By | January 21, 2010 39 Comments

The Story of David Pecard

Recently, I watched an old 48-Hours segment on the conman David Michael Pecard, which proved to be a most fascinating, educational case study of a textbook sociopath.

Pecard is the kind of sociopath (or psychopath) psychiatrist Hervey Cleckley, MD, so brilliantly grappled with in his classic, “The Mask of Sanity—”that is, he was glib, persuasive (could sell you the Brooklyn Bridge today and tender a convincing deed of sale); charmingly disarming, imperturbable, thrill-seeking, audacious, deceptive, emotionally superficial and indifferent to the suffering he caused others.

Peter Van Zandt investigates, and offers compelling interview footage with Pecard, who was free as the segment aired, and involved in litigation against Joe Arpaio, then Maricopa County’s (AZ) infamous sheriff.

Pecard alleged in his lawsuit that Arpaio who, at the time, ran Arizona’s notorious Tent City prison, had mistreated him when Pecard was an inmate in that facility. Pecard alleged that Arpaio had had an axe to grind: Earlier, Pecard had conned Arpaio into giving him a cushy, powerful security position at the prison for which Pecard, of course, was fully unqualified. Properly ensconced in his new sinecure, Pecard, exploiting his utterly unsupervised status, released certain female prisoners and reportedly sexually abused them off the prison’s property.

This is how, ironically, Pecard ended up incarcerated in the facility to which Arpaio had, earlier, effectively handed him the keys. Pecard alleges that Arpaio, outraged to have been embarrassed and exploited, seized the opportunity of his imprisonment to make Pecard’s life in his facility extremely and, ultimately, illegally unpleasant.

I choose to dispense with the long history of Pecard’s deviousness which, trust me, is as spectacular and improbable as case histories of particularly gifted conmen so often are. Suffice to say that he managed to coopt more than 20 separate identities in his adult life, using each of them to advance his agenda at a particular time.

That “agenda” was rarely complicated: most often Pecard would shed his identity and “disappear” when exposure loomed, then reappear, sooner than later, in a new identity—that is, with new name, new act and, of course, a set of new, impressive and false credentials.

Pecard married six times and, with several wives, had seven children, abandoning every one of them usually sooner than later; that is, he was here one day, and gone, abruptly, the next, without explanation, and permanently—as though he’d never existed, leaving a trail of bewildered, stunned, frightened ex-wives and shattered families.

What made the story especially compelling for me was Pecard’s willingness—indeed his eagerness—to talk; in so doing, he provides us with, as I said, an education in the machinations of the psychopathic conman.

There is also something sad in his story, and not just for his victims, who deserve the bulk of our compassion, but even, I think, for Pecard himself. I was left, somehow, by the story’s end, disquieted by the revealing—by Pecard’s revealing—of the profundity of his “self” disturbance; by the profoundity, that is, of his self-vacancy, and disconnection from others, and himself.

And this chilling thought crossed my mind: Had Pecard been more murderously motivated, one cringes to imagine the numbers his victims might have reached, given his prodigious capacity to deceive.

But for me, as the story unfolded, the most captivating aspect of it was the access it afforded to Pecard’s emotional poverty. The more Pecard spoke, the more it was revealed. He does not see it, and Pecard doesn’t expect you to see it; but as great a con as he was (and one can see how), the more he spoke, the more the mask slipped off.

Immediately, I was struck by the seductive, familiar tone he struck with reporter Van Zandt, referring to him, for instance, from the outset, as “Peter—”that is, familiarly and comfortably. This is one way sociopathic personalities ingratiate themselves with and disarm others, affecting an easy familiarity that hasn’t been earned, yet which can feel hard to resist.

As Pecard tells his story, you see a micrososm of the man as he surely navigated the world—seemingly incredibly comfortable in his own skin, and apparently assisted by the absence of a hindering self-consciousness. One senses that the interview, for him, is just another interesting challenge to demonstrate how he can turn anyone’s dubiousness into credulity; and also trust of, and sympathy for, him.

But Pecard, as I say, can’t help himself from letting his mask slip. All Van Zandt has to do, and he does it well, is get enough out of Pecard’s way to let Pecard reveal himself.

You shake your head for instance in amazement at how Pecard handles a dramatic homecoming scene, in which he’s reunited (thanks to 48-Hours) with the family he abandoned for decades—abandoned as son, sibling, husband, father.

And so, with his family gathered curiously and skeptically around him, Pecard holds court like a slick politician at a town hall meeting of restive constituents, confidently inviting them to ask him the questions they’ve had for so long, promising earnestly to answer them fully, to their fullest satisfaction.

Regrettably, there’s too little footage of this important scene. But there’s enough to observe the the sociopathic self-confidence, as I’ve written about elsewhere, which is steeped in the sociopath’s confidence in his glibness—specifically, his confidence that his glibness will carry him through yet another tricky situation or challenge. 

One senses in other words that, for Pecard, these aren’t so much family standing before him in hopes of getting, finally, a true explanation for their victimization, as much as an assembled group of “objects” who happen to be his family, who merely pose for him a chance to perpetrate a new con—this con consisting of persuading them not to resent him, to believe him and even to sympathize with him?

One of his sons sees right through him, telling Van Zandt in a separate interview that Pecard failed grossly to answer the questions as promised; that instead, he talked in circles and emptily; exhibiting (my words) the sociopath’s classic linguistic feints, decoys and diversions, and all with the sociopath’s expectation of being convincing and believable.

When Van Zandt confronts Pecard on the legacy of pain he’s inflicted on his family, Pecard replies pleasantly, “Peter, every day people leave relationships.”

Van Zandt then cooly, levelly says, “But they pay child support, and they stay in touch with their children,” to which Pecard, seemingly momentarily stumped (and as if searching his database for a response that mimicks appropriateness), answers weakly, “Then I guess I’m guilty.”

