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The Gray Rock Method of Dealing With Psychopaths — 190 Comments

  1. Okay, truthy and Mnav, on the issue of trust such as “I will never trust a man again”–I think it is not your trust in MEN you lost but your trust in YOURSELF to pick the right kind of men.

    I trusted myself to keep me safe and make good choices. I FAILED MYSELF by becoming involved with many psychopaths, not just one, some were relatives, some were business partners, some were lovers, in-laws and “out” laws….THEY DIDN’T JUST FAIL ME, I ****I**** FAILED TO KEEP MYSELF SAFE.

    So what did I learn from these failed experiences where I was hooked in, snookered, abused, lied to, etc.?

    Well, I learned that if ANYONE, male female or in between over 10 or 11 years old lies to me….FORGET IT CHARLIE YOU’LL NEVER HAVE ANOTHER CHANCE.

    I also learned that people who do bad things to OTHERS, but claim to love ME, will eventually do mean things to me.

    I have learned that if people steal they can never ever ever again be trusted, keep them away from you and your stuff.

    I have learned that FEW “second chances” ever are worth the effort.

    I have learned how to assess a TRUE apology by a CHANGE in how someone treats you. A permanent change.

    I have learned to WALK AWAY when people SHOW their true colors. And when they show me the true colors I now BELIEVE THEM THE FIRST TIME.

    So I have RESTORED TRUST IN MYSELF….and as for other people, I NO LONGER GIVE PEOPLE MY TRUST to start with, but only allow them “so close” until I can assess if they are trustworthy or not. And once my trust is betrayed it is danged hard to ever get it back. Because THE BEST WAY TO PREDICT FUTURE BEHAVIOR IS PAST BEHAVIOR.

    I also no longer believe I have to take chit off of anyone in order to “have friends”–FRIENDS LIKE THAT I DO NOT NEED.

    • well, I haven’t ruled out that there might be one or two on the entire planet that I can trust, but from my observations I think there is something wrong there, a fatal flaw. just waiting to be exposed. sex is too important to them. and other experiences have led me to believe that most people do not have true empathy. so yeah, trust in general is not really there.

      • Mnav, I don’t know how long it’s been since you discovered the betrayals, but rest assured that recovery comes. It comes slowly and via self-examination, as well. We grieve over the betrayal, and it’s “normal.”

        When a child dies of leukemia, friends and neighbors gather together to offer their condolences and pat our shoulders and “allow” us to wail our losses. When our homes are leveled to the foundation by a tornado, we receive comfort and assistance to pull ourselves back together and rebuild. When our appendix ruptures, we experience care and concern from medical staff and surgeons. When we experience betrayal and deceit that results in the collapse of our lives (from financial, to sexual, to spiritual), we DO NOT experience any comfort, understanding, or even support from people around us. What we experience is, “Why didn’t you KNOW what s/he was doing?”

        The author, Dante, reserved the coldest and most dreadful Circle Of Hell for Betrayal. This is because betrayal seemingly has no end. Even for a victim of tortuous murder, the victim experiences an “end” to their suffering. This isn’t so with victims of betrayal. Each day, the victim must live with what they experienced until their own passing from this mortal existence.

        SO…….having typed all of that, we can “learn” from our experiences of betrayal, or we can let that betrayal define us. It’s just a matter of choices and options, though most of those choices and options are uncomfortable, unpleasant, and (often) painful.

        I didn’t “like” the fact that the exspath never even cared about me, much less loved me. The only thing that he did care about was access to my finances, by hook or crook. Once he drained me of everything that was mine, he had no further use for me. This is a fact. I don’t have to “like” it, at all – I just had to accept it and stop trying to bargain a better truth. I literally could not imagine that someone that I loved and cared about didn’t (even during the “good” times) love and care about me. I couldn’t grasp this fact.

        Once I began working on my shame-core beliefs and processing my lifetime of choices that I based upon my own fears, recovery began, even if it was in wee, tiny increments. I learned about me, at long last, and this gave ME the power and ability to pick and choose whom I would allow into my life.

        I also learned that not all people have a nefarious agenda. I have experienced spath entanglements with toxic male AND female people, and I had a very distinct pattern of this throughout my lifetime. It finally became “My Time” to learn, recover, and sort my own self out so that I can walk away from all toxic people without feeling rage, a need for vengeance, or a feeling of malice (teaching THEM a lesson by walking away). This is powerful stuff, Mnav! Powerful, powerful stuff – to know that I have the ability to pick and choose is powerful.

