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Psychopaths are Opportunists. — 194 Comments

  1. Dorothy, I’ll support what SlimOne typed: you are not an idiot. My belief is that you’re not “getting it” about the facts simply because you’re not ready to, yet. The facts are painful, Dorothy – that’s it, and that’s all! That someone that I dearly loved NEVER loved me back, even though the words came out of his mouth is almost too much for me to bear. Yet, this is the truth: the spath did not, at any time nor under ANY circumstance, ever “love” me – not ever. Even though I loved him for over a decade, he never, at any time, loved me back. Who wants to accept that fact?

    As far as trusting yourself to engage in counseling, let the counselor do their job, and if you don’t feel as if you’re making any progress, change your counselor. It’s that simple. Counselors provide a SERVICE – they are not our BFF, intimate family member, or anyone who is emotionally connected to us except as a provider of a professional service. We are not obligated to stick with one counselor just because we started with that one – what WE want and need is a counselor that “gets it,” themselves, and can lead us to emotional health.

    As odd as this may read, Dorothy, your experiences with the spath have compelled you to look far deeper than you ever intended to, and this might be an opportunity for you to explore some serious core-issues and put them where they belong.

    You’ll sort it out, in due time.

    • Truthy, I honestly don’t know anything more about myself now that I did preSpath. Ive been in counseling for decades on and off during past periods of sobriety and even during active drinking. Im not a typical drinker in that Im not in denial when I drink…….at least not after my first major run at sobriety. I went in for a walk in apt at my GP’s one time, post first Spath breakup a year and a half or so ago, I don’t remember the timing exactly………..the last two and a half years are one big mud puddle in my mind………..
      Anyhow I was still drinking at the time and talked with this guy for close to an hour, Slow day! at the end, he told me…….”I have NEVER met someone who drinks as you say you drink and is as aware and perceptive as you are about themself. Usually someone who drinks in the way you drink is in major denial”.
      The point of that story is that I’ve seen so much about myself…..I know I have wounds, scars, abandonment issues, all kind of issues and I’ve known for a good long time. I SAW that Spathx was a problem, literally within hours of meeting him. He phoned me the next day upwards of 6-8 times during his work day…..all of his issues, I saw…..my friends were calling him serial killer names, I escaped him once…….right into the arms of another spath……….escaped HIM and came back home, right back to Spathx’s web. I SEE things, I KNOW things, I DO things anyhow because I just do! It’s not that Im an intilectual idiot, it’s something different and I can’t seem to turn the wheel and make the boat go in a different direction.
      This IS the first time I’ve been involved with someone that is like him but i’ve been with other near misses. I certainly had no awareness of this being the potential devastating end or I would have bailed a long time ago. I LOVE you Dorothy, I LOVE you Dorothy, I LOVE you Dorothy, I LOVE you Dorothy, I LOVE you Dorothy, I can’t even begin to attempt to count how many times he said that to me. I was NEVER once able to say, “I know you do” and mean it. I tried once and it felt so weird…….his response was….”well, there’s something I don’t hear very often”.
      idk…….im tired. I am just tired..
      Thanks Truthy…… I hope time will sort things out, i really do.
      The councilors I’ve seen don’t seem to “get it” and Im running out of options. I saw someone new last week and she seemed ok. just running out of gas with it all. SO ready for this to just be over. I wish someone could just pluck him and every memory of him I have right out of my brain. It’s like a curse.

    • Truthy………….Im sorry for your pain {{{HUGS}}}. I really am. You sound so like me in some ways. I can’t imagine this being a 10 year investment. CAN NOT imagine how much worse this could feel to you. I know it’s all relative though but I do recognize that it could be worse (me). IDK,,,,,,,I don’t know.
      I don’t remember if I asked you this so if I did, I apologize…..is your story posted here or on LF? Sad to say, I’ve heard and read so many at this point it’s hard to keep them straight.

      • Hi Everyone,

        I’m new here and think this is a wonderful place to arrive, I’ve been reading everything her for a few weeks now and there is such wisdom, insight and authenticity. Glad to have found such a nuturing place.

        Dorothy – I hope today is a better day for you. I just wanted to say a huge Well Done on not drinking, I assume that you aren’t drinking at the moment? I was left with a major alcohol problem as a result of my experience the the low lying rabid dog of insanity. I don’t drink anymore and recently realised, yesterday, that although I had a years counselling and did detox etc. I had assumed all guilt, shame etc.( a disproportinate amount) for the drinking, I had an Edison moment and realised that all the feelings I had about me and drinking (which I had perceived as the Everest of problems) were in fact his projections and Sylaws theory about bypassed shame really resonated with me.

        I had a great laugh last night at some of the comments about projections left on the ‘pearl of purity’ post – I think that’s the right post. I will hop over there and see if I can add any.

        • Myownsavior, Thanks for the kudos on my drinking and yes, Im currently not drinking. It is literally death to me because i am unable to protect myself at all when I drink. I’m like a feather in the wind.
          Congratulations to you for your sobriety as well. It is the kindest thing we can do for ourselves and the one silver lining I see to this whole experience with Spathx.
          You know, I have NEVER come away from a relationship, no matter how bad or dysfunctional it was, wanting to forget it in it’s entirety until now. I am friends, and on good terms with most every guy I have ever been with. Some people have faded from my life just as a matter of course but not because there was any ill between us.
          I will not continue to hold any memories of him/ it close to my heart and that is the saddest part of this for me. He may well go on the short list …….as in by himself, of someone I’ve dated/ been with who not only am I no longer even friends with but will never even speak to again and will shun him completely if I ever have the misfortune to run into. Lying sac

          • Dorothy, I’m 54 and have had similar experience. I’m on good terms with most guys I had relationships with. But the x Psychopath is a relationship I wish had never happened. I have gotten rid of many things, that remind me of him, and have, as much as possible, brought my life back to sort of what it was before him. I have been profoundly changed, though. I remember reading somewhere a woman who got rid of her psychopath, and saying she got rid of every possession that he ‘sat on, used, was associated with, etc.’ Cathartic for me. I don’t want to keep much related to him.

            As I understand it, (and my understanding is somewhat different than mainstream), the Bible says the unrepentant will be extinguished forever (eternal death). This is different that the popular concept of eternal punishment (hell), which actually isn’t in the Bible. It’s a pagan religion concept that got adopted by Christianity. Anyway, I always thought how sad, and how could a loving God do this. Until I had the psychopath experience. I learned that there are some people who don’t want to go the way of life, love, good, etc., and some people that will not be missed. Bible says God doesn’t want anyone to perish, and that He is grieved at the death of an unrepentant. Religion aside, this is the paradigm I frame my view of the psychopath. He doesn’t want to change, he would spend eternity making people miserable if he got eternal life, I wish he’d choose different but it’s his choice, and I won’t miss him if he doesn’t change.

            Just my way of looking at it; there are many other viewpoints.

          • Well AnnettePK, I’m almost 54 and I have led a very well rounded, “colorful” life. Im not innocent by any stretch of the imagination but I am kind of child like in a way that would take way too long to explain. Not naive but vulnerable. How I made it to 52ish, when i had the misfortune of hooking up with him, without having something like this happen before is anyone’s guess. I certainly am amazed but I can say that knowing what i know now, after “him” and all the reading and blogging I’ve done.
            Nice to meet you, stick around, and welcome to 180

        • Hi MyOwnSavior,
          welcome to 180Rule. It sounds as if you’ve already experienced it though!

          As hard as we try to keep their projections off of us, many do manage to slime us. It’s inevitable because they LOOK human, they even talk human and parrot our emotions back to us. Our mirror neurons automatically fire and we feel we can relate to them. But it’s just a magic trick, because there was nobody there at all.

          And just like in a dream, we feel like we really did have the experience. We remember it like it really happened, but it didn’t. It was a trick.

          So that’s the slime we have to remove.

          • Hi Skylaw,

            What a wonderful resource you have created here, I can’t believe how clearly you can articulate what you do. You must be very far on in your own journey – I wish my brain could function so well at this point.

            I can’t find the post with the funny projection comments but they were a sight for sore eyes and the laughter was pure soul food. I loved the one about your pans and the lifetime guarantee. This one you would have had to have endured a P to get the humour in it. So much of the reading/educating self and reintegrating is brain crunching work, the humour is always a welcome relief.

            I think one of my most enduring memories of projections was being screamed at ‘YOUR just a good time girl’ This little nugget I found to be particularly enlightening as I stood their in my skeleton a whole 6 stone, almost no hair left after it falling out, my brain crumpled up like a disused old newspaper. Even through that terror I thought to myself so when does the good time start.

          • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!
            Myownsavior! that’s so funny, I can’t stop laughing!

            You described what it’s like to live a spath to a TEE. lol.
            “when does the good time start?”

            hahahahaha!

            I had a similar situation, when the spath pretended to have forgotten our 25th anniversary of being together (we weren’t married). A month later he said, “oh it’s been 25 years. Aren’t you supposed to get something after 25 years?”

            I glanced at him and said, “Parole?” lol.
            Then I looked away when I saw the evil in his eyes. My answer indicated that I didn’t care, and that I wanted OUT. That’s not the answer a spath wants to hear.

            Our innate sense of humor may be why we survived.

            I’m very glad that you found some humor and some inspiration here. Don’t think that I’m not still working on my journey, though. Knowing about spaths and healing from them are two different things. In my experience, learning and knowing is much easier than healing, so that’s where I lag.

  2. Myownsaviour, welcome to the discussion!

    Bypassed shame is a fact and not a perception. Some spaths will be direct, and others (like the second exspath) are passive-aggressive about it. But, the shame is almost tangible, nevertheless, which is why I’m involved in INTENSIVE counseling therapy and doing some extraordinary (for lack of a better word) work in my recovery.

    Yepper…..shame……nasty stuff, that.

  3. Hi Truth,

    Thank you – I’m still grappling with the bypassed shame I’m almost there theoretically but I’m not feeling it if you know what I mean. I started googling shame and addiction etc last night and it all looks interesting. I’m not fully sure I know what shame feels like – or maybe I just haven’t named it as that yet.

    Mos

  4. Welcome My Own Savior, the more the merrier…by holding on to each other we are like two one legged men, we can stand upright and navigate the tough waters. Good group here, no nasties and no flames, so dive into the discussions. You are right, Sky has a great site here!

