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Precious Pearl of Purity – The Opposite Of Slime — 762 Comments

  1. I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to you guys for some wonderful and thoughtful conversations. This has been an enlightening sort of week on 180, with some good food for thought. Thanks EVERYONE!!! You are much appreciated.

  2. Jill, I had to respond all the way down here….LOL

    The movie that you mentioned, “Tenderness,” sounds like a must-see for me.

    When I consider what I “know, now,” there were absolutely red flags with the exspath – with BOTH of them, actually. Each of them found fault with everyone, including each member of their family. Then, there was the predatory stare – I’ve begun to take note of this predatory stare, whenever possible. Then, it’s glib remarks – I didn’t understand what “glib” meant, for my whole life!

    But, all of the human predators that I’ve run across in my lifetime always had “tells,” once I was aware of what they were. And, for people like me who were raised in an environment of “don’t think, don’t feel, don’t trust,” it always SEEMED simpler to just excuse their behaviors. To call them out or walk away would have been “mean,” or so I was taught. Today, I’m more comfortable in validated myself and I can call a spade what it is.

    The old man that was scouting me out to replace his empty “girlfriend” role is a prime example. This man violated my “NO TRESPASSING” sign that is clearly posted at the entrance to my home. He did this several times, and I told Bob that his behavior wasn’t “right.” Bob, on the other hand, is still stuck in “victim-mode” and refuses to acknowledge that someone might be overstepping their boundaries and said, “He just wants to be a good neighbor.” Well……..the final interaction with this man pretty much screamed that he was a human predator, and Bob was taken aback. “I thought he was just trying to be nice,” is how he initially responded.

    “Being Nice” is something that also puts me on my guard. Some people are “nice” because they simply are. Other people (like a therapist, perhaps) are “nice” because they are PAID for it. Others are “nice” because it’ll cost ya.

    Even serial killers are not killing 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week, right? So……..the disordered aren’t always waving their red flags, either. But, just because someone’s “being nice” does not – does NOT – make them “good” people.

    Some of the “best” people that I’ve met along this journey are those who might not be considered “nice” at the beginning. They say it the way that it is. They set the boundaries, clearly, and stand fast with those boundaries intact. They maintain ZERO tolerance for stupidity and manipulations. But, these folks can be some of the “best” friends to meet. They aren’t going to lie. They aren’t going to take. But, they also aren’t going to let me set up for a pity-party, either.

    Strict aside, here: “Walking Dead” picks up, next Sunday. I’m anxious to see where this character study goes…..

  3. Up thread…gosh I hate this back and forth where you have to go back and scroooooool down through ALL the comments to find the latest ones– anyway, talking about D.I.R.T. AND THE TWO BUCKETs, I think the WALKING AWAY PART is the hardest to get down, we keep thinking somehow that we can fix the “bad” bucket’s contents.

    One time a friend of mine had a freezer full of meat she had bought on sale and the power to it went out and the meat had melted, and she called me to ask me how to “save it” and I told her that there WAS NO WAY to save it unless she had caught it before it turned rancid and she said, no it smelled bad but she had washed it in vinegar,e tc. but it still smelled bad, I told her to throw it out, because there are SOME germs and toxins on spoiled meat especially that COOKING DOES NOT DESTROY and it will make you sick as a dog! I got food poisoning once from some bad meat over seas and it is not something I wanted my friend to experience.

    Now her meat wasn’t “totally rotten” and stinking like ROAD KILL, but “just a LITTLE OFF” but that’s the way it is with the GOOD BUCKET AND BAD BUCKET I think, we try to somehow SAVE someone who is JUST A LITTLE BIT OFF because we think somehow we can make them safe.

    I agree with only TWO buckets, and at the FIRST WHIFF OF “OFF” in someone they need to go in the toss it out bucket just like the “slightly off” meat. Stay away from them….sometimes we can’t physically remove ourselves immediately, like if they are our boss or something along that line, but we can start to find a way to get as far away physically as possible and COMPLETELY away emotionally.

    • Oxy,
      You cracked me up with your spoiled meat analogy! LOL!
      2 nights ago, by some bizarre coincidence, I had a dream that I had ordered a bunch of organic meat from Amazon (they are having a special and sent me a promo) and the meat went bad.

      I admit, that in the dream and in real life, I’ve had a hard time accepting that the meat had to go in the garbage. Funny analogy!

      • Sky, the “spoiled meat” analogy just sort of came to me as I typed and as I remembered my friend calling me panic stricken about the $400 worth of meat she’d lost…but you know, it REALLY IS a good one. I THINK in analogies, I think. LOL It sort of keeps me focused on the “bottom line” which is why I like parables such as Jesus used.

        I may take the spoiled meat analogy and do an article out of it…expand on it somewhat. Kind of like Jill’s “pearl” analogy..

    • Oxy, I totally love the ‘spoiled meat’ anology. I’m gonna remember, when next I have to explain to someone why I avoid certain people as soon as they show red flags. It’s funny, I often still get a response of ‘you must have been hurt real bad to want to protect yourself so much.’ I usually say, “I was hurt bad, and I do protect myself, but I’ve healed and I regard most people as trustworthy enough. Most of all it is about my purity and my values. I have no reason to befriend people lacking in morality or empathy.”

      A lot of people find that ‘weird’… makes complete sense to me though.

      I dated someone the past summer. I met the man at the start of April via a dinner at a friend’s. There was some sexual tension that evening and he offered to drop me off home, which he did. At least the meeting then helped me realize that I was finally pure again, not just healed. It’s part of the reason that made me come up with the layer concept of the Pearl (and some discussion in the comments here).

      Anyhow, he contacted me over facebook, and about a week later enthusiastically asking me out to go ‘party’ one night in the summer or so. He kept it vague, but the time period was in the middle of my June exams or my re-exams in the summer… I did not want to go dance all night with a total stranger, depending on him to return home, etc, and not knowing anybody else. It just seemed better to just invite me for a drink some time. Anyhow, we went to a picnic in the summer… It was organized by a friend of mine, and there were about 30 people, with at least some acquaintances for me. And he knew some people there too. During that picnic he dropped something odd … For some reason he was talking about ‘What would you do if you knew you only had a week left to live?’ And he volunteered himself that he’d spend his money on coke and blow it all through his nose. I found that a disturbing desire. It’s what an addict would say. I quit smoking 3 months ago (early July). I had quit smoking for a month already during the picnic. Sure, I have some desire or an itch for a cigarette sometimes, but my desire and will to be a non-smoker is greater. There’s not a hair on my head that thinks of wanting to ruin the last week of my life by clogging up my lungs with smoke again. If I’d have only 1 week left to live, I’d prefer to be breathing clean air, instead of smoke! So, I realized this is what someone would say if they still want to use. That alone put me on ‘I doubt this will be going anywhere’.

      Second round of exams came end of August, and I alerted people of this ahead in time that I’d be with my heads in my books for the coming 2 weeks. They all understood this the right way – Jill will contact us, but we’ll leave her alone – except one person. You guessed it, the guy I had been on a date with. He messaged me every other 2-3 days to ask ‘And? How are the exams going?’ My friends later said, “He probably just wanted to show he supported you.” Yeah, I know that was the message he wanted me to get out of it, but it had the opposite effect. Because it wasn’t supportive. It was intrusive! (especially by someone I had seen only twice and talked to tops for 5 hours). Heck, I found it annoying – he was actually trying to get my attention… kinda like someone waving wildly at you shouting your name with the sole true intent (instead of the avowed one) “I’m here! I’m here! Notice me! Look! See, I want to be supportive, so talk to me NOW.”

