By | January 10, 2013 65 Comments

Witnessing a psychopathic interaction: seeing, knowing, and empathizing

Have you ever watched a “psychopathic interaction” taking place and wished you were able to approach the non-psychopath and offer her (or him) all of the knowledge you already have on the subject?  I have.

Even if you are in the initial phases of learning, the fact that you are here indicates that you have an idea of what is occurring.  In the interaction I will highlight, the non-psychopath was, sadly, without a clue.  At first, I could not believe what I was seeing.  Although, retrospectively, I fail to see what made it unbelievable to me, since I had lived it.  Nonetheless, the goings on made me uneasy.  I knew just enough about the situation to suspect that psychopathy was at play in the relationship, but had never seen both parties interact prior to the incident.  My relationship with one of the members of the duo was new and I did not know the other much either, so I did not want to pass judgment or assess a situation with which I was only vaguely familiar.  However, I found things all too recognizable.  I knew what I was seeing.

The interaction     

I knew the non-psychopath in the exchange had no idea what was happening to her, as she reacted to each of his words in a manner that unknowingly escalated things.  She was not wrong and her methods would have been successful with someone void of a large number of psychopathic features.  The individual in this pair with the history of abuse, infidelity, questionable judgment, and a host of other psychopathic traits, played the non-psychopath like a fiddle.  I also recall thinking how the topic seemed inappropriate for the location.  Regardless, he persisted.  The more irritated and upset she became, the calmer and more in control he was.  He had all of the answers and delivered them smoothly.  He arrogantly belittled her, but just loud enough for those around to hear, hoping that we would see her “crazy” or unfit.  Perhaps others gave pause, but I knew better.

Finally, through tears and a face filled with immense pain, she scooped up her youngest children, now also in tears, and headed for her car.  He called out to her as she walked away, asking if she was glad that she had managed to “scare” the little ones.  He then shook his head and looked around, feigning embarrassment, but I recognized his satisfaction.  A short time later, I overheard him speaking on the phone, in a gentle and loving tone, indicating to whomever was on the other end that the coast was now clear and that it was “safe” for them to meet later at a distant location.

Of course, I thought.  He intentionally initiated the fight with his wife in order to find an excuse to leave.  Had she not been “yelling” or “screaming,” at him, or “making” the kids cry, he would not have been forced to go.  Had she been a better wife or mother, he would be heading home, rather than out.  He knew he was setting his unsuspecting, caring, wife up for failure and he did so in such a way that ultimately, even she would blame herself for his departure.

The outcome

As time passed, I heard that the discord within the home escalated and that he is no longer in the picture much.  I wanted to reach out to her, but found it hard, being mere acquaintances.  I also suspected that she was not yet ready to receive what we either already know or are learning about.  While I found that frustrating, I was there once, in the not too distant past, as were probably many of us.  Acceptance is a process.  However, I did leave information in trusted hands.

In a perfect world    

Regardless, I empathize with her and wish she did not have to experience what lies ahead, as I am reasonably certain I know what her immediate future holds.  I wish I could move time forward, to a place where her understanding reigns, eliminating the pain.  I would like to tell her that her perfect, beautiful self is not flawed and have her believe it.  I would like to spare her children the manipulation they will further encounter, whether for a time or for good.  I would like to help her march “double time” to the place where she is able to forgive him for her sake, leaving behind the anger and fear that tend to accompany the attacks and aggression.

However, I cannot.  In fact, I suppose this process really should not be rushed.  I think that taking the time to feel and honor every feeling is important.  But it would be nice if we could move it along for those we see suffering as we did.  Now that I recognize these psychopathic interactions, I imagine I’ll always feel this way, upon witnessing such events.  My hopes for her are eventual success along her journey and success for all of us along ours.


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This article brought tears to my eyes, having been in her shoes. God Bless this woman, having her realize in time that she is the abused one, that she didn’t DESERVE any of this man’s awfulness.


Horrible. So sorry you had to witness that and so sorry for that poor woman.

kim frederick

Thanks, Linda. This is a classic, right out of the psychopathic play book.

Ox Drover

Linda, I think it is impossible to go through life and not WITNESS something like this….but it is OUR KNOWING WHAT IT IS that is the new part of it. I can look back in my life and remember MANY instances of just this sort of thing, but I didn’t know what I was witnessing…I have had this sort of thing HAPPEN TO ME and I didn’t know what was happening.

I’ve seen it in my patients when I did home care–with psychopathic but disabled men still abusing their wives from their beds. Sometimes I tried to gently intervene…after all he could no longer chase her down…he couldn’t walk, she finally had the physical upper hand, yet she continued to let him abuse her verbally and I believe physically.

Since retirement, I no longer come in contact with enough people outside my circle of trust that I see much of this any more…but chances are unless there was immediate physical danger I would just pretty much keep my mouth shut. Here on Love Fraud the people who have found their way here are interested in learning about psychopaths, are open even to the CONCEPT of what they are dealing with, but like you, Linda, I think everyone has to learn them at their own pace, their own time, their own way.