  5. My ex Psychopath was a very poor speller considering his level of education, He was a poor reader, definitely something like dyslexic. He was very ambidextrous, favoring neither hand at all for anything. He could pretty much switch hands back and forth. He had extremely low blood pressure and absolutely no sense of smell. It is my understanding that these physical traits are somewhat linked to the tendenc towards psychopathy.

    The porn he used included child porn and gay porn. It is my understanding that ‘straight’ men don’t use gay porn; they simply aren’t interested. He also cross dressed and had sex with himself in this way, beginning when he was a teenager, wearing, among others’, his mother’s clothing. Before I knew anything about all this, and kept telling him, usually in arguments, that he was acting like he was wearing a dress. It was a negative hostile thing, the way he wanted to mess up gender roles and gender identification. It was not the same as being gay or lesbian; it was about doing anything that seemed ‘wrong’ or ‘backwards’ to him. I have gay friends and acquaintances who are honest, keep their commitments, bond with others in relationships, etc, but with the ex Psychopath the gender mixups were tied up with his hostility and aggression. I also suspected he was gay or bi, and asked him about this for years, because something was off.

    In the beginning of our relationship he kept emphasizing how much the same we were, little things like our interests. Of course he was lying and making it up. I thought it weird, and potentially boring to be that much alike. He happily told me his daughter (whom I think is probably a psychopath also, or at the least a narcissist) said I looked like a female version of him. I thought that was really weird. Another red flag I ignored.

  6. Annette, the things you describe seem to indicate very poor boundaries on the spath. It’s like he lacks an identity, he can be male or female, adult or child. The attraction is a need to do what is most ANTI-HUMAN. Whatever boundaries exist, they want to tear them down. Their narcissism doesn’t allow for autonomous people to exist.

    I have a tendency to be very nice to people. I like making people happy. A spath mistakes this kindness for weakness and becomes very attracted to it. They bring me flowers within minutes, or hold my hand and offer to wash my car (he’s ninety years old). Another brought me a flower and kept lamenting that I had a bf in further emails. Another didn’t care, he just insisted that we should have sex and accused me of wanting to rape him. Turns out, he is a mixed martial arts fighter with 5 children. These guys were all between the ages of 26 and 96. I’m 47.

    I think that if you want to get rid of them very quickly, you must convince them that you are boring right a way. Just tell them, “WYSIWYG, I’m very boring.” They’ll usually slither away.

    Once the relationshit has progressed, you have to “fall back” to NC and playing dead.

    • “What is most anti-human” That is it; I couldn’t find the words to describe it, but that is exactly it, perfect summary of their motive.

      I am over the top ‘nice’ (or at least I was), diplomatic, peaceable, smoothing things over. I’m sure that’s a reason I was targeted. But I’m apparently not nice enough to attract the hoards buzzing around you!

      Mine is completely uninterested in me since I stopped responding with emotions and letting my buttons get pushed. He is enraged that he can’t get what he wants out of me, neither my suffering nor my financial security, status enhancement, access to beach house, etc.

      The outstanding issue weighing heavily on me at the moment is, after nearly 2 years separated, he is aspiring to leadership positions in another congregation he attends of the same church I attend. The ministry has asked me to write my side of the story of our separation. It is likely to make things very difficult to ex Psychopath. It’s also very triggering for me, and dangerous because whatever I say or don’t say, he and his smear campaign turn it around and I look bad, he comes out on top. I realize he did this to his first ex wife, and I believed him at the time.

      We have a separation agreement that is costing him a lot (by our standards) of alimony. He signed it thinking we would reunite nullifying it, as we did cyclically a zillion times over several years. Leaving and reuniting and the torture it was to me and my son was a pastime for him. I eventually wised up, and didn’t reunite so he’s paying me plenty of alimony. It’s pretty meaningless in the grand scheme of things to me, because there is no amount of money in the world that could make up for the suffering, and what I gave up for him, and the cost of my son’s counseling and other healthcare costs related to the x P’s tenure.

      The ex Psychopath would love it if I left the church, which his first ex wife did for awhile and then she moved across the country, I’m guessing to get away from him. It’s a unique church, and has great spiritual meaning for me, so I am determined not to let him drive me away.

      He would benefit if I were dead. I’d be happy if he disappeared from the face of the earth, but my faith and ethics prevent me from harming anyone. His ethics are nonexistent and don’t prevent him from doing anything.

      BTW, what is “WYSIWYG?”

      Thank you again for your thoughts and this blog in general. So many of us feel so much better because of it.

    • Annette,
      WYSIWYG, means “what you see is what you get”. It seems to me that spaths are disappointed when you tell them that you have nothing spectacular to offer, no mysteries to unravel or puzzles to solve. This is one aspect of boring that you can present when trying to get rid of a spath.

      I’m so glad that you’ve stopped the cycle with your ex. How convenient for him to put you on a yo-yo for so long. It allowed him time to step out and do his thing while knowing that you would always take him back. Typical abuser.

      We speak about how they are all the same. Yes, they do different things depending on who the victim is, what boundaries they encounter, how much risk they are willing to take etc… What is the same is their reasons for what they do. The envy, the sense of entitlement, the boredom, the addiction to power and shameful behavior all lead them to manipulate. And the manipulation always uses our emotions to hook us. Understanding the things that are the same helps to look past the details and see the entire forest, not just individual trees.

  7. Ok, calling for positive thoughts on a case that I’ve been following the past 2-3 months. Remember how I posted something about a scientist Dr. Lynn Rogers and his unorthodox method to habituate black bears to his presence so he can observe their natural behaviour without them minding him (like Goodall, Fossey did before with chimpanzees and gorillas). Two years ago a yearling got shot by accident by a hunter, and she was called Hope – the first black bear born on a den cam. Her first year of life was documented by the BBC (The Bear Family & Me).

    Since then, hunters can eat Dr. Lynn Rogers alive. Also since 2006-2007, trouble has been brewing with the DNR of Minnesota. The last two years they arbitrarily limited the collar permit on his research bears down to 15, and the start of this year to 12.

    Worse even, one of the local DNR managers basically has been ‘manifacturing’ complaints… that is, if someone mentions seeing a black bear (and they liked it even), then that guy writes it down as a negative complaint, saying that the people who live there don’t dare to speak up. It’s like someone asking you, “How was your day?” and you say “Great! Had a great day!” and the first writing down, “Had a horrible day, so horrible they don’t dare to admit it.”

    The county where Lynn Rogers does his research has been doing divisionary feeding for the past 40-50 years, even before he ever set foot there, and the town sure wants him to continue his research (there has been a vote of the town council on that), since his research brings in tourism from all over the world – people come down to Ely to follow a 3 day course on black bears at his education center from everywhere, sometimes yearly.

    Anyway, last month, at the end of June he got notified that his research permit will end 31st of July. It’s been a media battle (and a losing one) where hunters (in a group called Lyly – a bear with a bounty and DNR smear campaign him. They misuse all sorts of reports, heck even falsify stuff. It’s really ugly. Last week Dr. Lynn Rogers had a meeting with the Governor but to no avail. Though DNR agreed to do an administrative review of their decision which will take months, he still has to remove the collars of the 12 study bears. Lynn is 74. These bears have been habituated and with some he worked for over a decade. In fact they are a clan of mothers/aunts/sisters in one county area. There are some very unique things coming together. It should be the summum of his life’s work. In September the 6 week hunting season starts again. Without the collars and no permission to give supplemental and divisionary feeding, the uncollared bears will be easily lured to bear bait by hunters and be shot. Lynn refrains from saying it himself. He says “hunters who otherwise would not shoot a bear that is collared might shoot them”, but heck we know there are some hunters out there who’d set things up explicitly with the purpose to lure and shoot those research bears.

    Because of the Governor not intervening on the behalf of his research, Dr. Lynn Rogers has started legal proceedings. He’s asking for an injunction today.

    http://www.startribune.com/sports/outdoors/217258631.html?page=all&prepage=1&c=y#continue

    Here’s some more background info on the issue:
    http://www.bearstudy.org/website/research/permit-issuesjune-28-2013.html (that is the research website of Lynn Rogers)

    • Jill,
      there’s something very strange about the DNR and people involved in it. This is not the first time I’ve heard of cases where animals are targeted because they’ve been in contact with people. A while ago, I read about a rescued fawn that animal welfare wanted to kill after the family that rescued it had spent thousands in vet bills. It’s insane and I have no way to understand or explain it.

      AncientHeart has experienced that type of spath attack when she tried to start a horse rescue non-profit, so she has personal experience with it. I have no doubt that there is an element of envy involved, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out the why’s and wherefores of it.

      • If you see the ‘restrictions’ by the DNR it’s SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO clear who’s the envious one.

        Lynn Rogers finally won the first round in court today:
        http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/07/29/environment/lynn-rogers-temporary-reprieve

        10 bears are collared (of the 12 he was allowed to collar until 31st of July). He’s allowed for the time being to keep those 10 collars on. DNR and Lynn Rogers came to an agreement behind closed doors with the judge. DNR has also added NEW restrictions one of those is about the web den cams.

        Since winter 2009 Lynn Rogers had installed a den cam in one of the wild female black bears denning (and preggers). Hope was the first cub born on cam. That cam was also live on the internet. It was this den cam that helped Lynn Rogers get known rapidly all over the world with just anyone whose interest as piqued. These cams attracted attention to his research and his education from all over the world, and made the bears mascotts for the black bears in general.

        So the new extra rule is that the den cams are not allowed to stream live, online for the public. DNR says that taints the claim that his research is scientific. It’s total bull btw. Many science projects all over the world try to involve laymen volunteers to watch streams, millions of automatically taken pics from movement to collect the data ASAP. You don’t need to be a scientist to fill in some form about what you are factually seeing.

        They’re saying: if it’s popular, if it’s piquing interest with non-scientists well then it’s not sciency enough. Apparently research is only scientific if it’s boring and done in secret far from any eyes to see for themselves. You would think people actually promoting science would seize the fact that science is able to attract lay-people to participate and observe research being done with all the modern day technologies. DNR is backward!

        But it reveals how envious they are, and how they want to cut into his means to reach a large crowd.

        Why is the DNR so weird about this? From all I can read, wild animals are to be regarded as nuisances/pests/dangerous that humans ought to control through hunting: deer and elk are pests (I know they can be), wolves are pests and dangerous, bears are pests and dangerous. So, all three must be control hunted, never mind that wolves control the number of deer and elk, etc. Any form of cooperatively living with and appreciating wild animals ought to be nipped in the bud, because that might just make people respond adversely to hunters.

