By | January 4, 2013 365 Comments

Time as a factor in healing

By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)

Many times our friends, in an effort to be helpful, but not actually understanding what we have been through in a “break up” with a psychopath, may tell us, “It’s time you move on with your life, and start dating again,” or words to that effect.

Any time you lose something important in your life, you suffer what is known as “grief.” It doesn’t matter if that something is a break up of a relationship, a job, a death of someone you love, or you lose the Miss America Pageant when you expected to win. Anything that was important and is lost causes grief.

Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, MD, an internationally known psychiatrist, studied grief in the terminally ill and wrote a book called On Death and Dying. It is a classic text for nurses, physicians and others who work with patients who are terminally ill.

You may ask why the grief she studied in the dying is the same grief we experience in other instances. Grief is grief, and one of the important aspects in dealing with grief is time.

Importance of time

I have learned about time that there are some things you just cannot rush. You cannot get a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant. Healing from a significant loss is one of those things that cannot be rushed.

One of the things that seems to be consistent in failed relationships, especially with psychopaths, is the intense trauma experienced by those who have been abused by this class of individuals. It doesn’t matter if the relationship is with a psychopathic parent, psychopathic child, or psychopathic lover, the damage is intense. The grief afterwards is equally intense, and takes time to resolve.

Stages of grief

According to Dr. Kubler-Ross’s research, grief can be divided into several stages. Denial is the first stage. This is where the acceptance of the problem, the loss, is denied, because it is just too huge to comprehend “in one bite.” We tend to think, “No, no, this cannot be the truth; there must be some other explanation.” Denial, short term, is protective. It keeps us from having to acknowledge something that is too horrible to comprehend all at once.

“Sadness,” which is pretty self-explanatory, is another stage. As well as “bargaining,” or trying to figure out a way to “fix” the situation so it doesn’t have to be permanent. “Anger” is another normal part of the grief process. Any time we have been injured, we will feel a normal anger. The final stage in healthy grief leads to “acceptance” in which the grieving person comes to accept the reality of the situation and moves on with their lives.

Unfortunately, the grief process leading to acceptance does not proceed in a straight line from denial to acceptance. It vacillates back and forth, from denial to anger to sadness to bargaining to acceptance and back again, seemingly at random.

The death of a spouse, as an example, may take from 18 months to three or four years to adequately be resolved, in even a healthy grief resolution. Trying to “move on” from a huge loss too soon leaves us vulnerable to making poor decisions. Many people who have suffered emotional and other traumas from the psychopathic experience may try to ”move on” too soon and become vulnerable to getting into a relationship wit another psychopath.

I thought I was rescued

After my husband’s sudden death in an aircraft crash, I was totally devastated by his loss, especially in such a dramatic fashion. I felt alone, lonely, old and unlovable, and I was perfect fodder for the first psychopath who came along looking for his next “respectable wife” to cheat on. He love bombed me, and I thought I had been rescued from my sadness and my loneliness.

I was fortunate that I got out of the relationship before I married him, because I caught him cheating even before the marriage. I kicked him to the curb, but it broke my heart to do so. I ended up wounded again when I had little in the way of resources.

Not long after that trauma, my son decided to have me killed. I was again devastated by the realization that my son was truly a psychopath. I had denied it for decades, but was forced to finally face my emotional trauma.

Not completely healing from the trauma of my son killing Jessica Witt in 1992, I had failed to appropriately resolve my grief over that loss ”¦ the loss of the son I idolized. He wasn’t physically dead, but he was “dead” as far as a relationship was concerned, and I had difficulty admitting to that truth.

Adequate time

Time alone won’t heal us; I wish it would. But not giving enough time, and work, to grieving does not allow us to come to acceptance of our loss, and leaves us vulnerable to the next psychopathic trauma.

Be kind to yourself and give yourself adequate time to work on the emotional devastation you have experienced. But not only time, give yourself the gift of working on your grief issues. It is work, too. It is hard labor, harder than digging the Panama Canal with a teaspoon. There will be days, weeks, maybe months, when you will feel like you are not making any progress. Times when you feel like your pain will never end.

Given time and work, though, it will end, and you can come to acceptance of the losses you have suffered. You can then “move on” in a healthy way. God bless.

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Joyce, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this insightful article. Yes, grief is grief and I think Kubler-Ross’s book is a MUST read for every survivor seeking recovery.

