Addict or Malevolent Abuser?

Sometimes people hurt others out of ignorance or a lack of mindfulness.  In essence, they truly know not what they do.  But sometimes people act out of malice whether actively by what they deliberately do to cause harm or passively by what they fail to do to avoid inflicting harm.  The story that follows gives an example of malicious behavior and some of the more insidious reasons it can be overlooked or inadvertently perpetuated by those on the receiving end (Once again, the usual notice and disclaimer is warranted here:  names, details and circumstances have been altered to ensure anonymity).

Tammy was beginning to question some things.  She and Marvin had been in couples’ counseling off and on for over 8 years and things were definitely not getting better.  But she was questioning more than just whether the counseling was doing any good or if her marriage would survive.  She was also questioning whether there was really any truth to many of the things she had regarded as fact for a long, long time.

Tammy had accepted for some time that Marvin had an addiction.  After all, the therapist explained how sexual addictions are just as real as other addictions and they often develop in the same insidious ways other addictions take hold:  as a way of “self-medicating” emotional pain and altering mood — a way that can quickly spiral out of control once our brains accommodate to the pattern.  And it seemed Marvin had all the trauma that set the downward spiral in motion, too.  There was the loss of his mother a few years back, quickly followed by the collapse of his business.  He was in pain and he “acted out” (for more on this rampantly misused psychological term see: Acting Up Is Not Acting Out) largely to assuage that pain.  On top of that his self-esteem had taken a big hit.  He didn’t set out to hurt her, he just needed an ego boost and a way to ease the pain.  And if she hadn’t found out, she wouldn’t have been hurt at all.  She got that.  It all seem to make so much sense, at least at first.  But now Tammy was beginning to question everything.  For one thing, despite all the treatment, many things weren’t getting better.  And it seemed that all the explanations she’d gotten over the years were making less and less sense, too.  After all, she herself had been traumatized repeatedly over the years, had long been on an emotional roller coaster, and suffered many blows to her self-esteem, yet never resorted to “self-medicating” with serial cheating, financial irresponsibility, constant lying, etc.  In fact, she never would have even thought of such things.  So her gut was telling her there simply must be much more to Marvin’s behavior and that’s how I came to know Marvin and Tammy.

Marvin was always the Golden Boy.  He had the looks and he had the charm.  He had the moxie, too.  Everybody just knew he was going  places. And if you judged only by the fancy clothes he wore and the flashy cars he drove, you’d assume he was a successful and self-made man.  But such was never really the case.  When Marvin married Tammy, he just happened to also tap into a small fortune.  Tammy’s parents were of substantial means and left her a sizable inheritance when they passed away in a car accident. Tammy always had a career of her own, and feeling fairly secure, was more than happy to support Marvin’s various business ventures.  Even though several of those ventures didn’t work out all that well, she stuck by him, believing he would eventually succeed.  What Tammy didn’t know was that Marvin had  been gambling, squandering her inheritance on escapades that were supposedly business trips, and cheating on her almost since the day they were married.  And when she finally learned the truth, she was not only in financial distress but also an emotional wreck because of magnitude of her disbelief.  How could anyone, she wondered, cause so much hurt and seem so unfazed by it all?  Surely, he mustn’t realize what he’s doing, she thought at first.  But her deepest pain came upon realizing that he knew all the while but simply didn’t care.  He used and abused her, and right from the beginning!  She had the means to let him live the lifestyle he always wanted but could never quite discipline himself enough to earn on his own.  And to keep her in tow, he had preyed on her over-conscientiousness nature, mercilessly blaming her and her lack of faith in him, as well as her insufficient support whenever he got into trouble.  And Tammy, poor Tammy, for a long time she bought into it all, trying ever harder to do right by Marvin.  While she eventually came to know all too well how much he had hurt her, she always thought he simply didn’t stop to think about what he was doing.  Never did she entertain the notion that he knowingly and willfully did her any harm.  Surely, he didn’t mean to hurt her, he just did.  And when Tammy finally realized the malicious nature of Marvin’s actions, and the tactics he’d been using to manipulate her, her hurt was only compounded.