        While hunting is a way to keep a population under control, they are a means, not the end. The black bear hunters are free to bully others, to call up other hunters to shoot a collared research bear of Lynn Rogers if they get the chance to it… but Lynn Rogers and any of his volunteers, and the fb followers need to walk on eggshells about what they say to such a hunter… because then DNR files a complaint against Lynn Rogers for harassing hunters.

        IMO DNR are hunter lobbyists. The rest (education and research) is a mask.

        • The only comment I have here is this……I don’t know that it’s a good idea to acclimate any wild animal to humans, for the ANIMALS sake. If they imprint with humans they loose their fear of humans and then they DO become trouble. I might not be understanding the whole issue though. I say leave the bears alone.
          The order of nature and the animal kingdom is so out of whack I don’t see how it could possibly recover.

          • Dorothy,

            What you are saying is actually a myth. The black bears for example are not scared of people where they can expect to see people (a bear feeding area, the side of a road). Not scared means, they just keep on grazing and going about their bear business. It does not mean they approach strangers, hug them or beg food from them. But if the black bear hear or smells a human in a spot where the bear does not expect them to be (like in the woods), the bear climbs a white pine or gets the hell away without the human ever noticing.

            In contrast, a black bear who meets humans and is afraid of them outside of the woods (where they can easily hide and remain unobscure) is more dangerous. They’ll use bluff scare tactics (swiping a paw). There have been two recent incidents in a few states (not where this project is occuring… this community lives cooperatively with the bears for 50 years and there has never been any attack in all that time), where for example people walk with the dogs or use the dog to scare bears away from the garden at the rim of the forest. The dog barks and acts all aggressive. The scared bear then usually ends up defending themselves and swipes at the dog, at which point the owner rushes to the rescue of their pet and have their leg mauled by the bear… who of course will be hunted down by the local DNR manager.

            The problem is that people are wrongly frightened and maleducated about bears. They sea a bear eating clover at the rim of a road as they pass wit the car, honk their horn and then complain of it being a nuisance because it doesn’t run off into the woods. Who’s actually being the nuisance in this example? The bear who ignores the human and just keeps on doing what he’s doing, or the human honking his horn and filing a complaint?

            BTW there’s an at least 10 year old male black bear that dens in a public city park in Duluth, every year. And early spring and fall, when he’s still above ground but prepares to den, he ignores all the joggers and walkers by. He ignores the people. They ignore him. And he’s been doing that for the past decade, though he is a wild bear. And when he actually leaves the den area, he goes to the woods to get his grub there (berries, shoots, ant pupae). This is a wild bear, nor a research bear that Lynn Rogers ever worked with. It’s just a wild black bear who prefers to den for his winter sleep in the city park of Duluth every year.

            Bears and food are an issue during hunger times. Black bears prefer the wild food in the forest over any human grub, if it’s available. Black bears prefer set up familiar safe feeding areas where they’re not bothered and not in danger over breaking into cars and garages and eat leftover garbage.

            What Lynn Rogers does is no different than Jane Goodall did with chimps and Diane Fossey did with gorillas. Make them used enough to his presence so they go about doing their normal behaviour and therefore can be observed in their most natural behaviour. And that is what habituation means in biology: to desensitize the animal to a stimulus so that it ends up ignoring it. It means the opposite of making the animal attached.

            And perhaps you think, yeah, but gorillas and chimps are entirely different animals than black bears. Before Fossey’s life work though gorillas were thought to be dangerous and aggresive animals that would kill someone (seen their teeth?), even though all they eat is plant material.

            Goodall used her habituation technique on a tribe of chimps that were extremely aggressive and violent to people who entered their territory in the jungle. This tribe of chimps was scared and under severe stress. They attacked women and children. Because of habituation she managed to get them to stop their aggressive behaviour.

            Hence, a wild animal that ignores humans is safer, than one that is stressed/alarmed/interested in humans.

        • Jill and Dorothy,
          while I’m afraid of bears, personally, I also recognize that human beings use their fear to rationalize aggression against “the other”. We justify and we demonize those things we fear so that we can attack them and feel safer. This is what Girard’s theory is about: Scapegoating. But Girard mostly just refers to scapegoating human beings, not animals and not spaths. Still, I think that the concept applies across the board.

          I doubt I’ll ever NOT be afraid of bears. Luckily, I don’t trauma bond to bears. LOL.

          Still, we need to look at our reactions objectively. It’s not always easy.

          • Great way of describing that process, Skylar! I loved the analogy.

            I think a wise woman and man remains cautious around an animal with a lot of strength, huge canines and/or claws and treats their wildness with respect. I am very cautious around dogs, unless they’re no bigger than my feet. And a dog ain’t even a wild animal. And I have great respect for any wild animal.

    • Jill, I’ve been thinking about this and remembering last Summer I had two deer in my back yard. I didn’t see them for the longest time then one day I was laying out in the sun and just got a feeling to lift my head and look up………there they were. I think for a long time they had been seeing me out in the yard working on the garden and a rock wall I was building and must have become habituated to my presence there. They came very close as the summer went on, a male six point and his woman. One day I came to the door and she was eating some of my flowers so I told her not to and to go eat things out in the woods. She never bothered them again. I could sit out there and talk to them and they would just listen to me and never bolted away. I actually filmed them on my phone’s camera one day laying out in the sun. It was really cool. They were so used to me. I easily could have shot them if I had a desire to. of course I didn’t. I worried about them during hunting season and have not seen them this year at all. There was one out by my garden box in the front yard early this Summer, I think it was sizing up my lettuce so I knocked on the window and it just walked away.
      It was a very special Summer for me last year with critters, the deer and three different fairly dramatic bird rescues. I LOVE stuff like that. The way those deer were was almost surreal. I was within 15-20 ft of the female the time I asked her not to eat my flowers!
      The funny thing was, the first sighting, the female was way closer than the buck……like he used her as the guinea pig to see if it was safe………..Spathdeer.

  8. Dorothy,
    you quoted Scott Peck :
    “There really are people, and institutions made up of people, who respond with hatred in the presence of goodness and would destroy the good insofar as it is their power to do so. They do this not with conscious malice but blindly, lacking awareness of their own evil, indeed, seeking to avoid any such awareness. Evil people hate the light because it reveals themselves to themselves. They hate goodness because it reveals their badness; they hate love because it reveals their laziness. They will destroy the light, the goodness, the love, in order to avoid the pain of such self awareness”.
    Dr. M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

    That’s a great quote and I agree with much of it, but I don’t agree that evil people are not conscious of their malice. Yes, sometimes we do attack others out of fear and we are not consciously aware that our fear is irrational. But too many spaths have flat out told me that they feel justified in their behavior. And when they tell me, they don’t say that they feel justified for defending themselves, instead they say that “it’s okay to be evil.” wtf? That is not an unconscious behavior. Yes, they do believe they are justified because the victim deserved to be victimized, but their reasoning does not prevent them from knowing that they are doing evil. They know very well that they are evil. To a spath, the world is dog eat dog. They need to get us before we get them. Everything is justified this way. Kindness is just a weakness to a spath.

    • Skylar……..I took what he said in the quote the same way at first and thought….BUT, BUT, BUT…….. then i thought about it and reread it and took it a different way. I see it now as they KNOW what they do but they don’t see it as “wrong” per say. The just don’t care period and therefore have turned their backs on wrong and right. It’s all about them and if the end justifies the means,,,,,,,,,then it’s “ok”. I think there is a very fine line involved with this understanding of the “why” aspect. They know it’s wrong but it’s not wrong to THEM and it’s all about them. They know others see it as wrong but because it suits their agenda it’s not wrong to them. They HATE good people because they serve as a mirror to them of what they could have been and are too lazy and selfish to be.
      I see what you are saying though.

      Jill, likee I said, I really don’t KNOW about the bears. I think some animals imprint on humans in a more detrimental way than others, depending on the breed. I volunteered for a wildlife rescue group for a while and I know that certain animals, coyotes for example, imprint on humans very easily. then they come too close to humans when released and risk getting shot by fearful people and farmers if they are too used to humans. That is what we were taught anyhow but that was 20 years ago and understandings change.
      I just say, leave wild animals alone. they don’t need studied. Just my oppinion.

      • If we wish to exist without getting harmed and conflict with wild animals in wild areas, then the wild animals will need to be studied. If we wish to educate people on the importance of certain wild animals to the ecology (like the wolf being a keystone animal), so that people will not be irrationally fearful anymore, we need to study them first. If we wish to help a wild species at the brink of extinction survive you will need to study the population.

        Imprinting is something different than habituation, Dorothy. Imprinting is what happens when you raise an animal from its infancy. Imprinting is what happens when a bird hatches out of the egg and thinks the first animal it sees is its mom. If that happens to be a human instead of that bird species, then the chick will think it’s a human as well and wishes to partner later in life with humans.

        Habituation is not imprinting. It’s not hand rearing wild animals. It is visiting a wild animal and perhaps giving them a treat (of something they don’t find in the wild anyway and so a less preferred food) and you say a ritualized greeting sentence, that over time the wild animal treats you (in particular, not just every human) as an ok guest.

        To accomodate irrational fears or irrational lust for destruction is enabling behaviour, which we have experienced is something very detrimental from up-close. If we’re not going to enable spaths personalliy anymore, we shouldn’t defend enabling them in general either.

        Education is the key to creating a safer and better home, society and world for ourselves. And we cannot educate without studying and research and observation. This is so for psychopaths as well as wild animals and the universe, and the climate, etc. etc.

      • Interesting conversation. There is a principle called “the observer effect”, which applies here as well as to the study of abusers, IMO. Abusers hide what they are. They don’t like being observed so when they know they are being watched, they transform themselves and abuse in more covert ways.

        Observing bears in the wild is going to change their /our behavior in some ways too. Its a very complicated subject that reaches into the future for the effects of our actions today. Where do we draw boundaries in our interaction with wild animals?

        The observer effect is HUGE. It’s very powerful, like the power that water has to change the landscape, one drop at a time. Some people have asked me to write a book about spaths. If I ever did, it would be about the observer effect and the power we have to create change by opening our eyes and observing without denial.

        • That is the aim of habituation… to desensitize the animal to the observer effect. At least what you get to see then is the most natural behaviour.

