We can’t change them … so we must change ourselves

By Joyce Alexander RNP (Retired)

We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed. For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one’s predicament into a human achievement. When we are no longer able to change a situation just think of an incurable disease such as inoperable cancer we are challenged to change ourselves.

Dr. Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

I spent so much of my life trying to change others that it almost became a way of life for me. I was never very successful at changing others, but I never gave up trying. I have tenacity in great abundance and have succeeded in many endeavors, so I just knew if I kept on trying harder, trying different techniques, loved more, was more selfless and caring, that I could change the way others treated me. I could make them see just how much I loved them and was willing to sacrifice myself for them and they would treat me better because of that.

What I have come to understand, though, as I have started to heal from the wounds I allowed to be inflicted on me by those personality-disordered people in my life—people I loved very much, people I would have died for—is that the only person I can change is myself.

I had left my home, because my physical safety was no longer secure there, and was living in a recreational vehicle parked on some land by a lake that was owned by a friend. I felt very alone, lonely, wounded and destitute of all that mattered to me. During that time I had plenty of time for reflection, and it was also during that time that I found Lovefraud. I sat at my computer reading and weeping for 16 or more hours a day, and realized I was not alone in my pain, not alone in my woundedness, and that I wasn’t the only one in the world who was a smart, successful person who had come upon a situation I could not fix.

Man’s Search for Meaning

By chance I found Dr. Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, which he had written after his years in a Nazi concentration camp, during which time he lost everything and everyone in this world which had meaning to him, except his very life. The book was not only about the horrors that he experienced and saw, but about his and other’s emotional responses to this horror. He realized that there was nothing he could do about his situation, but find meaning in the most awful of events. He saw that some people in the camps just gave up and sat down and died, and that others became cruel and bitter, and still others found meaning and altruism in helping their fellow prisoners.

Compared to what Dr. Frankl had lost, I had actually lost very little, as I had enough to eat, no one was beating me, etc., and I began to feel guilty for being in so much pain, but then I read his explanation of how pain “works” in us. He explained that pain acts like a “gas.” If you put a small bit of a gas into an empty container, the gas expands to fill the container completely, or if you put in a large amount of gas into a small container it compresses and still fills the container completely. So my pain was just as “total” as his was, it filled me entirely. I had no reason to feel guilty for being in such emotional pain. Like Dr. Frankl, though, I had no way to change the people who were hurting me. I had no control over what they did. No matter how nice Dr. Frankl would have been to his captors, they would still not have loved him or been compassionate to him or caring.

Out of my control

I realized that the situation with others is, and always has been, out of my control. My ideas that if I just treated others well, did loving things to and for them, that they would love me back were totally false. Not only did I not have the power to control others’ behavior or thinking, my own idea that I could do so was keeping me from taking care of myself.

Fortunately, unlike Dr. Frankl, I had the option of getting away from those who would have harmed me. I could run away. It was only when my very life was threatened that I finally did run away, literally in the middle of the night. Sometimes it takes a hard “wake up call” to get us to see that we cannot change others, that we do not have the power to make someone love us, no matter how well we treat them, or what we give them, or what we do for them.

As a mother, I thought that if I were good to my children, and taught them “right from wrong,” that they would respect me and adhere to these principles of doing good. In effect, they would develop a “moral compass” and have empathy and compassion. The truth is, though, that everyone has a choice about how they think, what they feel and what they choose to do. Other than brute force, none of us can “control” another person’s behavior, and no one can control another’s thinking except by “trauma bonding” or “brainwashing.” So instead of controlling, I ended up being controlled, being manipulated, and used by the people I loved.

Starting to heal

About the time I read Dr. Frankl’s book, and started reading Lovefraud, I also started to heal. I started to realize that as painful as it was to realize that those I loved, truly loved, and wanted to love me, did not love me, which was proven by the way they treated me. I started to redefine even the word “love” as an action verb, not a noun. I started to see that I could not control anyone else’s thinking or behavior, but that I deserved to be treated as well as I treated others.

Knowledge truly is power! Knowing that we cannot change them, accepting that we cannot change them, and then changing our responses to their behavior is our salvation. Starting with “No Contact,” which gets us out of their emotional influence long enough that we can start to think rationally and logically rather than emotionally, we begin to heal. We start to change our own thinking and our own behaviors. We learn to set boundaries for what we will tolerate and allow, not only with the psychopaths and how they treat us, but for how we treat ourselves. We realize that we deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. We deserve to have compassion for ourselves, rather than waste it on those who will not change. We can’t change the world, we can’t change others, but we can and must change ourselves.

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Good Morning Oxy,
This again is a timely article. We must be living in a parallel universe. Only yeasterday I was talking with a young woman about this very thing.
You are right on the money. I would like to add that It is the way WE react to a given situtation that determines who we are. We cannot change or control others decisions, actions or thoughts, We can contol ours.
Good food for the brain to think of all day, Thank you Joyce, God bless you, you are a blessing to all here, well respected and loved.
Have a wonderful day all.
Stay Safe, Stay Sane Seeing Clearly


Thank you so much for this insightful article. You are so right.

Oxy ~ “The only person I can change is myself” this is a lesson that is so hard to learn. I would say timely article BUT you should have written it 3 days ago.