Last week’s post (see:  Character Disorders and Malice), presented some of the major reasons disturbed and disordered characters behave maliciously.  And in Marvin’s case, two of the reasons given applied quite clearly:  Marvin always sought to take advantage, which was in itself a willfully malicious act; and, he was woefully lacking in the kinds of character attributes that might have kept him from doing anything other than exploiting, using, and abusing others.  He neither had the empathy for others nor the degree of conscience to refrain from purely exploiting everything and everyone he encountered.  And while Tammy herself had a hard time seeing Marvin’s behavior (and character) for what it was, it was certainly no help that her early therapy experience reinforced notions that seemed plausible yet so missed the mark that they only helped prolong her misery [A word of caution here:  Genuine addictions do exist, and there are even some cases where some forms of sexual behavior can take on addictive character.  That said, an “industry” of sorts has developed in recent years that tends to want to conceptualize all sorts of behavioral irresponsibility as addiction, emotional self-medication, etc., and in my opinion such conceptualizations are sometimes not only unhelpful but also dangerous and damaging because of the misconceptions they foster and the “enabling” they promote].

A big “thank you” to all the listeners for the amazing response to the special Easter edition of Character Matters last Sunday and to you blog followers for such longstanding support not only for this site but also for my books In Sheep’s Clothing, Character Disturbance, and The Judas Syndrome. If it weren’t for the tremendous and ongoing word-of-mouth about my work this whole enterprise would be impossible.

76 thoughts on “Addict or Malevolent Abuser?

  1. “That said, an “industry” of sorts has developed in recent years that tends to want to conceptualize all sorts of behavioral irresponsibility as addiction, self-medication”

    Side effects of Jungian thought, perhaos? One example I can think of is Facing the Dragon, By Robert L. Moore. It uses the word “act out” in regards to archetypal energies “acting out”. He handles evil. Of course, now that we know more, we have more perspectives as to some things: He talks about grandiosity lurking in all of us, possible to be cultivated for creativity and empowerment, but also possible to be treated wrong.

    Now, he says grandiosity can turn satanic when left unconscious or treated with disrespect. Of course, Moore talks a lot about destructive grandiosity being unconscious. Interestingly, one time he does talk about conscious relating to grandiosity, he refers to Devil -worshipers. “Satanic groups actually consciously identify with the Lord of the Underworld. An interviewer – asked a group of teenagers in a large city, “Why are you worshipping Satan?” They replied, “The end if the world is near, the final battle is very close, and we want to be on the winning side.” ” (pg. 125)

    Moore’s book is a study on how grandiosity can turn hellish for ourselves or be treated with disrespect and turn destructive all the same. Again, the problem is that assumption, that it’s often unconscious.

    1. Perhaps there are other examples, but Moore’s book is something I’ve read many times recently and it jumps first to mind.

    2. Interestingly in the same book: “We must distuingish between the Lucifer complex and the personal shadow. You can, as a human being, appropriately integrate your personal shadow. If what you call your shadow is only that part of you that wants to shine, then you need to integrate that psychological potential and become more radiant. The ego unconsciously identifying with the Lucifer complex, however, presents a far different situation. Jung talked about “spirit complexes” that you cannot integrate and must not try to integrate. If you try in a simplistic way to integrate yourself with the Christ complex, you will become psychotic. If you identify with the satanic complex and begin to incarnate it, you will become a sociopath. The patterns of sociopathic behavior are very similar, because they are not personal but archetypal in their manifestation.”

      1. J, I think I can relate to some of this (if I’m understanding it right). When I was still drinking there was a part of me that liked to be bad in various ways and I’m wondering if those ways were my “personal shadow”. With the influence of alcohol they went unchecked. For a long time I’ve thought about how interesting it is that alcohol is referred to as “spirits” because there are those who believe that when a person drinks it weakens a protective aura around them and leaves them vulnerable to malevolent spirits and energies.
        I know that the “bad” things i did when I was drinking were mostly things I would never do when I wasn’t drinking.

      2. I’m not sure what exactly spirit complexes are, but apparently more info about them can be found in volume eight of Carl Jung’s teachings. Anyone read that book?

        1. In Jungian psychology, a “complex” is the amalgamation of feelings, thoughts, impulses, etc centered around a particular theme (e.g., power, superiority, pain-avoidance, etc.) that drives a person’s behavior and is, most often more unconscious than conscious. And to the extent one’s behavior is completely driven by a complex without conscious “ownership” and control, one could say that a person is possessed in spirit by that complex. It was Jung’s attempt to reconcile what people once thought they recognized as demonic possession with the theory of neurosis and the postulate that most behavior is driven by unconscious factors. This is an admittedly brief and superficial treatment of the subject, but it should give you the gist.