      I agreed to go out on a festival with him. First he wanted me to come along for 2 days. But I only went for one. And I was relieved that at least a mate of his was driving along. It was fun. I had nice, interesting conversations, saw a super gig. I smoked pot along with them. Was over a year ago, and was a proper occasion for it, especially for the gig of the Flaming Lips (one of the 100 Must See bands before you die… it’s neo-psychedelic music). We finished the day upon our return in a pub. Now, since about 3 years it’s illegal to smoke in pubs. You normally have to step outside, or go to a sealed off glass smoking fish bowl. But this pub is a rebellious one… and everybody there was smoking ciggies inside. And because I had been high, was drinking a glass of rhum on the rocks and everybody around me was smoking like a chimney, and I had no idea how long it’d be before he’d drop me off home, I bartered with myself to allow me 1 cigarette. I did smoke one, but was absolutely fine with not smoking any after that.

      Anyhow, I’m not conventional myself. I’m a bit of an oddball when it comes to my lifepath. I’m sceptical, speak up for what I think is not right, and in that way I’m a rebel. I like a party once in a while, and I don’t mind smoking a joint either occasionally. I don’t mind other adults doing it. But this was a world of art graduates acting like they were 16-18. Sheesh, they’re >40. There’s a fundamental way you can be a watchdog, and there’s a shallow way. All this talk of parties, and ‘isn’t it fun we can smoke IN THIS pub?’ (No, I quit smoking 2 months ago), and ‘I’d spend it all on cocaine if I only had a week to live.’ It’s like people being snobby about being anti-snob.

      That’s when I had my closure about my dating experiment with this man. I never had any cluster b vibe from him in my gut. I do think this is a kind-hearted man, but he’s running after McGuffins at an age he ought to be able to see through that, most probably had an addictive past and he’s still so wrapped up in i and has issues with personal boundaries in wanting to contact at inappropriate times. I think he’s ok-meat, but he’s leaving himself outside the fridge, in the heat.

      • I really appreciate the “spoiled meat” analogy, as well – it resonates, completely! No matter how much I might want that meat to “un-spoil,” it isn’t going to happen no matter what kind of deal or negotiation I attempt to strike. Once that decay has begun, nothing can reverse it or stop it.

        Jill, yeah…..the guy sounds as if he’s desperately holding on to the past. I believe that you have pretty much pegged this guy for what he is: toxic. Whether he’s a former addict, or whether he’s a full-blown spath, what is glaringly apparent is that he does not recognize what boundaries are.

        Everyone asks me when I’m going to start dating, again, and my answer is always, “Never.” LMAO!!! I have no interest in dancing around ANY Maypole and compromising my healing and recovery for anyone else – man, woman, or child. LOLOLOL!!! But, I also understand that “never” is a long, long time. After my experience with the old-man-predator, I’m listening to my gut with a stethoscope! I have to trust myself before I can ever “trust” another person. So…..yeah…..

        As far as giving people an explanation of why we are protective of ourselves, well that’s something that I’m simply not going to do. I’ve spent a lifetime of defending and explaining myself, usually to (and, against) disordered people. I’m working on this, one nanometer at a time.

        My “feeling” on this demand for an explanation of my personal boundaries or hesitancy is that it becomes and “in-road” around my boundaries. If I am compelled to explain or defend myself, then someone with an agenda can use that information to circumvent my boundaries if they’re talented. This is a very slow and ongoing process for me, personally. But, I’m getting there, bit by bit.

        Yeah……….let that meat sit where it is, Jill. Whether he’s chosen to sit in the sun, or someone else has put him there, THAT spot isn’t on your own Healing Path. 😉

        Strict aside: CONGRATULATIONS on not smoking!!!!! That’s something that I aspire to, myself.

        • Truthy,

          I don’t consider him to be a spath, or even toxic…He’s very productive and otherwise responsible human being, who owns his own house and working in it, a steady heavy job for his income and paints professionally in his free time (art graduate). He isn’t manipulative either. That’s why I think it’s a pure addiction problem on the one hand, immaturity and being somewhat clingy on the other hand.

          He came to understand last month that I wasn’t interested, when he tried to set up a third date. He then went on a holiday for 2 weeks, has returned, and this week announced he has a ‘little girlfriend’ again (a diminutive use to indicate someone you started to have a sexual relationship and ‘see where it goes’). I congratulated him, but he felt it was a pity she lived in another town because he’s ‘a hugger’…I love hugging the people I love myself too, but he’s more than a ‘hugger’… he’s clingy.

          There are men out there who are good people and comprehend boundaries perfectly. The art graduate was not the sole man that I explored possibilities with. But the other man refrained from contacting me during my exams and did not communicate again with me until I gave the head’s up. He ain’t perfect, and a future together would require some tough choices, and he has issues that might require guidance in a way I cannot guide him. But he has self-control (a lot of it actually), knows his own boundaries, protects them and is very careful with those of others. Oh, and he doesn’t smoke and even helped me through some of the difficult moments the first two weeks.

          I quit cold turkey! But a friend of mine was also quitting. I promised to quit along with her. I did delay it for a week… but eventually just did it. The first 5 days were the roughest. I got through them pure on willpower and telling myself, “You can buy a pack tomorrow if you still want to… But let’s tally one more day of not smoking. If you’re gonna start up smoking again and never quit, then one day of not smoking won’t kill ya.” I literally turned the addiction arguments 180°. Of course the next morning I did not buy a pack. After a week already, I barely thought or craved for cigs… often no more than a fleeting thought for the second and third week. What I did notice during the exams in August was that I have a smoker’s muscle memory. My hand would suddenly be searching and patting the seat next to me for something. I’d start to do this subconsciously. And then I noticed it and realized my hand had been searching for a pack of cigs that hadn’t been in the house anymore for 1.5 month by then. That was really funny. I’ve quit before, but never had that hand reaching for it without thinking.

          You have to find your own moment, but it’s totally possible. And once you have the motivation going it’s actually not that hard as you would think.

      • Jill,
        In your story about this man, the red flag for me, was his vagueness about when he’d like to see you. It put you in an “expecting” position because you had no idea when he would ask to see you.

        Then he expressed a desire to see you exactly at the moment when you were NOT available, that was another red flag.

        I don’t know if I would call him a spath but both of these behaviors are emotionally manipulative IMO. They plant little seeds of drama: expectation, ambiguity, the push-pull of two directions.

        • Well he didn’t know I was not available for that period when he tried to vaguely let up a balloon for summer plans in April. Anyhow, I do think it’s good I have no interest in the man 😉

  4. Jill, up thead where you talked about the guy and what he would do on his last week of life….that to me was a BIG RED FLAG….and of course there were others, like the intruding into your study weeks….you dodged a bullet with that guy, I think that was just the TIP OF THE ICEBERG with that guy.

    That’s the thing, if there is JUST A LITTLE STINK to the “meat” it is best to avoid it completely.

    Not all “rotten meat” will make you sick if you cook it, but some will, and I remember studying in chemistry and organic chemistry and micro biology…if you have a can of something that is buldging, I was always told by my grandmother to throw it out…our course it is rotten…so do so….but I found out in micro biology that THAT food that bulges the can is rotten but it won’t kill you or even make you sick, THAT kind of bug is nasty but harmless…what WILL kill you though are certain types of bacteria that grow on meat…not all, but SOME and cooking does not destroy their toxins.