Help, help everyone with their great advice, I need help. I am under attack by the P/daughter and even though I know better, I blew it, big time. Background – I have been sick, hubby is going in for cardiac cath, it was my anniversary then my late Mom’s birthday – STRESS – I’ll use that as my excuse.

She is insisting we come to her “home” for Thanksgiving, along with boyfriend’s family who believe I am an abusive, good for nothing piece of sh**. I grey rocked the first two times she pressed. Then stress induced eruption, I screamed leave me alone, I am not coming for Thanksgiving and hung up. She called back, screaming at me. I responded with what I thought of her, boyfriend and his family. Well, it wasn’t pretty. I took the phone off the hook for the rest of the day.

Next day, she calls and says I either talk or she will continue to call. She says she is apologizing, then goes on to really let her “mask” slip and she lets me have it with how she really feels about me. It was one of those conversations I have not had to deal with for almost 6 years. It was that feeling of sticking my head in a blender. I argued, logically (YES I KNOW BETTER) and it got all turned around and was very ugly. She said she is done with trying to have a relationshit with me. I said, thank God and hung up.

She called at 10 p.m., hubby was on his way out the door to work, but he answered and told her I was in bed and he was on his way out. She said she was calling to tell me how very sorry she was, her emotions (YEA RIGHT) got in the way and she said things she didn’t mean. She is going to call me today, anytime now.

What do I do now, act like I accept her apology and GREY ROCK everything and keep my big mouth shut? If I make her any madder, she will come after me BIG TIME. What would you guys do?

Sorry this is so long. HELP – Thanks


Yep, I think you answered it yourself…accept her apology and then gray rock her. Done. That is the only thing you can do at this point I think. Good luck to you and hugs to you.

I’m so sorry that happened.
When we are tired or sick, it’s difficult to maintain composure, especially when being baited.

If she knew you were sick, she might have taken this opportunity to attack you for that very reason. In any case, she smelled blood in the water and is coming back to feed again. She’s going to ask you about thanksgiving again, be prepared.

Other than grey rock, the only thing I can think of right now, that might help is : use cliches.

Respond to her with useless verbiage, like, “it is what it is”, “it’s water under the bridge”, “you can’t go back in time.” , “No use crying over spilt milk”. “It’s all good.”

Spaths don’t understand words, so cliches seem important to them, because everyone says them.

What was the reason you gave her for not wanting to go to thanksgiving at her house?

Dear MiLo,

Ah my dear, I wish I had $1 for every time I have lost it and blown my stack! LOL I would be one RICH OLD WOMAN! LOL

Yea, I am with Louise, just “accept her apology” and YOU “apologize” for “blowing up” (be vague) and say that you are “Ill” and that you will THINK ABOUT the Thanksgiving invitation, but no promises…..that will buy you some time…

Of course, I would go there for TG and if it meant to “keep the peace” with her I would spend the day in the local ER with some vague chest pain….rather than go to her house, then eat at Denny’s. LOL

What I did was to go out of town or out of state to visit a friend for holidays to avoid holidays at egg donor’s with Uncle Monster.

Milo, I think most (if not all) of us have blown our stack under stress and gone off verbally on these creeps. It is difficult NOT to let them PUSH OUR BUTTONS. I’m getting BETTER about this but never will say “never again” because as surely as I do, I will “go off” again!

“Never name the well from which you will not drink”

You know what you are dealing with in her, and as self satisfying as it is to tell her to “fark off” you know that you HAVE TO HAVE CONTACT with her because the court makes you….and you also know that she will attack you AGAIN AND AGAIN if she “gets provocation” so you at least have to PRETEND “we’re a nice normal family” until Grand is 18. ((((hugs)))))) and my prayers, MiLo

Thank you Louise and Sky, I appreciate the input.

Sky, those are some good useless cliches that should work with her.

First I started by just saying it would be very hard to come because hubby works that night and must sleep during the day and just travel time is 2 hrs to her house. Then I said we always have Thanksgiving with ** and **. I could see that this was not going to satisfy her and I was going to be hearing about this for the next two months so I decided to pick my time and tell her I WAS NOT COMING. I thought I had found the perfect opportunity and told her I was uncomfortable around boyfriends relatives because they had treated me poorly in the past because of things (LIES) she had told them. She seemed to accept this THEN called the next day and started in on me. That’s when I LOST it.

I must somehow get back to the Grey Rock, that was working so well. It was good to see that she could not wear the “I’ve changed” mask for too long. But, I just can’t take another round with her right now, just can’t.


Oxy ~ thanks ~ I will not put Grand in the middle, no matter what….. That is what makes it so damn hard.

She was spitting “Grand has not been in my house since…” No where near right. How can you not even know that last time your own child was in your home????

“I haven’t spent a holiday with my son in 5 years.” She spent last Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day THIS LAST YEAR with him. How can you not know that???

All kinds of details and things we did during court ….. did not even know what was awarded (guardianship/custody) or what court she was in…. How can you be that stupid.

No answer required – I already know, just blowing off steam.

Thanks everyone

She called ………. said she was sorry for pushing me so hard, realized I wasn’t feeling well and should have just dropped it. Can we start over with no hard feelings?

