By | November 19, 2009 256 Comments

When nurture becomes nature

There comes a time when nurture becomes nature.

This is the time when nurture and nature become inextricable, inseparable.

I suspect nobody knows precisely when this point arrives in the development of a given individual, but the immediate ramification is this: When you are involved specifically with a sociopath, or any exploitative personality, it is imperative that you stop asking how this person became who he is?

Sure, he likely endured—and was shaped by—some form of neglect or abuse growing up, and if this wasn’t obvious in the history, it was still likely there.

But here’s the point: it doesn’t matter. Not one bit.

Instead, you must relinquish your empathy, compassion and curiosity—in short, every emotion that supports your obsession to understand the genesis and evolution of your exploiter’s pathology—and confront the reality that you are dealing with (as I propose) a case of nurture becoming nature, about which there’s not a damned thing, at this point, to be done.

The damage, in other words, was baked into his character a long time ago. There is no ameliorating it now. Not all the love in the world—nothing that you have, or think you have, or thought you had to give him—will dent the petrification of his psychopathology.

His diseased personality disease is immutable, as good as etched in his DNA. Case closed.

And so what you do is this: You run for the hills, just as you’d run from a rabid dog that perhaps once was innocent and gentle. Now the dog is rabid: it no longer matters how it became rabid. And so you run, fast, and you don’t look back, because every second you allow false hope to delay you increases your risk of grievous harm.

You may have loved that dog; maybe loved it before it became rabid, or maybe it was rabid all along and you just didn’t know it. And maybe you even still love that rabid dog, or the persisting fantasy of it as unrabid.

But the dog is rabid, and a rabid dog doesn’t love you, and it was probably rabid going way back and never really loved you as you once imagined, but again”¦it makes no difference.

There are rabid animals, and there are rabid people, and neither loves you.

And so the time for analysis, of him, is up.

To be clear: I appreciate the need to make sense of trauma. But at some point, the analysis of exploiters can assume an obsessive desperation that subverts, rather than supports, the processing of trauma.

I speak here from the position of having worked with many victims of exploitive personalities who are very much like stunned deer caught, and as if suspended indefinitely, in the headlights.

One of the vital tasks is to unstun them.

And sometimes the dogged determination to “make sense” of, to “analyze” the exploitive traumatizer can be a disguised obsession with discovering something in the history (his or yours) that you insist on imagining would have made a difference”¦would have made him different?

We can search this angle interminably. And unless we call off the search, we will.

And it’s a search we’re wise to call off because it can effectively bring us to a standstill, forever.

(My use of “he” in this article was a convenience, not meant to imply that women aren’t capable of the behaviors and attitudes discussed. This article is copyrighted (c) 2009 by Steve Becker, LCSW.)

Comment on this article

Please Login to comment
Notify of
Ox Drover



I think every victim in some way, manner, or time has been obscessed with the “why” s/he is like they are (destructive) and hopes to “fix” them, and as we go through the grief of the separation we try to “bargain” with God or the Universe to find some way to “fix” them. I know I sure did—for decades with my P son—

I used to have a sign in my office that said “I feel so much better sinice I gave up HOPE” and I thought the sign was funny at the time, but now, I know it is GREAT WISDOM. As long as we hang on to the toxic hope that we can somehow fix the toxic individual, we will suffer.

Your use of the RABID DOG to represent the psychopaths and the toxic people is GREAT!!! RIGHT ON!!!

Back in the 1930s there was an outbreak of rabies in our area, and my grandfather’s dog was licking his hands which had some cuts on them from the farm work he did. He really loved that dog, too. When the dog started showing signs of the rabies, my grandfather shot it, but he had to take the 30 shots which at that time were given to people who had been exposed to rabies, all administered in the stomach.

Today it is only about five shots, and they are given in the muscles like any other shot, but still not pleasant.

The reason I am giving this example is that sometimes even expressions of AFFECTION, from a rabid dog can be TOXIC and dangerous and cause grave consequences. And you can’t always tell that they are rabid by looking. Just like a P though, eventually you can tell they are toxic/rabid though.

Your advice at the first sign of someone being “rabid” is correct, RUN BAMBI RUN!!!!!


And then we agonise over the discard when It is the best thing that could ever Happen to us!
A Monkey will push the bar for the reward of Cocain untill it is dead!
To persist to Figure him out or (Help) Him is the same thing!


A very powerful piece. I agree with Oxy – the analogy of the rabid dog is excellent.

Thank you for this terrific insight.



Always right on time – you are astonishing ….my never ending resource for insight, reality and validation……spoken with tenderness AND the assuredness we need to hear ……that it could never have been any different and the WHY’s don’t matter ………………

Tuesday would have been our 19th wedding anniversary. I wasn’t sure how I would feel – if I would spend the day crying or if it even mattered.