I had to read “On Death And Dying” as a course requirement when I attended school – it was a private Catholic school and this was one of the many insightful topics that the “CLS” classes encompassed. (CLS = Christian Learning Science) So, at 14, I was acquainted with this monumental work and it came as a godsend as I later had numerous friends and classmates that passed from long illness, sudden death, and suicides. This one book helped me throughout my entire life when I’ve had to deal with my personal grief.

And, grieving from the loss of a spath is like no other process. My belief is that we are “equipped” to process other losses, but what we experience at the hands of a spath is beyond anything else in the realm of Human Experience. It’s a systematic dismantling of everything sacred to the target. It’s not simply a matter of losing someone that we loved, but a loss of finances, sexual identity, spirituality, healthy “Self-isms,” and our homes. When our parents pass away, we don’t typically lose our income or finances by fraudulent means. If a friend ends their own life, we don’t typically lose our own sexual identity. If a family member drowns during a flood, we don’t typically lose our dwellings. These are the things that are so thoroughly difficult for survivors of sociopathic entanglements to process and manage.

That’s why I am a strong advocate for survivors to seek the help of a counseling therapist that “gets it.” We are simply not equipped to process THIS type of devastation, alone.

And, I would recommend that everyone read “On Death And Dying.”

WONDERFUL article, Joyce. Thanks, again.

Brightest and warmest blessings


Joyce and Truthspeak – thank you so much for what you have written. I’m keeping these as part of my “short list” of frequent readings. These truths help so much to keep my perspective on the right track, especially as I learn to acknowledge the reality of spaths as compared to “normal losses.”

I’m recently emerging from the “bargaining phase” of grieving my now fully unmasked marriage to a spath. I’m also beginning to experience prolonged moments of peace, knowing that I cannot fix IT. Strange territory to feel moments of peace, but so welcome. These moments of peace provide strength to keep going. I think I am healing bit by bit.

Thank you again – Bless you !!


Dear Oxy,

Thank you for such a timely article. My dear Dad died on 23 Dec.


Dearest Joyce, Appreciate this insightful article. This speaks to what I was feeling all day yesterday, Compounded grief, anger, Frustration along with everything else. I do not grieve for the death of a relationship at all, I know that the relationship was all a sham. This is not coming from a standpoint of self pity, but I grieve for the loss of myself in this. Before the demon infected himself in my life, I was happy, healthy, joyful, confident, and so on. Yes I am aware of the stages of grief, and how one can go back and forth. Out of all of this right now, I need to give myself time…. thanks again. Lovefraud is my lifeline! Good to know we are all Kindred spirits here. Best wishes for a healing day to all. 🙂

Grief is the emotion I tried to avoid most in my life. I grieved since I was a child and I didn’t know why I felt such grief. It was because I felt unloved by my mother.

So I guess that’s the stage I’m at still. stuck in grief because I was avoiding it. Thanks for the article, it is pointing me in the right direction today.

I remember in college, some kids told me that they were taking the “On Death and Dying” course. I was horrified. I couldn’t even discuss it with them, I turned and walked away. To me it was the equivalent of walking into a morgue. So I see now that avoidance has been a factor in my choices. I avoided seeing the spath for the evil that he was because it was too horrifying. He is death, personified.

my condolences on your father’s passing. ((hugs))

kim frederick

Yes. I am seeing the roots of my losses in my childhood.
I had a good child-hood til I was about ten. Then, things changed. Inexplicidly. I never knew why. I wasn’t abused, just left alone a lot.
My parents avoided each-other, and I got lost. Perfect set-up to be left alone in my marriages, and to wonder why? But, at the same time, to expect it and accept it as normal.


Skylar thank you.

Like you I felt unloved by my Mother. My Father tried to make up for that…..he must have seen what was happening. Even to this day, Mum declares “Well you always were his favourite”

Nope, she couldn’t show love


Kim Frederick
You are making the same point on two threads. It’s what I woke up thinking this morning.

Knowing our “hooks” = knowing ourselves = knowing our vulnerabilities

I am VERY good at spotting the bad stuff from childhood. I have STRONG intuition about pedophiles. The micro nuances seem to trigger my radar BIG time. I am also VERY good at spotting a person who wants others to SUCK up to them. The SUCK up game was one my narcissistic mother did to us kids. It was HORRID and so I am VERY sensitive when I see others have an agenda where they want others to SUCK up.