I note, again, the liberty Pecard takes at continually calling Van Zandt by “Peter,” in the seductive, insinuating style of the charming sociopath. And as I’ve stressed, there is the emotional poverty of Pecard’s responses, among them—“Peter, every day people leave relationships”—yet which, as I suggest, Pecard asserts with the confidence (and grandiosity) that they’ll be found persuasive, convincing, and acceptable.

And not least, there is the database scan for mimicked responses aiming to appear authentic and effective, but which, in Pecard’s case, prove merely to highlight his sociopathic orientation.

Note how, to Van Zandt’s challenge, Pecard says, “Then I guess I’m guilty.” He doesn’t say, I am guilty, but I “guess” I’m guilty. He “guesses” because he doesn’t feel guilty, so the best he can do is “guess” what a normal person is, or would feel, in this circumstance. He doesn’t feel anything; it’s evident that not for a second does he grasp what he’s subjected his victims to, and least of all does he feel “sorry” about it.

After all, he could have said “I guess I’m sorry,” but of course he doesn’t feel “sorry” and “sorry” is also a more emotional word than “guilty,” so that “guilty” comes up before “sorry” in his word-search for the closest, most convincing response that a human being with a conscience would give in this situation.

And so he comes up with “I guess I’m guilty.”

Pecard’s shamelessness is so deep that he can refer to himself as a “chameleon” with apparent pride. Effectively, he is calling himself a sociopath with pride. And this is a highly sociopathic quality—the sociopath’s absolute lack of shame over his lack of shame.

That is, the sociopath just isn’t embarrassed, worried, or frightened by his lack of shame; while he may have awareness of his shamelessness, it simply doesn’t disturb him. Pecard experiences his “chameleon”-like orientation as a badge of honor, not, like a normal person would, as a troubling sign of his emotional disturbance.

I’ve written elsewhere that for many sociopaths, every day is like Halloween, a chance to decide what mask to wear. Pecard illustrates this point well. He is all mask; there simply is no “real self” for him to be. And so he’s plucked “selves” as out of thin air, over the years, as someone plucks their shirts off the coat hangers in the morning.

Having no core, “real” identity, Pecard manufactured fake identities and, with the talent of a gifted actor, distinguished himself as a fraud.

At the end of the show, Pecard suggests to Van Zandt that perhaps he’ll take up acting in a future career, recognizing the acting skills he’s honed in his life. Van Zandt struggles with a wan smile that reflects, I suspect, a mixture of pity and disbelief. For this was another moment in which Pecard, master con he was, couldn’t disguise the depth of his personality disorder.

I imagine that Van Zandt must have felt, in that moment, precisely the shame, pity and embarrassment of which Pecard was incapable. And so the aching, awkward aspect of this, Pecard’s last disclosure to Van Zandt, wasn’t that he, Pecard, was being ironically humorous; it was that, with his sociopathically deficient appreciation of the irony, he expected to be taken seriously.

(This article is copyrighted (c) 2010 by Steve Becker, LCSW)

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Yes, feeling a bit sick a it dawns on me yet again, the psychopath used a term of endearment that was not earned, and it melted me every time.
At the end, when the game was up (I saw through the beautiful mask to the rotten corpse underneath) After he had robbed me, cheated on me and a a host of other betrayals that sent me into shock for a year…..he still used this term of endearment to off step me…when I told him to stop and how could he…he said with a smile…” sorry sometimes I forget”
the response sent a chill. another adrenalin burst telling me I had been taken for a mug by a smooth criminal.

Ox Drover

The 48 hours, and Dateline, and 20/20 and several other shows have lately (last couple of years) had some amazing shows, not only this one.

I don’t watch much TV, don’t have cable, and so get only broadcast but do try to watch some of these shows when I think about it…they have amazed me at the psychopaths they have presented. Of course these psychopaths are ones who were “caught” by the law or the media, and more of the psychopaths slip under legal or media radar than get caught by it.

Many of the people who have intimately interacted with these disordered personalities though, can see the reflection of the psychopaths with whom we were involved in these docu-dramas or criminal histories.

I heard this week about a woman (met online) who married the elderly relative of a friend of mine, then set about getting a Power of Attorney, mortgaging his home, going through his money, and a list of 20+ aliases and past records of fraud. The judge apparently caught on to what she was up to though, and found for the elderly man. She also apparently tried to kill her husband of 4 years as well (he wound up in ICU but survived) then accused the man’s children of OD-ing him on insulin (when she had been the ONLY person in hours to be alone with him).

The entire situation hasn’t been totally settled but yesterday she was ordered out of his home on threat of arrest, but the extent of and damage from the frauds she committed have not yet been completely discovered by the man’s family yet.

The man’s family know they are dealing with a “con person” and a fraud, but are totally unaware of WHAT they are dealing with. It is a very familiar story to me—same plot they all use, just the names have been changed. and changed. and changed. and changed. “Psychopath’s playbook, page 123, paragraph 4.”

Unfortunately, these shows never identify the psychopaths as psychopaths.


Steve: The spath of my acquaintance (a career spath with 30 years of practice behind her) has duped several online communities by playing several characters at a time, both online AND on the phone. I spoke with two of her characters – and if the mask hadn’t slipped with the second one BECAUSE of over familiarity, and emotional inappropriateness I would have believed her as a real person.

In my last conversation with her – as the ‘boy’ character I loved, who had died, and whose resurrection several weeks later, I was apprised of in that phone call, I watched that DATABASE CLICK AND WHIR, as she struggled to find a new story that i might believe to explain the fake death and absence of many weeks. It was fascinating.

I knew before the phone call that this person was probably a sociopath, and that the cast of characters i had been dealing with was actually one or two people. Listening to her trying to find a story and the right ‘tone’ for the story was an illustration of her internal workings.

I had never challenged ‘him’ on the wild, big story he told all along, part of the whole deal of the relationship. But in that call I was relentless and challenged, and called ‘him’ out as a spath….and still she spun….at one point asking me is I thought ‘he’ was bi polar! (oh, good f*cking chr*st) She finally settled a story she thought would fly- I could actually ‘hear’ her sense of the ‘rightness’ of the story- and then she elaborated on it extensively. click click whir.

thanks for the article!


