By | March 6, 2012 141 Comments

When Love Isn’t Real – The Shame Of Deception

I’ve just travelled back from the UK today, and during my journey I read an article that made me sit up and take notice. It’s the story about a teenage girl, Gemma Barker, who created three separate male aliases in order to dupe her female friends in to sexual relationships with her. She had made enormous efforts to develop and maintain these aliases. She succeeded so well, in fact, that not only the victims but also their families were fooled in to believing that Gemma was a boy. Whilst it’s claimed that she suffers from autism spectrum disorder and ADHD, the judge still called her “Cunning and deceptive” and the report states that she showed no remorse when handed her sentence. Ring any bells?

The thing that really struck me, though, was a quote from one of her victims who was 15 or 16 at the time. Gemma was 18, so legally an adult. Saying that she felt “repulsed and dirty” after learning that the boy she loved was actually her female friend, the victim goes on to say

“Nobody understands what it’s like to be told that the person you love and want to spend the rest of your life with isn’t real. It’s like you have disappeared. I just want to stop hurting” She also asks the poignant rhetorical question I know many of us will have asked ourselves: “What did I ever do wrong to you?”

It’s heart-breaking isn’t it? The shame of deception runs deep. Left untreated it can grow, multiplying like a cancer in the soul of those whose only crime was to love someone else. People who trusted what they were being shown, and treated the other person with care and compassion — while the other person just looked on and laughed. While in some cases there may not be any physical scars, the emotional and spiritual damage hits hard in every case. It is far more damaging — and can last so much longer.

I would have hoped that in this day and age, perhaps there might be a little more understanding and compassion for people who have been duped. After all, there are plenty of stories. Accounts from people who have been deliberately deceived and misled. People who, like us, gave all we had to people we believed and loved with all our heart.

You know what, though? Reading through some of the comments that have appeared online after the article, I am disheartened that so many still seem more focused on blaming the ”˜stupidity’ of the victims, or urging us to ”˜take pity’ on the person who deceived the girls. For many people, I know it may seem hard, almost impossible to believe that someone can get away with such a deception. But for those of us who’ve been there, once we work through the pain and shame, we know we were not to blame! We know we were not stupid, gullible, needy, blind or any of the other stinging veiled questions that stab at our soul as we try to make sense of what has happened.

It’s not just deception in romantic love that causes the pain. The hurt of betrayal can hit just as hard when it’s about relationships of trust between friends and family, or perhaps misguided loyalty to bosses or colleagues. Whatever the connection, when hit with the cold hard truth, the horror can be almost overwhelming.

And”¦ in the same way that I had absolutely no comprehension of these sorts of behaviors before it happened to me, I guess the question is how on earth can we reasonably expect other people who haven’t ”˜been there themselves’ to have any level of understanding? Well? It’s a reasonable question”¦. But then, in recent times I”˜ve realized that our natural propensity to be reasonable and understanding is just another of the ways people are exploited while predators continue to thrive. It’s by thinking “Oh, they’re just under pressure!” “Well, you know, we all make mistakes!” or “It’s ok, I know they didn’t really mean it — I won’t say anything it’s not that important” that the abuse is allowed to continue, right under the noses of ”˜reasonable’ people who just can’t begin to comprehend that the attacks are deliberate!

It’s the same reasonable, caring approach by ”˜normal’ people that keeps these heartless creatures free to continue what they are doing. It’s also the thing that hurts the victim time and time and time again — because there is no reason behind why these predators do the things they do. There is no explanation. They’re just like that — and they’re darned skilled at what they do. And that’s all there is to it.

So, these days I’m becoming stronger and more determined in what I am now beginning to see as a crusade to educate and help others. Yes, the numerous judgments and barbed comments from people who don’t know what they’re talking about can grate and often rattle me. But you know what? I’ve also decided that there is little or no point in getting frustrated at those people. It’s fair to say that we don’t know what we don’t know”¦. It’s also fair to say that I now have an unreasonable passion to do something about it whenever I come across a situation where people are being hurt and the perpetrators are getting away with it. I’m determined to help people remove their blinkers and recognize that yes, there is such a thing as ”˜bad people’ who live among us. It’s tough. Because it means inviting people to consider that they have been conned. That they, too, have been taken in by someone who tells lies as easily and effortlessly as you and I breathe.

