Life After A Manipulator

I’m asked many times how a person can get through the process of picking up the pieces and overcome the scars of an abusive or manipulative relationship once they’ve finally found the courage to end it. In fact, I’ve been asked several times to consider writing another book, on that topic alone.  It seems that dysfunctional relationship survivors often experience some unique kinds of emotional and mental turmoil.  And although I’ve written about the fundamental ways these individuals can empower themselves (see:  Moving On After a Toxic Relationship) and start over, I haven’t written very much on the kinds of things they typically experience as they’re trying to heal their wounds and put their lives back together.

Many folks have told me about how hard it was for them to stop blaming themselves and engaging in a lot of self-doubt and reproach.  “How could I have been so blind…. or so stupid?,” they ask themselves.  It’s difficult for them to reconcile the way they saw things in the days before their toxic relationship and the way they have come to view things since their painful experience.  They sometimes question their rationality as well as their sanity.  But the truth of the matter is that while they might indeed have had some personality characteristics of their own that made them particularly naive and vulnerable (most of us do), the fact is that covert-aggressors are generally quite skilled at what they do, and the more seriously character disturbed social predators among us (i.e. the psychopaths/sociopaths) are extremely astute and talented when it comes to the “art of the con.”  And in their very nature, manipulation tactics are often hard to see until after the fact.  Besides, it’s relatively pointless to play the self-blame game.  Lovingly reckoning with your vulnerabilities and vowing to become a stronger, better person in the aftermath of a troubled relationship is one thing, but doing an emotional hatchet-job on yourself just because you happened to fall prey to a good con artist is quite another.  And after years of being manipulated it’s easy to get into the habit of doubting yourself.  This can be an even bigger problem if you tried couples’ counseling at some point and the disturbed character in your relationship managed to con the therapist as well.  Still, as hard as it might be, the one of the most important tasks for any “recovering” person has before them is to end the destructive cycle of self-doubt and blame.

Some folks have a lot of anger to deal with after their abusive relationship is finally over.  They can harbor resentment that their former abuser seemed to “get away with” being such a cad while they (and perhaps their children as well) had to pay all the prices involved.  To make matters worse, some possessive controllers do their best to make the ordeal of separation or divorce a living hell on those who have finally had enough and found the courage to walk away.  And the collateral damage that can be done to otherwise healthy relationships with others who might possibly have been sources of support can also make a survivor angry, bitter, and resentful.

For the reasons mentioned above as well as some very important others, especially for purposes of healthy information-sharing, I’d like to invite the readers who can identify with these issues to comment on the various things they might have gone through when ending a relationship with a manipulator or other character-disturbed person and trying to start a new life.  And I’ll be having some more to say on this topic in the coming weeks.

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336 thoughts on “Life After A Manipulator

  1. Victims, are too willing to (1) assume blame, and too willing to (2)forgive the abuser. It’s in our nature. We, (just like abusers), can’t change our nature. But we (unlike abusers) can learn from our mistakes. We have to learn to put the blame squarely where it belongs . . . on the abuser/aggressor that targeted us . . . . and NOT forgive the aggressor (as many books have mistakenly advise). The one person we should forgive is OURSELVES. Not because we did anything wrong . . we have to forgive ourselves for having had “a good quality” that we want to continue to have. That quality is “being a loving, trusting person with a conscience”. That is why it’s so hard. We have to forgive ourselves for having a loving nature, and we want to continue to have that nature, but we must now learn to hold back, and be on guard against people who “pretend to have a loving nature” (and are consummate pretenders) and whose evil starts to manifest only after they’ve hooked us and acquired some control. We must learn go against our own nature, that we want to preserve, and forgive ourselves for having that nature.

    1. Sarah I say this with all do respect and just getting out of a very Manipulating relationship my self ..if we don’t forgive the other person we are only holding ourself in bondadge and are never released from it..we have to learn to Let go and Forgive 🙂

      1. L, If you are dealing with a true covert aggressive the best emotional response is not ‘forgiveness.’ It is indifference, neutrality. The dynamics of forgiveness involve sincere apology on the part of the aggressor. Though it may be the ‘kind and nice’ thing to do, it is completely inappropriate to forgive as it can easily place you in a position of vulnerability. Forgiveness implies the person, ‘didn’t really mean to do it, or they were motivated by externals they couldn’t control’ etc.. etc..A true covert knows exactly what they are doing. Release yourself, feel nothing for them.

        1. Ah forgiveness! I may have forgiven, I don’t really know. Frankly I just don’t care very much about this person and her problems these days. So out-of-character for me to not care, but man do I feel better for it. Maybe some day I’ll care again, but right now, just enjoying thinking about anything at all besides this person.
          Here’s a little inspiration from Phil Collins! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLpfbcXTeo8

          1. Linda…..that is funny! I posted the same song a couple weeks ago and it is just SO perfect!! 🙂

          2. Yeah Linda, the Phil Collins one is my new life theme song for now,,,,,,and fortunately i actually like Phil Collins AND the song! 🙂

          3. Linda,,,,,that’s a funny one and a total blast from the past! West Side Story?? What an interesting choice! LOL
            Spathtard sent me the link to the Gotye video on Youtube a long while back “Now Your Just Somebody That I Used To Know”. I think it’s probably the meanest thing he ever did but I’m sure I don’t know about many things. He made a point of telling me in the email that it had nothing to do with us…..yeah right. This was at least 6-8 months before the final split. So my version of the song is……..”now your just some Spathtard that I never knew”.
            Yeah…..he just sent me the video link because he thought it was a cool video and that I would like it……the ONLY time he had EVER sent me anything like that…..
            So many things I see now so clearly. I’m sure he and his mommy are just so proud of the little prince! Such a clever loser.
            Here’s THAT link if you care to watch it but it really doesn’t impress me….
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UVNT4wvIGY

          4. Puddle, I can see why that despicable act in sending you the link to the song was something you felt was one of the cruelest things he ever did to you. The visuals too. I know the song well being an Australian it was a big hit here. When you think of the female’s lyrics in the song, ‘now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over, ..now and then believing it was always something that I’d done, I don’t wanna live that way!, hanging on to every word you say!!, ….catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know!!’ for me it perfectly describes the answer to the poor me, manipulative attitude the guy is having and the fact that this ‘shattered mirror’ they are standing in, painted by the guy, her with her back turned, him being the one whining..it’s so symbolic of relationships with CA’s. He was well aware that he wanted to implant you with a trigger every time you heard that song. Jerk.

          5. Juliette, thank you so much for that explanation. I was never able to get past the “now your just somebody that I used to know” part. Honestly, I haven’t really listened to the song with any interest or focus because I just knew it was bad and it was just something I kind of wanted to pretend didn’t happen……..but it did. Like I said, it was MONTHS before we split that he sent it to me and during those months he told me he loved me countless times, told me that and so much more, leading me on and on and on. just sick.

        2. I totally agree LisaO! I will NEVER forgive someone for doing something which is so beyond the realm of normalcy and which causes someone harm beyond description. I will “let it go” in time but no……I will never forgive that kind of depravity, especially in light of the fact that he basks in his own glory for doing it.

        3. LisaO. That’s exactly as I feel. How can I forgive him for taking my lifesavings, breaking my heart then continue to be a predator of vulnerable women with money? He doesn’t regret it. Indifference is similar to no contact. His power has gone. His frustration begins.

        4. You’re right. You have to feel nothing for them. The moment they know you still care even in the slightest, they will continue to purposely upset you just to get attention. I have a 3 year old with my ex-manipulator. This devil, who shall remain nameless, will go to any level just to get a rise out of you. I have started my life over for the past year I successfully held my own place and stopped letting this life and money draining liar keep me miserable, vunerable, and dependent on others for my own and my childs well-being.
          Let’s just simply put it in simple terms.. my child loves both his parents. I endure a small personal hell even with this manipulative lying devil out of my life, He still swivles his way in like the snake that he is. There is no way to prove it, you don’t have visible bruises. These sick f**ks burn you from the inside out… I pity anyone who has ever endured the trails of this.
          The best decision I ever made was to take control of my life and my finances, and to never let anyone run my life, control it, take my friends away, tell me who I am and who I’m gonna be, etc. Feel nothing for them. Don’t let there stupid “I love you’s” and “I miss you’s” do anything for them. They got what they deserved, and they never deserved you. The only reason this person is even in my life is because my child loves his parents.
          I start to question, think back, wonder…was it even worth it? Will my child suffer the same abuse? How many times has he cried because this manipulative ____ started his ____ in front of him???? how many times will it happen in the future no matter how much distance I put between us.. I still wonder if it’s worth it…
          ~Anonymous!

          1. I don’t think any of it is worth it except you do have a son which I can imagine is a blessing and a certain kind of curse. I’m sorry anonymous I can tell by your words you have been through a hell most people can’t wrap their head around and it sounds like you have learned a lot.

          2. Lately I think I might be going crazy but now I see from reading these comments that I am not the only person to experience what I have. Sometimes all I have energy to do is just cry, I just want him out of my head!I also have a child and wonder how will it be in the future and how will I really ever get away from him, considering he is the father of my child.

            “There is no way to prove it, you don’t have visible bruises.” this is so true Anonymous, so true.

          3. I feel as though I wrote this post. I still get so angry dealing with that loser before I catch myself and realize what he’s doing. In the past, I wouldn’t have seen it, or would have been miserable and crying because of his actions. He knows exactly which buttons to push.
            I stumbled upon this website while trying to find out if psychopathy is hereditary. My son is almost 13, and while the dad and I have been divorced for years, we have contact because of the child. Unfortunately, after having dealt with the manipulator for years and having had to seek counseling after the split, I am noticing similar and eery tendencies displayed by my son.
            I am very concerned that he may be showing the same behavior. He is very manipulative and the only reason I don’t fall for it is because I have experienced it at the hands of his father. It seems to be getting worse every day, and he always plays the victim no matter what happens. I am currently looking for a local psychiatrist to see him.

          4. Its sounds like you met the same man as I did. I have had good and bad times, but I am 8 years out with 3 children and struggling because even if I have no interest at hime at all, he continues to work hard to cause havoc in my life at work and with the children’s schooling. It does not seem to be anything to do with trying to improve things for the children, although he promotes a very expensive high achieving school which is now well beyond my capability, and the particular school he proposes is so far away from where we live I would never see the children unless I moved away from our home and community. It all seems to be designed to be targeted to control or damage me. After all this time he has not moved on. It seems he will never forget. Every time time I start to relax and feel free, I have another court document thrown at me. If I don’t respond the court will decide his terms will win, if I disagree and defend myself in court, I bleed money which means our food, our home, our holidays and my work and career advancement. I love my children first and my career next. But I can’t seem to move on, because the court process keeps going on and on. I can’t stop it.

          5. Anonymous

            I am so sorry for the hell you have endured. I have found myself in a similar situation. I am pregnant to a man who has put me through hell. Crazy thing is I’m scared of myself now because I keep taking him back. He pushes me to the point where I retaliate. Now I’m up on an assault charge. He has made me someone whom I’m not and he has made himself look like the victim to everyone else.

          6. I’m in the middle of this hell at the movement. I left on year ago with my 2 boys after finding evidence he was having an affair. I’ve filed for divorce but have had to attend mediation in the battle to get a finial settlement. He controlled everything… He took my name of the house, the business, there was a joint bank account but I wasn’t allowed a card… I was continually told I was fat and ugly… I’m a size 8! But I believed all these things that were said. I stood by and watched him say flattering things to other people, he seems to charm everyone he meets. Yet he made me feel like crap.
            The first mediation was two days ago. It’s was horrific. He knew what buttons to push and he just sat that as calm as anything. He sends emails to me purely to upset me… At work! He phones me to tell me he will fight for custody, but then tells the mediator that that never happened. It’s all head games and I can see that but am unable to find the strength not to let myself be traumatised by it. He’s very angry that he has to produce financial disclosure. He is self employed and most of his income is undeclared cash. On paper he earns £13k! I have worked his monthly expenses out to be more that £22k but how do I prove it. It’s comical I have to pay for mediation and he get legal aid.
            I came away from the meeting shaking and very upset. He won control again. I left feeling totally pathetic. How can I stop myself feeling like this? I have asked that all communication go through the solicitors but he still emails at chosen times ie just before mediation. Ive put a block on now which I didn’t want to do incase of an emergency with one of the boys.
            He sat and told the mediator I had no friends or support network. Maybe he thinks I don’t have friends as he never gave me any time away from the family to see anyone. He was always out ‘socialising’. But I’ve got very good friends, some I’m had 20 years, and without them I’m not sure I’d be coping right now.
            They say that now I can start to find ‘me’ and move on. Why do I still grieve for the marriage I’ve lost and the future I thought I had when now I can see how I’ve been controlled and manipulated for 20 years! I wouldn’t have him back if he was the last person alive… And he doesn’t even seem the same person I married, but I still feel to upset. Hope I won’t feel this way forever

          7. I have a daughter with mine and I am still fresh into this I miss him dearly but I am so sick of it all and I don’t know how to stay strong and not want him even tho I really don’t want him …help please… reading this does help but I am still lost ..

          8. Finally!!…a reminder of instinctive value.
            That we CAN change that smashed lightbulb in our heart.

            Sooo great to hear someone speaking from a solid “ahaa” realisation.
            I was so sick of feeling like the victim n searched many years; to find a way to heal the deeeeep hurt n dismall darkness.

            If you really want to LIVE again.. don’t waste another second; dwelling on the past… Dont “ALLOW” the hurt (manipulating deviate) to WASTE another moment in your thoughts /life /words /time / space/ senses, …..

            With the instant energy from this realisation; comes relief,
            which leads to “cleaned eyes” and passionate FREEDOM!!!
            Freedom (yay)…to BE aware & your soul & be YOUR self again.
            A new wisdom, staunch intention and genuine clarity.
            Stop torturing yerself by rehashing yesterdays bullshit and living in the past (cheers jethro tull)

            Decide NOW that enough is enough…and get on with REAL life!

            Thankyou ‘annon’
            Simple, innate, down to earth and empowering !
            I hope other readers can see the value in your words.

            Miss Jayme

            (..I’d not intended the ramble…sooo many thoughts came to mind; in a short time frame)

        5. I understand what u mean but i cannot forgive my ex. I know holding resentment is like drinking poison and waiting dor the other person to die. I guess it would probably be easy to forgive them if they would ever validate anything we ever said or did.

          1. I agree forgiveness is very difficult. There are two things about forgiveness that I want to mention. 1) Forgiveness does not necessarily mean making yourself vulnerable to the manipulator again. I believe we need to forgive (let go of the desire for revenge or to see the person suffer like we did). That is not our job. 2) Keep very firm boundaries in place. We need to keep the appripriate distance from the person so we don´t get sucked in again. (I ended up moving 1000 miles from my ex-wife and refusing to speak to her under the advice of two attorneys because of her behavior. Yes, I believe men are just as vitimized but leasts aware of this problem and least likely to seek help.) I have found the emotional resources in my faith in Christ to be able to forgive so many things that were done for my harm. Many churches have resources to help victims of abusive/manipulative relationships.

          2. That’s the thing, the lies and manipulation are so hard to get over, I wasn’t married, or living with my ex, but we were together for 7 years, I constantly thought that I was crazy because he would spin stories until I thought I was wrong, he finally found someone else and dumped me, I know that I should be happy about that, but I can’t get over the fact that he’s happy and I’m miserable… I saw the signs and ignored them. I want the truth, i feel a bit insane because I keep trying to get to the truth.. listening to all of you helps, gotta let go

        6. LisaO, you make so much sense! I understand about forgiveness and how it is a gift for ourselves. Yet indifference is so much better. Plus, concerning our relationship I am there now. However, what he did to the others makes me hope he is found guilty. If he isn’t then my faith in our justice system is misplaced.

        7. I think this type is my husband….the problem is how am I for sure that his constantly telling me I m manipulative, is his way of keeping me confused, but what if I’m really the bad guy?

          1. Misti, I have had trouble with the same questions with my soon-to-be ex-husband. He is so good at making me feel that I’m the one at fault that I had gotten in the habit of being the one to apologize and to back down.
            They want you to feel like you are the manipulator and unfortunately they are very good at it.
            But I think the fact that you’re questioning whether you could be means that you are absolutely not! A true manipulator will not question themselves that way.

          2. misti,

            “is his way of keeping me confused, but what if I’m really the bad guy?”
            If you really are wondering about this, then I can assure you that you are not manipulative, or the bad guy in the marriage.
            He certainly is a problem. At worst, you may be co-dependent (I hope I got my psychology ABC right).

          3. Boy, that’s so good to hear… I have given so much of myself that i have no worth, no will to move foward even though it is my desire. Since he became aware I wanted to leave he shut off all financial help. Since I’ve been sheltered at home 8 yrs without working this means everything. If I want to survive then I have to give him a reason to allow me to have anything. I feel like all doors are blocked to leaving. Without has money I can’t go get a job….etc.. This is so refreshing to read all of your experiences. Its been 12 years of he’ll and I’m ready to live.

        8. I agree, we should not have to forgive our abusers in order for us to move on. We just need to forgive ourselves and feel nothing for them and move on. And if you are one those like I was struggling to understand it, don’t waste your time you will never get the answers you are looking for. Just except the things you can not change and be grateful you are now FREE!!!!

          1. Marie,

            I find everything you just said there 100 percent accurate, in my case.
            I’m still not free – trying to get divorced. He still thinks he owns me, that he can speak (email) to me in whatever abusive degrading manner he wishes. He feels he’s entitled to, because I’m “his”. I can’t stop his emails but I can stop reading them. I believe there are 76 unread in the email box at this time.

        9. You’re associating forgiveness with reconciliation or opening back up to the abuser in some way. Forgiveness is a state of peace within yourself and admitting that there is negativity- and thus the possibility of hurting others- in us all. The only difference between a healthy person and one who chooses to abuse is that a balance is kept. The healthy individual doesn’t give him/herself over to their negativity like the abuser does; similarly like a drug user gives him/herself over to his/her addiction. The healthy person is mindful of both their good and bad qualities and actively tries to use/better their good qualities.
          The truth is that the ones who have been abused have to forgive themselves also- for either not setting or sticking to their own boundaries, of not enforcing consequences for the abusive actions. And we must also realize that negative self-talk is also ABUSE! It’s you abusing yourself, not to mention that it isn’t very productive either.

          1. Merriam Webster’s
            Simple Definition of forgive
            : to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong) : to stop blaming (someone)

            This DOES NOT mean I am giving you another chance. This DOES NOT mean I’m letting you slide for what you did. This DOES mean that I am actively choosing to not continue to give my ABUSER any more of my time, my thoughts, my emotions, my peace. I am NO LONGER focusing on blame, but living my own life. One can forgive without the expectation of the other person being contrite. Blame is associated with entitlement. This is what kept me in my abusive relationship for too long- entitlement and blame. Instead of listening to my inner voice, instead of opting out and taking care of my own well-being, I stayed and continue to expect him to see the error of his ways, kept letting anger rot me out inside. It feels like because I gave so much, because we spent 8 years together and have 2 children, then I am entitled to something. But the real truth is that no one has to give us anything at any point in time. Other people are not beholden to us; they are not our possessions even when we are married. We cannot force another person to see our point of view, or respect us. Just as it was wrong of the abuser to try and force anything on the abused. Everyone has a right to experience respect, but has the responsibility to leave if it isn’t present.

          2. Veronica,
            Very well said! I am glad you commented on this. I forgive all the CD’s I have to deal with and practice NC completely unless absolutely, necessary. I have enforced restraining orders and I mean business. My son is a CDN with other problems, do I love him? Yes, do I accept his behavior? NO Do I tell him to leave and in-force NC? Absolutely

            The forgiveness is more for me to let go, I have a hard time getting angry and feel uncomfortable in that state. Forgiveness is really for myself for not enforcing boundaries. It was different years ago, we did not have the resources we do today that enlighten us to these disorders.

            Forgiveness, does give me peace and I pity their miserable lives. I do get angry at times and vent, when I am still picking up after the carnage they create. However, I have found that I have gleaned an inner strength from all this and the empowerment to turn something tragic into a positive.

            I do struggle with forgiveness of an individual who assaulted me years ago, I have nightmares about it. This is something I need to work on mainly to free myself.

            I find if I turn these experiences into an opportunity to grow and integrate it into my being I found I am more equipped than ever to not only help myself but others.

            I have found that the evil these people do comes back to them
            10 fold. I just sit back and watch the destruction.

            Again, thank you for your well thought out post and encourage you to post your thoughts on other topics. It help to have other perspectives.

        10. Having been married to a man who did his best to destroy me and my children, I must agree. Indifference is a place of power, forgiveness is way down the road.

        11. LisaO,
          I am just now coming out of a different, but still very relevant manipulative relationship and I also deal with the same dynamic in my family relationship, but I have thoughts about your comment on forgiveness.

          Forgiveness is first and foremost never about the person who is being forgiven. Forgiveness is first and foremost about you. What you described is trying to get the other person to feel regret or feel apologetic about the situation. The other person never has to know that you have forgiven them or whatever you decide to do for yourself. Some people can move to forgive others relatively easily. Others cannot. I think that forgiving someone is the final way to cut ties with them. After that, you no longer have to harbor negative feelings. Until you forgive someone, you will feel negative emotions every time you think about them. A prime example of this is my dad physically abusing and leaving when I was kid. A few years ago I finally brought myself to forgive him because the experience taught me a lot. I vowed to never be like him and so far I have completely lived up to that. That experience has helped shape me and taught me a lot about myself. The manipulative relationship I am just coming out of is much the same. I have learned from this experience how to foster and develop much deeper and richer relationships, especially with the one I care about who drew my attention to the manipulative behavior. Can’t say I have forgiven the person yet, but I have already learned a lot. I may have even discovered an area of work that I could really become passionate about as a result of this as well. Just my thoughts about forgiveness. Seeing you happy and successful without them is the ultimate way to say “screw you.”

          1. Hi Kevin,

            I haven’t seen LisaO for awhile. I think you are speaking to one kind of scenario, and she to another. So I think I understand and agree with both of you 🙂

            What I found hardest was forgiving myself.

            I, too, learned alot from the experience of being involved with a CD person. I am stronger, wiser, more self aware and more resilient (and probably aged prematurely 5 years too). I did thank him for all these “gifts”. I have internally “forgiven” him, and I hope forgiven myself.

        12. When Jesus encountered a town and persons that did not receive Him, He left the town and basically had nothing more to do with that town. The church teaches a lot about forgiveness; these discussions are about very messed up people-the aggressor. Indifference sounds pretty right on to me.

      2. There is an excellent book abut forgiveness -the real and the fake kind. I do believe you can let something go…I think that is healthy – to recognize a person’s limitations and let go of any expectation from them. That is a very different thing to forgiveness. True forgiveness requires action from the other party. They need to be contrite. They need to make amends. They need to value the process. Fake forgiveness is sweeping it under the rug as though it isn’t there anymore. As though your feelings about it have no value.

        I have been surrounded by family that is sociopathic. I have created boundaries to protect myself from my mother’s toxic behaviour. I have not forgiven her – I have accept her for who she is, and should she ever decide having a relationship with me is worth apologizing for, is worth acknowledging the pain she caused, and is willing to do the work herself to help me heal, then at that point – forgiveness is possible. I would be willing to work on that with her. I even gave her a book and a letter that outlined what she would need to do for us to have a relationship again, and it includes a sincere apology.

        In the meantime, boundaries are necessary. I am not in bondage at all. I have never been more free or valued myself more. I deserve that apology. It is highly unlikely I will ever get it. And that is okay. Because I accept that is who she is. But I don’t have to forgive it. It is unforgivable. Forgiveness without repentance would just be a charade. The book that I recommend highly is How Can I Forgive You – And The Freedom Not To. http://janisaspring.com/?page_id=7

        1. Boundaries are so important, what you said is correct. I think there are always issues, with families and boundaries even in the best families. What you said is both difficult and correct, forgiveness does require both to participate, and it is often that both parities have made errors of judgement over time , so we all have a part to play, however if one party cannot engage and take responsibility, then the only thing that is left is to abandon, in an emotional sense. And I mean to have total disregard for, with the obvious exception of course, and that is to protect our children. Because this is the really humane way and the only ethical way we can really remain true to a reasonable standard of values and of love and compassion to our children.

          1. thanks a lot for your comment, that is what exactly i needed to hear right now for my inner frustration for what i do to care my 10 years old son, with my ex-husband who has been manipulative.
            As I can see the inner scream of my son searching for his father, i was on the constant self-blames, and the frustration that i am not capable to make his real inner happiness and peace bringing back to reality.
            Boundaries and indifferences, I keep praying for those key words.

      3. I agree I am in the same situation once we let the manipulator get away. With to much its like we begin believing the lies I’m confused and heartbroken I don’t know what to do I made this person my world and now its ended I’m left with memories of what I wanted us to b if I could block those and every morning write a reason why I had to finally walk away write down bad memory and write down names I was called and a lie I was forced to believe .if I make that list daily I am sure I will over come this horrible situation and regain my self esteem and become the person I really am instead of hurt mad sad confused heartbroken manipulated overcome all those bad things that were said to me overcome the lies of being called miserable and all this shit I will regain my strength and sanity and my new year will b great tho I will b single it isn’t like if he were still w me it would be any better it’d be a lie in some sort of fashion he’d manage to put me down and wear his crown of satisfaction I’m no longer gonna be his little stupid whore as he calls me..

    2. I know from personal experience that this is the right approach, Sara. I think that people who have merely experienced a selfish jerk can go ahead, separate and forgive in their heart. It’s not going to hurt them. But a true covertly aggressive person is a danger and the number one risk for reoffending is our forgiving them.

    3. I don’t necessarily Agree with NOT forgiving the person who manipulated you. I understand why they don’t deserve your forgiveness, but How can you not forgive when you will need forgiveness later for something bad you will do or have done to anyone else. Even if you do not set out to hurt people like a manipulator does. You will still need the mercy of forgiveness from someone in your life.
      Also if you cant forgive, That means that the person who you wont forgive has a hold on your life and it can prevent you from moving on with yours because you hold the offence.

      I know better than anyone how hard it is to forgive someone who has set out to purposely hurt you. But that is their problem and they cant prosper until they realize their issue with this matter. If they don’t…then that doesn’t mean that that person can control you because of the offence they have done to you. Their Manipulation doesn’t define who you are as a person. It should not change the good qualities in you. And if you hold that offence through unforgiveness then those good qualities about you will slowly change you into a person like the manipulator. You will become Bitter and unhappy.

      Yes you forgive yourself for being foolish, because there was something in you that tell you that the relationship wasn’t right from the beginning and you should have followed that voice that told you to leave or to let it go. Trust me I know. So blame yourself for your part of the Manipulation against you…for not stopping it or leaving or whatever that voice told you to do that was within yourself. Forgive yourself as well for falling for it and learn from your mistake.

      Forgiving the manipulator doesn’t mean you have to trust them or continue with them ( if it isn’t a type of relationship that doesn’t involve family & relatives. People you cant help to be a part of their lives). It just mean by you forgiving the offender helps you to forgive yourself and other like them…not them to continue to abuse you over and over and over again. Forgive them and move on from them. And they have to earn your trust back rather they want to or not.

      This isn’t something I am just commenting on because its the right thing to say. It is something I am going through right now. Why else would I be on this site trying to find wisdom and information?