Yes you are right Donna – even if they ‘mentioned’ the word as a possibility it would help. I guess everyone is so afraid of potential litigation for defamation – but even comparing the actions of these people with the list of known ‘symptoms’ or behaviours would help to raise some awareness in the general public. It seems people don’t want to believe that sociopathy / psychopathy exists – which is ridiculous when you consider the amounts of criminal behaviours these individuals engage in.

Ox Drover

Occasionally, and I mean RARELY, have I seen one of these shows which DOES identify them as sociopaths or psychopaths, but it is usually the ones that are “Ted Bundy over-the-top” types rather than the ones that are more “normal” appearing.

I think it is still a long, up hill battle to get the “message” out to the public, especially when PROFESSIONALS can’t agree on a NAME for the disorder or the list of symptoms/signs, and I don’t see a big move on the part of the medical professional to come to some consensus on that.


Saw the 48 Hours hard evidence the other night about”Mr. Wonderful” who had conned countless women out of hundreds if not thousands of dollars. He was a bigamist as well. What I found it hard to believe was that his trials, he had his “trophy victim” by his side who as it turned out was paying his way for the lawyers/court fees/etc. The woman heard all of his track record and yet held his hand the whole time. All the while they interviewed his ex”Wives” . One of whom said she had done the same thing:sat and held his hand in court. The show ended with him getting- I think 9 years in prison. Hardly no time for what he put his victims through.
I am sure it will be on again.
Do a Google search on Mr. Wonderful-Matt Mathews-48 hours.


Stockholm Syndrome

There should be some kind of an intervention that can be done for obvious victims under the spell of a sociopath, like the groups I heard of years ago that would go and pull people out of cults.


Dear Steve, Outstanding! It brought to mind a line my ex used to use. He would say, “Well, I guess it’s all my fault now.” He would use this line whenever something went wrong or life was a mess dues to something he had done, be it stealing money, getting caught with another woman, etc. Your article helped clarify this for me. He wasn’t REALLY taking the blame for the mess he had created. If he had he would have said exactly that, but instead he used his line. It fits with what you’ve written about Pecard. My ex was also very angry when he said this, thus making it even clearer that this wasn’t something he would take the blame for, yet in his mind, just by saying those words, he thought I would believe it. I learned a long time ago he wouldn’t accept responsibility, but this article shed a new light on that ONE line he always used.

Renewedhope, I just googled and read about Mr. Wonderful. I can fully believe his attorney tried to pin this on the women he scammed, but thankfully the jury saw through that and gave him nine years. The other points that stood out is that he showed no remorse. When he spoke at his own trial, he asked for leniency, saying nothing to those he had scammed and hurt. I also agree with the prosecutor and Franklin; he’ll be doing this when he’s 75. The article I read was in regards to his trial in 1995. Are there any new updates on this predator that I missed?


CAT, you said: ‘“Well, I guess it’s all my fault now.”



one step


one step,
yea, he WAS SOOOOO RIGHT! I realize today though that it never came from his heart or soul. It was just a line he used when his pants were down and he was caught And those pants were down a lot! It’s a wonder he didn’t trip over them all the time. roflmao!


cat – hive inducing ‘pantsed’ spath – oh, SUCH a pretty pretty thing!


Cat I just saw the 48 hours-Hard Evidence program the other night and since it was on cable was probably dated by a year or so. I haven’t heard any more other than the fact he is currently serving that 9 year sentence. God I hope that woman who held his hand in court has woke up by now. Of course he had no remorse. He is a sociopath. He has no feeling.
I am 3 weeks strong now separated from my S ex lover. No contact at all. I hope it stays that way. But if she calls it won’t be for another month from now…about the time when she thinks my dad’s estate will settle.


hi renewed hope, good for you!


Renewedhope, We can only hope she got away from him. NO conscience=no remorse, no regret, no guilt.
I would assume she WILL contact you, sniffing out that money, of course

Remember, you don’t HAVE to take the phone call, read the email (delete, delete, delete), answer the door, or open the mail. My father told me there is no law stating that just because a phone rings, you have to answer it and just because someone knocks on your door, you have to open it. As I just posted elsewhere, mine walked in the house the other night, thinking he would sit down and have dinner because he had bought it. I was upstairs at the time, but got his butt out of her in under a minute. It taught me to ASSUME he will try this outrageous behavior again and now I’m prepping for it.
It’s a statement that you’ve taken back your own power when you don’t respond and this is something I worked on for a long time and still am. Now, as I just posted somewhere else, I’m quite sure I’m allergic to this man.
Stay strong! Cat


Your Pop is spot on. I as of this moment , am anticipating she will call. But I plan on hanging up on her the second I find out it’s her and I tell her again-not to call me again. If I can catch my caller ID, I will not answer it, but I am not going to stress out about it. I am getting stronger by day. I refuse to give this parasite another chance to screw up my life.


Yeah I think silence is the worst thing that can happen to a sociopath. When they realize they no longer have a captive audience to perform their acting on, then they are the ones who become desperate and lost. Good. Better them than us right?


Very true renewed hope – they have to go make the effort of finding a new circle of disciples – that’s what I have found. When I stopped paying attention to the fake persona he fled like a vampire fleeing from light 🙂


Hey Polly..Hope you threw some garlic cloves at that vampire! Just make sure that the next batch of blood he drinks doesn’t come from your neck! LOL!


Hi Everyone

I have been visiting your website and reading stories from its members for some time now and find in comforting to know there are other people out there like me.

