By | December 12, 2011 66 Comments

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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Ox Drover

Good article Donna, because when we operate on false “truths” we use those falsehoods to reject the TRUTH WE SEE.

“There is good in everyone.”

“It takes two to fight.”

“there are two (valid) sides to every story.”

“I don’t deserve to be loved.”

All of the above are FALSE STATEMENTS but “almost everyone” ascribes to the first three of them, and way too many of us the 4th as well.

Until we can examine our own “inner truths” and WEED OUT the ones we have accepted as “true” that are REALLY FALSE we will continue to operate with false “programming.” If our computers were falsely programmed that 2+2=5 we could never get our check books to balance, so we have to check our programs and when things don’t BALANCE, we need to check and see if some of our “programming” is off. Then find that false programming and replace it with TRUTH!!!


at the time i met my spath, i was unemployed and down about it, but otherwise confident, i always believed in my strenght and my value, i knew i was worthy of love.
it wasn’t until after his abuse, which was designed to make me feel worthless, that i started to feel like i wasn’t worthy of anyone ELSE’s love, that he was doing me a favor by being with me because there were so many things “wrong” with me, how could anyone else possibly want me?
i didn’t believe those things then, they were absurd then and are absurd now. but even a year later, they linger in my mind, they make me question myself. so how does someone like me, or like howard, re-enforce those beliefs, so they erase the doubt someone else planted for us?

Ox Drover

Dear greenbean,

Glad to see you back!

How do you “erase” those beliefs and re-enforce the good beliefs? One day at a time, one victory at a time, one step at a time. Learning to set boundaries when people are unkind to us or use us is a start! There are tons of books about boundary setting and how we can do it, books on being “people pleasers” and books on “if you had controlling parents” (which many times that kind of parent sets us up to be controlled or made to feel inadequate and un deserving of love.

The journey to healing starts, I think, about THEM but ends up being about OURSELVES! How to make ourselves better, stronger and how to set boundaries! How, in short, to LOVE OURSELVES!


What an excellent article, Donna – thank you.

The core of the “shame” and “unworthiness” is what a sociopath, IMHO, can hone in on with incredible accuracy.

Working through those beliefs and reprogramming myself is hard, grueling work – often accompanied with anger, grief, etc…. But, like I said in a previous post, I refuse to allow my current situation define me as another VICTIM. I intend to survive and emerge – become whom I was meant to be, regardless of how late in life it is!

Loving ourselves – it’s something that I have never done, really. Only in spurts and fits. And, it’s going to be a good, long while for me to get there. But, I’d rather be heading in that direction than living in an emotional vacuum.

Blessings to everyone!!!!


Poor Howard,
Many of us think that finding the right partner will complete a missing part of ourselves, finally making us feel whole. We also believe that this ideal lover will reveal the meaning of life to us. But each one of us has the potential to feel whole and fullfilled from within ourselves to the extent that we can develop our competence in self love, self protection, self care, and self containment. In addition, each one of us searches for and eventually finds the meaning of life for ourselves, rather than looking to our partner to reveal it to us. Our lives are ours; our partner’s life is his or hers. No one can give us the ultimate answers for our own lives.

Ox Drover

Henry, that is one of THE MOST PROFOUND things on the entire love fraud site!

Thank you for sharing, and for just being yourself! Love Oxy


Hey Hens! Great post. x.

I don’t know whether you have seen this short video but I’m linking it here for you because I am sure it will make you smile (cry first, but then smile and feel warm all over, like it did me). I know they are not exactly the same as your puppies, but they are similar and when I saw this yesterday, I couldn’t help thinking of both you and LL (wherever she is now).

Enjoy : )


What the heck, here’s another nice one for anyone who loves animals and needs to see something happy and good today!


But wait – there’s more!!!! Do NOT send any money (and no, it’s not a set of free steak-knives…)


aussie – I found that very difficult to watch, glad they got their freedom but it didnt make me feel warm and fuzzy at all, it made me sick…


I did love the moose video a lot, and the dolphin with dog vid too. but the beagle one … it’s hard to watch.

Not participating means buying cruelty free products. our chance to go NC comes up several times a day. We just have to know how to recognize the opportunity.


Aw Hens – I’m sorry friend : (
It is horrible that this goes on but it is also wonderful that people are out there protesting against it, intervening in how it ends (once upon a time these beautiful dogs were just put down after their use-by date had expired) and making a positive contribution.

Watch the other 2 videos instead Henry – they WILL make you smile, I promise! xx

Hey Sky! xx

Glad you liked the mooses (meece? LOL) – kinda funny though that it was sent to me from an Australian friend, within Australian and that that’s how you Americans got to see it!? Cyber space hey? What a wonderful world we live in.

sherry winter


My ego was so big before my S got me, but I was having problems with my husband at the time because my ego was TOO BIG, and that was all the crack in my armor that the S needed to make my life come tumbling down. I had the belief systems that you commented on. I thought:

“There is good in everyone.”

“It takes two to fight.”

“there are two (valid) sides to every story.”

I thought I deserved better then my current husband and that I deserved to be with someone who would make a difference in the world. Maybe I had a gawd complex thinking that it was important that my life would be remembered 1000 yrs from now. What ever it was, the S played to it, and before I knew it I was in a divorce and gave up a man who worshiped me, for one who was using me.

After that I figured:
“I don’t deserve to be loved.”

I broke up with the S after 2 yrs of hell, that made me feel like no one, and nothing, about 3 yrs ago. He was leaving to to go on his 3rd vacation with a woman he kept saying was JUST A FRIEND.

