By | October 16, 2009 226 Comments

What’s the most important thing the sociopath took from you?

By Ox Drover

What’s the most important thing the sociopath took from you? Money? Love? Your home? Your self-esteem? Sex? Or, is it something else, which in my opinion may be even more important than just about anything?

The most important thing I think I lost from every sociopath I ever dealt with was my own confidence in myself to make assessments about people and then, reasonable choices about those people, based on those accurate assessments.

Many former victims have said that they just have trouble “trusting others” again after being totally hoodwinked and ripped off for so many important things in their lives by the sociopath. Is it others that they don’t trust, though, or are they unable to trust themselves to make accurate assessments of others they may meet in the future? I think it isn’t so much others we don’t trust, as it is ourselves we don’t trust to make good judgments of the intentions and sincerity of others.

Dr. Abraham Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs” says that the first thing we are concerned with in our lives is out biological needs for oxygen, water, food and relatively constant body temperature. These are the strongest needs we have, about in that order, because if we don’t have these things not much else matters.

The next need we have, according to Maslow, when the physiological needs are satisfied and are no longer controlling out thoughts and behaviors, is the need for safety and security. We (adults) don’t usually think about “safety” until we feel threatened. Of course after we have been injured by a sociopath, we really don’t feel safe at all. Our world of safety is upside down.

The next highest need of mankind, according to Maslow, is the need for love, affection and belongingness. We seek to overcome feelings of alienation and loneliness by both giving and receiving affection.

If our need for “safety” is not satisfied, it is very difficult for us to seek affection, because we feel threatened.

However, because we had difficulty “seeing” from the looks or behaviors of past encounters with sociopaths that these people were “dangerous” to us, we become “paranoid” of others, especially new others. We want the affection of others, but because we have failed in the past to correctly assess the dangerousness of previous people we felt affection for, we are afraid to get too close to others. It is not so much the others that we don’t trust, as we don’t trust ourselves to make good choices.

Not feeling safe makes it very difficult for us to advance on to the “higher needs” such as affection and connectedness with others when we fear that we may make another poor assessment of another’s sincerity and motives with will lead to more pain and injury.

Rather than working on trying to trust others, I suggest we should work on learning to trust ourselves and our ability to make valid and correct assessments of others. This may seem that it is the same thing, but I actually don’t think it is at all.

How do we learn to trust ourselves again? How do we put our past mistakes in assessment of others we have sought to have mutual affection with behind us?

I think we do it slowly by forming new friendships, first of all, rather than looking for a lifetime mate. We meet new people in our environment, or go out and seek to interact with new people. We keep our distance at first from these new people, and we look at them, watching their behavior, and watching for the red flags of deception in their words and actions.

We educate ourselves on what we believe makes a good friend, and we accept nothing less in those that we allow to become closer friends.

We look at people who are already in our “circle” and assess them by what we know about their past and current behavior. Does this person now, or have they in the past, shown less than stellar respect for us? What are the benefits versus the liabilities of having this person in our lives? Maybe we decide that this person doesn’t fit well within our circle of people we think we can trust and we distance ourselves from them.

Just as a child slowly learns whom they can trust by observation, or just as an animal learns that certain people are liable to hurt them, or that certain people will reward them for approaching, we need to reeducate ourselves slowly and carefully, and learn to trust ourselves. If we trust ourselves, it will be much easier to trust ourselves to keep us safe when we venture into “unknown” territory, because we will know that we will keep ourselves safe by our valid and good observations.

We will also know that caution with others is a good thing to have. We will validate that we respect ourselves and love ourselves enough to keep ourselves safe without depriving ourselves of the opportunity to have the love, affection and connectedness that we, as humans, need and want.

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This is fabulous insight. I know all of my life I have wanted to connect but since I was unable to trust my mother and father I was attempting over and over to establish connections with unwell people – what I knew was love hurts.

The N I was last enmeshed with really was in some ways, like with an addiction, my emotional and sanity/functioning bottom – I am actually doing what you write about – watching – using the observer self to see others and the interactions I have with them- it is hard in a way to step back and watch – feels like a loss of authenticity and yet I know now after a bit – and I mean just a bit – of practice that the truth is when I see someone is reliable and honorable and not a liar then the trust and the joy in the friendship is solid.

I have a friend I met in online recovery and we both have discussed how to develop this with each other recently as our friendship hit a bump and we are both committed to it growing and us developing the communication skills to not hurt each other but set healthy boundaries as well – what I learn with her I can take into any future relationships with a man. I am blessed to have found a few women friends through the nightmare of that relationship who I am working out this stuff with and it is reflected in how I am handling my relationships with my family of origin as well…Which is a vast improvement over the past.

Thank you for such a thoughtful piece. Seems lately like the posts speak exactly to my process as it unfolds and I only wish I could put it to words as well when it happens as sometimes it takes reading to see it.

I am making progress and it has been almost three years since the insanity ramped up – and on Dec 21 it will be 2 years since he put bruises on me that lasted 6 weeks. What an odd anniversary it is coming towards me. Sounds crazy to be grateful for it but I am.

He gets out of jail in about a month – he lives 4 blocks from me –
any of you that pray – please pray for me and my children to be safe – that God keeps us in a circle of protection. He is still obsessed with me apparently…

I have really enjoyed the feeling of safety knowing he is not lying in wait. The criminal protective orders will no longer apply as he will have served his time… I have a civil one for 3 yrs that is in force but – that is juts a piece of paper…


By the way – I read about Maslow in a readers digest article when I was about 9 or 10 and I love him – it was my goal in life to be self actualized and when anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up that was my answer……….

super chic

This is very very very VERY good advice, something I really need to work on. Thank you for taking the time to write this, I enjoy, and learn from, your articles.


I feel like the gift my xP gave me is the same thing he took away. Just like my P-parents did.

I now have the amazing talent of “smelling” narcissism even a million miles away. I can see it in stories, cartoon characters, real people, the news, everywhere there’s a hint, I get it.
My problem isn’t an intellectual one, it’s more emotional. I still have that emotional self-doubt, that trauma of having let myself down.
Just like I never believed my parents attempts to devalue me, I still got devalued, because my emotional side still got slimed by their narcissism.



Thank-you for another wonderful and insightful/informative article.

A friend and I were talking about ‘cleaning out our rolodex’s’ just this morning. She is really sad and lonely about having to cut a few people loose, who are not ‘serving her’, and feels scared she will make more poor choices in regards to new friends. She is just learning that her last two ‘loves’ were PD’d.

I am not too far ‘ahead’ of her in these fears, but I can say, after two years of NC and the full realization of who these people ARE (or what they are), I believe I am coming to trust my own discernment. I am moving more slowly and consciously into relationships. I am staying out of romantic involvements. I am letting myself be my own guide.

But this only happened for me once I found out about personality disorders. The descriptions of them, and the information about abuse survivors/gaslighting/Stockholm Syndrome/PTSD, projection, etc….THAT knowledge was the blast of reality that cleared a path for my own TRUE self-awareness. Before understanding all this my inner voice was so drowned out by ‘other voices’ (the projections of others), that I couldn’t stay connected to it.

I believe the biggest help for me was in knowing what I was dealing with. It explained my grandparents, my mother, several boyfriends and female friends. It explained how and why I had *always* internalized the projections of these folks (childhood conditioning, etc..).

For me it was when I discovered, and ACCEPTED, the truth of their dysfunction I was able to dissect what was really my ‘responsibility’ in the attraction/involvement. I could start ‘quieting’ their critical voices, and lies.

