The importance of believing in ourselves

Back in August of 2010, I told my story of being defrauded by a sociopath as “star” of the premiere episode of Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?, a TV show that aired on the Investigation Discovery network. Well, since that first exciting night, the show has probably aired 30 or 40 times. It aired in Australia. It aired in South America. On Friday, it aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Hey, I’ve finally been on Oprah!

I never know in advance when the show is going to air—I only find out when I start receiving emails from people who see it and identify with my story. A couple of months ago I heard from a man who saw the show and was beginning to suspect that a woman in his life was using him for money. We’ll call the man “Howard.”

Three sociopaths

Howard arranged a consultation with me. He told me his story. Listening to him, it was easy for me to see that the woman was clearly a sociopath, and was clearly using him for money. But that’s not all.  As Howard told me more about his situation, I realized that he was involved with three sociopathic women at the same time.

One was his wife. They had married in their early 20s, and she was controlling and emotionally abusive from the beginning—and that was more than 30 years ago. Howard was not happy, and a few years ago, Howard connected with a woman from his past, whom we’ll call “Cindy—”she’s the one who is now bleeding his money.

Well, Cindy love bombed Howard, promised him the world, and he started an affair with her. He also started divorce proceedings from his wife. But when he was about to make the move to be with Cindy permanently—supposedly what she wanted—suddenly she didn’t want it any more. Then the wife, who was happy to divorce when Howard gave her all the proceeds from selling their property, suddenly didn’t want a divorce any more.

Howard, essentially homeless, started staying with another woman as a housemate. Based on what I’ve heard about this woman’s behavior, she’s another sociopath.

Howard is wracked with guilt about his wife, even though she was abusive and is using him. He feels obligated to Cindy, even though she discarded him, but still wants his money. And the housemate—well, she’s laying the groundwork to make a move.

All Howard really wants is to find a woman who really loves him. But in one of his emails, he wrote:

“I guess I don’t believe that a woman will love me.”

Changing the belief

Howard believes he is not deserving of love. That belief is the core of his problems.

When we believe that we are unworthy of love, or respect, or even life, we become vulnerable to the sociopath. Why? Because sociopaths prey on vulnerability. They have an uncanny ability to figure out what we are vulnerable to, and hook us with promises that they will make our vulnerability go away.

They promise us the love that we always wanted but feared we would never find. They offer us recognition, praise, validation. At least, they pretend to. And we, wanting what they promise so desperately, fall into their traps. Then, we find ourselves psychologically bonded to them, so we can’t escape.

This is what happened to Howard. On an intellectual level, he knows that the women are using him. But because of his long history with them, he is so wrapped up emotionally, and so psychologically bonded, that he is struggling to see his way out of his situation.

Making the change

So where do these beliefs of unworthiness come from? Often they are rooted in negative experiences during our formative years. Perhaps we were neglected or abused as children. Perhaps we were teased or bullied in school. Those of you who have read my book, Love Fraud, know that I also believe we may have been born with these ideas as remnants of past lives.

But the truth is, where the false beliefs came from doesn’t matter. Looking at the conditions of our lives, we can see that we have them. Our job is to change our minds about what we deserve. This change is never going to come from the outside, from some other person or situation. It is a change that we must make for ourselves.

How do we do it? First, we must make the decision to change our minds. It’s not just going to happen; we must choose to make it happen.

Then we consciously let go of negative beliefs and replace them with positive beliefs. We decide that we are deserving of love, and start treating ourselves that way. We no longer let sociopaths, or anyone else, walk all over us. We consciously remove people who disrespect us from our lives. We start treating ourselves better.

It takes time and effort to change old thought patterns. But when we do, our life patterns will change. We will be able to find peace and happiness. And eventually, we’ll probably surprise ourselves and find love.

Howard is making progress. I believe he will find the strength to remove all of these parasitic women from his life. And, continuing on his healing path, one day he’ll come across a real woman who truly loves him.

All of these positive changes come from believing in ourselves.

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The problem with such harsh punishments is in the nature of the spath. Spaths will scapegoat innocents and get them to take the fall in their place. Too many innocents would get executed because that is what spaths do.

That’s why gray rock works so well. It doesn’t hurt innocents. It only hurts spaths. We need to gray rock until the spaths implode or kill each other, since spaths can’t DO gray rock. It is impossible for them AFAIK. Then it would be easy separate the wheat from the chaffe.

You’ll love this article on trendspotting:

This new neutral color palette is taking hold in many parts of life today, in fact. Sites such as Apartment Therapy are touting the wonder of gray walls in the home, and The Wall Street Journal recently published a piece called “The Case Against Color,” in which pale décor is said to “reveal your true self,” with top interior designer Celerie Kemble waxing poetic about the joys of a neutral home. And when ex-supermodel Kristen McMenamy posed with her gray locks on fashion covers worldwide (not to mention Lady Gaga’s Vanity Fair cover complete with long gray hair), a gray moment was fully formed.