Just WoW! That account made my heart break! OMG! Once upon a time, long ago, I was that woman…in a simalar situation with the “father” of my kids! Now here I am all these years later, trying to recover from this spath I am still married to (but he is out of the house!) The Spath entanglements we have been thru, have in addition, given us clairity, contact lenses, to see past “what appears”, to what really is. When I think back over the last three years, I see the GASLIGHTING, the LIES, the COVERT behavior, how he just sat there, STONE COLD, cool & collected, while “trying to plead to a “decent side” I THOUGHT HE HAD? Just aghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! As I read this account, all I could do is just sit here, and wince knowingly, and just shake my head. Little does that lady know the hell, that may await her. If she only knew! I do have to share, that I had an incredible 4 hours spent talking with my “husbands” ex-wife earlier this week!! Yes, I did! Thru a set of circumstances, I did come to be able to talk to her, in a positive, productive situation. Its a long story, but I wanted to share with her what had happened to me in the last three yrs., (she was very gracious, and sympathetic) and to let her know what I had un-covered over this last year, to let her KNOW what she endured for 20+ years while she was married to that monster…was not just your “run-of-the-mill” cheating dirt-bag husband! After about an hour or so, I told her I KNOW WHAT HE DID TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!….here is why I know, the research I have done, and the hell he put you and your kids thru is because he is a sociopath! Several times thru the convo, she had tears welled-up in her eyes. She looked at me knowingly, and compassionately. Told her, it was not my intent to drag her to the past, or involve her in MY hell, but did want her to know her ex-spath STILL has it in for her, AND still has a venomous hatred for her, and to be AWARE of these truths. Wanted her to UNDERSTAND what she was married to, and that she WAS NOT CRAZY!!! Ironically, at the same time, SHE is one of the only people that CAN RELATE to me! It was all a good thing, that her, and I spoke! I did tell her, that i wished someone would’ve warned me, given me a head-up about him…but everybody was either duped by him (again), and/or just turned a blind eye to it. 🙁 I did tell her that had I known, what he did do, (having a long-term affair on her), if someome would have taken me aside……i would’ve NEVER married someone like that! Ughhhh, but that matters not, now. Just so very thankful, in the middle of my hell, there shone a glimmer of healing, to someone else! The spath’s ex-wife sooooooooooo related to what I was sharing with her! As our convo came to a close, she thanked me, and gave me a hug……and to let her know if there was anything SHE could do for me! Ya’ll just can imagine how that blesses MY heart!!! 🙂 In a bittersweet way, our encounter was a balm for us both. I could cry, just sitting here typing this, LOL! but can’t, (i’m in a public library!) Saw this posting, on my phone, and had to come to a library to post, when I saw Linda’s story! I’m not out of the woods yet, we are still “lagally married”, and he has not filed yet. (no way, I do not have the money!) Ironically, his ex-wife offered me HER ATTY’s number, the lady she had, when she was being drug thru court for 18mo. by this rat-bastard! ohhh, would’nt that be ironically KARMA? I haven’t contacted her atty, yet. Hummmm, wonder if she does “chairity cases”? His ex even offered to “preface” my call to her atty with a friendly introductory email! LOL! Once again, am so very grateful to this site! It has been a lifeline for me! Will keep updating, as I can! Best wishes to all! <3

I felt so sad as I read your post.For that was me,for too many years.I was in denial.I wanted to make my dreams of a happy family life work.And as I watched it all crumble down around me,I could only think there is no way I can take care of me and three girls.Besides,he always seemed to figure out when I was making plans to try to leave.It went on and on…seemingly the never ending story!But two separations and 27 yrs later,here I am!

You know….what really aggravates me to this day (and yet I don’t hold it as a grudge because some people don’t know what to do) is that one day after we were already married,a relative on his side of the family,told me that he had THOUGHT about telling me what I was “getting into”!!!


I watched a good friend wither on the vine with a psychopathic husband. I gave her information regarding personality disorders, gave support, encouraged her to go to therapy to work on her issues, told her I would be there for her anytime she chose to leave him. She threatened to leave a lot but never did. I watched him abuse her and I watched her reactions. I watched her adapt to his increasing abuse and manipulation, and I watched her change into a person I can’t even recognize anymore. It got to the point that I couldn’t stay around any longer, after having lived through some of the same and finding my own freedom and healing. I had to detach for my own well being.

I just can’t watch these things go on anymore. I can’t do it. I’ve also come to the conclusion that I can’t save people from pain. They have to figure it out themselves, just like I did.


Linda, this is a superb article and I very much appreciate your posting your insight on this – it is inevitable that we are going to witness “bad behavior.” I”ve seen it in many dozens of instances, especially when I was renting from the colleague. The more deeply into recovery I got, the more clearly others’ behaviors were identifiable. Some people were simply behaving “badly” as a result of ignorance. Others were doing this because they are in some state of disorder.

