By | November 5, 2009 488 Comments

The sociopath’s irrational optimism

We’ve discussed many of the sociopath’s traits, such as his missing empathy and compassion; his tendency to remorseless interpersonal exploitation; and proclivity to audacious acts of lying, deception and sundry other violating behaviors.

Now, I’m tempted to add to the mix what I call the sociopath’s tendency to “irrational optimism.”

By “irrational optimism,” I mean the sociopath’s irrationally optimistic belief, if not conviction, that he’ll either evade or, somehow, otherwise prevail over, the real, probable consequences of his actions.

Consider this brief, hypothetical interaction between a sociopath and his partner, who learns with certainty that he, the sociopath, has been cheating on her with three different women simultaneously:

Partner: How could you do that?
Sociopath: Do what?
Partner: Sleep with three different women behind my back. Are you f*cking demented?
Sociopath: First of all, that’s abusive. So stop right there and don’t abuse me. Second, I didn’t sleep with f*cking anybody. Not that I haven’t been tempted, given how lame our sex life is.
Partner: Why are you lying? I know who these women are, and I can prove you’ve been sleeping with them. Do you think I’m that f*cking stupid?
Sociopath: Let me ask you something. Why the hell would I sleep with three women and risk getting some f*cking STD? Think about it. You know me”¦or maybe you don’t? Does that make any sense?

The sociopath here is (or was) irrationally optimistic on two levels—first, that he’d be able to perpetrate this caper, undetected, indefinitely; and second that, once busted (as, now, he is) he’ll be able to squirm his way out of accountability.

We could address many aspects of this interaction, but I’d like to emphasize his last argument: “Let me ask you something. Why the hell would I sleep with three women and risk getting some f*cking STD? Think about it. You know me”¦or do you? Does that make any sense?”

This argument captures, I think, the sociopath’s “irrational optimism” beautifully. In offering the glibly insulting invitation to “think about it,” he makes a spectacle of his audacity and contempt: he really expects, and believes his partner should, accept his invitation [to think about it].

But even more than expecting her to “think about it,” which is outrageous enough, he expects her, in his irrational optimism, actually to be persuaded by his argument. In his irrational optimism, he is hopeful, if not confident, that she’ll choose to disbelieve the evidence she holds indisputably in her hands in favor of accepting his insulting logic.

How classically sociopathic is this?

More importantly, what contributes to the sociopath’s irrational optimism?

We might begin with his malignant sense of entitlement—that is, the sociopath’s belief that he is entitled to obtain the gratifications he wants. One of the most dangerous aspects of the attitude of entitlement is how it renders impotent—denudes of power—rule, limits and laws.

When you feel entitled to something, if it’s not accomodatingly forthcoming, you feel entitled to take it. You’ve laid, in your entitlement, a kind of psychic possession of what it is you want, so that now it becomes, in your mind, yours—specifically, your right to have.

And so if someone (or something) obstructs your seizing what now, in your mind, is your right to possess, then you are free to take it—to take, in fact, whatever is yours—by any means necessary.

Conferring this entitled status upon oneself encourages the irrationally optimistic view that, one way or another, accomodation looms”¦it must!

Closely related to this is the sociopath’s grandiosity: he believes he can and should succeed at his high-wire machinations because he’s that good, that clever and—it can’t be stressed enough—that entitled.

His grandiosity may take the form of thoughts like, “Sure, normal guys couldn’t pull this shit off, but I’m not your normal guy.”

And so, when you feel like you can do things that others can’t—especially things unsupported by “reality—”this is grandiosity. And grandiosity feeds, I believe, very directly, the sociopath’s tendency to irrational optimism.

Then there is the sociopath’s contempt, so inseparable from his grandiosity. As we discussed, the sociopath, in the example above, expects his insulting argument to succeed, either because he’s convinced he’s smart, clever and persuasive enough to be found so convincing, or else he’s convinced that his partner is dumb, naïve and/or desperate enough to believe him. (Or both!)

As a consequence, the sociopath’s contempt leaves him at constant risk of underestimating others, and overestimating himself. In his irrational optimism, fed by his contempt, he fails to appreciate how close he is always is—perhaps just one more reckless risk away—from being busted.

What else feeds the sociopath’s irrational optimism? How about his stupidity?

