By | March 27, 2012 50 Comments

They Just Can’t Understand – Why It’s So Hard To Explain The Truth To Others

This week’s post is based on recent experiences and inspired by this comment posted on a previous article —  “the eyes see only what the mind knows” (thank you ”˜woundlicker’). It’s the on-going subject about how on earth we can open other peoples’ eyes about the psychopaths who live and breathe among us. My recent experiences have highlighted, yet again, how tricky it is for people to get their head around this kind of information — let alone accept that they have been duped!

I often think back to the early days after I discovered the truth about my ex, and how puzzling I found it when people just didn’t seem to believe me when I told them what had happened. No matter how many reams of black and white evidence I had to support my claims, no matter how many times I repeated the story, and no matter how many ways I explained how a psychopath works (based on what I learned after the event) they would still ask questions that left me open-mouthed and speechless. “But surely he must be feeling absolutely terrible, and he must be missing you so much now — do you think there might be a chance you will get back together?”

I remember every time a question or statement like that was made — in all innocence, of course, because they were only trying to understand the unthinkable truth — I felt the emotional blows to my chest and my stomach as if they were real. Over and over, the shame and guilt would be relived as people screwed up their faces trying to make sense of what I knew to be the truth “but surely, Mel, a bright and intelligent person like you, surely you must have known something was going on?”  “How can anyone tell so many lies for so long — it must have been exhausting!”  Many times I felt like screaming out loud”¦ although on most occasions I decided that calm responses would serve me better in the long run! Yes, I am bright and intelligent (although there were times I began to wonder whether perhaps I might have been better understood had I been deemed slow and dim-witted!) and yes, lying is exhausting for the likes of normal people. But as everyone here knows, we’re not dealing with a ‘normal person’ — these people simply don’t tick the way we do!

We’re NOT All The Same!

As is often discussed here on this site, we don’t know what we don’t know”¦ and the fact is, in order to learn new things, people need to find something — anything — to connect with something they already know. It’s like finding a foundation stone, or a solid piece of ground from which to start”¦. The difficulty with explaining the psychopath, though, is that while they may look like us and often come across better than many normal people, that is where the likeness ends. So people who are doing their best to understand, automatically link the appearance of a normal person with what they know to be the behaviours of a normal person — specifically themselves, or people they know. And unless someone has already been targeted by a psychopath, the idea that such ”˜creatures’ exist and influence others in such a negative way is often pooh-poohed as being far fetched. As if such a notion is as ridiculous as early childhood fears about bogeymen and monsters under the bed.

I remember many times feeling certain that well-meaning people were quietly calling my own sanity in to question “well, you’ve been through an awful lot — perhaps you’re over-reacting a bit? It’s understandable, of course”¦ I’d do the same”¦ but perhaps, you know, it’s not as bad as you think”¦?” I knew at the time that they meant no harm. That their kind eyes and hugs were meant to reassure me”¦ but each time I heard words like that, it would be another kick in the teeth and I’d shut up and hide myself away even further — becoming more and more determined, absolutely resolutely and passionately determined, that some day I’d tell every detail of my story so that I would be heard and believed. Certain that in doing so, not only would I vindicate myself, but that my actions would also provide others with a platform to identify with and make sense of their own experiences. I’m coming to realize, though, that this is just the start.

The Parasitic Predator

In my professional career, I work in the field of leadership development. This means that I am regularly exposed to top-level directors and managers within large organizations. According to Robert Hare and Paul Babiak’s recent study of more than 200 executives, nearly 4% scored at or above the traditional cut-off for psychopathy. Dr Babiak uses the phrase ”˜parasitic predator’ to describe corporate psychopaths, saying “They are parasitic in that they are looking for a host to support them. A big company is an easy place in which to hide” Couple that with the fact that many leadership skills can arguably be translated in to psychopathic traits, it makes even more sense that this level of professionals could indeed include around four times the number of psychopaths than research suggests we should expect to find in every day life. In the corporate world where profit is king and ruthless decision-making can be viewed as a positive if not necessary attribute for successful leaders, it makes perfect sense to me that psychopaths should be attracted to this arena.

It also makes perfect sense to me that, with an increasing awareness about psychopathy thanks to the work of people like Dr Robert Hare, and the growing audiences on sites like Lovefraud and I Am Fishead, people are finally starting to wake up and smell the coffee. Not as much as I’m sure most of us here would like — but it’s a start. Take for example the scathing resignation letter by Greg Smith, the executive who worked for nearly 12 years at Goldman Sachs. Whatever the gentleman’s reasons for writing the letter, he clearly stated the existence of unethical, immoral and callous tactics that he alleges were used by employees of the firm. Regardless of where the ”˜blame’ lies, I for one am pleased that truths like these are being aired — allowing people more opportunities to vote with their feet, and also to become curious as to what is meant by a bad or ”˜toxic’ culture. Along the old adage that no publicity is bad publicity, I buy into the idea that the more these issues are talked about, the more people can choose to find out more — and that, surely, can only be a good thing.

Because it’s a tough job getting people in senior positions to understand and accept exactly how damaging continuing actions of some of their peers can be — to the staff, to the culture and ultimately to the business. I came across a specific case last year, where it was perfectly clear to me that one particular senior person was creating havoc within her department. She was one of those people who knew all the right things to say and could turn on the charm at any given moment. Her bosses adored her, believing her to be the best thing since sliced bread, and her peers admired her business knowledge (marveling at her experience and buying her rather off-the-wall strategy for the business). Her team, though, was terrified of her. When I asked them on a confidential one-to-one basis how they would describe the culture, their eyes would dart around the room, they’d shift in their seats and they’d ask me how confidential their answers were going to be kept. After a great deal of reassurances, I got the truth — both barrels. As these people talked, words such as “fear-based” “abusive” “bullying” and “controlling” came out time and time again.