        2. That succintly describes autonomous complexes, yes.

          I still think I get that book for a closer inspection of spirit complexes. At least when Moore references them in his book he makes a difference between personal unconscious contents that are to be integrated and spirit complexes that are not meant to be integrated. There’s also a difference made between a personal shadow and archetypal shadow

        3. Also, Dr Simon, refering to the industry of “self-medication”: The term complex does carry connotation of unawareness. At least Moore’s book uses terms “act out” a lot. In some instances it’s understandable, for example when describing wars, where each side carries another’s shadow projections(also terms satanic projection and carrying numinous energy are used), like “wonderful, courageous Muslim knights fighting – wonderful, courageous Christian knights, killing each other, all under the same archetypal configuration”(pg.19).

          The book uses similar descriptions even when describing so-called malignant tribalism(favoring own tribe and demonizing others; racism, Nazism and fundamentalism as just some examples), ritual violence, etc.

          Also, the idea of possession state must have unwittingly contributed to the idea that a human is automatically possessed by evil as opposed to having a conscious complex and inviting evil.

          1. Very soon I’m going to re-run and old series on popular misconceptions and frequently misused psychological terms, “acting-out” being at the very top of the list.

          2. Okay. Hopefully that’s not because what I said miscommunicated anything.

            Let me make this clear, please. Some points raised in articles awaken some thoughts that seem connected somehow. In this case it was from the mention of the industry of self-medicating “addictions”.

            Earlier here I pretty much commented on impulse, but now I aim to put more thought before posting. If I have miscommunicated, then I need to sort out my thoughts more. That’s been one of my greatest problems so far and it’s annoyed me and everyone else(perhaps others more than me).

            I wish to invite and encourage conversation here while being mindful not to steer it so far away from what matters or what could be done with the knowledge. For instance, I hope me finding out more about destructive tendencies of mind could help people, who are also at risk of dangers outside.

            However, if I’ve failed and made things more complicated, that’s a problem.

          3. Dr Simon, update: Just listened to your last broadcast. That’s what you meant.

            Would you also handle how some folks can’t stand criticism? I’ve mentioned this. Some may think it’s a sign of insecurity or inner critic if someone can’t stand well-founded criticism.

            Another matter, aren’t there some folks, who compulsively like to criticize others yet don’t themselves bother to do much at all? Some think of those as people who want to unload their self-hate to others. Doesn’t that rather mean that someone wants everything for nothing?

          4. Hypersensitivity to criticism is a key component of both passive-aggressive (i.e. active-ambivalent or “negativistic”) and narcissistic personalities, but gets handled very differently by these two types. And when both PAPD and NPD characteristics are both present, you’ve got some real problems on your hands when it comes to handling criticism. I’ll speak more to this in a future post.

          5. J, in the case of a Spathtardx, they will label anything you request of them as criticism. Just asking for clarification about something they have done, or rather left undone, is presented back at you as criticism or the pity ploy of “I can’t do anything right”. I say, if the shoe fits wear it but the point is this………there is a big difference between can’t and won’t.

      3. Hi J, your comments on Moore’s book have inspired me to have a read of it. Have you ever read the classic by Erich Fromm ‘The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness?’ It has the most insightful historical anecdotes in one of it’s chapters, on the life of Adolph Hitler, his necrophilia and his early childhood, his sexual life with Eva Braun among many other fascinating things, that I have ever found. I think you would find it interesting. He discusses the early theorists on aggression and whether aggression is inherently human or a product of the culture of our ‘modern world’.

  2. It has occurred to me that some may use addiction and be diagnosed as addicted as a cover/wrongly or with co-existing problems. Sometimes, it feels like trying to eat an elephant whole, other times it isn’t so bad.
    I almost had a coronary when one of the specialist(dr) was pushing to remove/lessen (legal) a crime I consider heinous to remove the stigma. I did for a fleeting moment wonder if it was all a game or the dr had lost his mind.

  3. Dr. Simon, I have had an “off” feeling about many self improvement/ spirituality movements for a long time now, as in the commercial aspect of most of them. Depak Chopra…..he looks like a hollywood star of some sort with his designer glasses……there is something I sense and have a hard time putting into words but when you say things about an industry built around addictions and peoples problems in general and where is all boils down to some kind of program or some course you have to enroll in and pay for,,,,,something just feels wrong. Nothing against your work but the same goes about self help books and information…..it’s just everywhere. Name after name has been made and they seem to be enjoying their success in a hollywood kind of way.
    I’ve been down this road myself and thought is was really “all that” at the time, thought I had found THE answer and felt superior because of it in a way. Humans are such a strange lot aren’t we??