I took the opportunity to take advantage of a relationship with his brother, who’d been hitting on me for 2 yrs, just to drive home the point! Unfortunately, if you are involved with someone who is even related to a Sociopath, it puts you at risk unless that person is willing to sever ties. The S’s brother was not willing to to cut the ties with his worthless family, so that relationship ended also. It was sad, because big brother was actually a great guy that I had real feelings for, but blood is thicker then water, and 50 + years of being manipulated by his baby sociopathic brother was not going to go away.

What happened after that is sort of bizzar. I got married to a friend of a friend… fast! I mean zooooooooom. I totally did it to make sure I had someone, and to make sure I didn’t crawl back to the sociopath’s big brother and get stuck with the S as a brother in law, or crawl back to the EX who still loved me, but had remarried. I know, it sounds like a soap opera, but doesn’t any one’s life when they’ve got a S in their life?

Bottom line, my new husband is a very nice person. However, he’s a hoarder. As far as people’s kindness, and how he treats me, I did pretty darn good when you figure I married him in part to punish myself! His house is punishment enough. He’s given me permission to remodel, and I knew he loved me when he let me get rid of his #3 dog and about 1000 paper back books! lol Still, I looked at the dump of a house with probably 1000 sq feet of it in books, and I thought OMG, I deserve to live like this I’m such a horrible person!

Sick, isn’t it! Every one who see’s the house can’t believe I live like that. My house was always spotless, and this place will NEVER be like that as any open surface grows a mountain of STUFF in less then a week. I try to never show any one the place, and I’d lived in the house for over 2 yrs before my sister who lives in the same town even saw it! Those who knew him before me figure I’ve done wonders in the place, since you can see enough kitchen counter to cook a meal, and there are places on chairs to sit at least three people!

I guess what I’m saying, is even when I got away from the S and his family I found another way to punish myself for leaving someone who loved me, for the false promise of immortality!

I’m still stuck with the S in my life. I have to work with the a. h. I don’t see him every day, but that is because I hide in my cubical all day long. Any time I get brave and start to socialize at work or work on getting a promotion, he finds a way to BULLY ME, IN FULL SIGHT. The thing about getting bullied in front of every one, is he does it in such a way that no one see’s it! Then when I run to HR, or complain to my boss, or tell someone “HE BULLIED ME, HE”S A BULLY”, the next thing I know, I have a letter of reprimand from HR saying I’ve broken policy by making the work place a hostile place for the SOCIOPATH and could get fired for it!

I’m not good at fighting dirty. I don’t WANT to be! My actions are sincere and reactions to the hostile and some times physically threatening way he’s treated me, but NO ONE SEES IT, or at least those who don’t are afraid of him, and his power to confess it once called to HR.

I have applied to 78 jobs in the last 2 yrs. I have qualified for 2/3 of those. I get an interview for about one out of 5 that I have applied for. I have not made it to interview #2 for any of them. When you start crying when they ask how you get along with your co-workers, they suspect you don’t have good people skills!

Things are looking up though. There are a few people I can trust at work, even if I don’t trust my own manager or TEAM LEAD! One of the kind managers has started working with me on interview skills. She’s gotten me to think “customers” when the evil question, “how do you deal with conflicts at work,” comes up. It’s doing the trick, I’m able to tell of situations where I really made a difference and saved the day, instead of thinking about how I have to hide all day to keep from being intimidated or persecuted by a manager who’s still fully intrenched in the sociopath’s lies. I can answer the question, not turn red, purple or green, and not start crying! It’s taken 3 yrs of hard work to get there, but there’s hope that I will get a job some where else, and finally be away from the SOCIOPATH! I’m more then qualified, and get tons of interviews for BIG PROMOTIONS because of the schooling and education I’m giving myself, but when you don’t think you deserve to be loved, or have anything good, it’s hard to convince an employer of it!


Sherry – thank you for posting about your persistence in looking for work and how you have recognized what is holding you back and that you have found someone to help you with overcoming it – it all shows how hard you are working, and how persistent you are. it is one of the qualities we need to develop to pull ourselves out of bad work situations(with a little or a lot of help from our ‘friends’). Kudos to you!

About your husband – my sib is a hoarder, also. I see what it has done to her life. I have been very overwhelmed in the last three years and my own fears and fatigue and the issues in the place itself, have led me to be lax in my place – but when i see myself start to tip into hoarding behavior (and as I have watched my sib spiral down for a few years, I can see that there are stages to it) i nip it in the bud. to have a home like that is so isolating.

My story is different, but through illness and issues in my apt. i never did set up properly and had to have the windows open all the time – even in winter. Very isolating.

There is help available for hoarders – i think there is some online. The fact that he said you can change a few things is HUGE. (I once helped my sib move a large rug out of her place. in the process of clearing it off i put all of the empty plastic bags in one bag – when she found out she had a meltdown….). From what I hear about hoarding it is a combo of emotional insulation that leads to being very overwhelmed and unable to deal with all the stuff.

um, what did you do with his #3 dog? – not quite the same as ‘paperback novels’.

that the spath ‘caught’ you through your ego and greatest dreams is oh so familiar to me. well, most of us. our greatest dreams and ego are often two sides of the same coin.

you might not like to fight dirty but am i right that you do like to take a stab at vengeance every now and then? (going out with the spath’s brother????) i do want to fight dirty – but you know, i don’t have the heart for it long term – it messes me up. i hear sooo much pain in your post. do you have counseling?

