Keeping a Balanced Sense of Self-Worth

In my soon to be released book with Dr. Kathy Armistead, I outline the “10 Commandments” of sound character development. These “commandments” represent the important life lessons years of experience has taught me a person needs to master to forge a healthy character.  And I’ve been discussing these character imperatives and previewing my upcoming book in the current series of posts. The third “commandment” of sound character development speaks to developing a healthy sense of self-worth. And it advises:

You are neither an insignificant speck nor are you so precious or essential to the universe that it simply cannot do without you. To be of sound character, keep a balanced perspective of your sense of self-worth.

As I mentioned in a prior post, it’s essential we work to overcome our innate tendency toward egocentrism (see the series beginning with Character’s First Commandment: It’s not All About You)  We do this by recognizing the impact of both our presence and our behavior on the world around us. It’s equally important that we strive to be grateful, appreciating our obligations and debts, and overcoming any destructive sense of entitlement (see also the series beginning with:  Commandment 2: Humble Gratitude). And for the sake of our emotional, psychological, and spiritual health, it’s always a good idea to strive for balance in most areas of life. But when it comes to our character development, nowhere is the need for balance greater than with respect to our sense of self-importance or self-worth.

Healthy self-esteem

For a long time one could hardly pick up a self-help psychology book without reading something about self-esteem. But for far too long there have been some serious misconceptions about the nature of this important aspect of a person’s psychological well-being. The word “esteem” has its roots in Old French and Latin and literally means “to estimate.” Over time, self-esteem has come to mean the intuitive “estimate” people make of their worth as human beings. I have long believed this intuitive estimate of self-worth generally derives from the things people know they have going for themselves, for example, their talents, abilities, looks, and intellect. And recently, empirical research has lent considerable support to this notion. So, individuals who have much going for them and know they do are likely to have a fair degree of self-esteem.

For a long time, well-intentioned but misguided professionals advanced the notion that most psychological problems stem from low self-esteem. They also harbored the misconception that a person can never have enough self-esteem. Another serious misconception is that whenever someone displays excessive or inflated self-esteem (i.e. appears too “full” of himself or herself, it’s really a compensation for underlying feelings of insecurity or inferiority. But evidence has been mounting that this notion is deeply flawed. While such a characterization can sometimes be true, more often than not, disturbed characters who engage in grandiose and unrealistic self-appraisal are not “compensating” for anything. They really do think and act like they’re “all that,” whether or not they have anything to show for themselves.

People can indeed think far too much of themselves and that always has disastrous consequences for their character development. An inflated sense of self worth is detrimental to relationships (as Dr. Armistead and I illustrate in How Did We End Up Here?) and many aspects of social functioning.  So it’s crucial we develop a healthy and balanced sense of self-worth. But that means having self-esteem that is neither inflated nor deficient. My clinical research for Character Disturbance and In Sheep’s Clothing suggested there are certain things that can dramatically affect one’s self-esteem, and not necessarily for the good. One way I’ve learned we can inflate self-esteem is to heap praise and credit on people for things they can’t rightfully attribute to their own doing. So if a person receives a lot of validation for his or her appearance, intellect, talent, or any God-given (or nature-endowed) gift, they run the risk of thinking too much of themselves without much cause. Thanks to the pioneering work of a researcher named Brumelman, this notion has gained empirical support.  On the other hand, individuals less endowed with the “gifts” society seems to value, or who have unfortunately been the victims of emotional abuse or neglect while growing up or who experience other types of trauma that cause them to question their worth, can enter adult life with seriously deficient self-esteem. To have a healthy sense of self-worth, our self-esteem has to be in proper balance. But balanced self-esteem is not all we need. We also need a proper degree of self-respect. And that develops differently than our self-esteem.  We’ll talk about that more in next week’s post.

More workshop training dates have been posted on the seminars page, so you might want to check that out.

Character Matters will again be a live program Sunday at 7 pm Eastern (4 pm Pacific) Time, so I  can take your phone calls at (718) 717-8296.

This being Memorial Day weekend, here’s a link to one of the YouTube videos featuring our patriotic composition commonly known as America, My Home!

150 thoughts on “Keeping a Balanced Sense of Self-Worth

  1. Dr. Simon,

    I find this topic of self esteem confusing. I work hard at learning different skills and I find the hard work and accomplishment relates to my feelings of positive self esteem. I recognize there are others that are better at skills and tasks than I and there are others that are worse. I think this allows me a healthy balance and to feel confident in my abilities thus contributing to my feelings of self esteem. I also recognize esteem as an internal process.

    Conversely, what I observe from narcisstic people is they seem to assign themselves high self esteem with little or no work or effort. They require constant external praise and reinforcement to support what they want to believe. When confronted with proof their self esteem is an illusion or grandiose, they rage, become depressed and quickly rebuild the illusion. They seem to never have an internal sense of esteem, always external and always illusion based.

    I’m not understanding how empirical data can show they believe they’re all that when their reaction is so volitile when confronted with reality and they must build fantasies to feel good about themselves. Wouldn’t this indicate low self esteem and insecurity? When they rage wouldn’t that be a sign of low self esteem? Doesn’t self esteem need to be a realistic measurement even though it’s an estimate? What am I missing here?

    1. I used to teach skeet shooting. The thing I know about teaching any one is that ” A Bad Workman Blames His Tools” The Sub-conscious mind can process all sorts of information But ! it CANNOT process Negative information. I am not a doctor. I know that unless you can Except that you are at fault you will never learn anything. I believe That narcissim may have its self routed in the sub-conscious. When we are born, we know nothing of the world. We require an enormous amount of teaching about life. Even elephants require require tuition on how to behave. Out self esteem can be overly large by getting what we want. Page 89 “Sheep’s Clothing”

      1. Joey,

        I agree, we must accept our errors and our faults in order to learn. Failure to accept the opportunity to learn causes us to continuously make the same mistakes. I have definitely noticed the correlation of aggressive people refusing to accept fault, blame others for their errors in judgement, and failure to learn important lessons.

        I had forgotten the old saying, “A bad workman blames his tools.” Thanks for reminding me.

    2. As the series progresses, I hope these issues will become clearer to you. Where as esteem is an internal, intuitive process, respect is a more objective and reflective process. There are many things that contribute to a healthy sense of self-worth, and we’ll be talking about them all, and, of course in great depth in the upcoming book. Stay tuned!

      1. Dr. Simon,

        Thank you for your response. From your response, I concluded that I seem to be confusing self esteem with self respect. I then realized that while I hear self esteem being talked about fairly constantly, I did not have an accurate definition or true understanding of the term.

        Based on a number of articles I found, it would seem that self esteem is an estimate of self worth based on where one compares one self to others, a sense of status amongst others, if I’m understanding this accurately.

        Using status as a definition, I can certainly see how empirical data could support the idea they believe they’re all that. It also explains why the man I married always compares himself to others and is always worried about what others think of me, pressuring me to be more than what I am and pushing an idea of flawless or error free perfection.

        Am I understanding what self esteem is more accurately? I don’t seem to have much use for self esteem finding self respect a much more rewarding and measurable endeavor.

        Thank you for helping me understand this important term, self esteem.

    3. Charlie,
      I believe there is a gross misconception held by a majority of health care professionals and lay in regards to self esteem and shame in the makeup of the CDN in society. Most scientific and medical beliefs are not supported by first hand experiences with the CDN but purely their own speculations and conclusions as to the why the CD are the way they are.

      The CDN I have dealt with all my life do feel they are that and more, they hate correction or being wrong. Not because the false self wont allow it due to shame or low self esteem but because they do think they are special, perfect and the smartest guy on the block. So many of any them are highly intelligent and are subliminally more manipulative.

      Rage is a reaction to not rebuilding the false self, but more so a method of control. They feel good when they rage, the CD receive a perverted inner satisfaction out of the feeling of superiority when they cause fear, insecurity, and confusion in another. It puts them in a one up position, its a power tactic or form of amusement to use this temper tantrum twos bully tactic.

      They are not fighting for security or feel shame, they are fighting to unsettle and unseat you.

      Make no doubt about the majority of them, these are masters of illusions, don’t think for a minute they cant fool the medical field, they successfully have and we are a piece of cake and clay in their hands.

      These chameleons, and highly attuned magicians have successfully pulled the wool over world renowned medical researchers and tops doctors for over a century.

      It doesn’t matter the hows, whats and whys, what counts is the CD know full well what they are doing. The CD know they hurt others and they simply don’t care, they are selfish. Making excuses for the CD behavior only supports their position and agendas……. The sooner society realizes the simplicity of the scam the sooner we may have solutions to many of our problems.

    4. Charlie
      I have found that the rage directed towards me, when confronting and questioning the Jerk, is false rage used as a tactic to back off the questions, which worked for years.

      1. Lucy,

        I’ve seen both. It used to confuse the heck out of me when he would go into a rage and later say he was never mad at me. I understand he was manipulating through brandishing anger. I don’t see that any more after I attacked him.

        I do still see rage at constructive criticism or feedback or various other reasons. He doesnt act in it, he just seethes. It’s like toxic fumes that spread through the whole house.

  2. Btw, Dr Simon, I ran into some older comment of yours some while back and it took me another while to find it, but I’d like to bring it to attention once again.

    Your comment, Dr Simon, June 2, 2014, 9:13 am:

    So, for context, you responded to a short convo:

    “It’s bad enough that some very different syndromes have similar outward manifestations at different stages and make correct diagnosis difficult. But that’s only part of the problem. Two other very important parts are: First, the behavior-bound diagnostic criteria we currently use by nature invites categorization without sufficient consideration of underlying pathology. Second, because there are all sorts of professionals out there using the official diagnostic manual, reading the descriptions, and conferring labels base on those descriptions, many of whom have absolutely no advanced training or hands-on experience in clinical settings or with clinical populations, it’s unfortunately true that the likelihood any one of these professionals will make the correct call the first time is extremely low. And even the most advanced practitioners often fail to complete the full multiaxial diagnostic scheme. There are lots of reasons for this, as well as reasons for assessment no longer involving the comprehensive testing and evaluation once commonplace, but the end result is that folks with psychiatric conditions are all too often misdiagnosed or inadequately diagnosed.”

    At the end of your comment you say you “keep getting more convinced about the need to do a series on our broken system”.

    Some clarification would be appreciated. Would you please go into more detail on that? Did you mean a series of articles on those issues? Have you already written some articles that I may have missed? Did you have another separate book series in mind?

    1. Dr. Simon,

      In Reference to Timothy’s request


      The system is so terribly broken and full of people who don’t know what they are doing and they don’t care. The whole mental health field is full of half-truths and lies and it’s getting worse all the time!

      Please and Thank you.

      1. Timothy,
        I am curious what is your negative and personal experience within the medical in regards to the CD. I don’t recall you having directly ever written about yourself. I have read the archives and haven’t found anything unless I missed it.

        1. BTOV,

          I don’t know what to think about your response.

          You do add that you may have missed things, so credit about that. Last week I talked with Lucy about a coworker, who once played games and then accused others of playing the victim. That’s just one example. Yes, I have handled these things with my friends. I don’t tell about myself in huge info dumps, either, and don’t see why I should. But my eyebrows raised when reading your post. I found it too easy to interpret it as generalizing that you’ve gone through all archives and don’t remember me ever writing about myself.

          I may randomly scroll some archives, but I haven’t read every post ever myself. If I remember where something is, I may link to it. I don’t spend energy memorizing exactly where I wrote what. Neither am I going to spend energy on proving things.

          Also, if you remember Jackie, she posted about as much about herself as I do. She also posted about mental health field. I don’t recall you having asked her if she had personal experiences with everything she mentioned.

          Also, “within the medical”? I need to have personal experience with everything so I can post asking for more info? I don’t think so.

          All this because I asked Dr Simon to elaborate on some old post I stumbled upon?

        2. In any case, I’m very strongly of the opinion that a thought itself can have merit regardless of who says it. Then that thought stands on its own merit and should not be discounted or dismissed out of hand.

          Of course, things aren’t that simple, always, but that’s the matter for another post.

      2. Oh I so agree. Throughout divorce and custody over the course of several years I have dealt with no less than 7 mental health professionals masters level or above. Four behaved in unprofessional ways from exaggerated eye rolls to pretending to fall asleep to exaggerated and time consuming self aggrandizing self promotion to whispered I love you’s. Gross, yes, very. Five where incompetent unqualified or unconcerned with making correct assessments or diagnosis regarding the pathology affecting my family.
        The “I love you” whisperer tried to tell a court that I was suffering from borderline personality disorder. Fortunately I had begun secretly (it is allowed in my state) recording this woman because I new no one would believe me over her(power imbalance in her credentialing) what I had experienced in therapy with this individual.
        The sad thing is after having done so much reading on the topic…….I don’t think my numbers are skewed.

      3. Suzi,
        It looks and sounds like Dr. Simon is dealing with this exact topic and if he does a series on the blog that would be great. Dr. SImons work in this field is unprecedented in a society that has followed and archaic model for dealing with the CD that has never worked.

        I believe Dr. Simon is a pioneer in paving the way for a whole new approach for the medical establishment and folks in general to utilize. Dr. Simon opens the shades on darkness and sheds light on the real reasons the CD act the way they do.

        Through Dr. Simons educating individuals on his blog, radio program and seminars he has set in motion a whole new way of approaching the epidemic of CD in our society. Where nothing has worked before Dr. Simon gives us hope and answers. I think in time, more elusive questions will be answered.