    1. “they seem to be enjoying their success in a hollywood kind of way.
      I’ve been down this road myself and thought is was really “all that” at the time, thought I had found THE answer and felt superior because of it in a way. Humans are such a strange lot aren’t we??
      Mis-typed……. I’ve been down this road (several of them at different times in my life) myself and thought they were really “all that” at the time……

    2. I think what you might be responding to here is the “artful packaging” talent some people have for marketing themselves and their work. Nothing Chopra or others like him offer is new (with respect to the kind of spirituality and/or philosophies they present) but they have a knack for presenting both the material and themselves in a way that is infectious. And there’s almost nothing as simultaneously attractive and equally repulsive as a slick salesperson who knows how good they are at hawking their product. Maybe I’m speaking to what you’re getting at here, and maybe I’ve missed the mark. Hopefully, however, this makes some sense.

      1. Very true Dr. Simon, none of what SOME of they are “selling” is new and according to the Vedic Scriptures,,,,,,it’s been around for thousands upon thousands of years. I agree with a lot of the concept and personally don’t think that any of it is necessarily “bad”. It’s the packaging and the vast amounts of money that are being made off of it. It would seem that a true spiritual leader or teacher would lead a mostly humble life. The Dalai Lama doesn’t wear rhinestone studded glasses for Pete’sake! or designer clothes…….from all that I’ve seen he is a humble man and for the exposure he gets he flies under the radar relatively speaking. From what I see and know about you and your work, I would put you in a similar category.

        1. some of these other ones seem to be one step away from a Jim and Tammy Baker scandal. I could be completely wrong and I’m not singling anyone out per say……just say’n.

  4. Thank you, Dr. Simon, for the series you’ve been doing on malice. I’ve come to understand most aspects of their personality, but the roots of hostility eluded me. This was a great post, and a great example — I’m sure many here can relate to it 510%.

    People use addiction as a cover for bad behavior and an excuse to not change. In cases where there is a serious addiction, well…the outcome and affect on those around them is the same. If you get hit by a bus, you are dead whether it was an accident or on purpose.

    It’s a bad idea to waste time on people with problems that are okay with their problems.

    1. Noel……….right but with spathtardx, he claimed to not be ok with his problems, some of them, most of them. More lies because his actions have shown that he is more than ok with his problems.

  5. These latest articles have been extremely enlightening, this one really brings to light the real nature behind the person who is “self medicating”… again it really hits the nail on the head for many of my experiences.

    Interesting that many of us go through traumatic incidences but don’t go about intentionally hurting other people or self medicating and yet we manage to act responsibly.

    Spot on too the industry sprouting up with an “enabling” culture. I don’t know how often in the sports and celebrity arena we see how many people get off paying any real consequences for their actions as suddenly they’re diagnosed with one syndrome or another.

    1. And Tori, for a double-whammy, these louses often gain respect and a degree of reverence after having “admitted” their faults.

      There are people with problems who have an epiphany and go on to lead productive, worthwhile lives – but even in their darkest days they managed only to hurt themselves. Addictions don’t make a person bad, they’re bad to start with. Sadly, most people don’t have the experiences we’ve had to really grasp what “bad” can mean. These people aren’t sick, they’re what we would refer to as evil incarnate.

      1. So true Einstien, I can’t believe how some sports stars in particular get away time and time again with abhorrent behaviour and then end up after a little time of exile with lucrative television deals or back as champions. Right too about people with addictions, I have known some who were addicted to substances who came through a tough ordeal but never inflicted pain on other people.

        I must say I am glad that most people haven’t shared our experiences with such “bad” people (as I know you do too) it does make it difficult for those not in the know to understand what you have gone through at the hands of these evil people. As Tanya has said below they put on such a good and likeable front that it’s hard for people to believe they can be so insidious.

  6. Hi Dr Simon,

    Some character disordered folks are very likeable and look so good in the eyes of others. How do you get support from others?

    1. Tanya………….sorry to say, in most cases you DON”T get support from others unless you are getting it from one of these types of sites. But to try to explain this all to someone who has never been through it is all but impossible. I say this from experience and from countless stories I’ve read.