Turns out – after much thought – I didn’t feel so bad ……..a little sad perhaps for all the lost time and investment – and how he is still so abusive.

When the day was not overwhelming at all -but spent uncelebrated as most of our anniversaries were when together – I realized that I have really given up the hope – of it ever being any different, of him getting better – of ever thinking of a past or future that could have been different.

My struggles have become so much more clear because of you ……

and I thank God for that – truly.

Three minutes to read what I have not been able to put together for myself – you are AMAZING !!!!!!



“…many victims of exploitive personalities who are very much like stunned deer caught, and as if suspended indefinitely, in the headlights….One of the vital tasks is to unstun them. ”

And how do you do that? You turn off the lights.

The metaphor is perfect in the context of dealing with the aftermath of an S. Part of our recovery is to shine the light on these creatures — not only to get a grip on what they did and how they did it, but also to expose them. I believe it was Justice Brandeis who said “Sunshine is the best disenfectant.”

The problem is that it is so easy to move from the man turning the spotlight on the S, to the dear in the headlights, to ultimately developing “Kleig eyes” (an old Hollywood symptom which actors developed blindness from looking too long into the Kleig spotlights). The solution to Kleig eyes was turning off the lights and covering your eyes so they could heal and you could see again. Similarly, there is a point where the victim of an S has to give up understanding the cause of what happened to them and turn the focus on themselves.

Again, an excellent article.


A more timely article, for me, cannot be found. I spent years trying to understand why this person was the way he was. I agonized over this. I am working more today on understand ME than him. My greatest eye opener, epiphany, whatever you might call it, was in seeing that he had never put that much energy into me, nor would he. He only learned as much as he needed to learn in order to get what he wanted. Years vs. minutes. Doesn’t add up and never will. HOW he got to be what he is will never be something I understand and today I thank God for that. I realized too, that if I ever DID understand him completely, then I would BE just as he is; cold, manipulative and heartless. I am sure I’m not alone when I say this cost me emotionally, mentally and financially as well. Indifference has become my best friend where this P is concerned.
Thank you for a wonderful article.


Perfect Steve. Your articles keep me coming back to LF. Even though the above lesson was drummed into my head by a psychiatrist at a children’s hospital regarding some foster children we tried to help…which was perhaps the saddest realization of my life…. I still had to learn the same lesson again with the bad man.

The more we are enticed by the dream of what would be if the bad man were normal, or by how enticing his false image is, of perhaps by how it flatters our opinion of ourselves, or by how awed we are by his position or power….the harder it is to accept the truth that this is a bad man. And it is harder yet to get that through our heads if everyone around us seems fooled by the Wizard of Oz performance. But usually we find out that others who have gotten close have learned the ugly truth too. That the show dog is rabid.

The analogy works too, in that it is SO easy to get infected by their sick world view. All the more reason to run. I felt compelled to shout “rabid dog, rabid dog!”, but I made sure I was safe first.

I think, too, that if we spend TOO much time going over our own history, analysis turns into self-abuse disguised as “healing”. At some point, we have to turn our attention to TODAY, living in the moment and making positive choices for ourselves, as Louise’s article on no contact beginning in our mind underscores. As did Donna’s recent post on her main points in her new book.

Can’t wait for your next article! I check every day!

Elizabeth Conley

I have been reflecting quite a bit lately with regard to neuroplasticity. Why is it that the relatively healthy people I know have been able to harness their capacity for change, and the disordered personalities I know have not?

Seriously – most successful people I know continue to change and evolve in all stages of their lives. They change – often radically.

Why don’t cluster Bs change?

I think cluster Bs don’t change because they don’t want to change. As unsuccessful as their lives may seem to the rest of us, they are pleased with what they see as accomplishments. We see broken relationships, they see successful scams. We see loneliness, and they see self-sufficiency. Their lives seem tragic to us, but not to them.

All the changes I’ve seen in healthy personalities have been volitional. More than that, they’ve been choices that required remarkable stamina and dogged determination in order to realize results.

So no matter how many crocodile tears are shed, we shouldn’t imagine that a cluster B is going to change. They are even less likely to change if we fall for their claims that they want to change. Our gullibility in this matter will simply be understood by the cluster B as one more incident where his/her dishonest behavior “worked” for him/her.

Just walk away.


This article couldn’t be more true. My ex S was a rabid dog in human form. Acceptance has been the hardest part for me. The acceptance to know that nothing will change him. I exhasusted myself trying to “fix” him and walking away was the hardest thing I ever did. And now I’m left with the “what ifs” and I “should haves.” I know I want answers. I want to know why…how…but continuing to obsess over him only does more damage. I have to accept that I may never know those answers. Letting go. Being free. Never looking back.
Thanks Steve.


Yes, life can sure throw you some curve balls.