This may sound provocative, but let me explain. I suggest that blind faith supports a perspective of irrational optimism, and the sociopath operates with a kind of blind faith. That is, he operates in the blind faith that, somehow or other, he’ll escape accountability for his latest transgression.

Where does his blind faith come from? Two good sources, I’d suggest, are his grandiosity and arrogance—they blind him, I contend, to certain realities, effectively making him stupid on some level.

And his stupidity reinforces his irrational optimism.

Quite obviously, I’m not talking I.Q. stupidity, but rather judgement-level stupidity. The sociopath’s personality pathology mars his capacity to make wise, intelligent judgements in many circumstances.

(My use of “he” in this article is a convenience, not to suggest that females aren’t capable of the behaviors and attitudes discussed. This article is copyrighted © 2009 by Steve Becker, LCSW).

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Ox Drover

Again, Steve, a great article!

I might add, too, that the psychopath does not attribute any LOSSES to himself, but to external or UNFORTUNATE happens, so therefore does NOT learn from failure. He will continue the same tactics over and over and expect different results.

My P-son, sitting in prison for “life” for murder feels that he is a SUCCESS in life. None of the “failures” he has had which put him into prison were his “fault” but were all attributed to others “ratting him out”–chief among whom is me for turning him into the cops for theft at age 17, so somehow, in his mind, his conviction at age 20 for murder is my fault.

He truly believes that his “life education” by being in prison for 20+ years has equipped him to be very successful when (if) he ever gets out. Of course he is very sure he will get out and have the “life of Riley” on the outside due to his superiority! And, after all, he IS ENTITLED!



So true. At one point in his “career” S worked for a manged health-care company. Over the last 15 years he got hooked on drugs, tanked his credit report and ended up in prison. His employer actually held his job for him while he was in prison because S hadn’t stolen from him.

After getting out of prison did S have gratitude for his boss holding the job? No. As far as he was concerned his boss was taking advantage of him and he was entitled to more. Every other day I would hear “I’ve had it. I’m going back to health care.”

Any sane person would look at his circumstances– past and present — and realize this will not happen in lifetime. But, in his irrationally optimistic mind, all it will take is a phone call or two and he’ll be back sitting in the corner office with 2 secrearies (ignoring the fact that he was handling scheduling and working in a cubicle and fetching coffee for somebody in the corner office the last time around!).


Dead on. The S/P/N I was involved with told me that he was hopelessly optimistic. When he said that about himself, it made no sense to me, because I had equated optimism with an upbeat, loving, easy-going personality…which this dictator certainly was not! But as always, it was all about him, and he meant he was hopelessly optimistic about HIMSELF and this article really could have been written specifically about him, it is very accurate.

And he was stupid, to the point of being retarded, in the ways you are alluding to, though he was a brilliant doctor.

As always you make vague insights crystal clear.


Exactly, Mine was the same.. four marriages, he blamed the women not himself… claimed all his craziness in his life was karma.. now, that’s a catch all.. no money, not his fault… eviction… not his fault.. the owner of the property made the mistake LOL…
and some wonderful big business deal from the sky was going to pull him out of this.. all he needed was a supportive woman.. LOL!



Each week I wait for your article with such anticipation and you never fail to disappoint.

I am copying this right out of an e-mail I got this week :

“Let’s be honest, as you claim to be” You knew what happening in our marriage while it was happening!!!

You told people!!! You say I told people things??? You knew what was going on, now you are mad at your self for letting it. And to not look like some one who chose to ignore, you claim to be innocent, manipulated, controlled, and surprised” ”

In this one excerpt of his tirade, I can now clearly see so many of the traits you mention above and in prior articles – audacity, blame shifting , contempt , etc…….

It’s my fault I believed he ended his affair

It’s my fault – I must have known he was cruising sex -sites

I should have known there was more than one other woman…

…..anything to avoid recognizing how truly ACCOUNTABLE HE SHOULD BE FOR RIPPING MY HEART OUT OVER AND OVER…….I ALLOWED IT !!!!!

And I did – because I loved too much and wanted to believe there was something salvageable in him…………….


Irrationally Optimistic…..

I prefer to call it “Joyfully EVIL”.

Nevertheless, that “optimism” that they possess can be very attractive when you first meet them.
Some of them are very effective at appearing to be positive and upbeat at first.
They can put a positive spin on anything. (Do the words charming, glib, & superficial ring any bells?)
And, we all want to surround ourselves with positive people, right???

