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The sociopath’s isolation campaign: Keeping you from the people you love

A sociopath looks deep into your eyes.

“I never loved anyone like I love you,” he says. “We are so special together. People will never understand why we’re so attracted to each other. They say we shouldn’t be together, but they’re just jealous about the intensity of our love. Love can overcome anything, you know. It’s you and me against the world, kid!”

With words like these, sociopaths launch one of their most important strategies: Isolating you from friends and family.

It doesn’t seem that way at first. In the beginning, sociopaths want to be with you all the time. They proclaim that they are so wrapped up in you that they can’t bear to be apart, and it feels flattering to be so desired. Slowly, this morphs into the sociopath always wanting to know where you are, which morphs into jealousy if you spend time with anyone else, including your family and long-time friends.

They want you all to themselves. Not because they love you, despite their flowery proclamations. It’s because they want to control you.

Isolation tactics

Sociopaths employ many tactics to keep you from the people who love you. Here are a few of them:

  • Sociopaths intercept phone calls and mail, and “neglect” to give you messages.
  • Sociopaths purposely insult or pick fights with your family and friends, so that the people you know find it easier to just stay away.
  • Sociopaths say they are “protecting” you from the people who want to drive the two of you apart.
  • If you do see your family and friends, the sociopaths call and text constantly, interrupting your visit and making others uncomfortable.
  • Sociopaths make up lies about what friends and family are saying about you.
  • Sociopaths lie to family and friends about you, trying to turn them against you.
  • Sociopaths rage at you when you leave, and rage again when you come home.
  • Eventually, sociopaths forbid you to have contact with family and friends.

My experience

I remember how James Montgomery worked it with me. At first, he was solicitous towards my family. But nine months after we met, my family was suspicious of him, and my brother wanted to run a credit check. I knew Montgomery’s credit was bad—he’d already told me so, put expenses on my credit cards, and wiped out my savings.

I informed Montgomery, in anger, about my family’s concern. His first reaction was to tearfully ask if I wanted him to leave. Believing that my husband was working towards out mutual good, and wanting to get my money back as he consistently promised, I said no, we’d stay married.

But from that point on, he used the incident to drive a wedge between me and my family. He refused to attend my other brother’s wedding reception, stating that he wouldn’t go where he wasn’t welcome.  He raged that I was an adult, I’d made my decision to marry him, and in some places people could be sued for interfering with a marriage. He disparaged my family and friends.

So as life with my husband became worse and worse, there was no one for me to talk to about it.

Pleas from family members

Isolation takes away your support system. When your contact with other people is limited, it enables the sociopaths to control the information you receive. And the more control they exercise, the more you lose your sense of self.

Periodically, Lovefraud receives distraught calls and e-mails from people who have lost sons, daughters or other family members to sociopaths. They want their loved ones to return, but the victims refuse. The sociopaths have so much power over them that it seems like the victims are lost forever.

The sad thing is that frequently, very little can be done until the victim himself or herself is ready to end the involvement. Psychologically, Dr. Liane Leedom explains, the victim has to take on his or her own distress. If family and friends are distressed, they are carrying what should be the victim’s emotional burden. For healing to begin, it’s up to the victim to start making a change.

For more information on this, read Dr. Leedom’s blog, How can I get my _____ away from the psychopathic con artist?

Find the strength

Are you in this position? Has a sociopath separated you from all your friends and family, so that you feel like you have nowhere to go?

Know this: If the sociopath is the one telling you that your friends and family want nothing to do with you, that the sociopath is the only one who loves you, there’s an excellent chance that he or she is lying.

If you’ve always had a good, or at least decent, relationship with friends and family, they’re probably worried sick about you, and willing to help you escape the prison built by the sociopath.

All you need to do is find the strength to contact them.


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86 Comments on "The sociopath’s isolation campaign: Keeping you from the people you love"

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The h-spath didn’t keep me away from friends and family. He enjoys being around people, actually telling me that he loves having house guests (the more the better). He just has these bothersome traits (eg. lying, stealing, etc.) that others just don’t take to. Once they find out how he really is, I imagine most people kick him to the curb, keeping their distance from him.

Great article, Donna! Thanks for this very timely article!

Fantastic article! If there is anyone out there that is isolated from family and friends and you are scared to call them and reconnect, be brave and do it! Pick up the phone! I am guessing they will love to talk with you!

Donna is so correct with her comments and description of the situation. Thank you Donna!

I also watched the video of Donna speaking about losing her money to James Montgomery. It really touched my heart when she said, “The amount of money ($250,000) is nothing compared with the family relationships that she has heard about being lost because of Sociopaths isolating the victim from the family”. Thanks for your sensitivity and caring. You have done so much to help many people around the world.

Donna, These are exactly my experiences with the spath as well. I didn’t even notice in the beginning, I was too wrapped up in the guy that was obviously so in love with me that he didn’t want to share me.

The first time he physically hurt me I was working with my parents and they noticed the bruising up one arm. They questioned me and I told them what happened.
That night I went home and told him that my parents wanted to know what happened and I told them.

He went around to my parents house and apologised and told them he needed help but I have to take some responsibility it what had happened as well because if I wasn’t so augmentative it would not have happened.

From that moment after he walked out my parents door my parents wiped him. Mum said ” I love you and I will always be there for you but I will not have anything to do with him ever again and dont ask us to”.

I know my parents did what they did out of love and to protect them selves but Spath turned that around and then turned me against my own parents. I left my job and did not have much to do with my parents for years.
Even when Em was born I was not allowed to take her around to meet her Grand parents. Spath would say” if you go to your parents for anything you know we are over because that would be the ultimate betrayal of my love”

I lost every single friend that I ever had and I had very strong friendship some since school days. If my brothers visited, Spath would go sit in another room and watch TV, He made it obvious that he was not happy about me having any visitors.

The best thing was when I left him all my old friends come running back with love and support and although I was in a lot of pain, my world was starting to make sense again, normal again, because for the first time in years I could have friends and my family again and that was beautiful!

