Commandment 2: Humble Gratitude

This is the “second commandment” of sound character development: “Remember, you’re not entitled to anything. Life itself is an unearned gift. Strive to be grateful and of humble heart. And strive also to earn respect.” Gratitude is key to a purpose-driven life and true happiness.

This commandment is another of the 10 Commandments of Character that I’ve been writing about (see also: Character’s First Command: Mindfulness through Empathy and Mastering the 1st Command: Why Some Fail).  I’ll be discussing these character-fostering axioms in depth in my upcoming new book with Dr. Kathy Armistead, The Ten Commandments of Character: How to Lead a Significant Life. It’s a follow-up to our first book together, How Did We End Up Here?.

Now, readers of my books In Sheep’s Clothing, Character Disturbance, The Judas Syndrome, already know I believe we live in an age of unprecedented entitlement. Almost everything once regarded as a privilege or something to be earned is now regarded as an inherent right. As a result, many people have come to expect far more than they feel obliged to give, which has set a disatrous precedent for the character formation of our children.  This makes the second commandment of sound character development and its message of gratitude very hard to embrace.

A sense of entitlement is especially strong in people with disordered character. In my work with character-impaired people, I have always been impressed with how little gratitude they have, how little regard they show others, and what a small a personal price they’re willing to pay for some of life’s most valuable things. It’s in the nature of disordered characters to want something for nothing and expect to give as little as possible for what should rightfully cost the most. “Respect” is just one very important example.

The Value of Respect

Respect is a good example, because for it to really mean anything, one has to earn it. No one is entitled to respect, and it’s hard to imagine anything more valuable than the respect of one’s family, peers, or colleagues. When people respect you, they attribute to you a “good name” and you gain a good reputation. People in enduring businesses, for example, will tell you that their reputation is hard-earned over time and it is priceless. But once it’s gone, it can take untold time and money to get it back, if in fact you’re fortunate enough to get it back. For many years the well-known company Johnson & Johnson maintained an excellent reputation for quality and trusted products. But in 1982 there was a tragedy involving one of its products, Tylenol, which was the number-one pain killer at the time. There was tampering with the capsules, which occurred after the product reached the store shelves. At least seven people died as a result; and although Johnson & Johnson knew they were not responsible for the tampering of the product, they assumed responsibility by ensuring public safety and recalled all of their product from the market. Even though the company was not a fault, in the mind of the public, there had been a betrayal of trust and the reputation (and market share) of the company suffered. Trust in Tylenol was shaken and belief in the company’s good name evaporated. It took many long years and millions of dollars for Johnson & Johnson to regain their reputation.

While one’s “good name” is important for one’s reputation, cultural norms also play a big role in determining what kinds of things are worthy of respect. Even today, we like to think that a person’s integrity of character takes precedence over how rich they are, how politically well-connected they are, or how talented they are. However we regularly see that it’s not uncommon to lavish recognition, praise, and other rewards on those who bring a valued personal attribute to the table while being indifferent about their moral character. And many of the most deeply troubled individuals not only expect unconditional (i.e. unearned) respect but also feel entitled to lash out at anyone when it’s denied. Sadly, we even see that some think they can have “instant respect” by pointing a gun and inflicting violence. While it is true that every human being ought to be afforded civil, humane, and decent treatment, respect is something else. We “give” our respect, because we admire the good they have to offer.

Cultivating Gratitude in an Entitled World

Many among us work hard to better the human condition. Our lives are meaningful if we help others and make life better for them. And because of the legacy of those who’ve gone before us, it’s easy for us to take many of the things we have for granted. But everything we have comes with a price of human toil, sweat, and sacrifice. And appreciating all these things is difficult in a culture that promotes a sense of entitlement. Nonetheless, no one develops a respect for and a willingness to accept the crucial obligations of life unless they find a healthy balance between what they feel the world owes them and what they owe the world.

A recently retired friend told me about a conversation that he had with his son. The son, “Louis” (names and details changed) was just out of the university and beginning life on his own. Louis complained bitterly to his dad that he didn’t have much furniture and all the appliances in his one-bedroom apartment were broken, if they worked at all. Louis went on to lament that starting out was hard and how could they, his parents, who have so much, not give him what he needed? The son looked at what his parents had and took it for granted that they’d always had everything they wanted. My friend had to remind Louis that he and his mother had worked years to buy that living room furniture, for example, and that they didn’t have a matching bedroom set until just recently. My friend encouraged his son by saying that he’d make it too if he worked hard and saved his money. If he made good choices, he would appreciate what he had done and not just take it for granted that he could start where his parents left off.

There’s a whole science that’s developed in recent years on the power and value of gratitude. It turns out, gratitude is not only crucial to good character formation but an important key to happiness.  And gratitude is also key to developing a healthy sense of obligation. So I’ll have much more to say about it in the next post on the “second commandment” of sound character formation.

Character Matters will again be a live program this Sunday at 7 pm EDT. Call in at (718) 717-8296 if you have a situation you want to discuss, a question you want to ask, or a story you you’d like to share.

386 thoughts on “Commandment 2: Humble Gratitude

  1. I found it very thought provoking as the issue of respect was brought up in the article. Toxic individuals ALWAYS want to be respected but don’t give any. I can remember respect being a very big issue in my dysfunctional family. Kids were only second class citizens so we never got any. I can remember being mocked and degraded constantly.

    Since I am forced to enjoy this dysfunctional circus for the second time I notice more of this nonsense this time. My son is with me and he recently celebrated his twelfth birthday here. He has a really hard time but I try to empower him whenever I can. My little guy stays in his room most of the time because he is constantly insulted. Just the other day he happened to be in the front room and my dad insulted and mocked him. (Of course, it is always a joke. NOT!) My son looked at toxic grandpa with a sour look on his face and said, “HA HA HA!” My dad got enraged and told my son that he was not taking that from a snot nosed kid! I think that my son was lucky that he didn’t get the belt across the seat of his pants. When we were alone later on that evening I told my little guy that he needed to learn to laugh because grandpa is a bully and when he knows he is getting under someone’s skin he will keep doing it. I also told him that he needs to give grandpa respect even though he never gets it.

    I have also heard time after time that we need to give my mother respect. Malignant mommy gives NO ONE respect. We never disrespect her but we choose not to talk to her. I have heard that respect is a huge issue in dysfunctional families. I know for sure that it is in mine!!

    I hope that I don’t come across as being full of myself. I just want to help someone who is struggling with my story.

    Sent from Outlook Mobile

    1. Their view of respect is not actually “giving them respect” but allowing them to bully and abuse without giving any kind of reaction that would challenge their bad behavior.
      I will cheer for day you and your son can get out of that house as I’ll be glad for the day when my daughter and grandson can get out of her CDN father’s house
      You keep guiding him and loving him and he will be okay. You are doing a great job.

    2. Sam Vaknin (yes I know Big red flag Toxic ,Toxic). But Otto Kerberg ( please see attached link it is in english) also says the same thing. Narcissistic people require Narcissistic Supply. Which is basically Information and attention ( more attention) to validate their sence of superiority. Which is what I used to call HURT & HARM. Your Dad seems to sound like the my It mother/grandmother. My own take on my own experience IS NEVER GIVE PEOPLE LIKE THIS ANY RESPECT EVER AND I MEAN EVER. WHILE THERE IS A BREATH IN MY BODY I WILL NEVER EVER GIVE THESE CREATURES RESPECT. What I do give is understanding. When they HAVE THEIR JOKES ?????????. I just look at the floor and think to myself. (I AM IN CONTROL OF MY THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS) That I know how sick you really are. You require constant reminding that YOU ARE BETTER THAT ME. WELL ? I THINK TO MY SELF. IF YOU REQUIRE SO MUCH REMINDING. WHAT YOU WILL GET IS MY PITTY (I AM IN CONTROL OF MY THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS) I just HUMOR THEM AND SAY, YES YES VERY GOOD CAN I GO NOW. WELL DONE

      1. Oh yes, that is so true!! Narcissistic supply is so important. It is very interesting to watch my malignant mommy narc jump to new narcissistic supply since my daughter is gone now. My daughter didn’t understand how toxic this family is. Since my daughter has passed on mommy narc has moved on to my niece for her supply. My niece shows so many of the sweet and innocent qualities that my daughter had. I know that things are going to get ugly. My mommy narc loves to rub her excessive adoration for my brother’s kids in my son’s face. I talk to my son a lot and he understands what is going on so he is not upset. He understands that my mom is only using them.

        Sent from Outlook Mobile

        1. Susie Q
          What does your mom do besides screw with people? Does she work outside the home? Does she have any friends? Does she just focus in on people and meddle?

          1. My mom is retired. She was secretary at the school in the nearby town. This is definitely in her favor because she knows a lot of people because she was in a couple of positions for many years there. She was very flaky all the time so I am sure no one there knows her at all. She also was a cheerleading coach and she took them pizza and donuts a lot. When I was in the hospital with MRSA, one of my CNAS was once on her cheerleading squad. The CNA tried to tell me that my mother is an angel because she always brought them pizza and donuts. (I just looked at the girl and I might have puked in my mouth a little!) They all have no idea what she is capable of.

            Mommy narc used to go to church and her best friend was there. These two women are very evil. I can remember some of their church with her she would horrible antics from when I was young. Dr. Hare points out that narcs will even turn on each other. I think that this is what happened here because my mom doesn’t go to church anymore and she really doesn’t have any close friends. She talks negatively about most people she knows but will not hesitate to use them if she needs to. I have never gotten a straight story about what went on at church but she probably didn’t feel like she was in control. I can remember when I was younger and going to church with she would quit going whenever anyone questioned anything she was doing.

            I think that I have mentioned before that she goes over to the next town over to get bread and other stuff for the community center in this small town. She is just setting people up for the time when she can pluck them out and use them whenever needed. I read an article once about food and narcissism. Narcissists love to use food as a form of control because it is necessary for survival. It is really easy to convince someone of something after you are meeting their need for survival. For example– The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. She learned very well because her mother also used food as control. It’s amazing how the dysfunction goes through the generations.

            She is a very unhappy bitter person who never laughs or smiles unless it’s for her benefit. I hear her laughing on the phone and she is being very deceptive and evil. It always scares my son and I when she is being nice.

            Well, I hope I have shown everyone how she just keeps people standing in the shadows until she needs them. My best advice is don’t take people at face value and be sure to think outside the box. These kinds of people are everywhere.

            Sent from Outlook Mobile

          2. Linda,

            I forgot to mention that I am the one she is after right now but I can see how she turns on people very easily. She is putting all of her energy to destroy me put others will get it if they ever disagree with her.

            Sent from Outlook Mobile

        2. My mommy narc loves to rub her excessive adoration for my brother’s kids in my son’s face

          Basically she is using SEDUCTION, GULITING AND SHAMEING. on a young child. What A big Brave Woman. WOW ( I hope you understand irony)

          It happened to me too. My brother is 4 yrs older than me. He was sent to London to live with the father. I was 12yrs old. I lost him. He became the Dark Soul. I became the Neurotic co dependant.

          1. I get stabbed in the back over everything I say. I don’t tell them anything. Even the people around town run to her and tell her if I tell them. This is a horrible place with horrible people. I recently found out the both siblings are toxic. My brother is married to a woman right out of hell and he has chosen to join in on her evil ways.

            Sent from Outlook Mobile

        3. Susie,
          Please forgive me I have been only picking up parts of your story. Do you live with your mom and how old are you if I might ask? I am trying understand more of your posts. Thank you

          1. I am glad you asked. It is always good that someone ask instead of making judgements and assumptions. I am almost 50. I have fallen on hard times and was forced to come down here and live with my parents. Narcs get worse with age and my son and I have different trials every day. I lost my house in another state and my parents have lied to my two older kids. My daughter is dead and my son just started talking to me again. I am at a point now where I can get out of here. I am just trying to get things together.

      2. Joey,
        I have watched many of Vaknins You Tubes and much of what he says is true. He does lie and he does talk about the CDN, that they aren’t bad and tries to gain sympathy for them.

        I also watched Kernberg and would encourage everyone to watch it. I have read much of his writings. His lecture is right out of the textbook and classic truth of the CDN. Dr. Kernberg is an excellent source on the CDNSP.

        Thanks for reposting about these sources.

        1. I haven’t watched the Kernberg -link, but what would you say rings true in his writings?

          I see a lot of stuff here trying to interpret problem personalities(I use that word, because it can include so many different types and blends of troublesome styles people can act from) from psychodynamic or Kohutian or Jungian or psychoanalytic perspective or otherwise from a different perspective than the cognitive-behavioral one. While I can see the interest in trying to watch matters from different angles(I do it myself and hell, I think sometimes it’s actually very important) and I agree that all problem personalities, even psychopaths, more malignant narcissists and antisocial folk, are a unique combination of different factors and I think some problem personalities’ nutty, fruit-loopy, disturbing behavior can be explained more deeply than “just crazy” so as to help deal with them better, one issue returns to me that I had when just glimpsing J. Reid Meloy’s Psychopathic Mind on Amazon. Just for example: What does it do to try to interpret a psychopath psychodynamically? What’s the point?

          Understanding some problem personalities it can make more sense to understand them. This is not to be confused with “understanding”. Understanding and “understanding”, two different things on my private definition at least. But back to the matter, I think of another example I glimpsed on Amazon, The psychology of stalking(also by J. Reid Meloy!). Getting stalked by a methodical, calculating human predator is a nightmare I don’t want to experience anymore than anyone else. I don’t want to find myself traced by or otherwise cross paths with a street-rat, either(you know, the unbridled aggressive type). I would just as much dread and loathe to find myself stalked by a histrionic or unstable individual, who would be frightening in a different way.

  2. Hi everyone,

    Remember when I called my neighbor a shit bag. Well last night, while walking the dog, I ran into him again with his son. I told him that I was sorry for what I said the other night and he ignored me. So I said it again. Another ignore….then and he continued walking away from me I hollered out. I ALSO ACCEPT YOUR APOLOGY!

    So my heart is clear on this one. He is a shit bag, would not accept nor even acknowledge my apology and there was none coming from him.

    So I did what the universe will acknowledge as my giving my hand to make up and being scorned. A lot of bad karma for him I suppose.

    Well, off to work.

    Theresa Maria

    1. TeresaK,
      It was your choice that you apologized to him. In my opinion, you should have just let him walk away and there was no need to holler out again.

      The way apology business works is that you just convey your sincere regret, and be ready to expect a reasonably sensible response: maybe acknowledging his inconsiderate behavior, or standard socially acceptable lie such as his dog allergy, or wild excuse such as past incident of getting robbed by beautiful old ladies with dangerous dogs or getting bitten by a dog in childhood, or a simple node conveying I hear ya, or no response.
      Expecting him to apologize for his inconsiderate behavior is bit too much. By walking away, he was just confirming that he really is a shitbag. There was no need to publicly label him again. It doesn’t help you, except maybe feeling good for few moments.

    2. That is really funny! I guess a shitbag will always be a shitbag. You did your part. I often tell my son that he should just let God take care of it. I think that is the best thing I can say to you. Your conscience is clear but it is really sad that he is teaching his son how to be a shitbag too!

  3. I live next door to a sociopath. Well next door to his father mother and him. We are the same age and they have lived there over forty years. I moved back into my child hood home that had been a friends and family rental for years and there he was still living with his parents into his fifties. The parents are not pleasant individuals and there is no doubt that much of this persons dysfunction is directly attributable to the father.
    When I first moved back into this home all was good for a little while. I was cautious because I understood these people. All went well for a while until I had a lonely and alcoholic friend stay with me for a while. In a drunken haze she flirted and climbed all over this man even having him bite her breasts. She was full on drunky the clown. Once sober I would remind her of the escapades of the night before.
    She met a male friend of mine that would pop in every now and then and he was also taken in by her charms. She is outrageous she is funny she is fun she is altogether an adventure she is also very attractive.
    So neighbor thought I had thrown a fly in his ointment and had put this male friend of mine “onto her” so to speak.
    Soon after I had animal control and the city knocking on my door regularly. I had dead animals in my back yard and juicy meaty bones tucked into the outside of my back fence (my property backs to a busy road) that my dogs(three very large American Bulldogs) would shred the wooden pickets to get to. When that was not enough he would go around the back and pull at the whole panel. I could go on and on. I built a fenced yard within my fenced yard to keep my dogs safe. I called the police or animal control to make reports on the things that happened. I was told I needed to have proof like video. I let them know I just wanted the incidents documented. My other neighbors began avoiding me and would not make eye contact.
    This past fall the father died. The mother and son decided to be snowbirds then decided to stay in the warmer climate. She has a grandchild living there now.
    The door bell rang, it was a neighbor, she was bringing me pastries.
    It seems that since he would brag about harassing me and insist that other neighbors treat me badly, they were afraid of “making it onto his radar”.
    If I am able to get any of the neighbors to come forward to the police I will, in case they return.
    I get your pain with a nasty neighbor. It sucks. It even makes you think of giving up your

    1. Thanks for sharing this, E. Getting harassed, especially the “sic authorities on you” way, is so awful.

      And it would seem that many problem people do pass on their dysfunctional, unhealthy, downright venomous legacy and sometimes by teaching the next generation their values. How teaching poor or unhealthy values differs from spoiling a child rotten on one hand and brainwashing a child, on the other hand. Filling in would be appreciated.

      1. Timothy,

        When parents spoil a child and do not correct the outrageous behaviors then narcissism is often the outcome. Usually the male child relates to the father and if the father is abusive then it makes a big impact. I would say that it sounds like what went on here. I know that both of my boys got a large amount of qualities passed onto them from their toxic fathers.

        Sent from Outlook Mobile

      2. I come back to what I’ve said before.

        How is that different from brainwashing a child, then?

        It helps for someone more in the know to fill in.

        1. I am not quite sure what you are saying. Are you implying that I don’t know enough about the subject to give input?! I’m not knowledgeable enough?

          Sent from Outlook Mobile

        2. Timothy
          Isn’t brainwashing methodical and with an intent to make a person not think for himself why they are doing and acting a certain way? Have you studied brainwashing? I’m ignorant on the topic. Sounds interesting though

        3. Susie Q,

          That wasn’t my intention. I should have worded my comment more carefully. I had no intention to disparage. Sorry.

          Anyone, who really understands the difference between spoiling and brainwashing a child(I only have a vague idea myself, but I’m not well in the know), would do well to fill me in on this distinction.


          My background does have some bearing on it. I’ve found myself wondering how so-and-so-problem-person has managed to convince well-intended people around that I or someone else is the problem. That’s not quite brainwashing yet, but finding out about brainwashing seemed like a natural, logical next step for me.

          Much of this brainwashing relates to cults, but I think can be used interpersonally as well. I think many here would agree with me on the latter part of that last sentence.

          I’ve also nearly walked into a cult once. Almost. I took a simple, seemingly innucuous ad from a leaflet sharer I passed on the street. It seemed to promise something unconventional that could change my life(not exactly in those words, but still). Luckily I stopped to think how little clue I actually had what the hell I was getting into. In hindsight, the leaflet had vague, tantalizing Ericksonian hypnotic language. When I got home, I ended up doing some research and I found out that the group in question is extremely deceptive in recruiting, controlling and dangerous. I was thankful I took that moment to figure out what the hell it was really about. I will not divulge the name of the group. But I had a ghastly mental image of some invisible entity draining out my soul as my legs started quivering and turned to jelly and I felt some strange, vague implosion inside me. I remember how I fell on the bed limp. It felt creepy, like some otherwordly presence was watching me, willing to control me.

          I ‘ve been studying brainwashing and I think there’s a lot more to it. One great book, Power of Story by Jim Loehr, I purchased thanks to seeing another poster recommend it, is about how we narrate our own lives to ourselves. One section handles indoctrination and brainwashing in different forms. Very easy to understand and digest and a relatively quick read, but something worth reading over and over and over.

          A while back I posted a link to a Tv Tropes article about abuse. On that very page there’s one link to writings by a cult expert, who was himself a cult member.

          I’ve also read some articles on brainwashing that seem a bit too academic and “dry” to post here in my opinion. That and some articles have some “fancy” words, which make for trying reading. Scholars of psychology, sociology and religious studies are in the process of studying what brainwashing is like in its nature. A few apparently are of the opinion that brainwashing makes someone a “robot”, though this is widely contested. As far as I understand, some scholars think brainwashing is essentially manipulating someone’s choices by placing them into a receptive state and indoctrinating them to see the world as a manipulator wants a subject to see it when a subject regains reasoning once again, to be influenced by implanted beliefs.

          There actually are scholars, who deny the existence of brainwashing or question how valid the concept could be. I’m not sure why that is. I’m not yet that far in finding out.

          It’s quite a topic to explore, brainwashing. Brainwashing of children is a small part of it and I want to hear people’s views on that, too.

          BTOV, you mentioned you know some books on brainwashing. Would you please list them?

          1. Timothy,

            Here will be my take on spoiling vs brainwashing

            Word and meaning from merriam-webster:
            spoiling: the act of damaging
            brainwashing: a forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas

            Example of spoiling:
            [A child asking for an expensive toy] Why not. Here you go. Take two toys, after all you are most beautiful and intelligent child. Your father has made huge amount of money (by illegal means), and he will buy the world for you if you like.
            [A child that starts fighting with other to grab other’s toy] The other child is a mean bugger that cannot share anything. And, I saw you asking him politely! He refused. Nasty piece of work.

            Example of brainwashing:
            [A child on his divorced parent] Other one was mean person. He never loved you or cared for you. Just for a proof, see yourself, you are living with your mother, your mommy dearest, whereas your father hardly visits you and that too when your mommy pleads with him. [When in fact, mother was the troublemaker, and she used children just a leverage or revenge in divorce battle without any concern for anyone’s long term benefit]

          2. Andy,

            Psychopaths love to use triangulation in divorces (anytime they can actually.) They love the added sense of power. My ex-psycho was wonderful at this. My malignant mommy narc is also wonderful at this and I can remember her doing it and made such an impression on me growing up. Malignant mommy narc used to tell us kids how my dad was the root of all of our problems. She made him seem like the devil in disguise and she was in our corner. As we grew older I could see how she was just whispering lies in my dad’s ear and he would then act on it. Dad was thinking that he was keeping his loyalty to my mom and in essence she was using him as a puppet. My mom was also trying to make us believe that she was on our side and dad was making things up and taking every chance to make me cry. Mommy narc was loving it because it made us love her and dad was acting on what she said. She came out smelling like a rose in all the unnecessary drama!

            My ex-psycho told his older kids from another woman that I wanted them to call me mom. I NEVER said that. I would have been upset if the older boy was my kid. He was a very spoiled kid!! The psychopath loved it because before I figured out the insanity I used to confide in him and ask why his son was so mean to me. Omg… The boys wanted the attention of their dad and I was wanting his attention to.

            It is very sad how the toxic person will use whoever they can and whenever they need to get their own way. It can make a lifelong impact on the young child. Divorce is not the easy way out. I have heard that so often!!

            Sent from Outlook Mobile

          3. Those are very illustrative examples, Andy. Thanks. 🙂

            Btw, do you know books on brainwashing? I’m interested to explore further myself and some readers may be interested, too.

          4. Timothy,

            My view of “spoiling” a child would be giving in to their wants, not needs, excessively. Much has to do with material possessions. It would be letting them do activities that they aren’t deserving of doing, such as putting them on a softball league even though they refuse to do their homework. It would be “rewarding” them for doing a menial task that they should be doing anyway. It would be giving into them whining and crying to get their way. Spoiling is undisciplined. A spoiled child does not appreciate things in life but they demand it and feel entitled to things, and will act out in ugly immature manipulative ways to get what they want. They are brats.
            I don’t see the similarity of a spoiled child to a brainwashed person.

          5. Susie, I noticed your post after I posted.

            That’s ghastly what you describe. It’s exploitation, aggressive, manipulative and abusive game-playing mixed in with indoctrination. I get the feel of what brainwashing is in the family context.

            I need a hot shower.

          6. Lucy,

            Pretty much what I suspected.

            Also, I have it now ringing in my head: “A spoiled child does not appreciate things in life” Comes to mind an illustrative example told about a rich kid, who gets a fancy car through no effort of his own and ends up wrecking it. The point of that story is that we don’t truly appreciate what we haven’t worked for.

            Though some other tangent comes to mind that I return later to. Feel free to remind me.

          7. Nice explanation with wants vs needs.
            Agree. Spoiling occurs when a parent gives in to a child’s wants too easily. And, that leads to a spoiled brat who wants immediate gratification of all his wants.

            Brainwashing works at totally different level. It is about changing the reality perception of the target.

    2. E,

      I am sorry to hear that. Psychos have a mind that works like no other. I has a psychopath for a neighbor once and I was always scared to see what I was going to wake up to. I had two young children at the time and she would come over and bully them when they were playing in the yard. I can understand how you might consider moving. Your home is supposed to be the place where you can relax and unwind but it is hard to relax when your mind is going crazy trying to imagine what they are going to do next. Things with a psychopath just accelerate. They truly have a sick mind. Glad he’s gone for a few months. How long are they going to be gone?

      I kinda have a similar story. My malignant mommy narc and my psycho sister are determined to destroy me. They took to Facebook and lied to each one of my friends and telling them how pathetic I am and how I never take care of my kids. At first I was wondering why no one ever replied to my posts and if they did it was with complete hate. I just ignored them because I knew that I would figure it out after a while. Well, I figured it out and started deleting them. I didn’t figure that my friends, who were really my friends, would believe such nonsense about me and I don’t really need them around. Oh of course, they UP their game whenever they get a chance. Those same individuals who were ignoring me come back with lame excuses. I just don’t have a tolerance for flying monkeys.

      Way too much drama for me!! I hope you are getting along with your other neighbors since the psycho is gone.

      It is hard to explain this dysfunction and I can’t imagine trying to explain it to the police. HUGS FOR YOU!!

      Sent from Outlook Mobile

      1. “At first I was wondering why no one ever replied to my posts and if they did it was with complete hate. I just ignored them because I knew that I would figure it out after a while. Well, I figured it out and started deleting them. I didn’t figure that my friends, who were really my friends, would believe such nonsense about me and I don’t really need them around.”