Oxy – I apologized (choke gag choke) for flying off the handle and for not telling her I was under a lot of stress

Sky – I actually pulled up your post while talking to her and I used “water under the bridge”, “can’t go back in time” & ended with “it’s all good” Worked like a charm.

I think I bought some time, I think she will leave me alone for awhile. I can start grey rocking her again.

The only statement I did make to her was I WILL NOT put Grand in the middle and I was SURE she felt the same way. She said, Oh, ofcourse yes, never put him in the middle.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart, I was afraid I would spend today curled in a fetal position while listening to a phone ring over and over.


Of course she can’t remember because those things (time with Grand) are not important to her, she just wants to control and if you were at that “thanksgiving gathering” you would be a CAPTIVE TARGET…my Uncle Monster would use others being around to verbally spit at me, but the last time he tried this, thinking that because ther were others around I WOULD NOT respond, but I did. I gathered the people up (we were bailing HIS hay as a favor) and we left, with HIS hay left lying on the ground to rot….so he got NO money out of the sale of the hay. When I left (he had NOT expected this!!!) his mouth was open like a fly trap! LOL He was SO sure of how I would react since there was a crowd and he thought I would be too embarrassed to do anything. LOL I SAVOR that day to this day! LOL ROTFLMAO

I think I’d keep it SIMPLE with her….and just say “Sorry, but John has to SLEEP that day so we cannot come.” Then just repeat, rinse and repeat again! Let her rage, but just repeat and repeat.

I know you are blowing off steam, MiLo, there comes a point that is ALL we can do sometimes is SAFELY blow off steam here where everyone KNOWS what you are going through, and appreciates the frustration you have in trying to deal with her for your Grandson’s sake. That is why I THANK GOD EVERY DAY that I do NOT have innocent grandchildren to suffer with a parent like my P son using them as a club to beat me over the head with. You have my admiration for all you have done to protect your grandson. I KNOW THE HIGH PRICE YOU HAVE PAID. (((Hugs))) and God bless.

Milo, We posted over each other, and I think you did a GREAT JOB of talking to her, Sky’s cliches are GREAT aren’t they! Works like a charm.

I think we should compile a dictionary of “HOW TO SAY NOTHING IN 10,000 WORDS OR MORE” OF CLICHES.

Let’s see if we can come up with some more.

Here’s Sky’s to start:

“it is what it is”,
“it’s water under the bridge”,
“you can’t go back in time.” ,
“No use crying over spilt milk”.
“It’s all good.”

How about?

“I’ll have to think on that a while”

“I’m sure your intentions are good”

“I’m sure we can work something out at another time”

“Sorry I’m going to have to hang up now, there’s someone at the door”

” I can hear your concern”

“I can tell you must be upset by this”

“We don’t know what tomorrow brings”


“we’ll just have to see what happens”

“Oh, well…”

“Yes, I’m sure you want that very badly”

“I know that must be a disappointment to you”

“sometimes things just don’t work out the way we’d like”

Now you guys get busy and come up with some more LOVE FRAUD PHRASES!!!! LOL

Oxy ~ hubby and I like to come up with things we “should” do at times like this. I suggested we go to Thanksgiving gathering, smile at boyfriend’s family then hand them copies of her profiles on numerous dating web sites, especially the ones where she is a lesbian, or the one where she is an attorney, or a song writer ——— you name it.

If only life were that easy

here’s one that my spath learned from his spath father:
“six on the one hand, half dozen on the other”

just a fancy way of saying, “it doesn’t matter either way”.

does her bf KNOW that she has all these dating site profiles?

Dear MiLo,

Yea, I know what you mean, it would be “nice” to be able to do that wouldn’t it.

I have sort of done some of that lately, actually.

When people from the community used to ask me “Oh, how is your mother” I would answer a sort of “half lie” with “Oh, she was fine the last time I saw her” (not mentioning it had been 3 years since I saw her.)

And when people would ask how many kids I had and where they lived, I would say “Oh, my youngest son lives in Texas and he WORKS FOR THE STATE” (all of the Texas prisoners have to have a JOB in prison so that was technically TRUE) LOL

Now, I tell them the TRUTH, the WHOLE truth. Last night some neighbors that are fairly new in the area came by to visit, and asked me about my mother, and I told them the truth. A SHORT VERSION but the TRUTH.

These same people had asked about my kids a few days ago and I told them I had one son who lived in X town (near here) and one who was a prisoner in Texas for murder. Actually this woman had ridden up to the local auction with me that evening, and in fact, my X DIL (the one who tried to kill my oldest son C) was at the auction and I had pointed out the X DIL as she LEFT THE AUCTION UNDER MY WITHERING GAZE….so I am no longer HIDING the “family shame” it is NOT MY SHAME…it should be theirs but they have NO SHAME.

So I am holding my head up high, and telling the truth when people ask me a question. (short version, not a lot of details) I think really that I have FINALLY LET GO OF THE SHAME I FELT about my son and my egg donor’s behavior. To be able to admit the truth. Also, just like the catholic church tried to minimize and hide the conduct of their priests with the children, the little country church is hiding the fact that a FORMER MINISTER there was arrested as a pedophile and child pornographer….I am NOT hiding that fact. In fact, I’m doing all I can to make public that this man is a SEXUAL OFFENDER in the area…and hopefully get him some PRISON TIME instead of just a probationary sentence.