I wish you the very best in your job hunt, and i hope that both you and your husband get some support for the things you are dealing with.

one joy

sherry winter

The husband wasn’t emotionally attached to dog #3. Actually #2, and #3 were dumped on him from a past girlfriend, and he felt obligated to take care of them. After all, they were more stuff, and did have feelings. #2 dog is now my dog. She is way to emotioally damaged from the ex girlfriend to ever find a secure home, and she’s old enough that a new home would be hard on her. The #3 dog was a younger pug, and with so few brain cells she didn’t know the people she knew from total strangers! She was happy go lucky, and would walk off with any one. She was very unhappy in his house because she wanted to be dog #1, but didn’t have enough brain cells to pull it off. I found a good home for her. Someone who had always wanted a PUG, but didn’t want to pay the $1000 to get a show quality dog like her. There were lots of other pets around the house to keep her company, but she would be MOM’s spoiled brat. SHE LOVES IT THERE, and is very happy.

Yes, I think dating big brother was a stab at him, but actually I was looking for ANY ONE, even just a friend to keep me from going over the deep end when he took off on vacation number 3 without even the lie’s he’d had in the other two times. Then all of a sudden at my front door is big brother, offering for about the 3rd dozen times to get involved with me. The spat had been lying about what our relationship was, but big brother knew it was a lie, and also knew he was stringing me along. So it seemed appropriate at the time that the person that kept me from losing touch with reality, also helped to insult the person who had hurt me. We were really fond of each other, and we were talking about forever within a few months, but baby brother S, put an end to it. That was when I realized, no matter how wonderful big brother was, it was better to get out before I was related to the S!

I have two interviews on Friday I’ll take all the prayers and luck I can get!

raised by sociopath

I have come a long way from my last dating relationship (last year) with a psychopath I had turned into the authorities as a pedophile. After reading your articles have helped me be more aware and seeking counseling. I just started and ended a dating relationship because the individual was demonstrating familiar red flags to me by his abusive mannerisms towards me. Yea I only went on 3 dates with him and got out. I’m paying a price for breaking up with him. The jerk is spreading lies about me to his large group of singles he’s a leader of because I’ve broken up with him. I called him a hole however; I stood up for myself and was recognizing his controlling, demeaning, mind game antics. I think I became his selected target because I’m recently divorced, just lost my job of 12 years, children away at college and have just survived a horrific ordeal from dating (wasn’t aware this guy is sick) a pedophile. I don’t want to be in anymore relationships with nut case sociopaths anymore. Hoping one day there’s a possibility I can attract a healthy male. In the mean time I’m learning how to spoil myself because this is a long overdue treat I owe myself.


How come I can’t be blessed with a howard. Where are men like that. I didn’t know they existed.

Ox Drover

Sherry Winter,

I have known several “SERIOUS” hoarders, and I think the reasons vary as to “why”—

Your story sounds like you are starting to get the idea though what is causing you to do what you do and to make the decisions you have made.

Loving ourselves is a PROCESS I think, and one that we have to learn to work on day in and day out…changing the things ONE AT A TIME, that we don’t think “work for us.” Maybe only a small thing, but once something is changed, maintain that change and then add another one.

Maybe you can negotiate with your husband to have A PLACE, a part of a room or a room of the house that is YOUR SPACE and that YOU can keep clean and tidy and uncluttered and he will NOT clutter it up. Then work toward other areas of the home as you and he can agree.

Setting some boundaries on the “clutter” and the “hoarding” that are mutually agreeable. Maybe even put them in writing, and maybe get some therapy about the problem that you go to together….and then, ACCEPT what IS—maybe not ideal, but still accept what you cannot change.

Accepting what IS and not grieving over what you WOULD LIKE but can’t have—seems to be the key to being happy and peaceful.

Raised by a sociopath–focus on yourself TOWANDA!!!! Good job!

Angel–They do exist, but you have to kiss a lot of frogs before one turns into a prince! LOL


I used to think that sociopaths were the slickest thing that ever slipped under the radar.

I don’t think that anymore. I believe it happened because I made excuses for them and they said OK! Sounds good to them!

They may not have thought of it as a good excuse but when I bought into it. They thought WOW! This is a good plan!


slick as slime


Can I jump in about the hoarding topic? I also know hoarders. Jim is one, and my sister’s husband is one. His mother is also one.

Those people don’t respect boundaries. There is NO concessions. They will pile-up on their side of the fence and on your side of the fence too. They expect to have the say-so even though it’s on your side of the fence.

They are vicious if you try to stop them.

Jim would dump his shit on me. I still can’t figure out how he dumped so much of his clothing here when he was NOT spending the night. One time he lined my driveway with junk he bought from an auction. He said he was dropping it off so he could get back to auction quickly. Months later my driveway was still lined with the debris. One neighbor asked me if I’m on dope. She said only people on dope would keep that junk in their yard. I hauled all that shit to dump in Jim’s yard and hauled it in my little car. It musta been 20+ trips. Jim didn’t lift a finger to help. It did not bother his conscience a bit.

My brother-in-law is still hauling in endless bags of groceries. even though there is no room in fridge or freezer. Chest freezer is packed too. My sister is giving away food. She’s throwing away food. While he brings in more and more bags of food. I can just picture him coming through the door repeatedly with arms full like the Sorcerers Apprentice.

My sister tries to reason with him. He says he doesn’t know what she is talking about. Then he brings up the subject in front of company, and says she has a problem about him doing the grocery shopping.

It creates gang-up on my sister. People believe it’s wonderful for a man to do the grocery shopping…..because they aren’t living with the problem of having bag-loads dropped on them to put away when there is no where to put it.

Talking to these people does no good. I think they are trying to grab-at some control they lost in their life.

My mother hoarded cups of milk. My mother had a brain tumor. This tumor wrecked havoc on her. She lost her job. Lost her license to drive. She lost her health to it. She eventually lost her life to it. She became the sickly mother who we had to care for. The only control she had was over cups of milk. She insisted that we save her cup of milk. Save that cup of milk in fridge. Of course someone would later rummage through the fridge and accidentally the cup of milk would spill.

