Sanctuary for the Abused
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Book Review: The Five Step Exit — The skills you need to leave a narcissist, psychopath or other toxic partner and recover your happiness now, by Amber Ault, Ph.D.
It’s the New Year. Did you make a New Year’s resolution to really, finally, emphatically, get out of your toxic relationship, once and for all?
If your answer is yes, or even if you’re still just thinking about putting an end to the madness, you need this book
In this slim, wonderful book, Dr. Ault promises to take you, step by step, through the process of disengaging from an abusive partner — and she delivers. This is the most clear, concise and helpful “how to” for breaking away from a toxic person that I have ever read.
The Five Step Exit is a collection of advice, strategies and exercises that will enable you to take your life where you want it to go.
So what are the five steps?
- Contemplation — If you are uncertain about leaving, the exercises in this section will clarify your thinking.
- Preparation —Set priorities, seek assistance and anticipate blowback, so that you can make an effective action plan.
- Execution — Skillful goodbye strategies, tailored to the type of toxic person that you are dealing with.
- Improvisation — How to handle unpleasant, and perhaps even dangerous, reactions from your ex-partner.
- Recovery — A multitude of suggestions for rebuilding your life through “exquisite self-care,” many of which are free.
From the explanations and advice in this book, it is evident that Dr. Ault knows exactly what she is talking about. In the section on “Preparation,” for example, she writes:
Toxic relationships have common dynamics but a wide range of circumstances. In extreme situations, people face physical violence or restrictions on their freedom to leave their homes or contact friends, family, and police. Exiting other situations may involve financial risk, downward mobility, threats of retaliation, and drama that will drag on for awhile. Sometimes, when we’re fortunate, ending a toxic relationship simply does come down to telling the other person that things are over. If you don’t live together, don’t have financial involvements or kids, and the person will be offended enough by your rejection that they won’t contact you again, consider yourself fortunate. Ultimately, only you know the details and dynamics of your particular situation, so you are in the best position to determine what kind of exit plan to make and how to set it in motion when the time comes.Throughout the book, Dr. Ault asks questions to help you crystalize how you can move forward. For example:
What are your priorities? What is at risk? What are you willing to sacrifice? What needs to be protected?Dr. Ault helps you think through all of these situations, and more, so that you are as prepared as you can be for anything that may happen.
Your ex may try to re-engage with you. What are the goals of your toxic ex in these efforts?
What if you get Hoovered, and you fall hook, line and sinker for one of your ex’s ploys to suck you in?
Getting out of the relationship is half of the battle. The other half is to “re-ground yourself in your own life, desires and wellbeing.”
The Recovery section of Dr. Ault’s book is full of healing suggestions to help you create life after the sociopath. She recognizes that some involvements with sociopaths of leave us in financial ruin, so many of her suggestions are free — all they require are your time and attention. These include going outside, journaling and freedom rituals.
Some suggestions are surprising, like social dancing — including ballroom, tango and country. Social dance “lets us make gentle physical and social contact with others in pleasant, affirming environments,” Dr. Ault says. “And it’s a lot of fun.”
All in all, The Five Step Exit is chock-full of sound advice and solid strategies for getting out of the craziness and moving forward to the sane, peaceful and happy life that you truly deserve.
If you want to leave the sociopath, this slender book tells you exactly how to do it. Highly recommended. - LoveFraud
CLICK ON THE IMAGE OF THE BOOK AT THE TOP TO PURCHASE
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Characteristics of a Psychopath/ Abuser
(1. not all Abusers are Psychopaths, but all Psychopaths are Abusers.
2. only a FEW of these need to apply for them to be PATHOLOGICAL)
- superficial charm
- prone to boredom
- deceptive behavior & lying
- conning & manipulative
- little remorse or guilt
- shallow emotional response
- callous lack of empathy
- living off others & predatory
- poor self-control
- sexually promiscuous
- early behavioral problems
- lack of realistic goals
- impulsive lifestyle
- irresponsible behavior
- blaming you for their actions
- short term relationships
- juvenile delinquency
- varied criminal activity
- truly believes their own lies
- insanely jealous
- will turn their friends on you
- enlists others to harass you
- prone to stalking their exes
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Narcissists are Projection Machines
Narcissists really know only a few tricks. One happens to be projection, and they practice it so much that it becomes second nature. Hence narcissists love to commit character assassination by calling the party they're tearing down (to look better than) the narcissist. A joke.