One minute, you think you’ve got the “Best In Show” at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

The next, your dog is running around, foaming at the mouth, biting everyone who comes within striking distance.
And, you are left with no other choice but to go No Contact on the dog you once considered to be a “prize”.

You sure as heck are not going to go up to the rabid dog, and start asking questions about its “puppyhood”.

~I’m running with the rabid dog analogy here.
Hopefully, you get the picture. I think the picture is NO CONTACT.

Twice Betrayed

This is a very good article on letting go. Tough to do. I married two P’s and their early years were very much alike…….both had cruel, demanding, abusive fathers and doting mothers. In all this I have some understanding tho and it’s this; it’s up to the father to lead [also by example] these boys into manhood and when he fails to do that either by abuse or weakness [or absence] and the boy’s mother dotes on him…he seems to be stuck in a limbo of never growing up. Add that to genetics and a choice to remain stuck and I have my P’s. This is my understanding and beyond that I cannot go…and have had to face this….It’s NOT my job to fix everything and everyone- contrary to what I was raised to think. I was raised with pressure from a confused and troubled brother to think I was responsible to ‘keep the peace’ from the time I was little. So…I stepped into the same role as an adult for these males. Broken wing syndrome is not who I am any longer. Some things are broken and it’s not my job to fix them….I have accepted this fact and I am finally free. Ahhhhh, does it feel good!!!!


I just wanted to mention a book that a counselor borrowed me to read.

It does not represent your situation nor mine but some of the material within the book is very helpful and I think it might be even more helpful in your situation because your niece is so young. And you might see signs as she grows that you might counter act.

She gave it to me to read because it does explain what happens to children of trama and abuse.

The book title is: When a stranger calls you mom.

It is written for foster parents. Who foster (or adopt) children from tramatic enviornment. The author is a doctor and adoptive parent. She really zeros in on the childs behaviors and damaged child within.

Much of what I read has been very helpful to gain understanding of alot of things.



Thank you!
I just found it online.
I will get that book.


The more I read the more I think you will gain some very helpful information.
I wish I could read parts of it online to you….


Don’t worry about it, Witsend.
I’m getting that book.


I was gone a few days last weekend and since my return things had been pretty low key. I have been trying to remain VERY low key since the police incident. And just kind of in a “waiting” mode. Waiting until that 17th B-day.

The difference since my return after being gone for 2 days though is that my son also was pretty low key. Until yesterday…..He was suspended from school for not giving his i-pod to the asst. principal. This initself is not the issue. It was only a matter of time. He has “almost” been suspended a few times and has just been “walking” that fine line for awile.

The issue is of course is what comes out of his mouth not the actual suspension. And his distorted thinking. If he had given the i-pod to his teacher, (who promised to return it after class) he would have never been sent to the office. Once the principal gets involved a PARENT has to go to the school to get the i-pod returned. He could have avoided both getting sent to the office and getting suspended…..However HE doesn’t SEE it that way.

He came home ranting and raving how they can’t take his personal property away from him….He showed them. How dare they even try.

I allowed him to rant and rave and at some point asked him how he might have avoided all this? How HIS choices got him into this to begin with. JUST TRYING to point out the obvious.

1) shouldn’t bring i-pod to school. 2) if bring i-pod to school you are RISKING having it taken away because it is against the rules. 3) teacher asked for it and was willing to give it back after class, HIS choice to decline. 4) asst. principal gave him last chace of giving it up before facing suspension.

All of this was completely foreign to him. (as usual) That he did have CHOICES. But lead him into another rant…..And I don’t often get this insite. He was talking about how he himself was going to live a rule free life and how he was actually going to be the one who changes the rules in the world. And sounding so frikking delusional BUT CONVINCED that he is really something and is going to change the world.

His lack of being grounded in ANY situation, his lack of reality is really getting to be pretty scarey. The more insight I get from him of actually how he percieves things and how he thinks…….It is mind boggling.

I was in the living room with him a few hours after this and he was trying to push my buttons. I couldn’t help but think that I just do not know the depths of his anger. I felt like I was in the presence of a stranger.


Excellent article. Analogys seem to really put a different light on things to really help us understand what we can’t see in our own “personal” situation.

I would like to know if you have have done any personal counseling with parents of a disordered child, such as myself.
If so I certainly would love to see an article that might be helpful in my own personal situation.

It might also bring to this board other parents that are struggling with this situation and even bring back some of the old posters that have posted in the past, and what has happened since they posted last.

Ox Drover

Dear witsend,

Yes, our sons became “strangers” and they are pretty doggone strange in the way they SEE things differently than we do. It is almost like my color blind husband didn’t see the same world I did…and they seem to be RULE and LOGIC blind, to say nothing about how IMPORTANT they feel, so egocentric that they single handedly will CHANGE the world, RULE the world and are ALL POWERFUL.

