Mary Ann Glynn, LCSW: Support group for destructive relationships

Mary Ann Glynn adBy Mary Ann Glynn, LCSW, located in Bernardsville, New Jersey

Last summer I got a support group off the ground comprised of clients, all of whom had been in a relationship with a narcissist, sociopath, psychopath or combination thereof. The reason I began the group is because, first of all, there appears to be an epidemic out there of conscience-free people who are destroying the lives of their partners. Just in my practice there were enough clients to start a group. Now there are many others.

“Nobody heals alone”

The other reason is that I understand and believe in the power of support groups. I heard an interesting quote last year in a workshop: “Nobody heals alone”. This is based on findings in neuroscience around the growth of mirror neurons. Mirror neurons form in the brain when we are infants and children from the interaction we have with our caretakers. When our caretakers are “attuned” to us, mirror neurons “mirror” that atonement. The implications are that we are taking in what we’re being shown — (hopefully) the feeling of love and attachment. This feeling of atonement creates a sense of safety and security, a sense of ourselves, and even a moral sense, because in it is based on the shared emotional connection.

Healing occurs when someone “gets it”

Later in life we can still grow these mirror neurons when we experience attunement of others to us. This has been found to aid greatly in emotional healing. We all know how it helps us to process our emotion and how soothing it is just when someone “gets” us. It seems perhaps that since we are social creatures, the way to heal is through social connection. Having a good friend, therapist, or healer can create this experience.

How much more so by walking into a room with many people who are struggling with or have been through the same thing? The “get” factor is tremendous — especially in the unique situation of being with a sociopath. Few really understand except those who have been through it, and few understand the Post Traumatic Stress associated with it.

Relief through sharing

Participants in our group generally experience a huge sense of relief just being there in the same room together. People share their current or past struggles, and are guaranteed understanding and feedback from others’ experiences to cope with the PTSD issues, the separation or divorce issues, the children issues, the no-contact struggle, the fears and the victories, not to mention information to gain clarity. Since getting emotional support appears critical to everyone, I hope to incorporate separate meetings to do various healing techniques to help along the healing process.

Join the group

If anyone is in the Central/Northern New Jersey area, please feel free to contact me about attending our group. You can also join by going to and searching for “Relationships with Narcissists, Sociopaths & Psychopaths” (make sure you search the proper distance around the area to include your town). Meetup sends out continual alerts and updates regarding the group.

When I get a few interested people, I hold a live online support group on the group website:

So if you are interested in this, please go to the website and fill in the contact form, and state that you would like to participate in an online group. If you need the support — no matter if you’re in the thick of the relationship and ambivalent about being there or left it 20 years ago — you are welcome!

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32 Comments on "Mary Ann Glynn, LCSW: Support group for destructive relationships"

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Newstepmom, roar2014 advise is spot on!

Roar2014…thank you. Your advise is excellent and much more detailed and exactly what Newstepmoms needs.

I want you to know that I too got so angry after I left my husband…what I have learned is when you leave a sociopath you go through the grieving stages just like a death. So getting angry is normal (sadly) in this healing process…just like you it was so awful to be so angry and hate someone so much (ex h) since I never have been angry before yes upset, mad but never angry. This stage will pass for you and when you have some time between that stage you will forget how awful it was.

For your divorce case check out facebook page One moms battle, this page deals with the court aspect of dealing with a narcissist and sociopath. It’s an excellent support site also see even if you dont have children it’s a great place to ask questions about court issues and get sound advise. If you dont have a facebook page I would suggest you open a fake email account then with that name open a fake facebook page this way you can chat without any fear of your husband/his friends finding your page or your comments. The other fb pg that is good is After narcissistic abuse (there is light, life & love)

Jan7, thank you – and I really mean THANK YOU because coming here, reading all of the comments and actually commenting myself is an enormous step in my own progress and process. In fact, I decided that it was time for me to actually find a group and a therapist, which may actually pan out for me. I already heard from the therapist – one that specializes in these cases – and I am hoping to confirm an appointment later on.

Ahhhh, the anger. I honestly don’t think I have been so angry in my entire life. Surely, any anger I expressed before was most definitely a reaction to something bad, but the kind of anger I feel now? It’s frightening. Worse still is my ABSOLUTE hatred for him and all he represents, let alone believes in. I have a lot to work through before I can get to the point of it passing, but I know I will get there. I am already past the “whys” – this site has helped.

The hardest part for me are the fluctuating emotions. Yesterday I was filled with fire and positive energy. Today I am exhausted. My stomach hurts. I am tired (I am actually spending my vacation working on legal nonsense, which we both know is NOT A VACATION! ARGH!)I am, of course, irritated with him – after our first court date, the opposing side immediately came forward and wanted me to offer a settlement in 24 hours, which is unfair AND nuts. By the time I spoke to my attorney the next day to finalize it, he told me that my ex didn’t want me to offer something, but rather wanted an enormous amount from my pension, which he won’t get. I have gone through this with him 18,000 times already…even before I filed, but we are back to square one. My attorney is fighting tooth and nail, but meanwhile, as of the end of today there has been no response. My ex expects me to cave in, cow tow and give in….meanwhile, he is deliberately churning legal fees. Argh. And yet, ironically, for some bizarre reason, I felt slightly guilty yesterday. “I could be nicer, ” I thought, “I could try to compromise.” Now? I want to go to war. I am so tired of his nonsense it isn’t funny.