The thing is, GENUINELY positive people don’t engage in systematic attempts to make you feel like donkey poo.

And, when you call them on their antics, they will fall back into the pity ploy, crocodile tears, or righteous indignation (these will be your RED FLAGS).
If you get one that is REALLY ARROGANT, he will tell you how you SHOULD FEEL, instead.

~In fact, some may even acknowledge that you are right when you confront them, and they will fold just like a cheap suit.
BUT, their BEHAVIOR never changes, so it is all for nothing.~

So true. And when an S is really good at his game, also appealing on some levels, at least in my experience.
My ex P would over the years make repeated statements of “opinion” as fact – when I for instance considered the “what ifs” in his latest financial scheme for instance- he would just flatly state-“that is not going to happen” ( in this case the housing bubble) other times the stock market “is not going to fall” etc etc.

People in business were attracted to his “certainty” and saw this as strength, having a positive attitude, keeping his cool etc.

It took me so very long to see that his certainty in his actions were just a smoke screen for the looting of our financial viability for his own purposes.

He is now fighting me in court with that same absolute certainty that he will prevail. Altho I think as he ages he is way off his game, and I did actually see his hands shaking while addressing (lying to) the judge.

Perhaps when they get away with their shit for so long they feel entitled to always get away with more, as Dr. Steve suggests. They believe the universe turns for them- because they are special and deserve it. Loathsome creatures that they are.


Their optimism might also have to do with the shotgun effect.
You know when you fire a shot gun, you’re bound to eventually hit something. The same with the P, they know that they will eventually find someone to believe their lies, so it’s just a roll of the dice. They really don’t care if you don’t believe them, they are just practicing. They never had any commitment or investment. If anything, this game is even more fun for them when you turn the odds against them because it gives them a greater challenge and success is even more rewarding.

For example, my P and I were in a restaurant and he commented on the color of the menu. If I recall correctly, he said it was yellow when it was clearly red. I was befuddled, why would he say that? I argued that it was yellow and he suggested we ask the waitress. She agreed with me but he kept insisting until I finally said, “well, maybe in some lights it could be construed as orangish” He looked so smug.

Even when you don’t believe them, they don’t care as long as they never backed down in the face of all reality, they still won. That’s why they’re called the people of the lie.


correction: I argued that it was red

Twice Betrayed

I’ve had a conversation very similar to this with my x. His comment was: I’ve never caught anything. Which let me know he had cheated from the very beginning of our long marriage. He had simply never been faithful-including the affair with my older daughter. How smug he was……leering at me. At that time he used his isolation of me and finances to force me to take this abuse. IMO they do not care if they are busted….the thrill of living right on the edge fuels their warped sense of ‘adventure’. The con….oh how they love the con. They are not only sadists but enjoy receiving the torture too of another P that is ‘stronger’ then they are. If they get busted….they go into ‘pitiful me’ act….and get the oscar anyway. They are hopeful because they are always ‘buyers’ out there of their con….they just have to find them. They cross lines we don’t cross so no problems regarding what they can do…or will do. Whatever situation comes along…they can twist it to fit their warped senses and suck somebody dry. Mine has had to go out of the country to find another victim…he’s losing his acting ability now that he is aging…not to mention his once ‘hunk’ status. I thought you all might get a kick outta this…mine had to go out of the country to find a good victim now that he is losing his looks and acting ability=aging. Seems he pulled a major balk at the church at the wedding….and her young sons gave him some well earned incentive….in the form of force> resulting in my x’s nephew commenting it was a shotgun wedding. My daughter said my x said….”I’m screwed..” ahahahahahahahaha!!!!! AHHHHHH-karma…..sweet karma. *high five and knuckles…..

Twice Betrayed

*sorry some typos and repeating of a sentence. Was working and trying to do two windows at same time.


Reality BITES!
Karma comes back around – OMG, that is tooooo awesome.

super chic

Steve, yes, “escape accountability”… I think they live by that rule. Very interesting article! I am so appreciative to you and all who write these articles, a priceless education for me. Thank you!!

super chic

TB… “well earned incentive”.in the form of force” aaaahhh, that is wonderful! Ha, he’s really in for it now. I love the losing the charm/looks stuff, and the sons… they are gonna be hell on earth for him! Yeaaaaaaaah!!!!