I realize that all teenagers are pretty egocentric (Goodness knows I was one!) but their sense of entitlement goes so BEYOND what a “normal” teenager does that it is out of the universe of any kind of logic. At least normal teenagers do to soem extent accept that there are consequences.

With my P son there was no “stick” that scared him and no “carrot” that motivated him. It was such a helpless feeling when I was trying to find either a carrot or a stick that he cared about. If you held out a carrot that you knew he wanted, he would immediately devalue it and NOT WANT it, and if you held out a stick, oh, well, he wasn’t scared of it.

If no carrot and no stick works—unless you have a gun and are prepared to pull the trigger, there is nothing that can stop them except arrest and incarceration and even then, they thrive in a prison environment, like a psychopathic PhD program provided on a government scholarship! Frustrating as hell!

Twice Betrayed

they thrive in a prison environment, like a psychopathic PhD program provided on a government scholarship! Frustrating as hell!”

Ohhh, very well worded!


I had been playing telephone tag with the asst. principal (since yesterday when this happened) and I just finally talked to him a few minutes ago.

Of course only hearing my sons version of the story up until now I knew there was some things that he didn’t tell me about the situation. There was.

It is interesting to know that they had a TEAM in the office trying to persuade my son to give up his i-pod instead of being suspended. The teacher, the at risk counselor and the asst. principal (who actually is a pretty cool guy and most kids really like him)

NO ONE could even get him to listen to any reasoning (well DUH) Haven’t I been trying to tell them this all along??

They have a TEAM and can’t reach him and some of these same people judge me for my lack of being able to do anything with him!!!

My son told the asst. principal that his i-pod helps him to focus better in this computer class.

Long after the others left the asst. principal said he talked with my son about ADHD and focus issues. He tried to get him to agree to consider possibly taking medication or other tools he might use to help him.
Of course he flatly refused because he doesn’t have ADHD he just focuses better with his i-pod.

I guess for me it was interesting to hear this guys frustration with just ONE small altercation with my son.
Maybe just MAYBE he can envision my frustration of dealing with this kind of thing all the time.

He really is a good guy and tries to put “himself” in the kids corner. He is new to our school district this year and has had alot of good things said about him. But good guy or not it all falls on deaf ears…..How well I know that feeling.


I came across LF a few months ago and it has saved my life and my sanity. I have a P husband-of that I am certain now,but at the time I believed that I was losing my mind,because that’s what he told me. My story is similar to the people I have found here but he’s done so many bizarre,incredible and shocking things that I found it easier to believe I had simply lost my mind-as losing my mind seemed more logical than believing that he was crazy.
I am now armed with knowledge but still cannot get him to leave my home. We have been married for ten yrs and have two children. I am glad that I have realized what I am dealing with but boy have I wasted so long in trying to fix the unfixable. I still have trouble accepting that he cannot/does not realize what he has done and continues to do. Example: he sold my jewellery but sees nothing wrong in that-but I took a pen of his and he calls me a “thieving bitch!”
I have read every article on this blog and I can’t tell you how much it has helped me to cope. I finally broke down at work and sobbed for three hours, my boss was amazing and said she couldn’t believe I had been under so much strain. I have seen a councellor who told me exactly what Steve has written-it is not my job to fix him. I know this but am fighting my urge to make him SEE. He never will and I just want to be free. I am 43and I want a life. He has put me in so much debt.
I would love any advice on how to get him to leave. I don’t want to involve police because of the children. He knows he’s not wanted here-how he stays is beyond my level of comprehension. He uses the pity play on the kids and as it no longer works with me he just treats me very badly.
Thank you all,especially Steve,for saving my sanity and my life.


I can so relate to your resigned, determined perspective. Once you educate yourself regarding the predictable, universal behavior/personality characteristics of PDIs, you’ve learned all you needed to learn to get out and stay as far away as possible.

You’re right: they are pathological, incorrigible, irredeemable, dangerous personified and deadly.

Trying to reform them, trying to reassure them, coddle them with love and care is a total waste of time and energy. It just won’t happen. It is a stagnant place to inhabit and that can’t be good for any decent person.

I’ve spent years reseaching PDIs and as Mr. Beck wrote in People of the Lie, being exposed to evil and then spending an inordinate time studying it can be detrimental to my own soul.

So, I no longer read the very imformative books available. I have all the knowledge I need to protect myself.

I much prefer spending my finite time checking out awesome, inspiritational, soul enriching environments, situations, people, literature, art, the profound beauty of natural settings which feed my spirit with peace and joy.

Thanks for the reminder that it’s best just to shrug and walk away. At a fast paced trot if necessary.

Ox Drover

Dear TB–

You liked that did you? LOL Oh, but it is soooooo true. I firmly believe that they ENJOY the challenges of life in prison, putting on over on the guards and admiinistration, conning with other cons—it is like a “heaven for psychopaths” and a school for them to learn new crimes and new ways of getting one over on “the man.”