The more I get to understand this subject, the more I believe that the self-righteous outpouring from people who have never been in that situation, stems from fear. The fear that perhaps, in the same shoes, they may not be quite so streetwise as they’d like to think. Perhaps they are not as invincible to the surgically accurate deceptions of a person who does not have the same emotional wiring as we do. A bit like children hiding under the covers when they’re afraid, it’s a good short-term fix but it doesn’t get rid of the bogeyman!

The thing is, though, hiding away or going in to denial will never get rid of the bogeymen — or women. All of us here know that from our own experiences. I’m determined to do all I can to ensure that ”˜first hand experience’ does not remain the only way to be certain that the person who is causing the harm is usually a harmful person. I know there’s a long road ahead — I also know it’s a road that’s well worth travelling.


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Ox Drover

Great article Mel. I had read the news reports about this situation and seen the pictures of the girl as she posed as a boy, and read some of the snarky comments that people had made about the victims.

You are right we KNOW what it is to be BETRAYED….and we have been there.

There is an old saying “there is no fanatic like a convert” and we have been CONVERTED to healing! We are MISSIONARIES to healing. We are rabidly interested in healing, and spreading the word around the world.

An I think that is as good a fanatic cause as there is! We want others to know the truth, to be WARNED that in truth there ARE EVIL people out there masking as “nice” people! BE WARNED, watch for the RED FLAGS! You go girl!


Your best article yet, Mel, IMO. You’ve addressed the most important aspect of psychopathy: they do what they do because we let them get away with it. When the victim is blamed for being stupid, the rest of the crowd can rest assured that it won’t happen to them, because afterall, THEY aren’t that stupid! right?

That’s the typical scapegoat mechanism and the reason it works is because it’s a HIDDEN mechanism. The rest of the crowd must be utterly convinced that the victim is to blame, that she brought it on to herself because of some defect in her being or because of some DIFFERENCE in her from the rest of the crowd. That reassures them that they are safe from the evil that happened to her.

The only way to open people’s eyes is to show them how this mechanism works and how to recognize it whenever, whereever it appears.

Another problem with getting people to open their eyes is that nobody wants to admit that they were so close to evil, themselves. So they keep treating the perpetrator as if they “just made a mistake” or “there are two sides to every story”. NO. There is evil and all evil should be shunned. Period.

Spaths keep doing what they do because they aren’t shunned even when they keep showing the same behavior over and over and over again. The rest of the crowd wants to believe that there was a misunderstanding. My own spath once asked me, “do you think I’m thoughtless?” That is his mask, thoughtlessness. The truth is that there is more thought put into each of his evil cons than most people put into planning their entire lives. When someone is thoughtless, they apologize AND make amends. If you don’t see that happening, IT WASN’T THOUGHTLESS.


Hi Mel,

Awesome article.

I was just posting on another thread about how our reasons, meaning making and excuse making prolong the relationship…
and then I saw this:

“our natural propensity to be reasonable and understanding is
just another of the ways people are exploited while predators continue to thrive. It’s by thinking “Oh, they’re just under pressure!” “Well, you know, we all make mistakes!” or “It’s ok, I know they didn’t really mean it ”“ I won’t say anything it’s not that important” that the abuse is allowed to continue..”

And you said a version of my favorite… they don’t know that they don’t know.

This is at the root of why people do not understand this.

Thanks for the great article.


Thank you Mel. Yes, we are all fighting the good fight. I am so glad that you have added your voice.


Great article-I hadn’t heard that story. I don’t have a television so I don’t get news from all over the world. There really is a lot of blaming the victim going on. It happened in my scenario. Some of my situation was definitely MY fault for making the choice to get involved but it doesn’t diminish the fact that the spath is still evil and I was the fourth one, that I know of that he duped. A lot of my coworkers had a sense of self righteousness about the whole thing-thinking that they could NEVER fall for it, but it comes from not being in the shoes of the victim. None of them really knew me, or how I was raised, or had any idea of the worthlessness that I felt about myself that allowed me to make that choice. These people can lay it on so thick and make someone that feels worthless feel like the are on cloud 9. Those endorphins come in and the bonding hormones and then you’re afraid to end the relationship because you’re afraid of the pain you’ll feel if you do it-even though you are experiencing a certain amount of pain from actually staying in it. I made my mistakes sure, but it doesn’t diminish the predatory nature of the spath who continuously duped young girls because he knew he could get away with it.