I got so tired of having to clean up the milk spill. It always seemed to happen on my lunch hour. Or I would find someone else’s milk spill on my lunch hour.

I tried to encourage my mom to drink the leftover milk. She said no. She wanted a fresh cup of milk. I was curious. I suggested that I throw away the milk in cup. She said NO!

That is when I realized the cups of milk were her last bit of control in her life. I had so much empathy for my mom. I put a clean and empty cup in top shelf of fridge(I never told her what I was up to). Mom, never questioned if there was milk in that cup. She was too weak to check, or should I say mom never expected anyone to figure out this is an obsession. As long as she could see her milk cup in fridge she was happy.

I gotta point out again that the only reason why this worked is because mom didn’t check.

Hoarders need help that we as lay persons cannot help them with

raised by sociopath

Thank you Hens for your words of wisdom. This is how I would get caught up.
Also if you meet someone for the first time and it seems as if they’re not respecting their own boundaries by telling you history of their childhood (no apparent reason at all). This is how I always get hooked. I have too much empathy for the victims in this world. Unfortunately Sociopaths see this as a weakness in me and set the hook with telling how rotten their childhood’s had been. I need to constantly remind myself If I don’t know the person well enough (takes time) I need to walk away from them. My therapist had asked me if I cry on the shoulder of complete strangers. I replied absolutely not because I’m too humiliated to admit it.

“Hens says:

slick as slime ”“ some are tricky some are icky ”“ they just tune into what we want and zap us with what we want and need to hear ”“ therefore don’t be an open book to anyone ~!”

raised by sociopath

Jeanne812: I agree with your statement of not making excuses for people’s bad behavior towards our self and others.
I believe this was for me a coping mechanism to survive my childhood. Maybe this might be true for you too. My therapist helped me with this one too. We have to explain at times if our behavior was antisocial towards someone. If an apology is required we immediately try to mend the emotional damage we have done. A Sociopath needs to take responsibility in explaining their hurtful treatment to us too. This is one of the ways to catch them off guard because their use to everyone making excuses (they’re so compulsive to how they appear to everyone from the outside of their own families) for them. If I would ask they will lie and claim what I saw or heard didn’t take place. Mind Games. If we feel like we are going crazy most likely we’re dealing with a sociopath.


my exspath seemed to be fascinating by hoarders.
The first one, I saw was the woman upstairs. She hoarded so much, nobody could walk through her apartment.

I never thought to ask why he was in her apartment.

Anyway, she was obsessed with him and he liked to keep the drama going by playing tricks on her.

Spath was enticed by anyone he perceived as being eccentric or different. Those were his easy prey, his small meals in between larger con jobs, just to keep in practice.


To go back to the earlier post by Hens: ‘the right partner will complete a missing part of ourselves, finally making us feel whole… No one can give us the ultimate answers for our own lives’
Until recently I would have disagree, said that a life shared was what was important and that having a partner ‘validated’ my life and made it more. But now I see that it is the opposite. I don’t need a partner to validate my life or my value. If I don’t value myself, how can anyone else be expected to. It is too easy to be subsumed in a relationship and someone elses view of you, that in fact you cease to exist as an individual. It is so obvious to me now, that although it was a loving(?) relationship, it was all about him – how He helped me; how He gave me pleasure, how He took me on holiday, how He was committed to me. Even if we had an argument and he was in the wrong, it was about His guilt never my pain. And in all that I stopped being ME, but only existed as his extension.
My moves to regain my independence, that seemed impossible only a few weeks ago are now real. And after xmas I will make the move to be free and regain my full independence. To be who I am, and not part of Him. Although I do still love him and value the time we had together, I have to be Me and the two worlds cannot come back together.
thank you all for the thoughts on the various posts that together to show new routes and ways of living.
Time to be lovefound not lovelost!



I get what you’re saying. Getting distance from the self-centeredness of the SPATH enables a newer, larger perspective on things, where it’s YOU centered rather than the SPATH centered.

I was feeling bad this morning about what my spath did to me. The lies. How I kept going back to him being good, being kind, adoring him, trying to “fix” the relationship. And I’m feeling BAD about it.

Why, if we’re the VICTIM, do we feel BAD?

Because I wasn’t wise enough, fast enough?


We have to remember what happened to us was abnormal. This doesnt happen to everyone, it’s very different than breaking up or ending a bad relationship. These were predator’s that tap into our imaginations and enjoy twisting and turning everything we imagine as wonderful, into something dark and confusing, almost destroying our identities in the process. That’s why I say no contact with them is our only salvation..because they have no limit’s, they will twist and turn and distort our realities forever if we allow it, this give’s them a reason to live..
It has been almost four year’s no contact for me, I wish I had not focused and obsessed so much on getting over it and stopping the pain. Because in the end this was a life lesson that he represented and will always represent when I visualize who I was then and who I am now, his face and name will always come to my mind when I put a face to the damage that caused a change in who I am now.


It’s so true, Hens. The reality distortion is really easy to do. Human beings do tend to manipulate reality. Our collective beliefs are what bind us. Spaths know this. They don’t have any grounded beliefs, so they can believe anything, even their own lies. Then they get us to believe it too.

Ox Drover

Athena, I think the answer to your question is “if I was the victim, why do I feel so bad? ” is that we lost TRUST IN OURSELVES to keep us safe from bad people. We lose trust in our own judgment.

BUT…we can RESTORE TRUST in ourselves by keeping ourselves safe by EDUCATING ourselves about psychopaths, red flags, etc. and then by HONORING THOSE RED FLAGS and keeping ourselves out of harms way in the future.

