” I would never be good enough. It took me awhile to accept all this but now I know none of this nightmare was my fault. He can justify and demonize me as much as he wants to my don and I know it was him and only him. Good luck to everyone. I encourage everyone who is in a situation like that “don’t wait 20 years like I did” they will never change. No matter what you do.


Hi Kaya48, see my post reply below in the comments. You have so much courage girl! I really admire that after 20 years you found yourself and have been staying so strong. Blessings to you and your son.
I liked [email protected]’s comment about the back burner girlfriend. Mine had a pretty big stove as he had several back burners. Glad I am no longer one of them…remember when I told him I wouldn’t remain friends to be put on his ex list? I told him to call one of them….

His biggest slap in the face was the NO Contact…ha, he never thought it…..


Dear [email protected]:

You sure summed it up! Every word of it”As I read through your points, I couldn’t help but say Amen”.So glad you are healing”I sure felt your pain and your sp was just the spitting image of mine”fake smile and all”

Once we are out of denial that the man we thought was such a “good guy” was a big lie, that the love he claimed was all a big lie, we start to see the truth and accept it..

If we teeter between denial and acceptance, between what we perceived as “his goodness” (“some of the nice things he did” )we can go nuts with going back and forth from the reality of who he really is (evil) and what we thought he was”

Our illusion of him will !poof! disappear in time when we have NO CONTACT”.and we have spent time learning who he really is/was and gaining knowledge of sp’s and ourselves, absorbing this reality of him as you described so accurately above and finally our emotional state will heal”.

All of us here at Lovefraud, woman or man, recovering from an sp’s abuse, should give ourselves a standing ovation every once in a while. Here it is: APPLAUSE!!!!!!WE ARE WONDERFUL!WE ARE ALIVE AND WILL SURVIVE!! WE ARE LOVEABLE AND WE ARE COURAGE, HONOR, HOPE AND LOVE!!! WE WILL ALWAYS STAND UP FOR OURSELVES AND ALWAYS STAY STRONG!!


Dear vision
Thanks for your comment. Somehow, after I enforced the no contact about 6 months ago, I feel empowered, I feel strong and I feel like I in control. And does he “hate” the no contact. Since I have changed my phone no and email he sends messages to my son occasionally. Of course he blames me in the messages and demonizes me. My son deleted those messages and never responds. My son is 19, there is no custody issue. We both are so happy now. We started putting happy stickers on a calendar starting the first day of no contact . We just noticed that we passed 6 “happy months”. I know there will many obstacles, issues in this “nasty” divorce. I know for a fact that he is livid that I filed first. It really does not make a difference legally but how dare did I take this control away from him. I figured he wanted to “surprise” me with divorce papers. He was not aware that I have been talking to many attorney starting the day he discarded us. Just had to find the one I felt “most comfortable” with. Someone who is not afraid of this “dirty” police officer. I am so ready now. The if’s, why’s, what’s are all gone. My new life started the day he left for the coworker. I am confident as a fellow police officer she can “handle” him. 🙂


Dear Kaya48,
I loved the idea of the happy stickers!! Wish I had done that!….your ex was angry you took the control away. They burn at that for sure!…and as far as the coworker girlfriend, she is his next victim and if she is just like him, she will be devalued and discarded next….
Mine sent pictures of an internet photo of a woman in lingerie…told me it was his new honey etc. He said he didn’t want to be in a relationship. I said ok and good bye. He wanted to be friends and I said no. and then no contact. But he was angry to have no control….so he sent a pic I described of a woman to get me back.

Good to be rid of the drama kings…


How crazy he sent you a picture of his “new” woman. It’s unbelievable how vein and “entitled” they feel. My soon to be ex loved mirrors. He would take hours to make himself look good. He constantly said “I should be grateful he married me because he is so good looking”. At the end of our 20 years to together I found him so ugly and arrogant. And you are so right about the co worker. She probably only knew him with his “mask” on. He will take it of soon especially when something doesn’t go his way. I am so glad that don’t have to talk or see him anymore. He really did a good job trying to destroy me but he did not succeed. Thanks for all your great encouragement. I know life is good now. My son and I talk less about him and it seems like this monster never existed.


It has been so helpful to be able to read these posts…It is a crazy-making world that is so hard to ever explain to anyone….My story is so crazy …i can’t believe it is my life….I finally got the courage last night, to be clear about ending relationship!!…have been trying to make sense of it all for 6 years… I have tried the no contact before…so we will see….Something is just not right….. We have never actually been ‘together’….he was supposed to move to where I live…we were friends….could talk and talk for hours …unless it was about anything on a personal level…then he would snap and get strange and mean….He was super witty and funny…charming….I really liked those things about him….It is so hard to have someone all of a sudden turn on you …I see his seduction now…. I know I have been afraid to clearly end…for fear of what he might do…I was married previously(my children’s father) for 25 years…he was abusive to all of us emotionally and verbally….then he hit my middle son in the face….he went to jail and I called a time out…then, in trying to seek divorce and start new life…he killed himself!!!….my fear is what controlling men might do …they say they love you …it could be killing himself or me or someone….I pray God will use this mess for good…!!!


It is an absolute crazy making experience. At the end of my 20 years with him he tried everything to make me think I was mentally sick. He told me to go to my internal medicine doctor and ask for anti depressants. He told me to go to a psychiatrist for evaluation. He told me I should check myself into a mental hospital. I did not follow his advise. He left with his young co worker and it saved my life. I almost ignored all these red flags but was very concerned when he said I should get life insurance in case something happens to me. He is a police officer after all. I am so glad he did not succeed in destroying me. I was terribly hurt at first but I am fine now. The no contact gave me my life back. I know good things will happen. Even though he demonizes me in the divorce proceedings I know it was all his fault. None of this had anything to do with me. And when you realize all this then you can truly start to recover.