Twice Betrayed

sky: I knew you’d really appreciate this….you and I share the same kind of humor….;) bwwwaaaaahahahaha. I almost passed out when I heard all of this….I laughed so hard I cried. I had to go potty sides were splitting. I got a great visual on it. The whole thing sounded like it was right out of Moonstruck. total chaos. ahahahahahahaaaaaa…………*still chuckling.

Twice Betrayed

……oh and his mom had to give him a ‘pain pill’ to keep him from stroking out. *big grin

Twice Betrayed

shabbychic: you are so funny! You are right….they are gonna work ole’ P over…..I think he thought he would ‘charm’ these like he did my kids….and most everyone’s he met….only these two ‘boys’ are from a side of the world that kicks ass and asks questions later or not at all….one is a MMA cage fighter. Now, how funny and fitting is this? the edge might have sucked him closer than he wanted…..ahahahahahaaaaa! *screams with laughter!

Ox Drover

TB–ROTFLMAO Well, let’s just hope he pops his new Mrs. in the mouth say, or slaps her, and then when her sonny boy hears about it—-kaPOWWWWWWWW!

super chic

TB, yeah, they are gonna work him over, and skylar pointed out previously that men from South America really protect their mothers, it’s a matter of honor in addition to love for them, they will keep an eye on him, in his case it’s 4 eyes, I can’t believe he balked at the church, what a jerk, he probably feels like he’s in prison… ha ha hahahahahaha… and mommy had to give him a pain pill… hahahaha, I’m so glad someone told you about all this!

Twice Betrayed

oxy/chic: boy, that would be perfect. Maybe drag his fat ass into that cage and …… ;P Well, I hope he does, Chic….cause I was in his prison long enough……awwwwww……he will cry to his mommy and sister…..*boo hoo 🙂

Twice Betrayed

The two sons flew in for the wedding….one from South America and one from Miami. * no pressure. 😉 From what I’ve heard….it was a scene from hell. 😉


Very true Steve – they evade responsibility for everything in stunning ways. I don’t know that I can even articulate the myriad ways he evades responsibility for the dumb things he has done or the pain he has inflicted.

If you try to bring anything up then you are the one being nasty and ‘not letting go’ or ‘getting past things’. I lose track of the times he has questioned my mental health (oh what a joke now I realise how abnormal he is).

Everything is someone else’s fault – he didn’t get a job he wanted .. someone put in a bad word against him – not that he didn’t have the qualifications or experience needed for the role. If a project fails – it is never his planning or organising but always the fault of the participants. If he has no money before the next pay day – that is never a fault of not budgeting and planning spending but rather because ‘everything is so expensive nowadays – now give me some of your money dear … and don’t call it a loan because you know I can’t pay you back.’ Any problems with anything at home or in the history of the relationship are all my fault – my anger rather than his stupid behaviour that provoked the eventual anger.

I know I have to get past all this and move on with life but I am still so damned angry about it. There is no consequence to him because he feels nothing. But it rips my heart out again and again. I see the current problems as struggling with the unfairness of the past and also coping with trust issues into the future – I am very wary of people these days.
Many thanks for writing this,


Cringing here…of course *I* evidenced blind faith and totally unjustified optimism in thinking the p/s/n would ever change, that I had just misunderstood, that it was circumstances, blah, blah, blah. And I suppose there was an arrogance in thinking *I* could show him real love when no one else in the world had? !!

But at least my optimism, my blind faith was not rooted in grandiosity, contempt, and entitlement!


you said he questioned your mental health. LOL.
Mine wrote me emails and kept referring to my “beautiful mind” that I was destroying with drugs and alcohol. That beautiful mind is in reference to the movie/true-story of the schizophrenic genious, John Nash.

I think that your article’s points: entitlement, grandiosity, contempt and stupidity are the driving force for the stories that they come up with. Then they just believe the story as if it had come from the realm of reality rather than of their disordered minds.

It’s funny, how convinced he was that I was going to kill myself or go crazy simply because he wanted me to. LOL. It’s bizarre, but I think they believe the stories that they make up. I think that a certain part of their brains confuse reality with their fantasy. It’s like they are still 5 years old and can drift in and out of reality at will. On the other hand, he did drive his ex-girlfriend to suicide so I guess it would be possible, but after 25 years with me, I thought he knew me better.