There is no possible manner to “warn” another victim that they are being set up and abused by someone who fits the profile of a sociopath. There just isn’t. I recollect the colleague wanting to host a sci-fi marathon with his friends and it would have been a wonderful time, indeed! But, his spath girlfriend was in the process of isolating him from his friends and she forbade (yes, disallowed) this event in her own boyfriend’s home. The words out of her mouth were, “There’s not going to be any marathon.” And, she saw that there wasn’t. I was flabberghasted that this ill-mannered woman was going to dictate what her boyfriend would be “allowed” to do, and actually told my colleague (quote), “I had no idea that you weren’t allowed to host the marathon, and I won’t ever mention it, again.”

Whether or not this caused the colleague to examine his situation with this woman is none of my business. But, what it allowed for me was the assurance that I had brought the issue of control up and that he was aware that her dictatorship was visible. End of story.

Would I have altered my course had someone asked me pointed and direct questions about EITHER exspath? Probably not. I was not in the state of mind that I am, today.

So, we are going to see these episodes. It is inevitable, especially considering the percentages of disordered people out there who intend to deliberately inflict harm. It’s been triggering for me in the past, because I could identify with the isolation, dictatorship, control, etc. Today, I’m not triggered as much as I am saddened. Just as you mentioned, Linda, there’s this strong desire to take the man or woman aside and tell them that they are entierly too valuable to waste their time trying to appease a heartless jackass. It’s a desire, but I won’t follow through with this desire.

Again, thank you for this article.

Brightest blessings


I really liked the psychopaths’s second wife. He moved out of our house with a moving van when I was at work and the children at daycare and moved in with her. He even cut off the phone without regard for his own children’s safety. I was just so glad to have him gone and not coming back I was rejoicing.

He also interviewed all the good lawyers in town and so I could not use them. That was not so good for his reputation as a lawyer either…backfired on him and he had to leave town. I felt safe with the children visiting him because of his new wife and thought he had little impact on them. They often did not even want to go. Little did I know he would come back and steal them from me when he gave up on keeping a wife and the children were grown.

I wanted to warn the third wife and did tell her so after their divorce. She appreciated it very much but agree she would not have believed me beforehand. She is a lovely woman too and suggested the three of us get together for lunch. We laughed about how it would have blown his mind but we never did it, I am not in touch with either of them anymore. They are home free with none of his children.

I guess I am now finally home free too with none of his children anymore. Both of them wanted to see him on Christmas even though they knew it would hurt me and my sister was dying. She passed away on January 4th. If they cannot have empathy even under those circumstances they simply do not have any.

I tired to help with the estate but it was so doubly painful I left and will not go back. It is only stuff so let them have it or give it away. I offered my sister a few things I thought she would want that I did not want and she took them. Then she started taking things she thought I would not want without asking. I finally spoke up and she wanted everything I wanted too. Like a vulture she wants to take it all and put it in storage with all of the other stuff she does not have room for. And I was blamed for telling the truth and standing up for myself.

She has over a million dollars and wanted the old leather living room furniture for her daughter who has old furniture because she wants to be a stay home mom and put their daughter in private school while my daughter has to work and still cannot afford private school.

Money breeds greed and contempt. She is appalled at how poor our sister-in law claims to be because they got more millions in a business venture the husbands did together (our brother and her ex-husband).

Then she says things to us (my late sister and I so I guess it is just me now) about how poor she is and she how she could not help my late sister financially before she got cancer. Then after 18 years when I took care of her. she showed up with the big bucks for the last four months of her life like a virtuous loving sister.

Now she does not want any of our late sister’s gorgeous framed prints because she only hangs originals in her three houses but she does not want me to have anything either. She only wants the valuable antiques and will lovingly give me the rest.

I knew when our brother died 4 years ago that I had no family but I kept holding on to some dream. At least I am free now and I do have my husband who finally sees it all for what it is…a happy family hoax.


I need advice on my situation, but I don’t know where to post. Can someone please help me?

Ox Drover

Betsy, “a happy family hoax” BOY that says it right there!!!! HAPPY FAMILY HOAX. Yea, that’s what I had a happy family hoax, or as I called it “let’s pretend we’re a nice normal family” LOL ROTFLMAO

Well, enjoy your husband and the two of you are a HAPPY FAMILY, you have each other. So go out and make some new friends, do some new things, travel and make some memories together. Join a church or volunteer group of some kind, find a purpose in life. Take in foster kids or whatever YOU WANT TO DO. Let the rest of them have the “stuff” it isn’t important. That’s all it is is STUFF…and STUFF isn’t important, I found that out when I fled my home which I loved, I found out that STUFF ain’t worth diddly.

Ox Drover

Changedforever, right here is as good a place as any, post away.