    2. Timothy,

      I agree, I would love to see more information on the difficulties within the mental health field.

      I believe the mainstream of the field is currently and abysmally failing us in not being able to accurately identify personality disfunction and disorders early on as well as not recognizing manipulation tactics, abuse, and the many things in between.

      I cannot tell you how many times I’d been to marital counseling and experienced the response that I should cater to the upset feelings of my spouse. Eggshell walking became worse and the man I married felt validated by the counselor. I can never understand how they were unable to recognize the dynamic that was occurring. We are quite dependent on the mental health field to have more insight than they often show.

      1. Thank you, Charlie, for an apt and suitable response to my request to Dr Simon.

        A small while back we discussed Christopher Dorner. You and Andy held Izzy Kalman’s writings up to scrutiny and I made my own objective observations about the skewed nature and (a few) good points of his perspective. You mentioned how Dorner would’ve been seen as an ordinary person with issues before his rampage and as a definite severe personality disorder after that. Perhaps not in those words exactly, but among those lines and please correct me if you remember otherwise. You mentioned about how flawed the mental health field is.

        Dr Simon’s comment refers to how different syndromes can seem similar outwardly. It’s problematic in its own right that’s indeed the case. It’s something I wish would have further light on it. There are so many different ways mental health can suffer it’s troubling as hell.

        Character disorders are handled on this blog, but I’ve seen Dr Simon writing about other issues on Counseling Resource and I think it’d be excellent if Dr Simon elaborated more on other mental health issues as well like his comment implied.

        If, Dr Simon, you intend to write a book series on different issues, you have already established credit with four books and, by then, a fifth one as well.

        1. Timothy,

          You remembered my comment concerning the mental health field in our discussion of Dorner right enough.

          Like you, I’m interested in learning all I can. I believe knowledge is power and being forewarned is forearmed. I also want to be empathetic and compassionate to those in need. I just want to be smart about who I give my empathy and compassion.

        2. Timothy,

          I also have experience in being inaccurately diagnosed as OCD when I actually was experiencing traumatic handwashing. It was the oddest experience to have the psychiatrist treating you for over a year suddenly say, ” You don’t have OCD, you’re experiencing trauma.” I cannot imagine how that was missed when I talked so much about the struggles I was dealing with at home and having such a hard time coping.

        3. You mean traumatic brainwashing?

          Being inaccurately diagnosed adds an unnecessary complication to an already distressing toxic situation. It’s so unfortunate it took a year for your psychiatrist to catch on to what was really going on. I hope that moment gave at least some relief. It must be validating when someone else recognizes your situation. Adds tremendous clarity!

          Have you gotten any better since?

          Also, you are right to not want to connect with just anyone. You are definitely normal for wanting and needing people, who empower you to healthy potential. Toxic people not only disempower other people and stunt their healthy aspirations, but can also reinforce each others’ unhealthiness and further stunt or degrade each others’ attitude development. I sure want reliable people around, who can offer alternative, clearer, healthier and more empowering perspectives. If people around us we constantly associate with blow smoke up our asses or even live by mottoes that are questionable at best, how much more difficult does that make finding our way in this world?

          Many individuals, who aren’t outright toxic, malicious, disordered, evil or dangerous and don’t harbor malicious intentions, can still be questionable.

          And I can only say yes, yes and yes to “knowledge is power and being forewarned is forearmed”.

          1. Hi Timothy,

            Nope, I meant traumatic handwashing. As in I feel so dirty I need to scrub the filth off me much like one would experience after a sexual assault. I was experiencing intense anxiety during that timeframe and caring for 3 adults character disordered (one of which ended up being diagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder.)

            I’m doing much better now focusing on things that empower me and not giving my empathy and compassion and help to people who prefer not helping themselves. I became an inadvertent enabler and it was quit the battle to disengage and to stop being used up.

            The psychiatrist was often not helpful. He would flip flop his position session to session. One session I was being taken advantage of by these 3 adults and the other he would make excuses for their inappropriate behavior. He didn’t seem to have character issues well defined. We could not agree on many things like for example what constitutes a lie. His definition was that unless the intent was to deceive it was not a lie. Which left out all those confusing times when a lie was given when the truth would have sufficed. It created even more uncertainly and more disempowerment. It was an odd experience to be certain.

          2. Timothy,

            As I thought about my post, I had to laugh. What the hell was I thinking trying to help so many troubled adults!?!

            While I may never had the intention to become a shrink (official or unofficial), I certainly seem to need to be to function in today’s society.

            Having empathy and compassion seems to certainly be valuable traits that people apparently to want to steal. Huh, will stop while I’m ahead, I think I’m maybe starting to sound arrogant and paranoid.

          3. Three adult character disordered at the same time must be something stressful and exhausting to the extreme.

            I don’t see you as paranoid, at all. I tend to have a bit of a literal mind when reading, so please excuse me. I’m sure you probably didn’t mean it literally. This ain’t the gist of your post, so it’s kinda weird my attention homed in on such a small detail.

            It’s quite a way to say it that people would want to “steal” empathy and compassion.

          4. Timothy,

            Like you, I can be quite literal. I have been thinking about my comment concerning ‘stealing’ empathy and compassion and I realized it comes from a conversation with the man I married and still live with, unfortunately. In the convo, I asked him what he gets out of this marriage. His reply, to summarize, had to do with improvements he makes in his career choices by getting my opinion. Those opinions typically regard compassion and empathy of which I’ve found his capacity is limited. So I think that my mind is drifting towards feeling like I’m being used and manipulated for my positive character traits. That I’m giving without reciprocation and it feels like it’s being stolen through an elaborate con.

            I’m not sure if that makes a lot of sense but there it is. Has anyone else felt like this?

          5. Charlie,

            Compassion and empathy are strengths. In my opinion they themselves don’t cause harm. It’s just that anyone, unfortunately, can be tricked by some way some of the time.

            You said(unless I recall completely wrong) that you trust your rationality. That, too, is fine. I don’t think it excludes trusting your instincts in any way.

          6. Charlie,

            I’m sorry I wasn’t clear.

            It’s understandable you feel used for your positive character traits and it’s an unpleasant feeling. But your positive traits are a strength. Sure there have been times, when they’ve helped you?

          7. Timothy,

            You were being clear, no worries there. And I’ve definitely said I prefer to focus on rational thinking. I’ve good instincts and I certainly rely on them but my emotions and instincts don’t always lead me down the right path. I think it’s more of trying to decide which to use at what times. I find I’m often in conflict which may be my clue.

            Absolutely, the people I’ve helped have certainly helped me, of which I am grateful. I’ve really noticed there seems to be a trend where people of limited or deficient character do a lot for others up front, then it becomes reciprocal, then they become demanding and entitled. By that time, I’m already attached and it’s hard for me to walk away.

            Being able to really talk about these things helps me to figure out what went wrong, where and by who. I want to be fairly certain I can trust myself to be more aware and make better decisions in my future.

          8. “I’ve really noticed there seems to be a trend where people of limited or deficient character do a lot for others up front, then it becomes reciprocal, then they become demanding and entitled.”

            You mean they do some legwork?

            How do you tell such from real concern?

          9. Timothy,

            I honestly don’t know the answer to that question. And, yes, from what I’ve observed and been caught up in, they seem to put alot of effort and leg work in up front. I guess that’s why they’re wolves in sheep clothing.

  3. “When I was growing up we didn’t have self-esteem. We had self-respect. And you only got as much of that as you could earn.”

  4. Suzi,
    I am so glad you brought this up. What we feel about ourselves is one thing but having self respect far exceeds and out weighs self esteem. It wasn’t about my self esteem so much as it was about my self respect the CDN wanted to consume and destroy. The CDN used my personal value system to walk all over me, especially in the “its family, not to air our laundry” and “you don’t abandon.”

    Self respect is a deep feeling of core values to hold to, easier said than done. It is a tangible in that we can see the results of self respect, a proper respect in our value system. It gives us a strong inner core to extricate ourselves from these CD individuals and a society plagued with false pride/false self esteem rather than a proper and earned respect/self- respect, self esteem.

    This is easier said than done, for me I have to consult the BOOK of wisdom and answers. Many times not finding what is so obvious and in front of my eyes. Suzi, it is all repeated over and over about these ones, the CD what they do and what we must do. Many times I have strayed and the need for my moral compass is calling, so simple, it is all contained in the Word. What would I do without it! For sure I would be lost and to think I was hanging by a thread ready to break .

    Thank you sister for reminding me, you are a blessing. It is to bad you are so far away.

    1. BTOV,

      “The CDN used my personal value system to walk all over me”
      That’s right – they go for the core, our values – the heart. The heart is at the root of the matter.

      “so simple, it is all contained in the Word.”
      Speaking of simple – God counseled Cian only one time. That’s right – one time. That’s a whopping difference in comparison today’s world.

      “What would I do without it!”
      You’d go down with the ship.

      “Many times I have strayed”
      Oh gee, you had me fooled – you’re one of those persons that we call human beings. I’ll let you in on a fact – there’s never been a perfect one in all of history – never! I don’t know all that much although that’s one thing I know for sure. Welcome to our sandbox!

      The sandbox where Character Matters!

      1. Suzi,
        There is one I recall was perfect and he died at Calvary. I was just reading Steven Hill and he talked about the Spirit of Truth how fitting this morning. The Word always comes at the most fitting time for strength.

        I have been in that sandbox all my life, as time has passed I have noticed it was more difficult for me to clean the sand off, it seems more and more of the sandboxes are filled with an imitation sand mixed with sludge. I welcome the day of reckoning and own my wagon train just as the prodigal

      2. Suzi,
        Correct me if I am wrong I think one time you suggested to me or was it another poster in a time of question. A site I have read among many others. In fact watched so many alarming You Tubes last night was difficult to sleep. I pray for my children and they ignore the screaming warning alarms, and my heart bleeds for them. But then I tell my sis and mom, remember, never look back as Lots wife did.

  5. Several years ago many public schools got on the pop psychology bandwagon thinking they could tackle the bullying on the playgrounds by building the bullies self-esteem. Well, where did that get them? The lessons and the reinforcement taught the skills needed to take care of #1 because I am so great and forget about #2.

    Now we’ve got college students who are seeking daycare services. Oh plenty of self-esteem and not ounce of respect.

    This mindset has slowly been spoon fed to the people [of all ages] on a grand scale; and it goes back pretty many years. In total that’s an awful lot people that have been fed this mentality.

    Too much pop psychology, to many experts. Try defining the word expert. What exactly makes an expert a expect? And who says an expert is really an expert? Many of them don’t know how to tie their own shoes.

    Mumpsimus? or Sumpsimus?

    Charlie said: “I also want to be empathetic and compassionate to those in need. I just want to be smart about who I give my empathy and compassion.”

    I recently was told this story:

    A young mother and her little children were just beginning to back out of their parking spot at a local retail store when a woman suddenly appeared banging on her window. The woman was upset, begging for a ride to get away from her abusive boyfriend.

    The young mother thru the closed window replied: “No, but I will make a phone call for you.”

    As I was listening to her story I thought – oh the poor thing she’s being abused and needs a ride to the women’s shelter. Surely I would help her.

    After being told no the woman ran, then the young Mother drove over to the gas pumps for gas. A police car approached. The young mother flagged the policemen down and told him what had just happened.

    The policemen said: “That is why I am here, she just robbed the store.

    Now back to Charlie’s question – in today’s crazy world how do we know when compassion and empathy should start and when it should end? It’s a matter of separating the lies from the truth although the question remains the same – how?

    All this human behavior stuff is like a rocket science. I often say if I wanted to be a shrink I would have gone to college to be one. I am exhausted!

          1. Timothy,

            Out of concern I would have helped her also. I remember the many times that my children and I needed help and people turned their back on us. I never want to do that to another person. So I was shocked at the ending of the story and the fact that I would of set myself up for a bad situation.

            In TeresaK’s comment she also showed how people don’t respond to others in need. [the smoke alarms and burglar alarms]

            I don’t know what the answer is in today’s world. After I heard that story I did go out and buy myself a cell phone. I’ve never had one. And with the trouble I had with the guy who tried to break into my house and threaten to come back and cut my head off – I put in a massive burglar alarm and lighting system. Years ago I always left my doors unlocked and was never afraid to go out after dark.

            A family unit or any group of people and society as a whole simply cannot survive without teamwork and caring for one another.

            I have the same question as TeresaK: “Whatever happened to neighborly concern?”

            Some people do not care and some people are fearful with good reason.

    1. Suzi,
      That can be very hard, because over time these individuals get more clever and deceitful in their lies and being able to chameleon into everyday lives of good folk, slowly rotting the bushel of apples, changing their views by elusive messages and conversations. Before we know it the CD have squirmed their way in and are now accepted as safe.

      Lies come in many shapes and forms and many so ambiguous, always subtly changing the truth to the point of leaving out one word as we have learned. Putting the innocent on defensive maintaining their position of advantage.

      Notice when you ask a direct question the CD don’t answer you, the CD make up a reasonable and argumentative answers/questions and reverse the tables, now its you and how dare you question. Would the real you come out or isn’t their one, the CD is consumed with lies and they want to fill you with a lie.