I’ll look for the email he sent me back in June, when I first left him and I’ll post it for kicks.



Twice Betrayed

sly: yeah, I would have known that was written by a P. Trying to hard to psych you out with his ‘caring heart’. Ugh…..they always have someone else diving over the edge and they rush in to save us….[after all their pushes and gaslighting to try and get us there]. Look at the drama….”Hello, my love……*oh please…going for the oscar….

Twice Betrayed

sorry…meant sky…on my friend’s cheap laptop and can’t type worth a dang on it…….sheesh. Trying to get a Mac this PM…my desktop bit the dust.

Ox Drover



Where have we gone after 27 years. We entered into troubled times and the future is uncertain. (YOU SEEM TO HAVE FIGURED OUT WHAT I AM AND I AM LOOKING FOR A WAY TO REEL YOU BACK IN)

I know our relationship has been damaged (BOY AIN’T THAT THE TRUTH?)

and both of us have issues with each other. (YEA, YOU HAVE AN ISSUE ON HOW I ACT, AND I HAVE AN ISSUE THAT YOU ARE ON TO ME.)

Right now I don’t want to talk about what I did wrong or what you did wrong.(YOU BET YOUR ASS I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT WHAT I DID WRONG, BUT I WILL FIGURE OUT SOMETHING TO ACCUSE YOU OF DOING WRONG)

Instead I would like to talk about your personal challenge. (LET’S NOT TALK ABOUT ME, LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR SHORT COMINGS, AFTER ALL THAT IS OUR PROBLEM)

I watched you make every effort possible to address your sleeping disorder, unfortunately your method has turned on you and your life is in great danger. (SEE I AM GOING TO POINT OUT TO YOU THAT WITHOUT ME, YOU CAN’T EVEN SURVIVE)

You have developed a severe dependency on alcohol and sleeping medication and I believe you are now having psychological problems because of this. (SEE HOW I CAN TWIST WORDS?)

I don’t know what to do I have never felt so helpless in my life. (YEA THE THOUGHT CROSSED MY MIND THAT YOU MIGHT ACTUALLY NOT LET ME REEL YOU BACK IN)



When I saw you last over at Harry’s I couldn’t believe I was talking to you. You seemed like a total stranger and your mannerisms were like those of a drug addict. (SEE, THE PROBLEMS ARE YOURS, NOT MINE)


I have loved your beautiful mind for 27 years (i’LL LTHROW IN A COMPLIMENT HERE JUST TO PUT YOU OFF TRACK)

and I feel so helpless ,(YEA, YOU MIGHT GET AWAY)

healthy minds are needed to solve problems like ours. (YOU ARE NOT HEALTHY, ONLY I AM HEALTHY AND SMART)

There are so many ways for you to be injured either directly or indirectly. (A LITTLE THREAT HERE, JUST SO YOU KNOW I AM IN CHARGE AND MIGHT HURT YOU)

When I saw you last you were driving your car while on alcohol or drugs are both I never believed you would do this. (AGAIN, YOU ARE SO MESSED UP, AND I JUST HAVE A PROBLEM BELIEVING YOU DON’T BELIEVE EVERY WORD I SAY, YOU ALWAYS DID BEFORE)

Please don’t drive your car during these times, if you have an accident we will never be able to fix our lives. (AH COME ON, LET ME TAKE CONTROL AGAIN)

Please write me a letter each day I will check my e-mail and respond to you may be we can make progress this way. (THIS WAY I CAN KEEP MY FOOT IN THE DOOR AND GET YOU BACK UNDER MY CONTROL)

Remember to hold your life guarded in all that you do don’t let your broken heart and tethered mind cause irreversible mistakes.(YOU ARE THE ONE WITH THE MIND PROBLEMS, NOT ME)


Skylar, I hope this translation clarifies what he was really saying. LOL ROTFLMAO


I think the healthiest thing for you to do is go NO CONTACT.
I think you should be concentrating on getting back into your house and moving on……really, I think your playing with fire….with each communication……
If you put the energy into YOU, you will reap the benefits and not waste anymore time stagnant trying to figure him out. Stop living in fear of him, and his possible actions against you and take control of YOU!
I think your a sitting duck at your parents place, you need to surround yourself with healthy thinking adults that support you. If you can’t find anyone just yet….remain alone…..but keep moving in a forward direction….for YOU!
This email is sick……and I don’t see it leading your down any sort of positive road for your future continuing any of it.