I believe my ex is a full-blown sociopath with all my heart. Before I knew what I was up against, I had two beautiful children with this monster. Back in July, not long after he attacked me and almost broke my neck, I recorded him threatening to kill me, he also threatened to not only kill me, but brand “God forgives & I don’t” on my body if I told anyone about the conversation. I did tell, I called the police. He was arrested, and with good time served, will be out in two weeks from today. I don’t know what to do, I don’t know who I can trust, no family or friends are willing to help me and my babies. I’m in a small town, with little to no resources, and feel like a sitting duck, just waiting for his inevitable wrath. Any questions, encouragement, or words of advice?

Changed, we need to know how old the kids are.


The oldest is 2, and the youngest just turned 1 last month. There is no custody/visitation order in effect at this time. I asked for, and was granted a year-long protection order for myself back in July, but it did not cover the children beyond awarding me full-temporary custody for 90 days. Family law in this state is of the opinion that “just because he is a bad spouse, (we never married) does not make him a bad father”. I beg to differ…


I also forgot to add that I was told more than once a restraining/protection order would be considered a “personal invitation” if one was ever taken out on this “person”.

OK, those are good ages because they don’t have to be in school.

I’m not the expert on family law around here but perhaps someone who is can chime in. From what I’ve gathered, just reading here, there has been at least one person who was able to runaway with her kids BEFORE the court ordered visitations. Without a court order, you aren’t breaking any laws. So my suggestion, just off the top of my head is to disappear before he involves the justice system.

The only other thing I can think of is to do the opposite, stay put but get cameras and audio recording everywhere you go. Upload it to the web, make sure you are “on” at all times. Put gps on the kids, and the pets. Get a trained attack dog, etc…

The objective with the second option is to get him thrown back in jail, for a longer sentence.

Will he have probation or parole? For how long?

Edit: just saw your last post. Yes, that is often the case because it shows fear. But in your case, it works as long as YOU don’t show fear. They love to see the fear in our faces, so practice looking bored and sleepy if you ever encounter him again.


I believe he will receive probation/parole, but do not know for how long. I haven’t received much cooperation or answers from the judicial system where I am anytime I ask questions, or try to voice my concerns. I am never notified of anything beforehand, only after the fact, when I call to inquire about what is, or will happen.

Ok, I hate to ask more personal questions but what is your job/money situation? What can you afford? Can you afford an attorney or someone to demand answers from the cops? because cops like to do the minimum amount of work. They don’t feel important dealing with DV cases. They only feel important when they are looking at a murder case. So it doesn’t inspire them when they see another hysterical woman asking for help.

Also, if you are good looking you need to dress up and look awesome so the cops will pay attention to you. Not kidding.


Would that be the “grey/gray rock” response I read about here?

Looking bored and sleepy, yes, that is the gray rock response.

Looking awesome to get attention from the cops, is not gray rock. Cops also respond to shiny things.

Have you read the gray rock article? It’s good advice but really I think you are past boring him away. He’s already attacked you and you outed him. In his mind, the game is afoot. He’s loving this.

Gray rock should still be implemented if you happen to run into him or he comes to your house and you can’t get away. But it can’t be your main strategy. Think of it as an adjunct strategy.

Your goal is to put physical distance between you because that’s the only way you’ll be safe.


I was a stay at home mom before this happened, and he controlled the finances, leaving us with nothing. I applied for what state assistance I could receive, which wasnt much. I am working a low paying job, which enables me to make ends meet, just barely. I have been told that I am attractive, and do my best to keep myself up, but it doesnt seem to be of much help at the moment. I seem to be stuck between wanting to run and hide, (if I am able to) or how to stay and fight (if I am forced to).

Who takes care of the kids while you work?
Do you have family in some other part of the country that you are close to? Parents?


My oldest daughter has been helping me with childcare, but will be moving out with her boyfriend soon. And sadly, my family has turned their backs to me during my involvement with this individual. I spent every penny I had to spare back in August to go to them for help, but was turned away from every door I knocked on. So I returned to the only place I had to go at the time, which was exactly where I started, and where I am now. He was heavily into drugs, and I was trying to get him to stop, but once my family found out about what he was doing, they disowned me. He thought I was trying to set him up with law enforcement, and that is why he threatened to kill me; to protect his drug use, and drug-dealing friends. And based on that, I could have others that think they have a score to settle with me…all based on his paranoia, and lies.

I think you’re low on options. Before you go to a women’s shelter, try the cops again. Try to be calm cool, collected. Dress flatteringly but conservatively. Be a damsel in distress but with authority. I know it’s not easy.

Tell them that you are in danger and want the details of his parole. You have the case file right? Bring it. Ask them for help. There isn’t much they can do except to be aware that he is out there. Part of the reason that I said to contact them is because sometimes spaths will contact them first. Mine did. And cops will believe the first person to contact them. So just making them aware of who you are will help in case he decides to use cops as his minions like mine did.

The next thing you need to do is contact a women’s shelter and get resources from them. You’ll probably have to move in to a shelter for a while, just to stay safe.