The SHAME of deception, indeed! This is horrible! I hope these victimized girls find their way to information about PD’s, so they can arm themselves, and have their experience/feeling validated.

The uninformed public puts the shame on them for the deception. Sad.

It is the deceiver who should feel this shame, the shame of who they have become, and how their evil ways harm everyone and everything that they come in contact with. And the guilt of having behaved this way over and over again!

I have a confession to make, something that is really just getting clearer to me: that these folks DO know, very precisely, what they are doing. They are not, as Sky writes, thougtless. They are fully aware of their actions and motivations. I kept seeing them as having a kind of ‘compulsion’, a neurotic dysfunction. But this isn’t an unconscious neurosis. They are fully aware of what they are doing and why they are doing it.

It’s like this bulb of understanding was only at a few watts for me. Now it is bright.

This girl’s calculating and perpetrating this makes that even clearer for me. Like One-steps story. No one can do these things without clear and directed thought and action.


I had a realization today about the WAY that spaths lie. It is always the 180 degree rule. It is always the exact opposite of the truth.

If I were to lie about anything, I would try to make the lie seem plausible. If I don’t like someone, but don’t want to make it obvious, I might be nice to them or at least very polite. But a spath would LOVE BOMB THEM, make them his BFF, propose marriage etc… He puts them on a pedestal so that when he brings them down, they have further to fall. My spath actually told me that was his M.O.

Furthermore, by doing 180 degrees the opposite of the truth, nobody will suspect the EXTENT of the lie. because WHO DOES THAT!!!!!!!!!!!! Nobody does that right? Who tries to marry the person they most hate? WHO?

That’s why nobody believes us. And spaths know this.

In this case, the spath Gemma Barker, pretended to be 180 degrees the opposite of what she was: a male.

In the interview, the teen victim said that for 3 years nobody would believe her. Only 5 people stood by her, she said. Even the police were duped until they strip searched Gemma. That’s the only reason that the girls were finally given justice: because the police were also “victimized” and they couldn’t just “blame the victims for being stupid” anymore. The hidden scapegoat mechanism doesn’t work when there are too many people looking at it from the scapegoat’s side of the curtain.

The end result, is that the teen victims were SLIMED. Yes, they felt shame at being duped, but even more because they were “attracted” to another female and that is not their sexual orientation. I think that was the entire motive for the con. The spath has shame issues of her own and she needed to spread that shame around so she wouldn’t feel so lonely in hell.

It doesn’t matter what they do to her, she’s in hell and she’ll always be in hell.



I agree. When the spath lies, it does seem to be a “180” or at least far more extreme than necessary. My x-spath plays the “clueless boy” act even though he is near 40. Told me he was “reserved and sorted” when he was far from that.

Good one, Mel.
The choice is not to be understanding but, for our own protection, to understand the way in which the perpetrator works. Understanding ourselves is an important part of our recovery process.


“Nobody understands what it’s like to be told that the person you love and want to spend the rest of your life with isn’t real. It’s like you have disappeared. I just want to stop hurting.”

Oh my God, that takes me back to the fundamentalist religious guy who “disappeared” my very self, and the recriminations from my own “liberal” church that I was just stupid in thinking he’d treat me well. Nothing is worse than a group of people you thought were on your side using your experience to make their political point. Thanks, guys! I’ll see you ALL in Hell. Both sides.

I really, really liked this article because it is so well written. Congratulations on that.



Okey-dokey. Now I know why my b.s. detector keeps going off.

We’ll call him Jay. Jay says he can’t imagine why he likes me so much, but he does. He calls every day, but we only go out for drinks or a walk. Honestly, I’m having a good time, but I keep thinking there’s something wrong with me for being such a snob, not getting into a real relationship with him. Just no “chemistry,” I think. What is it?

Now I know.

Didn’t I say that it usually takes about 20 minutes for someone to grow fangs in my presence, if that’s their potential?

Let the “gaslighting” begin!

To-wit: He calls at 6:30 to say he’d like me to join him for a dinner he just cooked. Sorry, I’m in Manhattan and can’t make it back to Brooklyn in time. But I can meet for drinks later. I will call him at 8:30 to let him know I’m back in the neighborhood, and we can head out at about 9.