      1. So true. Being as image conscience as they are, they put on a good front for the outside world. Add that to the blistfull ignorance of the public about character disorders. On top of everything we’ve been through at their hands, they come out smelling like a rose and we’re a bunch of bi-polar b*tches.

        1. So Einstien……..my potential plan is this……….put together a package of web site addresses, choice articles (ones that really drive home the point, and there are many). Put on the return address “PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT” and mail it to everyone that lives down the lane his mommy lives on. send it to a friend in a location not associated with me and have them mail it. opinion? I COULD even include his mugshot info from his DV arrest but that could get me sued for slander. I’m SO in I don’t care what he thinks mode and feel like it would almost be negligent not to do SOMEthing to bring awareness to the people around where he lives. They may associate it with him, they may not but a seed would be planted……………or they could throw it in the trash without ever looking at it.

    2. I address that some both books, but the most important thing to remember is to break the habit these folks get you into of focusing externally – whether it be on them and their troubling behavior or others who either fail to see them for who they are or aren’t of the mind to afford you the support you want. Rather, the secret is on self-focus and self-empowerment, and cultivating meaningful relationships with those who truly know and respect your character and letting completely go emotionally of those who just don’t “get it.”

      1. Dr. Simon, I totally see what you are saying here but the injustice of it all is maddening and your advise to someone who was abducted, forcefully held and raped by a man would probably be somewhat different. I’m guessing it would include calling the police, going to the hospital to get samples taken for DNA testing and if the bastard was caught, seeking justice. I consider it irresponsible and enabling for a woman who was raped not to report it to the police. It could very well help them solve a case that isn’t even your rape and could save someone else in the process, possibly even someone’s life. Comments?

        1. My advice in the situation you describe would not actually be “different” because the scenario you describe is a concrete action the person can take on their own to help aid not only their own security but also the welfare of other potential victims. Taking independent action as opposed to purely relying on the “support” of others (to understand and empathize) is exactly what personal empowerment is all about.

          1. I’m not sure I’m following you or really understanding. Maybe my wording is off though.

          2. OK……i re-read and I think I’m following you but maybe not exactly?? It sounds to me like there is a gap.

          3. BUT…….what does a person do who has been covertly abused rather than overtly? Who was raped by way of deception but didn’t even KNOW it until they woke up from the spell they were under and realized it after the fact?? It is the same as being date raped using drugs and or alcohol only deception is the substance used to overpower their ability to make a conscious and informed choice. I wish I would have kept something of his and i would have sent it to the police department where he is from to be DNA tested (not saying that I didn’t here) but I would not be surprised if he was involved in some king of “situation” in his past that could need a followup investigation involving DNA?? If you know what I mean?

  7. A bunny trail here… I am wondering if familiarizing myself with CBT would be of use in dealing with these characters? Dr Simon, is there a book you would recommend that would give me the basics, as they apply to disturbed characters? It does not have to be watered down for the layman, but readability would be a plus. Thank you!

    1. I’m hoping I understand your question correctly here, Vera. I wrote Character Disturbance primarily to address what I think you’re asking for. But if you’ve already read it, obviously I either missed the mark or I’ve misunderstood your question. Hopefully, it’s not that i horribly missed the mark!

      1. Well… er… 🙂 I read it a couple of times…

        It’s just that I am really struggling with your advice to redefine the terms of engagement. I need a whole course on that!

        Basically, I have recognition down pat. I can smell them and their tactics a mile away, so to speak! But dealing… I am still in diapers. The other day, I fell back into “strategies guaranteed to fail” like pleading to “let’s just work through it”. Well, there is always that last time, heh?

        I was thinking that maybe if I got more acquainted with CBT I would somehow be able to be more effective. I liked your two extended examples at the end of CD but I can’t really do it.

        Here is where I am at. I know what is going on. I try stuff but with their endlessly shifting sneakiness I eventually get caught again in the web. Then I create distance. I would like to be able to confront them in a way that gives the relationship a chance before resorting to distance.

        1. Vera, I know what you mean but my experience is that it’s impossible. I am very easily manipulated IN THE MOMENT by the shiftiness of their tactics. My brain just doesn’t work fast enough and is not able to really “counter attack”. it just all turns into a glob of confusion FOR ME. My only option was to get out of the web once and for all and never set foot in it again no matter how tempting the bait was to me.