Every time they pull fa fast one on the authorities they get reinforced on just how “smart” and “successful” they are. It feeds their ego. LOL the old “it is better to RULE in hell than to serve in heaven.” (don’t remember who said that but that is the P-mantra!) My son actually considers himself a SUCCESS in life. He thinks his “education” in prison fits him for the CEO of “Madoff Inc” or “dictator” of some third world republic.

He is, after all the single smartest person in the universe, and if you don’t believe it, just ASK him! He compares himself to the “hacks” (prison guards) and the other inmates and he is a “cut above” them….but what eh doesn’t see is that the most stupid prison guard at least can LEAVE THERE WITHOUT HANDCUFFS. All his high IQ and all his coniving and conning don’t make a whit of difference, he is still a CONVICT. the lowest of the low. He has no respect from anyone in the world except a few gang-bangers who can’t count higher than 20 because that is all the fingers and toes they have. What good does his IQ do? No non-convict would admire anything about him. No woman with even half her teeth who wasn’t a crack ho and less than 60 years old would consider him a “catch” yet he still considers that he is going to get out and get some playboy bunny or a series of play boy bunnies, and a fast hot car, and a lot of money and live the life of ease and have others envy him. WRONG!!!!!!!!!!

Years ago I read a book called “The Felon” (can’t remember who wrote it) but it was a sociological study of what felons fantasize about while they are locked up, and how DIFFERENT it is from the REALITY they get out to. I thought at the time that my P son was more realistic than he is, but I see now that he is just like the felon with the 3rd grade education who has this fantasy of coming out, the hot babe girl friend, the executive job, the fast hot car, etc. and the reality is that NONE OF THIS IS POSSIBLE, so they immediately go back to crime and the criminal friends they had or new ones they make.

My son does NOT have a single person who knew him before he went to prison that would pee on him if he was on fire. NOT ONE. The ONLY “friends” he has are men he has met in prison. Most of them have a grade school education at best, are essentially illiterate, so they look up to my son’s “smarts” but HOW SMART CAN HE BE if he has been caught and prosecuted and convicted of about every crime he ever committeed? LOL ROTFLMAO He isn’t even a “successful” criminal if “success” means he got away with it.

Oh,, and the self agrandizing lies he tells other convicts about what his crimes were and how he was betrayed (not caught) and how much money his family has and so on. Really builds himself up as this “Robin Hood” of criminals, he only kills those bad guys that deserved it….not a helpless 17 yr old girl.

Ah, yes, the fantaxy world of the P.! success at every turn!


Very good article and comparison..

And it only confirmed for me my choice.. get away and NO CONTACT.. the longer I am away and when I have remembering, I KNOW.. this man is a con, a destroyer of the soul and a user… and any of my good memories are to be seen only as a part of his seduction.. I feel stronger now and more solid as each day passes… He needed me.. I never needed him.. he tried to create my need of him and he failed.. I am FREE from the rabid dog!


Hi Folks
I hate to change the subject but I have an urgent question . A friend and I were discussing relationships etc . He has just met a new woman and so from time to time she also came up in the conversation . I have never met her so basically when she did come up in the conversation I had to go by his observation and try to analyse what was going on .
Suddenly he asked ,” What does it mean when a woman does baby talk quite often “.
Well my first reaction was , holly shit , my psychopathic X did that all the time . Is this a symptom of something significant or is it something that a lot of women do . Thinking back I do not recall being exposed to a lot of women that spoke in this fashion on a regular basis . Any input would be appreciated . Has my friend found himself a potential nasty or is she harmless .


Steve Becker – A very good article. I have obsessed and obsessed, analyzed and analyzed. I am very nuturing by nature. It’s who I am, it’s what I do, it’s part of my job. I can remember saying here that I look forward to the day he is not the first thought in my mind when I wake. I reached that milestone months ago. It’s like Jane said, we can choose to be miserable or happy. It does take time to process what happened, if we dont process and analyze it then we dont learn.


Quest – Sounds to me like this gal is looking for a daddy. Does your guy friend find this baby talk anoying or does he like it? If it get’s on his nerves he should bail out. Or maybe he is looking for a daddy’s girl?



I happen to be a female, so I will give you a female’s opinion (mine) on the baby talk.

Yes, I believe women who engage in baby talk with their men are being totally cunning and manipulative.

Does your friend have some money, a nice car, or some real estate maybe??? I’ll bet he does.
I’ve seen women turn on the baby talk when they think they have a potential “sugar daddy” in the works.

What’s even more pathetic, I’ve actually seen men start to engage in baby talk themselves with their girlfriends, because the girlfriend is doing the baby talk. I guess it becomes sort of contagious, and so now you have two grown adults talking baby talk. Jesus Christ!!!