People who play the SUCK up game and pedophiles have a lot in common. They are both PREDATORS.

Your comment about knowing our hooks is spot on. Our hooks come from our childhood conditioning. Sometimes we are VERY sensitive to the blatant abusers and blind to the manipulative abusers (my vulnerability), and vice versa, can’t see an spath to save our souls b/c spaths are SO NORMAL to us.

Ox Drover

Strongawoman, I’m so sorry for the loss of your father. Losing a nurturing parent definitely leaves a hole in our hearts. My beloved step father died almost exactly 8 years ago this week (Jan 8th) and I still miss him, but I have learned to keep him in my HEART and if I come up against a situation I don’t know how to handle, I ask myself “what would daddy recommend?” Then I have the answer. (((hugs))))

Truthy, yep Kubler-Ross is one of my main stays in helping me cope with the diifferent emotions connected with the grief process.

Long before I ever heard of Kubler-Ross, my beloved Grandfather died, I was about 25 or so. I was devastated as I was closer to him than anyone in my family. About a year after he died, I woke u one night in the middle of the night SO ANGRY AT HIM I WANTED TO DIG HIM UP AND HIT HIM, HOW DARE HE DIE AND LEAVE ME? LOL Once that night of anger was over though, I moved on to acceptance (though at the time I didn’t know about “acceptance” I just knew I didn’t hurt any more.)

Wen Ii went to Nursing school and we studied Kubler-Ross I could look back and see how I had progressed through those stages before.

Parents who shield their kids from grief I think are doing the kids a disservice. We learn how to grieve by doing it. For example, the kid’s dog dies, the kid is sad and crying, so the parents rush out and get another dog to stop the kid’s crying, the kid does not get a chance to experience and process and LEARN about grief.

In my culture, rural south, scots-irish, death and grief were a part of life. Children were part of it, saw it, experienced it. When my dogs died I got to grieve…so at least I was experienced in the grief process and when I learned the stages, so I could realize what “stage” I was in it helped me move through them, but still in all IT REQUIRES TIME to accomplish.

The bigger the loss, the bigger the grief and the longer it takes….and the more WORK as well.

I agree that a therapist who “gets it” about the trauma of abuse suffered at the hands/mouth of a psychopath is a good thing, but unfortunately, not everyone has access to any professional therapy.


Oxy, thank you. Your words are very comforting.As a young child it was my Father I went to if I was upset and all my life he was there. He was a man I could rely on……something I have never found with subsequent relationshits with the opposite sex.

I feel so privileged to have been his confidante days before he died, instructing me of his wishes. He had given up on life and wanted to die, poor man. I was devastated at his candour but am so glad that he spoke so openly to me.

He was, after all, the first person I rang when I made my escape from the spath, a broken wreck of a woman.And he held my hand all the way through the ensuing madness I endured.

I will remember your words;
“if I come up against a situation I don’t know how to handle, I ask myself “what would daddy recommend?” Then I have the answer”


strongawoman – deepest condolences on the loss of your father. My father, too, was the healthy parent in contrast with the spath mother. Whenever I need to imagine “normal,” I think of him. He passed away 25 years ago, but I still feel him in my heart. I hope your memories will sustain you. Peace.


OpalRose, how sweet of you. Thank you. What a wonderful place LF is.

Ox Drover


You are very fortunate to have had that kind of nurturing father, many people here didn’t…I was fortunate that I had my step father to fill that role and he was always there…I didn’t really appreciate just how much he did for me until the last 18 months of his life when I was privileged to be his confidant and to take care of him. They were some of the most special times we had…I TREASURE those times, and I hope that you will TREASURE that last time you had with your father too, it is VERY SPECIAL. By the time it came time for my daddy to “go” he was ready and we were ready for him to go. We had made peace with his leaving and he had made peace with his leaving. The memories I have I TREASURE, so we are both fortunate. Your dad is with you as long as you have those memories.



My Dad was a victim of circumstances. Evacuated during World War 2, he always maintained he couldn’t show love in a demonstrative way. His demons of a loveless childhood separated from his parents at such a young and formative age moulded him into a stern, strict disciplinarian. But he loved his family. That I am sure of and I am fortunate to know he loved me. I am so glad I was able to tell him I loved him. Albeit by text. It was the first time in my life I had ever uttered those immortal words to him. And him to me. Thank you so very much. Your words, as ever, are wise and greatfully appreciated. Bless you.