        You’re on your way – you’re grieving, you’re sad, you’re angry, and it’s all normal, allowed, and OKAY!!!! 🙂

        • Totally agree with you truthy….and the betrayal by someone you “know” or even a stranger hurts, but the betrayals by THOSE WE LOVE DEARLY—now that is hell!

          That feeling of being abused by someone we love is probably (at least possibly) the worst emotional pain we can experience.

          When we are abused by mulltiple abusers over the years, or all at the same time, it tends to undermine our own faith in ourselves and the human race.

          My grandfather had a saying “when a cat jumps up on a HOT STOVE, they will never willingly get on a cold one.” That proverb simply showed that if you are BURNED by a stove (or anything else) you will always be afraid of that object…a stove, a man, or who ever.

          Just as the cat couldn’t tell the difference between a hot stove and a cold one we can’t always tell the difference between good and bad people. They LOOK THE SAME….but what I’;ve had to do is figure out HOW TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE…

          Just like when I am cooking and have multiple pots on the stove, some cold and some hot, before Ipick up a lid or something that COULD be HOT, I put my hand NEAR IT vbut not touching it, to determine if it is SAFE to pick up or not. Same with people now, I no longer just say “Hello my name is Oxy, I trust you until you sc-rew me over” Now it is “Hi, my name is oxy, tell me about yourself” and then I look, listen, try them out, find out from their FRIENDS and who they hang with, and what kind of people they are, and then SLOWLY give that person some rope, then more rope and if they are not good people they will eventually HANG THEMSELVES with that rope.

          You are also right, truthy, that there are evil people of all ages, shapes, sizes, sexes, social status, wealthy and poor…there are also GOOD people in the world as well.

          I am fortunate that I DO have a FEW GOOD friends and one wonderful son. No romantic interest, and may never at my age have another romantic interest, but I am content without one if I can’t find a GOOD one. I want good people in my life but I will live a hermit if all about me are toxic, but that isn’t the case and I’m glad. Just really really careful.

          • Joyce, in my previous life, I would give my information and personal history to anyone who showed me the slightest attention. Anyone who could provide me with acknowledgment as a human being was “IN.” With everything that I’ve told people, over the years, it’s no wonder that the nefarious sorts were able to work their evil intents so perfectly. Seriously.

            Today, my mouth is shut and I wear a “poker face,” at all times. My responses are so uninvolved that I am the most boring person, on earth. I may FEEL sadness for someone’s situation, or exuberance for their triumphs, but I keep facial expressions, vocal inflections, and body language to a minimum. The “good” people who do not have an agenda will be consistent in their behaviors with the words that come out of their mouths. Spaths and toxic people, on the other hand, hang themselves pretty darned quick.

            Trust……..I’ll trust, again, but it won’t be the same TYPE of trust that I maintained, before. And, I have no delusions about a romantic involvement. Not a chance, and not a possibility. I’m okay with that. I don’t NEED a partner or companion. I’ve managed to survive going on 3 years without the help or assistance of a partner, and it’s tough, at times, but I’m just fine.

            Even when the exspath and I were still living together as husband and wife, I was ALONE and managing my life, ALONE. When I was sick from the chemo, he was nowhere to be found – he was busy in the “big city” with his soon-to-be-future-ex-mrs.victim, going to their BDS&M gatherings and so forth. So………yeah………..

          • I know what you are saying. but, my assessment is based on logic, not on emotion. emotionally I always want to trust again, it is in my nature and part of why I was vulnerable. but after my experience, and after seeing similar tendencies in all men, I choose to never go there again. OK, sure, my spath is on the far end of the bell curve. but it’s still a curve. perhaps part of this is PTSD, in that if I get treated even a tiny iota like I used to get treated by my spath, that I will flip out. and maybe that’s my pathology. but it is based on logic. because before him, I was treated badly by many before him, just not to that extreme. and with the other challenges that I have to deal with that NO ONE understands and I won’t talk about here, it’s pretty unlikely that things will improve. I know how cynical this sounds, but to me, it’s not cynicism, just reality.

          • mnav,
            You sound like you are wide awake and seeing things in a clear light.
            It isn’t politically correct to talk badly about one gender or the other, but the truth is that there are many men out there who really see women as something to play with. And they think this is cool and how it’s supposed to be.

            Exactly what they think they are going to win by behaving this way, I don’t know.

            It is not your pathology, it is simply that you are not in denial, not living in wishful thinking land. That’s a great first step.

            Hopefully you will bump into a man who isn’t that way. When you do, you will know because you weren’t lying to yourself before.