It is the worst thing being a victim of a Spath loosing total control over your life and your being. It gets chipped away so slowly over such a long time that by the time you realise what has happening it is too late as by that stage you are in survival mode, just trying to get through each day!

Dani, I am so glad that you had the friends and family who were there for you when you escaped from the gaslighting and chaos. It is unfortunate but sometimes people lose those support structures forever.

I am glad that your parents were strong enough and had good enough boundaries to stand their ground and to refuse to enable you in the situation. You are fortunate to have parents who did what they did out of love for you, even if it meant being separated from you for some time. I know they must have hurt inside to make that choice, but to me at least, that proves how VERY MUCH they love(d) you. That had to be a hard decision for them.

God bless your parents!

Thank you Dear Oxy, My parent are very strong people and I look up to them in so many ways! Mum was clear, clear in the fact that she loved me and clear that she would always be there is I needed her. But one thing she has never been even when we were little kids was an enabler. She was strict and clear cut in her morals and what she would and wouldn’t tolerate. I have always been soft and love my mothers strength and character.

I didn’t see them out of fear as I could never have the opportunity to sneak over and see them and Spath would always be phoning me when he had not seen or heard from me in 10 minutes. When we had the business together Spath loved it because he know where I was every second of the day!

The day I turned up at my parents ( betraying Spath’s “Love”) they opened their hearts and home to me and my 3 kids without question and I know I am one of the lucky ones because I am where I am now because of the love and support from them all xxoo

There are women in Shelter’s lonely and frightened with little support, these are the women I feel for most other than the women and of course men still living under the same roof as a Spath!

Dani,

You were lucky to have escaped from all that brainwashing. Your spath did the same thing as the article talked about, isolate you from those you love. They make it seem like they love you more than anyone else in the world when in reality they just want to possess you.

Dear Dani,

You are indeed fortunate! Tell your mother for me just how wonderful I think she is. I wish I could have been more like her with my own kids….I actually thought I was not being an enabler, but I FOOLED myself! That’s the saddest part of it all!

The women in the shelter have at least gone that step in the right direction. The ones who are worse off are those still WITH the s-path!

BTW, just wanted to tell you, that I think you inherited some of your mom’s strength! You put your pride in your back pocket and went “back home” to your folks’ house, and so many times people will let that (false) “pride” keep them stuck in the dance with the psychopath! THAT also takes a lot of strength and guts, so don’t down play your own strength! You’ve got it chickie!!! (((hugs)))))

Donna:
I was just explaining this to a friend this morning…..about alienating us….me and kids from HIS family early on…..
What wife would want to expose her kids to abusive, tortorous people, let along family? He kept the seeds planted and nourished to keep us away from developing a relationship with HIS family…..too close, they held too many secrets.
Now…..with marriage being over……none, NOT ONE of his family is in touch with kids……
Kids don’t miss it, because they never knew his family to begin with.
He robbed his kids of relationships and family….

The splitting is quite a game, and really not that hard to accomplish.

Lessons involved…..NEVER give up any relationship you have…..for a spath……

Thank you Donna for such a descriptive article.
I believe so many of us can relate to this!
🙁

Eb my eme has no contact with the spaths family either except for his other daughter that he had done the same to and their mothers. It is just so very wrong!!!

Hopeforjoy!! the most confusing part of it back then too, is that I have never felt so hated as well! The roller coaster between Love & hate was just as intense as each other!

Oxy I will pass your words on to my mother 😉 I am glad you know the “Pride” thing! I had already taken my elder 2 children through a divorce from their daddy and I so wanted to give them a stable loving family… my god, did I get that one so wrong lol… Anyway in the end I had to admit to my family, my friends, my kids and the hard one, to myself that I had stuffed up again and this time I had done a doozy! In trying to give them the world because of course that is what was initially shown and promised, I showed them hell! They were very protected from what was going on but they could see the pain and confusion written all over my face.

And talk about pride, I had lost every cent from my first divorce and some, I was heading to my 40’s with no money, no car, a shyte load of debt and was an emotional mess!
Oxy don’t be down on yourself, my Mother had never been exposed to a spath, she was not conditioned, she just hated what she saw this person was doing to her daughter and seeing her daughter allow it, that is the only reason she cut it off then & there!
For you being a Mother of a P is so very different! you birthed him, loved him, wanted to the world for him. That is what Mothers do! You were conditioned like us all because you loved! I enabled my spath every single day I was with him! I loved him I wanted to fix & help him with love and support!
All you have to remember is, You were the very best Mother you knew how to be. And be proud of who you are, we were handed a really crappy hand of cards, we did the best we could and we have survived! Maybe wounded and changed for life but we survived it. Some dont! xxooxxoo

Dear Dani, thank you sweetie, I DO know that NOW! And I really didn’t mean to SOUND like I’m hard on myself NOW, because I no longer am beating myself up, Stilll I DO wish I had known some of these things earlier—both for my sake and the sake of everyone involved. For example, if I hadn’t been an enabler I would have cut the P son loose at 17 when he first became involved in felonies and I love this one, when I went to the jail to pick him up he looked at me and my husband and said “What the FURK took you so long?”

I actually turned and left him there and told the cop to take him back upstairs that there was a “mistake” the couldn’t be my son because MY son wouldn’t talk to me like that!

Of course he cried and called back and I eventually did take him back—-but made the judge put a monitor on his ankle (early GPS type thing) but he cut it off and jumped bail and fled the state. I should never have talked to him again. EVER. But I understand WHY I did, and all the details. I just have 20:20 HINDSIGHT NOW. But no longer beat myself up about it.