      The truth will set you free, one can lie just so long and someone will catch on and if the CD catches on they will want to destroy you. Do these people have self respect, respect for you or is it a self-serving agenda they are fulfilling. The CD know they are lying and will do anything to protect themselves, who are in fact the epitome of a a LIE. The object then is to destroy the truth holder, time will tell.

      Along the way they leave tells, half truths, questions and confusion, never directly answering a simple question. The CD sneak in and deceive, and then cast doubt and blame on the innocent. The truth will set you free, many times taking awhile for it to be revealed but in the meantime casting a pall over the innocent. I think all you true victims of the CD can identify with this.

      This county has been in a decline and will fall for failure to be vigilant and pursue truth. The deceivers of truth broke down our morale integrity of self respect. There is a faithful remanent of individuals that have carried the torch and hopefully others will jump aboard to help.

      Suzi, you are right individuals don’t appear to be who they represent themselves to be. How do we know, we are always caught up in wanting to believe in someone and think the best. When you least expect it you are punched in the face by another deceitful perpetrator posing to be someone they are not.

      I post here for the fact this site, blog was created for individuals that have been in relationships with the CD. A safe place from the individuals that have harmed us or will harm, a place to share experiences and receive validation, solutions and compassion. I didn’t think this is a place for a – non – having no clue who comments and delves into our personal traumas, like they really know what one has gone through, giving advise and information, echoing for the sake of talking. This isn’t, at least I thought it wasn’t, a place to occupy time and space with conversation and needless comments, especially, into such painful experiences, having no inkling of understanding. I say to the CD, how dare you imply the standards of empathy and false concern, especially, when you have never stood in my shoes nor ever will.

      This is in part what is wrong with the medical professionals today, they haven’t any conception of what is morally right and make excuses of tolerance for bad and improper behavior.

      In time the truth will be revealed, it always has and always will be revealed, the sad part, many times it comes to late and at the expense of the innocent.

    2. Suzi,

      I would had done just what the women had done. In taking a stranger like that in a parking lot raises suspicion. The call was the correct thing to do. Its not like you are at church and some one needs a ride. There are several classes available called Refuse to be a Victim, I highly recommend them. Usually, there are persons from the crime center and law enforcement that will provide information on how to handle these situations.

      When one takes another in their vehicle you are then become responsible via your insurance for your passenger depending on who hit who.

      A woman gave an acquaintance a ride to the store, when backing up she hit another vehicle. The passenger, sued her insurance company for supposedly whiplash. One has to use discernment in judging these situations. As you point out the quality of individuals has changed enormously in the last 50 some years. They lack character!

      1. BTOV,

        Speaking of legal issues – in my state a burglar can sue the homeowner for bodily damage as a result of a dog bite. There are circumstances which I can’t go into details because it all boggles and confuses my mind. Yea, another instance if I wanted to be a lawyer I would of gone to law school.

  6. You all bring up a topic that has always perplexed me.

    Why is it that in the mist of danger so many sit and do nothing.

    Case in point: The other day a car’s alarm went off and continued to go off for quite sometime. I was out on my balcony as were some of my other neighbors. I decided to check where the sound was coming from since my car was parked not that far away. What disturbed me was how nonchalant were this particular set of neighbors. They did not even look up from their cell phones during this blasting alarm.

    It finally stopped and no one was about. I may have put myself in danger because someone could have been breaking and entering. But it was the total lack of interest that boggles my mind.

    Case no. 2: The fire alarm went off in my building. Of all the people that lived there only one person came out of their apartment when I banged on the doors to get a head count. That person was in a corporate apartment and was not from around here.
    What I found so disturbing is that these people could have died. To my mind, the reason we have such loud alarms is for people to hear them and exit the building. But they did not. Their lack of interest in their own safety just again boggles my mind.

    Case No. 3: Fire alarms went off and the firemen were on their way….but there were still people that had to be convinced to leave their apartment. There was a concern that it was a gas main break that tripped the alarm. All came out well, but I guess I am asking “Am I my brother’s keeper when he refuses to keep himself?”


    Whatever happened to neighborly concern?

    1. Theresa K,
      I don’t think so, there are so many people that genuinely need our help and in many instances are screaming for it. I take care of my sis because she is incapable of it, many ask why I devote so much of myself to her, the answer is, this is an example of being our being our brothers keeper.

      To care for her is is very draining and at times very frustrating, but I believe that is what God wants of me and is my duty. The CD in my life are uncontrollable adults who choose to take the path they are on. Not much I can do about it but let them suffer the consequences of their behaviors and pray they find their way. I have to withdraw or they would pull me in and drown me in their snarled messes of lies and deceit.

      We are told to get away from those that would destroy us and pull us down. It was very thoughtful for you to try to help, a seemingly lost value by most to care nowadays.


    2. TheresaK,
      I think we can only be responsible for ourselves and what we do. I will continue to do what I think I can help with. I have been victimized and I am leery of whom I help.. Believe me once that happens to you you will be cautious.

      I was trained in Emergency Evacuation and would had been knocking on everyone’s door, but then the question becomes who gave me authority to do this? We live in a whole different world than years ago, when you would had been thanked for you thoughtfulness, not so in this day and age, people watch others get mugged and so on and walk by without a conscience.

      My X mother in law whose conduct and thought process always disturbed me, I didn’t know at the time what was wrong with her and now know she was N. CD was not discussed 30-35 years ago like if is now. I was rather young and naive at the time.

      She told me a story of watching a women in a dress and heels carrying a cake box. (this was 60 yrs ago)
      The woman’s heel caught on the cement lip of the the sidewalk crack and she went flying down.
      My X mother-in-law said she laughed so hard she pissed her pants.

      I was speechless, I then asked her “how could you laugh, why didn’t you help her?” She said she was to busy laughing.

      I said “dont you realize she could be hurt, she needed help, the cake was all over her, do you realize how humiliating and distressed she is.”

      My X MIL would not look at it in that context. I can tell you if it happened to her she would had welcomed the help.

      I took care of my MIL for 11 years she has dementia, so many times she was downright icy cold. She was always nice to me though and we got on well, I am very easy going and tolerant. Certain events have always haunted me until I was educated on CDNSP behavior. At the time I never knew and at times so confounded that one has lived their lives with these people.

      This is a very CD world and it is scary when you really think about it. What comes to mind is what 2 Timothy warns of in getting away from these kind.

  7. BTOV,

    You have written much for me to think about. I will respond later.

    Right now it’s important to get these two links to you:

    Just like Dr. Simon, both Pastors are very diligent and firm about keeping intruders and trouble makers out.

    You are safe there.

    Remember CD’s hide in the churches and in the pulpits also. With no exceptions – character disorders do not discriminate. Follow only those that speak the truth – God’s truth – directly from the Book.


  8. Charlie
    Yes I feel used. I fulfilled the life that he could not create himself. I was a believer that he was good but troubled. He was not “good” for years. I was misguided, misrepresentated, misinformed – missing a good life with a good mate. But it was my choice to stay for so long. Sometime perseverance is a bad thing – I thought he might get good again. Wish I’d have woke up much sooner. He showed me he was bad but I refused to believe it. I read on a blog – “believe he/she is bad “. The show themselves. Believe they can be bad to the core – some people are. Bad character! It cannot be fixed in my opinion.

    1. Lucy,

      It’s so disappointing, isn’t it, when your life plans blow up. It’s hard to face that what you thought isn’t at all what’s happening. I believe that is defined as cognitive dissonance. Not to mention all the convincing they do to ensure you think they’re a good person.

      I feel used too, and angry, and stolen from in the way of character. It must be nice to use some else’s good character traits to succeed and not have to do the work for oneself. This guy I married and I have had some pretty blunt conversations recently. No games allowed. I know, he knows, and he knows I know. It’s been surprising what he’s admitted to when I’ve called him out. He’s admitting to plotting and planning to control the outcome. He’s admitted my empathy and compassion are important ‘resources’ for him. He’s admitted to fighting or causing fights because he knows I don’t like fighting and will ‘go the extra mile’ for peace. I have to say……I am really pissed about it all! And I don’t feel ok about being viewed as a resource! Ugh!

      He also talked about how if he tells someone something negative about himself he knows they will then defend him to him about him. It’s part of the way he manages how people see him. I imagine you may have experienced that with the STBX. He told you he was bad and you defended him to him. Good people of good character believe that people are just beating themselves up because if they truly believed they were bad they would change.

      And, no, I don’t think they can change, I don’t think they want to change, and certainly not at this stage of life. It’s too long of a habit, too easy, and too rewarding.

      1. Wow Charlie, Great work…
        You managed to get him to admit his manipulative behavior and modus operandi. I thought that a character disturbed person will rather go down in his own shit than openly admit his shitty thought process. You must have managed to keep him pinned to his bad behavior instead of letting him slip away.
        I think you should be on alert and not get sucked back in. Admitting is just 1% of the total work that he needs to do.

        1. Charlie,
          Mine admitted too, he is probably confident you won’t leave him and is toying with you. As for using you as a sounding board it is not unusual for the CD to pick your brain for how to properly deal with others.

          I was the bridge that connected with everyone, I had no problem getting along with others whereas he had no emotional skills to understand the needs of others. When he needed to he would ask me what I would do and sure enough he would use it and then it became his.

          People who are void of empathy can mimic what they have learned and they are very adept at deceit, leaving a normal individual with the feeling they are understood.

          What happens is we teach the Replicants to be even more savvy in fooling their prey. One can be easily fooled by these individuals and make no mistake they are very elusive in their deceit. They can easily pretend they care and are good at saying the right things.

          I used to travel and still do to some extent in social political circles with politicians and business men, you would be amazed how they can turn on the charm to suck you in and in reality not give a hoot about you all the while using you for secondary gain. I can tell you some of these individuals are expert at playing people. There are good people too, I am not as naive as I used to be and I find it interesting to observe the covert interactions that go on.

          I thought you were planning on leaving, would a separation, such as a vacation give you time away to sort out and give you breathing room to look at everything in a different light? Many times this can give us a perspective we hadn’t considered. Maybe just some peace and relaxation a break from the battlefield. This must be draining on you physically, I know it was on me.

        2. Thanks, Andy,

          I hadn’t really thought of it as an accomplishment but you’re right, it is an accomplishment, so thank you.

          I’ll know if he’s truly making changes if he offers his modus operandi instead of me calling him out and gaining his agreement with his explanation. He really dislikes things being out in the open. Being ‘normal’ and seeing himself as a good person is very important to him.

          Do you think this method may work with your wife? Am I remembering accurately that constant lying is the problem there?

          1. Well. Calling out may work on my wife, but it may be too late now. She is not in my house, and I do not plan to let her in again without any major concession. If one year separation cannot make a dent in her behavior, then nothing ever will.
            Lying is the base tactic. And it is topped by almost every other major tactics.

          2. Andy,
            Over the time period that you have been separated, the loss of intimacy I understand is what is the breaking point in the relationship.

            Once that is gone everything pertaining to a relational foundation is lost and cannot be recaptured. I am so sorry especially for your relationship with your child.

            My neighbor just had his wife leave him and took his sons. All she complained about is he worked to hard and didn’t give her what she wanted. He is a good guy and was always doing things with his sons. He wanted his older son 13 to learn work ethics and was going to be my paid lawn cutter and helper for the summer, oh well.

            I saw her come with her new BF and take away everything she wanted in the house. He told me she cleaned out every bit of food. I gave him Dr. SImons latest book and agreed to take his dogs out if need be when he had to stay late at work. I could tell you more, but it makes me ill.

            It all boils down to being selfish and a lack of character on her part, which is so obvious. He told me he didn’t care what she took from him the only thing is he wants his sons. This she is using against him.

            I am grateful to have the resources of Dr. Simons work to share with others. Hopefully, this will give him some answers and a resource in dealing with her.

          3. Andy,

            I didn’t realize you were separated. I don’t think these characters can change and any changes would only be marginal with a lot of boundary work by the spouse. I would never recommend anyone volunteering for my position.

            It sounds to me that you feel conflicted or sad about ending the relationship. Is there any help I can give you? Or maybe I’m just misinterpreting.

            And may I ask, how did you get her out of your house?

          4. Charlie,

            I don’t think I am too sad now. She trampled over relationship, and I am about to end her games permanently.

            How did I got her out of the house?
            She walked out “temporarily”. I made it “permanent”.

          5. Andy,

            Good for you. And I saw the answers you gave to Lucy’s questions. I think they are very logical and show good boundaries.

            Like you I have issues with easy divorces. I don’t know if it’s cultural per se but I believe in the seriousness of the promises I made.

            I no longer look at the marriage ceremony as a warm and fuzzy time to declare feelings and promises but as a contract requiring witnesses. When one person does not hold up their agreements in the contract, the contract is void. My contract was voided almost from the start, I just didn’t recognize it.

      2. Charlie
        Wow. He actually admitted to you his tactics. He knows you knows. The Game Is Over. If he had any sense he’d allow this divorce in an equitable manner and you both keep money instead of giving it to the lawyers. Meanwhile, I’d be closing charge cards that have joint names, doing what you can to prepare for the day that will come in time, and I know you are. You are doing a tremendous amount of work.

        1. Lucy,

          Who said he had any sense? 🙂 lol

          I am doing the work, I’m working on completely restructuring things, and taking advantage of the time to do it.

          I will also remember to use the money to the lawyers reason. He’s not a fan of lawyers so that may give me an edge.