          • Truthy,
            yep, I agree with you and Oxy, spaths will always take the rope and hang themselves. They simply can’t resist. I’ve even TOLD them that I like to give people rope to hang themselves. They look at me, puzzled, as they accept the rope and wrap it around themselves. It’s very comical. So sometimes it’s that easy to spot a spath.

    • OxD, great links to some important options. My personal belief with regard to my own recovery and healing is that I have the power to choose, finally. My lifetime of dysfunction caused me to believe that everything was written in stone and that I didn’t have choices.

      Thanks for the links!

  2. I’m sorry if I was being politically incorrect. but that is exactly what I think is really going on deep down for the majority of men. I’ve seen bits of it in the best of them. I’m not a plaything. this is just in the extreme in a spath. we are speaking plainly of the spaths here, so I guess I felt I could speak plainly. I don’t know if I would know it if I bumped into a good one. I was completely fooled by my spath for over TEN YEARS. even when I knew his behavior was inappropriate, somehow I did not connect the dots to it being intentional. I did not realize I was being “gaslighted”. I seriously thought he had a split personality.

    • Mnav,
      Yes, I agree with you. There are women who will point to men from other cultures and notice that they are male chauvinists or misogynists, but when they see men objectifying women in our own culture, they just think it’s “boys will be boys”. It’s as if a man who doesn’t objectify women isn’t really a man.

      And women in our culture will objectify themselves, for that matter. We can’t see what’s in front of our noses because it’s been there for so long, that it’s no longer offensive. Yet, it is offensive and demeaning and REAL men do NOT participate, not even behind closed doors.

      But as you mentioned, those men are few and far between.

      The misogynists may not be spaths, but they’ve been fed the BS that the spaths have given them in order to sew discord between the genders. I’ve seen my ex-spath do it. I’ve seen other spaths do it. Once someone has engaged in scapegoating another, they grow to hate the scapegoat and believe that they are justified. From there it’s just a few more steps toward becoming a full fledged spaths themselves.

      I also know that older men will seed these ideas into younger men. They want the youth to imitate them and become like them.

      All the while, women deny that their sons are being indoctrinated into the women hater’s clubs. It’s sad.

      • yes, it’s so rampant and it’s crazy how most people don’t seem to see it. high heels, Barbie dolls, etc. the way women dress, it’s all to feed that objectification. I’m just done with it. but I really think it’s biological, mostly for men. that’s why I just don’t know that there’s a way to get free of it, without completely disengaging from the way life is.

        • Mnav, you weren’t being “politically incorrect,” on any level! You were posting your feelings, and that’s very important in the recovery process. And, I agree 100% that we are NOT progressing in the status of females, as a culture. Yeah, yeah, yeah…….lots of women have done lots of things, and that’s dandy. But, what I’m seeing, today, is a culture of narcissism that has gone beyond anything that I can remember.

          P-o-r-n is acceptable because it’s ACCESSIBLE by technological means where, before, people who wanted p-o-r-n would have to go to a questionable part of town under the cover of night to procure what they wanted. Now, someone can be sitting at their office desk and access this tripe on their smart phones.

          I have had this discussion countless times, and I know that there are truly men out there who don’t entertain objectifying women and are not addicted to p-o-r-n-ography, but they are absolutely few and far between. And, I will never, ever ACCEPT that this addiction is “normal.” The exspath’s response to me when I questioned him about his gym bag full of extraordinarily violent p-o-r-n and rubber His & Her fetish outfits was that it was MY fault and that he needed an outlet. What he was interested in included g-e-n-i-t-a-l mutilation, femicide, and veiled necrophilia, and these interests aren’t something that a NORMAL person decides to investigate, one day. What the exspath was interested in is imagery and perceptions that develop over a period of time, and they began in childhood. Every violent image became mundane, and each new image had to ramp up the ante in violence and objectification. I literally nearly threw up when I saw what he had been hiding from me, for DECADES.

          So, I completely understand your feelings – it seems that men are tainted, and so are women, these days – especially, females below 40, it seems. Everything is based upon s-e-x, dewy youth, and bad behavior. My job, as far as I can tell, is to separate myself from toxic people of all ages, genders, etc., and seek out those people who are balanced, centered, and REAL in the sense that they are genuine and truthful. In order for me to do that, I have to sort myself out, first, because my shame-core beliefs had been ingrained for 51 years, and it’s not going to change, overnight.