      1. Sheri, I have spoken at length with my counselor and others about all of this, forgiveness, moving on etc.
        you do not have to forgive to move on and a lack of forgiveness does not hold you captive to them. Actually your entire post is full of untruths tha have been thuroughly discussed here a number of times.
        As I have said, I will never forgive what Spathtard did and that in no way means my life is ruined or tha somehow it makes me a different person or someone like him. It has changed me, no doubt, in good ways and bad ways but this whole idea of forgiveness being necessary in order to move or is nonsense and some notion that gets passed around in some “can’t be proved” belief system. It is YOUR belief but that does not mean it’s true or something that everyone wants or needs to do. I don’t mean any disrespect to you and as always I wish you well in your situation but your post is off base.

        1. Hi Puddle, just want to clarify that there seems to be two with my name. The response you made was to Sherri S. And then there’s me … Sheri.
          Although I do also believe forgiveness is important, but the concept of it messed me up for many years in my marriage. My hb would say, “Haven’t you forgiven me yet?” in an offended voice. And I would feel guilty … since we are told to forgive.

          I think, people who are going to tell others that they need to forgive, need to first explain well what that mean (especially for Christian who use the lines “forgive as Jesus forgives you”). We need to made it clear that there are different types of forgiveness if we are to forgive as Jesus did.

          When you are dealing with an unrepentant person, forgiveness does not mean that you are going to reconcile or trust that person again. What it does mean, is you’re going to leave it up to God, you’re not going to get revenge. It’s almost like you’ve “let go” of any desire to repay that person for what they rightly deserve and you can move on with your life. This is the type of forgiveness that needs to be taught to survivors of certain type of unrepentant characters. It kind of means you’re saying, “you are who you are, there’s nothing I can do about it, so I’m not going to even bother trying”.

          It also messed me up when I would still be angry about things or feel hurt and I would be told “you’re just not forgiving”. when we are angry or hurt (with due reason) that is going to take awhile to get over, as it should. That does not mean we are unforgiving.

          Now, if you’re dealing with a person who is repentant, shown a great change of heart and is continually doing the long-term work of building character, forgiveness is important here as well. And then because we’ve forgiven (let go of any desire to pay them back for all their wrongs) we MAY choose to begin to trust again (notice I said “may”), even at that point if we choose not to trust or reconcile … again this does not mean we are unforgiving.

          I know for me the concept of forgiveness (through advice, my hb, and my own wrong concepts I learned) really led me down a road of more guilt. Than rather than looking clearly at the situation I was living in, I would look instead at my unforgiveness and “try harder.”

          So, for me, I do believe forgiveness (in the true sense of what it means) is important, but since the wrong teachings of forgiveness kept me in the dark, allowed me to enable the abuse, and carry some of the responsibility that I didn’t need to be carrying … it is VERY important to distinguish what forgiveness truly means, especially when dealing with disturbed characters. I am typically reserved in talking about forgiveness, because the concept was one of those (just one of many)things that kept me trapped, I don’t want someone else reading this and feeling guilty because they haven’t “forgiven”.

          I guess I’ve rambled … it’s just that I do think it’s very important when we talk of forgiveness … that we talk about what it means rather than just putting the word out there and leaving it open for interpretation.

          1. Sheri!! I am SO glad you distinguished between the names!! I did not catch that! Interesting…the comment seemed out of character for you, like I noticed something was different. When I’m on my Cl ph, as others have commented, it’s more difficult to see things in a normal format.
            Thank you also for writing what you did about forgiveness and making that distinction so clear. I think you have before as well?
            I think that a lot of people who make blanket statements about forgiveness are only giving the concept lip service when it comes down to it. Personally I find some things unforgivable, especially when they are done intentionally with a holier than thou yet off base motivation or to intentionally harm someone for their own gain or amusement.
            Hugs Sheri!!

          2. I spent so much of my life being “guilted” into forgiving (by both well-meaning and not-so well-meaning friends and advisors, and by my own neurotic thinking) that it took more years than necessary to get to the place of understanding I have now.

            I will use an example of the way I see forgiveness with these type of people. It is my mom, I have forgiven her in the sense that I know who she is and what she’s about and I have no desire to use my energy to change her. The things she has said and done, and more importantly NOT done has nothing to do with any defect on my part, It’s all her. It was wrong, it’s hurtful, and its unloving … And I can say that with peace because it’s her deal, not mine. That’s the way I look at forgiving her. And in that I LIMIT MY CONTACT. Forgiveness of an unrepentant N means I realize I’m not going to change them and i let them live with the life they made for themselves. It does not mean, though, that I ever forget who she is, put my guard down or “pretend” that we have a good mother-daughter relationship. It also means I do not need to carry the burden of guilt when she tries to guilt me into that pretending, and I definitely don’t need to explain my reasoning to her.

          3. I would like to add that people often say that if you angry it means you are “unforgiving and that’s wrong”. I don’t think this is true. I think we have a right to be angry about being lied to, manipulated, having our values turned and used against us; having others turn their responsibilities and issues around on us so that they are free from guilt, while we shoulder the burden and guilt for something we were never meant to carry.

            It’s almost unthinkable. So I can say that I have “forgiven” this unrepentant person in the sense that, through repeated attitudes and actions, they will truly never change. I know that, I don’t expect them to. They need to, but I’m not going to waste my emotional energy on them, let go and put my energy where it belongs. There is no way that I could ever say “what he did was okay”, it wasn’t okay, it’ll never be okay. If some people want to label that as “unforgiving,” I am learning that it’s maybe because they have never been hurt or wronged in such a way that they could even understand the concept of a person being able to “let go” and still declare “what was done to me was wrong, and it’s not okay”

            As far as the anger, I work on not letting it rule my life. But to say that I need to “let go” of that, I also think is wrong. I have a right to be angry about these things, it’s how I use that anger that is important. Am I going to use the anger to seek revenge to hurt the other person back, or am I going to use the anger to learn and grow, to mature.

          4. Sheri, I’m with you on all accounts in your posts. I think the distinction I would make, with your mother for instance, it acceptance vs forgiveness. And that acceptance takes a tremendous amount of insight to get to. You continuously demonstrate a high level of insight and understanding, of yourself and the people who have brought you a lot of suffering. I don’t mean understanding in the way of, ” that’s ok, I understand”, but understanding by seeing what they are really all about kind of way.

          5. Yes, that’s what it is, it’s acceptance. Which as far as “forgiving” an unrepentant character disordered person who has wronged you is as far as it could go is acceptance. That’s what I meant about two kinds of forgiveness. For someone who is doing the hard work of changing and making amends, then forgiveness means a willingness to leave an opening for trust and some baby steps at reconciling (which that doesn’t even necessarily mean having a relationship). that’s the first kind of forgiveness. Not to be confused with the other. Which is, with a character disordered person who continues in their usual ways (no matter how many times they say sorry), the only thing that is right to do is accept that they are who they are, let them deal with that on their own. While you do the hard work of turning the anger and hurt into something that will help you and others grow and not be taken in again.

          6. The hurt and anger at the manipulator is really about me. The trick is not forgiving them but myself for feeling so stupid to not see this coming. Real forgiveness for me is owning my mental space again. I’m mad because she fooled with a weak spot that she no control over in herself but had control over mine that the next ‘she’ will find if I don’t get a grip on it. I’m angry at her and don’t want to accept that is there but I must. I’m allowed to be pissed and I am. And I’ll stay pissed until I’m done. Then I’ll forgive me.

          7. Hi Garrett, there is no reason to feel stupid and sad fly many people do when they have been worked over by one of these types. The basic premise behind manipulation it dismantling all of the safety nets you have in order to do or get what the manipulator wants. It’s what they do and if you are not like that you can’t conceive that they are. We tend to interpret other through our own beliefs and values so that is strike one against a potential victim. Strike two is that the manipulator knows that. Strike three, four and five are that they are very good at what they do because they have done it their entire life.
            Being the victim of a skilled and determined manipulator with malevolent intentions has nothing to do with being stupid and EVERYthing to do with being a normal human being that needs and wants to be loved, valued and part of something greater than they are alone. We are social creatures and to pair up is a social, biological and spiritual drive, it has been since we were invented! 🙂
            Be kind to yourself and know that there is no shame or blame that someone who has been used and abused deserves, it ALL belongs on them.

          8. I’m not sure where to begin or who to address this to, but I’m at the stage where I feel like I need the cold hard truth and advice on how to move forward. I have known my ex for 10years, we met during our first year of university and since then the cycle has been going on. He would use the excuse of his parents being quite staunch in faith and my lack of practicing Islam to the extent that they did as the reason I would not be marriage material. When I tried to started over, he would resurface, either to point out my flaws or discredit my efforts toward my religion as being futile, or to try to get me to believe he had changed. Being the person I was part of believed there was goodness in him but over and over he would do and say worse things to sabotage the relationship. Eventually he found someone who wasn’t muslim, moved in with her and was taken care of by her. I don’t dount that she had no idea about his nature but he would still find a way to contact me to rub it in my face that she would be accepted where as I would never be good enough, he cheated on her and that ended. At this point I had moved past everything he did, for myself. Then he used what my friend said was a completely new approach, out of character to worm his way back into my life as a platonic friend who was there for me after my second break up. I got the apology, the meetings with members of his family, the assurance that it was me and after 10 years and an accident he had seen the error of his ways toward me. I had still kept my guard up because it was him. Now that I’ve read articles regarding this kind of behaviour a part of me believes that he has some sort of sick obsession with having sex with me in particular and that’s the only reason he keeps coming back, he knew I’d be onto him if he was his usual self as he’s tried over the years and I’ve not agreed to be in the same room as him since he got the woman he lived with. But for the past year he didn’t attempt anything sexual, its almost as though he studied me, my strengths my weaknesses what I want and used that to his advantage. When I finally did let my guard down he still played the friend turned boyfriend who would be there for me no matter what – I mean he was getting the sex and there were no signs of his former behaviour until recently when I had a pregnancy scare. At first he was on board until he realised he would have to tell his parents, this is when he tapped into my rage and decided to tell me that he had put his parents through this and he doesn’t know if he can again. Still playing victim knowing I would react out of anger at the thought of him indirectly implying that if I was pregnant the best thing would be to abort. Once I flipped out at him, he turned the situation around explaining it was his ex and she lost the child but my reaction gave him validation to want nothing to do with me, basically telling me to f off. Mind my language. At this point, he is scott free, I look like the heartless insecure person who has no empathy for the fact that he lost a child and he is the victim. He cut all ties with me instantly, and I am now at the point of how did I let this happen and allow him back into my life when I was in a good place. Thankfully I’m not pregnant, though he doesn’t know, I actually don’t even think he has emotion at all, I really believe he finds some sick satisfaction of building me up and breaking me down in new ways, not to mention he gets to end it not before making it clear I again am not good enough for his parents to know about as opposed to someone else. At this point I really don’t want to harbour hatred for anyone but I can’t eat or sleep or even think straight in relation to the situation. I’d appreciate a response tenfold.

      2. Well, if the manipulator was and is your mother, and she still tries to implant triggers, I disagree that forgiveness is the way. I identify with becoming neutral towards her. Please do not respond because not one person can know the hell I went through until I was 43. The grief of finding out the truth is great and even greater than the grief of my father’s death last year I was programmed to be easily manipulated, and then, manipulated for my whole life. I’m only 44, and still coming out of the fog of confusion and thinking of all the years I spent “trying to make things better” because they seemed so wrong. This was my mother! I trusted her! For…too…long. She stated last week that she wants a healing of our relationship, right before saying a ball face lie. It is too painful even to talk to her on the phone. This is what she has done. If alcoholics must admit their wrongs, then these abusers must admit theirs as well. She never will.

        1. Hi, I hope someone reads my post, I too have gone thtough abussive crap from my father, my ex husband, and then a man I dated for almosr two years. I have no idea how I have survived to still have faith that I can make my life super for me and my two daughters. I am not sure why I am not a man hater, by now you would think I would be but I have been praying a lot and that helps a lot! I had to put a protection order on the ex boyfriend. These post are helpful, you all are right, emotional and verbal abuse is demonic to suffer, its not like a bruise that slowly fades away, it stays in your head. I have found peace with my family and helping others in this same space. Try to remember, you are worth everything awesome and none of the bad, forgive yourself b but not your abuser, remember just enough to keep your self safe from future people. There are words in a song that say “don’t confuse compassion for weakness” . You can be strong, compassionate, fun, loving and more but also give your self permission to be the bitch when you need to….remember, you have the right to protect yourself. Find a way to help others, together we all will be a force to reckon with for sure! Best of luck and hapy lives we al deserve to you all.

          1. Hi Ness,

            You have survived! So happy to read those words and applaud your strength, fortitude and will to go on. I also appreciate your perspective about forgiveness and all the spin off emotional gymnastics people go through trying to reconcile the fact that they were victims of cruelty, indifference, abusive words, actions, etc… I think, like you, that it is important to let yourself , ” be the bitch.”

            In the aftermath, too, it is important to someone who was abused to be able to talk freely, without condemnation, about feelings of revenge, hatred, etc…I frequented a forum a few years back where a woman who had been targeted by a miserable human being, said she hoped he failed miserably in his life, going forward. That’s all. “I hope he fails!” I can tell you, if that is the most she hopes for, she is a pretty calm, even handed type. Well, one of the senior posters posted this long New Agey diatribe condemning the heck out of her for these thoughts, told her that she was wrong her thoughts would create a boomerang effect that would bring misery and harm to her. Nonsense!! It is fair to comment that anger will subside,after a time and be replaced with indifference. This is a natural process of forgetting— and ‘letting go’ flows naturally from that forgetting. I don’t think it is even something somebody has to ‘work on.’ It just happens eventually.

            The worst thing anybody can do to someone suffering from the after trauma of abuse is to sermonize and from a position of moral absolutes, heavy on the spectrum of ‘forgive thy enemy.’ . Acceptance that there was nothing you could have done to prevent it, acknowledging the pain of it and finding people who understand and accept the fact that you are justifiably angry is the way to go. You will reach indifference in your own way and in your own time.

            Remembering just enough so that you can recognize danger in the future, is so key. Thanks for making that point, too. Forgiveness almost implies, starting over with a clean slate. The heart full of unreasoned forgiveness, is stomped on, forgives and gets stomped on again.

            If you compare human social hierarchies to a baboon colony, what you will see is calm, reassured top alphas, at the centre. They are easy going, often ‘ forgiving,’ but put up with zero banana thievery. They are relaxed. On the outer periphery, you have the betas with high cortisol levels, living lives of misery. They commonly and almost literally are kicked in the teeth. They respond submissively — and with a pained ‘grin’, when abused by a higher ranking baboon. The grin says, “I am no threat to you. Please don’t do this again. If I have done something to cause this, I am guilty, sorry, ashamed.” Forgiving an unrepentant abuser, places us in baboon beta, high cortisol territory. It tells the higher status baboons that it is okay to do it again.

          2. Ness,

            A point I want to stress is, the psychopath and to some degree the narcissist function as if they are in a baboon colony and will always consider themselves higher status whether they are or not. It’s really weird how the reality is so different than their fantasy of a self image. They have a distorted and very simplified almost Simian approach to others. Often we are much ‘higher status’ than they are , in terms of active social networks, influence and admiration from others, but they, for some reason, don’t get this….or they do…so target is when they perceive us as weakened by some external event, illness etc…

          3. As a kind and compassionate man and a good father I have lived through a relationship with a covert manipulator. I knew her for 20 years and I was married to her for 12. She turned people against me, was not honest with me, had absolutely no understanding, and I let her make me feel crazy.
            We have two children together. I am so happy to be learning to live alone, to love myself properly. I have spent the last year properly assigning responsibility to each of us. This month I will finally be divorced. I will never allow anyone like this into my life again. That is what I can do to get better. It feels so good to walk out of the fog of the manipulator. To begin to find yourself again, and to understand what happened. There have been many difficult days, and I have learned to live with the darkest and most scared parts of myself. The place that doubt, The places of self-reproach. The hardest part is I had no chance of having custody of my children. The story is not completely written yet.
            Against all odds, you can fight your way through this. No matter what do not give up. This is the opportunity for you to grow into what you were supposed to be. When things get hard, do not tear yourself down. It is very important to feel your feelings, while at the same time not allowing your feelings to control your life. It is far easier said than done as I have well learned in this last year. My children have learned some very manipulative behaviors from her. My 8 year-old daughter cries and throws fits to get her way. My son uses manipulative anger to control people and adults, and because of that he has no friends. I will not stop being their father. I will show them and teach them to the best of my ability to grow into mature and loving adults. It is not easy. She made her choices and I am making mine now. I have prayed for her forgiveness, because she does not understand what she does. More importantly though, I pray to forgive myself. I’m slowly learning to trust my feelings, to trust myself. I believe that is truly the hardest part.

        2. I totally relate to your pain. I have spent most of my life trying to come to terms with this. In order to move on, I finally embraced the idea that I don’t have a mother. Its unfortunate but true. I am committed to healing, for this I take many proactive steos every day, and I am committed to only healthy relationships. We are stronger than we realize. Best of luck to you.

      3. No WAY can anyone forgive a manipulator, (sociopath). only way around them is two plants one for them and one for us.

      4. we all make mistakes , and that is hard. Normal people accept that, and deal with it. They realise where they went wrong and they say it/ they change the way behave in future, and move on. That does not make them a bad person, it just makes them a normal person who had made a mistake, as we all do. Its only when this process does not ever happen that things go horribly wrong. The problem is the person who never says sorry, or does so in a contrived fashion, and the person who never forgets, or just changes the story as they go along….the person who can never be wrong…and the person who needs to dominate. There is a very distinct difference. So don’t worry, and please don’t beat yourself up. If there is no intention to make a mistake, it may just be a bad reaction to a bad situation.

      5. You seem to be contradicting the article above…. I understand BELIEVING in something very strongly, such as forgiveness, but people that are in this type of trap don’t need to place themselves in a position of vulnerability again… it isn’t realistic

    4. I was forced to live with a lier and manipulator. Any attempt s for me to leave was stopped due to this man blackmail ing me with lies he was gonna tell others threats. Or at one time a lie he was gonna tell the police. This man has lied to and manipulated so many people. He is believed to be an angel. This person has destroyed lives to better his. From recent words of an old acquaintance he seeks to do it again.

    5. Thank you so much Sarah!So rightly expressed and so true it sounds.Forgiveness is to onself for trusting someone which ones instinct denied.Forgiveness to onself for being a prey and trying to impress.There is good so there is bad.Books are just written by people only.We all are uniquely Learning some believe in power of love while some act.Life belongs to the one who becomes loose clay again which can take any structure .Sangam saranam gachhami…some people feel the rain while some get wet as Marley says.I believe in falling down forgiving onself for treating self unwell and living long being amazed observing.Peace.

    6. My husband has manipulated me and verbally abused me for the last ten years.I didn’t know he was a sociopath until a few years ago.
      As of a year ago he is trying to be nice.he didn’t kiss me on the mouth for all those years and sexually demanded it for his own satisfaction. Now everything is changing. I have done my homework on sociopaths and narcissistic and I have been giving him a taste of his own medicine.it seems to be working however I don’t trust him.I feel like he has discovered that I’m beating him in his own game and now he is playing the victim. At times I feel really bad but then I know he has no feelings or consciousness and I am in hopes that he will see he has no chance of defeat. I can’t kiss him on the mouth even though he is trying and I will not.am I still the victim? Is he really feeling remorseful for all the years he has wasted from my life. What are your thoughts?

      1. To Christel,
        First of all I’m confused by the chronological sequence of comments on these forums…is it just me?

        Secondly, there is no way your husband is feeling remorseful for all the times he’s been abusive it’s the manipulative tactic for these types of CD beings to instill doubt. It’s normal to feel compassion but in his case your compassion should trigger the memories of his abuse and guarantee the loss of these feelings. He will always play the victim.

    7. Your words said exactly how I’m feeling. I was in a 6 year 24/7 care-giver, love relationship. I left after four surgeries, and him making no changes for my benefit. It was very hard to leave, but since leaving I have felt stupid, naive, and have learned I need to protect myself, and that goes against my grain. I want to remain a warm and loving person, but not quite sure how to do that and still be aware of the manipulation of others. It’s a lonely road, because no one even wants to acknowledge the relationship existed. My loved ones are just happy I got out alive.

    8. Can’t agree more Sarah, well said. I needed to read this. Manipulators and people with no conscience don’t deserve forgiveness unless they apologize or ask for it. Forcing to forgive or pretending to forgive only causes more pain, emotional turmoil & it’s best to let time lead to healing. It’s better to be the loving and trusting person with a conscience, that has the guard up for such manipulators than turn into a hard person..

    9. Hello and thank you for your helping to clarify and maintain truth and sanity in this emotional mine field. Forgiveness is what prolonged the abuse for so long .In this scenario I forgive myself it’s a lesson too painful not to get. The manipulator relies on our forgiving nature and it only builds disrespect. Having no boundaries is my part in creating this abuse not taking shit is being kind and loving.

    10. Divorce cancelled and marriage restored. Here is my story to the world on how i got my love back and saved my marriage. I really love James so much that i can not even do without. I was married for 7years with 2kids and we lived happily until things started getting ugly and we had fight and argument almost every time… it got worse at a point that he filed for divorce… I tried my best to make him change his mind & stay with me because i love him with all my heart and didn’t want to lose him but everything just proved abortive… He moved out of the house and still went ahead to file for divorce… I pleaded, cried and tried everything but still nothing worked. The breakthrough came when someone introduced me to this wonderful man who eventually helped me out with spell… I have never done things like this before but just decided to try reluctantly because I was desperate and left with no choice… He did special prayers and used herbs… Within two days james called me and was sorry for all the emotional trauma he had cost me, moved back to the house and we continue to live happily, the kids are happy too and we are expecting our third child. I have introduced him to a lot of couples with problems across the world and they have had good news… Just thought I should spread my experience cause I strongly believe someone out there needs it. You can email DR Thomas via (drthomasherbalhome21@gmail. com) Don’t give up just yet, the different between “Ordinary” & “Extra-Ordinary” is the “Extra” so make extra effort to save your marriage/relationship if it’s truly worth it.

    11. Sarah – thank you for these wise words. It’s exactly how I feel and what I’m going through. I will read this over and over again.

    12. Hi

      I am Christian. And i just stepped out of a relationship where there was a lot of manipulation. I was angry for the most part. Very resentful. And on top of that i struggled with guilt.

      Despite everything.. i know i have to do myself a favor and forgive. Because ultimately forgiveness is not letting the offender off the hook. Its about you choosing the higher way. It will be hard process. It must begin with humility. We cant blame everything on the abuser. At some point we have tolerated and even worse unconsciously empowered the abuse. Now that you have finally found the way of escape from that mess.. be comforted by the truth that Justice belongs to the Lord. He doesnt let wickedness slide. But in His mercy He also restores.. and that includes you.. and the abuser. For the latter.. it ultimately Has to be His work and timing.

      God bless you on this journey. You are free. You are loved. And cherished by an awesome Lord.

  2. Thanks again for a very interesting article.

    I think you touch some very important aspects that I been wrestling with in the process of overcoming two abusive relationships with covert aggressive personalities. One with my sister and one with my ex wife. They are very different persons on the surface but their agenda was (are) very alike. Both used covert aggression as a method to get control.

    For me the ambiguity and cross reference feelings has been a major problem.
    In order to control you convert aggressive personalities try to get control over your open aggression (open aggression can be constructive if you express your feelings and seek a reconciliation). One way of accomplishing that is by pushing your guilt buttons every time you try to express your emotions in an upset manner. This can by done by rationalizations combined with minimization (“you are over sensitive”, “you exaggerate” and so on) so that your upset expression is seen as totally out of proportion. If that don¨t work and you in frustration raise your voice they got a second line, or a back door, – they start crying. The effect is that you feel guilt for expressing your own aggression and you eventually shut that channel down – leaving you as an open field from which the cover aggressive can harvest what they want. In a sense it¨s a sort of gas lightning – you don¨t know if your feelings are right or wrong.

    So starting to accept my right to get upset and angry without feeling guilt has been a been a major step in breaking free – not only from these covert aggressive personalities but also from my habitual pattern of always being the understand and caring part (you have a right to demand that those you care about cares back). But it´s a process and I notice that I still often tends to be trapped into guilt feelings if a person push the right guilt buttons. But at least I¨m now aware of some of my guilt buttons and that they exist – but the learning curve seems to be steep.

    That¨s been a major obstacle for my part – to get a better balance and healthy way of dealing with my aggressions and accept that I have the right to get upset and angry – to bring my aggressions to the surface from there hidings under the thick carpet that the covert aggressive (with my help) buried them. It´s been a roller coaster ride in my case (and it still is but to a lesser degree) and I try not to blame myself for these emotional jumps. But most importantly; I have learned that I should never try “mission impossible” again and try to convince the covert aggressive that I got the right to get upset – that¨s a wall I never will bang my head against again – the best way is trying to avoid them as much as possible (which can be hard if you have children together).

    This “accepting” thing seems to me a bit like “Russels paradox”. I tried to get relief from the mindfulness approach but I actually found that hard. The method surely help many but for me it had an adverse effect. Accepting things can be fine but what if the problem is that you tend to to easily accept things, for instance bad behavior? Should you then accept that? Russels barber all over :). Things get messed up when the are self referenced and that¨s been a very hard task for me to unriddle – but I¨m on my way even though some loops keep popping up and Alexanders way of solving knots is not always the right way but sometime you have to it his way if you want to break free – cut the tie.

    And I agree with you Sarah, we need to forgive ourselves.

    1. wow. Michael you have no idea how big was the relief in my soul I got after reading your reply. i had the same experience as you. every time I tried to talk to her and reason that something wasn’t right she called me over sensitive, or she used to show that at that exactly moment she had a problem that was bigger than those silly things I was trying to bring into the relationship. my life and my things were never important but things had to be her way or no way at all. and the list would go on and on…..it is good to see I am not alone and that other people had similar experience and survived. I feel frustrated as she is happy have her life back to normal and seems very indifferent to all the harm she caused me. I am after 3 months apart still having dreams every night and suffering. the funny thing is, I don’t know why, as it is more than clear to me that she wasn’t doing any good to me. but I thing what upsets me the most is that she destroyed my self confidence and esteem. we give so much time and love in a relationship and when we get back is abuse and manipulation, it is disappointing and I blame myself every minute for being so stupid.

      1. I feel a lot of shame about “letting” my husband mess with my head. I did not realize I was suppose to be on guard with my own spouse. Most people will try to give you advise that actually hurts or makes things worse. Well meaning friends are just too fearful to acknowledge your reality, because they are too afraid of it happening to themselves. You are not alone. I have seen the smartest and brightest people hook up with terrible partners. It’s a shame.

