Addiction, Codependence, PTSD, Anxiety and Self-Esteem

If you believe many of the things you read and hear about these days, just about everyone suffers from some kind of addiction.  And despite how commonplace it’s become, I’m always a bit shocked (and outraged) when some disturbed character claims victim status by blaming his or her reprehensible conduct on an addiction of some sort (For a prime example of this see the articles:  I Am Not A Monster: Impression Management Arial Castro Style and Mental Disorders and Accountability: Is Everyone a Victim?).  Genuine addictions are actually quite rare and by definition must involve two essential features:  tolerance (to a substance or activity) and withdrawal (a distinct syndrome of distress and impaired functioning upon cessation).

Just because someone habitually engages in dysfunctional behavior doesn’t mean they’re an addict.  And just because on the surface of things there appears a compulsive aspect to a person’s behavior doesn’t mean they’re addicted or laboring under a true compulsion. Addiction is a real disease. Addicts have built up such a degree of tolerance to a substance that they can no longer function in any near normal way in the absence of it.  In that sense they are truly dependent upon the substance to maintain some sort of equilibrium.

In the age of character disturbance, deficient self-control and management has become widespread.  And along with that has come a fair degree of relational and substance abuse. But people who out of unchecked habit or pure preference simply won’t control themselves are very different from those who can’t control themselves any longer because of their addiction. And recently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has, in a wide-ranging longitudinal study, confirmed what those of us working in the field of character disturbance have long known:  90 percent of problem drinkers and bad actors, regardless of the diagnoses they might be given to get them into a treatment program, are not truly addicts – including, believe it or not, heavy binge drinkers!  They’re abusers to be sure, but not truly addicts.

Why is it so important to get it right when it comes to addiction?  Because it means everything as far as appropriate intervention is concerned.  All too many folks with serious character disturbance go through addiction treatment programs and exhaust their family’s resources only to come out of those programs much the same as when they went in.  When character is the problem (and abuse is the result), the focus of treatment needs to be on the twisted thinking and habitual but voluntary behaviors that cause all the trouble. Unfortunately all too many abusers go through addiction-model treatments only to have their character issues largely ignored.

Co-dependence is such an overly employed and misused term that it’s hard to determine where to start in clarifying what it truly means. It refers to a phenomenon that can indeed occur within the family system of a genuine addict.  The chemically dependent person has his or her life controlled by their substance of choice.  And many times, spouses and others in the family (including the “enablers”) also find their lives similarly controlled.  Both parties – the genuine addict, whose life has been taken over by the substance, and others in the family system who end up doing and tending to all kinds of things they wouldn’t otherwise be doing if it weren’t for the influence of the substance involved – end up in a way equally or co-dependent on the addict’s substance of choice. Unfortunately, in recent years the term has been extended to encompass all sorts of other problems associated with substance or relational abuse, including, most especially, emotional dependency, which is an entirely different animal.  When a person maintains a relationship with a substance-abusing or relational-abusing person (not a genuine addict but a disturbed or disordered character who uses and abuses everything in his/her life) because they’re too insecure, anxious,or otherwise hesitant to set firm limits or disengage, it’s not a case of co-dependence but rather emotional dependency.  And when emotionally dependent folks buy into the notion that their abuser is in any way dependent just like they are (i.e. co-dependent) the chances are even greater that they’ll remain in a dysfunctional relationship.  There are big implications for treatment, too.  Emotionally dependent folks tend to benefit from dependency-modeled programs whereas their abusive relationship partners attending the same program tend to evidence little genuine change (For more on this topic see: Commonly Misused Psychology Terms – Part 2).  I’ve witnessed this phenomenon all too many times.  Co-dependence is also not the same as mutual dependence, a phenomenon that can happen when two fairly equally insecure and/or inadequate individuals depend too much on each other in a sort of symbiotic relationship.  Unfortunately, I’ve seen the codependence label applied many times where a mutual dependency situation appears to exist but the reality is that character-impaired and abusive individual is habitually exploiting his/her relatively insecure partner’s vulnerabilities and emotional dependency.  Such an erroneous perception can significantly adversely affect both assessment and treatment.

Dynamics similar to codependency can also be seen in families where someone suffers from true obsessions or compulsions, and I’ll have more to say on this in a future article.

Anxiety is a frequently misunderstood term.  It’s a fear-like response the body experiences in the absence of a tangible threat.  We have some primal responses built into us (e.g., fight vs. flight) that prepare us for dealing with threats to our well-being.  When we’re scared, certain physiological responses are common (e.g., blood flow to our periphery is restricted – hence cold and clammy hands and feet, our heart rate increases, our level of vigilance increases, we can tremble or shake, etc.) as our body goes into protect mode.  We call anxiety a fear-like response because it occurs not to an identifiable objective threat but rather in anticipation of a threat that’s either purely subjective or can’t be readily identified.  In short, when you’re anxious, you feel threatened, but can’t identify why.  Still, your body reacts as if you are in danger.  Some folks experience anxiety that builds upon itself, creating a vicious cycle.  Such cycles can spiral to the level of panic, which has its own symptoms (e.g., feelings of unreality, a sense of depersonalization, fears of imminent doom, “going crazy,” or losing all control, etc.).  The symptoms of extreme anxiety can be quite distressing and debilitating even though in reality they’re relatively harmless.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a unique type of anxiety disorder.  Folks who’ve been exposed in some way to a grossly terrifying event can experience fear reactions long after the immediate “threat” has past.  They can also experience anxiety symptoms in situations and circumstances that either bear some degree of resemblance to or remind them in some way of the initial traumatizing event.  Severe trauma often makes a deep impression on our nervous systems.  

Not everyone who’s experienced a difficult situation or a stressful or tumultuous event and experiences some understandable problems adjusting afterward develops PTSD.  And PTSD has some very distinct symptoms, including: intrusive recollections of the trauma, dissociative reactions such as “flashbacks” (having the subjective experience of being back in the traumatic situation), avoidance of activities and situations reminiscent in some way of the traumatic event, etc.).  Despite the fact that PTSD is probably among the most distressing and debilitating conditions a person can experience, as an anxiety disorder, and contrary to what you might have heard, it’s a very treatable illness.  All effective treatments for anxiety have some things in common, primarily being that they allow a person to gradually and gently expose themselves to anxiety-evoking situations while simultaneously allowing themselves to realize that there’s no longer anything to fear.  And when discrimination training is added to the therapy, the person also learns that even though a situation might in some way remind them of the event that traumatized them, it’s in reality a different circumstance, so again, there’s no need to be fearful. For a unique and interesting viewpoint on PTSD you might want to read: A Combat Vet’s Take on PTSD.  

Self-esteem is a much misunderstood concept, also.  I’ve written about it in all three of my books In Sheep’s Clothing, Character Disturbance, and The Judas Syndrome, and in several blog posts (See, for example:  Self-Esteem and Merit and How to Inflate an Ego in 3 Easy Steps). But inasmuch as there’s still lots that can be said on the topic, and considering the kinds of questions and comments some of the commentators have voiced on the blog recently, I thought it appropriate to delve deeper into matters related to self-esteem in the current series (For more articles in the series on commonly misused and misunderstood psychology terms and concepts see also: Misunderstood and Misused Psychology Terms – Part 1Shame, Guilt, Regret, Remorse, and ContritionMisunderstood Psychology Terms – Pt 2: Personality & Character, Misused Terms Pt 3: Defensive, Dissociation, Dependence, Denial and Misunderstood and Misused Psychology Terms – Part 4).

The term self-esteem literally means to estimate ourselves, and more particularly, our worth.  All of us have an intuitive sense of what we have going for us and how we stack up among others.  And how we appraise ourselves and our value reflects our self-esteem. Now, for a long time, many in the helping professions thought there was no such thing as too much self-esteem.  They also believed that almost all relationship problems in some way stemmed from low self-esteem.  But we live in the age of character disturbance, and there are plenty of folks out there who simply think far too much of themselves.  Moreover, most of these folks aren’t, as we used to think, compensating for underlying feelings of insecurity.  Ego-inflation is not always about pretense, either. There are just as many truly accomplished folks as there are slackers who think far too highly of themselves.  They key is in the accuracy of self-estimation.  I know plenty of folks who know a lot, but still always think they know more than they do.  And I know plenty who have have done a lot, but are still not as great or as important as they think they are.  And of course, there are plenty of folks with nothing to show for themselves who still think they’re all that!  Again, it’s all about the accuracy of self-estimation.  Folks with pathological high self-esteem always overestimate themselves and folks with debilitating low self-esteem always underestimate themselves even when they have ample objective reason to think better of themselves.  Those who think too little of themselves can easily subject themselves to unnecessary abuse and exploitation.  That’s why, when it comes to self-esteem, it’s really important to get this crucial dimension of character in proper balance (You can find many articles on this site about self-esteem and self-respect by using the blog’s search feature).

l’ll have more to say on the topic of self-esteem next week.  In addition, we’ll be taking a close look at the mood disorders, such as Depression and especially Bipolar Illness.  And I’ll be talking about self-esteem-related issues on Character Matters this Sunday at 7 pm Eastern Time.

222 thoughts on “Addiction, Codependence, PTSD, Anxiety and Self-Esteem

  1. Dr. Simon,
    I still ask what the origin of a seeming lack of conscience is. I have been theorising 
    I appreciate the explanation of co-dependency versus emotional dependence. Makes thorough sense.
    “… codependency can also be seen in families where someone suffers from true obsessions or compulsions…” Looking forward to that. I have seen a teen obsessed with cleaning and other things and he asks the parent to tell him “it is safe” to touch. An example, I think. Would love to know more on how to treat this.
    “The term self-esteem literally means to estimate ourselves, and more particularly, our worth. All of us have an intuitive sense of what we have going for us and how we stack up among others.”
    I have found Kristen Neff’s work on SELF COMPASSION much more helpful than the notion of SELF ESTEEM. She did a TED talk which was great and she has written a book. There really is a problem in making social comparisons with others. Who we are is not what we do or even how we may judge ourselves for that matter.

    1. RS, I do wonder how may true “selves” as in what you say “Who we are is not what we do or even how we may judge ourselves for that matter.” are lost or stunted in certain upbringings. I have also heard it said, what we do IS what we are which kind of goes along with the notion that we create our own reality. SO many interesting views, huh?

      1. Puddle,
        I think the only self that is lost is that of the character disordered. Someone who has lost their conscience, their care for others, their real self.

        1. I disagree RS……..I think there are plenty of people that are not truly disordered who had their wings clipped as children in one way or another. Staring a child in the direction of good character and morals is one thing but trying to fit them into a mold that you and you alone have determined is best because it is what reflects best on YOU is a form of abuse in my opinion. AND it happens all the time to varying degrees. My mother especially was very determined to do just that but I resisted with every thing I had.
          So what I’m saying has more to do with a child’s potential for individual expression.

          1. Once again we are miscommunicating. I was commenting on ONE ASPECT of your comment – the LOST self. I do not disagree with what you are saying here, but I think we are speaking of different things.
            I can see that your mothers controlling and self centred parenting has made you very determined to resist being fit into any perceived moulds.
            I think sometimes the pendulum swings the other way out of reactivity, as a defense against being controlled. I do similar. Glad you have explained your background as it gives me better understanding of your view points.

          2. RS, this is my final comment to you. I don’t need you analyzing me based on a few comments you may or may not have taken the wrong way, most often the wrong way. It’s like a house of mirrors trying to express or explain most anything with you so I will not spend any more time doing it RS. Every, and I mean EVERY time I try to, you tweak something I’ve said to invalidate what I said. Not interested. I don’t KNOW that I’ve “met” you before on another site but gee,,,,,,,,,,this is a pattern i’ve been through on one victim site and on another blog site and I’m not going to engage with it anymore here with you. It does leave me curious as to what YOUR background is though………who YOU really are.

          3. Puddle,
            I disagree with what you have said about my comments – I have agreed with SOME of your comments (and said so) and where I have disagreed, it is often met with YOU misinterpreting what I have said. It appears you like to ‘win’, and that is ok.
            You are entitled to your opinion. Just as every other person here is entitled to think independently – they do not need you to help them decide who to listen to or not to listen to – that is a bit paternalistic, if you ask me. Somethng you claim to be against.

    2. Theory 1. Character Disordered people are created because they have, in their past, TRIED to create “self-esteem” through various means and it has been ‘unsuccessful’. They see this ‘failure’ as not as THEIR fault, rather the WORLD’s fault and thus an attitude of being ‘hard done by’ is formed leading to an entitlement attitude. What do you think Dr. Simon/others?

      1. I address this very issue in Character Disturbance as well as in the series on both this blog and the blog examining neurotic vs. character disturbed characteristics. It’s all about the locus of attribution of causality, and you have it right.

      2. Theory 2. Theory 1 plus add in to this an enabling parent who sends a message that the child is ‘special’ and ‘deserves’ “self esteem” no matter how he behaves. Also a lack of consequences for poor behaviour and perhaps modelling the ‘use’ of others to achieve their own ends.

    3. I address conscience development issues not only in Character Disturbance but also in several articles on this site and on the site. A good place to begin might be the series on socialization as a process, but I’ll search the archives for more possibly helpful links.

    4. RS, who we are is never MORE manifest than in how we treat others; how high we are willing to soar to aid others, or in the character impaired, how low they gladly stoop to hurt others.

