May 132013
Helen Keller and Water
Meaning is derived from experience.

In our first encounter with something new, we don’t know what to expect. What does it mean? We may be able to derive the meaning from context. Familiar things around the unfamiliar, help to define it. We make connections in our minds when we learn how the new, relates to the familiar.

Meaning comes in layers. First we learn the definition. With time, as one becomes more familiar with the new experience, we begin to develop more nuanced meanings. We form expectations of where we can expect to find it, how it behaves, how it will respond to our actions, how we relate to it and how it relates to us.

We learn meaning with our whole bodies. If this new thing affects our emotions, it takes on a deeper, more three-dimensional meaning. It becomes significant to us in a new way. We may feel attracted or repulsed by it . If it seems to fit a familiar pattern, a comparison juxtaposes the new in relation to the old. Either it is similar or it is the opposite. Like déjà vu, the feeling of the familiar or unfamiliar is a visceral sensation.

This process of attaining meaning happens naturally for us, we barely register it. Something new becomes part of our normal reality when we’ve classified, categorized, defined and established our relationship to it. Through experience, meaning becomes the visceral component of wisdom.

Rene Girard’s theory of mimetic desire says that we imitate each other when deciding what we want. That is true to a point. As infants without experience, imitation is an ingenious substitute for judgment: we watch others’ facial expressions for clues about what they’ve judged to be good. As adults, we still refer outside ourselves for inspiration, but increasingly we trust in what we feel because we’ve learned from experience. Internalized experience makes us less imitative and more individuated. Our history reminds us of who we are and what we chose to value. We form boundaries around these identities and our desires are less easily influenced than they were as children.

Psychopaths, on the other hand, have deadened visceral responses. Their “shallow affect“, lack of empathy and their fearlessness, all indicate a lack of nervous or gut reactions. This “deadness” limits their ability to learn with their whole bodies and to feel deeply connected to other human beings or even to reality. They are unable to deeply experience life. That’s why psychopaths can lie and believe their own lies, because words are meaningless to them and reality doesn’t feel any more real than lies do. It’s what makes them such incredibly convincing liars, they don’t feel like they’re lying. They don’t feel anything.

Without visceral responses, psychopaths don’t perceive meaning in their experiences.  Without meaning, reality takes on a two-dimensional, cartoonish quality. Shallow and fluid, cartoon reality can’t be trusted.

Trust empowers

The ability to trust gives us self-confidence, social connection, agency and a social identity. People and societies need to trust in order to function.  Because psychopaths can’t trust, they approach life from a position of powerlessness: manipulating, lying, cheating, first ingratiating themselves and then backstabbing. They envy our trust and the power and position we derive from it. They want to bypass the shame of their own powerlessness and make someone else feel it instead. It’s their intent to prove that we were wrong to trust, that we are powerless to know the truth. The psychopathic agenda is to sabotage our connection with reality itself.

Blurring the lines between reality and fantasy.

At the beginning of the con, a psychopath lies increasingly and constantly, to everyone. He adds props and presents them at every opportunity. He convinces his true believers to wittingly or unwittingly repeat his lies for him. Psychopaths like to say that if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth. A psychopath might go as far as living his own lie when no one is watching, in an attempt to believe that it’s real.

The psychopath is a story-driven-character who needs to be the hero in his fairy tales. When he’s not the center of attention, his ennui oppresses him, he suspects that he doesn’t really exist. The remedy for his existential crisis, is drama. This dead, non-existent creature comes alive when he tells a story, plots a con, sets up his props, gathers his true believers and performs for an audience. The more believers he has, the more “real” the story becomes for the psychopath. Drama anchors the free-floating psychopath to his fantasy. Reality and fantasy begin to blur into each other.

What’s a MacGuffin?

Once he has set the stage, the psychopath directs his players’ attention to the MacGuffin.Hitchcock MacGuffin  In fiction, MacGuffin refers to a plot device that advances the plot by motivating the characters’ actions. A MacGuffin might be: the jewels, the title, the secret, the document, the briefcase, the bomb or whatever else will motivate the characters. The term was made popular by movie director and producer Alfred Hitchcock, who succinctly described it as “what everybody on the screen is looking for, but the audience don’t care.”

Like movie directors, psychopaths focus the drama around a MacGuffin. The MacGuffin is the hook by which the psychopath anchors his victims’ emotions to the fantasy. Whether it’s money, status or glory, the true believers are inspired to care deeply about the MacGuffin. Psychopaths notice that by eliciting our caring, they can make us respond. This fascinates them. They are, themselves, incapable of caring deeply about anything, so a normal person’s capacity to care stands out in stark relief for them. In particular, the psychopath likes to manipulate other people to care about them. In that case, the MacGuffin becomes the psychopath’s own success as they risk, or pretends to risk, life and limb while everyone watches in nail-biting suspense. This is why psychopaths will so often self-sabotage. They can cut off their own nose to spite their own face while you watch, horrified, because they don’t care, but they know that you do.

How does a MacGuffin work?

To understand how MacGuffins work, we need to understand mimesis. Mimesis is part of the human learning process. It is our instinct. Rather than being born knowing what is good to eat, (like a cow or horse knows to eat grass) it is our instinct to learn by watching other people’s faces when they taste something. Then we extend that learning ability far beyond eating.

symbols and meaningMimesis is more than just copying or imitating, it is also representation. In mimesis, human beings substitute symbolic representations in place of an actual thing, person or event as a way to organize and communicate information. For example, when discussing a person, we don’t need to point to the actual person, we can just say their name and all the things we know about that person are brought to mind. Or, a person’s picture or some other symbol may be substituted as a representation of that person. The same applies to objects or events. Human beings are so good at mimesis that we actually use substitutes in place of substitutes, which can be further substituted by other symbols. For example, if a film about an event is representing the actual event, then the title of the film is a substitute for the film. Further, the written title is a substitute for the spoken title and vice versa. Any reference that substitutes one thing for another, is a form of mimesis. As human beings, our thought processes are so immersed in mimesis that we don’t even notice it. Even though we are cognizant that a word or symbol is only a representation of the original, we still respond to a symbol with emotions appropriate to the original.