        It’s incredible how some people, when it would make sense to communicate directly, start playing all kinds of coy and evasive, just like those “friends” did. I say they can go to hell. I hope you let them know what you just told us, that you don’t need them around.

        While there can be many reasons people jump to conclusions, including having been presented with a misleading impression of events and honestly seeing a wrong person as the one with the bad character because of it, a person having a bias that gets exploited etc., there are some instances where refusal to communicate just crosses over into being immature, spineless and/or plain lack of sufficient common sense.

        I may try to watch things from different angles, but that doesn’t mean neglecting to point out when things are wrong.

        1. I try to seriously think things through, think out of the box, and yes, use a lot of common sense. The things that were being said were completely outrageous and if anyone actually did some thinking they could have figured things out.

          Sent from Outlook Mobile

      2. God is good, it looks like he will be gone more than here. They may show up sporadically but they will be living in another state.
        My other neighbors now make eye contact wave and say hello. As I said one even told me that they had avoided speaking to me for fear of making it on to “his radar”.
        I am hoping that the motion sensor cameras that go off when I walk out my front or back doors come down and go with them. (according to what he has said to others any time the motion sensor goes off it sends the video to his phone)
        The thing with this person is he likes to brag about “getting even” or harming others. When you hear him speak about it its is really creepy. I am not the only neighbor that he has had it out for many of the long time neighbors have had problems with him and know how obsessively nasty he can be.

        1. Omg.. I am sorry!! I am glad that he will be gone. Kinda reminds me of that 80’s movie when the chick kills the rabbit. Watch out for the dogs. He is the kind of psycho that can pull the poison pork chops thing. I can imagine his piercing demonic look. Those kind are really scary. I never really noticed the demonic look in my malignant mommy’s eyes now that I am older.

          My malignant mommy has quite the smear campaign going on against me. I am fortunate to be able to turn it right back on her though. I know that my supposed friends who have become flying monkeys for my mother are carefully watching my Facebook page. I just tell it exactly like it is and now all the mindless followers are reading it and going OMG… WE WERE USED! I love it.

          I am really glad it worked for you because those maniacs are soooo unpredictable and unstable.

          Sent from Outlook Mobile

  4. Andy,

    OK, if you feel the way you do….I will reiterate.

    Said neighbor is a shit bag and he likes being that way. Note behavior when I apologized.

    There is nothing else to say. End of story.

    I would like to know what is your point.

    We are all dealing with people that just need not have any more look see on their behavior. It is clear and there is nothing less. We talk a lot about actions in stead of words. The actions are there so no need to go further.

    Calling back to him about his not apologizing was a way for me to say “Fuck you ass hole.” And I could have put up my third finger…which I did in my own way.

    You didn’t get that. I thought it was pretty obvious.

    Theresa Maria

    1. TheresaM
      What you did was call him out on his rudeness to you. I think that you, myself and others here are no longer tolerant of persons being rude to us. I find myself being more vocal than I ever have when I feel I’m being treated rudely, saying and doing things I had not and would not have done before. I, myself, have bottled up anger because I cannot release it to the one who is causing it. Some days I feel like a loose cannon.
      I think that you’ve had to tolerate more Incivility than you care to and are also fed up with the BS that is directed towards you. I see where you’re coming from.

      1. I can agree. Nice people are considered weak by the toxic ones. I’m done taking it!! You go girl!!

        Sent from Outlook Mobile

    2. TeresaK,

      I completely understand what you did and why. I may have done same in your place. All I am saying is that it was pointless on both occasion to call out after him as he was leaving.

      If I cannot ignore each and every a$$hole that I meet in train, market, workplace, then those idiots will rule my mind and my day.
      And, at the same time, it is completely understandable that once is a while I will snap and call them by their real name, i.e. an a$$hole. 🙂

      1. Hahahaha…. I am not sure why some people just rub you the wrong way like that. I think here things turned so negative because Theresa was offering her apology. I think that it is hard enough to offer an apology when the other person is arogant but when it is ignored things get a little crazy. I just don’t have much tolerance since I have abused and ignored for soooo long.

        Sent from Outlook Mobile

    3. Theresa Marie, Andy and All,
      We all handle situations differently and see things in a different perspective that doesn’t mean your wrong or Andy is wrong. Sometimes we are wrong and it takes a giant to face up and admit ones mistake.

      I am not opining on this situation. Just commenting we all don’t always agree and the right to do so must be respected. As an example look at all the flavored opinions of doctors on the vary subject we are discussing.

      Hugs to all and Blessings

  5. Thank you Lucy,

    I think that what got me the most and I still would have done it was the little smile on his face when he looked back at me…but did not meet my eyes. Nor did he meet my eyes but looked back at me the other evening when he said “NO!”

    Lord, he is some piece of work.

    Theresa Maria

    1. Narcissists have that kind of smirk. He is probably a toxic individual who delighted in seeing you struggle. Those kinds of people are really yucky!!

      Sent from Outlook Mobile

    2. It’s interesting how you say he won’t meet your eyes.
      In court during break I asked my STBX a question- trying to work out payment of a bill – I stood directly next to him and he would not look up from the table to look at me. This is a man who has done awful things directed at me. Is he a coward or games playing with the not looking at me? I interpreted it as cowardly and shameful but now I think it may be another tactic of his to demean and denigrate me.

    3. In the end Theresa just remember that the apology was also for you. The accountability in the apology was not just for him but also for you…..being accountable to yourself for yourself.
      So whether or not another person accepts our apology at least we can still benefit from it.

  6. They have so many games that they want to play. I think that he might also be using so kind of intimidation tactic. Maybe he is trying to say that he will not lower himself to look you in the eyes.

      1. Lucy,
        No Contact is No Contact.
        He is playing games, Tit for Tat, Make difficult. Remember he will almost always do the opposite of what you ask to make it difficult for you. By acknowledging him you open the door for recognition, which he will never do. Perhaps, a bare bone at the most.

        At this point in the game he realizes you are not a supply source and will do everything in his power to demean you, he is saying you are worthless by ignoring you and he is hoping he gets a negative response of frustration out of you in front of the court officials. By your asking for anything from him will be a form of lowering yourself to him and he will never give you anything…. Asking him for something also puts him in a position of power.

        Remember, never will this CD person ever act in a normal fashion. No Contact is just what it means NO CONTACT of any sort. if you do, you open yourself up for who knows what. In his mind, you will be forever on his list of getting even. Even if it makes it difficult for him and he loses monetarily, its all about making things difficult for you and giving you nothing. No matter what he loses its about control and hurting you!

        1. BTOV

          And this thing was my husband – vomit. Opposites – whenever I think about getting something accomplished in this divorce with him, I now think, well, this is what should be done, by a normal person, but he plays opposite, so __________ is what will happen. I have to think in upside down, backwards ways, have to think like a psycho would think. If I want it – he will make sure I don’t get it. If I write something in an email he will use it to prove some point that is erroneous. I get it.
          I’ve come a long way. I don’t like being bullied. I’m a fighter at heart. I’ve had to completely reel myself in. It’s taken a while, but I’m there.

          1. It is CRAZY MAKING!
            You have to try not get sucked into trying to figure out their moves…….make yours based on reality and what a normal person would do……mainly……cuz at the same time you cannot forget what you are dealing with.
            It is a trap getting caught up in trying to figure out what a character disturbed next move might be, their reality is fluid and adjusted according to what ever fantasy they are living out.

        2. Reactive Bulling. Provocation ,Antagonize. Making you look bad. Thats how It mother, With Grime and his kids got me. She Hurt my Dog.
          Predatory aggression Conniving and scheming is what the are. They are nothing else. What they say behind your back.
          Think of it like this ; They wil throw stone after stone at you until you throw one back. Never ever let this happen. The more they throw and the calmer you are. Kills them. It destoys everything that they are. Remember they get what they want by being AGGRESSIVE not calm

          1. Joey,

            You’re right. And if you give them something back it’s a feeding frenzy. And when I did have contact with him, I was reeled into the frenzy, not wanting him to “get away” with saying something awful. I fed into the frenzy. Not anymore. Well, now and then…… I try HARD to stay No Contact.

          2. It seems terrible to me that everything that happens is always used against us. If I tell anyone anything then they run to tell my mom everything. It seems to be a contest to see who can break us. Many have tried and they all fail.

            Sent from Outlook Mobile

        3. I think this is a great point to think about. I just saw a quote on another narcississtic forum that said when they can’t control you anymore, they try to control the way others see you. I think often that if I was not so strong then I would not be seeing the devil at work.

  7. TheresaK,

    I would really like to share my reaction to the follow up of the shitbag neighbor story:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! You are my hero! I want to be just like you when I grow up!

    I found your response brilliant!

  8. I have certainly noticed the issue of respect with the difficult and aggressive people in my life as well.

    My parents were and are very overt about, “We demand respect.” If I’ve heard that once, I’ve heard that a thousand times.

    When my marriage issues finally blew up, my husband went on, what can only be described as, a campaign to convince me I didn’t give him the respect due him based on the Christian book, ‘Love and Respect.’ He studied the book, videos and met with a group discussing the concept.

    I could never read the entire book as it made me feel sick but the concept from what I read and as it was explained to me is:

    A woman must respect her husband for him to show love to her.

    A woman must choose whether she wants to be loved or respected.

    A woman respected will remain unmarried, alone, and discontent.

    A woman loved will be happy, married, and content.

    I’m glad Dr Simon is spending time in the issue of respect. I think a lot has been lost in the understanding of such a foundational pillar of pro social values.

    1. Omg Carolyn,

      That is quite the book! My ex-psycho loved to throw around the big respect word also. He wanted everyone to show lots of respect to him while he bullied and degraded EVERYONE. I am not sure how my kids dealt with his crap all the time. My father is very demanding when it comes to respect also. He always made sure we show my malignant mommy narc respect also. I was raised in a very dysfunctional family and the cycle continued as I accepted WAY too much crap from my husbands. Everyone wants to be respected nut the difference is we give respect back. I’m not a young whipper snapper anymore and I can still see my dad struggling when he tries to have a normal conversation with me. He still wants to try to mock me whenever he gets the chance. The only difference is that I have earned the right to stand up for myself.

      You deserve to be able to love yourself again. I love to pamper myself and it helps a lot.. HUGS TO YOU!! It’s a long road but you have taken the most important step to recovery. That’s realizing that you need to get out.

      Sent from Outlook Mobile

    2. Charlie

      That books does sound like throw-up material. No wonder you felt sick when you read it.

  9. SusieQ,

    Thanks for the encouragement and it sounds like we had similar upbringings. My home fluctuated between being very functional, calm, and happy with sound character teachings to wildly disfunctional with bullying, terror, violence, and fear. My dad would take pleasure in stalking, pushing, pinning, choking, and terrorizing until he was satisfied we were fearful enough. He would often say, “Without fear, there would be no respect.” The swings fluxuated more often as I got older. My parents were much better parents to young children becoming increasingly worse as I got older. I have finally went No Contact. They are terrible and hurtful parents to their adult children.

    I’m very greatful I got so much positive out of my upbringing and so disappointed at the disadvantages the negative caused for me. I don’t think my husband could have created the confusion and doubt that influenced my thinking and my understanding of important character traits if I had been more certain in my upbringing. It’s difficult to reconcile two opposing extremes and yet I see myself as lucky that I had so much positive as well. I cannot image how difficult trying to build and know good character when it was never or rarely modeled as you described in your upbringing.

    I’m no spring chicken either and I like to think being in my mid forties has brought about some wisdom that I lacked when I married him in my early twenties. Change is good!

    1. Carolyn,

      We are about the same age and that is probably why our childhoods have so many similarities. My parents were a lot more psychologically abuse. Once in a while my dad would “teach the boys man stuff.” This is where he would punch them or grab them but, of course, it was always just playing. The males were always superior. I hated that so much growing up. My parents basically just ignored me. When they weren’t ignoring me, they were mocking or belittling me. My mom liked to use my dad to be the heavy. She would lie to him and get him worked up until he yelled at me and made me cry. My mother has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and my father is also a narcissist. My entire extended family is very dysfunctional and toxic. My parents were NEVER loving. They are typical narcissists who see emotions and kindness as weakness. My sister who is 8 years younger than me is a psychopath. I try to dodge her also. She is worse than anyone can ever imagine. I learned a few.positive things growing up but very few.

      Sent from Outlook Mobile

      1. SusieQ,

        Ditto on emotions and kindness being weakness. I didn’t even realize that thinking about not showing weakness wasn’t normal until I saw shock on a counselors face when I answered her question about why I wouldn’t let myself cry in front of her. I think assessing vulnerability as weakness is a consistent problem with the character disturbed or toxic personality.

        I’m not sure which is worse: To have loving parents and to lose that love or to never have even the memory of living parents. Both just suck eggs.

        1. Charlie, Susie Q, and all other non criers

          Same here. My family was a good family but we didn’t hug, kiss or cry in front of one another. I got through my mother’s funeral till everything left then exploded in tears. None of my sisters or brothers cried in front of me. We just didn’t do that. Only once while growing up did I hear my parents argue, and that was just a small little quick one. Isn’t that odd? I grew up thinking married couples did not fight.
          I’m sorry you all had such a crap upbringing.

          1. I can remember my dad going to the bedroom and getting a pair of clean underwear and leaving. That was one of my strongest childhood memories. OMG….. I was always terrified that he was leaving and never coming back. I used to sit and wonder if my parents divorced who I would live with. I know now that this is what psychos do to gain control. The things we learn after we are healed. The psycho that I was married to did this to me time after time. Eventually I stood my ground and got the locks on the doors changed when he threw one of his fits. I was sick of being a victim. I had been to a lot of counseling and felt that I was strong enough then. This just shows you how so often the abusive cycle starts out in the home. My parents fight a lot now. I have even been awaken at 5 in the morning by an argument. My mom wakes up wanting to fight. I am sure they have at least 5 or 10 each day. I think that the dogs suffer from PTSD.

          2. It does sound funny but my dad has an Australian Shepherd who is very sensitive and when my parents start yelling he runs to me and cries. He will jump in my lap one day!! LOL

            Sent from Outlook Mobile

  10. Lucy,

    Not an ex yet, someday hopefully! He’s behavior can often be described as total shitbag!

    Case in point, yesterday was a big ‘discussion’ about resiliency. He told me that I am not resilient because my feelings get hurt too often and things bother me too much. He on the other hand is the picture perfect example of being resilient because nothing bothers him and he doesn’t let people affect him (we won’t mention how angry he gets about so many things but apparently anger doesn’t count against resiliency in his mind.)

    I struggle with the concept of how someone reaches a half century of living and learning and never absorbs such important and basic concepts. He truly does not appear to understand the definitions of words like truth, loyalty, resiliency, gratitude, sharing, partnership, empathy.

    1. My ex-psycho had some of the same traits. He always got butt hurt very easily. I could hardly ever say anything to him that didn’t make him crazy. He was so perfect though (in his mind.) I have a twelve year old boy by him that lives with me. My little pre-teen is a sweet and loving individual. He has a few traits from his father though and once in a while I have to call him on it.

      1. Hi everyone,
        I think many of you know about my sister, the paraplegic I have written about. For those that don’t I will rewrite when I can. She is admitted to the emergency with a bowel obstruction. She denies another surgery.

        Your prayers would be greatly appreciated and thank you.

        Blessings to all

    2. It’s good to have emotions. Don’t ever think otherwise. When you quit having emotions it means you’ve shut down. I’ve been there after losing my mother tragically. There are good reasons for the emotions that you have. Don’t ever be ashamed of them. In fact, I think it’s important to let your feelings come out. And there is good reason for tears
      I’m sorry for calling your husband a shit bag. I thought you were divorced.

      1. It was only out of utter loneliness and a sense of total personal defeat, that well into his 60’s, Martin finally felt the need to seek some counsel.

        By staying NO-CONTACT you help them. Above is a quote from Dr Simons previous posts. They have two choices. Sink or Swim. What ever their choice is. IT IS THEIR CHOICE. The abuse is their supply of anti-depressant. Hurting/belittling/humiliating you lifts their spirits. It is an act of parasitism as far as I can see.
        ( where one species, the parasite, benefits at the expense of the other, the host.)

        1. Joey
          That is a real eye opener. Makes me strive harder to be No Contact knowing I’m his anti-depressant

          1. With no Contact you become a depressant to him. Yes, just like they were doing to us, just in reverse. Everything is always in reverse and twisted upside down with the CD. I am sorry I am laughing now, they are really such idiot fools and all we have to do is sit back and watch.

            I know that when you are in it it is very difficult, to say the least. Its absolute Loony Tunes. I watched the show from the sidelines so to speak with my X just recently. I can’t imagine how I stayed so long, but then in many cases such as yours Lucy, they hang on like a crazed monkey on your back that you can’t shake off, let alone beat it off. In the end I am afraid they will have to be surgically removed.

            Now for the Loony Tune show to deal with all the CD with my sis in the hospital.. Her last request is we all hug and make up when they are actively thinking how to cut your throat. Ah, such is life in crazy land.

        2. Hi Joey,
          I to didn’t realize you may be leaving. You have gained so much knowledge to use as a tool in whatever your decision may be. Since you are still in it take the time as an opportunity to observe their behavior with open eyes to whom they really are. The them they so cleverly hid. To leave may not be as easy as you think.

          Take this time to really think and prepare, i.e.. prep time, preparedness may prove crucial to your surviving the split.
          Love the poetry you post, so much is said in so few words.

          1. BTOV

            Everything is always in reverse and twisted upside down with the CD. I am sorry I am laughing now, they are really such idiot fools and all we have to do is sit back and watch.

            I’m laughing too. It’s living in a Alice in Wonderland, where doing is what it seems.

          2. Sorry but I need to chime in here. I think it is just fantastic that we are able to see this dysfunction as it is. That means we’re are healed. Yes! It is too bad we’re old ladies now. (This dysfunction takes a while to figure out though… lol) I know that things here are super crazy but I just shake my head a lot. It is really funny for me to be able to figure out some of their tricks and use it against them. Maybe I am getting a twisted mind also. OH MY GOODNESS!

            Sent from Outlook Mobile

          3. Yay. Susie ‘Evil’ Q. LOL.

            On serious note, yes, it is damn funny to just sit back and watch their games.
            My sister’s MIL is one such CD person, mostly narcissistic, very image conscious, very mild in overt aggression, with primary weapon preference of guilt. Unfortunately she is partly paralyzed, not too bad condition but bad enough to restrict movements in the house. Amazingly, she still indulges in her games. Now, I can see through her games. It is very amazing what I get to observe in 2 hour visit. Since, I don’t deal with her on daily basis, so it doesn’t affect me much, but still pretty funny mind games they play.

          4. It is really funny now but I also see how I was in a trance when I was a child. My ex MIL is narcissistic also. She loves to play helpless and watch my son run to her rescue. She does have Parkinson’s but it is not the normal Parkinson’s. She does not progress like the other disease does but she has gotten to a point where she has evened out and does not get any worse. My son is very compassionate and empathetic so she uses him for her helpless episodes. I know she does have it rough and I do sympathize with that but she is very dramatic. I don’t have to see her anymore so I don’t have to deal with it as much. I still love the woman and I know she has been through a tremendous amount of hardships. I was married to her son and I know what a psycho he is. (Not a playful kind of crazy person but a sadistic demon who tore the family dynamic apart.) I have seen my ex psycho make her cry needlessly and not think twice about it. Recently she was down with a cold and my son called her to see how she was and I got a mental image of her lying on the floor and clawing the walls. She sounded so pathetic on the phone and we could only catch part of what she was saying. (I only know the conversation because my son called her over the speaker system in the car) After he got off the phone he started crying and said, “Mom, I think this is it!”

      2. Linda,

        I do realize that it is very important to have emotions. When my daughter was killed it was really hard on my son and I because we could never show any emotions or we would be belittled and degraded more than we already are. I was working at a truck stop at the time and the truckers were sent over to me to see if they could make me upset and then I would have to quit. My mommy narc was behind everything. She would trash on me to the ladies at the front desk and then they would sick the truckers on me. THESE PEOPLE ARE TRULY THE RIGHT HAND MAN OF THE DEVIL. The kids at school would gather together to make my son cry also. They were fueled by my evil mother also. If that wasn’t enough when we went to my daughters memorial service my psycho sister and my daughter’s toxic boyfriend and his father got up in front and did plenty of loud fake crying and wailing. Malignant mommy narc was in the audience doing her fake crying and they all made such a mockery of the service. No one even acknowledges that she was my daughter. I have such a heartless family!! My narc mom and dad got my daughter’s things and hid them from me. My dad tells us that we need to show my mom respect and talk to her because she has lost three brothers and MY daughter. She wants to make me feel like my daughter never loved me. There is a special place in Hell for evil like that.

        When the people in this small town and the surrounding areas realize that they have been dealing with complete evil and the devil has made them his bitch then they will be hugging themselves in tiny white jackets while they sit in the corner and hum. Lmao..Lol

        Sent from Outlook Mobile

  11. Joey zane,

    Thank you. I never thought of what he does as an anti depressant. I think that was very, very insightful and gives me a good frame of reference when he picks fights with me which is almost daily.


    No apology necessary, you’re just calling it as you see it and I certainly have no problem with that. Not divorced yet, I’m still working on it.

    And it is good to have emotions. I still struggle with allowing others to see sadness or tears. I know they can be perceived as weakness and trigger aggression. I actually laugh now when he brags about how he’s a robot and doesn’t feel anything because the other half of the times he’s throwing tantrums like a two year old. It’s ridiculous!

    Susie Q,

    What’s butt hurt? I’m curious to know, it sounds like a fun term.

    I’d like to offer a perspective on your sweet son having some traits of his father from what I’ve experienced and I hope it’s taken in the spirit it’s intended (helpful, not harmful.)

    I grew up being told I have my fathers temper and it caused me to be afraid of being angry, that I would become him if I didn’t deny that temper. It took me long to realize, I may have his temper but I do not have his characteristics to bully, intimidate, terrorize, and create fear (unless I’m defending myself or someone else from serious harm). And fearing that temper allowed people to take advantage of me, that fear became a weakness in their eyes to be exploited.

    I don’t think most traits are inherently good or bad, it’s our character that determines if those traits are used for good or bad. Calling him on his behavior is good and necessary but don’t let him think his genetics are like a time bomb waiting to explode like I had thought. It’s a heavy weight and I know you wouldn’t want that for him.

    1. Carolyn,

      Butt hurt is when someone gets attitude about everything. My malignant mommy narc turns everything around so she can somehow find offensive to it and throw a tantrum like a two year old. I think that she especially likes this because she can make everyone walk on eggshells. Didn’t you say that your husband gets angry a lot and throws fits? That is butt hurt.

      I know the power of suggestion. Every toxic person I know uses it. I never tell my son that he acts like his piece of shit father. I just say things like, “It is important for you to realize that other people are smart too. No one wants to be around someone who only thinks of themselves.”

      Sent from Outlook Mobile

    2. picks fights with me which is almost daily. Could you sort of decribe to me in what circumstances he picks these fights. I can only describe my own experience. If you can sort of describe to me what is going on I can I hope Help.
      I have learned a lot from Dr Simon I understand now sort of what whent on with my it mother and grime. Just to say he is not picking fights. I think, He is using OVERT AGGESSION to MANIPULATE YOU. It sounds like it is working. What a bar steward he is ????????????? coconut

      1. I agree that the toxic one love to use overt aggression to get you walking on eggshells to control you. Good advice!!

      2. Joey,

        I don’t know if I can accurately describe the way fights are picked exactly. It can be very sly and usually really small things. And I’m usually deep into them before I realize what’s happening.

        A month ago I erased a small grease board with the word ‘boots’ on it. It had been there for two weeks and ‘boots ‘ took up the whole board. He came home and said, “You erased the grease board.” My reply, “Yes, did you still need it?” He said it was fine. Two hours later, he comes storming in the house into the garage and yells, “You’re not where I put you……You’re never where I put you.” Long story short, he was mad I erased the grease board. Big fight, of course, to figure that out.

        Other times like yesterday, he’ll show me something and ask my opinion and then talk over me when I try to give it or text, or talk to the dog.

        There’s tons if shifting blame, lies, accusations, invitations, guilt and so on. That’s how I found Dr Simon. I found his lust of manipulation tactics. That was very helpful.

        I’ve done a lot of studying to understand his behavior. And I can usually figure out what’s happening after awhile of fighting. I need to get better about stopping it before it starts by not taking the bait. It’s just it never looks like bait. It looks like normal things people do. I think he is highly narcissitic, sees me as an object who should say exactly what he wants me to say, when he wants me to say it. Otherwise, he has no use for me.

        Your thoughts? And what is a bar steward ?????????? coconut. I think I need the British translated. It is Brit slang ,right?

  12. SusieQ,

    I think tantrums and character problems goes together like peas and carrots. Butt hurt, I will remember that.

    What a very healthy way to direct your son to healthier behaviors. You are a good mom.

    1. I think that I grew up with such dysfunction that I learned a lot of what not to do When I was growing up I was always told that I was shy like my dad so I was never assertive. My son is very good with his words and I compliment him on that. I think that he kind of intimidates my parents because he is so young and very intelligent. He took the test for honors in his school and vocal was his top grade.

      Sent from Outlook Mobile

  13. They will attack you and spew a load of bile, insult, abuse, contempt, threats, etc., and then — well, it’s kind of like they had indigestion and the vicious tirade worked like a burp: “There. Now I feel better. Where were we?” They feel better, so they expect you to feel better, too. They will say you are nothing, worthless, and turn around immediately and say that they love you. This loses me to. Logic Not !!!!!!!!

    “I think he is highly narcissitic, sees me as an object who should say exactly what he wants me to say, when he wants me to say it. Otherwise, he has no use for me.”
    You know the answers your self.. Cleaver Lady

    You cannot stop the hostility/aggression. He is disturbed. A broken unit.
    The only thing you can do is leave.

    1. Joey
      I think most of us do have the answer. But we kept trying and trying and trying to fix it We can’t. They don’t want to be fixed. We need to fix ourselves and get away from the abuse.