That, in my opinion, was bad enough. But when the performance of this particular department was actually scrutinized for factual proof of performance, it turned out that the results had plummeted since this lady had taken over — despite her consistent and eloquent affirmations that her plan was working! I found it baffling to understand how she was able to maintain her position — and what was stopping her peers and her immediate bosses from seeing through her performance. Until, that is, I started talking with them and really hearing what they were saying.

I Thought It Was Me!

Yes, they’d heard the rumours and had of course realised that the figures were not stacking up to the original plan. They also knew that it was difficult to stand up to this person in meetings, as she would shout people down and baffle them with long-winded justifications about what she was doing and why they need to stick with the plan.  The entire team, not just those who worked under this person, had learned to walk on eggshells around her. This had been going on for so long that many of them had simply given up any idea of questioning her tactics — because it had become just too draining and too much hard work. “And anyway” whispered one of her peers when the truth started to emerge “I thought it was just me! I thought I was the one being stupid! I thought that I just wasn’t bright enough to understand the plan!”

It was a Homer Simpson “Doh!” moment for me. Well of course people are going to find it hard to stand up to people who are highly likely psychopathic — in exactly the same way it was difficult for me to break free, or even realize what was happening. Even after the truth became clear, there has still been (and continues to be) a long journey back to health and self-respect. So I can fully appreciate that it may seem the ”˜easier’ route to just let things continue, particularly in the workplace where (in many cases) you can leave it all behind when you leave at the end of the day”¦ better the devil you know eh?

Well no actually. The devil you know is certainly not the best option in my opinion. Because if we don’t stand up and do something when something is clearly wrong, well then we’re giving the message that this kind of behaviour and culture is ok. It’s in these kind of places that the good people tend to walk away when they realize what’s happening. These are the kind of places where the workforce that is left is emotionally shut down and just there to get through the day rather than being there to develop enthusiasm and passion for the business.

But you know what I’m realising? I’m realising that when people begin to understand and consciously embrace positive team and leadership behaviours, the ”˜devil you know’ is suddenly left out on their own — because they can no longer thrive or manipulate when their peers and bosses are learning about honest and open communication. When the team trust each other enough to say “no” whenever inappropriate behaviour creeps back in. When they are confident enough to ask each other to explain the detail when something is not clear. With those behaviours becoming second nature, the psychopath’s manipulation and mind-games are suddenly ineffective — because fear is replaced with trust, silence with questions, and uncertainty with passion.

And I’m learning that there is no need to point the finger or even use the word psychopath — which, in a corporate environment can create some pretty big responses. No. The fact is, the more we as ”˜normal’ people learn to step up and say “yes” to the good stuff (the things we like, that are healthy, that enable us to grow as individuals and as a collective) and say “no” to the bad stuff (fear, control, manipulation and deliberately confusing word-smithing) the less psychopaths will be able to thrive among us.

And you know what? It only works 🙂


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Mel – yes, the word needs to get out. Sociopaths damage everyone in their path, whether the people are romantic partners, business associates, family members – whatever the involvement.

The more we can educate people, the more we can expose them, the fewer places they’ll have to hide.


Once you know, you know. And there is nothing to apologize for.

It is also true, that in the wake of discovery, we all seem to go through a phase of discovering how many toxic situations we’ve been in and the whole world is colored by it.

Its not all bad to be questioned. Or to consider the answers. But when it looks like and smells like…it probably is……


Holy mackerel, WHAT an article! Thank you so much, Mel, for your insight! I’m printing it out and I intend to give it directly to my attorney.

The understanding that people only know what they know is spot-on.

Thanks, again.


In addition – it’s the incredulous reactions that I find to be quite challenging. I often feel as if I am also defending myself, my shattered previous perceptions, and my own sanity.

Very, very good article.


Hey there, I have a “is this a psychopath” question;

so I’m at work and this dude comes up, starts talking to me about how he got screwed over by dirty cops; he said that he was just walking one day, found a pack of newports on the ground with 4 cigs in it, so he put it in his pocket. Then immediatly two cop cars showed up; he said that the cops told him the headlight on his bicycle was out, searched him- went immediatly for that pocket and pulled out the cigs. At the bottom of the pack there was white powder-can’t remember what he said it was, but he ended up spending 30 days in jail, and is now being his own lawyer, reading books and trying to prove that the cops are dirty.

Now theres two things that make me suspicious; the first is he was so upset about how he “would never do drugs” was the “last person who would ever try them”…further emphasis. ect…which makes me think he’s trying to convince himself or something. And then…my co-worker told me that whenever he is in the store, he always asks for extra change, then asks her if she could cover him.

So is this dude just down in the dumps or do you think he is a con? If he is a con, how do I deal with him since I work nightshifts alone and he’s all askin me if I want to take a smoke break with him? (I did say no, but think he will keep pesturing me).

Take care


Yes. Stop smoking.


Mel, whenever a post or an article speaks to me on a deep level, I print it and highlight the heck out of it, and keep it in a folder that I review frequently. I’ve printed this article and will begin picking out those insights that hit home with my highlighter in hand on my lunch break. Thank you for sharing this with our community.


Freakingravy, I’m from the school that believes if you’re asking the question, you are halfway to the answer. I work with a manipulative drug addict. Sociopath? No way to know, but what I do know tells me to keep my boundaries up. The damage and affect on you is the same. Behaviors are insight into someone’s character. I don’t need to have a Masters degree to know what kind of associations are harmful. Speaking in generalities, you can hold the contact with someone to your own standards, thereby keeping yourself safe from any ulterior motive. If it is a legitimate situation, time will clear up any misunderstanding on your part. It takes me A LOT longer now to warm up to someone.


Thanks, Mel, for this article. And thanks, Donna, for creating this forum and allowing it to be about more than romantic relationships.

People who are sociopaths can have such a good masking system that they *never* take their mask off to anyone, or not for many years — not to their church, their employer, their friends, their spouses… I think it depends what they are after.

Others have public masks but terrorize their families (or only selected family members).