      The ‘real self’ is the fiction, the gossamer ephemeral ‘good guy’, supposedly resident in all of us. This is the amorphous illusion that thugs hide behind.

      With the exception of people who are stricken with psychosis I don’t know if one can differentiate between the ‘real self’ and the self manifest in deed.

      1. LisaO,
        If I understand you correctly, and I may well not because it is at times difficult to know which comment a person is referring to, unless stated… I do not think WHO or WHAT (for want of better words) I am IS NOT the things I do. That is like saying I built and empire and that is who “I” am.

        1. correction
          If I understand you correctly, and I may well not because it is at times difficult to know which comment a person is referring to, unless stated… I do not think WHO or WHAT (for want of better words) I am IS the things I do. That is like saying I built and empire and that is who “I” am.

    1. RS,

      Your personality IS manifested in how you behave, what you do, how you treat others. It’s obviously not what you make, create, express or how you behave. That’s like saying Vincent Van Gogh is a painting of sunflowers, rather than his creativity is manifest in his paintings.

      The ‘real self’ is never more apparent than when it expresses through action. I have all sorts of inner thoughts, feelings, attitudes, that I hold close. Is that my ‘real self?’ Or is the ‘real self’ more the expression of these wispy concoctions worked through the twisted mechanics of my unique psyche and writ large in my social, work and family milieu?

      There is an expression, ‘”the truth will out,” The real self will usually show itself one way or another. It will express, whether I want it to or not. It maybe somewhat ‘pure’. It could be quite lovely, pretty grosse, weird, or a combination of all of those features. But it is much more likely to be evident, in spite of any effort on my part to contain it, in real life.

      People who advocate that the ‘real self’ is purity and innocence, unsullied by fear, anger, imposed upon it from the external world, etc… don’t acknowledge that this inner homunculus is Golum like and also contains the shadow. We get nowhere by adhering to the idea that any if us are pure, at core. We aren’t.

      1. LisaO!! :) Now that’s a mouthful!!!
        “Or is the ‘real self’ more the expression of these wispy concoctions worked through the twisted mechanics of my unique psyche and writ large in my social, work and family milieu?”

        1. Puddle,

          Only a total narcissist would write purple prose like that on a forum. I just went all Vaknin with a touch of Jane Austin thrown in, on you. What a pompous ass. But it was kind of fun to write! LOL

  2. I am new to this forum, but not new to Dr. Simon’s books and articles. I stumbled across them about a year ago and they have helped me immensely. Everything Dr. Simon writes about manipulator’s and covert aggressive people have helped me so much with my emotional and mental stability. I am still living with my emotionally abusive husband, and even with all this knowledge it is still difficult at best to keep my wits about me. It seems the more I “pick up” on about his behaviors, the more subtle he can become with his manipulations. So I guess I feel like I need to be on my best game 100% of the time, which can be really hard when he tries his hardest to keep me off-balance.

    I am so happy that someone is finally pointing out how seriously misused the term “co-dependent” is. A few years ago I discovered my husband was using an extreme amount of pornography (which has been great for him, since now he has been labelled a pornography “addict” – and I’m supposed to be helping him and having “patience” because he’s doing the best he can – poor him, right!!!). He’s also a workaholic, has been our whole relationship of 23 years. And now he’s admitted that too, and again because he’s “addicted” to work, poor him, he just can’t help himself!!! I really loved this article.

    As far as co-dependent, whenever someone calls me that, I get angry. When he is always lying, and I have no way to base what I can do on the truth, there is no way I am co-dependent. Yes, when it comes to his job, I do see many ways I enabled…but he’s so slick at manipulating, avoiding responsibility at home and in the marriage and whenever I have confronted him in the past, he has the best way of making it seem like he’s doing everything for me, providing me a good life, and that I’m the one being selfish for asking him to consider me. And those people who have claimed I am “co-dependent” when attempting to help me wade my way through the anger of discovering the pornography, I could actually scream. How can you be co-dependent or even enable something that is completely kept hidden from you, that you are being lied to about. Emotionally dependent, yes, I was devastated when I found out. So to allow someone’s actions to affect the way I view myself, okay, I can agree to that. But I get angry when people get called “co-dependent” because someone close to them just does whatever they feel like doing and then blame it on “addiction” or say they can’t help it.

    I’m sorry that I’m coming across as angry, I guess I’m at my wits end. It’s hard enough to deal with living with someone who is emotionally abusive, manipulative, a master at lying, and like to play the victim all the time. But it gets even harder when those that are supposed to be helping me (who I now realize has been the real victim, no matter how much my spouse likes to make it seem otherwise – he’s even had the nerve to say that he’s the “one walking on eggshells” because he keeps getting caught in lies, and I don’t ignore them anymore. And because I keep calling him out on his lies, that it is so emotionally damaging to him that I’m being abusive – so you can see how much counselling has helped him learn how to use all these things just to further manipulate and abuse)… It’s even harder when those who are supposed to be helping me, keep telling me to just have more patience, to maybe just “ignore” some of the lies and to give him a break – that if they’re just little ones to let them go, and to get more empathy for him. One counselor actually told me that I shouldn’t tell my husband how his behaviors are hurting me, because it’s too hard on him, that I need to give him time and patience. (Okay, it’s been 3 years since he’s admitted to the pornography and workaholism – he claims he’s not looking at porn, but he’s still a full fledged workaholic, he still lies – I catch him in lies daily, he still blames me and get mad at me when I try to set a just consequence for his behavior, and he blames me for our relationship not working because I need to just “let things go and forgive”, plus so many manipulation tactics and subtle games of “get back” – so really if things are just the same, how much more time an patience must I give him.

    Sorry, I rambled, this is my first time and it feels great to vent to someone/anyone who might get just a little bit of what I’m going through

    1. Thanks so much for your comment. You articulate very well what hundreds of folks in similar situations have written me to say. Some of them were trying to create an online resource for those in similar situations. I’ll search my email archives for more information and will share when and if I’m able to recover it.

    2. Sheri,
      I wonder why you stay with him. He lies to you and does all manner of things which are not ok. If I may be frank, it appears like your relationship is a parent-child relationship. You seem to be picking him up on his misdemeanours and making demands of his behaviour, but isn’t it HIS responsibility to do this?

      1. I am not sure what you mean by “You seem to be picking him up on his misdemeanors and making demands of his behavior, but isn’t it HIS responsibility to do this?”

        I think my writing might have been misunderstood, when this all began a few years back, we started counselling together, and what I’m trying to point out above is all the ridiculous messages I’ve been given by him, the cousellors and any other “help” we’ve received concerning his issues. How because they’ve labeled his selfish behaviors and compulsive choices as “addiction” the he is still being enabled by those who are supposed to be helping, He is definitely Covert Aggressive and highly manipulative. What I was talking about above is the message THEY (the counselor and people who “help”) have been feeding both me and him, which has enabled him to further manipulate and play the “poor me” victim.

        I am not taking responsibility for his behavior (even though he and others continue to try to get me too), I have stepped away from this “help” even though he continues in it, and now accuses me of not wanting to make the marriage work (rather than taking responsibility for his utter defiance to change – no matter how “sincerely” he may cry and say he feels all alone and that I’m not supporting and helping him – which is also what he tells others). I am going to therapy on my own – to a counselor who is trained to help the victim of emotionally (or other) abused women.

        I guess my point was that it was nice to read Dr. Simon’s article about labeling people with “addiction” when that’s not always the case.

        1. It is so good to read that you are not taking responsibility for his behavior, (even though he and others continue to try to get you to) I feel that may be a big key in your independence from his abusive behavior and how he tries to justify himself by placing the blame on you or other for “his” poor choices. I think once the victims see this, then they can heal and find some peace of mind.

        2. Hi Sheri…….I heard what you were saying in your original post and have not had time to reply but in light of YOUR reply to RS I would like to say that there is a clear pattern here with “her” replies so base your replies accordingly.
          I completely understand what you are saying because I had the sam thing happen in my experience. A relationship coach, a couple of different councilors…..all off base. You will find that Dr. Simon repeatedly will point out the existing gap in understanding so many of the issues of the disordered, both by the general population and professionals. It’s a secondary assault to a victim who is trying to hold her head above water when being covertly and overtly manipulated by someone and I’m sorry you had to be exposed to that secondary craziness. I honestly don’t think I could put into words the totality of my similar experience with the professional therapeutic field.
          This site and a few others have been a life line for many people, like getting a pair of glasses you didn’t even know you needed. You sound like you see things more clearly now. It won’t be easy but you will be better able to make choices for yourself with this new found knowledge.
          I wish you the best and please know you have found an exceptional man and source of sound knowledge in Dr. Simon. Don’t we all wish there were more like him??

          1. Hello Sheri and welcome. You will find that most people who post here have been through their own versions of hell and so will not criticize you but will be sympathetic and may offer suggestions as to what might help you to cope. Unfortunately because this site is “anonymous” it does seem to occasionally attract people (trolls) who will try to twist what you say and use that to attack you without knowing all the details of your situation. If you can, try to pay no attention to them. They remind me of my long-ago stepfather who would make stupid remarks at the dinner table just to rile everybody up — such as “I think communism is a great system.” To which I thought, “well, why don’t you go live there.”

            No one knows all your situation, those here who wish you well will offer sympathy even if we don’t know all the factors involved. You seem to be doing the best you can in a horrendously bad situation. You might try a visit to for a short daily motivational message — it helps me to set a positive tone for my day. Again, welcome, Peace and hope from Elva

        3. Sheri, you seem to be doing all the right things by looking after yourself. Seeing your own counsellor and making plans for your own self. That is so important, a great step in moving forward. I wish you all the best in these very difficult times and as you get stronger just be wary of how your husband may respond. Always keep your guard up as it can sometimes get rather nastier when they see you changing and more empowered.
          It seems you may already be seeing that when he is accusing you of not helping him. It seems they like to have you by their side on everything. It never ceases to amaze me how unique these relationships can be and yet how they are all so very similar. Stay strong Sheri and welcome.

        1. Hi Puddle — just my version of “watch out for wet floor” — if I were in a similar situation, I’d appreciate a “be careful of ….” or “can I give you a hand with that problem?” Peace and hope from Elva

          1. Elva, It’s amazing to me how differently I see things now. What to watch for, the subtle warning signs, the things i would have and did “excuse” unknowingly back then, the things I thought and felt because I didn’t know WHAT to think about or make out of a disorder person’t words and actions. I know that early on I still felt a tremendous amount of sadness for Spathtard because of some of my misguided beliefs and because I loved him. So pulled in to his supposed issues and fake declarations of EVERYTHING?? This is SUCH a learning process, old ways of thinking are hard to change and these types fly in the face of everything we thought we KNOW about people in general. I think back to times I disagreed with him or challenged some twisted up version of what had happened or what I had said……… wasn’t that I disagreed, it was that I had the NERVE to disagree with HIM and his tactics of confusion. He won in the end, which seemingly is the family motto……to win even if you have to loose something to do so……..Its hard to fight against that kind of determination when your morals tell you to not stoop to their level and you can’t comprehend the depths of depravity that level operates from…………..
            I’d like to say I’m immune now but I know myself and have seen the vastness of their arsenal. To think anyone can be on their “game” enough in all areas of their life to be immune to being targeted is a recipe for being retargeted. At least by educating yourself and applying what you have learned, if it happens again as it has with me several times post Spathtard, we can stop the bleeding before it gets to a critical point……..I hope!
            Peace to you Elva!! :)

    3. Sheri……I just want to add this. you DO see everything you need to see at this point. from what I am hearing you say, this is not going to change, as in HE is not going to change. So when you ask “how much more time and patience must I give him”, when you ask yourself this question, what is your immediate answer to yourself? Honestly……what would you tell someone else that asked you the same question?

  3. Sherri,
    Your pornography addicted spouse is not going to be empathetic towards you under his current treatment. Doug Weiss, PhD, describes the common set of symptoms characteristic of pornography abusers that you describe as Intimacy Anorexia. His book by the same name can help him recognize his abusive behavior and offers a recovery plan. “Married and Alone” (Weiss 2013) explains the dynamics of his condition under a Trauma model that can help you by placing the blame and responsibility where it belongs–on the abuser.

  4. Sherri: I have been following this website for insight and advice for a long time, your email has prompted me to respond. Your quality of life and wellbeing are worth more than living in that situation, the only thing that finally worked for me after therapy, trying to get in the last word or rationalize with the irrational was NO CONTACT. It takes a long time and the full stages of loss and acceptance or reality. Unless you still believe a different reality is possible with this man. Good luck and best wishes for you to value your wellbeing and to live in wellness and authentic love for real.
    P.S. Thank you Dr Simon, your insights and information are so valuable for me and many friends who I have directed to your website, I have friends in the AA program who have been helped a lot on clarification of true addicts vs the “victim” model often encountered, and those seeking true recovery. Thank you

    1. Thank you for your suggestion, I do completely understand about the leaving and no contact, how things would be much easier. I do not believe he will change, I really have completely let that go. I have known for most of the marriage that “something wasn’t quite right”, and when some of those “not right” things came to light, he was the one who said he knew he needed help. However, what I’ve discovered during these past few years, which helped me truly see what had been going on our whole marriage, is that he is seriously narcissistic, covert aggressive, controlling, and an expert manipulator. He has manipulated the councelors and any people who have decided to help us. It’s funny though, since I’ve read Dr. Simon’s books it’s like my eyes are wide open and I can see it as it’s happening. Funny how a person can’t see if before.