        1. My manipulator was a female “friend”, godmother to one of our 3 children. If I only knew then, how things would have turned out, I would never have let her into my life. It was only noticeable too late. I had had 2 cancer ops and undergone 2 years treatment, lost a relative, had to deal with another awkward relative and help my mother after her hip operation. My husband retired after long service and things had levelled out nicely. It was only after this and my second operation that she started her destroying mission, after I told her my daught qoulsnt be gping fit amy more piano lessons, as mone wad tight and she didn’t have alot of time with doing exams. I had got a little low and hubby was a little lost after his retirement that he had some worries. When I asked about it, all he would say is that I had been through enough. I turned to my friend and, I realise now how jealous she was. A wedge was slowly put between us and I, being the trusting person I normally am, got that swayed with her listening and taking an interest in things, not realising she was slowly eroding my self trust and confidence, in myself and my husband. I felt like a mini tornado twirling round, not knowing left from right. I just wanted it all to stop. I had felt so embarrassed over things that had happened and could not face him. I was a mess. I was turned into a very pessimistic person, after being such an optimist. He was such a good husband and very supportive. We talk ok now, after the unwanted divorce, and have been on day trips with the kids, but he is avoiding talking about us. I never thought we would end up splitting, but at the time, my mind was so all over the place. It took some time, with the “friend” keeping in touch for a while, then, did I come to my senses when she said to give up my job and sell the house. Not long after, she sent me an email “to all my friends, I am going to have to sell my phone and computer as needs be. That’s life”. I found out that this is untrue., as I have seen her online presence. Plus, I noticed that she has a ” friend” with 2 young daughters she looks after at times and buys things for them, like she used to for my kids. Another cluless individual.. I am in no way jealous of her. A neighbour had fallen our with her and she blamed them for things. It turns out it was her as my “friends” ex husband said after my divorce, and even her brother, that if she is crossed she will ruin you. Boy, did I pay the price. I have never cried so much and am so annoyed with myself.

      2. Joey, I read some good advice about all the good we’ve put into a relationship and how bad we fell afterwards. The advice was this: in your mind take back all the good you gave and put it in a lovely box. Its your gift to yourself to keep. Best of luck.

      3. After being in a whirlwind relationship with so many unfulfilled promises, manipulation and mental abuse, the relationship finally ended a yr and half ago. It took living by myself to realize just how controlling, manipulative and selfish he was-yet, through everything he did to break me down and make me dependent on him, I couldn’t let go of the dream life that I had for us/that he promised us. Just found out tonight he got engaged to a woman with whom he has only dated for 6 months!?! Through mutual friends, I have found out that he has told his new gf ALL the same promises he told me, almost to a T. Why am I so hurt and upset about their engagement?? I don’t want him back as I know all that he did to me was abusive and wrong yet I cannot get over the fact that he is getting married and going to be creating a family (my dream) though he has done such horrible things! A year and half later, I’m still single and am having a hard time grasping how he=evil, wins and me=good, fails?! I cannot see myself overcoming what I have gone through. I feel worthless and unloveable.

        1. Hello EEM,

          I’ve been where you are now. I needed to learn to base my self-worth and love-ability on internal things, not external. For example, base my self-worth on my character and actions, not on whether a man desires me or not. You’ve already demonstrated good character and discernment in your choices to separate yourself from this man, and recognize his unhealthy character.

          I found it hard to stop thinking of my past relationship and wondering what he was doing. In a sense we are going through a loss, we are grieving for a life we desired and tried to build, and then it didn’t happen. I didn’t want to see him succeed either, but I had to let that go. It takes time to do this inner work.

          I would direct you over to Chump Lady on another website. She explains in a very direct and easy-to-understand way what you are going through emotionally.

          Thebookoflife dot org, also has alot to say about the delusion of romantic love. (make sure to put the “the” in the name, and use “org” or you end up on a different website). I found it helpful. Because alot of our suffering is due to our unfulfilled expectations, which may not be reasonable.

          hope that helps.

  3. Thank you for the great article and the opportunity to comment. I continue to think that being targeted has been a disguised gift. It took me a couple of years, but I have truly forgiven the aggressor. She doesn’t know I’ve forgiven her, nor does it help her in any way, I believe. It just relieves me of the burden of feeling so much resentment. I have not, however, forgotten. And I never will. And my boundaries are not quite no-contact but they are massive.
    But to the question: how do you get past it? There was a 3 month period where I was really, down, maybe even depressed, I don’t know. I am a very positive and upbeat person, so that was hard, feeling so incredibly confused, distracted, and stuck in my head. But that’s what these personalities do to you- they make you question yourself in bizarre ways. I think once you shake your head and snap out of it, you have to tackle it with all you’ve got. You can’t go around things in life- you have to go through them. You have to feel them, in a very raw way, to heal. So while it absolutely stunk for those 3 months and then another year of less confusion but more bitterness as I was coming to grips with who this person really was, how she thought, what her agenda was, how deceived I was, how little she cared for me or anyone..all of that was really shocking and disappointing and very disturbing. Reading the books was a huge help. That was my way of going through it- read it, understand it, imagine how she thinks, as difficult as that is.. and when I was able to face it head on and accept it, then I was able to take action. And the action Dr. Simon suggests is the best action of all- I started working on myself. And this is how it is a gift in disguise. My relationships with my husband, kids, extended family and friends have always been good (well, there are a couple of relatives who are tricky:)) but all of these relationships have improved as a result of this- even the challenging ones. It is moment- to-moment and day by day work, and it is very hard. Taking a close look within is downright painful. But it has been very rewarding and incredibly empowering while making me a better person, and I’ll continue to do it with gusto. I think the only other thing I want to say is that while I’ve known some folks in life with this type of personality, I have really only felt “thrown under the bus” by this one person- a friend of 5 years. Yes, she managed to alienate others from me and create very uncomfortable situations for me and my loved ones, but I have not endured abuse in the way that others have- I cannot imagine going through 10, 20 years of marriage feeling that much oppression and discomfort. Or being raised by a parent with this affliction. To those out there who have endured so much, I am in awe of your strength and courage!

    1. i have alot to say but have no idea who i am wrighting to . i have been in a manipulative relationship for 20 years and i am only 34 . i have known for a long time that my ex partner manipulated our relationship but now i have googled the internet i am suprised with how right i was . i find myself with no confidence an always second guessing everything i do , i feel bad about myself all the time even though i know i am a good person . he is using my youngest daughter against me which i have read is normal for a manipulater but it is breaking my heart . after 20 yrs i have finally had enough all through the years he has promised me things will get better he will be a better person he will spend more time with me but it is all crap once he has me back it all slips back into place where all is ok for him . all i have ever wanted is a relationship where u no sum1 loves u an will do anythin 4 u who u can look at an u no they think u r there everthing , but all i got was sum1 who wanted there every need taken care of without them having to do anything in return . i cant beleive i have wasted so many years with this person an i am so disgusted with myself that i have let him do this to me for so long .

    2. It’s been going on for 2 years for me. The only thing I dislike worse than a liar….is a liar that will never admit to their lies. On the positive side… I realize how amazingly different I am. ? my inner goodness and utter honesty have separated me from people claiming to know what’s right for others while practicing something that clearly isn’t right for any mortal… The end:) yours truly

      The undercover saint.

      1. I have been married to a covert aggressor for 25 years. It took me so many years to figure him out. He has caused me so much pain, I used to listen to his advise until I saw that it always caused me drama and pain. He is sneaky, underhanded, a actor. Acts concerned but could care less. Takes extreme care of himself, flosses every night. Exercises, rests if he feels the slightest twinge. I could be benr over in excruciating pain. The most I get from him is a hollow feigned “can I get you anything”. With such unconcern. Then if I say you are not here for me when I need you. He says I’m attacking him and am taking it out on him. He has never had a friend. No concern to see his family.
        I used to be so outgoing and akways had friends and loved the house full of friends. Well I am not me anymore. I am dead inside now. I wish I could muster the strength to sVe myself but I am Worn out. He preyed on my goodness. I was tricked. I know justice will not come now that is up to God
        And when that time comes I would rather be me the sufferer than him the abuser.
        I don’t have to explain what happened – Jesus knows. That gives me a sense of peace.

        1. Helen,,,,,,,I’m sorry and I understand.
          “I wish I could muster the strength to sVe myself but I am Worn out.” this is an aspect that someone who has never been exposed to one of these low lifes just can’t understand and i can relate. Once again…..the word’s available to describe don’t really encompass the reality. Worn out on so many levels……it’s a numbness……a total exhaustion and brain numbness from trying to figure it out and the depletion from being drained by them and having your mind bent back an forth. Vampiric depletion. (Vampire )
          Speaking for myself in regards to suffering, I would rather have him suffer than me. He is the one who to the best of his ability has been skirting atonement his whole entire life. Time to pay the piper.
          Welcome

        2. Helen,,,,,,the person that you were is still there, I believe that completely. Can you try not focusing on him? Just start doing the things in life that bring YOU joy? one small step at a time try to reconnect to yourself? It might be small, baby steps at first but that’s ok. Reconnecting to the things that “feed you” will bring you strength on a very deep level and once that strength starts to build you may find that you have the strength to save yourself.

        3. Dear Helen and Puddle

          I know exactly what you went through. I have been married to the vampire for 25 years as well!I took all his abuse and my 2 kids have suffered as well…and now he finds the guts to divorce, hide all his money God knows where and ask for divorce!

          1. Sienna, it’s what they do! They have no true character, no sense of right and wrong when it comes to what they want, no loyalty unless it benefits them. Not surprising (but painful none the less) that someone who has treated you and his children badly during the marriage would treat you even worse at the end of it, yeah?
            I’m so sorry Sienna.

        4. I understand Helen. I’ve been married to a abusive manipulator for 31 yrs. He wore me out to. We r separated and when his young girl friend is no longer paying attention to him after almost a year of his silence he needs me again. But I am done. Once a cheater always a cheater. It’s a character flaw of cheating and he luvs himself even though he says he hates himself. I am so tired. He says he’s not a monster but he is.

          1. Tammy, Sorry that you have had to survive all that, tiring it surely is. I hope you find the strength to bring back to true joy to your life that these people take from us. I’m still in the throes of getting away and I have so much less energy than 5 years ago. I sooo look forward to getting myself back. :-))

          2. Sorry to read of your angst. Boy can I identify with the ‘pity party’ ‘wow is me’ type attitude you describe, that you experienced with your husband. My experience is that once you cut away all the crap and BS, attitudes like that are roughly translated as follows…..”Look, I want to but cannot get my own way in everything – so the world is against me. Life is sooooooo unfair!!!!”. Except it isn’t, although it is for those who suffer the displeasure of having to share the company of these types……

          3. yeah Danny, it’s like they reverse it…..they do TERRIBLE things and expect not to be held accountable, YOU do one little thing and they put you on death row. Im making a exagerated example of course. THAT’s why Spathtard had to make carp up! He twisted something small into something bigger but it wasn’t true! And I would try to explain the truth and he would go, “un huh,,,uh huh,,,,,uh huh” is a mocking dismissive tone. SO incredibly painful that was to me. SO intentionally, childishly cruel.

      2. “The only thing I dislike worse than a liar….is a liar that will never admit to their lies.”

        You mean even when it’s obvious to everyone else that they’re lying and they still keep doing it, because apparently it becomes true if one says so enough times and reality’s all you make of it and all that stuff(a not-so-subtle reference to many New Age -teaching like Law of Attraction).

        1. J, I’ve come to see that the core component is this…..in so many ways…..They Just Don’t Care! Spathtardx once said “Things just have a way of working themselves out”. This is in response to me asking him in so many words, if it bothered him that his life was such a train wreck! Well what he should have said was “Mommy always is there to change my dirty diapers”!!! LOL!

        2. Perhaps I’m just coming up with loose associations here. It’s succintly expressed that “They don’t care”, whether it’s about doing whatever one happens to please or spewing out things.

          1. They don’t care!!!! Nothing really matters to them but fun, excitement and in the moment gratification of their self centered desires……that and maintaining the mask they wear around people who still hold potential of gratifying their self cantered desires.

          2. every day is a new day and every victim is destined to be “Just somebody that they used to know” and who never knew them. They HAVE to wear a mask, they HAVE to lie about who (what) they are or they would be shunned by all but the lowest low lives.
            They is always another sucker/ victim down the road, another source. It’s like changing socks for them, flushing the toilet.

    3. Thanks for that comment, Joan. My mother has been CA my whole life, I am 51 now and finally realizing it. I feel like the last piece of a huge puzzle has fallen into place. I look forward to living the rest of my life without that burden of guilt.

      1. Terri, Congratulations. I remember a long while ago when I first was shown just how wacked out and off base my family was. I knew it in a sense but I didn’t have words for it and NO validation up to that point. Even though I baulked at the things she and others had been dumping on me there was still a part of me that was able to absorb some of it because I didn’t KNOW what I was dealing with. And as you said………It WAS like a huge piece of the puzzle fell into place and it all made so much more sense. It was the key that opened the door I had been banging my head against most of my life. It also enabled me to let go of some of my behaviors with her and others……a very long process filled with tiny little steps forward and some backwards.
        I wish you continued steps forward!!

        1. I’m going thru hell mentally physically imprisoned yet free. We met and became inseparable. He told me he loved me and showed me how far his love would go. One day he’s dissapered only to recieve Mail 3 weeks later of him being in jail. The same time I found out I was pregnant, by no means did I wish to keep his unborn seed!! Went to see him he was already being visited by the next woman. I sent him a card told him our problem went to see a doc about fixing it! He writes me back 3 days later I backtrack and we sit face to face. My first mistake was believing any word that he’d say. He begged me to let the baby stay he’d be home off his violation in 90 days. I knew I should have used my own judgement but fear of an abortion won me. The days passed by and his seed grew as expected, healthy a complete blessing. Then on the day he was to be released my heart broke and still is in pieces. He’s got another charge which was filed while he served the violation charge. Sexual abuse on a minor child under the age of 11. My world has currently stopped what kind of Monster harms a child. Then I go for answers he declined my visit come to find out he was seeing another chick. He calls and lies about her being just a friend and swears the charges were mad up. After the next visit same thing declined I got to some thinking I wait around and ask her who is she she said his wife I know for a fact he’s not married but y would she lie? She abruptly tried to move away from me not caring about my questions or the fact I just told her in 13 weeks I’ll be giving birth to his child. At this point he’s been away for my whole pregnancy and facing a minimum of 4 years if they go easy. I find the charge hard to believe but this is only the beginning of how he recieved me. I start digging he said he DDNT kno court dates I find them and attend even thou he tells me not to he doesn’t want me to bump heads with his”friend.” I go and he said he was soon to be married to the judge find out he’s older than he told me and she’s there this time I feel her glare on my pregnant belly. No words said!!! I go on Facebook find his acct then start digging around magically she popped up not affiliated to him but her info falls into my hand!!!! I see pics I took of him while we were on the beach she’s plastered them on her screen. So I emailed her very respectful and she tells me I’m a liar till I send the pics of us together that day and many other days usually with him holding me. She must’ve ran and confronted him then tells me he’s signing over his rights (biological) In my head I dnt believe till he continues to ignore me deny my visits won’t call or write me back. What kind of women with no real connection would favor that kind of man. She has no kids and spent the same amount of time well less with him. We were both played and I’m carrying all the weight. I’m 28, hve my own place car and already one kid my lifeline she’s 5. This woman is 35 and lives a hard life not downing her but she doesn’t have it together, lives in housing and walks. Did he not cheat on her with me and slowly move into my residence now won’t even respect my presence. I need to know if what he’s being charged with is true!!!! Can’t endanger my baby girl and found out I’m having another girl! My heart hurts cause I never saw this coming Y WOULD A MAN BEG U TO HAVE HIS KID IF HE WAS GONNA WAIT 6 MONTHS AND TURN HIS BACK ON IT???? My heart hurts soooo bad somedays I cry myself awake. I’m there days I break down during the day anytime I can whip my baby girls away at school. Not gonna lie I’ve contemplated suicide just can’t bring myself to leave my baby girl knowing she has no one else in this world. How heavy this burden is I’m scared I’m gonna lose it. Y did he do this to me I realize no such thing as true love only adultry, no loyalty. Only my children will ever really love me. How can this be gonna give birth alone in 10 more weeks. I just don’t understand where is karma y does she take so long will I ever smile or sing happy songs. When the wind blows it comforts me cold on the ous ire like the cold building up in me. How do I get over being manipulated so deviously???

  4. I discovered almost a year ago that my mother is a narcissist. I’ve always known she was “different” and that I was afraid of her. I’ve always known that she possesses and imprisons those she “loves,” but I never knew it was a diagnosable condition. So, I went from extreme anger (looking back, it was like I was in a straight jacket, trying to break free — what took me to therapy originally) to mass confusion to other mental and emotional states along the way. Looking back it was almost like I was completely torn down and day by day I’ve had to build myself back up; almost like being re-born.

    I was always the “very compliant daughter” who would twist myself into a pretzel to make my mother happy in order not to to incur her wrath. There were no boundaries at all. One thing I find amazing, now that I know better, is that I always thought I could compartmentalize my mother’s behavior and our relationship. I thought I could be one way with her and my real self all other times. She created a “false self” inside of me in order to be able to cope around her. That is just not an acceptable situation.

    Another thing about this process is accepting the idea that I am my own person. I am responsible for me. That idea has been both guilt-inducing (I’ve always felt responsible for my mother) and incredibly free-ing (when I realize that I cannot be responsible for anyone else but me.) I find the idea of being responsible for myself in a healthy way very empowering. It’s a very different feeling than feeling responsible for who you are and what you do out of shame.

    I’m working to really feel my emotions, the ones that have been repressed my whole life. I’m working to embrace both the dark and the light inside of me. When I’m feeling one way, especially when I’m feeling a negative emotion like anger or fear, I do not run away from it. I sit with it. I let myself feel it. I try to embrace it. I’m growing to realize that anger or sadness or being fearful is not a sign of failure that I need to run from. They are nothing to be scared of. They are just human emotions that I’m supposed to feel if something saddens or angers me, or makes me fearful. If I’m aware of these negative feelings and stop to feel them, I’ve noticed that I don’t lash out at someone else who doesn’t deserve it. I’m calmer. I’m more aware in the moment, more mindful of my words and actions. I really credit daily meditation with helping me to be aware in the moment. Or at least, know how healthy it is to be aware in the moment. I’m still working on it!

    All I can say is that I was very scared and a nervous wreck when this process began almost a year ago, and I’ve come a long way. And I’m pretty excited that there is more to come. That every day there is more to learn, that it’s a process that unfolds day by day.

    Dr. Simon, you’ve been a big help to me as I’ve been going through this. So thank you once again for everything you do.

  5. (English is not my first language, so bear with me:)
    Some months ago I realized that my boyfriend of the last three years was a wolf in sheeps clothing, and after that it only took a couple of weeks before the relationship was over. It ended with him being exposed (not openly, I never said that I finally grasped him, but he did not manage to pull me around anymore, and was caught in several lies. Very frustrating, I`m sure, as he had been very successful in manipulating me up until this point), then cheating on me just days later, something he told me with badly conceived satisfaction, in the conversation that was to be our last.
    I assume he wanted revenge for something he perceived that I had done wrong to him, or to be the victorious one in the finale match between us. Who knows.
    Anyway, without going into details, that didn`t happen, and it pleased me immensely in the time afterwards that I was the one winning the last game (of course, with a normal person, this contest thinking doesn`t apply).
    Ive also felt quite a lot of anger and rage towards this person whom I thought loved me, and whom I thought I loved (an illusion, since I didnt really know him or see him clearly).
    For a period I often lay awake in bed not being able to sleep, seething with anger and wishes for revenge, especially when memories of things that happened while we were together came to mind, and I realized how much he actually conned and mistreated me throughout our relationship. It was painful to realize that someone so close to me did not wish me well.
    I`ve also felt quite a lot of sorrow. And I`ve missed him.
    But as time has passed my life has become so much better without him, everything is easier now. When I put some work into something, it actually gives results.
    And I feel more wise now that I know that people aren`t neccesarily goodhearted deep down.
    I`ve also gotten to know myself better, since I needed to find out what my vulnerable points where, so not to repeat history too severly.

    I`m very grateful to you Dr Simon, for providing so much knowledge and insight about this topic.
    Your blog and book was (and still is) of great help and support when trying to understand what manipulation and these people are about, and the typical traits the victims have.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Zara. And thanks for sharing your experience, which I’m sure not only resonates with the experience of others but also might be of help to others who have experienced similar circumstances.

    1. I’m so sorry this question didn’t get posted earlier. It’s a great question, and one which gets some attention in several different posts as well as both of my books. But because you and so many others have asked this, I’m working on a 3-part series of articles that should post in about 6-7 weeks on this very topic. Please stay tuned!

    2. Hello, Dr Simon. Noticed this old exchange.

      I’ve gone back pages, but I’m not sure if I’ve found the exact 3-part series you’ve mentioned. Have they yet been published here? If so, what articles(I’ve forgotten about my own question, so I may have read those without remembering my request)?

  6. Because of a 15 struggle with Bulimia I was on my way to repairing my self-confidence and sense of self-worth when I read ‘In Sheep’s Clothing’. I had practiced a lot self-discipline and learned a lot about self-care over the years. However, I was still receiving a fair amount of hell from the people in my life and I was still having minor relapses with my eating disorder. It turns out every major relationship I have ever had has been with a covert-manipulator. Starting with my parents, who both have aggressive personalities. My mother’s personality was the most damaging because she had everyone convinced (even a few therapists) that she was a neurotic. She has managed to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes playing the victim and using other manipulation tactics. I am so extremely thankful that I came across this book because without this fundamental shift in understanding her mode of operation I would not be able to release my deep rooted feelings towards her. I was 14 when my eating disorder began. I am sure it was a coping mechanism to deal with aggressive people, especially the coverts like my mother. While I was still viewing my mother as the hurting victim it was impossible to stand up to her. Those in my life pretending to be neurotics had to be understood as aggressors in order for me to stand up to them. (what compassionate person wants to confront a wounded, hurting neurotic?) So by labeling my mother and the other covert-aggressors in my life as such I have been able to start standing up to their behavior and release SO much old emotional pain. I have NO doubt that the information in ‘In Sheep’s Clothing’ will lead to my full recovery as far as my eating disorder is concerned. There are probably many others like me who have developed eating disorders to cope with covert-aggressors. I feel very strongly that my story is an example of the power of the new paradigm that Dr. Simon is proposing. And that victims of covert-aggression can find healing in a wide variety of areas, even when conventional thinking may say that your problem is incurable or a mental illness. (like an eating disorder) I am very proud to be the loving and compassionate person that I am. I no longer believe that there is something wrong with me. I know that I was dealing with skilled manipulators and there is nothing for me to be ashamed of. I have the tools to heal permanently and completely. I want anyone reading this to BELIEVE! Recovery from manipulation is possible!!! You can have your life back!!! Bless you Dr. Simon and thank you!

  7. It has been difficult picking up the pieces after my encounters with two covert aggressives at work (one at each of two part-time jobs!). Because they were both very skilled and well-practiced in the art of deception, they managed to convince my boss and co-workers that I was a bad person, a bully, crazy, and someone they should watch carefully. After approximately a year, I realized one was a sociopath. I read as much as I could to understand what I was up against, but she scares me because I know she is literally capable of anything. I resolved to cut off all contact with her and asked to be reassigned to another department. I hoped everything would just blow over, but I’ve since learned she continues to manipulate co-workers and management and more and more people in the organization seem to hold me in contempt. I’ve tried to tell people she is dangerous, but no one believes me and my attempts have contributed to their believe that I am the crazy one. In my heart of hearts I know the only way to heal and move on is to leave this employer to get away from her influence and the damage she’s done. But I’m in my late 50s and jobs with good benefits/salary are not that plentiful for someone my age. I’ve spent many sleepless nights tossing and turning…feeling fear, anger, wanting revenge, hoping for the truth to be revealed, shame at my trusting, gullible nature, and embarrassment at being duped by her offer of friendship. At my second job, I was actually fired for no good reason due to a covert aggressive who was a narcissist and a control freak. She pretended to be my friend for years (it was all an act), and after I confided in her what was happening at my other job, she made it her mission to make my life miserable through taunts, veiled threats, lies, false accusations, vulgar name-calling and gestures when no one else was around, and telling my boss and co-workers that I was abusing her and she didn’t want to work with a “crazy person.” To my horror, I discovered she had an acquaintance at my other job who was one of the co-workers who sided with the sociopath. I knew my days were numbered as I had no protection at this job. I also learned she had a history of getting people fired by convincing the boss she was acting in his best interests. I managed to hang on for another couple of years by avoiding her as much as possible, keeping conversations strictly to business, learning to diffuse her attempts to antagonize me, and learning how to modify my behavior to not let her get to me. I took my lunches away from the office in a nearby park. Diffusing the tension by surrounding myself in nature was very restorative. I would breath deeply and try to meditate as best I could. It was not easy, but I drew on a deep inner core of strength which sustained my belief that I was a good person. After getting fired, I initially felt that an enormous burden had been lifted. It was on some level very healing just to be away from the constant abuse, but the anger I felt at being unjustly fired brought back thoughts of revenge. But worse than that I sank into a depression and have had difficulty overcoming obsessive thoughts about being victimized, isolating myself, issues with trusting others, hypervigilence, and always questioning people’s ulterior motives. I continue to read to help myself understand why and how I got so involved with these women, and have recognized I have a history of abusive relationships with men as well. It has been painful to face, but enlightening and insightful, too. I value myself in a way that I never thought possible. I recognize that I am not perfect, but I’ve faced my demons and found a good person at the core. I’m not sure I will ever get over any of this, but the experience has changed me, made me grow up, less gullible, wiser, and grounded in reality. I no longer believe that there is good in everyone, and while some people think that may be harsh, I know it is the truth. I thank you, Dr Simon, for your books and website. You and others have helped me understand what happened, and in doing so have contributed greatly to my healing. Your work is sorely needed and much appreciated.

    1. Thank you for such kind and supportive words. And thanks for sharing your experiences. As others have helped you, I’m sure you have also helped others in your sharing.

    2. I find this quote heartbreaking:

      “But worse than that I sank into a depression and have had difficulty overcoming obsessive thoughts about being victimized, isolating myself, issues with trusting others, hypervigilence, and always questioning people’s ulterior motives.”

      I am in that same space after recently having broken up with a man who manipulated, lied and abused me for 2 years. Worse, I would have continued to take his mental abuse, but once I became aware of it and challenged him on he, the abuse turned physical. I hope the hypervigilence and obsessive thoughts will pass. I’d hate to lose a part of myself that I value – my faith in humanity.

    3. I knew for years that my husband was abusive, but also understood that if I divorced, my children would go back to the cult people in his family and would most likely be molested. He never physically or sexually hurt them in any way, but did some significant emotional damage. I endured 30 years until my youngest child was old enough not to have a custody issue, and I had ample biblical reasons for divorce. He ended up abandoning all of the children. I am a strong woman, but getting rid of the confusion of such a long period of time is exhausting in and of itself! My husband also used Parental Alienating Syndrome (similar to Stockholm Syndrome) on our children, and I was the target parent. Although they are aware of what happened to them, and even though it was limited because he didn’t spend much time with them, there are behaviors each one needed/needs to change. My adult children understand the process of being brainwashed, but I have had to severely draw the line with each one (even ending contact) until the repeating of what was modeled by their father ends for good. I stand by my decision to endure/protect my children rather than let them go to an environment in which they would be molested (court decisions go by what they can see at the time and children are often at risk). I felt that they could overcome some brainwashing much easier than sexual abuse. Now I am healing myself, and really enjoy how people comment on the beauty I create in the music I compose, my English garden, etc. However, I wonder how long I will still feel broken?