And some others are angels to their families but are serial killers or ruthless business people or child molesters.

But isn’t there always some sort of mask? Yep.

Some people think the mask covers up shame. Perhaps with some, but I don’t really think it’s quite that.

I think it covers up a lack of empathy, and deep down the person knows there is something missing from them (empathy) which other people have in far greater measure, and they partly perceive this lack in themselves as a “strength” and its presence in normal people as their “weakness.” It is possible that some of them perceive this lack in themselves as something to be ashamed of, and they try “faking it til you make it” but empathy must be one of those hard-wired things that is nearly impossible to get. (what do all of you think about this? can empathy be learned or taught?).

In this case, I am wondering if years of trying to fake it, but no “feelings” come… would make a person angry? (I think anger is definitely a feeling that sociopaths are capable of!)

I also think that they only feel a partial aspect of “love” — the bonding part which has to do with possession — but they miss the empathy part and fake the rest. That’s why they can love-bomb but eventually that mask will slip. Because deep down they do NOT care about the other person — they only care about themselves and how others behave towards THEM.

Manipulating others through faking empathy (to appear normal or even super-normal, like the love-bombing) WORKS.

I also think that some sociopaths know they are faking and do it very deliberately and calculatingly, and others start to believe their own lies about themselves.

Since most people do NOT fake like this, it is very hard for any of us to believe that someone would live such an elaborate lie as their life. As well, since most people have empathy in a significant measure, it is hard for us to conceive of being a human being without the empathy.

Honestly… I could be wrong about this, but I think the sociopath emotional makeup is so abnormal that we still have not quite gotten our minds around it. For example, I don’t think they really do feel normal shame. Maybe we can call it some kind of perverted shame — or maybe it’s something else entirely. I think there is a coldness there, a void, which allows for the predation. The anger can come from being unmasked.

But as far as our unwillingness (and the unwillingness of others) to believe the reality, absolutely I think it comes from our trying to assume that the sociopaths are like us (normal) and to come up with some plausible explanation (assuming they have normal emotional makeup) for their actions.

It also is taught to many of us that evil does NOT exist; that if people behave badly, then they must have been mistreated as children, and they are more to be pitied (helped) than censured (condemned). We would rather blame the victims than the perpetrators!! This myth still will not die, for some reason!


20years, you asked some very good questions and tossed out some insightful ideas.

The “mask” that you mentioned varies, but you are 100% spot-on: all spaths use one and often many to hide behind. Their “anger” isn’t so much as what we would consider to be “feelings,” but more of a reaction, IMHO. The exspath has retaliated in every way possible since he was exposed for what he is, and it is the exposure that they want so much to avoid, I think.

Can people learn how to be empathetic? I think that they can if the predisposition is already there but undeveloped. Can a sociopath learn how to be empathetic? I believe that a child with spath symptoms can learn how to “manifest” empathy, but I do not believe (nor, will I allow myself to believe) that spaths cannot ever “feel” on any level. If I look back over my marriage(s), I can see that the exspath(s) could only mimic or parrot emotion. But, true feelings are simply not in their capacity. Hard-wired, environmentally developed, or the Moon rising in Pisces, it doesn’t matter to me HOW they got the way that they are, but that they ARE sociopaths and are, therefore, a danger to anyone who has empathy.

With regard to the existence of evil….my belief is that we are conditioned to believe that evil does exist, but just for everyone else and cannot exist within our own circles. That’s one of the reasons that it’s so painful for a parent of a sociopathic child to accept the truth for what it is, and sever those ties.

When you speak of the “coldness” and “void,” it chills me to my marrow. I can distinctly remember the exspath staring straight through me during our most “intimate” moments, as well as during my explosive reaction to his betrayals. He simply wasn’t there, on any level.

To me, it’s just something that I cannot process and the article above put it plainly and truthfully.

Brightest blessings.


Our culture enables. It enables for many reasons. People do question, but many times they’re shot down and labled unfairly. We are ignorant of so much.

I agree, Mel, that the bad apples cannot continue when people strive for openess and coorporation.

Freaking, check out You might find your answers there.

Ox Drover

You know some of the stuff the psychopaths do is so outragerous that a “normal” person resists believing that…then when you get a conspiracy of two or more of the Ps working together it sounds like the plot from a very badly written novel. It is so difficult to believe that probably no normal person could believe it.

And if they did believe it….you must be crazy to be involved in such a thing yourself. So they better watch out for you.

Then you got the “sweet little old ladies” like my egg donor who is covered head to toe with her mask of piety and there is no way anyone is going to believe a word lI would say about her evil deeds.



When I met my x-spath, I was in the ending of a 3+ year management position at an international financial services company. When I joined this company, I fell for its “client first” focus. As time went on, I realized I had joined one of the most corrupt and morally bankrupt companies ever to exist, one that had been at the center of every financial scandal going back to WW2, when they were instrumental laundering Nazi money.

Yes, I did question and I was shot down. I had an electronic trail to prove that. However, when management needed a scapegoat, they found one in me. Thankfully, I was prepared and after a two+ year legal battle, got a settlement from then regarding my illegal termination.

Dring this time, I did a lot of research. One thing that struck me was the utter lack of successful actions taken against such corporations. While settlements are not public, the simple fact that I could only find a handful of case where a plaintiff successfully tried one won a case against a financial services company is telling.


Ox Drover says:

“When you get a conspiracy of two or more of the Ps working together it sounds like the plot from a very badly written novel. It is so difficult to believe that probably no normal person could believe it…”

Ox, at the most crucial meeting of my career, I was in a room with another manager, our manager (an executive director) and his manager (a managing director). The other manager began with a litany of issues regarding this one particular vendor who was under two contracts to develop software. Keep in mind this “vendor” was staffed by former employees of my company and was both contracts were sole-sourced without competitive bids. At best, a conflict of interest, and possibly illegal.

