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The Gray Rock Method of Dealing With Psychopaths — 190 Comments

  1. Mnav,

    After years of abuse it is hard to know JUST WHAT TO DO…. I am assuming his “uniform” is police or military. Many times people who are control freaks go for jobs with “power” like the military or police, or lawyers and judges.

    They have the MASK which they present to others, but the victim sees the true FACE OF EVIL that is hiding behind the mask.

    Family courts are NOT FAIR and statistics show that women accusing a man of “child abuse” or “spousal abuse” unless they have broken teeth, arms or jaws are NOT BELIEVED.

    I know of cases where there is PROOF that a parent is abusive or perverted and the women (or men) may get custody (sole) of the child with limited supervised visits for the abuser, but others even with PROOF the judge subscribes to the MYTH “a child is better off with both parents”

    Right now a friend of mine has lost ANY visitation with her abused son who is in SOLE custody of her pervert X and she has a restraining order against him, and he still STALKs her.

    Stalking is a bad sign, I don’t mean to scare you, but stalking is a BAD sign that they intend revenge for their victim getting away. BE CAREFUL. His revenge may be in the courts but it may also be physical.

    While I am realistically afraid of my son sending another man to kill me because I protest his paroles, I am PREPARED. I am okay with fire arms and have no small children in my home so I have a gun on every flat surface, I have a police trained attack dog, and a security system that records what it sees. I am very careful.

    However, if you are not comfortable and I mean REALLY COMFORTABLE or don’t live in an area where you can have a gun, a LEGAL and very GOOD kind of protection is a few cans of WASP SPRAY…get the kind that shoots a STREAM about 20 feet, NOT the kind that shoots a SPRAY. And keep one in your car where you can grasp it easily, and one by your bed, and one in the kitchen and every other room in your house.

    Don’t live in TERROR but DO live CAUTIOUSLY….they try to make us look “crazy” because we are afraid. And sometimes fear DOES make us “crazy.”

    When I went to my new therapist and told him my “tale” of my son sending an ex convict to kill me and that the ex con had seduced my entire family into thinking I was crazy because I had found out who and what his mission was (he was a 3 x sex offender) the therapist thought I might be just UNJUSTLY PARANOID because I was mentally ill and he asked me to bring in someone to verify my story…I brought in all the documents and my other son to vouch for me. LOL

    I know others who have been “diagnosed” as “crazy” by doctors who didn’t believe their stories about persecution and abuse, so I suggest that you MUST APPEAR CALM even if you are not. YOU must change the way you have been dealing with him, and the GRAY ROCK is a good one. But be CAUTIOUS and not appear “crazy” while he stands there in his uniform looking like the SANE one and you look like you are too crazy to be a parent. You must not let FEAR overcome you. You have to PLAN and get your sheet all in one sock so that he starts to ramp up the attempts at revenge or control (and he will anyway) but you must APPEAR to be calm in court.

    Come here to rant and rave where it is safe. Imagine an army of people behind you saying “you can do it girl!” because there IS AN ARMY of us who have been down this road to cheer you on. Good luck and God bless you.

    • thank you so much Oxy. I can tell you know exactly what I am up against. I am going to try to be calmer, less ruffled. really, it is self preservation because this is probably just my life now and if I want to have any life I have to not let this get to me. it really does. I can’t have guns and I could do pepper spray but not wasp spray. my situation is unique and so I do not want to give any info in this forum that could identify me. honestly I think he is too much of a coward to do something physical. he would have to be really pushed to the brink and then he would hire someone. his expertise is in the psychological arena. he is so good at it that I am convinced he really is satan. or a tool. he says something and people listen to him, even if it is not true. he doesn’t even have to say it plainly, I don’t even know what it is, but it is like mind control. I think it is how he hooked me and kept me for so long. I worry so for my kids, being so linked into his psyche. he really is a good dad, too. it is just as you said, he wants revenge now. and he’s the kind of person who makes a list of his strategies and will keep following it, step by step, over years and years, until he reaches his goal. very dangerous. what I need is for him to make one mistake, so I can bring the law down on him. and I am not without my own resources to support me if it came to a court battle. people with credibility to shoot down his bogus claims.