So I call at 8:30. He’s out and about, heading back in to his apartment to shower and change clothes. He’ll meet me at 9. All according to our plan.

Then he calls shortly after 9 — 9:10 — to say Why haven’t I called? I was supposed to call him at 9. Really? I was supposed to call? Anyway, we agree I’ll meet him at 9:30.

At 9:25 he calls from downstairs. I take about 5 minutes to come down, and he’s understandably impatient about that — calls again — OK, I’m on my way down in a minute. I arrive downstairs to find him gone.

Upstairs again, I call him. Where is he? Down at the corner, he says, because it was embarrassing to be waiting a whole half hour in front of my place.

Go back and read again: He wasn’t at my place at 9:00. He called at 9:10 to say he was on his way, remember?

And he says, “Look at that. And already we’re arguing. It’s just the way you are. So argumentative. But that’s OK. I like you anyway.”


I let it go. Just keep gathering information. It’s my way with spaths, keeping the curiosity channel open until they really screw it up. Oh boy, what comes next will knock you sideways.

We’re having drinks and he says he wasn’t always a good person. I ask him about that, and he says he . . .


For what? “It was RICO-related,” he says.

Oh my God.

These days, he’s a lawyer on contract with the state, apparently, helping the mentally ill who are in prison get into hospitals or other situations. He says he studied law in prison, and a couple of years after he got out, and I believe him. I can check that out, anyway. But his behavior is getting weird.

He owns a Brooklyn condo and says he paid cash. Huh? He says he has seven grown children. When? A mighty busy boy before he went to prison. This story is starting to smell.


Take me an open field and shoot me. What is amazing is the degree to which I am NOT taken in — no chemistry, no desire — but how I keep watching the show anyway.

Ox Drover


OMG!!!! LOL ROTFLMNAO what a “catch” a guy who spent 22 years in prison with 7 kids before he went to prison. A real CATCH! NOT!

Well, we know he has a 25% chance of being a psychopath (25% of all convicts are psychopaths with a 30 or above PCL-R) Okay, and there is a good chance he has AT LEAST a score of 22 on the PCL-R as that is the average score of the convicts. LOL

Also, a 22 year sentence is AVERAGE for murder, so there is probably a good chance his prison sentence was for some heinous crime and probably violent and/or murder. RICO without murder probably wouldn’t get him that much time.

Get AWAY from this guy ASAP. I would not have anything else to do with him if I were you. He is BADDDDD NEWS!!!!

Ox Drover

ps It is my understanding that a person with a felony conviction can’t be a lawyer or admitted to the bar. So studying law in prison wouldn’t let him BE a lawyer or an officer of the court, which lawyers technically are.


I thought I also understood that thing about felony convictions “barring” joining the “bar.” I’ve worked in the legal field. So that raises a red flag, too. He said that he did pass the bar, but I’m not sure he’s actually licensed as a lawyer — more like a social worker. That STILL might be problematic.

I doubt that a guy who spent 22 years in prison is going to murder someone again — but at least I’m keeping our contacts in the public domain. Besides that, he’s fixed things in my apartment, but no suspicious behavior there at all.

He’s acted with perfect integrity in other areas. But isn’t that typical? Spaths bait us with that other self.

I think my other boyfriend just moved back to town . . . the retired cop. Uh-huh. For sure.

Strangely enough, I wouldn’t have been really concerned without the gaslighting. I just would have kept looking into it. It’s the gaslighting that really creeps me out. Are there really people who buy that? Honestly? Maybe there’s some truth to deserving it, then. Because I can’t imagine being THAT stupid. Stupid enough to date an ex-con, but not stupid enough to buy into a gaslighting.

I have a friend who is a private investigator, and I could probably have him checked out. But the gaslighting tells me all I really need to know.


This is what I meant to post:

“In regard to the effect of criminal conduct upon the evaluation of an applicant’s character, a conviction for the commission of a felony is not, per se, sufficient to demonstrate a lack of good moral character. It will be incumbent upon the applicant, however, to prove complete rehabilitation. Although a conditional pardon is insufficient to remove objections to bar admission, a felony conviction will not prevent an applicant from practicing law if he or she has received a full pardon and is otherwise qualified.”