Maybe I am not a very good person to be giving my opinion, because I absolutely cannot stand baby talk.
I don’t even like it when people talk “baby talk” to babies.
How is a child supposed to learn how to speak properly when you are talking in terms of “goo”.

I don’t know, Quest, that’s just my opinion.
Maybe someone else who does not have such a negative opinion of baby talk will give you some more positive feedback.

I would still tell your friend to beware.


My ex S baby talked me ALL the time. At first I thought it was kinda cute. Like AWWWWW this GROWN man loves me so much he’s been reduced to baby talk. But later in the relationship…it was constant…and the pouting…and he even HOWWWLLLLEEDDDDDD like a dog when he was upset or didn’t get his way. This high pitch, long howl like a coyote?!?!? WTF?!?! I literally mean howl…funny since this thread has to do with a rabid dog. He really was a rabid dog!! Now that I look back there were so many characteristics that I see as being sooooo childish now. This was a 40 year old grown man…acting like a 4 year old. God I wish you could have seen it!! He would cross his arms and wrinkle his brow and stick out his bottom lip and say…NO! I don’t want to!! Just like a child would. I think he never grew up. One girl that he cheated on me with, said he was like a little boy trapped in a grown man’s body. And this girl was all of 19 years old. Why could she figure it out and I couldn’t?!?!?! I may be biased, but I think baby talk definitely has ulterior motives. Well, at least it did for my ex anyway.


My x did the baby talk thing, of course it took me awhile to realize I was his sugarboogerdaddy… Speaking of dogs…today I was working in a clients yard and I heard this woman screaming SIR SIR and running towards me with this black lab on her heels – I said yes? and she asked if I had seen a black lab? I said is that him behind you? she was so embarrassed – i think she was having a stressful day..LOL


Thanks for a great perspective Steve. I spent hours in therapy trying to figure this out but with good guidance am finally focusing on my own issues, not his poor sad childhood, terrible mother, etc.

My divorce was final yesterday (YES!!!!!!!), and as we went through the end stages apparently he was doing his best to bring on the pity and guilt in ways that always worked in the past. What he didn’t know is that I don’t see any of his long, dense, transparent, repetitive, manipulative, immature communications at all anymore–just a brief synopsis as is relevant to negotiations.

Funny thing is–he’s quite capable of keeping the conversation going even if I have no involvement at all. And, that was probably true all along.

Now I feel even more free to stop the post-mortem and get on with the next, better, exciting part of my life. 🙂


Narcissism is a state of emotionally arrested development. Baby talk is a big red flag. My xP told me he never wanted to grow up. He also said other people should take care of him so he could play and not work. He especially did baby talk during sex. Now I find out that he was a pedophile. Put all this together and I realize that he has baby names for his sex organs and the women’s sex organs because that’s how he talks to little kids about it.

So, yeah, baby talk doesn’t go over well with me.


Well people thanks for the input , I guess the creepy thing here is that people on a psychopath victim website would recognise this as a common trait of their X’s . As far as what my friend felt about it , he wasn’t quite sure what to think . Of course now its got me thinking . Anyway back to the topic at hand . Steve ,I like what you have written but for myself what I have to conquer and understand is not so much what the psychopath is or what made them but what is it in me that allowed them to mess with my head . Not only that but now it is almost as if psychopaths can see me way more easily just as I can see them . Its like being in one of those alien invasion movies where the peoples bodies have been taken over by an alien entity and are walking around amongst the general population undetected . I can see them and they can see me , seeing them . Sounds like paranoia I suppose but maybe not . I suppose what amazes me now is that I can recognise them from the way they speak . Its kind of like a 6th sense I have some how aquired . I think I always had it but did not know what I was seeing .


About the baby talk, the p I was with did that a lot, but not lovingly or sweet or cute or pouting, but like he was talking to someone stupid, or slow,,,must of thought he was talking to himself. Except when he wanted sex, that was suppose to be cute I guess. Being a mom, it killed the mood for me, it just made me think of my boys when they would use baby talk to con me for something (like children do!) Of course, like everything, when I opposed something he was doing, I paid dearly for that.

I think if someone tried to use baby talk with me now, I’d run as fast as I could, whether they deserved it or not, I’d never know because I probably wouldn’t look back.

In connection to the article, I was thinking on the nurturing of my children, I’ve worried about how I have affected my youngest in these last six months. I’ve worried about handling things so as not to cause parent alienation syndrome and after he has been with his dad I notice a difference in him towards me. I worried that I had really messed up and it was showing in his attitude towards me.