I WISH I looked like I did when I was 25 too—but I don’t beat myself up about that either! LOL

Yea, the PRIDE THING is a tough one…which is one reason that after I left my mother’s roof I never asked her for anything. She would have smeared my nose in it. I did BORROW money from her too pay my kids’ private school tuition, but I PAID IT BACK WITH INTEREST because I never wanted her to be able to FLING it in my face. Funny thing, since I had never taken a dime from her I had never paid back (I would have starved first!!!) she ACCUSED ME OF TRYING TO STEAL HER MONEY!!!! LOL

She had been OFFERING ME MONEY UNSOLICITED since the time of my husband’s death “Do you need any money, dear?” and I would say “No, I’m fine, thanks for asking.” She would look at me and say “You wouldn’t take it if you DID NEED IT would you?” and I would say, “Yep, that’s right, but I DON’T need it, I’m FINE!” (all true) I had learned with my X-H’s parents that you should “beware of Greeks bearing gifts”—and that some people will give you “gifts” as a way to CONTROL you. A true GIFT is one with no strings, but some people give you things wrapped up like gifts but are really “down payments on control.” I realize that somehow even though I didn’t totally “get it” at that time that my GUT knew that was what my egg donor was doing, or trying to do, and she was frustrated that I wouldn’t BITE at the lure of “free money” that she held out to me.

Now I know what that LOOK on her face was, it meant “Damn, I can’t buy control over you, what AM I to do?” LOL ROTFLMAO

I DID learn that financial independence from her though. She was very prideful that she never owed anyone a dime. So am I. Funny thing though, I think it is for PARTLY DIFFERENT reasons.

She jumped on the P-DIL and the Trojan Horse P jumping to her every command (they were after $$$) but she didn’t bite that THEY would CHEAT on the arrangement instead of being good little slaves—she was dumbfounded when they STOLE MORE and literally screamed “But they were always so RESPECTFUL!” Kind of made me think of “Ole Massa” screaming those same words when he found out his slaves had escaped north!

You can’t BUY respect, and you can’t FORCE respect! You EARN respect. The egg donor and “Ole Massa” just didn’t get it! LOL

OMG Donna…. you describe exactly what happened to me! down to the very opening line ..“I never loved anyone like I love you,” …..etc. word for word! unbelievable.

In the confussion of thinking he was “the one for me” and I should listen to “my man”, spend all my free time with him, I lost communications with my sons, some other family members and friends. Above all I lost self respect and dignity! all of which I am currently slowly re-gaining.

The S in my life has plenty of money…in fact he is a millionare, but he was incredibly cheap, frugal and at the same time used his money to try to entrap me in to believing that I would want for nothing if I moved in with him…which luckely I never did.

Donna, I’m reading your book and I found another interesting parallel that was just like my ex-S…..a very inocuous one….you mention several ltimes that when you were sitting together he would offer his hand out to you with his palm up waiting for you to place your hand in it! This is exactly what he did all the time. Curious.

Thank you for the book, this site and this terrific post!

Love, Aeylah

One of my sisters and my narcisstic father (whom at first thought the S was the perfect man for me) wrote the S out completely, after a while they would not welcome him into any family functions. I was forbidden to bring him around. At the same time, my sons would not come over if he was here or would leave the house if he showed up. This created an even deeper wedge between my family and I and more rage from the S whenever I would spend time with my family.

My friends didn’t like him either….we were never envited as a couple to any functions after they got to know him. Of course the few times he did agree to go to a function with me, he was allways either standing by himself, waiting outside or hitting on the women.

It was amazing to me how our families and friends pick up on the vibrations and behaviour they put out, while we wear blinders.

Donna,

This is so true, all the mind games to get us under their control. I’m sure that many of us had the experience of the spath using isolation to get us in their complete control. Being completely obedient.

Mine would like for people to believe he was magnanimous so covert signs of isolation would not be visible. It would be more like, we should spend family time together at the cabin, instead of going to my nephews high school graduation. You should not take the promotion, we can’t possibly BOTH have a management postition, it just wouldn’t work. Someone needs to be home for the kids.

You shouldn’t work on Sundays (my only day of work), Sundays are a day for family time. This means he watches football while I care for the kids. And when he says family time, he means his family only. Because they were PERFECT! He would make jokes about my dad. Granted, my dad is narcisstic, but he would be the brunt of jokes with spath and his friends.

And my family was never good enough. My friends he would ignore, unless they were women and attractive (big chests would give them attention too). His friends were our friends, they were better after all.

Oh, he moved me right away out of state. Saving me from my messed up family. I was rescued! Yay me! I was so not taking responsibilty for my own life. He moved his first wife out of state too. Somewhere in North Dakota by the border of Canada. Ding, Ding, Ding. The bells went off when I figured out that he would rather have me away from my family and completely helpless. Or hapless.

But of course, it was always for the good of the family. He cares about me so much he just wants us to be together forever. He would tell the kids that mom likes to go out and party when I play bunco once a month.

I got controlling too, and I have to learn to forgive myself for that. I tried to stop him from playing in a band because I was insecure. I didn’t trust him. He could really say that I isolated him as well. I never want to go back to that and I will learn from it and stay healthy.

I guess I got on another “talk about me” rant. Thanks for letting me share.

Aeylah,

” friends didn’t like him either”.we were never envited as a couple to any functions after they got to know him. Of course the few times he did agree to go to a function with me, he was allways either standing by himself, waiting outside or hitting on the women.”

This is it exactly! He was like the lone wolf. Dark and mysterious, too good for casual conversation with the little people. He was a good ‘ole boy when he was with his friends, quick witted and always joking. My friends, not so much. Especially uncomfortable around other men, or not giving them the time of day.

We’re lucky they are all so much alike and can be spotted.

There are reasons they fool us because we love them. But, that is curable too.

We’re lucky to be here and to know what we’ve ;earned.

It makes me even more grateful for my family.

Wow – just had a huge trigger when Oxy said, “Some people use gifts as a way to control you”. My ex spath used to say that I should not have any “expectations” of him regardless of the overwhelming amount I put into the relationship versus his NOTHING. If I gave him gifts or paid for vacations, he would preemptively tell me not to expect anything in return, lest I be “controlling him” with my gifts. He refused to give me gifts on holidays, etc. saying virtually every holiday was “too commercial” and they were all “just tactics to make us mindless consumers”.