The thing is that sweeping cat shiat under a rug doesn’t stop the stink, it is ONLY WHEN YOU CLEAN THE HOUSE that the smell is gone!

Sky ~ they have been together for 8 years, have a 2 year old child together, but I have never been able to figure the relationship out. He served 2 years for selling drugs (big time dealer) and we think he still sells. We feel that she has all kinds of evidence on him that could put him away again and that is why he stays with her. I don’t know if he knows about the sites, but I don’t get the impression that he would care.

He has always been very good to Grand. He came to me and told me of abuse by P/daughter just to save Grand. For that I will be forever grateful to this man.

Good for you Oxy, you have absolutely nothing to hide or feel ashamed of. If it quacks like a duck, call it a duck.

Running into your x-dil must be a real trip for you. I think I might throw rocks instead of just stares.

I am pretty darn open about the facts in my life too. That is one of the things P brought up yesterday, the fact that I tell everyone she is “crazy”. I am careful never to mention the terms P – S – N to her or anyone that will get back to her because I don’t want her looking it up and coming upon this site or aftermath.

Venting again, but I forgot to mention about last year’s Thanksgiving festivities, we were invited, got out of it because “visitation” was just beginning. She got drunk, pottery was thrown, punches were thrown, she tried to leave with baby, he stopped her with force, police were called, arrests were made, they both spent night in jail. My idea of something to be thankful for, pass the turkey.

Hi Oxy, I haven’t been here for a while, but really felt the need to read here today. I haven’t been in a relationship or on a date since my ex boyfriend hung up on me last Christmas Eve and called me “a bitch from Hell”. Why? He had started drinking again. He was supposed to be recovering. I had never seen him drink, but detected it on the phone sometimes, BUT enough about him. He was the spath that brought me to this site.

After my separation of a 25 year marriage I started dating. I dated guys who were either passive aggressive (like my exH) or married (didn’t tell me at first) or had various issues. It was not about them, though, it was about me. I believe I had such rejection issues that I set myself up for rejection. The thing I cannot stand is to be hung up on. My mother does this sometimes as well. I just quit dating, got off of all dating sites, and have been happily single for over a year now. On my FB page I list single, but do not list that I am looking. I found myself recently getting interested in the idea of companionship with the opposite sex and was proud of myself for being attracted to a higher caliber type person – that would be one who didn’t just out of rehab. I just had the weirdest experience with a guy who hung on on me last night- not on the phone but oh messenger. I had suggested TWICE that we talk on the phone. He had an excuse. Since he is a truck driver, he suggested that we meet maybe next time he is in town. (We had mostly just been exchanging flirty songs from YouTube messages, and just talking on the board). I said ‘Maybe” but I was a little hurt that you didn’t want to talk to me on the phone. He explained why…..an explanation that involved his schedule….so I got over being mad and said. ok I forgive you, LOL. The next thing he said was Good Night, True-to-self. I was about ready to say…hey wait a minute, you said you had some time, but I just said Good Night and signed off. It felt like I was being hung up on. Does anyone else see things red flags? He then starts posting little hints about “What a fool he was”. I am not going to chase him, but is it him or is it me? Before I started responding to his flirting, I think he had mentioned times having given up drinking. I was thinking – no alcoholics…..but I succumbed to a Neil Diamond song. I wouldn’t actually meet him until I did get better acquainted with him. Why doesn’t he want to talk on the phone? He uses a droid to do FB when he is on the road? AND….this is about me not him. I feel unbalanced when he ended the conversion so abruptly. What is wrong with this picture or am I making more into it than there is.?

Let me explain a little more. After he abruptly ended the conversation on FB messenger, he stayed on FB and posted the line from the song “listen to the rhythm of the falling rain, telling me just what a fool I’ve been”. A couple more posts he made on his page, but not mine seemed like he was trying to bait me.

The problem I have with the whole thing is it all seemed so familiar, like thinking “What did I do wrong?” I need to appease his feelings? He just isn’t that into me or why the heck is he playing games? The reason it bothers me is I felt like we were fighting before we have ever even met. I know this has to be my problem. Help.

It seems to me that you are picking up the correct vibes. This guy is not interested in you as much as he is interested in playing you. He is at the testing phase right now: How much BS is this lady gonna put up with. So far so good, you are letting him call all the shots.

I’m very concerned about you in that you are allowing this.
As a person with no boundaries, I can tell you that it’s very hard to FEEL offended when you don’t naturally have boundaries, BUT you can still BE offended if you set rules about how people can treat you. Work on BEING offended until you can actually FEEL offended.

A person who really likes you would want to meet you, talk on the phone and would respect you enough to let you have the last word/text. This guy is controlling. Dump him. Fast.


I bet he’s married.