      I am so sorry for your friend and for your troubles. I did get more of a gist of those things from the link you gave in your last note. thank you for your prayers and I will keep you in mine. I am grateful I found this site!

  2. mnav,
    One of the reasons why learning about gray rock was so powerful for me, was because I didn’t just learn to act like a gray rock, I finally understood that I don’t NEED to react.

    In the past, if the spath made me mad, I had to retaliate. In my mind he NEEDED to be told that he had done something bad and that I was not going to take it anymore. In my mind, I NEEDED to show him just how angry he had made me. In my mind, that was what would MAKE him see that he had to stop. All of this, as it turns out, was just in my mind because I didn’t understand that my retaliation was EXACTLY what he wanted.

    Because I’d known my ex for so long and remembered all the drama he created, I finally saw very clearly how it had ALL been just a manipulation to suck on my emotions.

    Whether he was really mad or whether he was really going to sue me as he threatened, or even kill me as I feared, I couldn’t be sure. But there was one thing I knew FOR CERTAIN: his ultimate goal was DRAMA.

    Yes, he’s killed and raped and stolen in the past. Those were all things he’s capable of but in the end, what he really wants is DRAMA. He wanted to see me suffer. He wanted me to play his game of push and pull.

    Understanding this helped me to learn as much about myself as I learned about him. I learned that we don’t have to use our emotions as a tool in every interaction. Some interactions — actually, most — do not require emotional involvement.

    So it wasn’t just learning to “play” gray rock, it was learning how to rein myself in and not react to being baited as I had done my whole life, with him and with my family of origin. Understanding that manipulators will fake emotions in order to get a rise out of us, was VERY liberating and it made it MUCH easier to maintain gray rock.

    Another thing that you must understand about psychopaths is that they really have NO IDEA why we respond the way we do. They only know that we respond to emotion with more emotion. They’ve practiced their manipulations for a long time and have become adept at it, so they THINK they know us. But they can’t know us, they only know our responses.

    So if you change your responses, he won’t think it’s strange. Not in the way a normal person would think you were strange. He will only think that he must do more tests to figure out what has changed and adjust his input to get his desired output.

    My exspath was so confuddled by my behavior at the end of the relationshit, he asked me, “When did you stop respecting me?” He wasn’t interested in gaining my respect or expressing hurt, he was just wanting to know when his mask had slipped and he’d lost control of me. This was so that he could fix the hole in his mask and not make the same mistake again with his next victim. LOL! I didn’t answer him.

    This is what I mean when I say that they fear being known and they will respond to any possible hole in their defenses. People say that psychopaths don’t care about anything. That is true. They don’t even care about themselves very much. But they do care about their masks because they really are nothing without their masks.

  3. thank you Sky. yes, I get all of that. it is hard in the moment not to react, and there has been someone else watching who I need to see what goes on, the parenting coordinator, so I haven’t tried to hide my fear. I do know that whatever I say is not for his benefit because he is not real or genuine and he knows all I would say anyway. and he is not persuaded by logical argument. he doesn’t make logical arguments, he uses words to force his will. last night I had dinner with a friend who has a degree in criminal justice and has written reports about psychopaths. she pointed out that the reason he is escalating now is because HE feels out of control. that made me feel better, well sort of if anything about this hell that is my life can be better. he knows I can see through the mask. now he is really trying to fool other people, because he is being watched. and believe me, he’s good. but I have a rejoinder for every stupid thing he says. it is just a matter of presentation: he has the uniform and he has a penis, as well as an intimidating presence, so he will be infinitely more believable. I seriously feel like I am in the quintessential battle between good and evil, that things have really come down to that stark reality and I am Frodo. I can’t give in no matter what. I am going to try the grey rock as best I can. if he is already off balance then perhaps this will tip him.