          1. When they are out in the open they up the anti. If and when he decides and views you as the enemy it can become dangerous. The threat will bring out the fight or fight. Be careful in this and don’t underestimate. Confront with love and concern, with some of these individuals it can calm them down. Confrontation has to be received in a non-combative light.

            Mine hated lawyers with a passion and made it worse. When the time comes this will present as a whole new animal.

    2. Lucy,
      I think they reach a point of no return too. I would like to think they would have their come to Jesus moment but it becomes unimaginable what it would take for them to reach out for help when they are already wallowing at the bottom.. It seems there might be a moment of eye opening and then, quickly they close their eyes again and they adjust to their new bottom.

      It is so very sad the lives they destroy all for their false selves. All for the preservation of their self-esteem which is lacking in any form of self respect.

      When you love someone and have so much of yourself invested in your relationship, I believe it is more complicated in our cases to leave because we were truly honest and committed. Therefore, we believed they were honest and it becomes difficult to see the truth when they keep weaving the web of lies. It is not easy for us to look at and except what was staring us in the face all along.

      It is better late than never and out of the wreckage there will be a blessing for you. I am so glad you have had the strength and perseverance to come this far.
      Just think of all the souls who never made it.

  9. To All,

    I have listened, observed, and participated on this blog for a little while now. I’ve seen what Lucy is going through now, what Teresa and BTOV have gone through, and what Andy is anticipating going through in order to dissolve the relationship with the character disturbed. I am trying to do the only thing that may possibly work. He decides to leave, he decides to dissolve the relationship, he discards me.

    As I said to him, “Let’s face reality, if I decide to end the relationship, you (he) will ruin us both. You’ll ruin your career, your credit, your life as well as mine to control the outcome. You’re that guy, the guy who will cut off his nose despite his face. So you have to decide you don’t want this relationship any more, we both know that’s the only way a divorce will go well.”

    I haven’t been fighting with him, I’ve been calling out what he’s doing in a cool, calm, dispassionate, clinical way. I’ll tell him that he’s just saying such and such because he’s trying to start a fight to avoid this or that. I’m not going to fight. If you don’t want to do X, fine, then Y will not happen as well. The result is I’m no longer getting tired and exhausted, he is. He’s working so hard to find another way to counter and each way is being met with calm resistance, he’s wearing himself out.

    Now I doubt the end result will be fruitful and I don’t know how long I will be able to hold out in getting caught up in the web again but I do know that boredom is a problem for him. I need to not be a resource, I need to not give him the outcome he prefers (Win / Lose), I need to not reward any of his behaviors, good or bad because he takes a mile for every inch given. I need to be boring and frustrating to him. He will never cooperate on doing something he does not choose to do. If he chooses, then he’ll be all that is kind and benevolent (and let everyone know how kind and benevolent he is.)

    He made a commitment to leave by June 30 if things don’t significantly improve and I’m going to hold him to that boundary. If things improve, he’ll need to commit to continuing to improve by July 30 and so on and so forth. I don’t think I have much to lose and everything to gain. We all know what will happen if I leave, if I force him out so we’ll see what happens here. I’ll keep everyone posted on the progress or lack thereof as the case may be.

    1. Charlie,

      You’re right about if you leave the divorce will be hell. Do you think he’ll decide to divorce you? You’re situation is complex, to say the least.
      A little insight into my attempt to try to settle things with the Jerk before I left the marital home and filed, and keeping in mind I did not know all the misdeeds he’d done for the past three or four years: He started out in what I thought would be a “fair” settlement, being I keep my pension, we split everything else half/half. He tried to convince me to buy a home and him live in the lower level, separately, and pay me rent so that I could pay real estate taxes with it. (are you kidding me?) He was sucking up to me big time, while still hiding his past activities and me still being in the blind. He played me like a puppet. I wasted MORE time and effort. I helped bring him back up on his feet, after falling to his knees with losing his law license, being publically exposed through the newspaper, him not talking or taking ANYONE’S calls, me being the only person he would even talk to, but at the same time still screwing with me! — his only “friend”. I facilitated him procuring a job. So then I knew I could leave. When I did leave him boy did he jump back up on his feet and kick me as hard and fast as he could, and still is. Gratitude? Zero.
      Charlie, I hope yours is not toying with you. Can you do something so over the top he will have to want to divorce you, something really despicable? I can’t imagine what it could be – without making him angry at you, then wanting the divorce hell revenge.
      I know all our stories are different and I sure hope you get the outcome you deserve, an equitable divorce without drama and excessive attorney fees.

      1. Lucy,

        I don’t think despicable will work to my advantage unless maybe I get caught in bed with someone. Frankly, I’m not even sure that will work (Letting everyone know that I’ve been under a lot of stress, he forgives me.). If it does work, there will be hell on earth to pay. (Not to mention damage to my self respect. )

        I recognize the tactic the STBX used on you. I’ve experienced it as well. He was still using all he could bring out of you. Been there, done that. It’s all what are you doing for me right now, past is the past. Gratitude is just a word.

        When I asked him the question about what does he get out of the marriage and he answered me as a resource it occurred to me, duh, I need to stop being a resource. Boring, I need to be boring and kinda dumb.

        Can’t hurt and I gave to say it cuts into my self respect to be used as a resource. Definitely watching for games and toying.

    2. Charlie,

      I think you instinctively got the right way to deal with your CD, “…I haven’t been fighting with him, I’ve been calling out what he’s doing in a cool, calm, dispassionate, clinical way… I need to be boring and frustrating to him…”

      As Lucy says, your are in dangerous territory. He knows his mask is off. If he is not repenting, then he is plotting against you. You should secure the things that rightfully belong to you. Otherwise, you may get surprise of your life on June 30th.

      1. Andy,

        Agreed, although, I think he’s trying to marginally improve so that June 30 I won’t have a clear reason. That’s fine, continued improvement for the next month and I have a lot I need to accomplish now that I have a true direction and a possible pathway.

        My biggest concern, speaking of dangerous territory, is a complete melt down when he is holding everything internally. Impulse, frustration, boredom, anger explosion. He is starting to fight with other people (his brother, his parents, and a neighbor) so that’s a plus.

        His mask is not really off, he’s just not hiding the mask right now. Does that make sense? I’ve seen his mask slip, he’s cold, heartless, and contemptuous. It’s scary, I don’t to push him that far. Even he doesn’t seem to like the mask to slip.

        1. Charlie,

          You really have no control over his “complete melt down”. And, he is not holding everything internally, only thing that he probably is increasingly hating is that he is being held accountable.
          And, the moment he realizes that “complete melt down” concerns you, he will not hesitate to use threat or even a fake display to his selfish end.

          What you control is how you react to his “complete melt down”, and what preparation you have made. I hope you take a rightful position and do not budge from that. Or, you can choose to give up on him, act even boring than usual, and walk away from him permanently.

          Does your heart skips a beat on thought of taking a rightful position and not budging? 🙂 Well, courage is not about being fearless, it is about overcoming fear. And, preparation and rehearsal helps. I know the heart skipping a beat feeling… if my wife suddenly appears in house unannounced, my heart will skip a beat or two. There is nothing gender specific about fear. Fear of something is conditioning, so is ability to deal with same thing is conditioning. One needs to plan and deal with expected and unexpected outcome to best of their ability. Easier said than done. 🙂

          If you are really afraid of pushing him too far even though you feel you are right and he is wrong, then you probably should be protecting your rightful possessions in preparation of coming divorce.

          1. I think courage/fear thing doesn’t come out well.
            Another way to put it will be that you feel the fear, but you do it anyways. After sometime, you won’t even feel the fear.

          2. Charlie,

            Your fears are certainly warranted. That is the scary party, will they blow? Will they lose it? People lose it all the time and kill the spouse and then themselves.
            About a year before I left The Jerk he was arguing with people in stores, clerks, strangers, family members, just about everyone he encountered. He could not contain his ugly anymore. I saw him get worse and worse.
            Your husband sounds similar. He’s losing it. You are onto him and he has to make changes or at least “appear” to make changes.
            You are indeed smart to get your ducks in a row before he blows, before you leave.
            A friend of mine – of whom was abused by her husband – told me that if I wanted to leave him, and in a hurry, to not hesitate to come to live with her. I hope you have somewhere to go if need be, in a hurry. She’d wished she had somewhere to go at times. And I did. After me being away for a three day weekend without telling the jerk where I was going and when I’d be back, I came home, (he’d been living downstairs, me up) and he announced that he “wasn’t holding a room open for me to come and go as I pleased. I’m moving back upstairs.” I left that same day. And I did not have my ducks in a row.
            Geez, it’s hard watching you go through this.

        2. Charlie,
          Andy and Lucy have given good advice, I would heed their warnings. These are very angry men we are dealing with. Underestimating can be deadly.

          There is good fear and bad fear. When we take hold of the negative fear it gives us the ability to move forward. Courage is to do the right thing regardless of all obstacles and requires morale integrity.

          The good fear saves us from harm and alerts us, with this we make solid choices based on logic rather than emotions.

          Be very careful, you have painted a very volatile person. At times like this given his pathology he can have psychotic breaks. He can become very desperate and dangerous, I would be very careful if I were you. I have dealt with persons when they are in psychosis, one needs to be very careful and have a good understanding. I was lucky at times when this happened, you may not be, remember you are the object that he projects his hatred onto.

          One cannot play different roles in situations like this that are out of the ordinary. Depending on the person, you may be playing with fire that will get out of control and be burned severely. Andy, is right, if you can feel the vibes your gut is telling you something. In cases like these this is where well trained medical professionals are needed.


  10. Andy,

    Has she been out for a year now? Have you noticed a change in your mental/emotional/physical state? I know, they still create havoc even when not living under the same roof, but do you feel any peace of mind?

    1. Yes, Lucy. There has been a significant change in my state. All for the better. I am at lot more peace, and there is visible improvement in health. 🙂

      Early on lot of anxiety, hope, and anger. Followed by anger on her as well as myself when it dawned to me what kind of person she is. Then, frustration+anger when she continued blaming me and refused to acknowledge her bad behavior. Now, things are lot more peaceful, even though I am one signature away from filing divorce petition.

      And, I know future is not bright, whether she learns something or I file divorce. But, that is life., everyone has some problem or other.

      1. Andy,

        I’m glad you’re feeling ok. I went through those exact same stages.
        You’ve got to have energy to go through the divorce hell. Just saying . . . .

      2. Andy,
        Are you giving her another chance by having her move back in? Do you even “like” her? I’d think having her move back in after that long would be awkward and then be hard to get her out again.
        Have you yet met another woman of whom you enjoy the companionship and normalcy?
        If these questions are too private, I understand. I’m just trying to get a feel for what is happening with you.
        I’ll tell you what, it sure is nice having a mate who has just normal issues, not all this drama and psychological confusion, illusion and delusion (how did you like that?)
        I don’t believe for a second that a person will change for the reasons the other person wants them to change to keep the relationship.
        As I told The Jerk, “Why would you quit doing this now for the reason because I won’t tolerate it? Is that a reason to quit?” It’s like a kid being caught doing something and being punished and him begging to not get punished after being “caught”. It’s not being sorry, remorseful. They REGRET it all right. They regret they were stupid enough to do what they do and now have to pay the consequences. They REGRET the consequences.
        I’m not a cheerleader to stick with a person with bad character. We deserve better. I think in simplistic terms, even very convoluted situations, I can simply them. Such as: Do you Like this person? Do you feel sickened in their presence? Why take on a “project” that most probably will be a failure?
        Andy, I’m on your side. People with CD are a real pain.

        1. Lucy,

          Thanks for asking. I don’t mind answering those. Maybe you and others can comment on my ideas.

          Are you giving her another chance by having her move back in?
          A. It is conditional, like counseling first etc. Thanks to blogs, comment on this website, I think I can judge in few session even if she tries hard to fake it. And, once I file for divorce, even conditional moving back will be out of question.

          Do you even “like” her?
          A. No. But, I do not hate her gut either. No one is perfect, and she probably is more toward darker shade of grey. So, I am in wait and watch mode. I like to believe that she is capable of turning around. But probability is too low, one of the counselor I met told me to give up on her within an hour of first session.

          Have you yet met another woman of whom you enjoy the companionship and normalcy?
          A. No. More than my tendency to keep things simpler, I think I am too lazy.

          all this drama and psychological confusion, illusion and delusion (how did you like that?)
          A. I hate that. How would one feel when he comes to know all that drama was there just to fool him about the real goal.

          I don’t believe for a second that a person will change for the reasons the other person wants them to change to keep the relationship.
          A. Very true. Among the many things that I told her was “do the right thing” and nothing more.

          Why take on a “project” that most probably will be a failure?
          A. There is a cultural difference in attitude toward divorce. It is not quick and easy for me. So, I will let her sabotage her last 1% chance. And, I won’t let her in before she improves her chances to more than 50%.

          Essentially, I have told her what I am going to do, when I am going to do that, and she is free to do anything in the meanwhile, and my recommendation to her is to do the right thing.

          1. Here is my idea of counseling, if she comes to that…

            Within few minutes of counseling, I will ask her a question, where a truthful answer will put her in bad light. She is going to lie, shift blame etc.
            I will simply call her out, and leave her with therapist to discuss my feedback. She can weave all her magic if she likes, and she pay for the session!
            No mercy! 🙂

          2. AndyD,
            I did a similar thing too, he was really good for 6 months, really pulled the wool over my eyes. Then, slowly he crept back to old behavior, instead of it being at the level where I first confronted, it got 10 times worse to the point of utter annihilation.