Once off the meat hook of TOTAL accountability I was able to start listening to my own voice again.

Now my inner guide has helps me keep only those who treat me with love, kindness, and respect. All others have been let go.

Love to All, Slim


Its a shame that Narcissists smell so bad, as the real flower, the beautiful white narcissus with the deep orange centre, has a gorgeous perfume, It often grows near lakes and streams, and “hangs its head over the water”, so its reflection mirrors it. The Greek boy in the fable, Narcissus, fell in love with his own reflection while gazing at himself ina clear stream. The more he tried to reach down and kiss his reflection, he disturbed the water, sending ripples, which broke up his image. He died of grief that he couldnt love his beloved, and the white flower was named after him. The nymph, Echo, had fallen in love with him, but he spurned her,and that is why she still calls for him.I love Mythology, dont you? Love, Gem.XX


Ox Another good article – you have so much insight. Life goes on long after the thrill, so as I mature into olderhood I can do it with more confidence. As Slim has as new found respect for herself I know she wont allow anyone to disrespect her ever again. I am not sure if I can smell a spath, but now that I have boundaries I can feel and see disrespect when it is in front of my eyes. No longer do I have too accept bad behavior – I am worthy of respect – we all are.


Great article. Just this morning I had breakfast with a woman who also is dealing with a P ex, and I was telling her that the other day a very close friend asked me “what’s in your heart?” and it was as if someone very quickly wrapped me up in cotton. The question was asked and the answer was shrouded in a second–my mind just went completely blank and I tried to stall for time as I thought, with panic, that any whole person should be able to answer this. Why can’t I?

I have absolutely no reason to distrust my friend, and I badly wanted to respond to the question but couldn’t seem to do it. I’ve known him for several years, he’s been nothing but honest and consistent and respectful, yet some part of me can’t trust my judgement and/or can’t trust that what I say from my heart won’t be twisted, used against me…etc.

It’s so disturbing to get a quick flash of realization about how much psychic/emotional damage has been done. I have every hope that I can move on but sometimes I get discouraged when I realize I can’t answer what seems to be a simple question.

Anyway…this very thing has been on my mind all day and while leaving the ex was one act of courage, telling a trustworthy friend how I reallyreally feel may be an equal or greater act of courage. Any and all insights are so helpful, so thank you.


Dear Oxy, thank you so much for this article. It made me think once again, and that I discovered:

He forced me to take off my rose colored glasses.

He made me realize all the stones that I was carrying with me all my life, and I was unaware of it!

It was a huge piece of work, and I am not done yet at all, and when I will be putting away the hammer and cisle (sp?), I will die. But I am VERY curious what is still hidden in these rocks!

I can also so relate to slimone, especially regarding the explanations and family businesses that were obscured and distorted by prismatic glasses they deliberately put on my nose and said it was the thuth!

Thank you all for being here!


What an insightful and thoughtful question to ask. I could think on it for hours, but as a quickish reply I think you are right. I have lost the ability to depend on myself and my own assessments and decisions. I got it so wrong with him, I have started to question everything I and everyone around me does or talks about. I have lost my sense of self efficacy – my ability as a human to have an impact on shaping my world and my life.

I also lost all childish illusion as a result of this. The stubborn childhood belief in happy endings has well and truly been eradicated and I now see life in a bland and utilitarian way – people use each other in a variety of ways. I am trying not to think this way but I sure am seeing a lot of evidence that there are many selfish and nasty people in the world – not all are sociopaths of course. But the attitudes and behaviours certainly are.

Following the theme of magic, although I had no awareness of brainwashing techniques in abusive relationships, I was aware that I was under a kind of ‘spell’ and compelled to try anything to make the relationship better. When I finally woke up, I actually said ‘The spell is broken’

Without the possibility of magic, the world is a cold and frightening place. I had such enthusiasm and playfulness before and now I am like a wounded deer limping so tentatively and ready to run at the slightest inkling of hurt. I am so gutted to think this is my life now and that all the play and beauty and spontaneity that were so much a part of my soul are gone forever. I am grieving so many things he took.

My child and my dream of a family = that just kills me inside. That experience was so earth shattering for me but meant so little to him. Many nights I contemplated sticking him while he slept – my rage and hurt and desperation and grief were so overwhelming.

That was my big dream – other people wanted to be doctors and astronauts. My dream was simple – ‘To be a happy and good wife and mum’. This dream was ruined in so many ways both publicly and privately. Publicly as I watched younger friends and colleagues in worse and non committed relationships have children.

But if I said anything I was over reacting and ‘Of course I want to have a family … one day’ – how nasty of me to accuse him of wasting ten prime years of my fertility.

Did anyone else experience this? For me this is the sickest aspect – money can be replaced, but after a certain age, women cannot bear their own children and will never be able to. It is a dream with an expiry date on it. Money can be replaced, furniture and belongings can be replaced, but a woman only has a window of time to have her children.

I was humiliated in my career also as parents whose children I taught and then adult students training to be teachers asked when I was going to have children. Eventually they just stopped asking and whispered among one another.

As my dream of family was ruined, I lost my love for my work with young children – what was the point when the reason I gave my heart and soul for it was never going to happen? I learned it didn’t matter if you were a good person – a person who tried to do the RIGHT things rather than the easy things. You were just another body of meat for someone else to use.

His lessons were just the latest in a long line of learnings from men who hurt me either deliberately or as an unfortunate consequence of pursuing their own ends. Either way it hurt just as bad, but this relationship almost killed me.

Many thanks for the questions and sense of affinity – I feel so less alone in the world knowing others have been through this crippling experience and are coming back from the edge.


I was married to a sociopath. Aside from breaking what I considered sacred vows from the start, and lying to my face so effectively, I know my ability to trust was my greatest loss.
I knew from early on, something just wasn’t right, but couldn’t quite put my finger on it until I hired an ivestigator.
Then I began to ask very specific questions I already knew the answers to and watched how convincingly he was able to look me in the eye and lie outright. Braced with that information I took immediate steps to protect myself and get out of the situation without additional harm, by working with a psychologist.
t is hard to imagine, even now, that folks like this are walking this earth who are practiced liars, and even convince themselves of their own lies.
The potential damage, undetected can be devastating.
My only advice, is if something doesn’t feel right, follow your gut because you are probably right.
What amazed me was to finally discover they are actually weak souls, who run for the hills as soon as you firmly confront them. My husband won’t even contact my lawyer or respond to a summons we served on him for divorce. It was as though as soon as he knew I was on to him and couldn’t be conned, and more importantly wasn’t willing to take on the blame for his outrageous behavior the game was over for him and he moved on to his next victim.


Great post Oxy. A huge loss for me was and is peace of mind.


pollyanna: A wise woman told me to never mourn not having children, but to celebrate the gift I had given to the earth and all inhabitants, human and non. The huge human population causes an enormous burden on earth. It is not the gift you had hoped to make, but it is huge. You don’t ever have to feel guilty about driving a hummer, etc…..just think of the resources you saved.

I think our attitudes rub off on others. I’ve never felt self-conscious about not having children and loved teaching others children. I certainly never felt like people were whispering.

The only thing we can do in life is take the hand we NOW hold and play it as well as possible. For me, that means leaving the world a better place and celebrating all the good and wonder in the world and fighting to stop needless suffering. Each of us finds our own niche. That’s mine. All of us could mourn some loss forever but the key to happiness is never in achievement, like being a good mom, or anything outside of us. It is truly about living in the moment and loving it. And I’m not sure that just happiness is my goal. It is being creatively engaged, learning, lots of stuff! Some things I learn, like about P’s, I wish were not true and it doesn’t make me happy but it does help me go forward more productively, ulimately. Just one hell of a bump in the road!