      1. Wow AnneMarie, you are amazing and yes, a very strong woman. Your children are just so blessed to have you for a mother. Incredible. You have endured quite a struggle so I would imagine it will take a substantial period of time to feel COMPLETELY ok but that does not mean you can’t participate in some joy as well. Just keep your head up, knowing what you have done for your children is a beautiful and loving thing. You have plenty reason to feel a high level of self respect. But what a nightmare to have to deal with….I’m sorry you have had to.

  8. Hope. The great liberator. Because it tells you it is possible for something completely different to occur.
    And faith in whatever you believe in that is greater than human abuse. It will pass, if you take action.
    I am not a very assertive person, and am one of those ‘way too nice’ people (or so everyone tells me) but every time I have had to tackle one of these CDs I have won. I’ve had more than my share to tackle, and they were always WAY tougher and nastier and more devious than me – but I repeat every time I have had to tackle one of these I HAVE WON. No great tactics or techniques, and I was pretty clumsy in the execution, (and still ‘too nice’), and it takes months – but what it takes above all else is not some amazing methods, but sheer persistence, resilience, ‘bouncebackability’ and ‘stickability’ and ‘sticktoitiveness’. Stand on the truth and just keep going forward. ‘Keep light and overtake.’

    Those I’ve counselled – and loaned Dr Simon’s books to! – so far have all ‘won’ too. By ‘winning’ I don’t mean inflicting some kind of massive damage on them and benefiting yourself. I mean freeing yourself and moving on and getting a life back.

    I find great comfort, and share with others who are struggling with this, a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt. Note that she does not say ‘stronger’ like the usual cliche that ‘hardships make you stronger’. True that may be, but what she says is more original and in a way – more exciting:

    ‘Every time you meet a situation, though you think at the moment it is an impossibility and you go through the torments of damned – Once you have met it and lived through it you find that forever YOU ARE FREER THAN YOU WERE BEFORE.’

    1. Clair, Are you there? I would love to hear more about how you have “won”. Is it by extracting yourself? Im very curious.

  9. Hi Dr simon gorge I have recently read u r book .I been into self development for last 13 years.Have read and applied about assertiveness and manipulation but material available was unrealistic and impracticable (though helpful to extent) But now with your book In sheep’s clothing I have started Handling Manipulation .(with your book I am well equipped) to handle manipulation. I am 33.Hoping to see the more success in future.Thanks And all other people Nice to see people having stories similar to me we are on same side of being assertive.

  10. Truthfully, it is very hard to admit i am the victim of anything when in my life i have won so much. looking at me on the outside i am what others would call successful and well put together and yet after a degree and successful job, nice place and nice car at a young age of 25, at the age of 23 i fell into a deep dark relationship. i suffered verbal, mental, and physical abuse, alienation from friends and family and she made me feel as if SHE was the only family i ever wanted or ever needed. Its hard for me to admit because even through the text im writing now im witnessing how much “I” allowed for things to spin out of control. I am not sure who these words will or even who this will help but I am currently seeking a support group to help “cope” with my emotions. I thought moving states and pursuing my career further would be enough to “move on”, its been a year since i moved away from her. yet i just had a disturbing dream about my ex last night and she still text me to this day and gloats.. one day how she loves me, and the next day does not want me. Im sick of the roller coaster and after inventing a new life i am now stuck to the conclusion that the problem of living a better more fulfilling life with great relationships does not begin with my ex but with me. So overall i want to say thank you to each and every last one of these post, due to those who are out there like me, who feels at least they have their outward look on life together does not mean there is not an emotional imbalance within myself. i overall, am just ready to move on, and would appreciate the support to do so.

    1. Hi Chris,
      I just read your email. I too struggle with moving on. I am on a constant rollercoaster ride with my ex. We were married for 15 years and he had constant affairs with strangers and co-workers as well as the emotional abuse. I am only 6 months into my recovery and still have panic attacks at night. I know you post is dated for a few years back and I hope you have made much progress since then. Take care.

  11. Dr Simon I have to say your book In Sheep’s Clothing has truly been a god send. There have been so many aha! moments and I can at last start to believe that I was not going crazy.
    I was married for 20 years to a man who was manipulative and abusive and it took me many years to remove myself from that as we had three children.
    Then I found a partner who seemed incredibly loving and kind and generous and who constantly told me he only had my interests at heart and he loved me more than life itself and more than anyone else has ever loved me.
    I confided everything, my lack of confidence, my years of abuse from my husband, demonstrated my gentle, understanding nature at all times and he actively encouraged all my personal and spiritual development I was embracing. What more could I possibly have wished for – he bought me lovely clothes, took me on luxury holidays all the while telling me he cared so much for me and that nobody else would do this. However I was never invited to his home nor introduced to any of his friends during the whole five years we were together. (As an aside I once called his landline and a woman answered and I have since been told he still lives with his wife) He started early on to display odd signs of disturbed character – he would randomly lose his temper especially if I did not reply to a text or answer my phone (let’s not forget my comment above about his landline and that he only answered his mobile phone during office hours and always had an excuse as to his phone being on charge in another room etc in the evenings) – all the while saying it was because he was so worried about me because he loved me so much. A year into the relationship I felt stifled and was struggling to understand his ‘silent rage’ – I felt intuitive enough to grasp that he was a bubbling volcano waiting to erupt at any time. I tried for four years to end the relationship and each time he manipulated me back by rage or by covertly using all the confidences I had shared with him, such as telling me he felt so sorry for me because after all the abuse I had suffered I clearly did not know how to love anyone which was understandable but if only I could feel what he felt for me, he was so sorry I would never experience such a wonderful feeling because I was cold and unfeeling after my marriage. I often had the ‘if you show me you truly love me and want to commit to me then I will integrate you into my life’ And do it went on. So many times I remember listening to him criticising me because I had not shown him enough attention or I was too selfish etc and he twisted everything all the time and I used to say to him that I thought I was going mad! But he always used this opportunity to show love and warmth and tell me not to worry that he loved me no matter what.
    At last two months ago I ended the relationship again but I knew this time I meant it and so did he but how hard it must be for a controller and manipulator to lose something – to lose a battle and even the war! His aggressive nature came rising quickly to the surface and he bombarded me with threats until I had to get police support.
    But do you know what hit me hardest at that particular point when the communications at last stopped? I felt as if I had been a hostage for years and that I had escaped – what freedom, what liberty what joy to see the sunshine after sitting in the dark for so long but then I looked around and realised I had walked away from the person who had clothed me and fed me and nourished me for years. It was a difficult transition and I struggled at that stage – it was not that I worried about being on my own because actually I am very independent (something of course which did not go down well throughout my relationship) I cant explain it really – it was an odd feeling. The thing is from my experience when they are nice of course they are very very nice and charming but there is an almost palpable evil side which is running just below the surface.
    I am just about to read the chapter on Terms of Engagement and I am conscious that I played my part in this manipulation and that I repeated it so I need to learn how to set my boundaries etc
    Keep on with your writing Dr Simon – I and, I am sure, many others need your support to make us realise we are not going crazy and that there is life after manipulation!

  12. My fiance picked a fight, walked out, and ended our engagement by changing his status from “engaged” to “single” on facebook-that’s how I found out.He never told me to this day that we weren’t engaged, but on what was to be our honeymoon trip, he changed my name on the travel itenerary to another woman’s…this woman he once said was just a friend.He is now on what was to be our honeymoon with this woman–after we’ve been togeter a year and a half, under one roof, he’s now with her for 5 weeks.
    I have the engagement ring he gave me, my wedding dress, and horrible emotional pain so bad I am so weak and sick. He’s justified his actions to his family and friends by making me out to be the villan,,and they’re happy for him he’s with this other woman.
    It’s hard for me to deal with manipulative people, let alone being misled to believe him when he promised us together forever. I was blindsided and need some pointers for getting over this humiliating time in my life not to mention how badly I miss him and shouldn’t.

  13. Pretty hard to move on after toxic relationship? How hard is it not to have self-doubts ans have no faith in one’s own judgement after FOUR toxic relationships, Doc? #1 met every PCL/R Factor 1 criterium for a psychopath and may actually meet a few Factor 2 criteria as well, depending on whether she and her husband are shown to by the investigation as having committed arson/insurance fraud. #2 was diagnosed with NPD. #3? BPD and, finally, #4, whom I described in another post recently.

    Hard to move on, you say? Hard to restore faith in oneself? As for the strength of my faith? I have faith. No issue there! Rock-solid faith! In fact, I have every confidence that if I take a one single step in any direction whatsoever, it will be into yet another fire. Faith? I got faith.

    Insofar as far as having no confidence in myself? Given that I am the common denominator in all four relationships, Doc, how can I *not* believe there is something fundamentally wrong with *me*? If every single time one drops a hammer and sees, every single time, that it falls, one comes to believe that it falls because it must. That this is what hammers do when they’re released. A law of nature. At some point you stop wondering *whether* it will fall and *know* for a surety it will. No more relationships for me, Doc.

    I’d rather be dead, quite honestly.

    T

  14. @ Chris

    My son said to me about a year ago, “Dad, you outta think about marketing yourself as a Nutjob Detective. I mean, c’mon, every woman you’ve ever liked turned out to be a one-woman freak show! (My children despise their mother on her own merits and not because, as some ex-spouses sometimes do, by me badmouthing her to my kids. She did *that* to me, but it backfired. She did it to herself and our kids and now they won’t have anything to do with her).

    I dunno, maybe I *should* hang out my shingle: Ace Ventura: Nutjob Detective.

    Tell you what, Chris: if you take a liking to some gal, run her by me first. If I like her and she likes me…

    RUN!!!!

    ;-))

  15. It’s been hell. He quickly moved on to someone else and his family shuns me especially around my daughter. They act as if her mother is dead or at the very least, missing. There is no way I can have any contact with them or him. It starts the pain all over again. I still don’t trust myself or other people. I have a very difficult time even dealing with my own child because through her I must hear about him. I see a counselor who is very aware of what he is. And, of course, when I became aware of his tactics sometime during the last 10 years of the marriage, he set up another life for himself, through the computer and dating sites all the while telling me he was committed to the marriage then dumped me as soon as our daughter graduated. Nobody sees what he is. Nobody ask the hard questions. Nobody wants to rock the boat and tear off the mask of deception. But, of course, these are mostly the people that he has surrounded himself with and I assume this is intentional on his part. Keeps the false persona easily to uphold. These people can’t have anyone around who knows the truth.

    1. Bbbetty. I completely know what you are saying They can only surround themselves with people who basically are involved with they in a superficial enough way that it doesn’t matter to them who this person really is. A relationship with any depth to it will expose them for the shallow creatures they are and woe be to the one who starts to want more from them. you WILL pay.
      Im sorry to hear of your struggles and I do understand. It’s the worst feeling to have things turned on you and to be the scapegoat. I have that. It’s what is happening to me as we speak. I want justice…..not revenge…..and I’ll more than likely never have it. The only thing that makes me feel any better is knowing he will continue this the rest of his lonely life. Sorry to say that he will only leave a trail of emotional destruction in his wake.

  16. 31 Years I was married to an emotional manipulator. Had the guts to walk away but let him beat me up through the divorce. Trying to put my life back in order and it is tough. I second guess everything I do. My confidence is at an all time low. Thank you for this article Dr. Simon. I now realize I am not insane!!! How right about the victim not even realizing what is happening to them. This article has given me the lift I needed for sure. All the comments very helpful. Thank you all!

    1. You’re more than welcome. And your validation is just as helpful to the many readers as are the other comments which you seem to appreciate so much.

  17. My most RECENT manipulator was my 52 yr. female cousin. It all began after she asked me (and regretfully looking back now, I agreed) to pay for the drinks for her 4th wedding because she and her much younger future husband(I recall him being 18 years her junior) weren’t able to. Well, THAT marriage lasted approx. two months, and she moved back in with her parents. Soon after that, she asked me to buy her a smartphone (because she saw that I had one). I had enough SENSE this time to say no. This woman is unemployed, she doesn’t even seem interested in working. She has no vehicle and no place of her own. She is a mother of two grown daughters and has eight grandchildren. I hadn’t seen this woman in years. She grew up in New York, and me in S.C. I’m a year and half older than she is. She lead her life and I lead mine. Anyway, without making this too long….after her 4th husband left her(he went back to his son’s mother)she has been clingy with me to say the least. My father-in-law has a vineyard, and every year we have a festival. She knew about this, and asked me and my husband to pick her up. She lives in S.C. now with her parents. But this is still approx. 100 miles out of our way. Still, we picked her up AND BROUGHT HER BACK. She offered no gas money, AND despite knowing about this event and when we would pick her up, and that we would be at the festival for a week…she APPEARED to have not brought one thin dime with her. What grown woman does that?. My husband ended up paying for EVERYTHING she ate AND drank! And believe me, she does both in abundance!. After we took her back home, the e-mails and phone calls started. She called me crying, saying that she couldn’t “do this” anymore and cried for me to “come get her”. I didn’t do that. A month went by then she e-mailed me to tell me that she tried to kill herself after she talked to me that day when she asked me to come get her. Other bizarre, selfish behavior occurred, but you get my point. I eventually stopped answering her calls and responding to her e-mails. This woman was making me a nervous wreck! We haven’t talked in almost a year. I COULDN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE! I came to the realization that she was just manipulating me and taking advantage of me. My gut feeling was that she was playing the pitiful victim so that I would feel sorry for her and take her in with my husband and I(which was NOT about to happen)It’s really so sad because all I was trying to do was help her in her “time of need” which came back to bite me in the behind BIG TIME! Beware of the EMOTIONAL MANIPULATOR! They’re out there, and they’re on the hunt for targets!

  18. I have recently ended a relationship with a narcissistic manipulator and I just want to thank you for this post. I have been filled with anger and resentment regarding his lies, empty promises, and his jerking me around for nearly two years. I refuse to be a victim but I am furious at the level of lies, secrets, and cruelty. He always had an excuse which was usually some big revelation that he would share with me to manipulate me into taking him back. I am convinced that he was ping ponging between me and his exwife the entire time we were together. I feel conned and like a fool. I don’t know how long it takes to get over the sheer anger but I do believe in good people and I refuse to let this make me lose faith that there are people with good hearts out there. I don’t want to lose the good in me…. trusting, forgiving, loving unconditionally…. those are good. I just want to get past the rage and anger in my heart. I want to be wiser in the future. How can I let go of the anger? It feels like a bottomless pit… that it will never end.

    1. Although we certainly don’t appreciate the ordeal you’ve been through, I’m sure many appreciate your sharing of this information. And I’m glad you found the post helpful and possibly validating.

    2. BrainyBlonde………I think once you figure out that you are better off without the loser, and it may take quite a bit of time, you will feel better and better. These types of people rarely change and will be someone else’s nightmare down the road. Just because you are angry/ hurt doesn’t mean you have lost the good in you. Anger and hurt are natural responses to deception. You were conned but that does not mean you were are are a fool. The only reason these losers are able to pull this type of low life crap off is because good people do not know about this kind of low level game they play at others expense and they count on that fact all the while taking full advantage of our ignorance.
      They think they are “all that” but people who really ARE “all that” don’t need to resort to these childish games and tactics, they don’t have to because they have a wonderful thing called character.

  19. “And the collateral damage that can be done to otherwise healthy relationships with others who might possibly have been sources of support can also make a survivor angry, bitter, and resentful.”

    Amen.

    By the time you discover the CA is out to get you, you run to people who in the past have been reasonably supportive, only to find the CA got to them first. Laid the groundwork to “block all the exits”.

  20. “To make matters worse, some possessive controllers do their best to make the ordeal of separation or divorce a living hell on those who have finally had enough and found the courage to walk away.”

    Yep.

  21. Dr. Simon, you are a clown with your dribble! Waah my daddy didn’t love me enough, waah my mommy was abusive, waah my stepdaughter manipulates me! Psychobabble bull crap! Grow some balls, act like an adult and take responsibility for yourself. Weak minded ninnies! Get a life! Not everyone is nice in the world! Wake up and be an adult!

  22. Im so confused 🙁 im gone from my manipulate husband nearly 2years but he still manages to get into my head. Anytime i seem to be getting on with my life and hes being nice for weeks or possibly months he texts me and I feel sorry for him, its a constant game of cat and mouse
    I live still in the family home and am stuck here its in the area where hes from i basically cant fart without him knowing, i have no family nearby.
    Im at my wits end,
    I see a therapist and she calls him the master game player, he throws out his fishing rod and i take the bait he reels me in every time.she says im attracted to these games subconsciously and i do agree, I don’t want to be
    He is by far the BEST at what he does iv tried explaining that to him before and its twisted around on me :-/Seriously at my wits end 🙁

    1. Lombo, there is a highly recommended thing to do when you separate from these disordered people and it’s called NO CONTACT. I have blocked my ex’s numbers, email and there is no way for him to contact me……….not that he wants to except the out chance he wants to play another game. I don’t know about being attracted to the game, maybe addicted to the hope that he is something different than what he is.
      It’s your choice to “let him into your head” by allowing him access to your head by allowing him to continue to contact you.
      I don’t know if you have children together? Do you HAVE to be in contact with him for ANY reason?

      1. Hi puddle thanks for the reply, ya we do have two children together one is special needs so unfortunately there is no way i can do absolutely no contact becoz hes actively involved in our kids lives. I only recently found out he has a business he never increased child support which is a bare minimum i go to college i have to pay more than 60% of my money every week to whilst he gets to work and keep all his money 🙁
        Ya i do always hope that im wrong and i have read in sheeps clothing and i do know the only person i can change is me i made a list there yesterday what was supposed to be my strengths and weaknesses but i had only one strenght i could list and had two pages of weaknesses so i am going to focus on changing them to strengths

        1. Lombo, I absolutely think the world of Dr. Simon, his books and his tireless efforts and desire to help people. I will say this, I have found it very helpful to read things from other resources as well. It’s kind of like driving a nail into a board…….you have to hit it more than once and this has been a very long process and a painful one. It’s been life changing for me because I never knew people this sick and dangerous existed. Criminals, yes but people who intentionally lie, deceive, manipulate, use, etc, for their own amusement and ego satisfaction…….no……I did not know. I did not HAVE that filter available to me during the relationshi* I was in so I misinterpreted his negative actions and his positive actions and fell deeply in love only to have that love thrown in the gutter and my dignity spit on.
          I strongly sugest that you do as much reading as you can. There are several web/ blog sites with very good articles and comments by people who have been through what I have and worse.
          You know that saying……if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and looks like a duck,,,,,,it’s probably a duck? Well if you don’t KNOW what a duck is your not going to know it’s a duck. That, in my opinion, is the biggest reason these monsters are able to do what they do…….unless you have been through one of these horrible relationships the average person just doesn’t know.
          I recommend checking out Lovefraud.com for some really good articles and comments and 180rule.com. There are book resources on both sites if you want to go that route.
          I believe there are articles on Lovefraud.com about suggestions on dealing with a manipulative person that you HAVE to interact with, like when you have children together.
          In the meantime, Dr. Simon’s site alone is full of beneficial articles.

          1. Thanks very much puddle i will definitely check out them sites you are very good to give such a detailed response
            I hope in time i can get strong iv been still trapped i the aftermath of this relationship for two years before i know it ill hav wasted all my 20’s 🙁
            Im addicted to reading these posts, and once again thanks very much 🙂

    2. What you describe is common and it underscores the importance of the therapeutic principles I talk about in my first 2 books. All the insight you’re getting is great but it won’t in itself set you emotionally free. This is where the heart of the CBT paradigm proves its worth. Rather than muse on why you still get sucked in, pay close attention to your responses (as well as the thoughts and actions that accompany them) and DO DIFFERENTLY. It can be any alternate response. Just DO it! And most especially, reinforce the heck out of yourself for doing it each and every time. With practice and consistency, a whole new world will open up.

      1. Thanks dr. Simon, i am going to order your second and third books hopefully in the next few days.
        Do you think that me writing it down on paper the way i normally respond to these situations then follow it by how i should or what would be a more apt response is somewhat beneficial
        I hopefully will not be as down about in two weeks as i will be busy with college i won’t have time for anyone’s games or drama..those two weeks cannot come fast enough!

        1. Rather than writing things down, it’s important to “train yourself” especially in the “here and now.” on how to implement strategies. So, the best thing is to start with small, relatively innocuous situations, heightening your awareness about behaviors that need responding to differently, implementing the more adaptive response, and reinforcing yourself for so doing. Start small and get well-practiced. Then how to handle the bigger situations becomes clearer.

        2. Lombo………I would recommend SAYING OUT LOUD certain things that you would be likely to say differently that you normally do because it builds “muscle memory”. If you are not used to saying certain things, your brain will have a hard time getting the words to your mouth in the moment. A very common tactic with these people it to divert your attention in any possible way so be prepared to hold your ground. I failed repeatedly! LOL

  23. Thanks for replies again 🙂 i will try starting from tonite. Today i would have been married five years i decided to rip up my wedding dress that might have been a bit much but really no point keeping it, it kinda helped letting out frustration.

  24. Oh sorry forgot to add i am supposed to have a decision for my attorney on whether or not to take his butt to court for more child sport provided i can prove he is working should i?i found his web page for his business which was never told to me.i hav to have decided by middle of this month :-/

    1. Lombo, if you are done and I mean really done and ready to leave, I would engage with him as little as possible. If you have to interact, no reactions, just deal with the facts. It may take some practice and self control but ask yourself every time you are ready to say something…….”is this necessary”? “how can I deal with what needs to be said or done in as few words as possible”? I would let your attorney advise you and let him deal with as much as possible.

      1. A lot of these issues are things that one has to decide for ones self Lombo. None of us here have enough information to accurately advise you on specifics. Keep reading and learning and role playing in your mind about hoe you can interact with him in the least dramatic way possible. They LOVE reactions and drama and to push your buttons. Don’t feed him. Just stop feeding him in any way……just like a stray cat.

  25. hiya again thanks fir replies well have an update.
    ug this man really knows how to push my buttons and get the reaction he wants from me. im saying to myself although i must sound mad. hes gone its over there is no going back i dont deserve this i am a good person etc
    he told me thursday he wants to keep his options open bla bla
    and me and him are basically just “havin fun” nothing serious he just wants to get his leg over thats what everyoner keeps telling me and hasnt changed
    it got to the point on thursday night i rang my dad and told him everything he rang my ex just to see whats going on without telling him i told him everything just that i have been stressed he told my father who lives 1000miles away that his head was confused i am f**king with HIS head and i BROKE his heart. my father has admitted to have played games with my mother now but couldnt see it before.
    he got the impression from him that he sounds like a big child. i am suprisede he hasnt contacted me mouthing off bout my dad ringing. i am getting some inner peace from it i must say.

  26. I just gave up on my husband after 20 yrs. Everybody loves him, he’s the perfect guy to everyone who isn’t married to him. His family won’t have a clue and I have a feeling that they’ll blame me. I guess I was too caring, too responsible and apparently I WAS neurotic. Not anymore 😉 Neither of us can afford moving out so he’ll stay in the guest cabin on property. If he didn’t have an online addiction to boot along with cc debt, his student loans and now the truck has issues….
    I have learned a lot. I’ve learned to be my own best friend. I’ve learned self love and now have direction in my life as well as self worth and respect. I’ve studied, took notes, reread In Sheep’s Clothing and although I know my aggressor’s tactics it’s such new information that I don’t have the experience with using some of the suggestions. I am hardly home as I house sit, so when I am home it’s like an elephant on my chest. He’s nice one minute, sneaking online the next, overly nice, then silently brooding with his victim role and guilt tripping. It’s his favorite game, well besides Wartunes! I HATE games of ALL kinds. He’s been addicted to online gaming and other “stuff” for 10 years. It’s torn our family apart. He hasn’t been a father to his only daughter for that time. She doesn’t even care anymore. Sad really.
    We used to be religious and they’d teach that if the woman wasn’t submissive it was witchcraft and if women didn’t meet their husbands sexual needs it was our fault if they went somewhere else. Nice huh! Years later he said he never believed any of it. I said, “Well you certainly didn’t object!” He even told me, 17 years after the fact, that he’d been holding a grudge against me since our wedding night from something I said that he’d blown way out of proportion! We had been “messing” around a bit for a year and a half before we got married and as (then) Christians we tried to be “good”. Then when our wedding night came, I just wasn’t in the mood, nothing personal. It’s not like we hadn’t had sex before. I said that I felt pressured or obligated to have sex because of all the money we’d spent on the honeymoon. He said nothing. I decided to “get myself in the mood” so I wouldn’t feel guilty. This was a pattern I set in motion for the rest of our marriage. He said that I hated men and I hated sex! WHAT?!
    So each night, for the past 19 years, I go to bed feeling guilty as he uses his stonewalling silent hostility, doesn’t touch me, say good night, no kiss, nothing if I don’t give him sex! First sex is bad if you do it before you are married then it’s bad if you don’t give it up even if you don’t feel like it. I would feel like it if his heavy energy wasn’t suffocating me like an elephant sitting on my chest! So much to say. Anyway, I’m moving on as best I can 😉 I know my life purpose, I have fun and exciting things to do with my daughter and I have pet/house sitting jobs that are like second homes or stay cations 😉 I feel very welcome going to homes where I’ve been like part of the family caring for their critters. I will be done with this job in 9 days, then home again where the sleeping beast awaits.

      1. Chris, you’re always free to comment and to express your opinions, even unpopular popular ones, because this is a learning forum and everyone has the potential to contribute something valuable. But I urge all commentators to avoid using derogatory terms and especially not to direct potentially hurtful remarks to anyone personally.
        Thanks.

  27. Our daughter perfect the manipulative skill at an early age and perfected it well. It didn’t cause the divorce but was a factor. She learned to use people then used and abused alcohol and just about ever other substance. She has a disdain for authority and consequences mean nothing to her. Her higher power is her. She is now 26. I have been divorced since 2004, in 2009 when she was 22 she had a healthy child with another social loser who was 28 and couldn’t keep a job, a felon and has mental health issues. Her mother and I were basically were in denial about her issues until she started self multilization, sought inhouse treatement at 16 but the insurance company denied it when the doctors recommended it, even after appeal. Things got worse and are getting worse. I am single 63 year old at the time got physical custody of the child, the daddy hasn’t paid child support and left the state, mommy lives with grandma (ex wife) who is enabling, the other grand parents don’t do anything for the child except wait to see the child on the daddy’s visitation day, both mommy and grandma recently lost their jobs, mommy doesn’t like to work anyway (she has no skills, barely got out of high school). Mommy has had two simple battery charges against the daddy, and recently has a battery charge against me. My daughter is the covert-aggressive, master manipulative, personality in this toxic relationship. I have taken the child to a therapist so as to do take care of her needs. Problem is the therapist is saying child has bond with daddy, mommy, grandma, basically everyone.She is bright. The abnormal for the child is normal. The child spends the majority of time with me for school attendance and I have to try and satisfy everyone else’s desires which is not easy. I am everyone’s dart board. I become the one holding the child hostage. My side of the family is 4 the sperm donors family immediate family is probably 8 with extended family. My daughter and the baby daddy were never married it was a one night stand, they dislike each other and it is what it is. My ex wife basically supports my daughter to the best of my knowledge, distorts every thing I say, believes everything my daugther says, both like to create drama. I have talked to church people, therapists, drug counselors, friends and am frankly tired of talking. I could walk away from my toxic daughter and her mother very easily. I just can’t allow this child to be raised by these two toxic individuals. The would do to her what they are. She deserves a better chances. Being that I only have physical custody limits my options at this time.
    Oh,yes, I still feel a need to comply with their requests, slightly neurotic maybe, yes. They know me. What would help me be more assertive? I know I have to set boundaries, they don’t listen

    1. Mark, keep in mind that boundaries are absolutely useless without consequences. You can tell someone what you want, like, dislike, won’t put up with etc……..but if there is no follow through when they violate reasonable boundaries, they mean nothing and a disordered person is perfectly aware of this. Your boundaries become entertainment to them and they listen to them and then run right over you anyhow.
      There are several books out there about boundaries, how to set them and how to enforce them. One that I ordered but haven’t read yet is called “Your Perfect Right”.
      Good luck to you

      1. I have been wishy washy in that department. I give in because of my desire to please. Also cause I am beat and tired. Its alot of work taking care of a 4 year old, school, baths, homework, discipline, etc. I am mother, father, friend, etc all in one. It didn’t start out this way. Daughter was supposed to seek mental health help, but we were duped or played again. When I finally drew the line in the sand, her mother jumped to her side and left me as the bad guy. And they don’t give up. They pill it on. They create the drama, but daugther is on has all the legal problems, no job etc. I can’t with a clean conscious turn the child over to them. That is the crux of my problem. Where to find a loving home for the child to grow. I only have physical custody. I do have a call into my lawyer. It really is a mess great magnitude. I know its not the worst situation out there I just am trying to make best decision for the child. I don’t see the disorderd persons even recognizing themselves so. Thankfully, I am in therapy myself.