I looked up parent alienation symptoms and strategies and all. Well I found we all as parents teeter some in a divorce, there are levels to it. However, I found that the attitudes I get from my son after he has been with his dad are the attitudes a child has towards the parent that is being alienated, NOT the one doing the alienation. It’s not me, it’s him. I don’t want him playing with my sons mind. He needs to know and believe that someone loves him and is happy to have him, this p sure has made it clear no one is going to get love from him. He doesn’t need to take from my child the comfort of knowing I love him and I am here for him away….how dare he!!!
With each new day as the memories work themselves out in my mind and the more knowledge I gain from my research, the madder I get and the more I find myself,,, I’ve let him nearly get away with murder,,,,I’M BACK!!! stronger than ever before. No more games and when he barks at me, forget hiding under the porch, I’ll bite!

Now if I just don’t slip and find myself back in the fetal position.


Welcome to Lovefraud – sorry you had to be here, but glad that the information is helping you.

I don’t know if a sociopath will leave voluntarily, especially if he’s sponging off of you financially. Usually the only time they leave is when they have a new victim lined up.

My guess is that you’ll have to start divorce proceedings and see where that takes you.


My sociopathic ex used to babytalk. He took me for over $250,000.

Ox Drover

Well, maybe we have discovered another “page” in the “Psychopathic play book” BABY TALK 101″

Babies of all species have several physical things that make humans (in general) think they are cute and adoreable. BIG eyes relative to the size of the face. So when someone is pleading for something, we open our eyes wider (to make them appear more open, bigger, more like a child) We give a child-like smile to enhance this and may assume the same body posture that a todderler would. I thinnk the “baby talk” may be something they have learned as children pleading with an adult for something that they want and it worked so they just never stop using that “PLAY”

My P son would use the pleading talk, pretty close to baby talk when he wanted something from me, if that didn’t work, he used a pity play, and if that didn’t work, he would “get scary” then go back to the pleading of “But Mommmmmm, what would Jeusus do?” Where is the PUKE emoticon when you need it?


for instance my x would say ” sugabooga I sawwee I hut ew feelwings – but if ew dont forgives me i WILL ROCK YOUR FUCKIN WORLD!!!!!!! yep from pity to scary in the same sentence – damn I am glad he is gone bye bye..

Twice Betrayed

Oxy: Yes, I did like that post….so true about the smarts they think they have. Once my x got fired from a job….and he was laughing about how he terrorized the boss and office so badly they all freaked and asked if he had a gun and called the sheriff on him. [after he had already left]. He got a real buzz off it and was ‘sharing’ it with me. I looked at him and said: “Did it ever occur to you all they thought was how nuts you are?” He looked at me like I had slapped him….LOL…of course it had not occurred to him!
I used this in court to show his behavior and he still squirmed in his seat at hearing it….bwaaaahahahahaha!
Babytalk: I cannot remember the name of the movie with Katherine Zeta Jones and Julia Roberts where K plays a P actress and she baby talks in it. My X loved baby talk….mostly to him….calling him ‘wittle boy’. I am telling you these P’s don’t grow up emotionally….they are stuck …mine was stuck at about junior high level emotionally.


Wow!! I’m so glad to learn that this is another characteristic of P/S. Another red flag that I didn’t even realize until now! Ewwww…it makes my skin crawl now. Why did it take me so long to think a grown man talking like a baby was so creepy?!?! LOL. My ex would often pout about getting older. It was his biggest fear. He never wanted to grow up. Even dressed like a teenager. By the end of the relationhip some of his outfits were so questionable. I would even say “aren’t you a little old to be wear those clothes???” He was stuck.

Ox Drover

Some of them definitely have difficulty being “age appropriate” in their thinking and that “teenaged” mind set (whichBTW is partly from not having a fully grown pre-frontal cortex that has the JUDGMENT center matured yet. I wonder if brain scans would show this up in Ps. LOL

In any case I think their emotional “immaturity” and lack of judgment, and ZERO insight (like TB’s X not getting it that he had appeared like a nut case, not a “winner,” as he perceived himself) Being reminded of this also apparently didn’t please him either. glad you were able to use it TB.

Twice Betrayed

“My ex would often pout about getting older. It was his biggest fear. He never wanted to grow up. Even dressed like a teenager.”

Hmmm….amber… x’s greatest fear was and is: growing older. Your above comment was exactly him. He dressed/dresses like a teen right down to man jewelry….young t shirts hanging out and his cap on sideways or backwards giving some kinda nutty ‘gang’ or hand signs to the kids that worked under him. Talks teen slang and looks like an absolute nut. They all accept him tho….at least to his face. He ran off four years ago with a 19 old girl and was running in a pack of teenagers that he housed/fed/and God knows what else for/with. After he returned [on the stipulation he get help/meds] he still stayed this way and once again started cheating and running with younger people. He is still this way even after I walked and my daughter by him says his mom said he’s melted in the head and really believes he is young. He even went back to the University here and was running in a pack of teens till he had to go back to work full time and they dumped him from the group. This man is 50 years old!