I don’t know where to start. I’m feeling extremely overwhelmed as I read each of these stories. I had never taken anyone’s word seriously that said my husband was probably the most dangerous person they had ever met and that someday my children and I would end up on the front page of the newspaper as an article about domestic murder. I’ve tried to leave many times thinking I was with a normal person and I could just get out. I’ve even put restraining orders on the couple of times he’s hurt my kids. I’ve forgiven multiple affairs and turned a blind eye, but now here I am an empty shell so depressed I alternately think of different ways to make sure someone else will take care of my children so I can leave this world. My counselor has been seeing me for 3 months now and my children are being seen in the same office with different counselors. Until yesterday I thought that no one understood what I’ve gone through and I thought I did. My husband was arrested last June for injury to a child and we left to a domestic violence shelter, but now here I am trying to patch things up. Part of the reason that we went back was because the judge allowed telephone contact in the order and everything went down hill from there. I can’t really explain how that happened but it did. My husband was court ordered to do marriage counseling, family counseling and anger management although the anger management evaluator told him that anger management wouldn’t help him at all, that his biggest problem was selfishness. (That came from my husband.) He refused to let me see the evaluation. Anyway, I digress as I am trying to sort this all out. My husband and I recently went to a family counseling session with my son’s counselor. Yesterday, my counselor was disscussing with me some of the things that my son’s counselor saw in the session. The word sociopath kept popping up and I kept thinking to myself..”They’re being kind of extreme. I’m just really depressed and that’s what’s causing alot of our problems.” Last night out of curiosity I went onine to find out the definition of a sociopath. My hair stood up on end as I read the definition. I was terrified and crying all at the same time. I want to leave so bad, but I don’t have a job, we’re living in someone else’s house because we’re basically homeless due to the financial decisions that were made, because me as a woman was not allowed to make any. I’m so scared because reading the definition I see how good he is at what he does. Lots of people have mentioned things like this about him, but I just thiought they didn’t know him. To have more than two counselors tell me that he is a sociopath and reading the definition, I’m just terrified. The only way I will be able to leave is by not telling him, acting normal and moving far, far away so that there is less chance for contact. The problem is I can’t take my kids out of the state because I would be considered that I was kidnapping right? He makes me feel like our brains are connected. The last time when I left and was in the shelter with the protection order, not only did he say outright on his facebook page “If I could just talk to my wife all this would be fixed and go away, because that’s what’s happened before.” His mother knows a lot of his deeds and has told my mom that she thinks he is not capable of changing. I just don’t know how to get away because since coming back after the shelter he hasn’t done anything phsically violent to the kids and he has never inflicted physical violence on me. I need some advice on how to get out because if it comes to the point that he abandons his religious restraints I know with all my heart that my kids and I won’t be allowed to live. I can’t explain this to a judge though. Here’s a summarized conversation of what happened in the courtroom at my permanent protection order hearing. My husband said I don’t think this is fair my kids are my everything and I shouldn’t be kept from them I did nothing wrong.
Judge: “You punched your son in the stomach!”
Husband:”I didn’t leave a mark and Idaho law says that if you don’t leave a mark it’s not child abuse.”
Judge: “It doesn’t matter you punched your son in the stomach! You even admitted it to the cops.” Judge proceeds to read outloud my husband’s statement of that night.
I asked my advocate “He seems really distressed about the kids should I have telephone contact so that he won’t be worried and I can let him know they are ok.”
Advocate: “You can do that.”
The judge started to continue the protection order as is when I stopped him and said “Maybe I should have telephone contact so I can let him know how the kids are doing.”
Judge: “Okay, telephone contact for the purpose of arranging visitation will be ordered. The parties will agree on visitation together. Pick up and drop off will be at the local police department”
I’m confused at this point…where did visitation come from?
I speak up again “Shouldn’t we have supervised visitation?”
Judge: “Okay, who do you want?”
Grasping at straws and trying to figure out who he would most likely be okay with and who would protect my kids I say”His mom or sister and brother-in-law.”
The Judge chooses his mom. My husband then pipes up (he has a concealed weapons permit and constantly carries has even pulled it on me at one point running it up between my legs and up my back as a ‘joke’ before) “Your honor, I need to be able to carry a weapon for work.”
Judge: “What kind of work do you do?”
Husband “I’m a security officer and I’m required to use it for the job sites I work at. It’s my income.”
At this point I interrupt “Your honor, may I say a few things?”
I’m given the go ahead.
“#1 – he only works security 1-2 days a month for 6 hours and it’s NOT his primary source of income. #2 – there are other job sites he can do that doesn’t require him to carry a gun.”
Husband argues in defense I repeat the above two more times. The judge says: “Okay, I will allow you to carry for employment purposes only.”
Husband: “Could you have her give back my gun she took because I need it for work.”
Judge to me “Did you take his gun?”
I’m so confused…is this still a protection order hearing?
I say:”yes”
Me:”Because he’s pulled it on me before and I was afraid when I left him he might use it.”
Judge continues the protection order will all the modifications including him being able to carry a weapon for work, but does not require me to give the gun back. (not that it matters he can get more from his friends)
I don’t know what I’m babbling on about all this I’m just so depressed and I feel like he has taken everything that’s me out and left an empty shell. I’m desperate to get out but no longer have the will power and don’t know how to do it. So here it is my husband (the sociopath) has taken everything from me, my peace of mind, my self-respect, my personality everything except my kids. I no longer have the will to live and the scary thing is what I read said that they will either drive their victims to kill themselves or they will kill them. So I don’t know if this is relevant to what you were talking about what he’s taken, but he’s taken everything that’s good, everything that’s me.


Donna Andersen, I spoke with you This past Thursday in length as you may recall about my husbands sociopathis ex wife and the hell she is putting his childrena as well as us thru on a regular basis. You advised me to pick up the book for him called The Betrayal Bound, I went to borders yesterday and picked it up for him, and spoke with him about our converation. I wanted to thank you for taking the time to speak with me, you were a big help and gave great advise…God Bless you and your life now….. Sincerely, Beth Villarreal


oxy: a brilliant question, since so much is taken by them.
i thought about this for quite a while and was really disturbed by my answer: i think i’m most bothered by the fact that he TOOK of my generosity and thoughtfulness, without an ounce of appreciation or knowledge of the deep place from which these gifts were borne.
these are two traits that i have always valued in myself. now, i don’t really want to do much for anybody. i want to keep it all for me. instead of openly offering loving touches as a matter of course (a small loan to a friend short on rent, a hug to a student who is upset, a meal for a friend with a sick parent), i am now somewhat contemptuous of others needs. it’s a terrible thing to admit, and i’m very upset by the realization.


Donna Andersen, I spoke with you this past Thursday in length about my husbands sociopathic ex wife and the hell she is constantly putting his 2 children thru as well as us. You advised me to pick up the book The Betrayal Bond by Patrick Carnes, and I went and did so the next day. I see it is about exploitation, and hope it will help us both undertstand this better. I spoke with him about our conversation and wanted to Thank You for your time and help… were a big help and gave me some great advise. God Bless You and your life now….Sincerelt Beth Villarreal


Hold onto your self worth and your children…fight for them and Never give up the fight. What we deserve in life is often we don’t get, as well as what we get we don’t often deserve! Remember to try to convert your fear from him into determination to survive…and most importantly, remember you are Not Alone…we are all with you! Beth Villarreal

Ox Drover

Thank you guys for your comments they always make me feel good and your points are insightful.