      I am working on a plan, setting goals, moving forward. However, I’m not in a situation in my life to be completely independent, as well as with my faith I truly do not believe in divorce (however, if he were to make that choice then I wouldn’t stop him). I still need to hold onto my integrity, doing what I know is right for me. Just because he sins does not justify me sinning. So, even though, I know my emotional/mental well-being would heal and become stronger with no contact, that is not an option for me. I know it is more difficult with him in my life, but I must do the best I can with the situation I’m in, to take care of myself and most just “ignore” his behaviors unless they are those things that truly cross-over in my life.

      So I do keep hearing “Just leave” or “no contact”, but what I’ve found most helpful is the things others like me have done to grow, mature, and move beyond the abuse, even while the abuser is in the picture.

      1. Sheri: In that case, you may resort to the Grey Rock technique. It worked for me! (though I did not know it by that name). Best of luck to you, sweetie. Hard row to hoe…

      2. “… move beyond the abuse, even while the abuser is in the picture.”
        I’d like to know what that would look like!

      3. Sheri,

        I know of a woman in my small town, who has a husband maybe a bit like yours. They are still together but live somewhat separate lives. She has detached emotionally and appears to be quite happy now. Maybe you can work towards that? I don’t know. Would that be possible? I mean, if hubby is just an annoying self absorbed infant, is it possible to kind of keep to yourself, look after kids under the same roof?

        That might work. I think the problem with a lot of advice given to people who have children with men/women with major problems is they fail to take into account all of the financial issues, disruption to the kid’s lives and etc..etc..if there is a split up.

        We live in economically hostile times. The middle class is disappearing. For many people, splitting up represents a one way ticket to poverty…and that can be just as oppressive as living with a character disordered person.

        So…I hear you.

      4. Staying with an abusive partner sends a clear message to the children that being abused is acceptable. This is not responsible parenting and continues the issues over generations.

        1. RS Perhaps it would be kinder to heed the specifics of Sheri’s situation, that she has provided, without suggesting her course of action is wrong. She has obviously put a lot of thought into her own life and understands it right down to the tiny topographical details. The simple road map you and many others may have used successfully, may not apply to her situation. She appears to me to be living with a profoundly annoying aggravating individual. If she can detach emotionally that might actually work better. To state she is going to leave a legacy of multi-generational abuse, in her wake, if she doesn’t flush the turd, is a bit much. Sorry–that was rude–but seems appropriate for a porn dude.

        2. Sheri has a plan…that’s responsible. That shows she does not accept the abuse and her children will see that. Many cannot just walk out and have everything all fall into place and live happily ever after…many suffer more abuse in post separation which can have DIRE consequences. It would be better to respect a persons decision even if you disagree and give them support rather than accuse them of irresponsibility and load them with another lot of emotional pressure. No one should judge a person on their decisions particularly if they have not been in that situation. Plans change and with support who knows what the future may bring but by being accusatory all you do is isolate someone further who is in need of crucial support.

        3. I am giving the children a voice among all this talk about abusers, “victims” and the relationships THEY chosse to remain in.

          1. RS, Considering the time of year a generous donation to, ‘Save the Children’ fund might be more gratefully received.

          2. Protecting the children is a noble cause and maybe you should use your words in advocacy toward family law courts, governments and judges who see fit to hand children back to the abusers for visitation where the mother is no longer there to protect them! Nothing is rosier for the kids after separation when a malicious ex is involved that’s for sure!

          3. I would like to see more education in the area of women entering abusive relationships. I think prevention is better than trying to clean up the aftermath – including the ongoing effects on children. It is a case of challenging intergenerational/cultural thinking so that young women are less likely to enter these relationships, as well as educating them on how to leave ASAP… preferably PRIOR to procreating.

          4. I do agree that more education is needed, but it isn’t always that simple to say so that they leave prior to procreating. In my case, now that I can look back, I would have read all of these articles and probably still not seen it. It is very rare that my spouse is at all overtly emotionally abusive or manipulative, for his it is a finely honed art-form. Even now he doesn’t fit into a lot of the areas because none of his manipulation was ever overt, and when it was I did stand up for myself and set boundaries.
            Where his manipulation and control comes in, in my situation, it was always very “under the radar” done under the guise of “love”, very, very covert with many lies that are impossible to find out unless evidence comes up. I can look back now and see the subtle signs as they all add up. But part of why covert manipulation and control works so well is that it is COVERT, in my experience (as well as in others I’ve heard and read about), he played very successfully on my integrity, vulnerabilities and the morals that are very important to me, it was very similar to slow, subtle conditioning done over the years … like mold slowly growing within your walls due to a water leak that had happened but you were outright lied to about, you can’t see it, you can’t detect it, you have no way of knowing it’s there until the walls get torn down and by then you’ve already invested in the home and it takes time to repair the damage. It’s not like you can say prior to signing the mortgage papers, “I suspect someone’s lying to me about mold damage” when it has been very well hidden and lied about.

            I do agree that it would be far better for women to not get involved with abusive men at all, or get out before there are children involved, and of course education is extremely important, but it’s not really that simple and it almost sounds like you are judging those, who years later, can look back and see the signs and it all adds up.

            It’s only through this site of Dr. Simon’s and another site I read often that really point to how subtle the manipulation is and point out the true nature behind these characters…and again, if I had read these 20 (even 10) years ago, I still would not have detected it, covert manipulators are masters at what they do, and once something is detected or a suspicion might arise, they are masters at “changing the game” to keep you off-balance. So it is easy to say “leave before they procreate” but it just isn’t that simple!!!!

          5. I want to add to my above comment, education is extremely important, however so is not judging the woman after she finds herself in the situation she’s in. I get an undertone of blame towards these women, when after the fact, what they need is support.

            So education and support for the survivors of these situation is equally important, I actually wish there were more professionals that focused on the extremely subtle and covert types of abuse, with more focus on how the professionals and people who “help” can sometimes further the problem and cause more damage to the people in the situation.

          6. Bingo Sheri!! I agree with your sentiments in both posts but particularly with professionals having a better understanding the subtle covert manipulations and abuse. Also the charming facade or chameleon aspects of the abusers character. Honestly, these Characters can manipulate anyone…my ex did a great job on a DV support worker… I couldn’t believe they fell for it!! Still there are others who do get the subtle manipulative types and understand and when you find a support worker like that it’s like a breath of fresh air!!
            There’s a lot of talk about educating in schools now which is a good idea but really I think the education in schools could be better served with behavioural programs that can stop these character disturbances from forming in the first place. Wonder it that could ever be possible?

          7. Sheri You nailed it on all accounts!! VERY well said! What is hidden and unknown is still operating on a person even though it is unknown! The example of mold? You can have mold in your walls, undetected, and it can cause some serious health problems! So, the people who lived there before, who KNEW there was a mold problem because their child showed signs of a reaction to it, on and on and on, they lied by omission by not telling you about it,,,,,,,,now you know but too late. The difference in this example is that there are actions you can take legally against the people who misrepresented the home you bought AND you can point to the mold and demonstrate that it is there and others can see it. In COVERTLY manipulative relationshi*ts there is nothing to point to that others can see because often times the abuser presents to the rest of society as a WONDERFUL person and only you KNOW that “the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes”.
            Hang in there Sheri,,,,,,,don’t waste your energy thinking that people who don’t understand will understand. They don’t because they can’t and then there are those who just won’t.

          8. Who is more educated then the people who study the disordered, try to treat the disordered, help the victims, etc?? Even they can be taken in…..but in their case they can spot what has happened more quickly and “stop the bleeding”. Even though I got taken in by this contractor, once he crossed a line and my friend got involved and a few more things fell into place, I was MORE able to see what was going on and stop the project before they tore down the kitchen and I wrote them another check, but ONLY because I have been through what I’ve been through and learned what I’ve learned and probably most importantly because I was not emotionally invested in it. had it gone on longer, had I bonded with him and his workers………It could have fully gone south.

          9. Sheri,
            “…I did stand up for myself and set boundaries.” Standing up for yourself – good idea indeed. SET BOUNDARIES? It is HIS behaviour for which HE is responsible. It is ok, IMO, to say what YOU WANT, but don’t let that be confused with managing HIS behaviour.
            “…by then you’ve already invested in the home…” It is just a house.
            An ex of mine was a self-confessed chameleon. I also wonder if the users of abuse can be helped too – some DV services refuse to help the men. People won’t vote for Politicians who advocate for helping those who behave badly. Again, a cultural attitude.
            “…In COVERTLY manipulative relationshi*ts there is nothing to point to that others can see.” This site is all about the signs.

          10. RS
            I’m not sure how setting boundaries is about managing HIS behavior, I never once said or even implied that I’m managing his behavior.

            Wow you really have a lot of nerve to actually imply that me making a healthy choice to set boundaries (which you judge and don’t even know what boundaries I have set … actually you comment on something in general that doesn’t even seem like you know anything about)

            As being new here, and this being my first time in this discussion area but why are you so hostile and critical? I don’t get it. Are you actually judging and criticizing me for setting boundaries so I can stay aware of what my limits are and have a plan when those are crossed? Really? That seems a bit like just staying blind, or maybe you believe it’s better to just run-away and hide from the problem without the person first attempting to get their life together, know their limits, and make a plan.

            Again Wow, I don’t know, maybe you had tons of help when you left your abusive relationship (did you have an abusive relationship, or are you judging based on no experience?), but guess what I have none, am I supposed to just decide to leave and live on the streets, because that’s a lot better than setting boundaries and following through with goals and consequences.

            Who are you, and what gives you the right to comment on something that seems you actually know nothing about!!!!!!

          11. Sheri,
            I SAID it is a good thing to say what you want from him. It is a different thing to expect it from him. HE is responsible for his behaviour, not you.
            “… Are you actually judging and criticizing me for setting boundaries so I can stay aware of what my limits are and have a plan when those are crossed?”
            I am judging your behaviour. Not in a moralistic way, a discerning way.
            You do not need to tell him what YOU want from him to “be aware of YOUR [my emphasis] limits…”

          12. Sheri,
            Arguing and resistance to opening your mind is perhaps keeping you stuck where you are? I am trying to help, but (EDITED BY THE BLOG OPERATOR): I wonder if you aren’t hell bent on believing yourself.

          13. It seems like you are putting extra things into what I’m writing about. The setting boundaries are about me, they have nothing to do with any expectation I have on him, this whole comment:
            “I SAID it is a good thing to say what you want from him. It is a different thing to expect it from him. HE is responsible for his behaviour, not you.
            …You do not need to tell him what YOU want from him to “be aware of YOUR [my emphasis] limits…””

            This seems way off base and isn’t actually based on anything I even commented about. It seems like you’re reading way more into what I’m saying, or maybe not even reading what I’m saying.

            I guess I need to be done with this back on forth with you, it seems like you don’t actually read everything I’ve written, jump to your own assumptions and conclusion. It is very frustrating to attempt to be open with my struggles and try to get some feedback and help when you keep twisting my words.

          14. Sheri,
            I read what you wrote. I do not agree with all you wrote or how you think. Just my opinion, Sheri. Your choice to take on board or not :)

          15. Sheri,,,,,,,,,,I have been through this before………Spathtardx, the woman from the blog site…..I stopped chasing my tail when I realized I wasn’t chasing my tail I was chasing a worm on a hook that was always going to remain out of reach. Oh! It’s a worm! OH! it’s a minnow! OH! It’s a lure! Chomp chomp chomp, miss miss miss. Oh……what did I do or say wrong THIS time? Maybe he/ she has been drinking? pointless Sheri! ;)

  5. Dr Simon, I just listened to your broadcast on being grateful and I thoroughly enjoyed it and the positiveness of your message. Life throws so much at us, and it’s so easy to bury ourselves in the mess and yet even through such chaos or crisis there are always things to be grateful for…just those little things (that really aren’t so little) the love of friends and family for one! We are blessed in so many ways. I’ve got to say I do tend to refer to this year as the worst year of my entire life but in reality so many good things have happened through the course of it. My world may have turned upside down but then again I think maybe it has really turned right side up and I am just not used to that! In essence I am blessed to have such wonderful friends, a roof over my head and happier life for both me and my son. We may well be far from rich but the peace we have now more than makes up for the material things. And all in all to be grateful is to be happier and that is a major step toward growing self esteem and bring a positive light into your own life! And to think if I hadn’t had all turn upside down I never would have found your work and learned more about myself and how to deal with others. Nor would I be able to interact with the lovely people on your blog! For that too I am deeply grateful! :)

  6. Sheri-
    So sorry for what you’re going through. These porn/sex addicts are eerily similar in their behaviors. You can learn more about how to help yourself at (which stands for Partners of Sex Addicts Resource Center) and even see if there is a free support group meeting in your area (or start one up yourself)….based on a completely different set of principles than that you are the codependent one. The groups I have started (and help others to start wherever they live) are based in large part on Dr. Simon’s wisdom here….we start from the premise that WE need to give ourselves empathy and compassion for not having known we were with a liar/manipulator and to take measures to learn about detachment while we’re working on boundary-setting and self-care.
    So please know you’re not alone– till we’re wise to the manipulation tactics by both our porn addicted partner AND/OR the groups or therapists you’ve described, the addict WILL become more manipulative in subtle ways. For many, it’s almost a game, like cat and mouse….very sick indeed.
    Thanks, Dr. Simon for such an insightful and helpful, practical article….