          And, I’ve come to accept that I may never have another companion for the rest of my life. This was a source of deep grief for me because it was my expectation that I would have a “soulmate” to spend the rest of my life with, and it just isn’t meant to be. 😉

          • yeah Truthy, I get it. part of my ability to give up the dream is related to a physical illness that isolates me, so outside of my feelings about trusting someone new, there are major barriers related to that. I was at the point I thought my life was over, so to be better now I try to just be grateful for little things, and I don’t have high expectations that my life will fulfill the American dream. it’s just not about that and I am just happy if I am simply safe and content. I have some goals for what I’d like to accomplish so I focus on that.

            I agree with you that p-o-r-n (are you doing that to not trigger our discussion to come up on a google search?) has become accepted and mainstream in a very disturbing way. my ex-spath was addicted to it and I blame it in part for the deterioration of the relationship because he became obsessed with weird things he wanted to act out with me. I was in shock when I found out about him watching it. I should have exited then. like you said, the more they watch that, the more they are bored by what should be a beautiful intimate thing. the watching of it should be a very big red flag to people. interestingly, my mother who is also an spath, is addicted to porn as well. I think it may be related to the fact that they are just not normal emotionally, and sex provides a self-stimulation that mimics true emotion.

  3. Mnav,
    I have a rather strict profanity filter on the blog, that’s why Truthy s-p-e-l-l-s out certain words. 🙂

    It is my observation that in social creatures, such as human beings, instincts and imprinted behavior tends to blur. That is why the causes of psychopathy and narcissism are so difficult to pinpoint.

    Shame is a huge factor in pron addiction as well as xes addiction. In fact, I’ve read that xes addiction is actually shame addiction.

    Personally, I can’t stand to watch pron, but I did read an article once in the NYTimes, about it. A woman reporter investigated what it was like for people who are in the industry. She watched the making of a film and reported that it was actually more about humiliation than it was about anything else. The “star” actress was humiliated in every possible way during the filming. When asked what that was like, she said she liked it.

    Isn’t that strange? who would like to be humiliated? But that is part of the 180º that shame does to people. In order for shame to be bearable, the human mind twists it and finds a way to release endorphins so that it becomes not just enjoyable but even an addiction.

    A spath once told me, “be careful what you let into your mind.” He was right. And he should know because he is also a xes addict.

    • wow, that is a totally new concept for me, thank you for explaining that. I think it makes sense. it may explain why people who were sexually abused as children go on to become perpetrators. you would think they would have more empathy. some do, but in some it creates the exact opposite. I see some of this shame behavior in my spath’s sibling.

    • Mnav,
      There are different theories about abused people becoming abusers. Some theories say that the victim, in order to protect themselves, learns to “identify” with their abuser. So it’s kind of like trading places with the abuser and becoming them in order to feel strong.

      Even with this theory, we are dealing with a person inverting what is really happening and turning it into the opposite thing. Maybe we can call it “denial”.

      It blew me away when I first started to see all the different ways human beings are able to lie to themselves in order to continue to function: Projection, Denial and Dissociation are just some of these.

      We all do it and we do it all the time. Spaths are just more removed from it than most.

      That’s why I think that Girard’s theories are our best hope for understanding human nature. He talks about mimesis and imitation. His main premise is about how human beings tend to mirror each other instinctively until boundaries are blurred and we become more and more alike.

      • RELIABLE statistics show that only a very SMALL percentage of abused children go on to become abusers themselves in adulthood.

        Many of these abused children who DO go on to become abusers themselves were abused by their PSYCHOPATHIC PARENTS OR FAMILY MEMBERS, and we know that there is a great deal of DNA involved in psychopathy and I firmly believe that ALL sexual abusers are HIGH IN P TRAITS if not full-on Psychopaths. So these children of psychopaths who are abused grow up to be psychopathic abusers themselves.

        The children abused by Sandusky did not grow up to be abusers themselves, but instead we ashamed and screwed up, but NOT abusers. That’s just one example but it pretty well holds true over the statistical bell curve.

        Mnav, you are in the EARLY stages of healing but you ARE on the road toward healing, and don’t worry about being “politically” correct here…because we all get where you are and how we felt kind of the same way ourselves at one (or two) points.

        I finally figured out for me though, that I had lost TRUST IN MYSELF to keep me safe….more than lost trust in humanity. I realized I had surrounded myself with abusers and called them “friends” and I had allowed my family members who were abusers to abuse me…but I stopped.