Ox Drover


See if your state has a VINE program, I think every state does, it is the victims advocate information service…they tell you when an inmate is due for release etc. and what the conditions of parole/probation etc are.

Also Call a DV shelter and see if they have an attorney there you can talk to, or if they can send you to a shelter in another state.

My gut instinct is to tell you to RUN BAMBI RUN and get away from him. It is quite possible if you run and are gone he will not try to find you. There is another gal here on LF who took her baby and ran and is in a shelter in another state. She also first went to her family, who would not help her either, they were as bad as the father of her child. She is living in a shelter with her baby until she can get out into low income housing.

So if you are NOT going to be prosecuted by the law for kidnapping (and I would check that out legally) then I would run before he gets a visitation order and you have to turn those babies over to him and have contact with him the rest of your life. The “family courts” in general are not very wise in my opinion.

You are in a bad position, between a rock and a hard place, and the devil and the deep blue sea. You are in my prayers! God bless.

Excellent blog. It’s frighteningly amazing to know how many of these beings are out and about. Thank you for sharing this….and I agree with you, so often the “new to this ordeal” (no matter how long) may not be able to “see” our evaluations. We simply have not been taught how to recognize and then handle this presence in our lives.


I see my life as grand after reading the above excerpts. God help you.

Divorced from Gaslighter

Changed Forever:

1) Try to find out when the ex will be released.

2) Go to your local housing office (call and make an appointment — you will be treated better.) Ask them what areas of the country currently have little to no wait time for HUD housing vouchers (“Section 8”). As a general rule, counties with no major city within commuting distance that are located in areas without rapid population growth and that have a nearly all-white population are the areas with the shortest waiting list. These areas usually have decent to above-average public schools as well. For example, Southern California, NYC, Detroit would all have endless waits for housing assistance. But back in 2006, the wait for a housing voucher in many parts of northern Arkansas was about a month. A housing voucher lets you rent anywhere somebody will rent to you — it is not a “housing project” filled with the doomed, the screwed, and the dysfunctional. HUD even has programs where you can use the housing voucher to buy a house, or even build a brand new house.

3) Your family may very well be terrified of this guy. There have been numerous cases in which the psycho ex killed his ex-wife AND killed the kids, the ex MIL, the ex sister in law, etc. Basically, anybody who was in the same house with the ex wife was in the crosshairs. If your family is not willing or able to help you, it is good that you have found this out NOW. Under these circumstances, I would advise you to move to a small town (but NOT a remote rural area) at least a ten-hour drive away from anywhere the ex either lives or might be likely to move.

4) ELAINE means “Early legal advice is never expensive.” But be careful, any local attorney may tell you that there is no need for you to move out of the area, because if you move to a different jurisdiction, he doesn’t get the case. Try Legal Aid. It sounds as though you qualify. If you can’t get a Legal Aid appointment, dress up pretty, get a baby sitter, and go to the local courthouse from 9:30 to about 2:00. Go to the cafeteria and find an attorney or group of attorneys killing time, and ask them questions that you have formulated ahead of time.

5) My first impression, without knowing the full particulars of your situation, is that you have a narrow window of opportunity to flee your current jurisdiction with the children BEFORE the ex gets out of prison and files for custody. If you flee AFTER he files, it’s kidnapping, and YOU go to prison. If you have a crappy job and no family support network, you truly have nothing holding you there.

6) Do not stir the pot with the ex. Let him talk to the kids on the phone, give him your address, because he is going to find it anyway, and it looks bad for you in court if he is standing in front of the judge with tears running down his face and saying that you ran off with the kids and left no forwarding address and no phone number. When he asks why you moved to Hooterville, tell him that it was because the cost of living is lower there. File for whatever welfare benefits you are entitled to, but do NOT seek any sort of alimony or child support.

7) Once you get to Hooterville, join whichever church in town appeals to you. If you have no particular preference, why not join one of the churches containing part or all of the higher end of the local socioeconomic spectrum. Those people will have connections to the local police force, the local judges, etc., that might come in handy for you later.

8) To repeat: no matter how stressed out you are, start making a list of things to do and start getting it done. Your ex does not necessarily have to wait until he is out of prison to file for custody/visitation, and there are various fathers’ rights organizations that may give him free assistance.

Ox Drover

Great advice divorced from a gaslighter…and *IF** it is legally okay RIGHT THIS MINUTE for her to flee and not be charged with kidnapping, I would encourage her to do so, if it meant getting on a bus wit the kids as far as the ticket would take her and then going to a salvation army shelter.

It can be extremely difficult for an ex con to find her if she keeps her head down and especially if the kids are not school age. If she applies for aid for dependent children though the state welfare office will hunt him down for support to repay it, so it means no state money for the kids.

California (northern) is a good place too and California is a good state to help women flee domestic violence, even up to changing names and SS#s.