JAH your comment about playing the cards we hold “now” is very good, I also would like to add that sometimes we make “dreams of happiness” that depend on OTHERS to play a certain role and when they don’t play that role (willingly or unwillingly: unable/refusing to) it deprives us of our future “happiness” that depended on THEM…when in reality, all “happiness” that depends on others playing a role is fragile indeed.

External circumstances providing our “happienss” and fulfilling our “dreams” is an “iffy” proposition at BEST. Life itself is insecure and none of us can know what the future brings, so planning our happiness on the future happenings is pretty risky.

I too wanted children as part of my “fulfillment”—and I had two biological children. I had visiions of how we would live and where and hinged my “happiness” on that dream. It didn’t work out that way at all. My husband left us.

I reassessed how we would be “happy” without him and how we would live and pinned my future happiness on this and that, again, it didn’t work out–even though I had remarried and was happy with my husband, had a good relationship, my yougest biological son morphed into a monster, and I hinged my happiness on him “reforming”—and as with all Ps, you KNOW HOW THAT WORKED OUT—he is in prison for murder–but then I wouldn’t even give up this “dream” at that point, but kept on waiting to be happy until he “reformed” and got out of priosn so we could “live happily ever after.” I held on to dreams that were TOTALLY DEPENDENT upon others roles.

I eventually realized that dreams dependent on others actions/attitudes and upon the “future” were UNlikely to be successful because we had no real “control” over these things actually coming to pass. Not only that, but anxiety about them, etc. and hinging our current happiness on future events that might or might not come to pass made this untilmately a lose-lose proposition.

I realized that “truths” I had held on to as part of my happiness dream were actually totally FALSE. I began to distrust MYSELF to keep me safe, to take care of me, to make decisions for my best interest. It was scary, it IS scary to realize that nothing but CHANGE is permanent.

Someone once said “life is what happens while we have other plans” and so much of my life was lived in the “future” rather than the present–the mythical future “happiness” of “when xuch-and-such happens, I will be happy.” I now live in the happiness of TODAY (most of the time at least!) the enjoyment of what is within me, the life around me, and the NOW rather than what might or might not happen tomorrow.

Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow that there is enough “evil” in today for itself, and not to borrow trouble from tomorrow, but I think we should also turn that around and not anticipate happiness TOMORROW either, because there IS ENOUGH HAPPINESS IN TODAY if we will just see it, look for it, SEE IT and enjoy what IS—because tomorrow may never come, or we may WISH it never came. Enjoying the NOW, trusting ourselves, and not pinning our hopes and dreams on others roles, I think that is the solid foundation of real happiness, in the NOW and in the future as well. (((hugs))) and God bless each of you in your healing path!

kim frederick

Jadael, From what I understand, you can take your children any where, as long as you have not yet been to court, and a judge has not told you that you can’t.

I’m sorry that you are in so much pain, but I suggest you keep your wits about you, and start making a plan to leave. He sounds dangerous, to your children, as well as to you.

Believe what the counselors said! He’s a sociopath. Get yourself and your kids out.

I wish you the best of luck.

Ox Drover

Dear Jadeleilani,

I just saw your post (I think we were posting/writing at the same time) I am glad you are here. Your husband does sound like a sociopath. You are not alone, there are many people here who have lived this nightmare.

Read and read and learn more. Keep yourself safe, and if you are in fear, go back to the shelter and ask for safety. There are resources there to help you, but only you can save yourself and your children. there is support here and comfort. God bless you and your children as you learn, heal and recover!


I think my post disappeared into cyberspace.
LIG I don’t think you have lost those qualities, you have been slimed with ENVY. This emotion is the root of their problems (remember, Kim? memetic desire from Violence and the Sacred?) Narcissists feel overwhelming envy that can’t be satisfied so they want everyone else to feel this pain too. They can slime others with it and in fact they spend all their time impoverishing others so that they will feel just like a P. You can eventually remove the slime with gratitude. When you focus on gratitude you cannot feel envy or fear. It’s hard at first but takes time and practice to maintain it. The good thing is that you do feel it immediately while you are practicing and, because it feels good, you tend to keep practicing.
Jade and Polly, you were both financially impoverished by your P, for the same reasons, they want you to FEEL poor, so that you will FEEL envy. Polly, he would NEVER have allowed you to have a child because you wanted it more than anything. Under NO circumstances would you be allowed children. When we first met, my xP would say, “we would have great looking children.” and “I would be a great father” All of that was to see if I wanted children and to seed the desire of something he was never going to allow.
I had a friend who was dying of multiple sclerosis and as he lost more and more of his capabilities, he told me, “I don’t focus on the things that I can’t do, I focus on the things that I can do – like FISHING!” This is the attitude of gratitude that I try to keep in my mind when the P tried to slime me. These words protected me before I left the P and I never felt envy with this thought. It also helped me when I felt overwhelmed by too much to do. It made me appreciate the fact that I had 2 arms and 2 legs and the ability to DO those things.
The IRONY is that this friend who died was my fiance before I met the P. I broke off my engagement to him because he was kind of a dumb pot smoking, beach bum and I wanted more in life. HA! My P seemed so much smarter. LOL.

One more thing. The P called me yesterday and I told him, “I know you were trying to seed envy in me all these years.” and I gave him various examples of what he had said and done. Then I told him, “This is part of your personality disorder, it is part of your profile, it’s not anything unique, it’s textbook! But I was very aware of it, because I DON’T FEEL ENVY. ENVY IS AN IRRATIONAL AND STUPID EMOTION. It makes no sense. that’s why I DON’T FEEL ENVY.”

I continue to tell him how “common” and “cookie cutter” his disorder is. Every word that comes out of his mouth, I reduce it to a pathological symptom straight out of a text book. He is now beginning to doubt his uniqueness. Then I tell him how stupid and irrational the disorder is. He asked me, “Are you enjoying telling me how stupid I am? Is that what you are doing?” I answered, “No, I’m trying to guide you so you can change.”

They are very sensitive to being made to feel stupid.



You mention many troubling things in your above post about your husband.
When I read the post two things stand out, that to me ARE something you should consider for your safety as well as your childrens safety.

First of all the counselors ARE using the word sociopath to you. I don’t think they say this word loosely. If they have determined that he has sociopathic tendancys then you need to BELIEVE that he does.

But even more troubling is that you said HIS mother doesn’t think he is capable of change. If she said thet to YOU, believe it. Generally speaking his family would be his biggest advocates. Many mothers would choose to be in DENIAL about their grown sons “issues”….So if his own family is AWARE that he has issues, you can believe that he does.

I think it is important that you do SERIOUSLY consider leaving this man. Do NOT let him know your plan.
And if there isn’t a court order for you to stay in your state then it is possible you might be able to take them out of state. This would be worth checking into. Either way it is not safe to stay with a man who justifies to a judge (of all people) about pinching his child.

You need to seperate yourself from him so that you can think clearly as well.
when you are living under the same roof with such a toxic person all their crazymaking tactics that they do seem to make “sense” after awile, and what is really happening is they are distorting your own sense of REALITY.


skylar: can you please explain further. i’m not understanding how what i posted points to envy.

Thanks, Oxy, for a wonderful, thought-provoking article.

Five years after my relationship ended, I am still unwrapping the layers of damage. And though I’ve come to the point where I don’t blame it all on him, because I think that a lot of my damage pre-dated him and made me susceptible to his attraction and then his brutality, I am still faced with huge challenges to recover my trust in myself.