Ox Drover

Sister sister, a FULL pardon is only granted by the President or a governor….so I doubt he has one…but it is possible. But you know, like I said before, any CONVICT is a convict, there are in my opinion no EX convicts…LOL

What all that word salad up there says in effect is that A FELONY CONVICTION WILL NOT PREVENT AN APPLICATN FROM PRACTICING LAW **IF** HE HAS RECEIVED A FULL PARDON AND IS **otherwise** qualified.

If he spent 22 years in prison for anything it was a heinous crime, rape or murder, bank robbery or something nasty. “complete rehabilitation” LOL ROTFLMAO YEA, RIGHT!!! COMPLETE Rehabilitation. BRAYYYYY!!!


Yes, pretty unlikely. But possible. I find it interesting to look at all possibilities. I’ll check it all out from top to bottom — before he gets a chance to sample the goods himself. Another example of how spaths are impatient suckers, huh? Hardly the clever type. A clever man would wait until he’s grabbed the cookies.

Ox Drover


I doubt that a guy who spent 22 years in prison is going to murder someone again.

Besides that, he’s fixed things in my apartment,

(so, you are getting something out of this guy? Do you think the fixing things is worth the risk of associating with this kind of CRIMINAL?)

He’s acted with perfect integrity in other areas. But isn’t that typical? Spaths bait us with that other self.


I think my other boyfriend just moved back to town . . . the retired cop. Uh-huh. For sure.

Strangely enough, I wouldn’t have been really concerned without the gaslighting.


It’s the gaslighting that really creeps me out. Are there really people who buy that? Honestly? Maybe there’s some truth to deserving it, then. Because I can’t imagine being THAT stupid. Stupid enough to date an ex-con, but not stupid enough to buy into a gaslighting.


I have a friend who is a private investigator, and I could probably have him checked out. But the gaslighting tells me all I really need to know.

WHY? There are already 3 SOLID BIG RED BANNER FLAGS? What more do you need?

(head shaking here)


Yup, love bombing. Classic case, exactly — and so fake, I’m not really reciprocating. (Cue the guilt!)

I’m calling ME stupid enough to date an ex-con. One of my closest friends in the past was an ex-con, and he was fine. Still a risky move, though.

I am not, however, stupid enough to get past the gaslighting. No way. Gaslighting is THE red flag. I’d have to be downright retarded to keep wondering if I’m wrong like that, said things I didn’t say, did things I didn’t do. Screaming red flag, among the rest. Yep.

I still don’t think I’m going to get murdered — instead, I’m going to get out.

I’d like to find out what business this guy is really in. That would be interesting. Because he appears to have quite a bit of cash flow going on. Appears. That will be interesting to unravel. He was, actually, willing to let me see where he lives — which he has already claimed is a newly constructed Brooklyn condo. He says he paid cash for it. If that’s TRUE, it’s a red flag. Nobody who isn’t a movie star pays cash for a crib in my ‘hood.

But I’m not going to say he’s in the mob because he’s Italian. Oh no, that would be racist. I’m going to say he’s in the mob because he’s a gaslighting spath with a lot of cash who’s been to prison and makes a lot of wild claims and is Italian. Hee hee. I mean, his family has three reunions a year, sometimes in Las Vegas. Duh. Does he have to call himself Jay “the Bulldozer” and carry a Tommy gun before I know something?


Yes, THANKS for the even more intense realization of the fraud. I’m going to SO kick his ass all the way to the Bronx. “Argumentative”? He ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Ox Drover

Sister, I do NOT understand why you are toying with this guy, dallying with him, so “interested” in him.


Anyone who hangs around and has ANY interaction with a person like this is STOOPID Sister, and I would tell you that if you were my sister. I don’t understand WHY you are playing this RISKY game.

Are you into taking chances? Enjoying the risk? If so you will come upon a lot of psychopaths to play with, and you’ll get burned on one of them.


OK, Ill just hang up the phone. That’s all.

Ox Drover

Donna’s new book 10 RED FLAGS OF LOVE FRAUD is showing people how to spot the red flags.

Sister, you KNOW them…you not only know them but you can pick out Love bombing and gaslighting which are not the easiest flags to pick out….

Having knowledge and not using it is pretty risky especially when it comes to spaths. They are like keeping a pet rattle snake, eventually it will get you no matter how careful you are.