    Another thing on the “foods” is that THE single most toxic substance to humans is the toxin by growing it in an AIRLESS environment and if you even taste it (it has NO “taste” BTW) you will DIE…but that toxin is destroyed by HEAT…if you heat the food to boiling for 10 minutes it is safe to eat. In “home” canning of things that are neither acid (pickles) or very sweet (jelly) or very salty, it can grow in that acid environment so things like green beans or corn etc. you MUST HEAT to be safe.

    When Ii can now, I add lemon juice to tomatoes as the tomatoes now have been bred to be lower acid and there was a case a few years back where a child died drinking home canned tomato juice out of the jar.

    Not all “poison” can be seen, smelled or even tasted, but when we DO see even the suspicion of TOXIN we must NOT ENGAGE IT, not even take a “sip”

    With HUMAN TOXINS we need to run I think at the FIRST stink of rotten. That has always been my problem, I would “smell” the toxin, the rot, and if it was maybe “just a bit” off or if I suspected but “wasn’t sure” I didn’t throw it out. NOT NOW, I have learned better and I will continue to be CAUTIOUS….let others think what they will.

    • Oxy, yes that was the WTF red flag for me. I knew that meant foreseeable trouble in the long run for anyone getting involved with this man. I knew then that at best I made a friendly acquaintance. I did the festival because it did sound like fun to do and to close things for myself.

    • Jill and Oxy,
      the question about your last week of life reminds me of what my spath BIL kept asking me.

      He would ask, “what would you do if today was your last day on earth?”
      Besides the fact that he knew my spath was planning to kill me, I think there was also some spathy intention in that question. I think he was looking for information about my values and desires so he and the uber-spath could use them against me.

      Luckily for me, spath BIL is so dumb that I just ignored his question. He’s not someone I would ever have a meaningful conversation with, so I didn’t even let one begin.

      Jill, when people say “you must have been really hurt” because of your new protective mode, they are just not understanding a more elemental aspect of who you are. They don’t understand that you began from a position of fearlessness and that you had an epiphany: fear is a good thing and is meant to elicit a self-protective mode.

      Some people also think that I’m too focused on spath-spotting. They have no idea. It’s not just spath’s I can see. I can see people for who they are now. It has opened up a whole new landscape for me and NOBODY looks the same as I thought they did. I see every little nuance of behavior now and it has meaning. All of it.

      • It is a rather sinister question, now that I think of it… He didn’t really ‘ask’ me, but he just mentioned it as a question for himself and gave the red flag answer about cocaine. I really started when he said that, thinking “Did I hear that right?” I did not respond to it really. I did not volunteer myself with “I would ….”. Nor tried to dissuade or even say anything about his own answer. It just was a total inappropiate ‘confession’ in that setting and at a first date. Had he just told something about his past and that he used to have a coke issue, I would have found it less disturbing. But basically he said he’d prefer to be an addict.

        I can only say that he’s been a good little reminder compass mostly in showing by contrast who I can trust, who’ll support me, who I can support.

        You are right, Skylar. These are well meaning people who say it to me. They simply do not have the insights I have gained about the impact of certain behaviour. I did learn that fear can be a valuable indicator, just like shock and anger. They are all indicators that something is not right.

        I also totally agree with “it’s not just spaths”… In fact, it even makes me appreciate those I can trust and can be emotionally intimate with all the more.

        • Jill, you typed it in sensible terms, “Had he just told something about his past and that he used to have a coke issue, I would have found it less disturbing. But basically he said he’d prefer to be an addict.” That is the pragmatic and common-sense-approach answer.

          It doesn’t really matter what the man’s issues are, they aren’t your issues, and you are far enough in your recovery to sense this and take action. What a testament to the power of healing and recovery!!!

          I never understood what “glib” statements were, even though I had read the definition over, and over. Until I began actually listening and observing (as OxD strongly suggests!) the words and context, I was unable to get any sense of what “glib” actually meant.

          Another TOWANDA is in order, here! 😀 And, I am anticipating the article on communication that you’ve been working on. I believe you’ll have a lot of sensible insight to share on the subject!

          • I’ll go even on farther… if he had said, “I sometimes still have a craving for it,” I’d have been less disturbed; because it’s honest, mostly to yourself.

            99% I don’t have the craving to smoke. And very very sometimes I do. I’ll expect to have this 1% craving moment for years to come, maybe even for the rest of my life. I’ll might even sin and smoke one, I don’t know. I’ve smoked 22 years, lived a lot of circumstances and different troubles and emotions and dealt with it by lighting one up. So, yeah, 20 years down the line things may happen that my brain will say to ‘I’d love to smoke a cigarette now’… BUT that knowledge does not make me think I’d want to ‘die smoking’. I recognize it’s a strategy that was carved out for 22 years in my brain and it’s easy for the brain to reach out for that, but I can also learn to plow new and healthier strategy tracks in dealing with my stress, anger, grief, angst, etc.

            We tend to think of smoking as mostly a phsyically addictive thing. But it’s a crutch to avoid dealing with our scary emotions head on, just like any other drug. It makes me feel vulnerable or overwhelmed for a moment when I cannot turn to a cigarette when I feel angry, upset or stressed. Suddenly for the first time in 22 years I have to confront those emotions head on without the relieve of nicotine. Without the nicotine I feel the rawness of it, and that’s scary! But it gets better with practice 😀 And I’m not waiting for a traumatic or painful excuse to pick up smoking again. That’s what his answer told me: he wants an excuse to use again.

            And around such people I will protect myself… I’m at my weakest in saying ‘no, not even gonna smoke 1’ when surrounded with smokers, tipsy, at night, etc… After the festival, I didn’t just realize he preferred in his heart to be an addict, I knew he would not mind making other people an addict either. I knew I’d end up smoking again, because he’d tempt me with weed and alcohol and late hours surrounded by smokers… and why would he tempt me or anybody else for that matter: it would be easier for and on him (he smokes cigs and weed). And I’m honest enough to myself to admit I can’t be around such a person 24/7 long term. I’m strong, but not that strong. That’s when I knew I had to start avoid him.

            Would it surprise you that little over a week ago he shared some post-pic that said, “Non-smokers die too.” , “Don’t grow up, it’s a trap”, oh and he got arrested today apparently: house search, his two weed plants and him were taken to the police station, etc… Actually my city mayor is being ludicrous. There’s a federal guideline that people with 1 plant and carrying 3 grams are not to be arrested for possession. But we’ve got a VERY toxic neo-liberal nationalistic mayor who made it a priority for the police to arrest anyone with even less on them and fine them. If he’d been smart enough to keep just one plant, he could have taken this all the way to supreme court for being discriminatory.

          • Jill, he got arrested? lol! I think you called it right on this guy. I say that because somebody must’ve reported him — someone close to him, who knew. Either that or he blabs to everyone. It sounds like he has attracted frienemies and drama.

            Most drug use is about numbing ourselves. The exspath, AFAIK, didn’t use drugs or even drink. He was all about willpower and self control, but he did like to tempt others to use. He liked to see others’ weaknesses.

            But it wasn’t just drugs that he tempted people with. Any desire would do. He got me to buy the car he wanted and last I heard he had tempted his millionaire friend to buy another brand new helicopter. I’m sure he intends to fly it.

            One day I came home and he had a brand new, off the showroom floor, Suzuki Katana motorcycle. He said a guy just left it there. One year later, when the tabs expired and we had ridden it for miles, he said the guy came back and got it. Personally, I think the guy was dead.