Skylar, remember me. Since I was last here I have learned some very interesting things. My mother is a full blown Narcissist. It took me two marriages to figure that out. That is one of the reasons I have trouble with boundaries, is I have spent a lot of time being subjected to gaslighting. Yes I now feel offended. My mother set me up for a high tolerance for emotional abuse. I have actually come a long way. I used to apologize to them. I still have to get someone else’s opinion as to whether something is actually abuse or not. Louise, right now it doesn’t really matter if he is married or not. I just feel stupid. Since he doesn’t live in my state but lives in a neighboring one I did think he might sooner or later ask me to meet him, but I was thinking that a phone call from someone from another state would just be a romantic friendship. I was wrong. Thanks for your imput. Also, even chatting with a girlfriend one usually says BRB phone or I have to go because dinner is ready. I think I can say this was the first time I was actually hung up on when no phone was involved.

I can totally relate. A man made a pass at me the other day. I just laughed. He continued to pursue and I continued to find it funny. Then he said, “I’m glad you aren’t offended that I made a pass at you.” I said, “you didn’t make a pass at me.” He said, “yes, I did.” I said, “really? no you didn’t”

Today, I was thinking about it and thought, “Gee skylar, a guy would have to fondle you before you felt offended.”

Then I remembered the guy who first told me what a spath was. He also reached down and felt my leg. (to see how muscular I was, he said) And I didn’t feel offended either.

So now I think a guy would actually have to slug me in the face before I could feel offended.

It doesn’t matter too much, because, thanks to LF, I can intellectually determine when a boundary has been crossed, even if I can’t feel it.

I have not dated in over a year. I took myself off of dating sites because I was the same way. I just thought that maybe after all of this time I may be seeing things that aren’t there, but no. Whether he is a spath or not, not sure, but I do know he had a drinking problem at one time. He mentions that from his posts. When I had my standards set higher there for a while, I did not look at him as an option, then all of a sudden I guess I got bored one day and started flirting. With the internet, I think we forget that they are real people, and this is a real person I don’t think is even cute. He uses a scenery pic rather than his pic, but it is on his profile. He looks like Santa Clause. Skylar….thanks for the reality check.

True to self,

I have a list of “deal breakers”

Dishonesty of any sort in their past or present–any criminal record, cheating on wives or girl friends, stealing, lying etc.

Drug use or alcohol problems past or present

irresponsibility in any way–failure to keep a steady job or spend their money in a reasonable and responsible way. Pay their child support and emotionally support their kids

Many marriages or long term relationships or many short ones.

mooching and not paying their way.

I could go on but you can write your own list.

Players—and that is what this guy is doing, playing you. DUMP him ASAP LIKE A HOT ROCK.

PS: TRUE, dating sites on the internet are hunting grounds for psychopaths….find another way to meet people.

Hi Oxy,
today I had to deal with my parents because the IRS was fraudulantly trying to charge them $4000. Since I’ve been mostly NC, I didn’t file their 940 and 941 forms for their business. But I did make sure they didn’t owe any money before I went NC. Well the IRS pulled some numbers out of their ass – I talked to the agent and she admitted it, LOL – and came up with $4000.

Anyway, I filed the forms, called the agent and she said she would fix it. My dad was grateful and cried when I left. My mother tried to project her PD onto my dad by slandering him behind his back. LOL! Spaths actually show their colors MORE when they are trying to hide them.

Anyway, the great part was that she is affecting me less and less. In only 2 years, I’ve gone from crying uncontrollably over the spath mother, to being slightly amused by her. Who knew?

MiLo, Yea it felt good to stare her down….and she obviously didn’t want to be there so she got her BF who was there to buy stuff (he is a junk dealer) but they left shortly after I noticed her and stared her down.

I have no shame about how I treated her…I treated her well, and she stole from me, conspired to drive me out of my home, she stole from my mother, and tried to kill my son, not counting cheating on him. So, I have no use for her and I will go where I want to go and if she is uncomfortable in my presence she can go somewhere else.

Sky, that’s progress. Good job.

my dad kept trying to write me a check for $1000 from his personal account – even before I fixed the problem. I said no.

When I’m done with all of this years bookkeeping I will charge them $3600 for the last 3 years of work. I will send them a bill. It won’t be charity, it will be business.

When I do finally leave them permanently, they will not be able to say they gave me money.

we posted over each other. Towanda to you for staring down the biatch. I wish you could stomp on her too, but oh well, we take what we can get.


“The truth will set you free” another great cliche-but oh so true! Your statement of “I got bored one day and started flirting.” reminds me of my epiphany the other day. I was thinking about what a great time I had with my Ex-S. He was so much fun! and took me out of my responsible laden life- that I, myself, created. I was missing the escape that he provided me. I was envious that he didn’t seem to have stress and always knew what he wanted to do. I was so busy with his life and everyone else’ that I didn’t pay attention to my own. Needless to say, “It was the best of times and the worst of times…” I realize that I need to find out what I enjoy and go about living and doing it without an excuse or anyone else’ permission. It has been challenging and experimental too. I didn’t want to take the responsibility for my own boredom. I wanted someone else to take me away from it all! So I am in the process… Here is a post I saved from Rune in 2009. “Are you distracted from your own life by wanting to help others? If you end up helping someone, it should be someone who is already meaningful and helpful and present for you. How about focusing on nourishing yourself, spending time doing things that make you feel good, learning new things and so on. If you are focusing on these positive things for yourself, you’re less likely to put out the signal, “I’m here to help others- that draws out the leeches.” Great message:) Have a good night…


In some cases, a poster describes a person about whom you have to scratch your head a bit and say, “Hmmmm, I wonder if this is a good guy or a bad guy? Sometimes it really is a “close call.” On the other hand, there are people like the one you’ve described, where you are left shaking your head rather than scratching it, because there is no ambiguity whatsoever. In a word, True to Self, this guy sounds not so much like a colossal mistake as he does a caricature of a colossal mistake!