I am currently in a relationship with a man who has been diagnosed as a sociopath ( I suppose maybe this gives me an advantage as i knew before hand what i was getting into and it as allowed me to read as much literature as possible to try and understand the condition. We have only been together a year however it has been difficult from the start. He is 11 years older than me (although its never been an issue) He can be the most attractive, intelligent, funny person I have ever met. He walks into a room and everyone pays attention. He has had a long string of relationships never lasting more than a few months. He also has quite a dark past having been involved in drug dealing as well as drug use and spent a number of years in prison for violent crimes e.g. serious assault, assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement etc. He has also been violent in his past relationships (although he wont admit this to me I discovered it elsewhere) and many of his girlfriends worked as prostitutes in order to supply him with money and keep his habit (again i found this out on my own) The amount of stories I have heard about horrific things he has done either to his girlfriends or people in general is amazing, some he will admit to and others he wont.
He had a difficult upbringing and still has a very strained relationship with his family (although he does seem to care about them in his own way – would never let anyone else harm them etc) but they all know what he is like and keep him at a distance, he has stolen money from them and there is a lot of hurt and rejection from childhood on both sides.
Anyway so we met a year ago when he was going through a difficult time, he had been clean and sober for around six months and was trying desperately not to sink back into his old life (violence, prison, drugs etc) he had no contact with family, no job and was completely on his own. for a few weeks things moved slow and i assumed he wasn’t that interested, then i let on i had recently come into some money and things changed, we went on a spree which was great as i wanted to treat myself after coming through a tough time and since then we have hardly been apart. As you can imagine after the horror stories I heard I was wary (and also intrigued) by him. However he was lovely and charming and almost scarily perfect. He admitted about being diagnosed as a sociopath and seeing court ordered psychiatrists etc and about his anger problems and violent past. He would also do silly things like take away my bank card and insist on being in control of money. He would talk about me being with him meant i was an extension of him and therefore how i behaved reflected on him. I also began to notice how people tip toed around him and pandered to him to stop him becoming “upset” which i just thought was funny. When we argue I will shout back at him and if i think he is being stupid i will tell him so and he has never lost his temper with me, infact he often leaves the room to avoid fighting with me I fell madly in love with him and began buying him everything i could, looking after him, doing shopping, cooking and cleaning. Taking care of him is a full time job, between running around to get everything right for him (e.g.: often six different shops to get the right jeans and often have to be taken back three time to get the perfect fit) Phone calls to different support workers or companies, food shopping which he is very fussy about and even if i do all these things right he will still find something wrong and fixate on it. I also work full time where as he hasn’t worked since we got together. He often makes promises about the future how everything will be different one day. He is still prone to violent out bursts on other people, never me – he only shouts and says nasty and degrading things to me calling me stupid or fat or ugly – which he rarely apologises for. He can still be loving and affectionate and every time I think I can’t take any more he will stop and say that he doesn’t deserve me, that he doesn’t know why I put up with him and that he finds me so confusing because he has never known anyone to be so good to him and give him so much without wanting anything in return.
His friends (if you can call them that) tell me that he has changed since he met me, that he has calmed down a lot and he treats me so much better than he has treated his girlfriends in the past – though that isn’t saying much. However I have read that sociopaths tend to calm down with age?
I could drone on for hours giving examples of how he fits sociopathic traits and examples of his behaviour but I won’t bore you with the details. For the most part I am happy in my relationship even if it can be extremely difficult and the knowledge that he will never feel for me what I feel for him will hang over me for as long as the relationship lasts. I am much happier with him than i would be without him But I do wonder is anyone going through the same thing as me at the moment? Knowing they are in a relationship with someone like that and trying to deal with it as best they can? Is there any advice they can give me? Do his small improvements and his apparent attempts to change mean anything or will this relationship simply get worse?

Thanks for taking the time to read this.


Dear HightofConfusion, welcome to LF, and sorry to qualify for our “club”, and thanks for your very detailed description of your relationship. I can so relate to what you experience as I also have been there.
I think you are in the honeymoon phase turning slowly sour with time, and his mask is about to crack. You already can see the real ugliness behind:

“He is still prone to violent out bursts on other people, never me ”“ he only shouts and says nasty and degrading things to me calling me stupid or fat or ugly ”“ which he rarely apologises for. He can still be loving and affectionate and every time I think I can’t take any more he will stop and say that he doesn’t deserve me, that he doesn’t know why I put up with him and that he finds me so confusing because he has never known anyone to be so good to him and give him so much without wanting anything in return.”

That quote is the hot-cold-play, gaslighting in perfection and the beginning of a very ugly future in a nutshell, and I am really concerned about reading that he takes your credit card “for fun”!

The “he ONLY shouts degrading things” is full blown psycho powerplay, and you have to answer for yourself how much you will tolerate in the future, when to stop the craziness. When he gets physical (he well might lose his control as he has to leave the room to quiet down, and he has to be nice because you are still his supply for money, phone calls, you are his respectable facade towards his friends; he did not “change” inside, he just put a respectable mask on, and that is YOU!) As Oxy puts it, best predictor of future behaviour is PAST behaviour, so be careful!!!!

After the experience with my X I must say I have zero tolerance for behaviour like that, and you are willing to pay for this treatment?

To get out of a relationship like this is difficult, even so if there has been violence in the past (and he has been in PRISON for that!!). Best is just to fade away, become boring, not saying much, have no money at hand, become bland, grey, have no time. Best is for you to read and get knowledge, as knowledge is power. But first of all take care of yourself and of your possessions!!! And come here to blog and vent and rant. You will find out sooner or later that it is all about YOU, and why on earth you let him degrade you and want to help him even if that means your downfall.



Dearest HeightofConfusion,
I think you are answering your own question just by coming to this site. Only you can decide what to do regarding the spot you are in. I want to suggest that you read, “Choose to break your addiction to a Sociopath in 2010” on here.

libelle, I agree with you. This is that honeymoon phase and when it ends, it ends with a BANG. We’ve all been through it and it hurts, but it’s require to grow and move on.

You are describing a relationship I feel like I lived through, though some of the details may be a bit different. I think most of us go through that period of “settling for” a relationship that gives us nothing in return. When the rose colored glasses come off, and they will, then you will see him fully. In the end, I was and still am, totally repulsed by the man who was supposed to have be my SO. It DOES change; it gets worse. My worry is that those violent outbursts are going to become more brutal. If he’s done it with others, he’ll do the same to you. It’s only a matter of time.
Don’t settle, please. You’re worth far more than that and I hope you see it soon.
Hugs and best wishes,


Yes, he is! I edit my phone calls, emails, everything. Delete, delete, delete! I think you are prepped to handle whatever she tries to pull on you. You’re also making it clear you want no contact. She’ll try to push your buttons for sure. We have to be one step ahead of them all the time. I learned that one the hard way.