Psychopaths, conversely, have trouble processing abstract and emotional words.

“Psychopathic subjects,” Kiehl et al. say, “performed more poorly, manifested as slower reaction times, than control participants, when processing abstract word stimuli.” This is consistent, they say, with studies showing that psychopaths have trouble processing abstract words, performing abstract categorization tasks, understanding metaphors, and processing emotionally weighted words and speech.” 

Ironically, even though they feel little connection to the symbols, psychopaths are still obsessed with symbolism. This is because for a psychopath, a representation has as much meaning as the original being represented — both are equally meaningless and equally two-dimensional. On the other hand, psychopaths understand that for their victims, a symbol will evoke emotions attached to the memory or belief of what it represents, inspiring us to care deeply. A MacGuffin, because it’s only symbolic, is more malleable than reality. This means that psychopaths can use a MacGuffin as an emotional hook to manipulate their victims into action.

Mirroring is another psychopath strategy for blurring boundaries between themselves and their victims. By mirroring us, they appear more like us. This makes it easier for them to arouse our empathy so they can bypass our defenses against emotional contagion. When someone reminds us of ourselves, it’s easier to imagine their pain, as our pain and their desires, as our desires.

gollumringOnce we’re convinced that the mirror is real and our boundaries are bypassed, the psychopath switches tactics. Now, he reverses positions with us. Whereas before he had been imitating us through mirroring, now he wants us to imitate him. He attempts to inspire mimetic desire in the true believers by portraying a desire for the MacGuffin. Whether he is manipulating an entire cast of characters or focused on a single victim, the psychopath’s fundamental call to action is now a call to imitate him in his quest for the MacGuffin.

Like all mythological beings, a psychopath can play several roles within the system because, of course, he has no boundaries. He is at the same time, an actor, the director and the audience. As an actor and the protagonist, he pretends to be deeply involved in chasing after the MacGuffin, playing out his role as the hero. As the director, he has already scripted the storyline, told his lies and allows the other actors to follow his lead. As the audience, he doesn’t care about the MacGuffin, he is just enjoying the drama.

Sometimes, the psychopath tailors the MacGuffin slightly differently for each of his players, making each one feel special by telling them that they were chosen for privileged information and a special role. This way, psychopaths appeal to each person’s narcissism while simultaneously compartmentalizing the players so that they never compare stories. Each player wants desperately to maintain their privileged status and they won’t break their vow of secrecy. Even the chosen scapegoat, believes that the psychopath is on their side, until the very end. All of this is very amusing to the psychopath who knows how deeply invested each player has become in a MacGuffin which never existed at all.

Unlike reality, a MacGuffin can be manipulated. But in a psychopath’s mind, when they manipulate a symbol they have manipulated reality, as long as someone believes. This makes them feel powerful. The props, the other players and especially the drama, bolster the solidity of the MacGuffin. It all adds to its “truthiness” feel, keeping the victims busy chasing after ethereal illusions. In time, the MacGuffin becomes intertwined with the rest of the victim’s core beliefs. It becomes a part of his reality. The longer the dramatic production continues, the more real it becomes to the victims. A psychopath introduced the MacGuffin, but through rationalization, the victims’ own behavior reinforces their belief in the veracity of the MacGuffin, because the victims have to believe that they are acting rationally.

MacGuffins Work Because We Lie to Ourselves.

Marketing drives the engine of our economy. We know it’s manipulative but we accept it because we believe that we are still in control of our choices. Marketing guru Seth Godin advises, “Create a vacuum, don’t fill it.” Dangling desires and planting seeds of envy, marketers –like psychopaths– make you feel a need you never knew you had. A person with an emptiness in his gut is going to spend time, energy and money chasing any MacGuffin that promises to fill that hole.


Psychopaths and advertisers aren’t the only ones who use manipulative tactics. We manipulate ourselves. How many times have you heard, “you make your own reality”, “smile and soon you’ll feel happy” or “fake it until you make it”? We’re encouraged to pretend: “don’t show what you really feel, smile to make others happy, pretend everything is fine even when it’s not. ”

It’s bad enough to accept and to speak false words, but when we involve our expressions and mannerisms in the pretense, we are lying to our own bodies. If becoming happy is simply a matter of applying the correct expression to your face, what does that say about the meaning of happiness? Believing lies with your whole body and in your gut, inevitably leads to what is known as an existential crisis, a state of mind where you don’t know what to believe anymore. If I’ve been able to lie to myself and convince myself of my own lies, then how do I know what’s real? MacGuffins work because when we lied to ourselves, we blurred our own boundaries.

This is why lies are evil and destructive. It’s why lies are the primary tool of psychopaths and also why they get stuck in their own sticky web of disbelief: They are deceivers, and when they’ve seen how easy it is to deceive and to be deceived, how can they ever believe? Like the self-referencing loop in faulty computer code, there seems to be no logical way out of paranoia.

Through a process of double think, they find themselves envying our ability to feel and to trust what we feel, while simultaneously disdaining it as a weakness. They envy the comfort we derive from our beliefs — a comfort the psychopath has never experienced because he never bonded to humanity. Instead, the psychopath rationalizes that comfort derived from trust is an illusion, a crutch we need because we are weak and fearful. He disdains comfort as a weakness while paradoxically, he envies how it empowers.