Thank you ladies and gentlemen. Your advice and prayers for myself and my children are appreciated more than you know, and have not fallen on deaf ears, or blind eyes. I have already contactd the VINE program, and was told I have been registered for notification upon his release. I’ve tried reaching out to family once again, but none of my calls have been answered, or messages returned at this time. I did some researching online, and found out in my state, (Nebraska) that as long as there is no custody/visitation order in place, I am free to go anywhere in the country with my children legally. I’ve started to get the ball rolling, and will be giving extra pushes to keep it going. May I ask why you advise me to NOT seek child support? I found out today that his boss (and friend from childhood) gave him his old (well paying) job back, and he has been on work-release since two weeks before Christmas. Getting some support would definitely help, but I would gladly give it up if it kept him out of our lives…completely, and permanently. As many prayers, and positive/good thoughts are, and will always be welcome as we travel on this path to recovery. God bless each and every one of you!

Ox Drover


1. He will never willingly pay support, IF YOU GET ANY you will have to be in and out of court all the time.

2. If he does pay some support, hhe will petition for visitation and THAT IS THE LAST THING YOU WANT IN THE WORLD

3. Petitioning for suppoort which you will never get will keep hhim in your life, IN YOUR KIDS’ LIVES


My advice is TAKE YOUR KIDS AND RUN AND HIDE, do not let ANYONE know where you are, that includes your family who ahve turned their backs on you, and that includes any friends.

Essentially you need to put you and your kids into the “witness protection program” and DISAPPEAR AS FAR AND AS FAST AS POSSIBLE.

Make it where he has to spend tons of money to find you, find you in another state IF HE CAN.

Try to not have any utilities in your name. Use your initials, or change your name legally. No face book or other social media.

Use a cell phone that is a prepaid minutes, no account of any kind that can be traced.

When I was in hiding I had my bank account iin my INITIALS, and when I bought a vehicle I licensed it in my initials J. D. Alexander rather than Joyce Alexander. I lived at a place the electric was in a friend’s name. But you may need to have it in your name “initials” Or use your middle name like J. Diane Alexander. If possible get your Drivers license in your initials, or find out if there is a “confidential” way you can have the address NOT where you live. Try to make it so that a private investigator can’t find you with a simple search on the net. You want to DISAPPEAR….and if he finds you, then USE THE THREAT OF CHILD SUPPORT and see if he will give up rights in exchange for no support. BUT ONLY if he can find you first. RUN BAMBI RUN!!!!

Divorced from Gaslighter

If you need the money, apply for TANF (welfare) or whatever they call it now. Yes, the gov’t will take the money out of his paycheck, but you can just say, “Geewillikers, Ex! I didn’t know Uncle Sugar was gonna garnish your wages!” Do NOT ask the state of Nebraska for ANYTHING. Go wherever you are going to go, and when you get there, then start applying for benefits.

Your ex will perceive a court case to force him to pay child support/alimony as a personal attack. Much more personal than having the government garnish his wages. Many men in your ex’s situation will quit their jobs and work off the books in order to avoid having their wages garnished, and to avoid child support obligations imposed by a court (which are generally based on a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s earnings. They will do this even if it reduces their own standard of living significantly. It’s a “game” and they want to win.

Child support is actually a complex formula that takes into account who is paying for daycare, the income of each parent, who is paying for health care, etc. But many men would rather work off the books and earn less money if it means that the ex-wife has to suffer, or if she has to come crawling to him every time she needs car repairs or new shoes for the children.

Even if he is making a fortune, I would suggest taking welfare payments to support the three of you until it makes sense for you to re-enter the workforce. Unless you have good skills, the cost of childcare for a two year old and a one year old, plus wardrobe and commuting costs may exceed your take-home pay.

I would also look into low-cost counseling for yourself to help you understand how you ended up with Mr. Jerk. Based on the ages of your children, I am assuming that you are fairly young — you’ll probably end up getting married again, and you want to make sure that next time around, you end up with someone normal.

When you move, be careful about telling everybody in town that your ex is a monster. All the monsters in the new town will want to date you, because they will know that you aren’t good at screening out devils, and because they will know that you can be manipulated into staying in a relationship for quite a while no matter how much you are abused.

In terms of moving, you might want to consider Texas, which would be far enough away to give you a degree of safety, and has a reasonably decent economy, so that in a few years you can find a decent job. Other areas to consider would be northern Arkansas, maybe the Knoxville, TN area, and other areas of Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

If you Ex is out on work release, he may be saving money for his court fight, so I would hustle to get out of there. He is probably only allowed to leave the prison to go to and from work, which would make it difficult for him to consult with a family law attorney.

It’s also possible to go to the courthouse to see if he has already filed against you, but you haven’t been served yet. Some people file, and then hold off on having the papers served for a while.

Let the government go after him for support — you should avoid provoking him. I think that there used to be provisions in at least a few states that they wouldn’t go after the guy for support if there was a domestic violence situation that might be exacerbated. I’m not sure about this, though. Talk to the welfare people. Call on a Tues/Wed/Thurs.