Yes Cat you are correct! If we aren’t strong within ourselves we will fall again. After 27 years of not knowing what she was I now know and she isn’t getting another chance to hurt me again. But if she chooses to be fool enough to call me I will be ready! And it won’t be pretty with what I will say. Crocodile tears won’t work this time becasue I know her game.


Dear Height Of Confusion;
Like your guy-my S woman was 15 years OLDER than me. I see that frequently here. It just dawned on me that maybe they seek younger love interests out because they have that much of a head start on us and makes us a little more niave? Live and learn holds true here. By the way her age difference was never an issue with me either.. until now and I see what a con artist she is.


Height of confusion – I have to wonder why you are happy with a man like this? Why is it ok for you to settle for his crumbs? How can you be happy knowing you bend over backwards for someone who will never ever love you? Like the other posters, I suggest you do as much reading and thinking as you can … it sounds like you have been brainwashed to accept these lowered standards – would this have been acceptable to you five years ago or ten?? When and why did this kind of treatment become acceptable to you?

I can so relate to the running around after them – nothing we do is ever enough and they always find something to moan about – that is NOT NORMAL!!! A normal person will at least be very grateful for the care and consideration shown by you doing these things and will find some way to reciprocate towards you.

By the way – when he walks out to ‘avoid an argument’ – he is being abusive. That is called invalidation. He invalidates your point of view and what you are trying to discuss with him if it is anything he doesn’t want to hear. This is very damaging – over time you stop bringing things up and start walking on eggshells to avoid confrontation and nasty scenes. By walking out like that he is also blaming YOU for trying to start an argument when I bet all you were trying to do was discuss something important to you and he didn’t want to hear it. There is no hope for relationship when one person is unwilling to enter into discussion. He is showing you contempt by walking away – he doesn’t even think you are worth listening to – contempt is a form of hatred and is the death knell for relationships. Research on early marital arguing predicted with 95% accuracy who would divorce and who would stay together. Contempt was a major indicator of those who would break up.

You say you are firing back at him in argument and not being meek and mild. I was like that too with mine , but over time the crazy making antics make you give that up and you end up in very deep depression. No doubt about it that some partners actually end their lives as they see no way out at all.

I sense from your post that rather than being happy with him, you are afraid of breaking up and the loneliness that you will feel. THIS IS NORMAL. We have all been through that feeling. Many of us thought that desperate lonely feeling after we left them was LOVE and so we went back, only to find the situation even worse than the first time. That was definitely my case. He abused me even worse when he came back. I read an analogy to prison once in relation to domestic violence (which is what you are suffering whether you recognise it or not). Someone had written
“If a prisoner escapes and gets away what do you do when they come back? Do you rip down the fences and walls? NO! You make their captivity even stronger so they cannot escape next time.”

Please please do some reading and reconsider this relationship – you have been brainwashed by this man and are ignoring your own gut that is giving you signals that this is all wrong. Yes you will feel loneliness away from him … and you will think ‘That must mean I love him’ – it means you are suffering grief – not love. Grief for all the broken dreams and promises. If you are thinking about leaving it’s important to start building a support network of people around you who can help you to stay away – no contact is promoted on this site as these people are very manipulative and can easily hoover you back into the abusive relationship. As your partner has a history of violence, you would need to prepare very carefully for leaving to protect yourself. It might be a good idea to contact a Women’s Refuge to get some advice and access some resources to help you plan this out.

Read the archives here – you can search for keywords like trauma bonding, leaving, brainwashing, love. There are also several really good books you can read – just be careful about leaving them lying around. Might be better to store them at work or a friend’s place
Women who love psychopaths
Stalking the soul
The betrayal bond
The sociopath next door

There are quite a few others too all available at the Lovefraud store = check your local library for them. I found a few titles on domestic violence and abuse and sociopathy there. These people often leave us in dire financial predicaments. Please protect whatever money you still have left – he will spend all of it. DOn’t give him control of your cards – chop them up if necessary. Transfer the money to a locked account and put a relative you trust as cosignatory so you can’t withdraw from it.

I hate to say this to you but he is using you for money, power and sex. Mine used me that way too – it is heartbreaking to realise they have no feelings for us at all. Protect what you have – you will need it for a new life without him. If he has access to it he will take everything and leave you with nothing – that is what my ex did. They are shocking spenders – they spend on anything and everything with no thought of tomorrow. You could pretend the money is all gone – put into a bad investment or something. Don’t let him have any more of it!!!!

I agree with other posters who have recommended becoming very dull and boring and bored. It takes the passionate element out of the relationship and soon the sociopath realises they will need to find a new person to bleed.

Here are some sites for some immediate reading :

This one defines various types of emotional abuse – hopefully you can recognise what is happening to you

This one outlines invalidation and why it is so damaging

And this is an excellent, perceptive and long article in parts about abusive and predatory relationships called When Mr Right turns out to be Mr Wrong. It

PLease keep posting more of your story and use this site for support – we have all been through what you are going through and understand all the processes involved. I wanted to deny there was anything wrong in the early years – to point out little areas of progress. But it was all just a show from him – he would do that to make me think he was improving then he would create another disaster to hurt me. It got worse and worse till I couldn’t see how I could leave – I was severely depressed and considering suicide – that is what they aim for. They want us broken and compliant and that’s usually when they cheat or move onto someone else. You are still in a good state – he hasn’t broken you yet and you have the strength to get out of there. If you are there another year though you might be too weakened to move because of the constant abuse. Please save yourself all the heartache and lost years I suffered – THEY DON”T CHANGE. You can’t save him. Pathology is the inability to learn, change and grow and is very hard for us normal people to understand. It’s a sickness with no cure.
I am sorry you are going through all this but glad you found the site – please keep posting! We care and we understand the craziness 🙂 ((((((((Hugs)))))))))