    1. LiliBee, What a wonderful reach out to Sheri. It really sounds like your suggestions offer quite a bit of hope for her and others in her position. :)

    2. Thanks for the kind words and affirmation. And I’m happy for you to share this resource with others. There’s probably nothing worse than the re-victimization spouses and partners experience when their character-impaired significant others plod half-heartedly through addiction programs, have their “relapses,” and find a mountain of excuses for why folks have to keep waiting for them to get their act together.

  7. Wow, I want to thank everyone for their responses, it is so reassuring to know that there are so many people that don’t even know me, that will take the time to offer love and support. It is very hard where I live as it is a very small community and he seems like such a great guy to everyone outside the walls of my home. Even those that are close to me, if I attempt to explain some of the things going on (which are often very hard to explain) don’t seem to quite get it.

    The counselor I am going to has been very helpful, but being in a small community there is very little support for subtle emotional abuse. Reading Dr. Simon’s books and blogs have been such a life-line for me, I’ve also been reading books on boundaries and limits. But a lot of days it’s like two steps forward and three steps back, and I just pick myself up and go forward again.

    Again, I have felt more acceptance and love from you few people in a few short keystrokes on a typewriter than I have in my whole time married. Thank you again for all your comments, it it such a relief to know that I am not crazy, and even though I wouldn’t wish involvement with a covert aggressive (narcissist, manipulator, etc) to anyone, it is such a comfort to know that there are others out there who have experienced similar things and when I write about an experience, it’s accepted and understood.

    Thank you all, I am crying as I write this out of pure relief that I can express myself with honesty, and it’s accepted rather than twisted around and used back on me.

    1. Hi Sheri, I’m so happy to hear that you are finding support and reassurance here. Most of us know how important that is, especially in the initial phases of coming to terms with a manipulative and deceitful involvement.
      ” It is very hard where I live as it is a very small community and he seems like such a great guy to everyone outside the walls of my home. Even those that are close to me, if I attempt to explain some of the things going on (which are often very hard to explain) don’t seem to quite get it.”
      Some things you said here ring true in one of these situations………
      He seems like such a great guy? Yes…..most do to those who are still of some use to them and feeding them in some way.
      One of the frustrating things for me and still is in a lot of ways is that it IS very hard to explain the details of the abuse in a way that others can understand. There are so many twists and subtle tactics……they are like wrestling a greasy snake. SO many things are hard to put into words to understand yourself, let alone explain to another person and if they don’t have the background of having been through a similar situation themselves it is near impossible. That is why this web site is such a validating life saver.
      I feel your pain Sheri…..I do. I guess you just have to not cast pearls before swine, not that the people who don’t fully get it are swine but they don’t understand because they CAN”T understand. We all refer to own own frame of reference and experience is what our frame of reference is composed of. They just don’t understand because they are fortunate enough to have not been exposed to one of these types………….yet. Hang in there and a {{{{HUGE HUG}}}} to you!! :)

  8. Really appreciate the article, Dr.Simon. The term ‘codependence’ has been bandied about inappropriately for years. It seems like people who like to condense the myriad phenomena of relationships down to a single point of reference are on some kind of self appointed Messianic mission.

    They aren’t often helping anybody, just blaring buzzwords and slogans into a megaphone, while they describe YOUR life to you. Doesn’t matter what your own perceptions, observations and conclusions are about your own life. They know better. Oh, and the details? Forget that. They don’t even hear them. They are too busy shoehorning your life into their own self congratulatory teeny universe.

    And here is where inflated self esteem enters into the picture in a huge way. I’ve been dealing with this phenomenon for years, from an in-law. There is no anxiety there and very little anger. There isn’t a ‘real self’ that is damaged and has to be protected. What there appears to be is a total and complete acceptance of self and the sure understanding that she has all of the answers well in hand.

    My husband died recently and, once again, I have had to deal with ego inflation and insensitivity from some family members and real callousness from others, at a time I was ill equipped to do so. Fortunately, I did my homework, have been in therapy for a while and was well prepared for how they would behave, so have not been unduly freaked out by them.

    My advice for anybody having to deal with character disturbance and ego inflation in family members, especially around this time of year, is to cultivate close friendships and try to rely less on family. You will never be able to change profoundly selfish people or make them see the light, so back away, if you can.

  9. Oh, want to add one more thing about simplifying the complex, using psychobabble. Another reason the so called, “concerned,’ do this is to clear the table so they can get back to the business at hand, talking exclusively about themselves. The brief conversation about your life serves only as a springboard to launch them into ‘conversational self-space.’

    How many people do others know like this? I find it is a feature of our current culture, too. It would be considered very bad manners several decades ago. And no offence to baby boomers, (I am one!) but a lot of this seemed to start with our generation.

        1. Thanks LisaO! I could really use it, especially if I have to go to court with this contractor dude. Not looking good.

          1. Hi Puddle — yes, through all the pain, it is good to look back sometimes and realize you really have made progress. I think of the poem about the chambered nautilus –“build thee more stately mansions oh my soul” — I look back on my own life and can see progress, and of course I still have a good part of my journey left. But when I go to bed, I can usually look back on my day and think that I helped several people to be able to make a good first impression in having well-fitting clothes, or I was able to give someone a bit of encouragement in a difficult situation, I feel that I may have made a small contribution to someone else’s well-being.
            And yes, wet floors can be very slippery, particularly if the mop water was dirty.

            You have definitely made great progress toward being well — and more power to you! Peace and hope from Elva

          2. I like this nautilus quote Elva, the natural world is so full of examples of how we start and grow and change….beautiful. Funny too, it’s the only true “specimen” shell I have and it was a gift from someone when I was much MUCH younger. I’ve always been fascinated by their shape and growth pattern.
            In your line of work Elva, you have many opportunities to make a difference in peoples lives and I think it’s easy to over look the smaller more personal ways we can and do contribute in the world. Too much attention is put on huge charities and big donations a lot of times. I’ve read several of your stories about how you were able to help someone who had special considerations and had they gone to someone else, they may not have gotten the same understanding and effort. Those encounters in my past STILL stand out as examples of human decency and examples of how I would like to treat other people. I may fall short of the mark but at least they serve as examples of a way to strive for. I think a lot of times people just carry on the way they have because they have never been fortunate enough to see another way? And then of course there are those who KNOW another way but feel it’s beneath them or that they are so exceptional the way they are that they don’t have to change course.
            Anyhow Elva, thank you for acknowledging the progress I have made.
            I’m glad you are here.

    1. Lisa, I see myself do this. I think I is my way of trying to connect or relate to what someone else is saying. But I’ve also seen this manifest in others to the point that it totay kills my desire to even try to have a convo with them. Sometimes it so drastic, like they talk for EVER and as soon as it’s my turn they literally turn or walk away

      1. Hi Puddle –thank you for your very nice compliment. You can find the poem if you google for chambered nautilus poem — it’s by Oliver Wendell Holmes.
        Yes, many people think of large charities for doing “good works” but if they would only look around them, there are many small things they could do to help or encourage others. “It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” Peace and hope from Elva

        1. WOW,,,,,,I love the part………..
          ” Year after year beheld the silent toil 15
          That spread his lustrous coil;
          Still, as the spiral grew,
          He left the past year’s dwelling for the new,
          Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
          Built up its idle door, 20
          Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.”

          Maybe it’s part of getting older but I have more and more instances where I look back and can’t even believe what I remember is a memory of MY life…..just so interesting and strange.
          This line from the discussion just gave me a realization:
          “The speaker discusses “every chambered cell,” referring to the compartments and rooms of a ship as well as the sections of the nautilus’s exoskeleton, which it makes as it grows larger, closing off old compartments and moving into new ones. …”
          It’s like how the past is always with us (the outgrown chambers of the shell) but is not where we live now! what a beautiful poem Elva.

          1. Hi Puddle — am way behind on scheduled work, but just a quick note here to say yes, I know what you mean about the “answer” somehow floating just out of reach, but I do get occasional flashes of insight, sometimes from a completely different field of knowledge. I’m an omnivorous reader, have been since I learned to read at 6 yr. old. Will probably be this weekend before I can answer your questions in depth, I did happen across a quote you might find amusing, it reminds me of someone you knew — “one more self-important lummox hurtling through space, trying to make an impact somewhere.” — there was no attribution, — more later. Peace and hope from Elva

          2. Thanks Elva!! :) No hurries ever. Hope your week is going well although busy from the sounds of it. Lummox…..there’s a word for you! It’s been a while since I’ve heard that one!
            Sooooooooo much going on and so little time hear so I am way behind.
            Until nest time!

      2. Oh Puddle, we all use our own experiences as a reference when someone relates their experiences to us. And most of us are pretty vocal about it, in conversation. That’s pretty typical dialogue style. But people who constantly cut you off in conversation, particularly if it’s a conversation about something deeply personal that is vulnerable area for you, it is pretty grating.

        My in law did this just after husband died. She was describing my husband and my relationship, as she saw it. She and I aren’t close. We have spent little time together and she didn’t know my husband any better. I had the nerve to put a finer point on one of her observations and she started arguing with me. Lovely, just a week after his death.

        Truly, it was like being hit by a troll, online, but in those circumstances, it was so profoundly egocentric, it blew my mind. She has done real damage to our family, in ways too subtle to describe. Whether she is aware of it or not, I am not certain.

        1. LisaO, Familys….. It’s always something, huh? You get it from your family and then they drag another person into the mix with their issues….. On and on and then everyone has kids to complete the mess! It’s the hap happiest tiiiime of the year!
          Oh boy,,,,, it all could be quite entertaining but few of us find it so. One would think that even the most disordered amount us could reign themselves in when someone is grieving the loss of a very significant person in their life, so I can imagine what she is like during non prime time events. Sorry LisaO, sorry she was so insensitive during that time and I hope you are doing ok, or better now that some time had passed…..not enough I’m sure.
          Big hug to you LisaO

          1. Oh Puddle,

            I just don’t quite know what to make of sister-in-law. Truly. She says jaw-droppingly insensitive things and acts in a very self centered way, sometimes.

            She appears to me to be totally and completely herself; a person uninhibited, whose every emotion and opinion is worn on her sleeve. She’s not bound by personal discretion or social convention. In other words–she can be a lot of fun — sometimes. She’s outrageous.

            But she is way out of her depth and annoying in most situations that require personal restraint and quiet reflection.

            At the same time, because she is uninhibited, she may also be moved to say/do lovely things that others would be too inhibited to do/say.

            It’s a very mixed bag, dealing with impulsive individuals who totally and completely accept themselves. This is what I know. Her intent, I can only guess, so am giving her the benefit of the doubt.

            Does she do damage? Absolutely. She’s like a bull in a china shop. If there is mal-intent, and it’s purposeful, she is the most devious psychopath I will ever know. But…I have a feeling this is not the case.

            Hug back, Puddle!

        2. I can relate to your comments about people being so egocentric, and how devastating it can be, especially during times in your life when support and love are really needed.
          I know the conversation is about cutting people off, but your comment about your in-laws being so insensitive and egocentric after your husband passed away, has really hit a nerve with me.
          When my father passed away (suddenly of a heart attack at age 57), it was devastating. My husband was so insensitive during this time. After the funeral, I we were driving home (about 1 hour drive). I was really upset and trying to work through the loss and my husband cut me off to say how “hurt” he was that I went with my brother and mother to the funeral home a few days prior to plan my dad’s funeral and how he “felt like a second class citizen” (I wished a could put the inflection in his voice and the look on his face on this site – as then you’d get the true intention of his statements) because he had to stay back at my mom’s an look after our 3, 5, and 9 year old children. When I pointed out that we didn’t know anyone in that community to babysit, and that a such a devastating time for the kids (they were very close to their grandfather), that getting a stranger to stay with them would have been awful. Then he got angry and said I should have stayed with them then (what, so HE could go plan MY DAD’s funeral, really?). Then for another 10 minutes of the trip he complained about my family, when I stopped him, saying that it was a really difficult time for me so could he please stop complaining about my family, and give me some support. He got very angry, accusing me of being unreasonable, how dare I say he wasn’t being supportive because he has taken time of work for the week to come to the funeral.

          You know I am getting in touch with how egocentric and selfish he is, and I read other people’s experiences and can relate to them and it hits me all over again.

          LisaO, I’m sure she is aware (but just doesn’t care) – like Dr. Simon says.

          1. Hi Sherie,


            Oh dear, just unbelievable. He turns into Mr. Pouty around a death in the family and it’s YOUR Dad. Then he wants YOU to stay home and babysit while he, what, plans the funeral, with our siblings instead of you?? Well that puts him closer to the center of attention, right?

            He couldn’t have gotten much closer to the spotlight than if he had stripped naked, and pitched himself right into the open grave, sobbing (Sorry, maybe inappropriate, but such a good visual representation of narcissists around death) “Look at me, everybody, I AM IN PAIN!”

            I can only guess what my S-i-law is aware of. I think she is such a vibrant, impulsive and excitable person that she gets caught up in the moment and doesn’t think.