So my advice is to listen to what people are telling you and never talk to him again. Really, unless you are simply looking for a one night stand (and it doesn’t sound like you are) this will end up causing you nothing but grief.

Oh, and I’m not sure why you said it doesn’t matter whether or not he’s married. I don’t know what you meant by that, but if he isn’t honest about being married, then what do you think he IS going to be honest about?

Louise is right, though, the odds are extremely high that he has a wife or at least has a live-in girlfriend. The refusal to talk on the phone is an almost sure giveaway for that.

The short answer, then, is to run and run and don’t look back!

Anyhow, best of luck to you.

Constantine, Yes of course it matters that he is married. I guess i said that because I was done with him anyway. I was just trying to figure out “What just happened here.” The reason that marriage doesn’t seem to be the issue is he uses a Droid to make his posts and you can tell he is on the road – truckstops, etc. So if he was married it would be irrelevant as his wife would not be traveling with him. That is why it just didn’t make sense that he could not use the phone……unless of course he just didn’t want to.

I am starting to think that maybe it isn’t me. It is him. He is just a jerk.


Of course it is not you!! Stop doing that to yourself! I did that to myself for a long time and it is so self defeating. You never even met this guy so how can it be you??

There is a reason he so abruptly ended the conversation and I know from experience (unfortunately) that a lot of times that means there is another woman in the picture. They walk in the room, etc. I know you said he is on the road in his truck, but I have known of women who do travel with their men in that way. You just never know and especially if you met him online…it is so easy to hide behind a computer screen or a Droid…people can be whoever they want to be. It’s so deceiving and false to me.

PLEASE do not think it is you. Hugs to you today!

Hello Everyone!!

My internet at home is out!!! It won’t be back for about a week (couldn’t pay the dang bill)

I managed to get in here and read this article at an internet cafe, but I have to run again.

I just wanted to say that this article is BEAUTIFUL and THANK YOU OXY for writing it.

I have so much more to say, but I gotta run. Next week I’ll be back regularly.

I miss you all have a nice week!!!!

(((hugs to all))))


I have not written down a list of dealbreakers, but I have them nonetheless. The last week of my tourleading tour in Peru, one of the guides of the 4 day trek to Machu Pichu started to hit on me, euhm actually after a few hours already on the hike to a 4600 m high pass. One moment it was just business, and all of a sudden he said something along the lines of “we should huddle close together to keep warm” jokingly, while taking a step closer to me, after he noticed me shuddering. It kinda took me by surprise. Came out of the blue. But in the consequitive days, we often ended up hiking together in front. I was mentally tired of the negative guy in my group, and therefore the whole group situation. For me it was a way to relax and relate to someone who’s under the same leading pressure. It never went physically far. But he was trying to get me turned on with attention, jokes. And it was surely noticeable to my group. Even when I at some point put a physical distance between him and I at a dinner table, he ended up moving to my spot after the dinner when I went to the loo. Anyway, I never asked, but the “negative” guy asked whether he had any kids the first day of the hike I think. And I overheard him say he had no children to my tourist. We had a plan to go out with him in Cuzco. And he gave me his card with phonenumber (just for me he said) to reach him if there were any change of plans in the meeting hour. There was a change of plans that evening, and I had waited for him at the meeting spot while my group was eating dinner, and he didn’t show. I called him afterwards, but ended up dialing the wrong number (his brothers). Anyway, though his flirting was not totally overt and kept within decent limits, somehow his attention had managed to get himself imaged thoroughly in my mind. If I closed my eyes, there he would be.

Anyway, the next day, my group had a day off from the program, and I was busy with organizing stuff and checking flight reservations on the internet. I had the card in my hand and out of the blue decided to check his facebook profile. Luckily it was not secured from people who are not fb friends, and I found out that he had a little daughter and a wife.

And all I could feel then was empathy for the wife. I faulted him for “innocently flirting” with me. Yes, physically speaking he had done nothing wrong. But he had enjoyed getting me attracted to him.

Yes, I know guides can be players. I’ve tourled for 8 years already, and had plenty of guides hit on me. I had taken this partly in account, but until I saw his fb profile I had not thought he was married with a kid.

Then I remembered a moment during the hike where he had pulled out his sweater and revealed he was wearing a t-shirt of a Belgian adventure show (people having to hitch hike in pairs somehwere abroad, and it’s a race against time, plus some puzzle games). What I noticed then and when remembering it, was how much time he took before putting on his backpack again after he too out that sweater. The show’s title and symbol was glaring in our face for a couple of minutes, before the backpack covered it. I remember thinking, “He did that on purpose. He wanted us to see he has a shirt of that show”. Of course, it became a topic of conversation with some of us and him. He had been a guide and prop actor on the show.