OXY! you nailed it!
Thanks for the belly laugh!

From the first line, “Hello my love”, it’s got P-drama written all over it.
He NEVER called me “my love”

I swear it’s like half his brain suddenly fell out because his lies used to be convincing. but this is drivel.


EB, it’s an old email from June. He doesn’t do that anymore.

But yes it was sick and thank you for your concern.


Wow thanks for that Skylar – it really clarified it for me. I actually was questioning myself a few years back … he had me so low over his repeated betrayals and lies and hurts and let downs … yet he was then making out it was MY mental health issues that were the problem.

It came to a head one day when my best friend just had a baby and I couldn’t drag myself out of bed to go visit with her. I had supported her the whole way through the pregnancy including talking her out of abortion when her partner was behaving like a pig, giving her money when she needed some and going shopping for baby items with her even though I would need to cry for hours afterwards. I was the friend to her I wished I had when I needed one. But I couldn’t face the happy family at the hospital.

He tried to drag me out of bed and I said “I am not getting up = there is no point.” He then threatened to have me committed to a mental ward. At that moment something snapped inside of me and I really became like a mad woman lol I towered above him standing on the bed and read him the riot act. I then slapped his face three times and told him to get out. He left and naturally the pain I felt I categorised as love rather than extreme grief and confusion. So we reconciled again and the nightmare continued. He didn’t refer so much to my mental wellbeing after that.

The horrible thing about it is ,,, we can laugh about it here and help one another to deconstruct each segment of warped communication, but when you are isolated from everyone and alone and totally dependent on these monsters – you believe what they say. I was starting to believe his version of me – someone who was incompetent, incapable, depressed and unable to function alone in the world despite mountains of evidence to the contrary.

Many thanks Oxy for deconstructing that email and thankyou Skylar for sharing it. I only have courting emails from mine which I kept in a folder and wrote snarky comments all over when I realised he had no concern whatsoever for my wellbeing. I highlighted all his lies and broken promises and wrote really snippy comments on the side margins 🙂 It got rid of some pent up aggression. I might dig them out and share some excerpts so you can see the amazing promises he made in the idolising stage before he broke my heart and ruined my world. That is a great idea to study their words. I don’t have anything from during the relationship as he was very careful not to commit anything to paper =- he kept numerous notes I wrote him though trying to explain the pain I was in and asking how he could keep hurting me as he did.

I am off to search them out now! Thanks ladies – off to the mortgage person today to see about taking over the massive debts on the house to get him out 🙂 Those appts always make me cry and so so sad so please send me some good thoughts to be strong this afternoon – I am finding this so hard. I was up till 2am this morning crying and my eyes are all swollen up.


Sorry sky….I should have read the earlier post…..Duhhhh!
I still hold fast on the NC rule though….


It’s all cool, EB


Guys, need your help and it may be fun. I am putting together a presentation on People of the Lie (like that one a lot). And – I thought it would be really neat to remember various fairytales that have been told and retold. I know that I am on to something. how is it that my kids are aware of the fact that there are Bad Optimistic people out there, and I was totally in the dark? Maybe, I did not read enough kids’ stories. Can you think of few where the Good turns to bad in a psychopathic sort of way? I think it’d make a great point for a lecture. What are your thoughts?


Excellent idea!
Little red riding hood.
I’m also not much of a reader….but when Skylar logs on…..i’m sure she will fill you up! I recall she has mentioned some in the past…

Oh PI… know so much more than they let on ………


Yes I think you have the mind of the sociopath down except that they also can change who they are to different people like a chameleon. Rosa your comments are also accurate as people with feelings don’t power up on you and make you feel like you are a piece of shit. Here is a story that I just watched on 48 hours, maybe a repeat now about Mechele Hughes who played several men at the same time. Anyway, while as a stripper she became engaged to 3 men stringing them along while they were buying her fur coats, cars, rings etc. (The interviewer wondered what attraction she had on them). She was a stripper!!!!!! She had one of them take out a $1,000,000 dollar life insurance policy on himself with her as the beneficiary. He ended up dead with one of the other pawns doing the dirty work. At least the man had his policy changed days before he was killed- the paperwork was found on his dead body. She left the state and became married to a doctor while also earning her Master’s degree. 10 years later she was surprised to find out that she was a suspect in the murder trial now reopened. She was so glib about the whole thing I wanted to jump through the tv and smack her, especially when she also defamed the murdered man by saying that he was gay. This didn’t seem to bother her then when she was stringing him along with the idea of marriage. She was convicted thankfully, and I am hoping that the bearded lady gets the bunk either above or beneath her in prison.