Polly You are right on once again!
You wrote:By the way ”“ when he walks out to ’avoid an argument’ ”“ he is being abusive. That is called invalidation. He invalidates your point of view and what you are trying to discuss with him if it is anything he doesn’t want to hear.
Dead on Polly!
Only my S woman would take that opportunity to tell me”You are smothering me!”
Well heaven forbid I should make HER feel like SHE is being manipulated!
This woman’s life is so drab and unproductive because she has to have everything her way.. I feel for the woman she has been with for the past 14 years who’s only purpose is to do everything S Woman wants. I was there twice and believe me after a while you feel like a slave. And definately NOT happy!
I am so thankful to be away from her clutches. I pray for her “friend/Lover/victim”.
You all make a guy feel (and I suspect girls too) very loved and understood. I want to thank you all for that! Love and Hugs and Godspeed to every single one of you! X0 🙂


Thanks Renewed hope – I know that feeling of entrapment and slavery too – it’s so awful when you can;t see it, but almost worse when you can see it and realise this person doesn;t see you as a human with rights and needs just like them. I suffered the walking out almost constantly – he would either walk to another room or leave the house completely if I wanted to discuss something and he didn;t.

Implicit in walking out is another message – a threat. It implies

“If I stay here and engage in this discussion with you, I might get so angry with you that I lose control”

So many messages with one simple action. It devalues, debases and shows us contempt. It is so rude and inconsiderate.

The above poster is fortunate in that she has a defined diagnosis – how many of us would have wished for that?? It’s only fortunate though if she accepts that the pathology is stable over time and won’t change. Even where there is diagnosis people don’t want to accept that there is no hope. I have read on other boards people asking if therapy or medication will cure their partner. Unfortunately the response is always the same …
there is no cure and no hope.

Science has not yet figured out how to put in empathy and a conscience where one doesn’t exist. Therapy in fact often makes them worse as they learn more tactics for abuse.


Hi Everyone.

Thanks so much for the support. I really wasn’t exspecting so much so quick.
I think to start with I have to accept that I have a lot of issues contributing to why I am happy to be in such a crappy relationship (low self esteem etc) as this is not the first time, Infact with the lack of violence in the relationship this one has is better than my previous. I am reciving help for these issues – although I doubt it is doing much to be honest but at this point I am willing to try anything.
The other thing I feel I should say is that wether it’s because I am mad or just not ready I am not looking to end the relationship. I feel that he is all I have got and life pretty much wouldn’t be worth living without him. I suffer badly from depression and am just not prepared to do that to myself. I am determined to stick it out no matter what.
I also don’t think I would have to worry if I left him – I honestly don’t think he cares about me enough to bother hurting me.
Things are still the same with us anyway – he has been “away” for a while but is getting out in a few days and instead of looking forward to it I am now dreading it. He has pretty much made it clear that although I have done everything for him and all he has asked during the past 2 months he dosen’t want me around so much when he gets back. It always amazes me how he can jump from one extreme to another so damn quckily in the afternoon eveythings fantastic and its me and him against the world and by tea time he is screaming at me because I’m to clingy.
I guues I have just had a few realisations in the past few days of how NOT normal our relationship is, my friends all say I should be estatic at seeing him again but I’m dreading it cause I know what he will be like. They all laugh and joke at how i should “jump” him as soon as he walks in the door – I laugh along but think to myslef no I will be checking everything is clean enough for him so he won’t kick off and start an arguement (surely I shouldn’t be like this at 20?)
He stresses me out so much and the sick thing he knows he does it, its like a game to him. Again just another reminder of how much he means to me and how little I mean to him.


I am going to say good for you that you are at least honest with yourself in saying you aren’t ready to get rid of this man. He has been described on this post for EXACTLY what he is by others and you’ve admitted you see this yourself.
The issue then becomes YOU. Why are you settling for this? You were put here by God to have the best life ever and you’re actively allowing this man(?) to walk on you. You’re better than that! Honey, this is NOT love on his part. He’s got the perfect gig, someone to wait on him hand and foot, give him money and has the audacity to tell you he doesn’t want you around that much when he gets back?
I would love to see you take your life back. We only have one and I know I wasted a good part of mine on someone just like this person you’re with.
Life is not about walking on eggshells.
I am going to suggest a good anti-depressent to get you going again. I can only suggest and this is a very personal choice. I think if you were TRULY accepting of this “relationship”, you wouldn’t be here at all.
Sending hugs and prayers,



There is a very good book titled, THE BETRAYAL BOND. I think that it may help you to decode your connection to your boyfriend and the other more physically violent relationships you have experienced.

I understand holding tightly to nothing because you think it is all you have. And I understand that depression is much like the sociopath – it lies to you about what and who you really are, your talents and abilities, the resources you have and can reach out for and find, and what you are at core.

You are much more than either of them can possibly know – neither of them will tell you your real value.

I’ll write more when you are back here.

Is it right that you are 20?