Since I have gone NC with the primary sociopaths and dysfunctional people in my life: my P sperm donor, my egg donor, my P son, “friends” etc., I have still encountered psychopathic and dysfunctional types from time to time and started a friendship with them….but AT THE FIRST SIGN OF DYSFUNCTION, DISHONESTY, MEANNESS, etc. I RETREAT. I keep my self safe from those people and do not allow them to hurt me. Since I am on the LOOK OUT for signs of red flags, people don’t “love bomb” me deeply and get me hooked. The CAUTION I exercise in relationships is just that, CAUTION and setting BOUNDARIES.

If someone treats me in a way I would NOT treat someone else, then I do NOT TOLERATE IT. If they show no awareness of this being bad behavior then I do not interact with them any more. I with draw my association with them.

If it is a store or company that refuses to treat me as a customer, then I take my business else where…if it is a neighbor, a friend, or whomever treats me poorly, I set the boundary. Then protect it.

Today a man from an oil company that is putting a pipe line across my land came to the door and wanted me to sign a contract about putting in a second line. The contract he presented me was essentially a BLANKET RELEASE OF LIABILITY for any damage they did on the entire place. I wanted to read the contract for myself rather than just take his word for “what it said” which seemed to upset him a bit, but I insisted that he remain QUIET so I could READ it. I didn’t like what it said at all, and told him I was unable to sign a BLANKET RELEASE OF LIABILITY, the way it was written if they had run a bull dozer over my house they would not have been liable. I said that to him and he said “well, you know they aren’t going to do that, what it means is…..”

I said well, I will sign it when it SAYS what it MEANS. He left with the contract unsigned.

He was obviously not happy, but I obviously didn’t care. Egg donor had already signed because she said “he said it meant….” and I called her and told her that I could not sign it until it SAID what it MEANT rather than a blanket release of liability.

Funny how when someone is trying to put one over on you, they try to tell you that a contract doesn’t mean what it says. DUH????

Are all salesmen types gaslighters?


“they will twist and turn and distort our realities forever if we allow it”

True. True. True, Hens.

They will forever lie and con and cheat. They will NEVER stop doing this. I don’t even think they can, with genuine awareness, conceptualize living honestly, treating other’s with kindness and respect….living with integrity.

The disorder appears to have driven them to tear the fabric of humanity and social caring/altruism to shreds. They are destruction ‘machines’. It is like their genetics/DNA are warped somewhere in the basic survival area.

Normal genetics compel us to act with altruism when needed, and also to have good boundaries, and a ‘healthy’ sense of self-preservation.

Though they appear to be ‘protecting’ themselves, their behavior doesn’t generally ensure either their survival, or the long-term survival of the human species. Their behaviors are consistently antithetical to the genuine human drive to perpetuate the species, and their own genetic line. (Sorry if this is so sciency!, I have been thinking on this lately, due to some reading I have been doing).

Instead they are protecting a shallow/illusory image of a self, that has nothing what-so-ever to do with real and lasting ‘survival’. They protect only their false egos. And would actually, in many situations, destroy themselves to destroy others.

They make babies, but don’t behave in ‘normal’ ways to protect and nurture their own genetic offspring.

I guess what this drives home for me is that they are DEEPLY defective. And as Hens wrote it creates a ‘limitless’ ability to deceive and enact behaviors that are profoundly damaging to those around them. They have NO embedded genetic inhibitors for destruction, and none that drive them to act humanely.

Though I agree with many who post that this does not, in any way, absolve them from being responsible for their behavior. I do believe they may not possess the ability to control themselves. I think this idea may in fact be another way we ‘anthropomorphize’ them. We hold them to a standard that is only possible for people who are ‘well’. I am not sure I believe that ALL of us can make ‘the right choices’. (I am not meaning to offend here folks, just saying where I am at, right now).

Looking at it this way, for me, helps me accept and let go (forgive, as Travis is writing about). I am not pulled to ‘feel sorry’, or try to help. It stimulates my compassion, AND my need to be self-protecting.

Gotta get back to work!

Take care all….


Ox Drover


I agree with you. The genetic tendency for alcoholic addiction (for example) is well known, yet if a person CHOOSEs to drink alcohol and behaves badly while drunk, s/he is STILL HELD ACCOUNTABLE for their actions.

Maybe those are actions they would not have done sober….BUT…while I probably don’t have that genetic tendency to become an alcoholic, and it might be EASIER for me not to be drunk all the time and that might mean Ii was less likely to beat someone up, drive impaired, etc. it still doesn’t mean that you should give them a pass because they “cannot” control it.

The same thing with a psychopath. It may be MORE DIFFICULT for them not to rob or steal or use violence, but they CAN LEARN NOT to. It is a CHOICE, just like the alcoholic may have more of a tendency to drink than someone who does not have those genes but THEY STILL HAVE A CHOICE TO DRINK OR NOT.

The psychopaths still have a choice as well.


Slim not sure I agree with “no embedded genetic inhibitors for destruction…..”
Can only speak from my experience and totally understand that that’s only what you are trying to do also. But….
My ex used to justify his lack of regard(massive understatement!) for his loved ones by stating that he only had one life, it was his life and he was going to be happy regardless. Hmmm, and what has he got to show for this MO. Nothing of real substance I can assure you. No real friends and no loved ones. His cold callous disregard for every woman and child that has ever loved him has ensured
that he continues to search for happiness but it is something that remains elusive to him. Do I feel sorry for him. Lol….do I f”k!!!
I don’t need to forgive him to move on. I can accept him for the way he is.
Indifferent is my way. That’s my MO friend


Ox, we assess whether a child has some sort of disorder or difficulty that makes them behave badly. Sometimes it’s just a matter of choice. They choose to behave in an inappropriate manner. And even the damaged, disadvantaged or academically weak children have a choice. It’s our job to teach them that any behaviour has a consequence.
Sorry, if you are going to insist on being a selfish brat …..a big overgrown selfish brat with adult tantrums is what you is gona get!!!