Ox Drover

Strongawoman, war takes a toll not only on those that fight but on their children and the children’s children. I AM so glad that you had the chance to make your peace with your father. Getting that chance to say that final goodbye and those final “i love you’s” is important and I am fortunate that I have had the chance with all those I have loved that have passed away. Learning at an early age that life is not permanent has good a good experience over all and as a nurse I believe that sometimes there is a time when medicine must step aside and allow a death with dignity and grace.

Since I am a believer in an afterlife, I do not fear the “beyond.” Getting old and decrepit isn’t fun, and there comes a point when we are ready to go.

A part of a poem I remember (don’t know the source)

Fiirst our pleasures die
Then our hopes, and then our fears,
When these are done,
The debt is due. Dust claims dust and we die too.

I think that sums up old age, our pleasures of youth are no longer appealing, then we get to a point where we have little hope for improvements in health and wealth, and then we lose our fear of it…and then we are ready to let go of this life happily. Without regret except for leaving those behind that we love. It sounds to me as if your dad had reached the point he was ready to go. For that too you can be grateful. (((hugs))) and God bless.



It’s Shelley. Perfect. My Dad would most definitely appreciate your quote.

Ox Drover

Thanks for telling me who wrote it, it is one of my favorite quotes. I wrote it down when I was about 15…but I really didn’t know the meaning of it…I do now. I’m glad your dad would have appreciated it.


Strongawoman, I’m so sorry to read of your tremendous loss. As OxD said, losing a nurturing parent leaves a huge void that can never be filled, even with our Selves. It’s been almost 15 years since I lost my father and 10 since I lost my mother – I miss them both, daily. May your grief ease for you, dear one.

Skylar, my feeling is that we are a culture that is no longer in touch with our own mortality. People are born, and people pass away, and I am grateful that Kubler-Ross was a part of my education, early on, because I was able to process all of those phases and recognize them as “normal” responses to loss. It’s really weird because many friends and family have sought me out during their times of loss, and I don’t really LIKE it because it touches me too deeply (even still) to share another person’s grief. But, in those events, I try to remember what I learned and just let these folks grieve the way that they need to.

I had always been a hyper-emotional kid – I always felt emotions that went WAY beyond what I would consider appropriate or even normal. Seriously. I would weep at the end of every “Lassie” episode because I thought she was going to leave and never come back. I would weep over a baby bird falling out of its nest. I always “felt” grief and I was unaware that grief was what I was constantly experiencing and I have NO IDEA why this was.

It’s okay to grieve, Skylar. It’s okay to feel that loss in the depths of our gut because it’s a REAL loss, whether it’s the loss of a beloved parent, the loss of a spring lamb, or the loss of an addiction. These are “real” connections that we have and even if I quit smoking, I rely upon tobacco and am addicted to it, so I’ll have to grieve over THAT when I finally make the decision to quit! Yeah, it sounds absurd, but it’s true.

HUGS and brightest blessings


Someone said something today that I really have to post on this thread because it sort of touches on my personal grieving process over the time that I wasted with the exspath. The gist was that we only have RIGHT NOW, and waiting, wondering, cogitating, and ruminating about what we WANT to accomplish is never going to amount to anything but a bunch of wasted yesterdays.

It’s not about waiting until Venus aligns in Mars and the moon is full on the first Tuesday in February before I “DO SOMETHING” that I want to do – like take control of my health and recovery, learn to knit, sing in a choir again, play my guitar again, paint, laugh, cry, and love without condition. It’s about doing something meaningful TODAY because tomorrow may not come.

At any rate, it was a very profound thing that this woman said, and I’m going to have to find out the exact words that she used, because it was a validation that it’s OKAY for me to love myself, do for myself, and grant myself permission to finally farking live FOR myself.

Brightest blessings


Many years ago I had a dear friend who was going through a divorce from a man who had cheated on her for 20 plus years. She told me that experiencing a divorce was worse than death. She said, at least with death, it is final and you have closure and can’t avoid moving on.