one step


Heightofconfusion-You must not look over the fact of his VIOLENT past- did you say disfigurement????OMG! Do you understand just how dangerous this chameleon really is?? One reason that he could be walking out of the room during an arguement (in addition to invalidation)is in efforts to control his desire to abuse you, as he knows his gravy train would be over- BUT DONT BE MISTAKEN- HE IS GROOMING YOU FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. You said he devalues you by calling you names- This is grooming you for abuse, the control and manipulation of money-Grooming you for abuse, the making you walk on egg shells re: house being clean, correct meals, his pants you mentioned purchasing repeatedly to get it right, etc etc etc.-ALL GROOMING YOU TO FEEL BENEATH HIM, UNWORTHY, and NOT VALUABLE ENOUGH TO DESERVE MORE. Hell, he is already mentally and emotionally abusing you (says when he comes back, he dosent want to see you that much, complains YOUR too clingy) THe NEXT step with this man is PHYSICAL ABUSE. Dig deep into the police reports- POLICE RECORDS DONT LIE- HE DOES!!!!
I am sorry to be so blunt, but we here on LF are older and wiser to the clutches of these subhuman predators. Did you say that you are only 20 yrs old?? Please allow trusted family,& friends to know what is really going on here. TRUST ME, you are not equipped to handle the devastation this man will have on your life. None of us were, and we paid dearly.
Violence with these S comes quickly and usually without warning. Choking is their “abuse of choice” as it generally leaves no bruises.
I’m sorry, but I feel obligated to tell it like it is. I have been where you are, and wish to God that someone could have foretold my future with the S maniac that I lived with. Google “trauma bonds”, this is the stronghold that he has you in. I know that you dont “feel” ready to get out- however, feelings ‘LIE”, based on what you want to see, rather than what you are actually seeing and what is REAL.
Ask yourself, WHY are you loving this man MORE than you love yourself?? That was a realization that I had to make, and when abuse of ANY kind is present, YOU must care about your wellbeing and safety over anyone else. If you don’t, who will?
My prayers are with you. xoxoxo


Height- Also when you google domestic abuse, you will see that an abuser statistically DOES NOT change. In fact they go on to abuse children, and animals in many cases. My S abuser had previously abused his x wife, and her animals. He went to jail, had loads of therapy, rehab, claimed to be born again, changed, etc, etc etc.
He only 3 years later abused me and My animals!!
This man you are with has been in prison and is DIAGNOSED as a S. WHat if you went with him to his therapist, you will most likely hear IF this therapist is any kind of educated in sociopathy that medication, nor therapy is effective. THERE IS NO TREATMENT for S.
HEED the red flags! The fact that you are here shows that your giving, kind spirit is in unrest and senses danger. TRUST that god given instinct. Dont allow your heart to take you into something that your feet can’t walk you out of.
Most of us after fleeing from our S, had to have protection orders and EVEN then, we have been stalked, and have lived in fear. DONT believe for a minute that he would let you go without a fight. READ about narcissistic supply- You are it. ANd it is a very bad thing- The “feeding tube” that provides sustanance to this otherwise empty shell. He says you are an extension of him- ONLY while you have something to offer him. Something that he can steal from you. WHen he tires of this situation, and he will, he will devalue (this has already begun) then he will discard you as tho you are yesterdays trash. An S will ALWAYS cheat with other women, you can bet on it- Take ALL your money, and if you are already depressed- He can get you to the point of thinking about suicide.- which he would never skip a beat nor “feel” anything if he beat you down to that point.
Of course they have some good qualities- you mentioned funny, and so on… As Oxy says, RAT poison is made up of 99% harmless ingredients but only 1% lethal ingredients- STILL that 1% IS enuf to KILL YOU.
Please forgive my strait forwardness, but you are in danger by allowing this dark entity in your life. Stay here on this site and read as much as you can. xoxox


Well said! Height, I too, am VERY concerned about his man’s ability to physically abuse you. This man has an extensive history of violence and that cannot be ignored. Everyone here who has read your story is on your side, hon. We just want to see you safe and sound.

Excellente suggestion! That book is a good way to start and explains much. Height, PLEASE READ!


Height, In reading back over my post from yesterday, I should have first welcomed you here on LF and I commend you for searching out answers.

My heart is stirred from your post, and I immediately went into protective mode for you. I suppose one reason is b/c my 21 yr old son is a S, and recently I found he has been abusing his g.f (19 yrs old) for over a year. He had a previous g.f from high school who confided in me that he became violent with her back some years ago and she tried to warn the new g.f. The new g.f. now has a protection order against my son (with my urging that she do so). However, he only got out of jail last week, she calls last nite asking me what to do ,as he is SITTING in his car in front of her place, texting her , asking her to see him-even do favors for him by giving him an address that he needed!! WHat nerve!!
Of course I told her to call the police, not to take any chances, dont speak with him and for God’s sake- dont allow him to come near her.
Sadly,in their relationship- as in all of them- my son became more and more abusive as time went along.
Beginning with FINANCIAL ABUSE (due to his lack of motivation to work, he lived off of her, ALWAYS with the promise that it would change- NEVA DID!
The emotional abuse-He degraded her, called HER ” stupid” , with LAZY work ethics, (she is a college student, with part time job, – he is a H.S. dropout & jobless) He would scream and argue about HER shortcomings – which is PROJECTION (he literally should have been talking about himself, as it fit him, not her)
He would argue relentlessly, making her (and me too) even doubt OUR OWN MINDS- his sick, defensive twist to ANY story would leave you dazed and confused- which is CRAZY MAKING and Gaslighting .
The physical abuse- Black eyes, animalistic attacks, and rages he flew into, claiming he didnt remember ANY of it. He drug her out of his step fathers house one nite so that the dad couldnt hear her screaming and had her pinned down on the concrete in the rain.
He “pretended” he would kill himself- as many of them do (its all a pity play), took a gun to his head, she begged him not to, so he takes the gun- puts it to HER forehead and says Then I will kill YOU.

As hideous as this all is- HE dosent even have the convictions of violence (yet)OR the DIAGNOSIS that your man does. The story I have told you is COMMON, EVERY DAY – DIME A DOZEN truths about the S. AND your man has been clinically DIAGNOSED!!

PLEASE read about how difficult it can be to get an actual diagnosis.
Plse, block out all that you think is good, conforting,exciting about him (as it IS a MASK, a con, a LIE)
HE IS A CARD CARRYING P!!!! HE IS CERTIFABLE CRAZY, VERIFIBLE NO CONSCIENCE. Please focus on this, take a good, hard look at the remifications of this.

IMAGINE what this guy your with has DONE in his past to others. YOU dont have to imagine- YOU can have an atty. pull the court records and get lots more details of his cases- and UNLESS you are CONVINCED to RUN dont walk from this potential killer- YOU should investigate BIG TIME.