And…..sorry I am gona shut up after this!… ex had mahusive tantrums, broke things and generally threw his weight around. It was controlled though if you get my meaning. He always said he couldnt control his anger …. But he knew exactly what he was doing IMO.
I have experienced uncontrolled anger at the hands of the man I was married to for 18 years. he would lash out and ask questions later. The ex spath used his anger to control me in a different way. Far more sinister and pre meditated


I do NOT forgive my husband whom I have concluded is spath. It too big a job for me so I have turned forgiving him over to God. I forgive myself for what I let him do.

Once I realized how much a dead end my husand is, I no longer feel guilty for giving up on my him. Except for here on LF, he is rarely in my thoughts. I am too busy building a life for myself, resolving my problems, and enjoying my blessings to dwell on anything about him.

I do think spaths have the ability to control their impulses. Does every spath kill/steal/lie when they feel like it? No. They choose when and where. It is a GAME for them. Would anyone else have gotten involved with their spath if they knew the truth at the beginning? No. My spath concealed his true self b/c he KNOWS that he is abhorent. Ahem. MASK!!! If I could control MY impulses that completely, chocolate and coffee would be a rare treat instead of my toxins!

These behaviors show that spaths have the ability to control their impulses even better than we can control ours. While their life motivation is to WIN and they will chose to destroy themselves in order to WIN, they chose WHEN to allow that impulse. And it is b/c of this dominating motivation to WIN that makes them the ultimate LOSER, but each of those behaviors to destroy is CHOSEN at that time of their CHOSING. They don’t give up a victim until they decide that victim is no longer worth anything to them, the devalue and discard come at the END of exploitation, not after a day or a week.

While I had a HARD time cutting out the person that I felt guilty about and felt like a failure about, once I KNEW HIM for what he REALLY is, and after I was able to stop him from further damaging me, then I was able to feel indifferent towards him. To see him is to experience NO curiousity about him at all b/c he showed me that he was a NOTHING…

….. and frankly, I have other pressures such as I’ve got better things to do and NOT enough time to do them all!

Ox Drover

Katy, you are right, I think, about them having some “impulse” control, in other words, deciding when and how to rob the bank, LOL but it just doesn’t seem to occur to some of them that they don’t have to rob the bank just because they think it is okay to do so. LOL

When we think about “lack of impulse control” we think (at least I do) think about a kid not thinking and darting out into the street following a ball that has bounced there. Not looking out for cars but “impulsively” running into the road. But impulse control also looks at for example money belonging to someone else and we think “gee that would be nice to have that money,” with impulse control we would say “yea, it would be nice but it is wrong to take something that belongs to someone else.” So we control our desire to have that money with a conscience….whereas the psychopath might look around to see if any one was watching when he picked it up. While the “looking around to see if anyone was watching” shows me that the psychopath has a KNOWLEDGE THAT STEALING IS WRONG, but s/he does NOT care that it is wrong or what others think as long as they don’t get caught. Even if caught, though, they will deny, deny DENY!!!! In the face of all evidence.

I think that denial in the face of evidence to the contrary is upsetting to people who don’t know about psychopath’s “lying when the truth would fit better even in the face of evidence.” That lack of right/left brain connection confuses some people I think as well, “Well why would he keep on saying he’s innocent unless he is?” That sort of thinking. I know it made me think twice, or three times, if I didn’t have ABSOLUTE evidence of guilt. Now, I don’t waiver if I have a “preponderance of evidence” that’s enough for me.


Hens, Oxy

Yes I am forever changed. No more “the world is GOOD”. I’m on alert for red flags.

And I am still trying to recover from the WTF. The angel and the devil bickering, which was he?? When you remember only snapshots in time it isn’t so clear.

Slim one, whatever you are reading, it sounds like it’s been good food for thought. Thanks for sharing it.


Ox Drover

There is an old saying my grandfather used to use about “once a cat jumps on a HOT stove, you can’t make him get on a cold one.” In other words, once you have been “burned” by something, you are going to think ALL “stoves” are HOT!!! Even if they aren’t. Actually, when my kids were little they kept trying to touch my iron when I was ironing. They didn’t really understand the meaning of “hot” and kept reaching for the cord and the iron…so I turned it down so it wouldn’t really burn them but WOULD be uncomfortable and let them touch it. After that when I said “Hot” and pointed to something they would NOT touch it! Actually I told them a LOT of things were “hot” to get them to leave them alone! LOL The same way I told them that if they were “Not good, you can’t wash dishes tonight” Hee hee they were 11 or 12 when they figured out washing dishes was not a BIG privilege! hee hee I call it the TOM SAWYER method of parenting! But maybe it wasn’t really all that great! Look what I turned out to have for biological offspring! LOL


a greenbean,

I’m with you. I loved myself before I met my spath… I totally agree with Hens premisse. But I also know it’s not enough to be safe from a spath. I had my calling, I had my self-love, I was confident. I did not seek someone else to complete me, because I felt whole and myself already… already for a decade I have walked the globe with a vision of a relationship being like a brdige… the partners are each of them two pillars standing on their own. The relationship is like a bridge supported by both that makes them connect. The bridge does not “fix” or “complete” the pillars.