Where is the character assassination coming from? Where is the inflated measure of self importance (grandiosity) coming from? Where is the envy coming from? Where is the grandiosity shamed by needing the other party's help? Where is all the dissing and denigrating coming from? Where is the rage over nothing on a regular basis? Where is the dehumanizing charicature coming from? Who's making all the wild accusations?
That's yer narcissist. Every time. Always a living, breathing Projection Machine. Your first clue? He or she is trashing somebody else.They just cannot get the difference between true greatness and grandiosity. You can tell them a million times that grandiosity is a gross overestimate of importance and greatness. They always get it exactly backwards and accuse the great one (like the great leader or the great inventor or the great builder or the great nation = America) of being "grandiose". It is too complex an idea for them to comprehend that you are not grandiose because you are important: you are grandiose because you're a piss-ant who thinks they're important.
Never expect narcissists to comprehend that.
And who cares more about their fellow human beings than those who spend their blood and treasure saving them? Those who make a virtue out of looking the other way while dictators mass murder their own people would have us think that sacrificing your blood and treasure for others is the very opposite of what it is. They characterize it as, of all things, "selfish" and "brutal".
And the punch line is that they characterize their looking the other way as the "humanitarian" behavior. They keep a perfectly straight face while saying this! They call that (of all things) "loving peace."
Enough to make the head spin.
There is just enough room in the skull for the brain to get twisted all the way around backwards and upside down. All you have to do is arrive at your desired conclusion first, and then think backwards to justify it.
People who just think whatever is popular today will swallow it whole without ever noticing how absurd your "reasoning" is.
Saturday, February 18, 2017
You Are NOT Going Crazy!
Phyliss Chesler, M.D. writes:
We now understand that women and men are not "crazy" or "defective" when, in response to trauma, they develop post traumatic symptoms,including insomnia, flashbacks, phobias, panic attacks, anxiety,depression, dissociation, a numbed toughness, amnesia, shame, guilt, self-loathing, self-mutilation, and social withdrawal.
You have been oppressed and oppression causes bodily changes. These changes make you think you are going crazy. There is a difference between a mental illness and a psychological injury.
Friday, February 17, 2017
"Was It Even Real?"
between the two of you was real
Was that presentation real?
Your partner told you that he/she cared about you and your feelings. But now your partner doesn’t seem to care at all.
Were any of your partner’s words real? Was the passion real? Was the intensity real?
How about the feeling that you were soul mates conjoined for eternity? Was that real?
WAS ANY OF IT REAL?
You probably see your partner’s initial presentation of him or herself as being true and real. You want to find ways to encourage your partner to be that person. In fact you may well feel that if you can bring your partner back to that place, you will be bringing him/her back to reality.
Lets start by telling you that your partner’s initial representation cannot be counted on to be real. It was a sales presentation, no more and no less.
As for your partners feelings, remember that that narcissists have a highly evolved sense of drama, but very shallow feelings. All that passion, all that intensity, all those words were more about drama than they were about feelings. So, yes, there was probably an abundance of unreality involved in all the drama.
As for your soul-mate dreams, we don’t want to be harsh, but chances are that these were fanned at least a little bit by your own Hollywood scenarios and fantasies.
The thing to remember is that narcissists are not interested in reality. They may be attracted to it; they may be fascinated by it; and they may pay lip service to its value. But they run from it, creating what can almost appear as studies in perpetual motion.
Many narcissists act as though their very survival is dependent on their continuing to live in a place that is separate from reality. That’s a place where the only image they are really interested in is their own.
from the book: HELP, I'M IN LOVE WITH A NARCISSIST
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Rules of Engagement with a Narcissist
1. You don't matter
There is only one person that counts in a narcissist’s life, that is, the narcissist. This is a hard concept to grasp.
Narcissists by nature are takers and the truth is that you probably only ever mattered at the point in time when you could supply 'that thing' the narcissist needed. You may have been taught by parents and friends the concept that giving is better than receiving.
However with a narcissist you will give until you are emotionally and spiritually bankrupt and receive little or nothing in return. If you don't believe this, take a hard look at yourself today and then compare that with your state when you first met your narcissistic partner. I believe you will be psychologically and emotionally worse off. Like all thieves once narcissists have taken all you have to give, you are history.
2. Don’t try to fight a psychological war that you can’t win
Because a narcissist is amoral you cannot engage them in any moral or conscience issues and expect to win. As a general rule narcissists have no sense of guilt or remorse for their actions. There is NO WAY you can shame them into accepting responsibility for their mindless and thoughtless approach to other people especially yourself. If you are looking for revenge then you will never achieve any satisfaction in this arena.
The rules of engagement are simple: keep your distance. Rule 5 has more on this subject.
3. Ignore the insults and deceit
There is an old adage that sums up this commandment, “don’t explain to your friends it’s unnecessary, and don’t explain to your enemies they will not believe you”. It may come as a shock to many people to discover that the narcissist must appear superior and blameless in all situations and to this end will resort to distorted lies to make themselves appear a victim of your supposed vices.
When you discover the full extent of the deceit this will tear at the core of your being. However, no matter how strong your outrage or anger there is only one way to counteract any harm that may occur and that is to act in a manner that disproves the defamation to the people in your life who count.
Although this course of action appears to be a weak response it is true that people cannot ignore the reality of your actions and words especially if these do not fit the picture painted by the narcissist. Believe me, actions still speak louder than words equally their own actions will start to work against them eventually. Be prepared to lose many friends and acquaintances during the early period of separation.
Don’t be overly concerned, as by your actions they will eventually see who is telling the truth. Like all liars narcissists cannot remember their patterns of deceit and eventually are caught out.
Once a narcissist sees that you have finished with them they will have one focus and that is to destroy you. They will stop at nothing to prove to the world (their world) that you are a loser, the cause of any misfortune in their lives and the person who deserves all the blame.
4. Take off your rose tinted glasses
The ‘person’ you cared about, looked after and more than likely loved never existed! Their life is an act. They present themselves in a different guise depending on the situation. The most difficult part is to let go of the image you fell in love with all those years back.
Unfortunately the image you feel in love with had been carefully cultivated to trap you! Taking off those "rose tinted glasses" is a long, slow and painful process; remember you've worn them for a very long time. Do not be tempted to put them back on at all cost.
5. Remember they are sick - not you
Mental diseases are always hard for normal people to relate to. Because narcissists are not physically impaired it is hard to feel pity or sorrow for their condition. Narcissists, as my learned psychologist friend told me, are "walking sponges" or the closest thing to the primeval parasite left on earth: they survive with you as their host. Narcissists choose their victims with care and they prey on the susceptible and/or dysfunctional people who they can manipulate and control. I believe this is in large part due to the deep insecurity and lack of self-esteem they suffer from. Narcissists do not wish to know or visit their real self hence anything that heads them in this direction is of total fear. They can’t look back at themselves and their actions, as this would open a “Pandora’s Box” of realities they can’t face.
6. Stay out of their Pain Zone
If you don’t wish to ride on an emotional roller coaster from hell then tattoo this rule on your forehead! Once you leave the relationship the narcissist doesn’t need you anymore and its more than likely (almost guaranteed) you were emotionally and physically replaced long before the event of actual separation. You are now cannon fodder and as stated in rule 1 they are out to destroy you.
For your own peace of mind & safety stay as physically far as possible away from them, their abode, place of work and recreation. Don’t get into conversations or phone calls or texts or for one moment think they are softening in their approach to you, they are only gaining information for possible use against you.
Remember that you cannot fight and expect to win on their turf; you must carefully pick the place for engagement on your own terms - only when you feel ready; if you engage at ALL!
Lies and deceit are a natural part of the narcissist’s world. The old adage “the best liars lie to themselves first” applies in this case and the lie oft repeated is far more convincing. A narcissist has the amazing ability to believe their own lies even when they fly in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Take the position that everything they say to you is a lie and or based on a lie. Warning: DOUBLE CHECK ANY INFORMATION THAT MAY AFFECT YOUR CHILDREN AND SEEK VERIFICATION.
Mental diseases are always hard for normal people to relate to. Because narcissists are not physically impaired it is hard to feel pity or sorrow for their condition. Narcissists, as my learned psychologist friend told me, are "walking sponges" or the closest thing to the primeval parasite left on earth: they survive with you as their host.
Narcissists choose their victims with care and they prey on the susceptible and/or dysfunctional people who they can manipulate and control. I believe this is in large part due to the deep insecurity and lack of self-esteem they suffer from. Narcissists do not wish to know or visit their real self hence anything that heads them in this direction is of total fear. They can’t look back at themselves and their actions, as this would open a “Pandora’s Box” of realities they can’t face.
7. Trust Nothing - Believe Less
8. Your realities are not theirs
The perceptions of the narcissist are truly their reality. If you look back you have never been able to change or influence their perceptions. If you couldn’t effect change living in a close relationship then don’t waste your time and effort trying now. They live in their own world and no matter how false or unreal it appears to you, for them it reality.
This is a constant source of irritation as you become more aware of the fact that much of their entire life is an act.
9. Communicate ONLY in written form
As far as communications go I received an important piece of advice early on. It was to communicate in a way that when read by a judge read the material in question he would agree that you acted in a responsible and prudent manner.
Do NOT under any circumstance use verbal or psychological abuse in your communications. I can guarantee you that this will drive the narcissist up the wall as they are expecting an angry and petulant response from you to their goading.
Keep good record of all correspondence and work on the theory that you will more than likely need them at a later date.
Use the fax, email or snail mail. If you are confronted on the telephone NEVER give an immediate reply. Tell the narcissist that you are busy, engaged or not able to talk at the time. Request that they put what it is they want to say in writing to you and don't respond unless and until they do! This puts the ball back in their court and they learn over time that they cannot use the telephone to abuse you.
10. Always call their bluff
Where you are in possession of evidence that is clearly untrue then use 3rd parties wherever possible to exploit the deceit. More often than not a narcissist will casually manufacture evidence to manipulate people and circumstances.
In these situations ALWAYS confront the people who are quoted or cited with the evidence for corroboration.
Trust me there is one thing that ethical people do not like and that is being misquoted or quoted out of context. This applies especially to government employees, bankers, teachers, accountants and lawyers.
When you use a 3rd party to rebut the narcissists version of reality just watch and wait for their reaction, it actually becomes quite hilarious. You will start to see the real person emerge as they react like a spoiled child and will try anything to squirm out of the situation.
A word of caution, once your narcissist partner realises you are continually throwing reality at them they will be forced to change their game plan. The best outcome of this approach is that they soon learn not to play their silly games with you.
11. Get back in touch with yourself
If you were unlucky to have found yourself with a narcissistic partner it is more than likely you’ve paid the ultimate price for this bad luck. At some stage you start asking yourself the question “was I the cause of the problem”?
But if you’ve read articles on NPD carefully you would soon realise that this is very doubtful. If you were like me you probably didn’t help the situation by pandering to their whims and not standing up for yourself.
To suffer a long-term relationship with a narcissist you need to contribute by having reasonably low self-esteem or insecurities of your own. Strong personalities would not tolerate a narcissistic partner very long. If you contributed then accept that you did and now set out to rectify the situation.
Unfortunately you have to learn and accept that the psychological and emotional investment you made in a narcissist is valueless. Your relationship is beyond 'Chapter 11' so you have to write the investment off as a bad debt so to speak.
Now you have to concentrate your energies on rebuilding your own life. Take stock of who and what you are and most importantly what you want to be. Without goals of what it is you want to be there can be no roadmap for recovery.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Protecting Yourself After Abuse
by Jeannette Stingley
When you finally get away from your abuser, it is possible to keep him/her from finding you or ruining your credit. One of the first things you should do if you haven’t already is relocate yourself and your children if you haven’t already. Move across town, across the state, even to another state if you have to. Have your phone number unlisted. There is a small fee for this service in some areas but it is worth it.
Obtain a PO Box to receive your mail at. To prevent him/her from stealing mail and creating accounts in your name, invest in a paper shredder! This is one of the easiest ways to protect you from any kind of identity theft.
There are programs in some states that have what is called an address confidentiality program where victims of crime can receive mail at a confidential address while their actual address is never disclosed.
Create new email accounts and only tell trusted family and friends this new address. Make sure to change passwords to any account online that your abuser may use to track you. It may be hard to avoid sites like FaceBook or online blogging sites. Anything that will give away your identity should be avoided for awhile. You can make anonymous accounts but some places may require you post a picture of yourself. This will make it one step easier for him/her to find you.
Covering Your Internet Tracks - An article that further discusses ways to keep your activities online away from your abuser. This is particularly helpful if you visit sites like this one to find information on leaving and protecting yourself.
For immediate help in making decisions to protect yourself, call any local domestic violence shelter or 1-800-799-SAFE the National Domestic Violence Hotline
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
High Conflict Relationships Can Lead to C-PTSD
"[T]hese symptoms linger many years; some for a lifetime. Everyone knows this but it's rarely bought up... During our period of abuse, the brain collects thousands of memories that contain details of our abusive experiences and the feelings (horror, terror, pain, etc.) made at that time. In what we call "traumatic recollection," any similar experience in the future will recall the emotional memory of the abuse, forcing us to relive the event in detail and feeling.
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Domestic violence
- Verbal Abuse
- Psychological Abuse
- Sexual abuse (especially child sexual abuse)
- Flashbacks-reliving the trauma over and over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating.
- Bad dreams.
- Frightening thoughts.
- Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
- Feeling emotionally numb
- Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
- Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past
- Having trouble remembering the dangerous event.
- Being easily startled
- Feeling tense or "on edge"
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Having angry outbursts.
- Persistent anxiety, anguish, and depression
- Feeling suicidal
- Exploding with anger / or being unable to express anger.
- Forgetting traumatic events or remembering them in a fragmented way
- Being preoccupied with or reliving traumatic events
- Feeling helpless, powerless
- Experiencing shame, guilt, and self-blame
- Feeling stigmatized
- Feeling different from others; utterly alone
- Accepting the belief system or rationalizations of the blamer
- Experiencing isolation and withdrawal from others or doing things to push others away
- Persistent distrust of others
- Repeatedly failing to protect yourself
- Loss of a faith that used to sustain you
- Having a sense of hopelessness and despair
Monday, February 13, 2017
Abnormal Cortisol Levels, Depression, Anxiety & PTSD = Signs of Long-Term Abuse & Psychological Trauma
Sunday, February 12, 2017
The 'Relationship' Cycle
In their book on psychopaths in the workplace, entitled Snakes in Suits, Babiak and Hare state that the psychopathic bond follows certain predictable stages: idealize, devalue and discard. This process may take several years or only a few hours. It all depends on what the psychopath wants from you and whether or not you present a challenge to him. If the psychopath wants the semblance of respectability–a screen behind which he can hide his perverse nature and appear harmless and normal–he may establish a long-term partnership with you or even marry you. If all he wants is to have some fun, it will be over within a couple of hours. If he wants the stimulation and diversion of an affair, he may stay with you for as long as you excite him. Despite the differences in timeline, what remains constant is this: eventually, sooner or later, you’ll be discarded (or be led by the psychopath’s bad behavior to discard him) as soon as you no longer serve his needs. (or if he keeps you around in order to keep your mouth shut about the REAL him!)
Babiak and Hare explain that although psychopaths are highly manipulative, the process of idealize, devalue and discard is a natural outgrowth of their personalities. In other words, it’s not necessarily calculated at every moment in the relationship. Overall, however, whether consciously or not, psychopaths assess and drain the use-value out of their romantic partners. (Snakes in Suits, 42) During the assessment phase, psychopaths interact closely with their targets to see what makes them tick. They ask probing questions, to discover their unfulfilled needs and weaknesses. They also commonly lure their targets with promises to offer them whatever’s been missing from their lives. If you’re recovering from a recent divorce, they offer you friendship and an exciting new romantic relationship. If you’ve suffered a death in the family, they appear to be sympathetic friends. If you’re going through financial difficulties, they lend you money to seem generous.
During the manipulation phase, Babiak and Hare go on to explain, psychopaths construct the “psychopathic fiction.” They pour on the charm to hook their victims emotionally and gain their trust. They present themselves as kind-hearted individuals. Of course, in order to do so, psychopaths resort to outrageous lies since, in reality, they’re just the opposite. In romantic relationships in particular, they depict themselves as not only compatible with you, but also as your soul mate. While seeming your complement, they also present themselves as your mirror image. They claim to share your interests and sensibilities. Babiak and Hare observe: “This psychological bond capitalizes on your inner personality, holding out the promise of greater depth and possibly intimacy, and offering a relationship that is special, unique, equal -- forever.” (Snakes in Suits, 78)
Because psychopaths are great manipulators and convincing liars, as we’ve seen, many of their victims don’t heed the warning signals. During the early phases of a romantic relationship, people in general tend to be too blinded by the euphoria of falling in love to focus on noticing red flags. Also, during this period, the psychopaths themselves are on their best behavior. Yet, generally speaking, they get bored too easily to be able to maintain their mask of sanity consistently for very long. The honeymoon phase of the relationship usually lasts until the psychopath intuitively senses that he’s got you on the hook or until he’s gotten bored by the relationship and moved on to other targets. He shows his true colors when he’s got no incentive left to pretend anymore. As Babiak and Hare note, “Once psychopaths have drained all the value from a victim—that is, when the victim is no longer useful—they abandon the victim and move on to someone else.” (Snakes in Suits, 53)
This raises the question of why a psychopath idealizes his targets in the first place. Why do psychopaths invest so much effort, time and energy into giving the illusion of intimacy and meaning in a relationship, given that they never really bond with other human beings in the first place? One obvious response would be that they do it for the sport of it. They enjoy both the chase and the kill; the seduction and the betrayal. They relish creating the illusion that they’re something they’re not. They also enjoy observing how they dupe others into believing this fiction. Moreover, whenever a psychopath expresses admiration, flattery or enthusiasm for someone, it’s always because he wants something from that person. I think, however, that this explanation is somewhat reductive. Many psychopaths experience powerful obsessions that resemble intense passions. Besides, this explanation doesn’t distinguish con men, who fake their credentials and interest in a person, from psychopaths “in love,” who are pursuing their targets for what initially seems even to them as “romantic” reasons.
A broader explanation, which would include both kinds of psychopaths, might look something like this: as research confirms, all psychopaths suffer from a shallowness of emotion that makes their bonding ephemeral and superficial, at best. When they want something–or someone–they pursue that goal with all their might. They concentrate all of their energies upon it. When that goal is your money or a job or something outside of yourself, their pursuit may appear somewhat fake. You’re a means to an end. You were never idealized for yourself, but for something else. But when their goal is actually you–seducing you or even marrying you–then their pursuit feels like an idealization. Temporarily, you represent the object of their desire, the answer to their needs, the love of their life and the key to their happiness. But this feeling of euphoria doesn’t last long because it’s empty to the core. As we’ve observed, once psychopaths feel they have you in their grasp—once your identity, hopes and expectations are pinned on them—they get bored with you and move on to new sources of pleasure and diversion. We’ve also seen in Cleckley’s study that the same logic applies to their other goals as well. Psychopaths tire rather quickly of their jobs, their geographic location, their hobbies and their educational endeavors. But it hurts so much more, and it feels so much more personal, when what they get tired of is you, yourself.
Their loss of interest appears as a devaluation. From being the center of their life, you suddenly become just an obstacle to their next pursuit. Since psychopaths are intuitively skilled at “dosing,” or giving you just enough validation and attention to keep you on the hook, you may not immediately notice the devaluation. It’s as if the psychopath intuitively knows when to be charming again (in order not to lose you) and when to push your boundaries, further and lower. Your devaluation occurs gradually yet steadily. One day you finally notice it and wonder how you have allowed yourself to sink so low. Occasionally, he throws you a bone–takes you out, plans a romantic evening, says kind and loving things—to lead you to dismiss your healthy intuitions that you’re being mistreated. If the psychopath allows himself to treat you worse and worse it’s not only because you’re much less exciting in his eyes. It’s also because he’s conditioned you to think less highly of yourself and to accept his dubious behavior. Because you want to hold on to the fantasy of the ideal relationship he cultivated, you go into denial. You accept his implausible excuses. You put up with your growing fears and doubts. You rationalize his inexplicable absences, his increasingly frequent emotional withdrawals, his curt and icy replies, his petty and mean-spirited ways of “punishing” you for asserting your needs or for not bending to his will.