BECAUSE he has no conscience- HE WILL NOT CHANGE- he cant!!! Like an animal, he goes on instinct- BUT animals attack prey for food or protection, this guy has an EVIL twist , he harms/abuses others for sport. You are currently “on the menu” ONCE he devours you- he WILL move on for the thrill of the next hunt. That is if you survive it.

I am sorry to go on and on, but just as I fear for my sons GF , I truly fear for your safety. God bless . xoxo

DONT IGNORE that people are afraid of him- its NOT cool, or sexy that he is this tough guy- NORMAL people shouldnt make others afraid .


Height – when I left my ex P I had nobody. For a long time I stayed with him thinking things would improve and that I could love him better. In fact things got much worse – the abuse got worse because he knew he had me where he wanted me – I had no options. Like you I said to myself
“Well at least he doesn’t hit me”

What I didn;t realise is that there are thousands of ways to destroy someone without laying a finger on them. I don’t know why I had the notion that being hit was a definite no no but I put up with so much more than that instead.

When you are ready to leave you will. You haven’t hit rock bottom yet but you will. The trouble is once you hit rock bottom you believe in your mind that you can’t cope with life without them and you stay longer than you should.

I suggest you start journalling – record all the awful things he does and how they make you feel – hide it in a safe place and use it often when he isn’t around. That way over time you will see the real situation in your own words. Only you can define what your walking away point is – mine was when he drained our savings acc behind my back and lied to me about it – this came after so many other betrayals that on that day I said ENOUGH. And I finally realised he wouldn’t change.

Keep reading and start stashing a little money away in a safe place for your escape – you will need it soon. Give it to a trusted relative to look after. You shouldn’t be in this position at 20 – you should be out free enjoying yourself.You will get there. I know you can’t see light at the moment but you will. And most of us have suffered from chronic depression brought on by these relationships – it’s normal! That’s your body saying
“Woah! This is so unhealthy – get me out of here!”

When you are ready you will listen to it.


Hi Guys

Thanks again for all the advice. To answer question yes Im 20 years old (and he is 31) and he did spend most of his 20’s in prison for violent offences including Serious assault, Assault to severe Injury with permanant disfigurment (I think that was the knife thing and attempted murder (which he got off with) I have read in depth his cases and am aware of how nasty and violent he can be. I have also heard many mant more stories and seen a few instances myself of how vicious he can be. (although he tells me thats nothing and he never wants me to see THAT side of him) ASnd it was in prison he was diagnoised he saw a shrink for a while along with his probation but I think they thought it was pointless and he said to me he was always to scatted to say what realy when on in his head incase they sectioned him. He does have an amazing ability to charm anybody, doctors, probation workers, therapists etc. (Even my threapist thinks he cant be a true S that he must care about me more than I think he does – yeah right YOU try living with him!)
Thats the other thing evveryone says its my low self esteem that is the problem that I keep thinking I am not good enugh for him and am just being paranoid and will drive him away. I dont actully agree with this but i suppose if enough people are saying it.

Anyway so he got out yesterday and things were actully OK he didn’t kick off or bitch or moan about anything He seemed fairly happy. Told me he missed me that he wants me to stop supporting him financially as its making him lazy. He did go out at 11pm to look for drugs and didn’t come back til after I had left for work this morning, got a phone call an hour ago asking what happened. I told him I have no idea but you better straighten up casue you’ve got important stuff to do today (he was in some shape!) Still don’t know how welcome I am around him now, seemed happy to have my company last night but dont know about tonight or over the weekend.

My family and friends do know about him and all want me to get as far away from him as possible. My friends find him charming when he is behaving but they all know the other side to him and tend to tiptoe around him. My family have no intrest in meeting him but are apparently all worried that he is going to kill me. I do try to tell them not to be so mellow dramatic – he doesn’t care about me enough to hit me, let alone kill me.

I think that Leona Lewis song describes it well:
“Trying hard not to hear but they talk so loud,
Their pericing sounds fill my ears,
tryin to fill me with doubt,
Yet I know that their goal is to keep me from falling,
But nothings greater than the risk that comes with your embrace
Yet everyone around me thinks that I’m going crazy, maybe..
But I don’t care what they say, I’m In love with You,
They try to pull me away but they don’t know the truth”


I’ve been dying to say this to someone who had seen this show!

About a year ago, I was home sick and flipping channels as I was lying in bed. I started watching this show, even though it was from 2000 and I wasn’t sure I was that interested.

About ten minutes in I realize…I KNEW this guy. And the more I watched, the more horrified I became because I was nearly one of his female victims.

I met him in basic training in 1994. I turned 19 while I was there and he passed himself off as…30, I think. He was David Pecard then and had a dubious story of having been a sergeant before and wanting to reenlist and the army forced him to go back to basic training and start over from scratch. I remember our drill sergeants thought it was the craziest thing they’d ever heard…and obviously it was.

He was really into me and I was young, naive and flattered as hell. He showed me pictures of his two daughters and I think he told me their mother had died. He seemed like he loved them and took really good care of him. It surprised me to watch this show and discover he didn’t have anything to do with any of his kids. I wonder how he even had pictures of them. One was four or five and the other was younger.

He told me he was in love with me and I remember thinking…this is kind of odd, he barely knows me. I felt unsure but figured it was due to my lack of experience and him coming on way too strong. But you know, for watching this and how well he conned people, I can tell you most of the other recruits didn’t have much use for him. There was something…off about him and they found him irritating and annoying.

Fortunately for me, I failed too many PT tests (still can’t do push ups for crap!) and got held back and put into another unit. I got involved with a guy there (more my age) and whenever I would run into David (which wasn’t often) he was obviously very pissy about it.

I saw watching this that he moved on very quickly and got married to someone not too long after we graduated.

Anyway, I was completely creeped out seeing this!


I know this post is old, but I’m watching this episode of 48 hrs right now.

I completely agree with you. The more this guy talks, the more the masks slips.

But you missed one thing. When Van Zandt talks about Pecard leaving his family, Pecard says, “Then I’m guilty.” There is no “I guess.”

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