    • Mnav, I’m sorry that you’re dealing with all of this – I’ve been out of commission for a bit, so I apologize for jumping into the middle of the discussion.

      ****Please, note: my use of CAPS is for emphasis, only, and not to be interpreted as “online yelling,” under any circumstances.****

      “Gray Rock” is probably the most effective and empowering technique when we really have no choice but to deal with a spath. Now, the most difficult challenge in learning HOW to make it work to our benefit. It does work, yes, indeed it does. But, we have a lot of work to do with ourselves before it is effective.

      The first thing that I had to “accept” was that the exspath(s) simply did not care. That was difficult for me to fathom, because I don’t live in that Universe where care and concern for the safety, health, and well-being of others isn’t primary. But, I came to accept that I will never, ever “understand” the Universe of Sociopathy.

      The next thing was to learn how, when, where, and with whom I could safely express my FEELINGS – my fears, hatred, rage, disbelief, confusion, and grief. These are all very real and NEED to be expressed.

      What came after that was learning, understanding, and accepting that my feelings are not facts. This doesn’t invalidate my feelings, one bit, but it gives me an understanding of where my feelings come from, how they ramp up under certain circumstances (and, triggers), and that I literally have an option to separate my emotions from the equation. Whenever I say (or, type) this, there is often a great concern amongst empaths that WE will become like THEM, and that is not true. Separating our feelings from the facts simply allows us to employ the Gray Rock Method without hatred, vengeance, or any other negative motivation.

      Finally, accepting that every single thing that both exspaths said and did were done with an intent to either harm, or take, and that I couldn’t “help” either of these people to understand how their actions, choices, and decisions caused harm, even to our own children (in reference to the first abusive exspath).

      SO………even though I no longer have any interaction with either exspath, I still use Gray Rock when I’m dealing with people outside of my “inner circle.” I do this strictly to keep my mouth shut and to observe their behaviors and determine if they might be a threat to me, or not.

      And, as Oxy mentions, below, when we take away their fuel – our emotional responses and reactions – the disordered will absolutely ramp it up, because they’ve conditioned us to REACT, rather than stop, think, and formulate a response. They eat up our emotions because they have none of their own, other than rage, hatred, and envy. It does take time for Gray Rock to take away their power, but it eventually does. Like all things that we’ve never done before (painting, roller-blading, or Tai Chi), Gray Rock requires PRACTICE – trial and error – until we perfect it.

      And, this goes forth with bitter custody/visitation battles with spaths. When we stop reacting to every barb, jab, and threat, we take away their power and control. Yeah, they’ll try harder, but they’ll eventually lose interest and move on to the next target.

    • Truthspeak,
      You said, “Whenever I say (or, type) this, there is often a great concern amongst empaths that WE will become like THEM, and that is not true.”

      I’ve also experienced this on a Christian blog. They said that although Gray Rock is effective, it does not come from a place of Christianity. I had to explain to them that it is no different than Jesus’ reminder not to throw pearls before swine, lest the be trampled and the pigs turn on you.

      To Jesus’ advice I would add, don’t pour your blood into shark infested waters, don’t wave a red cape in front of a raging bull and don’t wear a bikini in a dark alley. These seem to be common sense to many of us who have heard them, because we know that these are things that will trigger certain predatory or vicious animals.

      Unfortunately, nobody ever taught us that there is a certain type of species that is triggered by human emotions: the human predator. Naive people have no idea that these creatures exist and they think that Christianity obligates us to show love, kindness and generosity to everyone. Not so.

      Jesus’ warns us that there would be wolves in sheep’s clothing. We must be discriminating.

      • Sky, absolutely – especially for those of us who have been raised in a dysfunctional family environment, our “Feeling Mind” was never reconciled with our “Practical Mind” to produce the “Wise Mind.” Every experience that I had, as a child, was invalidated: “You shouldn’t have gone to the neighbor’s house – you should have stayed home.” Well, what does that teach a 7 year old child whose safety is being threatened by a drunken parent? It taught ME that my safety was expendable in lieu of “appearances.” I was UNWORTHY of safety, security, and nurturing, as a child, so it went to follow through my adult years, as well.