          When I first saw the ex passing on the road I had an instant thought ‘stay away from that man, he’s dark’. But having a large comfort and exploring zone and an inquisitive nature, I started to observe him from afar or when thrown in his company to find out why I had that instant thought. He noticed this and gradually with continued interaction started to target me. But in the long run you could say my observing efforts were successful. I never really stopped observing him in those 2 years. I never stopped gathering data on his behaviour. Meanwhile he got habituated to me being around him and he started to behave more and more to his true nature, without the mask. In the end my personal research was very successful: I stayed around to observe him and he fully removed his mask and with two years of observed data I knew the answer to my question, “Why did I instinctively think I should stay away from this man and that he’s very dark.”

          Because of that personal study I educated myself, got rid of a mythical belief I had about humanity, and learned invaluable insights to my own benefit when living my life with other humans. I learned things that benefit me immensely in living life and that I would otherwise never had learned at all.

          I may not have discovered the godly elixir of everlasting happiness, but I did learn and discovered the secret of evil in the world, and in retrospect this knowledge is may be worth so much more than everlasting bliss.

          • Jill,
            I think that the bear’s desensitizing IS the effect of being observed by humans. The change in behavior is that he used to run away but now he doesn’t. Both behaviors are “natural” for the bear, in the sense that he didn’t choose his reactions, he only reacts to his gut feelings.

            In the case of the spath, WE are the ones who become desensitized to the presence of evil. At first, we want to run away. That’s the natural response to something repugnant. But for some reason, some of us choose to override that natural response and stay to observe. Whether that choice is a “natural” reaction to evil or if it’s some kind of choice, is hard to say. It is natural to be curious. It’s also natural to want to keep an eye on a dangerous situation.

            Girard talks about being scandalized by evil. He says that this is a stumbling block that we are attracted to, even as it repels us. A scandal is something that is hard to resist looking at and the spaths are always scandalous/horrific.

            The other side of the coin is how the spaths are affected by being observed. They don’t like it, so they wear a mask and they tell 180 degree lies to hide their shame. Their constant need for attention is the 180 degree lie for their need to never be known for what they really are. So when we reveal the scapegoating mechanism by pulling off their mask, they resort to a new mask and a new way of scandalizing and scapegoating.

            In my experience, when a spath knows that I’m peaking under his/her mask, they tend to go into denial and choose to believe that I can’t see him/her. It’s like playing peakaboo with a child. The spath closes his eyes and pretends to be unseen. That doesn’t last for long though, eventually they run away or try to kill you.

          • I see your point, but I do not think we actually become desensitized to evil at all. We just stick around to comprehend it. If we truly became desensitized then why are we so hyper vigilant afterwards, or are so traumatized and hyperstressed? Our body nor brain got long term desensitized to their evil, imo.

          • That’s an interesting way of looking at it, Jill. You’re right that we stay cognizant of evil throughout the spath encounter. Perhaps it’s the feeling of fear that we become desensitized to? Or maybe it’s our emotions in general that become desensitized.

            Maybe the word “desensitized” is the wrong word. “Acclimated” might fit better. There is a tendency to become used to high stress situations, so that once the stress is over, we feel like we are going through withdrawal which produces the hyper vigilance of PTSD.

  9. Gray Pearl, welcome to 180, I just read your story and some of the responses. “How do you get so you don’t get taken by these people?”

    When we first start healing we often want to learn everything there is to know about a psychopath, because we feel like if we can do that then we can be immune from them. Not true.

    Then, we realize that there is something in us that lets us fall for their con, What is it? Do we feel shame, unworthy, do we not have boundaries? But the healing then becomes ABOUT US. We h ave to find out why we attract them like blood in the water attracts sharks. Many times it is about boundaries. We don’t have any, or we were abused as a child and we think we have to take on the woes of others and “fix” them, or that we don’t deserve real love.

    Learn about yourself as well as learn about the psychopaths. It is not an easy journey, but the first step, the MOST IMPORTANT STEP is to go NO CONTACT with these people NONE, NADA, ZIP, ZERO CONTACT. It will allow you to start healing and until you do that, you will contonue to be involved in the drama and be unable to progress, so when you feel a need to contact him or allow him to contact you, come here and blog, but don’t give in to contacting him, he has arleady proven to you, told you even, that he is dangerous and you do not need that kind of man in your life. Not dating may seem hard, but dating this kind of man is suicide, maybe literally. God bless.

    • Oxy,

      I found this to be really interesting and it’s a thread I’m constantly musing, in the hopes of finding an answer. Regardless of what others may say about being a blameless victim, I certainly feel that I to a certain extent colluded with the chaos. I know for certain that I am in some way attracted to/or attractive to these disordered people. My progress so far hasn’t afforded me an answer to why – so my strategy now is to be HYPER aware of this chink in my armour and just walk away. There is no other option and I’m unsure there is a solution to make it stop.

      ‘Then, we realize that there is something in us that lets us fall for their con, What is it? Do we feel shame, unworthy, do we not have boundaries? But the healing then becomes ABOUT US. We h ave to find out why we attract them like blood in the water attracts sharks,’

      It is definitely a something ‘within us’ but I’m not sure that it something we can control or stop. My only way to deal with this right now is to realise it, accept it and act accordingly i.e. RUN.

      • Myownsavior,

        The predators are always prowling, looking for something to hook, testing the waters to see who will bite. The test is usually a boundary test. I was reading on a site where spaths were discussing their tactics and one of them actually admitted this. He said he always tests boundaries on his victims. So recognizing them is the key.

        When you think about it, the vulnerability that most of us had, was that we didn’t know what evil looked like. We had no idea that people like this could camouflage so well. That is what spaths are testing for, they are looking for innocence and naivety. They want someone who has poor boundaries and is willing to bear responsibility.

        They are also looking for someone who doubts their gut instincts. They know this makes the person easier to manipulate. Your gut informs you about things that are UNSEEN. The spath can manipulate those things which can be seen. He can create illusions, tell lies, act dramatically and put on a show. Yet, we have a sixth sense that he can’t deceive. The only one who can deceive our sixth sense, is ourselves. So he tests for people who willingly deny their own instincts.

        • Skylar, MyOwnSavior, I’m finding the book, The Emotional Rape Syndrome, very interesting. I’m about half way through but the way it’s talking, the Spaths take advantage of out natural human needs as well as vulnerabilities. Maybe that is another thing they envy and want to possess but can’t so they want to destroy and discard it. And our human needs can be our vulnerabilities. I had a need for companionship and love and there is NOTHING wrong with that. I may never have that in my life but I want it. I do not want to live the rest of my life alone with my dog and cat but I very well may and that feels horrible to me so yes……….that was a vulnerability that I’m sure was targeted and played on.

          • Hi Dorothy,

            Thanks for the suggestion I have had a look on Amazon and the reviews are good. The book itself is expensive so I may get it on Kindle. I would really rather have a real book though:-)

    • okay, here’s my .02. i did learn alot about myself, in retrospect, from looking at my spath. he is my shadow (i’m a jungian). he epitomizes all the qualities in myself i have repressed, both positive (the mask) and negative (the truth). i think that is why i was attracted to him; i do not think that’s why he was attracted to me.

      i think he targetted me because i had things he wanted. i had a character that was (is) the opposite of his, that he wanted to tear down. i had money and belongings to exploit. and most of all, i was naive to his nature and therefore vulnerable to be groomed and discarded. i was arrogant in my naivety. i believed that all people had potential goodness in them. i treated him with compassion and empathy, and i indulged for hopefully the very last time in my desire to “rescue” which he totally capitalized on. naive, i fell for his sob story, the tragic past, his truly stellar character fallen on hard times, because i’ve been through hard times recently. and, truthfully, i was bored and sad and i needed a distraction and he was it. it’s true, my post-divorce depression set me up to want validation and affection from someone. but it’s also true that even on top of my game, it’s been nice to get that from someone. I am generous and affectionate with people i like, so I tend to gratefully accept it when i think i’ve met someone who is like me.

      my gut instinct when i first met him and heard his game was “he’s kind of a con” but it wasn’t “he’s a soulless freak who is going to deliberately rob me and try to destroy me on every level.” I thought i could handle him. i knew he was trying to move me too fast into a relationship, but i had faith in my own ability to resist the temptation, because i was very attracted to him physically and also wanted to enjoy his company. he could be funny and fun. he broke me out of my depressive shell, and for a little while i was grateful. Of course, once he heard the words “i love you” back (meaning, for me, “i love you even with all your flaws”), that changed overnight. and i couldn’t shift gears fast enough.

      naive: i really thought i could love him back to mental health. uh uh. not happening in my lifetime or his. and i really, really tried. then of course, i used “i” statements (being very well trained to be responsible) constantly and tried to reason with him, giving him every bit of information he needed about my interior life, without revealing a single bit of data of what was really going on with his (his motives, his lack of values, his lack of conscience, his driving hatred, rage, and envy). i really didin’t get that every time he said “i love you” he really meant “i hate you; i’m going to punish you; i want to get you to comply with my will.”

      I set GREAT boundaries with him, not because i’m so great at it but because they were just so clearly needed. They just weren’t respected and of course the more i set them, the more manipulative and violent he became. He successfully pushed them back quite a bit quite often, but i never stopped setting them. Partly because i didn’t understand that that’s what was setting him off. At the very end, I did realize it and just started lying to him. That was at the point when I was just buying time to escape.

      So how do I avoid them now? I’ve known for decades that I am susceptible to flattery, but what I didn’t see was the larger picture. That historically I have picked men on the narcissistic-psychopathic spectrum over and over again. Yes, they had flattery in common, but now I see so much more. Yes, I picked them (i believe) in part because they are familiar, because I was raised by an abuser, and in part because they represent parts of myself I need to strengthen, parts that were illusion, often, but still information for me. Courage, creativity, independence, reliability, and most of all, *love and positive regard for my own self*. It’s no longer optional for me not to develop these qualities. It’s life and death or I will unconsciously seek them out.

      But more than that, I’ve finally learned *what their patterns are.* When someone starts idealizing me, my hackles go up.

      Idealizing in my experiences goes rather like this:
      1) compliments, compliments, compliments. You’re wonderful, or, you’re beautiful, or whatever. “you could pass for 20” (yeah, right)

      2) i’ve never met anyone like you. “i want to grow old with you.” usually right out of the gate. To someone like me with a fear of abandonment, golden key.