At this point, it seems to come down to courage. It’s so much easier not to take chances in my life. To hunker down in the relatively safe world I’ve created around myself in my country home and my work, and find a million reasons not to step out of it. And when I do, when some business commitment or personal chore, drags me out of it, I am always startled by how pleasant it is. People missed me. I am better than I remember at doing things. I get the feeling that the world is waiting for me to show up again.

As Oxy has pointed out many times, and I agree, we never stop working on ourselves. But in my life, the long grinding work of sorting things out in my head is often shortened by experiences outside my head. And I have to remind myself that the occasional burst of anguish or insecurity is nothing new in my life. It comes with my history. And I have a choice. I can dig down into it and see if I can resolve it at the source. Or I can go outside myself and choose the new instead of the old. To live instead of remember.

I’m working now on a second article about forgiveness, as I work through some really painful situations that popped up in the last few weeks. And I think this works back to what Oxy said about trusting ourselves. If sociopaths teach us anything, it is that we can’t control everything. There are situations that are just larger than we are, and if we live, we are going to run into them. And in misjudging them or our own capacities, we can make terrible mistakes.

I have literally curled up in a ball and hated myself for years at a time for making these mistakes — the cause of my great depressions. When I was younger, I used to just wait for the depression to run its course. Now, I know that I have to find a way to forgive myself. This is part of learning anything from the experience. As long as I’m hating myself, it gets in the way of me understanding why I was there and what happened. So I absolutely have to forgive myself — and that includes accepting the fact that I’m human and “doing the best I can” doesn’t equate to being perfect.

Trusting myself is a lot like trusting other people, in the sense that I need to be realistic about what I’m good at. So I don’t exactly trust myself in some ways. And that’s okay. I love what Oxy wrote about forming new friendships, feeling our way along to see what is okay for us and what is not, I would probably add, at least for me, being very suspicious of any inclination I have to leap into an intense commitment “because it feels good.” Or because it massively meets some need that I was suffering with.

Forgiving is linked to apologies. And apologies are meaningless unless they come with a commitment to change. From the beginning of my recovery, I saw it as an opportunity to change. Any trust I have in myself now is linked to evidence that I’ve used my mistakes to learn and change. That’s what transforms these terrible mistakes into something meaningful, and what makes us creators of our lives, rather than victims of circumstance.

I want to be the best me I can be. Alive, aware, involved, learning all the time, and hopefully a good influence, leaving the world better than I found it. Even this I can’t control, and I’m going to make more mistakes before it’s over. But good intentions are a form of joy and optimism. And I think is better to be bumbling along on my good intentions, than hiding out in a closet afraid to act at all.

Twice Betrayed

Well, you know I used to always say: watch what attracted you to the relationship to begin with cause that is going to be what ends it too………..

Ox Drover

Dear Kathleen,

Thank you for this wonderful response! Right on! The “forgiving ourselves for being human” (i.e. NOT PERFECT) was the turning point for me as well. Several months ago I wrote the “Forgiving yourself for being human” article, and that was a BIG step for me as well. I had set standards for myself (perfection) that no one could live up to, and if I did not acheive this “perfection” totally, then I felt myself a failure. I did NOT, however, expect others to live up to this perfection, only myself. How SELF-DEFEATING is that!?!

You are also right in that the trauma we experience with the psychopath(s) is a sign that there may be underlying vulnerabilities to abuse because of childhood or previous problems that we did not “work out” at the time they occured or afterwards. I think until we “get it” ourselves, both intellectually AND emotionally, we will keep REPEATING this lesson over and over…at least in my case I was like a kid in school who kept failing the grade and couldn’t understand WHY!

It doesnt matter to me nearly as much if i can trust YOU (that is the “universal “you””) as it doees matter if I can TRUST MYSELF. Of course I will CONTINUE to make mistakes soemtimes, because I am, after all, HUMAN and humans do make mistakes, but I realize too that I AM NOW MUCH MORE TRUSTWORTHY than I was before, I trust myself to work on my own safety, to take care of my needs, and not to put others always first before me.

I try to hold others to the same standard hold for myself—not perfection, but with good intentions at least. When People display that their intentions are not benign, that their behaviors indicate that they are not caring individuals, I trust myself to TAKE ACTION to protect myself from these individuals. I DISTANCE MYSELF EMOTIONALLY (if not physically) from these people so that they have less chance of inflicting “damages” on to me.

Sometimes these emotional vampires are “attached” in some way to people I do love, for example, a certain “drama queen” I know and have EMOTIONALLY distanced myself from, is married to a dear friend of our family who is in considerable bad health (may not be around much longer) and because my sons and I want to spend as much time with him as possible, we have to “tolerate” her physical presence some….but at the same time, I will not emotionally interact with her even when her physcal presence is there. I can trust myself to be physcally around her (for a reason) because I know that whatever she does or says is NOT important to me. SHE is no longer important to me emotionally. I don’t try to change her, I don’t try to reason with her, I simply tolerate her for limited periods of time so that my sons and I can enjoy the company of her husband and that he can have some time of enjoyment with my sons and me. (Just seeing his smile is enough reward for the irritation of tolerating her for a few hours!)

QUOTE KATHY: “…..a commitment to change. From the beginning of my recovery, I saw it as an opportunity to change. Any trust I have in myself now is linked to evidence that I’ve used my mistakes to learn and change. That’s what transforms these terrible mistakes into something meaningful, and what makes us creators of our lives, rather than victims of circumstance. ”

a GREAT SUMMATION, KATHY! (((((hugs)))) and big thanks!!! God bless!

Jadeleilani, I read your post and feel for you. Most of us here have been in a similar mental state in our relationships with sociopaths, and particularly toward the end.

But these feelings have their flip side. Just feeling so inadequate, despairing, afraid, blocked at every side can drive us to a deep will to survive and, if we have children, to protect them. And one of the first things that will to survive does is make us more realistic about what we’re dealing with. At our centers, we become more cold-eyed. And we become more capable of planning — privately and for our own good — what we need to do to survive.

That inner toughness is what is going to change your life. You’ll find it, and it sounds like you have some support with counselors and even the court system. (Which a lot of us haven’t had.) But ultimately, no matter what support you have, this is about you finding the steely certainty in yourself that you will do what you have to do to take your life back.

Calling him a sociopath just means that he’s not going to change. That the worst of him is as real as the best of him, and you can’t depend on him for anything but more trouble. You’ll get good practical advice here, and that’s not my specialty. But I can tell you that you have it in you to to recognize him for what he is, no matter what he’s saying to you or doing to you, and how it makes you feel.

You have lots of reasons to feel overwhelmed right now, but they are just circumstances. And circumstances change. When you feel panicky, try taking ten slow, deep breaths. It really helps.

You’ve taken a lot of good steps already. But the most important step is to stop caring about him in any way, stop believing him in any way, and to recognize that his only real objective toward you is to use you. I know that’s easier said that done, but you might start repeating, like a mantra, he is not my friend, he is not my friend. It’s like leaving a cult. They diminish your self-trust and make you dependent on them for feeling like you’re worth anything. This is what you have to undo. You are a human being with your own life, soul, mind and dreams.

We’re all here with you. You’re in the worst most painful part of recovery right now, but you’re in recovery. Once you realize that he’s not your friend, not in any way, things will get a lot easier. And you’re headed in that direction. It’s all through your letter. He’s fighting to keep you under control, and you’re fighting back.

Congratulations for finding us. It will get better.



LIG, sorry I wasn’t clear, my first post disappeared and I think I abbreviated the second time.