        I’m in total agreement that teachings have been warped and misinterpreted as a matter of control, historically speaking (or, in this case, typing!). “Turn the other cheek” does not mean that use, abuse, and bad behaviors should be tolerated, accepted, and forgiven in order to be WORTHY of human dignity, grace, or other “rewards.” There is no benefit for ourselves (OR for mankind) to accept, tolerate, and allow abuse – there just isn’t.

        So, we’ve followed the “guidelines” with the mistaken assurance that, if we adhere to things that simply do not make sense, then everything is going to be rewarded with a rosy life and that we’ll be surrounded by “good” people. We’ll be “good,” ourselves, and “worthy” of redemption. Then, we discover that the very people that we’ve accepted, loved, and supported aren’t whom they presented themselves to be. Sure, we’re angry at “God” because we were assured that we wouldn’t suffer if we followed the Rules. Anger is a “normal” aspect of grief, and we have also been taught the fallacy that ANGER IS BAD and ONLY BAD PEOPLE express anger. These “beliefs” and teachings have been warped (again, IMHO) to develop a climate of fear and shame for even being born. What a crock of sh*t! LMAO!!

        By separating my emotions from the facts, I’m beginning to experience the difference between faulty beliefs and common sense. It’s common sense to walk away from someone who presents a threat, of any kind, without malice. I don’t have to hate someone to walk away from them. Am I allowed to feel disappointed or hurt? Sure, I am, but I am also allowed a choice – walk away, or continue tolerating bad behaviors. It’s common sense to forgive – not for the sake of the “bad” person, but for MY sake to rid myself of that anger and replace it with wisdom for future choices.

        I have a lifetime of flawed beliefs about myself, and about humanity that I am slowly getting rid of and replacing with beliefs based upon common sense. It’s hard work, to be sure, but I’m no longer “responsible” for what anyone else does or how they behave. I can walk away without malice and the feeling of being used or abused. And, that is SO powerful for me.

  4. Mnav, yes, when you respond less (gray rock) they RAMP up their carp because “it always worked in the past” and now it isn’t working any more…so they get worse, AT FIRST…but keep on with the “no emotional response” to them and eventually they will become BORED (in most cases) and move on to another person to use and abuse.

    There is an older book that I think might benefit you it is by Dr. ERic Berne called “games people play” and it is ab out how person A says X and person B responds with Y=GAME ON, and that’s all it is to the psychopaths, it is a GAME to them and they score points when you react. If you do NOT “react” emotionally and “lose it” and argue with them they they will try another tactic to get you to react…but HOLD YOUR GROUND. You can tell the parental psychologist that you fear him and that he acts one way to me, and another way in public. But DO IT CALMLY. Don’t allow yourself to come across as a “hysterical woman” that will only convince the person that you ARE nuts and that HE (who behaves calmly) is the sane one.

    Believe me when I tell you that I have been pushed by terror and fear to BE CRAZY…but I work very hard not to let myself slip back into that “crazy making” that they try to do to us.

    Sky’s post above is GREAT advice….and come here and vent all you want…we are here for you.

    Besides Games People Play, another book that is a MUST READ is “Without Conscience” by Dr. Robert Hare. Another one is “the sociopath next door” by Martha Stewart but you must EDUCATE yourself about what he is so that you can SPOT his tricks and NOT REACT publicly to them, or in front of him.

    Hang in there and remember that the Bible tells us that He will NOT put more on us than we can stand, and also “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” so keep on fighting! God bless.