You might also want to talk to the Domestic Violence shelter people, as well as to various churches. Some of the denominations run “shelters” where you have your own apartment and go to college, etc. They help with childcare, etc. Texas has at least one showplace of a program. Google “Buckner”. They are Baptist, but I doubt that you have to be Baptist to get in.


Dear Changedforever, oh as i read this thread after you began posting, my heart is so bleeding and breaking for you! Am familiar with your situation, as the “father” of my kids was a total deadbeat. That was 30+ years ago, and my options were very limited, to almost zero. The advice from the wonderful people here, is the best and honest answers you will get anywhere. I know it is so very difficult! To a certain degree, you have to turn hard, and harden yourself to anything that gets in your way, of your survival, and that of your babies! By turning hard, i mean dont take anything personal, and do what you have to do! Family? That can be a joke. Your children are your family! The advice given here is awsome! I wish and hope the best for you and your babies! Lord, please help and protect this Momma and her babies… Jesus’s Mighty Name. Amen………..

ancient heart

ChangedForever, I hope you’re doing ok. Your instincts are your best gift for yourself and your children to stay safe. If you’re unable for any reason to leave the area, moving into any safe shelter environment is probably the safest place for you. If you aren’t able to relocate to a shelter or another location, and don’t have the means to purchase a handgun, please purchase some pepper spray or mace and go to the police and ask them to help you with self-defense techniques to protect yourself and your children. Ask the police to do regular drive-bys so their presence is visible. Keep a bag packed for a quick get-away. Assuming you have a car, keep an emergency bag or suitcase in your car and get spare car keys. A guard dog can be a lifesaver as an alarm system to give you time to lock and load.


ChangedForever, there are a number of resources available to help you, but they don’t fall out of the sky – you have to go after these resources with tooth and nail. I know this from personal experience.

I would strongly urge you to apply for EVERY available program through Social Services, and this would include job training/education for yourself, food assistance, heating assistance, medical assistance for yourself and your children, etc. It’s a maddening dance that is intrusive and can cause someone to feel extreme shame – I sure felt this way because I was SO ashamed that I had been set up to enter into a legal contract of marriage by a predator who intended to rob me blind and leave me for dead. I was so ashamed that I actually bawled in the Welfare office in front of the case-worker.

Through strong encouragement and determination, I realized that this shame-core was following me into EVERY aspect of my survival and recovery, including asking for help! It is NO sin or crime to ask for help. Asking for assistance does NOT make us “bad people” or invalidate us as human beings.

One place to start this process would be contacting your local domestic violence hotline – anyone who has survived spath entanglements has been abused, on some level. The volunteers who man the phone lines have lists of resources (immediate and long-term) available, and it just takes courage to make that call. DO IT – for your children and for yourself.

Brightest and most sincere blessings of support and encouragement to you

Tea Light

Dear ChangedForever, you’re in my prayers, wishing you strength and courage and a safe and peaceful future with your little ones. God bless.

Ox Drover

Changed forever,

The advice to get pepper spray or bear spray is good, but I will tell you something almost as good or maybe better and CHEAP is WASP spray, it shoots a STREAM of poison about 20 feet, and it is impossible to spray yourself iin the face There are two kiinds of it, and one shooots a stream and one a mist, get te SPRAY STREAM kind. It is cheap, 4-5 for 2 cans usually and you can keep them high enough your kids can’t get them and CLOSE ENOUGH YOU CAN. Keep one can in every room and one in your car. It may not be a gun, but believe me it is LEGAL (pepper spray is not leegal in all areas) and CHEAP and EFFECTIVE. Believe me if you hit him in the face, he will not be able to come after you. LOCKED DOORS always and sleep in the same room with your kids and have a chair under the knob so even if he gets into your house he still has to come throug another door to get to you. Keep your car keys in your hands at all times, a fanny pack around your waist with cell phone, keys etc. is a good idea as well as a few bucks and a “run bag” with copies of all your important documents, and COPES of those documents at a friend’s house or a lock box somewhere….car title, insurance documents, birth certificates of you and the kids, SS card etc. and CASH, whatever amount you can stash. Keep your car gas tank never below half empty, and full if you can. Get a LOCKING GAS CAP, and check it before you start your engine so if it has been pried off do NOT start your car before you have someone check the tank for sugar or other problem. Also check your exhaust pipe to make sure there is not a potato crammed up there as that will ruin your engine if you start it. They can do all kinds of dirty tricks to hurt us so we need to be AWARE of some of those dirty tricks. Do a complete walk around on your car before you start it or move it, park it inside a locked garage if you can. CAUTION but not TERROR….and I know that’s hard, but most of the time I can accomplish it. When I get iinto the terror mode, I try to bring myself up short and go back to just caution. God bless.