I’ve often heard it said about psychopaths, “It’s amazing how they believe their own lies!” I imagine though, that psychopaths say the same thing about us. The difference is –and they know this– that psychopaths don’t deeply believe in anything. We, on the other hand, allow our beliefs to affect us deeply. Psychopaths study humanity. They may not grasp the concept of being informed by intuition and they may believe we are lying to ourselves, but they do understand the effect of emotional experiences. The MacGuffin is the vehicle by which they provide their victims with an emotional experience that the psychopaths can control.

The philosophical question “what’s real and what’s for sale?” has probably been asked since poets have first had leisure time to ponder. But philosophical pondering and seeds of doubt are NOT what psychopaths are trying to plant. Because even though our self-delusion can chip away at our sense of reality, we can still continue to function. Function, itself, is what psychopaths want to sabotage. And like any good saboteur, they will connect their weapon of destruction to the core of their target. The MacGuffin will not appear as a seed of doubt. To do the most damage, the MacGuffin must appear to be 180 degrees the opposite of a lie, it must feel like the most honest truth you’ve ever known. Their intent is to replace an integral piece of our core belief system with a core that is riddled with maggots, so that when it fails, the entire system ceases functioning.

trojan horseLike a trojan horse, the MacGuffin is a device the psychopath uses to transport his poison into our system. In an ironic twist, a MacGuffin must be eagerly chased, happily embraced, and greedily consumed by the players in order for it to work. Our own actions in pursuit of the MacGuffin are the key to convincing us that the MacGuffin is real. Just like smiling can help us feel happier, chasing MacGuffins makes them feel real because we rationalize and justify our behavior.

Though the MacGuffin begins as a mimetic desire modeled by the psychopath, it becomes internalized as a deeply felt belief. Experience teaches us through memories stored in our bodies but false experience infects these beliefs. This infection of false memories, the MacGuffin, undermines our ability to know what’s good for us, to know that we can trust our gut to remind us of who we are and what we value.

What’s it for?

The purpose of any dramatic production is to elicit the portrayed emotions of the actors, in the audience, through empathy for the characters. The difference in a psychopathic production, is that the audience and the players are unaware that the drama is manipulated, they believe it’s real. Without this boundary between art and reality, empathy becomes uncontrolled emotional contagion.

For the psychopath, this initial emotional contagion is only an intermediate goal. The ultimate goal is reached when they pull the rug out from under you and you realize that you’ve been duped into caring with all your heart for an imaginary MacGuffin. In the end, the psychopath wants you to feel that you were betrayed, not by him, but by your own self. He wants you to take responsibility for your own betrayal and believe that your trust in yourself was arrogance. He wants your instincts reduced to meaninglessness. Your abilities to trust and power to function are stripped away. This transfer of powerlessness and shame to the victims is the ultimate goal because this is what the psychopath himself feels.

The dramatic production is the “ritual” that a psychopath uses to induct an authentic three-dimensional being into his two-dimensional cartoon hell, where reality begins and ends at his command. Nothing beyond his control is allowed to exist. Certainly anyone arrogant enough to believe they are autonomous from him needs to be brought down a few pegs. When he’s done with his victim, he wants the victim to envy him for his power over cartoon hell and its cartoon inhabitants.

In Violence and the Sacred, Rene Girard describes the role of the sacred victim as a “container of violence”. More accurately, the ritual –by which the victim is slandered, accused, proven guilty and then ritually executed — is the container of violence. The purpose of violence containers is to maintain boundaries between rivals and create ritual purity by expelling toxic emotions. It’s the drama and the violence, sanctioned by the religious or secular authorities, which contain and direct the violence of the community preventing it from raging uncontrolled. From the perspective of the victims though, that is a lie. Violence doesn’t seem controlled at all, as they find themselves slimed with the toxic shame of their accusers. But from the perspective of the community, it’s quite cathartic to release responsibility for their shame and place it on the source of their envy: the innocent, powerless victim. From the accusers’ schadenfreude perspective, the scapegoat deserves it.

Illuminati MacGuffinDrama, rituals, symbols, substitutions, religions, wars, laws and even economic transactions are all methods of accessing emotions under strictly controlled conditions and directing them toward a designated container. By their nature, these methods cross boundaries, so they are considered “the sacred” and viewed with reverence or even fear. According to mimetic theory, we require these outlets for our emotions because our desires are mimetic. In other words, we desire what others have, simply because they have it and this triggers rivalries, blurs boundaries and threatens the stability of the community.

Girard further explains that the objects we desire are not really what inspire our envy. It is the model who holds the object and the model’s desire for the object, which makes the object valuable and desirable. In other words, the envious person wants to “be” the person they envy. This is most obvious in the psychopath, who envies the authentic human being and wants to reduce them to a cardboard cutout of himself: someone full of envy. Most importantly, the psychopathic betrayal reveals what he envies, because psychopaths rob us, through betrayal, of the power to believe, to trust and to form bonds in the community. In other words,a psychopath wants to steal the victims’ essence and identity. In this way, he trades places with his victims, he BECOMES the victim and the victim becomes him.

It’s apparent that mimesis is the force that makes all of this transference and projection possible. This doesn’t make mimesis bad.  On the contrary, symbols are the way human beings learn, organize and communicate. Without mimesis we wouldn’t have art, theater and poetry. We wouldn’t be able to label the things we encounter and communicate the ideas to others through symbols and pictures. In psychopaths though, something goes wrong in the process, they stay infantile and without boundaries. Their capacity to mirror, never develops into a capacity for empathy or the ability to understand meaning.

Long before Johns and Quay (1964) wrote that psychopaths, “know the words but can’t hear the music” (p217), Jesus was asked, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” and he answered:

This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. (Matthew 13:13).