            Being a man and the strength you have is a plus. Having medical issues is another, the emotional strength one must secure can become extremely taxed and therefore draining on ones resolve and physical strength making one more symptomatic. These individuals are extremely toxic and the toxicity spews over onto you.

            I wish you all the best AndyD

          3. BTOV,

            Coming to gender specific issues… males do have some advantage, but not much. If males exercise that small advantage, then they are much better off. But, if males fail to exercise that small advantage, then they are much worse off. So, gender difference probably accentuate the situation at both end.

            Physical strength is meaningless in close relationship, except for few moments if things come down to real violence. Otherwise it is just shouting, threat, inducing/feeling fear and at worst pushing/restraining thing. I know one 60+ age couple, a 5- feet women managed to demolish a 6+ feet athletic person so much that he is just bidding his time to his death.
            One really needs to be strong in mind to deal with these mindf**kers. Emotional strength is what matters, and it is gender neutral.
            Financial independence is excellent support to have, and ability to earn decent money is sort of naturally available to any sensible male. It reduces dependence a lot.

  11. Joey,

    So you gave me a little motivation! I went to the gym yesterday, first time in about six weeks. Wow – got a major hamstring Charlie Horse after doing some weights. I did get a 50 minute nature walk in. Walked the stairs today at work – it’s happening.

    1. Joey,

      So I am taking the steps at work. Not running up them yet. I’m so out of shape. Working my way into it.

  12. Charlie,
    It is hard to determine what he may do, we haven’t any personal knowledge or experience with him or have observed or talked with him. We are going on what you have told us and own experiences. You can sift through the input from all the people here who have truly experienced and dealt with these individuals first hand. This should help you and hopefully, as time goes on we can lend more insight and support.

    My therapist and doctors told me I was the best judge on what the CD would do considering the knowledge I had, you will be the best judge of your situation where others have no clue. I had 5 doctors give me personal scenario’s and asked what I would do, tooting my horn, I am grateful that I could do this as it helped me grow. So a positive win/win….

    A compliment indeed, one of my doctors is in professor of psychiatry and a graduate of Yale no less. He wanted me to write a thesis on Narcissism and submit it for grading, somewhat an experiment with his students on what a lay person could comprehend on their own I had previously taken all the pre-entrance examines for nursing school and didn’t follow through. At this point in life I know I could do it academically, but am to old and physically not able. I have been approached with some opportunities for coaching.

    Charlie, I shared the above because I know you are a very astute and educated person, you get it. Now the decision time, I don’t know how old you are and how many years you have behind you and those two things are a significant factor on your decision making and don’t forget about your health and what the future consequences of that may bring..

    Are you willing to play the game and do you think you can establish boundaries that are permanent. It will be an ongoing battle to keep those established boundaries and at the same time as the need presents itself set new boundaries on top of all the everyday life complexities and dealing with health issues at they arise. It can become a mighty strain on yourself to juggle all this. Is his conduct getting worse, the CD in my family all have taken a turn for the worse.

    Can you stay living together and share a life but at the same time remain separate and live your own life? What is he capable of and what are his ultimate goals and desires? Still, what you may know about him may only be a small part of the whole of what is going on in his head. Charlie, Does he want to stay married?

    I tried some of the above but not to the extent you are confronting him, my CD became very defensive and upped the anti of his rules in the game. Make no mistake this is a game of war with them when their behavior is called into question. At the time of my confrontation I was taking care of my mother-in-law that has dementia, my sister and my mother all of which I was and the activated POA, and then my health issues. I have POA not activated for two others and will not take on anymore. I shouldn’t say this,on Memorial Day evening I took an old women I know to the emergency she had fallen, l sat with her for 6 hours, she has no one.

    If I knew what I know now I would had done things differently. It will be interesting to see how things play out with you.

    Depending on what you do the scenario will be different. Preparedness is very important and start building a solid support system if you can. I did not have anyone and this made it difficult. I must say my doctors were phenomenal in support but having an outside support is very important. There were many people I knew, but one has to discern objectively who to involve. Most people do not understand the pathology of the CD and therefore, can make the situation worse.

    It took me many years to get to the place I am at and am a constant work in progress. I feel for you, so much senseless pain and tragedy. I pray you are successful in your attempts to save your marriage. In applying all the knowledge you have it will be rewarding to hear of someone having success.

    Blessings to you Charlie

  13. BTOV,

    I responded to you May 31ST and June 1st – both comments got thrown into moderation because I included two links. It’s my understanding that the system will accept only one link in a comment. Gee, I was frantic that I got booted out of the group!

    Anyhow here’s one and the second will follow.

  14. BTOV,

    Just like Dr. Simon, both Pastors are very diligent and firm about keeping intruders and trouble makers out.

    You are safe there.

    Remember CD’s hide in the churches and in the pulpits also. With no exceptions – character disorders do not discriminate. Follow only those that speak the truth – God’s truth – directly from the Book.

  15. To All,

    Thank you for all the thoughts, advice, perspectives and contemplation on my situation. It’s very much appreciated and so very warming to know such support is available to me. 🙂

    I don’t know if this will help clarify anything, particularly regarding Andy’s courage/fear conversation (Thank you for that, Andy, it was very clear, clarifying and insightful.)

    So I strongly suspect that I’m dealing with a psychopath. And I don’t mean the screaming, angry you’re-a-monster-you’re-a-psychopath kind of way but the gut instinctual knowledge something is very WRONG with his emotional register.

    Jeeze, it always sounds so hysterically melodramatic. I’ve gone back and forth for a lot of years on this topic, I’ve told myself to disregard the label and just focus on bad character or grandiose narcissist or manipulator but for me it always comes back down to this and the chilling fear I feel when I get a glimpse of the image behind the mask or the mask slips a bit.

    I grew up with very selfish, highly narcissistic parents. They most likely would be considered malignant narcissists by many and they are very upfront about their narcissitic ways……they are entitled, they demand but they are very emotional and know how they feel about things. Low empathy for others but they have plenty of emotional responses, quite a few are inappropriate and lacking any boundaries. They can be very deep thinkers and have thoughts and opinions on many topics.

    The guy I married is different, he brags about being a robot without any feelings. He brags about how he doesn’t waste his time on thinking or having opinions on all this stuff people care about but what they think doesn’t really matter. He brags about how his head can be empty of all thought whereas all of ours is always filled up with a bunch of stupid stuff. We should all be like him. He can easily recognize feelings in others by expression but he seems to have very limited feelings about even himself. And I don’t recall once in 22 years of marriage a comment from him observing my emotional state (You look Sad, Happy, Angry, ect) I don’t know if I’m explaining this well.

    Here’s one example, 6 years ago his grandmother died and of course we went to the funeral. It was the type of funeral where the person was very old (90’s), infirm, and had feelings of relief mixed with the grief that her struggles and suffering are over. It was a grave side burial. When the casket was being lowered into the grave, everyone started crying. He was shocked and freaked out and asked me what was going on, why was everyone crying. I was shocked and freaked out that he had to ask, and I answered, “Because it’s sad; I’ll explain later.” I then watched him look around, try on several expressions, pinch the bridge of his nose hard and manage to look a little teary eyed. It was chilling and every instinct in my body screamed to run far and fast.

    Another example is he ‘chooses’ his attitude. He’s heard the expression so he chooses to be in a good mood. He’ll get angry about people commenting that he seems to be in a bad mood. He doesn’t seem to have any concept of the emotional process involved in choosing your attitude. And when I explain it to him, he just looks at me blankly……no emotional connection to choosing between positive or negative outlooks.

    I don’t understand it and it is very scary to me. I know if I ‘treat’ him like he has the emotions of a psychopath, I get better results. I don’t know, maybe we all think our CD’s are psychopaths or act like psychopaths. Maybe this is normal for CD’s.

    I know my support structure is very limited. Most end up on his ‘side’ and the few others who see tell me to leave and then back away from the situation, emotionally and physically. I’ve had several people tell me they don’t want to be shot by him so they won’t get involved. My response every time this has happened is, “But I thought you liked him.” And their response is that they do. He has never been physically violent. I find this very confusing, how do you worry about getting shot by someone and liking them at the same time?

    I know I’ve spent a lot of time and energy in managing my fears in the wake of what appears so psychopathic. I can’t say all my fears are managed but I’ve been slowly but surely overcoming many of them. When I tried to leave before, it was so bad and was my worst fears come to life and some fears I never dreamed possible. So I’m dealing with them now. I’m determined this is not going to be my life no matter how long it takes. But I think I need to be very careful.

    Does this sound similar to what others are experiencing with the CD in their lives?

    1. Charlie,

      Your husband sounds nothing like The Jerk I married. His confusion at the funeral by all the emotions is indeed strange. You are dealing with a scary strange one.
      The Jerk I married has never been physically violent but I am concerned that he could lose it and kill me then himself. I think this because of all his abnormal behaviors. He lives such a lie. So it’s out there – you don’t know what they will do. They may not know what they will do.
      There is a safe way to leave but it would take lots of planning and perhaps police involvement. As you know, many women do get killed when they leave the mate, going as far as killing the whole family. Their mind breaks.
      So, yes, I understand your fears. They are legitimate. And your husband is dangerous. I believe he has what psychiatrists call “flat affect”, having or showing no emotion. Some medications can do that to a person – as have so in my son to a degree.
      Stay strong. You’ll get through this. We have and are.

      1. Thanks, Lucy,

        It helps to know if this is or isn’t similar to what others experience. Normal gets so skewed when manipulation is being used. He usually has somewhat rational excuses for his behavior but they are never consistent. I ‘chose’ to accept many of the excuses because the alternative was too outrageous to even consider.

        I’ve been considering it a lot for quite a while now.

        I get what you mean about ‘flat affect.’ Normally, he is very energetic, charming, fun, and is always making jokes. When I see the ‘flat affect’ I feel like I’m getting a glimpse behind the mask. On the rare occasion the mask slips, he’s like a completely different person.

        I used to be very worried about the murder suicide scenario. I still sometimes worry about it but I suspect he doesn’t care enough to go that route. But there is no doubt I will pay dearly and there are things worse than death in my opinion.

        I am working to have him ‘volunteer’ for a physical separation and then, like Andy, I’ll make it permanent. We’ll see how that goes. I suspect: The more it’s his choice, the better off I will be.

      1. Thanks, Suzi,

        That was an interesting article. Aspies sound like very functional psychopaths. The differences listed between the two were interesting to me. I don’t think he fits AS, though:

        1. He loves tricking and duping people. He’s says it’s fun to mess with someone’s head and to see how suggestable people are.
        2. His startle reflex seems deficient. He’ll turn look at me, blink and say, “You startled me.” I’ve never seen him jump or actually ‘start.’
        3. Theory of the Mind, he is very, very good at reading expressions. He just hides it well. I have a book by Paul Eckland on micro expressions. There is a test showing images in the back of the book. He got everyone of them correct. I missed only a few but I was shocked that he did so well.
        4. He is charming, fun to be around, not socially awkward. The only thing that causes awkwardness is how not awkward he is.

        1. Charlie,

          Oh heck, the label doesn’t matter – it’s not safe for you!

          Play dumb – don’t let him know anything – absolutely nothing, not what you think, feel or plan to do.

          Make your plans and BE SAFE!

          1. Charlie,

            And hide all the books and computer stuff you have been reading.

            It’s all lessons for him to use and abuse you to a further degree.

          2. Suzi,
            Yes, Yes, Yes, that is what I did. I am getting nauseous just reading all this. Get the stuff out of the house, Eckland, egads, he’s reading him too. The one thing I didn’t do is educate the CD to anything. The CD used to ask me to explain things to him and called Dr.—–. I would play dumb and am I glad. You are describing the XCD almost to a T.

            Charlie, please listen, not careful, you need to vigilant and use extreme caution. I will tell you this, I had to disappear for 3 years and now he knows where I am. Nothing has changed and I don’t live in fear. I am planning on moving out of state. I have utilized the authorities and went No Contact from the start.

            It is a blessing you have found this blog, there are many good and caring individuals here that will help carry you. I wasn’t able to utilize this site but read it. Humility carried me and I am grateful. All the knowledge I acquired helped me to make good decisions. All I can say is do not ever underestimate these individuals.

            Now, as soon as I see the flags go up I cut and run from the CD. Family CD, in dealing with them, I never waiver, I never show weakness. I did the same with the CD, I never wavered, I always tried to keep a blank expression and never looked at him. This threw him off.

            Just a thought, have you ever recorded one of your conversations or two for at least the sake of posterity. You may want too.

            Your in my thoughts and prayers Charlie, its like reliving my own again. I am in a good place now, but the draining it will take will be immense if you are already ill. I really feel for you.

        2. Charlie,

          I think this man reads you well. He is in your mind, just as you are in his. The more you reveal about him the more anxious and uptight I feel – just reading it. My gut feeling is he is dangerous and he’s probably on to you. Listen to your gut. What does it say?

          1. Lucy,

            I’m sorry this is causing you anxiety, please, don’t take my problem on as your own.

            I’ve lived with this for 22 years, it distressing and scary but I think I’m getting used to the idea, getting past most of the fear, and have started thinking of this as a type of really messed up handicap.