What I did have a need for (and still have, but it has to move aside for other prioritzed needs… my own health and stability) when I met the spath was to bond with someone, to love someone, to share my private time with, to cook and clean and keep house with, to just share life basically. I NEVER had lived with someone together before the spath. Yes, I had a relationship for 5.5 years when I was a student, and we both kinda lived in each other’s homes (well the homes of our parents), but it’s not the same as sharing a life together as an independent adult. I was totally bored with having solely myself to think about from morning till evening (except for my cat and pupils).

And despite the hell of the other things… yes, I bonded (he didn’t though), and it was fun to live together with someone and not just think only about myself from morning till evening. My loving and nurturing side was fed up with being unemployed. And boy, did he took advantage of that.


Hi All,

Wow! Great conversation. It is absolutely true that our dysfunction doesn’t absolve us from responsibility. I agree. We have to be held to some common standard for the majority of us to thrive and be happy and safe.

But just for the sake of conversation and exploration: don’t we give different sentences for ‘crazy’ people (who hear voices and such) when they commit murder? We say they are crazy, and we have a different approach. We hold them accountable, but we enforce their treatment/punishment differently. We see them as different than the rest, and we treat them accordingly.

I keep having this niggling question whether (just because) these types can verbalize right and wrong, and manipulate language to mimic understanding, and appear ‘normal’ to someone not in-the-know about them- does that mean they can stop themselves from acting out their mental illness/brain damage/whateveryouwanttocallit? Yes, maybe they may be able to stop just short of murder or bank robbery, or some other grossly illegal violation. But they still seem to be compelled to continue to deceive. They always deceive. And they ‘know’ that is wrong too. As Oxy pointed out they do it when the truth would serve them better.

I wonder if, as Oxy also pointed out, it is not so much that they DON’T care if stealing is wrong. But rather they CANNOT care. They literally don’t have ‘caring’ as part of their beingness. They can mimic caring, but don’t actually FEEL caring. They are short the caring gene.

Because if they could, SURELY some of them, even a handful, would be transformed into humane beings, right? But NONE of the one’s we know about, either personally, or in the media, ever turn that corner.

Don’t misread me here. I am NOT for excusing the terrible terrible things done me, or anyone else here. Not for one second. I am not advocating any kind of pity for them. None.

My thoughts and questions probably don’t have much to do with other’s healing, just mostly my own.

Night all,


slimone –

” just for the sake of conversation and exploration: don’t we give different sentences for ’crazy’ people (who hear voices and such) when they commit murder? We say they are crazy, and we have a different approach. We hold them accountable, but we enforce their treatment/punishment differently. We see them as different than the rest, and we treat them accordingly.”

That is true, where an offender has a recognisable, diagnosed mental disorder/illness. But are you aware that in some countries – those which are infinitley more “spath-aware” and “spath-educated” than mine, unfortunately – offenders who fall into the diagnosed category of sociopath/psychopath are NOT treated the same as those who are considered mentally ill? SPATHDOM is NOT a mental illness, nor is it one of the Personality Disorders which are involuntary and for which there is generally good treatment and management available. SPATHDOM (wherever you are and whatever you call it) is, in some progressive and more enlightened countries, recognised as a CHOICE TO STAY SPATH.

A Personality Disorder? Probably – that’s how it is presently classified in the DSM and in the European equivalent. But maybe not – maybe in a class all of its own. Regardless of the eventual outcome of the various and often (at this time) conflicting research and evidence about SPATHDOM, these countries DO treat SPATHS differently. For instance, if an offender is measured against the Hare scale for P traits and returns a positive result (i.e. a high enough score), then they are held as being FULLY CULPABLE for their dreadful behaviour. In a case where a mentally ill person might be given a reduced sentence as a concession of their illness, a SPATH will be given life in prison or the death penalty because it is recognised (by well-informed countries – not my idiot country which still attempts to “rehabilitate the unrehabilitateable”) that SPATHS
– KNOW what bad and evil are as opposed to good and pure
– CHOOSE to do it anyway
– CHOOSE to it NOT despite its awful consequences but BECAUSE of its awful consequences
– REVEL in, ROLL in, LAP up and ENJOY the drama, trauma, grief, destruction and distress they cause
– will NEVER change because THEY LIKE the way they are and will never see a need to change and will laugh at any suggestion that they should
– only ever show (read “pretend”) signs of “reform” when it will work to their advantage to do so (eg:before the parole baord, if there’s a chance of their release so that they can get out amongst the public and do it all again!)
– unlike humans, have no fear of the consequences of their actions; it’s often their very bold and fearless dare-devil nature that draws some of us to them (they look exciting, although in reality, they are anything but)

“does that mean they can stop themselves from acting out their mental illness/brain damage/whateveryouwanttocallit? …they may be able to stop just short of murder or bank robbery, or some other grossly illegal violation…. seem to be compelled to continue to deceive. They always deceive. ..they do it when the truth would serve them better.”

Yes, it does. All of the good research gives every indication that if they WANTED to they have the capacity to reform. They just don’t want to and that’s why some of the more clever penal systems treat them differently to people who are mentally ill.

“They can mimic caring, but don’t actually FEEL caring. They are short the caring gene.”

But we ALL (even us humans) learn our socially acceptable and good behaviours by mimicking it throughout our lives. Our consciences are fine-tuned as we go through life and learn the difference between good and bad; babies are not born knowing all of this stuff. It then becomes our own personal choice as we mature, as to how much of this learned acceptable behaviour we apply in our own lives.