Right.

I’m the kind of person who’ll see something and think, “Oh so-and-so would LOVE that!”. The spath told me I was trying to “buy” people’s affection because I couldn’t make friends on my own. Actually – I had a lot of friends before I met him! It’s been almost a year since I’ve seen him, and I’m only now starting to building those friendships again. Most of the friends I used to have don’t talk to me anymore. It was pretty upsetting to them that I allowed myself to stay with such a horrible person for so long, and I think maybe they just got tired of watching the train wreck over and over again. That’s okay… there’s a lot of new friends to be made, right?! It takes a while to rebuild your life, I can tell you that. I was not lucky enough to have a supportive family, so I’ve had to pick up the pieces completely on my win.

Thanks for the *timely* article.

Hopeforjoy,

“Especially uncomfortable around ohter men”….exactly! mine didn’t have any men friends…the ones he claimed were “friends” were just business opportunities…he went as far as admitting that it was a waste of time to have friends unless you could get something from them!

Freemama,

The S in my life had the same thoughts and behaviour about gift giving. He never gave gifts for hollidays or birthdays…ever! I noticed that when he did give a gift, there was allways something in it for him, or there was a price to be paid in one way or another.

Amazing how they are all cut out of the same mold.

Dear Freemama,

I love giving GIFTS to people and in fact, I can’t stand it if I pass something and think “Oh, WOW! X would love that, I’ll get it for their birthday” and I buy it but I can NEVER wait til the birthday so I give it to them ASAP! Almost but not quite that bad with Christmas.

My gifts are not huge things or very costly but smaller things that I know they would enjoy. Like when I went to Texas last year my son D who works for the Boy Scouts and is an Eagle and has been in scouting forever loves old scout mags, and I found one from the year he was born in MINT CONDITION in an “antique” (junk) store and paid $2 for it! HE WAS THRILLED.

I’m not much of a jewelry wearer, and don’t have a great deal of jewelry, but did have a beautiful opal in 18 K to wear on a chain that my BGF had admired for a long time. I realized I never wore it and it would look beautiful on her and she WOULD wear it “all the time” so the last time she came up here I gave it to her. She was awed and loved the gift.

My family hasn’t gotten anyone “big” gifts in a long long time, just small things that are “special” because we really have everything we NEED and most of what we WANT—so why spend a bunch of money just because it is a holiday? Ii don’t need anything else to DUST and no places left to hang anything on the wall.

GIFTS are ways to say “I love you and I think this will please you” not out of OBLIGATION. And a GIFT is something that does not have to be repaid—nor extracted in BLOOD later with “after all I have done for you and you won’t do this for me?”

Sure, friendship should not be “one sided”—in other words if I come help you move 10 times and when I really need help to move, you are too busy with your manicure appointment, I would sort of get the idea that you were more on the TAKING end of the “friendship” than on the MUTUAL SIDE….so don’t expect me to help you move again next time.

However, most of the time when you see a relationship or a friendship that is GIVE AND TAKE without a lot of “keeping score” on either side it is a solid one, but if one side starts to be HIGH ON THE TAKE AND LOW ON THE GIVE END, then probably that “friendship” has run its course.

I had a friend since college that we had been very give and take since college, and I considered him almost like a brother. Loaned him money, he paid me back, traded tools and gave each other gifts, then I noticed he started to get GREEDY here and there. Nothing BIG but just very selfish—-then, lo and behold he cheated me out of $56 bucks. A LOUSY 56 DOLLARS, but I confronted him about it and kicked him to the curb! Boy, it was almost like arguing with a psychopath (though he isn’t a P) but talk about trying to make it MY FAULT that he cheated me. WOW! Sounded like some of the people on the Judge Judy show! LOL ROTFLMAO He just didn’t get it that I don’t do cheat, lie or dishonesty! AND I DON’T TOLERATE IT EITHER. Haven’t seen him since. NO loss. Just took me 23 years to really get to know him better. Fortunately I wasn’t ever romantically involved with him. We were just “buddies.”

Still I hate it, we had good times, but when someone violates that DISHONEST boundary, whether it is $56 bucks or $56 thousand, I’m DONE!

.

My ex S complained and caused fights with me when my Father was dieing of pancreatic cancer. I was the only one in the family who was availbale to care for him in his last few weeks of life, and my ex S would get angry and tell me that it was unfair that I was with my father taking care of him when I should have been home doing my wifely duties taking care of my husband. My Father died within 2 weeks of his diagnosis. To this day I still harbor the anger and hate toward my ex for acting like such a child and causing me the extra un needed stress instead of supporting me.

Dear Tiredofgames,

Yep! Your dad was so “inconsiderate” to die—inconvenience your X by keeping you from doing your wifely duties! NOT!!!!!

I’m glad you were able to be there for your Dad, and I am sure he appreciated it too. POX UPON the psychopath!

Dani S,

Your ex-hspath said to you, “if you go to your parents for anything, you know we are over because it would be the ultimate BETRAYAL OF MY LOVE.” Sociopaths literally don’t know the true meaning of betrayal, doing it all the time to their “loved ones.” God forbid that they should experience a betrayal, but it’s okay for them to betray anyone and everyone in their little world, being double-minded people.

Freemama and OxD–

Wow! I cannot believe how many similarities there are with just this one thing-gift giving. or, rather NO gift giving.
My exspath was the same. He gave me gifts when we were dating (bought me grape earrings when he went to napa, drew me a picture of me, bought me a fish necklace when he went to Alaska-small but cute ideas that I appreciated). After we got married he would never give me gifts for any holidays. He said things like someone above mentioned….the mindless materialism of holidays etc. Or he’d say “I don’t care about birthdays” and since he said that he really meant I don’t want to bother trying to find something to give someone else. He also would be ticked off in a big way if I bought my daughter small 30$ things like a sand box…”You need to consult me first before you buy things for her”. WHATEVER! I am like you freemama and OxD-I’ll see something and think so and so would love this. I like to give gifts on “off season” meaning I like to give gifts just for the heck of it and if I do buy something for xmas or bday I can’t wait to give it on that day either. I have to give it early! I love giving gifts. It is so fun. I used to be so thoughtful and got so brain washed being with x. I now am back to my gift giving and offering of myself for others….