I went to the other sites you mentioned and joined!

We will get through this gloriously!

Roar2014…(by the way I love your name!)

Your welcome…I think it really does help to pass all this info we have learned to others just crawling out of the relationship or in the divorce process…we all have been through hell enough so no need to reinvent the wheel over and over. I am incredibly thankful that Donna started this site and many others started their facebook pages and really does help to have a support group of people who truly get what we endured.

I forgot to mention to you (although I posted it for Newstepmom) have your cortisol levels, vitamin/mineral deficiency, and hormones all tested….these are all issues with women dealing with narcs and is a big part of the anger stage/crying stage/all stages…it is all issues with adrenal fatigue (PTSD) but can be easily healed. check out Dr Wilson’s side on adrenal fatigue take his quiz/see his symptoms list/read, see his symptoms list, read her book. Stress causes the adrenal glands to become fatigue which causes us to not be able to handle stress = this is what the narc wants and this is why they keep daily life chaotic and drama filled. I think that it’s a great step in seeking counseling and women group meetings they really are part of the healing process.

Because we are good people it is hard for us to stay angry even when dealing with the narc/court we also see the other persons side but with a narc there is no other side except they want everything their way and will push you until you say mercy and give into what they want.

My ex h did the same thing with saying he would settle then say no, I did not want any assets instead I wanted to sell he of course said he wanted everything but would not cash me out he played this game until court time then he would send emails at the end saying he wanted to sell everything…they are con artist…they want us on their hamster wheel spinning to no where to wear us out…..

stick to your gut and dont waver from that at all…I purchased a divorce book early on called Divorce & money by NOLO it’s very good at laying the financial side out something your lawyer really does not care about.

I too went through the same emotional roller coaster you are going through now Roar…I was sooo angry, then would cry (more like sob), then had hate …I think it is our brains sorting out all the abuse that we suppress for far to long and adrenal fatigue…all of those emotions that you were forced to stuff down because of fear/wanting peace in the home and also your mind was in a brain fog because of their mind control & gas lighting your ex did to you is now able to come forward in our minds…it’s awful to have to sort through all of those emotions over and over…but let them flow out because your emotions with time level out again. Journaling really does helps to get them out of your mind.

Wishing you all the best with your healing process and your divorce!

Good morning.

I believe the “epidemic” you speak about is two part.

First, I think we are more “enlightened” as a culture about how other people affect us emotionally, and secondly, I do believe there is an EXPLOSION of this conscienceless behavior within our culture. I think most of it is driven by the success of so much of our culture and economy.

Strangely, however, these behaviors permeate all socioeconomic strata. A few have suggested that a part of this problem is the gradual evolution of the human brain. A survival mechanism.

This is terrifying to me. I will always fight the fight and challenge authority!


You are in an extremely abusive situation. Whatever you do you have to leave. If you have no children with this man then you should be able to leave easily. I truly feel so bad for you. You seem so nice and do not deserve this. NO ONE DOES. I can’t say I have experienced the abuse you have. My husbands ex wife is a known sociopath but was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. But pretty hard to diagnose a sociopath since they lie about everything. A therapist, psychiatrist will never get the “real” story out of them ever. Sociopath and psychopaths and narcissist can never be reformed. They WILL NOT GROW A conscience. Ever.

My husband cut off all contact with his crazy ex. And now that the children are older he communicates thru them only. The oldest is 16 and she is a great kid. She is basically the only adult in her mothers household. Her mother doesn’t get out of bed, but she tries to tell my husband and others that she is busy busy busy doing this and that for kids. And we LAUGH about it cause we know she does nothing. Her mother and sister speak to us, of course we don’t tell her that cause she would flip out. But we know everything she does. I’m lucky enough to have a husband that has cut off contact with the crazy ex. If your husband continues to talk with his ex and they are both abusing you. You have to leave. Your sanity, happiness and life is at stake. Please get help and get away from these basket cases.

SocioSugar, I received your 3 rapid succession comments, thank you. You read as if username “none” which I used to see here. Thank you for your rapid-fire multiple comments. I would love to hear books you recommend for my self jmprovement. My ears hear, thou doth protest too much. If your marital situation is similar, aside from ignoring your step kids and refusing to treat your husband’s ex kindly, are you using any psychological self care to help you in your situation? Your situation and your path through it is interesting to me, that must be hard for you to act as if you don’t care about your step kids, have you needed to turn your loving heart, just to off, to children? That seems it’d be heard to do.