      3) you are the yin to my yang. exspath said this after one fight and probably didn’t know it keyed into my buddhist mentality. it bought him several months. plus, sense of belonging – check.

      4) constant, subtle and not so subtle tells. jokes that aren’t really jokes. many of these men told me, in so many words, to run for the hills in the beginning, but i didn’t take them seriously. rose colored glasses. exspath insisted on sleeping with his arms and legs entwined around me, literally holding me prisoner. he called it “cuddling.” i call it hostage-taking. he was “telling” me i was being trapped.

      5) promises, promises. how it’s going to be. what he’s going to do for me. and even actually doing things for me. of course followed by endless demands for payback once devaluation starts. be careful of trojans bearing gifts.

      6) wants to spend ALL time together, all the time. again, just moving too fast. let me see you tonight… and tomorrow… and the day after… uh uh. what this evolved into of course was him keeping me under his thumb, all day, every day. control, domination and power and control.

      7) says or implies he will or can take care of me. however nice it seems, nobody can take care of me but me. i need that for my mental health, and i need to know that is no longer an option, because it is a red flag. not that, down the road, i can’t let someone do something nice for me, or help me out, but that’s different from “taking care of.” that appeals to the little girl in me that wasn’t. i think when they get a positive response to this promise, they know “ding ding ding i got a live one.” it’s just not worth it.

      8) says he’ll do something, and doesn’t. now, i’ll give someone a chance or two on this one. everyone screws up. but typically with the spaths in my life, this is boundary testing. the sooner it shows up, the worse an indicator it likely is. but of course may show up later as devaluation sets in.

      9) jealousy. no, it’s not because he loves me so much. it’s because he’s territorial and possessive, because he regards me as an object. later, during devaluation, this turned into accusations of me cheating (which is what he was doing).

      anything “over the top” right at the beginning is a huge flag for me today. if i walk into a store and the clerk says, “hi beautiful,” i blacklist him instantly. anyone in a rush to fall in love or get physical–blacklist. anyone who seems to be telling me everything i want to hear, or wants to know “all about me” right from the start, blacklist. i’m no longer an open book.

      that doesn’t mean i don’t meet people. there are plenty of people who don’t behave like this. i’m interested in a guy right now specifically because i like him, and he likes me, and so far there is no “gaminess” to it. but with anyone now in my life (not just men) i’m moving slowwwww. i don’t care if i accidentally write someone off who was really well intended and misunderstood. i’ve given too many of those people too many chances, and i don’t believe it anymore. i can find other friends and other lovers. my love, my heart is a precious gift and i may dole it out in bits, but i’m not giving it all away to anyone else for a very long time, and certainly not before i’ve learned to give it all to myself first. that’s what exspath taught me. i’ve known it for years, but he drove the lesson home.

      • Opi,
        sorry about the delay replying, I haven’t been feeling well.

        When I read your “2 cents” I was struck by how well you described the spath experience. Your spath’s behavior is the quintessential spath behavior and your reaction to him was also classic. You seem to have much better insight than most spath victims though. Your description was well thought out and would make a good article.

        I especially like how you explained this:

        “my gut instinct when i first met him and heard his game was “he’s kind of a con” but it wasn’t “he’s a soulless freak who is going to deliberately rob me and try to destroy me on every level.” I thought i could handle him.”

        My own experience wasn’t that I thought he was “kind of a con”, it was more like, “he’s kind of mean to me.” At other times, it was, “he’s kind of irresponsible” or “he’s kind of selfish”. It’s the depth of their malevolence that we never manage to figure out until we have no other choice. Ironic, since they lack depth in every other aspect of their personalities.

        And really, in the case of my ex-spath it’s impossible to exaggerate how demonic he is. He even believes himself to be possessed by demons. There were clues…many clues. One time he told me that polar bears were especially vicious animals. He said they were the only animal on the planet that kills for the sheer pleasure of killing. Um… not likely. There are many animals that play with their prey, (and I have cats!) so I’m not sure why he felt compelled to speak those words to me. But I know now that he was actually talking about himself. At the very end of our relationshit, he asked me, “do you think I’m a vampire?”

        So when you said that, “he’s a soulless freak who is going to deliberately rob me and try to destroy me on every level,” you nailed it. And sure, maybe you or I can handle that, but not if we are in denial of it, on. every. level.

        It’s good to hear that you feel able to go out and meet people. You’re no longer in denial. You can trust yourself to see the gaminess in others. It’s sad that there are so many of these vampires out there, so it’s inevitable that a few might pass under our radar, for a moment. Eventually though, the mask always slips. The only thing left to do is to be able to see the extent of their malevolence and evil. If we are in any denial at all, we’re in danger again.

        I think it takes practice to stay firmly rooted in reality.

      • Opi, if you talk to 100 different targets about their experiences with a spath, you’ll hear the same patterns in behavior, over and over and over. If there’s any digging in the dirt – discussion of FOO, family dysfunctions, etc., those will likely be at the core of what allowed our precious vulnerabilities to be used against us as weapons or tools. It just is what it is. It doesn’t mean that I’m obligate to ***like*** what I’m accepting, but I had a role in being victimized, as well – I gave all of the psychopaths that I’ve ever encountered every bit of information about myself that they needed to use as tools to worm their ways in.

        In another response, I mentioned that I’m learning how to keep myself TO myself. How to walk away from people without feeling that terrible sense of GUILT for calling a spade what it is: a spade. Coming to terms with that AND my previous faulty beliefs that everyone was deserving of a second chance and the benefit of the doubt has allowed me a freedom from a false sense of control that I could somehow love someone enough so that they would WANT to change and better themselves. Or, perhaps, they would evolve via osmosis because I loved them unconditionally? It was all bullsh*t that I had learned through conditioning during my childhood.

        My childhood dysfunctions conditioned me to IGNORE my gut instincts and absolute facts – to pretend that those facts were something completely different and act accordingly. An example of this was when my mother would pass out drunk and I would run to a neighbor’s house because I was hungry and terrified. EVERYONE would say, “Oh….your mother is *sick,* again?” Even my father would respond that she was *sick* if I had the cheek to say that she was drunk. She wasn’t sick at all. She was stone-cold drunk and passed out, and I was expected to pretend that she wasn’t as far back as I can remember.

        It does absolutely take practice to find reality and place roots INTO reality if we’ve experienced long-term trauma and dysfunction. It’s not what we were programmed to do. Today, I find reality to be far more comfortable than the fantasy world that I had believed in – I am no longer responsible for anyone else’s well-being except my own. And, I don’t have to play those outrageous games of pretense, EVER again.

        The absence of pretense and fantasy allows me to call a spade a spade. If a person is toxic, they’re toxic, and nothing that I can do is going to change that. So, I can walk away without a shred of guilt for THEIR issues.

        EDITED: To clarify about vulnerabilities, it is NOT my intention to suggest that anyone “deserves” whatever they experienced at the hands of a psychopath or sociopath – OR, that they “did something” to encourage whatever was done to them. Vulnerabilities are what separates US from THEM – we have feelings, emotions, compassion, empathy, remorse, a conscience, and everything in between. Those vulnerabilities are precious – absolutely precious things that I WOULD have guarded as second nature IF I had been raised in an emotionally healthy family where self-worth and self-confidence were both a matter of fact, rather than ***undeserved*** luxuries for me.

        Hope that sort of clears that up. 🙂

      • Opi, I’m with skylar, I think you have done a lot of “self searching” about the whys you did what you did, and the whys of what he/they did/do.

        It is that introspection that leads us to learn to avoid that kind of person in the future. Our own “issues” leave us vulnerable to the “love bomb” and flattery, believe me, I have surcumbed to them myself…and my life has been filled with trying to rescue the poor guy with the sob story. But no more.

        When you listen to your instincts and validate your own judgement when you see the “signs” of a con, then you can keep yourself safe.

        You verbalized the very concepts that I realized a while back, that I had lost my trust in myself to keep myself safe.

        Being raised by an abuser, and feeling that is “normal” then we tend to be vulnerable, but it is like being an alcoholic, there is always the chance to relapse no matter how long we have been “sober” it is a life time process.

        Sounds like you are well on your way to recovering…one day at a time.

      • In response to OPI ,I know this is belated but…I became interested in understanding spath behaviour through my own awful experience very similar to yours.The Giradian angle was so helpful.He seemed to draw from multiple sources(history,anthropology,religion,myth) and I’ve been reading about Jung’s diverse sources from which he has innovated theories about the unconscious similarly from such diverse places .It got me thinking about whether ,like Girard ,Jung’s thinking could serve to help me understand/predict spath behaviour.His theories of Shadow self and the unconscious help me to understand spaths propensity toward projection,self sabotage,and other neurotic symptoms like paranoia.
        Jung describes in a few of his last books the mechanism of projection. I related his discussion to how the spath manufactures an ideal false self image that is carefully laundered,where the ego takes centre stage.
        According to my understanding,this unwittingly creates the exact obverse in their unconscious.This hidden aspect of their personality helps to explain to me why they need to use mechanisms like projection and scapegoating to foist all their shame/guilt,evil onto victims.Whether they are self aware of what they do depends on the individual case,In my case I think the spath was fully aware . The whole unconscious shadow aspect drives and potentiates their addiction to abuse selected victims. They project their evil but according to Jung ,also the fear of their own proclivity to evil on the victim,and would help to explain as in my case the spath being so paranoid about me.P’s seem to have a black and white framework of self opinion(i.e.;they are beyond reproach ) which may magnify their shadow presence and in turn strengthens the malignancy with which they need to project and scapegoat .Sometimes I Imagine the hideous shadow entities that are created through rampant narcissism and the effect it has,not just singularly,but in society in a collective consciousness sense
        If the function of the shadow represents the opposite polarity to their ego, and their massively inflated ego is aggressively thrust into centre stage in their conscious life,that helps me to understand why P’s hate kind,empathetic happy ,innocent people and are driven impulsively,compulsively ,by shadow urge to destroy.Imagine what these P’s shadow aspects are like,what their dreams are like.My path had a recurring dream of being murdered by a man with a knife,given the stories they told about their childhood,I’m not surprised.(or were they lies?)
        It would take deep and honest self reflection,learning from experience etc to individuate those shadow aspect of the unconscious,into a more integrated ,self aware personality.That is impossible for P’s as they don’t have the necessary wiring ,tools or will to do the hard work.They love what they are. These are in my own words,but Jung seems to say part of their shadow self remains and resonates with their victim leading to the perpetrator(of projection/scapegoating)constantly yet involuntarily doing things ‘behind their own back’,undermining their own cunning plans,i.e.:self sabotage. That would ring true for my experience.
        Watching on seeing my spath self sabotage like a slow motion train wreck,not comprehending the connection between their own abominable narcissism and the powerfully destructive influence their own shadow is wreaking in their lives,and their victims. Best wishes S

        • Saturnus, when I was involved in the intensive trauma therapy, I approached these very issues and I was gently cautioned by my counselor to give them a cursory nod, but that delving into them in the manner that I typically do, would not be beneficial for me, at that time. I did NOT know what she meant and I took GREAT offense at her for suggesting that I couldn’t decipher all of the psychobabble.