Anyway, the deliberate act of that shirt (which showed premeditation to impress), the lie about the child, and the imo heavy flirting while married with a child was enough for me to not even consider him as worthwhile to stay friends with.

When I met the group later that day for dinner, I told them that we’d probably would not meet with the guide anymore (they had asked me to attempt a new meeting), because his wife wanted him for herself in the 3-4 days he was home. They were all surprised. And my “negative” tourist? He expressed disbelief, retelling that he had asked him whether he had a child, and he had said no. I lied to him then, because I did not want to reveal how I had found out (wasn’t his business). I said that to me he had said he had been married and had a child already during the hike.

When the younger women (20 and 22) expressed shock and disappointment, the “negative” tourist reasoned that it was not always the smartest move for an attractive guide with lots of women in his group to reveal he’s already married. I ignored this total bullshit reasoning. But for me it’s bullshit. We’ve had plenty of guides who had been honest about their family situation, some more attractive than the other. Of course you’re not to put it all out there when donig a job like that, but you don’t have to pretend to be single and flirt either. That it is for the sake of not iring the women/men in your group who may fantasise about you is poppycock.

That is the second thing I observe in society so often. When someone does something they know to be wrong, they start to search for a reason to explain the behaviour and justify it somehow. I don’t, can’t and won’t do that anymore. I don’t need to know “why” someone does something unethical (as long as I’m not a juror). It’s enough for me to know and realize that it’s unethical, and that I don’t want to be around that person.

This brings me to the article. It’s true that we can’t change someone else. I actually went into the relationship with my spath with that truth in my soul. I remember an early dispute with my ex spath where he said he wanted a girlfriend who told him “Don’t do this”… who prevented him from making the wrong choices. And I told him, “Then you’re looking at the wrong woman. You have to make the right choices yourself. You have to learn to find your own boundaries.”

But what about the “so we must change ourselves”… It depends what is meant with changing ourselves. As I read the article, Oxy seems to mean, “we can change our choices to keep trying and hoping it will get better”. And with that I totally agree. But the title could be misinterpreted as “we must change our ethics”, “we must change our borders.” When the negative tourist justified the guide for lying to him about his parental status after a direct question about it, my tourist was also changing himself… he changed his ethics, from what he initially felt as unethical (a lie) to something ethical (a necessity). I changed too within my relationship. At some point I did start to say “Don’t do this,” for one reason only. Because my spath’s choices were directly hurting and affecting me. And I had a right to say “halt! here your personal freedom damages me and my life.” What I did not do was change the status of the relationship though. I stayed with him. And that is what I feel I should have done much earlier.

You can’t change them – true. But you shouldn’t change yourself either imo. You should change the relationship status: from partner/friend/acquaintance to none

I found this today, and wanted to share. It is about trauma bonding andis very insightful, so is well worth thetime it takes to read. It is a bit gender specific, and leans heavily on a feminist perspective, which might be a bit off-putting to some. It also stresses “violence” where it might have been more acurate to use, “psychological abuse”, but is still very enlightening:


Thank you, Louise. It is not me. It is him. Now he is acting moody, posting vague posts that even his male friends are trying to figure out. I am going to move on, but since nothing actually happened with us I can be thankful. Just going to enjoy my other friends. I do have female friends too. I have come a long way in learning to stand up for myself. It is time that I did what is best for me and quit trying to make a grouch ungrouchy. I csn’t please everyone.


another excellent resource. Thank you. I’m saving that one.

I agree that all women experience some degree of stockholm syndome just by being women, but I’m not sure I agree that my heterosexuality is due to stockholm syndrome. I think, I’m just that way. LOL!

This raises an interesting question: can a psychopathic woman also be trauma bonded to men? I think it could happen.

here’s a website with an overload of information, which you might find interesting as well:

I’m still working my way through it.

thank you for sharing that story. I was able to draw parallels with the encounter with a recent lovebomber.
You said that his image kept popping up in your mind.
I find that is happening too, even though I didn’t take him seriously. I wonder if that is their intent and they knowingly do this?

Eitherway, I appreciate the “red alert” from you, to help me take notice of my own vulnerability.

That’s what is soooooo AWESOME about LF, it’s like having a psychotherapist on call 24/7.

Dear True to Self,

Louise is right – it’s absurd to even question yourself on this. I would only add that you shouldn’t accept his explanation about not wanting to talk on the phone because of his work schedule, etc. That makes no sense, because a trucker is perfectly able to talk on a cell phone when he is driving (that’s why they have earpieces!) – or for five minutes when he pulls over. But this is a good example of how a “little” thing is often much more than simply a little thing. That is, any time something like that doesn’t seem to add up or make sense, don’t push your boundaries back in the face of a “sloppy” or ambiguous explanation. Refusing to talk on the phone should be seen as a “sticking point,” and as a non-negotiable issue. Indeed, if you allow yourself to backpedal on a something like that, he will have you doing the same for twenty other things into the bargain!

And “moodiness” at this early stage is almost certainly a sign of toxicity.