After the other manager ended, the managing director turned to me and asked me if I had similar problems with this vendor and said yes. The managing director than turned to our manager and said: “why is the first time I am hearing this? Our manager said: “it is the first time I am hearing these issues as well…”

Anyone with a clue about body language would know he was lying, as his knee was visibly shaking and in answering her looked at me, not her. Yet she believed him. Why? She was obviously incompetent, but his lie was so outrageous, it almost had to be believed.

anam cara

Struggling emotionally today 🙁 Need some ” luvvin’ ”

I learned young that my value lay in pleasing others and that it was my responsibility to keep them happy. If they were angry etc…… then I was “failing” and I became anxious and guilty trying to work out how to “fix” things.
My worth depended on how “giving” I was and how much I could “serve” people. The more worthless I felt the more I felt I needed to give. I was exhausted trying to keep the world happy.
I was frightened of my Dad. I would shake with fear at the thought (just the thought) of his anger. This conditioning was “triggered” throughout my life whenever I experienced or thought about domineering/controlling people.

Ox Drover

Anam Cara, dear dear Anam Cara, your worth is not dependent on keeping others happy. I can sooooo relate to that dictation that we (I) keep everyone happy and if someone was unhappy it was my fault. Well THAT’S NOT TRUE.

While this “tape recording” of demands made by our parents can’t be “erased” we can MUTE IT…..shut it down from playing, by saying to ourselves. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE HAPPINESS OF OTHERS. I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR MY OWN HAPPINESS. THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIRS.

These old “tapes” that have UNTRUE information are what we were taught, and what makes our emotions react, but LOGICALLY we can realize they are untrue. Like the old “there is good in everybody” THAT IS A LIE. There are lots of those lies floating out there and in our heads as well.

When you find yourself feeling anxious or scared or like a failure, I can bett’ya there is an UNTRUE TAPE RUNNING IN THE BACK GROUND. When you feel that way. STOP look for the tape, what it is and then PUSH THE MUTE BUTTON….and every time you start to feel this way, consciously STOP and push the MUTE button….soon you will get the mute to pretty well stay on.

If you have not read Dr. Eric Berne’s book “Games People Play” get a copy of it and read it, it will help you to see how to silence these old tapes and about the games that we get sucked into because of them.

So hang in there and silence whatever tape is running in the background to make you feel badly today! (((hugs))) and God bless.



Begining with a virtual hug because sometimes, that is enough and most of us don’t get enough of that kind of support- the its gonna be ok message without words. Sometimes, words miss the mark.

What if you begin by acknowledging that you are good at making people happy and pleasing others. That is a real skill. I tend to be better at being annoying myself and I admire it in others. Its a gift. And a good one.

But, you attempted the impossible. And subsequently fell down. That too is ok. Its something you can learn from. Don’t be trying to make spaths happy. You can’t. They are incapable.

So you can shrug that off and enjoy your gift by offering it to people who will appreciate and benefit from it.

The question isn’t your gift, its where you offer it. And you need to absorb the lesson about offering it under conditions where there is no possibility for success.

My favorite pearl of wisdom is that it doesn’t matter how many times you solve the wrong problem well, you won’t get the right result.

This, to me, points to a re evaluation of what problems you are trying to solve or fix?

What you need is to improve your skill of analyzing where there are problems you can fix and where there are not and choosing better where to use your gifts.

There are amazing career and life opportunities for people who have your skill and it isn’t one to underestimate.

However, there are other skills that you need to use it effectively. So, what are they? How do you grow them?

Where did not having them put you in compromised situations?

To me, it seems like this is a time of rethinking what your boundaries need to be to best take care of you. You need to use some of that skill for yourself. And that’s hard…

What is the old saying about the cobbler’s children always go barefoot? Something like that.

In the Power of Now, Exckhardt Tolle describes being able to look at the part of yourself that hurts from a distance and see the pain for what it is.

Becoming an observer of that part of yourself gives you a vantage from which to think more clearly and to find peace right now when you are having a tough time.

You don’t have to be the pain.

I found this idea incredibly helpful.
Perhaps you will too.

His lectures are available on CD and what helped me through those awful days (there were a bunch of them) was to listen to the CD’s so that instead of focusing on my own thoughts which were very sad and dismal, I could focus on the sound of his voice.

Now, I listen to them again and they continue to give me insights when I start to slide back into that place.

Remember, you didn’t seek to be fooled or taken advantage of. It did happen. And you can learn from it.

What you can learn is that you have some wonderful gifts, but they were given to people who couldn’t benefit from your gifts and that left you feeling depleted.

On the worst days, remember that sunshine helps your body and if you can get out into it for even 20 minutes, it makes a difference.

Exercise helps too. A brisk walk will do wonders.

Once, I was told that when people are feeling their worst, they often skip breakfast. Being hungry and thirsty can contribute to down days so make sure to cover the basics.

If you had a magic wand, you could not make other people happy any more than you can turn them into toads.

They can choose to react to what you offer by being happy or happier. And this is often the response that individuals with that nurturing gift are able to provoke.

Find a way and a place to use your gifts that they will be well received. And where they are not, learn how to not internalize the failure to provoke the happy response, but to better qualify where to use your talent.

This too shall pass.


anam cara, I am glad you are here on Lovefraud. Sometimes it helps to just express the thoughts as they surface. People here are kind and compassionate listeners, even if we do not always respond. There is value in your offering this part of yourself, the telling of YOUR story. That is a gift, and thank you for reaching out. You continue to extend yourself, and that shows that there is a flame burning within you that has not been extinguished. Bless you.

You are valued, your value is inherent in You. It is not just through the giving that you do, but in your Being. Your existence.

In a sense it does not matter that you put your pearls before swine. You have these pearls, and they are not lost or wasted because you previously misunderstood what you are supposed to do with your gifts.

You are as intact as you ever were. You’ve been battered and shaken, but you are still You and you will get strong. Don’t give up. You are not alone.