          • It were probably his neighbours… There’s been some drama with some neigbours of eastern european origin… something about the roof and leaking, and they try to get more insurance money from him than they have a right to, and it ain’t happening (He’s of Dutch origin, and they’re notoriously cheap when it comes to money). When I met him his cat had disappeared. One of the neighbours who had moved had taken it with them, but the cat decided to return on her own. It is a drama filled neighbourhood for sure and yup he has made some enemies. And yes, he blabs too much about the two plants he grows. He mentioned it several times that I can recollect in company.

            Ex used to come home with stuff claiming it was ‘given’ or ‘found’. One time he returned with a cellphone, which obviously was a girly cellphone (pink, with stars). He claimed a woman had left it behind and he wanted to return it, and get a finder’s fee. It was a prostitute’s cellphone, and it were her pimps that called the cellphone and demanded it back. This was 7am in the morning, while I was getting ready to go to work. At 7:30 am I drove him to a meeting point along the way, and these two Eastern European gangsterlike guys approached the car; one even wanted to open my door (but I closed it). Then ex nearly started a fistfight for them ‘threatening’ his fiancé blablabla… he gave them the phone back, no finder’s fee. I was teaching before class 40 mins later (quite surreal)

            Another time he woke me up around 2 am in a weeknight drunk, shouting and claiming somebody gave him a bycicle, but he didn’t want to leave it out on the street, and needed my help to carry it up for 4 stairs and put it in the living room of my 40 m² apartment back then (a studio). The bycicle had no steer anymore, or at least not the part with handles and breaks anymore. The steering column was broken. He claimed some guy had an accident in the middle of the street and fell on his face with it, had vented his anger on his bike and when ex said “but this is fixable” the guy just gave him his bike (most likely he stole it and broke the steering column himself to get his hands on it). Another surreal object. Brought it to my parents for him to work and fix it in the car. Never got around buying a lock for it. It’s now my father’s bike, hehehe.

          • Jill, they are all so ALIKE!
            Yeah, the story about the motorcycle was that a rich Arab kid had bought it that day and was doing wheelies on the street so he got a ticket for not having a license. He was pushing it home when he saw my spath sitting outside on his own motorcycle, a Honda 750. The Arab was tired of pushing it so he left it with the spath to take care of. The “coincidence” that he came back EXACTLY one year to the day to retrieve it, (on the day the tabs are expired so the spath can’t drive it anymore) tells me that there is no “Arab”.

            And the story of the Arab coming back is this: The guy is walking down the street, sees the motorcycle and remembers that it’s his bike which he left one year ago. So he takes it.

            The really funny part was that I bought the story, hook, line and sinker. I never doubted my spath, even though I knew he was a liar, because how else could I explain the motorcycle?

            The way he got his helicopter was by killing the previous owner after getting the title in his name, so I imagine he convinced someone to buy a motorcycle and then killed him so he could take it. But he didn’t get the title in his name so there is no way he could ride it for more than one year, when the tabs expired.

          • I admit that I believed some of those ‘somebody (more detail) gave me this’ too, lol. A part of me thought ‘really’? But then I remembered and witnessed him being able to get complete strangers who were scrooges by small stuff for him. He was a very hard to resist guy, extremely likeable. He could get anybody under a spell, not just me. The bigger, more expensive stuff (like the bike, that cellphone, … ) he must have stolen. But it’s completely possible some of the stuff was lent or given to him.

      • Jill,
        I’m so different now in my reactions to spaths. I used to smile politely and then back away, trying not to hurt their feelings. But the other day, I was parked at a rest area, with the hood of my truck popped open to cool the overheated engine.

        An older, white haired man approached, smiling. I was sitting in my truck with the door shut. He came over and started to ask me –through the door— what was wrong with my truck. I began to explain that it was just a bit overheated. He said, “come out and we’ll look at it.” So I did. He knew nothing about cars at all. He immediately changed the subject to, “My son’s truck is waiting for me.” I don’t know what that meant. He had just gotten off the tour bus with some other tourists. About 2 sentences later, his next comment was, “I like young women. They make me feel young.”

        My response: “I’m not interested in men like you.”

        LOL! He didn’t expect that. He kept talking. I gray rocked him, staring at the engine. He kept talking and smiling. My face stayed frozen in gray rock. He slithered away. An asian woman from the tour bus approached him. He went away to chat with her.

        • Sky, TOWANDA!!!!!!!

          Yes, yes, YES!!! I’ll go a step further and say that I’m not only different with obviously nefarious people, but the simply toxic ones, as well.

          Using OxD’s metaphor, if it stinks, it’s probably rancid. I used to distrust my own instincts and common sense because I had been TAUGHT to as per the dysfunction of our family dynamics.
          * don’t think
          * don’t feel
          * don’t trust

          I was groomed to be a “peacemaker” and “peacekeeper.” These attributes might come in handy in the event that I need to negotiate a truce in a turf war in Asia, somewhere, but keeping the peace is something that requires common sense, intuition, and boundaries. Since I was not taught boundaries, this role was incongruous for me, personally.

          So……..I spent my life trying to make other people happy, to my own detriment. Instead of calling someone out on their bad behaviors, or taking them to task, I invented excuses – “He/she doesn’t really MEAN that…,” or, “It’s just the way that he/she IS.” Oh, BULLSH*T!!!! No, no, no……….even if Bob goes beyond my boundaries, I have realized that the world isn’t going to stop spinning on its axis if I hold him accountable. The same goes true with my own behaviors – if I make a mistake, the sun is still going to rise.

          “Healing The Shame That Binds You,” by Bradshaw, was THE pivotal information that I needed in order to understand how and why I became such a stinking doormat. My childhood traumas, and every trauma afterwards, were compounded and stacked in such a way that I truly and genuinely believed that I was responsible for the well-being and happiness of the entire world. And, any desire that I had to help myself, FIRST, would have been “selfish,” because I didn’t put other people’s needs before my own. To place my own well-being and happiness before others’ made me a “bad person.”

          Oh, today, it’s a different story.

          I LOVE that you set the boundaries and disallowed ANY violation of them, Sky!! It’s an empowering feeling to set those boundaries in place and literally HAVE the ability to guard them without allowing that feeling that only “bad people” say, “No.”

          • Thanks for the Towanda, Truthy! I’m not only setting boundaries but I don’t mind being rude about it. Hurting peoples’ feelings was always a problem for me. Not anymore. If a pervert approaches me with suggestive behavior, I’m gonna call him out on it.

  5. Jill, I have to reply down here to your post about the “Non-smokers die, too.” Holy SH*TBALLS, he wanted someone to go down with him. Whether it was overt, or subconscious, he’s on a sinking ship, and nobody wants to go down, alone.

    For me, being involved with an addict is something that is very dangerous to me, personally. I am not far along enough in my recovery to feel confident that I wouldn’t be dragged down the tubes, too.

    The other thread about “Breaking Bad” had me thinking very deeply about all of the characters in that series. Of course, the end of the series came and it was kind of frantic, at the very least. But, it solidified my views on those characters – addictions can present in various forms, not just to heroin, meth, tobacco, alcohol, and other substances, but drama is also addictive. With substance addicts, drama comes with the territory, so it’s a two-fold whammy to kick. What to DO with “calm” and “serenity?” It might seem so DULL in comparison with the previous life dynamics…..

    GOOD FOR YOU for pegging that guy as toxic.

    • Yes, Truthy, exactly!