  28. Thank you Puddle. When you grow up I never thought of persons like this let alone my own daughter and ex wife. That is what bothers me the most I guess. Now throw in a child who I love very much. A gift from God who has no idea of the circumstances. I will not be able to care for her many more years, I would imagine. So I have to find a workable solution for the child, I can imagine a disorder person raising her to become another disorder person, I don’t see foster care either. Dilemas!!!!!

    1. Mark……..for me, recovering from what this looser has done to me is as much about dealing with the shock of now knowing there are people like this in the world as it is the emotional devastation AND, add to that the emense(sp) frustration of having no recourse against the jerk!!!!! It’s awful. It has cost me THOUSANDS of dollars in therapy bills and getting the help I need to get myself and my home back on track.
      The thought keeps going through my head…….If he only knew how much damage he has done! Well……..it wouldn’t matter one bit because he doesn’t give a rat’s a** I’m sure.
      I honestly think he wanted me to commit suicide. So tell me, isn’t that intended murder?? Isn’t deceiving someone and having sex with them rape?? But there is no legal recourse what so ever. They are the lowest of low lifes and the most pathetic excuse of a human being imaginable.

      I hope for your sake and for everyone else involved, you can figure out a solution to this MESS!! and it is a real mess from the sounds of it. I’m sorry I don’t have any answers. My situation is completely different and thank God I don’t have children with him as two of his ex’s do.
      Hang in there, you are trying to do the right thing God bless you. I would only keep your desire to please in effect towards the child and the rest of them will just have to meet the new and improved Mark.
      PLEASE find some help reading. Search the internet for books on boundaries…….read the reviews on Amazon and trust to be guided in the right direction.
      Puddle

  29. Right now there is a no contact order against my daughter, so the ex, the enabler who thinks she has some legal right to make decisions keeps mixing it up thinks. She has been doing the interfering for over a year now, and I have let it happen cause I had HOPED it would change. False hope. It was false hope from the beginning. The one night of sexual pleasure has left me with a huge responsibility cause I couldn’t let a child be left to be raised by a drunkard pill sniffer, and another who has mental issues as well as substance issues and neither having jobs or skills. The other grandparents didn’t jump in, the grandparents who did were manipulated in, but one saw the real daughter and the truth. The other became more the enabler to a even sicker level. Now, I don’t even know who is the teacher and who is the student. They both are covert-aggressives. They even alienate the child by telling her that I sent her mother to jail, not her mother’s behavior that did it. Rational people they are not, if they were I would not be writing here. I know the answer is in boundaries and being absolute, its just hard when these disturbed characters were once family.

  30. These situations are hard on everyone except the person(s) who perpetuate them.
    So I’m understanding that you have physical custody of the child but not legal custody?

    Is this what the lawyer is trying to achieve? Because once you get that, if you can…..I would up and leave the area………..maybe? I’m glad you are seeing a therapist Mark. Do you feel it’s been helpful?

  31. The therapist doesn’t know of the battery, the lawyer is on vacation for the holidays, still working so moving is not an option for me. At one point this same therapist got me to a great point after my divorce. I mean I was great. I detached, I was dating, I moved to my current church, I was in a good place, mentally, spiritually, physically (lost 30 lbs), then the baby and a year later a car accident which left me with a bad ankle. It was just too much to handle-alone with little support. So yes, the therapist is going to help, as long as I listen to her and me. What I am learning here is to absolutely set boundaries, take care of myself too, trust God. I have got to do it

    1. Mark…Boundaries are very difficult for me because I’m very flexible. When it comes to certain things though, I will not budge. I think this experience has taught me that it’s ok to be you (me). I can compromise but I still have to keep to my values for myself and others. If I would have known what he was doing i never would have put up with it for a second! That does make it trickier!. Live and learn I guess……..

  32. Dr. Simon, thank you for the article. I do hope you read this. My family has been dealing with a master manipulator and things finally came to a turning point 3 years ago. My sister who is the eldest of 4 has had a troubled life full of strife. Unfortunately we kept dissmissing her behavior hoping that she would change and the change of heart never came. Past issues were never resolved and she continues in this destructive cycle. She learned how to manipulate at a young age. She had 3 younger gullible brothers to practice on. She is very adapt at playing the victim role and uses this facade to villanize those who won’t support her while holding the immage that she has is innocent. It has taken us a long time to see this and deal with it as a family. She ran off and married a man without our knoledge. When her first husband ubruptly left her, she told us that he ran off with another woman. I suspect this as there is no proof. The week before she married her second husband she introduced him to my parents then she claimed that her first husband abused her. Well that marriage lasted 4 years and they had 3 kids. She would pick fights with him and then call the police over and over. There isn’t enough paper to write out everything that has happened. She was behind a false CPS report that my brother was abusing his son. A full investigation found no wrong doing. She tried to disrupt my other brothers wedding by sending covert emails to his fiance. When we came together as a unified front to repell her attacks, she sent a letter to our parents demanding that they return all pictures of her and her children. They did not. When I supported her husband in court, she filed a petition for a restraining order against me which was a direct attempt to ruin my career. She argued with the judge durring the hearing and it was thrown out of court. She has made other false claims of child abuse that her husband was abusing the kids durring a supervised visit. That was thrown out of court as well.
    Her manipulation has reached an extreem level and she is toxic. She is a very angry person but I believe she is angry because she can’t get what she wants from us anymore. She can no longer use our family to do things for her so she has thrown us under the bus and assasinated our charactor in order to look like a victim. I’m really torn as how to handle certain things. Obviously we don’t want her in our lives. How do we keep this from affecting aunts and uncles that she has been in contact with. Part of me wants to expose her for what she is. This would backfire though. I really hope others can see it for themselves and draw their own conclusions without interference. I’m having a hard time trusting other reletives that she may be able to influence. What would be the best approach? I purchased “in sheeps clothing” for my immediate family members so we can have a unified front and set firm boundries. Any help would be appreciated!

    1. Wow Jay…….what a nightmare! The last part of your post is the most frustrating part for me to read. These situations really are a damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Exposing them to anyone is really opening the door for further trouble. Have you considered telling her to cease and desist and then putting a restraining order on HER if she does not? I’m afraid you are in a tough position with the relatives. This is the way these people operate and it goes with the territory that some people will fall for her lies.

      It sounds like she has really done some pretty obvious things though and if you have a restraining order on her and she violates it then the law will be on your side.
      Good luck to you and your family.

      1. Maybe you could simply say to your relatives……..There are two sides to every story and I hope you realize that. I would appreciate the opportunity to present you with mine. If they are unwilling to give you that courtesy,,,,,,well, it kind of says something about their character as well I’m afraid.

  33. Dr Simon,found your article very interesting as I could relate to it.
    I knew my mother who is 93 was always a controlling person but it wasn’t until my father passed away almost 3 years ago that her personality came on me full bore. After reading about her tactics I came to realise she is a emotional manipulator. In this time I have had to deal with breast cancer again for the 5th time which she has no comprehension of what I have to go through and still going through. She is now in an aged care facility and I see her for about 1/2 hr every 5 weeks as I find her very draining on me. Her comments of when I told her about what was happening with me her phrase was “this couldn’t have happened when your father was alive”, this showed me in her eyes I had inconvenienced her. Every time we visit her she always is sour and complains about something. I am 64, only child, and like your books title I feel she is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I do hope you read this.

    1. Thank you, Joloie, for your kind and validating words. It means a lot that you’ve found my work helpful and I hope you find additional resources her and in my books that will aid you in empowering yourself.

  34. Is cutting off all contact with an abuser the only real solution? I want to believe that unconditional love will ultimately overcome all conflict. It seems to me that cutting off a wretched person who experienced so little love in their life would lead to their final fall into despair. Another article here suggests that hitting rock bottom is the only catalyst for change, if change is even possible, but is that really the only way out?

    Does love really offer no hope for these people?

    1. Francis, since the character disturbances discussed and described on this and other web sites vary in severity, it’s really hard to answer the question you are asking. Generally, if someone who is truly abusive has not seen the light, the error of their ways, the damage they have done to other and consequently to their ability to have real relationships, and sought out help ON THEIR OWN ALREADY, the odds of them really ever changing their ways is pretty slim. Really, in healthy adult relationships, there is no such thing as “unconditional love” unless you are a total doormat and then being with an abuser and allowing yourself to continue being abused indicates a lack of self love and self respect IF you know what they are doing.
      In my opinion, the only way that they could ever change in a genuine way is if you put your foot down to their abuse and let the chips fall where they may. If they honestly and truly do care, they will find a way.

    2. “cutting off a wretched person who experienced so little love in their life” – a very dangerous and often erroneous assumption, here, Francis, that abusers naturally come from a love-deprived background. Also, the article you reference does not suggest hitting bottom is the only catalyst for change, only that it’s often the vehicle necessary for some seriously disturbed characters. Sorry to be nit-picky here, but getting a fully accurate perspective is key to both enlightenment and empowerment on these issues. And, BTW, even if it were the case than one particular abuser indeed came from a background devoid of love, to assume that cutting off such a person in the absence of clear and firmly committed change would “lead them to their final fall into despair” is not only most likely erroneous but also ironically a bit strangely grandiose. And as for the power of love, I’ll testify all day for that. But it’s not a sentiment, it’s a behavior (otherwise we couldn’t possibly be commanded to do it!), and sometimes the purest, healthiest love can seem kind of “tough” and unwavering.

      1. Dr. Simon, I do think that love can offer hope to some but not unless the individual actually realizes and accepts that change is possible and necessary. I tried very hard to explain to spathtardx how he was hurting me, how he could make me happy (which he SAID he wanted to, and wanted to know how to, etc….and it made no difference and i know I loved “”him”” even if he was an illusion. So there are many components to what Francis is asking and at the top of the list is their desire to change. I would guess that a very large majority of them do not want to change and that any “feeling” of despair they MIGHT feel is something quite different than the despair their victims feel.

          1. Thank you for your insights, Dr. Simon and Puddle.

            In my particular circumstance, my abuser has repeatedly expressed remorse for hurting me, and I do believe he is sincere in wanting to change his life for the better. Considering that he managed to make peace with his abusive mother, that gives me reason to hope that he can use that insight to turn his current situation around.

            It’s just that after more than 5 years, things really haven’t gotten any better between the two of us, despite the repeated cycles of remorse and forgiveness (which I’m sure sounds familiar for many people reading this).

            Just the other day, I really put my foot down and gave him specific conditions to meet: no more screaming and swearing and me, no more judging me; otherwise I will cut off all contact with him once I move away three months from now, and he understood that I mean to do it and that it’s not an idle threat.

            As hard as it is to have to shut him out, I am willing to do it, but before then I want to give him a final chance. What I want to know is, just how realistic is it of me to expect him to really turn around and change this time?

            Dr. Simon, I agree with what you say about ‘tough love’, and setting certain boundaries doesn’t necessarily have to go to the extreme of cutting off all contact. But I realize I’ve been too accommodating towards his unreasonably demanding behavior, and I see now that I need to draw the line, and not give in when he pressures me — even if that makes me look like the ‘bad guy’ in his eyes.

  35. Francis, there is no way anyone could determine what his potential for change is and it’s certainly your right to give him another chance, although 5 years of the remorse/ forgiveness cycle sound like ample time for him to have demonstrated sincere desire to make some changes…….it’s a significant time period.
    I would suggest you read Dr. Simon’s article on contrition. You can also use the search feature on this site in the upper right corner and type in “contrition” and you will be able to read several other articles he has written on the subject. They are enlightening.
    http://www.drgeorgesimon.com/contrition-behavior-and-therapy/

  36. Hi everyone,

    I am very happy to join the discussion. It has been nearly three years since I endured the worst physic shock of my life, and unfortunately the person concerned still plagues my dreams and I have still not been able to get over the intense regret of having let myself be conned. I am hoping some discussion about recovery may help me, even though talking about it still makes my heart race all over again.

    I was vulnerable from the outset by being too trusting, too passive/introverted, not valuing myself enough, and not having dealt adequately with my hypersensitivity (I get very nervous and tearful in situations of social conflict, making it easy for others to run me over). In addition to this, I had two great long-standing dreams for my life. One was to succeed as a classical singer. The other was to have a boyfriend (I have had only one long-term partner, for a year when I was 20).

    At 35, I felt stuck in an office job in a city I didn’t like, and my singing applications all met with rejections – mostly before/without audition. I had been on a pay-to-sing summer programme a couple of times and was reluctant to do it again for financial reasons and because the woman running it was a very difficult character. At the time, however, I thought “difficult” was all it was, and thought she actually believed in me. I did not know how psychopaths work, the process of deceiving, belittling and eventually eliminating their victim, or how much this experience would hurt me when I was targetted.

    When I made the decision to do the programme after all, I booked my flight on the promise of a role that the woman later claimed never to have offered me. I was to sing another role in a minor opera for which virtually no rehearsal time had been allocated. Worse still, the other singer case in it (unbeknown to me) was an alcoholic and a compulsive liar/narcissist who seemed to destroy everything he touched. Oh, and he had not learned his part, nor was he able to for some reason. However, he was also about my age and attractive, interested in me, and I got involved with him knowing nothing about him except that he was kind of sensitive and troubled – and what I gleaned from our friendly conversations. Meanwhile, the programme turned out to have almost no faculty except for the woman in charge and her family and close friends, all of whom worshipped her. She was a hystrionic name-dropper who needed control over everything and used belittling and bullying tactics to keep others in line. I was immediately targetted because I questioned some of her “expertise”. She would stalk me and take me to task, belittle my voice, and try to prevent my interacting with others. And I was paying her for this treatment! As the belittling, berating, threats and broken promises about performance opportunities (I would be preparing all day for a concert appearance that was then cancelled at the last minute), the constant lying and vagueness (keeping me guessing) continued, I tried to be calm, keep to the point, and not rise to the bait. I wanted to keep up to my own standard of reliability and “sticking at it”. This did me no good at all. She still managed to reduce me to tears and eventually my body failed: I caught a cold and could not sing. I wanted a refund for the “audition” I was now unable to attend. At this point the “elimination” stage kicked in – she told me to get lost, instructed her friends and family to blank me, and even tried to get me to sign a declaration of silence. Meanwhile, the young man I was with, who was apparently on my side (I think he really believed he was) talked me into letting him take over negotiations on my behalf, lying about having legal connections which never materialised, and finally (when it was too late) broke down and confessed that he had been offered money to sing roles he was incapable of, while I, with my weeks of hard work, had had to pay AND suffer constant beratement about my singing and so-called attitude. I parted company with him after this and the realisation that he was drinking pint glasses of vodka. I left the country without the refund I was owed, in shock but not knowing how much this would haunt me.

    I later wrote an account of what had happened on online singers’ forums to warn of the programme and that it was run by a fraudulent psychopath. Some people who had known her before wrote that they weren’t surprised; others berated me for “buying a pig in a poke”. Eventually the woman sent a fake legal threat to the website host and the posts were removed. I reposted on another site run, fortunately, by a person of integrity, and my post remains, although a couple of the woman’s sycophants replied to refute what I was saying and to claim that I should have been jolly grateful for the opporutunity to pay to sing.

    After that experience I vowed that I would rather be single all my life and work in any honest job than go through anything like that again. I am working on my spiritual life (yoga, meditation) and have taken up new interests. I am an avid bird-watcher, sketcher and guitarist and am still singing. However, I still dream of the events, still feel extreme rage rise up in me, and above all, I believe that there was something incredibly toxic about the woman (something akin to “juju”) and am still concerned about my mental welfare because of this. Every single characteristic listed in “Sheep’s Clothing” applied to her. I’ve known people I didn’t like before, but never that degree of cold-hearted and calculated hatred towards fellow human beings. It scares me. I don’t dream about the young man although he hurt me so much and in such a stupid way, since I know that he is his own worst enemy and will continue to suffer from it.

    Sorry this has been rather long – does anyone have any tips as to how long it might take to feel better about this? I read a lot, am a lot more aware, and am trying to be more assertive in interactions (not that there is much chance to – I mainly interact with shop assistants and with my colleagues, who are all fine). I am reading an article about the concept of “reconciling with hurt” (as opposed to forgiveness or revenge). It just kills me to have received no justice, and also that the woman still swans around playing queen bee and collecting money from singers who dream of success. Mind you, I suppose Stalin also had quite a good time in his villa while millions were dying in gulags. What can any of us do about it?

    1. Angela,

      I’m sorry you were unlucky to meet her. No one likes to experience that or to believe it could happen to them.

      The “reconciling with hurt” sounds very important, especially with hurt that has to be experienced to be understood.

  37. LR, you are doing so well. I love what you said about the narcissistic mother creating a false self in you–and one that you rejected. It must be incredibly hard to survive that process psychologically intact. My own mother was so exquisite in my formative years, she gave me a base confidence that has carried me through a lot of ‘challenges’.

    I do fault her for not protecting me from my father, though. He wasn’t CD, I don’t think. I don’t know how I would classify him, so let’s just say, he could be a lot of fun, but was completely unloving, controlled through threats of physical violence and hitting his kids–hard–and in a humiliating manner. His sense of humor was often at our expense….etc…But..all that being said, he was exactly as he appeared. There was no false front, no deviant lying, zero manipulation, in the traditional sense. He wasn’t creepy, just a PA–perfect a**ho**.

    I fought him passively, by never obeying him, unless it meant possible death. I never tidied my room. I lived like a complete slob, as that was what seemed to be the most important thing in the world to him. As I got older, I did what I pleased, to a point. I would stay out late and smoke pot and tell him those were my plans for the day. He would go berserk, but I just don’t generally lie and figured, tough bounce for him, if he didn’t like it.

    My mother and siblings thought I was fearless, because I did incur beating after beating, standing up to him, in the only way, I knew how. I just laugh my head off at that one. I was scared to death of him, but would not let anybody control me through physical intimidation, take zero interest in me, as a person, insult me at core level, etc..

    I’ll give you an example of something that happened when I was eleven years old, and still a ‘good girl’ getting the best grades in my class and etc.. etc… you know the picture.

    I came home one early evening in sub zero weather, just before dinner. Through the glass in the upper part of the front door, I could see my father watching television about 10 feet from the door. I couldn’t for the life of me get the door open. The knob was frozen and the door itself was all frozen and stuck. I struggled for several minutes trying to get it open and finally started knocking.

    My father looked over at me and started yelling that he wasn’t going to get up and that I could easily open the door. I yelled back, through the closed door that I couldn’t. This back and forth went on and on, with me struggling with the door.

    Finally, he got up, opened the door and looked at me and once again informed me that the door was easy to open. I told him that that wasn’t the case, (which made him furious).

    So, he looked me, with the throbbing skull vein, I was familiar with, teeth bared, (I am not kidding. He would bare his teeth like a dog when angry) and said, “Balls to you!” I can remember thinking he was being mean,rude and also kind of gross. Who says, “testicles to you, Kid” to an eleven year old?

    On my way up the stairs, I looked back at him and said, “Nope. Balls to YOU!” Woopeee, then the fun started. He came rushing up the stairs, (mom wasn’t home. that’s when it was worse, usually) completely unglued. I ran into the bathroom, locked the door and barricaded it with something….maybe my body. I can’t remember. I nearly passed out I was so scared. He couldn’t unlock the door so he started to throw his body against it to break it down.

    I guess at some point he came to his senses and went back downstairs. About an hour later, I stuck my head out and slowly made my way to the kitchen to get something to eat, still worried that death might greet me somewhere between stairs and kitchen.

    He looked at me, kind of shaken, and said, “It’s a really good thing that I wasn’t able to get to you, because I would have killed you, if I’d gotten my hands on you.”

    When I was young, I would tell people, that I simply couldn’t do x, y, or z, because if I did I was afraid my father would kill me and they would laugh thinking I was exaggerating, but I actually meant it.

    If returning an insult when your mother isn’t home to protect you, puts you at risk, you can imagine the kind of chronic nervousness and hyper vigilance and fear for my life I had, usually in a kind of low key unconscious way, from the time I was about 5 years old.

    My father wasn’t a drinker, so attacks weren’t random. That is one of the few things I am grateful for, where he is concerned. My brother has serious problems because of my father. I watched out for him, his entire life, shepherded him and tried to offset the damage my father was doing. I took on this ‘job’ when I was about ten years old. Quite the load for a little girl.

    My younger sister is a whole other chapter.

    Anyway, just thought I would give some background as to why I was seeing a therapist, finally, decades later to deal with complex ptsd. It was during that time that the sadist marched into my life.

    And really, I have to say, after 3 years, God help him. And also, God looking out for him….because I know, if he had targeted somebody else, with a similar background and personality type, the way he did me, they would have gotten a gun and shot him.

    This sounds like an extreme statement but should come as no shock to anybody who has been treated to the extremes of cruelty that a sadistic psychopath is capable of.

    In spite of all of our horrible dealings together I can honestly say that I love my father still, because I understand he was fearful, frustrated, in over his head, child wise. I forgive him, as a consequence.

    His intent was not to cause damage, he would just ‘lose it’ at times. He was very very f’d up and it made him mean. Not the sadist, though….two entirely different kinds of beings. My father was human. The sadist lacked humanity, entirely. I will tell my story about the sadist next time I post and I hope I haven’t gone on too much at length here.

    Dr.Simon,

    From what I have read here so far, you are the most astute analyst of CD people. Thank you so much for this blog. I am sure that you are, quite literally, saving lives here. I wish I had known about you just after I was tortured and discarded, three years ago.

    1. LisaO,

      Just wanted to tell you that I am loving your posts. We seem to think alike, and I can relate to your experiences with your father. It is beautiful what you said about still loving your father and forgiving him. I admire that. It’s helping me reflect on my own relationship with my father. He has mellowed out in his old age, so we have a good relationship for the most part. I feel that I love him. It’s hard though because he can be so clueless and self absorbed, even when he thinks he is being nice he’ll do something that is offensively or hurtfully inconsiderate.

      Your childhood doorknob incident intrigued me. I was rooting for you. 🙂 I had sort of a parallel incident that haunts me still. I lived in fear of my dad, too. I get the hyper vigilance. It’s hard for me to forgive this completely and mentally let it go.

      I wish I had more time to write a bit more, but just wanted to reach out and give you some heartfelt affirmation.

      Shar

    2. LisaO, This is such an important distinction!!
      “In spite of all of our horrible dealings together I can honestly say that I love my father still, because I understand he was fearful, frustrated, in over his head, child wise. I forgive him, as a consequence.
      His intent was not to cause damage, he would just ‘lose it’ at times. He was very very f’d up and it made him mean. Not the sadist, though….two entirely different kinds of beings. My father was human. The sadist lacked humanity, entirely. I will tell my story about the sadist next time I post and I hope I haven’t gone on too much at length here.”

      My sociobro……same thing. The people he hurts are secondary to his agenda(s).

  38. For me, it was important to ask myself, “what was I getting from being blamed?”
    I was trying, just like the sociopath, to avoid looking at myself. We were both avoiding working through our family of origin issues. We both had abusive fathers; his an overt abuser, mine a covert narcissist.

    Just when we are about to look at that stuff, we will be vulnerable and afraid. It is then that an abuser who needs someone to blame will be drawn to us. They can “see” us. And on some level, we can “see” them too.

    We always know what we see but we get involved anyway. We want the whole thing to happen so we can blame THEM instead of looking at the truth: we are putting our family of origin issues on them, as they are doing to us. We may not be consciously aware of it, but that’s what happens.

    I spend years angry in my head at the abuser when really it’s my parent(s) I’m angry at. I use the sociopathic abuser to show myself the truth about my family.

    This means two things:
    I am not his victim
    I was now forced by the universe to look at my FOO issues and work through them. (They must be worked through or I’ll keep repeating this with other people.)

    I blame the sociopath when really I used him to avoid responsibility (working through my childhood issues.)

    Admitting that shows maturity and will get people on your side. Because you KNOW he’s never going to admit he did the same.

    When you admit your part, you get your self-esteem back – AND your life back. The sociopath is then left helpless again. At that point they might try to turn up the volume (DO NOT REACT! WALK AWAY MATURELY! DO NOT DEFEND YOURSELF EITHER!) the sociopath will then have to look for someone new to blame.

    Believe me, once you’ve given these people your power, they enjoy it immensely so it’s an enormous threat to them when you take back what is yours. They are left without a personality! So be very watchful NOT to take the bait.

    Half the people you know will still “hate” you because they’ve gotten something from it too. IGNORE these people’s bait too.

    The other half will respect and love you. This is a healthy balance. Not everyone can like us, and if we’re being our true selves and recovering, that’s how it should be. Most people have some narcissism so expect this. Just keep being yourself and DONT BEAT YOURSELF UP. Bullies are attracted to our fear. It needles them. If you’re having a tough day, stay quiet. And on all days, avoid eye contact with those you know want to goad you. Do NOT seek anyone’s approval; that is how we give others our power.

    FOO? Break contact for a year at least if you’re the scapegoat. Give others the respect to make their own choices without you in the mix. The guilt can be worked trough in a year with a good Alanon program. That’s where the real healing is.

    In your own adult relationships? Don’t run from groups or communities. That shows guilt. Carry the mature attitude that you made a mistake by getting involved with this person but you’re willing to do the work around it. Then do it. This means replacing your anger with humility – while still maintaining dignity and self-esteem. And if you already did run? Work through it and God will bring you back when you’re ready. Scapegoating can’t work if the goat keeps returning to the village.

    Rely on God for strength. In my experience, only a solid, solid 12-step program of recovery can help is really heal and stop the patterns.

  39. By the way, there is good that comes from this:
    1) you will work through the REAL issues (FOO)
    2) you can help others do the same if you’re in 12-step recovery, and that’s the best gift of all.
    You can become a powerful, willing, worker for God.