My x never bought me a gift for xmas or bday. I told him out of all the holidays those two holidays were the most important in my mind. I’m really easy to buy for, too. I am not someone he couldn’t please. Anything I bought him he invariably broke it. The day of our wedding I bought him a wedding present. He said “OH, are we supposed to buy each other a present on our wedding day?” (he had been married before, too!) I said, “Oh, I just wanted to give this to you” not wanting him to feel badly…(I heard his sister tell him “yes idiot, you were supposed to buy her something). So, he opened up the gift. It was a vintage watch (I collect these) I got it because he wanted to have a nice watch to wear for “functions” and this was beautiful. It was very unique, had a pinkgold face and green aligator band (sounds weird but it was awesome) and he immediately dropped it on the stone floor and broke it. He didn’t even say sorry. He didn’t say he l liked it or even thank you. That was the start of gift giving scenarios with him. He broke 75% of his gifts.

Then when he did give me something it was always something he wanted. One xmas he gave me an American girl doll! Seriously? I am a grown woman and even as a little girl didn’t play with dolls!

On Father’s Day I “made” a book for him from our D. I used color crayons for the text (it was supposed to be written by our D-she was 2) and titled “14 things I LOVE to do with my papa”. Each page had a photo of them doing whatever one of the 14 things….biking, making coffee together every am, etc. It was really a great gift and I was proud of thinking of it and doing it. I lamenated the pages and had them bound so they could read it every night together. He didn’t say anything about it. I was crushed. And when mother’s day came around I got nothing. Not even breakfast!

I sound like a baby I realize here…but it was more the principle not the actual gift as I am sure you all understand.
He would use the idea that we spend so much money as a society when others have nothing and then make us feel bad at xmas time if we had a lot of gifts under the tree. But he’d buy himself an 8000$ custom made bicycle! and 5k$ kayak.

Tiredofgames—when my mom was first dx with breast cancer 6 years ago (just before I left him) he did the same thing. I was focused on helping her find a surgeon and get good care and also grieve…and he was picking fights, making life horrid and being unsupportive…I was furious. It was worse then normal the picking fights….it was like he upped the ante when my mom was diagnosed.

These people are just nightmares. I have no tolerance for anyone even close to this…my friend of 25 years (girlfriend) is a kind of gaslighter I see now. The past 10 years have been difficult and I am seeing how its just not going to work to stay friends with her. I hate that but when I am around her I am uncomfortable and when I leave I always leave thinking “what just happened here?” and feeling off and bad about myself. It’s strange. I used to feel we made each other feel special, you know? But now it just feels bad.

When I left my xspath after 7 years of marriage and 3 years of therapy, working hard to make the marriage work in the midst of the emotional and financial abuse this friend of 25 years said to me “You should NOT get married again. You should just be a lesbian” (I had been married once before, a very long time ago..I waited 15 years after that first divorce to marry again). I thought she was kidding but she wasn’t. I was so hurt that she would say that..it was like saying “hey you are the one who caused all the problems so don’t bother trying that again.” This from a woman who has been married 26 years but having an affair for 17 of those years with the same guy. Her plan is to leave her husband after their 2nd child finishes college….she is basically using her husband right now financially. I have had a hard time with this information and have tried to talk to her to see what is going on with her. I convinced her to see a shrink for a while when it first started (the affair) and she did but it made her stronger, which was good for h er, but that “strength” made her sure of her decisions to continue the affair! So she tells me I shouldn’t’ remarry after leaving a creep yet she is having an affair. she said “I know my kids would never talk to me if they found out” and I said “How can you risk THAT?” Her poor husband is so sweet and he looks beaten. She thinks he doesn’t know but I can’t imagine that he doesn’t know or at least suspect. She says she and her husband have a great relationship! Wow, talk about denial.

Ok, the point of that was that I really have no more tolerance to deal with crap from anyone and I see my life getting better and better by having these boundaries and being assertive for myself. I want to teach my children how to stand up for themselves and what they believe in and not allow others to make them doubt themselves like I have done all my life. Each day I get stronger and smarter and trust my judgments and instincts about people. I am so done people pleasing at the expense of myself. I have never wanted to hurt others’ feelings but will hurt my own! NO MAS!!!

chinagirl,

What you say speaks to me. Basically, we need to be direct, have boundaries, and not let anyone abuse us, treating others the way we want to be treated (the Golden Rule).

Bluejay-exactly! Even with x spath (if I have to talk to him, email or text him) I am polite.I take the high road when around him that way he cannot get to me.

I feel better when I leave any encounter being respectful. We can have win/win encounters with people. It doesn’t have to be win/lose. Both can walk away feeling heard and respected. That is how I try to live now. However, I don’t always manage that! I do still yell at people who cut me off wihle driving!!! (yell at them in my car that is, not to their faces LOL)

Oxy,
that is amazing how a friend of 23 years finally shows their colors! How could he have hidden it so well for so long?
You said there were signs? Did he ever show any P behavior before? Any red flags BESIDES selfishness? narcissism?
I’m sorry you lost a friend, but maybe he was really a frenemy who never wanted good things for you but only for himself?