            She loves life. I will give her that. And she loves my brother. So, that is all good. But she has to win, all of the time. All.of.the.time. She is crazily competitive and turns everything into a competition. Conversations become convertitions.

            She refers to herself as ‘opinionated.’ I’m opinionated. Puddle is opinionated. Most on this forum are opinionated. But people who claim that others have confronted them over being argumentative, as they self-describe as ‘opinionated,’ or people don’t like them because they don’t ‘appreciate,’ that they are ‘opionated,’ usually have some weird issue. What they are is argumentative, insensitive-and stubbornly so.

            This isn’t the first time I have heard this from somebody, who was a serial annoyance and who didn’t observe even the most basic conventional social protocols. Like, when discussing a recent widow’s spouse, don’t drag his memory through a psychiatric diagnostic manual. It’s rude. Even if husband did have some atypical neurological symptoms, a conversation within a week of his death, is no time to bring it up and argue with his widow about it. But…she had to win that conversation, too.

            It could be she is very disordered. I don’t know. I know that she has set the bar even higher for herself, in terms of insensitive, obnoxious comments.

    2. LisaO,
      I think that people who speak about themselves all the time is an indication of egocentrism. They are their own world and they invite people there all the time cause it’s a very lonely place.

      1. RS–I don’t get a sense that egocentrics are any lonelier than anybody else. They are often highly confident individuals who others find attractive. They are often good looking. Put good looks, confidence, great sense of humour together and you have a recipe for egocentrism based largely on the fawning attention of others. They are celebrities in their own minds and their egos are inflated. Often they are highly extroverted. So, agreed, cerebral introverted egocentrics or socially awkward egocentrics might be profoundly lonely, but not the type I am describing.

        1. LisaO,
          No matter how ‘good looking’ etc, I find people who rabbit on about themselves constantly a bore, not attractive at all.

          1. RS,

            Sure, people who rattle on about the mundane features of their lives are boring, but egocentrics who are high energy people who know how to ‘work a crowd,’ manage to keep the spotlight on themselves, at all times, socially. S-i-law manages to be engaging, somewhat charming, makes controversial shocking statements and plays ‘devil’s advocate’ all.the.time. Every conversation turns into a battle. She is always trying to ‘win’ the conversation. She does this with everybody and I am sure she has alienated many people when she draws them out, has them expose their vulnerabilities, then disagrees with them! She plays therapist with everyone and then, ‘Slam!’ Does a 180 degree maneuver and, for lack of better words, attacks.

            I don’t know if she is aware of what she is doing and she has some very lovely things about her character, at the same time. Just sort of unfathomable to me. Haven’t encountered this kind of character type before. She’s like a jerk with a heart of gold. I know…it makes zero sense. I work on the assumption she is so full of genuine self love and acceptance she is blithely unaware of the effect she is having on others.

  10. Regarding a true mother would say regarding my sisters drinking “If she just didn’t drink she would be fine” but during her long sobriety of 9 yrs she became religious shoving it down everyone’s throat prancing around in her self absorbed sainthood manipulating and causing drama in more ways than before. I liked her better drinking which she did resume when she couldn’t seduce a family man in the church. He was truly a spiritual man that sincerely tried to minister her, at least when she was drinking her true character was much easier to recognize.

    1. Jenny,,,,,,I’ve heard it said by people who don’t like AA meetings, that you go to an AA meeting and meet the same AH’s you meet in a bar only they are worse and no longer funny! ;)

  11. Sheri,

    Regarding your porn guy… Isn’t ‘lust,’ one of the seven deadly sins? I mean, they aren’t called the ‘seven deadly addictions.’

    Some people feel that, at base, all of the deadly sins radiate from a fear base. In their minds then, being fearful becomes the root evil and sins are addictions, coping mechanisms, or my favorite–‘mistakes’. As if intentionally harming others is somewhere on a continuum with math errors and exam failures. Hurting others, for sheer enjoyment is an act of cruelty. The person hasn’t failed at being decent, they have chosen to be awful, because it feels good.

    How delightful for porn lovers everywhere that their over-preoccupation with anonymous sex, (essentially) has been honoured with addiction status.

    1. I loved your comment “How delightful for porn lovers everywhere…been honoured with the addiction status.”

      Just for a little back-story, early on in our marriage my husband and I has discussed pornography, strippers, etc. I had expressed that I didn’t believe there was any place for this in a marriage. and he “sincerely” agreed and swore that he truly would never look at porn.

      The funny think that when I discovered the porn and that he’d been looking at it for over a year, lying and hiding it and getting more extreme. He was angry at me and said that he was entitled to look at porn because I wasn’t having sex with him often enough (I guess anything less than 2 or 3 times a week just wasn’t enough). Also he thought I was having an affair with my neighbor because one day he came home and I was in my yard, our neighbor was in his yard and we were discussing (over the fence) about how we were going to deal with a tree that had begun to grow into our yard – my husband figured that this gave him the right to do what he wanted, and he wanted to look at porn. Also, he like to look at younger women because it reminded him of the beginning of our relationship, which he wished it was more like that. Also, our basement had flooded and I was so busy doing the framing, drywalling, mudding, etc that (by the way the only help he gave was to tell me what I should have been doing differently) that I wasn’t paying enough attention to him, etc… etc…etc…

      Okay, I don’t buy into any of this, I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that his pornography use is NOT AT ALL MY FAULT. But the true things I do believe that came through in his “excuses” and “blame” was that he felt entitled to look at pornography because he wanted to. And apparently, because he’d been caught, he was able to just stop (or so he says)!

      But then suddenly, he starts to read the material on porn addiction and he and his counselors are telling me that I need to have “empathy” and he only did it because he’s “empty inside” and looking for “emotional fulfillment” and I should not be “so hard on him” for something “he just couldn’t help and was powerless over”.

      So this is why I agree with your statement, this was truly delightful for my husband, because not only was he able to do exactly what he wanted to do, but now he can have others feeling sorry for him about it. For a disturbed character it’s like having your cake and eatting it too.

      It’s great to have other people understand this, rather than just hearing those that say I need to be supporting him and telling me how I’m supposed to just “get over it” and show empathy for HIS struggles

      1. “… not only was he able to do exactly what he wanted to do, but now he can have others feeling sorry for him about it.”… plus he gets you, Sheri, to cook/clean, for childcare/sex, to support him emotionally, to keep him company, to provide social stautus to? What a good wicket, he is on.

        1. RS,
          I suggest that you read the article labeled “victim blaming” on a website called I’m not entirely sure what happened in your situation that has caused you to lash out and blame me for the choices I am making. But you do not know my situation, and your comments almost seem mean-spirited. I do understand that you may see the situation I’m in as my only option being leaving, but at this point in my life (and my children’s) I have determined that I have other options.

          1. Sheri,
            I intended no malice to yourself.
            It appears many women who are in abusive relationships choose to see themselves as “victims” and this IMO, is an abdication of her power to the abusive partner. I would also argue that the notion of “victim blaming” incorporates this (false?) idea and so, I see the use of the alleged phenomena of “victim blaming” as FURTHER abdication of power to those who allegedly “blame” the alleged “victims”. Thank you for the reference.

          2. Sheri,
            PS. Having read the article you recommended, I will clarify (as I have with another person here recently)… I DO NOT blame the woman for the abuse done by the partner. HE is responsible for the abusive behaviour. I think this is the issue that the article refers to – and I agree.

          3. Sheri, Again I will say………I do believe anyone who is in the hands of a truly covert manipulator is a victim and most definitely if this is the first time they have ever encountered such a person. They are no less a victim than someone who asks for a drink of water from a neighbor and the neighbor goes to the kitchen, puts drugs in the water (or whatever drink you choose to use as an example, they drink it and become unable to chose for themselves because they are drugged. The dynamics of there “”relationship*s”” are so insidious and so twisted that it takes a VERY long time to wrap your head around the totality of it and for me personally I don’t think I ever will be able to. I only hope that in time my mind will just give up in acceptance that I may never be able to understand exactly what the truth was.
            Another example, and there are MANY,,,,,,,you are walking down the street and there is a hole in the side walk that is covered by a piece of flimsy material that is the same color as the side walk. You have walked down this side walk countless times, have no reason to think there might be a hole there and you fall in the hole. These people are So entirely different than anything you can imaging and have no reason to imagine they exist until you KNOW they exist.
            Mental, emotional, sexual torture is something you can’t fathom the power of until you have been a victim of it and anyone who thinks that someone who has been exposed to this kind of abuse is not a victim is more than likely someone who has not been exposed to it.
            Some people talk out of both sides of their mouth Sheri… stir up trouble and drama end to elicit an emotional response just for entertainment and a sense of power. You just listen to your own self and inner voice and keep researching an building your knowledge base. You will come to the point, and it does take a LOT of time that you will make the choice you need to make for YOURself. You can be a victim and not remain a victim.

          4. I once heard a distinction.

            There’s being a genuine victim(of crime, abuse, assault, bullying, mobbing, stalking etc.).

            Then there is being actually dwelling in victimhood like it’s a mantle of untouchability, another form of self-righteousness, having hard time accepting direction.*

            *THOUGH NOT, note, just acting like a victim. Seems to be another, different, distinct mindset altogether.

          5. J, it’s a VERY important distinction. One leave you powerless and the other, accepting that you were victimized and puts you in a position of doing your best to prevent it in the future. One leaves you hopeless, the other spurs you to learn, help others and do your best to apply what you have learned about the signs and signals to future encounters. It’s all about knowing what they are and spotting the signs, reflecting on the signals you did see but didn’t know how to interpret at the time, etc. In reality, we will never be able to “fix” everything we need to fix that makes us human and a lot of it just isn’t something that is a flaw or a weakness?? Being kind, wanting to give people a second chance, wanting companionship, love, connection……it’s out nature as a species. BUT, spotting the people who are undeserving of our nature is something we are all learning right now, and unfortunately most of us are learning it the hard way.
            When someone takes advantage of someone else they are the one at fault and the one who created a victim out of someone another person might have handled with kit gloves and TLC.
            A very good friend of mine was married to a wonderful man and while the marriage may have had some missing pieces that made it not “perfect” (what relationship is?) she had managed to attract and partner up with someone who treated her well, VERY well. In spite of this ability she was targeted by some POS who really did a number on her for his own amusement and twisted gratification. Did he take advantage of some unmet need? Yes…….did she participate in the victimization? SOME would say yes. I say no. Why? Because she did not know or understand what the base premise off this AH’s intentions were until it was too late. It was hidden, cloaked, misrepresented. It’s like a leaf that gets caught up in a strong gust of wind… tumbles across the ground and pulled up in the air and is at the winds mercy as to when and where it comes down. It could come down again gently on another pile of leaves not far from where it was or it could get slammed into a tree miles from where is started.

          6. Puddle,
            Those who experience abuse ARE victims.
            You’re on the money.
            ‘I was kind’, ‘it’s my nature’, ‘no relationship is PERFECT’… excuses and “victim” talk, IMO.
            “…she did not know or understand what the base premise off this AH’s intentions…”. That is why it is important to take time to get to know these men. Your leaf analogy is perfect for “victimhood”.

          7. RS,

            The way you say things about getting victimized sounds insensitive to me. Would you please think a bit more about HOW you express your viewpoint before posting?

          8. J,
            Instead of asking me to change how I express, perhaps you could change the way you interpret what I say… after all, you can only control what YOU do.

          9. J, have you ever heard a saying:
            “If it looks like a duck, acts like a duck and quacks like a duck,,,,,,it’s probably a duck?”
            It’s a keeper!

          10. Turning it back on me, RS?

            You don’t want to express your thoughts in a way that doesn’t sound like it’s automaticaly a victim’s fault.

            You’ve been claiming you don’t understand my comments. It seems like an excuse to ignore them. It’s a general impression I’ve gotten and I’ve been starting to suspect it’s not just an impression.

          11. You see….. With Spathtard, it wasn’t how he was mistreating me, it was how I interpreted him mistreating me, that was the real problem you see. LOL! In the words of a dear friend, fellow victim and survivor….. He had a problem with the fact that I didn’t take my abuse with levity and a smile…….it displeased mother and him greatly. :)



            I’d like to think that all my points are good and worthy of consideration, so I’ll try to be as mindful as possible in expressing them. ;)


      2. Sheri, I can’t help it, your husband sounds really funny. I mean, once you get past the pathetic nature of what and who they are, disordered people are so ridiculous, you want to throw your head back and laugh. They are like little children playing dress up in oversize suits and ties.

        Wherever you choose to be, in the future, I am so happy you realize that they can’t change. I hope too that you remove yourself emotionally. I find laughter helps with family and even detached compassion. The disordered are weak and that may not be something they can help. Psychopaths, not so much. They are ‘t ‘weak’. They are more like predators from an alien planet.

        1. Thank you for this, you are right. I’m actually glad you can see the humour in my situation. Sometimes, I too can look back at some of the his immature ways when the attention is not on him and see how ridiculous it actually is. They really can be like little children, unfortunately, they create adult size problems.

          Sometimes it is good to look back at situations that can’t be changed and find the humor in them … thank you for the comment (I actually did picture him as a miniature version of himself with the “oversize suit and tie”) It’s good to laugh when sometimes that’s all you’ve got!

