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By January 15, 2016 37 Comments Read More →

Labels and Lists Might Not Help

 

ExPsychopathCover

Hello, Lovefraud Readers. A quick reintroduction: I’m Helen Beverly, an author and psychotherapist who writes under the name H.G. Beverly. I was married to a psychopath for over a decade and am still dealing with the challenges of raising our children “together” in a society that struggles to deal with psychopathy. I’ve written some posts about those challenges that you can find archived here on Lovefraud. Also, I published my memoir, The Other Side of Charm, in 2014 and am now releasing my next book one chapter at a time. You can find it here and on my blog at hgbeverly.com. It’s called My Ex is a Psychopath, But I Am Strong and Free.

This book details my healing journey despite failed systems that left me in constant contact with my ex. I talk about how I learned to manage the situation and how I have recovered peace and happiness despite obstacles. Look for a new chapter here each week on Fridays. Here is the second chapter.

Chapter Two
Labels and Lists Might Not Help

For my purposes, I use the term psychopath. Because while I can’t solve the national challenge of aligning our labels and definitions of psychopathy, sociopathy, and ASPD here today, I still need to talk about what we’re dealing with in these conscienceless people. Here are the Symptoms of Psychopathy, according to Robert Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist:

  • glib and superficial
  • egocentric and grandiose
  • lack of remorse or guilt
  • lack of empathy
  • deceitful and manipulative
  • shallow emotions
  • impulsive
  • poor behavior controls
  • need for excitement
  • lack of responsibility
  • early behavior problems
  • adult antisocial behavior

If a person displays these symptoms, he or she may be a psychopath. But what does “need for excitement” look like in a 24 year old urban caucasian male vs. a 32 year old rural hispanic female? Can they possibly have varying thresholds for excitement? Everyone is different. So we can’t expect all psychopaths to look the same. There are rich psychopaths and poor psychopaths. Psychopaths who like to surf and psychopaths who aspire to run a drug empire. Psychopathic preachers, teachers, doctors, nurses, and guides. And the bottom line is that we usually just can’t tell who they are.

And they’re not crazy.

I know when you hear “psycho,” you’re probably thinking crazy. Psychopaths are thought of as serial killers or Wall Street executives who rape women, murder competitors, and steal millions. Crazy. But Hollywood has misled us by playing up these stereotypes. A psychopath can also live in a small cottage on a quiet street where he enjoys rocking on the front porch with a dog at his feet. A psychopath can be the woman who taught in your Sunday School for the past fifteen years—the one who rushed for Band-aids and ice any time a child scraped a knee. A psychopath can be the nicest, most married-for-life person you know.

So if you’re looking for a strange feeling to stir in your gut when a psychopath settles on you with a cold gaze, you might not find it. If you’re thinking that a background check will keep your organization safe, I’d say you’re wrong.

The scary truth is that by the time you’ve pulled out your list of warning signs, it’s often much too late.

Why? Because even though psychopaths all have some things in common, many if not most of them are really good at hiding the behaviors that would give them away. What you see instead is a well-oiled facade; the man of your dreams.

 

My ex is a Midwestern charmer who showed up at my door for our first date in a soft flannel shirt tucked into his jeans. When I looked out at him, he ducked his head to the side bashfully and looked up with playful eyes; as he admired me for a moment, I could feel their radiating heat.

I felt a rush.

He stepped almost instantly into the doorframe with me to come inside, pressing but not really pressing himself against me as he looked down with eyes that I thought were now glowing with flirtatiousness. Only in hindsight can I see that he was enjoying his own power more than any imagined connection with me. He owned my responses in those moments and loved making me jump—the giddiness of control—because everything I did or experienced right then was in reaction to his next move. And he loved making moves, like staring down at me for a second there in the doorframe just to watch me become overwhelmed.

“Hi.”

“Hi.”

He touched my elbow as he went on by, and his touch felt alive.
Does that little encounter sound like I was meeting a psychopath? To me it does, but only because I can see now what I couldn’t see then—the thrill of control, the lack of boundaries, the bold moves. At the time, it felt like a dream. Like a romance. Coming close, finding me irresistible, giving me a rush up my spine and back down to my toes, looking playful, and stepping right past me into my home. There’s that irresistible sensation of being boldly taken by someone we want to be taken by. This was the beginning of something like that.

 

After our first date, we never missed a day together again—unless work took him out of town, and then we’d talk on the phone all night. When he was home, we planted flowers and took long walks and held hands as we chased the sunset. We waded through creeks arm in arm and watched the tadpoles swirl around our feet. We took long evening naps after cocktails and made dinner at midnight before sleeping again—always side by side. Matching bodies, matching hearts, matching breath.

I felt so safe by him at night.

 

These little stories illustrate why it’s hard or even impossible to tell whether someone’s a psychopath in few or even many dates—and that’s what a lot of people want to know. They want to know how to tell. But what kind of warning list would you keep in your pocket?

  • A person might be a psychopath if he/she makes you feel incredibly good about yourself.
  • A person might be a psychopath if he/she is very, very attracted to you. Like very.
  • A person might be a psychopath if he/she understands you like no one before.
  • A person might be a psychopath if he/she seems like your soulmate.
  • A person might be a psychopath if he/she makes you feel protected.

Check out that list. Are we identifying a psychopath or the romance of a lifetime?

Maybe I’m scaring you. That’s not the point. The point is that you’re probably going to run into a psychopath in your life, and odds are you won’t know it. So don’t blame yourself and shame yourself for the next 50 years if you get taken. Instead, invest your energy in recovering from the dark experiences that inevitably come if you stick around for what’s next.

So considering that psychopaths all look a little different, are hardly ever labeled, and are likely to fool you, what is the one big warning sign you can look for if you’re dating a psychopath?

Martha Stout says that the number one red flag is the pity play. I agree. If someone you’re dating inspires your pity repeatedly and then asks you in those empathetic moments to do something, you are probably being played. You might be asked to forgive him for not showing up last night because he’s so incredibly sorry and it hurts so much to make you upset, so please don’t be upset, please because his last girlfriend was so psych-controlling and he just can’t exist like that anymore and so please don’t be upset because it hurts him. It’s just been so hard for him to recover from that last one.

I’m being sarcastic here, so you might not feel the kind of empathy you’d feel if a psychopath was presenting the story.

There’s always a hard childhood, a difficult ex, a failed relationship, an unfair boss, a lost job, or a betrayal that can be mourned, discussed, and empathized with. We all have difficult experiences. Empathy is really, really good; but when we’re empathetic, we’re also very open and vulnerable. So the warning sign is when there’s consistently a need coming out of these “pity” moments, especially if you’re being exploited (giving and never receiving), and especially if you’re uncomfortable with the request. And don’t just watch for it in your own relationship—watch to see if he/she does it with everyone else.

Otherwise, your psychopathic partner might be entirely charming. Perfect. Except that while they ask for your empathy, you can never expect theirs. But honestly, I can’t say “lack of empathy” is a reliable warning sign, because so many psychopaths can fake it so well.

It’s a tricky situation. Yes, there are consistent patterns of behavior to expect from psychopaths. Common symptoms. But considering the natural differences between humans combined with the current professional confusion and debate over diagnostic labels, we live in a nation in which the legal, mental health, and protective institutions are not capable of identifying psychopaths very well—let alone you or any other person in love. If you begin to suspect you’re dating a conscienceless person, you need clarity despite chaos. You need understanding, recovery, and options to protect yourself.

I was in that exact situation, but I didn’t realize my ex was a psychopath until after I left. All those torturous years and all that education—and I still couldn’t see it. Not one of the many professionals involved in my ongoing divorce could see. But I had my “a-ha” moment while reading a book, and it changed my life direction. It empowered me, because I could finally understand and begin to alter the dynamic between us. That’s what I hope to share with you here—so that you can begin to care for and protect yourself, even if the world’s still catching up.

Author’s Note:

Check back next Friday for Chapter Three: There are Degrees of Conscience and Empathy. Or find my full memoir, The Other Side of Charm, at major booksellers.

If you have questions, please contact me through my website. Many thanks!



37 Comments on "Labels and Lists Might Not Help"

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  1. Bev says:

    As always, a STELLAR post.

    I still question the P (or SP or whatever they are ‘called’) in my own life, really is a P. I know that he is, in my very being, but then, every so often, I second guess myself.

    Thank you again for reinforcing what I already know. We ‘survivors’ really seem to need reinforcing.

    🙂



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    • freedom2live says:

      Hi Bev, I also keep questioning. I have times when I believe completely and then remember the public façade. It just shocks me that he really was that awful in private.

      I seem to crave validation now for my perceptions of what was really happening. I keep having moments of I thought this but really it was that. So confusing.



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      • Bev says:

        I think that it is normal for us to question and second guess. I mean, we simply cannot relate to the SPs.

        Like you say, how can they be two (or more) completely different people, depending on the situation? Out in public they are whatever they have to be to continue their ruse.

        Confusing…yes…like I said, we cannot understand or even fathom the depth of their deception.

        I just want to protect myself from any more and turn my brain off when it won’t stop trying to figure it all out!



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        • freedom2live says:

          Yes! Turn off my brain! It seems to take such a conscious effort to not think about this. I am divorced now for just over a year with still some sporadic contact.

          Mostly regarding alimony because he does not pay regularly. If I am not very careful I get sucked in to the crazy exchanges.

          It is so hard to remain silent. I have so many things that I realize now that make me want to scream at him. I am mostly good at just writing them and deleting.



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      • NoLongerShocked says:

        @Bev and @ freedom2live

        We all go through it, and forums and blogs where others validate that we experienced the mask slipping and that the P really IS a P help immeasurably.

        Part of the problem is the invalidation of others in our off-line daily lives – they didn’t see it, they didn’t experience it, they’ve never heard of psychopathy and they much prefer the warm fuzzy charm of the P – at best they ignore our experiences and at worst they’re turned against us.

        I should have kept a journal from the ‘fog’ days onwards, but didn’t. It would have backed up the reality I doubted later. The rabbit-hole, the bizareness. Once I realised the importance of a journal though I began it there and then. It wasn’t perfect – it was based on memories. But for a while each day I built up those memories, adding little details that would sudddenly come back to me. Now I can look back and say, ‘Yes, I remember that! That expression, those subtleties that no one else saw, that action!’

        The other thing to do is to research endlessly. And read. It’s all part of the journey. Other people’s experiences suddenly ring a bell, or fill in a missing piece of the jigsaw.



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        • Bev says:

          That is interesting what you say about some preferring the warm fuzzy charm pf the SP.

          That is my son (the SP) to a tee. He does know how to charm the pants off certain people and how also to say just the right thing that the situation or person demands. Uncanny, really.

          Interesting indeed, also, you speak of those facial expressions and / or nuances and gestures that my son has that are creepy or not quite right…unsettling me to my core at times. I don’t think too many people notice those…



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        • Bev says:

          I also wanted to say thank you for your post!

          I have researched and read on the subject and always feel like I must do more of both. It helps me immensely.

          So many of other peoples’ experiences with a P or SP smack of my own and ring several bells!

          I have witnessed my son’e mask slip too many times to count. It is almost constant, now that I am aware that he is disordered. He cannot even hide it from me in the slightest, yet to others who don’t know him, they find him unique and I dare say, even wonderful…as long as they do not spend any length of time with him nor really get to really know him.

          Cheers again 🙂



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          • Renega says:

            Bev,

            I’m so sorry for what you’re experiencing. I only understand in a tertiary way, through my relationship with my ex’s mother.

            She’s expressed the same feelings you have. Almost verbatim.

            I just wanted you know that your courage and compassion in admitting these things…it’s lifesaving. Your DIL and your grandkids NEED someone to say…yes…you’re not imagining this. It exists. And we have to grieve it and protect ourselves and live in spite of it.

            My mom-in-law saved my sanity. She was the one who told me what she’d long suspected and hoped against. He was as vile to her during the discard as he was to me, but I realize she…absorbed that by standing her ground and not excusing his behavior. He’d never have turned on her if she hadn’t tried to hold him to his word.

            Thank you, Bev. I know courage like yours often goes unacknowledged, but know that while you can’t save your son or spare the world from interacting with him…your compassion does form a shield of protection. Much love and many prayers, and I hope that all those things you can’t look forward to with him will be found in your grandchildren.

            Rene

          • Bev says:

            Thank you.You are very nice to say all of that.

            It is my hope that I can help someone or anyone who have dealt with or have to deal with SPs.

            I was really never in denial about my son, although I was alone in seeing who he really was / is when he was first diagnosed at about 6 years old. Up until then, life was miserable and hell with him. Things were always just not right. He was never happy…never like anyone else to be happy or have fun either. He always ruined everything. He always lied, stole, pretended to be someone other than we knew he was. He even killed an animal and likely would have killed more, had I ever gotten him more…it was all so difficult to fathom. He even destroyed our so called ‘family’ with a horrible lie that he escalated and escalated until we could not deal with him any more. Why us?, I used to think…

            All I want to do now is help others who deal with these people. In whatever way that I can. I know these people really do exist…and destroy lives, because I have lived it.

            I am surprised to hear about your mother in law…yet I am not. If it can happen with my DIL, it can happen with another one…like you. Thank goodness for your MIL!!

            Thank you again. I cannot interact with my grandchildren yet…the nasty custody battle and split is still ongoing and I will not participate. Those little ones do not need to carry the burden of their father’s past and how I feel about him (saying that HE is a father sickens me, because it is not genuine) on their backs. I must maintain no contact with any of them for now. Hopefully, someday, I can connect with them again.

          • Renega says:

            Bev,

            Did not realize the full scope of your trauma – just read the details in another comments thread. Her story is a bit different than yours in that her ex-husband was also disordered, and when she became ill he moved the children out of state. That was the early 80’s (my ex was a small child), and it took her several years to locate them.

            She tried to get custody…got his sister but not him. So by the time they re-started a relationship, he was a troubled young adult ‘trying to turn it around’. He joined the military and most of her contact with him was short term (leave, phone calls, etc.). So she did have hope…until she saw his behavior up close and for an extended period of time…AFTER I had entered the picture. She said that his ‘bringing home a lovely woman’ made her think he had worked it out after all. Now we both see that we were played against each other to achieve credibility on both sides. “Well his mother is lovely”…”Well his wife is lovely.”

            The kindest thing you can do is not meet his victims…because it does provide cover. We [the women] think that it indicates intimacy and trust…but for these people it’s only part of the game. His uncle is doing the same thing your husband is doing…’but he’s family!’…and it’s an ongoing pain for his mother, who feels like tolerating any of his crap just encourages him further. She, like you, struggles with that.

            What a shitshow these people create :-/

            I’ll hope for someday for you too…but totally understand the need to be completely removed from the drama.

          • Bev says:

            Exactly.

            My husband and I have been through a veritable shit show. We had our son when we were very young and had no idea what was going on.Things were off from the day that he was born and they went downhill from there. We finally put him into care at about 8 years of age. By then, he had done so much damage to us that we just could not do it any more.

            He was also first diagnosed a SP in the 80s…no internet…we were not even aware what a SP really meant. I think that we literally blocked it out and even more so over the years.

            Fast forward to his 16th year, when I made the mistake of us reconnecting with him. (We had kept in touch with his foster mother over the years, where he was diagnosed a second time, but we never really talked about that). Reconnecting was a goal that we had always thought we should pursue. That’s what families are supposed to do, right? Not knowing what it meant, or not believing or even forgetting his diagnosis over time…we thought that we had just been too young and inexperienced parents. That it was all our fault. So, we saw him off and on over the next 15 years, but rarely as we lived in a different city…always at our initiation, unless he NEEDED money. Then he would call. Never put that together as we just felt appreciative that he wanted anything to do with us at all. After all, we had ‘abandoned’ him. He seemed to be such a well rounded and warm person…but that was only what he was projecting. We never spent any amount of time with him to see the facade slip. I thought that he was really what we saw and how lucky we were that things were going to work out for us all in the end!

            Fast forward again to now…he is almost 34. He has left a path of destruction behind him, while projecting that he is a wonderful guy. That he has great morals. That he really believes in family and marriage. All a load of you know what, as has been demonstrated by him and why he is going through this nasty separation and child custody. He simply just uses his two small children to grind away at his ex. None of him as a father has ever been genuine. Why did he ever even have children?? They are like pawns to him.

            He destroys lives. That is the bottom line. Then, he blames everyone else for it.

            He does not really care about his children, but only how it all appears to everyone else.

            I have been privy to some of the emails between my son and his ex lately, that she forwards to me. It shows a much darker side of him. The side that nobody else sees. He blames her for everything while trying to convince her of what a pillar of the community he is. What a family man he is. How much monogamy means to him. Like I said before, what a load. He is the ultimate liar. If there were LIAR OLYMPICS, he would take gold straight across the board.

            I have established no contact, and he wants nothing to do with me any more. My husband is wisening up. He just cannot get over who my son projected to be when he came back into our lives. He wants that son. However, my husband can see that my son is all lies.

            It is the most difficult thing ever. We lost him once and it is the most painful thing to have to ‘lose’ him again…but it simply has to be.

          • Bev says:

            Oh, and you are so correct! I will NEVER meet another girlfriend of his.

            I will not sanction his behavior nor provide a parental cover.

            He seems to rally like to parade us in front of his girls…he is so proud of us as parents…yeah right.

            His ex told me that he spoke badly of us, also of his WONDERFUL foster family, but pretended to like all of us / them, whenever he was around us. His ex had a wonderful family, he thought…of course NOW, he badmouths them to high heaven too! Go figure.

          • Renega says:

            I can’t imagine how difficult it is. This has destroyed me, but I know it’s 10x worse for his mother. After all, I have hope of being able to rebuild my sanity…meet someone decent. I’m almost, but not yet, 40. I remind myself I have time.

            She, on the other hand, will never have another son. That’s it.

            What an incredible freaking burden. So much respect and love for my MIL, and you, and every mother that has to walk that road.

            Ugh.

          • Bev says:

            Right back at you!!

            Yes, I had no more children after what we went through. I have accepted that I will never have a son. It was the most difficult thing to do, but like I said, I had to do it.

            Had to.

            Yes, and you do have your whole life ahead of you. Thank goodness you are free from the SP.

            I wish you the best of everything!! 🙂

        • satya says:

          So true about the charm, for the public. I think my sister’s main task right now is to show how wonderful and perfect she is and how terrible and mean I am for not talking to her. In the meantime, making sure I get the freaky message. Direct quote, “I always loved Satya even when I was cruel to her” seriously wtf. My response has been let the sunlight in. She always thrived in darkness so all I have to do is open the curtains. My response to family member who passed that on to me? Isn’t that a psycho thing to say? She sends me her old throw away junk and claims she sent me precious heirlooms (why, seriously) so I sent the box to my parents so they can see for themselves the preciousness. There is a huge disconnect between what she says and what she does. She’s always been huge on the pity play but shows zero empathy for others (even as far as openly saying “so what” to other’s misery) however, she has learned how to act “good” in public so she will do “good” things publicly.

          I disagree with that she is not crazy. She is definitely crazy. Just because they don’t hallucinate (when they happen not to be on drugs) doesn’t mean spaths aren’t crazy.



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    • HGBeverly says:

      Thank you so much! I understand the need for reinforcement. Especially because most of the world doesn’t have my ex (or other psychopaths) figured out yet. Also because I was raised to believe that everyone has a good spot in there somewhere.

      But when I watch my ex in action (we are still raising kids together) I remind myself that his lens on the world and his purpose are nothing like mine. So I don’t project my values on him anymore.

      I have a chapter coming up in the near future that deals with this topic specifically. Check back! 🙂

      Best,

      HG



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      • Bev says:

        Yes, most of the world has not figured out who my son is, either.

        It’s almost strange to be in this bubble of awareness of who my son really is. There are only about 5 people who really know and believe.

        Everyone else is my son’s proverbial ‘oyster’ for now. As long as he just flits in and out of peoples’ lives, he gets away with being called a great guy! Incredible, really…



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  2. becomingstrong says:

    Great article. I am going to order your book. I was discussing this article with a friend and she said, “what did her husband do to her you need to order her book.” Yes what did he do to you indeed? I love your example of how he brushed up against you that you now see how he was breaking down your barriers. I wonder about your example and how it applyies to me. I will give it some more thought. Like you I didn’t “label” him a sociopath until I left and did some googling on his behaviors. Like you I had that light bulb moment “sociopathy”. But we knew the behaviors were off the charts, undermining us to what benefit we asked, mean, we felt sick a lot. What was the revelation about the term sociopathy was now knowing all those behaviors were done without guilt and without love. Then I said how else could he behave the way he did -it made perfect sense. Thank you



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    • HGBeverly says:

      Thank you, becomingstrong. Much appreciation.

      I must warn you that The Other Side of Charm can be triggering for victims and survivors of psychopaths. Read with care and self-protection. I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can find me on hgbeverly.com if you want to connect directly, but I will check back on Lovefraud regularly, too.

      That light bulb moment is one we remember forever, isn’t it. Wow.

      Best wishes as you grow stronger and stronger.

      HG



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    • NotWhatHeSaidofMe says:

      To BeComingStrong and HGBeverly
      I am So glad to find out that I am not the only one who found out or had their lightbulb moment AFTER leaving him. By then I had spent a fortune on books trying to figure out what was wrong with me, with us, why it was so hard to communicate with him… but when I found THIS lf site was when it ALL made sense.

      HGBeverly:
      I was portrayed as the “difficult” wife. That was his pity play to EVERYONE and they were so pleased to help him hide assets, plan getaways with other women, make dinner for him when he’d walk out on me, etc. But NO ONE asked him what made me “difficult”. I did.

      His answer was
      1) I believed him when he lied. That I should have known he was lying. ME? I thought we had a discussion and came to an agreement. I even went along with HIS decisions, only to find out he was angry with me that I MADE him LIE to me. And so… I was “difficult”.
      2) I didn’t believe him, and called him a liar. B/c he’d be gone ALL day and I couldn’t find him… even though we had a family business. And he’d say he was just in the back. Like I was too dumb to look for him? SO I was “difficult” for not trusting his word.

      I used to feel embarrassed b/c it seemed almost anything that someone posted on lf was something that also happened to me. But nowadays I know, I was married for nearly 18 years and with him for 22 years. Of course I was run through the paces of lies, manipulations, humiliations, degradations, thefts, smear campaigns, parental alienation of my own daughter, I kept having “accidents” but not a single one in the years since I moved to my own city. No auto problems, no accidental gun shootings, no near drownings, no forgotten meetings at hotels, no more being blamed for his betrayals and disrespect (ex. being chided by a community member for having him on a short leash… when the fact was, he didn’t so anything with me unless I made an appointment, and I told her that and her reply was “he wouldn’t do that if you weren’t so difficult”…

      Thank you for your writing that confirms that until you see them with their mask dropped, esp with a covert sociopath, all I had was nuances and confusion that he’d explain away until I was nearly crazy with my inability and incompetence to predict what to do “correctly” so that I could avoid depressing outcomes. I ended up labeled “stupid” but I’d been accepted into medical school. And I had believe that somehow I’d lost my intelligence b/c I didn’t have a single friend anymore… I’d actually worried I was getting alzheimers b/c I couldn’t remember convos we’d had nor the ones he said we didn’t have. The slippery slope was ALL nuanced. But it ALL made sense when I found THIS site and that sociopaths were NOT like Hannabal Lechters and Jeffrey Dahlmers (sp).

      Sorry, got too long. Too many examples.



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  3. stunnedmullet says:

    I just brought the book “the other side of charm”. Because it was only a few dollars on amazon. And because its great to remind myself that I was being played from the start. I also had a similar experience with my ex when we first met–spookily similar..as in I had to check my memory a few times, and yes he was very much like that all charm and slight boundary nudges from the start. goodness they create a strong fog around those closet to them, its a strange journey back from the fog.

    there is a massive storm brewing over the ocean here, thunder and lightening like only Australia can produce-both beautiful and scary. I have also just experienced first hand the huge fires we had here a 5.5 hour drive home around the edges of the fire as it got tooooo close to my cabin!!. but my holiday place survived so happy about that.

    nothing like nature to remind us that life is far to short not to have loved well and been loved well back.

    do you think we end up carrying their guilt? its almost like they have to off load the enormous amount of shame and guilt that they have experienced or caused in others. its all projected onto other people so they don’t feel the burden at all??.

    anyway I am off to get under the covers as soon the internet will be erratic in the storm. and the cat needs me to keep her warm (honestly she is thin and gets cold without hugs )

    🙂

    cheers,

    chin up

    Stunnedmullet



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    • HGBeverly says:

      First, I think your name is fantastic, Stunnedmullet. Very curious.

      Second, it is clear that you are an empathetic person (caring for your kitty) and a thoughtfully appreciative one as well.

      Finally, I do believe that authentically loving and being loved back is part of a full recovery. And so is letting go of their guilt. I have a chapter coming up about putting down the suitcases the psychopath asks you to carry. I hope you will check back.

      And I hope you “enjoy” The Other Side of Charm. It can be triggering, so please read with care and self-protection in mind.

      Best wishes,

      H.G.



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      • stunnedmullet says:

        Thank you re the name stunnedmullet, its an Australian/New Zealand term for a person taken by extreme surprise and is still in that moment of complete shock that they just stand there almost frozen in shock. So the saying gets used “Don’t just stand there like a stunned mullet mate, just do something” or when you are explaining to anyone how you felt “Like a stunned mullet I just stood there”.

        yes I read a great deal of the book and found it equal parts heart breaking and a very exact description of what it is like and just how bad things can get.
        I will keep an eye out for the guilt chapter.

        thanks again for the book.

        cheers

        Stunnedmullet



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  4. Andi62404 says:

    I didn’t know until after either, though I didn’t have as much psychological education as I do now. His mother told me after I filed for divorce. She explained that it was the real reason he had been discharged from the Army. He was found to be psychologically unfit, and a possible danger to those working close to him. He was diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder.
    I thankfully don’t have to co-parent with him. He hasn’t had anything to do with my daughter since she was 11 months…she’s now almost 12 years old. He tried to give her away as an infant, I put a stop to that. There was never hiding how terrible a person he was from her. His grandparents and his mother disowned him. He was told that if he came over (I witnessed the call…on speaker…) he would be arrested for trespassing. I never spoke I’ll of him…though Goddess knows I hated him for years…but it isn’t healthy for her, but I wasn’t able to muzzle my in-laws. She knows he’s a thief, and abuser, a manipulator, a substance abuser…among other things.
    I now have an ESD, and work so much I don’t have to deal with dating. It’s not really attractive, anyway, when you study your dates like lab rats, looking for the first red flag so you can cut and run.



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    • Bev says:

      Hi Andi62404

      Your post touched me…I am that mother who has veritably had to ‘disown’ my own SP son. My son has been diagnosed with a personality disorder THREE different times. He still denies that it’s true…of course, they do deny it, don’t they? What else can they do I suppose!

      I have never heard of another mother having to do what I have done. I think that most parents who have a personality disordered child either try to live in denial or they themselves have a problem.

      What led his mother and grandparents to disown him, if you don’t mind me asking?

      With me, it was watching my son’s marriage and his trying to be a husband and father disintegrate. He was so fake and phony to the outside world including to us, his own parents, and then, living a totally different life, personally. I not only sensed that, but was reinforced by his ex, my daughter in law, of what was really going on in their lives together.

      I am sorry for his children…they are small and he demands custody, even tho he did not have much to do with them until his ex threw him out. I am sorry for your daughter as well. If nothing else, perhaps she will never fall prey to one of these people.

      Thank you for your post. I feel so alone in this particular aspect of dealing with people like my son.



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  5. HGBeverly says:

    My heart goes out to all parents of psychopaths and sociopaths. I’m encountering that a lot in the “comments” section, lately, and I just have to say out loud that I’m really touched by your experiences and your strength. I wish you all that you need to maintain a positive, healthy life that is full of love.

    H.G.



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    • Bev says:

      Thank you for that.

      It is almost impossible to explain the hurt and depression that I feel over having a son who is a SP / P.

      Every day, your child enters your mind, like all children do, only the thoughts are NEVER good ones. No good times to remember. No good times to look forward to.

      How to exist in this family oriented world, having this son that I have. Knowing that I can have NO contact with him at all, on any level, because every time that I do, I am awaiting yet another soul murder.

      Maintaining a positive, healthy life is what I strive for every single day. In public, I hold my head up and smile…and laugh…and I actually think that I will be okay. I can do this. I can deal with this. But then, in many of the quiet alone moments, I inevitably realize the unbearably painful gravity of the situation, and I sob and wail and feel sorry for myself. I feel sorry for my husband…for my son’s children…for his ex wife…and, yes, even for he himself. I know that he will never be truly happy either. He will never know love.

      In saying that, I do not excuse nor condone who he is or what he has done, does, or will do. I cannot. He hurts people. Bottom line. He is too aware of what he does. He thinks that he is perfect and everyone else has a problem.

      I question why this happened to all of us. Why it happens to anyone.

      Thank you again for hearing us and saying so. It means so much just to know.



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      • HGBeverly says:

        Bev,

        I have tears in my eyes while reading your post. And I understand—you have a constant undercurrent of worry about how your son will impact others and a longing for who you once thought and hoped he was and could be.

        I, too, have a wonderful life full of joy and gratitude that also contains an undercurrent of worry and longing. How will my children survive their psychopathic father? Am I doing enough? Why is this happening?

        Finding communities like lovefraud helps me realize that we are not alone—that most of us suffer on one level despite joy on so many others. Life is challenging but rich, right?

        Thank you so much for being open and genuine and STRONG and a survivor! I’m sure you are inspiring to many others who read your comments even if they never make their own remarks. That is invaluable.

        Much appreciation and best wishes always,

        H.G.



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        • Bev says:

          And, I thank you H.G. You are one of my champions. You help me more than you can know.

          I was crying when I wrote that post earlier today. I don’t think that I have ever written that down before, in those words. They just sort of poured out of me this morning!

          I do hope that I can help someone…anyone with the same problem. I do not know another person, in the flesh, who is dealing with what I am. Only the people on this fantastic website.

          Oh, how I appreciate you and this site!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂



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      • NotWhatHeSaidofMe says:

        Bev
        I wanted to add my name to your list of those in totally empathy with you.

        People think when someone makes the decision to “let go” of your child, that it is a clue as to why the kid is that way to begin with. They don’t realize the nightmare that has gone before, not just once in a while, but the daily agony of trying to communicate, trying to establish healthy boundries, trying to instill values that will lead that child to a fulfilling life rather than one failed relationship after another, that such a decision was not made in a moment of frustration but as a consequence to facing what we never wanted for our child.

        I know the self recrimination, beating myself up for mishandling this or that incident… wondering if that was the trigger for the path that was chosen…. wondering and chastising myself if I had just done “this” that it would have made all the difference. And eventually accepting that. LIKE ME (YOU, ANY OF US), that child is an adult and has all the choices in the world. That, LIKE ME (YOU, ANY OF US), that child also bears the consequences/accountability of those choices.

        I had a rough few years with my daughter. She did some terrible things to me, her words, her rage were off the scale. Then she did a final act of a terrible accusation where I HAD to stop trying with her, for my own protection. I’d go to bed sobbing most nights. I stopped reading lf b/c I was desperate for help but mostly received blame (understandable b/c the kids who are here have sociopath parents.) There is VERY little understanding for parents who have a child with this disorder. You hit the nail on the head, my main agony was having to accept that my child would NEVER know love, which is my definition of hell. To be so cut off from all mankind that they can not feel nor give LOVE. In this, I SO align with you completely.

        However, I did have a miracle. My daughter is fortunate afterall. After a period of NO contact at all, my daughter did a 180. There are some circumstances that I can’t share here, but she got REAL help (as opposed to seeing someone for depression and being put on pills that messed her up worse.) and now she talks with self reflection, with remorse, with insight, with compassion for others, with sadness, and with joy for the good in her life. She has a range of emotions now, rather than just anger and rage.

        I say this to let you know that I am not naïve about my daughter’s change of mindset, and that her change is not just a manipulation, and strangely… not to give you hope that your son will change b/c I think that you’ve already been that path and know he is what he is.

        If my daughter hadn’t demonstrated and explained and that in addition to extenuating circumstances, she also had been conditioned by my ex who used her as a weapon against me (parental alienation by him and his mother on a grand scale as they had complete access and control of a vulnerable isolated child…. behaviors she has had to identify and overcome), I wouldn’t have reconnected with her. I would have known to stay separate, for my own sanity and safety.

        I do know that I had gotten to the place where I stopped questioning why my daughter was that way. I had accepted that like some kids are born with a physical anomaly, that some are born with a cognitive one. She’s not perfect now and still has much therapy to go through to root out what is truth versus what was seeded in her by a monster and his monster mother, but at least she questions herself and seeks to make sense of past nonsense.

        But (can’t help but have this nightmare thought) if she ever reverts to how she behaved towards me when she was a nightmare, I will do as I did before, let her go be the person she chose to be, and I would be/live the values/lifestyle that I choose. I would not allow her the power that she had before, b/c that did nothing good for her and almost certainly could have ended me.

        You are not alone and I support what you HAVE to do, not want to do, But b/c of how your son is at his core, you HAVE to do. And I am equally sorry that your husband’s behavior towards his son gives his boy a backdoor access to harm you both. I hope it never comes to that but we do read it in the news all the time. I understand why your husband doesn’t want to think of his son that way, but… it doesn’t change that he is capable of it, and that you both have a plan for self protection. This is the hardest bit of accepting who they are, that all the love given them didn’t make a whit of difference.

        With compassion and emotional support for your agony.
        nwhsom



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        • Bev says:

          How beautiful of you to care enough to write that post to me.

          Thank you and I empathize with you so much as well.

          I am so happy for you regarding the reconnection with your daughter. She has been through a lot as well. Brainwashing by SPs, especially.

          I know that my son cannot do this, what your daughter has…change…reconnect…but it still thrills me that it happened for you.

          Wishing you all the best and a life time of happiness with her…



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        • Bev says:

          I also have to say that what you said about my son being so ‘cut off’ from all mankind that he cannot feel or give love. That is hell, isn’t it? For those of us who love and have felt love? Humanity.

          My son does not have humanity inside him. Man, that is terrible.

          I am afraid of my son. What he might do in the future. Unfortunately, I believe that he would never kill himself, he seems to overvalue his own life…but he would kill others…I have always felt that from him. My husband thinks that I sound crazy saying that.



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          • NotWhatHeSaidofMe says:

            Bev
            It DOES sound crazy to say that… but… it is at the same time so very true. Sociopaths ALWAYS have that capability, the sociopath knows that for them, it comes down to a preferred choice.

            I asked my husband once, about murdering. His answer was that he wouldn’t b/c he didn’t want to go to prison. NOTE….he didn’t respond with horror at the thought. (There did come that day when he was stopped from ending my life… I got lucky when a truck driver showed up unexpectedly and I got away never to return.)

        • still waiting to get my lifeback says:

          I know what science, psychology says about these types. I applaud you for giving your daughter a chance not knowing exactly what the outcome will be. I think the fact that’s she sought therapy and is willing to try speaks volume. Is it manipulation who knows, but if she’s open maybe she can learn to practice being positive. Although it is learned maybe her goal can change from wanted to see people hurt and want to see people happy even its manufactured. I Google do Christians think sociopaths can be saved.The results and the consensus were very enlightening.



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  6. Bev says:

    Yes, I can definitely hear my son saying the very same thing, were he to be asked such a question!

    He would not want to go to jail…



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  7. Bev says:

    OMG…thank GOODNESS for that truck driver.

    How frightening. I am so glad that you are here to talk about this.

    I hope my son never decides to hurt anyone, including me.



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  8. jenni marie says:

    Hi LF peeps

    I read through some old and some new posts and I copied some statements that many of us have posted, and I made a list of the ones that resonated strongly with me. So here is one more list that does help me and I hope it helps others also.

    —- There would be things he would say that would seem just a bit over the top….but again, I let them go because he was a storyteller and, I didn’t always take it seriously.

    —-They have to keep their lives separate and no one can really know the other players in their game.

    —-Remember he needs to feed off others to survive.

    —-Sex, money and control is all they care about.

    —-Such a disgusting psychopathic freak.

    —-They lie, they cheat, they steal and they abuse everyone.

    —-They’d rather do evil than good.

    —-They destroy happiness, reputations and lives.

    —-They leave a string of victims behind them.

    —-No one is safe from these social predators.

    —-He moved on with no responsibilities.

    —-Laid up with another woman/en.

    —-Does it ever really go away?” Not as long as they can still get something from you!

    —-For him, sex isn’t a meaningful exchange of love and intimacy. It’s a bodily function without emotion or caring.

    —-I did learn throughout this to NEVER date while I am feeling vulnerable, for like blood in the water for a shark….these predators seem to be able to smell it miles away.

    —-Sociopaths have no heart, no conscience and no remorse.

    —-Sociopathy, also called psychopathy, is a personality disorder characterized by deceit on a scale most of us cannot imagine.

    —-These men and women are not crazy; they know exactly what they are doing.

    —-Once they are adults, sociopathic men and women do not change. They cannot be rehabilitated. The sooner you can get away from them, the better off you’ll be.

    ps Do NOT feel sorry for your abuser. DO feel compassion for YOURSELF and YOUR well being. There are over 6 billion people on this planet and I am sure that your abuser will be able to find another victim, unfortunately. After all, a Victim is ALL THEY NEED.

    pps Don’t fall for their FAKE NICENESS! YOU KNOW IT’S TEMPORARY.

    Peace in NO CONTACT,
    Jenni



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