One thing I’ve noticed is that the P’s and N’s are some of the most likeable people you will ever meet. They are so charming on the one side, but the other side is filled with slime and they try to get it on you at every opportunity.

chinagirl,

I have a question – should I write a letter to an ex-friend who dropped me as a friend (while I was in the midst of hell courtesy of the h-spath). She is a social worker who had a private practice on the side as a psychotherapist (she was a friend, knowing about some of the things that my husband put me through, never cluing me into the fact that there could have been something seriously wrong with him). She knew that I suffered with depression, being bowled over by my experiences while still married to him. The ex-friend (also a hoarder, figuring this out on my own not too long ago) called me one morning and told me that she was dropping me as a friend because “that’s what I do.” I was stunned (kicking me when I was in a low place, I thought). I was crying (then still in the midst of hell), not giving me an explanation for why she ended the friendship. I remember she use to tell me, “when I first met you and your husband, I thought you were one of the happiest couples that I knew”, seemingly disappointed over the fact that in the present (at that time), we weren’t. Should I write her a letter (I’ve thought about doing this), letting her know how disappointed I was at being dropped as a friend, disclosing my own discovery about my husband? Or should I just drop the matter? I don’t understand her – most people wouldn’t think a friend (who also happened to be a psychotherapist) would drop someone who was being slammed with a lot within a short period of time, not offering any guidance to get through the tough times. Am I thinking correctly about this? Also, I wouldn’t want to resume the friendship with her, not trusting her.

Hello, hello! Haven’t been posting..my old computer crashed 3 months ago…just got another used one…woo-hoo!

Blujay, I just decided to leave a friend of 13+ years behind. She did see the ex=spath bf for who he was, but she was not there for me after I kicked him out and he stalked and slandered me.

Most recently, I am doing better, but because of the PTSD I need some help with organization and focus on my home. I finally find the agency to apply to, but when i called her 3 weeks ago crying and begging for help because I didn’t have a computer…she said…’well, I’m very busy.’

Enough…I don’t need people who hurt me in my life anymore. She been on unemployment for 2 years….always works part-time and never gets hired because of her personality. Am I going to tell her? No, because I’m nice. She let me down one too many times.

Hi bluejay-
I am humbled you asked me and I would put it out there for OxD and EB as well as they have been around a long time and have wisdom..
But it really sounds as though this “friend”, who is a social worker as well isn’t too healthy mentally. Obviously! I can’t understand how she would just call you and say sorry, I am not your friend. That is strange. I do have to say that not many therapists know much about sociopaths. I have two friends who are therapists, one is a social worker and their advice to me was ridiculous about my xspath. It made me feel so alone knowing even they didn’t know much. so I doubt she knows that much about the sociopathy to have helped you much in that area. But as a friend, to just leave you when you are down to me shows you she wasn’t a friend at all. (I, too, have had this happen when I left my xspath. Horrible feeling). It sounds like she was sort of living vicariously through you and your husband as “the happiest couple” and then when the chips were down she couldn’t handle that. She wanted to latch onto someone who was doing great but not stick around when the going gets tough. Realizing the people we thought of as friends are not our friends is really difficult. especially when we are feeling our lowest. it just adds to the burden and the insecurities that we have during this.

I am thinking that even if you wrote her a letter she wouldn’t get it. But think of it this way. First, think about why you would want to write the letter. What is your agenda in it? what is your agenda in sending it? Is it for closure for you? Is it because you want her to ‘get’ something, like understand something she did to you? Do you just feel like telling her off (as I would!!). If it’s for any of those reason I don’t think you’d feel good after sending it. I also don’t think she’d get it. When we have these kinds of agenda’s that motive is so unclean so to speak that it does nothing for our spirits, our hearts. if there is some kind of amends you feel you need to make to her (and it doesn’t sound like that at all) I’d wait. wait until you get stronger in your recovery from this awful situation. I usually ask a very trusted spiritual mentor or sponsor about sending those kinds of correspondance and I usually end up NOT sending them when i get some wise council. Whenever I have sent something like that I have always regretted it. I did something similar to some friend of mine who I felt was gaslighting me (at the time I didn’t know that term however and couldn’t figure out why I felt so crappy after each encounter with her) well, what happened was her husband told her that “No doubt she has relapsed because of sending that letter”. I had NOT relapsed but my motives were not pure in sending it (wanted her to get a piece of my mind and for her to change her behavior!!! ) and instead of taking it on and seeing if she had a part she completely put it back on me saying I only wrote the letter because I had relapsed. That was a farce!! LOL.
Maybe you could write out your feelings to this woman…get it all out, say what you want to say and then don’t send it. Maybe even burn it. Pray and give her over to God. That helps me more than anything and then I have left it in God’s hands. And not made an enemy in the process. You don’t want her back in your life and that sounds like a very good boundary but you won’t feel crappy because of sending it. You can walk away taking the higher road.
Hope that helps. I would ask OxD and EB and others what they think.

jazzy129,

Good to see you posting again. It hurts to have people drop you, especially when you’re going through CONFUSING times. I have thought about writing the ex-friend, but I tend to think that I shouldn’t bother. Letting her know that I am dealing with a person with an antisocial personality would explain a lot, that she (the expert) could have helped me (I assume), but she bailed, leaving me drowning. I hope karma kicks in, giving her some sour grapes in life. Can I be vindictive at times (not actually acting on my thoughts, just thinking them) – is that allowable?

Sky,

We went to college together (he was a nurse 1 yr ahead of me) and we saw each other intemittently throughout the years, but we had been close for 3 yrs of school, as both were older students, then a few years ago he moved not to far from me and we started seeing each other more, doing things together, going to auctions etc. so it hadn’t been a CONTINUAL association throughout the entire 23 years but we had been very close as friends (like I said no romantic at all) but the last 6 months to a year he seemed to show some greedy aspects in some of the (very minor) transactions we had, I mean VERY minor financial stuff—and then we had a deal to buy some ducks together and made the purchase and at the last second he backed out (the baby ducks were already here) and when I said something about BACKING OUT of the deal, he said “No, I just changed it!” DUH! So anyway, I was so shocked I just gave him the $56 for his half of the ducks, took all the ducks myself and told him to go straight to hell! It was really a carpy thing for anyone to do SUDDENLY as I was NOT set up to take possession of the ALL baby ducks at that time and because HE HAD MY POULTRY CAGES that I had GIVEN him, it ended up being a LOT of trouble for me, and many of them died as a result.