    1. S, your post is full of wisdom, truths and good advise. I suppose it depends on the individuals involved and what exactly the nature of the situation you were involved with was. While I have learned a lot from this about abusers, manipulators, deceivers, etc,,,,,,I was well aware of my FOO issues long before I met the POS that I was involved with, AKA, Spathtardx. He is a psychopath, an abusive, heartless, manipulator and while there are SOME issues that are parallel with my FOO, no one in my family even comes close to what I experienced with Spathtard and my brother is a full blown Sociopath. I blamed Spathtard for NOTHING he didn’t deserve and was not avoiding my issues through blaming him and didn’t even realize the reality of the situation until after it was over. He is a predator, a parasitic POS period. The thing that will save me in the future is knowing these people exist, what they look like and if I see even one sign of what I’ve learned through this…..one strike your out. I’m not perfect, no one in my life is perfect and EVERYone has some form of residual affects from their childhood but that in and of it’s self does not mean you are going to be abused by a psychopath. I just as easily could have ended up with a loving man who saw past any unresolved issues and loved me anyhow for who I am, putting forth the effort to work through those issues or offering understanding, strength and support to me while I worked through them. A Psychopath will never be that partner and will NEVER be one to even think about change, self growth or anything close to self sacrifice in the interest of another. THAT is what the issue was there only interest or concern with someone else’s vulnerabilities is how to exploit them.
      Someone doesn’t get mugged or raped because there FOO was messed up, they get mugged or raped because they were attacked by an opportunistic predator.
      I see where you are coming from in your post and as I said, I think in some situations what you are saying is true,,,,,but not in all and not in mine. He took advantage of my vulnerabilities and my ignorance and if he wasn’t taking advantage of the vulnerabilities that were already there he was creating others through his manipulations.

  40. I am in the throws of yet again trying to escape the influence of an ex partner who is a master manipulator and has preyed on my forgiving and caring nature. I thought I was strong enough to try and remain friends which he led me to believe also possible. Again I was sucked in by his claims only this time I was definitely a little more wiser and saw it for what it really is. It is always the same pattern for me. I forgive and let him back in then he charms me and as soon as I am doing something that doesn’t suit his agenda he starts a fight, abuses and threaten me, puts the guilt trip on me, then apologises, cries, begs me to talk to him. I find i am constantly defending myself. This sequence of events continues to happen and the only way it can change is if I just ignore him. Forever. I use to think that he had a really good side and believed that maybe it would it would be ok with more patience and understanding from me. However after all the reading and thought I have put into my situation, my thinking is changing. All along the “real” person that he is, is the angry, bitter, twisted manipulator who was feigning the good side to suck me in. I have lost friends because of him and feel totally alone and am reluctant to talk about with other friends as I am afraid to lose them too. This is the results of being manipulated. My confidence is at an all time low, I fear social situations, I feel I can’t help my children with their problems as everything just feels like I’m worn out and in over my head. I know this will pass and I will move on but boy right now is tough and reading others stories is very helpful and I don’t feel so alone in this. Thank you all who contribute to this thread.

  41. kpt101, it sure sounds like you see this clearly enough to make a solid No Contact choice at this point, am I right? These leopards never (or supposedly rarely) change their spots. With the depth of their connection with others, there is no reason to, on to the next one for them. They aren’t the problem in their eyes, you are and at best they MIGHT bow out by claiming that you just are not comparable. I suggest YOU be the one to finalize it if that’s where you really are with things. It sounds like you are.
    Don’t be hard on yourself because you are not feeling up to being social. I’ve seen that getting over one of these entanglements takes much introspection and alone time to process the inevitable pain of coming to terms with reality…..and to purge their toxins from your heart and life.
    Hang in there,,,,,it’s a process so keep your expectations realistic.

    1. Thanks. I have made it no contact however we both in a very small and we work across the road from each other. I do my best stay away.

      1. Kpt101, I understand, me too. “It” lives right down the road from me. So, all you can do is your best. Fortunately I don’t have run in’s…..actually only one but I do see him and his sick family members on occasion here and there. No one but someone who has been through one of these nightmares can understand just how draining and life altering it is. Please know that I do understand Kpt101.
        Once I really GOT IT about who he really is, or should I say what he really is, it almost instantly became VERY easy to stay away but that didn’t mean I was out of the woods by any means. Digesting the truth was the next step and it’s been quite a painful thing to swallow.

        1. He pushes for contact and has even confronted me in my work place. As you say, I now “get it” so much better than before. It is easier to stay away and now understand that I am to never enter into any argument as its a battle never won no matter if I’m right or wrong. Knowing that there are other people who understand gives me hope that eventually this all be a distant part of my past and lesson well and truely learnt.

          1. Kpt101, have you considered a restraining order or personal order of protection? That would stop him from being able to come in your work place. My home and cell phones are both blocked as is my email and the last time he came on my property to drop off some things with out asking me, I called the sheriff. One of the things wasn’t even mine and he had who knows what of mine still. The Sheriff returned the item that wasn’t mine and told him to stay off my property and to dispose of anything else he might have of mine because I didn’t want it. Done. He wanted rid of me anyhow because i cramped his adolescent life style in spite of what he said about all of that but milked the situation to the end and beyond. He’s been arrested for DV in the past so I would imaging a order against him now would be a problem for him.
            SO, are your numbers blocked? email, etc? I would start by closing as many windows as you can and see what happens. If he tries to contact you through work, speak to your boss and I would also make the authorities aware of this whole situation. It may seem silly to you but I would do it anyhow just so they have this guy’s name on file. Name, address, birthdate and vehicle. What EVER you do, keep any actions you are GOING to take to your self and only your self and certainly threaten him with nothing yourself. A lot of times if you live in a small area the cops are a little better to deal with on these matters. The guy I was dealing with was WONDERFULLY understanding and helpful. That is one option in smaller areas, if he continues to come to your work, have the sheriff talk to him and tell him that you want to have no further contact. The police should be made aware of this now no matter what you decide.

  42. Phones, email, facebook etc is blocked. My boss aware of the situation as well. He has no respect for authority however police are aware of his behavior. I found out after our break up that he has done this to other women. He is a bully and because I won’t talk to him and pacify and fix what he sees as my problem, which in fact is his, he tries to bully me. What his agenda is i don’t know. Trying to get back together? I don’t know. And it doesn’t matter. A very supportive friend has given a great piece of advice and that is it is no longer my role to make him happy and nor calm him when he behaves this bad, as I have done to many times in the past. I still feel sometimes that i am doing something wrong by cutting the contact as it goes against my character but he is counting on that and is using to try get me hooked again. Thing is I now have knowledge and regardless of how I feel I know I am doing the right thing.

    1. This all sounds good Kpt. Good for you for taking these necessary steps. I’m happy for you that you have found information that is helping you too. Please keep reading because there is so much to this and the more you learn the clearer you will be which will help you to not feel bad about ANYTHING in regards to him. It is a process to discover the truth and see through all the layers, it’s not uncommon for it to take years. I don’t know how long you were together but seemingly even short encounters with one of these types can cause a lot of damage.
      Here’s another good source for you………..
      http://psychopathsandlove.com/dangerous-mistake-about-the-psychopathic-mind/

  43. Thank you. The link was very helpful. It was 3 years on and off until I have finally realized the depths of his manipulation of me. I am reading more and more and really beginning to understand the truth of it all. He found me after I had divorced so I was already vulnerable. Gee he did a number on me though. I’m just glad to be away from him and finding my way again. I no longer care what happens to him. I’m focusing on myself friends and family. They will give me strength. And reading these pages and being informed is really opening my eyes. I did truely believe that there was good in everyone and with patience and understanding the best would come out. How wrong was i! I now believe every mother or father should teach their kids about these types of personalities. . I certainly don’t want my kids to go through this.

    1. Kpt, it was just under two years for me and it seems like 10 on all levels. like a heat seeking missile he zeroed in on the most vulnerable part of me. No one in my life prior did this and I’ve been with some people who I can now see may have been ppaths but the circumstances prevented them from doing the damage this did and obviously from me actually learning what they were at the time. In order for them to really trash you the victim has to be fully invested. Even the circumstances at the beginning of my involvement with “it” didn’t do it because I actually terminated the relationship about 3-4 wks into it only to be thoroughly swallow the hook later. I spit the hook out initially and he re-baited it with extra yummy treats the second time, treats laced with poison.
      Yes,,,,,Dr. Simon’s books as well as Donna Anderson, Lundy Bancroft, Martha Stout, Dr. Robert Hare and a host of others, should be required reading for every one at the time sexual education is being taught. Unfortunately, this is experiential learning. It’s so bizarre and twisted, trying to teach someone about it is almost impossible until they have already been trashed and can refer the information to what they encountered.
      My best to you Kpt101

    2. I am so happy to come across this page. Feel a bit relived to read all this. I am usually a strong minded person or so I thought, but I am just coming to realise I am being manipulated. I did not know I was, I had all these feelings of what have I done wrong, best keep quiet, its me and here’s me thinking he was a gentleman, friendly, kind, loving. He was/is in limited capacity but he knows how to manipulate everything and everyone round him. When I had my child to him is when I started to really question the relationship, he acted all strange I thought down to pressure (always an excuse I find for him, this is what ive always done). OMG I think I definitely am. It has been my child that makes me realise more as he displays signs of mistrust but then trust and its me who sends him with his father. I always patiently tackled issues with him, he is allowed a bad day but if I ever do, im no good woman, how was I brought up. I was brought up in very loving home, very safe feeling, very trusting, he tells me I am trusting, to my face tells me things, on text another, I was all confused….I still am trying to make sense of all. I thought maybe cause him mum does not accept our relationship (now I think she was trying to help me get away from him). just saw to my son, and then I think what should I do, he is so clever a very subtle abuser he will blame me, ive blamed me. I thought he was just doing stuff to look after and live with him mum while living his own life and having us as side line, oh ive thought all sorts this relationship makes no sence and even more less since the birth of my son. I then think what if it me, I have started to question everything, including him, he just thinks I am over top. My family say they clicked onto him a long time ago and I keep making excuses for him. I used to a lot, I still do to some degree but less now. I need help, I feel scared inside, Ive told him I don’t trust him, I am going to social services etc, please someone help I don’t know what to do. I keep making things worse, but I am reacting out of fear. my son is such a happy child and looks confused when he comes back from his dad, but he is going to blame me. How can I prove its him, this can get dangerous, what if I lose my son, who should l turn to. Its all confusing whats gone on, but I am sure he is not right, comments from his mum and brother (not that he lets me see them much, he keeps his life very private, I know little about him or who he is). Yes I am stupid. There is so much that’s gone on its unbelievable, but all justifiable maybe.

      1. But then I think what if it just that we are different? What if it is just me as he keeps saying its me who makes him act this way otherwise he calm person. I know this is not true he is rude to a lot of people. But what if he right to a degree? He confuses me as he so good with strangers and people but then I have come to realise a lot on his patterns (well I think) because he does not involve me in his life and I don’t know what he gets up to. I just know how he has treat me and the whole situation left me questioning myself. I have to fight back but now feel as If I should not because I don’t know outcome. Maybe he does love our son but I fear he will do same to him…….I keep questioning is me, but no my instinct are getting back normal after my son and my need to protect at all time high. its hard to write down and he is so plausible. so much gone on, who do I turn to, how do I unravel this to protect my son, myself. What if it is me??

    1. Mary, that’s a good (bad) sign that something is severely wrong. I’ve heard it said that when you are with someone and you experience a great deal of confusion, that’s the only sign you need. Normal, healthy and safe relationships don’t generate that feeling and I can attest to this. Unfortunately It’s in hind sight. The more you can read the better.

  44. This article has been helpful but I’m still skeptic and weary of how to break the cycle.

    To give some context to my situation, I was in a long term and long distant relationship with someone when the manipulator came into my life. He saw me vulnerable and lonely and pounced on it. I must say, he was a pro at finding how I worked and played on it to his utmost advantage. Six years later, I’m still dealing with him. I’ve become addicted to him and I literally go through withdraws like an addict when we do not talk.

    My question is this. I am ready to make the final blow and cut off all contact, but how can I rebuild myself when I have no energy and no self esteem to find something I enjoy. I’ve been dealing with depression as a result of all this. I’m angry with resentment. He whittled me down to nothing and now I have no confidence to do anything. I have channeled all my energy, all my self worth into him for such a long time that now I have this hole and don’t know what to fill it with. I know I am doing what is needed to move forward in a healthy way, but to be honest, I’m not looking forward to the amount of work I have to do. Everything seems bleak.

    1. I so understand what you mean Jamie. I went through it. All I know is that the sooner we get out of the situation and stop contact with ‘them’ the sooner the ‘recovery’ begins. As hard as it was to watch and feel myself ‘running on empty’ and confused, hurt, feeling sad and stupid, blaming myself, etc., etc., somehow I had the inner knowing that I was ‘tired’ of feeling bad! It took a year to realize I had been manipulated all my life by my own relatives/family, and had no discernment, social skills to have used to deal w/ it all. Another year to begin accepting my own issues and working on them. Now it is about keeping cool at the first signs of it in new people I meet! So it takes time and it felt like letting go of so much I believed in or accepted and find my own values and my own way. I know it sounds strange, but the emptiness of it all eventually becomes like a clean canvas to draw on it what we want. It is like when something is so bad that it cannot go anywhere but up/better!

  45. Alex
    I wanted to write my story but reading all the above comments especially yours I can just say that when I read it, it felt as if I was writing my story. Thanks Dr Simon for websites like this. Its been 2 years since my breakup we were together 16 years. I met a man and had a baby with him. But now I am almost certain I married exactly the same man. Although this time the abuse is not physical its very emotional, financial dependency and security. I thought maybe I am paranoid. but I am almost certain im being abused again. this time there is an angel baby involved so its so difficult for me to distinguish. I am very confused again in my life. Is it me? maybe I am crazy. my first husband used to tell me that all the time, this one tells me I am his craziest wife so far. Just for the record I am his fourth wife and this is his fifth child. when I met him he completely took me of my feet, taking me to Paris and Rome for our honeymoon 2 years later, we struggle to pay the electricity bill and he says that I am a bad person if I don’t stick with him through the bad times. He never paid maintenance for his four previous children and now he threatens if I leave him he will take my only child. She is al I have. he made me quit my job I earned good money he refuses to take out medical aid we live in South Africa state hospitals are very bad, the hallways literally crawls with cockroaches. in the beginning he said he is a man of God, he doesn’t drink and he doesn’t even swear. Today he told me to f off. my baby is 6 months old. Thank you for letting me share

  46. I am currently trying to escape an abusive marriage, but there are days when I feel I am not going to make it. I moved to a foreign country with my husband almost seven years ago and my life has become a living hell. I was afraid to leave him as I was only in the country on a spousal visa and was petrified that my daughters and I would be sent back to my own country. We are both professionals and I know that it will be difficult for the rest of the outside world to see the real monster as he presents himself as a kind, generous and courteous ‘gentleman’ to others. He punishes me by using the ‘silent’ treatment and has not spoken to me for over a year. At one stage in our married life, he even wrote notes of instructions on paper and put these up in each room in the house so as to avoid talking to me. He took all our savings to go on an overseas trip with my young son, and I was forced to stay at home with my daughters. He put locks on doors so that I could not access certain rooms in the house and was forced to ask his permission. He hid food away from me and my daughters and always leaves a stash in his car. He would provoke me into an argument and then secretly record me without my knowledge. The most disturbing part about this is the way he would play it back to us without any warning. He hated my eldest daughter from my first marriage and once called the police to come and have her boyfriend removed when I wanted them to sleep over. The sickest part of all, however, involves our 8-year-old son, our only child together. He treats him like a demi-god and ‘partner’. He dismisses any contributions I make about our son’s school or upbringing, and tells him, “We will discuss this later, my son.” As a result of living in this toxic environment, my son told me one afternoon, “Mom, I feel like killing myself because daddy hates you and he only loves me and I feel like it’s all my fault.” This broke my heart and make me feel a sense of shame and blame I never thought possible. In addition to this, he has all but turned my 16-year-old daughter against me, who is at a rebellious age and angry at the world and her mother. They openly discuss my faults and degrade me in front of my son. I do not blame her – she has admitted to using the same tactics he does on me because they are ‘so effective’.I have since started divorce proceedings but am still living in the same house with him, although my solicitor has requested that he leave. He has since been to see his own solicitor and came in the other day after their meeting, bragging to my son about the wonderful meeting he’d had and how happy he was. I am petrified of him and of the constant rapid beating of my heart and the persistent,nagging pain inside. I find myself stuttering at times and jumping at the slightest sound or movement. I hide in my room and try to avoid everyone. Despite all the claims that there are organisations available for those who are abused, I have not had anyone take me seriously. I feel utterly alone. If I had bruises all over my face or body, then perhaps I would have been taken more seriously. I no longer know what it is like to be a mother; I cower away from my own children and husband because I can trust no-one. My little boy and I have a good relationship, but I try to hide what I am feeling from him as he always wants me to be ‘jolly’.I am not sure I will get to the other side of this divorce safely, but if I do, I doubt I will ever recover. I wanted a better life for me and my two girls when I married this man – what I got instead was a horrific monster who set about to destroy us all with his tyranny. I will always blame myself.

  47. Oh Jess that sounds like a harrowing situation. My heart goes out to you. I would not give up on trying to find support from an organisation near you. I know it can be difficult when as you say you don’t have bruises and you’re a professional person. Sometimes people have a stereotype in mind and they can’t get past that, I know that I stumbled across that at first…that I didn’t fit the stereotype of an abuse victim, it also happened to a friend of mine as well. It really can make you doubt your sanity but please persist as well informed and experienced counsellors do know what these abusive people are like and you do need to find some support. Have you tried searching through the net, even if it is somewhere not directly in your own area, as if you contact them they might be able to direct you to someone who will understand. Even your local GP or a psychologist.
    I feel if you can leave and it’s safe to do so I would suggest that but I can sense your fear and your situation seems very insidious, which makes such decisions very hard to make when your personal safety is at risk. Read what you can on keeping yourself and your children safe.
    Just know that you are not to blame, you are never to blame. Please, don’t give up on trying to find some help and support and take care. Hugs to you. 🙂

  48. This was a good/great article. Thank you. It reminded me of a few things that I experienced after my first ‘realization’ and ‘acceptance’ that I had been manipulated to the core. The first thing was that I, for the first time ever, began to doubt myself, lost enthusiasm, etc. 2nd, while some of my friends were supportive immensely, 2 friends tried to convince me I should stay in the relationship while my close relatives blamed me for how the relationship had gone from perfect to an absolute nightmare. Recovery was longer than I expected. But when I finally decided that what had happened was ‘abnormal’ and ‘out of the ordinary’, that none of it was ‘my fault’ as relatives believed, and I didn’t need to be in contact w/ the manipulator; my life began to change, and here is how: My 2 friends basically refrained from all contact with me. And my relatives up-ed their game. My present understanding is that I was probably born in a very manipulative family and learned to ‘accept’ so much manipulation that I lost discernment of it! I must say that ‘People of the Lie’ by Peck, and your articles were eye=opening. Thank you. I especially benefitted from 3 things: The movie ‘gaslight’,the article comparing what happens w/ manipulators to a ‘whiplash’. I am now beginning to see the difference between the ‘serial’ manipulators, and the rest of us. Long gone the days that I thought of my relatives as wiser when they twisted facts, justified their ways, blamed, manipulated, etc., etc. and of myself as ‘naiive’ and gullible or stupid! I believe I am still in recovery, however! That is because in spite of believing myself as ‘wiser’, I ‘miss’ the way I saw the world! The ‘denial’ was a comfort zone, and is now replaced with a sense of self-appreciation which is good and wonderful, yet kind of ‘isolating’. No contact w/ relatives is much easier than finding myself ‘seeing thru’ new acquaintances. I am OK though. Good friends that supported me thru it all keep me well connected. All and all the best that came out of the whole thing is that I ‘met and shook hands’ with my own insecurities, vulnerabilities, and accepted myself. The worst things that came out of it are a: the rather ‘loud way’ I find myself speaking to the manipulators sometimes! I am working on just smiling, and turning my back on them when they appear and start doing their ‘thing.’ I am not sure why I sometimes ‘need’ to tell them they are full of it! and b: watching people letting themselves be manipulated and blaming themselves or trying to ‘change’ situations through manipulating the manipulators! Thank you for your work.

  49. This was a good/great article. Thank you. It reminded me of a few things that I experienced after my first ‘realization’ and ‘acceptance’ that I had been manipulated to the core. The first thing was that I, for the first time ever, began to doubt myself, lost enthusiasm, etc. 2nd, while some of my friends were supportive immensely, 2 friends tried to convince me I should stay in the relationship while my close relatives blamed me for how the relationship had gone from perfect to an absolute nightmare. Recovery was longer than I expected. But when I finally decided that what had happened was ‘abnormal’ and ‘out of the ordinary’, that none of it was ‘my fault’ as relatives believed, and I didn’t need to be in contact w/ the manipulator; my life began to change, and here is how: My 2 friends basically refrained from all contact with me. And my relatives up-ed their game. My present understanding is that I was probably born in a very manipulative family and learned to ‘accept’ so much manipulation that I lost discernment of it! I must say that ‘People of the Lie’ by Peck, and your articles were eye=opening. Thank you. I especially benefitted from 3 things: The movie ‘gaslight’,the article comparing what happens w/ manipulators to a ‘whiplash’. I am now beginning to see the difference between the ‘serial’ manipulators, and the rest of us. Long gone the days that I thought of my relatives as wiser when they twisted facts, justified their ways, blamed, manipulated, etc., etc. and of myself as ‘naiive’ and gullible or stupid! I believe I am still in recovery, however! That is because in spite of believing myself as ‘wiser’, I ‘miss’ the way I saw the world! The ‘denial’ was a comfort zone, and is now replaced with a sense of self-appreciation which is good and wonderful, yet kind of ‘isolating’. No contact w/ relatives is much easier than finding myself ‘seeing thru’ new acquaintances. I am OK though. Good friends that supported me thru it all keep me well connected. All and all the best that came out of the whole thing is that I ‘met and shook hands’ with my own insecurities, vulnerabilities, and accepted myself. The worst things that came out of it are a: the rather ‘loud way’ I find myself speaking to the manipulators sometimes! I am working on just smiling, and turning my back on them when they appear and start doing their ‘thing.’ I am not sure why I sometimes ‘need’ to tell them they are full of it! and b: watching people letting themselves be manipulated and blaming themselves or trying to ‘change’ situations through manipulating the manipulators! Thank you for your work. BTW I would like to add that the manipulator in my life left me saying ‘You Cannot Be Controlled’. So my struggles were NOT about getting out of the situation (I was not that smart!). My struggles were all about why the relationship dissolved by the ‘leaving’ of the manipulator. The ending of the relationship was a gift! The only smart thing I did was not accepting him back, refused offers of ‘friendly’ contacts, etc., etc., which is what I also did w/ the friends who stopped contact (I never reached out to them again), and in the case of the relatives, well, I just stopped contact!

  50. 9 months ago I got the courage to finally leave an 8 year relationship with an emotional blackmailer, manipulator, and physical and verbal abuser. 2 years it took of planning and thinking till the physical violence on my birthday was the last straw and I flew home immediately leaving him overseas alone as I ran and packed what I could.
    When I left he made it as difficult as possible and even stated that he was going to make it as difficult as possible to do anything. I ended up with a restraining order on him.
    Now 9 months later I still find I’m doubting or second guessing myself and my confidence. As the ex manages to somehow appear here or pop up there almost just to taunt me. In the process I lost every friend that I thought where friends as the ex manipulated his way through any friendships I may have had and destroyed every one of them. Except for one person who saw it for their own eyes.
    Now I struggle with letting go of the “hate” if u call it towards him that I have. I find I’m emotionally switched off and can’t struggle to or just connect with people nor let anyone in, in fear of being manipulated by the manipulator by someone he has manipulated.
    I don’t know how to move on a pod heal from here

    1. Hi Ren, Please know that this takes a great deal of time. It’s something that is so different, I would say, then ANYTHING else someone has to “get over”. It’s very important to know that what you are going through is normal and to keep your expectations of your recovery in check. The last thing you need is to judge yourself harshly.

      You don’t need to let go of anything including the “hate” and rage and ,,,,,,,fill in the blank,,,,,, Feel what you need to feel, it will lessen in time but the disgust will probably remain. That is ok, it needs to. I’m afraid this is a VERY hard lesson in life………..but it’s so much more. It really does undermine your sense of reality and trust and just about everything. Good that you have a restraining order……use it. I doubt it’s a coincidence that he is showing up……jerk! Don’t deal with him directly and don’t feed him with emotions or contact of any sort, they thrive on drama and love to make you provide it.

      Second guessing is normal too but if you keep reading and learning, the puzzle pieces will keep falling into place and you will see that it was him, not you all along.
      Hang in there Ren and try your best to find your SELF through all of this, all the things that bring you joy and fulfilment. Those things, no matter how small and insignificant they may seem, will feed you and recharge what he has stolen. Just remember……….it takes time.

  51. I was in an abusive relationship and marriage for 7 years before my eyes were opened to his (probable, can’t label him can I?) personality disorder. He has no shame or guilt no conscience. He faked his love for me, lied, cheated, gave me an STD, broke my heart, wasted my time and ruined my finances. Then cruelly discarded me. The slander (or projection of blame from him to me)is the worst part because it spoils my good character. He is also highly promiscuous. Now he is gloating over my relative poverty as he has a mistress (we are still married but separated because he left) who is obviously being lied to by him. She buys all his groceries, gifts, even a 50″ tv. She asks what debt he has. One time he told her £500 (he didn’t have debt) so she handed over the money. After 7 months he’s getting bored with having to spend every weekend with her so is backing off. Told her to text not call. Told her never to come to his house unless he tells her to. She is telling him he’s a ‘cruel man’ but also ‘how could she throw you away. you are so sweet and kind.’ This is only until he has his victim emotionally attached then he abuses them. Difficult. I want to warn her. I warned one of his victims and she appreciated after not believing me initially. I saved her thousands. I wish I could warn this one before he ruins her finances etc. She may also think she’s the only lover.

    1. Karen…………Geeeze………he sure sounds like a socio/psycho pathological a** h**e to me!
      Ugh! Just amazing how they can get away, over and over and over……and i’m sorry you had the misfortune to get tangled up with him. You are free and I honestly think that once a person IS free of them it’s best to BE free of them entirely. BUT, I understand the dilemma you are facing in regards to warning his soon to be next victim. I don’t know that I would have left him immediately if someone would have warned me, not once I was invested and hooked anyhow but, I think it might have made a difference in how and when I finally woke up to reality. I think it’s a judgement call and a personal decision you have to make. I have told just about anyone who would listen and have fully rehearsed my lines should I run into him with another woman! 🙂

  52. This is extremely hard to write. In reviewing the article and some of the replies on here, coupled with a ton of self-reflection, I have come to realize that I possess many of the characteristics and behaviours described. I was in 5 year relationship punctuated by a high level of toxicity, and ultimately, abusive behaviour on the part of both parties. I attended therapy twice in two years for extended periods to try and address my stuff. My partner refused to attend, stating I had to fix myself. So that’s exactly what I did. I made some changes, including losing 80 pounds, focusing on my health, and addressing some old wounds. This did nothing to improve the relationship, and at the end, I was told that it bought me an extra year of misery by my partner. The relationship ended, as it should have, and I feel guilty for the harm I have caused over the course of this relationship and my life as a whole. I am trying to be a better person, and change not only my words, but my actions. It’s so difficult to realize you have done harm to others and so badly want to repair this. Not as a means to make myself feel better or alleviate my guilt, but to make amends for harm caused.