Perhaps I’m overly optimistic, but I had the opposite reaction from friends and family. I was the one always defending him while they all told me he was no good. I alienated myself from people that had always respected me for being strong because I was proving myself to be so weak with him. I’m optimistic because at least in my world, I seemed to be the only one that was so naive to psychopathic behavior. He just didn’t look anything like Charles Manson to me.

I believe people in general are much more aware of psychopaths and sociopaths today than ever before. The myth that they stand out in a crowd is just that, a myth. It would be nice if they had a scarlet P’s or S’s on their foreheads, but they don’t.

What it comes down to in the end is if someone seems too good to be true, says all the right things, wants to move quickly into your life instead of getting to know you at a normal pace, showers you with compliments and attention far more prematurely than they should, although all those things sound wonderful, they’re not. It’s bad. It’s blatant red flags. Run!!! If you can’t find it within yourself to do it then, then for cripe’s sakes do it the first time they lie to you. We all know that forgiveness of that first lie does nothing but let them know they picked the right victim.

I think every year, every month, every day more and more people are becoming aware of the prevalence of these deranged beings as they are more and more exposed with the advent of the Internet and wonderful forums like Lovefraud. There’s no need to feel stupid or alone anymore, and there’s no reason for anyone to ever be taken or conned again. I pray for the day that the exposure is so widespread that they just cannot get away with this crap anymore because everyone will be wise to them.

Donna, I am eternally grateful for this site. Without it, I would not be anywhere near as emotionally healthy as I am today. It would have taken me far longer to get to the point I am in my healing process without the understanding that I’ve gained from this site, without the support of the other posters. I am not by any stretch healed, but I am well on my way.

See, I’ve been a voyeur to Lovefraud for quite a while, but it wasn’t until I knew I was ready for NC that I felt I had the right to post anything. I’m not sure I ever would have gotten there without my ability to have so much information about these creeps so readily available on the Internet. The point in time finally came where I just could no longer live in denial thinking he was right; that I was helping him, that he was different, that he knew something was terribly wrong with him and he wanted to get better. Yeah, I was helping him all right…..helping him manipulate me.

Thank you again, Donna, and thank you all for your stories and strength.

anam cara

Oxy I will try to get a copy of “Games People Play”
I have heard of this book. Thanks.

Ox Drover

I think you will enjoy it anam cara, it gives a pretty easy to understand way to look at how people behave.

I reread mine every now and then.

Lady Ruiz


When I was 14, a boy who everyone told me was bad news took a liking to me, something no boy had ever done before. One day he called me, breathless, and said he needed to meet with me about something very important. He rode his bike to my house, we met outside on the street corner. He told me a friend had left a baggie with some green stuff inside, and he didn’t know what it was, and he didn’t know what to do. I can still see his little puppy dog eyes and his veiled smirk. Wide-eyed, I said, “Oh, my God, tell your parents and call the cops!” When he balked at that, I said, “Flush it down the toilet!”

Decades later, when that “boy” reappeared in my life, and I recounted that story, he claimed to have no memory of it. He then proceeded to systematically tear down every boundary I had, smashed my moral compass. Now I now that even then, he had little tests set up for every girl he came across. I wouldn’t play his game back then, but I was vulnerable prey as an adult.

As a smoker, I can guarantee you that I would never, ever view a discarded pack of cigarettes as something that I needed to pick up and put in my pocket. Ugh.

One of the most painful things that came with my epiphany re my ex husband’s true nature was the reluctance of my friends to accept what I was telling them. Finally, when my oldest friend of 46 years standing laughed when I mentioned the word psychopath, I called her out on it. Her response was this:

I just think its so neat and sort of wraps the whole 30 odd year episode up into a nameable bundle whereas I tend towards the view that we (and our experiences) are all somewhere on a spectrum with no definite edges and the danger with naming something is that you then somehow restrict or contain it. I don’t want to sound unsupportive or unbelieving or play down the negative effects of that sort of relationship for you.

She said this in the full knowledge that I am the mother of two adult children with autism – I KNOW what spectra of behaviour are! And why on earth wouldn’t I want to contain the ‘experience’ of a relationship with someone who ‘only married me because he didn’t want anyone else to have me’ (his words)? He blighted 30 years of my life; the whole point of naming what he is will help me ensure that he doesn’t blight the remainder.

So I told her to remember her fairy stories – Rumpelstiltskin, Tom Tit Tot and yes, Voldemort too. Being able to name something is hugely empowering. This wasn’t just some marriage where love grew stale and we grew apart and now everyone’s being terribly civilised about it. She witnessed the effect it had on me. Psychically I was taken apart.

To me containment is synonymous with understanding what it was in my ex that made him behave the way he did. What it is in me and my childhood that brought me to a place where I could so easily be victimised. Why my children are autistic. How I can work to overcome my anxiety about the past and my precarious future. How I can use that information to help other people so that they don’t waste their lives as I did. Because more than anything else, at the end of my days I want to remember positive things, accomplishments.

I want to put my marriage to a psychopath behind me, not be stuck in a morass of despair with no definite edges.


I have difficulties getting people to understand, and I have been researching sociopaths for 6 yrs, and in my 4th yr as a psych major. I do agree that people mean well, especially when it comes to my sp daughter…as I too would love nothing more to “think positively” and “wait til she matures”. I would also love imaging equipment available that reads their brains and provides easy diagnosis. If a teen is going through behavior problems, no one is going to take any issues seriously, because he/she is a teen! My goal in this life is to expose sociopaths, get people to understand, and use this knowledge in a way that benefits and protects us at the same time. Awareness is going to be the key in getting people to understand that we have a problem.


Trla, if only exposing sociopaths would make a difference, eh? No matter how much physical evidence and visible/tangible consequences of their actions, people DO NOT WANT to know. They cannot (and, WILL not) process Truth unless it happens to them, personally.