But at some point, when he sinks to a new low or when you catch him in yet another lie, you slip out of the willful denial which has been your way of adjusting to the toxic relationship. Because he has lowered your self-esteem, you ask yourself why this has happened and what you did wrong. If he cheated on you, you blame the other woman or women involved. The psychopath encourages you to pursue such false leads. In fact, he encourages anything that deflects attention from his responsibility in whatever goes wrong with your relationship. He leads you to blame yourself. He also inculpates the other women. He implies that you were not good enough for him. He claims that the other women tempted or pursued him. But that’s only a diversionary tactic. You have flaws and you made mistakes, but at least you were honest and real. The other women involved may have been decent human beings, the scum of the Earth or anything in between. Think about it. Does it really matter who and what they were? You are not involved with the other women. They are not your life partners, your spouses, your lovers or your friends. What matters to you most is how your own partner behaves. He is primarily accountable for his actions. Not you, not the other women.
Also, keep in mind that psychopaths twist the truth to fit their momentary goals and to play mind games. When you actually pay attention to what they say instead of being impressed by how sincere they may appear, their narratives often sound inconsistent and implausible. What they say about other women, both past and present, is most likely a distortion too. Psychopaths commonly project their own flaws upon others. If they tell you they were seduced, it was most likely the other way around. If they tell you that their previous girlfriends mistreated them, cheated on them, got bored with them, abandoned them, listen carefully, since that’s probably what they did to those women. Their lies serve a dual function. They help establish credibility with you as well as giving them the extra thrill of deceiving you yet again.
So why were you discarded? you may wonder. You were devalued and discarded because you were never really valued for yourself. As we’ve seen, for psychopaths relationships are temporary deals, or rather, scams. Analogously, for them, other human beings represent objects of diversion and control. The most flattering and pleasant phase of their control, the only one that feels euphoric and magical, is the seduction/idealization phase. That’s when they pour on the charm and do everything they possibly can to convince you that you are the only one for them and that they’re perfect for you. It’s very easy to mistake this phase for true love or passion. However, what inevitably follows in any intimate relationship with a psychopath is neither pleasant nor flattering. Once they get bored with you because the spell of the initial conquest has worn off, the way they maintain control of you is through deception, isolation, abuse, gaslighting and undermining your self-confidence.
That’s when you realize that the devaluation phase has set in. You do whatever you can to regain privileged status. You try to recapture the excitement and sweetness of the idealization phase. You want to reclaim your rightful throne as the queen you thought you were in his eyes. But that’s an impossible goal, an ever-receding horizon. Every women’s shelter tells victims of domestic violence that abuse usually gets worse, not better, over time. For abusers, power is addictive. It works like a drug. The dosage needs to be constantly increased to achieve the same effect. Control over others, especially sexual control, gives psychopaths pleasure and meaning in life. To get the same rush from controlling you, over time, they need to tighten the screws. Increase the domination. Increase the manipulation. Isolate you further from those who care about you. Undermine your confidence and boundaries more, so that you’re left weaker and less prepared to stand up for yourself. The more you struggle to meet a psychopath’s demands, the more he’ll ask of you. Until you have nothing left to give. Because you have pushed your moral boundaries as low as they can go. You have alienated your family and friends, at the psychopath’s subtle manipulation or overt urging. You have done everything you could to satisfy him. Yet, after the initial idealization phase, nothing you did was ever good enough for him.