  5. ah well, then I think god has a very high opinion of me. and a sick sense of humor too. I’m not amused and somewhat pissed at Him, honestly. I’ve had a lot of other challenges to deal with and it’s like I’m getting snowballed with stuff constantly for years. I know it could always be worse though, I guess.
    thanks for the book recs, I ordered Hare’s book. not sure I can follow the games stuff, found his website and the writing doesn’t resonate with me.
    I will try to be less reactive.

    thank you!!!

    • Mnav, I completely “get it” about being angry at God, but I learned, long ago, that God doesn’t strike people down, nor does he/she/it interfere with the choices of free will. God doesn’t “do things” to people, like striking down a child with leukemia, or directing a city bus to run someone over. Things happen, and they have nothing to do with God.

      With spaths, the truth is that they have always been a part of the Human Condition. From empires to family dynamics, there have always been “toxic” people. At one point, when people moved in smaller groups, the disordered were dealt with, harshly, and either conformed to the benefit of the group (or, tribe), or they were shunned. Today, we are a “global” society, and anything goes in human behavior.

      I know that you feel that you’ve been bombarded, and that’s “normal.” Do you have a counseling therapist, of your own? You aren’t obligated to answer, but I only ask because it was through my own counseling therapy with a trauma specialist that opened my personal doors to recovery and healing. It’s taking some time (dammit), but I’m not the same mess that I was 2 1/2 years ago, and there is, indeed, a light at the end of this long, dark tunnel.

  6. Mnav, I can understand how you can be “mad at God” but in fact, my ordeal actually has strengthened my faith in God. While I was living in hiding I was a basket case and I lived in an RV trailer about 35 miles from my home and I was a basket case, I felt like Job. I had lost everything from my home to my family…but I began to read the Bible with “new eyes” and I realized that the religion (I won’t call it faith) that had been crammed down my throat was FALSE and that many times “bad things” happen to use so that it will “get our attention” and we will quit depending on ourselves to “fix the situation” *(which of course we can’t do) when we should be depending on God.

    I don’t believe He has promised us a wave and storm free “ride” but I do believe he will give us what we NEED which may not be what we “always want” I see God in a new light now…I no longer see Him as Santa Claus but Ii see him as a loving father and who KNOWS WHAT I NEED, and will make sure I get it if I just trust and love him and do my best to do what is right.

    Jesus talks about those with eyes who see not, and with ears who hear not, and I was both of those things. I was blind and deaf to what my son was and I enabled him and held on to false hope until it almost cost me my very life. I had plenty of opportunities to SEE the truth but it was not THE “truth” I wanted to see and hear so I BLINDED myself and made myself DEAF to the truth….and long term, denial won’t work very well.

    So I don’t want to sound “preachy” but just to share with you that yes, I too, was mad at God, but I also realized that the things I have found (after I opened my mind, eyes and ears) would have killed me themselves if I hadn’t figured out what was going on.

  7. Truth and Oxy;
    I have seen god bring extremely challenging things into my life in response to prayers, a kind of be careful what you wish for thing. I don’t see him as completely benevolent. that is a human concept anyway. life is really hard, and god isn’t necessarily trying to shield us from that, isn’t reticent to give us challenges that will bring us to the next level but cause us great pain in the process. you have to think like an angel to appreciate it. and while I live in human form, it’s just really hard to appreciate it. it just is what it is. I’m aware of it always, but I don’t get the worship part. I do see him giving me tools periodically, throwing things my way. but I still have to fight this fight. and I don’t get it because I have more important things to do and he knows that.

    I do have someone I talk to. I would share more details but don’t want my story to be recognizable. this person and organization has helped me a great deal.

    Oxy I hear what you are saying about your son, but to use the hear not see not example I think causes you to blame yourself too much. these people are so deceptive, it’s not like it’s really right in front of your face and you are ignoring it. why would you doubt what someone says, especially your own son? why would you approach every human interaction with the assumption that the person is lying to you and completely acting? it’s not our fault we were deceived! they are the great pretenders. and with your own child, of course you are going to overlook things and always love them and forgive them and try to help them. it took me 10 years to really see what my ex was. how could you be expected to extricate yourself easily from your own child? of course you will be resistant to believe that your own child is a psychopath! that is normal and you should never blame yourself for that. I know that ultimately you did what you had to do, but prior to that, the sense of guilt you must have felt to imagine giving up on your son, must have been crushing. that would be normal. but you are not guilty and you are not at fault. you dealt with it the best way you could so do not blame yourself.