My belief is that definitions, assessments, and terminology must be revised. Then, the Courts (Criminal, Civil, Family, etc.) must become educated about predatory people. They are not redeemable – they cannot be “rehabilitated.” They are what they are, forever, and ever – amen.

Exposure might be a good idea if it would actually protect other people. But, people are reluctant to accept Truth, and I would love to see Laws amended that would create harsh and severe penalties for spath choices.


The reason people don’t get it is called cognitive dissonance coined by Leon Festinger 1957. It is a mental conflict where beliefs, attitudes or behaviors are contradicted by new information that produces feeling of discomfort. This creates a drive state to eliminate the conflict. We can do one of two things either hold to our beliefs, attitudes and behaviors and say the new information is wrong or we must change our beliefs, attitudes and behaviors to reflect the new information.

In this case the people are having their judgment of the psycho put in question. Very personal for most people. So they will tend to hold to what they believe. Just like the person who is under the spell of the psychopath will defend him to maintain their own delusion. This is why it is so hard to talk to someone that is under the psycho spell. When we talk about the psycho we are also questioning the beliefs, intentions, sanity of the one under the spell.

Cognitive dissonance is also one of the tools the psychopath uses to program their victim. They set them up with the love bomb, the attention and the fake we are so alike. Then the worm changes and the one under the spell must deal with the cognitive dissonance of the conflict between their dream person and the worm. The normal M.O. is to get the one under the spell to change something small then to increase it. Soon the psychopaths victim accepts the psychopaths reality over their own.

My 2 Cents


It turns out in my case that I was personally responsible for not being able to convince anyone of the ex spaths wrong doings. When we were together I spent so much energy defending that puke, lying for him, trying to make him out to be some kind of gift from God, and convincing everyone that he was a great person. I knew he was not. But I had no clue he was a sociopath, either. So when it was over, I don’t believe anyone thought I was serious about what a monster he really was. I lied to make him look good, so how could anyone believe me now? I totally set myself up.


Today was a much better day for me. Sleep does a mind wonders!!! Highly recommended for a clear head.
Fuck him…..this is MY town……and I carried on as such today!
I am still keeping my eyes open, at every car I pass, and down the isles in the grocery store etc…..
BUT….the reality here is…..I am no longer a prop in the play…..I can now sit in the audience…and be in control of my applause and/or boo’s!

I am experiencing the uncertainty of ‘who/how’ are people reacting to him while he’s flaunting his dupe in my town.
Well… was my answer…..
He went into my GF’s real estate office…..he stood bragging about himself to the agent at the front desk.
My friend got her broker…..and immediatly told him….that guys’ a drug dealer and he’s had numerous restraining orders on him and he’s dangerous….get hiim out of here! The spath and gaga were immediatly escorted out of the building!!! 🙂 (Gaga is a realtor herself, imagine that might have been a bit uncomfy for her!)
My gf called me immediatly and told me.
Her broker never asked her any further questions…..she’s not a drama queen and her words were taken verbatum, respected and acted upon.

Another aquantance called today to chat. She asked about him……his wherabouts….I told her he was here. SHE immedailty told me that she thought she’d seen him from behind the other day……and got very scared. She said she turned the other way and started thinking about what she’d say to him if it was him…..and she said to me….If I do see him, he would try to hug me….and i’ll say….NO, I want NOTHING to do with you. Sternly.
I believe she would.

It’s nice to know… a world of denial, there are those who call a spade a spade…..and don’t let them walk on us without consequences.

He was so negatively affected after the real estate encounter…….he took gaga to lunch. 🙂


kim frederick

EB!!!!! Hey. So your rat fink M er F er is in YOUR TOWN. It sounds to me, as if you have reconnisance in all the right places. Thank God for our girl friends!!!! So glad to hear your cyberf voice. I’m having a disappointing night in a mostly poisitive turn of events. Am working again, but I’m tired. So glad that the town is on your side. 🙂 (you taught me how to do that.) 🙂


EB….so good to “see” you and I’m so happy to read that you’re feeling some sense of control – it’s such a long, long journey to travel before we can take some control back. GOOD TO READ IT!!! I get that you’re concerned about your personal safety, and I’m curious how you manage that. I’ve been quite “fearful” since things ended – well, even before then – and, I’ve been pretty harsh on myself for even allowing such thoughts enter into my head. I don’t think that these notions are really out of the realm of possibility. Anyhow, I’d love to read how you manage that.

Woundlicker – you are NOT 100% responsible for the dynamics of domestic violence or abuse. We stand behind the abuser / sociopath and defend them because it is a normal reaction!!!! PLEASE, stop beating yourself up!!!! It’s not helping you, one iota, to willingly take on the responsibility of what HE DID to YOU. There’s a site that can explain these dynamics: I would also gently recommend that you read up on what Stockholm Syndrome is – it is poorly named after an incident, but a long-recognized emotional/psychological mechanism and that is what just about each and every one of us on this site (and, out there without LoveFraud) has experienced.

Woundlicker – you are a precious part of this Universe. You have unique qualities and frailties that make you one-of-a-kind. You are so very valuable. Give yourself a hug, tell yourself that you love you, and have a good long rant to get some of that toxicity out. You are loved and valued for who YOU are, my dear, and this includes your experiences that you’re sharing to heal and to help heal others.

Brightest healing blessings.


woundlicker excellent, well said. “I was personally responsible…” is a tough thing to admit. Shows your on the right track. This getting us to lie for them is part of their M.O. of cognitive dissonance. They need it to maintain their false reality. And it traps us by getting us dirty. An age old trick. So now we are an ally. Because to do anything else we have to admit we’ve been lying. Which few of us like to do. And why would anyone believe us now. There is a saying Truth can hurt and it can hurt really bad, but lying eats away the soul. Being true to what we feel and think is important. For reality is just an event that we have added meaning to.

Yes, we are responsible for what we do. But don’t be too hard on yourself, you now know. And Stockholm Syndrome is a real thing. Once in it, it can be hard to see our way out of it. “I was personally responsible…” is a long way on the other side of it.