            My gut, my heart and my head are in agreement about this…..
            I don’t think he cares enough about me to risk a criminal act. I’m a possession to him, an object that is his until he doesn’t want it anymore.

            I think my best strategy is to understand how his mind works well enough for him to to lose interest. I’ve already had positive or more positive outcomes in the past 2 weeks than 6+ years combined.

            My other strategy is to hire a hooker and lure him away. With my luck, I’d hire an undercover cop and get arrested! (Thought a little levity was in need!)

          2. To All,

            I am safe and keeping myself safe. Leaving will be the biggest unsafe thing I do, hence the strategy for him to discard and my hesitation in being the one to leave or kick him out.

            I don’t know if I can get it done but it’s giving me hope and direction and a sense of purpose again. It’s only with the understanding I’ve made in understanding character, manipulation and psycopathy that I’ve started to see some improvements in handling him. And I’m not nearly as drained as I’ve been so I’m not ‘feeding’ him, so to speak.

            I also know it’s extremely important for him to appear normal and to even believe he’s normal. (We’re the screwed up ones and should be more like him….he’s got it all figured out. ). I think that’s his big vulnerability.

            I haven’t been ok for a long while. I’m starting to feel ok again so I think that means I’m doing the right things for me. I can’t hide anymore, it is seen as a weakness and that and fear can’t be perceived or I’ll stay a resource.

            I’m going to be ok, I believe that. I can do this.

          3. To All,

            I forgot to mention, he is not much of a reader. I think he already skimmed Dr. Simon’s books and has already lost interest (sorry Dr. Simon.) He’s still talking about saying yes or no to the will so we’ll see what will happen there. Most likely, he’ll talk about it and it will sound really good but won’t actually action it.

            And he definitely didn’t read Paul Eckland’s book. He’s a high ranking officer in the military, part of his job was to head up military tribunals during one of his deployments. He’s had CIA training on interrogation, tactics, and deception. He’s had military schooling on psychological operations and strategy. There isn’t much I can introduce to him that compares.

    2. Charlie,

      My X father in law died of lung cancer. X is an only child and we kept his father at home I helped take care of him for 8 months. The morning he died I was in another part of the state taking care of our home business. I was called early that morning that he died, I cried my eyes out for hours. When I got back to the house my X had all the belongings of his father packed up.

      I had planned on my mother-in-law coming back home with us. However, she was packed up and informed me she was going to Las Vegas, a neighbor had called saying someone canceled and they were looking for someone to fill the vacancy. Her husband wasn’t even dead 12 hours .

      I was utterly dumbstruck on this behavior, she is dancing around excited to go and I am utter shock and grief. I loved him and he was gone, I hadn’t said goodbye, I only had gone home for a day, I felt guilty I had left.

      No funeral, no memorial, nothing, no tears. As soon as she came home she emptied out the closets. My father-in-law never once complained of pain, he was so brave and she so brutal and cold. At that time I was appalled and had no idea of what these people were. They truly are alien and reptillian.

      The day before he died he asked once for a pain pill, she called me and asked “should I give him a pain pill?” remarking “you know he can get addicted.”
      I said “Give him the pain pill, he is dying.” She continued to argue about the pill and finally agreed to give it to him.

      Charlie, the things you are describing are very serious, I am not at liberty to say how serious in regards to me, that is how serious yours can get. Make no mistake they have crossed a line from the narcissistic mindset to psychopathy. There can be underlying psychiatric disturbances you are not even aware of.

      Individuals like this can and do have psychotic breaks and can become very dangerous if not deadly. Make no mistake about it, this does not make them incompetent either. I don’t mean to frighten you, I hope you have a well informed health care professional that is working with you.

      Short but brief, true story, was on national news. A woman left her husband and he clubbed her unconscious, drove her to an isolated storage locker, stuffed her in a barrel in winter, put the barrel in the storage locked and left her for dead. However, and she attributes to divine intervention someone came to their locker and heard her muffled screams. She lived but is in a wheelchair.

      A woman doctor stuffed her husband in a barrel of acid, they found his undissolved remains.

      another woman I know that works for NAMI told the story of how her husband arranged to kill her and another woman was brutally strangely and left for dead. Don’t underestimate, as I said you are describing a very angry and volatile man, the worst thing you can be doing is trying to get in his head especially when the mask is torn away and displaced by you!

      This world and the people in it are getting crazier by the minute. I pray you think deeply about what and how you are going to approach your leaving. There is support at the women center too, when it comes to these situations there are no walls.

      I have never talked about this to this degree, this is how disturbing what you are reporting is. Flags are flying everywhere and the other posters feel it too.

      God be with you Charlie.

      1. BTOV,

        First, thank you for your response. The X and his mother sound very sadistic and heartless. And I’m very sorry that you have gone through such difficulty.

        Second, I hope the red flags going up to you and other posters are FOR me and not ABOUT me. As I mentioned, I’ve had a number of people back away due to his behavior including his family priest who married us. He also suggested ‘sociopathy’ in regards to his dealing with his family. And, no, I no longer have a mental health provider to help me with this. And psychopathy has come up with several of them in regards to some of the behaviors I’ve described. I have also noticed they back away and there is an implicit agreement to not talk about this subject or things that lead up to this subject, which is not helpful for me. I imagine they’re relieved when I stop going to them.

        When I said to Lucy, there are things worse than death, I was not referring to being stuffed in a barrel. 🙂 My home, my dogs, my things are very important to me and help me feel grounded and provide a sense of well being. While he says they’re important to him, he really has no connection and will sell everything I own. It’s a huge vulnerability for me and he knows it. He’ll make sure I can’t keep a job, or friends, or anyone that would assist or support me just as he did before. I said to him when all that was going on, that I feared he might lose it and harm me and his response was cold and contemptuous, “I would never ruin my career or my life over you like that. You’re not worth going to jail for.” I think that was one if the few truthful responses he’s made, the mask slipped. I remind myself of that often.

        That being said impulsiveness, self control or internal brakes are a problem for him. But he is very, very functional, so he has at least some assemblence of self control when he chooses.

        I really hope no ones feels fearful or threatened from what I’ve revealed. I’ve wanted to talk about it for awhile and, honestly, I need to talk about it some. I cannot live my life in fear of what he may or may not do or is or is not capable. My dealings are very different than Lucy’s and she’s very concerned about the Jerk’s potentional to harm and rightly so. Disturbed people of all varieties are potentional threats.

        Interestingly enough, the more I call him on his behavior, the less empathy and compassion I show, the more he seems to have a grudging respect like attitude for me.

        I’m going to protect and stand for what’s important and necessary to me. While I’m going to be careful, I cannot allow his behavior or my fears of who or what he is keep me in the void I’ve been living……correction, existing. I want my life back and am willing to take on the risk. I really hope this us that anonymous place I can depend upon. I want people to feel safe around me regardless of who or what I married.

        1. Charlie,

          Your welcomed for anything I can help you with, I paying forward to all that have helped me. Besides its my nature, I hate pain, suffering, injustice and so forth.

          The flags are for you, I don’t know how on earth they may be about you!
          The only flags about you might be your not taking seriously our warnings and then they are Only out of Concern……..

          Lucy, is more on the money than you know, her circumstances are different than yours, the very CDNSP come in all shapes, sizes, colors you name it but when we get down to the nitty gritty they are the same. Differentiating, is a big mistake. You only know bits and pieces of what is all involved with these……………..

          Question Charlie, does he talk in the third party?

          If he knows what you want he will go after it. At some point you will realize it is only stuff and if you don’t have your health you have nothing. Besides you can’t take it with you. Its your life and I can tell you the first thing he is going to go after is your dog.

          You don’t have to live in fear, living in fear is a mistake, as I said before their is good fear and if you can recognize it it will serve you well. There is no standing your ground in the respect you are thinking. He knows the battlefield well. He is a predator, no matter how much you think you know him, I don’t think you know how to be a predator.

          All have given you excellent advice, Suzi, recommended to get the stuff out of the house, wipe your computer clean and stop educating him. I think you are a very intelligent lady, but where you are treading no one knows the landscape better than HIM…… You are playing with fire!!!

          1. BTOV,

            No he does not talk about himself in the third person. That would be super creepy and he’s much too subtle for that.

            I study animal behavior and have spent a lot of time interacting and observing the characteristics of captive wolves. Wolves are highly social animals and also highly predatorial. And I think we, as humans, are also predators. From what I’ve observed, I think predation has an off / on switch. Most predators are in the off mode until something triggers predatory instincts to flip the switch to ‘on.’ I think for psychopaths and the like, the switch is wired the opposite way, always ‘on’ and occasionally ‘off.’

            Thanks for the support, it means a lot.

          2. Charlie,

            Yep, they come in all flavors – but all with same roots – the lack of compassion and empathy.

            BTOV said “you’re playing with fire” – play with fire and you’ll get burned.

            And yes, he is likely to go after your dog first.

            I do not write about these things but trust me I know first-hand.

            Play dumb and BE SAFE!

        2. Charlie
          The red flags ate not about you. I am here for you. I would not back away from you. I’m just concerned for you, as all of us here should be. I’m sorry people have backed away from you when you need them. That’s an awful spot to be in.
          That husband has had some serious training. Yours with the military. Mine with the law. It really sucks!
          You’re a smart lady. Keep posting please. if you stop I’ll really be worried. I hope we can help you get through this somehow.

          1. Lucy,

            It does suck and thanks for your support. I’m certain I’ll need it in all the up and down moments not to mention those times things go sideways. It’s never a linear process dealing with the character disturbed.

        3. Charlie,

          All I can say is you have no clue to even who he is inside. You have never done or been anywhere where he has been. What you just said in regards to his background is unbelievable. I learned a lot from a doctor that was retired Special Ops, in Cambodia, two 4 year tours and 2 purple hearts, and the stories will make your skin crawl.

          Mine is crawling now and I have a sickness in the pit of my stomach. Do you really think he needs to read a book, in Ecklands the pictures say everything. Did you ever hear of speed reading and psychos do not have an on off switch like your thinking. I don’t care what the experts say, that is a continual disagreement and debate of ongoing trying to figure it out. They are predators, because they aren’t actively feeding doesn’t mean the switch is off and your safe.

          The idea is to lull you into a safety zone and attack, they are always thinking, processing and on the hunt. You said yourself he enjoys setting people up (not exact words) I saw it done many times and didn’t understand, now I do. When they are not sleeping. they are toying, and thinking and plotting and feeding.

          I will say this in all kindness and concern, you are way over your head in thinking you know what he will do. I am not trying to scare you, you are an intelligent lady but you know nothing about the rules of engagement with someone like him. Do you think he would honestly admit to harming you? He knows more about how you think than you know how he thinks.

          Its about control, he calls the shots, not you! The only way you have any power is not to engage. Training dogs is nothing nor is studying wolves. Have you ever come face to face with one or a 500 lb black bear, a mother with cubs, I have!!!!!! Books don’t prepare you for this, your gut and instinct does and a familiarity with ones environment.

          If you have more experience in this then you need to put that into action and perhaps, I can learn from you. I am willing to help and so is everyone else, you need to start listening instead of thinking. No matter what you say or want to hear it will make no difference. You will still start at square one and this page in time with everyone telling you the same thing over and over. I can only imagine what you will have lost before you open your ears and listen to what everyone sees that you don’t.

          It is madness of a sort, you have been inside to long. I strongly recommend getting yourself a good therapist. It was difficult for me to go to the Women’s Center, I felt “I didn’t belong here with these women.” Boy was I wrong, the battered women on a whole different socio economic level than me. Humility, is a blessing and a gift. What I learned and gleaned when I opened my mind, eyes and ears was unbelievable, much of it to late. I would suggest the same to you. They have legal advocates too and some very good ones too.

          Right now you need all the outside assistance you can get. This guy will mop the floor with you and hang you out to dry. You have no inkling how bad it is going to get and the sooner you face that truth and the reality of this the better off you will be and safer.

          If you decide to stay that is another whole story and if you think by what your doing he will change, I think you are deluding yourself. The pot is only getting hotter and you won’t know, don’t dig your own hole for him.

          I have said these things out of concern, you can take whatever you choose, I am not going to tell you what you may want to hear, I am going to tell exactly what comes to my mind when I read your posts.

          I hope you keep posting and seriously take to heart with a great deal of thought what everyone has tried to tell you. These are the cold hard facts of the matter as I see, I pray I am wrong.

          May God bless and keep you safe.

        4. Charlie,
          We are safe from him. you are not. He can hack your emails and probably has and as Suzi suggested get rid of it all. Go get a separate phone, anything separate from your carrier. Don’t think he doesn’t know, he does. Get another email and don’t share it with anyone. Go to the library and post.

          You can take back your life, I don’t think it will be on the terms you define. Everything, has to be done legally and he will fight you tooth and nail. This will be a battle beyond your comprehension, and the idea of a prostitute is preposterous. He knows all about battlefields and this will be his turf. Not trying to scare you, just trying to get you to realize the truth.

    3. Charlie,

      I tried to fit my CD into psychopath or sociopath category. While some characteristics matched, I could not really place her and her family in psychopath category. Only when I read Sheep’s Clothing, I realized that degree of a trait matters too, and my CD had some of the psychopathic characteristics, but to much lesser degree, and she was only half-way through to the other side. It doesn’t make her any less dangerous, she once threatened to poison me in a oblique reference, when I announced few of my decisions to her. But, that threat was mostly covert threat thrown to make me back off. Since she said something like that, so she certainly is capable of doing something like that (well everyone is), but to much lesser degree. I concluded it was mostly threat, and not genuine concern. So, my CD is milder case. Basically a wolf masquerading as sheep, instead of a truly dangerous predator.