May I recommend an old movie for you to watch? Looking for Mr.Goodbar with Diane Keatin and Richard Gere. Be safe. Shalom

Ox Drover

Shalom, that’s a great recomendation.


Im new to this but I can relate to most of it. I dont know where to start. I have a plethora of lies and deceptions of which all were turned back on me and explained away. I met him online, my final shot. He was attentive, interesting and different. Eccentric. That was nearly a year ago. I broke up with him 7mths into it cos he lied incessantly and always had a story to cover. Things just got more and more strange. I took him back but his responses -where emotion was required- just didnt add up. So many things on the ‘list’ he fits. I just wrangle with is it my issues or is he really a sociopath? my friends dont know him (he never came to anything to meet them) and think im going overboard when I call him a sociopath.
Too many doubts keep making me want to go back. But I know something is so very wrong there. I just wish I had something concrete to hold onto so I could maintain NC. and forget him. Its the weirdest relationship Ive ever had I just cant work it out in my head and that whats holding me back from moving on. My brain is toasted by his talk and charm. Promises that never came about, strange disappearances, ex girlfriends that hes lying about seeing, dodgy sex requests, idealizing and then devaluing. His manipulations and trickery. Im seriously going mad. Help me. Before this I was a confident professional (and outdoorsy) corporate fit and happy now Im a walking shell that crys most days and obsesses about this guy.


I wish there was a blood test. Or something definitive like all sociopaths are left handed. But there isn’t. Trust your gut..


This was an EXCELLENT article, and followed with some pretty poignant comments and observations.

I’ve been discussing the “shame” of being duped in counseling. I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t have anything to feel ashamed about – I was targeted, decieved, and betrayed on every level.

“I should have seen the signs,” is something that I’ve been saying to myself, and this boils down to one thing: when someone puts every ounce of their energy into cultivating and maintaining a fraudulent facade, how is an empathetic, trusting human being expected to decipher it all?

For me, this has been one hell of a learning experience, and I’ve learned that I cannot trust myself to trust others for a long, long time. I have a lot of work to do to bolster my own self-esteem and self-confidence. This, I think, is the crux of the “shame.” Our self-esteem and self-confidence is so shattered by our experiences that we either trust NObody, or we choose to trust the next spath that comes along – the “shame” causes us to feel that we somehow don’t “deserve” anything better.

Sister-sister…..put that guy on ice and go No Contact. He sounds like a frigging fruit-loop! Trust your gut, Sister – you “know” all of this stuff on an academic level. Now, it’s time to put this knowledge into practice. {{{{HUGS}}}}

BRIGHTEST blessings!!!


What you are describing is classic sociopathic manipulation, and the fallout from classic sociopathic manipulation. It is exactly what I talk about in “Red Flags of Love Fraud,” which is based on the experiences of thousands of Lovefraud readers. You might want to get it – it will help you understand that yes, you have been targeted by a sociopath.

Ox Drover


I think one of the worst things we lose is the ability to trust OURSELVES to tell when someone is real or not. It takes time to finally come to terms with that.

Learning those RED FLAGS and HONORING THEM is the key to it.
Donna’s book (I’ve read it) is fabulous in pointing out the red flags and the thing is that it doesn’t matter if it is a love relationship or a business relationship the RED FLAGS are pretty much the same. The lies, the love bomb, the gaslighting, and so on. EDUCATING ourselves is ARMING ourselves, and when we are fully educated and armed then we can be pretty confident we will not be taken in by the first psychopath down the pike!


Well, Truthspeak, my good luck is that God sends me the “trainee” spaths. Their act is so inept that I’d have to be brain-dead to buy it. Love bombing? Hardly. Just cheesy remarks like, “I’m worried about you.”

Here’s how it ends:

So last night he calls while I’m on the phone with someone else, and keeps trying to ring through every minute or so. I finally get off the phone and call him back, and tell him I didn’t want to hear from him anymore.

That’s when I got GASLIT while trying to tell him I didn’t like the gaslighting. LOL.

He hung up the phone, and then called back 5 or 10 minutes later to say, “What happened to the phone?!” — as if to accuse me of hanging up on him. Guilt! (We feel shame about being duped, but perhaps also guilt when not allowing ourselves to be duped.)