Since I already gave you my “two cents” on this, I guess this is now technically “four cents”! However, your post stood out to me in the sense that you seem to be asking the wrong question here, i.e., “Is it about me?” It might be, but I think this is more a matter of “Occam’s Razor,” where the simplest explanation is probably the right one. And in this case, I think the simplest explanation is just that you have an unwholesome individual on your hands.

In other words, give yourself a break, my dear!


I think it was that guide’s intent to get me spellbound. I had the intrusive images of him seducing me pop up for a couple of days more, despite what I had found out. But I used the effect to negate him in my mind even more. While I faulted him, I never contacted him. I just said to the image, “this is what you have done, by your own initiative, while married and having a child, and you enjoyed it. So, I’m happy that I’m traveling at the other side of Peru and meet other people. You’ll be forgotten soon.” It wore off in 2-3 days again.

I am now very weary of men who can make such a mind impression on me.

In the pub where I usually go, now works a bartender who I’ve known to work for a long time at the restaurant next to it. And he acts way more bold in the pub than in the restaurant. He’s brash, bold and at the same time acts myseterious. The first few times I was positively surprised by his brashness. But that has altered. I once made an observation of his brashness to women (not just me) to him, and since then he hasn’t given me the light of day anymore, but showers it all on my best female friend. And a pub mate of mine (looks tough, but an actual empathic human being) commented to me once, after I made a remark on the brashness of the bartender, that he didn’t like the guy at all. He was hitting on all the women, in a bold manner, and in his opinion not so respectful way.

In the past, I would have ignored my mate’s opinion. I don’t this time. It’s a red flag for me now about the bartender.


Good for you! 🙂

I am so glad you didn’t invest any more time with this man. That is a huge plus…much easier to move on that way.

just finished reading your link. It’s off the charts awesome!!

Everybody, I can’t recommend it enough. The information here is spot on exactly what I have been observing since my eyes became open 2 years ago, when I discovered the psychopath.

At first it was very difficult for me to believe. I thought what I was seeing was, that psychopaths are everywhere. Well, yes and no.

What this article describes is psychopathic and it is everywhere, but it is deeply ingrained in our culture. Men are aware of it and try to keep it secret because they know it is the source of their power over women. The power isn’t physical violence, it’s the “good cop, bad cop” ploy. They all know it. This is extremely psychopathic behavior but men think it’s normal.

When a psychopath tries to get other men to hurt one particular woman, it is this well of toxin that he dips into. He bonds to other men with this tool of deceit. What the other men don’t realize is that the spath is just fooling them. He actually intends to kill them, scapegoat them or use them as a patsy (whatever works) and is distracting them by pointing out a different victim.

I came here today to share my 5 month NC point with you all and to say thank you for thinking of me and your wishes along the way. There are a couple of you, here, who are so very special and important to me, so I am not going to mention names, specifically, but you know who you are. Your words are with me all the time.

This has been a very ‘rocky’ five months, after surviving not only a massive heart attack that almost took my life, after two major surgeries; but also I have had to battle with this bout of ‘spath flu’ in the midst of everything too.

Your hearts are broken now but in time they will heal. I know that doesn’t seem very comforting, right now, but you will get past this and you will become a stronger person IN SPITE of it all INSTEAD of it all.

Five months. Wow: after almost nine years of being a friend to “IT”, the change is amazing and it has given me time for ‘clarity’ in my life. I am still working on the agoraphobia = not wanting to get out and associate with society but at least I am still breathing and that’s always a big plus.

One person I DO want to mention…CONSTANTINE: thanks for the poem…I saved it and it hangs on my bathroom mirror. xxoo

I hope and pray that you are all well and doing fine.
I think of you all often. I am on this journey – and I am starting to ‘piece myself back together’ again. NC is just that: NC. It works. If you just refuse to accept the garbage they spew and refuse to participate any longer, they will dry up and fade away from the lack of attention and just move on to their next victim.

Peace, love, joy and light to you all…


Congratulations Dupey!

Just know that if you can make it five months, you can make it forever! I’m sure all the worst stuff is over, and you should never have a day as bad as you’ve already had – and hopefully many beautiful and happy ones are still ahead of you.

Lots of love and best wishes,


Thanks (((Constantine))) So nice to hear from you. I trust you are well and doing alright. Five months. I actually had a few months before this period of NC as well. All total, it’s been about a year, not counting the spath intrusions. hehehehe

I sure hope you are right, that the worst stuff is over.
With violent and unpredictable spaths, it’s hard to tell when it’s over or not. But, with me, yes: I have actually had FOUR WHOLE DAYS SPENT IN REALITY in the past month and I am so overwhelmed: THERE IS LIFE AFTER SPATH. 🙂

Much love, hugs and kisses, Constantine…
Thank you for your support and sweetness….


Super Dupester: Congratulations!!!! “I Gotta a Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas, is the song I am singing for you. (Recently broke both heels off my shoes dancing/jumping to it, at a wedding) Just the way I roll when I am happy. Shalom

Shalom: Shalom. xxoo
Your support means a lot.
Thank you. Hope you are well.


P.S. Shalom: I am going to pull up that tune right now and make it a focal point on one of my webpages…I will dedicate to our friendship. Thanks for the wishes. xxoo

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