With so much anger and a world of extremes (weather, joblessness, tea partiers, occupiers, Kardashiansanity), is it any wonder that we crave new neutrality, a palette and mood that does not feel either black or white (the extremes) but middle of the road? As I watch politicians fighting—during the debt debacle, did you feel, as I did, like a child of a contentious divorce?—I think, Stop fighting and make the world a better place already, whether elephant or donkey. Which brings me to another reason why gray is trending so high of late: It’s the color of collaboration. Gray is where black and white meet. Yes, it’s the color of uncertainty (we’ve got that in spades), but it’s also the dulling down of polarization.

Hey Darwinsmom, well done on the tests. What are you studying?
Thanks for your posts. I identify with so much you talk about …. It really helps so please don’t feel down. You are helping me and, am sure, countless others who read your experiences and take such comfort from knowing it’s not them …’s a disorder.
Hugs DM

Agreenbean, it’s so hard …. Anniversaries!! We live and learn yes. God, I’m nearly 50 and am only just getting it. Lol. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Be kind to you


Love the article. “So blur and transparency give way to graydar, where we track value on a new scale—not one of who’s better and who’s got more, but who’s willing to play nice, not rock the boat when it doesn’t need any more rocking, and hopefully solve problems through our collective need for real change”

Gray takes on a whole new importance. What a great way to bring the buddhist concept of the middle-way to light. No extremes, no drama, no use of emotion and words to manipulate and deceive. And, no feeding the trolls on their favorite food: our emotions.


I’m studying for a second master, this time in Physics. I have a master in Industrial Design (so already trained in physics for the application in daily products), but offices weren’t my thing and teaching is my calling. I’ve encountered issues with the credibility of my previous degree with HS principals who don’t know my degree and preconceivedly assume it belongs in the artistical sphere (it’s creative… but in product ideas and applications). Not that I look down on arts. I paint since I was a toddler. I love to paint, but it’s something for myself. Painting has always been a personal expression method, not something I want to teach. Meanwhile I lve teaching math and physics. After 8 years I was fed up with the misconceptions. Instead of trying to convince principals I decided to study a new master. I could do the masters of indutrial engineer in 3 years, but it’s too similar to what I studied 20 years ago, the same theoretical stuff (without either an itellectual or mental challenge imo) and thus just for a piece of paper… not a good motivation to do that on top of work for 3 years.

So, I’m in my first bachelor Physics (with a lot of excemptions) and it will take me at least 5 years. But it broadens and deepens what I already have a practical foundation for. There’s more intrinsic motivation.

To be honest, on the one hand, when I follow a class or work on a project I notice my background advantage in comparison to the 18 year olds around me who just came off HS. Not to mention that having taught math the past 3 years I also developed a way of searching for ways to explain concepts (for now explaining it to myself). I also feel how a lot of the higher studies background has been a long time ago since I’ve studied it… it feels like it’s there, but vague. So, on the one hand I feel a growth in self confidence that I derive from this study even benefiting the loss of self confidence over the summer, because I it’s not difficult for me to understand. On the other hand I have this feeling that it can’t be as easy as it often feels, that there must be some hidden difficulty that will make me fail a test: I mean, it’s physics for pete’s sake!

So when I do the test and realize I did more than ok it feels GREAT! It’s not about intelligence, but the skills. It’s like when you do puzzles and crack the code to solve it. While the spath relationship made me lose confidence in my picker, the PSTD symptoms made me lose confidence in my ability to mentally perform. I had this perception of my abilities and suddenly my perception of my abilities seemed to be wrong. I couldn’t do what I thought I could do. Now, I’m rebuilding the latter.

I have this intuitive feeling that to deal with the damage that PSTD does to a brain can only be healed by making the brain work:
(a) reading stuff that makes you think and expand ideas and associate… this helps build bridges between the neurons again. Creative work like painting, writing, designing, making presentations and such helps for that too.
(b) studying for exams and tests trains the memory again

So, short term it is building my self-confidence within a safe test environment. Short term and mid term it is healing my brain links. Long term it will give me a teaching position advantage and a more stable future outlook. Meanwhile it’ll also gives me a goal, and just feeds my innate student-for-life mentality. And the long term goal itself heals my limited future experience because of the PSTD.

When I was readying myself to leave for the test, my best friend called me and said, “You’ll do great,” and I answered, “I’m not sure really. I know I must be able to do it, but I’m not sure I will.”

But then when I was doing the test, I wrote down what I knew instantly, step by step, chopped the problems up into bits, until it was almost all done and I could just concentrate what I needed to strain myself more to figure out. And that worked! When the time was up, I felt a bit sad that I hadn’t managed to do the same for the 4th problem, but then realized I had completed 75% of the test to full completion, and I had not even dared to believe I could do that when I started the test.

… So, I’m very pleased about it. 🙂

Dear Darwin’smom,

Learning, using our brains IS IMPORTANT for Sure! PTSD does change some things, but keep on truckin’ and learning and growing! TOWANDA!!!! You go girl!!!!


you’re right, it is a buddhist tradition so it’s not new. They say there is nothing new under the sun. I just hope that people can implement the gray movement for long enough to let it sink into people’s heads that you can recognize a spath by the drama they bring to your life. Drama is a red banner.

When someone brings your emotions to the surface time and time again, creating discomfort in your life just by contacting you, it’s an indicator. Self protection is your first responsibility.

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