      Your CD does seems to be in different class. The basic characteristics are same, but degree looks much higher: malignant grandiose narcissist (not only thinks has high elevated ego, but also thinks others are idiot), lack of empathy (shocked when people cried while lowering the casket).
      Following are also warning signs:
      – the chilling fear I feel when I get a glimpse of the image
      – the few others who see tell me to leave and then back away from the situation, emotionally and physically. I’ve had several people tell me they don’t want to be shot by him so they won’t get involved.
      – When I tried to leave before, it was so bad and was my worst fears come to life and some fears I never dreamed possible.

      And, if I remember correctly, your husband has military background.

      You had tried to leave before, and it was bad. I seriously doubt if it will be any better experience next time. Maybe you can share what exactly was bad when you tried to leave last time.

      In my opinion, you do have something to be feared about. You need to be careful. Channel your fear into carefulness.
      You had mentioned that he has read In Sheep’s Clothing (hopefully I remember right), so he may be more aware of what you may do than you realize. Just be careful.

      1. AndyD,
        If she mentioned poison like that, don’t underestimate, her distorted mind is thinking what it would be like to poison you. Normal, decent people don’t think like that. It would never occur to me. You never know when their mind will cross the line, it may be the last straw for her.

        Regardless, I have never thought of, or wished death on no one. I have said if the CD had to deal with the chronic pain that I have, which is debilitating at times the CD might have a different and more humble outlook on life and their fellowman.

        There is no logic to their thinking. A normal person does not realize the depth of hatred these people carry. When they carry out their unconscionable deeds is anybody’s guess. The sad thing is there are warning signs that go unheeded and unfortunately, our societies laws protect menacing people until they commit a heinous crime.

      2. Andy,

        Thanks for your experience and your thoughts on my situation. Everyone’s opinion is helpful in confirming what I’m seeing and often find so hard to believe. These things happen in the movies not real life. But that is, unfortunately, not exactly true. The movies just tend to exaggerated or worst case scenarios.

        While I’m glad your CD is more of a sheep in wolf clothing the poisoning threat is concerning. I’m thinking that even thinking about attempting to allow her back into your life may be unwise. It’s probably just a scare tactic just as you think but I don’t think she’s worth the risk, to be blunt. Why take the chance?

        Yes, he is military and I mentioned in the above post is a high ranking officer. He’s had training on psychological operations and strategy as well as CIA training in deception, interrogation, and tactics. He was part of a military tribunal during a deployment and dealt with some of the worst Al Qaeda had to offer, or so I’ve been told. It appears he was successful in that environment based on recognition he received. I think this may be a case of it takes one to know one.

        When I tried to leave, he was deployed and the amount of control he was exerting was so absolute , I set a boundary that if it didn’t stop, I would file for divorce. He thought I was bluffing, I was not. It seems hard to imagine how someone could control and manipulate from a continent away but he was requiring me to sit at home for a year and await his phone calls. Even being at the grocery store wasnt ok and this behavior wasn’t new, just the overt way he went about it was.

        He contacted my friends, my family via phone calls, texts and emails. He was so worried about me, I’m a good woman with a good heart, could they just watch out for me while he was at war. It was so hard there, so much dead and dying, he just wants for me to be ok.

        Of course, most thought I was the most heartless, evil creature in the world. He’s so stressed and a hero protecting our country. Others were creeped out and fearful about getting involved. My mom colluded with him in how to get his crazy wife and her crazy daughter under control.

        He blew up every relationship I had one way or another. He made jokes about having me followed and seemed to know things about where I was or what I was doing that I’m still not sure how he knew, which really freaked me out. I got a job in another state and he talked about how he would go there and have them help me through this very difficult time (I ended up turning the job down, he would have followed through based on what I already experienced and I spared myself the humiliation of being let go.)

        It’s different now. I am no contact with my parents and limited contact with the rest of my family. I have only one friend and I won’t and can’t rely on anyone to help or support me due to the intimidation and manipulation tactics. My relationships with other people were an Achilles heel I hadn’t recognized.

        It was an extremely confusing and distressing time, I did not know about the things I know now. I’ve been educating myself and looking for ways to protect myself from his manipulative strategies. I’m a work in progress, I’ve learned and recognized many things, confronted fears and assessed vulnerabilities. I’m careful but not too careful, if that makes sense.

        1. Charlie,

          First of all I am not trying to scare you with what I am going to say. You may take whatever you want and throw it away, nothing is meant to be personally hurtful, if something doesn’t seem right please question.

          Your posts are really creeping me out and if I am in the airless wave of the wild blue yonder I can only imagine what others might be. This is a safe place to the extent if he knows where you have searched according to history he would be able to read your posts. Regardless, of the name you have chosen he will know. If that is the case will work around that too.

          I hope he doesn’t control all the money too. If I may ask, how old is your daughter, is she yours or belong to him too? Does she live with you? The alienation of family and friends is to enslave you even more a tighter grip around your throat and to make you totally dependent on him. He does not want to give you up.

          If this replicant creeps me out I can imagine how he creeps the others out you have spoken of. He will creep officials and even law enforcement out and will use his military service too his advantage. The Judge will feel the same vibes he sending out and these vibes are natural to his being.

          Charlie, I have been through so much in my life I plain don’t care. I look at this way, what is the worst someone can do, kill me, great they put me out of my misery and any which way I look at it I go home to Jesus, my eyes always fixed on the prize Jesus Christ. My faith has brought me through more trials than I can count. I am professing my faith and the rock my faith has been for me when I felt I had nothing else. I could and always count on Jesus, perhaps, not the way I want it but the way he does. Just my personal testimony. Yours is a choice I respect.

          Anyway, please do as Suzi suggested. From what you say I would bet he has hidden cameras and listening devices in the house and car. Flying monkeys that prefer to stay on his good side and turn on you or play both side of the fence. I am not trying to create paranoia or fear just the opposite, identify what are the obstacles and deal with them. My faith has helped me in life eliminate almost all fear, sometimes I do let it get to me and then have to correct and redirect my thought process.

          I know I may make this sound easier said than done. First, of all as long as you post on this blog we won’t desert you. We have at least most of us have developed some thick skins and take this as a personal attack on a fellow kindred spirit.

          I hope this gives you some comforting peace, and hope alleviating some of the aloneness you feel. I went through almost all of it alone too, when people lack courage and character, they tend to disappear. The best thing you can do is get as much of this out in the open as you can.

          I am serious about going to the Woman’s Center in your county, they may be able to recommend an attorney that advocates for women and will not be intimidated by him. You spoke of your illness, is it possible to ask them to recommend a psychologist that has worked with these type of cases and know the system. Don’t use your home phone he probably has it wired.

          I knew a Trooper that was a whiz with all the electronic devices. Its very easy to do. Start going to a church and feel it out, you may find that some of the larger ones have social workers. You need allies and any way you can get them do it. Even if you plan to stay, get involved in a church, keep trying to reach out, I am not trying to press religion, you need every bit of help you can get, you may find out it is one place you may sit for an hour an relax. Like I said the more people surrounding you the better.

          Evil, likes to hide in darkness, get out into the light. I hope you can drive, do not let him take that privilege away. Always check under your car for small leaks. Do not let him drive you around, at a high speed he can wrap your side of the car into a pole and come out unscathed. I am serious, desperate and evil people do heinous things.

          We as a whole have experienced a lot and as a whole can work together and brainstorm ideas to help. You have to help us help you. Your a smart cookie and you know others are able to see and view your situation in a better perspective in many things just as in many ways you could shed light where I can’t see.

          The insight you received from the posters today have personal experience, I caution you to stay away from those that haven’t any first hand experience. Foolish uninformed individuals can cause you to many problems and put you in harms way.

          He is going to go into the victim mode just as you described above he started to portray you as crazy, this is going to be revved up and he I imagine is very convincing. You need to keep it together and listen, be patient, stop the counter interrogating of him, it is useless, he isn’t going to ever give you what you want, after all this time he is only worse.

          I want to believe you in everything, I am sorry to say he is going to put you on trial, everything he does he will accuse you of. If you come across to strong, he will point the finger and say, see I told you. I people that see the true problem and offer a solution you need to listen. I know you are a strong lady, but many times we are our own worst enemies.

          This has been a long day, I am sure there will be more, another thing to many cooks putting spoons in the pot can ruin the soup, whatever. You ultimately will have to extract what will work best for you.

          Another thing I don’t know if you thought about is the cost of an attorney. He will consciously run attorneys fees up so high for you it will make your head spin. He hates attys, all he has to do is not comply, the courts let them get away with oodles. They threaten and then do nothing, I don’t know your state laws and hope you checked into them.

          its been a long day, be very careful and stay safe and God bless.

          1. “The insight you received from the posters today have personal experience, I caution you to stay away from those that haven’t any first hand experience. Foolish uninformed individuals can cause you to many problems and put you in harms way.”
            That is so true. Most people just cannot understand what is happening and how to handle it. It is a life so warped.
            My posts come from real life experience, personal and marital counseling sessions, raising a mentally ill son, attending NAMI, and reading this blog.
            I don’t judge people. I don’t turn on people.
            We, in our situations, need the help of each other. We’ve all got good advice to offer. I have been helped by reading what others are going through. There are so many similarities.
            Charlie, I left the marital home. The Jerk was freaking me out. And toying with me. I left a dream home in a high-end neighborhood. Everything I wanted in a home. But he was in it. And he would not leave. Most items in that home were purchased and chosen by me, myself. I love to decorate and I can make any home beautiful. I’ve got that talent. I now live, by the good graces of a friend, in her rental home. I am gracious to be there, love being there, don’t like the physicality of the home, but I am safe and have my friend and peace and tranquility. You may not realize it now, and you probably won’t until you are without all the stuff and you realize there really only are a few items that really matter, such as your dog. That marital house does not keep you grounded. It’s keeping you hostage.
            I’m learning a lot from you Charlie and I hope you can grasp something through our experiences.
            You have a safe weekend.

          2. BTOV, Lucy, and Suzi,

            Thank you for your advise, thoughts, and support. It is appreciated and needed. I will take everything under advisement and consider carefully my steps, my options and plan accordingly.

            I really appreciate everyone taking this information in stride, being believed and supported. Apologies for the creep factor and anxiety. Obviously, this is a very troubling topic and situation.

            This blog is an important place for us to support, share, and exchange ideas and information. Our experiences as a collective create a unique atmosphere of knowledge and assistance in dealing with such character disturbed people. I’m very thankful to be here. 🙂

        2. Charlie,

          I get a feeling that your husband wants you. But, not as an equal partner. He wants you as slave/resource/puppet/whatever that fulfills his need.
          Since, you are an independent thinking human (you were, and you still are), so he is going for complete control. One aspect of control that I read in your post is “isolation”. He is isolating you. Eventual goal is control.

          It is miserable to be around a controlling person. I know that feeling first hand. A life spent under someone’s control is a miserable life.

          1. Andy,

            Well said, very well said. I agree, he wants absolute, total control to the point we are of one mind, his, of course. And it is miserable to live with someone who wants complete control. I’m sorry you experienced that as well.

            Isolation is a double edge sword, I’m finding. On one hand, his ultimate goal is for me to be ‘his only friend,’ on the other hand, keeping people away allows me to not worry or deal with collateral damage. I believe I would have been much better off before.

            Thanks for your insight.

          2. Andy,

            I’m not sure why I seem to be such a ‘prize’ to him…..I’m not that special. 🙂

            Am I recalling correctly from a previous post that you are a psychologist in practice?

          3. Charlie,

            I am not psychologist. Though I would not have minded to be one.

            You wrote… “On one hand, his ultimate goal is for me to be ‘his only friend,’ on the other hand, keeping people away allows me to not worry or deal with collateral damage.”

            In my opinion, you got it wrong way.
            – When someone attempts control by isolating his victim, his ultimate goal is to be only “friend” of the victim, and maximize victim’s dependence on himself.
            – By keeping people away, you do not avoid collateral damage. You miss out social support, advise and alternatives that people provide you in good faith. Isn’t that what you doing here on this blog, supporting other and getting support.

            If you have time, you should watch classic “Gaslight” movie. Gaslighting is mind numbing technique that is easier to implement after isolation.

          4. Andy,

            Your observations and points made are very astute.

            He told me before he deployed and during his deployment I was his only friend and that I was the only friend he needed. This was something I never went back and revisited once I had a clearer understanding of the dynamics occurring here. I believe you are spot on in that what he was really saying was he was to be my only friend. It fits what I’ve experienced.

            I have watched ‘Gaslight.’ An excellent movie and I, unfortunately, recognized the similarity of tactics used. Redefining my reality has taken a lot of work and a lot of effort (I was pretty far down the rabbit hole at one time) which is part of the reason I’m here. There are no excuses given for what is obviously disturbed behavior and that helps to keep me out of the rabbit hole.

            And, yes, the social aspect and support of others as well as support of myself are the other reasons why I’m here. The cyber world also has the additional benefit of allowing for the avoidance of the collateral damage that personal contact does not.