Their is a line in Harry Potter that always pops in my head where he tells Voldemort “You’re the weak one. And you’ll never know love, or friendship. [I leave this part off.. And I feel sorry for you.]” But “Your a pathetic,” always chimes in there. A Psychopath is evil but also the neediest – weakest person in the world.


I hope today is a much better day for you……no 2 days are ever alike!!!

I have a gun, a security system in my house with each of us carrying panic buttons that will go off from the driveway to the house if we press it. I have security cameras with audio……and a dog who is very protective of us. My neighbors are aware, the local police are great……and fully aware of the spath behaviors. I try (not always successful) to maintain a balance between vigilance and letting his presence control me. THAT IS THE HARD ONE!!!!
I have support…….locally……and I KNOW what he’s doing. I keep one eye on my recon avenues……and being a spath, he’s not exactly stealth….he tends to announce himself.
He leaves this weekend………and it can’t come all too soon.

Ox Drover

Woundlicker, I think many of us allowed the psychopaths to get us to lie for them and do things we later believed were wrong. We have to take responsibility for those things…but that doesn’t mean we must beat ourselves up forever over these things.

I think many of us (I know me) find it more difficult to forgive ourselves than to forgive otehrs (truly forget it and quit beating ourselves up).

We feel and own the shame that actually belongs to someone else. Truthspeak is right on! Listen to her. FORGIVE YOURSELF. That means get the bitterness out of your soul, and to affirm to yourself that you will not allow anyone ever again to get you to break your own moral code…because that is NOT love, that’s control. People who love you don’t want you to do something you think is wrong. They HONNOR you, not dishonor you. (((hugs))) and God bless.


You guys might want to check out a very interesting utube called – Defense Against the Psychopath. Other good readings are People of the Lie by Dr. Scott Peck and Without Conscience by Dr. Robert Hare. Also please see the documentary called – I, Psychopath. All of the above are eye openers.

Ox Drover

Dear Sane, all those are on our radar except the U-tube, thanks for the link!


Thank you all for your encouragement. I beat myself up daily but I’m reading a lot, too, which is helping SO, so much. I’m going to look to look up Stockholm Syndrome now. Thank you so much for the suggestions. 🙂


Hi woundlicker,

When my eyes were finally opened to the fact that I surrounded myself with SO MANY spaths in my life, I too beat myself up daily. But, one of the most important things I’ve learned about healing is that I must forgive myself for being blind to the spaths and I must learn to love myself. It’s important to learn the lessons that the spath forced us to learn, but, imo, it’s equally important to learn to love ourselves. Maybe we wouldn’t have allowed the spath to mistreat us so much if we had loved ourselves in the first place. While it’s important for us to acknowledge our codependence in our relationship with an spath, I think we also must treat ourselves with loving kindness. So, please don’t be too hard on yourself; you didn’t know what you didn’t know, but, now you do know.

By the way, for me, I think Stockholm Syndrome was the key to why I let the spaths into my life and took their abuse. I was brain washed, but eventually, I unwashed my brain and you will too.

Ox Drover

Woundlicker, I’m going to repeat here what I said above about forgiving ourselves!

I think many of us (I know me) find it more difficult to forgive ourselves than to forgive otehrs (truly forget it and quit beating ourselves up).

We feel and own the shame that actually belongs to someone else. Truthspeak is right on! Listen to her. FORGIVE YOURSELF. That means get the bitterness out of your soul, and to affirm to yourself that you will not allow anyone ever again to get you to break your own moral code”because that is NOT love, that’s control. People who love you don’t want you to do something you think is wrong. They HONOR you, not dishonor you.

The Stockholm syndrome is pretty right on, but you might understand it more with reading Dr. Patrick Carnes’ book “The Betrayal Bond” He really explains it well.

But keep in mind that there are MULTIPLE LAYERS of all lthis, and there is not going to be an “easy” answer that POOF! You’re cured! Thhis takes TIME and PATIENCE and WORK you didn’t get in this mess in one day and you can’t be “cured” in one day either. It is a process, so quit’yer kickin’ yer self or I’ll have to kick you! LOL 🙂 It WILL get better, I promise you! (((hugs)))


SaneInInsaneWorld, thank you for the youtube suggestion. I took a look at it and thought it was great. Really sums the whole thing up nicely.

Woundlicker, hang in there. My process of healing is taking a long time (years). I think that’s just how it goes, depending on the nature and severity of the trauma. Patience is a good thing to cultivate, especially with regard to yourself, your process. Reading is good!

I also think you have had one of the worst types of trauma perpetrated on you. It is a “reputation destroying” type of trauma, but it was the spath destroying your reputation with yourself! That one is very, very tough to recognize and get your mind around. The defenses are very strong against healing from this type of trauma. The key may lie in recognizing that the process of forgiveness is PERFECT and works in EVERY case — even if you are taking on the spath’s responsibility as your own, even if you acted against your own moral integrity. It is OK to feel the pain from your wounds. It hurts a lot.

For me, it has helped to go into the pain and really feel it, rather than run from it because it is so excruciating. Going into it, it will go away (kind of burns itself out, or you get a new perspective on it — you can go through it and come out on the other side of it, and that’s where the peace lies).


A few other choice words “Toxic Shame,” “Gaslighting,” “PTSD.” There is also Annie Kaszina “The 7 Things You Need To Know To Truly Heal” you can get it free from her web site.

Everybody have a Great Weekend


20years yours was there after I hit post. You are so correct. You have to own the emotions that are there. That is admit that they exist. Face them then as you say they sort of burn themselves out. There is also an nlp way of striping the emotions from the remembered event that is quick and easy to do. I’ll gladly post it if anyone wants it.


I get the connection with Stockholm Syndrome. I would have never known about that or compliant codependency or addiction to the drama/spath if not for everyone here on LF.