So he’s gone. Bye. Don’t let the doorknob hit ya where the Good Lord split ya.

I wasn’t feeling a thing through the whole “relationship,” if you want to call it that. Because here was this guy being reasonably nice to me (again, not out of normal range), and I wasn’t that attracted to him. Why do nice guys always finish last? Because guilt isn’t exactly sexy. Lesson learned: If you’re not attracted, that could also be a red flag — if it makes you feel guilty. I previous experienced it the other way: spaths as seductive, sexy people I couldn’t resist. Given those contradictory signals, I can understand why we no longer trust our own radars.

It’s still possible for people with good self-esteem to get so confused around this that they don’t know which way to run: toward attractive people or away from them; toward people they can wait to connect with in a reasonable way or away from them.


Y’know, Ox Drover, the strange truth is, I was duped in the opposite way: Not by falling head-over-heels for this guy, but being cautious. He used my caution itself as a weapon against me, by converting it to guilt.

If you don’t fall for it, they’ll make you feel guilty for not falling for it! And if they can make up things you said you’d do, and didn’t do — gaslighting — that just adds to the guilt. (Why didn’t I call when I said I would?) He even tried to make me feel guilty, crazy, about asking him to get lost.

High-self-esteem people can be clobbered with guilt over being such high-self-esteem people. We’re supposedly “mean.”

Guilt, guilt, guilt.

Ox Drover

Sister, yep, that is so true. GUILT…..wanna bet though that he will be back? I bettya he will call again. They do not like to lose. LOL

He’s my worst nightmare actually! I would be curious what he was in prison for but just because I am CURIOUS—and you know what it got the cat! LOL


I’m not thinking about him calling back, because I don’t want it to happen. (I have this theory about our obsessions coming true.)

But he probably will call again.

And I’ll just tell him not to, again.

If he persists, I’ll have his phone number traced and get the police involved.

I’m that “mean.” Unreasonable. A real diva, I am. And I like myself that way.


Speaking of guilt . . .

The latest news is, my sister is engaged. She’s the original spath in my life, and will soon be the next spath in this poor sap’s life. Guilt is her basic m.o.

Would I warn him? Not at all.

She used to be my problem, now she’s his. Happy trails, fella!


Sister Sister, I hope you find some other source of entertainment besides this lawyer convict. You can do a lot better. Go read books at the library or something, please. Avoid the pain.

I am indeed feeling such SHAME about my relationship with my spath. I mean, I did see red flags, but I was too trusting. I had no idea he was POISONING ME WITH HIS LIES. And the same turns into guilt. I can’t believe I bought his shit, and I stole time from my children to be with him. Loser.

And then I struggle with ANGER. How dare he lie to me like that, and abuse me like that?

And I’m pissed off at myself. Christ all mighty. Why didn’t I see it and RUN? Do I like SELF SABBOTAGE?

I know, I just need to breathe, but holy cow this is painful.



Sister-sister, GOOD FOR YOU!!! But, when he calls again, don’t even answer! He already knows that you don’t want to hear from him – any contact is bad contact, even if it’s to warn him off. Let him stew in his own cesspool!

Callmeathena, everything that you’re feeling is “normal” when we’ve begun to emerge. For me, strong counseling has been priceless – my therapist has been no-nonsense and has helped me to see that a sociopath is a sociopath is a sociopath. With looking back and damning ourselves for not paying heed to the “red flags,” we are giving in to the sociopathic setup of “it’s your own fault for trusting ANYone….”

The anger can be very productive, Athena – turn that anger into journaling, if you can. And, I don’t mean typing away on the computer. I’m talking about getting a pen and notebook and physically engaging in the process of recording rants, raves, anger, and outrage. This has helped me to a point that I never believed possible. I was NEVER a “Dear Diary, today I had bread pudding” type of person. Why record the mundane? BUT….getting out that fury, that rage, that righteous indignation on paper with a pen held in our own hand is ultra-cathartic and oh-so-valuable therapy.

And, yeah….it’s painful. But, the burned hand teaches about the hot stove.

Blessings to all.


OxD, the trust issues that result from a socipathic encounter can be epic. And, it is my honest belief that the shame and guilt that we end up feeling is misplaced and part of the whole spath experience.

We really, REALLY need to be kind to ourselves and to just accept that nothing that we can do will alter our experiences – it’s just time to learn and grow.