  12. Serial killers often describe the build up of tension before a killing spree, as if murder is a kind of nervous tick disorder. They just couldn’t help it! Or like it is a kind of OCD disorder, where the choice isn’t whether to kill or not to kill, but whether to wash your hands a thousand times a day, or express the OCD another way, like by killing people. What absurd b.s. this is.

  13. Just do whatever I want and the neurotics will call it an addiction but seriously yes more funny in a bar at face value…just picture Charlie Sheen in church.

    Just do whatever I want and the neurotics will make up a good excuse ( I’m the same person whether
    In a bar a church or sometimes at worst maybe a serial killer that just can’t help myself.

  14. To everyone who has left me such kind comments and have given me support I am so ever grateful. It seems that no matter where you go in life there are people who are critical and judgemental.
    I have been reading this site for over 6 months now, and have often contemplated joining the comments, but was fearful that it would be hard to put into words the things in my life. I am so glad I did, I am thankful for the kind suggestions and advice. There have also been a few instances where some people who are a lot further along on this road have actually “stood up for me” and defended me. I really want to say thank you. I am 41 years old and have so often and so subtly been criticized for my choices, have been put down so often, I have never truly had someone stand up for me. You know I don’t even really know those of you who have been so kind, but this is truly the first time in so long that I have truly felt loved and supported. I am so grateful!!!!!!

    1. Sheri,

      You seem like a lovely person stuck in an unlovely situation, who needs support, not the third degree.

      Judgement is inappropriate in most cases. What happens is someone with a narcissistic mother, for example, becomes hyper sensitive and critical of men who stay with this type of woman, if she is the mother of young children. They funnel the experiences of others through their own wounds. When the fellow wounded become emotionally triggered, they miss the qualifiers that define their fellow poster’s experiences.

      I stumbled onto an interactive web forum, a few years back and it was like tip-toeing through a mine field. I believed, at the time, that compassion and understanding of all targets of psychopaths would be clearly understood and that by describing my life circumstances, to the best of my ability, I would avoid derisive labeling, mobbing, etc…

      Not the case. Fellow posters were lovely, understanding, for the most part. The moderators who had been banging the same drum for years, seemed to have lost perspective, though, and went for my jugular. This happens frequently on forums of this nature and you don’t get a sense of that as they will expunge the posts of the ‘offending’ poster. When I wasn’t forthcoming about who I was (They were angling for my name, behind the scenes, and other pertinent identifying information) they saw this as a sign that I was an ‘imposter’. Fortunately I had partially recovered from psychopath, so was not too damaged. Had this happened earlier on, it would have been awful.

      This is the nature of interactive online forums professing to ‘help’ people. If you fit into their narrow parameters of who is deserving of help, who is a victim and who isn’t, etc.. etc.. they can be helpful. But if your situation is in any way unique, and mine certainly was, you can be called to task, criticized, marginalized and insulted. Some of them operate almost like a cult.

      Blogs manned by professionals, like Dr. Simon are a safe place to post. Even those who feel the need to criticize get their hearing but there is balance and no mobbing allowed, even of the critical.

      Can you imagine the treatment you could have received on an interactive forum based around the premise that we are all complicit in our own victimization? I shudder to think.

      1. I sure can LisaO! Been there, done that.I think some people on those forums promote that premise because they WERE complicit in what happened to them. Not everyone is!

    2. Hi Sheri — glad you have seen that RS seems to be hostile for who knows what reason. I’ve been where you are, it is NOT easy, but you can survive. I survived being abandoned, living in an unfinished basement with my son, trying to keep the mortgage paid, food on the table, NOT fun, which is probably what you would go through were you to follow RS’s dictum that you and children should just pick up and leave. Most of us here are cheering you on, I’m praying for you, probably others are too.

      Here’s my take on RS — imagine a swimming pool where a victim (you) is floundering in the deep end, in trouble. As those of us who have survived have clustered around you to buoy you up, RS becomes resentful of the (needed) attention you are getting, so does a belly flop into the shallow end, great splashing follows with a demand to “Hey, everybody, LOOK AT MEEEEEEEEEEE!!!” — just like an egocentric kindergartner.

      RS has repeatedly attacked people here, then when called on it, will try to weasel out of having done anything blame-worthy by saying “oh you misunderstood me, I didn’t mean it that way.”

      RS has claimed that Asperger’s syndrome equals autism, because the latest DSM has reclassified it. RS thus ignores the fairly well-known story of the political infighting among the editors about what goes into each edition. (See a brief discussion of this on Wikipedia.) That’s like saying that pink equals red because they are in the same “family” of colors. And apparently by RS’s reasoning, if it is in print or published on the web, it’s true. And if it’s not in print, it doesn’t exist. That means that the emotional abuse I got from a narcissistic female parent when I was growing up didn’t really exist because Narcissistic Personality Disorder had not then been officially described or listed in DSM. When I worked as a reference librarian / bibliographer 45 years ago, I saw printed errors in encyclopedias, and I own several college level textile textbooks with errors printed in them. I see grammatical errors and misspelled words on the web every day, but that doesn’t mean they are correct, it means that the authors were careless.

      J asked RS recently, “why are you here?” If RS replied to that question, I missed that reply. But I also would like an answer to that question. RS seems to delight in throwing psychological handfuls of sand into people’s faces when they come here needing help.

      If RS’s suggestions were followed to the extreme, civilization would turn into barbarism. I suggest anyone who wants to see the end results, read “The Mountain People,” by Colin Turnbull — it was and still is a controversial book. Or, appropriate to this time of year, Scrooge’s reply to the person trying to raise money for the poor, said something along the lines of “just let them die, then we’ll get rid of the surplus population.” (That’s a paraphrase, may not be accurate.)

      So, since we don’t know whether RS is “Robert” or “Roberta” Smith, I will henceforth think of this person as “ROS” for “Real Old Scrooge.”

      Again, Sheri, you are welcome here, most of us wish you well in your difficult position. And at this Christmas season, I wish Peace on Earth to men of good will, and hope for a better future from Elva

    3. Aaaaaw! Sweet! Sheri, I’m so happy you have found this site helpful. These entanglements are impossible to see clearly from the outside so it’s very important to have others who understand the dynamics at play.
      Onward and upward Sheri!!

  15. Dr Simon,

    Karen Horney, in her book Neurosis and human growth, handles so-called ‘shoulds’, rigid, self-critical dictates neurotic personalities(according to her) have.

    Is it feasible to go into detail on those as well? Perhaps in the same vein of inner critic/inner persecutor/inner judge/anti-libidinal ego/anti-self?

  16. It is a shame you are dependent on the psychiatric industry’s desire to propagate a handle for the diversity of individuality. One day, I trust the drug companies will be held to account. I trust those conducting social programming will be called out. I trust that human potential for good will be freed from the prison of manipulation. Do you read the comments on your UCY TV page? Hope your operation went well.

  17. IMO, when people KEEP ON telling their “victim” story, without balancing it (at least) with their recovery story (which includes acknowledging THEIR part in what happened, they revictimise THEMSELVES.

    1. Unscrupulous people can surprise and get better of others in ways that are NOT others’ fault.

      Sometimes it is like what you say, sometimes not really.

      Do you copy, RS?

    2. RS,
      I began recovery the day after the discard. I managed that by doing a compare and contrast. I had never been treated so horribly before. I had always been able, in the past, if I had a problem with somebody to, at least understand their point of view, even if I didn’t agree with them. I had never encountered actual malevolence before. It had a unique flavor. My responsibility to myself was grounded in viewing myself in as compassionate a manner as I would view anyone else in similar circumstances.

    3. Maybe the type of person you are describing, RS, is a whiner, weak sister, cry-baby, sissy, priss, princess. I don’t know. And maybe you have had too much of the truly maudlin self pitying crowd do tend to see a similar pattern of behavior here or in others who have been abused. If ‘victims’ take forever to exorcise trauma by describing it over and over, they aren’t necessarily reveling in misery. They may appear to be digging themselves a hole but they might be digging themselves out of one, through repetition.

      I think I understand the point you are trying to make. Maybe if you could make it some other way it would come across more gently and be a clearer representation of how you feel?

      1. LisaO,
        People know where they stand with me. I find being direct honest and simple. But thank you for your suggestion :)

    4. RS, I’m not sure why you are on this mantra but maybe take this into consideration. When people express their stories they need to be heard and it is part of being human as LisaO says in wanting to share even if it’s painful. It’s through such narratives that we learn to deal with things as people. This is the first step to a recovery story so it’s the most positive step someone can take! Open discussion is vital in my opinion and leads a person on a path of recovery. Expressing pain and hurt is just as important as expressing joy it’s part of the human experience. Many are still in the situation such as Sheri but then through talking she takes a step to make a plan (positive/recovery). Others may have left and need to deal with it in the aftermath, some move on without ever opening up and may fall down later in life. Either way when ever the moment comes to share your story it is a courageous step. It’s certainly not revictimising. I think if by not acknowledging their part is because they were duped by a predator…I think we all acknowledge that once we share our stories and learn what happened to us. No shame or revictimisation in that, just a realisation that we are as vulnerable as anyone when it comes to falling for these monsters. Again a process of recovery. Learning what it is about us that makes us vulnerable is the most important part of the whole process don’t you think? That comes with sharing and learning from each other and knowing that you are not alone. Knowing what to look out for, all these things are essential and positive. This is an up and down ride that takes years to overcome…there are many positive things on that ride, acknowledge and be grateful and just as easily it can slip down. Or maybe you haven’t seen those positive interactions, when people thank each other for their support! Again positive/recovery. I guess it depends on your own perspective on what you consider is a positive balance. All I know is that sharing my story, reading others and seeing similarities helped with all the confusion I carried. I see things much more clearly now. I am grateful for that because I’ve never had the opportunity to share with others who have been and are in the same situation. It’s all positive recovery steps in my book!

      1. Tori,
        “Learning what it is about us that makes us vulnerable is the most important part of the whole process don’t you think? That comes with sharing and learning from each other…”
        I agree completely. I do not see a lot of self analysis going on though, more what appears to be unending complaining about ‘his’ behaviours and how hard done by they are. To make any serious change, a person has to look at themselves and change the things that ARE in their control. These men are NOT.

      2. Now, whether it’s truly “complaining” or not can vary case to case. I’ve seen analyses of what happened in the vein of “So that’s how so-and-so swooped in”.

        1. RS, I don’t know what you seek, but I have a feeling you already found it.

          I don’t think you really want to help people here. I think you just want to subtly belittle people by whatever excuse.

          Have a good day.

          1. Hi J — I think you nailed it — you noticed that none of the points I raised were answered. Still don’t know why ROS is here, but no matter, personality is shown by how s/he treats other people. If s/he always attacks, it’s a good sign that I would not want to invite such a person to my house for dinner. Peace and hope from Elva

          2. With Spathtard, his “points” never had to make sense to anyone but him, of course they really weren’t points because they made no sense in the big picture, were usually off topic, reaching for a nonsensical life rope to get him out of the hot seat. They only made sense in the moment to him as he pulled them out of his……..but, at the time they certainly were affective in throwing me off balance and getting me to chase after them like a dog chasing a flashlight beam.
            What makes us vulnerable to predation isn’t always a vulnerability after all………sometimes it is merely covetous envy that motivates someone to destroy what they themselves don’t poses, exercising years of frustration because they can’t succeed at -whatever- and resentment because others expect them to actually EARN what they feel entitled to be given.

          3. J I agree, something is rotten here and Elva was right on the money too… I don’t mind robust discussions that actually go somewhere, where we all share and are respected but this circular discussion has very displeasing similarities with conversations I’ve had in the past!

  18. RS

    I think most people do acknowledge their role in what happened to them. Being empathetic, gregarious and open hearted predisposes one to being targeted by somebody mirroring those traits–particularly if there is a lack of love in her (his) life. There is no reason for guilt shame or taking on any responsibility for predations of a psychopath. That would be like apologizing for our humanity.

    I like the positive qualities in my nature that attracted a P. I don’t plan to change.

    1. Hi LisaO, I prefer the wording “acknowledge the traits” vs “Acknowledge the role”. Oh, I’m not arguing with you by the way!! ;)

    2. LisaO
      I agree. One of the things I noticed in myself this past year is I was trying so hard to be on guard due to the idea that he had taken some of the best things about my character and twisted them around and used them against me I was starting to be afraid to have those good qualities or character attributed. Until finally one day I thought to myself “enough with the fear. I like who I am and my nature towards others and no matter how many others there are who might use that against I’m not going to stop being me

      I’m so happy to read that you like your positive qualities and don’t plan to change them. Just because we live demonstrating positive qualities doesn’t mean we are asking to be abused. Just because someone’s hurt us doesn’t mean everyone will.

      1. Hi Sheri — amen to not living in fear of how your good qualities are going to be used against. Speaking for myself here, I fully realize that yes, I made mistakes, but with a narcissist it doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do, in his (or her) viewpoint you will ALWAYS be in the wrong.

        Life can be difficult, you will have up days and down days, but we all will be rooting for you — sounds like you are making progress on your way to a better future. Peace and Hope from Elva

          1. Hi Puddle {{hug to you}} I remember when serving as organist under NPD music minister, no matter what music I chose for prelude, postlude, offertory, etc., in his view it was never the right music. It was very discouraging, but somehow, during the worst discouragement, a member of the congregation would see me in the market, or the post office, and tell me how much they appreciated my music. I finally realized that he was never going to change, so I left for a different church.