        STRESS and especially HIGH STRESS over a LONG PERIOD of time causes all kinds of changes in our bodies and our brains. In order to over come these changes we need CALM and PEACE AND TIME…it is like a baby, you can’t rush it by getting 9 women preggers and get a baby in 1 month…it doesn’t work that way. Healing can’t be rushed either and neither can grief, it all has to be processed. You cant go around it, over it, under it, but you must go THROUGH IT and you will come out the other side a better, stronger and wiser person. You’re on your way gal, so hang in there. God bless.

        • thank you, both of your for your support and comments. I am not even focused on healing yet. I just try to stay sane, and stay a step ahead of his constant machinations. I have to figure out a way to expose what he does. otherwise he could succeed at making me out to be the crazy one. and yes, I think his parents were pretty messed up, they were both abusive people, and then something else happened and it flipped a switch. I worry every day about the genetic component of this. because of my kids.

  4. This is the best single piece of advice I have ever heard for dealing with a psychopath/narcissist that you just can’t walk away from (due to external circumstances). Even for me – I broke up with my P, and am examining my own codependency issues. Yet the irrational guilt right now is more than I can handle, so I’m still in touch, still trying to caretake, but I’m sick of it. Becoming the Gray Rock is the perfect solution. I don’t have to confront, don’t have to deal with the crocodile tears and the guilt trip, which are overwhelming to me right now. I can’t thank you enough. It also gives me a tool for moving forward and someday risking opening my heart again – because my greatest fear is once again not being able to extricate myself, of attracting the same “type” – even when I truly want to (and in this case, I was being physically abused as well, so it was scary to risk his rage). A huge sense of empowerment. Can’t wait to use it to detach from current ex-P!

    • Opi, welcome to 180rule and I’m sorry that you’re involved with a toxic person. Enforcing “Gray Rock” is VERY challenging because the most important step that we can take to facilitate our recovery and healing is “No Contact.” Some of us have produced children with spaths and/or toxic people, and we don’t have much of a choice but to sort out some method of interaction that protects us while still “co-parenting” with these people.

      I attracted toxic and disordered people as per my own personal issues. Shame-core beliefs (result of childhood dysfunctions), codependency, and a profound neediness were very visible where I was concerned – I wore my strengths, vulnerabilities, dreams, hopes, and failures on my sleeves with a tattoo on my forehead that ONLY the most toxic people could see that read, “I’m THE BEST victim, EVER!”

      Hang in there, Opi. Read, post, journal, and believe that you deserve oh-so-much-more that’s “good” in this world.

    • Opi,
      Gray Rock is just ONE tool and it’s a very small tool, really. The only power in this gray rock article is that it gives us a little bit more understanding into what motivates a psychopath: drama.

      So now you know and you don’t feed the psychopath drama, but you are not really understanding gray rock if you continue to feed him ATTENTION of any kind, when you give him your GUILT, your NEEDINESS, your CARETAKING. He wants your emotions and he judges how much emotion you have for him by your ACTIONS and ATTENTION.

      I’m sorry Opi, but you cannot use on gray rock to have your cake and eat it too. You HAVE TO BE STRONG and cut off all contact for the sake of your own health and sanity.

      I just replied on another thread about watching “House of Cards” and observing that the characters in the show are “safe” until they allow the spath to TALK to them. Then they fall. I would recommend that you watch the series if you need to watch how it works.

      Spaths never stop lying and every lie that we allow into our ears is damaging to us.

      I understand if you feel a need to continue observing your ex-spath for a while so that your heart never needs to doubt what he is again. That makes sense to me. But if you think that Gray Rock is going to provide a safety net so that you can indulge your fear, obligation and guilt, then you’ve taken Gray Rock and turned it into a source of spath supply, arrogance and narcissism.

      I hope that nobody else reads that into this article.

      • Sky, you’re spot-on about “Gray Rock” being one of many tools, and not THE ONLY one to use with spaths. For me, “Gray Rock” makes the most sense when we have to work with a spath, or we share custody of offspring with one.

        I’m in a support group and there’s this one gal that insists on maintaining contact with her VERY disordered mother. This woman has threatened suicide on countless occasions, and told this adult woman now in her mid 50’s that it would be HER FAULT if the mother was successful. The excuse that this gal uses to continue speaking to her very disordered mother is that, “I have family, and it would cause problems if I just cut her off.”

        Okay…………we all live in a very sparsely populated community – everyone knows everyone, and people invent (literally) scenarios and explanations about other members of the community as a matter of course and personal entertainment. I can’t change this fact. But, I also know that the gal who is complaining about how insane her mother is has been enabling the behaviors by keeping her in the proverbial loop. One of her sisters actually moved away from the area and severed ALL relations with this toxic mother and any relatives that ignored, enabled, and/or supported the mother’s actions. This was a courageous choice on the part of the one sister – she made the decision to WALK AWAY. It was also an insightful decision – she “got it” that there is NO TALKING to a spath……….they are liars to such a degree that they will lie even when telling the truth would be to their own benefit! They are UN-trustworthy, and that fact cannot be altered.