Envy is an interesting/complicated emotion. It is the root of narcissism along with shame.

When you feel envy you cannot feel generous and you cannot feel gratitude for what you have.

Narcissist feel what you described:
i don’t really want to do much for anybody. i want to keep it all for me. instead of openly offering loving touches as a matter of course (a small loan to a friend short on rent, a hug to a student who is upset, a meal for a friend with a sick parent), i am now somewhat contemptuous of others needs.

But you never were this way before, so I know that he slimed you.

The root of selfishness comes from envy. When you give a small loan, or a hug you give more than that, you give happiness, hope and momentary relief. That’s what you intended to give, maybe without even knowing it. But the narcissist doesn’t want anyone to have happiness, hope or relief from fear. They want to take EVERYTHING away from EVERYONE. They want only anguish to exist on earth.
I posted these lyrics before, from One, by U2. but they very succinctly state the problem of slimed envy.
You act like you never had love
And you want me to go without

They feel an injury, that they’ve been wronged, that they never got love and they want no one else to have it. Now you have it too. But you can make it go away by directing your thoughts to gratitude.

Skylar, you are writing something close to my personal take on people on that end of the personality disorder spectrum. I believe that their fundamental issue is feeling incurably ripped off. And that creates the emotional states of resentment, distrust, feeling inadequate or like an outsider (with its flip side of grandiosity), envy, entitlement to right the balance by taking without giving back, and all the behavioral patterns that go with it.

I would call your idea of being “slimed,” being subject to the contagion of this emotional state. Feelings are contagious. And if we’re exposed to a narcissist or sociopath for an extended period of time, it’s like being in a club where they play a certain type of music all the time. I think that one of the most profound ways they vampire off us is in trying to fix their own feelings of inadequacy by making us smaller. For them, it’s virtually an addiction, because their feeling of being unsafe because they are unlovable (the childish interpretation of the cause of the original narcissistic wound) creates such a need for relief.

I know that for me, at least, trying to feel gratitude would not have worked in my early recovery. I felt ripped off. I felt resentful. I even felt envious of his ability to organize his own life without caring about anyone else, and walking away with all my resources without ever looking back. I was so out of touch with anything like a spiritual connection — and gratitude is so related to positive spirituality — that I couldn’t accept help or even simple concern without feeling humiliated or ashamed. I didn’t trust myself or anyone else.

I had to explore these feelings, to indulge them in myself and see what they were really about, before I could even come close to getting rid of them. And in fact, I didn’t get rid of them. I realized that he had a whole other set of feelings that I didn’t acknowledge in myself, and I needed to integrate them into my personality. I needed to learn how to be angry without apologizing for it. I needed to use that envy as a clue to what I really wanted and was too repressed to go after in my life. And I needed to learn distrust as a virtue.

Sociopaths and narcissists are not able to learn from us the way we learn from them. But for people like me, who carry their own narcissistic wounds but don’t become so self-sufficient, and instead keep looking for love to cure them, a close encounter with one of these people can ultimately be a life-enriching thing. It was not pleasant getting into his consciousness, being slimed by his miserable emotional states, but it taught me a lot about where I was lacking.

I got back my spiritual connection, after I learned to love myself again — inner sociopath and all. And now I’m truly grateful for the experience, odd as they might sound to someone who is still in the trenches of denial, bargaining or anger. But I could not have felt like this or any other sort of gratitude for my situation before. Even suggesting that I feel grateful when I was so mired in feeling like a victim would have seemed like disrespect to me. I was suffering and I had a right to feel that way.

This is just my opinion, reflecting my own path of recovery. I respect the huge amount of thinking and research all of us are putting into our own paths.



hi skylar;
thanks for the clarification.
i do want everyone to have happiness and hope and love and prosperity. it’s more that i’m feeling i have nothing left to give, or that why should i have to always be the one to give it.
really depressed today. i can still feel his touch. and i miss it. but i loathe him. sigh.


Dear Oxy and Kathleen,

Very timely and applicable topic and as always full of wisdom.

Kathleen, I do isolate a bit too but I am trying to date. I have already spent many years in the past letting life pass me by so I just can’t do that anymore.

I am lucky to work with a team of people that are committed to change and healing and courage and compassion. So my work is a healing environment for me. Lucky! They understand trauma because we work with troubled foster youth and behind every troubled foster kid, there is MASSIVE trauma.

We just learned Maslows Heirachy of Needs in class. Thanks for introducing it into this healing space. It is absolutely applicable and you have explained how our need for safety has been undercut. Thank you.

I wanted to say more but I want to do some self care today in the form of OLD NAVY… hahaha! And my meatloaf. Cooking makes me feel like I love myself. I feel loved when I make myself homemade food.

One more thing. I am having a 3rd date tonight. A meatloaf making date. HAHA! The last time we went out, he tried to kiss me and he got a hand shoved into his chest, “Not READY!” I think I shocked the poor fellow. But you know what, I don’t know you dude and I am not ready! So I put a boundary and guess what? No one died!

That was great! And I feeling like more of an adult. And I am restoring that faith in myself.

Honestly, when I met the Bad Man, I didn’t believe I could take care of myself and so I fell into his arms when he hinted that he might take care of me. Bad idea.

So back to the 3rd date pending guy. He was wondering why I haven’t made very much time for him. (It’s a lot to juggle work and grad school.) He wasn’t weird or controlling about it, he just assumed that I wasn’t very interested in him and like I said before, I am undecided.

I had to explain to hm that while having a relationship is something I really want, I am putting more energy into my plan to take care of me right now because that is more of a sure thing! Imagine that!

Well, off to retail therapy.

Aloha ladies……..E


Kathleen, Yes, being slimed IS a contagious emotional state and it can occur in so many ways. But I watched my xP in action soooo many times that I can smell a slime from a mile away. It’s also how I know that my mom is a P. It’s a very feminine form of emotional abuse in its subtlety. When it hits you, you don’t even know you’ve been hit and you certainly don’t realize it came from outside you. For example, my xP would introduce me to his P-friend’s gf. Even at my fattest, I was never really too fat, but the other girl, Heather, although very beautiful and young, had recently put on quite a bit of weight. Both my xP and his P-friend began to comment on her weight and my xP told her about my exercise routine and commented on how well it worked for me. All this done in a “helpful” sort of way out of concern for Heather’s weight gain, but also pointing to me as an example of how she could do better. Heather, could not help but feel belittled and blame me for her feelings because I was the model that they were comparing her to. She got slimed with envy and shame simultaneously.

My xP would also do it by commenting on the amazing and committed relationship between another couple, knowing that our relationship sucked. He would also do it by commenting on other people’s nice homes, knowing that he would never fix ours.

What he didn’t realize is that, like you Kathleen, I have some P-traits of my own: I live in my own little world and I make up my own rules as to what’s important. What living with my P has taught me is that all that external stuff isn’t important. As I struggled in vain to accomplish all the stuff that I could never accomplish because he was sabotaging me, I realized that the struggle and what I learn from it, is important. Who I turn out to be, is what is important and not comparing myself to others and what they have that I don’t.

As always, what I’m able to give to others, AFTER I’VE GIVEN TO MYSELF, is what is important.