I can no longer afford a lawyer. But my ex has filed a contempt charge against me over thanksgiving. The divorce decree states the noncustodial parent (my ex) is to have the children for this holiday in EVEN numbered years from Wednesday to Sunday. Well this year is an ODD year, which I read means I was to have them for the whole weekend. It was his weekend to have the kids for the regular rotation. He believed this meant he got them from Friday- Sunday. I said that was not correct that holiday time preempts regular visits. I was willing to let him have them during that time, but he had to admit that I was letting him have them, so that it would not set president. He refused, so I kept the kids the entire weekend. And now he has filed his complaint in court.

I feel he is setting me up for our daughter’s birthday this week. I offered him from 4-6 more than a month ago and last week he finally asked for 6-8. I countered with 5-7, but he has yet to respond back. So I do not know when to have the kids at the police station for the exchange. And I do not want to ruin her day, by spending an hour or more sitting at a police station on her 10th birthday only for him not to show.

Any advice on whether or not I am really in contempt or not. I am just frustrated that at very least I am going to have to spend a day figuring out how to draft a rubuttal and then another day driving 200 miles to the court that handled our divorce to file it!


One of the books in Donna’s arsenal of defense against sociopathic mates includes “Legal Abuse Syndrome”, by Dr. Karin Huffer. It indicates that people who suffer from PTSD can be considered “disabled” by the court. That could mean that a court appointed attorney would be appointed to handle your case, if you are unable to afford representation. It also means that your soon-to-be ex can’t bad-mouth you in court.

All of us who have lived through the emotional dynamics of predatory relationships have encountered either rape by fraud, or emotional rape, or both. From my book, “Carnal Abuse by Deceit,” you would be able to see how this applies to your situation and that you may very well be suffering from PTSD, (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,) or PTRS, (Post Traumatic Rape Syndrome.) Neither are your fault, YOU were the victim.

Recognizing the serious consequences abuse had on you will enable you to secure the support you need for your divorce and recovery. While “no contact” helps give you back the emotional balance you lost, it cannot protect you from what that, pardon me, degenerate, can do to you in a court of law.

Since you’re unable to afford an attorney, you are likely to be unable to afford therapy as well, so I recommend that you seek therapy through a low cost or no cost source. Take a look at the resources on the list at, it is the website for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. If you don’t see such a source in your area, call your local hospital and ask where there are psychiatric services for people who can’t afford them.

We have all suffered damage at the hands of abusers. Particularly in situations where children are involved, they need the best protection money can, or can’t buy. It is best to seek help to insure that you and your children will not be further abused through your ex’s ability to manipulate the court.



Thankfully I have had a counselor willing to see me for free throughout this whole time. The fact that this person is male has also kept me from judging the whole gender! HA!
I can’t file for disability. I am employed full time as clergy. I am serving in a mission parish, though, and the pay is the pits. My Church officials felt I needed time to heal, and did not want to place me in a big church. Now I am stuck, because if I move custody of the kids will go back on the table. I love the parish I am serving and somehow the kids and I have been able to squeak by financially. But we are on Medicaid and getting a small amount of food stamps.
I have already filed my rebuttal to my ex’s contempt motion. I hope i filed it correctly, because the magistrate has not ruled on my last two motions that I filed in August (to have the kids SS cards and Birth Certificates returned, because the Guardian ad litem who has not been on the case for two years still has them. My oldest will graduate in May and needs these documents as she enters adulthood! And a motion to have child support increased, but right after I filed it my ex became unemployed AGAIN!).

I feel stronger every day. But my ex is still trying hard to intimidate me. And even my counselor often dismisses my fears even though he has been a huge help. When I told him a couple of weeks ago about my ex’s threat of contempt about Thanksgiving he stated that my ex was often full of hot air. I replied that while that was usually the case he followed through on enough threats to make me believe them all. And he followed through this time!
I am 99% certain that I have nothing to worry about. But the courts gave my ex custody of the kids for the first 1 1/2 years after I left and it was a real miracle I regained custody, because my ex was actually homeless for a short period of time. I remain in fear they are going to buy his spiel again at some point. PTSD is a given for what I have experienced and continue to be in fear of. My friends tell me I should write a book, but if I did no one would believe all the twists and turns could happen to one person.

Dear RevJanice-

Regarding your court action, it’s never a good idea, particularly when your children’s lives are affected, to go into a court room without representation. Courts work in very peculiar ways, and having someone at your side who understands the system will give you the best advantage. Since you have a therapist who can vouch for your having PTSD, it could be the solution to getting the judge to assign you a lawyer. You have nothing to lose by it, and everything to gain.

My heart truly goes out to you in your struggle!



Wow. This sounds so bad how he is demanding and aggravating you in court. I feel so sorry when on top of other things you have to deal with the minor children issue. I am thankful that my son is 19 but my soon to be ex throws anything in my path to scare and intimate me. I was so naive thinking that it would be a “civil divorce”. It truly is like going to war against your worst enemy. I do have my weapons in form of my attorney and even if it takes my entire paycheck every week to retain him. I cannot go to court representing myself. My soon to be ex would destroy me because he had 20 years of practice doing it.


The behaviors I observed with the one I was with defied any kind of explanation. I had dated lots of men and seen all kinds of games being played – the push-pull game, trying to make me jealous, etc. I’ve even played a lot of games myself with men, due to my own insecurities. But the games the spath played were not even in my realm of comprehension – especially the pathological lying. I stopped trying to figure it out because no normal person would ever do these things, never mind have sympathy or compassion for someone else doing them. When I finally grasped the enormity of the game, my first thought was how very sinister and evil it was. I knew I had to get away immediately.

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