          Well, I’ve come to understand what she meant with regard to me, specifically. For me, being wordy and articulate allows me to AVOID feeling. I can deftly put off allowing any emotion or feeling to emerge by using words to defend myself. When I delved into specifics in theories, it was simply a means to avoid doing the work that would help me align my thinking and my feelings into a more balanced Self.

          As I posted in another thread, we cannot ever know or understand why a psychopath makes the choices that they do. We attribute an “understanding” in terms of what an empathetic individual MUST experience as explanations or theory. But, this is a vain attempt because nobody (even the professionals) has access to the Universe Of The Psychopath. We just don’t.

          It’s sort of like when people levy human attributes onto a dog or cat. We talk in terms of HUMAN behavior, reactions, responses, thoughts, emotions, and so forth, but we cannot possibly understand the processes of critters outside of our own species. This goes forth with psychopaths. We attribute them with feelings or emotions or motivations in terms of what empathetic people know, and it just doesn’t work because there’s STILL no treatment (much less, a cure) for psychopathology.

          I mean, these days, I just laugh about it and cultivate that deep sense of gratitude that I do not live in The Universe Of Psychopathology. It must be a cold, lonely, dark, and empty space, indeed. 😉

          • Truthspeak,
            that was insightful of my tendencies.I’m not offended,grateful someone can see it and tell me.I can see how getting lost in deciphering psychobabble could become a vice to avoid true healing,that sounds like me.
            Because I felt SO slimed from my spath encounter, I went down the path of trying to wrestle with these lofty ideas put forward by Girard and Jung not stopping until I really got the essence of it.
            Reading the clarity with which they collated vast amounts of information to present succinct ,new ideas that seemed applicable to perversions of human nature ,I thought if I can just nail a comprehensive understanding ,part of that being writing about it,it might help my healing process which has been tardy,and suffered setbacks lately. I’ve always been fascinated with the submerged iceberg that is the unconscious,and how it might manifest in personality disordered,to help explain predatory behaviour,and in the end why I’ve been vulnerable to them.I know my history and the probable reasons.I’ve read a lot of posts here that have helped,books etc
            Another seemingly counterintuitive approach is a book from Tsultrim Alione:feeding your demons.That helped me feel some real relief. I feel like I’m still going through the grief cycle like a never-ending carousel,albeit dulled.I understand intellectually to an extent but need to FEEL it.Like the difference between experiencing real meditation,not needing to speak about it, …. and those who describe it intellectually but never feel it.
            In a way I’m blessed with this awful experience as it finally made me fully aware of evil in people and their need to abuse,and that I escaped with my life,not entirely unscathed.
            I’m grateful for your reply, thank you S

        • Saturnus,

          There is so much to discuss on these subjects it’s hard to know where to start.

          I was reading that when people project, they accuse others of being guilty of their dark side. Spaths do that too, but they do it knowingly. They accuse innocent others of the evil that they’ve done, and they know they’ve done it. I’m not sure that they know WHY they do it. I also know that spaths like to lead others into temptation so that they WILL be guilty of the spath’s own sins. For example, my spath likes to get police officers to do his bidding because he likes the idea that he can prove that society is deserving of abuse, for accepting corrupt police officers as their leaders and guardians.

          There is another example of projection, that they do, which they are not aware of. It’s when they say, “he deserved it for being weak.” They despise weakness in others because they despise it in themselves and they refuse to acknowledge that they have weakness. It scares them.

          When Jung and Girard and most philosophers are talking about projection, they have no idea of what that means when you are referring to a spath. Spaths’s brains take projection out of this realm! Jung talked about embracing our dark side but making sure it was Jekyll and not Hyde who took control. I still don’t think he had a clue how dead a spath has to be to become Mr. Hyde. And it comes from willful refusal to feel fear. So maybe it’s cowardice.

          But anyway, the spath is not all wrong when he points out that we are guilty of perpetuating psychopathy when we participate in and embrace the power hierarchies that run on shame and envy. Girard’s point, when he says that culture is founded on a murder and a lie, is that our SOCIETY is not innocent, therefore none of us are.

          As ugly as this truth is, that is what my ex-spath is trying to prove (and perpetuate) when he uses people in power to do his bidding.
          He wants to perpetuate hatred and anger and shame and envy.

  10. Jill and Sky, I’m beginning to acknowledge my “gut,” finally. I still try to talk myself out of trusting my gut-reactions because I was taught, as a child, that I couldn’t trust my own judgement or decision-making. Whenever my parents would assert that “This will never happen, again,” after I had been abandoned at school for 5 hours, or spent a December night wandering the streets in a nightgown, I was OBLIGATED to trust these people that their word was their bond. My “gut” would tell me, “Don’t you believe it – it always happens and just be ready for it.” But, because I had no other options, as a child, I developed that deep, dark shame-core and refusal (literally) to even acknowledge my gut-instincts and reactions.

    Today, it’s a very, very different space that I’m in. To say that it is far, far out of my zone of comfort would be a gross understatement. But, I am slowly beginning to accept this as a SAFE space to be. “Comfort” in this space will come, later, when I begin to experience the positive effects of boundaries for myself, and for others.

    I was desensitized and conditioned to ACCEPT abuse as “normal,” and that feeling abandoned would always be pervasive. Allowing others to infiltrate my head and life to harm me was EXPECTED because that was what I had been conditioned to do, as a child. Today, anyone that even hints of an agenda is OUT. They’re simply OUT – without anger, without malice, without judgement. Toxic is out.

    And, this is an incredible feeling of empowerment, I must type. To have the OPTION to choose whether or not I will allow someone into my life isn’t “mean,” or “sinful,” or “bad.” It’s amazing because I now have the CHOICE of whether or not I will allow another human being to take advantage of me.

    It’s neato. 😉

    • Hi Thruthspeak,

      This is a really interesting point and area ‘gut’ feeling. In my recent dealings with the police one officer said I should always trust my ‘gut’ which made me explore this area some moore. I started reading The Gift of Fear and that has helped in some respect but Im really concentrating on feeling it now. I was having counselling yesterday and this very subject came up and how I was with my ‘gut’ feeling as a child and I honestly at this point don’t remember having it. When you said – ‘I was OBLIGATED to trust these people that their word was their bond.’ It really resonated with me. Even as an adult I have a tendnacy towards working from this premise. A classic I will trust you until you show me you are untrustworthy, not the healthiest way to live!

      I’m busy working on this one. Does anyone else remember having ‘gut’ instinct as a child I wonder?

      • MyOwn Savior,,,,,,interesting question! I do not remember having gut feelings as a child per say. I led a fairly sheltered life growing up, in a pretty small area, and there was no real need for real self protection. It’s a much different world now then it was when i was growing up, amazingly different.
        My instincts spoke to me with Spathtardx but I didn’t know what the message was because I have never met or been with someone like this, never learned about people like this. In retrospect, there are several people in my past who I see signs of being spaths to some degree but that is NOW……..now that I know what one is, I can look back and see it in the past. NOTHING has ever affected me this way though. Not even close.
        Addition:
        I KNEW something was wrong in our family though……..I knew it but i didn’t know what it was,,,,,just that there was a gaping hole in the boat and I was in danger of drowning. The whole environment was toxic for me but I didn’t know why.

        • Dorothy, in your response, above, you posted that you felt no “need for real self protection,” and your last paragraph states that you were aware of “…a gaping hole in the boat and that I was in danger of drowning.”

          It is not my intention for my response to be interpreted as ridicule, picking on you, or anything else that is negative – just an observation that you must feel intense conflict and that you probably DID feel a need for self-protection, though you hadn’t been taught HOW to accomplish that. Perhaps, your “gut” instinct had been so hammered by the dysfunction (just like mine was) that you believed that there was no such thing as “gut instinct.”

          Just a completely unprofessional observation. It might be worth delving into, later.

          • Truthy, In the beginning of my post I was referring to my general environment as a whole, like where I grew up, the era, etc. When I think back to the way the world was when and where I grew up it seems like an absolute paradise to me compared to the world now.

            My family environment was very messed up, no doubt not as badly as many peoples but plenty bad enough. I don’t know how to even think about that part of my life anymore. It all seems like a sureal dream to me now! It almost seems ridiculous to talk about it because I feel SO detached from it on so many levels! It’s hard to put into words for me but the older I get the smaller and less significant my childhood feels to me. I honestly have a hard time wrapping my head around me as a child, adolescent, teenager, early adult……..Being the same person as ME!
            I don’t know how I would ever address issues from my past because I can’t even relate to them and am having a harder and harder time remembering them, let alone accurately.
            I know that the family was a mess and I was the only on who seemed to a) see it. and b) care about it being any different.
            I feel so much sadness that that train wreck of a family was my parents reality of a marriage. it’s a tragic story and far from the fairy-tail life I’m sure my mother and her family had pictured for her. Just horrifically sad for everyone involved myself included I guess? Why doesn’t it bother me? WHy don’t I feel anything about it? I do sense sadness when i think about it but I don’t really feel a sobbing type sadness, maybe something more like I’m feeling my parents despair or disappointment. Poison container.
            It’s all too weird to even think about…………so long ago!

          • Dorothy, feeling that sadness for the Family That Wasn’t is 100% “normal.” It IS sad, right? You asked why you didn’t feel anything about this childhood when you clearly do – sadness. I’m no professional, by any stretch of the imagination, so I cannot give you a clear or succinct answer as to why you might believe that you don’t feel anything. But, my layman’s guess would be that there is so much pain that feeling it – actually opening that wound and draining the infection – seems dangerously painful to you. I don’t know if that’s true – I only know that this was something that came up in counseling for me and I pretended that it didn’t bother me because the alternative was simply too terrible.