        2. I have some posts that contain examples of “corrective” emotional and behavioral experience using CBT methods, but I’ll fashion some others with more illustrative examples. Unfortunately, many books on the subject are, as I often complain, overly focused on the cognitive component and pay short shrift to the here-and-now behavioral correction component that I consider so vital. Hey, wait! You’ve given me a great idea for another professional book! 🙂

          1. Dr Simon, that would be fabulous! 🙂

            Meanwhile, I have been digging in Sheep (p. 142). Here’s the passage. “Don’t be swayed by the tactics themselves. Reinforce the idea in your mind that the manipulator is merely fighting for something. Then, respond solely on the basis of what you legitimately want and need. Don’t react instinctively and defensively to what they are doing. Take your own independent, assertive stand.”

            Now, that is the crux of the issue for me. I would love several juicy examples!

          2. I think it changes from situation to situation. That says it. Keep in mind another party is fighting and know what you want and need. That’s the mindset. It takes reinforcing, doesn’t it?

          3. “Victorious warriors win the war and then go into battle.”
            Sun Tsu, The Art of War

            Maybe not a very “nice” way to speak about these things (as “war”) but it is sparked by what Vera said.

            I think the mistake we make is that we go into battle with these characters (which we have little or no chance of “winning”) before we’ve won the larger “war”. That larger war, or the triumph, has basically nothing to do with changing them or their behavior but is all about our own self-mastery and center of gravity…
            and without winning that first, going into battle with these folks is doomed.

  8. Dr. Simon, I contacted you a few months ago and you answered me promptly and professionally. I
    was in a state of disarray and did not respond or thank you but I am now ok and wondering if
    you are ok in Arkansaw with the tornado? Thank you Dr Simon for getting back to me so promptly
    when I was so desperate and I hope you are ok. Your site is my favorite and it feels safe and I pray
    you and your family are safe.

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words and for asking. Actually, the tornado struck quite close to our home. We could see the wall cloud as it made its way across the Arkansas River. The first touchdown was only about 3 miles away in a small subdivision just outside the edge of our town and the tornado stayed on the ground for awhile, completely demolishing a town 10 miles away and then another town 8 miles beyond that which was decimated only 3 years ago by another tornado. We’re very fortunate, but fine. Again, thanks for asking.

      1. So glad to hear you are OK Dr. Simon. I’m kind of out of the news loop and only knew there had been severe tornadoes somewhere but not where.

  9. So glad you are fine and God bless the victims that weren’t so fortunate. I’m sure it’s a terrible thing to
    witness being so near the devastation.
    I don’t say much here but follow your words closely on subjects like Pistorius, Armstrong and
    all the others that aren’t so well known.

  10. The marital problem: sexual addiction, Or personality disorder…Or Is It both? The Christian church leader I married was diagnosed by a Clinical Psychologist As SNPD, And having Severe Attachment Disorder. I was raised to be a NICE Christian girl and for decades forgave, at times felt suicidal and thought I was Crazy. When I insisted he go to therapy and began learning about and putting in place boundaries, the man I married (Yes, I Am avoiding The word ‘husband’), started attending a 12 Step Sex Addicts Group. When I got resistant to religious abuse And manipulation, He “Disclosed” some. I asked him to leave. Now I am amazed at the focus on the Addiction so many in The Church around us have and their desire for his care and my responsibility to reconcile. Every time I hear from him OR facilitate visitations, I Can’t sleep and can hardly Breathe. Nobody seems To ‘Get’ that.Yes it hurts that he Is hurting, and I feel nauseous thinking that he Is now alone. Just received the following linK From A Church Friend. What Do You Think? http://charismamag.com/life/women/9450-the-hidden-epidemic-destroying-marriages-and-families

    1. Eyesnowopen,,,,,,
      ” Every time I hear from him OR facilitate visitations, I Can’t sleep and can hardly Breathe.”
      This is your body telling you to listen. People who are in a loving relationship don’t feel like this!
      Read Dr. Simon’s articles on what true contrition looks like. Not knowing him or your situation, it’s hard to say if he deserves another chance or if you would even consider it but your eyes need to be wide open. I don’t think Christians are any less confused about the true nature of people who are severely disordered so be careful what others may try to pressure you into.
      I doubt if he is truly hurting and if he is, good…maybe he will wake up and deal with his issues head on.

  11. I should add that the therapist I am seeing for my healing from the abuse said that although it is unlikely he will be healed of his Sexual Addiction, I need to realize that if he does, I will have to take him back. “God doesn’t promise us a spouse who is nice to us.”
    She knows about all of the Sexual, Psychological, Emotional And Religious Abuse…the Gaslighting. I Don’t Get It.