It turns out that he’s completely forgotten about the qualities he once saw in you. If and when he talks about you to others, it’s as if he were ashamed of you. That’s not only because he lost interest in you. It’s also the instinctive yet strategic move of a predator. If your family, his family, your mutual friends have all lost respect for you–if you’re alone with him in the world–he can control you so much easier than if you have external sources of validation and emotional support. Psychopaths construct an “us versus them” worldview. They initially depict your relationship as privileged and better than the ordinary love bonds normal people form. This is of course always a fiction. In fact, the opposite holds true. An intimate relationship with a psychopath is far inferior to any normal human relationship, where both people care about each other. Such a relationship is necessarily one-sided and distorted. It’s a sham on both sides. Being a consummate narcissist, he loves no one but himself and cares about nothing but his selfish desires.
If and when he does something nice, it’s always instrumental: a means to his ends or to bolster his artificial good image. Dr. Jekyll is, in fact, always Mr. Hyde on the inside. And even though you may be capable of love, you’re not in love with the real him–the cheater, the liar, the manipulator, the player, the hollow, heartless being that he is–but with the charming illusion he created, which you initially believed but which becomes increasingly implausible over time. From beginning to end, all this phony relationship can offer you is a toxic combination of fake love and real abuse. He constructs the psychopathic bond through deception and manipulation. You maintain it through self-sacrifice and denial.
But pretty soon, when you find yourself alone with the psychopath, you see it’s not us versus them, your couple above and against everyone else. It’s him versus you. He will act like your worst enemy, which is what he really is, not as the best friend and adoring partner he claimed to be. If he criticizes you to others–or, more subtly, fosters antagonisms between you and family members and friends–it’s to further wear you down and undermine your social bonds. Once he tires of you, he induces others to see you the same way that he does: as someone not worthy of him; as someone to use, demean and discard. Before you were beautiful and no woman could compare to you. Now you’re at best plain in his eyes. Before you were cultured and intelligent. Now you’re the dupe who got played by him. Before you were dignified and confident. Now you’re isolated and abject. In fact, right at the point when you feel that you should be rewarded for your sacrifice of your values, needs, desires and human bonds–all for him–the psychopath discards you.
He’s had enough. He’s gotten everything he wanted out of you. Bent you out of shape. Taken away, demand by demand, concession by concession, your dignity and happiness. As it turns out, the reward you get for all your devotion and efforts is being nearly destroyed by him. Ignoring your own needs and fulfilling only his–or fulfilling yours to gain his approval–has transformed you into a mere shadow of the lively, confident human being you once were.
He uses your weaknesses against you. He also turns your qualities into faults. If you are faithful, he sees your fidelity as a weakness, a sign you weren’t desirable enough to cheat. Nobody else really wanted you. If you are virtuous, he exploits your honesty while he lies and cheats on you. If you are passionate, he uses your sensuality to seduce you, to entrap you through your own desires, emotions, hopes and dreams. If you are reserved and modest, he describes you as asocial and cold-blooded. If you are confident and outgoing, he views you as flirtatious and untrustworthy. If you are hard working, unless he depends on your money, he depicts you as a workhorse exploited by your boss. If you are artistic and cultured, he undermines your merit. He makes you feel like everything you create is worthless and cannot possibly interest others. You’re lucky that it ever interested him. After the idealization phase is over, there’s no way to please a psychopath. Heads you lose, tails he wins. But remember that his criticisms are even less true than his initial exaggerated flattery. When all is said and done, the only truth that remains is that the whole relationship was a fraud.
The process of the psychopathic bond is programmatic. It’s astonishingly elegant and simple given the complexity of human behavior. Idealize, devalue and discard. Each step makes sense once you grasp the psychological profile of a psychopath, of an (in)human being who lives for the pleasure of controlling and harming others.
For you, this process is excruciatingly personal. It may have cost you your time, your heart, your friends, your family, your self-esteem or your finances. You may have put everything you had and given everything you could to that relationship. It may have become your entire life. For the psychopath, however, the whole process isn’t really personal. He could have done the same thing to just about anyone who allowed him into her intimate life. He will do it again and again to everyone he seduces. It’s not about you. It’s not about the other woman or women who were set against you to compete for him, to validate his ego, to give him pleasure, to meet his fickle needs. He wasn’t with them because they’re superior to you. He was with them for the same reason that he was with you. To use them, perhaps for different purposes than he used you, but with the same devastating effect. He will invariably treat others in a similar way to how he treated you. Idealize, devalue and discard. Rinse and repeat.