NO big deal where money was concerned, but it was the fact that he would DO THAT KIND OF THING and break an agreement (with a snotty attitude I might add) on the spur of the moment. When I objected he tried to project a lot of his own carp onto me too—called me a liar and so on, really acted NASTY! So it ended up rather ugly, when I told him to leave MY house for acting that way. Later he said to son D who had overheard it all, “Do you think I was too forceful with her?” LOL

But he never said a word to me about “sorry” or anything else. I ran into him one day in the farm/home store and I just said “Hi, John” (not his real name) smiled and kept on walking.

I don’t think this man is a psychopath at all, he is just a JERK. He’s been divorced twice, and I DO think both of his X wives are psychopaths, but At the same time, I think my X-friend has some “anger problems” and some “relationship issues” that I am not prepared to put up with AT ALL.

I am NO longer very tolerant of people “going off on me” and screaming at me, NOT keeping their word without a reasonable cause, or calling me names.

I am very forgiving of those who show GENUINE REMORSE for bad behavior by ADMITTING their error, saying sorry, recognizing that they have hurt someone, making amends, and CHANGING their ways, and not repeating it over and over and over.

Dear Jazzy, sounds like the friendship went one way only, so you didn’t lose anything after all. I hope she didn’t let the door hit her in the butt on the way out it! You are better off without that kind of person in your life.

Glad you are back!

chinagirl,

Thanks for your response – I will do what you suggest…write a letter to her, burn it, and then give it to God, being done with it all. I am still hurt by what was done by way of her, not expecting it from someone that I thought was a friend. When we were friends (about 11 years), she told me that her marriage wasn’t good, that she could stay in a bad situation. We would share with each other; I thought we were supportive of each other. Now, I don’t know what the truth was.

Hey blujay…hey, ox,

Well, I can only speak for myself, but my friend was always difficult. I have had a tendency not to judge others…but when it came right down to it, my friend was pretty much my opposite… I dare to say a true narcissist. her lovely hubby ( who I always got along with better than her) may have Aspergers. He was never able to stand up to her tirades.

I don’t have a lot of friends…the ex-spath thinned that out…but now I know what I need in my life.

I really missed you guys, you know?

blujay…I just also wanted to add that ‘crying and begging’ is not part of my normal make-up. I have always been independent and self sufficient. When my ‘friend’ didn’t heed my call of desperation, I guess that spelled it out for me.

jazzy129,

The friend I talk about was usually friendly, always seemed supporitve, understanding of me. She was easy to get along with. So, I don’t know what was going on in her mind. You’re right, we don’t need anyone in our lives who is hurtful, disrespectful of us. Take care.

Oxy,
that is really interesting. I read “why does he do that? Inside the minds of angry men” by Lundy Bancroft, in my attempt to understand angry men/jerks.
Bancroft says they simply feel entitled. But that is a narcissistic trait which is the root of the sociopathic traits.
Bancroft says that all these wife beaters are not necessarily sociopaths, though some are. But to me, how can there really be a difference? To me, they are all socios, just that some are socios with a capital S. Bancroft says its very difficult to “cure” them and that they will often pretend to be cured because they are good at figuring out what you want to hear. Once the court date is over, they return to beating with a vengeance.
The lying and faking are the same thing. Enjoying another’s pain is socio.
Blue Jay, I like China Girl’s response. she is right on. The letter to your friend will do little to change her attitude. It will just confirm to her that you are hurt and that was apparently her intent from the beginning. It may be that your exP actually conned her into hurting you. My sister was conned into hurting me and so was my best friend (frenemy). They were not good people to begin with so it wasn’t hard for him to find the handle and manipulate them. I’m grateful to know them for what they are. I have one good sister and she ALWAYS knew that she didn’t want anything to do with either of them. She didn’t know what a socio was but she has very high standards and morals and won’t put up with bs. They tried really hard to buddy up to her and turn her against me, but she never let them bite.

Ox…I am working very part time at a packing and shipping place that also consigns items for ebay auctions. You stated…

“I am very forgiving of those who show GENUINE REMORSE for bad behavior by ADMITTING their error, saying sorry, recognizing that they have hurt someone, making amends, and CHANGING their ways, and not repeating it over and over and over.”

Funny..I work with a young man with severe OCD and ADD who is SO MELLOW with the people who come in! I admire him so very much! We had a regular customer who came in and was so bitchy…I could not have handled it like he did.

Anyways…she called him later and apologized. The boss and the kid and I were were so impressed and happy she did that.
Is it really so hard to just be nice nowadays?

skylar…interesting response. my friend had a difficult childhood. her Mom divorced her Dad, and left the family and kids…my friend had to take up the slack and be the ‘Mom’ and cook and clean and take care of the Dad. her Dad then got cancer and died while she was still in the house.

O.k….I understood all that, but 35 years later you need to look at yourself at some point. I feel bad that she is still angry, but for my own sanity I need to set limits on how i am treated…especially after running into a sociopath.

Very sad, but I cannot change the world.

Jazzy, I don’t really understand your meaning. Is she angry at you or the world or what? How does she behave toward others? toward you?
Blue Jay,
both my ex-friend, and my sister were the ones in my life that I considered the closest to me. Especially my ex-friend who is a gay man and was the best person for conversation and being a pal and just so intelligent. But he was a closet gay and didn’t come out to me -except to hint occasionally. Everyone knew, it was no secret, but he thought that it was. My exP knew and at some point met him and told him that he was also gay, and that I was just a beard to hide behind. Consequently they bonded even more than I did. All this went on behind my back and I didn’t even know that they had ever spent more than 10 minutes together. So when the exP started to let his mask slip, my friend just told me that he had no time for me and disappeared. The sociopath is really good and ensnaring others to do their dirty work for them. That’s what makes them so dangerous. All of it is done in secret. But a really good person wouldn’t be caught up in that – just like my good sister wasn’t, so now you know that your friends were wearing facades. That’s another thing that the P’s are good for. They help us separate the wheat from the chaffe. be grateful.