Jesus used parables to teach the feeling of the lesson. He knew that a profound truth about spirituality, which might otherwise be difficult to convey, could be better understood through symbols.

But Jesus also understood that there were those who would still not get the message. Instead, those shallow people would grasp the symbol and cling to it like a false idol.Humphrey Bogart with The Maltese Falcon

Jesus tried to convey this same message with regard to the ritual purity laws, which he was so often accused of breaking. He said, ” Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17) While the religious authorities were fixated on interpreting the letter of the law, Jesus explained that the laws were symbolic, meant to guide us in the spirit of their meaning and fulfilled through right action and right thought, so that our bodies can learn what feels right.

It’s a mistake to allow a belief, a law, a ritual or any other form of symbolism to become more real than reality itself. When psychopaths take our symbols of truth and mirror them to us, they invert the truth and mock reality. In the hands of psychopaths, mimesis, the tool that humanity uses to feel empathy and communicate understanding, perverts into a MacGuffin for spreading a contagion of shame and exerting control.

Human beings have always hungered for meaning, the proliferation of self-help books on the market attests to that. This hunger makes us vulnerable to MacGuffins. How do we distinguish a MacGuffin from the real thing?  Rene Girard’s themes for discerning myth from reality are a guide for revealing MacGuffins.

  1. Chaos, lack of order, lack of differentiation, blurring of boundaries.
  2. A scapegoat is slandered and accused.
  3. Evidence is presented that the scapegoat is guilty
  4. The scapegoat is convicted, killed, or banned.
  5. Order is restored.

And if something creates a vacuum or a bigger hole in your heart than the one made by your dysfunctional family, then it’s a MacGuffin. Ironically, it takes experience and a commitment to reality, to recognize MacGuffins because our intuition never did lie to us, but we learned to ignore its truth when we were tempted by the MacGuffins.

Copyright © 2013 Skylar

  145 Responses to “The Meaning of MacGuffin How Psychopaths Use Symbols to Manipulate Our Beliefs

  1. Truthspeak

    Frontlinegirl, I’m dealing with some grief, at this point, but I’ll try to answer your questions the best ways that I can from my personal experiences.

    First of all, the “weaknesses” of the masterminds are that they have an absence of conscience, empathy, compassion, and remorse. So, instead of feeling true emotions, they are filled only with arrogance. They do not experience true joy, love, “happiness,” or anything that could qualify as a “feeling,” on ANY level. The closest that they come to “feeling” anything is experiencing anger, hatred, envy, and rage when they are denied or thwarted.

    What their motives are cannot be fathomed. Like you, I need answers, and this has been one of the lessons that I’ve had to learn in my personal experiences: sometimes, it won’t matter whether there are succinct answers or not. They are what they are. Motives? Because we do not live in their Universe, we cannot imagine (even in our wildest nightmares) what might motivate them. Status, employment, money, se-x, control, power, tangible things, real estate………..and, even a sense of “satisfaction” and entertainment of watching a source target squirm and dissolve.

    Religion and spirituality are the easiest and most powerful in-roads into a source target’s boundaries, because God (or, whomever) requires the source target to blindly trust the “leader” or mastermind. The penalty of NOT blindly trusting, following, and enabling the mastermind is group shunning, etc. And, to be treated as if one doesn’t even exist is a terrible penalty – note how we feel when we’re dealt the Silent Treatment. Being ousted, abandoned, dismissed, reviled, and despised because we had the nerve to “go against” the mastermind and his/her minions’ demands are a series of dreadful consequences that many, many “followers” are unwilling to risk.


    • Thank you truth speak, I am sorry about the recent passing of your friend. I saw Oxdrovers post and realized that this is not a good time, but appreciate the offering of your insight into what motivates the enemy. ( i am still in the trenches, and have taken all of your words into consideration.)

      • Truthspeak

        Frontlinegirl, Milo was a friend to many, many people on this blog, and other blogs that deal with personality disorders and the legal issues that many of us face when we call them out.

        Being in the trenches – yes……I am clawing my way out, just now.

        To clarify two things: need to “know” about them, and how source targets are identified.

        I have come to learn a great deal about myself on this journey. My belief that “knowing” all about the disorders, the symptoms, the variations, and diagnoses, along with the tactics and motivations would, somehow, give me insight into a possible “cure” or “treatment” of these people. What I discovered about this personal need was that it is a personal control issue and based upon my own codependency – this applies to me, myself, ONLY.

        The words, behaviors, and reactions of potential source targets give the masterminds/leaders AND their minions the roads into boundaries. An example is one that actually applied to me: man is trolling and espies someone who is separating and divorcing. The source target (that would be me) expresses details about WHY the separation has occurred: abuse, etc. The predator hears the words and files them away under: “This ST (source target) Was Abused.” Now, to implement the love-bomb, the predator tells the ST that they will never abuse the ST “…like HE did…” Which, in essence, was true. The predator never laid a hand on me or openly ridiculed me. BUT, he did use my own precious vulnerabilities against me: my desire to nurture, heal, assist, save, rescue, etc……..

        Bottom line is that I learned to keep my mouth shut. I do not go to prayer sessions to “ask” others to help me pray for whatever my needs are – this gives potential predators priceless information about my precious vulnerabilities, and they will file that information away and use it to THEIR advantage when the opportunity arises. Needy – most victims of psychopaths/sociopaths are survivors of previous trauma or carry unresolved emotional issues, themselves. This is not to malign the victim or blame them, by any stretch of the imagination. But, what I’m typing about is that I had to learn how to keep my mouth shut, sit back, observe, hold my opinions and personal beliefs (including spiritual beliefs) close to my vest, and wait. Invariably, a predator will out themselves without any help from anyone else as per their overblown arrogance.