Did I say I treated my husbands ex wife who is a sociopath bad? I don’t think so. She has done terrible things toe and and my husband though. And yes we choose to ignore her. And no I will tolerate being abused by people like you do. So I gave you based on my experience advice. But you seem to not listen. Do you want attention? Why ask for advice if you are just here to criticize. Your situation sounds abusive. Are you doing anythjng to change it? But read books and write on blogs?

And never said I ignored children. I SAID I LET MY HUSBAND HANDLE IT NOW. You choose to be abused and stay with someone who you stated is obviously abusive to you. So please do not attack me on commenting from your advice. Isn’t this what this board is for. Are you looking for advice or attention. And what is the problem that you are attacking my username? Why are you attacking my username? And me?

Oh and sorry about the “rapid fire” response. I didn’t realize that when I responded to something you posted on June 4th and I responded June 10 was rapid fire. I won’t give you anymore advice. So keep us updated on how sending your husband CEO ex links to how to be kinder works for you..

Thank you jan7 and roar for your helpful suggestions and recommendation to operate in stealth, I do that. Some are really dedicated to finding me though, which can make it hard. Fear/cruelty and tracking are always insecurity, better living through higher confidence, especially needed post~spath obviously. Thank you again jan7. It would be really nice to be able to msg directly, to avoid interference. You’ve been very helpful, thank you so much again.


I have a hard time following what you are saying… Just be strong tho, as these times dealing with a sociopath is hard. My sociopath actually pretends to be on sites and blogs. The scariest part is she isn’t doing it to anger me. She doesn’t know I know. But it’s very scary. It’s like she wants to take my skin off and wear it… Creepy huh. She makes post using situations that are my life. Like once saying “I love to garden, and I know the spath wants to do what I do, and I just garden to watch the spath copy me. It makes me laugh when I see plants and flowers and bags of soil in front of her house, because she is only doing it to be like me”.

That makes no sense, right? And it would be funny, if it wasn’t crazy true. I do like to garden. And my sociopath all the sudden started to plant flowers, and garden to. When before she never even got off her lazy butt to take her kids to school. She stalks me and it’s so scary. My daughter and I are so afraid for our safety we have had to take special precautions to protect ourself


I can totally relate to everything you said… That is very scary. When you know that the sociopath is doing something to push your buttons and bait you. And then when you see them doing something that they do not know you are aware of. It shows how creepy and dangerous they really are.

Again i can’t stress the importance of NO CONTACT. Since my husband has gone no contact with his sociopath ex wife. Life has been better. He finally decided on his own to go no contact, because he was diagnosed with cancer, and due to the stress he is undergoing with surgery to remove tumor and then chemo, he realized that every thing his ex says is a lie, and it’s never going to change. So what’s the point in even reading her text that are more like novels.
For the FIRST time in his life, he is putting his needs first. He is taking care of his health. He is a good person and was always trying to please everyone. Which explains why his sociopath ex has targeted him many times. She knows he has a conscience. Even now with him going thru cancer – the ridiculous demands haveny stopped.

He is about to go on disability because he is no longer able to work, as the doctor gave him horrible news that he has a year to live without treatment. But he is getting treatment and hoping to beat the odds.

It’s very hard to read her emails that she sends – constantly needing money. She has never made an honest living and lives above her means. She is always broke she says.
So I am sure when she receives the news in the next 3 months that she will no longer be getting her large amount of child support (which none ever goes towards kids – but goes to support her drug habit) will be a hard pill to swallow for her. – no pun interested

I agree. NO CONTACT is the answer. My husband used to be manipulated by the ex because he was walking on egg shells all the time, that she might go off and hurt the children just to hurt him. Or she would ruin his reputation at work so that his clients would drop him and the community would judge him. HE FINALLY HAD AN “AH HA” moment when he realized it didn’t matter if he gave her all his money, did everything she ask him to do – IT DIDNT MATTER, because no matter what he did IT WOULD NEVER BE ENOUGH.
He realized he couldn’t buy peace. He couldn’t do anything to make her leave him alone. He couldn’t even buy a kind word. Even for the children’s sake, she could never just movein with her life and her new husband, she felt it was her life mission to make sure my husband suffered…
For what though? Marrying her… She is the one who cheated for years and left him. So it’s hard to understand why she wamts to punish him so badly. She left him! She should be happy that he is not angry, bitter and vindictive. He let it go years ago. Like 15 years ago. He was basically guilted into marrying her because she lied and said she was pregnant. She wasn’t though. Every time he would be ready to leave because of her crazy unpredictable behaviors, like when she bought a gun, and almost shot the gardener. She would all the sudden become sick, even checking herself into the hospital, telling him she was dying. One time she purposely left a tampon in for days…. Yes I know.. This is sick and gross. But she did so in order to become sick. She got sick and almost died. Of course that kept him around a little longer, and even though she was cheating, of course he didn’t want to bring that up again when she is sick in hospital from toxic-tampon-syndrome or whatever

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