    1. Hello Lars — sounds as though you have been through a war. But, today is the first day of the rest of your life. Can I suggest a few things that have helped me? — First, start your day with a quick trip to greatday.com — short, motivational 3 or 4 paragraphs to lift your spirits. Then, think of how you can “pay it forward” — some of the people in my life have died, but I try to make someone’s day a little bit better. Say an encouraging word if someone looks discouraged. If the people whom you have hurt are still around, apologize and ask their forgiveness, in person, or by phone or email or letter; some of these encounters will be difficult for you. Maybe look for some volunteer work you can do. Practice gratitude — journalling is great for this. Every day, list at least one good thing in your life, for which you are grateful. If you are, or would like to be, spiritual, visit biblegateway.com, many Bible translations available. Keep reading, studying, the more you know, the more you will be able to give another struggling soul a helping hand. Best wishes, peace, and hope from Elva

    2. Lars, I wish you the best in your future and hope you find peace within yourself and your life and with those from your past. The only thing you can change is your choices right now and it sounds like you are ready to do that. 🙂

  53. Hi all,

    I just ended my second marriage and I opened my eyes up to my 5yr ordeal. This now ex husband is a “MONSTER”. I have three beautiful daughters who saw who is was a long time ago but because they loved me and trusted me they went along with this marriage until my eyes opened up when my one daughter almost died. This monster was terrible to my daughters and I always stood my ground but it was always a struggle, a constant in my face abusive manipulator, ass (sorry for that word). I had to put my daughter in a private school to focus on herself and get her away from him. She did well but he was obsessed with how I should parent my own daughters. He wanted me to have his own daughters not mine and as kind and loving to his own, he was the very opposite to mine. I could not talk to my daughters, he would listen and then chew me out, I could not spend time with my daughters (even though I did), he would be mad because my attention was not on him. He is a functional (at times) Alcholic and a big dope smoker. I fell into his trap and stopped, he did not like the real me. My mail was not coming in and I found out it was sent back to the sender but the address was correct and when I told him I call Canada Post (they do a full investigation), the mail started to come back. All the puzzles are now coming into place and I ashamed of what I dealt with. No more, I stood my ground when I helped my daughter who almost died come home to live. He told her to her face that his words…”I hope you die”. Trust me that was the final blow and she is doing fine and looking into schoolls and building her life back from the hell she went through, she is my rock, all my girls are and they are all happy that I stood my ground and are very supportive. The monster is angry and blames my mother, my sister, my daughters, my best friend and thinks I have no Brian to make these decisions that I made, but I did and I am so happy to not walk on egg shells anymore. I come from a lot of wealth and I am the last person in the world to think of myself wealthy. I believe everyone can be rich, not by what’s in your wallet but by how happy you are in your life. That is what being rich is! Never the less, he was just in it for the money, I know that now. He wanted me to buy him properties, his words “our” properties and the word,”we” can do it together. He always used the word WE but he ment ME. My story is all over the place, sorry for that, still just getting back on tract. He would call my companies and send emails to them and then after doing it tell me he did it, thank god they never listened…lol. He would put me down all the time and judge me but put himself on a pedestal and try to tell me that my family is against me. I never would allow that at all. It is stopped now and thank god I own the house under my mothers name (my boss, President) and also I had a marriage contract made up at the beginning, which he fought all the way along. He is coming today to pick up his clothes and more stuff, I know he will be brutal, but I will tune out and just smile and not say a word. He can say whatever he wants to me, I don’t care at all! Anywho, I best get ready and start to prepare for his coming over and taking his stuff out. If he starts lashing out, I will call the police and have them present for his removal of items. I know my rights, I just don’t know if he will get physical?

    1. Hello Annabelle and welcome. Almost everyone here has gone through some horrible experiences — we know what it’s like. Glad you are getting rid of him. I wonder if you might need a large male friend to be there when your ex (or soon-to-be?) comes to pick up his stuff. Better safe than sorry! Please let us know what happens with you and your daughters — we care. Peace and hope from Elva

    2. Annabelle, another welcome and please take proper precautions as Elva has suggested. It’s not worth the risk and at this point I would probably recommend the police being there rather than a civilian. I wish you luck and hear your strength in your words.

  54. Hi Annabelle,

    You had him sign a prenup….good for you! I had the lovely experience of being targeted by someone who wanted me to leave my husband and take half of all assets. Sooo in love with me, such a sooooouuuul mate. Had to be in constant communication with me, for close to 2 years.

    When I told him that my husband and I would work out something that was fair to both of us and that It wasn’t going to be any 50/50 asset or income split, it was as if I had slapped him across the face. He tried to mask it, argued that I ‘deserved it’ it was the law, etc…I told him I didn’t care what the law was, it would be immoral of me to do that. My marriage was difficult but husband was a good man who had done his best and I wasn’t going to hurt him more than necessary. Surprisingly, the CD disappeared less than a month later. I so dodged a bullet…and that was several years ago now. It was very very painful at the time. It caused my husband turmoil and turned my life into a chaotic mess. The upshot to this is that my husband passed away suddenly recently. If I remarry, it doesn’t matter how much I trust somebody, I would require Christ himself to sign a prenup. The CD deserter, I would have trusted with my life. That was part of his appeal, that we were so emotionally close, it “would hurt him to ever hurt me.” It’s laughably phoney sounding now but at the time, it was quite believable. My therapist who knew of him said he came across as the kindest most trustworthy person she had ever met. Very, very stealthy. I have found out since that he has come close to ruining many lives, all around the globe.

    Good great luck to you and let us know how things went with your cd’s ‘visit’ I think you can hire private security guards for temporary assignments, like dealing with very difficult people? Not sure.

  55. I’m 23 had a friend for years she took total control over my life I had to get rid of her witch was the hardest thing I’ve ever done it’s been a year and I still struggle with loads of things I feel a fool it’s unbelievable what people can do to your head I was totally powerless and had such a hold over I have made a real improvement with myself this past year and am much happier but there are still aspects that take me back to when I was in the situation I was in I really do feel for anyone who has had a manipulator in there life it creeps up on you next minute u don’t no who you are anymore

    1. Welcome Hmb, you are correct. Towards the end you can just feel lost and like you don’t know who you are anymore. It always bears repeating……..the surest sign you are with a manipulator is a feeling of confusion and that you are researching manipulative people.
      Hang in there, you are still there. As much as they would like to think they can destroy you, they can only sidetrack you and make you stronger.

  56. Hi puddle you are right I have been to counciling about it but it has left me with certain things it’s so strange and the feeling confused is so right I felt like that for a number of years the thing that bothers me the most is I do everything in my power to not see this person because I’m scared

    1. Hmb, hang in there, things will get better. I never believed they would initially but low and behold they have. When you say “scared” what do you mean?
      So when recovering from a manipulative abusive person, no matter the degree of severity and there is a vast assortment, it is recommended NC. NC stands for no contact so you are doing the right thing by staying away. What I might be hearing is that you are afraid you may run into this person and something may trigger you? If that is so, I understand that concern and have faced it myself. Fortunately, even though I live in a VERY small area and so does he, I have only had one close encounter and I used it to my liking not his manipulative false self’s.
      SO, within reason you should be doing everything you can to not see this person. in time they will find a new victim. I do hope you are safe? That this person is not a physical threat to you?

  57. Hi puddle thanks for the reply and scared as like you said to see this person as I have done everything possible to not see this person somtimes it frustrates me as I will only go certain places when I never did wrong it’s been a year and I still do things to avoid it I won’t go shopping in the town centre I will travel out I feel like if I was to see this person I will turn bk to who I once was and became n I could not allow that to happen

    1. Hmb, you have a year away from this person behind you. I don’t know how long you have been educating yourself about these types or the exact nature of your situation but self education is the key to never going back. I was so addicted to the AH I was involved with that it took quite a while for my eyes to be fully opened to what he is really all about, which is nothing, a big zero on his score card. All an act and lies lies lies. So, I was vulnerable to getting sucked back in until a few things happened, one of which was him slandering me when I knew darn well he knew the truth. Then several things fell into place, things I learned about him, a background check, info from ex-s………..and my continuing to learn more and more on sites like Dr. Simon’s (the best and safest site on the internet I might add). Once rose colored glasses, they secretly placed over your eyes, fall off and you really SEE them for who they are and the extensive damage they did,,,,,,,you will not go back. You MIGHT? But once the educational process has started you will never see them the same again which means their hold on you will evaporate. I have never had someone capture me the way he did and now I would not even EVER speak to him again. He disgusts me and I find him pathetic………….zero attraction to a man I was once very attracted to.
      I don’t go to places he frequents as a rule but have run into him at the grocery and FU’ed him when he greeted me like nothing had even happened. I can’t help but run into him somewhere eventually, it’s a small town but he will regret it because I will throw the egg in his face that he left on me. I no longer live in fear of that and someday neither will you Hmb. You will prevail but i understand why its hard for you to believe that right now. It takes time, no way around that. It’s been almost 2 years for me and I really started pulling out of it fully about 6 months ago. Unfortunately I had a set back because of something else that happened, unrelated, and it did not involve him.
      Hang in there!! 🙂

  58. I have self educated a lot I’ve read books and been on the internet it was only once I got rid of this person someone said the word manipulate to me that’s when I started looking into it I would never go back as life is good now and certainly a lot easier it’s nice to have my power back it is going to take time to fully heal as it was 8 years I was in it but I will get there I’m glad you as well found the strength to leave to better yourself in every aspect puddle thanks for the reply

    1. Hmb(?)v(?) Sounds like you are on a better path and will prevail! You are welcome, I wish you the very best in your recovery 🙂

  59. I left my manipulative alcoholic husband two months ago. He said he knew it was coming but did nothing…wrong he discounted my feelings, tried to make me feel guilty and when that didn’t work, threatened me. Now, its a miracle, he has stopped drinking and is going to counseling and I am the most important person in his life and he just wants to spend time with me and I am so beautiful. He forgives me for leaving and his recovery would be so much easier if I came back and was his partner through it, after all marriage is for better or for worse right? This man, for 11 years, discounted my feelings, disrespected my family, threw temper tantrums at the slightest problem, regularly gave me the silent treatment, mis spelled my name on birthday cards, accused me of things I didn’t do, took credit for my accomplishments etc… etc… etc… oh yeah and drank all the time. Now, he is all better and thinks I should come back. He calls when I ask him not to, says he feels like killing himself, tells me how much he loves me and that I am his soul mate. he wants to do marriage counseling. Although I know this is manipulation, I know that this is his MO… i mean really? who does all 12 steps in AA in 2 months :). Although I know all this I still sometimes think about going back, I feel horribly guilty for leaving and disrupting the family (no bio kids,step kids that are out of the house)for hurting him and the guilt sometimes makes me want to go back. I am depressed some days but others I feel free. He keeps reeling me in and I keep slipping away but my guilt keeps me connected… this is crazy!

    1. Kel, crazy, yes it’s crazy. But crazy is the new normal with these types I’m afraid. You will end this once and for all some day or he will when he’s tired of the game, achieved his goal, found someone else, wants to keep drinking, what ever HE wants at the time, whatever captured his desire. It’s a dead end street, doomed from the start. I’m sorry……
      Welcome.

      1. Kel, it’s not YOUR guilt!! It is something he has manufactured to manipulate you. It takes a while to sort these things out but once you are out from under this you will see ALL of this, the pixel pieces come together and it’s not a pretty picture, no wonder we hold on till the bitter end, I think a part of us “knows” but is in denial because the truth is too traumatic to face. Too jarring, painful, twisted and foreign.

    2. Kel it really sounds like this is horrible, I truely understand how they can play those mind games, sound so sincere, playing on your guilt … It’s really hard to think straight. I can tell that you do see the manipulation, but I also understand how effectively they can play on your emotions … It can be exhausting. But, if he was truly sorry he would start talking to you in a different way. Go to abuseandrelationships.org. Find the survivors category and click on “going back”. If he was truly repentant, and if he truly deserved any kind of support from you, those things on that page would be the kinds of things he’d be saying. Keep reminding yourself who he really is, and that you do not need to feel guilty for making a positive and healthy choice for yourself, by staying away you are doing the right thing,

  60. Kel

    Keep to your own 12 step program. If your ex or anyone resembling your ex approaches you again, kick them down the 12 step stair case and right out the door!

    You have been through way too much already. Playing host to a pickled parasite, is no fun.

    1. OMG!! thanks to all of you for your words of support. LisaO, I went to the website you suggested and you are right, I have heard none of those things. In fact, tonight I agreed to see his counselor with him and the counselor talked about how long the healing process is in these types of situations that it can take a year or more, if it happens at all to heal. He told him he has to work on himself and allow me to do the same and then maybe somewhere down the road we might get back together, he told him to be patient and in the session he was all good with that but when we were outside he started in on the poor me and how hard it is for him and when I suggested he call his sponsor he said his sponsor would be busy talking to others. He pushed for seeing eachother this weekend and for me to call more often. I stepped away from him and told him I had to go. I could feel the anger and even watched my rearview mirror to see if he followed me. You know its pretty powerful when you can start to see this stuff clearly… I believe I am on the right road. Thanks, all of you for your thoughts and support, it helps alot. And for those who haven;t left yet… it is a tough road but at least there is light at the end of the tunnel…and air too.

  61. Kel,

    If your husband felt genuine remorse it seems to me that after your counselling session he would have been focused on you and not on himself. If there was an abrupt shift, a discrepancy between the way he came across in the counselling session and his attitude towards you when he was alone with you in parking lot, it says a lot. Which one us the real man and which one is the actor?

  62. I am grateful to have run across this article. My life has been emotionally tortured by covert aggressive personalities from the time I was very young. I had no idea why. It caused me to doubt myself, and the by the time I woke up to the realities it almost took my life. I was suicidal and felt very dead inside. I can’t explain the emotional up’s and down’s. Someone said you have to not forgive the person but to forgive YOURSELF. I was so focused on forgiving, forgiving, forgiving, but then one day it occurred to me that I was angry with myself for who I had become, for what I allowed these people do to me, and for the shame and guilt I felt that I did not want to even be around people anymore. I know now what it means to just feel nothing to these people, and forgiveness really is releasing yourself from the pain, and so in forgiving yourself you release yourself from the pain. I am someone who always strives to have unity and make things right if I’ve done something wrong, but truly the hardest part is to not “make things right” except with myself and God. God is the reason I’m still here, and He is the reason I am now understanding why I did what I did, and to learn how to stay away and detect these types of people….who BY CHOICE have hardened their hearts due to whatever it is they have gone through, and decided to live this way. The man I last dated said, “Noone will ever know who I am.” Well, I tried and tried to know him, but he was like ice. I suppose he is right. I suppose living like a selfish person gives a thrive, but it is a destructive path and I hope those who want to truly change find the means to do it. Hardening the heart is the worst hell on earth and the best thing we can do is not harden our heart and to move ahead and change ourselves. May God help all of you who have ever experienced these devils. You are free to heal, love, and move forward. There are real loving kind and compassionate people who are ready to be real with you and care for you as you care for yourself.

    1. I totally relate to all you said. I tried and tried to get to know him only to be accused of being obsessed with him. I am the type to try and fix, understand etc etc. Now I am angry situation he turning round all on me and he wont forgive me. I put myself through feeling bad for many years, but now I am getting back to my old self and don’t need his forgiveness. I feel no guilt now as I know he is just too much to deal with. but apparently all my fault and u know what I don’t care any more, I accept all my fault and wish to move on now. he will always be part of my life because of our son, I don’t know what to do for best. if I say go via solicitor for access I am denying his son, if I let my son go he returns displays signs of insecurity and upset (bar one time) as his father knows exactly how to pick up and drop off a person, he did to me for many years. Now I say I will supervise visits just so I can see their interactions but I know he will say cause I want him close. Ands it’s true I did before I started to realise certain things. I don’t know where this all ends. We can all be controlling and want our own way at times, but I suppose that’s one test at times, a relationship is about feeling safe, happy, secure. Maybe we are just so different and we think the other person is manipulative? I don’t know anything anymore.

  63. Dr. Simon,
    Thanks so much for providing this resource. It’s so articulate and validating.
    I have a question. So much of the above happened to me. (I think) She manipulated our therapist. (I’m pretty sure) She set me up months in advance to look at fault to all our friends (who are now her friends and not mine). I have all the self-doubt you mention, I question my sanity now where I never did before, I’m still very angry and resentful, and fight depression with…golf.
    But, the hardest part is how brilliantly (I think) she did it; it’s scary. She acted like the most innocent victim and she’s believable! Whenever I confronted her with any of her behavior, “…how can you accuse me of being someone like that…you’re so abusive”. That’s what she told everyone else too. So when I show up angry, I prove it. So I can’t show up. Now, three years after that relationship has ended, I sit her tormented by resentment, and every thought of what she did to me, leads to me accusing her, which leads to me questioning whether I’m really a mean, awful, personality disordered, sick individual, and if I go into the world and see any of the 10, 20, 30 people she’s convinced, the way they treat me will just confirm, “it must be me”.
    But, she’s just a great liar! I think…
    And then it starts over.

  64. Tarb, I don’t know. I have the benifit (now) of knowing I wasn’t the first person he messed with and I’m sure I won’t be the last. A leopard that old does not change its spots so I don’t have any self doubt anymore and I don’t share friends, now or then, with him. Basically, at this stage of things I don’t care what he says about me. I refer to the Phil Collins song, “I Don’t Care Anymore”. It sums it up SO well. In fact there is another song that I have re-named. The real song is, ” Now Your Just Somebody That I Used To Know” but my version of the title is Now Your Just Somebody That I Never Knew.
    Good luck to you! Time heals.

  65. Thanks Puddle,
    I actually read the earlier comments and I’ve been rocking that Phil Collins song for the last few days. So good! Thanks for the kind response. I’m confident I’ll get there, just kinda stuck on the road a little.

    T

    1. Tarb, it took me a long time to get down that road and I still hit bumps on occasion but I’m in such a better place with it now than I was two years ago. Once I found out who/what he really is and all the lies became clear, the spell of illusion wore off day by day. I loved him so much and that is what made it hard to let go of. Once I saw that he was never even remotely who I thought he was and who he pretended to be that feeling was quickly replaced with disgust. He is a joke and I was shocked to find out how many people saw him as a joke. Like I ssid, we don’t share any friends so ……..the BS he says is his business. He can bad mouth me to whoever he wants, it only makes him look like even more of a joke fand I don’t care anymore! The people who matter to me and who know me know different, they know me and find his BS as amusing now as I do.
      The people who matter the most will know the truth Tarb…….let go of the rest. I know it’s hard but it will happen 🙂

  66. Tarb,

    Nothing is worse than being slandered by a pathological type. And, yes, we end up playing the part, if we react angrily to the lies. It ends up reinforcing that we are ‘angry crazy’. Have you seen the movie, ‘Anger Management?’ It’s about that very topic and it is SO funny. I guess the best thing you could do is launch a counter-offensive by being the best gol-darned community good guy hero you can be. You seem to be a good, conscientious person, so you could pretty much lay it on with a trowel and it wouldn’t be insincere, would it? Don’t bitch or complain about the dragon lady…just be Mr. Wonderful. There are always little old ladies to help across the street, lawns to mow. Now, jumping into freezing rapids to save kittens…I don’t know. You might want to draw the line there. Personally, I would do it because I love kittens! LOL. Sorry….got a little carried away there. But you know what I mean. Go out and win that public relations battle!

  67. Thanks Puddle and LisaO,

    I appreciate the support, a lot. Yeah, I always say, “What other people think of me is none of my business”, but it’s still a challenge for me for sure. I feel like I deserve a lot better than this stuff, but I keep running into it, and I know it’s gonna continue until I figure it out. I think one of the reasons resolution has been difficult for me regarding this type of relationship, with this type of person, is that it’s just hard to believe it exists, and people could do this kinda stuff to each other. I was super naive before. So, for me, even when it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, I’m like, “Ducks don’t f#%*ing talk!” Haha, and then I wonder if I’m the crazy person, again. I don’t know, it just keeps happening. I think it’s just a hard pill swallow and I need to be patient. But, yeah, I’m gonna help every person whose car broke down, and I LOVE helping old ladies across the street. I really do, and that’s something I should celebrate, and something she couldn’t take from me, so I’ll go honor it and use it. You guys are the best!

    1. Tarb, sometime it’s hard to comment when things are not known in detail, but you should only disclose what you are comfortable disclosing here. We are here to listen and make suggestions and give support so if you ever feel comfortable, feel free to share! 🙂

  68. What great comments that have given us the courage to END the manipulative relationship we have endured with our daughter in law and her mother.
    Ten years of hell in a small southern town, trying to please her and her controlling mother. We have endured every kind of abuse and public humiliation. The DIL ownes the local hair salon and the her mother is the head loan officer in town. We’re hideing out “under our rock” until we can sell our house and move far away.
    We are broken hearted that our grandchildren have been withheld for no apparent reason except just plain meanness. And now we feel so isolated that going to the grocery store is difficult.
    Our son seems bewildered and is as confused as we are.
    Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts because we don’t feel so alone in this situation.

    1. Hi Michelle and welcome. That’s one of the best things about participating on this site, hearing someone new comment and express the relief they have finally found in a site like this. How horrible it must be for you to feel trapped by what you are going through with these people. I hope you can find your way out and that better days are soon to come. These nasty people hold your life hostage in a way that most people can’t comprehend. Some of these nightmares are so horrific, who could see THAT coming? Like the “bad” just keeps compounding.
      So glad you have made it here and to Dr.Simon’s work and wisdom. I encourage you to read as many of his articles as you can and continue to educate yourself because the strongest card in their hand is that people and a lot of therapists just don’t have their number……….yet.

  69. I just recently got out of a situation with a very toxic and manipulative person. I thought that this person was truly sincere but he was only in it to run game and what he could get out of me. I was the only one truly in the relationship. He was always trying to change, fix and control me. He would always have an attitude with me when I had not done anything. I could be at work all day and I would hate coming home. In the end the guy had every intention of stealing everything out of my home. Luckily, I caught on before that happened before he made his exit or rather when I put his ass out! I am glad that I had the courage to get out of the relationship because he was not worthy of my time and love. I accepted him with all of his baggage when I should left where he was at. I am now healing from that situation but I have no regrets about my decision. My life is getting better now that he is gone. I suggest to anyone that when you see that a person is not appreciative of you especially when you are helping them out. Get rid of that person. Pay attention to everything they are saying and what they are not saying. They usually will say things that do not add up because they are use to lying and they do not like it when you call them on it. Then they get on the defense and say I did not say. This is their way of trying to make you look crazy to justify what they are doing.

  70. The Manipulator in my life was my mother. There is a history of Family estrangement. My Uncle ceased all contact with my Grandmother for over 30yrs. I could not understand this when I was growing up. My Grandmother had Two other sisters. One of my Grandmothers sisters also had her son cease all contact. Reading Dr Simons teachings on the difference between Remorse and Regret helps me to understand why my life and that of my brother whent the way it did. Character Disturbance is a good way of discribing My Mother/ Grandmothers attitude to both me and my Brother. He is now the disturbed character and I am neurotic and I am proud to be that way.

  71. Healing from this kind of mind trauma has been and continues to be a growth process of nothing I could have ever imagined!
    I was married for over 20 years and the slow erosion of our identity that comes from the manipulation and control of the abuser is quite a wake up call when the fog is lifting.
    I have been free from my ex for almost a year. I did not fully understand Narcissism, Psychopaths and Sociopaths, the warning signs and their ability to charm, talk their way out of anything, lie, cheat and think nothing of it, especially them moving on to another relationship (1 week) while claiming they were so abused and mistreated by us.
    The self talk has been one of the hardest things to overcome, when their manipulation becomes verbal abuse there is so much damage added to this process. Getting myself back to being present in my life has not been an easy process, Therapy, group therapy, book, blogs, articles such as this and my quest for internal knowledge of why this happened have been my saving grace. One of his favorite tools was to always bring up the past negatively,and as I fought with this notion this programmed me to continue this when I wasn’t someone who engaged in that previously. I have always been able to look at myself and see where I might do something different, this also is why I allowed what I did to continue, I believed the manipulator and thought the problem was me, so I continued to see what I might do different. It was never good enough, nothing ever was and if I met a demand then it changed to something else. He could make a lot of money, but never keep it and always had to spend to the extent of our income.
    In couples therapy which he begged for after many suicide threats by him that if we were not together he would just end his life(remember one week after I booted him he is starting another relationship after over 20 years) is where I really started hearing about boundaries and seeing where I had been violated. Our first session she told him he needed additional therapy because he kept interrupting her and me. I actually had some really good boundaries and over time they were eroded by being manipulated into thinking I should not say no to people, and I was told I was selfish if I said no.
    I guess bottom line is taking a look at myself, lots of healing, allowing myself to actally feel what I was feeling because no one was telling me I shouldn’t feel it, taking care of me and my kids, getting my boundaries strong again and stronger than they have ever been, paying attention to warning signals, getting out and doing things I was never allowed to(because of isolation) even if it’s going to a movie, I want to see and being where I am at again have been major steps in healing from this trauma.

    1. Blossom, Congratulations for waking up and moving up and out of that mess! You sound ver strong and it does take a lot of strength and perseverance to get through the aftermath.My encounter was a mere two years +- but I can relate to what you posted. Welcome!

  72. Do you think your boyfriend or husband is cheating on you? Let the country’s best female PIs help you get to the bottom of it. We are shooting a new pilot for and are looking to help. Please email kimmie_lucas@discovery.com for further details.

  73. Life after a manipulator, or should I say my Mother. When you wake up you really wake up. The point is deep down I new all the answers. It took me a life time to see the truth. My uncle ended all contact with my Grandmother when he was 17yrs old. He did not see or speak to her for over 30yrs. My grandmother had a sister the same thing occured. One of her sons ended all contact.
    My mother was a gift giver. The none payment of House keeping was her main weapon. Gifts and more gifts. Have it, take it she used to say.
    Try and gain some resolution, Contempt, Verbal abuse, My way or the high way. Gifts and more gifts.
    The point to all this. I understand, I understand, I understand
    That is what my life is. I am completely alone. I have know one who gives a dam about me. I am o.k I have a job. I am buying my own appartment. But I am alone. She and her mother stole my brother from me. I understand you see. I now see every trick it and its mother pulled. Spliting me and my brother up makes the abuse my brother endured easier. It made the abuse I suffered easier.”The history of negative behaviour is a good indicator of future behaviour”.
    I have Dr Simon to thank for that piece of advise. God in heaven, that is soooo true.

  74. Forgive from the heart… That doesn’t mean we stay to be abused. We all have sinned forgive just as God forgive us of all our sins

    1. Forgiveness is for the repentant and ones who ask for forgiveness by showing that the have owned their transgressions.

      1. Arthur, Agreed. I can and have forgiven in my past and many times when it was undeserved. What someone like the loser I was tangled up with does is beyond a sin. They see themselves as perfect and forgive the horrors that THEY do by focusing on the imperfections of their victims, thereby feeling justified. Two wrongs make them right in their mind. It’s just so off base………

        1. Puddle, P’s remind the guilt prone of misdemeanors like jaywalking, littering etc..while they engage in soul murder. I’ve experienced a boat load of this from a few sources. No more! Forgiveness…nope. They say its a gift you give yourself. When dealing with the CD type it’s a gift you may end up giving them. They can capitalize on any emotionally derived state of mind…except indifference. They can’t do anything with that as there is nothing to work with.