        I hope that’s helpful for you. “Knowing” isn’t going to change the spots on the leopard. They are what they are, whatever they are. And, their motives are so dark, so alien, and so unspeakable to us (the empaths) that we will never, ever, ever be able to wrap our heads around them.

        • yes so insightful to share all that. thank you again.
          How ever my motive for wanting to know what the masterminds motives are, as well as weaknesses,- was not in anyway to want to help him seek treatment or to find a cure. For I understand in my Deepest knowledge that there is No fixing him or them.. No,.. my reason for wanting that information is to have full knowledge of what I am dealing with, so that I can formulate an effective battle plan of strategy based on non emotional facts.
          I can deal with hard cold facts on these types and use it to my advantage against them as it has been done to me.
          I know you have given me your advise on “no perfect timing” and I can appreciate that, but a few ducks are misbehaving at the moment making it an unwise choice.
          Hoping you understand, and thanks.

          • Truthspeak

            Frontlinegirl, I had control issues that I’m still working on – that was rather the core of my need to completely understand what I was dealing with. As I mentioned, it pertained to me, alone, and to no one else.

            As far as strategy goes, OxD provided the best strategy possible if we are not yet entangled: watch, observe, listen, and keep our mouths shut. Give NOTHING of ourselves, our dreams, our hopes, our fears, our past, and our goals away to anyone until they have clearly earned out trust.

            If we are attempting to exit, the only “strategy” is to make it clean and final. No explanation, no warning, no threats, no indication that the ST is about to exit. In my case, the first exit was foolishly done without any assistance of any type, and the church that I had attended and been heavily involved with turned its back on me because the abusive exspath was a very charming and convincing liar. My strong encouragement to anyone who is attempting to exit an abusive situation is to GET PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE in planning and execution – it is the most dangerous time for the victim, and even family members and friends often inform the abuser for one reason or another. Domestic Violence Hotlines have a host of resources available to assist any man or woman to exit an abusive relationship, safely.

            In the second situation, the facts surrounding the collapse of the marriage were so unbelievable that people literally could not accept that the second exspath was what he really was.

            SO……….the point of both of those references is that there are very, very few people who “get it” with regard to these types of predatory human beings, and to educate ourselves is helpful, but we can really waste a shiat-ton of energy attempting to predict their actions, decisions, and behaviors to avoid being harmed, again. The only way to avoid being harmed is to walk away from them.

          • Ok Truth speak I hear you loud and clear.. And I appreciate every ounce of advise that you and Oxdrover have given up to this point.

            You’ve got some real nuggets there.. like not offering any info about yourself, to anyone.. (predators can be anywhere even church) keeping things close to your vest, and waiting.. eventually they will oust themselves… Priceless stuff , and so true. They just cant help but to put it out there,- if you will “just wait for it” -ousting themselves. I wish I could tell you more but the reason I don’t is I know he follows me. I am sorry you and everyone else here have been through so much, it makes me appreciate what you have to say so much more. take care my friend.

          • Truthspeak

            Frontlinegirl, when OxD threw that technique out – watch, listen, observe – I practiced it with vigor. But, what I had a really hard time with was the compulsion to tell people all about myself – to tell them of my struggles, my hopes, my expectations, etc……….for me, personally, that became a really strong focus. Why did I feel that compulsion, and how could I go about rewiring my brain to interrupt it? So, I began sorting it out.

            With regard to people “following” others, online, I have not one problem throwing every detail of my experiences out there. BUT, I do not name the exspath, where he lives, where he works, or anything else. And, when it comes down to it, my experiences could (and, HAVE) apply to anyone in the world who’s been set up for a long-con by a human predator. Some of the people who post on this blog live in other countries on different hemispheres and they have had nearly-carbon-copied experiences to mine with only a few variations in the details.

            The more that you read of others’ experiences, the more you’ll say, “Holy moley, I experienced that, too!” They all have different skins, origins, etc., but they all follow a set pattern of behaviors, compulsions, appetites, and arrogance that is unique to the disordered. So, don’t type any more than you’re comfortable with. At some point in your recovery, you’ll begin to “feel safe,” again.

  2. Truthy, and frontlilne girl, I too had the COMPULSION to almost stop total strangers on the street and tell them what I had experienced and was experiencing. I think now, looking back, that I had a HUGE NEED FOR VALIDATION that my experiences were REAL, that I had a RIGHT to feel so hurt and afraid.

    I realized though that VERY FEW people really wanted to hear about my pain, fears, etc. ONLY a very few of my close friends and a couple of family members, and OTHERS ON BLOGS WHO HAD SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES of dealing with PSYCHOPATHS.

    I eventually came to the conclusion that I can VALIDATE MYSELF, MY OWN REALITY. I do NOT NEED someone else to say that what I am seeing is true or right. I can look at a situation and say to myself, WHAT YOU ARE SEEING IS REAL. If I want to discuss it with a TRUSTED friend for an opinion, OK, but the bottom line is that I AM THE ONE WHO MUST MAKE MY OWN DECISIONS AND TAKE ACTIONS….we all are responsible for ourselves. No one else can rescue us, we must rescue ourselves.

    By watching (observing) what is going on around us, how people act, with us and with others and the world in general, we can usually get an idea of what kind of person they are. Ted Bundy used the “pity ploy” to get people to not be afraid of him and to “help” him….and then he struck, raping and killing them. So I don’t allow my PITY for someone to allow them to get too close to me until I know what they are all about. I have fallen for the “pity ploy” and the “love bomb” many many times. So I have learned to not allow myself to be sucked into a bad situation by the use of these two methods of manipulation commonly used by abusers.