    1. I read your earlier comment, too, and was deeply unnerved. Please read my articles on this site and on the counsellingresource.com regarding these addiction models and their legitimacy. And as far as the soundness of the rationale this counselor gives, consider this: There was a time when clergy child sexual abusers were sent to therapists and treatment centers who claimed they could cure them of their pedophilia. Of course, we all know how well that went! And of course, in hindsight it horrifies us to think that church officials would be both so naive about the nature of their offenders’ misconduct and disregarding of the safety and welfare of children that they’ed ever permit the “repentant” and “cured” offenders in a position to possibly prey again. But at the time, all the “experts” thought they had the right answers. In The Judas Syndrome, I talk about the evil that comes from well-intentioned but nonetheless severely misguided counseling, religious or otherwise. And using God as the ultimate cop-out when you’re hard pressed to find legitimacy in your own position is unconscionable. We’re not supposed to invoke his name vainly or casually. Lastly, insofar as any “duty” within marriage is concerned, all reputable religious scholars agree on this: For a marriage to be legitimate in the first place there has to be free, informed consent in the union. When an abuse-prone individual with good social charm skills pulls the wool over someone only to be revealed for the disturbed character they really are later in a marriage, it’s always grounds for an annulment, let alone divorce. It appears you “get it” just fine, but the person advising you neither really gets it with respect to irresponsible conduct or the theology of a healthy marriage.

      1. Thank you, Dr. Simon. Your response clarifies a lot that had me once again second-guessing myself and feeling like my brain was about to fly apart…again. I just stumbled upon this site, and am amazed and relieved by how succinctly And clearly these types of personalities and the related issues are addressed. I look forward to learning more and becoming better equipped.

  12. Hi Eyesnowopen, Why do you think it hurts you that he is hurting?

    If he has mistreated you and has a diagnosed Attachment Disorder, it sounds like he might be a psychopath or severe CD of some kind. If that’s the case, you really don’t want that in your life. They don’t care. They can’t care. It’s all a facade with them. And the church is perfect camouflage, encouraging the abused to ‘forgive’? Talk about ‘sympathy for the devil!’ Yikes

  13. LisaO, that’s how I’m wired. I care. I do Not ever want him In the same house with me again, however. I would like to never hear his ‘Charming’ voice Again.

  14. Eyes, I hope you don’t think that was a criticism. I was honestly curious. It is really great that in spite of caring about him you don’t want him around you anymore. And, it has to be so much harder than if you were ice cold in your feelings toward him.

    1. I guess that Is probably true. Thanks for the clarification.
      No, I think the hardest thing Is that I don’t seem to feel any Positive Emotions at all anymore. It’s like I have cotton batting wound round and round me.

      1. it’s there for a reason…..your feelings or lack there of are another sign that it’s O V E R. Some things can’t be undone.

        1. Oh, I don’t mean just positive emotions for him, but positive emotions for anything. I don’t seem to have any. Weird.
          I think my old positive feelings for him were built on a Total personality fabrication. I had no Idea even a year ago that there were people like this. Education Needs to Happen!

          1. Right, I understand what you are saying Eyes. I know that I went through a very dark phase after we split and I could barely function. It seems like a dream to me now but i think in the aftermath of one of these involvements,,,,,there is a numbness, A disconectedness I still feel and all I’m really interested in now is protecting myself and keeping one foot in front of the other. It helps me to keep moving forward to see how far I’ve come from those dark days at the beginning…..I NEVER thought I would make it to where I am now.

  15. But the question Is, can all the abuse be blamed on the addiction? And does curing the addiction make the person safe?

    1. Eyes, I would say no, an absolute no, the abuse can not be blamed on the addiction. There are plenty of addicts in this world who are not abusive to their significant others. I’m not saying that there aren’t negative consequences to being with an addict but real abusiveness would more than likely be present in the relationship even if there was no addiction, and actually can become worse once the addict starts to address their addiction.

  16. One of the hardest things, Puddle, is trying to be the mom my emotionally-rIpped kids need me to be in the middle of my own angst and numb state. I Cannot Believe How Stupid And Naive I have Been!
    I would love to hear any suggestions on how you energize and keep moving forward. My kids have between robbed of enough. They don’t need a lackluster mom.