      First I was made aware that he’s an addict at heart, wants to be an addict, and after the second date I knew he’d prefer to take someone down with him. He’s not conscious of it I think. It’s just like when I smoked and got involved with a non-smoker. I felt too self-conscious for stinking and smoking up the place, and having no self-control over it, etc… Instead of helping me quit though, it made me persist in it even more. And often that non-smoker would smoke a cig along once in a while (and be a social smoker). It’s the avoidance of cog/dis of a smoker. I’m humble and admit never having the strength to be just an occasional, social smoker. I can do that with weed, alcohol or even a sniff of coke, but I can’t with cigarettes. I know, I tried… was hooked fast again.So, first I felt… “this is not someone I’d want to be in a romantic relationship with”, and then after the second date I thought, “this is not someone I should be too much in company with, not even as a friend, and if I am, I better have my independent transport”.

      So, what have I learned… to protect myself from those who’d rather make me smoke again for their own avoidance, and in general how applying self-control gives a clearer view on self-delusions in people to avoid self-control more and more.

  6. Sky, I had to respond about the Arab and motorcycle, way down here.

    I can look back at stories that the exspath told me that didn’t make any sense, at all. Like, how he traveled to watch a mutual friend who was involved in Roller Derby and provided all of these details about the event. What it amounted to was a cover for his REAL activities – meeting various people that he hooked up with that responded to his Yahoo.personal ads for playmates.

    What is very interesting about the disordered is how they will generate a whole story around their activities and behaviors using bits and pieces of actual facts. For instance, the exspath would take photos of where he was going and send them to me on my cell phone – something to “prove” that he was going where he said he was.

    The Arab and the motorcycle tale is so audacious that it’s laughable. That ANY kid would “forget” where he “left” his bike for a whole year?! ROTFLMAO!!!!!

    These days, if something sounds even slightly off, it’s suspect. Like the old man that wanted me to come “clean his cabinets,” it just didn’t even SOUND right. Clean cabinets? Really? Um………..no.

    • Truthy,
      the story he told me was audacious, yet there was the brand new motorcycle he needed to explain and murder sounds infinitely more audacious, more unbelievable.

      As Jill said, spaths do get people to give them things, I’ve seen it. What they don’t tell you is why and how. They don’t tell you that they’ve manipulated those people with lies and evil intent.

      The “advantage” of being with a spath for 25 years is that, the truth comes out in bits and pieces of lies as the pattern repeats itself over and over.

      He described to me how he convinced his millionaire friend to buy another helicopter. What he forgot was that he had also described to me how he convinced him to buy the first helicopter and later how he convinced him that the first helicopter, (brand new only a couple years ago) was no longer airworthy.

      Put that together with the story of another man whom he convinced to buy 2 aircraft and later died in one while the spath kept the other…

      All this took place over a period of decades. He takes his time with the long con so that it doesn’t appear obvious to most people. But the silly wife, sitting at home, believing every lie, sometimes gets a bird’s eye view.

      • Sky, it’s true that spaths talk people into doing for them. And, they’ll brag about the fact that they “got” something, absolutely.

        I think the concept that spaths are charming is a result of this simple fact: they get what they want from everyone, including other spaths and well-seasoned survivors. They are adept at spinning the tales and telling people what they believe that they want to hear.

        The second exspath spouse wasn’t particularly attractive, but he could spin up some charm if he needed to. He is a very adept actor and, to this day, presents a mild-mannered, cordial, intelligent individual.

        I remember his behavior when I discovered that my father had suffered a massive cardiac event and stroke that ended his life. The spath walked into the condo and asked me what was wrong. I sobbed out, “Daddy’s dying! He had a massive stroke, and he ‘s dying!” Well, the exspath forcibly grabbed my shoulders and drew me into a very tight and uncomfortable embrace, saying, “Oh, no……..no.” Well………at the time, I just passed it off as HIS response to tragedy – that he was trying to comfort me in my grief. What it actually was HAD to have been some scene from a movie that he recalled, and he acted it out. And, it should be noted that the exspath did not shed a single tear when either of my parents passed – not a single tear for the passing of another human being, OR a single tear of empathy for my personal loss.

        ACTING is what they do. From 1983 until 2012, I spent bound to two disordered people that were so vastly different from one another. #1 was violently abusive, on every level, but it took me almost 15 years to “get it” that he was not going to change. #2 paid very close attention to every scrap of information about #1 so to better lull me into a false sense of love and security by saying (and, I quote), “I will NEVER abuse you like that.” Well, “like that” was almost the truth – he found new and more creative ways to dismantle who I was, live his disgusting double-life, and relieve me of every penny that I had.

        They are all “the same,” yet they can present so many different facades.

        • Truthspeak,

          I don’t know your whole story. I’ve only read from your last post. A friend from Lovefraud suggested I contact you. We’ve both had two spaths back to back. Yours were for years, mine were only 8 months each back to back. Actually, #2 I dated for 3 months before #1, but I didn’t know what he was. They were so different, yet so alike! Like yours, #2 used #1 against me, for his gain.

          He would say, “Look at how consistent I am”, “I bet your gut doesn’t tell you things like it did with (#1)”, etc. I would react to comments #2 would make because they would be the EXACT same comments #1 would make and he would blame it on the trauma from #1. He used my first spath for everything…my experience gave him endless excuses!

          #1 stalked me the entire time we were together. It was so easy for him. To this day he blames #1 for me being “sick” and “crazy”. Fact is, I KNOW what he IS. He preyed on me when I was weak. I tried to resist our relationship at first. I wanted to be friends. He love bombed the hell out of me.

          #2 said, like yours, he would never abuse me like that. He turned out to be the most inconsistent and incapable of love man of I’ve ever known. He wanted to rob me of my security and all that I’ve worked for…my job, my family, friends, my money, my freedom….

          • Dear This too shall pass, that is what they do, they prey on our weaknesses and it seems that they can spot the “wounded deer” just like a lion can pick out the one deer in a thousand that is limping or weak.

            After my husband passed away in a terrible accident that I witnessed I was a total train wreck…and felt so “ALONE” and I was the perfect prey for the psychopath who was looking for another “respectable wife” to cheat on, since his previous one had caught him cheating and kicked him to the curb. That mantle of “respectability” that he wanted to wear via his wife was very important to him.

            Yes I think we DO become “crazy” after a close encounter with a psychopath or any other stressful and tragic event…stress does that to you. But fortunately it is NOT permanent. And the “but” in the rest of the phrase is it TAKES TIME to recover, time and peace and if we jump back into another relationship after the event with the psychopath(s) we are likely to jump into another abyss as during that recovery time we are not in position to make the best judgments etc.

            That is why it is not unusual to see a person get involved with 2 or more psychopaths in a row, so hang in there thistooshall pass, and learn to love yourself, trust yourself, and find peace and your “crazy” will pass. I can vouch though that it will not be QUICK or EASY, but healing takes TIME> (((Hugs))) and God bless.

          • Hi Thistooshallpass,
            How you describe abuser #2 and his machinations, illustrates perfectly the mindset of an abuser. They look for emotional vulnerabilities because it gives them pleasure to abuse.

            Before I studied personality disorders, I never would have imagined that there were human beings who actually spend all their time trolling for victims to feed on. Now, I know that they are actually quite common.

            I also personally experienced one of these after I left the psychopath. I had heard that most people who leave an abusive relationship commonly go on to find another abuser to have a relationship with. So I decided to investigate this and met up with my ex-spath’s “best friend”. Sure enough, he was very sympathetic and helped me learn all about psychopaths. He revealed many of my ex-spath’s secrets to me, while I also revealed the secrets that my ex-spath had kept from him. All the while, he and my ex-spath were keeping in touch and planning to murder me. But when you already recognize the spath mentality, it’s not that hard to see through it. In the end, I told him that he was being used as a patsy by my ex-spath, so that if I ended up dead, the ex-spath wouldn’t be blamed and he (the friend) would take the rap. He realized that this was true and said, “you’re right!”

            He is now afraid of my ex-spath and he runs away from me. I have nothing to worry about from him.

            The point is, we can never understand the mindset but we can learn to recognize it. Abusers tend to abuse. They look for people who have been worked over by other abusers because those people are easy pickings. So as much as we want to tell others about our experience, we have to learn to discern who is going to empathize and who is going to salivate. Until we can do that, it’s best to keep to ourselves. And if we are looking for someone to rescue us, that’s a sign that we aren’t ready for a relationship.

          • Thistooshallpass, welcome to 180rule.com, and what the past 4 years have taught me cannot be summed up in a single response.

            What I have learned about myself has everything to do with my appeal as a TARGET. I am quite a different person than I was, even 9 months ago, and I’ll attribute that forward momentum to some very strong counseling therapy with a very astute practitioner.

            They all have a very predictable pattern of behavior, even if they are NOT the same “types” of spaths. Someone once mentioned the motive behind their actions, and the truth is that the ONLY motive behind the behaviors of a spath are to “Win At All Costs.” Whether it’s to **win** a se-xual conquest, a cloak of respectability, a coveted corporate position, or someone else’s financial independence, they will say and DO whatever is necessary to obtain it, and their behaviors are all exactly the same, across the boards.

            It begins with flattery – not compliments, but FLATTERY. The difference is that a compliment would be that someone really likes my painting. Flattery would be that I had produced the BEST painting that the person HAD EVER SEEN. Flattery is powerful – it puts us off-guard. And, for those who are particularly vulnerable and needy, it is a false elevation.

            Then, it continues with “You’re the ONLY one that ___________,” dividing and conquering, generating doubt, gaslighting, etc. All of the behaviors are practiced, without fail, but not necessarily in the same order.

            So, what does it all mean to me? It means that I have to see to myself, first – understand my OWN vulnerabilities and protect them with ferocity. Vulnerabilities are not, not, NOT “weaknesses,” by any stretch of the imagination. But, to the spath, they are to be exploited and manipulated which does, indeed, make them appear to BE weaknesses.

            Learning about myself has given me the self-confidence, self-assurance, and self-love that I had lacked throughout my entire lifetime. I have finally developed most all of the healthy “Self-isms” that people who aren’t ***typical targets*** maintain and were raised with. Who are the easiest people to con? Why, those that believe that everyone can be redeemed, that everyone “deserves” a second chance, and that ***there is GOOD to be found in EVERYONE.*** None of these statements are true. They are sentiments, but they are not true.

            How I became victim to the second spath is precisely what Skylar wrote, above, “They look for people who have been worked over by other abusers because those people are easy pickings.” And, that is 100% spot-on. Nobody would ever KNOW that I had been abused by my first husband ~~~~unless I told them~~~~ and it is this fact that I had to come to reconcile myself with that I gave every spath that I’ve encountered every bit of information that they would EVER need to exploit my vulnerabilities to the fullest. The second exspath “knew” about the physical abuse, the p-orn addictions, and everything else Because I Told Him. So, in order to bait me, he had to behave as if he would never do the same things.

            I cannot change the fact that there are bad people out there. I cannot control them. I cannot make them understand that their behaviors are unacceptable or inappropriate OR illegal. What I CAN do is to control my OWN behaviors, even if it is one-step-at-a-time. And, yes……..I have had continued spath encounters that have served to TEACH me about myself, rather than inform me of THEM. I know what they are. What I need to learn, now, is how to manage my own behaviors so that I cannot be mirrored or taken in by their antics. It’s not easy, and often frustrating. But, it CAN be done, one-step-at-a-time. One ***acceptance*** at a time. 😉

          • Hi truthy! Hugs and great to see you too. Eloquent as always and I couldn’t agree more! hardly recognise myself these days but Im not kidding myself either. I know those vulnerabilities are still there.

          • Storngawoman…………and, the “vulnerabilities” are PRECIOUS…..things that make us human. Our “vulnerabilities” are what allows for compassion, empathy, love, and all of the beautiful things that human beings can feel, and be. They are precious and NOT weaknesses……… 😉

            It’s a “new world,” isn’t it? Being in recovery from my experiences has been a challenge, on every level, but WOW what a world it is without all of that baggage to tote around! 😀

          • Oh gosh yes…..I love how you write about our vulnerabilities a s something precious, to be protected not conquered and definitely not weaknesses! I didn’t have anyone guiding me when I was young. And I gave it all away…..just like that. Somehow though its all the sweeter when you have lost something and it comes back to you!

      • Truthy,
        How could we have known that there were people who have no emotions at all? That was unimaginable, especially because these people don’t present a stoic face but instead, they present a very dramatic facade. The purpose of the facade is to allow them to feed off of OUR emotions.

        These are literally psychic vampires. And they exist all around us. And nobody told us.

        As a spath I knew used to say, “you can’t make this sh*t up!”

        • No, you can’t make it up, Sky. Heck, I had rather ‘mild crazy’ experiences. Still, when someone who does not know me intimately enough to know I’m not making stuff up inquires after about it, I tell them, “I do not want to go into detail about it. He is not in my life anymore. I’m healed and I took out of it what I can learn. It altered my perception, but in a lucid manner.”

          As for those who know me well and would trust me, I try to tell no more than one or two experiences. It tends to blow them away, which I think is enough on their plate already to get some picture.

          • Jill, those people wouldn’t believe you if you told them, you are right about that, and besides, those people have no RIGHT to question you about intimate things. Good reply.

        • Sky, precisely!!! I didn’t “know” that such people existed because I was taught, upon pain of ridicule, that “all people are good” BY people who created dysfunction. This is not to type that my parents got up, each morning, discussed the best way to develop an individual into a “perfect victim,” and then create the atmosphere of neglect, abandonment, and devaluation that I experienced.

          But, the result was that I was so desperately NEEDY that I excused every red flag in an attempt to fill a personal void: acceptance, appreciation, approval, love (agape), and validation. So……….having typed that, I’m working with new facts and new “acceptance” that things are what they are, and I cannot alter them to my comfort.

          Jill, again, PRECISELY. I mean, sharing our experiences with one another is a complete validation because we can commiserate and say, “Yeah……yeah…….I identify with that experience, 100%.” But, telling others who “don’t get it” about what we experienced results in glassy-eyed, vapid responses like, “Well, why didn’t you know? You were married to him!”

          Truth is so much stranger than fiction, to be sure. So, this is why I don’t give anything to people, anymore. No history. No beliefs. No opinions (EVEN when I’m asked). I have taken OxD’s suggestion to observe, listen, and keep mum and made it into a Rule Of Life. Over time, I’ve learned that people will tip their hands, at some point, if I am just patient enough to wait, watch, and listen.

          Spaths are some of the most convincing actors imaginable. They can play a role with such skill that they would be worthy of Oscar nomination, if they were playing it out on the big screen. But………..but, they can’t always remain in character 24/7. It requires a tremendous amount of energy to play their roles, especially if they are in the company of MANY. They have to keep tabs on what they’ve said, and whom they’ve told which lie to. So, at some point, they’re going to need to “take five” and collect themselves. THAT is the moment when they remove their makeup, sit in their dressing rooms, and reveal their decay for what it is.