Dear Jazzy,

In business, you must be “nice’ and “professional” but you can still set boundaries if needed.

Everyone loses their temper sometimes or over reacts, but the point is that it is 1) NOT A FREQUENT HABIT 2) PRETENDED IT DIDN’T HAPPEN or 3) try to project the problem off on someone else.

I try to be polite to people in business and expect business people to be polite back to me. If they are not, then I very politely go UP THE LADDER TO THEIR BOSS, or their boss’s boss. If I don’t get satisfaction, I VOTE WITH MY FEET AND MY MONEY! Maybe the company won’t go bankrupt because I no longer shop there, but you know, they will at least KNOW WHY I don’t shop there and that I will TELL OTHERS as well why I don’t shop there.

I always tried to make customers happy if at all possible, even if it meant a “loss” on that transaction….that’s good business. Sometimes it isn’t possible so you just do the best you can.

Having a “bad childhood” doesn’t give anyone an excuse to be an ass or act badly. Everyone has has problems in their lives and how we behave is up to our CHOICE! Being abused doesn’t give someone an excuse to abuse. Human beings have FREE WILL to exercise our choices for good or evil.

Glad you are back Jazzy! Keep on growing and learning! (((hugs))))

about losing people who are supposed to be friends:

One of my fave songs is “Caledonia” by Dougie McLean a Scottish songster. The lyrics I like the best from that song are:

“Lost some friends I needed losing , made new ones along the way”

It’s a song about life’s journey. As simple as it sounds, it seems to sum it up for me. If someone is DEADWOOD, I let them go. If they are abusive, users, non-reciprocating, unsupportive, overly needy, they go bye bye.

It is not easy for me as many of you who know my story I jokingly call myself Mother Teresa because I am a sap. No disrespect to the saint of Calcutta. I actually love her but she was a saint. I am not. So on me, it’s not a good thing 🙂

It takes me awhile to cut them loose but I do because life is TOO SHORT to deal with assholes no matter how long they have been in my life. I try first to work it out and if it doesn’t fly, then they do!!

Another fave saying of mine is “my wheels only roll forward”. Sometimes I give a second chance because everyone deserves that but after that they are a pimple on the ass of history…

The hardest to do is close family like siblings but there are those on here who have had to do it. I tolerate because my culture is way too family oriented and no spaths. They have either passed or I don’t deal with them regularly. Since I have been on LF I have recognized a nephew as a spath. I avoid him like the plague anyway but it is good to know there is a name for what he is not just a-hole (that too).

I have many really good friends and like a garden my weed “friends” get pulled and put in the compost. If I don’t do it they suck energy from the healthy contributors to the garden. It took me a long time to learn to do that but it was necessary for my piece of mind.

And I don’t bother with letters anymore. I hate to do it on email. That is so cold. I sit down for a heart to heart. If they are unwilling BuhBye…

Once I learned to do this I felt like I was finally wearing my big girl knickers 🙂

skylar,

When it comes to sociopaths, you know them inside and out, having done your homework. It amazes me how much you know about them. My h-spath is sneaky, getting others involved in his undertakings. All of it is done in secret is right. It leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth – if he spent more time on doing what is right, he wouldn’t have the troubles that he has. It’s like he looks for trouble, jumping right into it when most people (who have common sense) would stay the heck out of the mess. When you try and correct him, forget it, for he doesn’t want to hear it, be corrected.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6olbcuUmos

Dougie McLean singing Caledonia.

BlueJay,

So true, sounds like Skylar’s spath (or any spath) is not wired to do that like we are. I finally quit banging my heard against the wall with that one. He has chips missing. I was so sad when I realized my spath “friend” could not ever change-that he would die that way.

My Spiritual Director says that spaths are like toddlers. The whole world (in their sick minds) exists only to meet their needs and those in their lives are only there to support their needs. The one I was dealing with is 70 years old and still like a child in his mind. Mine, mine, mine, me, me, me whatever destruction it takes to get that “baby bottle”. Sad but true..

Blue Jay:

meant to say “sounds like YOUR spath…”

adamsrib,

Yes, they are juveniles, never being able to be grown-ups, just acting the part at times. I just read your post above about how you deal with people in general – good advice.

Bluejay! I know, how crazy are they? It is ok for them to betray but heavens forbid if you did it them. Spath abandoned his own 3 children, 1 being our daughter together. What could be a worse betrayal to the most innocent, there own flesh and blood! It is a good thing and my little one was too little to remember him but his older girls just didn’t get it! He just didn’t turn up one day 2 years ago to pick them or never phoned again!

Oxy it made me giggle what P son said when you went and picked him up! It reminded me of a time the alarm went off at out factory so S went down to turn it off.
It was around 9pm and he was a bit stressed this day (like most days) and was put out that he had to go out to turn it off.
I said to him “I will a spa for you so you can relax when you get home”. He said “great” as he walked out the door for the 20 min round trip to the factory and back.
I graciously ran the spa and put in the relaxing bath salts. He got home over an hour and half later when I had gone to bed. I said “I ran the spa for you” and he said “well it’s F’n cold”!
LMAO! no thank you, no I got caught up, no thanks for that it is a bit cold but I will run the hot water… No when he left “don’t bother running me a spa because I am going to look on the internet when I am there” most probably internet dating sites LOL I think it was the last nice thing I did! for obviously reasons 😉

It was ok for him to betray me many times on the internet & with lies all through our marriage but my lordy I couldn’t even talk to my parents….The smuck!

Spath’s motto: “one for all….all for me”

Dani,

next time run him a bath laced with muratic acid…

kidding…:)

Aeylah,

good one!!

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