            Have you experienced gaslighting in your relationship as well?

          5. Charlie,

            Regarding… “Have you experienced gaslighting in your relationship as well?”

            Yes. On few occasion. I had been told that I do not remember few things correctly. Fortunately, I have good memory backed by thick-skinned stubbornness. I did not call her out at those moment to avoid a fight on whose version is right, but I knew she was lying, and she was attempting to rewrite history to her advantage.

          6. Andy,

            Good for you!

            One of the first things he did was establish ‘all perspectives are equal’ and ‘one’s perspective is reality.’

            I had no experience with perspective. I don’t think I had ever really even heard the term used. He was very ‘helpful’ in making sure I understood how the real world worked. (All sarcasm implied and intended.)

            I was really young and made a pretty easy target.

  16. Andy,

    I have to tell my story of asking a question at a counseling session. I repeatedly asked The Jerk a question which of course he would not answer. He got so angry that he stood up and screamed he was leaving. I ran to the door, sat in a chair right in front of it and blocked his exit. Yeah – I did that. I said, “Okay, okay, I guess I won’t get my answer.” The counselor had kept saying “You’re not going to get your answer.” I never did.
    He agreed to go to marriage counseling – after I found out some awful things he’d done – to see if the marriage was salvageable. He sat there through the sessions so arrogant and would only speak if he was pushed into speaking. I had hope that it could possibly be salvaged – a 25+ marriage. I really did not understand what was happening. Well, he lied during the counseling sessions, was still hiding a lot of misdeeds. The counseling helped me. I went for about a year after deciding to leave The Jerk. So I’ve done plenty of work to get where I’m at. But this divorce is draining, even when I’m doing “well”, it’s hard on one’s overall well being.
    So I went off talking about me again. I have a feeling your sessions are going to be somewhat similar. You will learn a lot, her not so much.

    1. Thank you Lucy. Your comments help. This is exactly the reason why I spend long time here. Experience posted by others (it may be way off the topic by the way 🙂 ) are big validation for my experience, and excellent insights into what to expect in future.

  17. Sorry for repeating myself, I’ve commented on this before – lies are like mice – you never find just one.

    And you can pretty much bet on it that when you spot a liar it’s a sure bet that any time their lips are moving they are either omitting facts, telling half-truths or outright lying.

    As for asking them questions and getting no answer – then you’ve got their answer.

    1. Suzi,

      Good one, glad you reposted. I have read about Aspies before, never saw this article, thanks for posting, makes a lot of sense. It is scary all of these spawn of _________ walking among us.

      Did any of you notice when you signed the certificate the CD took ownership?

      1. BTOV,

        It’s not cute and quirky—which is being spoon fed to the people. There is a dark side which is being hidden from the public. They are finding many adults that have fallen thru the cracks with no diagnosis or the wrong diagnosis. Showing up in many dysfunctional and abusive families.

        1. Suzi,
          I know and its getting worse. I have had this discussion with some of my doctor friends and they have been attacked for commenting on this by the establishment. A few can’t wait to retire and the ones in private practice are waiting for further mandates and are leaving.

          1. BTOV,

            Yes it’s bad. The movement has rapidly gained momentum.

            Not only doctors; they’ve also gone after everyone imaginable with a fury who takes an opposing view – the families, charities, authors, websites, blogs, mental health professionals, even the big name researches have been attacked.

            They’re calling it organic abuse – biological in nature. You know the bumper sticker that reads – ‘Embrace Difference’ – they have a biological different way of loving and caring that people are expected to embrace.

            Oh my gosh, what’s wrong with people?

      1. His favorite is to answer the question with a question. It’s almost comical. We both work in the court system. We both know how to ask a question and both know what evasion is. But he tries it on me anyway . . .. so annoying, to say the least.

        1. Lucy,

          Not answering questions is bad enough. But when they answer a question with a question then what I have to say about it is exactly what you said: “so annoying, to say the least”

          Gee, what else is there to say? How are we suppose to write anything logical when most of what they do and think is so illogical? It sure beats me.

  18. BTOV and Charlie
    “The idea is to lull you into a safety zone and attack, they are always thinking, processing and on the hunt”. This happened to be during the time The Jerk and I were trying to work out our own settlement. Lies lies and more lies. My friends were applauded that I was trying to work something out with him. I just still did not fully comprehend how nasty and deceptive he was. He is so abnormal. My mo d just didn’t process it.
    Charlie, we’ve gone through a lot of deception and trauma and weirdness. Our situations are different but in many ways similar. But your husband and his training takes it up such a level of emergency- take care my friend. It’s worrisome

    1. Charlie,
      Everyone here understands what the CD is doing and all the insight given is spot on. Charlie the way it sounds this may be your only contact with the outside that will confirm what is truly going on.

      What you said about being his only friend is true, that happened with me. You can acquiesce on a superficial outward level and in the inside strengthen yourself to leave.

      The next step in the process, once he has successfully removed everyone from you, he will begin, if he hasn’t already to DEFINE YOUR REALITY. This is very sick behavior and puts one into the position or The Stockholm Syndrome.

      Charlie many of the things that are going on with you, Lucy’s and mine are classic textbook. I haven’t any respect for him Sam Vacknin I suggest you listen/watch/read to some of his You Tube. There was a definite correlation in many of writings that were helpful to me.

      I am glad you have found refuge her and in what you share, know this it is also very helpful and insightful to me personally. Thank you

      1. BTOV,

        Already been there and done that and have no intention of letting it happen again. The more knowledge and clarity I have the better to not end up in the rabbit hole. And being here is part of that knowledge and clarity.

        I have read some of Sam Vacknin. It is my opinion the man is a psychopath hiding as a narcissist. I avoid him. I do not see him as an advocate and question how helpful he really is. I don’t see how helping others fits with his psychodynamics so I’m wary of the validity and motivations of his information.

        If there is one thing life with my spouse has taught me, it’s be aware of other’s motivations and to not assume their motivations are in anyway similar to mine.

        I’m glad my experiences are insightful and helpful. It helps knowing what we’ve experienced isn’t completely pointless as it helps others, don’t you think?

        1. Charlie,
          I didn’t consider or call it a rabbit hole, I found it to be a cage. I would jokingly repeat to him the nursery rhyme:

          Peter, Peter, Pumpkin eater
          Had a wife and couldn’t keep her
          Put her in a pumpkin shell
          And there he kept her very well.

          The pathological CD are knocked off center, they are completely void of emotional comprehension of substance in comments, the CD did interpret as mocking in many instances when comments were made as endearments .

          I believe your CD is terrified of abandonment. Have you read any of Lunde Bancroft Why Does He DO That’s? He has a website too.

          I caution and as I see it when maladaptive ownership has taken place and you are in essence a unrealistic manifestation of him and the objectification process are complete your detachment will cause extreme psychological reactive behaviors out of the ordinary.

        2. Charlie,
          I feel the same way about Vacknin. I have shared on this site in the past my disgust and distrust of Vaknin, I feel he is gaining financially from his sickness at the expense of the uninformed .. I am aware of many complaints on the control he has on some his sites. He feeds his ego and his glass is never empty of his life blood supply!

          The point I was trying to make is Vacknin reveals in many of his You Tubes the inner landscape of the CD. One has to be knowledgeable enough to discern and then utilize what is the truth he has disclosed and can be used to ones benefit.

          Take it or leave it, one needs to keep all doors open, otherwise, one can flop around like a fish out of water or swim into deeper, safer waters.

          I have been there and mine is so involved I am not at liberty to discuss the details due to security reasons. You may read whatever you want into that. I deal with these individuals all the time and have a exceptional read on them. Some of them scare the hell out of others and they run the other way, whereas, I deal and internalize it with a depth of calm and clarity .

          I have brought myself to a place of security and have carry with me a cautionary sense of calm and a relaxed integrated gift of fear that has proved itself over and over. I share, one can take it or leave it. Just as I take or leave what is offerer to me, my mind is always open.

  19. BTOV,

    I like your Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater. 🙂

    To me, I feel like Alice in Wonderland. Too tall, drink the shrinking potion. Too short, drink the taller potion. Always being twisted and shaped into what I need to be for him vs what I am. Reality looks similar but it warped, odd and strange. I’m not there anymore but I’m always cautious because by the time I realize I’m down the rabbit hole, it’s too late, and it’s hard to get back out.

    I have read Lundy Bancroft. I like many of the things he talks about and have used his and Dr Simon’s work to help stay grounded. I don’t like Lundy Bancroft’s comment about how some are just abusive, no pathology needs to be present. I think there always has to be a pathology present in the abuser. It’s not normal, functional behavior. Psychologists may not recognize it yet but it’s there.

    The bit I’ve read by Vanknin seemed to be enlightening but I quickly realized I felt disempowered by what I read. I try to be always mindful of when I feel empowered verses disempowered. I’ve found paying attention to my feelings of disempowerment is a good way to gauge if an interaction is ok or not. I may not be able to put my finger on the why but found the why doesn’t really matter in the presence of feeling disempowered. I’ve realized disempowerment is the start of the rabbit hole for me.

    I prefer Hare and Burgo as well as Cloud and Townsend. I just got a book by Jackson MacKenzie called Psychopath Free and a book called F*ck Feelings by Bennett, MD. Both are very interesting reads. I suspect Dr. Simon would approve of the book by Bennett, MD. Lol. The guy is not a fan of pop psychology and instead very down to earth, more old school.

  20. BTOV,

    I disagree about the abandonment. My experience is an extreme need to appear normal. He has an idea of what normal looks like and I’m to provide it. For example, He wants to appear close with the neighbors, I need to connect with the neighbors. He interacts with them but I need to connect with them. It’s really odd.

    1. Charlie,
      This is what is happening, In you connecting with the neighbors you are obtaining and providing his narcissistic supply. To a normal person it is odd.

      1. I’m thinking he should get off his lazy butt and get his own narcissist supply. I have better things to do. 🙂

  21. Charlie,

    I understand mine did the same thing, – I was the bridge – You are the bridge that keeps his world together. Underneath it all I will bet on it – it is about control – the insanity of it all is he thinks what he doest is how he will keep you. Underneath it all is the fear of abandonment. He will never leave you. I can only say that many of the things you described I experienced. I am not at liberty to discuss some of those things.

    There are predictable patterns with individuals, you describe mine, and whether you see it or not, also, Lucy’s STBX. Other family members that are CDNSP do follow different patterns and I understand their mode of operation and how they manipulate and what they are capable of. Past conduct and expressed thought processes are a good indicators of what they may do.

    For a long time my CD siblings pulled my mothers strings, by blame, guilt tripping,
    gas lighting you name it and when I explained to her what they were doing and she finally understood and listened, everything changed. I absolutely, love it. What I did with my mother and she is a Christian we said the Sinners Prayer. I told Jesus died for her sins and we laid all her transgressions at the foot of the cross.

    Bingo!!!!! This set my mother free, I said “Mom if you feel you are not being treated with dignity and respect tell them goodbye and show them the door.” If they call and make her feel uncomfortable she says goodbye.

    Hmm…. Now they hate me worse than ever. It really is simple with some of them, but than there are those who are dangerous. The dangerous ones one needs to be very careful and unfortunately yours I believe is of that kind.

    It was difficult to see my own situation and wrap my head around everything. When one is on the outside the picture changes. I think you have a good understanding but are to close to be completely objective. I say this with all kindness and goodwill.

    It is going to be a tough road ahead and your freedom is our freedom, your happiness is our happiness, you are a kindred spirit. I am glad you are here and maybe you can give me insight where I need help. I admit I am stubborn and try doing to much on my own, its hard to find dependable help and true friends. (((Hugs))) Your not alone on your journey, there are good people here to help, I miss so many of them that have moved on.

  22. BTOV,

    Hmmm……. Let’s see:

    A bridge holding his world together….that sounds exactly right. I’ve sensed that and even imaged a bridge but I haven’t been able to articulate it. ( And really, how narcissistic is it to assume one is the glue that holds someone else’s life together…that’s more narcissism than I have or am comfortable with expressing. It’s better from someone else.)

    Absolutely it’s all about control. He’s being treated for anxiety (poor guy he so stressed out about his difficult wife by those treating him for anxiety) but his ‘anxiety’ is about me not being cooperative about being controlled.

    And of course I’m too close to be completely objective. It’s one of the reasons it’s so hard when others offer excuses for his behavior or move to a more extreme place. I can always see both ends of that spectrum. He’s capable of doing exactly what he wants, when he wants, and can completely justify his behavior in his mind. So it’s much harder to stay centered in the middle. The whole marriage and my life is surreal like a Picasso painting. Take my reality, take his fantasy and try to match them up and one ends up viewing a Picasso landscape.

    And, yes, I certainly see the similarities to Lucy’s STBX. I was actually a little surprised she didn’t experience the low emotional register I am experiencing. But all the Character Disturbed are individuals and all look a little different at the surface even when they’re tactics and and results are the same.

    I think the Character Disturbed hate, hate, hate boundaries. It’s like waving the red cape in front of a bull. And the only thing they hate more than boundaries are the people who use or support said boundaries.

    1. Charlie,
      yes, I agree with what you said. It is a long process out or the mire, it can be done with perseverance. You give me strength in your strength and I hope we will all be able to help pull each other through. I admire your tenacity. Take care of yourself the best you can and in your head prepare and plan your
      strategy’s .

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