          😉

          • Oh man can relate to all of this talk about the illusions these types create. The constant covering up of one deceit after another.

            Indeed: truth is stranger than fiction.

            One dud I hung out with got a large sum of $, by way of an anonymous, hand written, money order. At the time he pulled it out of the mailbox I just stood there with my mouth hanging open, thinking ‘who sends someone this amount of cash, anonymously, and out of the blue?’. And because I was in the love bombing/Macguffin-chasing phase, I believed this guy had something that I desperately needed, too.

            Up shot of this story is 1. It was cashed 2. It was spent 3. It was shown to be fake 4. I gave his bank the money to cover the loss 5. I never got that $ back

            I would LOOOOVE to know the truth of what happened. I didn’t hang out long enough to see the ‘patterns’ you talk about Skylar. I think, since you spent so many years seeing the pieces, you have a rather unique set of up-close understandings about the level of machination these types go through to achieve their cons.

            I imagine this was also either a con, or an ex who wanted to exact some revenge on this guy. He was VERY into the law of attraction, and ‘believed’ he was especially chosen to attract anything and everything he wanted. Perhaps it was someone who was using his personal delusions against him.

            The bank thought it may have been some kind of overseas scheme. Except the teller couldn’t figure out how the sender would profit.

          • Slim,
            the answer is “follow the money”. Who ended up spending the money? The spath did. And who ended up with the bill? You did.

            That was the plan all along.

            Everything else was a prop and a performance. You were there to watch him get an anonymous check in the mail — that was the prop and performance. You became a true believer when you saw it with your own eyes. I mean who would send themselves a check in the mail? and why?

            The only way you would conclude that he was sending himself a check is if you doubted every thing that you were seeing. His performance upon receiving the check must’ve been pretty good. They like performing. It’s their favorite part.

            When he cashed the check and spent the money, it wasn’t HIS fault that some anonymous person would send him a fake check, HE was the VICTIM!

            And you were the rescuer. You covered for him, like he knew you would.

            My ex-spath played a similar game on me. He made an agreement with a woman, so she could get money from her insurance company and buy a new car. He rear ended her car with his truck. Just enough to total it because it was an older car and not worth repairing.

            Spath calls me and tells me that he hit a car and now he has to pay for it or he will lose his driver’s license and he won’t be able to drive to work. Geez.

            Oh and he says that it was my fault because we had a fight that morning and he forgot to drink water and his leg spazzed and he didn’t brake on time.

            Of course I’M the one who has to pay for the car. And you would think that the spath got something out of it but his intent was simply to make me spend money so I’d be broke. Maybe he got something from the woman, she is an older lady around 65 at the time, but I don’t know what she would do for him. I think he met her in the casino.

            Luckily, I needed a nice little car at the time, so I bought the car from the insurance auction and fixed it for cheap. At least I got something for my money. The spath was so mad!! He said, “YOU PLAYED ME!!! YOU PLAAAAYED MEEEE!”

            Moron.

  7. Responding to Skylar, from waaaay up above!

    It is following the $. I still have curiosity how he pulled this off. The money order was written in beautiful script, so it wasn’t HIS hand writing. But he had lots of minions, all women, who would do just about anything for him.

    I would almost bet this women was also duped, and would have taken the heat, if the whole thing had unraveled.

    • Slim,
      I hadn’t thought of that, he must’ve had an exit strategy in case you didn’t take the bait. Perhaps he would have told her that legally, “fraud” is not so bad but “conspiracy to commit fraud” is much more serious, so she would be wise to keep her mouth shut and take the heat. It is her handwriting after all, and the only evidence against him would be her word.

      I wonder if he split the money with her or shared any of it at all. Probably not. She might have thought that the bank ended up holding the bag. But banks never do.

      It’s amazing how they can convince anyone to break the law.

      • Slim & Sky, it certainly seems that spaths can build a house of mirrors that confounds everyone, doesn’t it? And, I personally believe that they CAN convince people into being accessories to their crimes when they can exploit trust and vulnerabilities to their advantages.

        Nobody could believe that the exspath had engaged in the activities that he did, OR that he had defrauded me of my investments – they just couldn’t, even when they visually examined the hard evidence! “But, he was such a NICE guy,” was the almost-verbatim response from everyone.

        Two years ago, this whole thing began to unravel, and I’ve learned to recognize “The Behaviors” in other seemingly “nice” people. We just didn’t know what we didn’t know. Now that we DO know, we’re all tougher targets.

        • Truthy,
          it’s sad that when someone is “nice” you have to wonder why. Eventually, the true character is revealed, sometimes quicker than others.

          One trick is to use your peripheral vision, because when the spath is looking straight at you, with his performance going full, its easy to slip out of reality and into his fantasy.

          • Skylar and Truthy,

            It is amazing. Part of me still looks at this con and just shakes my head at how it all turned out. That it never dawned on me that it wasn’t ‘for real’.

            I think I get what you say about looking at these types, but not straight on. My therapist said the same thing. She encouraged me to write down my experience, and then not think about it “directly”. Then she said to just go with my feelings and ‘gut’ sense, and not try to figure out the real details.

            OOps, gotta go to a meeting! bye!

          • Sky, when you suggest using peripheral vision, could you please go into some depth on this? I’m thinking that I might have a tiny understanding about this, but I’ve been a little “dense,” lately – dunno if it’s the seasonal change, “that time of year” when I recollect the discovery 2 years ago, or what.

            At any rate, could you go into some more detail on this as a technique? Thanks!!!! 🙂

          • Truthy,
            I mean it both literally and figuratively. When the spath is aware that your attention is on him, he acts differently than when he thinks nobody is watching.

            When a performance is tailored to you, when he is lying directly to you, the texture of his lies are part of how he convinces you. He is calm, unswerving in his insistence that he is telling the truth. He has “props” (like a check arriving in the mail was a prop tailored to dupe Slim). All of these details are meant to convince you.

            My spath would lie to other people for no reason, while I watched. One day I whispered (when the 3rd party had left the room), “Spath, you don’t have to lie ALL the time.” And he whispered back, “Oh, yeah, okay”. There seemed to me, no reason to lie to a guy who was selling us some video accessories.

            Even though I knew that he lied all the timed, when he was lying to me he seemed so believable because he was focused on me, making sure that I believed.

            Think of it this way:
            Spaths are 2 dimensional cartoon characters — life sized,paper cutouts.
            When you are facing them, they seem to have depth, they look real. But the moment you stop paying them attention, the paper cutout turns to face another dupe. Then you can clearly see that he’s only paper thin but the new dupe thinks he’s interacting with a real person.

            If the spath notices that you saw his “skinny side”, he’ll turn to face you again and magically seems to become “real” again. Moreover, he’ll explain to you that he only seemed to look paper thin because YOU can’t see very well, or there is a space warping field in the vicinity, or you’re crazy or whatever. Pretty soon you’ll forget that you saw his thinness.

            One way that spath explained his need to lie to other people was because he didn’t trust them. He said that people could turn on him, so he needed to preemptively protect himself. I assumed that he trusted me, so there was no reason to lie to me, and therefore he wasn’t lying to me. This made me believe that the “thinness” I’d seen had a perfectly reasonable explanation but that Spath was actually a “real” person.

            So watching with your peripheral vision means not allowing them to mesmerize you with their lies or convince you with their props. Also, if they aren’t able to watch your facial expressions, they can’t adjust the mask to fit to your reactions. And without facial expressions, they can’t feed on your emotions either.