      1. Lucy,

        I think I’ve finally realized that I’m not really trying to fix him, I’m trying to stabilize the environment in which I live. In order to stabilize the environment I need to address that which is destabilizing the environment which is, of course, him.

        Joey is absolutely correct, broken unit which cannot be stabilized, so a lot of wasted energy.

        1. I am sorry to say that toxic people like drama and upheaval and so what you are doing is feeding into their control of the environment. They will NEVER admit that they need help or that they are not 100% right.

          1. SusieQ,

            I believe you are correct. I’ve certainly noticed that ‘something’s off’ he seems to feel better after a fight. (Joey’s antidepressant observation.)

            Can you explain how it feeds into their CONTROL of the environment? This is an area I’m still not grasping well enough.

          2. I have reads tons of books on the subject so I am happy to help. It all adds to their control of the environment because that are leaving everything off balance. This gives you a feeling like you need to raise your hands and shake your head. When he see a blank look on your face then he has won. He loves to throw many things at you at the same time because your mind is confused and more susceptible to let his bullshit in. The mind of a narc is very unstable and that is probably why we really don’t understand what they are doing. I worked at a place when I first moved here that was a very toxic environment. The manager and the assistant manager loved to keep things in an uproar so no one really felt certain about anything. My malignant mommy narc was also doing her part to add to the confusion. When I went to the manager’s office to listen to their reasoning as to why they told me that they were right about everything and I was imagining everything I usually ended up rolling my eyes. This was important to me because it was signifying to them that I was not buying anything they said and it was not my first rodeo.

    2. Joey,

      You have quite the way with words……yes, emotional burp and then….ahhh, I feel better, now we’re where we, perfectly describes what I’m dealing with daily.

      I accuse him of doing it on purpose, he looks so innocent and confused (most of the time, not always) I think he doesn’t have any idea what he’s doing. It feels right so he does it.

  14. About temper tantrums btw, a great example came to mind.

    A while back there was a comment section long discussion on huge clusterfuck with so-called “victim defenders”(Vera used that term and I think she said she borrowed it from Patricia Evans) enabling people to act as they please, overlooking, excusing and glossing over misbehavior and outright crimes, just because these problem actors happen to belong in a designated victim group.

    These “victim defenders” call themselves social justice warriors. It’s true that many of them are bullying control freaks, who want to impose their terminology on others and shut off genuine dialogue, no matter how little sense their ideology actually makes on further inspection.

    There are also true believers apparently brainwashed into buying into the whole agenda.

    Then there are many “special snowflakes”, who haven’t quite matured emotionally(to say it kindly). What I believe actual survivors of abuse and mistreatment would find very insulting is how these “special snowflakes” tend to get “triggered” when someone presents a sensible counterargument or a different viewpoint. When they “get triggered”(read: resort to temper tantrums), these “special snowflakes” go on to practice “free speech”(without actual merits) to short-circuit the free speech of a dissenting point of view that’s labeled “hate speech”. In addition there are “safe spaces”(read: echo chambers) to enable these people not to mature emotionally.

    If this “triggered” and “safe space” -travesties don’t feel insulting to you, who have had to endure some actually undesirable and nasty stuff, then I’m seriously surprised.

  15. Just a quick vent to address many of the issues that Dr. Simon discusses in this article. We have discussed respect and malignant mommy narc has zero for anyone. We also have discussed spoiled children and she is definitely a HUGE spoiled child. She has not got mental maturity past four! She had a traumatic experience when she was about 2 and I don’t think she ever was told NO after that. Last summer my dad got central air conditioning put in the house and malignant mommy narc did not want it. Her life comment has always been NO ONE IS GOING TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO. (Very anti-social) It was a huge battle last summer and it has already began this year. Mommy narc just turns up the unit whenever she feels like it. My dad just had surgery yesterday and wants to be cool. Malignant mommy narc does not care about or respect anyone else. Omg..
    It will be a long summer.

  16. Hi all,

    Speaking of ‘special snowflakes,’ I’m having another encore of the temper tantrum of the difficult sister-in-law of my difficult husband and would appreciate an opinion from anyone willing to opine.

    Difficult sister-in-law has had temper tantrums, outbursts, and meltdowns since the minute I met her, literally. Long story short, she has not talked to me for 6 years, she will not attend any family event if I am going to be there, I have bowed out of the events because she has a young child and he will miss out on extended family time (and he so rarely gets to interact with his grandparents and uncle.) Obviously, it is causing a lot of strife within his family and they take turns pressuring me to ‘fix’ things.

    The latest excuse she’s using (after the excuses of I cannot allow my child to bear witness to a divorce, I can’t allow my child to get attached to someone who may leave, and, my person favorite, I’m required an apology) is: I’m just following the boundary Charlie put up and never took down (conveniently forgetting there was an established time limit as I needed some space and time to deal with my marriage blowing up and certainly didn’t need her bullying and bible proof texting to me while trying to cope with everything else.) Let’s just say she has very bad boundaries.

    So my knee jerk reaction is to call her and let her know the boundary is down and has been down, apologize for the misunderstanding and that I hope to see her, her husband and her son at the next family event. I actually don’t think anything will change. However, it will A.) take that excuse off the table completely, B.) get my husband and his family to stop pressuring me (maybe), C.) get a little satisfaction in seeing how it (probably) won’t make a difference.

    Thoughts? I know apologies can be viewed as weakness and submission to the character disturbed so I’m considering carefully that which I would normally do easily. I never think it costs me anything to apologize to someone but we know that’s not exactly true with certain people or, per Timothy, the ‘special snowflakes.’

    I think the actual root of the problem is that she has to be in absolute control of everything at all times and I’m extremely difficult for her as I remind her that she has to consider others, their perspective and differences, make an effort to adapt and get along, take turns, respect other beliefs and traditions. In short be decent and show sound character.

    Thanks for anyone willing to give this some thought. I want to be sure I’m not creating a bigger problem. I have more than enough problems on my plate as it is.

    1. Charlie,

      My quick notes for your consideration will be:
      – She hasn’t talked to you for 6 years. And, that is not enough to prevent troubles in your life. Imagine the problem she can create when you get closer.
      – Anyone who tries to pressure you, just tell them back that put pressure where the bad behavior is.
      – If she says she cannot allow her son to bear witness to a divorce… just say fine with me. She is free to bolt with her son the moment she sees you.
      – She says, “I’m just following the boundary…” It seems she is just catasthrophizing what you had asked. Just call it the way you see it, ie. catasthrophizing. Simply state that you don’t mind anyone as long as that person behaves nicely.
      – You say, “nee jerk reaction is to call her and let her know the boundary is down…” That is admitting that you had set unreasonable boundaries, when she is actually making mountain out of mole hill. No need to say anything, except maybe “don’t mind anyone as long as other person behaves nicely”
      You call to let her know that boundaries are no longer there etc etc will A.) just change the excuse on the table B) get your husband and his family to change pressure point C) yawn
      – Sometime it is fine to apologize even though you may not really feel apologetic. I guess, I will do that when I just want to somehow move on, just to get rid of some helicopter off my head permanently. But, I won’t apologize for something that I don’t feel apologetic enough, if I believe that helicopter will always be buzzing on top of my head even after apology.

      “I have bowed out of the events because she has a young child and he will miss out on extended family time…”
      I won’t do that. Just keep your position that you really don’t mind anyone as long as they stay in limit and do not try to trample you.

      “Obviously, it is causing a lot of strife within his family and they take turns pressuring me to ‘fix’ things”
      Get lost. If she cannot let her son see a divorce, blindfold him and then bring him to party. From your side you can assure others that you won’t raise adult issues in front of children. And, best assurance is your past behavior, and you never had any history of raising adult issues in front of children.

      What really matters is that you decide what is right thing to do and just do that. Do not care about the feeling of some manipulative person, their feelings are fake and do not matter. Flying monkeys also do not matter, they are just doing the work for others without understanding what is going on.

      1. Andy D,

        Thanks for taking the time to opine. I found a lot a value from your perspective and input. I think you are correct on reason C.) it is a yawn. I just hate that people think such negative things about me but because that’s what they chose to think, it won’t change. I’ve proven my character time and time again and it hasn’t changed their thinking so far so why would this particular time be any different. Simply stated, it won’t. And you are also correct that it may provide another area of attack re: that my boundary was unreasonable at the start.

        Thanks again for your input, it was very helpful while I consider my options in how to handle this situation.

    2. Hi Charlie,

      It is so sad when people use their children as pawns. That is exactly what is going on here. She knows that you are sweet and will take the emotional development of the child into account much more than she is doing. I don’t think that an apology will do any good. You will apologize and then she will make more drama about another situation to make you look like the bad guy. You are going to look like the bad guy in the eyes on that family regardless of what you do. She is pulling the divorce card because she wants you to stay with her brother and dysfunctional family so they can further abuse you. Remember toxic people hate NO CONTACT because it takes every bit of their power away. She is a really big control person and she loves to play the victim for everyone else. An apology will definitely pump her toxic ego. I feel sorry for her child, the most. It is hard growing up with a malignant mommy narc like that. You can bet she is already trashing on you to her child. Does anyone ever pay attention to you at the family get togethers? I can almost bet you that if they do it is probably for their personal gain. These kind of people are very overt in what they do. They may be doing small things right now that are going to lead up to quite the explosion in a couple of years.

      I feel that I have special insight into this. I have experienced most everything concerning the toxic person so I like to help whenever I can. My psycho sister is quite the piece of work. She loves to get everyone rallied together against me. I can remember one Christmas when my kids and I drove in from another state to spend what I figured to be a wonderful Christmas since I had not gotten together with my family for five years. I was not thinking that they were going to take the opportunity to jump on me at Christmas. I WAS SO WRONG. I had recently gotten divorced so I had no one in my corner. My malignant mommy narc, psycho sister and psycho sister-in-law just went crazy and ganged up on me. For each psycho bitch there was a flying monkey so all together there was six of them AGAINST ME. I found out later that they were all gaslighting and doing other toxic things trying to get me to commit suicide. It was all especially disturbing to me since they were being so cruel in front of the children!! I just played on the computer and did not even pay attention to then. Since I went NO CONTACT they lost all the control. I am sure that they have everything planned out and in their dreams I would get in the car and commit suicide!! Not happening since I have dealt with that crap my whole life. Eventually their little bullying party fizzled out since I did not pay attention to them.

      I forgot to mention that narcs love to ruin any kind of family get together or holiday party because it gives them control. They are really tricky people because they can play the victim but take full control at the same time. I hope this insight helps!!

    3. I’m sorry but I forgot to mention that it is not uncommon for the toxic people to try and guilt trip others with the Bible. It is called spiritual abuse and churches tend to do it a lot. You can always show her in 2 Timothy where the lord talks about in the end times where there will be people who only think about themselves and other narcississtic traits and the best way to deal with these people is to stay away from them. It will probably have no effect on any of them because the do not see themselves as toxic but it will give you a piece of mind. Arguing with a narc is futile and showing them quotes from the Bible does not help either.

    4. I am sorry that I forgot to mention that when someone starts using the Bible to prove how you are being wrong to set boundaries and think for yourself just read 2 Timothy where the Lord talks about in the end times there will be people who exhibit many narc traits and the best thing to do is stay away from them. Showing her the verse will probably do no good since a narc never sees themselves as wrong or needing help. I hope it gives you a piece of mind, though. I know a clear mind is the thing you need right now. When people use the Bible as a way to justify their evil and turn the verses to suit their needs it is called spiritual abuse and it is very common in churches. The devil knows exactly where his demons can do the most damage.

  17. Charlie,

    This is what I have learned with my family…when my mother died I finally cut my sister off. My brother had cut me off many years before…no reason that I know of but I am sure he has one, true or not.

    When I looked at where my marriage was headed…retirement and having to continue to deal with the ex’s tirades, accusations and just plain meanness I bailed. It took a life time to leave these people. Sure I look back a lot and wish that it was not so but I wake in the morning and no one is screaming at me, the cops are not at the door and I know where my money is going.

    Simple. I just stopped playing the game. Like in that movie where the computer tells the human the only way you can win at this game is to not play at all!

    So stop playing the game. Just stop because it is a game to them but you are taking it way beyond what your heart tells you. Trying to make peace with them is just playing their game. They want to see you swinging in the wind as they

    1. Theresa,

      I have got to say that this is very well said. There is so much to say about not living in this nonsense. I can’t wait to get out and actually be able to throw things away. I get to see my malignant momy narc wash plastic sandwich bags. LMAO

    2. Peace is everything. When you don’t have peace life is difficult, for sure. Sometimes the only way to have peace is to leave the toxic situation. Of course, the divorce proceedings bring on a new kind of hell. Some day I will have that peace. Like Theresa says, it’s so nice to not be around the ugliness of a rotten family member/friend.

  18. wallop you again. They get off on seeing you upset and trying to make peace. It just does not work. They are not normal. You must begin to wrap your head around this piece of information. THEY ARE NOT NORMAL. And you cannot change that. Period.

    As far as your husband walking in a picking fights. Just walk away. Do not say one word. It is useless. As soon as you open your mouth he has got what he wants. Communication via argument. That is how he chooses to communicate. Did you see the word “chooses” he is dumping his garbage on you and boy does he feel better after he has done it. This may be crass, however, I will say it anyway.

    These people have a whole lot of shit that they need to dump and what I better receptacle than someone like yourself that does not understand and wishes to make peace.

    They don’t want peace. They want to fight and be the big man, woman etc. No amount of speaking to them rationally is going to change one thing about their behavior.

    They LIKE who they are. They think YOU are the crazy one. They ENJOY seeing your pain! And most of all they LOVE seeing you become crazy. Which just makes them right and you WRONG!

    And you have to be pretty darn sane to become as crazy as they can make you. Read that again. You have to be pretty darn sane to become as crazy as they can make you!

    Stop trying to change them. Change YOU. Stop playing nice nice. Just walk away.

    As my boss told me the other day. NO is a complete sentence.

    Like I said…it took me a life time to figure that out. And I am still a work in progress. I had a lady come to my station at work and remarked that the reason I have so many at my station is because of my really good energy. She stayed in the background and kept watching me…what she was thinking was beyond me since I was demo-ing pizza which is one of our most favored demos. But, hey, I’ll take it.

    So why does my family and my ex see me as a crazy, mixed up neurotic when strangers come up to me and tell me what a nice person I am, how funny I am, what good energy and optimistic I am. Why do some of my co-workers do their best to talk to me like I am some sort of piece of sh@t.

    It is not me. It is THEM. And it took a life time for me to figure that out since I had a really bad habit of hanging around people that treated me just like my family did. Sexual abuse from both my mother and my father, beatings that would have had them in Social Services now and me in a foster home, cutting me off accept for a place to stay and insurance on my car that I paid top price to my mother for at eighteen, starting at the age (15) when I got my first job.

    It is just not that complicated. Gratitude and respect begins at home. Can a parent brainwash a child. Absolutely. I was told I would never amount to anything, my mother would compare her breasts to mine (I know, creepy, huh), even grabbing them when I was 37 to determine how big they were (yea, creepy again). My father liked to discuss the size of his penis. Lord have mercy. Talk about sexualizing your children.

    You get that kind of crap from the cradle to the grave you are going to become one sick puppy. But something happened when I was about 10 that changed all that. I had to hand in a written report on Tanzinia. I had not got a folder for it so on the day I was to hand it in I hurriedly colored the front page with huts and natives and African trees. My teacher absolutely loved it and gave me the job of coloring the black board with my geographic creations.

    Learning that I had a talent for art turned my life around. I had a something that no one could take away from me. My family never understood and thought it was a worthless endeavor. But not me. It made me feel good about myself for the first time in my life. I went to art school…paid for by myself (the family could not say one word since I paid for everything). That saved my life too. Meeting people and having friends that loved the same thing, good people that gave me praise for my work. Another teacher that became my “father” a good, father. He also saved my life. And another teacher in high school, an art teacher, that helped me hone my talents.

    All these teachers that showed me I had something to offer, something to give, and that I was worthy. They taught me respect. Oh, believe me, I did a few real screw ups in my life that how I came out alive is still beyond me. That brainwashing I took as a child and young adult was down in there really deep…and it still rears it head from time to time. But I know when to stop now. To put on the breaks. I really am a wild child at heart and I am beginning to accept that.

    You know what really made me divorce the ex….I had left my art behind because I had developed a tremor in my hands that there were not good medications at the time and I could not paint anymore. But as time passed more meds came out and I found a doctor that was willing to test them all on me. It was all trial and error at the time and there are still little in the way of cure. Well, I got the meds that helped me to function and I decided to take a Saturday painting class. Now I had not painted in 15 years. On the first day of class my ex, then my husband called me during class and wanted to know what he was supposed to have or lunch since I wasn’t there to fix it for him.

    That one phone call changed everything for me. It took another year but I left for good. I stopped trying to please him. The more I tried the more he upped the anti, just set the bar higher to see what I would do to make him happy.

    What did not realize is that he was miserable because he enjoyed being miserable and he enjoyed trying to make me miserable and he succeeded many many times.

    So I hope that I, in some way, answered your questions from the last blog entry from Dr. Simone.

    Remember this, my story is not your story….find your story…start at the beginning and work your way through to this point…you will begin to see a pattern and you must break that old pattern and begin cutting the cloth to make your new and improved pattern.

    With all the love in the world,

    Theresa Maria

    With all the love in the world

    1. The Rose of Battle Author: William Butler Yeats

      Rose of all Roses, Rose of all the world!
      The tall thought-woven sails, that flap unfurled
      Above the tide of hours, throuble the air,
      And God’s bell buoyed to be the water’s care
      While hushed from fear, or loud with hope, a band
      With blown, spray-dabbled hair gather at hand.
      Turn if you may from battles never done,
      I call, as they go by me one by one,
      Danger no refuge holds, and war no peace,
      For him who hears love sing and never cease,
      Beside her clean-swept hearth, her quiet shade:
      But gather all for whom no love hath made
      A woven silence, or but came to cast
      A song into the air, and singing past
      To smile on the pale dawn; and gather you

      Who have sought more than is in rain or dew
      Or in the sun and moon, or on the earth,
      Or sighs amid the wandering, starry mirth,
      Or comes in laughter from the sea’s sad lips;
      And wage God’s battles in the long gray ships.
      The sad, the lonely, the insatiable,
      To these Old Night shall all her mystery tell;
      God’s bell has claimed them by the little cry
      Of their hearts, that may not live nor die.
      Rose of all Roses, Rose of all the World!
      You, too, have come where the dim tides are hurled
      Upon the wharves of sorrow, and heard ring
      The bell that calls us on; the sweet far thing.
      Beauty grown sad with its eternity
      Made you of us, and of the dim gray sea.
      Our long ships loose thought-woven sails and wait,
      For God has bid them share an equal fate;
      And when at last defeated in His wars,
      They have gone down under the same white stars,
      We shall no longer hear the little cry
      Of our sad hearts, that may not live nor die.

      1. Zoey,

        I play a blues song that the refrain is

        A love that cannot live but never dies….

        I will continue to read and know the wisdom of this poem

        From my heart, how did you know I was from a sea faring family long gone now, the tall ships I will go back to

        I also know the tall ships are but a metaphor for that which I find myself in the storm

        Thank you, I will hang on to the ropes and keep the masts from breaking

        Love Love

        Theresa Maria

      2. To All,
        I found this quote 20 years ago, I have shared it on this site at different times.

        I believe that more unhappiness comes form this source than any other – I mean from the attempt to prolong family connections unduly and to make people hang together artificially who would never naturally do so.
        QUOTE by: Samuel Butler

        When I found this quote it validated my rational for having cut off toxic family members years.

        1. I think that is such a wonderful quote. I have discovered in my father’s dysfunctional family that they really don’t like each other but they will defend each other but on the other hand they will talk about each other. I think we have all be raised to believe that our value lies in the strength of our family name. Maybe that is a cultural thing for different parts of the country.. Anyhow many of us forget that we need to be able to call our family our friends.

    2. Theresa,

      This is a horrific story and I am truly sorry you went through it. For sure, you are a wonderful person and you did a great job at turning everything around. I think you used a fantastic word when you emphasized the word CHOOSE. We all choose our path in life and how we are going to act. The toxic ones want to make us feel like they are victims of their childhood and we owe them some debt of gratitude. Usually they want our soul and they want to make us think that we are being selfish if we don’t give it to them. I think you have done a wonderful job with the hand that you were dealt. People choose to treat you like crap because they want to be you. I find that as a great compliment from an evil person!! I have worked in a couple of schools and that was a wonderful story that you told about your teachers. It seems amazing how positive reinforcement works on some individuals and others just see it as a personal weakness inside the one offering the help. I worked as a preschool teacher and some kids were wonderful and others wanted to take every chance they could to make life miserable for others. I often saw their parents and saw exactly where things were coming from. i also worked as an aide on a special needs school but and I often saw this. I can remember one girl in particular that came from a very abusive home in Russia. She had been adopted by a wonderful family that has other adopted children as well. I had to learn the hard way with her. She loved to see who she could take advantage off. I had severely physically disabled kids on the bus, mentally disabled, autistic, down syndrome, and a variety of other disabilities. However, this one girl, was the won who I remember most as being toxic. She was very anti-social and would make herself puke to get control of the situation. She was actually very smart when it came to negative things. I read that when a toxic person goes to therapy it is because they want to get more ideas. I think that is what she did since she has been in counseling for about 5 years. She was a beautiful person and gave me hugs but just took every opportunity to keep in control.

      I have kind of a silly story. Since I have come down her with my parents to live for a while I spend a lot of times with the animals. A animal does not really care about stupid gossip. They all love me for me. My malignant mommy narc gets so jealous too and I think it is great so that is a driving force for me. I buy toys for the dogs and play with them and they get so excited when they know it is time to play.. I buy treats for the cat and sit and pet her for hours. I also buy treats for the horses and brush them and water them. My dad has a horse that he uses for roping and her name is Peggy, My dad bought her when she was very young and she has been around him since. I think she is very spoiled and probably the only animal on this property that doesn’t show any kind of affection. I went outside to take care of the horse today and I brushed one of and gave him treats and then I went over to the next corral to take care of Peggy. She does not let anyone get close to her and she runs and kicks if you try. I took the treats over to her gate and offered them to her. She refused to get near and just threw her head up and walked away. As soon as i started walking away she started following me and begging for the treats. I was not going to fall for it and I am not going to beg her to eat the treats from me. A toxic horse?? I don’t really know. Maybe she has just grown up with my dad and her spoiled selfishness is a learned behavior.

      Oh my goodness, did it bring back memories for me when you mentioned that your mother loved to compare boobs with you. When I started growing boobs at around eleven my mother acted like she did not know what was happening. She took me over to her best friend’s house (a narc too) and jerked up my shirt and started feeling me up. She grabbed my areolas between her fingers and rubbed them. I pulled down my shirt and started walking for the door. She yelled out, “Get your ass back here because Janice (the toxic friend) doesn’t care. I cared but I had been groomed my whole life to think that setting personal boundaries was selfish. My dad never talked about his penis, however. I think they wanted to keep your desensitized so you would not think twice about your horrible abuse. I have seen my psycho ex do that do his son. He got him a very violent video game when he was about eight. He pretended like he didn’t know what I was talking about when I said that my son could not play the very violent video game. The psycho just wanted him to get used to violence so he would not know to tell me when things got crazy.

      Long long story!! I have too many words and too little time that is for sure. I just wanted you to know that you are a beautiful flower that has bloomed from horrible adversity. I really believe we are earth angels.

      I just come across the worst psychos who have chosen to learn tricks from their abusers and pass the abuse on. I know my psycho ex husband was molested as a child and has chosen to be a pedophile. I think he is probably into child porn also. He set out to ruin as many lives as possible. My malignant mommy narc suffered horrible abuse from her dysfunctional family and my psycho sister also grew up in a household void of love but set out to make others commit suicide. I know she brags about a lady from work that she mentally screwed up and then used the power of suggestion to push her over the edge. She has been trying for several years to get me to commit suicide. I just know her tricks. My daughter’s death was very unexpected and I still have questions about it but I know that malignant mommy narc and psycho sister were screwing her around mentally. I wonder what makes some people choose good and some choose evil. Any ideas?

    3. Teresa Marie,
      So well said, I could mirror my life after you!

      Hugs and Many Blessings Kindred Spirit

  19. TeresaK,

    Thank you sharing your story with me so that I may learn something from your experiences. You story is horrible and “creepy” and is a testament to your strength and character to rise above such difficulties to become the kind, caring, and positive person you are. I wasn’t kidding when I said earlier this week that “you are my hero.”

    I have been thinking carefully about the disagreement from earlier concerning your response to the shitbag neighbor’s lack of response to your apology and I think that issue dovetails nicely with all the wisdom that you had impart to me.

    I study animal behavior and animal training and a large part of that studying involves Operant and Classical Conditioning. As all animals including humans learn through Operant and Classical Conditioning, understanding our past experiences and what we’ve learned through those experiences is important and essential.

    Your history and your experiences through Operant Conditioning should have (and probably did at one time) Classically Condition you to quietly accept the demeaning silence of your shitbag neighbor. When faced with the feelings of worthlessness and helplessness (at least that’s how I would have felt had I been in your position), you automatically, without much or any conscious thought (showing Classical Conditioning) defended yourself against the disempowerment said shitbag neighbor wanted you to feel. In that moment, you demonstrated all the hard work and effort you’ve put into changing a lifetime of habits and operant conditioning (I.e. Brainwashing) by the difficult and disturbed people in your life. That is an amazing accomplishment. You should be proud of yourself and remember every time you look in the mirror you are a person of sound character, integrity, strength and determination.

    I believe that you will always remember that moment as evidence of the turning point in your life as I know I will as I work to change my Classically Conditioned responses from my lifetime.

    Thank you again for sharing your wisdom, knowledge and experiences with me. You are a good person, Theresa Maria.

  20. “Stop trying to change them. Change YOU. Stop playing nice nice. Just walk away.”

    I love that . . . . .