Definately chameleon like!

First problem……stripper!
Now, I guess who am I to judge someone making a living as a stripper…..I dig holes in my yard….
BUT……to look at a stripper as marriage material, or girlfriend material…..HELLLLLOOOOOOO!
Why are we shocked with the enevitable…..
ANd so what if the dead guy was gay? Muddy waters, smoke screen…..what, you had a right to have him killed because he was gay? Uh….okayyyyy.
It’s a crazy, crazy world……and being in it…..I am so very glad I have the knowledge I do……it reduces my chances….still not immune though!

Elizabeth Conley

Great Article Steve!

I gotta laugh, ’cause the Sociopath I used to work with thought he could draw me into his wacky alternate universe again. (After all, I’m such a Patsy.)

The head of the homeschool cooperative we both teach at asked me to cover his classes. The lady is an angel. She can’t fathom what he is, because the concept is so foreign to her. I declined, of course.

I’ll never have anything to do with the Sociopath or any of his cohorts again. Sending the sweetest woman we know to ask me to cover for him was pretty clever, but not that clever.

If I start teaching martial arts classes in any way that seems even loosely affiliated with him again, then I’m the dumbest broad in the known universe. I’m pretty dumb, but I’m not quite that dumb.

The Sociopath’s abusive, conning, lying ways are catching up with him, and now he doesn’t have anyone capable of teaching his classes to cover for him or fawn over him. All he’s got are “newbies” who haven’t caught on yet. They will, and then they’ll leave too.

The S will never learn and he’ll never change. He’ll always be confident that his games will allow him to con, lie and abuse indefinately.


Steve, thanks again for nailing the S’ behavior on the head! This type of conversation is EXACTLY the type we used to have. Mine is still contacting me daily (multiple times a day) since I broke off contact 3 months ago. This week he threatened to contact my work if I didn’t respond and ‘let him know if I truly was never going to speak to him again’. Stupidly, I fell for it, and shot him a very brief email telling him that I wasn’t going to talk to him and to leave me alone. He had promised he would stop the barrage if I would just tell him there was no hope. Instead, he’s redoubled his efforts, and left me a gloating voice mail just now, telling me he understands that I just need more time to heal and then I’ll be ready to let him back into my heart. He told me he laughed when he thought of how stubborn each of us are being–me for not responding, and him for continuing to call. I am beginning to think he’s never going to stop! He’s tried every trick in the book–from the angry, horrible abusive language, to the I’m so sorry but you know that you hurt me too, to the I’m having surgery (now twice in the last 3 months–don’t believe it for a second), to his pet being sick, his kids being sick….whatever he can think of to get me to respond. It would be funny if it weren’t so sick. I wish I could block him from calling my work phone but I can’t. How have the rest of you dealt with this type of behavior?



“The whole thing sounded like it was right out of ‘Moonstruck'”.

Personally, I would LOVE to slap a few people alongside the head and say, “Snap out of it!!” just like Cher did in the movie.

Yeah, that would be great for me right about now. 🙂
Maybe even better than tennis.



I definitely agree with you on the chameleon aspect of the P.

Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chameleon
You come and go, you come and go….

Yeah, that Culture Club song from the 80’s could be their theme song.


PInow, Erin is right, I do love mythology but off the top of my head I couldn’t think of one that showed Good turning to Evil in a blatantly psychopathic way because that isn’t really how it happens.
I was reading a sociopath’s blog and there was discussion on the definition of evil – lots of stupid answers but one person nailed it: Evil is a matter of aesthetics. Evil is something that doesnt fit or look right, it offends or is inappropriate. I believe narcissism is the root of all evil in humans, but narcissism is simply a state of being childish when you are no longer a child. It doesn’t fit anymore and look how it corrupts the human mind and body and everyone they touch. Narcissism (being childish) seems so innocent and harmless but over time it creates a horrible stinking decay.