March was such a hard month because that’s got the most significany dates related to my experience with the ex spath and Lent always takes a toll on me so I felt worse than I had in a very long time. And I thought I was getting better. But also what I learned here recently is that I had issues I needed to face and that opened me up to getting involved with a sociopath in the first place. I’m just starting to delve into that part now and try to fix myself, insecurities, fears, self-loathing and all.

I honestly feel like I have made an enormous step forward for the first time in 3 nonspath years. I woke up today not hating myself for the first time since as well.

And I owe it all to you here, to your advice and thoughtfulness, your kindness in reaching out and to God for bringing me here to this community. I don’t feel alone anymore. Its truly wonderful!

God bless you all and many hugs. 🙂

Ox Drover

Spoon I’d like to see that. I used rapid eye movement therapy to help me “strip the emotions from the event” AND it did. AMAZINGLY SO.


I’ll also put in a plug for EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) which you can do on yourself (learn how on the internet — you do not have to go to a practitioner or buy any books or take any classes — though you certainly can if you want to). It has brought amazing results for me.

I tried it without expecting results, because it just seemed very weird to me. But I had nothing to lose, and was in desperate pain. It definitely worked for me.


To remove the emotions from a remembered event.

The reason to do this is, it is not the event but the meaning we gave the event that we keeps us reliving the event. And what is causing it is the emotion(s) that we have attached to the event.

The higher the emotional state the harder it is to over come it intellectually. So in most cases the emotional state will always trump our rational thought process.

The simple explanation of the removal process is you are going to play the memory in reverse. This can also be used on the crap we say to ourselves. And any emotional state that is causing problems.

The steps.

1) Sit down and replay the event in your head. When you feel the emotions from the event reach over and pinch yourself, doesn’t matter where and hold it. It doesn’t have to be hard, just so that you feel it. What this does is anchor the emotional state.

2) Now let your mind go back in time to where the event happened. Now go past the event if the emotional state drops off then go back to the event and go to the next step.. If it doesn’t then continue going back in time till you hit the next event and check passed it. What we are looking for is where this emotion first started. But if you don’t get the first one it’s no big deal. If the emotional state shows back up just go kill it again.

Now that we have the problem event we want to Killing the emotions hooked it.

Pretend your setting in the projection room of a movie theater. There is a thick glass window and nothing can get to you. [you can let go of pinching yourself.] Now play the movie of the event backwards about double speed. When it ends, the screen goes blank. Play it again. Screen goes blank. Play it again faster. Each time it ends the screen goes blank. Now around the fourth time let the movie screen start sliding out and keep running the movie and just let it keep sliding until it disappears.

When it has disappeared step back into the event right before it happened and follow it back to the present then watch it continue on into the future. This will clear out any other events that use this emotional state in the past and in the future.

If you have trouble seeing the movie not a big deal. You know it is there. The effects will be the same.

If you have trouble finding the seed event. This is where you have followed it all through your past but you can still feel it out there beyond you. Simply turn your head toward the feeling. This one you will kill by turning your head through the feeling. You will feel the pressure of it like a bubble. With this one you’ll butt it up against your temple and then move your head until it is passed the other temple. For most left to right. And you will feel it as it passes from temple to temple. Do this repeatedly. Then when you can push it out and let it slide out just like the movie exercise.

The effects is you can still remember the event but you will not have the emotions. So no more need to relive it. Plus you’ll have a hole in your head. You may be more emotional, cry, angry etc.. Sleep can be messed up for a few nights. The bigger the emotional state that was killed the greater the effects, will be. And it can open up other things you have suppressed or forgotten about. This is a good thing. If it is in you then it will effect you until it is dealt with.

And each time you kill something. Smile that crap is no longer going to bother you. Tell yourself good job, way to go etc. Then bring on the next one. Because the sooner they are killed the sooner you can have your revenge. And that is to have a happy life.

The steps will shorten as you do this a few times to the point that you will no longer need to do the projector room you will just play the move backwards, letting it slide out of sight and follow it back to the present and let it move on out to the future.

Another pointer is any time you find one that you want to kill but you can’t do the exercise at that moment. Just anchor it with the pinch and with this one pinch hard but don’t bruise yourself. Now when you have the time pinch the same place and the emotional state will pop up and you can follow it back and kill it. Make sure that you pinch a place you will remember. Like squeeze the middle finger. In a sense your flipping off the emotional state.

Any questions just let me know.

There is also one they call the boyfriend destroyer it can be use to unhook the emotional state that is tied to him or her.



thanks… that sounds very helpful. I’m going to try it. 🙂 (thankfully, I don’t bruise easily, LOL)


Thank you for mentioning Annie Kaszina. I found her web site: awesome!
spoon: is this procedure NLP? Sounds similar to what I did in EMDR.

woundlicker: so good to hear your progress 🙂


I see my english sucks well really my editing. I missed erasing the first “we” part. I had “we keep reliving.”

The reason to do this is, it is not the event but the meaning we gave the event that we keeps us reliving the event. And what is causing it is the emotion(s) that we have attached to the event.

Like this one better:
The reason to do this is, it is not the event but the meaning we gave the event that traps us into reliving the event over and over. And what is causing it is the emotion(s) that we have attached to the event.


clair, I haven’t looked at EMDR might be the same. I learned this about 15 years ago when NLP was just starting off. With experience I’ve change it a little. I added the sending it out till it disappears. It can pop some times when it goes. I’ve never had it resurface when I’ve done what I call popped it.

The moving the head just came from finding ones I couldn’t locate. They seem to be off the time line and more of a main emotional state.

I’ve tried EFT but like mine better seems to do a cleaner job for me. Could just be that I’m use to it.

Annie Kaszina I thought had some good stuff. The 7 things o found for a friend of mine that need some structure. Can’t say anything about her books since I haven’t read them.


Here a couple of other good links to read.


And Empowerment Series #9 – THE POWER OF DISCIPLINE which is referenced in the first link.


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