            Attention and focus are huge parts of their con game, peripheral vision keeps them from getting all your attention.

  8. Wow! Skylar, just wow. That is such a perfect way to describe how they do their sleight of ‘person’ (rather than JUST sleight of hand). I looked up sleight of hand and a site said “it is mostly employed in close-up magic”. When we face them, it creates the up-closeness that they require. Ewwwww.

    The way you use these visuals so accurately describes the experience I have had time and again, but never thought of in this way.

    It’s if the lights are on one second, and then BAM!, out they go. Then, in the next second, on again!

    For me, even though these moments would creep me out, or puzzle me, I think I mostly tried to ignore them. On a very personal level I would ignore them because I KNEW what was coming: a total feeling of emptiness inside of me. Many times when I would ‘see’ the person for their skinny self I would feel so lonely and sad, that I would push it away in FAVOR of the previous illusion. I was so afraid of my own loneliness, and deep sadness I kept the cycle going.

    When you say focus and attention are a big part of their con I remember exspath saying ‘pay attention, do you think this is some kind of game?’.

    Tipping his sleight of hand.

    • Slim, my exspath would rage if I wasn’t looking at him when he was talking to me. “LOOK AT ME, OR I’LL START OVER FROM THE BEGINNING!!!” he would rage. His “explanations” would take so long that my mind would start to wander. I’d get bored.

      You are right, they demand the attention and it’s not just because they are needy, it’s because it’s necessary for the con to work. Emotions focus attention. If you aren’t emotionally invested, you don’t really care. But they NEED you to care. They don’t care, but YOU have to care. That’s the game.

      This conversation is huge. It has so many elements of spath behavior: The game; the attention; the focus; our need for denial…the magic trick. It’s all there.

      Truthy, maybe I should make this into an article. As you’ve probably noticed, I have writer’s block. This is due to my inability to do anything that doesn’t benefit someone else. So when you asked about the “peripheral vision” I was able to write. Before that I couldn’t. Hey, I never said I was normal! I was raised to be good supply!

      Slim, It’s funny that I was just thinking something similar to what you said about ignoring the wtf? moments. I know a man whose wife manipulates him. She thinks he’s an idiot, but he feels that she’s just emotionally sick, so he ignores it. Just like I used to. He’s a narcissist. Neither is healthy.

      How do we jump off this ride?

      • Sky, thank you SO much for the explanation – seriously. What you described is 100% spot-on with EVERY spath that I’ve ever encountered. They tailor each role that they play for the SINGLE individual that they’re targeting, whether it’s an intimate partner or platonic association.

        The “straight on” attention allows for their predatory stare to take in OUR reactions and responses. I have LONG since understood this concept and what the predatory stare really is – a primal assessment of a target or prey. Period.

        You mentioned the man whose wife manipulates him, and this was the same dynamic that I experienced when I was renting a room from the former colleague. I watched the colleague’s girlfriend run guilt-trips to the point where he actually abandoned other obligations (serious ones) to meet her demands for attention. I couldn’t say a single word to him about it because he was ensnared. I finally told him that she was malicious when she set Bob up to be propositioned by one of the colleague’s male friends – there was nothing entertaining or FUNNY about paying a grown man $5 to sexually approach someone who was in a terrible emotional state, at the time.

        When I identify this kind of abuse of others, I have to make a decision as to whether or not I am willing to be a spectator, or walk away. I cannot be a spectator, anymore – I used to tolerate this because I believed that I “needed” to be liked and accepted by EVERYONE, including toxic people. Today, no. I don’t care who it is – I will not be a willing spectator of abuse and/or manipulation of other people.

        • Truthy,
          The roommate’s spathy gf manipulated everyone’s attention, although not directly at her. So it’s a need for power that is driving their need for attention. She felt in control when she could get others to do her bidding, even if she had to fork over $5.

          People like that are dangerous. We can’t know to what lengths they’ll go to fulfill their power tripping needs.

          • Sky, I agree with you, 100%. The colleague’s girlfiend (intentional spelling error) is VERY dangerous. What’s interesting is that others can SEE what she is, and they still make excuses for her or tolerate her behaviors because she’s the girlfiend of the beloved colleague. And, he was held in very high regard, by all.

            Well, the best thing about that whole situation was that it was one more opportunity to LEARN about disorder, how disordered people function, and that I will live in a cardboard box before I ever allow someone to abuse me and my son like that, again.

      • Oh please do write an article about this…could be a series. If it helps with your writers block (which I have nearly all the time!), I am in NEED of these articles! LOL.

        I am with you, Truth, I can hardly stand to watch any kind of abuse. I have to get away from it.

        Sky, you talk about the boredom, and losing attention. I experienced that too. And I found when I was bored it either made them irate, or gave them the opportunity to focus their attention on someone/something else.

        One of the exspaths (same one who asked if I thought the whole thing was a game, and told me to pay attention), when I would space out and get bored on him (or otherwise NEED to put my focus elsewhere), he would disappear me. Almost like I was no longer in the room. He would just do his spathy things (TV, computer, call people…busy stuff), like I wasn’t there.

        One time, when we were at a street fair, and I was not paying strict attention to him, he started openly ogling other women. Even approaching them (women he ‘knew’ in the community), and telling them they looked great that day, charming them.

        When I confronted him about this ‘infidelity’, of sorts, and asked that he cease. He said ‘OK, but since this is 50/50, I think another solution is THAT YOU NOT WATCH ME’.

        Looking back it appears this was HIS relationship to paying attention. That things just ceased to exist, if he didn’t pay attention to them. Narcissism at it’s best.

        I mean, I am married now, quite happily. We live in a very small space. So, we try not to bother one another when we both need down time. But, it still feels like we are connected, even when we go about doing separate activities. Our bond isn’t broken by the simple act of paying attention, or not.

        I am guessing he thought that when I wasn’t paying close attention to him, he ceased to exist for me too.

        Slim

        • Slim,
          I read somewhere that narcissists feel that when they aren’t getting attention, they cease to exist. Their existence depends on being mirrored in someone’s eyes. This sort of makes sense because they have the emotions of infants and, if an infant can’t get mommy’s attention, he could very well cease to exist.

          So maybe that exspath was telling you 180 degrees the opposite of what he meant. He told you to stop paying attention when in fact, he wanted your attention. His way of getting it was by acting shamelessly. Simultaneously, if you weren’t going to give him your attention, he would just get it from every other mommy that walked by. His actions told you how easily he could replace you as narcissistic supply.

          Somewhere, I have a video tape of the exspath giving a speech to an audience. It was about the aerodynamic characteristics of the gyrocopter. He was approached at the last minute and asked to give the speech, he didn’t prepare. I’d never heard him speak to a crowd, I was so anxious that he would make a fool of himself.

          To my pleasant surprise he had the audience eating out of his hand. They all laughed at the right times, paid attention and applauded. It was unbelievable. So he is perfectly capable of charming a crowd of people. He appears 3 dimensional when he’s doing it. Because he has no anxiety, he also appears perfectly comfortable and at ease.

          • Skylar,

            Oh, exactly. It goes along with negative attention being better than no attention at all. This guy was always screaming for attention. His shameless behavior increased day by day of our relationsham.

            By the end he was unmasked as completely shameless.

            This spath was also great with a crowd. I saw him teach a ‘workshop’ for over 300 people. Never broke a sweat, stammered, or flinched. All of what he said was new age BS, but he had them wishing they could all be as confident and self-aware as he was.

            If they only knew…..

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