So, yeah, when I first took inventory of the price I had paid for being with the P, I felt impoverished – just like he wanted me to. I had lost 25 years of my youth. I had lost so much money and my health and opportunity to have children and friends and so much.
So then I took inventory of what I had left and what I had gained. I had survived hell, so that was a big self-esteem booster, I had managed to keep assets in my name despite having been duped into debt. I had done all these things WITHOUT EVEN UNDERSTANDING WHAT i WAS UP AGAINST! Then I started to learn about the disorder. Those revelations came as if from God: It was luck that first connected me with a stranger who explained malignant narcissism. I was given the gift of understanding my family’s part in this. I have greatly increased my potential for success in whatever endeavor I take on because of my new found knowledge. I can see that the person I was before was an innocent child, and though I mourn her passing, I would much rather be an informed adult. Looking at it this way, I’m grateful.

It took me a couple of paragraphs to explain what my ex-fiance, the guy whom I judged too stupid for me to marry, told me in 1 sentence: I don’t focus on the stuff I can’t do, instead, I focus on the stuff that i can do – Like fishing!

And you know what else? even under the best of circumstance we all end up losing youth and beauty and eventually, our lives. There is no use railing against it. The best we can do is hope to exchange youth and beauty for wisdom and grace so that we can bestow it on the next generation.

Twice Betrayed

skylar: lot of wisdom in that post.

Twice Betrayed

So: What’s It all about, Alfie?

kim frederick

Huh, TB, who the heck is Alfie?


Kim, you must be young. That was a song a long time ago “What’s it all about Alfie” was the title or a line it in. Pondering the meaning of life as I recall.

super chic

polly, I really related to much of your post, yes, the magic seems gone, bland, bland bland. I used to be a fun person to be around, now I am hating myself, which one of the things that Kathleen wrote about in her post a little while ago (above).

I am sorry you did not have the children you wanted. I have one daughter, she lives 3000 miles away from me!!!!!

I have hope, after reading others posts, that the good feelings will come back, eventually!!


It was originally written and sung by Cilla Black,{original name, Priscilla White{,in the cavern club in Liverpool, about the time the Beatles were discovered. Its about a young Lothario, or Don Juan, who loves all the women and leaves them. he has affairs with married women anyone who takes a fancy to him is fair game. Im sureAlfie was a Narcissist. They later made it into a film, the original movie had Michael Caine as Alfie, [when M.Caine was young and good looking.I think Jane asher was in it, but Im not sure recently, the movie was remade, with Alfie played by Jude Law.The song is sung by the one woman who truly loves him, but realises he is bad news for her. Love, Gem.XX


Thanks Shabbychic – I read down the other responses and felt quite sad reading what people had to say. Yes I know that having children depends on another person and I know I shouldn’t pin my whole happiness on it, but … I am starting to cry even writing these words … it is something I irrationally want and I am so not at peace with not having it. It’s not something I want to accept, grieve and move on from in one foul swoop.

Thankyou so much for just saying sorry and affirming my grief about it – everyone in my life has tried to cheer me up about it ‘Oh well just get on with it.’ ‘About time you were past that now – it was years ago now’ ‘Well maybe you should stop doing things that you end up regretting’ (THAT one really hurt – from my mother several years after the event).

My whole life has been about children … I trained as a teacher thinking it would be short term and would give me excellent parenting skills so I wouldn’t repeat the things my mother did to me. I never saw it as long term and it was ultimately to benefit my own children. I never saw myself NOT having children – I didn’t see that as a possibility at all.

Skylar – what you said about your ex made sense – raving about what an excellent dad he would be and how great looking the kids were while sabotaging every element of life around us both. The liar did that to me too – spun elaborate tales about having twelve dancing princesses. I just wanted one. The envy position makes it clearer – my God it hurts though. How can someone do that?

To those who tried to make me ‘see the good’ in my childlessness … please don’t. If you have children yourself then you have no conception of what it is to not have them and want them desperately – you have even less understanding if you haven’t lost a child yourself. If you are at peace with not having children then that is great for you, but I am so not at peace with it. I wake up crying every morning with dreams of babies waking me and my limbs contorted into painful spasms.

The heart wants what it wants and logic shall have no part in it.

My lawyer asked the other day ‘Do you have children?’ and I replied no. She said ‘That’s a good thing.’ I started crying and decided to reply. ‘No it’s not a good thing – if I had a child I would have something to continue for. Don’t presume it is a good thing always – I am very sad about not having children.’ She paused as her eye ran over a framed print of herself and her two grownup daughters dressed up for a ball and put her eyes down.

I think maybe the sociopath creates a personal hell for each of us based on what we most want and most fear. I really hope there is such a thing as karma because man – he has a whole lot coming back to him.

Sorry if I sound cross – I am sad tonight. My period is due and each month I anticipate it I wonder how many more are left. I just want to know why everybody else got to have their babies … and why me, who had so carefully prepared and learned and would have sincerely done my best always never got that miracle.

I have missed a lifetime with my little boy – he would have been seven this year – maybe losing a tooth or waking with a bad dream and climbing into my bed all drowsy and cuddly and warm with slumber. Maybe he would have loved dinosaurs. I miss him so much and have missed every day of his life.

I also recognise what I have managed to Learn and salvage from the poison and chaos. I have kept my good credit rating. I have learned to handle money carefully – even though I don’t have much and he has left me with lots of debts. I have learned good people don’t always get what they deserve and sometimes the world is incredibly unfair and cruel. I have learned there is nobody to protect me but me. I have hope too about the good feelings coming back – life is so dull at the moment. I don’t like the person I see – I am proud of lots of elements, but she is not the vivacious person I once was.

I like this idea of being slimed – of being poisoned by their worldview. I guess this is the brainwashing. I have found when practising mindfulness as a kind of meditation that lots of my thoughts now are self defeating and even sound a little like him – a monotonous mumbling that has no life or energy about it and is eternally bland. If it was a colour it would be beige … bland and boring!

I can start to interrupt it when he is gone for a while, but when he comes back I am right back to feeling controlled in some strange way. I don’t get involved in doing anything in case I am interrupted – it’s like I have been conditioned to do this over the years – to remain constantly available IN CASE he decides to tear himself away from the computer to interact … except after so many years of waiting, now I am simply not interested in talking with him anymore.

Kathleen I am hoping I get to the space you are in now – able to be grateful for the experience. I am writing it to understand it as I have so many times before. I spent a year writing a play about the relationship as a way to explore the themes and try to understand what was happening. I was really no wiser at the end of the process. But this time, I have gathered over six hundred pages of information about personality disorders, abusive relationships and abusive men. I have a specific lens to view situations through and NOW it makes sense. I have written 120 pages so far of a book to understand and get out my story. It is a cathartic and frightening process to reflect and document the relationship.