        I have no interest in observing toxic or disordered people on a personal level – not at all. I’ve come to the point of “acceptance” that nothing will change, alter, or enlighten a disordered person. I don’t LIKE this fact, but I cannot negotiate or bargain a more pleasant or painless fact. It is what it is.

  5. Opi, welcome to 180, and I totally agree with Sky and Truthy, when we recognize that someone is ABUSIVE (whether they are a full-on psychopath or not) the ONLY SAFE way is NO CONTACT….unless we have to co-parent with them and are required by law to interact with them.

    You can’t quit smoking or drinking by “cutting down” on cigarettes or booze you have to QUIT. As long as you give him ANY conversation or contact, he is getting what he wants and that is ATTENTION. I know from personal experience that cutting contact, going full on NO contact is painful, because we are addicted to the DRAMA that goes along with even a bad relationship, but for your own sake you must consider NO contact….using Gray rock like this will ONLY PROLONG THE PAIN…sort of like cutting off a puppy’s tail an inch at a time is not kindness, it is the same way with getting OUT of a bad situation.

    It is up to YOU to make good and healthy decisions for yourself and do what is RIGHT even if it is painful…because piece-meal contact with an abuser is like cutting a piece off our minds and bodies every day instead of just amputating the cancer in one swell foop!

    • i don’t believe i said i planned to use Gray Rock to stay in contact. I believe what I said was, I am not yet strong enough to deal with the guilt trip / internalized, codependent guilt I will experience by NO CONTACT. Gray Rock strikes me as a very useful technique I can manage, that will discourage him from pursuing contact *with me* on his own, whereupon it will be up to me not to *initiate* contact, which I *can* manage.

      I have already left him and left the state; I am not in any physical danger whatsoever. I have already psychologically detached in the sense that I truly do not WANT to be engaging him and I feel sucked dry every time we talk. I’ve got my own issues clearly and I am 100% on board with dealing with them, but it’s not going to happen overnight. If that is not understandable to you guys, I’m not going to try to convince you.

      • Opi,
        I’m sorry I misunderstood you. I get it now. I’m glad you aren’t in any danger and can use the gray rock to bore him away from the last remnants of contact that he craves from you.

        Still, be very careful not to let him see any bit of emotion. Be prepared for him to create MORE drama as he becomes more desperate to push your buttons. Even though I wrote the article, I still find it surprising when I think about how much they crave drama and how desperately they will do anything to avoid boredom. In fact, I’ve noticed that just saying, “I’m boring” or “I live a boring life.” makes them run the other way. LOL!!

        As you said, we do have our own issues and that is what they are counting on. They’ve observed us and they know our facial expressions. My ex-spath was obsessed with facial expressions and mannerisms. Observe yourself carefully for any behavior that will encourage him with the idea that you have codependent guilt, or that you care at all.

        You are absolutely right that we will not change overnight. I don’t like the word co-dependent personally. We are loving, giving, caring human beings. Perhaps we need better boundaries on our emotions sometimes, but the spaths actively encourage us to blur our boundaries by creating drama. Normal people respect and encourage boundaries in each other. And gray rock is a good method for giving ourselves space while we practice setting those boundaries.

        Again, sorry I misunderstood you. I hope you get the time and space you need to mend your heart so that you can grow, learn and even find some benefit from the spath experience.

      • Opi, I’m glad that you’re out and safe.

        I don’t believe that anyone who responded was expecting you to convince them of anything.

        There is always a tremendous concern when people who are attempting to extricate themselves from toxic and/or disordered entanglements maintain an open line of communication with the person that has harmed them. A toxic and/or disordered person is never going to speak from a genuine position, and their intent is to continue to harm. Period.