    • Mnav, I’m going to type this strictly in reference to myself, and what I’ve learned in these past few years: I have always HAD the tools necessary for my personal recovery and healing – I just didn’t know it.

      My most recent long-term experience with a spath was devastating, on every level, and there’s no need to recollect what I experienced, at this point. But, as OxD typed, the devastation was necessary for me to start the hard work to rebuild myself, and rewire my thinking – to begin actually living rather than just existing as a doormat for others to wipe their feet upon. And, there’s no sin in that – it’s powerful, it’s big, and it’s been worth everything that I lost.

    • Mnav, ermahgerd! I just re-read your response, and you typed, “I still have to fight this fight. and I don’t get it because I have more important things to do and he knows that.” What could possibly be more important than your own recovery and healing? You are worthy and deserving of a peaceful and contented life, and that peace and contentment arises through strong recovery and healing.

      I’m glad that you’ve got someone to help you through this – for most every trauma that human beings experience, there is support. When someone passes, we’re supported by our families and community. But, it’s very difficult to experience support because we were used and abused by another person.

      • I know what you are saying, regarding what else could be more important. maybe on a spiritual level you are right, to a certain extent. however there are factors related to other things that I can’t really talk about or it would be identifiable. but I have something else that needs to be done for the good of mankind, that I don’t understand why god would distract me from that. I know that sounds strange. if I could email privately I would say. I don’t live for myself so much anymore as I live for my purpose. god has stripped most of what I had away. and apparently is still trying to strip more off.

        • Mnav, no need to go into details. I have no idea if this will bring any comfort, but I began this journey in 2009 and it really kicked in in 2011. I once felt exactly the same way about my trials and devastation.

          It just takes time. Time and patience.

        • Mnav,
          sorry for the delay in my response. I’ve been severely under the weather lately. 🙁

          I think I understand what you mean about living for your purpose. Some of us have the tendency to want to commit ourselves to something greater than ourselves. We love to give to those who need us. This feels right to us.

          But then sometimes we get that wake up call that says, “hey wait, don’t neglect YOURSELF. You come first.”

          God gave us just one thing: Ourselves. We must put that first. Even ahead of our children. Because if we don’t, we won’t have as much to give. In the end, there is only one thing we really own and can control, it is ourselves. We have no power over anyone else, not even our children or their destiny.

          • Hi Truthy,
            I just noticed your comment to me. Thank you, I am feeling better, though not as quickly as I would like.

            ((hugs back at you))

  8. Mnav,
    I understand what you mean about being mad at God. I even told Him so. After all, there’s no point in hiding it, it’s not like He doesn’t know! Then I told Him that if He was going to throw things at me that I didn’t understand and I couldn’t handle, that I was just going to throw them right back at Him and let Him handle it. Which I did. And that’s when things started to get better and worse at the same time.

    You see, that conversation happened before I found out I was with a psychopath. I was just tired of everything always going wrong, nothing good ever happening and constant stress. All of this was due to sabotage by my spath but I didn’t know. I blamed God.

    So right after that, is when things started to get really crazy and the spath turned up the heat. Then I figured out that he was trying to get control of my business accounts and I told my parents. They revealed that they already knew because they had overheard him SAY he was only with me for my money, 25 years earlier. It was like the Apocalypse where everything that had been hidden, suddenly revealed itself.

    That’s when I met the man who explained narcissism and gray rock to me. And I realized that my family was extremely sick and dysfunctional and that my spath was pure evil and was telling everyone that I was going to commit suicide. As you said, “be careful what you wish for”.