            If I remember correctly, you asked about violent behavior in autism as compared to happening in sociopaths. I don’t consider myself an expert by any means, but my take on it is this — sociopaths are walking time bombs because they like violence and hurting other people. Autistic people, on the other hand, generally tend to turn in on themselves and might become violent only in self defense if someone keeps pestering them. But, again, I am certainly not an expert here. As for “extreme male brains” (for which read very high testosterone) I just don’t know. Maybe other readers here have more, or later, information than I have. Peace and hope from Elva

          1. Oh Puddle that damned if you and damned if you don’t, wish I had a dollar for every time I felt like that!
            Sheri being able to stand up to the fear whilst in the situation shows such great strength! Knowing and loving yourself is fantastic! Kudos to you!! So good to hear! :)

      2. Lisa and Sheri, I think that is what they really enjoy doing…..turning the table upside down and manipulating you into an unfavorable position so that they can say……SEE!! you aren’t perfect either! They are such low level bottom feeders I’m sure it gives them great satisfaction to knock anyone they perceive as thinking they are “all that”off the pedestal THEY perceive they think they are on. Like the only way they can feel up is by bringing someone else down. I clearly see that Spathtard thought he was deserving of a) respect he had never earned and didn’t have for himself and b) exemption to the rules he thought everyone else should follow.

      3. Sheri, Well put. It’s great that you are able to remain who you are in spite of it all. Retrospective self-analysis that would cast you as co-creator of the situation the narcissist is responsible for, isn’t a fitting way of dealing with your situation. It is that very mind set — being morally scrupulous, trying to be fair, taking on responsibility for other’s lack of character, that gets average neurotics in trouble–when dealing with the character impaired. The first step towards healing is to understand that it really isn’t our fault. All progress proceeds from that point.

  19. Puddle,

    I think autism ‘violence’ is limited to freaking out when forced into trying to navigate through a situation they have no mastery over. It is profoundly frustrating for them, they become very overwhelmed and highly irritated. They can also experience sound as a bombardment, etc.. etc… It is a reactive impulsive attempt to make the source of irritation stop. They are NOT generally violent at all.

    As far as Asperger’s and autism go, a high functioning Asperger’s individual may be on the same spectrum as a person with autism but it is quite different.

    Asperger’s people have obsessive interests, are emotionally not well developed. They have great difficulty expressing their emotions and that might play a role in the retarding if the emotions. I don’t know. They often make up for that by being highly principled and very kind. Also, though they may lack empathy they certainly don’t lack basic sympathy.

    My sweet late husband was probably mildly Asperger-ish. Whatever caused his difficulties, I can’t be sure, but he could have hurt me very badly, if I had taken him personally. I was very starved for affection, recognition and some basic features found in most relationships. But he couldn’t help it, so I didn’t complain and I loved him. Those isolated in a relationship where they know they are loved but can never FEEL it, are red meat for a predator. And those who would judge them should walk a mile in their shoes, on their arid path.

    1. LisaO, Amen, and it’s a testament to your character and nature that you were able to accep him and love him in spite of things being less than you may have preferred, not really saying you felt that way either ;)
      I just typed a huge reply to Elva about the whole issue of violence in Autistic people and others with atypical neurological make ups and it vanished into the Internet nether riegons but basically saying what you said here. I think there is a serious frustration component for people who are neurologically different.
      There is an FASD expert on the West coast, Diane….? She told me that an FASD brain has to work 50 times harder to do 10% of what a neuro typical, u damaged brain does. This is a hidden aspect of my make up, even people who know me fairly well have no clue how much effort it takes to keep my ship afloat. So in situations like FASD and autism and other conditions, there is a frustration level built into everyday life and when something really difficult gets thrown into the mix, the pot can boil over.
      I have many sensitivities that can be so subtle that I don’t realize things are building up until its too late. Heat in a room, my hair, tight clothing, itchy clothing, annoying noises, repetitive touch…..many things and they can be wearing on me without me being fully aware… Hard to explain but they can tip the frustration scales. So….. An interesting observation I’ve made in my life is that when I try to prevent problems from developing with people by explaining certain things to them about myself they basically don’t believe me because I look normal and can complete sentences and drive and basically get by almost like a normal person. But on the inside I’m not normal and no one can ever know how hard, and frustrating it is to know you are not normal but want to be normal and “fit in”. Maybe wanting to be accepted is a better way of saying that. But it shows me how biased our perceptions of others can be and I think the same thing happens when we encounter one of these manipulative predators.

      1. “I think autism ‘violence’ is limited to freaking out when forced into trying to navigate through a situation they have no mastery over. It is profoundly frustrating for them, they become very overwhelmed and highly irritated. They can also experience sound as a bombardment, etc.. etc… It is a reactive impulsive attempt to make the source of irritation stop. They are NOT generally violent at all.”

        I can !SO! Relate to how you described this LisaO……

        1. How do you explain to someone else that a sound hurts you? Or anything else like this for that matter? Or if you keep rubbing my arm like that I want to chew it off!! It could freak someone out a little!

          1. Hi Puddle — my profound sympathy — I have some health issues too, but nowhere near what you have described. Take care — Peace, hope, and a hug from Elva

          2. Huge hugs and thanks to you Elva. Growing up in my family home was sensory overload HELL!!
            It’s critical for me to have calm peacefulness in my home which is where I go to regroup and decompress. So when things get turned upside down like the situation with Spathtard who seems to crave disorder or with this contractor dude……… It not good Elva. Really bad.
            I’m sorry for the health issues you have too. When you are healthy it’s so easy to take that for granted and not realize how many things besides your health are affected when your facing a serries health challenge.

    2. Hi LisaO — my profound sympathy for having to go through life in a sort of fog (?). I have some problems but nowhere near what you have described. I’d say that people who would criticize should spend 10 years or so in such a situation, not just “walk a mile in your shoes.” Hugs to you from Elva

  20. Puddle, I have major major cognitive stuff too–health related. I feel assaulted by sound when I am tired. I have to work so so hard mentally. Can’t drive–poor spatial perception, delayed reaction time, slow adjustment time focussing. I seem ‘fine’ superficially, because, like you, I am working hard at it. Life is effort with a capital ‘E.’. Muscle soreness, profound tiredness.

    People think I am relatively intelligent in conversation simply because they don’t quiz me after it’s over. When I am trying to comprehend the spoken word it’s like a hundred word pileup in my brain. I can make out what they are trying to say by vaguely discerning the jumbled outline of the wreckage, but that’s all. Details escape me. .

    Husband accepted my weird health and brain issues as I accepted his. I don’t have problems expressing myself emotionally, like you, and aren’t we lucky for that?

    The P’s that targeted us, hurt us so much emotionally. But, from a cognitive perspective they made us work so hard. I felt after recovery that I had been forced into daily mental marathons. Horrid!!

    1. LisaO……you describe this all so well and I can relate to all of it. These things are hard to explain to someone who is not like this but you know you have found someone who will understand when in describing themselves, they describe you!
      Basically, I hate to write…..I’m not good at it, my spelling and attention are horrible, but I prefer writing when it comes to receiving information because I can reread it. I don’t know about you but my memory is all over the place. Sometimes freakishly exceptional, other times……..horrible. Short term memory is the worst, like from the beginning of a sentence to the end? LOL!

  21. Hi Puddle — Oh how I can relate to sensory overload. Today’s popular “music” is mostly garbage and it makes me want to strangle someone. And my home is my refuge too. I always have good music CD’s playing, and nearly every day a customer will comment on what nice music you have on. People in general are absolutely starved for good music. So I have a couple of recommendations for you to try, if you want. First, make sure your body is getting the nutrients it needs, specifically B and C vitamins which our bodies use up faster when under stress (I would be happy to expand on this topic if you want). Then, when you can have some time all to yourself, google for gregorian chant youtube. Then sit in a comfortable chair and let the sound wash over and through you. There are many videos you can choose from: Agnus Dei sacred choral music; Russian Orthodox Choir chanting choral vocal top 10 collection (one comment under this one said “Hearing this beautiful sound that people can make helps on the days when you can see no good in people anymore”). If you like this genre, there are many more, I just sampled a couple at random.

    Also, just in general, sound is much more important than most people realize. Go to Go to Included in this last one is the story of an autistic boy who was enormously helped by listening to the prescribed music over headphones. Read Joshua Leeds’ book, The Power of Sound, 2d ed. For anyone who deals with autistic children (Tori?) this is important information; with all the aural garbage floating around, I think it’s bound to adversely affect autistics, or indeed anyone who is sensitive to sound. If you want to buy some CD’s of Gregorian chant, go to; they sell remainders and overstocks at very good prices and they will send you a free printed catalog if you ask. These are things that have helped me enormously. Sending you {{{hugs}}} and peace and hope from Elva

    1. Hi again Puddle — I should add, the two videos I recommended above are not actual gregorian chant. The titles of the videos are self-explanatory. Also, I have many other books on how music affects our minds and bodies, will be happy to list titles if you are interested. {{{Peace and hope}}} from Elva

      1. Elva

        Thank you so much for your kindness. And… I am going to listen to the music links I love Eastern Orthodox choral music. It has to be the most soulful music. It is soothing while being somewhat dramatic at the same time. Lush, lovely.

        Remember Smokey Robinson and all of the Motown music?I loved it. But now corporations prefer to push music that is actively hostile to cohesion and civility in the black community. Another example of life in a pathocracy. How kids, particularly teens, are supposed to thrive in this toxic culture, I don’t know.

        I appreciate Dr. Simon’s viewpoint–that society itself is becoming more and more essentially anti-social. I think popular music, that is hyper-sexual and hyper-aggressive, both reflects this and creates it– a positive circular feedback loop where cause and effect can’t be clearly delineated.

        You mentioned Colin Turnbull and ‘the Mountain People’ and controversy surrounding it. I will do a google search. Now, if it isn’t about the same subject, I suggest people research the ‘Ick’ tribe and the results of dehumanization on an entire tribe. Hugely controversial. Interested in getting your viewpoint and the viewpoint of others on the forum here about this topic.

        1. Oh, Elva, just did a search for book you suggested and found we are referring to same anthroplogist- author and tribe and that it isn’t Ick but Ik tribe. Youth pop culture has gone whole Ik (the modern Ik, not the traditional Ik) Miley Cyrus could be a modern tribal princess.

          1. LisaO,
            While you may not agree with what Miley Cyrus does, it would kind of you to show some basic civil respect to her. She is a young person, who may well read this.

          2. Hi LisaO — thank you!! for letting me know that my information was helpful to you. Another type of music, if you are interested, google for youtube Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I’m not a Mormon, but their performances are true to the spirit of the music, done with full orchestra and/or a wonderful large organ. I have sat here listening, with tears streaming down my face, because they do such a wonderful job of praising God in song.

            I’ve never been a fan of popular music after 1950 or so — my female biological parent just LOVED Hank Williams and Tex Ritter. Bleh!!!!!

            Part of the problem with popular music is, as you stated, the words, which promote all kinds of anti-social behavior. The main problem, in my view, is that the “musical” phrases are composed to have the strong beat on the 2nd beat of the measure, which weakens the body, leading to an unquestioning acceptance of the words, sorry for the generalizations here, too complicated to explain in a short post.

            The Turnbull book about the Ik tribe, is heart-breaking. It describes what happens when familial bonds are broken, people become true savages. I’d encourage anyone interested to see if your local library has or can get this book for you.

            Another book I can highly recommend is by Brooks Adams, The law of civilization and decay. It was written over a hundred years ago, and is still, I believe, in print, last time I checked on Amazon. I read it about 50 years ago, and thought that I could then see the seeds of decay in our society. I’m glad that I don’t have to raise children in today’s culture.

            See also my latest post to Puddle, about shampoo ingredient. It might also be useful to you. Peace and hope from Elva

          3. Thanks Tori! :) I would use “feeling better” loosely! ;) I haven’t been sick for a LONG time, in fact the last time I got sick was the night Spathtard and I split….Christmas Eve.

          4. ELVA!! This is weird!
            “The Turnbull book about the Ik tribe, is heart-breaking. It describes what happens when familial bonds are broken, people become true savages. I’d encourage anyone interested to see if your local library has or can get this book for you.”

            I just submitted a post a few minutes before I read this about something along these lines!

    1. LisaO,
      Many celebrities have pressures on them that you or I would not understand. In Australia for instance we have lost Celebs to suicide such as Heath Ledger and Michael Hutchence. What possible benefit can come from being nasty to people. Be civil, please.

    2. Shame on you LisaO!! Seriously?? OMG! She could be reading this blog and find out you really don’t care much for her!! THEN what?? I’ll bet she would be devastated to discover that there actually is one (no two if you count me) people who don’t care for her. you know how thin skinned they can be……

      1. LisaO,,,,,,it sounds like you have been scolded and I hope you have seen the error of your ways… dare you express ho you really feel or think about a CELEBRITY! You KNOW how tough their lives are and how sensitive they are to any critisim…….shame shame shame……… Hilarious!

        1. Hi Puddle — HEH!! shame indeed. coming from someone who has been trying to put people here down for weeks, lo the worm turns and is now trying to brown-nose people.