HUGS to you…


I have other amusements, trust me. I know the pain, not just the amusement. It’s pretty intense and feels like it will never go away, when it happens. It feels like, How could I be so stupid, but I know I wasn’t stupid.

I think if I find some amusement in my dip into the shallow end of the pool, I’ll learn to find pleasure in looking for the signs. And then I’ll see them better. Maybe I’ll ridicule them out of my world before they get inside.


If it helps, hang out with some girlfriends, babe. Your girlfriends have your back.



You wrote: I just wish I had something concrete to hold onto so I could maintain NC. and forget him.

Getting something ‘concrete’ will, without question, allow you to be seriously injured. You will suffer SO much more than you already have, just to have words to this song. You have the melody, it’s telling you something is WRONG. Don’t go back to figure out the words. If you do you will be more deeply hurt. Guaranteed.

Here at LF those of us who have come to terms with disordered, and generally abusive/rotten people, have learned to follow our instincts. Because many of us have gotten ‘close’ enough to nearly be destroyed.

Don’t let this happen. TRUST your instincts. They are trying to save you.




Thanks. I appreciate the encouragement

“everything that you’re feeling is “normal” when we’ve begun to emerge”

It gives me hope.



What is the point of “No Contact?” Very simply put, spaths thrive on validating themselves, whether it’s by dragging a source target through the proverbial emotional mud, or having someone (anyone) just acknowledge that they exist.

Joss, put this information in your mental file and it will all make sense when put into practice for a little while:
* People who have empathy, conscience, and a sense of remorse use “contact” or human interaction to sort things out, communicate, share ideas and feelings, and cultivate a sense of “community.”
* Spaths use “contact” as a method to manipulate, control, and dehumanize/invalidate their source targets (victims). Spaths are incapable of cultivating a sense of “community” on any level
* Any contact – verbal, electronic, written, etc. – VALIDATES the spath in the World of Sociopathy
* Going NO CONTACT is difficult ONLY because victims are typically feeling human beings, and attempting to heal a relationship or association is inherently HUMAN

NO CONTACT means that: none, nada, zip, zilch, ZIPPO!!!

If the spath calls or texts, either block their number, or get your own number changed. DO NOT answer any summons by the spath under any circumstances – they are SUMMONING their victims by attempting to force contact!

If the spath sends a card or letter, RETURN IT IN THE MAIL!!!! Just write, “Return to Sender,” and hand the UNOPENED envelope to the Postal Clerk.

If the spath sends emails, BLOCK their email address and label any incoming email as SPAM.

If you are on a social networking site, BLOCK the spath’s name and profile from access. You can do this by going to the “Safety” or “Privacy” setting, and do this. Just DO it!

When the spath attempts to contact us, they aren’t doing it because they frigging CARE. They are doing it to feed their monkey.

Brightest blessings.


That’s right. The worst words in the spath vocabulary are, “Do you want to talk about this?”


Ox Drover

Great post, truthspeak! Truthfully spoken!



“If you don’t fall for it, they’ll make you feel guilty for not falling for it!”

That’s what my ex did. I had an ill opinion of him at first, then ‘he’s dangerous’, and I told him so, while he was lovebombing me… and then he went all puppy eyes at me. It started as guilt, then sympathy and empathy for hurting the feelings he never had, and ended up thinking “under all that pile of shit is a heart of gold.” Turned out, it was all shit.

Ox Drover

Darwins mom, LOL ROTFLMAO Yep!


Thank you so much for this article. You really nailed it.

I do think that the “self-righteous outpourings” serve to separate us into two camps: us and them. And I think this is a self-protective mechanism… it is like some mumbo-jumbo magical thinking, to put us (the ones who have been bitten by sociopaths) into the group of people who are crazy, or to blame for our misfortunes.

That makes “them” safe from it happening to them. Because they are different from us. They are “not crazy” or “not foolish.” Immune.

Except, as we (“us”) know — really they are not immune. I think this can happen to anybody, and you can’t inoculate yourself from it by disbelieving or shaming people who are victims of spaths. You might be able to inoculate yourself, though, if you develop some awareness, open your eyes and ears, and learn from our experience (the red flags, etc.).

I think it’s very hard, though, to get past the barrier of self-protective refusal to listen.

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