            For me (and, me, ONLY), my childhood may be in the past, but I’ve carried it on my shoulders throughout my lifetime like an undeveloped conjoined twin. It’s been a part of me, but it drains my nutrients and energy and provides nothing in return aside from a long, slow demise. Separation is risky and may have dire consequences. But, so it goes. I made the choice to risk the procedure, and I’m going to be okay. We’re ALL going to be okay. 😉

          • Truthy…………I don’t know! Im certainly not one who’s afraid to feel my feelings? I have never had a choice it would seem. They are right there. Maybe though. certainly there could be things lurking that I haven’t gotten to but I’ve talked about my childhood and cried rivers for years and years. I still feel sadness, and I mean deep sadness when I think of my friend’s dog getting hit by a car and the horrible story that goes along with that. It would seem that I could cry every time I think of it and at this point when it comes to mind I just stop the thoughts from creating tears over that ONCE AGAIN! It’s become a phobia in a sense. VERY odd. I didn’t even witness it happen. just the details of the story alone make me cry and I barely knew the dog. Unreal!

            regarding my family and feeling sad about the reality of my parents marriage………..it’s sad! I can see what at least my mother envisioned her life being when she got married and I do believe she loved my father but he was an emotional dud and then two adopted children who were both very damaged in different ways. It turned out NOTHING like the fairytale she had pictured I’m sure! Maybe some aspects were in line with her dream but in a sense, she sold out for those very superficial aspects. I feel sadness about a lot of things which is why I’m not a spath. Spathtaredx would just say, and I quote, “how unfortunate”.
            I can’t imagine living year after year after year “trapped” in such a dismal situation. That is sad!
            I guess what I was saying is, I don’t feel sadness for ME ,not anymore anyhow. I do feel sadness for the end and apparent reality of the relationshit with spathtardx. I feel terrible sadness. indescribable sadness.

            Maybe I’m not being clear enough Truthy? Or maybe I just don’t understand?

          • Dorothy,

            Sadness can be the feeling of regret without tearing up. Sometimes we can grieve and mourn over something, very tearfully, without actually being sad.

            I’m experiencing this at the very moment. I received a phone call from my father this late morning to tell my that my (sugar) aunt died this night. She was admitted into hospital on Monday, and on Thuesday my mother was present when the doctors told her she had an aggressive liver cancer. She had been in remission before on other cancers the past 7 years. And she was only back home for the past month, after some other operation (mechanical) and had been staying in a medical rehabilitation center. Doctors said the last check-up, perhaps no more than 2 months ago, showed nothing. So, on Wednesday I knew from my mom that it was terminal… but none of us thought it would be this quick. Heck, she had opted for ‘one last time chemo’ instead of ‘paliative care’. I visited her yesterday. There were signs something was up, because she was kindof ‘out of this world’, fidgeting at tubes, telephone, etc, slurred speech, and trying to climb out of bed all the time. And yet she was also very lucid, talking to me about how she wanted me to rummage through the books she had and I should pick those that I wanted. I thanked her for thinking of me, but told her that was not really important now… she was important to me, and that I wanted her to be kind to herself. She said, ‘It’s too late for that. It’s gonna end badly for me.’ And when I asked her about the chemo, she said, ‘Yeah, but it’ll be the last time I’m having it.’

            I left after 15 mins, because she was so out of sorts and I feared my visit might have just hampered her peace of mind. I promised to visit her again today and asked the nurses what would be the best time for her. She didn’t look all that sick to me either.

            I’m weeping, and I sure am grieving, still a bit in shock, because it went way quicker than anyone of us thought. But am I sad? A part of me is relieved that she didn’t have to go through an outstretched painful death process anymore. Yeah, she had health issues the past 7 years, on and off, but never severely painful, or anyway near fatal.

            What I’m trying to say is that there is a difference between the inner sensations we have and the emotion-label we put on it. Crying is a physical result of an inner sensation we have no control over. But the emotion is the label we put on it, which is a process of interpreting, and thus subjective.

          • (((Jill))),
            my condolences. It’s good that you found comfort in knowing that she didn’t endure more pain.

            The inner sensations you describe, are referred to as “affect” in psychological terms. Psychopaths has a shallow affect because they are disconnected from feeling those physical sensations very deeply. That’s why they can be raging one minute, and totally calm 20 minutes later.

            I knew a person who was like this, he would constantly fly into a rage. One day, he raged at me and 20 minutes later, I asked him, “are you still angry with me?”

            He said, “No, I never stay mad for very long.”

            My response, “I know, it’s called ‘shallow affect’.”

            He clenched his teeth, his eyes glared at me and he walked away. He knows what shallow affect means and he knows what he is, but he didn’t think I could see it.

            I thought it was funny at the time, but in hindsight, it wasn’t the wisest thing to tease the dragon’s tail.

          • Truthy, Skylar, Jill…………….I don’t know what it is. I just know I can be brought to tears very easily, FEEL sad (I think? I always feel like i have a lump in my throat since Spathtardx and I are apart). I can think of certain things and not cry but turn around and talk out loud about the same thing and can’t get through it without breaking down. I don’t understand any of it at this point. I know that I don’t feel any sadness when I think or talk about my childhood or family anymore. I see it as a cluster of a mess and feel sadness for my parents more than I do for myself. It’s is just sad to me. Maybe I’m using the wrong word with “sad”. I don’t know!
            Skylar, I’ve always been that way…..I can be angry one minute and ready to get icecream the next. When I get angry, it’s always because I’m hurt or have tried so hard to communicate with someone and gotten nowhere………frustration release.
            BTW, meltdowns and “rages” are very much an FAS trait. It takes tremendous amounts of energy to stay on out feet in so many ways and it’s alwasy a one step forward, ten steps back struggle. My brain gets overwhelmed and overloaded before I’m even aware it’s happening and one straw can break the camel’s back. there was no WAY I could comunicate with Spathtardx. He pulled the rug out all the time and I could not stay on top of it. I didn’t know what was going on and if it were not for me thinking he really did love me as he had said SO MANY TIMES I would have bailed. I really did think that because I KNEW I loved him and I THOUGHT he had special feelings of love for me, that we would work through it, AND, he “did”/ said SO many things to lead me to believe this I can’t even retell it all. That’s why I am having such a hard time coming to terms with this. I get it one minute or I think I do and then the next minute I’m thinking about what he said for so long and just thinking there HAS to be some mistake!
            So right now, I have a lump in my throat and feel like I could cry but I am so confused I don’t even know what to cry about.

          • Dorothy,
            I can see how FAS might make a person’s emotions more labile, due to the effect of alcohol on the brain during fetal development. But I want to caution you against thinking that this is the way you are, the way you’ve always been and the way you’ll always be.

            If you had met me during my childhood, you might have thought that I was also FAS or crazy or whatever. My emotions sometimes exploded. My parents made me feel so much emotional pain and I didn’t know where it was coming from or what to do with that pain. If you had asked me, at the time, I would have said that this was just how I am. That’s because my parents baited me, tortured me emotionally and then told me that I was unstable. And I believed them.

            Then I met the spath. As good as he is at deception, I could always sense that he was trying to make me feel and act crazy. And that’s when I learned to control my emotions. Yes, sometimes he succeeded to infiltrate my boundaries and I had meltdowns, but I eventually figured out that HE was making me feel despair on purpose. When I saw that, I was able to resist.

            Years later, I was at my parents’ home and my older sister, who lives out of state, was visiting. My father did something irritating, as usual. He likes to get a rise out of people. I joked with him, then put him gently back in his place. My older sister was floored. Her reaction to his behavior was anger and she saw how I deflected his toxin. Truthfully, I was so good at it by then, that I didn’t even notice I had done it. All thanks to years with my spath. It took several more years before I saw what the spath was and ran, but meanwhile he provided many lessons in self-control.

            If you think that you are this way and will always be this way, then you won’t change, Dorothy. But if you take a different perspective and examine the process that leads you toward a meltdown, you can choose a different path.

            I’m not saying that I’m always in control, just saying that compared to my childhood and teenage years, I am greatly improved.

            Lots of things can affect your reactions, including fatigue, hunger, recent stresses etc… You can observe yourself for clues and then make decisions.

          • Skylar, I know that I try. I know I’ve always tried and I’ve tried to control myself all my life. It’s just a hair trigger situation. I think my brain is so overloaded AT ALL TIMES. I know it is. I live with it everyday, spath or no spath. I have my whole life. I can tell you this, I’m so tired……mentally….all the time. I can’t keep up. I think it’s too hard to explain and I’m too tired to explain. It’s not about making decisions………maybe sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t. I can feel inside my head when I can’t. It’s a feeling of suffocating mentally. I have claustrophobia and that’s what it feels like in my head sometimes. When I can’t make decisions, when I’m overloaded. It feels like my brain is swimming in heavy grease. and it’s random. Sometimes I am able to “control” things and make better decisions than others. I have FAS Skylar. I do try, I try my a** off because if I didn’t and I gave up I would be alone forever. I try. FAS explains for me why I fail sometimes. You have no idea how much that means to me. Not as an excuse but as a reason. Not as a reason to quit trying but as a reason to have understanding and compassion towards myself when I do fall short.
            I have invested my time and energy to understand as much as I can about FAS and the limitations of FAS. Some of it fits me and some of it does not. I feel like I am objective enough to see where it affects me and where it doesn’t and I have friends that have known me for a long time who know how it affects me. I don’t understand why it is always such a point of contention.
            I lived my whole life with unrealistic goals on myself and from other people. I finally understand why those goals were unrealistic. it’s the way my brain IS. I can do things differently but not reliably. I’m sorry Skylar, I’m trying to explain again and it never works. Just please don’t assume that I don’t try.
            It’s very typical for FAS to be misunderstood. I have spoken with professionals who deal with this every day and parents who have children with FAS and are aware. The FAS brain is/ can be very unpredictable, very unreliable. It’s like trying to cross a gorge from rope to rope to rope and sometimes reaching for the next rope and it’s not there. but it was there the last time! Where is it NOW?? Why isn’t it there? I don’t understand!

          • Dorothy,
            I know you try very hard. I’m not judging you, I’m encouraging you to keep trying.