        • well, i tell ya, i better understand and have new respect for the power of the irrational dynamic of an abusive relationship. if you’d asked me three years ago if i ever would have put up with what i put with, i would have said, “hella no!!!!” and yet there i was… it’s bigger than i am.

          i get what you said about the difference between feelings and belief, and facts and the evidence of reality. i completely understand this intellectually, i’m just not very good at using my intellect to govern my emotions, which over my entire life have made many unwise decisions for me while i watched and said to myself “WTF are you DOING???” i don’t know why i have so much difficulty with this. i just try to keep repeating the truth to myself. yeah, it is scary. i’m in a scary place, i admit it. my brain feels split in half. i *do* have a strong sense that under no circumstances will i go back to him – that part of my feeling/belief system seems to be settled. i have to negotiate with my limbic system, i think. it may sound wierd but that’s how i’m set up. i have other issues besides PTSD – Asperger’s and brain damage for one – i really am neurologically different from the mainstream. maybe that has something to do with it.

          anyway i get what you are saying about the open line of communication. at least here i have support from my therapist and am taking the time and trouble to educate myself and just not act on my impulses (aside from taking his calls). i had enough sense to take the opportunity to get physically away. i have enough knowledge to know what it would take for him to change, how difficult it would be, how much motivation he’d have to have, how long it might take at a minimum, and without seeing all of those in motion, i’ll never believe anything he says. the fact that he doesn’t think i should have left tells me all i need to know about his ability to love or respect me. he says he’s changed – i know he has not. at least i got that much going for me.

          a friend i had a long time ago said the longest road is from your head to your heart. so i’m somewhere on that journey. based on my track record, i’ll get there. eventually. meanwhile i sit on my hands 😛

  6. Opi, Along the autism spectrum from a “little aspy” on up to the person who is totally within their own world and not responsive at all to interaction with people there is a BIG difference from one in of the scale to the opposite end of the scale.

    I am a retired registered nurse practitioner, now called an “advance practice nurse” and I have worked with mental health quite a bit in my career as well as physical medicine, and aspergers DOEs make your brain function differently. BUT that doesn’t mean that you can’t make logical decisions.

    Are you in any kind of therapy? Or a support group? I have a friend who is aspy and she goes to a support group with others. They play games and interact and enjoy themselves, but it is helpful to her to be among other people with aspy.

    Many of us here that have formerly been victims have suffered or are suffering with PTSD and it literally changes your brain, kill cells, etc. I have pretty severe short term memory loss due to the PTSD from the accident that killed my husband and burned 3 other people severely. Plus I have had OTHER stresses that happened on top of the plane crash…and stress is cumulative.

    An abusive relationship (physical or emotional) is STRESS…and healing from that stress takes TIME…and other issues we have before the high stress events also can impact our healing, but we just have to work on it one day at a time. Seek support from other former victims, and set our sites on moving TOWARD healing, and if we fall off the road, we get back up and get back on the road toward healing. It is a j ourney, not a destination, and it is one that we should I think all continue to work on our healing and recovery and our growth as long as we live. No one ever reaches perfection, but we CAN always continue to improve.

  7. Opi,
    I like what you said about the longest road. It’s so true.
    Despite being completely aware of what my ex-spath is, what he’s done, and also being away from him for 5 years, I still had a dream just the other day, in which I “fixed” him. LOL!!

    Well, in the dream, I explained to him what was wrong with him and he wanted to understand and become normal. In reality… Ain’t going to happen!!

    Yep, once a fixer, always a fixer! But that is only how I feel, somewhere in my subconscious. I will always wish that these sick people could be fixed and so I might dream about it. That isn’t how I’m going to react though because I know logically that I can’t do anything to fix anyone but myself.

  8. Sky, I used to think that “healing” was a place to arrive at, but now I realize that it is a journey. Not getting that lesson allowed me to continue to be used and abused by the multiple psychopaths I have encountered, most in my own family. I kept trying to “fix” the situations.

    The University of Hard Knocks requires that we repeat a class until we get the LESSON…and though I may have a “PhD” in the UHK I’ve had to repeat many many MANY classes there because I didn’t get the lesson the first time. (or sometimes the third or fourth time!) My late husband used to say “life is a tough teacher, she gives the test first, and THEN the lesson” I am living proof of that. Though I now have many of the lessons, I still work every day to learn more about myself. I can’t fix them, but I can make myself less vulnerable to future attacks. We can all continue to learn and to work on our healing….and protect ourselves from future injuries from either the older psychopaths in our lives or any new ones that come along.

    One SELF declared “expert” on psychopathy and healing thinks that the “law of attraction” is why we “attract” psychopaths into our lives and if we “think positive” we will not attract psychopaths, but that is BUNKUM…we don’t attract them, we are just VULNERABLE to them because we have empathy and “issues” and THEY SEEK us out just as a lion seeks the smallest sign of weakness or lameness in a herd of antelope to pick for their prey. Our weaknesses don’t mean we “attract them” it simply thinking negatively, they SEEK out people they think they can control. They are SKILLED at seeing any “weakness” in us the way a lion can pick out one “weaker” antelope in a herd of 10,000. Then they, like the lion, get in closer and try to camophlage themselves until they finally make the attack.