I would never wish death on my X but I do think getting over his death would be easier to get over than this. How wrong is it to feel this way? 🙁

So very sorry for your loss, especially near the holidays. My dad has been gone 20 years and I miss him.

Ox Drover

Truthy, I wept in every episode of “Lassie” and “bambi” and so on…still do, but you know that’s okay. LOL So you are not the only one to have those hyper feelings…I’m a sucker for a sad movie, or a sad story…and I don’t care if I am, it is okay.

But I am also starting to see the “pity ploys” for what they are and to recognize that I don’ t have to fall for them or accept what ever someone says as TRUTH.. it will be a while, but I am going to write an article about a con man I just caught and exposed. He used all the RED FLAGS from pity ploy to the “trust me I am honest” presentation. But by watching for the red flags and listening to my gut quickly on rather than “shushing” my inner warning system (what I did in the past) I saw the TRUTH that this guy was a con man fairly quickly and took action before I got scammed.

Daisy, we have to make our own closure….trying to get “closure” from them is an exercise in futility.


I fell for another sociopath. That is two now. I met this last one at a conference. He was a sales guy and he used his companies money to take me out on the town. We had a great time. He gave me a flower and the night ended with a kiss. When I left the conference he called to make sure I got home. I didn’t hear from him for a month. When he called again he apologized for not calling earlier. We talked for weeks. He said he was having a conference in Vegas and he asked me to meet him in Vegas; so I did. He asked me a week before the conference and it seemed impulsive. He danced with me in front of the Bellacio and in the casino halls. It was the most romantic trip I have ever been on. I described him as charming to my friends, and as I did I saw the word in my mid as a red flag. Later he met me at my house and fixed a bunch a stuff; he booked his trip one day before he came to see me. A little impulsive. The next trip we met in New York; he booked his trip 3 days before we met and he couldn’t commit to the trip. His impulsive nature was starting to get to me. We went to Wicked and it was so romantic. On the last day of New York he told me he was married but seperated. But I remembered distinctly that he told me was divorced. When I got home I knew enough about him to conduct an internet search and find the right person. He was 8 years older then he told me he was; which turned out to be 17 years older then me, instead of 9 years like he told me. His son was not 23, but rather 29. He was married for over 20 years, not 13 years like he told me. The next time I talked to him, I told him what I found; and he confessed. Three days later he called and apologized. He said he wanted to make it up to me and was going to build me a new door. I was in denial, so I agreed. We had the plan for a month, and two days before I was going to see him he said he just got a lien on him from his wife for not paying taxes for the last 8 years, and he couldn’t make it. He said it was $30,000 and he would call me when it was over; the divorce and the lien. She went to Wharton, is 69 years old, and was a millionaire. Now she lost her job, is going through a divorce (with a psycho), and has a lien on her house; or so he says. I’ve been discarded; thankfully. It’s been 5 days without contact, and my clarity is starting to come back. How could I fall for a sociopath again? I read Women Who Love Phychopaths; and it’s the high risk taking behaviors that I partake in. I did it again and I am in the greiving stage right now. Going no contact because he will call again, and it’s hard to know that. I had such a wonderful time with him. I am greiving that he is a sociopath, a liar, a conman who took advantage of me. Why do I have so much fun with sociopaths and why do I partake in high risk adventures? I am depressed. A depression that I knew could come because of the risks I was taking. When I did it, I didn’t know it was all a lie…now I am thanking him for discarding me. It feels like stolkholm syndrome. Thankyou for not physically hurting me. Thank you for Wicked. Thank you for slow dancing with me in the streets of Vegas. But most importantly, thank you for discarding me..


Your only human my friend, it’s hard to be human when the world is full of sorry for you,,,

kim frederick

Watching, “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” Quote that so “gets” the idealize, devalue disgard cycle:
The thing about Dicky is, the sun shines on you and it’s glorious. Then he forgets you. And it get’s really cold.
The movie isn’t about Dicky. It’s about Tom Ripley…the psychopath….but, Dickey Greenleaf is the narcissist who he sets his sights on…who he desires and who rejects him. Very complex and convoluted, but wow. Just wow.

kim frederick

So sorry Bird.


thanks for your sympathy. I am better equipped then I was the first time. I am getting out early this time. Before I would have gotten back in when he calls. Its still sad that what I experienced wasn’t anything but a mirror of what I wanted. A mirage. They give you your dreams; with lies. It’s just disappointing because it doesn’t get any better then during the idealization stage. A fairy tale. Too good to be true; and that is disappointing.