            What I’ve found out is that many of us are wired differently for whatever reasons. The neurological pathways for certain processes are atypical in some people. So, whether you are an HSP, Aspie, FAS, or have PTSD, you cannot rely on your brain to do things the same way as neurotypical people do. You have to find your own way and your own processes.

            This includes practicing different perspectives so that your reactions are different. It can even include diet: I recently read a study that said, women who eat yogurt tend to be calmer.

            I do understand Dorothy. On top of FAS, you now might have PTSD from the spath encounter, that’s not easy. But think about your successes too. You got rid of the spath! You escaped! Not everyone does.

          • Skylar, Technically………?? I did NOT get rid of the Spathtardx, HE got rid of me. I still wish we could be together. Seriously! My friend the other day said, “Dorothy……..I see it and know it and it absolutely blows my mind. You would go back to him again if he showed some sign of repentance, said that he wanted you back and that he loved you and had really f’ed up”. It’s horrible the longing i still feel for him and it’s just like drinking. I still long to drink at times but it’s a longing for something that a) will more than likely bring on serious trouble and b) not be “all that”. Same old same old. When I say that the relationshit with Tardaspath was not black and white horrible I mean it and it makes me constantly wonder how much of the bad part I brought on with my own issues. I have a good heart and don’t mean anyone harm but when I’m in “a state” of whatever……..I am not thinking of anyone…….not me, not them………just lost in a hole covered with mud that I can’t swim out of. I am always quick to TRY to own any damage that brings on and am a master of apology but inevitably, will end up in the same hole again and again and again. It’s like sometimes I just can’t find the light switch to make my way to the stairs. Once that stops and I can cry, or throw something and then cry, it passes and I feel like I’m back on my feet, right side up. I know I loved him and never wanted to say the terrible things I said no matter what he did but now I’m almost sure that I was being baited to do just that. I was very easily led into creating an excuse for him to put me in the wrong for god only knows what reason. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out my “hot buttons” and I basically handed him a road map to the one’s he didn’t find on his own by trying to explain myself to him umpteen times thinking if he could only understand why I was unhappy or frustrated or upset,,,,,because he loved me and I loved him, we would work it out.
            I think the whole time he was looking down his nose at me. Playing me and my feelings like a deck of cards. WTF?? Because I wanted him to be responsible? Because deep inside I sensed something was wrong?? This is how they get people to kill themselves. Mental torture. They poison your mind and reality with questions, contradictions and doubts!

          • Dorothy,

            A few weeks ago on a totally unrelated forum someone wanted to know what others thought ‘love’ was. I answered that intimacy, regular contact, including touch, sex, mental and emotional exchanges cause the hormone oxytocin to be released and received in the brain. It’s called the cuddle and love hormone. XTC is supposed to mimic the effect that natural oxytocin has on us.

            Neurologically it’s just a hormone, but its impact is that we have a sensation of bonding to a person and increased empathy. The bonding sensation (affect) translates for us in ‘love’… we label ‘bonding’ as ‘falling in love’ and ‘feeling connected’ as ‘loving’ someone.

            For the brain who the person or animal that causes us to experience a surge of oxytocin drowning our brain is not important: petting the purring cat, your child feeding from the breast, having sex and lying in the arms of a lover, a great heartfelt conversation with a friend, a hug from your mother… it all makes the same hormone surge through the brain. It’s just the amount of it that varies.

            One contact is not enough to establish a permanent bond. That takes repeated intimacy. You could regard it as hormonal imprinting, so that a storage of emotional memories is built. Memories are not just imagery or factual data. Longest kept memories are those to which we attach feelings and emotions. So, once you are imprinted hormonally to regard someone as a person you are connected to, then at times you are deprived of the contact, the memories of that person are enough to keep providing the oxytocin rush.

            Now, just like it does not matter oxytocin wise whether the source is your child, your parent, your sibling, your friend or your partner, the oxytocin does not discriminate against the character or personality of that person. So, you can fall in love and keep loving the wrong person, because that person (and the memories of them) will keep provoding the brain with oxytocin, even if they harm you.

            Nor does the brain like a source to be scratched out: even if we have many people who love us and who we love back, the loss of an oxytocin source is always painful. The brain is just greedy that way, and will try to cling to it with recalling emotional memories that will preserve the source somehow.

            Most people often assume that just because they love someone that person is also deserving of it. But they way it works and happens, deserving has little or anything to do with it. What you can do, is very rationally and unemotionally evaluate a person’s merits and decide they are worth preserving. For those that are not worthy you will have to reprogram your brain so that not even the memories of that person will ever give you an oxytocin rush again.

          • Jill, OMG! I can’t stop the memories! Now at my annual visit with my doctor she wanted to put me on imeprimine which is supposed to stop compulsive thinking and is used in OCD people. I tried to kill myself once on imeprimine so that is NOT an option.
            Thank you for spelling that out to me. I was aware of the Oxytocin factor but had never heard it put quit that way. This is so deep. I can only imagine I might have felt something like this when I was separated from my birth mother but there wasn’t time to bond with her in that way because i was taken away at birth.
            I’ve said for a while, that he date raped me with oxytocin and that hugging and holding started on the first night and never stopped. NEVER, unless we were separated.
            Hugs Jill………I don’t know what to do about this longing. PLEASE don’t discount this statement like others seem to want to but FAS brains have a KNOW tendency towards perseveration and repetitive thoughts. I’ve described it as my brain having an entrance door but no exit door. I still have thoughts from so long ago that can bring me to tears RIGHT NOW. I mentioned the dog getting hit by a car in an earlier post somewhere.
            I have my pets and my little dog is basically glued to me unless I’m needing to do other things (that she does not approve of!). I don’t even LIKE to be hugged by people other than in a romantic way. I never have. It makes me feel trapped and uncomfortable in a weird way. Right now I feel like my heart is going to explode with sadness. No wonder he wanted to hug me all the time and hold my hand all the time. BUT, several months back he had stopped by briefly and we had hugged. He said in an email later that he missed that more than I could possibly conceive. The context and the way he said it, I truly believed he was telling the truth. WTF???????????????

          • There are tricks you can use to stop the memory train or remove the associated emotions from the memories, or alter the mental image you preserve and keep about someone. That way you arrest the associated oxytocine rushing in.

            This is why it is so important to accept the reality and truth that it was all an illusion. When the illusionary idea of the ex tried to get in the front of my min the first few weeks after D-day, I told it time and time again that it was an illusion and to go away. This was just a mental exercise.

            For some it helps to then recite or concentrate on all the negative.. to instead let the good but fake memories emerge, some people actively search for memories that bring to mind who they really are: uncaring, callous, ….

            But in my case I know that positive feedback has a bigger impact and result on me. So, whenever an illusionary ‘positive’ memory or image of him pushed forward, I thought ‘stop’ and actively searched for another positive memory in my life that had nothing to do with him at all. I preferred memories even where I was alone, by myself or only surrounded by strangers. These were memories that filled me with an incredible awe and happiness, even though I was by myself: like the whales I saw up close and personal in Baja California, or the sea turtles I watched fly in the Caribbean waters while snorkling or scubadviing, the 180 feet deep dive I did in Honduras, my first fully succesful surf waves, a sunset and sunup in the Maroccan desert, a camel called Jimi Hendrix… I have a chest full of such tiny memories, that mean nothing to others, because they weren’t there, but they are my personal treasures, my valuables, and I was happy at each instance, and I felt connected and bonded to nature and life itself at those moments.

            So, what happened when I did this each time? Instead of my brain getting an oxytocin rush over an illusion, I let my brain go on an oxytocin rush over life and nature itself while I was single. And at the end of the rush I could think, “See, you don’t need him at all to remember or feel happy and loved and loving at all.”

            I did one more extra trick. I ‘buried’ the image and illusionary memories of him. You may have heard what Inuits supposedly did with psychopaths in their tribes in the arctic? They shoved them of a shelf when nobody else is looking. I went to my mental arctic, shoved his image from a shelf, and he’s buried underneath a huge layer of ice (that global warming can’t melt). It pretty much looks like a frozen male Laura Palmer underneath all that ice of my mental arctic.

            That’s how I broke the imprinting of the false image of the ex psychopath. Now he’s just a name, something abstract. I don’t even make much of a mental image of him at all anymore. I can talk of him, but there are no emotions associated to him at all anymore – neither positive nor negative.

          • Jill,
            that’s a great way to re-direct your thoughts and feelings to empower yourself. I wish I could do that. Unfortunately, I was with the spath for so long that I have more memories of him than anything else in my life. 🙁

            Luckily, I didn’t really have a problem “seeing” who the spath was when I finally learned about spaths. Learning about spaths explained all the mystery around him. He is such a poster child for the disorder.

            All the fun and good times we had, were actually PART of the disorder, not separate from it. Everyone he has ever targeted got the “tom sawyer adventure treatment”, including me. He makes life seem so amazing, dramatic, adventurous, blah, blah. He does this because anything else is boring to him. He NEEDS to do this.

            Icarus flew too close to the sun. The spath liked to fly close to the ground, or the ocean or the river or the power lines. When you’re flying in the sky, you don’t get the rush from speed like you do flying close to an object. And he likes to take his victims on this same rush, just like a drug dealer likes to get his customers addicted to his drugs.

            It’s curious that I became like him in a way. I found flying in the sky to be rather boring. It only seemed fun when he was pulling his stunts, at ground elevation. My “fun meter” was set too high.

            After being with him for 25 years, it was difficult to learn what normal is supposed to be like. I’m STILL learning.

            Everything that seemed good about the spath was an exaggerated and extreme. Just like everything bad was exaggerated and extreme. So when I learned about psychopaths, I could see that nothing about him was real. The real spath beneath the facade, is nothing but an evil entity. Like satan, he is an envious void. There was no way he would ever have allowed anyone to see that.

      • Oh, yea, I had that gut instinct and like Truthy I was told that it was NOT OKAY TO HAVE IT. So I learned to “shut it up” then I was like opi said “naive” in believing the LIE THAT THERE IS GOOD IN EVERYONE, you just have to find it.

        Plus I was susceptible to the love bomb and flattery because no matter how “successful” I was I FELT like I was unlovable…I was the cause of people treating me badly…and on and on.

        Learning to live in a healthy way emotionally, to reject people who treat me badly, it is a stiff learning curve but I’m finally getting there and the result if PEACE and TRANQUILITY IN MY LIFE. NO more drama-rama.

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