Ox Drover, again…more good, practical advice! I agree with all of your tips! Even now, wherever I go, I usually carry a small box-cutter in my back pocket, everytime I step out of my door, I scan the street. Get to my car, yep…check it out before I get in it. If I’m gone for a while, and if I get home after dark, I check the door to see if it is still locked, once I get in, do a walk-thru to see if things are ok. upon going to bed, yep…knives are placed thru out the house, and under the pillow. I’m still on good term with the spath’s father for now. I’m ok with that, ’cause it helps me to keep tabs on when he has days off from his job. The days he is off, I am extremely on guard! Hell’uva way to live. What makes things even worse is the fact the “devil’s spawn was/is hooked up with this crusty scab that lives across the street from me!!! Soooo, i may have an additional pair of eyes on me! Grrrrrrrr! Unfortunately, when we do get divorced, it will get ugly, I know that. As long as that fiend is alive, I will be looking over-the-shoulder. I hope and pray, ChangedForever gets the help and assistance she so desparately needs! Again, all the advice that has been offered to her here is excellent! I pray a legion of Guardian Angels for her and her Children. <3

Divorced from Gaslighter

OxDrover: ChangedForever’s younger child is only one year old. Nobody can live on high alert for 16 or 17 years, and even if SHE could handle it, it would be a hellish childhood for the children. She needs to move at least 500 miles away. 750 miles would be even better.

Ox Drover

Divorced from a gasligter, I TOTALLY AGREE, if you will go back through my posts to her, I have advised her to RUN BAMBI RUN unless it would make her guilty of kidnapping, in which case SHE would be in prison at some point and her kids with the P….I also suggest these things UNTIL SHE CAN RUN, and sometimes people DO have to live on high alert for long periods of time, if you will read the stuff I wrote in my review of the books on being stalked, there have been some stalking cases of SERIOUS stalkers that lasted over 40 years. You do what you have to do. I’ve been stalked now for quite some time and I can TESTIFY it isn’t fun, and I expect to be stalked the rest of my life as long as my son is alive. Whether he is in prison or not, I just have to make myself as safe as possible.

Radar on, I’d also get some of the WASP SPRAY if I were you as well, that’s great stuff! They used to make oven cleaner in a squirt top can (not the spray stuff like hair spray) and it is PURE LYE, will cause almost instant and permanent BLINDNESS if it gets into their eyes, when I lived in the Miami area I carried it in my car as many people had been car jacked in my area, one of the guys who worked for my husband and several nurses I knew…by the time I left there every nurse in the hospital where I worked had a can in her car. LOL They quit making it in that type of can, so I moved over to WASP spray where I can’t legally carry a gun.

Divorced from Gaslighter,
I just wanted to say that I’m so happy you were here to help Changed Forever. Your contributions are noteworthy and maybe they need to be made into an article so people can find them easily. Though some people come here for moral support, most of us need concrete strategies for surviving the spaths and that’s what you provided.

I hope you have the time and energy to submit your ideas to Donna.

Ox Drover

Sky, I agree Divorced from Gaslilghter’s suggestions were great!

Divorced from Gaslighter

Thank you, Skylar and Ox Drover for the compliments. I would be gratified to think that my advice made a difference in someone’s life.

Changed Forever — I’ll be out of town for a few days, and I will have only intermittent access to the internet, but it did occur to me that if you find a place to move, one of your local churches might have some sort of “honor fund” to help you get there. I don’t know if most churches still do this, but they used to have money set aside for people whose cars broke down enroute to somewhere else. They would lend people enough to get the car repaired & some food and gas money, and the people were supposed to pay the money back as soon as they could. I think that most of the time, the money was paid back.

Keep us posted on what you decide to do. Obviously, you don’t want to post too much detail, but try to check in every day or two, so that we’ll know that you are OK.


Just checking in to let everyone know that although I have been trying to follow as much advice you wonderful people have given me to the best of my ability, I am not having a great deal of luck. It seems that I am also a victim of being ostracized from most of the community, thanks to the reputation my ex created for me. I’m still doing my best to vanish, but it doesn’t look like I will be able to pull it off before my ex is released with NO parole/probation. If it wasn’t for my two beautiful boys, I would pretty much be giving up. So far all I seem to be encountering harsh criticism, and closed doors. And if I understood the DV shelter here correctly, there is not much they would be willing to do unless/until he puts myself, or my boys in some kind of danger. Thank you all for your advice, words of encouragement, and most of all, prayers!!! Still trying to fight the good fight, even though I seem to be outnumbered in this small community…

Ox Drover

Changed, is there any possibilty you can leave that community and run before he gets out?

wait a minute, what part of choking you and threatening you does the DV shelter not “get” as danger? He was arrested and imprisoned for it, so obviously the police and the courts saw it as danger. But the DV shelter doesn’t think that there is danger?

I didn’t realize that the slate was wiped clean just because he went to jail. Is there like some kind of rule that says he’s been punished therefore he is reformed?

Go back to the DV shelter and make them see reason.

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