    Even as the spath was putting the final touches on all his demonic machinations, God was shielding me from the spath’s arrows.

    If you have time, please read the comments under the articles, too. Some of the posters have incredible insight and wisdom from their own experiences. They are very inspiring.

  9. Sky;
    your family is really messed up and I am so sorry! so, why didn’t they give you that information 25 years ago? I know that the fact that my mother is a spath is why I was vulnerable to being taken in by an spath because something unconscious in me recognized the behavior as familiar and was drawn to it even though it really wasn’t safe. a completely subconscious process. so this is in some ways how the cycle repeats itself. right when I was realizing that my mother was a narcissist is when I was getting involved with my ex. but he was on best behavior at that time so I had no clue that he was one too. it was like they passed me from one to the other as soon as I was on to the first.

    all I can say is that with all the things I’ve had to deal with in this life, on a personal and spiritual level, that if I am successful then I better graduate to something big on the other side, don’t you think? lol.

    thank you for pointing out all the other stuff on this site. I had found this one page and was chatting with you on it without having noticed all the other articles. so many other things going on for me right now and just grateful for this support here.

    • Mnav,
      Yes, it’s a lot to read and to take in. But in the end, it’s much better to get our education from other people’s trials and tribulations, than to experience them first hand ourselves.

  10. Mnav, most of us who are ultimately victimized by the abusers come from a family of origin that however”normal” or “typical” it may seem from the OUTSIDE, it is TOXIC and dysfunctional on the inside.

    Many families have this dysfunction and if there is one person “acting out” the family in one way or another plays into this DRAMA…it is like a game of musical chairs where people trade chairs but the game is always the same.

    We work our lives around trying to “reproduce normal” for ourselves, even on a subconscious level, so if we are abused in our families one way or another, we pick partners who AT FIRST seem SUPER LOVING AND CARING….which, of course is the “love bomb” that the abuser uses to hook a victim….and having been emotionally or otherwise abused in our families, this seems like HEAVEN ON EARTH to have someone so NICE to us….then BOOM they change once we are hooked.

    Sometimes we repeat this cycle of being victimized, up to and including the rest of our lives, but at some point, SOME people say to themselves “what the heck is going on here?” and they realize that they have allowed others to abuse them. Then we (and I include myself here) realize that we repeated this same drama over and over but now we KNOW it is not our FAULT, we are NOT to blame for falling for the “love bomb” maybe repeatedly…but we did continue to participate and kept up a malignant hope that we could love this person enough they would stop hurting us.

    Finally, realizing what these abusers are (and the bottom line on abusers whether or not they “qualify” as full on psychopaths or not,) are TOXIC and that we must establish BOUNDARIES….i.e. rules by which we will not allow others to abuse us. At first establishing those boundaries is VERY difficult.

    Funny (odd) thing was with people in the community that were not “close” to me, I HAD GREAT BOUNDARIES, but with “friends” and “relatives” I HAD NO BOUNDARIES…I let them walk all over me like a door mat. But no more. DNA does not make a “family”–LOVE DOES. and Friends to not TRY to hurt you.

    We all hurt people we love from time to time, and they hurt us, but when there is a PATTERN there, and when the hurting is DELIBERATE then we must realize that that person is not “family” or “friend” and remove them from our lives.

    My mother said something terrible to me, and by way of “apology” she said “I didn’t mean it I was JUST TRYING TO HURT YOU”—-DUH???? My mother TRYING to hurt me? What is wrong with this picture?

    I have I am sure hurt my mom during my life, but I have NEVER **TRIED** TO HURT HER. I would never even imagine TRYING to hurt someone I love, or having someone I love TRY to hurt me…so that was a big turning point in my life when I realized FINALLY that I could not trust my own mother, and as things worked out, she “devalued and discarded” me in favor of the psychopaths in the family, who ultimately were after her money, and took it and then BETRAYED her. Since she was not willing to keep her word to us about not subsidizing my murderer son Patrick…we have all gone NC with her.