And sorry his wife is 59, not 69; that was a typo.


Daisy, Sometime’s death is the kindest way to lose somebody.
Truthy, Tomorrow today will be yesterday.


Strongwoman..sorry about your loss, you were so blessed to have a father like the one you describe.


Thank you MoonDancer and it’s so true what you said.

Daisy, Thank you for your kind words.

Dearest Truthy,

Thank you and I can identify with the hyper emotional aspect of your personality. I could get upset, be brought to tears even, by witnessing a boy in my class at school being “ridiculed” and ostracised for being different.
I hate to see suffering…..I want to fix it. Why? That’s my next quest. To find out what it is about me that makes me want to rescue. At the moment, I am waiting for my copy of “Why is it always about you?”



So sorry this has happened to you. Don’t be too hard on yourself….you did recognise what was happening and you did escape, not unscathed but you’re here. Well done. I know only too well how hard it is to walk away from. We don’t want to believe what our gut is telling us…….Thankfully you didn’t ignore those feelings.


OxD & Strongawoman, it’s good to know that there are other people out there who experience that type of emotion, as well – I have always felt ashamed of being so hyper-emotional. How about that? SHAME for FEELING?! LMAO! Nobody can ever argue that my shame-core is NOT a problem!!!

Bird, I’m so sorry to hear about your recent experiences, but I am SO grateful that you stopped yourself, took stock of the situation, and cut him off at the knees! TOWANDA to you for that AND going NC.

Your questions are the same ones that a lot of us ask ourselves. Spaths can be VERY exciting because they ARE impulsive and seemingly spontaneous. That’s one of the things that drew me in with both exspaths. They are the antithesis of “boring,” which I’ve learned can translate into “stable and healthy.”

For the rest of my life, I will never view spontanious and impulsive actions with the same eye that I once had.

But, Bird, you really need to pat yourself on the back, sweetie. You may have been hooked for a time, but you’re the “One That Got Away,” and you’ll be just fine!




To me, you hit the nail on the head. I have not experienced the death of a spouse, but to me, I would say a divorce or a very painful breakup where you still want the person has to be worse than death. I have always said that, but it didn’t seem like a popular opinion. But to me, if someone dies and they loved you and you loved them, there is peace. Of course you miss them terribly and you grieve, but they died knowing you loved each other. But with a bad breakup, the person you want is still roaming the earth; they are still around so then you wonder what they are doing, who they are with, etc. It’s torture. Death is kinder. I am glad to see someone else feeling the same way I do.



I am so sorry about the loss of your father. Peace to you. I lost my dad almost five years ago and nothing in our family has been the same since he’s been gone…I can relate.


Kim- is this the first time watching Ripley? Such a great, twisted movie but one I want to watch again now that it’s been brought up! Its so “realistic” Enjoy!

Bird- so sorry this happened to you… Again! Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise. I agree with you and what others say about impulse and spontinuity – my ex spath was an impulsive and spontaneous man and it drove me nuts. I’d tell him this too but he would just tell me his job doesn’t allow him to make plans and he admittedly said he enjoys being spontaneous, just getting up each morning and deciding at that time what’s on the agenda for the day…. It’s unnerving because I don’t know how to behave like that or handle someone like that- I’m a planner….

kim frederick

ahhhhhh, Den, that spontinaeity is a cover for NOT BEING WILLING and/or ABLE to make a commitment….to anything, and it also reeks of disrespect and entitlement…it is a power dynamic, ie, I am important and the world revolves around me, I SHOULD be able to decide on a whim how I will spend my day, since it’s all about me, me, me, me. It is power and control. It keeps you always on a back-burner, waiting without plans for GOD to decide what GOD wants to do.
If you get tired of GODS game and make your own plans, GOD will feel betrayed and find new supply to keep on the back burner because that’s the way GOD likes it. God will tell you that you were not spontaneious enough. Sigh.



I love you…perfect way to put it…perfect.

kim frederick

Just after my above post, I remembered reading, “Waiting For Godot”, and had to laugh at how we absurdly wait for these things to make us happy….we wait for them to arrive, or change, or…..whatever. LOL.


Kim—- you hit the BULLSEYE!!!! Perfect and it makes so much sense….. Sometimes I need someone to explain it to me because I can’t figure out why he does what he does!

Thank you so much!! 🙂


Thanks Louise, I appreciate the sentiments



We do (or did) wait for these things and why? Why didn’t we see it would never change and that we were waiting in vain? I seriously know now I will never do that again. I know because as skylar says, I know the signs. The second someone is overattentive, lovebombing me, charming me, doing things that just don’t seem right, I will KNOW that something is not right and walk away. I will. I’ve been in a few situations since spath…not romantic situations, but platonic or even business type things and I can see it right away now. When it happens, I immediately remind myself of the pain I have gone through and I just say nope, and walk away.

I accepted that he wouldn’t change and told myself that I shouldn’t expect him to change. It wouldn’t be true love to expect someone to change.

Once again, I got the bread crumbs so he could have the cake and eat it too. I thought that was ok, he shouldn’t have to change.



My feelings on that is if we want them to change or they are exhibiting behaviors that warrants us to want them to change, it’s just not the right relationship because I do agree with you (even if you were using sarcasm…I couldn’t tell for sure) 🙂 that we shouldn’t expect someone to change…we should love them as they are, but if “as they are” is bad, well then. I think this has sparked something for me…bottom line is that if they are bad and we accept it so be it. Apparently that’s how a lot of bad marriages stay intact…one spouse or perhaps both are accepting and putting up with bad behaviors. Either we will or we won’t. There’s really no in between. I won’t anymore.


Louise, where I’m concerned, that belief that they would “change” or WANT to change to preserve a relationshit was based upon my own system of beliefs and NOT facts. I would alter MYself to ostensibly “work” on the relationshit and, because my beliefs were flawed, I expected them to do the same thing out of a sense of ethics.

That’s exactly why bad marriages don’t dissolve, IMHO. Cog/diss and every other core-issue came into play when I tried to “work” on the marriages. Because I would work on healing and repairing the marriage, I maintained the erroneous belief that anyone that I loved and cared for would do the same.

Loving someone “as they are” means CHOOSING whom we will love, rather than loving first, and managing disappointment later. We really, really have the OPTION of choosing whom we will and will not allow into our lives, and this is probably the most powerful truth I’ve experienced, so far. I am not OBLIGED to love or accept anything that even slightly annoys me.

And, you are right: there is no in-between, whatsoever. One boundary for all people, because I’m no brick-mason and I can’t be spending my time laying different foundations for everyone that I meet. If someone is excessively flattering, they’re out. If someone lies or avoids, I’m out. If someone starts a pity ploy, I’m out. If someone is glib or off-color, I’m out. And, so on.

Brightest blessings



Thank you for your post. I always love hearing your perspective. I agree. I am the boundary setting Queen now! I just don’t put up with what I used to that is for sure. It’s really something that after we go through so much pain, we can see things so much clearly. Even though these bad things happened to us, they truly were lessons we needed to learn or we would have been accepting this crap our whole lives. I hate what he did to me, but at the same time, I thank him for it. He thinks he destroyed me, but in so many ways, he made me better. Or I should say I made MYSELF better! He was just the tool that was provided to prompt me to make the changes.

Happy Sunday to you!

Ox Drover

Dear Sweet Bird, I’m so sorry that another psychopath targeted you, but I AM ***SO PROUD*** OF YOU FOR REALIZING WHAT HE WAS SO EARLY IN THE GAME.

NO ONE can just look at someone and instantly know they are a psychopath…it takes being around them a bit to get to know that about them. YOU PUT TWO AND TWO TOGETHER AND IT DID NOT EQUAL 4, so you went NC…Honey that is exactly what we have to do.

Yea, they catch a corner of our heart before we find out the truth, but you didn’t have a long drawn out affair with this guy, you didn’t let the Baby Birdie get attached to him. For a short time you had a “dream” but YOU WOKE UP and the dream was just that, a DREAM but not true…but there will come along a man one day that will BE the dream man and he will be for REAL, because no matter how many psychopaths target you, you KNOW THE RED FLAGS and you HONOR THEM. And you don’t trust without making that person EARN that trust. And you don’t make excuses when the stories don’t match up.

Bird, I am JUST SO PROUD OF YOU! You dun goode gal! Give my baby birdie a big hug from his Auntie Oxy!