          Just this afternoon thought of another possibility for helping disperse the “brain fog” you mentioned. 8 or 9 years ago, I happened across a tidbit of information — that a common ingredient in shampoo, dimethylimidazolidinone, has bad effects on nerves. As you probably know, skin and tissue on the scalp are quite thin and this particular chemical can be absorbed through the skin, damaging the nerves. I cannot now find this article, but I immediately checked my shampoo. I now use only Alberto VO5 shampoo and conditioner. Supposedly the dimeth…. is used as something to make the shampoo hold together, or something. Check the list of ingredients, the dimeth… will be listed down near the end of the ingredients.

          There is so much garbage out there, it requires constant vigilance and I’m sure I miss stuff, even so. {{{Hugs}}} and Peace and hope from Elva

          1. Hi Elva, I use natural products only. Have for years !
            This is something biological, misfired brain. You can try to compensate but it doesn’t really ” change”. You just try to adapt and compensate. Sorry…. I’m real sick right now.

          2. Elva,
            I believe it is called “projecting” when you accuse others of what you do not like in yourself. “Worm”? Most people abandon name calling by grade 7.

          3. Hi Elva,,,,feeling a little better this morning but Woah………last night was a rough one. Thank you for your well wishes,
            So, here’s my take on this mess going on here ………it’s a game and if everyone stops playing the game is over. I was determined not to engage with any of it anymore but did get sucked back into it over the preposterous notion that Molly Cyrus needs our sympathy. So I would suggest that we all just not let ourselves get drawn in. It really feels so similar to Spathtard’s technique of pushing the limit and then coming down on me when I react….

      2. Puddle,
        There is a wonderful Australian movie called “Muriel’s Wedding”. You just remindded me of the three “friends” in that movie who are just bullies.

  22. Oh RS, I loved that movie! It was hilarious. Brings to mind an expression I heard in the back alleys of Chicago, “Girl, that’s as funny as a stone baby pickled by gangsters!”

    1. Interesting, everything I read about Miss Cyrus paints her as a budding sociopath Of course at 22+ years of age she is just a child. Hummmm…………really?? lets see, I know at least 9 or 10 people who were married by the age of 22 and rising a family, had REAL jobs…….but I’m sure the pressure they were under was NOTHING compared to Miss Cyrus…..clearly it must be what has driven her into the arms of drug abuse… It’s hell i’m sure having to keep track of all the people that keep track and take care of you……
      LisaO,,,,,where have I heard that term “stone babies” before? Really………it sounds very familiar……I know I’ve heard it but I have absolutely zero connection to anything with it. Weird!

      1. Hi Puddle, so sorry to hear you are sick — take good care of yourself, will add your name to my prayer list. {{{Hugs}}} Peace and hope from Elva

        1. Hi Puddle — glad you are feeling a bit better. Fully agree about the gadfly — just posted a reply to J which you might want to read. Yeah, accusing others of bullying when that is what she has been doing herself, that’s projection all right. I think she may be covert aggressive — that might explain the weaseling, bullying, gaslighting (“no I didn’t say that”)etc. So, the sooner everyone can see just what all her behavior patterns are, maybe we can settle down to having reasonable discussions.

          I base my treatment of others on how they treat those with whom they come in contact because that is the way they show their true character. Those who behave rudely to others don’t get invited to my house for dinner, and I fire customers who behave badly.

          Hope you will have time to try listening to some Gregorian chant — music is a great healing agent. {{{Peace and hope}}} from Elva

          1. Hi Elva, I love Gregorian chants. I had a magical experience in Sedona AZ one time…..kind of one of those things that if this wouldn’t have happened or would have happened just a little differently, THAT wouldn’t have happened. Anyhow, it involved Gregorian chants and The Rock Cathedral and a really incredible rain storm………

            I’ve been having this weird feeling lately…… a strong urge to get back in touch with older friends I haven’t been in touch with for a long while because of being so debilitated and side tracked from the whole Spathtard ordeal. I actually miss my home town? And it’s a terrible place to be from but I am having some weird emotions tied to family, the past, my home town…. Like maybe the MOST important thing isn’t WHERE you live but who you live with. And then I think of my 90 year old father………..he has practically no one in his life from his past because he has out lived them all.
            Anyhow. for some reason I see this as a positive of some sort but I’m not sure why yet!

      2. Puddle,
        AGAIN, the bullies come to mind. Why such contempt for someone you don’t even know. Drug abuse is not something to be sarcastic about – it is a sad situation when young people use drugs to cope with things.

  23. RS, You would not respond this way unless you were the poster who turned this blog into ‘Home of the Whopper,’ a few months back. Remember pickled stone babies gangsters etc…and I believe it all played out in Australia. Coincidence? I think not. You’ ve lost two babies? Really? Maybe the dingo ate your baby. Try that one. You are highly manipulative — on a blog dedicated to helping and educating victims of underhanded manipulations. Quit jerking everybody around. This will be my last communication with you.

    1. You really set that up, RS.

      You’ve expressed some subtle condescendion towards folks in recovery process. You had your fun.

      1. Hi J and others — I read through ROS post put up 15 Nov. 2014. Here is a verbatim quote from that post: “I am sincerely interested in WHY the CD is the way he is and this does not equate to me making judgments about others here or lacking sympathy to those who suffer.” But she (?) has proceeded to make quite a few judgments about other people seemingly based on little or no information. Her (?) latest tactic seems to be bullying anybody who makes a comment about celebrities, saying that said celebrities might read the comment and be hurt, and we should be civil and courteous to them. Though why we should respect someone who has not earned respect is not explained, other than that celebrities have such enormous pressures on them that we mere ordinary folk are simply not capable of understanding.

        Maybe what we have here is a covert aggressive person — the weaseling, lying about what she (?) said, in effect trying to gaslight others here who don’t deserve to be hassled. She (?) has never yet really spelled out why she is here. If you read the above quote and then think back on how she has tried to bully others here (if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, etc.)– any comments from those who have been on the receiving end of her barbs? Peace on earth to men of good will, and Hope for a better future from Elva

        1. Elva,,,,,,something stinks, I’m not sure what it is or why it stinks but I don’t think I need to know. She(?) is not worth spending time on and has succeeded in upsetting the apple cart so I would suggest that we stop “feeding” the monster.
          I love how you close your posts!

          1. Hi Puddle — agreed that no contact is best. But I do feel that spelling out the behavior patterns that I have seen may help others make a better informed decision. And {{{Peace on earth to men of good will, and hope for the future}}} is truly what I wish for everyone. {{{Hug}}} to you from Elva

          2. Elva, I think that the gas lighting was the first and foremost thing that stood out to me. Shifty,,,,,very subtle but things kept shifting and changing and getting “tweaked” ever so slightly. I’d be a rich person if I had a dollar for every time I said “But that’s not what i said, of did or……..fill in the blank” with Spathtard and this woman from a blog site, two of them actually. Again………it all makes sense in hind sight and knowing what i know now but it is still SO hard to catch it before you step in it. The blog site woman was a real shocker since she has a blog for victims of psychopathic “love” “relationships”. If it wouldn’t have been for my councilor’s objective and educated input, I might have been tangled up longer.

          3. Hi again Puddle — re your post below, yes, it is hard to spot at first. And the blogger you mentioned who ran (runs?) a “support group” for victims of failed relationships — what better way to find a new group of people who can be yanked around?

            And feeling that you need to reconnect with your “home town” and with people you’ve lost contact with over the years may be your unconscious telling you something important. Take good care of yourself and try to stay well. {{{Peace on earth to men of good will and hope for a better future}}} from Elva

  24. Readers and commentators,

    I regret I have not been feeling up to adequately attending to issues that have surfaced recently with regard to comments.

    It’s been quite some time now since I asked the blog managers to remove the requirement that all comments be held for approval and possibly edited before posting. I did that because the activity on the blog had become so high and also because the general quality of the comments and the apparent character of the commentators was so uncommonly and refreshingly high that I saw no need for tight oversight and many potential benefits to allowing folks to post comments readily.

    I do not want to have to go back to having every comment held for approval. But I also can’t permit the kind of insensitivity and cat fighting that’s characterized some of the more recent posts to continue. Therefore, I’m going to start earmarking some comments for approval before they post. And I’ll be doing some editing of comments when necessary. I’ll make it clear when comments have been edited, and if necessary, why. On occasion, I might provide direct feedback to a commentator about the reasons for editing a post, especially if such editing is frequent.

    It might take some time before these new parameters get firmly into place. Again, I apologize for not feeling up to tending to these matters sooner.


      If you mean something along the lines: “Say it once, simply, then simply report to me”, then I see your point.

  25. I apologize for some of my comments. They struck me as funny at the time. Sorry to anyone I may have offended. Responding to poster who may have lost 2 infants, for all I know, in the way I responded, wasn’t cool.

    Sorry Dr. Simon


    Sometimes it’s easy to feel pulled into a negative, hostile, and ultimately destructive exchange.

    I’ve seen this countless times. Many times I couldnt remember where it even started.

  27. Puddle, Elva and LisaO,
    Your behaviour strikes me as bullying. Elva, inviting others to stick the boot in. LisaO, that IS NOT an apology. Puddle, classic ‘blaming the victim’.

  28. Puddle,

    When you have thoughts about ‘home’ are there any warm feelings of connection there? It’s very kind of you to be compassionate about your father at this stage of his life. He must have a lot of sadness to deal with right now with all of his friends gone. As if getting old and infirm isn’t bad enough.

    My father and I had an ongoing war going on from the time I was eleven, until I left home. I’m sure he would have pitched me off a cliff if he could have done so, legally. I had all kinds of emotional problems but they couldn’t top his.

    But…he did end up helping me out in my twenties for a short time and then again in my thirties for a very short time, too. When his health failed I tried my level best to give him as much moral support as I could. So many people of that generation were cranked out of the fatherhood factory with a few key components missing. It’s tragically common.

    I hope that your feelings of compassion and sense of ‘home’ stay with you and comfort you.

  29. Hi Dr Simon, I appologize for my part in the recent exchanges and more importantly, I’m sorry you were burdened with this during your recovery. I hope you are doing ok and getting healing rest in spite of this.

    1. Thank you, Puddle. And to all: I’m recovering well, albeit slowly (bilateral hernia repairs). I also apologize for not being up to the task of doing a better job of monitoring the forum. Too many folks have found not only this site’s articles but also the usually wonderful comments to be instrumental in their empowerment. I want to encourage everyone to make the kind of thoughtful, constructive contributions that have made this site what it is and I promise to do a better job of monitoring.

      Many thanks to everyone!

      1. Pretty much, J. And again, I apologize for not being up to the task of monitoring things better lately. The comments here are far too valuable generally to have their content either ignored or rejected by readers because of any hostile or any type of negative tone. I appreciate the commentators very much and I’ll be making an effort to be a better moderator.

  30. Just a question to all has anyone had success with EDMR (hope I’ve got that right) for post traumatic stress disorder and what is involved? It has been suggested to me and just thought if anyone could share their experience. :)

    1. Hi Tori, I did go to an EMDR therapist a while back but she said I was too fragile at that time to start the actual process. I saw her several times just as a therapist and then she left for winter vacation. I never got back into it with her. It got lost in the shuffle basically. She was wonderful too. Sorry I can’t be of more help with this but I know that there ARE approved practitioners through the EMDR institute so do some homework first because I’m sure there are others who might not be fully qualified.

  31. Dr Simon said “Addiction is a real disease. Addicts have built up such a degree of tolerance to a substance that they can no longer function in any near normal way in the absence of it. In that sense they are truly dependent upon the substance to maintain some sort of equilibrium.”

    Aren’t all CDMN addicted to themselves, they are so in love with who they think they are and are so full of themselves they can’t function normally? Aren’t they truly dependent on their own self love even if they have to self sooth when they are in lack of prey?

  32. Dr Simon,

    I’m curious: what happens when a CD individual develops PTSD from military combat?

    I was recently involved with a combat veteran who used ALL the manipulation tactics you enumerate (especially using his mental health issues as an excuse for bad behaviour) and who abuses alcohol to an abhorrent extent (daily drunk driving, violent drunkenness) to the point where he has lost his job in the military for his behaviour. And yet he continues doing as he pleases.

    Is it even possible for a CD person to have PTSD? What happens when someone who is already an aggressive personality develops an actual psychological disorder?

    I’m no longer involved with this person, but believe me when I tell you that our short affair has taken chunks out of my sense of self.

    1. erika,

      doesn’t matter. CD trumps all. with or without PTSD, CDs will damage and ruin their targets (gfs, wives). raging alcoholism makes the CD worse. it’s no surprise you are missing chunks in your sense of self.

      an abuser is an abuser is an abuser. that’s the most crucial part. nothing else really matters.

      sounds like a real train wreck. and for you to have escaped him? lucky you! seriously, you are lucky to have been allowed to escape him with any bit of you left intact.

      pstd seems to be more of a moral injury. psychopaths, in my estimation, are incapable of developing ptsd, since they are without fear, and are especially without concern for others.

      from my experience with one, combat was the draw. so, i don’t see how a psychopath could develop ptsd. i don’t see how aggressive personalities would develop ptsd unless they somehow found themselves being the tortured prey, instead of the torturers.

    2. Anyone can have PTSD. And having PTSD doesn’t preclude anyone from having a character disturbance either premorbidly or after the fact. When the two occur together, life can indeed be pretty difficult. Glad you’re out of that situation. It might take some time for the gaslighting effect to wane.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *