A Primer on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to visit various treatment programs and to consult with many therapists, all of whom purported to employ a cognitive-behavioral approach to treatment.  And I’ve also heard from hundreds of individuals who have purportedly participated in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). But what I have frequently found is that while both the clinicians and their clients were quite fairly well-versed in the theory behind CBT, the treatment actually provided fell far short of genuine CBT, focusing primarily if not exclusively on the cognitive component of the paradigm (i.e. on the clients’ thinking patterns, core beliefs and attitudes, etc.,) and affording little to no attention to the most critical component: the problematic behavior patterns that so often both flow from and reinforce unhealthy ways of thinking. As a result, the treatment recipients did not derive the level of benefit the research indicates is so possible with CBT.

As readers of my book Character Disturbance already know, I’m a proponent of CBT, especially when it comes to the treatment of individuals with some modicum of character impairment. And I have long asserted that change – genuine, meaningful change – always takes place in the here-and-now moment, which one of the bigger reasons why I favor the CBT model. All of us face pivotal moments of choice. And only when we seize the moment and make the choice to take a different course from our more habitual ways of dealing with things can we truly acquire new ways of coping.  CBT, properly employed, provides an excellent means for achieving those ends.  Now, to be sure, some disturbed characters are really good at “going through the motions” of change (i.e. giving assent to demands placed on them) while still harboring much resentment and defiance in their hearts.  And a few of these folks know how to stage some pretty convincing performances while inwardly resisting any modification of their preferred modus operandi.  But at the core of the cognitive-behavioral therapy perspective and paradigm is the notion that just as our beliefs, attitudes, and ways of thinking influence our behavior, the consequences we incur as a result of our actions also shape our beliefs and attitudes. And any heart open to lasting changes in the long run must at least be willing to a few things differently in the short-run. Because we both learn and grow from our experiences, making even the smallest of changes in our behavior can eventually lead some big changes of heart.

CBT isn’t just for folks with character disturbances.  Research indicates it’s the treatment of choice for a wide variety of human concerns.  Still, I’ve gotten many complaints over the years from folks who claim to have participated in CBT only to have derived little benefit.  But in almost every case, when I examined carefully the model of therapy in which they participated  it became clear that they had received something far more akin to cognitive therapy (CT) than CBT.  CT came into vogue several decades ago when the connection between depression and the altered perceptions and thinking patterns (i.e. depressive cognitions) that accompany depression became more fully understood. That’s what made us realize what a powerful a therapeutic tool it could be to challenge depression-fostering cognitions and replace them with beliefs that might foster a more positive outlook. CT quickly became popular with clinicians because of its ease of application and because of its compatibility with a lot of other “talk therapy” approaches. Behavior therapy, on the other hand, has never enjoyed the same level of popularity or support, despite the ample research attesting to its superior clinical efficacy. Incorporating the cognitive component has been demonstrated to enhance behavior therapy’s effectiveness. Still, the crucial core of CBT is the behavioral component. Because most clinicians know how powerful a treatment approach it is, when asked, they’ll frequently tell you they’re both knowledgeable about and employ CBT, even if in practice what they really do is mostly CT or their own unique blend of CT and other traditional insight-oriented techniques. Very few have the desire or deliberately make the effort to confront maladaptive behaviors at the very moment they occur and encourage their clients to replace those behaviors with more appropriate ones, which is what the behavioral aspect of CBT is all about.  And that’s a shame because that’s where the real efficacy of treatment lies.  As I’ve advocated in other articles (see, for example: Putting the “B” Back into Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy), if they’re really going to make a difference in people’s lives, helping professionals need to put the “B” back into CBT.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be providing some examples of how the CBT approach can be used successfully to address a wide range of problems (e.g., ameliorating post-traumatic stress after a relationship with a character disturbed individual, overcoming anxiety disorders and depression, modifying personality patterns, etc.) and how therapists who properly employ the approach can not only help their clients make meaningful changes in their lives but also help them acquire a greater sense of personal empowerment (i.e. increased self-efficacy) in the process.

This Sunday night’s Character Matters program will be a rebroadcast of an earlier show, so no phone calls can be taken.

132 thoughts on “A Primer on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

  1. Thanks for the shout out! All of you have been so wonderfully helpful, caring, loving, generous, and on and on, that I’ve able to untangle lots of the twisted up CD bizzar-o experience. I have not yet read this article from today, so there may be help for my current stuck place.
    Through lots of CBT, I feel good about who I am and what I have to off people. We talked about the loneliness thing before, and when things in that category trip me up, I spiral down so far so fast. I have or maybe had a friend who knew my secrets. There are different things going on in her life now, as well as mine, and we talk or see each other a lot less often. I could speculate all day about why and never really know. I miss the opportunity to work through stuff in a BFF way. Made a variety of attempts, I don’t blame myself, but it just isn’t there. I want to get to a place where I can miss talking to her. The End. But I start throwing in being rejected so coldly by my family, and another friend who was saying great things about having me as a friend, but disappeared. I think what I am doing is hauling out those feelings that resulted from my mom being such a mean-spirited verbal and emotional abuser. That young girl pops up. Are there any ways I can stop the spiral before it starts? Maybe ways to kind of re- program my brain? Just because S isn’t there to be a BFF any longer, does not mean I’m all those horrid things my mother told me I was. Incessantly. Maybe something I know ahead of time that I can quickly turn to as a way of distracting myself? Love to be able to put my brain on hold for a while.

    1. All of us? Hopefully I’m not taking that too literally, given how enthused I’ve gotten to muse on many, many matters I see even vaguely relating to anything. Still, even though we haven’t talked much, I’m glad if you’ve experienced anything I’ve said as helpful.

      Also great to read about your progress with CBT.

      Lulu, it’s truly unfortunate to be in any way related to the kind of person you describe, “a mean-spirited verbal and emotional abuser”. It’s incredible that anyone would get a kick out of being so mean-spirited and go out of their way to be as much of a jerk as possible. Even one such person is too much.

      It’s lovely to have a close friend in any case and it’s obvious how much you appreciate and value her. I hope you do get to see her again someday.

      Your question about “re-programming your brain” reminded me of a simple mindfulness meditation session I’ve found on Youtube.


      Youtube is RIFE with these. If you want to go even further, there are many hypnosis videos on Youtube, too, though not everyone is willing to try those out.

      1. Doctors need to be forgiven for not understanding the context in which people act and behave. Jumping into diagnosing people is not always helpful as many mistakes have been made. We all need to MOVE on. It is OK. All is well.

    2. Lulu,

      I don’t know how you process friends who’s words don’t match up with their deeds. Disappearing on people is huge. And it happens a LOT. I think that it’s largely a function of a society where people are distracted, over worked, bombarded by too much information from everywhere. It’s almost as if the ability to prioritize relevance is being eroded because it is all just too much. It’s tragic when friendships become lost in the same maelstrom. Particularly in this day and age, it is important not to draw a line between the treatment you received from your mother and the treatment you’ve received in recent friendships. It isn’t your fault.

  2. Hi again Lulu — my deepest sympathies, my egg donor tried the same tactics. In large part, due to my wonderful foster parents, I survived — I do know what it feels like to be constantly put down and abused by someone who should be nurturing above all.

    Several months ago, I suggested that people look up the poem “The Chambered Nautilus.” Puddle was quite taken by it. I’m recommending that you look it up, and print a copy. Keep reading it, and remember that you are building your life anew, the past cannot be erased, but you can with effort encapsulate the bad memories and build over and around the debris of your past. Peace and hope from Elva

    1. Hi Elva, I do love that poem. I just read it again and had a lump in my throat, especially the end. I do wonder if encapsulating the past actually is beneficial though or effective in regards to emotional hurts, pain and damage. How do those ever get erased to the point that they are fully healed and unable to be ripped open again?

      1. Hi Puddle — not sure if I can give you an answer that works for you. For me, I have chosen to feel that all the hurt, the pain, the fighting for survival that I have been through, are part of the maturing process. It’s similar to the way stones are polished in a tumbler, as first rough grit, then smaller and smaller grit are used to polish the stones so that the beauty of the rock finally shines through. This is how rocks are polished to become semi-precious gems.

        I have chosen to be a victor, not a victim. Yes, I still have lots of flaws, I keep working on them. It has not always been easy. As LisaO says, don’t initiate contact with those who would try to pull you down to their level. I certainly don’t claim my techniques will work for everyone, but I offer them in case they might help a bit. If I stumble, I always ask for God’s help, and He always gives it. I don’t forget when someone acts in an evil manner toward me, but I try to make note of their action(s), so that I can warn other people about them. But with God’s help, I have surmounted that obstacle, and I am therefore free to move forward. As noted above, not sure if this will answer your question, but it’s what works for me. Peace and hope from Elva

        1. Elva, I love the Rock tumbeling analogy. And I can see that being true for me in some ways as my life has rolled along. It’s the really deep stuff, the old stuff that seems very difficult to get to, the inner chambers? Spathtard found them and it took him less than 12 hours. Direct hit.… I know there is stuff there but it doesn’t get stirred up until some Spathtard comes along. What to do……

        2. ” I don’t forget when someone acts in an evil manner toward me, but I try to make note of their action(s), so that I can warn other people about them.”

          While you, Elva, most probably don’t believe me saying this is not an attempt to flatter you, that thought of yours absolutely makes sense and does bear repeating.

          Speaking to everyone like usually, I think it’s pretty good to be able to mention, in a conversation, how you’ve noticed some sinister man/woman act. Myself I’ve spoken to some of my friends about Viper(and his two-faced nature and his abusive maneuvers) and Sinister Man(and his irresponsible, cavalier attitude to duties along with the refusal to admit any improvables) as well as a few encounters with people that seemed pretty questionable(though some are pretty ambiguous thanks to distorted yet somewhat understandable motivations and part of alcohol).

        3. Puddle, please look up my response to Lulu above.

          Have you tried mindfulness meditation? I’ve felt it as very helpful. Now, what about combining THAT with other methods?

  3. Lulu, “I feel good about who I am and what I have to off people!” I know it isn’t what you meant, but it is darn funny!

    So happy you have derived so much from being here and that you are feeling better about yourself. I felt kind of crummy about myself for years in large part due to too much exposure to siblings.

    I have changed my thinking partly by changing my behaviour. I no longer tolerate mixed messages from those who claim to ‘love’ me. I have not excised those individuals from my life, but I limit contact and no longer initiate it. I am put off by statements of affection, because they are incongruous– get a feeling of mild revulsion from them, when they occur.

    The first step to changing behaviour is to step away from people who reinforce confusing or negative feelings you have about yourself, I guess. Sounds so simple but it’s very difficult, heart breaking, isn’t it? And it takes time.

    If you have a strong bond with somebody, it should gently fray through setting firm boundaries and then separate, if needed and if possible. Cutting a strong relationship bond, as if it is a cord, as is practiced in New Age cord cutting rituals, doesn’t and shouldn’t work. If we were able to dissolve relationships that easily, it would indicate we had a problem.

    1. Again some New Age -criticism there. :D

      I’ve seen some of those cord-cutting meditations on Youtube. What’s the idea behind them, really?

      1. Hi J,

        Te idea behind the ‘cord cutting’ ceremony is to provide a strong visualization, sometimes with props, to help sever relationship bonds. Can be all the way from helpful to useless depending on the situation. But…it seems to be used as a one size fits all. That’s the problem. There is also an implication that it is that easy to sever very strong (particularly family) bonds. I worked at fraying and then gradually detaching, pretty much, from one, over a few years and then reducing the pull of another one, for the same amount of time. That was very appropriate for me. I am now still loosely connected, which is a good thing– but not connected strongly enough that I feel pulled towards any invitations to slam my self image. There is also a reciprocal unspoken understanding that I won’t respond to ‘you are’ statements, or manipulative statements designed to make me feel ashamed, guilty, etc…not going to work. It’s something I don’t do and I demand to be treated with the same level of respect. This has become implicit in my behaviour. I am no longer seeking approval. I approve of myself.

        If emotional ties can be severed successfully with creative visualization, it implies they aren’t that strong or that deep. It seems like cheap theatrics to deal with very real pain.

      2. Cord cutting can take many, many times on one person alone, so could it also be repetition and persistence?

        Like I said, I personally think some aspects of New Age -thinking make sense taken out of context, but too often they are used along with all that magical/wishful thinking(just ask Law of Attraction).

        1. Repetition might work. Agree with everything else in your post. ‘The Secret’, is an abomination. Not because it is all wrong but because there is just enough there that is true that it encourages the ignorant to embrace all of it and go on a Narcissistic binge that includes treating ‘the Universe’ as one big Spiegel catalogue where belief itself fills the order and delivers the product! Voila! Yuk horribly materialistic and creepy.

        2. Leads to delusion. If there’s any mention of any effort needed anywhere in it, it’s not made clear enough.

          One big Spiegel catalogue! :D What else have I read being called? Cosmic ordering. One big Amazon is more like it.

          1. He he…oh some true believers…I do like that! I don’t know what Spiegel is but yeah some universal catalogue with all your wants and desires spinning in a vortex…Oh dear!! :)

  4. One psychologist I went to had the workbooks, did the whiteboard thing, trying to get us to work on depression…it was a group session for CBT, honestly it didn’t help me at all. It was reading a book which I think was called Living with Fear. It gave me techniques and actually made me realise that I would not die from the fear I had (irrational as it was at that time) and that yes I’d be uncomfortable facing it but I would live through it. I read that in the mid eighties and to me that was very much CBT but it may well have just been CT although it helped immensely with that fear I had and I now apply the same principles to other areas of my life. I feel I’ve made great progress over this last 12 – 18 months by applying it myself with help from therapy.
    What I’d like to know, as with the case with David he had an addiction and I can see how changing not only his thoughts but his behaviour that could make a significant change. I wonder though what with violent CD characters? What kind of success rates does CBT have in that area? As I have read a story where a psychologist believed he had had success with one of his patients in what was a battering program and apparently this man had appeared to have changed over quite a substantial period and yet that psychologist admitted that in his gut he would never be able to be sure that it worked and that that person would no longer be a threat to his partner.
    From what I understand from your books Dr Simon is that a person who is violently aggressive has a degree of psychopathic traits and if so doesn’t that render them to a point untreatable? Or am I not on the right track here? I understand there has to be a degree of real contrition and they must be at a point of being extremely ashamed of what they have done but I wonder does someone with such traits ever get to that point? Everything I’ve read says psychopathy is untreatable and I also wonder why their brains don’t have that neuroplasticity to change into a healthy functioning brain?

  5. Lulu, Again…I find that many people we counted as friends are fair weather friends, who are in it for the laughs and good times but not willing to endure our sorrow. You could say that although they may be ‘nice’ or ‘fun’ they lack the depth it requires to see very much beyond themselves and their immediate small sphere. Even within their small sphere their perspective is lacking in dimension. They can come across as just a bit flat, even though they may have polished personas.

  6. Tori, I got the impression that David was a self indulgent, devil may care, self centred individual who was able to reflect on how he had sabotaged himself and change because it was the best course of action to take…for him. Don’t think Dr.Simon indicated any major disorder. There are P’s who do learn to function properly if they are raised in good loving homes though, or so I’ve heard. But it’s because it works better for them, in the long run. It’s not motivated by love or empathy.

    1. Unfortunately.

      Your wording is interesting and I get the sense that I’ve missed some posts. Is David someone you knew or someone, who used to comment on this site?

  7. I remember at the beginning of this separation from him, I walked my dog along the waterfront, it was raining and there was two girls sitting on a park bench. When I got closer I realised one was so upset and her friend had her wrapped up in her arms. I felt like I was intruding and yet I felt just like that girl crying, wishing I could have someone hug me like that…it was beautiful to see, that just being there for someone and being silent to allow the pain to surface. I had friends who were there for me and would come over to give me a hug when they thought I needed it but their lives go on as did mine. The pain of losing someone takes such a long time to heal and I realise too that sometimes people can’t deal with that kind of pain. It’s too real and maybe they need to distance themselves for other reasons, it’s familiar or a reality that they have to face themselves. So much changes when you go through separations like this and I guess sometimes our own expectations of other people have to change.

    1. Tori and LisaO, seems to me there are a host of different types of friendships smattered across my life span and I think I have made the mistake of expecting them ALL to be really GOOD friends instead of accepting them for what they were in the past. I think I have learned which ones to just let be more casual types and which ones are a deeper type. Does that make ANY sence?? :)

      1. That does make sense Puddle. I’ve realised that some can only give so much and it might not be that they don’t care or don’t cherish the friendship on some level it’s just their way and it might not be the same as ours. I had one friend very angry at me for leaving, knocked me for a six that she couldn’t understand. I realised that she had her own problems that I could not help her with in the condition I was in…I did try but sometimes people have to realise on their own what their issues are. You can only do so much when you’re going through your own turmoil.

      2. Puddle,

        Yes, that makes sense. I haven’t been in a position to make deep enduring g friendships, with a few exceptions, for decades. Being chronically ill means you have to spend a lot of time housebound. You end up dropping off the radar because most of your friendships are no more than acquaintances. I’ve understood this for decades, so have spared myself a lot of misery by accepting it. It did however put me in a position where my siblings, particularly my brother, has been too important in my life. We were best buddies, very close. It has been an unfortunate ‘voyage of discovery’ to learn that the problems he has with other people and that have always irritated me, have turned out to be huge. I overlooked them, in the past…but no more.

        Tomorrow, I’m going out with a group of friends who understand that I often have to cancel at the last minute but they persist, luckily, in including me in their get togethers. I don’t see them often but they have all been there for me and vice versa. I am SO lucky.

        1. LisaO, you are lucky to have the understanding friends you will see tomorrow. I’m happy for you that they are there for you in a way that works for everyone. I hope you have a great time together! Hugs! Puddle

          1. Thanks Puddle. I live in a unique area full of misfits, artists, eccentrics, cranks and weirdos; my demographic, in other words! LOL. A disproportionate number of them have health problems. I don’t think I could ever fit in in a big city. Sometime the answer is to go small. There is more to do in big cities but Nobody to participate with, often. Lots of lonely people. The only downside here, for some people, is everybody knows what everyone else is doing. Doesn’t bother me though.

          2. LisaO, I of course know where you live and am familiar with the “types” the area draws :) the “go small” thing doesn’t seem to apply to my area however. Isn’t it interesting how different places carry a different draw of people though? I mean it can be that way but also there tends to be the core types everywhere. As a friend of mine says, ” hey, every town needs an a hole”! You know, the good the bad, etc. My area is very isolating and especially if you don’t drink. I don’t think I’ve ever had so few friends as where I live now. I have a couple “” friends”” but no FRIENDS here. Having said that, it’s odd because I have received an amazing amount of support from sevrrsl people I know on a fairly casual level regarding Spathtard. He is not looked at favorably by the gen pop in the area which is even more evidence that I was tricked and manipulated into falling for him. Very hard to explain. Of course I see him so much clearer now and really understand that there is no way I would have been with him were it not for being manipulated into it. He’s that bad…….really.

  8. Tori

    There are friends who can’t give to a friendship, as much as we’d like. or as much as we give. They have practical and real constraints. You go in knowing that things are ‘t going to be reciprocal. But there are people who befriend us, drain us emotionally, are in a perpetual state of need because they alienate everybody around them, eventually. I had a good ‘friend’ like this, some years ago. I am really careful now to assess people before I let them get too close. I won’t be used purely as a resource by anybody again. If somebody has a long track record of alienating others, no matter how they frame the situation, i am not interested in being their next victim. If they cannot name one other current or former relationship of any kind that worked or is working for them, I am gone! I hate seeing people suffer and in the past was oblivious to the role they were playing in their own undoing. And if they are CD, in the re-tellingly relationship breakdown, they appear oblivious to the damage, chaos and confusion THEY are leaving in their wake.

    I think there are far more people with varying degrees of CD who we befriend and make excuses for than we realize. I don’t want to be harsh but clearly, a repeated pattern where there is a huge discrepancy between words and deeds have to be looked at carefully.

  9. I get what so many of you are saying about friendships. It’s only just lately that I’ve started forming friendships with emotionally giving and supportive people. I’m very lucky in that one of them is my next door neighbor, we’ve developed a close friendship and due to certain dynamics in her in-laws’ family, she completely understands about my brother.

    I’ve been sucked dry by so many people wanting to be “friends”, but only after being in the situation for some time (in some cases, a long long time) did I realize that there was nothing reciprocal about the friendship – I was giving, the others were taking. And I mean “giving” not only emotionally but in the sense of my involving them in activities, dinner parties, meeting other people in my group of acquaintances/friends, and finally picking up on the fact that they couldn’t do the same.

    One woman I had considered a friend wanted to host a dinner party at her place, after she had been to an evening at my house, but she couldn’t think of anyone to invite. No friends, relatives, no one despite having lived in the same city all her life.

    I eventually clued in after her phone calls to me left me exhausted. She was drowning in negativity and wanting to take me with her.

    Do our neurotic characters attract people who are not willing to be responsible for themselves?

    1. Hi GG — I seem to attract some of these characters who are emotionally needy. I call them glommers because they glom on to me even though I have given them NO encouragement. One real friend said “It’s because you’re kind.” I finally had to tell one of them not to come around any more. Not only would she call and ask if she could stop in for a moment on the weekend, but she would also bring her 4 daughters, who would all clamor for my attention at once. GAAHH!! The children were being home-schooled, were kept pretty much cloistered, so were all starving for any kind of human interaction. I did feel sorry for them, but I could not supply what they needed because I didn’t have it to give. I finally told her that I would give her an hour per week, on the phone, during business hours, and that I would keep track of the time. She left in tears and I took no joy in having to tell her enough already, but she apparently expected me to welcome and entertain her during my limited weekend free time, and she gave nothing back — no interesting talk about ANYTHING. Sometimes you just have to be hard-hearted if these people are sucking you dry. Peace and hope from Elva

      1. Elva, I disagree with your approach in handling the situation. It does not sound asertive or like boundary setting, it sounds mean. Maybe I’m misunderstanding and I certainly don’t know the full situation but ……. Seems to me there are a host of other ways you could have “dealt with” her lengthy intrusions?

        1. Hi Puddle — I agonized and prayed many times over this situation. I asked advice from several of my customers, including 2 psychiatrists, a pastor, a licensed clinical social worker. She came on Saturday every week, after phoning and asking if she could stop by, which to me was asking for 10 or 15 minutes, but she would stay for hours and expect me to entertain her, including when I had previously invited a close friend over so we could talk about private things between us. I deliberately did not offer her a chair, or anything to drink, social cues that would make it obvious to most people that it was time to go. She would drop her 4 kids off at the library and tell them to meet her at my house (1/2 mile away) without even asking my permission. She would show up during business hours, and after she had bought some Ultrasuede, or interfacing, or whatever from me, would then hang around for another half hour. I told a mutual acquaintance that she was really making a pest of herself, the information was passed on to her, yet she continued to drop in to ask if her sewing was OK and did I see anything that she could improve upon. I said no, your sewing is museum exhibit quality, she would reply, oh, I don’t know about that, I would say, well I do. Problem was a bad marriage and her very low self-esteem, so asking about sewing was a substitute question. She was like a bottomless pit, would suck anyone dry. If I could have helped her, I would have, but I am NOT a qualified therapist and I could NOT supply what she needed. I gave her several suggestions for possibly finding the help she needed, I told her I would give her 1 hour per week on the phone in case she needed help with sewing. She chose not to avail herself of that help. When I discussed her case with someone else who knew her in a neighboring small town, the other person said that she had the reputation of being a “haunt” because she never knew when to gracefully leave.

          The situation was somewhat like we were taught in lifeguard class. If a drowning victim keeps struggling and will not cooperate when the lifeguard tries to pull him out of the water, the lifeguard may have to knock out the struggler so as to be able to get the person out of the water. The pastor knew exactly what I was talking about; he said that one couple in his church would come to his and his wife’s house 2 or 3 nights every week and stay until ll or 12 midnight, in spite of hints that it was time to go. He finally had to tell them not to come over because both he and his wife had to work 5 days per week. He said they didn’t speak to him for 3 years after that. I did try to get it through to her that she was way overstaying her welcome, and mutual friend told her so; but she was oblivious. Since I really need my weekends to myself to take care of household chores and once in a while to make my clothes, I felt that I didn’t have a choice. Some folks can take a hint, others need a bit more explanation, and yet others need to be whacked upside the head with a 2×4. I hinted, mutual friend explained in more detail, nothing worked. Therefore, 2×4 time. So, I’d be interested in your “host of other ways” that I might have handled the situation — I’m open to suggestions as to how you think I should have handled it. Peace and hope from Elva

          1. Hi Elva, I see a much more detailed picture now and I appreciate the details. It does sound trying for sure!
            I actually have a similar situation in my life with a family member and I struggle to deal with it in the best way possible, not knowing what that is. :)
            I had a friend as a child and in my earlier adult years who was very assertive and self actualized beyond anyone else I’ve ever known. When she was ready to get off the phone she did in a way that I can barely describe! I never felt hurt by it or slighted and always had a great deal of respect for her. She was one of the most unique females I’ve ever known in more ways than I can sum up here. I loved her and she passed away over 10 years ago now, way too young. So, I guess my ideal way to handle the friend that lingers too long would be to nip it in the bud before it ever gets to the point of having to take more extreem actions. It’s hard though and I know it is. Wrong or right, I do care what some people think about
            me and how what I say affects them. I have a very hard time coming up with the proper wording while trying to be sensitive to someone else’s feelings, it all just spins together and I get tangled up in the options but……I have found that for me, writing something down that is clear but kind is the best way for me to deal with it. In your situation it might go like this, Dear So and So……. I regretfully am experiencing some feelings of resentment in our interactions because of x, y, z……I do not want to feel this way but I do and I need this to be different for us to continue our visits. I am open to discussing this with you in hopes that we can reach an understanding. Ok Elva, that is a very brief discription of what I would want someone to say to me if they had a problem with me. It’s certainly not comprehensive though because it would depend on the situation.
            Like I said, I am not in your situation and it does sound like you made you decision after considering other people’s opinions and trying to address it in other ways but I thing it’s always best (for me and my conscience) to fire a couple warning shots before you drop the hammer. I really think the warning shots need to be crystal clear though. That being said, I have dropped the hammer when the crystal clear warning shots did not achieve the desired results and in fact, the warning shots seemed to motivate further boundary violations, ie the woodsman issue? When I dropped the hammer on him it involved calling the cops.
            My comment was coming from my own feelings Elva, how I would feel in your friend’s place. I need things explained to me and don’t slways take hints. I know this about myself so I am constantly paranoid that I am walking on someone’s toes or doing something wrong and they are not telling me directly…….probably because I am uber neurotic? Hugs Elva.

  10. WOW, don’t know if I would want to come to your house. A 2X4, sounds like your from the old school. At times a very effective method. This poster opens the gateway for much input to being stuck, enabling, blame shifting, tough love and so much more. I am short on time but for now will say this; I would use an approach that worked on me. No matter how many times I said it, it did not change things. A friend finally said I can’t stand the broken record and if you keep playing it you will never have any friends. Pretty up front and in your face, but it was needed. You can listen to the same old thing just so long, and give advice so long, and then you have to cut it off, or you then become the enabler.

    There are different methods for each individual. A very dear friend that I deeply care for and relate to her trauma, would just never stop her ranting, everything was negative, nightmarish, and unending. Sometimes she would talk so incessantly at night I just fell asleep, I could put the phone down for 10 minutes and she didn’t even know I had been gone. I would dread talking to her and would not answer the phone. I finally had to tell her if she wouldn’t talk about something positive I didn’t want to talk with her. Ah, she never called back.

    I understand when you can get stuck, I am currently working on getting unstuck, sometimes the hard reality of acceptance is hard, two steps in front then 3 back, 2s steps ahead, then again, at least I am gaining momentum. I’ve have asked people to tell me the truth! Not what I want to hear and that’s not easy. We can’t continue to draw all our energy from someone else, WE HAVE TO FINALLY REALIZE WE HAVE TO BUILD OUR OWN ENERGY, NOT CONTINUALLY TAKE FROM OTHERS. I like to say now that I have MENTORS that kindly give freely their advise and knowledge which helps me to grow.
    Sometimes, a good slap in the face is what we need. I know of a doctor that outright told one of his patients to SHUT UP! Was that Dr. out of line and unethical? The patient could had walked out then, but, instead told the Dr.. Thank you! With that so called “Slap in the Face” the patient realized that is what they needed then, instead of staying stuck at that point. Was he out of line or did it help the patient? It was a turning point in the relationship for the patient.
    We have to be careful that we don’t become like the CD that draws everyone else’s energy. I know the journey or (adventure which I will explain later) can be long and painful and the scars are long and the wound deep, and healing so very difficult especially if the wound is torn open again.
    Dr. Simon, such a great subject. thank you, this topic opens door for us to get finding coping healing.
    To all have a blessed day in celebrating the resurrection of Christ.

    1. Hi Puddle & BTOV — Believe me, I did consider every angle before acting. Because I always consider, if I do this, then what will be the likely result. Or if I say that, what would be the result.
      I considered her an acquaintance, not really a friend. I invited her ONCE to help her with her knitting. She then apparently assumed she was welcome to drop by and stay for hours every Saturday. She was not someone I would have chosen as a friend; no give and take because she was largely ignorant of the world. I would not have minded had she stopped by briefly, but she stayed and stayed, would not take a hint, and no, I did not really want to continue the relationship because it was a dead end street. Had I tried your letter approach, Puddle, it would have led only to hurt feelings in the end, no matter how I worded it. At the last meeting, I tried to explain to her how I need more alone time than most people, but she did not seem to understand. So I didn’t see any other option than the figurative 2×4 simply to be able to have enough time on weekends to recharge my battery for the next week’s business. She was warned, not just by me, but by a mutual acquaintance, that she was overstaying her welcome. Nothing helped. She would suck all the life out of a situation. If I could have helped her, I would have; but since I could not give her what she needed, because I DID NOT HAVE IT TO GIVE, I suggested that she consider getting some mental health therapy. I still pray daily for her and her family, but that is all I can do.
      Peace and hope from Elva

      1. Elva, it sounds to me as though you put up with way too much for way too long, and then were abrupt and harsh in setting the boundary. I think this is what Puddle was reacting to.

        It always always works far better if a person sets the boundary as soon as the violation occurs, while you still have the patience to be kind, and the consequences you set are mild. I too have been too patient in many situations, giving hints up the kazoo, and then getting really frustrated and abrupt.

        NVC can work well early in the process, like for example, “when you drop in for hours on many Saturdays, I feel upset (or whatever your feeling is) because I am protective of my limited free time. Would you be so kind and call me instead? I really do want to be supportive.” If it does not do the trick, you can escalate your responses. It’s kinda like starting at the bottom of the staircase, and with some people, they will get it. (Some won’t. ;-) )

        1. Vera, excellent response! Many years ago, I had a woman befriend me, who after a few phone calls and coffees began referring to us as the, ‘dynamic duo,’ as if we had been bffs for years. She then in tied my husband and I out for dinner and insisted on paying. I hate to say it but I started to feel like she was setting husband and I up. Just the vibe. It didn’t feel friendly, I felt in my gut that I was being manipulated. Soooo.. about a week after she took us out to dinner she called me, told me she had purchased a couch in a town 200 miles away and asked if my husband would pick it up in his truck. I was SO ready for this. I told her that I was sorry but that I knew my husband would ‘t be willing to do this for her. Had it been a different person and under different circumstances he and I would have been happy to. I knew that if we set a precedent of helping her we would be signing onto an unspoken agreement to be her hand maid and man servant. So — nipped that in the bud. If somebody transgresses a boundary, depending on the person, the boundary etc…the time to be really clear is from the start. I didn’t see much if her after that but remained one if the very few people she liked as limited interaction afforded her no opportunity to criticize me for not doing enough or for doing it the wrong way— her chief complaint of others!

          1. Lisa, Gavin de Becker calls that “forced teaming.” It’s one of their tricks. As soon as they can, they will set up “we are in this together” scenarios. But at least she was not creepy and dangerous.

          2. Forced teaming, talk about creepy.

            Don’t gangs do it, too? Tempt you to commit a crime like a robbery or murder, then halt you in your tracks with the threat of dire consequences. In other words, OR ELSE!

        2. Have to jump in here. have absolutely been the broken record many times in the past 4 years. I get sick of heAring my own self. That is one of the many reasons I am so grateful I have found you. I kept going in circles trying to make sense out of lunacy, thinking then I could figure out how to proceed. That doesn’t mean anyone should have to keep listening, either. To me, the proverbial slap in the face or saying SHUT UP are just harsh. As demeaning, belittling and crude as a CD. My thought is don’t let the broken record just keeping going on, for the good of you and the friend. At least start out with a gentler approach that can get the point across. Ultimately you may have to do the Elva, if person is oblivious to anything even slightly subtle….spell. out what. is. acceptable. If it’s a Taker, a CD, anyone who has been told the boundaries and just doesn’t care, then it’s time for me to say bye bye. And not look back.

          1. Lulu I think we’ve all probably become a broken record at times throughout our lives. No more so than when you leave a CD person. If you lived years with a CD then there’s a lot of stuff that needs to unravel. For all the years with my ex I never told anyone about the violence etc… if anything I would sing his praises. My family and friends thought he was a wonderful caring and loving person…even I believed it. When everything fell apart and the real person he was revealed to me in the cruelest fashion, I couldn’t cope. I tried to deal with it on my own but it was then I got professional help and when I told my friends and family they couldn’t understand at all. I was lucky nearly all my friends believed me right off the bat. Still, there were some in my family who didn’t think it was a big deal, that he wasn’t that bad and that somehow I must be to blame, even some friends couldn’t fathom that this man should be some how dumped on the scrap heap. They had heard how he would talk about me as if he loved me more than anything in the world. I really think about those aspects still, how beautifully that whole scenario is constructed to the outside world and even for me. What a cover!! I see it for what it was now but when all that has to be dealt with…broken record that was me! You can’t help but mull over it to try and make sense of it all and for those it hasn’t happened to they don’t have any comprehension at all. How could they?? My friend was right snapping me out of it…I had very little money, and had to survive and do something so I could, I didn’t have the luxury to try and wait for some miracle… it needed to spelt out to me. I’m glad she did it in a nice way, a slap in the face or a “shut up’ would have been too much to bear.

          2. I think now about how I twisted myself up on a regular basis, trying to find the “right” words, to be the kindest possible, tiptoeing around a land mine I didn’t even have to step on to set off…….. Because I didn’t get it. I didn’t know that the land mine was just watching and waiting for ANY false step do it could go off. I know my efforts were sincere and that I wanted to reach a point of resolution, I know it in my heart. That makes me sad. So much wasted energy stuck in the pointless “maybe this time” cycle, chasing a plastic hollow carrot.

          3. Lulu, The person was on an endless rant and was making no sense. Working themselves into and endless frenzy, of an on-going rant to the point the therapy was not effective because the person would just not let it go for a moment. The Dr. had to use his professional expertise to have made that judgment call to tell the person to SHUT UP. It brought the person back to reality. The Dr. was at the point of letting the patient go because they wouldn’t stop for a moment to even listen, week after week going on and on. Those two simple but profound words brought the patient back to current reality. It may sound harsh to you, but if that is what helped them to go forward, instead of staying stuck for who knows how long, I agree with the Doctor, he used his professional judgment and he was right. Those two words helped his patient to listen just enough for them to look inward and were then able to work on overcoming some of the hurt and begin the process on how to heal their pain. The pain is still there, but is not as intense, there are good days and then bad days. The circles of lunacy will go on until we start to let go of the questions as to why and let go of that glimmer of hope. I know you genuinely loved the CD in your life and it is to your credit that you have the ability to love and care. Unfortunately, the CD was never the person we thought they were. The answer is they are morally, spiritually and mentally bankrupt. The CD mind is diseased, and inside they are really are cowards, to have used your loving traits to control and use you. The mind of the CD are perverted and corrupt they live in toddle time, selfish, lovers of themselves. In fact the bible speaks clearly and describes the CHARACTERD DISORDERED PERFECTLY.
            New King James Version 2 Timothy chapter 3 vs. 1-7
            But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
            For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
            unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,
            traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
            having a form of godliness, but denying its power. And a from such people turn away!
            For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
            You can’t get a better description of truth, and for you:
            the NKJV Psalm 34 vs. 13-14and 18 Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit,
            Depart from evil (CD I inserted)and do good: Seek peace and pursue it.
            The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as has a contrite spirit. These few verses are but a few that helped me. I have a few trusted friends that I ask to tell me WHAT I NEED TO HEAR, NOT WHAT I WANT TO HEAR. Many times they have said “I apologize if I have been a little harsh” exact words but I am grateful because I needed to hear and I know it was said out of care, concern and love as a fellow brother and sister in Christ. At my age and I wasted to many already, I can’t afford to waste time not going forward. Many, times I have bad days and don’t want to believe and just want to wake up and its all a bad dream. But it is the truth, as harsh or crude as it may sound to you, if this is the worst thing said to me by someone it’s Honey compared to what spews out of the cesspools of the CD’s I know. In fact if “Shut up” was the worst thing the CD’s in my life said I could easily tolerate them. Think about it, the proverbial shut up was used to bring the patient back to reality, not because the Dr. was a jerk like the CD, wanting to belittle or demean them the Dr. knew that it would work, the Dr. truly, cared about his patient. Do you know what the patient said? THANK YOU! because they realized what they were doing. Should the Dr. had let this patient continue for weeks, months or even years let this patient go on and on? I apologize for being redundant in this post, hopefully, I have explained the scenario better. think about it, just maybe the patient was over stepping boundaries in her verbiage, using obscene expletives, I can’t tell you, I can only share that part of the dialog.
            Take very good care Lulu, it will get better, your a winner, a survivor, many never make it. Blessings to all

          4. Puddle, I don’t know what to say…I feel your words that endless cycle, the maybe this time and knowing you come from a sincere place in your heart. It’s the emotional fallout that is the most difficult to get over, like a ghost of emotions that haunts you. I look over it and even though I can see times that I was not behaving well, none of it was deliberate. I came from a place of love like you did…I wanted desperately to make things better. I can put all the positive things in place, can move forward with my life but there’s a space that is empty, where he ripped out a part of me that I wonder if it will ever be filled up again. You once said emotional rape and that’s it I believe. Bruises heal, trauma you can work on but losing the essence of who you are…I don’t know what that takes to get back…maybe only time. I hope so as I know I still have love to give but not in the same way, it’s different somehow. It is sad and I feel your pain… big hug to you!

        3. Lulu,

          Saying bye bye seems like the most natural way. It’s anger-inducing when someone doesn’t respect your boundaries like they have rights and you don’t.

          When one can’t just leave a CD, things are a bit more complicated. People ought to talk more about these things.

          1. Tori, Puddle You’ve both said it so well, always tiptoeing. I don’t think it’s not that we misbehaved, I think any normal person put in such an abnormal environment will respond in a similar fashion. It’s a question of when we get stuck. We went into relationships giving of ourselves, trusting that the other person had the same feelings except they lied, and lied. We were honest and loved and they breeched that trust in the most sick and inhumane manner. And yes, emotional rape. So very very, sad and painful and for what? For a decent person its unfathomable to think someone could use and hurt another in such a way. I think both of you have not lost the essence of who you are, maybe for a time but you are fighters and will go on to be very strong, just coming here and sharing your most personal stories speaks mountains of courage and character. Lots and lots of tears, but at least we came from truth and love. Be well and Blessings

          2. Tori, These posts seems to get rather mixed up. Your other comment is so true and I completely understand. When you are finally able to muster the courage and strength to leave we can be in a very fragile state mentally, emotionally, financially, and spiritually, and so much more, mixed up as to who, why, how, and what we are. Then were do we go, how to help ourselves how to deal with the pain and the ugliest how to get the human bloodsucker off. The horror of finally figuring out and piecing together the Evil and yes I say evil manipulations of what was done to us. An approach for one may not be the best for one at a time and place, take no offense it was a story I had heard and wanted to share that one experience that worked for someone. There is really no one that can truly understand unless they have suffered the same shattering of our being and the theft our being done by the enjoyment of the perverted CD. What works for one may not work for another. I understand so well what you said, I just want to put my arms around all of you and just have a good rant and then a good cry, lots of hugs and then encourage all what and how we can go forward, supporting each other with love and understanding. Sometimes there are just no words to describe what we have endured. I can say I feel insulted and intruded upon and gets me angry when one try’s to relate and study us and then says they know how I feel. They have no idea and never will unless they have gone through the same experience. If I didn’t have my faith and relationship with Christ and the hope of salvation I would never had made it. All of you take very good care and Gods blessings to you.

          3. Tori, I have to comment the above post was very eloquent and lovely, even though it is packed with emotional pain and suffering. It’s beautiful because it came form within so full of feeling and expression, something the CD can never do. As far as losing the essence of who you are, I can understand that very well, how long we lose ourselves or regain ourselves is a question of time and for some they never regain that essence. I believe we are forever changed, because it is a reality that happened, always a part of us. Haunting, yes, because it was a ghost a caricature of a man an imposter that deceived like the snake in the garden of Eden. The question is can we find the good that comes out of the wreckage that this putrid, pathetic excuse of a human perpetrated against us when we offered love. (Ah, My Rant)
            Yes, I believe you can become stronger in ways and reach heights that you never imagined had you not experience this. Its different for everyone. Just look what you have shared here, the outreach, the wisdom and insight you give to others, the kind words, of empathy because you have been there, not like the selfish, vain, empty people that can compare some simple plight to the inhume treatment we endured. Never, never forget these parasitic predators exist and be cautious also about the ones that snivel about insignificant tragedies and say they feel your pain. It is endless, where we can take our lives to. You are your own person, full of, yes, so many unanswered questions. Tori it may take a long time, you are strong, with a beautiful heart and a survivor, I believe you will come through this, stronger and a Tori you never imagined existed. I pray your pain lessens, and God bless you.

          4. BTOV thank you for beautiful posts and wishes, they mean a lot and they’re so heartfelt. I thank you too for your faith it’s a lovely inspiration. I know I will be stronger, not the same but stronger and I strive to find some meaning to all this. I get so much from my work and that helps so much. I also order a copy of Dr Victor Frankl’s book and feel that reading that book may be of some help to put things in perspective in a more personal way. I don’t know but so glad you mentioned him as it feels like it’s the right time now to read it! I’m so happy that you have your faith and it got you through this hell. It’s a blessing to have something so strong in your life.
            I have to keep reminding myself that my life now is an adventure ready to take off…who knows what lies around the next corner…maybe something wonderful. It’s the same for all of us, a whole new world. :)

  11. Where I am from, the golden rule is, you never ask around about so and so because things do get back to people. And you particularly do not address a problem through somebody else, hoping that individual gets the message. This engenders paranoia. If somebody has self esteem issues, particularly, it can feed their lousy impression of themselves. A warm approach to an exhausting person can be very helpful to them. It IS difficult to strike a balance that is measured and kind and gives the person the right message without sounding like you are curtly dismissing them. I think people who think in more black and white terms are more prone to defining interactions in a fundamental way. Most of life, most of our characters, personalities are arrayed on multiple and intersecting continuums that don’t lend themselves to what amounts to cartoon depictions. We are various shades of gray, rendered in impressionistic pastels.. To take that metaphor further…we all have to appreciate the vagaries, the indefinite, the fuzziness of it all and limit ‘nailing’ others to ‘sketchy’ characters. We don’t want to risk rubbing out those who already view themselves as poorly drawn, ill conceived creations. And we are all needy. It is a mistaken impression to think otherwise. Some people’s needs are being met. Others are not. If your needs are being met, count yourself lucky!

    Let’s be clear here, though. I will consult others if I am dealing with someone who is lying to me, spreading rumors, or manipulating me. This has happened to me twice in 20 years, with a close woman friend and another woman who was renting a couple of rooms in my house. Wow…did I feel used and then dragged through the muck. I was one of many, I found out later, who got this treatment.

    1. “if I am dealing with someone who is lying to me, spreading rumors, or manipulating me. This has happened to me twice in 20 years”

      OMG. How lucky you are, Lisa! :-) You’ve led a charmed existence compared to me… sigh.

      1. Vera, True. Lucky lucky me. I didn’t include stealth sadistic psychopath though! That was in a whole wtf league of its own. Nor did I include battles with people, over the last few decades, where I feel I was equally to blame for things spiralling downward; or family, where everybody is pretty messed up and the narcissism is fragile type, not necessarily malignant.

        These two ‘friends’, I mentioned, were dishonest, paranoid (or highly suspicious), manipulative, exploitive and fit the CD criteria. The one, in particular, left me very shaken, as she presented as a wounded little bird, abused for years by her husband. All I can say is, after having to deal with her for 6 months, I was a rattled mess, so am sure she gave her husband a run for his money.

    2. Hi Lisa — I get the impression that you live in a very small town or village. It’s different here — our valley is 20 miles long, there is one small town sort of in the center, there are 5 smaller communities scattered around plus many farms and ranches with a total population of 50 – 60,000.

      When I spoke of asking for professional help, these people were all my customers and had come to me for garment alterations. So I took the opportunity to ask them about an unnamed person. The person asked our mutual acquaintance whether there was something wrong, because she had noticed I was becoming more “distant.” So I was not sneaking behind her back.

      And bottom line, she was trying to manipulate me by putting on her “pity party.” Yes, I agree with you that we are all needy to some extent. I do try to give information that can help someone, or enrich their lives somehow, so that I am not always “taking.” Since I was the one on the receiving end of her ploys, I researched, got what professional help I could without giving out her identity, did the best I could do with the information I had at the time, I don’t feel that I did anything wrong here. Any one of you who reads this is of course going to put your own spin on it, you would have done it differently because you are a different person. I truly hope that you will not have to put up with 5 needy people all clamoring more and more loudly for your attention, all at the same time. Peace (wonderful peace) and hope from Elva

      1. Elva,

        your situation with the draining woman is more clear to me now. Thank you for explaining it to me. As Vera explained, timing is everything. I also have limited energy to give, so I can well relate to your feeling of being very imposed on. And if you tell somebody you don’t have the energy to give and they persist, that is insensitive of them. It’s hard for me to relate to as I have never had somebody flat out ignore me when I told them I had to withdraw, at least temporarily. And five little clamouring kids in tow? You must have felt like a cat forced into the pits of the New York stock exchange! I think I would have started screaming and pulling my hair out. Great visual there. Woman keeps talking about the stressors in her life while hostess pulls out hair and screams. Woman keeps talking through that too!

        My ‘friend’ who was setting my husband and I up to be her errand boy girl team, I deflected early on. She was surprised, but that was all. If you feel pr sense someone is encroaching into your life, with a blind eye for your peace of mind, deal with it immediately. Don’t worry about hurting their feelings too much. They have nothing invested in you and no ‘relationship’, so they are likely just going to be a bit surprised. If you give them information to help them, that can be misconstrued as a gesture of friendship. There’s plenty of info about abusive relationships out there already. You don’t have to feel the onus is on you to always provide it.

        When I was living in the Caribbean for a while a few years ago, husband and I had friends come out to join us. We warned ‘Sid’ to steer clear of beach trinket merchants; that he should just smile, turn his back and walk, if he had to. But, like most people, who rightfully feel sorry for the merchants and want to be friendly, he would engage them in conversation. I could see trouble brewing, so repeated to him that he was not helping them at all if he wasn’t buying something.

        One day, while we were on our boat, a merchant rowed up alongside. We were anchored in a relatively remote place. Sid started “shooting the breeze” with the merchant. He also expressed interest in his beautiful handicrafts, as a compliment, not a promise to buy. Oh dear.

        An hour later, an agitated merchant and frustrated Sid are engaged in a horrible tug of war. Sid’s purpose had been to express good will and friendliness to the merchant, who grabbed that attention and tried to sell him stuff. The longer this went on, the harder it was for Sid to extricate himself and the more time the merchant had invested in Sid. Finally, it was over. The merchant was angry with a capital A. We were also remotely located in an area where there is veiled hostility against foreigners and a fair amount of crime. We were lucky we didn’t have our boat boarded and ransacked right there.

        Same day…and now Sid is angry with the locals. He has gone from being their best buddy, to being surly from this experience. When we moved to a new anchorage, a young man persisted in trying to help us tie up to a mooring ball.(they charge for this) Sid and my husband wanted to do it themselves. Sid, looked at the young man and screamed, “We want to do it ourselves. Got it? Now leave us the hell alone!!” Oh Boy…after we moored, I was so exhausted from all of this, I was ready to fall over. I dragged myself ashore, hunted the young guy down, expressed genuine sorrow on behalf of all the crew members and bought him lunch. Had I not done this, we would have again, been very vulnerable.

        Not engaging, or quickly disengaging in a matter of fact, non-hostile way, is a crucial skill in our own sphere, but it can be a real life saver, too! I am not comparing you to Sid, here. This story just works as a good example of the dynamics of engagement.

        1. Hi LisaO — thank you for getting back to me. Yes, I very nearly exploded that last time when she had all her kids in tow — and I had NEVER invited the kids. When we had our last talk, I mentioned to her that the youngest girl was very shrill in demanding attention. She said, “yes, husband and I have noticed that and we can’t figure out why.” I immediately popped back, “It’s because that’s what she sees you doing.”

          To the woman’s credit, last time she saw me at the local fabric store, she said, Hi Elva, then immediately faded back into the woodwork. I don’t know how she is doing, I don’t want to ask for fear of opening a can of worms.
          I can tell you this — next time someone pops in my door and the first words out of her mouth are “Oh, you’re beautiful!!” (this has happened twice and is almost always a sign of covert aggression), the next words out of my mouth will be “You’re in the wrong building. Counseling offices are next door.” Thank you again, always helps to talk to others who’ve had similar experiences. Peace and hope from Elva

  12. Hi Vera — Thank you for your comment. You are right, I did wait too long — I kept hoping she would get the message. She is an excellent seamstress, does reproduction civil war uniforms and her work is genuinely museum exhibit quality. When this happened about 3 years ago, I googled for how to deal with emotionally needy people (Many articles available). She is still, as far as I know, emotionally needy; and her husband, every time she would get some sewing in, would try to subtly sabotage her, by suggesting that she investigate some other subject unrelated to sewing, which would eat up her time at the library. And boy, did he have some cockamamie ideas. One idea was that she make and sell bras with built-in holsters for concealed carry. If you multiply types and sizes of bras by types and sizes of hand-guns, the number is staggeringly large and would require a starting budget of $500,000 dollars (or much more). I would explain that there is a market for the kind of sewing and designing she does, she would briefly be enthused and fired up, then husband would pull one of his sneaky put-downs…

    I finally realized she was not going to actually DO anything to help herself. After much research (googled dealing with needy people), consultation with mental health therapists, pastor, much prayer, asking specifically, Lord, is this what I am supposed to do? — I ended up realizing that yes, I was at that point the best qualified person in her life to say “enough.” If I did not say something, she would continue to exasperate many other people in her life — it was something like doing surgery to start the healing process. She was truly a bottomless pit and energy sucker, and because of her example, her 4 young daughters followed in her footsteps. To have 5 people all clamoring at once for my attention in my small living room with my borderline Asperger’s syndrome was way more than I could stand. I managed not to explode on the spot, but it was HARD. Well, I’m now much more selective about who I offer to help.
    “Friends” come in all kinds of variations in styles of interacting with others, so if any of you are experiencing frustrations, you might take a look at some of the many articles available on Google. Bottom line is that I do try to be kind, but I cannot fill others’ emptiness. Peace and hope from Elva

    1. Elva, they sure do. She sounds like one of the passive-aggressive people Dr Simon describes, insisting they can’t just can’t. But I feel sorry for her too, with her being so undermined. But you can’t fix that… I am an introvert, and I could not put up with that sort of thing at all, endless visits plus needy kids. Yikes. You went way beyond the call of duty.

      1. Hello, Elva, and everyone,
        I’ve reread the posts and situations like this are very difficult at times to discern what action to take if any. I know I am not a mind reader of what other people think is the best way to approach or handle a situation like this. Therefore, I have to use all the insight I have available to me at the time to make a judgment call/decision. I think Elva you did the right thing, for yourself and the woman. You gave her your time, complimented her, you gave her suggestions for the help she needed. You didn’t have to do any of what you did, many would had turned her out immediately. She was not your responsibility, its hard enough to have to take care of ourselves, let alone, have so much extra time for everyone else. Maybe this woman will need several more encounters like this before she will start to seek the right help. Your main obligation is to take care of yourself, first, and foremost, then, if one can, one decides what or how we want to give. Taken into consideration everyone’s situations and needs are different. I know I have a very needy sister I care for and the best approach with her is how you talked to the woman. I just went through this today. She said what she liked about me was I am always direct and truthful. Many times the truth can be very painful, it seems to me you tried several times hinting in a nice way for the woman to leave. I don’t know much else you could had done. I know that I take way to much from people and don’t speak up enough. I don’t think you need to explain your position anymore. The other thing is this is your business, and it is your decision to run it how you see fit. Elva, you always leave us with peace and hope and inspiration. I believe we are all trying to find that here. Blessings to all on this blessed day.

        1. Thank you, BTOV, for reminding me to say how soothing it is for me to read Elva’s peace and hope sign off. Especially when I have gotten myself all caught up in the frazzle of dealing with a CD.

          1. Hi Lulu — hope things are looking a bit better for you, have been sending good thoughts your way all day.

            Be good to yourself. For a mini-vacation, go to Google, click on images, then type in Glacier National Park. Spend 10 or 20 minutes just gazing at the lakes, mountains, trees, animals — you will feel refreshed and ready to tackle your problems again.
            And thank you for the nice compliment! Peace and hope from Elva

  13. BTOV, I had a friend who let me know I was spinning in circles four months after my relationship ended. She hadn’t called me in over a week which was strange so I called her and she said I’m sorry but you just keep going around in circles with this, you have to make a decision and I don’t think I could help you make it. Also all the stuff had brought back old memories from childhood she felt she had to distance herself from me. I felt really hurt at first and admit I was a bit peeved but when i thought about it she was right. I had to make a decision and go with it. I was in the midst of trauma and still floated in a hope bubble that somehow things would just work out. Reality was only I could make it work out by making a decision. I did and it took three attempts to leave and finding a place to live but eventually I did it. In the end she did what a good friend always will do, tell you what you need to hear.
    Now I have made one friend where I live and I am very conscious of not making myself a nuisance. We talk about our futures more than anything and just everyday things. I still have to figure things out for myself after the fallout of my relationship, and it’s been over a year but I need time too on my own to realise who I really am now. It’s so strange meeting new people in a new town when there is essentially a new you growing. Plus I think when you’re older and a single mother it is so different does anyone else feel that? I feel I have to tread so lightly at times in initiating friendships.
    I feel a little for that lady you knew Elva, so accomplished at sewing with a partner who is constantly undermining her, I sense she may feel a little desperate for acknowledgement and she doesn’t believe she’s good enough. I know how that feels. You did the right thing trying to encourage her to seek professional help, that’s what she needs more than anything. Like I said earlier I had to cut one friend off because she had so many problems that I’d never realised. She was so angry I had left her as she said on her own. She couldn’t seem to understand at all that I couldn’t stay because I would never have been able to free myself of the trauma I lived. Her text messages were so bizarre and I really worried she had more than addiction problems. She said she was suicidal and I’d call her to try and help her seek professional help, then she’d make excuses, in the end I basically said if she wasn’t willing to help herself how can anyone else help her. She would text all her friends when she was low and carry on so many conversations until she got the one who would listen to her and get angry at whomever didn’t respond. To me that was bizarre behaviour. She had drinking and drug problems that I wasn’t aware of until after l left, that’s when she admitted them to me. I still wanted to help her but she became impossible. Sometimes there’s only so much you can do.

    1. Tori, and yes I do understand your feelings. It takes time, and the world can be an unfriendly place. You did make the right decision with the woman you describe (tough love) and you refused to enable her. I know we get stuck and as one writer said “baby steps.” I know the one thing that is my saving grace is prayer and faith. I have met good people in the church and they are all human. But the core believers will rally around you. This is such a learning process for all of us. It took many of us so long to wake up to what we have, many of us have endured immense traumas, and pain ongoing, for years. We each carry a burden, what we choose to do with it is another thing. Yes, Elva did the right thing she gave of herself to the woman but had to cut her loose so to speak in the way Elva knew how. I am glad she was able to do that, some of us still and I have seen so many go right back to being drawn into being sucked of her energy and then discarded. I feel for the woman too, another victim of a selfish CD individual. We can only do so much, maybe and just maybe the woman is turning over a word, or a few words Elva said in her head and maybe, hopefully, with time she may make the effort to get help. But it maybe a long time but Elva did tell the woman. Ultimately, we have to make the choice to get help and change. It’s dreadfully hard, as you all know. But we did it. Blessings

      1. I too hope that lady is able to find some strength inside herself to seek out some help and become the person she is meant to be. She’s obviously a talented lady who may well be lost in that awful place of living with a CD individual. It messes up so much inside you that you do reach out in strange ways that seem so crazy to others. She may not even realise she’s doing it. It’s so sad.

        1. Tori, I have had that little glimmer of hope too, but the odds are against it. I keep saying; “I know the way, I know the way.” It is so sad but true, beating your head against a cement wall. Over and over again I have been told “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” So painfully true. So very sad, that is why I pray for them, they truly, do most of them live in a hell. Take very good care and Blessings

      2. Having read these posts, I’m even gladder that Viper’s then-girlfriend got out. It’s so troubling and sad when you’re with someone, who just wants the upper hand, no matter whether it makes any sense or not, and still is so calculatingly rational about it.

  14. Hi again Tori and BTOV. There were many other contributing factors in this case that I could not mention for fear of invasion of privacy. I truly do feel sorry for this woman and her children, but the sad truth is she has to decide to help herself. No one else can do it for her. Peace and hope from Elva

  15. I have been missing each of you SO much. Had a migraine yesterday, light is a killer, so no computer. It is such a comfort to be back here, especially when so much has been going on which I’ve missed. I’m beginning to feel like I’m addicted to this site. What a joy to find people who understand, can discuss and disagree respectfully……awesome as they say.
    So many thoughts about all that’s been said, and I need to be out the door soon Fascinating to read how many of us are so concerned about being hurtful to others. Maybe everyone? in therapy, one of the most freeing changes in thinking was about allowing people to stay in my life who never gave, were routinely unkind to me, perpetually negative and on. The aha! moment of how I deserved to be treated. Feeling sorry for someone was keeping me trapped and miserable. Now my thought is: I can CARE about how somehow feels, I am not RESPONSIBLE for how they feel. Being the kind, sensitive people we are, I doubt we could be seriously mean.
    Off to class..and I think its best if I don’t go in pjs!

    1. Hi Lulu — glad you are OK now, was wondering how you are doing. Enjoy getting to your class, you deserve to have some fun in your life!! Peace and hope from Elva

  16. I wonder how you make the determination between reacting to being treated badly and reacting to not getting what you want. Like how much of our dislike about someone else’s behavior centers around our own desire to get our way. Some things are obvious like in the case of being covertly manipulated, used and abused but when it comes to another person meeting your needs…..seems like there’s a lot of room for subjective misinterpretation.

  17. Puddle, my tummy is where I tune in to kind of sort out my feelings. If it feels okay, as in calm and relaxed, then I know I am not being upset by someone who is manipulating, cruel, harsh, lying, mean, demeaning, belittling. Tone of voice is huge. If it is really churned up then I tune in— that’s my caution signal, even before I am consciously aware. If you do not get your way do you digin your heels, then shouting and demanding? Or can you say to Other Person: I’m not sure I get what you are saying….could you please help me understand….or even this was really important to me, could we think of a way this could work for both of us? Who decides what your needs are? Of course it is subjective, there’s not a right or wrong. And, boy did CD work hard to make me believe I was “too needy”, belittling that I liked affection. To me, what makes the relationship healthy is maybe I would like more snuggle on the couch and watch tv together and partner needs time alone to read and just be. So w/o judgment, we figure out a way that we both feel cared about and both of our needs can be met.
    What you said came across to me as you being so hard on yourself. Me, earlier in my journey, when I thought I was supposed to somehow know how Other Person was feeling: is this okay, too needy, upsetting to them? In a good place, each can simply tell the other. And, no, it is not 100% bliss.

    1. Hi Lulu, I understand what you are saying here and I think it’s easier for me to make the determination when it’s in my face not good. But when things are more subtle, say there is no overt manipulation going on, or covert for that mater, I find it hard to guage the give and take. When do I give in and let my wants and needs slip to the side and when should I not forego my own desires? It’s kind of a complex thing and in some ways I’m very assertive about things when they are very important but other things I’m more in the gray zone about. I’m very flexible about a lot of things but also can be just the opposite.
      In a relationship, I believe that trust creates flexibility and compromise.

  18. Elva, et al. I was in pretty good shape until about 5:00 EST when new attorney who is going to try and garnish Social Security income since CD doesn’t want to pay alimony called with an update. Prepare yourselves, this is going to be a shocker: CD has yet another scheme, well, actually, same one, different approach, to not pay me. This offer was relayed through his attorney, complete with strong hints about suicide. I need to rant about this…tomorrow. This is your warning that it is coming, so you can skip over it if you want. Writing to my buddies who get it helps me sort things out. Now is the time for a sickening amount of chocolate ice cream. Soooooo tired of his garbage, of wasting time dealing with it, spending money to deal with it. Why do I end up feeling punished all the time….okay, self, stop. Ice cream…..group hug. So glad I found each of you!

    1. Get a good sleep, Lulu. I hope you feel better tomorrow — and enjoy your Easter ice cream! To heck with Easter bunnies and eggs. One really wants ice cream delivered by the big hairy dairy fairy on particularly stressful days!

    2. Hi Lulu — that’s a real downer. What a terrible thing to have happen yet again! Wish I could reach through the miles and give you a big hug — But I can tell you that we are all pulling for you. Please stop occasionally and take a few deep breaths. Earlytorise.com has a short article posted this morning about how to deal with stress — it might have a useful tidbit or two for you. Peace and hope from Elva

    1. Thanks, Awareb4. It helps be aware of many bodily sensations and it works past issues through what arises “here and now” in the session.

  19. Lulu, I am so sorry you are dealing with even more garbage and stress. I will read your post when you feel up to venting your feelings. You have every right to any emotion that comes up, because you have been used and abused and tossed to the side. Anger or rage, betrayal, exhaustion, perhaps feelings of revenge, hurt – they’re all there for a reason. Feelings don’t arise in a vacuum. Writing is a way of making sense of what is happening, even if (or especially if) what is happening is senseless and hurtful.

  20. GG, you nailed it for me. I DO have the right to each and every emotion that comes up. Every. Single. One. And it does not matter what my attorney or his think about my feelings. I realize how wound up I’ve gotten about trying to explain all the reasons for what I want done, so they don’t think I’m hard hearted. Skipping over the part that I am paying her, why do I need her approval? Legal advice, yes, approval, no.

    Edited version of what I started with this morning:

    You guys ARE the best! I absolutely could feel those hugs–helpful beyond words. Everything you said helps me keep my emotions from overwhelming me. My first post for this week, off or offer, people is even funnier now. Freud would find it quite meaningful I think.
    Where you’ve helped me get to:
    #1 I can control only my thoughts, feelings and reactions. Each of the other players gets to make choices, too. Puddle, are you the one who says, makes my blood boil? It is taking a huge amount of self control not to jump up and smash everything in my apartment right now. Then I’d have to clean it up and have no money for replacements so that’s probably high on the Dumb Scale.
    #2 I don’t want his attorney or mine to think that I am hard hearted when I respond to his veiled suicide attempt like this: if he chooses to leave our sons with the crushing guilt that suicide would bring, that is on him. I will not be blackmailed.
    3. This is the most gut wrenching of all. Within maybe the last month or so, my two sons and I have been able to start building a relationship. We had always been close, but, no surprise, that was all decimated 4 years ago with the separation. Right now, it feels like preschool, you start a building with blocks, the bully walks by and kicks it down, with a smirk just so you know he’s loving it. I cannot let on in any way, what I’m feeling and dealing with…..again. Just trust me..they are so over this.

    I am so afraid of loosing them again. Every time I let myself think that for one second I just sob. Feel so so nauseous right now.
    Breathing slowly, dang I can struggle so with let go, let God. Decades of feeling so responsible for everyone and everything can still jump up when I am fearful, so twisted up in Crazy. Progress,too–this is the first time I’ve realized what I’m doing in the moment. Also, for the first time, I feel understood, cared about, supported and loved. Another miracle.
    Okay, Lunancy Hysteria vented out, on to what to say to attorney in our meeting tomorrow. It’s to prep for hearing (?) in court next week about garnishing his Social Security benefits since he won’t pay alimony.
    Yet again he has offered the very same pittance of what Order says. To take or not to take…..
    Take:when he dies, I lose all income. Has his attorney convinced that suicide is a real possibility. Also lots of victim bs, he can’t come into this state to see his so sons. And why is that you ask? There is a warrant out for his arrest on contempt, not paying alimony. Um, he did this bogus go see a therapist thing, threatened to murder my attorney so she would commit him. Four days later he’s released, gets written out of work, sneaks out of state to avoid alimony. So sad, but even you CD have consequences for choices. I will get some SS on my own but not quite yet. Also not in great health. Plus he wins.
    Not Take: if he lives 24 to 30 months, I reach the break even point, where I will have received same amount as pittance. Not sure I can say his age but by actuarial charts, he could easily live 10 more years.

    Unless I hear a compelling reason otherwise, I want his attorney to tell him: NO! Then add: if he contacts me in any manner (he’s used USPS, would use sons), about money issues or anything else that a Judge has ruled on, I will immediately go to an attorney in ***** and have contempt warrant served. It says go to jail until he pays me $11.

    If you haven’t zzzzzzzz’d out yet (and I’m about to) any thoughts, advice, opinions?

    Since this Lunatic has no limits on what he’ll do, I’m considering having attorney structure other boundaries. I played nice with first attorney for many reasons, now that I’ve moved on to SS garnish, I have new attorney. Time perhaps to draw lines. For her as well, this cannot be an endless money pit.

    So very grateful for you oooooooo {group hug}

    1. Lulu, Arrrrrg! Ok, yes…..I’m the one with the boiling blood and it is after reading your post. I don’t think I can put into words how angry I feel reading about what you are going through and the injustice of it all. I’m just so sorry. I wish I had something helpful to contribute but I’m spent right now and I don’t know what to say other than stick to your guns as best as you can. It sounds like you are headed in the right direction. Super big comforting (((hug))) to you Lulu. Puddle

    2. Oh Lulu, I had a lawyer tell me emotion is not part of this…like hell how can you not have emotion. Express it, we have very little rights elsewhere! It’s like you can’t win, emotional=unstable, strong=cold hearted cranky b$#&*. I feel for you I really do. I can’t afford legal representation now and after paying thousands for zilch I am going to do it myself. Although I’ve put all on the back burner for the moment as I don’t have time. I also want to be stronger emotionally. I’m not sure at all if I can face him alone in a court room. Sometimes I think I’ll get to a point where I just won’t bother…let him have his precious money it’s not bloody worth the stress!
      The CD’s do everything and anything to get out of doing the right thing. I read an article about legal wranglings and co parenting with a narcissist it said keep your expectations LOW! How true that is! I don’t know much about the law in US although it sounds as ridiculous as here and just as discriminatory. I would weigh up if it’s worth it emotionally Lulu, I always believe in fighting for your rights but sometimes you have to stand back and wonder what toll it takes on you and if it will cost you more in the long run paying for legal representation. It sucks I know and something inside me hates saying that after all the struggle and craziness you’ve been through, he should pay for what he’s caused but if it’s a pittance you may corner yourself into accepting something you can’t live with. Lawyers just rub their hands together with these high conflict settlements…it’s money in the bank for them. Sorry I am not very helpful and just as confused by my own legal situation but I understand where you’re coming from…hugs to you Lulu.

      1. Tori, very nice reply. I think of a saying…..”Sometimes you have to loose the battle to win the war”. What if the war is your sanity and peace? BTOV’s post about the nature of a CD and what the bible described them as just screams to run away from them because of their lies and self serving deceit. How do you ever get justice in a situation like that?
        And I think they are cowards at “heart”, seems like Spathtard is perfectly safe hiding behind mommys skirt at 50+ yrs OLD. What will he do when she is gone? Probably hide behind his Spathsister.

        1. The xnh always seemed like a coward. He would never stand up for any thing he believed. He would always project one face and then hide so no one would know his real beliefs.

        2. Justice is a word that doesn’t apply to these situations Puddle. I have spoken to so many lawyers getting advice and they’ll tell you what you are entitled to by law… what they don’t tell you is that you’ve got buckley’s and none of getting that justice and if you don’t have the finances there’s no justice at all. Justice is only for those who can afford it. I never understood that until being in this situation, now I know it’s true. Talk about all the freedoms we have they don’t apply in law that’s for sure. You’ve got to runaway from these spaths as to be tied to them financially is just another form of hell to go through. Mind you getting him to pay child support that is another thing.

          1. Tori, thus whole issue of injustice seems to be rearing its ugly head in my life repeatedly all of a sudden bi don’t/ can’t get into it here and it would take me hours to explain the different scenarios that have popped up post Spathtard. The most recent one is huge and I’m almost drop jawed as the truth of it keeps becoming more and more obvious. Huge is actually an understatement, all gaining clarity in the last week. Because of my CD/ psychopath education at this point as a result of Spathtard, I am seeing some striking and disturbing aspects in all of it and of course I feel like the odd man out. Not to mention that I am out numbered in a big way and, realativly speaking, the low “man” on the financial resources totum pole. Not good. This one is a doooozy.

          2. Puddle so sorry to hear :( it’s awful to be the odd one out. It’s crazy that’s how it works isn’t it…like the rational, caring person is always the scapegoat…Yuck! So many loathsome characters out there waiting to bring someone down. At least you can stand strong with the knowledge you have…even though it’s tough going. Keep marching on Puddle! :)

  21. Take it for what it worth. Tori you are right as far as weighing your sanity, health and time. They rarely put anyone in jail for nonsupport. The lawyers make out like bandits and in the end look at what you have to pay the attorneys. The courts don’t like to deal with the CD’s and in many instances are as much troubled and intimidated by the system in dealing with the CD as you are. They are cowards too, the courts further enable the bad behavior by not holding the CD accountable. I hate to say this but the courts many times will give the more responsible party the most burden. In ways the judges are afraid the nut might go off too. You are a winner Lulu, when you go to court, do not, do not look at him, do not sneer or snicker, hold your head up high and conduct yourself with dignity and respect and likewise the courts too, talk only to the judge and if a response is to the CD keep it as short as possible, do not let him put you on the defensive. Don’t give him the satisfaction of letting him get your goat. Tomorrow, come back and rant all you want, in fact I’ll give you a cheer on. God be with you and your in my prayers.

  22. Many, many thanks to all of you for every single word and thought. The support and care I feel overwhelms me and gives me so much strength. What you give me, even though it may not seem like much to you, is enormous to me.
    I am in 100% agreement with your encouragement to consider all the costs of moving forward.
    It seems that I was a bit confused. The other “pittance offers” were for the same dollar amount, with the condition that I forgive all money he owes me and all alimony going forward. Sure. This time same amount of money for me to wipe the slate clean on all past due money AND dropping the arrest warrant the Judge ordered for contempt since he wasn’t paying. That might be worth talking about..no court, pay off credit card and option of going for remedy for future non-payment is still open, if I choose.
    Sounds really good, but for some reason, I’m looking for the catch. Imagine that.
    My attorney called his and verified it was only about past alimony. The plan is for her to present counter offer to his attorney tomorrow and see what happens. I know all of you get why I’m highly suspicious.

    1. Hi Lulu — sending you some more good thoughts — don’t forget to take some extra B complex and C vitamins to help your body deal with the stress. Peace and Hope from Elva

  23. Lulu, I prayed for you all day and You sound well. With the CD anything is possible. The CD can keep you in court forever, and you will do is incur mounting attorneis fees and believe me they love it and will keep it going. You don’t say who is to pay-off the credit debt. It seems you wash the slate clean and the CD can pull the same thing all over again. I don’t know if the CD has and assets to speak of but he can maybe just go and claim bankruptcy. Instead of going before the judge, how much is your attorney charging you to go back and forth with his attorney and then talking to you again, the attorneys are dragging it out. In hindsight I should had demanded to go before the judge and let the judge make the decision. If the judge finally gets sick of him, he may well through him in jail. I’m sorry does your CD have a job and they could garnish his wages?

    1. BTOV, bankruptcy is exactly what the Spathtard did to his last wife and more underhanded tricks, and moved into Mommys basement. Of course I had to dig to find out the truth, the glue that put all the pieces together and opened my eyes for good. Just so spathetic.
      By the way, your comments of late have been wonderful.

      1. Puddle, Thank you for the complement, just from my heart.

        Lulu, I was thinking what do you have agree to anything, the CD owes you what the judge ordered him to pay. Now you should have to compromise and let him off the hook and then he can do it all over again. If it were me I wouldn’t agree to any compromise, never show weakness, the law is the law the judge said so all this going back and forth you should had been in court. Let him owe you for the rest of his life if he isn’t going to pay so what! Seems to me the CD is working his way our of owing you anything.
        Lulu, I’m not clear, you say arrest warrant, why isn’t the CD in jail already? Lulu if the judge is already going to put a warrant out and threatened the CD with jail that is in itself your ace card. In fact you have another ace card the judge made a ruling is that true. That would be the final court order stated IN the Findings of Fact and Conclusion of Law. The property division and the order to pay support. You can go to court without an attorney, file a motion for Contempt. From what you say he is already in contemp. It’s relatively, easy to go to court on your own, I do realize when your personally involved its can be extremely difficult do the emotional scarring the CD inflict. Blessings Lulu

      2. By this I mean HE declared bankruptcy and screwed his ex royal in the process. I’m almost certain he is hiding assets and he hide the truth from me big time for sure. Shocking, right? LOL………not that it’s funny.

        1. Puddle, The alien male-creature who targeted me, many years ago, would have preferred death to not ‘winning.’ He is living in constrained circumstances, if not dire poverty, presently. Apparently, his wife bided her time, got all her ducks in a row and then proceeded to wipe him out financially, seized their property overseas. He has no recourse and is unemployed, to boot. Psychopaths can be so brilliant and cunning but so inexplicably stupid at the same time. They overplay their hand, get sloppy because they are so arrogant. I think, too, that they operate using a thick operator’s manual of human behaviour, based around humans as prey.

          They don’t comprehend that even neurotics, if pushed too far, lose empathy after they figure out that they are dealing with an enemy. They generally don’t see themselves as prey. It’s not part of the manual.

          Had he sincerely apologized to his wife, for whatever current Hell he was putting her through, she wouldn’t have turned the tables on him. It must have been very stressful for her, a real last resort move. I have no idea what was going on in their lives but it must have been nasty. I’m equally sure that had he apologized, after the fact, , she would have done her best to rectify the situation. But the alien does not apologize. He doesn’t even fake apologize, because that would not be ‘winning’. That would be appearing to submit to a lesser being.

          So there he sits in a shabby apartment, probably in his tattered fruit of the looms, hitting the bong and the bottle. Sad…the true anti-social will never admit defeat, nor will they apologize. They will do anything in their power to ‘win’, including SpathtardX, living like a subterranean mole-person, in his mommy’s basement. Wow…such the alpha male success…NOT!

          1. Lisa, yeah…… I am sure the screwing he administered to his ex was worth declaring bankruptcy, and running home to sponge off of mommy dearest. If you were to meet his highness you would quickly see that he does not care one wit about how low he appears to me and or others. In his circle the bar is not only set low, it’s on the ground and he still trips over it. So it’s winning at any cost because he doesn’t have anything TO lose and what he might lose will be compensated for by mommy.
            I’m glad, no thrilled tha alien is wallowing in his own filth LisaO!!
            I love the lyrics to Pink Floyd’s song “Dogs”. So perfectly describe a Spathtsrd and an alien. I am slightly envious LisaO, that you are able to see the alien self destruct. This whole living Hell would be almost worth it if I could do the same.

          2. Puddle,

            It’s not so much delightful as a relief to think that he is no longer in a strong position to target people. He is the very antithesis of success. Plus, with all the alcohol, he is likely losing brain cells and his looks. I have not seen or spoken to him for years but I can imagine how obviously creepy he must be now. Easier to hide when you are still relatively young, good looking and confident.

            But now…I don’t know. I don’t know if these types ever feel like they are actually losers. They have a delusional sense of superiority. They are very rigid too, so the image of themselves that they formed as children, as winners, likely persists, no matter what happens. And imagine how doubly creepy that would be to his next target, if he is so lucky to get that far! I guess he could use the pity play to some effect, but the playing field is more level now. Largely due to the efforts of professionals like Dr.Simon, Robert Hare and others, psychopathy is a major cultural topic of interest. People are getting educated. The parasites among us are going to find it more difficult to find willing hosts.

          3. Lisa, Puddle, Very well said. It may take some time, don’t have to say a word and watch the fireworks begin. Or should I say fizzled out duds. Justice has a way in the end. I apologize Puddle for fitting in between. Blessings

  24. Things I’ve read along the way relating to self-awareness and self-reflection:

    *The reason we may not see our self-deceptive inner games for what they are on our own is because we are all self-interested in some way.

    *When we develop compulsive rituals that neutralize or prevent rumination over our lives, it’s harder for us to confront the greater truths about our lives.

    *Somatization is conversion of unacknowledged anger or anxiety into physical symptoms.

  25. Lulu: I don’t work for litigation lawyers (in my department we do financing and contracts), but I heard one of the litigators on the phone tell his client: “I’m just a hired gun. You tell me what you want.”

    YOU are the employer in this legal relationship. If you hire someone to paint your kitchen yellow and the person paints it purple, who gets the final say?

    Lawyers use notes when presenting in court; they practice beforehand what to say. They often memorize important facts/details. You can do the same when communicating with your attorney or the judge. Write it down and look at your notes, just as if you’re giving a lecture (which in a way you are doing).
    Use what you have written to us when you speak to your attorney. Or email the attorney, your thoughts may be clearer when writing it all out. I know that is true for me. And the others are right, all this back and forth between the attorneys needs to stop.

    BTOV’s post has very valuable information, the one where she says: “Lulu, I was thinking what do you have agree to anything, the CD owes you what the judge ordered him to pay. Now you should have to compromise and let him off the hook and then he can do it all over again …”

    And you mention: “There is a warrant out for his arrest on contempt, not paying alimony.”

    I don’t know all the ins and outs of what this means, but it seems from a quick reading that YOU have the power in this situation. I know it may not feel like it (!), your knees may be quivering with stress and you’re having heart palpitations, but if he is squirming and scheming so much, he’s desperately trying to avoid responsibility which he knows belongs squarely on his shoulders.

    Hugs to you, we’re cheering for you.

  26. Hi Lulu,

    I’m not sure of all the ins and outs here, so take what I am suggesting with a grain of salt.

    Is your ex broke or does he just appear to be broke? Has there been adequate discovery, where finances and assets are transparent? Do you feel he is hiding money, assets, non declared income?

    Does he have job security?

    You mentioned that you have your own income? Is your income enough to support you? Do you have job security?

    I agree when you say he owes you for all of the pain and suffering. But, if you’re trying to claim resources from him in a spirit of justice, after an awakening of sorts, could it not backfire? What I mean is, your relationship with your sons could suffer terribly. And…if the legal fiasco isn’t resolved soon, it will feed an obsession that could hijack your brain and take over your life.

    Everyone agrees that you deserve the best outcome. Sometimes the best outcome is acceptance of the material reality, that may fall short of expectations. But you have found friends and can experience joy and real feelings of freedom now.

  27. Hi Puddle — wondered why you’ve been so quiet the last few days. So sorry to hear you’re having problems, here’s a big {{{{hug}}}} to you, and will send some good thoughts your way — Peace and hope from Elva

    1. Thanks Elva:) yes…….I’m in “when it rains it pours” mode. Many irons in the proverbial fire.
      ((((((Hugs to Elva))))) and everyone ;)

  28. I still have to pinch myself every time I come here to make sure I’m not dreaming. What an amazing, amazing gift I have received.
    It seems like a good idea for me to do a brief time line of the past four years, to now.
    1) May 2011 Separation 2) court orders post separation support 3) all the property ,debts, monies, pension income etc. divided equitably 3) May 2013 CD demands alimony trial 4) September Judge gets around to decision 5) by September 30, 2013, CD literally sneaks out of town to neighboring state, CD works it so divorce is finalized on 9/30, which kicks me off health insurance, scramble to do COBRA.
    CD had been paying (more or less) post sep support. Starting October 1 ’13, no alimony
    My attorney wants to let a few months go by to increase amount of arrears. Go to court , Judge rules contempt, issues warrant for arrest, jail until he pays me $11k
    Warrant is enforceable only in this state, that’s why he moved. Not sure what it would take to have warrant be effective in his state. Cost vs. benefit thing, an easy let it go, at least for now.
    May 2014, in court to take the half of pension he got when assets were divided up. Pension company Corporate beauracratic nightmare until I found my way to power people, check expected May1.

  29. Great Lulu,

    You get pension check directly from corporation. That makes things a whole lot simpler! Your ex is a real piece of work, as they say!

  30. Trying to say ridiculous delays due to ridiculous incompetence. Will also get pension $ for back months.
    Nice lump sum to pay off credit cards which I use them for living expenses. Can pay bills and have a little fun money with total pension. I am so enormously wealthy!
    Current option on the table. It is possible to garnish SS benefits for non-payment of alimony. The calculation of cost vs. benefit can be determined pretty simply.
    When I say pittance, the amount of money stays the same, but his conditions are now dramatically better.
    How many of you are like me, suspicious? What’s he really going to do? The past 3 or 4 times he’s made this offer, it’s been he gives me the money, I agree to give up all claim to unpaid and future alimony.
    Now, to get the same amount of money, all he (says) he wants is for me to agree to release him from any liability for past monies owed, and, get rid of the contempt order. According to attorney this is huge to him. Our adult sons live in this state so he’s afraid to come visit them. They could go see him, but don’t
    She (atty) assured me that there are ironclad ways to keep him from taking the money out of his account the second I sign docs; He would have to stay in his state. He would be free to go anywhere…nothing stops him from coming here and physically harming me.
    I got to be mom at home so, I have no income. Loved being at home but financial dependence ratchets anxiety way up. When he moved, he quit his job and retired.
    I asked to meet with attorney yesterday. It took a long time to click in his new..too good to be true?..terms
    We left it that she would counter higher, my brain was so frazzled by the end that now I’m kicking myself…take it and run, dummy. Of course she took this afternoon and tomorrow off. Court is set for Tues.
    I want to ask her now for an idea of billable time, I’m not willing to spend much, money or energy on this.
    Deep breathing now, can’t change what’s been done, what is best is what will happen.

  31. Lulu, Great news! If you I were you I would order a copy of your credit report just to make sure the CD is not on any account you may have forgotten about. Also, make sure you have taken him off every account you had together. The Credit card companies can easily issue you new cards. Also, if you had debt in common and he is to pay half, if both of you were signers on that account and the CD reneges on his portion they could make it difficult/or come after you.

    We are dealing with a legal contract and legal a decision rendered in a court of law!! The judge ruled accordingly, and the law should be abided by both parties with acceptance and respect. I did not like the decision the Judge rendered and I expressed that to the Judge but likewise, I told the Judge I respected his decision and would follow it. However, the CD’s being who they are kick and fight like rotten two year olds whinning and continually thumbing their noese at the authority of the courts. Apparently, the judge got sick enough of his antics and finally held the CD in contempt. Horray for the Judge, the Judge is holding the loser accountable. Now your supposed to look like the bad person because you are asking for what you are entitled too and and awarded by the court. Knowing what I know and the CD I would never give up one inch of what the Courts ruled on. Your attorney can also ask for your X CD to pay your attorneys fees since he is the one who refused to comply with court orders. Your attorney may well not be telling you this because they don’t want to deal with him. The Judge can order garnishment of the CD’s retirement, and order him to pay the court costs too. I would leave the warrant in place until he pays all monies due. Leave it at that and if he comes into the state to bother you he will think 100 times over before bothering you. The further away he is the better. The coward is afraid of going to jail. Leave everything the way it is until he makes payment, pay your attorney and forget about it then. The CD will always have it hanging over his head. The CD pays you your money, then clear up the record. The problem the CD continues to act the way they do is because everyone coddles them and now that you don’t give in to the CD your the bad guy. I would insist and I mean insist that a itemized bill directly attributed to the direct refusal of the CD to pay be submitted to the court and added to what the CD owes you. Also, couldn’t the CD very well get a loan, to pay you. Lulu, lots to look at before Monday. This isn’t about getting even, or being vindictive its about when are people going to finally stand up to these low lifes and make them take responsibility for their purposeful actions. How about the vindictiveness of getting your insurance cut off, seems that has already been forgotten. The CD need to be held accountable at some point in this world, just look at the mess we are in because of them.
    You did a good job, get some sleep. Blessings

  32. Very good advice from BTOV. Lulu, do not feel hesitant about asking for what the court gave you in the first place. Hang in there! CD will have to deal with it. If he ran to another state, he probably is too coward to show his face. He knows what he is doing.

  33. First to Puddle, I am so upset and furious for you right now. That slow agony of discovering this bit of info, then another piece comes at you from nowhere, each new thing feels so random. Then pieces of the puzzle begin to come together into a horrifying, sickening, kick in the butt picture. I could be way off base with all that, but what you’ve been able to share sounded way too familiar.
    When we separated, it was about making each other miserable for years, clearly nothing was going to change. The big time CD stuff didn’t start til shortly after we were apart. It was all so unexpected, unpredictable, off the wall stuff. Proof of times he looked me straight in the eye and so easily lied. It took about 3.5 years for me to put it all together. That’s what I mean, Puddle, about pieces coming together. For me, it was the realization that every bit of our relationship was a sham. Again, this may not be what you are dealing with, but whatever it is, it’s extremely painful and difficult. I am so very sorry.
    I would encourage all of you to look up Dr. Simon’s post, Divorcing the Character Disorded. This is such a yukky topic otherwise it would be funny. The last dozen or so posts had every behavior in the article.

    1. Thanks Lulu, actually what is going on now is something completely unrelated to Stard. And makes what he is all about look like child’s play. Sorry so brief. Off to bed. Big hug to you for understanding and seeing. Puddle

        1. Oh yes, I’m “ok” but this is something I really don’t know how to handle…….at all. It is a family matter and it’s basically undermining my entire concept of my “family” at the moment. It is so similar to my feelings when I woke up from Spsthtard and started putting the real picture together only so much bigger and deeper.

          1. Hi Puddle — {{{{{hugs}}}}} and courage to you. Whatever is happening in your life, we are pulling for you. Peace and hope from Elva

          2. Oh Puddle, I am so sorry you are having such a hard time. I don’t know what to say or write. It sounds as if it must be so terrible. Take your time to let whatever it is sink in and then when and if the time is right, if you feel like revealing it in part, in total, or just the gist of it, we will all be here for you.

          3. Hi Puddle, My prayers and thoughts are with you. So many of us “Kindred Spirits” on the wild ride of lunacy and triangulation. For me and my X-family of CD, I divorced them long ago, they refuse to acknowledge it and just don’t want to let go, it constantly takes another ambiguous turn. A normal person thinks time heals, with the CD, whatever compels their evil thoughts, or perceptions seem only to GROW with time and in their minds at least the ones I know call it “Pay Back Pal.” Puddle their is power in prayer or as others say we are pulling for you and our thoughts our with our fellow brothers and sisters here. Take very good care, stay safe and blessings.

  34. No! What you are going through now is so horrendous that Spath’s stuff looks like child’s play??? One time in this crazy making CD world is barely tolerable, but now there’s something even more atrocious??? We are all with you every minute, whatever it is and for however long it takes. Hopefully you can do nice little things for you. Who talked about the hairy dairy ice cream fairy? Take good care of Puddle.

    1. LuLu, this is not the same because it is not directly personal but it is very upsetting in many ways, not just involving me but other people. More to come in way of some explanation soon and a deep sincere thank you to everyone for your concern. I’m “ok” but there is inevitable drama and intrigue to come no doubt.

  35. Puddle, you’re always there for us, ready to share, to encourage, to empathize – I am horrified that what you are going through is so much worse than the Spath. I hope you can get some comfort from knowing there are so many of us here who care about you. Buddhists do a type of meditation where they pray/chant for peace and healing on behalf of others. I’m not Buddhist but practice this type of prayer/meditation on occasion. I will certainly be doing so for you, and I hope that at least the thought of us wishing you well can bring some relief.

    1. Puddle is so willing to share of herself, share her compassion. One good example among many others.

      I know this is not the main gist of your post, GG, and here I’ve been thinking I’m the only one here, who practices meditation. Haven’t tried to kind you speak of, though. Meditation still has a lot of benefits. I’ve even read that a prayer is a kind of meditation.

      1. J, yes, prayer can be a form of meditation, I think depending on one’s focus and concentration, if it is mindful.

    2. GG and all, I’m sorry to have caused concern here….. This is something I can’t discuss here really, only in general terms which I’m not sure I have fully understood yet bit all needs to be digested still but it is something that affects many aspects of different things. It’s worse than Spathtard but only because it’s different. Kind of apples and oranges but all in the same basket?
      More tomorrow. Huge thankful hugs to all. Puddle

        1. J, thank you for your wishes. I don’t know how this will all play out but, it is a window into human nature and I have had too many of those over the lady few years. No choice in that though. It is all so much to come to terms with sometimes.

  36. Yes Puddle–Easter is over. The bunny is gone. I think I have lyrics for a whole new song.
    When you’re rattled and shaken and things have you wary, there is always ice cream; call the big dairy fairy!

    On another note–J and Btov, I am still half asleep so the, “payback Pal,” stuck me very funny. It reminded me of ‘PayPal for Retaliation’ Imagine what could be purchased there!?

    Puddle–so relieved you are safe.

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