Interesting to read comments about how people have been physically impacted by their experiences with sociopathic partners. Is there a thread on this topic?
I have been having chest pains lately and memory loss and what seem like PTSD experiences. It feels like while I am resolving issues and like questions are being answered I am unavoidably sliding downhill.


I agree it is a common idea not to expect our loved one’s to change, and is certainly not a good foundation for approaching the world, in general.

We are responsible for changing ourselves, stating our intimate needs with respect for others’, and letting go of as many expectations as possible. Kinda corny, but seems to me to be the path of personal peace.

But I gotta say, every single close friend I have would do whatever they could if they thought for a minute that they were hurting me, or if I asked them for something that I really needed (like to be listened to more, or to have my time respected).

But NEVER the disordered individuals. They file these needs for respect, belonging, and tenderness away as future information to inflict more pain. EVERY single time. Without fail.

So the rules with these types is very different from those we KNOW we can count on and trust. Agreed, that we ‘shouldn’t’ expect them to change. But, I would say, for entirely different reasons than to foster human connection, personal responsibility, and mutual respect.

Instead, we shouldn’t expect them to change, because they WON’T. It is like beating your own brains out to expect change. Sadly…. sigh.

Ox Drover

Fixer, there are several articles here on STRESS reactions…Also you can google Holmes and Rahe stress scale and here is one link on it but there are many so look at several.

STRESS releases chemicals iinto our body that SORT TERM are helpful, “fight or flight” type stuff, but LONG TERM are very harmful to our bodies and our minds.

Keeping CHANGE and anxiety to a minimum for 1-3 years helps the body mind heal, but it is Not an easy thing to accomplish.

Learning about stress reactions helps so find ways to keep your stress minimal…meditation for even 15 minutes a day shows significant improvement for people so try it, any form of relaxation/meditation/prayer what ever works for you.

Tea Light

Fixerupper I was having chest pains and rapid heart beat weeks into the relationship with my abuser. That was in the seduction phase. I thought it was work related and my doctor gave me beta blockers. Four months in and it was the summer break (I teach well I haven’t for 5 weeks due to breakdown) but I was taking them daily. What I now know are red flags triggered panic symptoms. My chest pains and heart rate are just about under control now after 8 days of no contact and a month of antidepressants and diazepam. I have a lot of ptsd symptoms too, jumping at noises on the tv or the doorbell, shaking when the phone lights up, my memory is a mess, I wake at 3, 4, 5 am after nightmares of him being in my bed watching me sleep and smiling at me threateningly. It’s exhausting, my sympathies hope it gets easier for you soon



What you write about deals with communication – which I have been hashing over in my mind for months. I bought into the ‘explanations’ back then but now feel that it was mostly manipulation and gaslighting. But I still want to be sure – so I sometimes will disect the body all over again.

You wrote:
“But I gotta say, every single close friend I have would do whatever they could if they thought for a minute that they were hurting me, or if I asked them for something that I really needed (like to be listened to more, or to have my time respected).”

This is one aspect of my relationship with an apparent spath that I have been hashing over in my mind.

How do your close friends ‘know’ they are hurting you? How do you know that they know that? I got to the point where I expected EVERYTHING I was doing (And , NOT doing.), was causing pain. But this was not rational – I eventually decided. It couldn’t have been that EVERYTHING and every source of stress originated with me. Was this her way of keeping me unbalanced? I think so. ONLY in the end she said: “I wish that you could have known that my stress and anger was not a personal rejection of you.” But this is B.S.. If that were really true she would have come out and said it long before. I was in a constant state of anxiety and ‘walking on eggshells’ because it seemed to me that her disorder was my fault

You also wrote:
“But NEVER the disordered individuals. They file these needs for respect, belonging, and tenderness away as future information to inflict more pain. EVERY single time. Without fail.”

Why do you think that inflicting pain was their intention? How did they do that?

Oh, and thanks for making the point about how important it is to communicate what our intimate needs are. This is a litmus test of sorts for relationhips. If the response is not what we need or reasonably expect to hear – then it’s time to move on. I remember now trying to communicate this way – only to be slapped down or even to hear my ex-gf change the subject!!! What a Red Flag that was. But, I was so far ‘gone’ that I laughed it off! But, the ex HAD to know what she was doing – depriving me or holding back that affection! It was another manipulation technique.

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