    So learning about boundaries, and seeing that others treat us the way we ALLOW them to, then WE start to change and grow.

    It’s kind of funny now, but once I had a “friend” who stole from me. I kept giving her chances after chance to be my friend and finally when she and her disabled husband were living in a motor home, I let them park it here on my farm and I shared what I have. Well, one night I heard something outside and I found her SNEAKING into my food freezer and loaded up with meat. MEAT IF SHE HAD ASKED SHE COULD HAVE HAD as a GIFT and gladly, but I was so hurt that she was stealing again that I cried for three days—BECAUSE I WAS AFRAID I HAD EMBARRASSED HER BY CATCHING HER STEALING AGAIN. Well, after a few days of feeling bad for catching her stealing, I asked her and her husband to leave, didn’t mention the theft, just said “this isn’t working out” (there were other problems too) and they left, but they had a great deal of “junk” stored here so would come back from time to time, and seemed to be trying to catch us not at home. finally we moved their stuff to a warehouse I owned off the farm and gave them the key. After giving them 6 months notice to come get their stuff because part of the warehouse roof had blown off, my son and I went down there and prowled through the “junk” and lo and behold, we found all kinds of things belonging to us that they had stolen and had in among their things, including a box of my son’s high school photos of him and his friends. DUH? Most were things of sentimental value only to us, but other things were valuable in terms of money. We took back our stuff and just left the rest to rot in the black mold from the leaking roof.

    But I had loved this couple like a sister and a brother, so it hurt badly that they had abused me, stolen from me, but I also realized I had ALLOWED THIS because KNOWING that they had stolen in the past, I gave them free reign to steal again.

    So though it was not my FAULT that they stole, it was because I knew they were thieves and ALLOWED them the opportunity to STEAL AGAIN. So I learned a VALUABLE lesson from that. The lesson is:

    THE BEST PREDICTOR OF FUTURE BEHAVIOR IS PAST BEHAVIOR. So look, listen and watch, and if someone is

    1. uncaring with others, but not with you (yet) they WILL become uncaring of you as well
    2. If they are not responsible in taking care of their responsibilities, such as child support, or child care, ditch them
    3. If they do not do what they say, and say what they do, ditch them
    4. If in ANY way you see dishonesty, ditch them ASAP
    5. If they don’t have a job, don’t pay their bills, and continually borrow from others without any attempt to support themselves, get rid of them they will only become a leech on you.

    And so on. But we must set firm boundaries about who we will deal with and how we do it. Good luck and God bless.

    • thank you Oxy, I totally get what you are saying. my mother is the same, and I will not go there anymore. so sorry you had a mother like that too, it is such a great wound. because no one will ever love you like your own mother, and so if your own mother was not capable of love, what do you have? of course we were vulnerable to the love bomb, which is definitely what hooked me too. I hope I have learned my lesson. but in the process I think that life will never be the same again. I don’t expect it to be. I should feel more devastated than I do about it, because I will never have the things that I thought I would in life. I will never trust a man again. it is more than my ex who brought me to this place, but this is where I am.

      • Mnav, I learned so much about my personal shame-core beliefs in relationship to what made me such an attractive target for the disordered. Before the second exspath experience, I had never even heard of “shame-core beliefs,” and it explained everything about my behaviors throughout my entire life.

        You typed that you will never trust a man, again, and I completely identify with this feeling – your trust has been dashed and you experienced the worst possible outcome from being involved with a toxic person. I utterly identify with this. And, I’ve said (and, typed), “never,” countless times. What I’m coming to, at this point, is that I “might” trust another person, but it will never, ever be the same TYPE of trust – whole, complete, and unabashed. Even with platonic interactions, I am very resistant to trusting someone, and this will swing back into balance for me as I continue constructing sound boundaries for others, and myself.

        The work is challenging, but it’s also empowering. It just takes time, and I feel that I’ve wasted the past 30 years with disordered partners, and I want to be balanced and centered, today – right now. LOL

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