Many of us take it ALL on board and apart from the inevitable mistakes and slip-ups that all imperfect humans must make from time to time, do a pretty good job of always trying to be a decent person. Others will take on board MOST but not all – personal choice; might make them a bit of a renegade or a bit of a rebel or a bit of a petty criminal – or even a lot of a criminal; but it still doesn’t make them a full-blown P/S; in fact, even within many criminal organistaions, there are still “codes of conduct” and ethics that are generally held to (bizarre and contradictory as that all might seem to us non-criminals, it remains a fact).

SPATHS are a law unto themselves; there are NO ETHICS worth their while and ANY “GOOD” behaviour on their part is simply a means to an end. They are not even “sometimes good/sometimes bad”, as if some kind of moral struggle is raging inside them that with a little help (as we stupidly, until we know better, try to offer them) might prevail on the side of truth and justice. No. Everything they say, do and think is for a reason and the reason is always a bad one. ALWAYS.

“I am not advocating any kind of pity for them. None.”

Good. Don’t. Save all of your pity for the victims and the dupes; save it for your fellow survivors. WE deserve it.

“My thoughts and questions probably don’t have much to do with other’s healing, just mostly my own.”

Don’t think that for a second. Those of us who have been here for a while, got here by comparing our own thoughts and questions with those of others on this site. It’s the way we learn to compile the data we need and assimilate it into our brains and minds and hearts until we are clear about WTF just happened to us. Once we are there – totally convinced and completely educated – there is never again a doubt in our minds. Everything crystallises and stays so very clear.

Some take longer than others to get there, for various reasons – personal disposition, proximity to the SPATH, levels of support in our real (non-cyber) lives, other personal issues and variations in circumstance. But I do promise you this – once you are there, you are THERE. x

Ox Drover

The spiritual and philosophical thinking that we do about “them versus us” and how we responded to their behavior, did we “participate in it?” is part of our healing. Sometimes I know I actually let my association with the psychopaths make my moral compass drift off course. I said and did things that I later wished I hadn’t.

Healing from a psychopath isn’t JUST about learning the signs and symptoms of psychopaths, learning the red flags, it is about our inner selves. It is about how we treat others, how we treat ourselves, and how we allow others to treat us. We have to reexamine our own moral compasses, our own sense of what is right and what is wrong. We have to come face to face with our own ideas of spirituality, health versus illness, moral versus immoral, right versus wrong…what makes us happy. It takes work, and it takes time, but the journey is important. That journey is LIFE and we live it one day at a time, one step at a time.

Like Aussie Girl points out, it takes different amounts of time for each of us as we find our own directions at our own paces.

Thinking about, talking about, examining the things we talk about here—from humor to philosophy to spiritual aspects is part of the journey, part of the learning. It’s what makes LF special. VERY SPECIAL.


What are you still doing up you naughty girl? You should be all tucked up in bed. x

It’s lunch time here and I’m hungry so I’m off to make some lunch.

GO TO BED!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xoxoxoxoxo

Ox Drover

Actually, Aussie Girl, it is only 10 p.m. here so I’m not up tooooo late! Just doing the last load of laundry! Putting it in the dryer. Listening to the weather report for tomorrow and waiting for the dog to come back from his run!

Envy your season though! That’s for sure, it is damp and dreary here, though not as cold as it could be for this time of year as we come into our winter season soon. I remember the Christmas day I spent at Durban Beach in South Africa and the sunburn I got! Blistering! Spent the week between Christmas and New Year’s in a hotel room dressed in sun burn cream! OUCH! Gosh that has been so longggggg ago too!

But I won’t complain about the winter either, or the cold because we had a blistering summer just past and I’m grateful for the relief!

Well, I AM off to bed now, have a nice lunch!


‘Night Ox. Sweet dreams. xxxx


To Raised by a Sociopath:

About accountability. I kept Jim’s crock pot. It was the first time I kept something of his after a break-up.

I never made him suffer the consequences of his actions before. I always made him whole. by giving him everything he dumped here. And he always kept what is mine that he took from me. He was double dipping the profits.

Jim made a fuss in the neighborhood about me holding his crock pot.

People were telling me to give him his crock pot! I said no. He still was holding my property and I have his crock pot.

Of course Jim pushed it further and said he had valuable property left here. I’m surprised he didn’t claim to have a envelope full of cash here.

I really believe that me keeping his crock pot threw him for a loop. The hoarder had to give-up something. And, that is a shock factor for a hoarder! He never saw it coming. I think he realized that he can lose.

My neighbor lady had told me Jim asked her to go to my house to look for his crock pot. She told him no. He asked if she would just look around and tell him if she sees it and tell him where I put it. I think he would have broken in to steal it if he knew exactly where it was! It would be a quick IN and OUT.

He is crazy! What would he do if his next girlfriend keeps his toaster?


Hi Jeannie –

Talking about “crock pots” makes me think about what “crack pots” all spaths are!

Now that we are so far out from it, we can see the absurdity of their behaviour. It’s hard to imagine now that we once excused it to others and defended them over it…..


crock pots and crack pots oh my..


I also feel sorry for them. I feel sorry that they made the choice to be evil. They chose to separate themselves from God. How can I not feel sorry for that? But it isn’t up to me to make them whole again. It’s up to them.

The fact is, that they are addicted to making other people take responsibility for them and their behaviors. It’s part of their “illness”. It’s why they scapegoat us and parasite on us and slander us.

If we do ANYTHING to make their lives easier or to hold them less accountable, we are enabling their addiction. And the enabler IS guilty of a crime. We enablers, can be forgiven if we didn’t know better. But once we DO know better, we can’t continue to enable.

Psychopathy, like Cleckley said, is a “disease” that involves more than one person. (paraphrased) A spath can’t be a spath without a dupe. We have the opportunity to deprive them of even the slightest morsel.

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