    I’ve also learned the HARD WAY that some people who say “I am a victim” are not truly victims, but are psychopaths SAYING that they are victims so that they will be pitied and embraced by people who want to help them. So I am VERY careful about extending my hand (in real life) to people. A few summers ago I invited a woman who I met on line and had many good converwsations with this intellegent woman, but turned otu that she was a psychopath who had “lost” her last victim and was down and out and needed another victim and she picked me when I VOLUNTEERED…but it wasn’t long before I realized this woman had NO BOUNDARIES and was not interested in helping HERSELF. She wanted to sit down and have me take care of her. So after a few weeks I sent her on her way with the definite belief she was a psychopath. I heard from others later that she had tried to scam and so my thinking was later validated, but you know the thing is that even if I was the ONLY one who thought she was a user/abuser, that’s enough.

    • Yes I never felt comfortable telling even people what was going on in my life.. Even on the Wednesday night prayer meeting when it was my turn to ask for prayer I would insted ask for strength and wisdom to overcome a spiritual battle that I was going through. No way could I even begin to talk about the Pandoras box of dysfunction and abuse that describes my marriage.
      But while I was busy praying “discretely” for my problems with the woman, my spath was in another area requesting prayer in the mens group saying who knows what about us..
      He had the pastor so proxied up for his ( MacGuffin) cause, I don’t think the pastor could see through the fog after that. I realized I was in trouble when the pastor pulled me aside later just to tell with me how lucky I was to have a husband that loved me so much that he was willing to fake a heart attack for me. “Do you know how many women I counsel that wish their husbands loved them enough to fake a heart attack?”.. I just stared at him speechless.
      So much for the pastors defending the cause of the true victim.. ( except for Jeff Crippen.)
      So I tend to think since spaths are lacking in empathy, they have an uncanny ability to persuade the unwary person of things they otherwise would not say or do.

      Since I consider all of you good friends, I just want you to know that my spath has been through your territory here and I think he got found out finally. He left his computer up one day after he left, when my daughter and I were going to order something from e-bay on his computer, when I saw your site pulled up. ( this was my site what is he doing on here?I thought.) I was shocked to see that he had been going on and on with several people feeding them his 180 version of the truth. He was still logged in when he left , so I got pretty steamed at all the lies, and tried to set the record straight while he was still logged in.. ( my computer would not let me register for some reason)
      So truth speak and Ox drover you probably know by now who I’m talking about.. And I am sorry cause none of us saw that coming. So that’s what I mean about his ability to stalk the places I go and persuade. I think everybody had me under the bus except Skyler, but I understand why.

      • Jill aka Darwinsmom

        Hahahaha, so that was him.


        I understand why you think everybody threw you under the bus… Because nobody was calling him an outright liar or ‘defending’ the wife he portrayed. But careful reading would also show that most did not accuse the portrayed wife either and did not defend him either,but instead emphasized that even if his story was true and he loved his wife, he had to let her go. Everyone had him pegged as a person who was trying to garner support, while in all likelihood his wife probably made the right conclusion (people picked out a few things he said and highlighted it in a subtle way in their posts). But none of us outright stated so, because playing that game (either by supporting his position or accusing him of being a troll) would result in drama, etc. The “it’s criminal to accuse someone of being a psychopath” shtick is a pretty common and old one used by spaths in survivor communities to try and make them feel guilty for advising people and teaching people how to recognize and deal with them. With careful reading it was pretty clear that several of us were grey-rocking him and dropping hints to each other that we didn’t believe him.

        Skylar knew because she can check IP addresses. She would have immediately seen that it would have been the same state, and IP address as that of a member here.

        • Truthspeak

          Frontlinegirl, Jill is 100% spot-on. The “feeling” that you had been invalidated and pegged as a loon in concert to support your husband is a “re-action” rather than a contemplated “response” to a situation.

          I would offer this very urgent suggestion that you consider contacting your local domestic violence hotline and discuss your situation with the intake person. I did not do this when I exited the first very abusive marriage, and my children suffered because of it, and I did, as well – I jumped from that all-consuming fire of abuse right into the frying pan of a long-con that left me gutted like a fish. I wasn’t, in any way, shape, or form, READY for another relationship when I left the first abusive exspath, and I didn’t get the help that I really needed.

 is a SAFE and UNSEARCHABLE site that can reassure you and put you in touch with many available resources. They will set you up with a safe (and, LEGAL) exit strategy, safe housing, employment and assistance, etc……..particularly if children are involved, this is (IMHO) the only way to exit an abusive relationship to a sociopath. Period. I spent 30 years surrounded by very bad partners, and I’ve been out for 3. It’s a long, challenging journey to recovery, but I promise that it is worth taking the first step to contact the DV&A hotline.

          When I typed about how psychopathic masterminds and leaders “read” source targets, I typed that they can interpret the words and actions of people who are in dire need and use whatever their needs might be as tools of manipulation. In your post, above, you made it very clear that you “need” validation……..this resonates with me, personally, and for me (personally) that “need” didn’t begin 3 years ago. My personal neediness began in my childhood – in order to begin my journey of recovery, I made the choice to address those issues and begin the process of rewiring my thinking and rebuilding my beliefs and boundaries via counseling therapy with a trauma specialist. Your post reminds me of myself, Frontlinegirl, in many ways.

          So, most of us on this site have had a bit of time under our proverbial belts to recover and examine behaviors of psychopaths and manipulators. I’ve experienced a shiat-ton of “online games” with one that resulted in an FBI probe into a murder of a woman who had developed several identities in order to fleece trusting and unwitting source targets for money, online. This was nearly 20 years ago. SO…………online scamming and so forth isn’t something new to many of us, and we can recognize attempts at manipulation within a few posts.

          So………give the site a look. Strong energies of courage, strength, and personal power going out to you – nothing is worth trading our safety and identity for.