Twice Betrayed

Thx, Oxy! Yeah…of all the things I testified about ….his neglect, abuse, cheating. lying, abandonment etc…..the ONLY time he winced was when I brought this out. The rest….he got a power surge from.


TB!! AAAAHHHHHH!!!! It’s soooo scary how they are all the same. My ex had two distinct lives. He had the professional 9-5 corporate job, wife and kids. To that world, he looked perfect. And then he had the music career, which I was a part of. And this was the true him. The alcoholic/druggie, dressed like a teen, hanging out with KIDS, lying cheating, calculated, conning, manipulative piece of shit. He tried so hard to fit in with the younger crowd and dressed younger because he was sooooo afraid that people would know his real age. He was terrified of people knowing anything about him. And he too, cheated on me with a 19 year old girl. And he was 40!!! He knew he could get away with some of it because he didn’t look his age at all. He maybe looked about 30, so if he knew he could lie about his age, then he would. I remember one night being out with him and some drunk guy asked me…what’s his deal anyway?? Isn’t he like 40? Why is he still pretending to be a KID? He’s so washed up!!! LOL! So true. And it’s true what you say..they all accept him to his face, which made his ego even bigger, but I saw the looks people gave him, I heard the comments being made, I knew that they all thought he was ridiculous. He really is a joke. He thinks that ALLLL these people love him, but jokes on him!! His clock is ticking and he knows it, once the music is gone, he’ll have nothing. He has no close friends. I find it ironic. The man who performs for thousands on stage and has this public image of being so “together” and “happy” and “lots of friends and fans”…In reality he doesn’t have a soul in the world that he’s close to or really cares about him. He had surgery on his neck a couple months before we broke up. Do you think one of those people he calls his “friends” came to see him??? Or call to see how he was doing?? Not one. It made him soooo depressed. Pretty sad. He would often tell me that he didn’t want to get old because he knew he was going to be alone. Karma’s a bitch!! I keep praying for the day that he self-destructs!!

Ox Drover

Yea, they have this idea that the world circles around them and that everyone envies them and thinks they are great! They don’t get how crazy it looks of an older person to be pretending their are “young.” they have NO dignity. Accepting that we are 40, 50, 60 etc is part of a normal aging process (and we all DO AGe) but they seem to pretty much have a big problem with this. they think they are the exceptions and they look really HOT dressed and acting like a teenager. People just snicker at them behind their backs.

Well, if you put your “self esteem” on your looks you are going to be pretty bummed out in the end, we all end up looking like yoda if we live long enough. LOL


Amber, yep, mine is stuck trying to be a child. He told me he never wanted to grow up. Recently, I called him on that statement and he said, “I said I never wanted to grow OLD, because your body gets sick and your wife leaves you”.

I replied, “no, you said you never wanted to grow UP, and your wife doesn’t have to leave you unless you’re a jerk! like you are.”

It really cements what the book, “WHY IS IT ALWAYS ABOUT YOU?” explains: narcissism is a case of emotionally arrested development. These people have infantile needs and fears. They fear abandonment and they need lost of attention, they are parasitical like infants are. All this wouldn’t be so bad if they were also mentally retarded, but the intellect of an adult and the emotions of a child come together to form EVIL. With power comes responsibility. They have the power of an adult but they have refused the responsibility. They will do as they please and damn the consequences to anyone else.

I never thought that at my age, I would learn how evil childishness is.


Excellent article Steve!

Although I have known some people thru the years that occasionally used baby talk, (none of them anything remotely close to being a socio or psychopath or cluster B, IMO), I am very happy to say that is the one annoying thing my Ex P did NOT do. He did not use baby talk at all–EVER, thank God. I knew I would eventually find one positive thing I could say about him! lol!

…He tended to cycle like Oxy described her son as doing–pleading, sweet, normal, threatening….and he could go thru all the stages in less than 30 minutes and start over again if none of them seemed to be working. It was almost as if he was like the wind, just randomly tossing out different styles and saying whatever came to his mind and if none worked, fine tuning them a bit and going back thru the cycle and tossing them out again until one seemed to stick and work.

.And Henry, LOVED the dog story!!! Jenn

Twice Betrayed

Skylar: * high five girl….great post!

Oxy: yoda…bwaaaaaaahahahahaaa!

Amber: you are so right! When it gets down to the nitty gritty….the people they threw away are the only ones that loved them and stood by them. Mine relies on his mommy, sister and now he has a new mommy….a new wife that my daughter says is very maternal….she has two grown sons….so has just added my x to her kids. But….he’s rebelling, of course…what do bad little teen boys do????? But, her boys won’t let him treat her like crap. *It really has me wondering why he always picks females with young sons tho….this is like his eighth one in a year! >>that I even know of.

Send this to a friend