So on that vein I found the perfect fairy tale about a person who could not let go of the past and it ultimately destroyed his life as he had known it.'s%20Slippers.pdf

This is an old fairy tale but the blogger added several pages of insight at the end, which includes some of the things I mention but also so much more.

I think everyone here can gain so much insight from this link.


well the link isn’t connecting so you will have to copy the link and paste it in your browser to read it.'s%20Slippers.pdf

Elizabeth Conley


“I wish I could block him from calling my work phone but I can’t. How have the rest of you dealt with this type of behavior? ”

Whenever a charity asks you for a donation, suggest the S’s name and number. Whenever a telemarketer calls, let them know the S would love their product. Give them his number. Sign him up for everything and anything that will net him a call or 6! The internet can make this easier. You can easily set the S up for 6-10 calls every. single. day. % )

If the S figures it out, so much the better. If he’s smart, he’ll realize that he can only keep his # from you if he stops calling you.

S’s can be slow to figure out their prey has toughened up. It may take him a while to figure out you’re the one who’s doing him in, because it’s not wise to confess. Once he figures it out, he’ll tantrum. If you’re lucky he’ll call you on his new phone line to tantrum. Then you can start using that number against him.

It’s time consuming, but relatively foolproof.


Elizabeth, that is an awesome idea! I love it! Thanks. 🙂

Steve, as usual, you crack me up. I don’t know how many times I listened to this kind of conversation, and even at the time I had trouble not laughing at him. Even while my heart was broken. And I was hair-standing-on-end furious.

Elizabeth, I love your idea. I had a friend back in the ’70s who used to send subscriptions of “Anything That Moves,” a magazine for bi-sexuals, to ex-boyfriends who cheated on her.

Actually dirty tricks aren’t exactly in line with NC. But they’re so satisfying to think about.

Back to Steve’s dramatization. The one part you missed, which was always in my conversations, was this one: “You know you’re really responsible for your own happiness. Why are you putting all this on me? Maybe you should look at your own life.”

Pass me the Prozac, please.

kim frederick

I always liked this one: A woman who had been living with her P boyfriend for two+ years is suddenly told by him that he has a two week business trip coming up, and since he feels that their relationship isn’t working out, he expects her to be gone by the time he gets home. As soon as he’s gone she begins to pack up, but first she dials TIME in Japan, and just happens to leave the phone off the hook…………at the tone the time will be….beep, etc.etc. etc. for two looooong weeks.

Ox Drover

Yea, “dirty tricks” are fun to think kabout sometimes, I think on eof Dr. Leedom’s articles (or something I read) talked about thoughts of revenge actually lighting up our “pleasure” center in our brain.

I admit that I thought about a LOT of vengence and “dirty” tricks, (and worse!) and it was pleasurable at the moment thinking about them, but I finally decided it wasn’t worth it in terms of MYSELF and the way I feel about ME. I don’t want to be that KIND of person, though sometimes the temptation to be is almost overwhelming, but kathy, you are right, it does’t go along with NC…which is the BEST way to get rid of them, as even if you are thinking about dirty tricks, you are still giving them RENTAL SPACE IN YOUR HEAD.

Does anyone remember the movie “The War of the Roses?” about the MOST spiteful couple in the world getting a divorce. In the end they killed themselves with their tricks.

Up to the end I actually ROTFLMAO at how “funny” that movie was, but in teh end, when they both died as a result of their mallice and vengence, an overwhelming sense of SADNESS overcame me at how people will cut their own noses off to spite their faces, in trying to get “revenge” against someone else. Was sort of an “ah ha” moment for me.

kim frederick

Oxy, I agree with you. It’s not worth the damage we do to our spirit. But, it’s small consolation to laugh at the thought. In reality, I couldn’t even call the law on my XP. Don’t know why.

I’m having problems now thinking about my parents. I was in therapy about 20 years ago, for co-dependancy, in the mean time my parents have died. They weren’t awfull, they did the best they could. I believe that. I spent the last years of their lives being mad at them. They didn’t do this right, or that right. I can assure you that the mental health feild is more than willing to assist anyone on this journey!

I know I have issues from my child-hood. But at some point it became MY responsiblity to be happy, and figure out how to do that. I don’t want to look at my childhood anymore. I want to deal with my problems in the here and now. I WANT TO BE RESPONSIBLE.

This doesn’t have anything to do with anybody else’s recovery, just mine. Is it possible?

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