    I realize now that my “weakness” was my thinking that I could “fix” other people, and that I was RESPONSIBLE for other people’s feelings. If soemone was unhappy I was responsible for making them happy, and if someone was upset with me, I automatically assumed it was MY FAULT….after all, they told me it was.

    Now I am learning to set boundaries for how I allow people to treat me. I expect others to treat me as well as I treat them. Wow! What a concept. Not only treating others the way you would like them to treat you, but demanding they treat you as well. That was a very important insight. I will NOT allow others to treat me poorly, steal from me, lie to me, mooch off me, or feel they are ENTITLED to whatever they want from me no matter how they treat me. Yup! A whole nuther way of looking at relationships.

    • Oxy,
      setting boundaries could easily be called “the law of repulsion” 🙂 because it repels spaths.
      Before going for the kill, spaths always test our boundaries. They are not interested in people with boundaries. When you immediately respond to boundary violations with stricter boundaries, you repel the spath. About the only other thing that repels spaths more than boundaries, is boredom and boring responses.

      Actually, I suppose we could even say that boundaries = boring because emotional boundaries means walking away from the drama from the very beginning.

      • OxD & Sky………………oh, yeah!!!!!

        I think that the things that made me attractive to spaths were absolutely accessible to them. My “vulnerabilities” were interpreted to be weaknesses to be exploited, rather than precious personality traits that made me human. My personal strengths were also challenges to be dismantled and destroyed. And, I never kept ANY of these “cards” close to my vest.

        So, I am about as boring as any human being can be whenever I’m meeting new people, or coming into contact with people who exhibit specific traits that rub my fur the wrong way. I’m all about boundaries and getting to know who I “WAS” so that I can actively rewire my thinking.

      • Truthy,
        Your vulnerabilities were and are definitely precious personality traits that make you human. They might also be weaknesses to a spath but that doesn’t mean we should get rid of our humanity. That is exactly their intent because they envy our humanity.

        We can still stay human as long as we remember to protect our emotional boundaries and learn how to recognize their FAKE emotions. It’s very gratifying that so much is being written, both online and in print, about recognizing abusive personalities. They always push and test boundaries. That is how we can recognize them. And there are other ways too, but what’s really important is to watch our own reactions and respect our gut instincts. Our feelings will warn us, we just have to respect those feelings.

        • Sky, this is one of the things that I’m processing in counseling therapy – embracing and guarding my vulnerabilities as GOOD things rather than weaknesses.

          They not only envy that aspect of our humanity, but they HATE it, too. They cannot have such a level of humanity, they can’t buy it, they can’t steal it, and they can’t bargain for it. But, what they CAN do is attempt to destroy whatever it is that they cannot and will not ever have, themselves.

          I’m paying so much more attention to people’s behaviors in relation to the words that come out of their mouths, instead of telling them what I NEED or what I WANT from another person. I’m very guarded about speaking about my opinions, feelings, or personal issues, anymore.

          The lesson has been that words are very. very cheap. People can speak words in a meaningful way without having ANY emotional connection to the syllables. “I will NEVER hurt you…..” is a screaming, flapping, waving Red Flag to me, finally. There is no way that someone can promise that they will “never” hurt another person – it happens by accident, all of the time. We say or do things UNINTENTIONALLY that result in hurting someone else’s feelings, and that is just part of being human. But, to promise that I will “never” do this to another person would be an outright lie – it’s impossible. Even Ghandi hurt other people’s feelings, unintentionally! So………..yeah……….

          I am becoming very attuned to my gut instincts, and it’s a real challenge for me to change my own behaviors to allow my instincts to work. It was my own behaviors and false beliefs that gave “bad people” the clues and direct indications about what they needed to mirror to me in order to cause me to believe that their words were genuine.

          You are 100% spot-on that abusive people push and test boundaries. Additionally, a person who isn’t “abusive (per se),” but has a hidden and dangerous agenda is going to push boundaries. Their behaviors ride the razor’s edge of abuse, and they worm their ways into their source targets’ boundaries via trial and error – and, in my personal situation, it was always ME that gave them the information that they needed that either confirmed that their tactics were going to be successful, or whether they needed to use another ploy.

          Absolutely – respecting our feelings and instincts is vital, and embracing our “vulnerabilities” as beautiful and precious pieces of our own humanity and GUARDING them is just as vital.

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