  21. SusieQ,

    Regarding, “I took the treats over to her gate and offered them to her. She refused to get near and just threw her head up and walked away. As soon as i started walking away she started following me and begging for the treats. I was not going to fall for it and I am not going to beg her to eat the treats from me. A toxic horse?? I don’t really know. Maybe she has just grown up with my dad and her spoiled selfishness is a learned behavior.”

    I don’t think she is toxic, selfish or spoiled. My guess is that you are correct it is a learned behavior from your Dad. Animals do not respond well to aggression and manipulation (they lack the capacity to conjure excuses for unacceptable behavior, it’s either ok or not ok.). I’m guessing your Dad has manipulated her plenty through food. When you walked away at her refusal you became ‘safe’ as you weren’t going to use the food to do something she didn’t want done to her.

    It is really sad when I see animals refuse something that should be pleasurable to them because it represents something unpleasant. If you would work with her, I expect you would find she’s an affectionate companion.

    1. I know that I grew up being manipulated and brainwashed and I am sure she is too. We have been here for almost two years and she is just not a nice horse. She like to fight with the others. I put a halter on the gelding a few weekends ago and led him through her pin to take him to the grass so I could give him a bath. I gave him a bath and then walked him to dry him off and then brushed him again to make sure he was completely dry. He was so happy!! When I was finished I went to open up the gate to Peggy’s pen and my dad had to go in there to keep Peggy from fighting with him. It is almost like she does not know how to show love or be loved. The only reason I say that is because when I was young I had the same problem. However, I will keep working with her.

      1. SusieQ,

        Jealousy and resentment are not exclusively human emotions. I have been truly amazed by the capacity and willingness of some of the animals I’ve worked with to overcome their fears, anxieties, resentment and distrust to bond and build a relationship. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to observe the freedom and peace it brings them. I’ve learned some of my most important life lessons from animals and certainly had some of my best relationships with animals. I never count an animal out until or unless it wants to physically harm or destroy me.

        1. My dad has an Australian Shepherd and he is one of the most sensitive and intelligence dogs I have ever met. He loves to play and he follows me around like I am his Alpha. I had some people come to the gate once and the dog just came over and sat on my feet between me and the strangers!! Love him!!

          Sent from Outlook Mobile

    2. Charlie
      Theresa Marie, gave you excellent advice, she has lived it and knows. I never engaged with the CDN and it only enraged him more. Listen very closely to what he says because much of it is an indicator of his thoughts and what he may do. If you can start journaling, you may find this very helpful in the future when you need to validate your reality.

      One thing you may what to try is when he starts in – say “Wait a Minute, I want to get a pen and paper so I can write down everything so I don’t get it wrong.” See if his attitude changes or this shuts him up for awhile. Would be interested in his response.

      1. BTOV,

        That is good advice about seeing how he would react to writing things down.

        I’ve taken a different tact this week that has been pretty impactful but I’m not ready to discuss it yet. It’s probably not very dramatic to all of you but it is to me and I need some time to contemplate.

        I’m glad for you that your sister is stabilized. Best wishes and thoughts.

      2. The pad and pencil – I did that once with the STBX when I found evidence of his “extracurricular activities’. I imitated what my counselor had done in sessions. I would ask a question, then other questions, then go back to a previous one to see if I got the same answer. Then I’d go over his answers repeatedly. We sat at opposite ends of the long table. I told him to Sit Down! And this is a man that answers to no one, but he sat his dirty self down. I don’t know how I got the control but I did somehow. Maybe because he was caught and was willing to sit down to lie his way out of it. He knew, this being the Second Time with evidence, that if he didn’t clear himself that that would be it with “us”, that I’d divorce him. So that precipitated the filing of divorce. I was glad, really. It gave me the easy out. I could quit trying to fix a crappy marriage and could just finally walk away without regrets. I keep saying this – but I wish it had happened much sooner.

  22. Charlie,

    And all…so many think that walking away is the cowards way out. Oh, NO!

    One must pick their battles. Walking away may be the most powerful of statements. “your BS no longer makes me want to be with you so I am leaving you and your unacceptable behavior”
    that is why saying NO! and walking away, as far as you have to go…because they will either follow, screaming new things to get your goat! or make such a ruckus, like having a major hissy fit and break a few of your most precious items.

    Yea, been there done that,

    that walking away is the most strong response to their sales job for the moment. Sales Job AKA Bullshit that is telling you you are a worthless person and they only stay with you because (fill in the blank).


    I appreciate your studies in behavior. This is a good thing. One must find their answers of their stories where ever they are most comfortable. It is a very fragile thing to look to the past and find where one has been lied to by those that “loved” them. Find your truth. Find the pattern. Look inside you and accept that you will feel all the feelings that were not allowed you a very long time ago. During that time….to deal with your spouse….just say NO and leave the room. No more talking. No more arguing, no more trying to understand.

    You will understand at some point, but you are in the eye of the storm, keep to a quiet NO and walk. Watch his reaction. It will be precious beyond compare.


    About this breast thing…not all mom’s want a girl to grow up and be a cute good looking woman. As the mother ages, the child begins to become a new, vibrant, YOUNG woman. I think that all mothers go through that time, but it can be a good time to accept that one has put the best of ourselves into our children and let it go. Some do not and it can get very very creepy. To put it mildly.

    My mother kissed me in ways that were not acceptable. I just did not know what to do since I was so used to her doing things that I could not wrap my head around sexually with her.

    So with my father.

    And the beatings were so very sexual with all we children. She refused to stop until she was so tired, no matter how we begged….the belt…the naked bodies. Begging for her to stop. And then to go to school, trying to hide the bruises and the dark welts. the nuns just turned their eyes.

    I am sorry. This must be horrific to hear. I hope you understand that I need to put this here. And no, even now, how angry I feel. But Thank You God…it does not stay long.

    I am grateful that I have this place to speak and that it helps to open up a dialogue that we women just don’t talk about.

    The competition between mother and daughter and how it can become very very sick. The mother one up until it is assured that the child is an adult with children of her own…and there are more than a few do not take to being a grandmother lightly. Especially when their life did not turn out the way they wanted.

    So who’s did!

    But I am off on a tangent…I could not have children. So that puts me another place around women of my age. I find it hard to see women of my age with the only thing they have is their grandkids…and the grandkids and the family just are not that interested except to use granny as the unpaid babysitter.

    I am grateful Suzie, that you had the courage to bring this out about mothers and the competition. I hope we might explore this dark realm more in future. I know I will and I hope you respond.

    Sadly, it this happened once it happened other times. This is a place that we can talk.

    Love Love, Theresa Maria

    BTOV, you are going through a bad time, What a person decides for themselves, well, it may be wrong it may be right for them, our lives are our own love to you, and many holding of hands

    With all the love I can give,

    Theresa Maria

    1. Theresa,

      The narcississtic mother is like no other. She was jealous of me from day one. I was the scapegoat child of an unwanted pregnancy. My mother is a pastor’s daughter so it cast a very dark light on her and I was always held accountable for that. I know that my father loves babies and my mom sensed that I was a threat. She has always lied to everyone about me and I know that my mom has so many sexual hang ups because every lie she tells about me has some kind of sexual dysfunction. Recently, her lie about me was that I was a hooker and living in my car while ignoring my kids! Omg, how insane! What is really sad is that some people actually believe the crap. I have adopted a zero tolerance policy for flying monkeys and those people are not considered friends. I figure if they can be persuaded to do evil and believe crap then they can not be trusted and I don’t want them around. I blocked out a lot of my childhood. I know that I was very sexually at a young age so there probably was something I missed. I know that mommy narc would just go off and leave us with whoever.

      I think that we are telling others in the hope that they are helped somehow but I also think that we are helping ourselves tremendously. It is quite a win win situation. I will listen intently and participate in any conversation that you need to share. That is one of the greatest things about this sight because most people do not understand or even want to listen to this kind of thing. i know that most people think I am a whiner or I should just pull up my big girl panties!! I think that those kinds of people need to unlock their closed minds. This kind of horror story isn’t just in Hollywood.

    2. Theresa, Marie,
      You have said so many things, so very courageous, you speak my story too.
      My sis is stable, I think she will pull through, another time.
      All have said so much today, thank you for sharing.

      1. Yes Theresa,

        I also second that. We all benefit so much for being here. Thx.

        Sent from Outlook Mobile

  23. Well, it was not easy to say what I said….it opens up grief again for me but to have others open also, then it is more than worth it.

    I am very tired by all this but I think I will sleep well tonight.


  24. Theresa and Susie

    That was a lot of painful revealing. I’m without words. You are some brave and resilient women. You’ve both got a lot to offer helping us others deal with the CDs in our life.
    You both rest well tonight!

  25. Hi, all,

    In keeping with Dr. Simon’s topic this week, I would like to express how humbled and how grateful I am that I’ve found this place where I can express my struggles, my pain and my perspectives with others who are so honest and so open with their struggles, their pain and their perspectives.

    This is a good place, a healing place and I have already seen differences in myself just by taking part in our conversations. We are all going to be ok. With the support and acceptance and knowledge we provide for each other, how could we be anything else.

    1. I feel so much love and hope from this forum. I have tried other forums but never feel the connection. I think somehow it makes the pain a little more tolerable is we can lift each other up. Strong people always get stronger by helping.

      Sent from Outlook Mobile

      1. SusieQ,

        Absolutely 100% Agree!

        Abuse in all its forms can only happen in isolation. Isolation is the only way unacceptable behavior can ever appear normal.

        1. In my hometown we were out in the middle of nowhere and my parents were always very controlling and never let us do much. That was my first bit of isolation that kept the abuse going. When I hooked up with my psycho he wanted to isolate me and he tried his very best to convince me to get a new job. Thank goodness I didn’t fall hard for him and didn’t do it.

          Sent from Outlook Mobile

  26. To All,

    I also have healed from participating in this forum. We all understand each other. That’s certainly a plus. And we accept each other – regardless of the crap we’ve struggled through and how we are each trying to handle our situations.

    As I side note – I think I have realized through the years that I do have a special gift. People who don’t normally open up and talk about intimate/embarrassing/personal topics have always seemed to open up to me. I think by accepting a person as they are and not shaming or belittling or most of all JUDGING one can take one a long way in communications and revealing.

    Being in this forum has made a huge difference in how I relate to my friends now. When once I felt the need to vomit out all of my frustrations to a few friends I can now let it out on this forum and get some good advice along with it. A calmness has taken over the agitation (well I still am agitated at times, many times) but now I do have more calm in between.

    Thank you Dr. Simon for sharing this forum.

    1. Oh my goodness, me too. I have just gotten to the point where I don’t even talk to people because malignant mommy narc has fixed it where all of her little flying monkeys report back to her. My life is not her business and then of course she turns everything around to stab me in the back. I think it it very nice to find people who have gone through similar struggles and can relate.

      Sent from Outlook Mobile

      1. Otto Kernberg, Severe Personality Disorders. Page 193:

        “People with narcissistic personalities tend to be inordinately envious of other people, to idealize some people, from whom they expect narcissistic supplies, and to depreciate and treat with contempt those from whom they do not expect anything (often their former idols). Their relations with others are frequently exploitative and parasitic. Beneath a surface that is often charming and engaging, one senses coldness and ruthlessness. They typically feel restless and bored when no new source feeds their self-regard. Because of their great need for tribute and adoration from others, they are often considered to be excessively dependent. But they are, in fact, unable to depend on anyone because of a deep underlying distrust and devaluation of others and an unconscious ‘spoiling’ of what they receive related to conflicts about unconscious envy.”

          1. “People with narcissistic personalities tend to be inordinately envious of other people

            a)They may think that they are perfect. It is impossible to have everything in life. e.g. A strong charecter, good looks, youth, a loving family. So they are DEEPLY ENVIOUS

            To idealize some people, from whom they expect narcissistic supplies

            a)They tend to have loyalty to some people that provide them with the attention they need. Loyalty is what the difference can be from a psychopath

            And to depreciate and treat with contempt those from whom they do not expect anything (often their former idols).

            a)They resentful of anyone who does not give them what they want They HATE TO LOOSE

            Their relations with others are frequently exploitative and parasitic

            a)They use and exploit other without any remorse or concern for the other needs or life.

            Beneath a surface that is often charming and engaging,

            a)They are manipulative

            One senses coldness and ruthlessness.

            a)Listen to your GUT FEELING

            They typically feel restless and bored when no new source feeds their self-regard.

            a)Their world starts to break down if they do not receive the attention/information they need to maintain their grandiose view of them selves

            Because of their great need for tribute and adoration from others, they are often considered to be excessively dependent. But they are, in fact, unable to depend on anyone because of a deep underlying distrust and devaluation of others and an unconscious ‘spoiling’ of what they receive related to conflicts about Unconscious envy.

            a)Because they are SO ENVIOUS they cannot depend on anyone. It is power, position they hate to loose Their envy is something they are not aware of. I AM NOT SO SURE

            If I am wrong, in my description, I am sorry. I did my best to make it easier to understand

          2. Lucy,

            My take will be…

            I guess it is rooted in: “I want to feel good, but I only feel good if you praise me.”
            This will explain the convoluted stuff:
            – envious, because deep down I know you are better
            – idealize, because I think you are equal or better, and more importantly you praise me
            – contempt, because you no longer praise me, or I know your shortcomings and they make you unworthy of me
            – restless and bored, because no one has praised me in a long while (few days in calendar)
            – dependent, because I need others to praise me
            – unable to depend, psychological resistance to acknowledge the need for others to praise me.

            More notes…

            Paragraph is traditional psychological explanation that is geared toward explaining the old-style narcissist (false mask to compensate for deep seated inadequacy).

            As Dr. Simon states that narcissim can exists at both end of spectrum. At the more common and troublesome category, character disturbed narcissism is simple belief of superiority. And, we have grandiose narcissist. Whereas the uncommon variant of narcissism is rooted in deep neurosis, someone exuding false self to compensate for deep seated inadequacy. And, we have a neurotic narcissist.

            For the first type, i.e. grandiose narcissist, this paragraph is not applicable. Almost everyone knows this breed of narcissists, that lacks conscience, empathy, and doesn’t really care about other. For them, other people are merely object that can be used. This type won’t idealize anyone, at best they will acknowledge an assertive personality and treat them in relatively equal terms. This type knows the human psychology quite well and use that knowledge to his advantage. This knowledge also reinforces their belief is supiority over “mere humans”.

            For the second type, narcissim rooted in neurosis, most of the explanation are straightforward, if you consider narcissim as psychological defense mechanism.

          3. Thanks Andy,

            This says it all. Now that my daughter is dead my malignant mommy narc has moved on to my niece. I feel so sorry that this is happening. Malignant mommy narc definitely sees her as someone to be used.

            Sent from Outlook Mobile

        1. I can try:

          If a narcissistic individual sees a person, who he can use to further his(or her, but let’s say ‘his’ for now) goals or agenda, in other words sees someone as a pot of gold, he aims to win them over. If he can’t get the pot of gold honestly, he goes for it underhandedly.

          When socially people build up credit with each other, a narcissistic enough individual may 1)try to trick effortless respect and credit for himself 2)give some assent to help himself and do some legwork to seem credible 3)discredit others, who could possibly and potentially “lessen his status”. He wants to be seen as the top dog, without sharing the spotlight with anyone. If he’s skillful and malicious enough, he can ‘divide and conquer’, have competitors and possible sources of ‘troublesome’ information clash with and eliminate each other as well as have helpers do much of the dirty work for him.

          Because he’s so mercenary, he expects that others can be mercenary, too.

          1. Thanks anchor giving itnyournbdstnto explain this town that’s a lot of information. I am grasping it.

          2. Joey himself clarified, too, as did Andy.

            I tried explaining it with my own words, the idea still the same. Not saying it doesn’t have downsides(like more room for personal bias), but that’s how I feel natural saying things.

            And that’s how I’ve thought about some wheeler dealers I’ve met, who casually just go on with their game while thinking of some line to use as a tool.

            Not sure what you’re saying, Lucy, but okay?

          3. Joey, Timothy, Andy,

            Haha. That came out like gibergaber. Thanks for giving it your best to explain it to me. That is a lot of information and I am grasping it. Yes I’m okay. Just need to proofread when typing on my phone.

  27. Thank you,

    I will sleep tonight. Why, because we have all started to tell. And yes, lets just tell our stories.

    Love Love and Love again

    the dog is having dream…she barks and whimpers and does what we do

    I just call her name and a very lovely thing happens..she stops. And continues to sleep.

    To feel safe. Calling a name when you are in a nightmare or a dream that is not a nice dream.

    Love love, sleep peacefully tonight. You are not alone.

    1. The Good Night Song

      As the day into the night fades,
      Your worries too find a better place.
      Let the stars shower you hope,
      And give you the strength to cope.
      Night is the time your mind and body sleeps,
      For a brand new day that simply leaps.

  28. joey,

    your heart is so soft, kind and knowing.

    If you dream tonight and your dream is hard…know that I will call your name and you will quiet and sleep.

    Love and love again,

    Theresa Maria

    Now, it is my time for my body mind and soul to sleep.

  29. I found this:

    Understanding the relationship between narcissism and envy may provide some insight into sudden outbursts of aggressive behavior. Narcissism has long been associated with envy in the field of psychology, but an Iowa State study provides new evidence about that connection.

    Zlatan Krizan, assistant professor of psychology at Iowa State University, said his research shows most narcissists, because of their inflated sense of superiority, are not likely to feel envy.

    “They really buy into their own fantasy,” Krizan said. “If you think you’re the greatest, it makes sense that you wouldn’t envy others because everybody is beneath you, so there’s nothing to envy. It’s really the vulnerability that predicts envy and it predicts it very, very strongly.”

    The study, published in the Journal of Personality, disputes existing theories that suggest envy is a core characteristic for those who are self-absorbed, arrogant and exploitive. Krizan said his work helps to better define the different dimensions of narcissism — what psychologists refer to as grandiose and vulnerable narcissism. Those who are more vulnerable show stronger feelings of envy.

    “Narcissism is a more multi-faceted construct than we believe,” Krizan said. “I think that’s an important point, because this public image of narcissism that most people have of this grandiose, dramatic individual is only one side of the coin.”

    Krizan and Omesh Johar, a graduate student at Iowa State, surveyed nearly 200 undergraduate students and more than 150 adults to identify their feelings of envy and the frequency. Those identified as vulnerable had low self-esteem, were often distraught, anxious and depressed.

    “These individuals still think they’re special, entitled, and they want to be great, but they just can’t do it,” Krizan said. “As a result they’re vulnerable, their self-esteem fluctuates a lot, they tend to be self-conscious and not very proactive, but passive, shy, and introverted.”

    When the feeling of envy is added to the mix, Krizan said it can be a potentially dangerous combination. Though vulnerable narcissists are not as overt in their behavior, they may be more prone to unexpected outbursts of aggression.

    “It’s these vulnerable individuals who are in some sense more worrisome because they are quiet, sort of festering in anger out there in a corner. And it’s just a matter of time before they get frustrated and lash out and verbally assault somebody, maybe even an innocent party, because of some provocation that they felt,” Krizan said.

    This becomes a concern when that anger turns to violence. Krizan said the Columbine school shooting in 1999 is an example in which narcissism and envy were possible motivating factors. He points to the videotapes left behind by the two shooters as evidence.

    “If you look at evidence that is often left over, in Columbine for example you had those videos, these shooting escapades seem to be a kind of power grab by these individuals,” Krizan said. “The tapes are also narratives, in which they are the person taking control, they’re the one in charge and they will determine how things will go.”

    It is important to note that there is always a combination of factors that contribute to the violence in these extreme cases. However, Krizan said understanding how envy and narcissism are related will help in the diagnosis and definition of narcissistic personality disorder and its antisocial consequences.

    1. It would help a lot if you found the link.

      In any case, that’s interesting and thank you for sharing this, Joey.

    2. joey,

      You are into research now. 🙂

      I guess envy is closely related to narcissist. But, not as root of narcissism but as a side effect that a narcissist feels when he meets someone who he may perceive to be better. Like what, a person proud of his looks will feel when he meets someone better looking, a person proud of his money will feel when he meets someone with more money.

      Above is just a common sense understanding based on dictionary definition of envy. Psychologists are known to use twisted meaning of common words.

    3. I don’t think envy itself makes anyone a narcissist.

      Another thing: I don’t remember where this was, but I remember seeing a post by Dr Simon himself saying that narcissists are hypersensitive to criticism.

      So, I try to get this straight now, bear with me. While an abused person can be hypersensitive to innocent comments, it’s different in connection to other indicators from someone, who takes slight in not being unconditionally admired or someone else calling out the one-upmanship game.

      (Yes, I really love emphasizing. I know.)

      So hypersensitivity to criticism itself can’t be considered in a vacuum, but in connection to other things?

        1. I just read the article and need some time to digest it. Also it’s much easier to reply on a computer keyboard than this phone – Thanks Timothy. That was interesting.

          1. Lucy
            Not all people who are envious are narcissists but the consensus is all Narcissists are envious. That is for a few that are outside of the box. Remember all MD do not agree that is why so many study, they all have their opinions. The person least knowledgeable always seems to come up with the most gobbledegook. Every N I ever knew is raging with envy even if they won’t admit it. What do you think drives them, their fuel is envy.

            Don’t ever think that he isn’t jealous of you another word for envy, you elicit every decent quality the CDN has lacking and you just pulled the last shred of decency from under his feet. How much of a coward he is remains to be seen. I think he’s enjoying the game at this point.

        1. While it doesn’t do much to base my opinion of Dorner on a few articles and little more, I don’t believe Dorner was a narcissist. I’m not sure whether he could be called paranoid, either. It would seem he possessed a sense of justice and willing to fight for righteousness. Those qualities didn’t prevent him from going down a destructive path.

          Dorner reported a colleague for mistreatment of a suspect. The suspect couldn’t give a coherent hearing, apparently because of the beating given. Thus Dorner’s good intention’s would seem to have been turned against him by scheming.

          I find it believable that Dorner collected injusties along the way and those served as building blocks to his belief that going on a rampage was a reasonable response. Being on the receiving end of covert-aggressive game-playing was the catalyst.

          Or should Christopher Dorner be seen as a different kind of problem character? I wouldn’t lump him in with Anders Breiviks of the world.

          A person doesn’t need to be a toxic personality type per se. Twisted beliefs can form in so many ways, even under good intentions.

          1. Andy,

            I think if you read more closely you see I’m not saying Dorner’s wound-collecting was healthy.

            Many of us don’t go on a rampage even after being the target of scheming.

            Yes, they may be two different mindsets, someone who simply blames everyone and anyone else and someone who really believes they’re the victim and feels like a victim after brooding on every injustice(or “injustice”) along the way. Neither are healthy, though. Both can have destructive consequences. Unhealthy thinking can come in any shape, form or guise and have any content.

            Just because narcissistic and aggressive types are the most commonly discussed types here doesn’t mean every person is so clear-cut(the continuum!). That doesn’t mean condoning what they do. No one has claimed that anyone needs to clearly be a narcissist to be a source of potential trouble.

          2. What about, Andy, you take a look at the second Dorner -article (by Izy Kalman) and actually dissect it, see what you agree and don’t agree with in it?

            And do it using the concepts taught on this site without leaning solely on them and without discarding them – yet still writing in your own words as much as possible?

            How about it, Andy? 🙂

          3. Timothy,

            While I don’t believe you are condoning in any way Dorner’s actions or behavior, I do believe you are caught up in the ideas and ideals of the author on the article claiming he was an American hero and his actions were reasonable but exaggerated result of being simply a victim.

            The author of that article can only be described as irresponsible at best and a disturbed character at worst. He twisted facts and logic to suit his theory versus creating a theory out of facts and logic.

            I speak from experience as my husband thinks and processes exactly like Dorner. My husband is a decorated, high ranking military officer and considered by most to be a war hero, he is also a successful mid level manager/leader in a large national company. He sees himself as a bully against all bullies. He is very functional.

            Regardless of the precise label, Dorner’s behavior is anti-social and will have qualities that overlap within that cluster of DSM behaviors. Dorner is not submitting to authority and supporting pro social behaviors, he BECAME the authority and appointed himself the judge, jury and executioner of those who did not follow his HIS social values. (I see strong correlations to how Hitler arrived at his place in life – he was also the victim of an abusive father and at one time considered a national hero but I don’t see the author justifying Hitler’s victim based behaviors.)

            I think psychiatry and psychology is currently failing us (no offense or comparison to Dr. Simon intended or implied) with its rigid, myopic, and linear black or white view of human behavior. The day before Dorner’s murder spree, he would be been considered a functional ordered personality with a few ‘issues’ and the day after he was dysfunctional with a personality disorder. That’s the equivalent of a doctor denying a patient’s heart disease until after the heart attack.

            Human behavior cannot be expected to fit neatly within a box with a numbered checklist providing accurate diagnosis. That completely disregards the individuality of people through genetics (nature), life experiences (nurture), and the plasticity of the brain. The inability to identify mental illness by mental health professionals is harming society by degrading the social values of society.

            If Christopher Dorner was a model to society the day before his murder spree (and for some even the day after) how much does that skew the perspective of what’s healthy, normal and pro social behavior? Where does that pendulum stop?

          4. Carolyn (or do you prefer Charlie) I think this is very well said. I don’t know why your posts come through as Carolyn and others as Charlie. I think Linda comes through to others as Lucy. I am not sure why but which do you prefer?

          5. Timothy,

            Here you go. It is not as articulate as what Charlie wrote, but it is definitely an attempt at dissection… not a report quality, but here it is anyways 🙂

            Author: Izzy Kalman. Resilience to Bullying
            That article from Izzy Kalman who is school psychologist with specialization in bullying. Alert: This article can be very myopic view, depending upon how well author has factored in different perspective.

            “Los Angeles Police Officer Christopher Dorner… it is only because of Dorner’s unfortunate choice of targets. He killed the daughter of his defense attorney and her fiancé. Had he only targeted those who directly betrayed him, more people would feel comfortable calling him a hero.”
            This sounds too dramatic. A 15 days action movie? Danger ahead, be careful with this article. Does author realize what he is writing?

            “He was a law enforcement officer and an ardent advocate for gun control!”
            Now that is author twisting things out of context. Check the manifesto, it contains a note pointing out how easy it was to get access to “Class III” weapons. He pointed out these things as flaws in the system, and his endorsement for better gun control. Calling him “ardent advocate” is too much. Again over-dramatization, especially if we factor in that Dorner is actually making excuses for murders in his manifesto.

            “The real cause of violence. That people in Dorner’s position kill in response to being bullied should not surprise us.”
            Victim can and do resort to violence, but it is likely to be impulsive violence. A well-thought out violence, is plain and simple aggression.
            Now, coming to victimization as manipulative tactic. A killer projecting himself as victim, is excuse making. All serial-killers, mass-murderers did claim victimization. And, they all also lacked empathy. And, speaking of empathy, Donner started his killing from people that were not even in his kill list!

            I think author is making very casual conversation to promote his myopic view. That article is not worth dwelling upon. It can be read once to get a glimpse of a perspective, but nothing more.
            Article is essentially appealing to bleeding hearts to come out in support of author’s agenda.

            Just going by the actions, Dorner made a kill list of 40+ people, and he had all the intention to carry out them. And, he killed people outside the list, daughter of defense attorney, and her fiance. Dorner may not have been first aggressor, but he definitely had tendency to use disproportionate retaliation. And, he never accepted socially acceptable norm for defending himself by more sensible means. He had high degree of all or none thinking. He had very high degree of self-righteousness, but not so high that he even tried to run away to Mexico. Self-righteousness when killing, poof-righteousness when trying to escape, that is not a good sign.

            You cannot trust his (Dorner) manifest. You cannot trust his version of story. You cannot trust the person (author) who is twisting everything to his own agenda.

            Dorner was anti-social at minimum. And, he had sufficient narcissistic tendencies. Check his manifesto he states, “… I didn’t need the US Navy to instill Honor, Courage, and Commitment in me but I thank them for re-enforcing it. It’s in my DNA.”
            I think his DNA did not mind any degree of retaliation against his definition of insult/injury.

            Lack of empathy + anti-social + narcissim + aggression, is a dangerous combination. He may have been wronged by dismissal, but his excessive retaliation made him a ticking time-bomb. Had he been able to isolate his targets on an island, Dorner would have been far more lethal than Breivik. Dorner story was unlikely to end nicely, no matter what. At minimum he would have created hell for his wife, children.

          6. I should understand why you think I’m caught up in that. But then again, I did give two different viewpoints. And I’m not discounting the possibility I may have missed some things.

            But you responded to the challenge, Charlie, so thanks for giving your perspective.

            I’ve read some other articles by Izzy Kalman. I think that his model of challenging the so-called “pro-victim/anti-bully paradigm” 1)has limited application at best 2)is misleading at worst.

            For all I know, Kalman may actually believe in his own perspective, however distorted it may be. That would make it more problematic like with any perspective that is seriously flawed. Unfortunately what makes it easy for beliefs and thinking patterns, including unhealthy and dysfunctional ones, to be self-reinforcing is the natural human tendency for bias.

            We’re supposed to believe that Kalman’s trying to be more objective by going “beyond” the “dualistic “evil bully/innocent victim” model of human personality and dynamics”, supported by his claim that his article “is not a justification of the reprehesible actions of Mr. Dorner”.

            If “sociopathic bullies – are rare” – then that still leaves many other kinds of problem people. In response to Andy, btw, a “problem person” can, in my view, mean someone with a character or/and personality disturbance or disorder. Both of those can range from relatively mild/subclinical to severely pathological. That leaves a lot more room IMO. However, “character disorder” and “personality disorder” are more precise in the sense.

            I don’t believe what Kalman asserts that “Most intentional violence is committed not by people who feel like bullies but by people who feel like victims”. Not most of it, anyway. Not all violence has the same goals, either, but much of it, like covertly aggressive game-playing and plenty of overtly aggressive behavior, too, is goal-driven. But saying that “We all become sociopathic when we feel victimized” and “Our conscience gets flushed down the toilet” is quite an over-the-top exaggeration.

            It’s one thing when a target of abuse or bullying snaps or decides enough is enough and injures or kills a tormentor. There’s a difference, though, between being a genuine victim of something and having a victim mentality.

            I do believe that there are people, who carry the so-called victim badge and wound-collecting mentality. The problem with that and the difference from a survivor mentality should be clearer in another link I’m going to give soon. Those people, too, can cause social trouble by griping to right people and rallying them against “oppressors”. It seems that people do like to team up against a monster, whether the “monster” really is that in actuality and whether it works or not. Where to locate a person, who actually identifies as a victim on the neurosis-character disturbance -continuum is another matter. Perhaps some of you have known these people, too. They just don’t let go of anger and they hold on to things. It’s like it’s a part of their identity. (still different from a mindset of an unscrupulous fighter)

            It shouldn’t go without saying there are dishonest people profiting by encouraging people to think of themselves as victims in the so-called victim industry(more on that soon). A bit that makes sense in Kalman’s article is that people can be launched like missiles against those painted as enemies(my words, not his). We should be careful lest we find ourselves listening to anger pimps.

            While it would be great if we had a community fostering peace of mind, it can’t be the only solution. So in that sense, Kalman’s version of things is actually one-sided itself.

            Thank you, Charlie, for pointing out the issues in the fields of psychiatry and psychology. The heart disease -allegory works.

            A few more articles that throw more light on these matters:


          7. Sorry, Andy, I took some time writing my post so that you’d already posted before me.

            Who knows, perhaps Dorner himself believed in his own manifesto.

            I think what you describe, “appealing to bleeding hearts to come out in support of – agenda”, accurately describes a common occurrence.

            Another article I already refered to:


      1. Timothy,

        My STBX was highly sensitive to criticism of any kind. If I would just “look” at him anywhere but the eyes he would say, “What, what are you looking at?” That might be a poor example . . .. But then he was highly critical of most everyone but a choice few.

        If I might ask, do you have a problem person close to you in your life that you are coping with?

        1. Your soon-to-be-ex talks like some street thug. “What the hell are you looking at?”

          Thanks for asking, btw, and the answer is: Not right now. Perhaps it’s the time past and different place I now live in that’s affected how I see problem people. That and I’ve happened to have great supportive people nearby. I prefer not to advertise that, though, since people’s situations here seem to be much different than they’ve been for me. Somehow when I look back, it seems to be a pattern in sneaky little forms and disguises repeating. Someone acts not-so-honestly toward me, I confront them, they use responsibility-avoidance tactic so-and-so-and-so and I counter it with varying success. That or I recognize it’s not a battle that can be won and say goodbye.

          Personally I also feel that the word “narcissist” has been thrown around so much that suddenly everyone and their dog are narcissists. Someone takes a dislike at someone, so that other person is suddenly a “narcissist”. It’s like with the word “psychopath”: The word itself actually describes a thing, but it’s thrown aroud so much so as to become a banal term for anyone, who acts like a jerk. Not much help in spotting actual psychopaths, who already are consummate chameleons.

          For variety, I prefer to use the words “problem person” and “problem personality”. Or perhaps it’s because I tend to feel that if I don’t repeat things in my own words I may not learn them. -shrug- That and those words are broader and leave more possibilities. Just like difficult and downright noxious people I’ve met have differed both in degree and in kind. So that would go for unhealthy thinking, too.

          That’s part of the reason why I linked to two different views on Dorner.

          1. Good for you to know how to recognize and say goodbye to problem people. We just don’t have time or need for excess problems, do we?
            I understand giving someone a diagnosis of a psychological condition could be problematic. In my case, I looked under categories provided in Dr. Simon’s writings and came up with what I felt fit the category for my STBX, and it’s so on point the characteristics Dr. Simon describes of my STBX. Grandiose Narc. I’ve known this man for 30 years and never understood him. Now I have some insight to help me deal with getting through this never-ending divorce.
            I don’t think we can label people we don’t know well. There is a lot that goes into these conditions. I like your term “problem people”. But the character disturbance term is a good one also. I actually asked the jerk in a counseling session, “did you make a mistake or do you just have bad character?” I knew the answer. He was rotten – rotten to the core. The answer is he has BAD CHARACTER which envelopes many issues.
            I’m glad you have a good support system. So do I – thank goodness. How could we get along well without support?

          2. Timothy,

            It is my belief that labels like ‘narcissist’ and ‘psychopath’ are being utilized so freely due to the staggering lack of empathy we see everyday on local, national, and international level.

            People are trying to make sense of behaviors that are so shocking and so against the innate and biologically based human social instincts.

            I believe that, at least here in the U.S., aggression has been taught and lauded as a positive character trait for so long in the business world that narcissism and psychopathy or like behaviors are the inevitable end result. Ultimately, does it really matter whether these behaviors are hard wired or simply learned? Harm is harm regardless of its origination.

          3. Timothy,

            I also agree with you that both terms, psychopath and narcissists, are used too casually. In fact, a narcissist may call other selfish and narcissist if his demands are not met. 😀
            Problem person is good high level categorization.
            Character disturbed is better as it points out the real problem too.

          4. Hahahaha…. I have very toxic family members reading everything I write on Facebook. For them, it gives them an edge into my private life. (so they think.) In their simple minds it boils down to the fact that I don’t like them so I call them narc. I even belong to a group on Facebook about Christian Counseling and they tried to challenge the head therapist about the term narcissism. My malignant mommy narc tells me to stop bragging about myself which means that her flying monkeys are stating to catch on to the toxic family dynamic. Just a funny story……….

    4. Thanks for that. My STBX is what I would determine grandiose narc, without envy. That explanation tells menu don’t have to worry so much that he will some day harm me – because he does not envy anyone. I could be wrong, of course so still keeping my guard up.

      1. You can never let your guard down. They have lots of tricks in their bags.

        Sent from Outlook Mobile

  30. “If you look at evidence that is often left over, in Columbine for example you had those videos, these shooting escapades seem to be a kind of power grab by these individuals,” Krizan said. “The tapes are also narratives, in which they are the person taking control, they’re the one in charge and they will determine how things will go.”

    It is important to note that there is always a combination of factors that contribute to the violence in these extreme cases. However, Krizan said understanding how envy and narcissism are related will help in the diagnosis and definition of narcissistic personality disorder and its antisocial consequences.

    The above is my primary motive for posting what I had found. The violence that can erupt from these creatures.

    1. Joey
      I do worry about someday being at the wrong end of a violent act from STBX. I’ve always asked myself how do you know if they will break and harm someone. (STBX harming me). He’s never been physically violent but he’s lost a lot the past couple of years because of his behaviors. I just hope he doesn’t accelerate and “snap” and want to harm me.

      1. Linda, from what I have learned is that narcissism gets worse with age and the spectrum of toxic people is very wide. Usually when the narc does not feel like they are getting exactly what they want then things tend to accelerate very quickly. I was talking to Charlie earlier this week and I told her that I know that the power of suggestion is very strong. It seems that every toxic person that I have known love to use it. I realize the my dad shows a lot of narcissistic traits but I didn’t think that he would ever be as sadistic as malignant mommy narc. As of recently, he mentioned suicide to me three or more times in one day. He even went as far to tell me that the weak will go ahead and commit suicide. Well, I am not weak and I do a lot of observing. I don’t think it says a lot about a person’s character when they can stoop so low as too try to persuade another to take their own life but I have seen this more than once. A lot of my knowledge on this subject is inspired by personal experience and all I can suggest is always keep your game on. I have seen the toxic person slide from one end of the scale to the other very easily.

        1. Joey,

          If that question was directed at me, yes, I am away from him in that I do not reside in the marital residence, have been out of that home for a year and a half. However, we live in the same town, I have minimal contact through email, and contact through our attorneys.

          1. High five Lucy!! I hope it is a big town…LOL

            Sent from Outlook Mobile

  31. Hi Joey, Lucy, and all,

    Joey thanks for the reference to Kernberg on narcissism. I found it very profound. I found this section of particular interest:

    “Because of their great need for tribute and adoration from others, they are often considered to be excessively dependent. But they are, in fact, unable to depend on anyone because of a deep underlying distrust and devaluation of others and an unconscious ‘spoiling’ of what they receive related to conflicts about unconscious envy.”

    I interpret this to mean …..because they are so dependent on others to reflect their self worth, respect, accomplishment, and esteem, they are excessively dependent as they are not able to produce the feelings most feel internally. They are a void that never fills since they are reliant on external validation instead of an internal knowing.

    However, they are not able to actually depend on anyone as most others do through a feeling of emotional or physical connection. What others give them through a relationship be it tasks, favors, kindness, ect, the narcissist ‘spoils’ because they distrust another’s intent, tear down another’s accomplishment and sense of well being to build up feelings of superiority, and have an unconscious envy that perhaps that person may be better (one up) because they could provide what the narcissist cannot provide for him/herself.

    This certainly explains the strange phenomenon relating to the more you give, the more they demand and the more angry they get when you provide it. It has puzzled me for years and I’ve remarked numerous times to him, “How can you be so angry at getting exactly or more than you wanted.”

    Whether this is truly envy or narcissist rage from a perceived slight (by doing for them what they are unable or unwilling to do for themselves) or bumping into their fantastical thinking with reality (for actually being and actioning what they believe they are within the fantasies if their mind), or what they demand was actually a manipulative attempt to watch another fail (thus evidencing their feelings of superiority) remains to be determined. The answer may be any of those ideas or all of these ideas as people are individuals with individual motives regardless of how ordered or disordered their personality and disorders are always on a spectrum.

    Kernberg certainly brought clarity with his idea of envy whether or not others agree or disagree.

  32. Joey,

    If you are into reading and research, I have a two authors that are my “go to” in addition to Dr. Simon:

    Joseph Burgo, PH.D. – Books, “Narcissism” and “Why Do I Do That”
    This is the absolute best book on the subject of Narcissism I
    have found. The other is about our Defense Mechanisms.

    Lundy Bancroft – “Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling
    He has others and they’re all good but this was the first one.

  33. Charlie,

    I have one question. I’m just curious about. If it feels uncomfortable to answer, that’s fine.
    Does your husband wake up in the morning angry?
    My STBX did. I would ask him how can he wake up angry when nothing has happened yet. During one period of his life he did go to counseling. He said the counselor told him “”When you awaken in the morning it’s like you have a big bag of shit on your back, full. Most people wake up with an empty bag and it fills as the day goes on.”

    1. Sorry to butt in here but I have known quite a few toxic people that wake up angry. I know that at night when everything is quiet is when they plan things out. I had a roommate who used to wake up in a very scary mood. I could actually see the aggression in her eyes. The psycho that I was married to woke up quiet and reserved but agitated. Malignant mommy narc wakes up in a horrible mood everyday. She spends most all night on her phone lying to people and I think that now a few might be catching onto her BS. I think that probably a lot of the aggression is when the feel like they are losing control somehow.

      Sent from Outlook Mobile

    2. Lucy,

      YES!!! OMG, yes!

      When we shared a bed, his anger would wake me out of a sound sleep before his eyes even opened. And when I ask about anger, he tells me he DECIDES to choose his attitude and his attitude is HAPPY and a good mood.

      I have developed a theory for this inexplicable behavior.

      I know that my natural resting place is peace. I work hard to keep and create order out of life’s chaotic nature and experience feelings of accomplishment, contentment and peace at the end of a successful day. (I feel stressed, anxious, and neurotic after an unsuccessful day.)

      I believe that my husband’s natural resting place is aggression. The more all is well, the more he seeks to create disorder and chaos and then begins to fight the very disorder and chaos he creates. He is happiest and the most peaceful when there is a ‘real’ fight happening. He seems emptied out for the lack of a better description. I think all the aggression has to find an outlet somewhere. Unfortunately, that is usually on me.

      I don’t know, maybe he is actually happiest when he’s angry and aggressive. That would fit BTOV’s comment earlier about everything being upside down in the CD’s world.

      1. Charlie

        I think they become comfortable with their aggression/anger et cet. That’s all they seem to know. I would present a positive, happy, good scenario to the STBX and he would somehow, most always turn it to a negative. That’s how his mind works. Negative negative negative. The aura in that home with him in it was always dark and gloomy. His mere presence in a room would make my chest tighten and mood darken. I’m so glad to be away from him. He still looms in my life through divorce proceedings, but at least I don’t have to physically be near him and his dark side.

          1. Lucy,

            I also noticed the anger and aggression is a family trait. I’m starting to think aggression levels are hard wired, justifying aggression is learned.

  34. Timothy and Others,

    I liked the explanation of why there is no crime in Tibet, because the people have wisdom, that there is no crime and anger problems when you have wisdom. I’m going to dive into the concept further.

    1. I think that was one bit about Kalman’s article that made sense.

      If you find some articles related to those matters, please don’t hesitate to link.

  35. SusieQ,

    Thank you for asking. I’m not sure why some posts come up Charlie and others Carolyn. I’ve wondered several times why some posts from you are Charlie vs Carolyn and Linda vs Lucy. It kinda freaked me out the first time I saw it. Such is the paranoid feelings arising from the difficult people we face.

    For the purposes of this forum, I would prefer Charlie. There is comfort and safety in anonymity. I posted once on a narcissism forum and now have details of my private life attached to my name when doing a Google search. I need to work on finding a way to remove that. While I admire your upfront and forthright approach to your family, I definitely prefer to not give any of my difficult people additional ammunition. They have enough on their own without my assistance. Lol

    (While I truly do not have a nickname, Charlie is the one I would choose, if one is allowed to choose their own nickname. Maybe when I get a new last name, I’ll pick Charlie as my new first name, reinventing myself completely! Lmao )

    1. Sounds good!! I have googled my name and nothing serious comes up, thank goodness. I know the toxic ones in my life do whatever they can to smear me. I can definitely understand your stand.

      Sent from Outlook Mobile

  36. Hi, Timothy,

    Regarding sociopathic bullies are rare….. I cannot say how prevalent clinical psychopathy, narcissism or serious personality disorders are, even the top experts cannot seem to agree most likely because diagnosis is based on obvious dysfunction (i.e. Criminal Offense). I can say that nearly every ‘bully’ I’ve had the misfortune to cross paths with has a peculiar view on measuring strength and weakness. Kindness, empathy, sympathy is weak and “suckers bait” as it was once described to me. I always watch out for that mentality. Whether personality disordered, character disturbed, or problem personality, they all seem to share that similarity.

    The ideas presented from the Dorner article and from the self defense articles struggle with the ideas of victims as well as both parties showing a definite self interested agenda (always my cue to take what’s being said with a grain of salt.)

    I’ve certainly struggled with the definition of victim (my husband is the most misunderstood victim there is) and have realized there are two significant indicators of true victims.

    1.) They are truly powerless. Real victims are powerless, without control of their environment, not merely passive, they are out of options. A perfect example are the number of suicides we’ve seen from bullied teens. I do not recall a story in which the victim was passive, didn’t complain, didn’t report. When no help, relief, or options were available, they ‘optioned’ the only environmental control left for them.

    2.) They are ashamed, embarrassed, humiliated to admit they’ve been victimized. They don’t demand, feel entitled, or elicit sympathy. When they ask for help, it’s important to recognize their need. Asking was hard.

    It’s important to be able to recognize true victims from perpetrators who manipulate others to feel sorry for them. Dorner was definitely a perpetrator. To confuse him as a victim causes real victims less sympathy and more suspicion. It’s one of the many ways problem people unravel the pro social values of society. I would hate to be a child being bullied in the school with the bully specialist sharing Izzy Kalman’s ideas of who is the victim and who is the perpetrator.

    Does anyone else have ideas on how to identify a real victim from a perpetrator or ‘false’ victim?

    1. By the by, Charlie and Andy,

      Thanks for bringing out the word “myopic”. It greatly describes Kalman’s view of things. While I would hesitate about rushing to call everyone with the distorted perspective a character-disordered person, it’s true that a heavily skewed perspective is all the more problematic not only because of the already self-reinforcing and self-justifying nature of beliefs, but also because of matters of actual concern(like a target of bullying wanting bullying to stop, which you mentioned, Charlie) that perspective is going to worsen.

      This is especially pressing considering all the Sam Vaknins and Adrian Raines of the world.

      1. Timothy,
        You bring up some interesting points. I forgot was your experience with a “Bully?” OR is this a subject of interest to you? Thank you I am sure the others would like to know too! Hugs

        1. Timothy,
          I have been back and forth to the hospital with my sis, so I missed a great deal. I will try to get back to the blogs and sites you mentioned. As you know I am a reader like you.

          I will agree that many hide behind the shade of Christianity to justify their actions. Many CD lurk in churches. The bible says you will know them by their fruit. I am sorry that you have had bad experiences. I know that Jesus says I am the truth the way and the light. I try to follow the principles that Jesus taught. He also said Judge not least ye be judged.

          I am popping in and out and missing out on good conversation. I think all narcissists at heart are bully’s, at least that has been my experience.

        2. A subject of interest:

          It’s especially worrying how people can be appealed to by encouraging them to think of themselves as victims and other people as bad guys to lash out against. Such mindset doesn’t tend to have constructive consequences.

          It would be easier if all such people were just bad people. Many are good people acting from a flawed perspective and suffering consequences, possibly ending up damaging others in the process.

    2. Also, seems like I didn’t quite manage to make some things clear, even though I thought I did. (But then again, I did write a block of words.)

      I think the links to MacYoung’s site handle different unhelpful mindsets.

      The first one handles blamer -mindset, which would be in Dorner’s case, even though others around him were not of pure heart, either.

      As for the second one, I don’t think it questions the possibility of actually being a victim of something. Neither do I think it disparages people, who seek solutions to unwanted troubles.

      It points out is that exploiters can profit by encouraging people to think of themselves as victims so that said exploiters can then profit by offering solutions that in actuality are unhelpful and place recipients more in harm’s way. So someone, who’s been sold by an exploiter’s sales pitch ends up thinking that things work one way, when there are actually many other things that end up being a person’s undoing.

      There is one thing that makes sense in Kalman’s article(though that may fool a reader to think that everything else is spot-on, too). Hitler is just one example of how victimhood and addressing wrongs suffered can be appealed to. It’s how people can be launched like missiles against an “enemy”, whether this “enemy” really is like portrayed or not. What kind of a person an “enemy”, then, actually is, can shape consequences.

    3. AND…..

      There are victim mentalities, who revel in “moral superiority” of being a victim and resist alternate directions. They are different from a fighter mentality playing the victim, but they can cause trouble to other people. Perhaps someone else known these kinds of people, too.

      But like you say, Charlie, people can’t be so neatly categorized.

      1. Think of the rewards the CD who revel in the victim mentality get. And yes, they revel in “moral superiority” because they pulled the wool over your eyes and at the same time are rewarded with sympathy and all the goodies that come with their scam.

      2. I think I’m talking about a different kind of mentality than playing the victim or even playing the victim and believing in the role oneself. Hell, if you meet one of them, I’m sure you’d see some difference from a fighter mentality(yes, that’s another word for a character disorder).

        I hope it’s clear now.

    4. Charlie,
      Both paragraph outline and define the victim. It can go deeper than that. It is what is said and not said. See the Stockholm Syndrome. I know one thing the CD is usually the first one to call victim. They know the stage and actors very well. It is for the discerning eye to notice the – tell – which will ultimately lead to the perpetrator.

  37. Hi, Timothy,

    For me, I think it’s actually harder to call someone character disturbed or having poor character than it is to call them personality disordered. I grew up in a time with the post World War II generation and character traits or lack thereof were recognized. Poor character traits were shamed.

    Somewhere along the way, character seems to have been lost. Everyone has a an excuse as to why their actions arising from poor character are justified. Everyone is a victim of something but when victimhood justifies treating others badly, that is a character problem. I believe that is Dr. Simon’s point.

    I see everyone with character deficits, including myself. I work every day to preserve the character I’ve built and to improve my character. I think this is work for a lifetime.

    I have Evangelical neighbors who have a tendency to wear their Christianity on their sleeve. For example, an incident occurred and my neighbors response surprised me. I commented to her, that what she both said and did in response “wasn’t very nice.” Her response was “we’re Christian, we’re flawed.” My response was, “I’m not a Christian yet, I follow Chrisitan values but the ideals of Christianity are so high I will have to work until I die to feel worthy of calling myself a Christian.” Her response, “Jesus died on the cross for my sins.”

    It is offensive to me to see ‘Christians’ using the high character standards to both elevate themselves above others AND excuse poor character. That strikes me as completely the opposite the values set forth by Christianity.

    All this to say, setting a standard of character (right and wrong, good and bad) is necessary in order to stay grounded or centered on acceptable / unacceptable behavior. Without a standard of good character, everything becomes ok on some level even though not all perspectives are equal. When I allowed by husband to convince me his perspective was equal or higher than mine concerning thoughts, actions or words that exampled poor character, it caused me to question beliefs I took for granted. Beliefs that were taught and simply excepted by me without question; It skewed my perspective on everything. There were no aggressors, no perpetrators, no bad characters, no flawed characters, just well meaning victims of circumstance. This opened the door for the manipulation, control, intimidation that very nearly crushed me into taking the only option I felt I had left.

    I’m in a different place now emotionally. Dr. Simon has done an excellent job at re-creating the basic center of good character were we can assess (not judge) another’s behavior and make good decisions in our lives about the company we keep, our thoughts, our words and our actions.

    (Disclaimer: my example of my Christian neighbors was not meant to criticize, judge, or malign anyone’s thoughts, feelings, beliefs or methods regarding their religion or personal beliefs.)

    1. Charlie,

      Your past is similar to mine:

      “Beliefs that were taught and simply excepted by me without question; It skewed my perspective on everything. There were no aggressors, no perpetrators, no bad characters, no flawed characters, just well meaning victims of circumstance. This opened the door for the manipulation, control, intimidation that very nearly crushed me into taking the only option I felt I had left.”

      I held onto this belief for so long, when the STBX was displaying a wide range of bad character traits, ugliness. I had the Pollyanna Syndrome.

      Thanks to this blog and to posters such as yourself I have learned so much from.

      1. I think it is important that we can support each other and help each other along life’s highway. I think that Dr. Simon has done a wonderful thing when he set up this blog/forum.

        1. Charlie, you said that “Everyone is a victim of something but when victimhood justifies treating others badly, that is a character problem”.

          While I mostly agree with you, I also paid attention to how you’d hate to be a bullied child seeking solutions to end the bullying only to encounter someone with a similar narrow, skewed, myopic mindset to that of Izzy Kalman, who’d only offer unhelpful advice amd tacitly allowed bullying to continue. What about the bullying targets, who ended up committing a school shooting? You haven’t said and I don’t think they should be seen to have a character problem.

          1. Timothy,

            Everyone has character problems otherwise people would be perfect and always know the right answers and what to do in every situation. Good character takes work, experience, and mistakes. I believe it was Dr. Simon who discussed pride or esteem being based on hard work or earned good character versus pride or esteem coming from natural talent or gifts (such as being pretty or musically inclined.)

            A bully target who premeditated a school shooting is not showing good character. The cannot get a ‘pass’ legally or morally regardless of the provocation.

          2. I think this kinda subject can be controversial. Probably one reason why BTOV said discussion seems to have gone down an extreme path.

            I can see that striking back physically doesn’t hold up legally. I don’t know if provocation has any effect on legal procedures on lessening sanctions, dropping charges or otherwise, but I agree with you there.

            However, if someone has gotten bullied, they haven’t asked for it. While revenge can have nasty consequences of some kind and isn’t a desirable path and endorsing vigilante justice is highly questionable at best because of potential for misuse, saying that a bullying target has a character problem is like saying they are just like bullies, therefore they deserved to be bullied. No.

            A few questions: What if a bullying victim has sought other solutions and been constantly demeaned, harassed and kicked around? What if they feel so alienated from other people they see reason to expect mistreatment from them and can’t see why anyone could be trusted? What if “help” they’ve gotten has been impartial, indifferent or even like that by likes of Izzy Kalman? What if a target experiences bullying so severe they’d expect to be seeing a psychiatrist for years and they decide they can’t take such a loss and leave others better off? What if a target snaps, just like a target of prolonged, extreme abuse can snap and lash out against their abuser?

            Everyone has their threshold. At some point they can’t take anymore. Someone, who ends up taking a lot of provocation until they can’t take it anymore, shouldn’t be accused of being a bad person. I still hold that position.

          3. Timothy,

            I think we’ve entered into a discussion of devaluation. If a person does a ‘bad’ thing under provocation does that make them a ‘bad’ person. Does that ‘bad’ thing devalue them into being worthless or bad.

            I think the answer is no but it doesn’t change what they did wasn’t acceptable legally or morally even if we sympathize with their plight. It would also go to show where their character has weakness and needs work. (We all have character weaknesses we need to work and improve upon, that makes us human not worthless.)

            My husband is not worthless. I remind myself regularly not to devalue him into sub human. It’s sometimes difficult. He does many ‘good’ things such as fighting for his country, being a successful leader/manager at work, helping out the neighbors, ect. He also does many ‘bad’ things particularly in regards to me and our relationship, manipulating, fighting, and so on.

            Its work to maintain both those concepts simultaneously. That is often difficult as well. I don’t know if he is ‘bad’ at his core but he is certainly bad to me and for me and his character flaws impede this marriage from being a healthy, functional, dynamic relationship it could and should be.

            I don’t know us this helps bring you clarity but I hope it helps resolve some of the conflicts you’re struggling with.

          4. While I can’t tell from here, I get an impression that your husband is a different case in that sense. You compared him to Dorner. I may not be able to thank you and Andy enough to add your input about the Dorner -case. Like you said, he sees himself as a bully against all bullies. In the more pathological cases, nothing should be surprising.

            I do’t think I’m struggling with anything right now so much as sharing my perspective that I feels has more clarity than years ago(game-players involved or not).

            Hasn’t it been covered that stress and difficulties expose flaws in anyone’s system? That I can certainly agree with.

          5. Timothy,

            Agreed, it is very easy to do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason following Dr Simon’s Ten Commandments of Good Character in a stress free environment. The more difficult and stressful situations of life tests our character and illustrates flaws we need to improve. I am usually grateful for those tests even when I wish it wasn’t so.

            I have a hard and fast rule that nothing is ever a failure if I learned something from the experience even if all I learned was to not do that again. I think, “Well, now that I know what not to do, let’s go for the second attempt, it will obviously be more successful than the first.” Lol

            This issue of who is and who isn’t a victim is very confusing. I’ve seen on the news women vilified for ‘choosing’ to stay with their abuser by other women. Without understanding the psychological mechanisms involved with the patterns of behavior of abuse and how choices diminish (the goal of the abuse) it becomes impossible to distinguish who is the victim and who is the perpetrator. It is the reason I find Dr Simon’s character work compelling. Once I can determine what is good and bad character traits, I can then start looking at degrees and patterns to determine if someone is of sound or unsound character.

            If I determine someone is a narcissist and they do something that appears very generous, now I’m confused. I think, “Well, they did four things of poor character here and one thing of good character there….they must not be a narcissist and are therefore an ok person who just makes mistakes.” (Measurements from the DSM checklist of narcissism vs Dr Simon’s character list.) If I’m assessing character, I just do the math knowing a 4 to 1 ratio is not showing a pattern of good character and someone I don’t need to devalue but do not want to trust or build a relationship. (Whether they are or are not a narcissist no longer matters.)

            I hope I didn’t confuse this confusing issue more but it is how I quickly assessed the Dorner case as well as just as quickly saw through the author. I’ve found it a valuable tool for making better people choices and seeing through the confusion. And, yes, my husband is a ‘special snowflake’ as you described before. Lol

    2. Charlie,

      I know exactly what you mean when you are talking about so many people hide behind so many things to direct attention away from their character disturbance. I have got to say that when some people label themselves as Christians it is like a free pass for them to do whatever they want. It is a shame! I had a confrontation with a pastor a couple of years ago and after a while it was easy to see that the things that were coming out of his mouth were toxic and he was setting me up for further mental abuse. Spiritual abuse has grown into a very common occurrence. The bible explains that in the end times there will be people an over abundance or people who are lovers of themselves and the best way to deal with these people is to stay away. This is found in 2 Timothy if you want to look it up.

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      1. Whoa, first I thought you refered to me, but then I realized you refered to a Bible passage. -lol-

        A toxic leader figure can turn any group, including any religious group into.

        Have you read Churches that abuse by Ronald Enroth? I’ve already had it recommended to me by a few people I know.

      2. Oomph, my mind must’ve blown so bad from that 2 Timothy -reference!

        I meant to say: “A toxic leader figure can turn >em>any group, including any religious group into a sick one.”

        1. Timothy,

          I can see how the bible Timothy reference threw you. I had a good chuckle with you. Lol

      3. Susie Q,

        That is a good point. I didn’t think of people actually ‘hiding’ their deficits behind something that gives them the appearance of being sound of character. We just moved into impression management.

        I think impression management is an area that I struggle to really understand. I get it in the context that I use it (to show my best self to others) but it really is part of who I am and I know it’s not only who I am.

        Do you think toxic people who impression manage also believe that’s who they are or do they know their not what they appear?

        1. Impression management is a large part of narcissistic behavior. The toxic people who exhibit impression management know exactly what they are doing. How many of us can say that we married the person we fell in love with. Not many of us because the mask usually falls off after a short time. I know I don’t have a problem giving people a fake facade. It is really hard enough for me to talk to a person that I don’t like. I do it but I know my eyes give me away! LOL….. I know several toxic people who like to act like they help people, care for the community, or are the best parents when all they are doing is setting people up for the time when they can use them. The ex-psycho used to act like he was the best parent around when his older boys were around. He always changed diapers, rocked him, and even go up at the table to take care of the baby. At the time I had no idea that he was trashing me as being a lousy mother. His boys hated me and I could not figure out why until I was quiet and started thinking.

          I do think that toxic people love to pick many different fields to promote things. It is very very sad and I wish that I could tell people to think for themselves. Drama and rumors get nothing productive accomplished.

    3. Charlie,
      Christ did die on the cross for our sins. But this does not wash away our misdeeds. Our conduct of christ should be openly shown not as a badge of honor but as a badge of humility and gratitude, Jesus said the greatest commandment second to God is to love thy neighbor as thy self.

      Your neighbors I am afraid are believing a lie and will be judged accordingly, it is a shame they claim representing God!

      1. Amen!! I can follow that train of thought. Unfortunately things are often turned to justify whatever is needed at the time.

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      2. BTOV,

        That is the best explaination I’ve been given re: Jesus died on the cross for our sins. I have not made the connection to gratitude. As Dr. Simon has pointed out there is a huge field of science opening up concerning gratitude and its foundation of good character, happiness, and pro social values.

        For me, I change the words around a bit and think Jesus died on the cross BECAUSE of our sins. It is a reminder to me that the same sins that existed then exist today and those sins are destructive to goodness.

        I think both are good to remember and will add try to add the gratitude into my thinking (although, it is a repellent thought to me that someone had to be sacrificed for my misdeeds. My misdeeds are my responsibility to atone.)


  38. Lucy,

    Thanks, Lucy, I’m grateful for this blog as well. It’s so good to be able to discuss, organize my thoughts, and reinforce positive good charactered thinking, as well as, experience others who are doing the same.

    Funny you mentioned the Pollyanna Syndrome. The first I had heard of it was early in my marriage where it was a accusation used against me to illustrate my attitudes and beliefs of good character were naive and childish. My husband told me I did not understand the real world and he needed to ‘help’ me figure it out. We all know where that lead.

    I’d completely forgotten about that.

    1. Charlie,
      He meant you were not in tuned to the manipulation, and mind games the CD play in the game of life. Yes I have been described as a savant and laughed at by the group of CD I have to deal with. Be grateful you are not of their mindset, however, you can learn their mindset and put it to use for good against their paths of destruction and despair they feed on.

      1. BTOV,

        I’m grateful everyday I’m not CD and that I’ve worked do hard to stay true to myself and keep good character. I could only go so far down the rabbit hole.

        And, agreed, I’m working just as hard to learn the CD mindset. THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN TO ME AGAIN! I will never, ever let anyone for any reason knock me off course. My promise to myself.

        1. The insidious thing about the mindset is it is like a bore worm that lays its eggs of lies and one can really be changed forever by these aliens. The part I am grateful for is I found my way out before I was turned into a complete Zombie for the Narc.

          1. I am very grateful also but I am very concerned about the ones that didn’t. I have made it a goal to make more people understand.

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          2. BTOV and Susie Q,

            I’m a fan of the Walking Dead and one of the most interesting things about this show is the title. You think the title refers to the dead zombies but really it refers to the living. The living is struggling with holding their humanity and slowly losing their humanity as they hurt and harm others in their attempt to survive.

            Sometimes I wonder with all the references to the Zombie Apocalypse if we are already there.

          3. That losing humanity in attempts to survive -bit sounds especially disturbing and unsettling.

            Sounds like the lizard brain dashes in and takes command.

          4. How come I only now remembered this?

            I think this relates to this (sub)topic. Reminded by the mention of people losing humanity just to survive.

            The link looks deceptive. The article’s real title is “Why “There’s no such thing as normal” is a dangerous lie”.


            Perhaps it’s partly because nothing I believe has found itself too starkly challenged by MacYoung’s writings so far, but I think his writings are worth reading, too.

    2. During counseling session the STBX said “_________ will believe anything anyone tells her.” My eyes darted to him and he looked at me and I thought “You lowlife ******”. He knew this and used it to further his agenda. I did believe anything HE told me, because I trusted him, he was my husband. I was the PERFECT mate for him to toy with. What a jerk.

      1. I always felt the same and I have kicked myself many times but I now can find my comfort in knowing what I suffered from will be used to cast a light on the dysfunction that someone else is dealing with.

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      2. Lucy,

        Awww, that’s so sweet. You are or were trusting. I’m sorry the jerk you married ruined that for you.

        And the shame is on him for ruining something pure and good not you for trusting the man you married.

      3. Lucy,
        Don’t feel bad I was in the same ship, at least we found the life jackets before the ship sunk!

  39. I feel that to be able to set the stage for emotional abuse they had to convince us that we were just simple minded individuals that had no idea what the real world was all about. The toxic individuals use so many tricks to give us mental instability so their gaslighting has more of an effect. I have learned this. I had the ex psycho who actually worked in the Navy at the survival school. He was an expert at this. I have learned more of these things now and realize that there is really quite a lot going on in these toxic minds.

    1. Annie,

      Navy school of survival, yikes. I bet he was a piece of work. He knew all the tricks. The reason I had no idea of toxic people and the screwed mindset is that I did not have any friends or other family members like this. I’d have never envisioned my own husband doing these awful psychological games. But when I think of it, the signs were there all the time. Things didn’t add up, but when confronted there would come the lies. Lies on top of lies. Back in the world of Alice in Wonderland where nothing is what it seems.

      1. He was quite the piece of work and he could have started his own school for psychopaths. He fit the checklist for NPD psychopath very well. I fell for his tricks hook, line, and sinker because it all felt so familiar. It’s a shame when the cycle of abuse starts right where unconditional love and support should be the norm.

        I sit back and watch how my psycho ex plays his sweet and innocent girlfriend like a fiddle. I can very easily see how you were overwhelmed. The toxic one know exactly how to play their cards to get the best effects.

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          1. Lucy,

            First I would like to say that I am flattered to see that you read my posts and you knew that I was posing as Annie for a while. I was just doing this to show you all how easy it is for us all to be victims of trolls on here. My psycho family loves to try to destroy me and my kids. Not sure why or if I really care but I have sensed the presence of trolls on this sight for a while. I plan to write a book and tell the world about the massive dysfunction that can simply go unnoticed simply because of a family name. I am going to leave because I don’t need the negative energy in my life. Have fun with my psycho sister Teri because I know she is lurking in the shadows because that is what cockroaches do.
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          2. Susie Q,

            Could you explain further why you feel the need to ‘pose’ under another name?

            I like you and I understand your concern regarding trolls but posting under another name but continuing a conversation with us in that manner feels like a trick and a breach of trust to me. (Lucy is the one who responded and she is certainly not a troll, if troll catching was your objective.)

            Thanks in advance for the clarification.

          3. Whoa. Let’s not be too harsh on Susie. I think she simply did it for demonstration purposes. Besides, considering what she’s told about her psycho family, I think it drove the point home fine.

          4. While I can’t speak for Susie, I can give you what I remember, my impressions, my opinion.

            Since her mother, who happens to be a total a*****e, orchestrated her daughter’s death in a car crash and is now trying to game her son, I think Susie’s little demonstration was pretty understandable and not a breach of trust.

          5. And I realize how clear I’m not being. -sigh-

            I wish there doesn’t end up being division amongst us for any reason. It needn’t be like that.

          6. Timothy,

            I know conflict is very difficult to deal with as we have all had our experiences with unhealthy conflict. I feel it too.

            One of the things I like best about this forum is seeing the healthy ways we resolve conflict individually and as a group when it arises (which is inevitable.). It is helping me resolve difficult conflict within my own home and giving me a center for what normal and healthy should look like.

            I genuinely like Susie Q and believe we have a lot in common which is why I felt I needed to assert how her ‘posing’ post negatively impacted me. I also know that Susie Q and I are both dealing with difficult people on a daily basis and how it can, upon occasion, mess up our healthy thinking patterns so I asked for clarification (giving her the benefit of the doubt.)

            I have a lot of respect for Susie Q, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have bothered to ask for clarification or let her know how I felt. (I would have just assumed she wouldn’t care.)

          7. It’s wonderful to hear that you feel these discussion help you remember what healthy sounds like and help you feel centered.

            One unfortunate truth that comes to mind from Susie’s post is the following one. Originally it’s “Anyone can be fooled”, but I find a more accurate version to be:

            Anyone can be tricked in some way at least some of the time.

            We’ve been discussing bullies here for quite some time. They camouflage among people. That’s how they pass as normal.

            I’ve asserted how people can be rallied against a perceived bully in a “we victims strike back at the oppressor!” -manner. In such cases one being rallied against can really be a problem person or not, but ensuing consequences, whatever they are, can be hard to deal with. This shouldn’t be forgotten.

            As for trolling, that can be very mild, playing around to annoy others. More extreme trolling, though, is akin to bullying. And not all trolls are obvious at first sight. That’s another unlucky thing.

            You remember how I told about some really aggressive people coming here to be disruptive? One yelled obscenities at Dr Simon. Another one used sockpuppets, one being a Primal Scream -preacher, another one mimicked gangstalking paranoia. Apparently this second guy tried to indoctrinate us, like a few posters called him out for.

            And since some of us still have to deal with some problem people, it’s no wonder they’d be on edge.

            Does this make sense?

          8. Timothy,

            Absolutely, people being on edge makes perfect sense. I am one of those people on edge. Lol

            (I need to find this Primal Screamer Preacher post –it makes me laugh every time you’ve referred to it.)

      2. He was quite the piece of work and he could have started his own school for psychopaths. He fit the checklist for NPD psychopath very well. I fell for his tricks hook, line, and sinker because it all felt so familiar. It’s a shame when the cycle of abuse starts right where unconditional love and support should be the norm.

        I sit back and watch how my psycho ex plays his sweet and innocent girlfriend like a fiddle. I can very easily see how you were overwhelmed. The toxic one know exactly how to play their cards to get the best effects.

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      3. In the military like he was in they train you in brainwashing techniques. The CDNSP seems to have a natural talent for it. The more aware of this type of conduct the less they can destroy. Marketing techniques are another form of mind control, its all around us now if you open your eyes and ears to it.

        1. Amen!! Great explanation. I think the psychopath ended up getting kicked out of the military but in the meantime he perfected his skills and instead of teaching the soldiers how to survive it was a challenge for him to get them to die.

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          1. Yup!! My ex-psycho was a trainer in the Navy survival school. He was supposed to be raising the soldiers to such a level that they would be able to survive the intense techniques at the POW camp. He ended up taking all the wonderful techniques that he was taught and using them for evil. He didn’t tell me much of what he did because he didn’t want me to figure him out. He did tell that him and some other men used to keep the men who they were supposed to be training in a barn. When it got close to early morning they would break in and start yelling in their face. It is horrible to be startled awake from a deep sleep. Brainwashing works best then.

            About 5 years back there was some controversy in the military where the woman and a couple of men at an American POW camp would make the Iraqis get naked and get in a pile. The psycho would just get his demonic smirk on when this was on TV.

            I have been noticing that a lot of narcs have this kind of abuse hardwired into them.

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          2. Timothy,

            Yep, the military has an entire section dedicated to PsyOps (psychological operations.). What Susie Q is describing is just one aspect of the psychological workings of the military.

            Basic training is all about a psychological operation. The use sleep deprivation, extreme physical exertion, and food withholding to ‘break’ new soldiers down mentally and physically and then rebuild them in the military’s ideology.

            Susie Q,

            I’m so sorry you had that guy in your life. I met a couple of those trainers in a social setting when my husband was on active duty. The raised the hair on the back if my neck and that was before I knew what they did in the military for a living.

  40. Joey,

    I just noticed something. When you speak of “the mother” you use the word “the” in place of “my” mother. Now I get it. I just used the term, for the first time, “the STBX” instead of my usual “my STBX”. It’s like we don’t want to claim them as “ours”. I don’t want him to ever refer to him as “my wife” or “My X”. I’m not his anything and he’s not my anything. From now on, it’s “the”.

  41. I refer to the mother because we are not the same species. While in many cases this definition is adequate, the difficulty of defining species is known as the species problem.
    Some what like in H.G. Wells The Time Machine. The Morlocks, ape-like troglodytes.
    Due to a lack of any other means of sustenance, they feed on the Eloi. Unlike H.G Wells
    Eloi, I possess spirit, intelligence of humanity. Unlike The Mother. Who on bringing home to her as a 4yr old from school, something that they had made. I myself would appreciate such a gift. But the mother would stamp on it a smash it infont of your face. She would smerk as you broke down and cryed. What kind of women would do that to her own son of 4yrs old. We are not the same species.
    The mother

    1. Joey,

      I’m sorry. She is not deserving of you for sure. That makes me feel sick. She is a different species. So opposite of what a real mother is.

      1. Joey,
        Someday, I will share the story of my mother, I still call my father by his given name. I need to rise above dehumanizing them in a sense it still gives them power over me. Did you ever read the story of the Boy called It? Truly amazing how low one can stoop with their own child. One wonders what happened in their lives to cause them to be so callus an hurtful.

        I truly am sorry for all the pain you endured. I wish I could take some of it from you if it would lessen you pain. Keep writing your beautiful poetry, you are truly gifted. I am grateful I get to read your entries.

        1. BTOV,

          I think that you brought out a wonderful point. What has happened to make them so callous? I know that narcissism often runs in families. It’s almost guaranteed that they rely on each other to keep the bullying going. I know a portion of what my malignant mommy narc has been through and it is horrible but I don’t quite understand why she chose to pass it on. I have witnessed the devilish soulless expression of a young child. My psycho sister is very heartless and continues to find all kinds of excuses as to why she is the victim and I am the aggressor. I can truly say that these toxic individuals have quite the network going. One works on one aspect of the person while the other kicks them from another direction. Thank goodness that my psycho sister-in-law moved to another state or she would be shoving the knife in elsewhere.

          That brings up another train of thought. Robert Hare explains how there is usually honor among thieves but narcs have no honor and they will turn on each other. I found this to be interesting.

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          1. Susie,
            Not if the vendetta is against the same target.

            Question: How did we get onto such a bizarre topic when Dr. Simon’s post was about gratitude and humility. I would think this conversation should be under some other topic. We have ventured off onto an awfully morbid and grizzly path haven’t we? Has anyone experienced this for themselves. This is rather a rather rare occurance.!

          2. I understand if they are all against the same target. It just makes me think that they just enjoy hurting people.

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          3. BTOV, you noted the same as I did.

            With so many things in head, even in mine, who feel I’ve gotten some perspective about things and want to share my views from that perspective, it can be easy to lose focus sometimes.

            Perhaps I shouldn’t have dragged the Dorner -case back from obscurity. At least Charlie and Andy countered and refuted it and gave their views in response.

            I also hope I haven’t offended anyone. I’ve tried conveying my (possibly controversial) views and experiences with different people and telling between a person unproductively stuck in victim mindset versus a genuine victim seeking solutions to an unwanted situation versus a game-player playing the role of a victim to gain advantage versus a “wound collector” who self-justifyingly buys into own press.

            I don’t think I have denied that there are genuine victims or dishonest manipulators. I hope no one has gotten that impression. I apologize for any ill feelings or confusion.

          4. SusieQ and BTOV,

            This is a grizzly topic but an important one that I have been currently dealing with and hope I can describe while keeping with the gratitude topic at hand.

            After an intense week of fighting with my husband (topic relates to the sister-in-law question I had earlier in the blog), on Friday I had enough and told him to not come home that night. I needed a break, I couldn’t take another minute, and if he couldn’t treat my home with respect by turning it into a battleground he wasn’t welcome in the house that night. He obliged.

            Saturday, I laid out the boundaries. If he could treat me and my home with respect, cooperation and to stop fighting so we could accomplish the many repairs, cleaning, and reorganization that needs accomplished he could continue to live here. If he cannot and I can’t accomplish the goals with the continual energy being lost through fighting, he will have to leave AND pay for everything while I get back up on my feet. I also offered a compromise (for his palatability) that he would need to stay elsewhere Monday through Thursday and could stay here on the weekend (avoiding the difficulties of nosy neighbors – impression management as it’s important for him) unless he created problems on the weekends as well.

            After four more days of fighting, I brought the topic back up. Long story short, he said something very interesting during the fight:

            “I have a right to defend my position!”

            I believe Dr. Simon has hit the nail on the head. All of these troubled personalities regardless of the labels we apply are rooted in aggression and therefore fighting. And they are careful to not lose. Why did my husband oblige in not coming home? I think it was simply he didn’t think he could win the fight with me in my current state of mind. Now Saturday, I got to hear how horrible the hotel was and it was so scary he had to sleep fully clothed with a chair wedged into the door (although normally he is an Army Airborne Ranger afraid of nothing and no one) Why did he drive to a hotel out of the affluent, desirable area we live in? No doubt a manipulative way to fight. He was my victim and I should feel sorry for him.

            He’s not and I don’t. Has anyone read or studied Karpman’s Drama Triangle theory? It dovetails very nicely with Dr Simon’s work and simply stated the Victim in the triangle is the most desirable position as it’s the most powerful position. (SusieQ, you are the perpetrator, your sister the victim and someone (probably you) needs to rescue her–Drama Triangle)

            This is why these very troubled and difficult people aggress and fight, play the victim card for power, and because losing equals weakness and prey are careful and selective about who they take on and how intense the fight gets. Most of us here are not fighters and would prefer solutions and resolutions to issues rather than fighting and defending positions. And we have all seen the tactics and strategies these fighters use to undermine our very healthy, reasonable defenses.

            This forum and our discussions have helped me identify the fight and direct our confrontations into a more productive and truthful place. This clarity and strength was a long time coming and I thank everyone here for their support, wisdom, and experiences.

          5. Oh yes, the Karpman Drama -triangle. Thank you, Charlie, for bringing that out.

            How I see it, the drama triangle can happen between neurotics. It can also happen involving at least one character-disordered(maybe a false victim).

          6. Sounds like excellent work Charlie! 🙂
            And, you right on, he is faking his scary nights in hotel.

            I will look up Karpman’s Drama Triangle theory, and how to be playing victim is most preferred strategy. Sounds interesting!

          7. All,

            What about when a game-player is a “victim”, prosecutor and rescuer – all in one?

        2. Do problem people lumped together ever wonder if another one of them is going to hit them out of left field? Or do they keep going until they regret not being careful? Do they plot against each other, if they really know themselves and know how much others are like them? I think you touched upon something we may not know for sure, but would imply problems dishonest people could experience in the like-minded company.

          Another side to it: Like-minded company does tend to reinforce different thinking patterns, no matter the content of those thinking patterns.

          Since you said “It’s almost guaranteed that they rely on each other to keep the bullying going”, would it be that as long as a disturbed mindset has something left to reinforce their mindset and game-playing ensuing from it, they can go on with seeming ease without care? Would it also be that when their game really starts falling apart and they have no other sources available to reinforce the mindset that so has served them, then they start to “fragment” under stress and resort to even more extreme measures?

          Also, do they have to hit several bottoms before they actually hit that rock bottom? Is the rock bottom when all other coping and action has failed and the pain threshold’s been crossed so they can’t go back to old dysfunctional ways?

          1. Timothy,
            What is the real question you would like answered? Perhaps, I can do it without beating around the bush.

  42. Towards the end, before I got out. I would talk to her. Her mask was off, I new what she was inside. The way she would talk, there was a bit of a growl to her voice when her mask was off. In some ways it was interesting, BUT in truth was scary for me. I saw more of her predatory side. You had something (Me and my Brother/family) she wanted. How she saw us. The lack of empathy (Amoral) and I mean ZERO empathy. Her hole persona, of how to in essence she KNOWLY explotied/Parasatized her children with her mothers help. The grandmother lost control of her son no-contact 32yrs.
    The grandmothers sister. ( My great aunt Eve. I spent about a week of my entire life. I am 48yrs. In her company ) One of her sons, the same 30yrs plus no-contact. My uncle is a dark soul. But as a teenage boy he was right to abandon both his sister and mother.

    1. Yes Joey,

      I can understand how that predatory attitude is very scary. I’m glad that you are out. Those demonic individuals are very scary. I think that a lot of people have a hard time imaging that there are actually these warped soulless intities living among us. The only time that most people would understand the severity of this kind of abuse is when a murder or another kind of covert crime is committed.

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    2. Joey,
      Too bad you didn’t have some family member intervene and put a stop to her.
      I have a few questions, but I understand if you don’t want to divulge.
      When you previously have stated that you “lost” your brother, what do you mean? Do you have any family member that you are in contact with or close to, or close friend? Where was your father during all of this?

      1. I am COMPLETLY ALONE I HAVE NO ONE. I say again. I have No One. Just me thats it. I lost my brother. He has an agressive character. He is just so aggressive all the time. Hostile towards me. He is Never wrong. At fault or to blame and agressive. His children are the same. It is power and position all the time. Every thing is a trophy. I forgive him, I forgive him, I forgive him. He like me is a victim. In all of this, part of an insidious game The Mother has played. At our expence all our lives. The grandmother used to wake him up by hitting him round the head with her slipper. The grandmother abused my brother badly. She should have served time for the way she treated him. It was child abuse. She got away scott free

        1. Joey
          Goodness sakes. The women – what possessed their minds? What they did is bizarre and so wrong. Why dont others step in when they see a child being abused – teachers or neighbors or Someone! People do need to interfere to protect children.
          You know we all here care about you and look forward to your posts. You have a clever way of writing. And you have a Big Heart.

  43. I want to return to the Dorner -case.

    Does it help even more for a chronic blamer to persist in the same course of action likely to put themselves and others more at danger if others around them are unreliable, dishonest or scheming?

      1. I asked something else on the same lines above, but apparently lost focus, if BTOV’s question is anything to go by.

        Btw, as for your answer, Lucy, that must be accurate.

  44. Timothy,

    I don’t read up on psychology matters so I am ill versed to comment on the questions. What I do know, just general knowledge, is that thugs hang with thugs, they have a similar agenda. (e.g. gangs)
    Wayward Religious Zealots leaders seek out desperate souls that want answers and saving, and take full advantage of their neediness and provide them with false answers and options (like giving money to the “church” ). The leader will sometimes find co-leaders at the church who will further the ill-intended agenda (such as make me rich).
    On an off-note – referring to “blaming” – the STBX, as long as I’ve known him, when dealing with an issue would always want to place blame. To him somehow placing blame was important. Myself when dealing with an issue don’t spend much energy with who is to blame, I focus my energies on trying to fix it. He spent more energy on blaming. I found it immature and it was another one of his character traits that I just did not understand. The blame thing seems fruitless.
    I don’t really know how to answer the questions because my mind gets lost in there somewhere.

    1. That’s very well said!

      And I think my mind gets lost somewhere, too. I didn’t expect the Dorner -reference to take discussion as far as BTOV said it did. I think I would still be more swayed by Kalman’s perspective on some things had Charlie and Andy not countered it.

      1. Timothy,

        I took BTOV’s reference to off topic and morbid and grizzly directed at the callous nature of narcissists discussion between she and Susie Q.

  45. Charlie,

    Looks like his fighting/arguing/bullying tactics will no longer work with you. So now he’s a victim. How pathetic. Isn’t it interesting to see him switch from one tactic to the next in a short course of time? I’ve watched that happen and it was like I stepped outside of myself and became an observer. You are doing the same. Sounds like you are no longer “hurt” by his actions. You’ve become stronger while at the same time he has become weaker because he’s running out of fuel. I reached that point. For me, it seemed like when I reached the point of no more hurt and looked at him as an outsider I really lost the desire to continue living a life with the jerk. I can tell – you are well on your way.

    1. Lucy,

      I am certainly entering a new state of mind. I’ve been here before (well not quite this far) and I’ve lost gained ground by getting caught up in his, ” I love you, you and this marriage are important to me, I’m going to make changes.” I always take it with a grain of salt (I know it’s a play) but function like I believe it by giving him the chance to prove himself. I imagine you can relate.

      Oh, he still hurts me but it’s a dull hurt instead of the sharp hurt that would cause me to shut down and shut up to avoid being hurt further. I’d noticed in our confrontations this week that little things he says now stick out as important (such as “I have a right to defend my position”) because of what we have discussed on this forum. It’s changing the dynamic for me.

  46. To All,

    As BTOV stated, we are off topic, but the topic – Gratitude. I believe the way I was raised “cultivated gratitude” in that there were several members in my family, my parents were working class and we were middle income, like most of the residents of my town. We did not have many possessions, individually or as a family. We had what we needed and nothing more. We all helped keep the house tidy. It was a nice home but not extravagant. My sisters learned to cook (I learned from them) because my mother would nap after work and we didn’t dare awaken her, and we were hungry, so we cooked. We didn’t have a dishwasher, we were the dishwashers. Any time I received a new piece of clothing I would become so excited and joyful. I appreciated that item and valued it. We bought our own cars by saving from our low-paying jobs until we could afford to buy the car and pay for our own insurance, therefore, we value our vehicle.
    The more I write the more I realize why my adult children do not possess gratitude – because I gave them too many material items without them earning them. I gave because I could afford it. I gave me joy to give. Oh boy – now my daughter is struggling financially and very resentful – at me – for not providing what she’s used to having. This is her new life. She’s poor. Quit college and goofed up. Now she’s raising her little boy – struggling. She looks at me for answers and I tell her I don’t have answers. She’s an adult and has to figure it out.
    GRATITUDE is what was missing in my family.

    1. Thanks for leading back to the topic. I think everyone simply provided their views on things, but straying from a main topic can be confusing, can’t deny that.

      And of course, thanks for sharing your life experience.

      1. Timothy,

        Most of the time I’m off topic. That’s ok. We all heal and learn through on-topic material and off-topic.

  47. Now who’s off topic

    By Sarah Ban Breathnach

    “You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.”

  48. As far as When bad things are done to a person and they react badly does that make them bad? I have a good example. When I found out the things the STBX did, I was so furious. I was with my friends sending scathing texts to the jerk. My friends pleaded for me to stop, that my remarks were so ugly and hurtful they thought I’d push him over the edge to harm himself. In person I said some mean, ugly remarks to him , they were true, but I was so angry i did not even try to hold back. I allowed myself to feel whatever it was and say whatever I felt. I am not proud of the things i said directed to him. I never knowingly harm another. What he did to me though was awful. Betrayal and lies from a spouse are just too much for me.
    Charlie, i did what you said you’d never do. I dehumanized him. I didn’t feel good about it, but i did it. I said he was a monster without a heart and soul, among other things. Im not proud of it. I know I’m not a bad person. I’m still good.

  49. Lucy,

    Please don’t misunderstand. I didn’t say I would never dehumanize him. I said I work hard to not dehumanize him and it’s difficult.

    I speak from a place of experience in the aspect of dehumanizing and the ‘bad’ that comes out of it. You think you did bad? I physically attacked him, chased him around the garage, threw his motorcycle helmet at him, grab him by the shirt front, lifted him off his feet and pinned him to the upright freezer. And when he started to fight back, I intimidated him into not. I scared the hell out of him. My rage was huge and absolute. I used the aggression and bully tactics I learned from my family which broke an important promise I made myself when I was a teenager.

    Do I think I was provoked, you betcha. Do I think I’m a bad person, of course not. Do I think I did a bad thing, yes, absolutely. I can forgive myself but I’ll never try to justify to myself or anyone else that it was ok or didn’t reflect areas of my character I needed to work on. I also realized that I had been dehumanizing him for a while before that which meant I didn’t back off or feel anything but satisfaction when I saw his fear. That was a scary place for me and I know dehumanizing was a huge part of that. I’m very careful now to try to direct my anger towards his behavior.

    I wasn’t kidding when I said we all have character issues to work on myself included. I certainly am no paragon of perfection. If, however, we justify our ‘bad’ behavior because their behavior is worse I think we’ll end up just like them. I’ve watched the ‘if you can’t beat ‘me, join ’em’ attitude for awhile now and that is something I will never let happen to myself.

    1. Also, it didn’t change or affect his behavior one bit. He still fights, he still manipulates, he still does that exact same things as before. It changed nothing except that I needed to work harder to not to get lost.

        1. I totally lost my shit. He was afraid of me. He was hospitalized the night I found out about his misdeeds. I left the hospital four times one day because I was afraid of attacking him in his hospital room. And I have to admit I enjoyed watching him freak out a bit. and I drive his sorry ass home from the hospital screaming at him. He tried to open the door while I drove to jump out. I locked him in and continued screaming. It was sick. . Terrible that it reached that point.

      1. That is not surprising. I personally don’t think they can change. They don’t want to change. They want to keep the spouse around for their own selfish reasons – not because they want a happy life with us. We provide something they want or need.
        Just a warning, you think he’s bad now wait till you divorce him. Then you see the unleashed monster.

    2. I can totally understand that rage. Wow you lifted him off his feet.
      I have very minimal contact with the jerk now. His emails are always riddled with insults. He has no shame in dehumanizing me. But I did feel shameful for the things that came out of my mouth. I don’t like that side of me. I’m glad I’m away from that situation. He was like poison. The anger builds and builds and when it releases watch out.
      And you’re right about justifying the anger – it’s no good to get to that point of anger. But it happens. We are human. And when one becomes emotionless – that’s another place we dont want to be.

  50. Lucy,

    I had reached a really bad point when I did that. The stress and fear were so immense I was having traumatic OCD hand washing. In that moment, under his provocation, I had a choice to go scrub my hands and arms raw for 20 minutes or release through rage how dirty and demeaned I felt. We know what I chose. I still feel strangely proud of that moment and ashamed at the same time. I know it was wrong but I also know that was the moment fear of him no longer controlled me.

    I don’t like that side of myself either but it is part of our human nature. We all have aggression and there’s a point I found mine. I’m glad to know it takes a lot before I start losing my control. I think Dr Simon said something about the fact they can control theirs as well, they just don’t want to. I don’t think you and I are in that category but we don’t rationalize or justify that it was ok either.

    If you haven’t forgiven yourself yet, please do. We all make mistakes and we all learn from them. What you were dealing with wasn’t normal and was extreme. There’s no reason to carry that shame. Just promise yourself you won’t allow yourself to be stretched so thin that you reach your breaking point again.

    I know how much worse he’s going to get when I leave. It’s one of the fears that kept me with him. As I am improving on how I deal with him, I’m gaining confidence I can withstand the onslaught and not cave like I did the last time I tried to leave. It’s exhausting though. He can wear me down by sheer persistence.

    1. Oh boy, OCD due to trauma. You know what, I also felt good when I was on the offense and not the defense for a change. It was a life changer. I even went to the point of having PTSD sessions. I was so angry at him – kept envisioning him doing his dirty acts – could not get passed it and was trying to see if the marriage was salvable. (that’s before I knew the whole truth). That tapping PTSD treatment did not work. In fact, it annoyed me.
      The jerk saw a whole new side of me. He betrayed me – what’s the saying, “Hell hath no fury of a woman scorned.” TRUTH!
      Charlie, you won’t cave next time. When you leave, you’ll see how much he “loves” you. Don’t cave on words. Love must have actions.
      Yeah it’s exhausting. Some day you will have peace, as will I and others.

      1. Lucy,

        I stopped going to counseling the day after 18 months of ‘therapy’ at $200 per visit, when the doctor of phychiatry figured out my ‘strange’ OCD symptoms were due to trauma and ‘Complex PTSD.’ Even with everything I described happening and his determination I was dealing with a ‘malignant narcissist’ he couldn’t figure it out. I’m not surprised your therapy was unhelpful.

        I had a lot of conversations in session about testing my thinking for healthiness, checking my perspectives were fair and valid (especially compared to my husband), and assessing my judgement of what is good and bad (very much like my discussion with Timothy.). I was having trouble telling the differences. One session would be good and I would start feeling grounded in reality and the next session unraveled what was gained and I’d start hand washing again.

        My husband was also going to counseling during that time and I was encouraged to attend a couple of his sessions (where he was being treated for anxiety.). During those sessions, it would end up that his counselor would fight with me about how honest he was, how he had such good intentions, and how I should do what he needs so he could not experience so much anxiety (they’ve never figured out his anxiety is rooted in his loss of control of me.) Yes, they’d tell me, he’s done some very, very bad things but he’s sorry now and wouldn’t do the same in the future (even when I pointed out he was doing the same now, that was ‘petty.’)

        I’ve lost a lot of respect and trust in the field of mental health. Which is a shame, I used to be a big advocate of counseling.

        1. The husband found the perfect counselor for himself to prove he was the good guy and it was your fault. How dare you cause him anxiety. VOMIT !!! So those sessions made him go backwards further into all the craziness.
          Your counselor seemed darned slow to figure things out. I’m fortunate to have found one that worked for me. She has seen me go through hard times with my son and daughter and then the jerk. I think I went for about a year, first once to twice a week during crisis and it tapered down quite a bit then I’d go “as needed” and then she said she thought I was fine, but to call when I felt I needed more counsel.
          Why do you think you could not distinguish between good and bad? Was it all the dealings with the husband that led you to mass confusion?

          1. Lucy,

            I think gas lighting is or was a problem for me here. It’s so difficult to detect and even more difficult to explain. It’s small and insidious and constant.

            There was a period of time when I was trying to leave before that he, as well as MY family members after talking with him, were telling me maybe I needed a ‘restful place’ maybe a type of hospital since I was acting so crazy. They were very kind about it and explained they were just trying to help me not ruin my life. They couldn’t live with themselves if I ruined my life and Tom’s and they didn’t help me when the could. The counselor I was seeing read the emails, heard the voice mails and calmed me down. I was terrified they were going to get me involuntarily committed (I had no idea how hard that is to actually do so thank goodness I talked to her about it) and I felt like I was losing my mind. She also let me know that they could get me into a 72 hour hold but I was too rational not to be released. It was scary stuff. (She did not tell me about gas lighting. I watched the movie after seeing it referred to in a book about different types of abuse.)

            He questions everything in a really strange way that sounds kind of normal. For example, if I tell him something he said was hurtful, he’ll question how hurtful, if others would be hurt as much or at all, and suggest maybe it’s slightly hurtful but not that much. I would get so confused at focusing on the measurement and if I was what I was feeling was reasonable that I started to doubt my judgements and perceptions about what was real and not real. Maybe I was making it up. Maybe I wasn’t really hurt and I just thought I was.

            It sounds ridiculous but I don’t know how to explain it better.

          2. Charlie,

            It seems you went through a horrid time. It does look like that you were targeted, isolated, and gaslighted. You were surrounded by people, who either targeted you, or who unwittingly enabled the abuser.

            From your posts, I feel, you are intelligent, articulate, and rational person. I hope those awful times are history now, and things will only get better for you.

            In case you are still in that toxic environment, then a month long break may help, like visiting a distant relative/friend.

          3. Andy,

            Thanks for the support and the confirmation of my suspicions. I am still within the environment and I don’t have much support, one friend who has a lot of problems of her own. I lost or went no contact with my family and our married friends as they were either enabling or targeting for their own purposes using my marital discourse as the excuse. That was 6 years ago and it was a distressing time that told me I needed to manage a lot of different things differently before I could get out of this marriage.

            I’ve been doing the work, improving and sorting through the chaos, I had a huge backslide 3 years ago when I broke a bone in my ankle and didn’t heal due to autoimmune disease. I am now healed, autoimmune is somewhat under control and am back to moving towards my goals. Thanks again.

  51. Timothy,

    I’ve read a little on the topic of anger. Anger has a place of survival of one’s self. When we feel impeded, will lose something and have no or little control over the situation, we become angry because we are trying to save something. I’m trying to save my life’s savings from the squandering jerk I’m still married to.
    Anger isn’t bad in itself. We just need to learn how to deal with the situation so that the anger isn’t all-consuming.
    Anger – I cannot even talk about my divorce issues without my chest constricting and I feel like my head will explode. So much out of my control – an I keep trying to gain control. Lots of stress for sure.

    1. Anger is a healthy emotion and a sign something is wrong. What one does with that anger determines if it is healthy or unhealthy. Repressing my anger became very unhealthy for me.

  52. Joey,

    I was looking through some of the posts and conversations this a.m. and saw your conversation with Lucy concerning how you view your (the) mom (she is truly awful.)

    I wanted to be certain with what I’ve been posting that I didn’t inadvertently cause you to feel criticized or judged by your approach in how you deal with her.

    My experiences and thoughts are my own and what does or doesn’t work for me may be very different for what does and doesn’t work for you and I’m not intending to assign a right or wrong to anyone’s frame of reference. I’m just relating my experiences and what I’ve learned through my process.

    I’m very grateful for the opportunity do be able to do this and I certainly wouldn’t want to impede anyone else’s opportunity to feel comfortable in doing the same.

  53. Timothy,

    Are you a psychology student? When did your interest in psychology spark? Just curious.
    From what I gather you have read a lot. Myself, haven’t read much but have an enormous amount of real life experience and am trying to figure things out. You’ve been a load of help to me. Thanks.

    1. Why, that’s absolutely wonderful to hear!

      I’m not a psychology student. I’ve always had a kind of interest in what happens between people(perhaps not directly in psychology, but it is a big part of it nonetheless). I have trouble pinpointing any specific starting points.

      Despite having gone through a period long ago when I mistrusted my perception and intuition when it came for a few problem people in my life, I ended up waking up. Many problem people in my life inadvertently ended up strengthening my interest in what goes on between people.

      I think my thinking has been a lot influenced by my friends and some others in a few social circles I’ve frequented that have stayed steady along the years.

      I’ve also been on a few forums. I’ve had a few bad experiences on forums, which I can relate no problem. One guy was pretty nice to everyone until he started openly advocating for a white supremacist site and got banned for it. Another one(different case unrelated to the first one, different forum) apparently was paranoid. I didn’t figure it out until he starting accusing me via private message of stalking him on another site and playing a cruel prank on him by using a sockpuppet. I didn’t get banned, but I left. Afterwards, when I checked my messages(about half a year later), there were no messages from him, but a few messages from others, who said they had heard some things about me that they didn’t believe and they, too, thought he was paranoid.*

      *I’m sorry if this confuses you, but having scrolled comment sections at random I think there’s a clear distinction between paranoia and justified mistrust.

      One guy(again, a different forum) was one of the most bellicose and disputatious people I have met so far in my life, picking fights with pretty much everyone and overtly acting like a troll. At least he got banned fast.

      And there have been a few “social justice warriors” trying(and failing) to impose their myopic views on me.

      Those cases give something to think of. Most forum experiences have been positive for me, however, and people have given their perspectives. Perhaps a problem sometimes is that when I agree with someone I have to remind myself to look at it from other angles, too.

      Perhaps it’s helped by my fairly even birth temperament or perhaps because some time has passed, but I want to try and have a clear-minded view of things(especially about different kinds of people). Chatting up many people on different forums has helped a lot. The social circles I’ve frequented have been a huge influence on me(probably no surprise). They’re the ones, who’ve recommended me to read more.

      It was from a friend of mine I heard about this blog. He’s a psychology buff, but commenting on forums isn’t his thing. It sucks a bit – but that’s just my opinion. Anyway, he told me about this blog and I read articles for a period before I delved into the comments.

      Whew, I didn’t even mean to write that much.

      1. Timothy,

        So to sum it up in my little brain, you are interested in interpersonal interactions of people, why do behave as they do.
        I’m glad this forum has worked out for you. It certainly has for me. We do have to trust our gut instincts when red flags appear. Some posts give me an uneasy feeling (not you). I’m new at this so I do need to lay my trusting still naïve side to the wayside.
        Thanks for the answers. You are an interesting person yourself!

      2. Yes, you understood me correctly.

        I said this to Charlie already, but I think Susie’s on edge thanks to psychos she happens to be blood-related to. As it happens, blood is not thicker than water.

        Let’s not forget the trolls that have visited here.

        That’s an unpleasant combo, (not-so-)obviously.

        While I think my posts trying to tell between game-players (like your and Charlie’s husbands) and people stuck in a victim mindset like whom Greg Baer talks about, I may have failed to make myself clear. Or perhaps I explained too much, possible. Or failed to place the latter types of people in the right context or something. I don’t go looking for controversy, but for a moment I thought I might’ve slipped to that.

        Can you pinpoint what it is that you find bothersome?

        1. Timothy
          What I find troubling was the post by Susan posing as Annie (for our benefit -really?) to show how trolls can appear. I found it untrustworthy and manipulative – what I’m trying to avoid. I found that very troubling and a game changer.

          1. To All,

            I am grateful that Dr. Simon set up this blog for true victims of abusive relationships from the Character Disordered individual. It has been a refuge and safe haven for many years for the victims that have no other resource of trust, respect, understanding, support, knowledge and so much more. This is a serious blog with many lying their hearts and souls open to unseen individuals.

            I have found it insulting and offensive to intentionally post as one person than post as a another, this forum is not about game playing and Mind_______ .

            We are here trying to help one another heal and build each other up from the CD who lied and destroyed our trust. I have no use for any of these tactics.

            What is of great concern is that everything you have said thus far is suspect and questionable.

            I have a sis I must make a life or death decisions for and I come to my ONE SAFE PLACE for games. I don’t think so.

            We all don’t have to agree and should respect the others right to disagree, but to play a charade like this is unforgivable, nor do I like being studied like a bug!


  54. Individuals who experience aggressive anger are usually aware of their emotions, although they don’t always understand the true roots of their ire. In some cases, they redirect violent anger outbursts to scapegoats because it is too difficult to deal with the real problems. Aggressive anger often manifests as volatile or retaliatory anger and can result in physical damages to property and other people. Learning to recognize triggers and manage anger symptoms is essential to dealing positively with this form of anger.

    AND YOU LOOSE. This kind of behaviour is WRONG. Unless your life is in motal danger. There is no excuse.

    1. Joey,

      Are you speaking of me in particular?
      I recognized my triggers and moved out and proceeded with divorce. I don’t like being a loose cannon.

    2. Perhaps Joey is generalizing? Thinking of some kind of instruction for others not to fall into a trap?

      He posted something similar a while ago. It was about being careful about responding to provocations. It makes sense.

        1. Lucy,

          I’m feeling the same as you. I’m not sure if Joey’s post is referring to me with my ‘bad’ posts, or you and me and our anger conversations, or the issue with Susie Q or just in general. I’m not sure if BTOV’s post is exclusive to Susie Q or the you is general and includes things I’ve posted as well.


          I hope you feel that you and I are fine. I enjoyed our little debate, it certainly helped me pull focus away from topics of the difficult week I had and redirect my focus to the bigger picture. It provided me a sense of clarity that helped me deal with the problems I faced at home. Thanks

          1. Timothy,

            Also, I don’t find anything wrong about a little bit of controversy as long as we can all choose not participate or to respectfully disagree if it comes to that.

            I don’t know what anyone else’s thoughts are on the topic of controversy. I assume it’s welcomed here within limits.

        2. I think we are fine, too, Charlie. And great to know you’ve gotten that benefit.

          I’ve scrolled comment sections at random and responded to some people’s comments with a perspective of my own.

          BTOV’s response to Susie Q baffles the hell out of me. Perhaps there’s something else to the story? You don’t always know. It reminds me why I’ve wanted to understand what happens between people. I’ve seen things like that unfold between people I know and some other forums. I greatly dislike, if not hate, to see division, especially when I’m sure there are things I may not be aware of and might’ve missed.

          1. Timothy,

            You probably wonder too much. Give up! 🙂

            Regarding “It reminds me why I’ve wanted to understand what happens between people”.
            – It is hard enough to understand what happens within my head.
            – It is much more harder to understand what happens between two people, especially if I am not one of them.
            – It remains quite hard to understand what happens between two people, even if they hire me as a professional psychologist for several sessions.

            This is the kind of communication gap that usually happen between two people on a forum:
            – What I read in your post, I did not understand that precisely.
            – What I mean to say based on my understanding, I do not write that precisely.
            – What I wrote, is not understood precisely by reader.
            Go back to step 1, and repeat cycle.

            Aha! the gift of language comprehension to humans. No wonder computer have failed to understand it so far.

            Relax. Take things lightly. Give other person benefit of doubt, but not too much, not too often.

          2. Thanks, Andy. 🙂 That’s pretty much it.

            While I do realize that some things are just so simple and don’t find myself getting lost in my own thought labyrinths, I don’t think rational thinking can be a huge helper as long as it isn’t the only tool used.

            You have more of a straightforward style. I feel I do better job of learning if I go over things in different ways to make sure I catch an essence of a matter, what’s actually the idea behinds the words themselves.

            That’s a succint summation of miscommunications, too. Thanks for giving your view.

          3. Timothy,

            I am a great fan of rational thinking and logic and find the two get me through most difficulties in life. Of course, emotions cannot be ignored or rational thinking and logic will no longer be rational or logical.

            Have you seen the movie Mr. Holmes? It has a very good story and message that fits what I’m discussing. The movie was a bit worrisome in the beginning but had an uplifting ending.

    3. Joey,
      Well said and know you are not alone here. We will support you all the way and keep the beautiful poems coming they are an inspiration.
      Hugs to you kindred spirt

    4. I understood Joey to be talking about CD people in general. It sure describes the individuals in my family I have to deal with and I can identify with the language which I thought was well voiced.

      To Make it clear my post was referring to SusieQ ie.. Annie This is a serious breach of our trust and a total disrespect for the posters here. I have and I think the other posters have been through to much to have these types of games played with their minds especially here………………

      When a new person posts I try to welcome them and take their history as truth. We are talking about peoples lives being torn apart and destroyed and we have a game player. Not welcomed!!!!!!!!!

      We try to mend broken hearts not give them the final blow.

      1. It’s understandable that you want to draw a line.

        There are a few things that really bother me about this.

        *You said to her: “What is of great concern is that everything you have said thus far is suspect and questionable.” Some light on the thought behind that. Everything? Really? Examples?

        *I don’t think anyone needs to take part in convos in order to study us. It’s like you said: “This is a serious blog with many lying their hearts and souls open to unseen individuals.” That’s an enormous elephant in the room.

        1. Timothy
          I found several comments suspect from Susie Q I.e. Annie. I prefer not to go blow by blow and rip them apart. The imposter Annie was the final blow for me.

        2. Waitwaitwait wait wait.

          Several ones? Over the longer period of time?

          How long has Susie posted here, btw? Perhaps it matters, perhaps it doesn’t, but still.

        3. To All,

          So, I feel that I need to point out: I think we’re falling apart a bit as a group regarding Susie Q posing post.

          I responded pretty quickly to Susie Q’s response to Lucy’s query regarding Susie Q / Annie. Timothy and I had a discussion as he was concerned I was being too hard on Susie Q and I described why I thought Susie Q needed to acknowledge and explain her actions.

          I know that most, if not all of us, are still really angry about how we’ve been treated and what we’ve been subjected to and Susie Q pushed a hot emotional button with her ‘lesson’ and the manner she went about it. I know that most of us have, on some level, have adopted a ‘no tolerance’ policy regarding this type of behavior. The problem, as I see it, with ‘no tolerance’ is it causes the emotional pendulum to swing wildly from she’s so great to she’s so horrible which seems too close to idealizing and devaluing and discard which we all know is not healthy, functional views regarding people.

          The problem is we have no idea why or what state of mind she was in when she posted. I noticed she’s been communicating with everyone for months. Does this seem out of character for her? (And I would caution against dissecting past posts as it’s too easy to assign erroneous malintent after the fact.) I noticed her posts were becoming a bit erratic (everyone is out to get me, family members pushing me into suicide.) I know her situation sounds very toxic and crazy making and it’s easy to get to state of mind that causes us to act out and act out of character. (Or she could actually be of the character that she’s acting up.)

          It is not my intention to assign a story to Susie Q’s actions or to make us all feel sorry for her but to remind us there’s more than just us and thus forum going on in Susie Q’s life and she needs to explain herself.

          As she hasn’t been posting since just before and definitely after I called out her behavior, I would caution all of us to take a deep breath, check our emotional state, manage our fears and anger, and try to work together at finding a more positive and assertive way to handle this serious conflict.

          We are a good group, this is a safe place, and working together can help us learn important skills when it comes to dealing with these types of problems. We all know we are going to run into this often in the real world and WE are the ones that make this a safe place, it’s not magically a safe zone.

          Remember: Our emotional reactions COULD cause others to withhold their thoughts or enter the blog in fear of messing up and not being welcomed here. We need to think about how a stranger would view the safety of this blog, emotional lashing out will feel scary to people coming here who are already dealing with this at home even when we think our anger and lashing out is fair and justifiable.

          We are a good group, we are a safe group, we are a human group, we are a group that works together to resolve conflicts in a healthy, productive manner.

          1. Charlie,
            Well said. I can only deal in truth and this is supposed to be a safe place, a forum for truth, not lies, not trickery, not games, nothing. I have lived and gone through to much for this type of mockery and head games for me to make excuses for what it is and that is being LIED to.

            You may see it another way, I don’t, it was rude and a slap in the face and I am putting it lightly. You may find excuses for this type of behavior and it opens doors to all kinds of ILL pranks. Been there done that and deal with these types all the time. As they say the truth and nothing but the truth.

            We need to abide by sound ethics and this was not ethical by any means, otherwise, everything is subject to speculation of being true. We took warning signs clearly given by the CD in our lives and made excuses. To me a line was crossed and it included me. This is not exceptable behavior to me and I promised I would separate myself from these type of people when I cut the CD out of my life.

            A lie is a lie whatever, you want to rename it it is still a LIE. Maybe instead of finding excuses for the behavior and why it should be excepted you should sound out why it was WRONG and the HARM it may have caused.

            As I recall Honesty is one of the 10 Commandments if we don’t have a foundation of Honesty and Trust we have Nothing but meaningless words. Same as our relationships without a foundation of honesty and truth we have nothing but lies and deceit!

        4. My goodness, Charlie, thank you for taking time to pointing that all out as well as articulating what I was suspecting at a very subconscious level!

          While I don’t claim to know what was going on with Susie Q, I come back to this: Mistrust and accompanying hypervigilance(borne out of other people’s malintended aggression, abuse, psychological game-playing, gaslighting, crazy-making, bullying, harassment, stalking, setting up difficult situations and many other tactics or even simply being a victim of crime like robbery, assault, rape etc. or having to watch one’s back in a very unsafe environment) can very unfortunately be confused for paranoia. Those two are a different things. The distinction’s been made for a reason.

          I also want to emphasize a thing in your post and that is: caution against dissecting past posts as it’s too easy to assign erroneous malintent after the fact That’s so on point!

          Emotions and instincts are powerful and can very easily justify themselves. This is one thing that we come up against when examining them or trying to let them go. They can argue for their existence and against other actual possibilities. Luckily they are not unstoppable juggernauts, either. This all can be hard to remember when in grips of a strong emotion.

          Thank you a thousand, Charlie, for pointing out the shadow side and potential counter-intuitiveness of seemingly simple and straightforward policies. Also thank you for pointing out how easily goodwill can sour into its opposite and it’s being like “idealizing and devaluing and discard” in nature. That was necessary and you brought it out in the open, much appreciated.

          That was a many-sided and well-thought-out assessment of what occurred.

          1. Timothy,

            Thank you for the kind words. I was a bit concerned I could be eaten for my view.

            I want to be clear, though, I did not and do not find Susie Q’s behavior acceptable. I said from the start that I thought it was a “trick and a breach of trust.” I am not making excuses for her or excusing what she did because she’s in a difficult situation at home. I don’t want to be naive nor over consciencious. I just want to be consciencious and fair. I try to look at another’s possible perspective or perspectives both positive and negative so I can remain open to the next step. Only Susie Q can tell us why she posted as she did. I try to be kind while straightforward and direct as I believe darkness can not exist within the light of truth.

            Susie Q has ruffled a lot of feathers and she has to account for that and earn back the trust and respect she lost through her actions. Actions have consequences and healthy, functional adults face them. I’ve learned that its important to let people face their consequences, to not try to save them from themselves. It truly does them a disservice in life.

          2. Timothy,

            I think it’s time to move past this. Hopefully, we’ll get a new subject soon and can all focus on that.

            Did you see my post above? Am wondering if you saw the movie Mr. Holmes?

          3. Timothy,

            One last thing on this topic of Susie Q and her magical troll sensing abilities……well, I guess I just said it.

  55. Charlie
    That husband of your is a clever one – the gaslighting that drove you to the point of feeling crazy – just as in the movie. He is dangerous to your mental health. You are spending an extraordinary amount of energy dealing with his falsities. At his hands you’ve suffered both mentally and physically. He’s a bad seed (that’s another old classic to watch The Bad Seed. You have it figured out and you have pulled through. I hope you can get away before he drags you down yet again. We do get worn out and weak at times.

    1. Charlie,
      Lucy is right, if he an inkling you know your onto him it will wind up real fast. If you think you are going to leave him, try to get all your ducks in order. Let things calm down during this period, you know who and what you are deal with thus far. When you leave or file for divorce and he knows the gig is up. Its just like Lucy says the real MONSTER will appear.

      He will try everything to keep you there, I don’t know him, but from what you say it will not be pretty. I am so sorry you have to go through this but having the knowledge you have will give you strength. In the end the gas lighting got so bad he was defining my reality. It was my source of strength to have the knowledge I did. I wished I had been able to utilize the strength of this site at the time too. I hope we can help.


    2. Lucy,

      He is very difficult and its even more difficult to determine how or why so much of what happens, well, happens.

      I’m improving, I’ll have my ups and downs, and I’ll slowly reach my goal. I daily remind myself, slow and steady wins the race.

      And I have seen the ‘Bad Seed’ (really good, creepy movie). I don’t think he quite fits. Lol If he is a psychopath (which I often truly wonder) in addition to a grandiose narcissist, he fits within the functional or successful sort with no one but me seeing it. He’s charming, people really seem to like and respect him, and will follow him without question. The oddest thing, is most people will admit they felt intimidated or afraid of him at first meeting and then they got to know him and found he’s a really great guy (myself included.). At first sight of him when I was 20, my thought was stay away from the guy with the crazy eyes. Then he made a beeline to me, my mom and his mom knew each other and I thought, “Wow, first impressions can be so wrong.” I think that was instinct speaking at first glance and I wish I would have minded it.

      Then I proof read this post, and think, “Wow! Are you being overdramatic. Yes, all that’s true but a psychopathic grandiose narcissist? He can’t just be just a jerk with poor character?” It often feels surreal and a bit paranoid to me to assign such huge and negative labels which is why I focus so strongly on Dr Simon’s disordered character.

      1. Charlie,
        Lucy brings up another good point, they will wear you down, he may wear you down to the point that you may not have the wherewithal to leave. I hope you have a trusted person to help, that makes a big difference. If you stay I hope we can help with the support you will need to maintain your sanity.

        I don’t remember your age but it seems these CD individuals start to loose it as they age. They see the wrinkles and flab and the reality of not being what they once were and need a scapegoat to take their resentment out on. They hate the presenting fact of old age and their demise.

        Can you imagine your dying breath being attached to him. Would he care for your needs if you got sick? At least if your young enough you may still find someone that cares for you.

        When I met the CD there was something about his eyes at times that gave me an uneasy feeling. It was only for brief moments my gut would scream and I would think nothing is wrong and ignored it. Was I Wrong.

      2. Lucy and BTOV,

        I’m finding that if I make small changes, small steps over a long period of time, I can manage the size of the outburst and cause him to adapt to the new changes. (Has anyone else tried this approach? I’m wondering if how it worked out in the end.). Right now, I’m working on him moving out for part of the week in order to better manage the stress and tension that have been unbearable since January. I’ll let you know how I make out.

  56. Hi Everyone!

    Well, I almost got caught again In the Glass Darkly.

    I am almost 61 and am semi retired. What that really means is that I have money for retirement but not so much that a part time job is necessary.

    I was hired a couple of months ago at a big box store that gives out free food samples. I thought it would be a nice fun job where I could talk with the members, hand out a few samples and go home with my meager paycheck, all stress free.

    Lord, was I wrong. I was expected to stand at a station for 6 hours a day on a concrete floor cooking to fill the bellies of what are called “vultures” that line up at the free food stations. I counted I averaged over 700 samples a day plus selling the product. My boss called me the killer my sales were so high. I told him he was going to kill me because the job was extremely hard on the body and the mind. Grills, ovens, frozen hard ice cream, olives, sheds I have sold them all.

    I have a medical condition that went into over drive because of the stress of the job so I quit by phone. My boss called me the next day, after getting my phone call and tried to convince me that I only worked as hard as anyone else at the place. Which was not true since I was one of their top sales people. But I did not even get into that tit for tat. He wanted me to come back to work and I explained it was not a good fit for me because of my medical condition. I also told him that I had just found out that my boyfriend has been diagnosed with leukemia (which was not entirely true, but it wasn’t a lie either) I had a date with a cop that told me he has leukemia which told me that we were not destined to be lovers. Anyhoo, you should have seen him try to convince me that I worked no harder than anyone else (then why am I their top sales person!?) but I didn’t even argue with him.

    I just told him that due to my medical condition this is just not a good fit for me. He said that I could come back and work for him in one or two years if I wanted to (I guess he thinks the fictional boyfriend will have died by then and I will need a job!)

    Boy was he mad that I would not go back and work for him. I was gaslighted big time. But with the help of this site and my own experience with these manipulators I was able to lie right back at him and actually convince him that we were still best buds.

    Yea, right.

    So I am gainfully unemployed again, but I have money in the bank and the bills are paid and I will find a fun job not like the hell hole I found myself in for the last two months.

    Getting stronger day by day!

    Theresa Maria

    1. TheresaK,

      I had wondered where you went! I’m so glad you are back, you quit that stressful job, and so sorry you have having difficulties with your health. Definitely, look for a fun job. Maybe somewhere that matches your hobbies or interests?

  57. I was not able to post because I was scheduled to work all the high volume days and when I had a break I just lay in bed I was so exhausted.

    I am thinking about being a bank teller. It would dove tail nicely with my paralegal background and my money management skills. Plus it would be part time.

    Theresa Maria

    1. TeresaK,

      I think that sounds like a good match up for you. I worked in a bank and banking for a long time. It’s a very interesting field.

    2. I found This. Hope you like it

      Part Time
      By Matt

      The answer is still no
      I do as I please

      And aren’t I just
      The bees knees

      No plans to move
      From this room

      When it comes to money
      I don’t care

      I have barely enough
      To pay the bills
      Lying over there

      I’m not reporting
      To any office
      Or a boss

      I’ll keep my independence
      Even if poverty is the cost

      Yes I’m a part time worker
      Just as happy as can be

      I don’t need
      More money

  58. Timothy,

    I am just passing through to give some thoughts. I have been reading this for a while now and I wasn’t going to post but when you inquired, I thought maybe I should speak up.

    –I really don’t see anything that Susie Q did as being harmful. I think if she wanted to act in anyway malicious she would have used Annie more than she did. I know that an individual can make a false profile for just about anything on the internet.

    –I think that we all know that the deceptive individual will draw attention to a menial detail instead of looking into the real issue.

    -Susie Q sensed the presence of a troll and it seems to me that she was trying to make (her friends) aware that there was an ominous presence to look out for.

    –Does anyone really know who we are talking to on the internet? Everyone mentioned that they feel that this is a SAFE place.

    –One of the topics that seems to be going on right now is GASLIGHTING. Isn’t that making the victim seem crazy so allegations will be ignored? Isn’t that what you all are doing to Susie Q. How many people would be willing to stand up and say that they have a sadistic evil mother who arranged the death on her daughter with the help of her psycho sister Teri and her evil sister-in-law? That seems like stuff that belongs in Hollywood and if Susie Q is smart, that is exactly where it will end up.

    –Didn’t she mention that the people in the small town were all played for fools? She might have been trying to save you from falling into the same category.

    –Trolls do come in many forms and so do bullies. I would challenge you to think things through.

    Timothy, an inquisitive mind is an intelligent mind. Don’t ever lose that and don’t let others make you think that you think too much. I think in reality, you bring up thought provoking questions that others can not answer.

    Blessing to you.

    1. Esme, I don’t remember if I’ve seen you comment here before, maybe you have, perhaps just not around the times I’ve commented. In any case, it’s good that you ignored others insisting case closed and stuff, examined this in detail like Charlie did and popped in to speak up.

      You’ve probably noticed Esme, I like to say things in different words and ways. That helps learn things and I encourage you do the same.

      While I don’t deny my perspective could have its flaws, I speak from what makes sense, as I have put some things together during these years. And perhaps I already handled some things with people I know and trust(as well as some very wise men, thanks to them, too) way before I came here. Some others here, though, still have the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads or have only recently started their recovery journey.

      With all the disruptive people that have popped in to visit(and some not-outright-offensive-but-nonetheless-strange comments by people along the way), it would make sense if she started suspecting there was some new troll lurking unknown to us and her. Considering her situation(which you went over brilliantly, Esme), it would seem more likely she had reason to suspect a psycho from her family or one of their ‘flying monkeys'(great term) would find out something.

      Extreme and constant stress can make a person do things that appear senseless to outsiders. Getting others to stop associating with and relating to a person works as a part of the gaslighting game. Isolation, exclusion, compelling mistakes, shaking others’ faith in a person, extreme disorientiation so that any articulation fails, those are part of gaslighting. One great definition of gaslighting I’ve heard is that a target can’t convince others they’re under attack. Read that again.

      These kinds of things have been discussed by commenters here for long. I think many here have given far better descriptions than I can. Sometimes a person going through an extremely detrimental experience can have hard time articulating it. These things have been discussed here for long. If you other commenters have discussed with Susie Q for long, I think you ought to be mindful about things like that.

      These kinds of instances give new meaning to “devil is in the details”. We all have our blind spots, which is never obvious. I wouldn’t say that others couldn’t answer my questions. I think some of them have been answered just fine. That or at least someone’s tried as best as possible, according to her/his perspective. We can offer different perspectives for readers of the blog.

      What I think, Esme, is that perhaps others aren’t ready to answer some of the questions yet.

    2. Okay, I have to weigh in here. Strict rules against manipulation (covert acts) of any kind must apply on the blog. And it’s apparent to me that some degree of this is going on with this commentator posting under at least 3 different names. While there are circumstances that with my approval might justify someone posting under a different identity, I do not see a situation warranting this here. So at least for now, and in view of the nature of some recent comments, I’ve taken steps to help prevent this.


    Aviva Rutkin

    The woman has a big secret: unknown to her family, she’s running a phone-sex business from home. Only her best friend knows the truth.

    It sounds like the plot of a good soap. But this woman is one of 61 participants in a study looking at the way we cover up secrets in our emails. The results suggest we’re not as good at hiding them as we think.

    Yla Tausczik at the University of Maryland in College Park and her colleagues recruited people who admitted to having had an “enormous secret” in the last seven years. They posted flyers in major cities, sent out emails and posted ads on Amazon Mechanical Turk and Craig’s List. The response was pretty high: 1133 people completed an initial questionnaire. Of these, 179 met the researchers’ requirements and 61 ultimately took part.

    Studying secrets is tough, says Tausczik. “You can’t bring people with secrets into the lab, you can’t bring in their friends without raising suspicion.” To get round this, the team decided to look at people’s emails.

    Most of the participants had secrets that were romantic or sexual in nature – involving adultery or undisclosed homosexuality, for example. Some were hiding medical problems. Others had secrets that they felt would destroy their school or work lives if known.

    Even so, all the participants agreed to give the researchers access to their email accounts. They each provided the date when the secret had first started, as well as the people they were keeping the secret from or sharing it with.

    After scrubbing the emails of identifying information, the researchers combed through the language used in more than 59,000 messages. Using software to analyse the text revealed that secret-keepers tended to be more socially active than expected – they were “hypervigilant”, says Tausczik. “A lot of the previous literature would have suggested social withdrawal.”

    Language mirror

    In particular, they took great care to maintain relationships with those they wanted to keep in the dark, sending them more emails per month after they started keeping a secret than they had before.

    The study also looked at people’s relationships with those who knew their secret. Secret-keepers tended to mirror the language of their confidants much more, suggesting a close relationship. They also used more negative emotional words – such as “hurt”, “ugly” and “nasty” – and words related to insight or causation, such as “realise”, “because” and “if”. The team will present the work at the International Conference on Web and Social Media in Cologne, Germany, this month.

    David Markowitz at Stanford University thinks that Tausczik and her colleagues have found a clever way to get at information that by its nature is meant to be hidden. “Email is an important platform for understanding deception because it bridges social and professional worlds for many people,” he says.

    The study shows how secret-keepers attempt to hide the fact they have a secret by trying to act normally with those they are keeping the secret from. But such efforts can be overdone, says Markowitz. “Liars often fail to properly estimate behaviour patterns of truthful communicators.”

    Markowitz and his colleague Jeff Hancock found this when they looked at research papers that had been retracted due to scientific misconduct. These tended to contain more references than papers describing legitimate results.

    In the long run, this kind of research might pave the way for systems that can detect deception automatically, says Norah Dunbar at the University of California, Santa Barbara. At the moment, we are still trying to figure out if there are recognisable linguistic patterns at all. “But I think the long term goal for a lot of people in this area is to be predictive,” she says.

    It is tempting to think that an algorithm could simply detect something fishy, says Markowitz. But to spot secrets automatically we may need to gather many more pieces of information and capture an individual’s wider behaviour beyond just language use, he says.

      1. I thought it was of interest. It is very interesting to understand lying. and how people lie. Keeping secrets. Thats what it is about.

        DC’s are masters of deceit. There is information in the artical about manipulation tactics

        Example :In particular, they took great care to maintain relationships with those they wanted to keep in the dark, sending them more emails per month after they started keeping a secret than they had before.

        Manipulation tactic that they use. Understanding DC’s is what this entire site is about and how we change ourselves. We are all free the post what we like with in a frame work of moral codes. This is why I post.

        If I have upset an individual I am sorry.

        1. Joey,
          Thank you for taking the time to write it out. I immediately understood why and what you meant. It was very kind and caring and I appreciated it. Take care Kindred Spirit you are in my thoughts and prayers. Hugs

        2. Joey,

          If it isn’t clear already, you didn’t do anything dubious or offensive. My train of thought ran away and that’s why I misinterpreted your comment and those of a few others.

  60. Who is the sock puppet here? What I have learned is to trust my gut. If I had before I’d have not tolerated the shannigans that went on in my marriage. My gut tells me things aren’t what they appear to be on this blog as of recent. I cannot put my finger on it and frankly not going to expend my energy on it. I have real life matters to deal with. That is as far as I’m going with this matter.

  61. I had heard of the expression sock puppet before. Just looked it up. Thanks for using it Lucy. Educational, appropriate.

    Intuition is the language of the soul. It is the language you can trust. It operates on the energetic vibratory level, not just the mental, intellectual word associated one.

    Yours must be highly tuned. Am moved to congratulate you, and Esme’s recent post too. And Timothy’s. Please don’t go Timothy. Would love to know more about the wise men that you mentioned….we need their wisdom and insights here. Dr Simon does his best to help us, but he can’t do it all ! Thanks for trying anyway Dr S, and another great series of articles.

    1. Jess,

      Perhaps it’s still better that I respond.

      Shortly: After what I noticed Susie Q having written, I defended her, believing her to be an innocent victim of gaslighting. After a small while I had an (erroneous) thought that perhaps the perspective and the way it conveys itself is just so starkly different that it got her even more edge. While I wasn’t sure, I started to suspect I may possibly remind her of someone else she knows. I was so grim thinking this that I decided to defend her some more and that if it made me look suspect, that would be expectable. And that was before Esme’s post! Apparently Esme was another sockpuppet for Susie.

      There’s a cognitive attribution error called mind-reading. When Joey innocuously posted a link, I really fell prey to this “mind-reading” thinking error and with others on edge(at least so it seemed to me), I jumped to conclusion that I had indeed fallen under suspicion and should go.

      Contacting Dr Simon, I related what I thought. He then told me what really was the case. I’m so embarrassed. Whether Susie planned it or not, I was too certain too early of her innocence.

      I made drastic leaps in judgment. What folly!

      What the hell was I thinking?

      Thank you, Jess, for speaking up. Reading what you wrote, I’d hate to disappoint you or anyone else.

      P.S. Joey, you can freely post contents along with links. My response earlier was out of misinterpretation on my part. It was actually nothing you did. You didn’t do anything out of place.

      P.P.S. These wise old men have said great things to me. I need to re-gather my thoughts a bit.

      P.P.P.S. My “leaving” -message can be deleted. It was based on a gigantic errors in judgment.

      1. Timothy,

        Glad to see you are back, I was hoping that would be the case. I also contacted Dr Simon as I image others did as well.

        I’m glad Jess’s post helped, have you spoken to her or him before?

        1. I double-checked my post and it should clear the fog.

          I acted drastically. Even though Esme/Susie probably said it to further manipulate me, the words themselves make sense outside that context.

          “an inquisitive mind is an intelligent mind. Don’t ever lose that and don’t let others make you think that you think too much.”

          How easy is it to forget that? That’s something that really needs to be cultivated. I don’t say this with blame, sniping, preaching or grandstanding in mind, but as a matter of fact.

          I don’t remember if I’ve specifically talked to Jess. (If we have chatted, Jess, please forgive my lapse in memory and remind me.)

          1. Timothy,

            One of the most difficult things for me to accurately identify the covert aggression used by my husband and his family was the use of compliments. It feels so good to have people recognize special things about one’s self.

            It took me way too long to figure out the compliments were actually empty flattery and that the flattery was being used to manipulate.

            I am very cautious and untrusting of both compliments and flattery now as its often difficult for me to tell the difference between them.

          2. Flattery is common.

            What Susie/Esme did was flatter something that you and Lucy had already thanked me for – and then take it to the extreme. She not only wanted to appeal to ego, with the implication as if I was the only one asking the right questions. It was also the counteraction to my exchange with Andy, with the apparent intent (by Susie) to lead me to think that others’ thinking is too simplistic.

            Irony! Some inquisitive thinking led to me realizing where my train of thought went.

          3. No we never specifically chatted Timothy, just didn’t want you leaving like that.
            You’re one of the regular posters, unlike me, more of a lurker/reader than poster, but it doesn’t mean I don’t feel attached to the people and things shared here.

    2. Jess,

      By ‘wise men’ I simply refered to people I know, who give me their rich, accumulated life experience and wisdom.

      I will mention some more of what they have told me.

      Stay tuned! And please keep commenting yourself too.

      1. Hey glad you’re back.

        I know I don’t comment much, my mind goes all over the place when I’m reading. I’m here on and off, and just butt in sometimes, the convos move so quickly…if as you say was a timely butt in and made you rethink that’s just great. Big smile

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