    1. Eyes, First of all PLEASE stop these thoughts: ” I Cannot Believe How Stupid And Naive I have Been!” I know it’s hard to but once you see that the victim is not the one to be blamed because they wet attacked in a covert, hidden manor (of various types and tactics) You will stop feeling “stupid”. Would you tell another person on this web site, another victim, that they were stupid? I doubt it, so stop the self cruelty. 🙂
      Victim blaming is another layer of trauma that adds insult to injury!
      I don’t know what to say because I didn’t have children with Spathtardx. Do you have good friends? Family?

      1. Okay, Puddle. I saw that smiley face. 🙂 But seriously I would never abuse another person, on site or off, and unlike the man I married, I know I cannot read another’s mind or know another’s motives. I do know, however, that at the beginning of the relationship I stood up for myself better than I did even months down the line. Blaming all of that change on The conditioning and the Abuser seems like a bit of laziness on my part. And, I was raised in a very conservative home. A spade is a spade: I was naive. With a loving husband that could have perhaps been A fun condition to work through together. Instead, with an SNPD, I Was a juicy target. But Naive I Was.
        I will Not, however, stand for being called Co-Dependent or responsible for any of his behavior. I tried to get help throughout our marriage and was always told by the church to be quiet, pray, and work on my attitude and motivations. The moment I had concrete proof, he was out. And my gut, which I am learning to listen to, feels Empowered And finally uncaged 🙂
        I’ve been isolated from family, but I’m working on correcting that.

        1. Eyes,
          ” I do know, however, that at the beginning of the relationship I stood up for myself better than I did even months down the line. Blaming all of that change on The conditioning and the Abuser seems like a bit of laziness on my part.”

          You may easily be underestimating the impact some of their tactics can have on the victim. I’ve heard many people say, including myself, “I’m not usually…….fill in the blank……but I became that way”.
          You were strong enough to kick him to the curb once you KNEW, it was his objective to insure you didn’t know . Aren’t they just delightful??

          1. Pffft. Delightful they are…in their own eyes.
            Alternatively frightening and pathetic in mine. Unmasking the man I married spawned a smorgasbord of threatening, manipulative and even juvenile behaviors I never thought I would see from an adult I might know, let alone someone I had allowed closer than any other.

  17. Eyes, So very very sad for you. I knew a fair amount about psychopaths before my encounter but figured the extreme sub-types would all be in jail, or CEO’s at the helm of the prison-industrial complex. I hadn’t figured that there would be quite as many in the general population. What a shocker! And further I assumed they would give off unambiguous signals that others would pick up. Little did I know, that instead of being a bit consistently hard and a touch mean that they could also pose as hurting child-men who cry a lot. So, I was kind of numb for a long time. Life lost all color. Say what you will about psychos, they are certainly flamboyant. So it’s all over and you realize that all that color was just temporary foliage. It falls away and it seems like you have entered a perpetual November grayness.

    It is awful but it does end. You will be able to get your positive feelings back. Again, I am just so sorry you are going through such sadness and shock.

  18. The above post was LisaO, not Lisa. Sorry Lisa, wherever you are!

    Puddle, I have given info to Dr.Simon. I look forward to hearing from you!!

  19. I just ordered the book he has. I’m so exhausted from it. I knew him two years, one dating, one not speaking, and then he caught me at a vulnerable time when illness set it. Please move in with me, please. So I did. I fell from a ladder at his house just a few feet but enough to cause severe back pain that just got fixed a year ago. Following the fall and awaiting an epidural, I could barely walk. He left me without food or water for two days. I left. I bought a modest home. Unfortunately, I went all the way down over my back two years ago. While I was down, he was the best friend. I was extremely vulnerable having nearly no family, lost friends, and HIM. Because of that fall I couldn’t earn enough to get by when I got worse. He helped me financially and everything was fine. In the past 5 months I have started getting my strength back (I’m 62) and getting out. All he** broke loose over it. I am so mentally exhausted I ca’t hardly go. I saw my psychiatrist for medication management. I had a synopsis of what was going on typed out. I am having panic attacks. I’m forgetting things. I’m not sleeping. I’ve been thru a lot in my life and never did she ask of me to go in the hospital. I come home crying the whole way. I decided to clean house when I got home. I wrote him a nasty gram and told him to stay away from me and NEVER contact me again. Of course, now I’m in a financial mess. I’m pretty scared of my anxiety and the unfortunate part of not being able to collect damages. I will check back when I get the book. Thanks.

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