          • Jill aka Darwinsmom

            I concur with Truthy,

            Contact professionals to help you exit your situations ASAP, and help you on your healing path. You can’t start to heal while around him, no matter how much material you read about the likes of him.

            He’s constantly eroding your boundaries and sliming you whether you want to or not.

            Let me give an anology: let’s say someone is sick because they have to survive in a molded, unhealthy house. They can read about cleaning and decluttering and may even practice it. But the mold is in every wall and ceiling. There’s only one option to recover and heal again: abandon the sick house, no matter how scary it is to be homeless. Your husband is the mold in the house. And as long as you are around him you remain infected by his mold, no matter how you try to keep your personal space clean.

            BTW his member name and first post were both one big waving flag that made me and many think BS.

          • Thanks Truthspeak, You guys continue to be a source of strength to me, and I thank God that you are there. I will take your advise and even if I don’t do it soon enough, take comfort in knowing that you did everything right in telling and warning me.

        • Yes I knew that some one at this site must have known that another user name arose out of the the ashes of the same IP address that was no more. Even before before Mr X ever got the notion to go on here, I tried to register several times but could not get through.. Some how he knows all the sites I visit and search, and that’s one way he stalks where I go. His game plan is to get there, -before I do, ( and spoil the ointment ) so I don’t have any allies. ( ya know a movie could/should be made out of this sort of thing to make people aware)
          Anyway I guess I got mad because I really got help from this site, and although I am used to him duping me on a regular basis, I was incensed that he was doing it to the place and people that were helping me.


          • Jill aka Darwinsmom


            That [the not getting through] may have had nothing to do with you. A while back nobody was able to log in and it took a while to fix. 🙂

            Well he didn’t dupe anyone here, nor did we think he was talking about someone who was already posting here. But it’s understandable that you would fear that. It’s a fear that anyone can recognize, when they first started to post in a survivor community.

          • Thanks Jill, I knew some thing odd was happening…
            I just want Truthy and Oxdrover to know that because they shared so much of what they had experienced, and were so honest with me, I wanted to make sure that they knew who I was associated with. They totally deserve to know that. ( sad connection however)
            But since this case is ongoing, I have to censor, some of my replies, as we would not want that information to go into the wrong hands. I will check out your site and have appreciated your help.

          • Jill aka Darwinsmom

            This is some info on his stalking and masking that might help you get some insight on the “why”.

            He’s gaslighting you and meanwhile the non-knowledgeable think and act as if you must be the crazy one (like you being crazy for not realizing how much he loves you because he faked a heart attack… rolleyes). And even when you don’t think you’re crazy, it is still disheartening and isolating to think that everybody else does. So, when you finally find people who don’t believe you’re crazy for the things you live through, and even have ‘crazy’ stories of their own, your angst about these people also made to believe you are the crazy one is natural. If even other survivors turn away from you, then you feel just more alone.

            And that is the intent behind it all by him: to isolate you, to make you feel it’s hopeless, and so for you to give up. And he’ll continue to do so. Only you can decide to take heart and tell yourself: I’m outa here.

  3. Wow Jill your complete right. I know his plan is to make me think I’m so crazy that no one will support me,- and so I might as well just go slithering back to him,- as he is the only one that will accept me with all of my problems.. And of course he is there to remind me of them all the time. Although none of them are true.

    • Jill aka Darwinsmom

      Yes, the problem is that most of your energy is spent on trying to tell yourself none of that is true. When you’re not having to fight this constant onslaught on you, that energy can be spent for more constructive things. It’s commendable that you figured it out, and hold your mental ground… but ultimately it’s a status quo.

      And I appreciate it that you informed us about the recent events. You are right it is very correct to the people who’ve been helping you and relating to you.

  4. I feel bad that I did not come out in the beginning and disclose that, but I decided back then to remain anonymous for advice.
    But after some of the heartfelt replies I got I knew they deserved to know and would not have felt right otherwise. I hope they can forgive me for being anonymous about that.

    I have one friend that understands and supports me and really cares. She is an abuse survivor too, and I am so thankful to have her.. I met her at the church I go to, and she has truth and empathy in her heart, and I would not trade her for the world.

    • Jill aka Darwinsmom

      It’s understandable that you did not tell this immediately. I think it is wise that you chose not to clarify it at the spot, because it would just add to drama. Drama doesn’t help you, nor the blog.

  5. Frontline girl,

    Jill’s analogy of the moldy house is 100% right on. Which is why the #1 thing we must do is to go NO CONTACT, but sometimes we are forced due to shared children to have interaction with them…in that case, you must do the GRAY ROCK technique and NOT FEED THEM EMOTIONS, not let them see that they “got to you” even if they did.

    One of the strongest survivors I know who is years OUT of the relationship and is no contact is still stalked by her ex who calls her house, stalks her on face book, etc. etc. and she recently got a rash of calls from him (she can’t change her number because of her business) and she called me up late at night to VENT because it was getting to her even though she KNEW….so I don’t think we are ever 100% free of some responses from them, but we can get much better and have PEACE no matter what they do.

    I frankly don’t remember all that much about your abuser or your situation…do you have children? Are they young so that the courts might make you share custody with him or at least visitation? I think I remember that you only have one that would be involved in a custody, but the others are at least legally adults.

    One of the things we must realize and accept is that living with an abuser makes US “CRAZY” as well and we fall into dysfunctional behavior ourselves. I had no boundaries and kept on trying to please the abusers and users and you CAN NO APPEASE OR PLEASE THEM….no matter what you do.

    Since the church you are attending is not helpful to you, I strongly suggest that you seek another church home for your spiritual needs. I also suggest that you seek professional help, a therapist…and an attorney…and get the heck out of that torture and torment you and living in. It can not be fixed and there isn’t a way you can heal while you use all your energy there to survive, you have nothing left to heal with.

    On a blog there is no way we can determine who is telling the truth and who is making up stories for their own amusement, but at the same time, we know that people do this because we’ve had them come here and o n other blogs as well. When two people are accusing each other there’s no way for us to truly determine who is lying and who is telling the truth. The ONLY thing we can do is to sort of get a “feeling” about someone’s truthfulness or signs of deceit when their stories don’t match. We also realize that many times when there is dysfunction and/or abuse in a situation BOTH parties may be meta-dysfunctional.

    I wish you healing and peace but the only way that is going to be possible is if you leave the abusers (all of them) and escape so that you can heal. It took me a long time to realize I even was being abused in a systematic way, but then one by one I eliminated the abusers out of my life and felt a great sense of loss, but eventually I realized these people were emotional and financial parasites and once I no longer used all my energy to survive their abuses, then I started to improve and gain strength.

  6. Oxdrover, Just to give to a current snapshot of the situation, I do have a large room in the house that once used to be the garage but it was turned into a zone approved bedroom of the house. ( large bedroom with adjoining bathroom) I have put deadbolts on all the access doors to this room in which I have the only keys to. This is my room in which I stay, with my youngest son, until I have a place of my own..So we call it the “safe room” because one of my older sons is a bully to my youngest son and is very abusive to and towards him. ( it is almost an exact parallel to my husband and my relationship- only this older son is also physically abusive) So to protect my younger son, and myself we pretty much stay in the safe room for now.

  7. And I hear you on leaving “all the abusers” My church Friend and I are thinking about starting our own church that is not based on a “patristic belief system” ( the current “but not Biblical correct” male as dominating role) that sets wives up to be taken advantage of, for ultimate abuse by their male counterparts.
    It seems like a worthy undertaking, and we would need some of Crippens material to get it going, but I think it would be worth it .
    as it would set many captives free, and cause future marriages to succeed because they would be based on love truth and mutual respect.. Where their is no accountability for the man in the eyes of the churches, how can there ever be wholeness and respect for the woman?

  8. Have to share this!! I just now found this blog on Jeff Crippen site.. I wrote him once to tell him about my plight with my husband( never realizing he would post something about it) and look at what he posted … This is about my situation!!

    You have to admit this guy hits the nail on the head, and has a sense of humor at the same time!

    • This blog was targeting mine and all the pastors that shrug at verbal, emotional and psychological abuse as not serious forms of abuse, that constitute viable reasons for divorce.

      The excerpt at the top in italics was taken from an e-mail that came from my pastor, which inspired Jeff to write this

      Did anyone else read the comments near the bottom, Jaime the lady at the bottom that came up with the catch phrase ” “culprit in the pulpit” Lol…
      I think I want to move to Oregon!!

  9. Frontlinegirl,
    I replied earlier and my reply went off into cyberspace…I’ll try again.
    Yes, I pretty much knew who you were and who Mr. X was. I never banned him, he simply went away on his own. I must have bored him by not replying but I was not gray rocking him or purposely ignoring him, it’s just that I have had plenty of drama in my own life lately and haven’t had the time or energy to respond. Later he emailed me privately and again, I didn’t respond because I didn’t have time. Then he opened a new login account with a new email address, but I knew it was him. He tried posting his story and it was just like the old one, so I didn’t approve it.

    I think he found this blog by following you from the blog. They posted a link to the gray rock article and I get lots of hits from there. It seems like Mr.X is very irritated by the gray rock concept and he came here to complain about you gray rocking him. You must be doing a very good job if it is bothering him so much. He doesn’t understand, apparently, that gray rock doesn’t work on someone who is not a spath. A normal person is not bothered by it because the love we feel for the gray rocker, keeps our attention and focus on them. But the spath needs stimulation in order to focus on a human being because there is no love. We are like p-o-r-n, to them.

    You asked “what is the mastermind’s weakness?” His weakness is that he doesn’t know what is valuable. Without envy, he doesn’t know what he wants, he has no values, no identity. He doesn’t exist as a “real” human being, He is like an infant. Envy is his weakness.

    In the gray rock article is is referred to as selective gray rock. You can fake an emotion and the spath will not understand that you are faking it, even though they fake emotion all the time. In fact, it’s because they fake emotion that they can’t tell the real from the fake. Like a colorblind person, their own experience is all there is.

    I hope that you can make your escape from him soon. Meanwhile, you can come here for support and validation. If you have trouble logging in, it might not be sabotage, it might just be that you need to clear your cookies and reboot. I need to do that too, sometimes.

    • Thanks Skyler, I’ve been having challenges just getting logged on lately to reply, but tonight voila it worked. thanks for sharing the valuable insight that you have gleaned over the years..It will be helpful, and makes a lot of sense. Ive recently had my emails hacked by him, so Ive had to change to a completely different server and e-mail to keep that from happening anymore.. For some time he had my e-mails rigged up to send him a copy of everything I got and every thing I sent. (and of course without my knowledge)

      • frontlinegirl,
        I’ve heard that can help keep email more secure, but I don’t know much about it.
        The other thing to do is to use the incognito version of your chrome browser so that cookies and history isn’t stored.
        My own login problems were from a downloaded freeware that kept hijacking my browser. I had to go into my install/uninstall section of windows and find all the stuff that had installed itself in the last few days, delete them and then clear cookies and also go into all the browser settings and delete extensions. The hijacker also kept changing my start page so I had to fix that too.

        It’s a very spathy thing to do, installing malware on unsuspecting users, so no matter who did it, it was still a spath. They really are everywhere and they are all so much alike that we can know that everything we learn from one spath will protect us from the next.

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