I am so sorry you are suffering so. I, too have had people tell me to just forget it, move on, etc. The s I was married to wanted kids. I had been married before (twice), & had children already. I desperately wanted to have one with him. To make a long story short, I did become pregnant, & then lost it. No one in my family even knows this. Not too many days go by that I don’t think about that.
I lost a child, my trust in people, my trust in myself, my ability to trust my own judgement, & so much more.
I am sorry for your loss. I know it hurts. I am praying for you.


i didn’t get to have my baby. i had a child when i was 16, and was forced to give my son up for adoption. when i met the spathhole, he was 17 — lied and told me he was 20. by the time his mom told me his true age, and i confronted him, he replied: ‘whatchu gonna do about it; you can’t say no to this!” unfortunately, he was right. i got pregnant when he was 18, and gave him the option of what we should do. i didn’t want to saddle him with a child if he wasn’t ready (although he was 18 going on 40!). i had an abortion, against my better judgement and against his own mother’s wishes. it occured to me that if he didn’t want OUR child, he didn’t want me. i left him for 5 years, but we remained in touch because we were ‘so in love.’ there have been many times the two of us have cried together over that child, and spoke about how it was the biggest mistake of our lives. yea, right. two children down, none to go.
the spath told me that if i didn’t have a child by the time i was 40, he would have one with me, because ”you’re really the ONLY woman i should have ever had a child with.” when i hit 40, he already had two children (by two different women) and told me he didn’t want any more. a year later, he had another baby with the mother of his first baby.
so, i’m a childless mother; twice. i found my adopted son when he was 22 and he was so excited. his a-family wasn’t, and told him that if he wanted to ‘be’ with me, he couldn’t be with ‘them.’ i haven’t spoken to him in 8 years, and found out i have a 3 year old granddaughter that i will likely never see. oh, but i get to see her tiny little picture on facebook; my son won’t ‘confirm’ me as a ‘friend.’
the loss of my two children devastates me; i try not to think about it. i’m so completely alone in this world now, and i try to think of the positives. they become fewer as the years go on. 51; no kids, grandkids, husband. just a hole the size of the grand canyon where my heart should be.
you’re not alone. none of us are. it hurts a lot, and we just have to focus on what we DO have that are blessings. maybe i should think that there’s one less child in the world with a psychopathic father … since he has FOUR now.


Lostingrief I am so sorry about what you have been through. Have you thought about adopting? Mine is the opposite of yours. Against my better judgement I had a child with my husband. I didn’t want anymore children because I had a child when I was 19 that I raised as a single parent. My husband wanted a child so bad so I had one and now I am a single parent AGAIN!

I am sitting here waiting for my ex-husband to pick up the baby so I can go to Church. He was supposed to be here at 10:00 and it is almost 11. Anyway, after looking at this question I don’t know if I can say he took anything from me. I feel like it is all my fault. He cheated and lied while we dated. I stopped talking to him and then a month later he proposed to me. What in the heck was I thinking? I wish I could turn back time. Why did I think he was no longer a cheater and liar after a month. I believe he slept with his oldest child’s mother at least a day or two before he proposed to me.

I just resent him for everything and I have to get past that. He showed me his true colors from the first day I met him but I had on blinders.

Well, it is almost 11 and he is still not here. I am about to take the baby with me to Church. I am so glad I didn’t tell her he was coming.


Polly SStiles and LIG,
I’m so sorry about your pain. Remember that Sara, Abraham’s wife was considered barren and didn’t give birth until her old age. I focus on that because I didn’t get children either. I became pregnant at 15 and very selfishly had an abortion. But I felt had no choice since my P-parents would have destroyed me even more than they did. I would have been a terrible mom and my child would have been about 27 by now and probably a P. But only God knows what would have happened. I don’t think my xP would have given me a moment’s thought if I had had a child before I met him. He wanted his own sugar momma.

There is an organization called Project Rachel which has guidance and counseling for people who have had abortions.

I spoke with one counselor and she told me about the Shrine of the Unborn at the Church of the Holy Innocents in New York. It is for all people who have had a miscarriage or abortion and lost a child that they may not even have named. You can choose your child’s name and email it to them and they will write it in a book for you.
My counselor also tried to comfort me by giving me special projects to do and she also told me that the unborn child is in heaven serving as my special guardian who prays for me. They hold retreats but I haven’t attended.


nic: he lied and cheated and somehow it’s your fault? no, dear, it is not. i was watching a show — dexter — about a sociopath, and he uttered this line: “…normal people don’t stand a chance.” that pretty much says it all.
while we are not faultless, i feel that we are innocent. we believed lies that were expertly crafted and delivered. there is no inate radar to screen out an s/p/n. as rational human beings we have a certain inherent trust that other human beings are also rational.
we were involved with creatures, not humans. be kind to yourself. he obviously took your trust of yourself from you. take it back. don’t let him have anything more. he’s the one who cheated and lied. that is NO reflection on you.


Skylar: ” we all end up losing youth and beauty and eventually, our lives. There is no use railing against it. The best we can do is hope to exchange youth and beauty for wisdom and grace so that we can bestow it on the next generation ”

After i was left with words” U are my best friend in my whole life and i cant imagine my life without u in it, but i need a beauty in my life, beauty of someone younger” i was shocked.
BTW, i saw many of his” beauties” whos physical beauty cant compare to mine. Who ever knew me used to tell me that i am beautiful inside and out, and i brang beauty into their lives.
In addition, without any fake modesty, i can freely say that i am much more beautiful than him.
After some time, accidentally, i got to know what was that beauty he missed – he seduced to cyber sex (even in real) with 12, 13 , 14 old girls.
I disagree with u, Skylar!!! WE NEVER LOSE OUR BEAUTY, we just can add more beauty. Just to remind u: Beauty is in the eye of beholder.
Sadest thing is that they do not know what beauty is!!!
Just remembered something from my early childhood – i had a friend, great boy, and someone once atold me: OHHHHH, he is so ugly. I said: REALLY???? I did not notice it at all. For me, he was beautiful, always. Even now, after 30 years 🙂
Beauty and grace goes together, as well . But i agree with u, we are becoming wiser (what also makes u more beautiful).
THEY will always be UGLY, thats why they are searching for beauty, BECAUSE THEY KNOW THEY CAN’T IT WITHIN THEMSELVES.




Thornbud, I was nodding my head through your entire post. We do not need to let ourselves be manipulated by others’ idea of beauty. Not everyone will see our beauty. That is about THEM and not about us. This does not make us any less beautiful. All we can do is release them to pursue whatever their idea of happiness is, so we can be free to connect to others on a deeper and more meaningful level.

When I was 25, I dated a guy for a year and a half who was 50. I thought he was awesome, and the age did not matter to me. I think inner beauty that radiates outwardly is ageless. Now that I am 49, I have also dated guys who are 20 years younger. These guys still thought I was beautiful. And I am not a raving beauty in the classical sense.

A sociopath’s idea of beauty is completely shallow. They cannot see a person’s inner beauty. They only see traits in a person that would make them easy prey. You are so much better off without someone like this in your life. If he finds someone younger to chase, so much the better for you. You are now free to date normal people.


the spath always had the ‘finest’ girls at his side. his wife was gorgeous, his other ‘baby mama’ was a model, i’m very average, his new gf is stunning. he has cheated on, and lied, with each and every one of us.
beauty in a spath’s mind means sex and money and having their every need met at all times.
it’s beneath shallow … it’s truly … nothing.
they are nothing. no one is inside there. beauty is a figment of their imaginations, just like their entire life. just another Lie.


Yep mine was obsessed with having me look good in the eyes of his friends. It’s all about envy. He wanted everyone to envy the woman that he had, but he didn’t want me to feel good about how I looked. Once he told me, “no one will ever want you.”

I also noticed that on days when I fixed myself up, he would tear me down. But days when I let myself look crappy, he would just leave me alone. I’ve so rarely received a complement from him.

Thornbud, he only told you that he was finding better looking beauties because he was trying to seed envy and shame in you. He expected you to believe it despite the evidence of your beauty staring at you in the mirror.

I’m fairly attractive, I have no problem turning heads when I wish to make the effort. My neighbor, the crazy husband stealer, is HIDEOUS. and I know he was having sex with her, though he has not had sex with me for 15 years or even asked for it more than a couple times. For them, beauty isn’t something to appreciate, it’s just another tool which they try to use in anyway they can to seed shame and envy.

In March, mMy xP was pretending to be persecuted by my BIL and he said, “it’s all about ENVY. That’s what their problem is.” So he is very aware of the problem, but he projects it and calls himself innocent of it.

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