          To those who think forgiveness is the way to go with a CD abuser, think again. You may be quite convinced that a forgiving heart is all you need. To the unrepentant forgiveness represents nothing more than an opportunity to prey on you again. As long as you are forgiving you are susceptible to being recharmed by Prince Harming.

          1. LisaO, you have such a way with words! “As long as you are forgiving you are susceptible to being recharmed by Prince Harming.” Are you a writer? If not, maybe you can think of it as a sideline? 🙂

          2. I completely agree with you. By being kind and forgiving they try to creep back in and control you more.
            The hell with them.

    2. Really, recovery can’t be the same as forgiving or forgetting(which can’t be the same, either), methinks.

  75. my name is melisa from spain i want giv glory to GOD and this prophet who hele me and bring back my husband into my life again after nine months he adandoned me and my three kids, becuse of he lost his job he insulted me and even called a witch and bad luck he wish he never meet me in his life and move out of the house and rented another house with another lady,i cryed trying to survival working two jobs to train my kids and paid for my rent life was very hard with me,one day as i going true the internet i saw a testimony about many spell casters i contacted one the them called prophet JOHN i explain my problems to him he told me no problem about that but i have to my self also and asked me to fast for three days and he will also fast about it for 7 days in just 7 days after the prayer came back home and apoloize for all he has done to me and my kids and even both me a car.his contacts is holyprophet8@gmail,com,
    his a truly man of GOD

  76. I dont know how I got here, but Thank You Thank all of you.
    I am so lost, but I am trying I am not able to put much in words yet. Just Thank You

    1. Hello Me, Welcome, welcome. Please feel free to take your time if you feel you would like to post again. Maybe a comment here and a question there will break the ice. It actually, took me several years to decide to post in any forum like this. In the meantime I read everything I could get my hands on. By far this is the best site out there with a few others following behind. Most people here are very kind, supportive and empathetic. Please take the time to read the other topics on Dr. Simons site and the posts from so many thoughtful people. Hopefully, with encouragement and validation of your experience, which you will find here. the pieces will start to fall into place. In the meantime, be kind to yourself and take very good care and blessings.

  77. Emotional abuse should never be tolerated. I truly believe that love is about not taking from a person, but by giving of ourselves to the person that we love. The more we take from a person, the relationship becomes more self centered around one person, instead of a mutual, reciprocating love between the two. I was in a relationship with my childhood best friend. We began dating in high school and mid way through college. Our relationship got to the point where I became a batterer. I had insecurities and as life became stressful, I thought the only control I had over my life was over the person I loved. I watched the person I loved go through so much pain. It was vicious cycle of emotional violence and then forgiveness. Eventually I pushed him away and he said he could no longer be with me despite how much he loved me. I immediately sought a therapist for my behavior, because ultimately my behavior had driven him away. I love him very much to this day. It has not been that long (not even a month), but I take our time apart as time to discover myself. In the back of my mind I always have hope that as I work on my actions I can hopefully reach back out to my loved one and ask for a chance for the future. To not repeat the past, because the present is different and the future is unknown. I write all of this because I have read so many articles on being in a emotionally abusive relationship. I have agree with everything that people have to say, like how totally unacceptable it is to treat a person in such a horrible manner. How it isn’t truly love when you treat a person that way.

    What I have a hard time accepting is the one sidedness in the words people have to say about the abuser, not the victim. When you enter a relationship, neither person goes in with the intention of hurting the other (at least I would hope so). Life happens and everyone reacts differently. I grew up in a household where my parents were emotionally abusive. I watched them fight and I would stay up most nights just watching either my mom or dad packing their things and leaving. I grew up watching that, and it lingered into my relationship unknowingly. I realized that after the damage was done. I have so much guilt and shame over how I acted. I remember telling my therapist that I felt like a monster because of how mentally ill I was. She ended up telling me that I am not a monster because if I were, I would not have this guilt or even the incentive to reach out and get help. So many times people state abusers are ultimately an evil force and mean thing but harm. Yes, abusers do harm. But as humans, we have the capacity to change. We always have. As one, I know that I am not a monster. I know that regardless of if I regain the trust my loved one, I will always look towards being a better person to myself and others. It is painful to hold accountability for manipulating a person to the point that they are afraid. This is just a food for thought for everyone who feels as if abusers should never be forgiven.

    I mean the best. Godspeed.

    1. Frances,
      Thank you for posting, I encourage you to keep seeing your therapist. You need to keep focusing on yourself and your behavior. There is a giant difference between being the victim and the perpetrator. If you truly do the work you need to do you will understand this. I hope you are young enough that you can turn your life around.

  78. I have come out of a relationship four weeks ago that has very nearly destroyed me. And defiantly broke my heart confidence strength and drive for my future.
    He was intense and demanded that he became my one and only the vet my work friends children and then myself.
    He became so intense I couldn’t protect my heart and trust, but he was at the same time entertaining women one while he was out with me, in front of friends, he cheated and allowed me to pick him up from the station after leaving her house he cheated again and was filmed in the bedroom for it to be shown to friends.
    All the while becoming obsessed with me pushing everyone away, accusing me of cheating at all times.
    So much more went on, but everything has been my fault.
    He walked out on me four weeks ago after pulling me back into his arms, promising me the world letting me give my body to him, and then blocked me from all paths of contact, purely because I was going on a holiday.
    He has walked out on my life, as if he is dead, and has made sure I find out by even telling me of all of his new girls, and I wasn’t enough for him, that I’m hated by his family.
    He turned his back on me when he made himself my whole world.
    I have been broken, but I’m wiping the past two years away, but I know I will not move on easily not with my heart. And I’m angry. Angry that he has tossed me away when he wanted everyone to know how much he was in love, I now feel humiliated.

  79. I’m 18, about to be 19 in a few weeks. My relationship with my manipulative/controlling boyfriend ended yesterday after four years together. He would control me and tell me what to do, and in response I would tell him the things I can’t do, he can’t do either. I thought it was unfair. He would go behind my back and do things and then control me ! if I EVER did the things he did we would have ended a long time ago. I would try to confront him about the things I found out he did behind my back, and he would push me away and start telling me “I’m sick of being accused and you bitching at me everyday” (When in reality I had to deal with him bitching at me for “not listening” everyday). Anyway, I went to a festival and I didn’t know he would be there after our fight (which I was not allowed to go to but I went because I was so done finding out everything he does behind my back). I went with my gay friend. Which he obviously didn’t know I had.. Because no guy was allowed in my presence. I get a text to my phone “you and that dude are too funny” and thirty seconds later I see him walking right up to us. I knew he wouldn’t believe me if I said he was just gay, so I lied and said this guy was my cousin. He walked away then later texted me “I’m hooking up with someone tonight.” The next day Went by and I had saw that he had followed girls he used to talk to on Instagram and had liked their pictures. I was so hurt I couldn’t stop crying. I became desperate and begged him to see me to break up face to face but in reality I wanted to see him so that we could make up. He told me no. He said he didn’t want to see me. He said it wasn’t fair to us because we “both” hurt each other. I told him I was having an anxiety attack and he told me I’ll be fine. I finally let go. I left him alone and stopped responding to the texts. The next morning, he texted me saying he would be everything I wanted and that he didn’t want to loose me. But I had a weird feeling he was doing the wrong things the night before he texted me asking for me back. So I said no. It was only fair to myself. I told him he has ruined us by delibertly trying to hurt me. We ended up making the conversation somewhat civil, and he told me he had to go bc his phone was going to die. Right after that, I found out he had CONTINUED to follow more girls that were very “out there” type of girls and like all their photos. I also found out that the night before he texted me, him and his friends followed girls around this festival and told them they were pretty and hung out with them. I confronted him and two minutes later ( I have/had all his passwords but he didn’t know) I check his Twitter and he’s messaging girls asking if they have boyfriends and for them to text him!! I the first flipped out on him again! Then I found out he went to a night club and I would not doubt for one minute that he didn’t probably hook up with someone! Every time I would freak out he would tell me I was stressing him out. And that I CAUSED THIS NOT HIM. he would say he didn’t want other girls in our delTionship, he only wanted me. But I DID THIS to us, not him. Because he said I was the one at the festival with a guy. But even if he didn’t believe he was my cousin, the guy was sTill gay!! And I told him that and he knew that because he heard his voice. He told me he did all of this to hurt me. But I said why would you WANT to hurt me? It’s because he wants to exert power. He wants to control my emotions and find temporary happiness in meeting new people and girls who know nothing about him. He wants to string people around that know nothing about him so because he hates who he is and can’t except how sad he is inside. That’s why he can’t be confronted with issues and that’s why he can never admit he’s wrong, even if he knows inside he is. He’s also in the military and smokes weed every single day. We have taught over him stopping and he says “the more you tell me not to do something the more I want to do if. I HAVE TO STOP when I want to stop” just another example of how he needs to always be in control. I always knew he was very insecure, but I never realized I was in a manipulative relationship and I never realized how much he loves power until a good friend sat me down and explained his behavior and his emotionally intelligence brain to me. Right now he lives 12 houses down from me and moving on is a living hell. I can’t stop thinking of us and I constantly feel sick inside. He wants to continue hurting me and I don’t know how much more j can take. Can someone please give me advice? I’m so hurt.

  80. Hi guys I really need help I was seeing a girl for over 14 months she takes my breath away it was real love n amazing etc then she started changing as they do n for the past ten months or year or so I’ve had to deal with her psychotic manipulative behaviour. she hits her self in the face blacks her own eyes pulls hair out smashes house up n says look what ur making me do etc etc if been spat on drinks on me and the latest episode was she said she hopes me n my baby girl die in a car crash she bit me lobbed bottles of beer at me and through the windows of my car…. I’ve been emotionally black mailed bullied and manipulated for months n I honestly think I can change her but come to terms I can’t n never will .. However back to the point after she did my car in and assaulted me again I rang the police n they said do u want us to arrest her n I said no just take her home cos even still I love her.. She told me I will never do better than her I was punching over me weight anyways that I’m shit in bed in fact she’s said everything to me…. But what I can’t get my head around is after smashing my car up this weekend on a so called romantic camping trip n once the police took her home, the day after she put on Facebook how she’s happily moving on n can’t believe what she has found out about me n she heartbroken like iv cheated on her, which I never have btw….n it said upwards n onwards.. Loads of people commenting on it saying she can do better anyways n what a prick I am etc she said yeah I’m sick of that shithead bringing me down etc and I feel so betrayed because its all lies as its her who brings me down she’s always done it I did nothing wrong how can somebody beat me up smash me car for no reason n then put all over Facebook that I bring her down….if anything iv always stood by her and done my best n love her I fact I always put her before myself I thought she was the love of my life….. The worse part is we live in a small town n everybody’s believing her n doesn’t know what she’s actually like behind close doors… Well tbh the family have a bad reputation n are known as nutters but not as bad as what’s going on behind close doors if that makes sense… n she’s just continuing to put statuses up n there all little digs at me… Booking flights abroud next as well to try hurt me… it’s just spiteful n mean I’d never do nothing like that to her cos I love her n I would never want to hurt her … How can I stop this paranoid feeling like the whole worlds against me n get over my girl…. There is so much more I could say regarding what she does to me and herself but I don’t wanna go on … In a nut shell if been really badly abused n manipulated n she’s making out that it’s me and I feel so betrayed n heartbroken devastate by this…. She believes her own lies and is in total indenile that she’s the one with issues … Please can somebody just help me I’m in such a state ….

    1. Rick,

      I suggest you read book In Sheep’s Clothing and Character Distrubance. Reading book will be shorter way to get more insight. Or, you can choose to browse through several blogs here. Blogs contain more or less same information as book, but blogs are not as organized as book, so you may end up spending longer time.

  81. Grateful heart! Here is my experience to the world on how i got my lover back and saved my marriage. I really love John so much that i can not even do without. I was married for 7years with 2kids and we lived happily until things started getting ugly and we had fights and arguments almost every time… it got worse at a point that he filed for divorce… I tried my best to make him change his mind & stay with me because i loved him with all my heart and didn’t want to lose him but everything just didn’t work out… He moved out of the house and still went ahead to file for divorce… I pleaded, cried and tried everything but still nothing worked. The breakthrough came when someone introduced me to this wonderful man who eventually helped me out with spell… I have never been a fan of things like this but just decided to try reluctantly because I was desperate and left with no choice… He did special prayers and used herbs… Within two days he called me and was sorry for all the emotional trauma he had cost me, moved back to the house and we continue to live happily, the kids are happy too and we are expecting our third child. I have introduced him to a lot of couples with problems across the world and they have had good news… Just thought I should spread my experience cause I strongly believe someone out there need’s it… You can email DR SANJAY via sanjaylandofsolution606@gmail .com OR +2348176363653. Don’t give up just yet, the different between “Ordinary” & “Extra-Ordinary” is the “Extra” so make extra effort to save your marriage/relationship if it’s truly worth it.

  82. Has anyone experienced a manipulator saying wonderful things about you to others but covertly aggressing? My CD exbro was doing this and then it dawned on me that this was a tactic and of course it would eventually make me look like a turd. How do manipulators figure this stuff out?

  83. I want to get angry – and I do at times, but then I start doubting myself and actually feeling sorry for him. I don’t know what i’d do if it weren’t for Dr. Simon and his website. I was married for 40 years – been separated for nine months and in the throes of divorce proceedings. I moved out because he wasn’t going to do anything to improve our relationship and I was losing my mind with his distortions of reality.
    It has been a very rocky road and I have even approched him about six times since the separation began and asked him if we could try again. But he has refused marriage counseling or even to sit down and have an honest conversation with me. He is mad at me because I won’t just move back home. But for anybody looking in from the outside – it’s all my fault. I can only imagine what he’s telling our friends – who work with him and I haven’t heard from in nine months. This is all very hard for me it makes me feel at times that it is me. But ….
    I have the proof. I have the distortions of reality in black-and-white in emails. I don’t understand the way he thinks. I don’t think he ever cheated on me – he never was interested in sex anyway. He’s just emotionally void. And his version of things that happen and things that are said is always wrong.
    The divorce proceedings have been hell. He keeps trying to play me against my attorney and even his attorney. He tells me he’s having to submit to the attorneys and do things that he’s not. He will even put it in an email asking why he has to do this – I contact my attorney to find out why only to find out he was never asked to do that – I emailed him back to say he does not have to supply that – he emails me back saying he never said to me that he had to. Crazy? Oh my god yes! And it has done a number on me.
    All 40 years haven’t been this way – just small manipulation so, lies and control – but when I started standing up to him over the last six years it has been horrible. He talks about how I’ve changed – that I have confidence and self-esteem now. He says it like it’s a bad thing. And I guess it is to him. I see him now and he hates me for that.
    Even though I’ve tried to get back with him – I think he’s not interested in it because he knows I see through him now. The pain is immense. I work at home alone and feel very isolated.
    I would give anything to feel indifferent. I would give anything to not feel the confusion. I am a strong woman – I have my own business – but when it comes to him it’s like I don’t have a brain. And I have no idea why because for the last 30 years he wouldn’t even sleep with me.
    But there’s times I worry about him. When I should get mad I get sad. I worry that he’s losing his mind and doesn’t realize what he’s doing. I guess I just want to think he doesn’t know because the thought of him purposely hurting me just kills me.
    I have spent 40 years trying to get a man to love me that never would – yet he tells me he always loved me and that I don’t know what love is. He says that I want someone perfect – and I don’t! I’ve stayed with a very imperfect man for 40 years.
    I’m afraid he’s ruined me – I’m afraid 40 years was too long to be influenced by that type of behavior to get over it. The guilt is unbelievable. Of course all of our friends and family only saw the sweet side of him.
    Please give me any advice or feedback you can. Trying to keep my head above the muck – but, I’m so hurt and confused.

  84. Have you had enough yet? That was the question that turned my face back to where it needed to be. I was pulled from the muck and mire with my child and began fighting. It’s been more than three years in court. His friend’s and co-workers call him the puppeteer. Half of his family either only believe “1/3 of what he says” or say “he doesn’t know how to tell the truth” – but everyone believes him. It has been the fight of my life – and I keep going because of my child … But, unfortunately – we are not the only ones dealing with this. Unfortunately – the system is broken and the victims are treated like the abusers. Yes, I said abusers – because manipulation is abuse! Along with both of those unfortunate things – no one out there cares, no one will help. We are the faceless women who are fighting for children that someone, somewhere put a price-tag on their heads! Our only hope is GOD! My only hope is GOD!

  85. Aria,

    You’ve been manipulated by someone who doesn’t feel remorse. Doesn’t necessarily mean they were acting all of the time, nor does it mean they have no emotions. Everybody has emotions of some sort. Your guy just doesn’t have the emotions of genuine guilt or remorse.

    So, as apparently ‘connected’ as he is to you, or anyone else, for that matter, he is able to walk away easily, with no personal internal ill effects.

    Do not beat yourself up or feel like an idiot for not being able to spot this feature of a disordered person’s personality. Or…for believing them after a ‘first offense’ when they come up with a plausible explanation.

    Anybody can be fooled by people who are charming, interesting and profess deep interest in us and love for us.

    My non-denominational prayers are with you, my dear. You will heal but he will always be one (a heel).

    You have it within you to move onward and upward. He will be frozen in childhood forever.

    So sorry you were parasitized! And I hope this helps just a little!

    1. Thank you Lisa0

      At this point, I feel that he used my last break up as the opportunity to try and reconnect. Knowing at 28, being a muslim woman, ultimately when you’ve been let down in terms of stability and commitment, he also knew how to play that to get what he wanted. I also don’t want to have hatred for anyone, its not me, nor do I want to self loathe for what happened, but I feel as though I am. I spent a long time building myself up, becoming stronger after my last experience with him, and I really thought I had all my walls up, because I didn’t want something like this to happen. I don’t know how to begin healing, when I know there will be no remorse or apology for this, because he has now made himself the victim. I do know that he will contact me eventually, because as we established, physically he can’t stay away. The worst part is, he has now reiterated the idea that I’m not “marriage” material by his actions and that’s what I feel has hit me to the core, that someone can use that and break me. I honestly can’t stop having nightmares, panic attacks and feel myself detaching from people in general. I’m trying to pin point how I let my guard down, at which point, and why I can’t let go of this hatred. I don’t wish to be the person that is controlled by what he did or defined by him. I also need some sort of step by step therapy to ensure I don’t allow this to happen again but also not to be so broken that I turn away something that is good for me because of this. Its like he saw me come out of all the bad that I’ve experienced and added happiness to it and then ripped it away. Again, thank you for your response. I do appreciate it. Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom – let your email find you!

  86. Hello all,
    My name is Jinni, I am 24-years-old, engaged to my childhood sweetheart-knew him since I was 14- and while I should be happy, I am not. I haven’t been since I was 18. You see, my fiance is an only child with parents who still treat him as though he is a teen. He’s 28. In the beginning, I tried my best to please his parents, his mother especially. I have endured countless manipulation and even prejudiced remarks. I’ve even endured what is called passive-aggressiveness and constantly felt as though I was never good enough. Whenever I talked to his mother about how she often made me feel she would become offended and eventually return to the same behavior. She’s always had it her way and makes everything about her. She always has to be the center of attention. She treats people, her son included, as a means to an end and sadly, she’s put my fiance in dangerous circumstances where he could have been molested. I don’t blame her entirely because my fiance and his father appease her. I-and I know this sounds cruel-have SEVERE disdain for her. She purposely makes me feel inferior. There is so much that I want to share but am at such a loss for words…kindof can’t believe I’ve stuck around dealing with ALL OF THEIR BULL…EVERY LAST ONE, fiance included at times lol. Anyway, I only come around her when my fiances father invites us over for dinner. Other than that, I don’t talk to his mother via telephone, email, or letters. She’s asked me to spend time with her and I would keep giving her a chance, but she would make it about her every single time, she would even leave me in stores although SHE invited me out. She even invited my mother and grandmother out for lunch once and my mother ended up paying…although my mom and his mom haven’t seen one another since 2005 and my grandmother never met her!
    Long story short, I spend absolutely no time with her. I don’t talk to her unless I really have to, even then my answers to her questions are short. I doubt she really cares but I’ve allowed her to hurt me so bad that I want absolutely nothing to do with her and I definitely have changed my mind about having children.

  87. All thanks and gratitude to Dr Adams.. I want to testify to everyone how Dr Adams saved my marriage. I got married to my husband about 4 years ago we start having problems at home like we stop sleeping on the same bed,arguing about little things he always come home late at night and sleeping with other women. I have never loved any man in my life except him. He is the father of my child and i don’t want to lose him. Few months ago he decided to leave me and the kid,being a single mother can be hard sometimes and so i have nobody to turn to and i was heartbroken. I called my mom and explain everything to her,my mother told me about Dr Adams how he helped her solve the problem between her and my dad, they were divorce for 3years and Dr Adams restored their marriage. I was directed to Dr Adams on his email: dradamsjohnsoncentre12@ gmail .com and explained everything to him,so he told me not to worry that he will solve it and make things come back to how we were, so much in love again and said my husband was under manipulation by a female controlling my husband. He said my problem will be solved within two days if i believe i said OKAY. So he prayed and did miracle for me and after two days my lover came back on his kneels crying and begging me to forgive him. Am so happy now. Contact Dr Adams (dradamsjohnsoncentre12@ gmail. com) for any kind of relationship/marriage problem.

  88. Absolutely unbelieveable! I want to testify to everyone how Dr Adams saved my marriage. I got married to my husband about 4 years ago we start having problems at home like we stop sleeping on the same bed,arguing about little things he always come home late at night and sleeping with other women. I have never loved any man in my life except him. He is the father of my child and i don’t want to lose him. Few months ago he decided to leave me and the kid,being a single mother can be hard sometimes and so i have nobody to turn to and i was heartbroken. I called my mom and explain everything to her,my mother told me about Dr Adams how he helped her solve the problem between her and my dad, they were divorce for 3years and Dr Adams restored their marriage. I was directed to Dr Adams on his email: dradamsjohnsoncentre12@ gmail .com and explained everything to him,so he told me not to worry that he will solve it and make things come back to how we were, so much in love again and said my husband was under manipulation by a female controlling my husband. He said my problem will be solved within two days if i believe i said OKAY. So he prayed and did miracle for me and after two days my lover came back on his kneels crying and begging me to forgive him. Am so happy now. Contact Dr Adams (dradamsjohnsoncentre12@ gmail. com) for any kind of relationship/marriage problem.

  89. I lost my parents, my sister and her family, and my oldest two children- as they all fell for his charade where he “re-wrote” history and portrayed me as “abandoning” because I tried to get away from him. Then he had my third child taken away from me after I had full custody of him for 11 years, by manipulating the legal system and judge. At that point, I was 7 years into my second marriage to a covert-aggressive abuser, and found myself stuck with no support from the damage of the first abuser. I stayed in the second marriage 4 more years (for a total of 11), only to find myself now in another state, with my two youngest children being brainwashed by their father (round 2), and I again lost my friendships, my church, and my parents are now having communication with abuser ex-husband #2, even though he is dating the woman in the building next to me! Why doesn’t that strike anyone else as concerning at all?

    The only way I can make ANY sense of it all is that these “guys” (covert-aggressive, narcissistic abusers) are SO good at what they do that they even fool professionals. How on earth would I expect the average person (especially children) to figure them out? What stinks is, I’m still the one paying the price; abandonment by my own family, rejection, “neutrality” from “friends”, anxiety, PTSD, fibromyalgia, etc., etc. I have very few places that feel safe…

  90. Rosemary,
    I think we have gone through this nonsense several times before. This is not the venue to advertise at. I would recommend besides reading Dr. Simons books thoroughly, you should read a book By Dr. Scott Peck called A Road Less Traveled. You may find for the few dollars you spend on these books a more difficult but realistic answer to your problems than nonsense Hocus Pocus you possibly got scammed out of.

    Otherwise, please pedal your nonsense somewhere else and if you decide to do the real work that this entails to make the necessary changes in your life feel free to revisit.

  91. Fred,

    It’s good to hear from one who has had success in leaving a long-term relationship with a manipulator. I’m sorry to hear that she was granted custody rather than you and the harm she is doing to the family. However, you know children watch and learn, and they are watching and learning from you as well, but have chosen to go the other path to get their results. This may change, as they are still young.

    I see my adult child use some tactics she’s learned from her father. And I do call her on it, telling her exactly the tactic she’s using and how it mirrors her father and it’s not a pretty site. And think once she’s thought about it she does realize what she’s doing. She’s seen it so much.

    It does feel good getting away from (well anyway from under the same roof) as the M and see what true peacefulness actually feels like, how it feels to not be lied to, yelled at, toyed with. That environment is so bizarre and abnormal. I cringe at the thought of my STBX soon to be ex. The things he has done, with no conscience.

    Please keep in touch as you give me hope and strength to get through the divorce from hell.

    1. Lucy,
      I have found when I have been able to detach/divorce myself from these toxic people the sick circumstances and environments they live in I am able to breath. To feel the air is fresh and a great burden is lifted from my shoulders and then slowly I begin to feel again, emotions, joy and a spirit that has long been suppressed. Everyday I feel something else and learn different aspects of myself. Not that I don’t have sad days, but they are fewer. Most of all the freedom of knowing I can think for myself and be me regardless, if its nonsense, silly or imaginative for example. I am free to grow and be me without rejection and criticism or the biggie trying to be someone who I am not.

      I have to say the journey is hard at times but the process in growing is well worth it. Many people never reach this place in their being, and for this I am grateful. I feel once I get past all the negativity I will be on a journey of a lifetime and am looking forward to it. I know that I can and will be the best human being possible and that includes giving to society rather than taking.

      Blessings to all and may you find your way back and your true self.

  92. jayme

    You are so correct, that dwelling in the past, the hurts, the missing, the what-could-have-been-should=have-been does no good. We took the hit, lived it, now it’s time to move on to the PRESENT and future. I’ve read a little on Buddist Chopra and she explains that our thoughts are like hallucinations. This makes sense to me – when we go back thinking about past events, and even what future events, it’s only our mind, not always what’s real, it’s our brains thinking. When my mind drifts into the past or into the future, I remind myself that I’m hallucinating. It’s not real. What’s real is the present.
    I’ve moved on from the past as much as I can, while still tolerating a jackass that I’m desperately trying to divorce. Going on two years here shortly. Unbelievable. But I am living in the present, dealing with the past and future.
    Maybe this only makes sense to me. But I am staying emotionally healthy.
    I hope this thought helps.

    1. I think a lot of good comments have been made. However, people that have to deal with the CD because of children have to keep attuned to the CD depending where they are on the continuum. This being said I believe medical evidence substantiates that many of the CD get worse as they get older. This causes many of these individuals to become very unstable so one does need to be cautious.

      Not to frighten anyone but I know of several cases where the guy followed these women to different states as they were trying to get away from the CD only to be beat within a hair of their lives.

      Another factor to consider is if they were physically abusive and how violent they are. It also depends if they have a support network, if they are able to get support. Knowledge is power and many of the victims of the abusive CD don’t even know what they were or are dealing with especially for those who came from a family of origin that displayed the conduct and characteristics. That is why I advocate using the Women’s Resource Centers for counseling, support and knowledge.

      This being said, when we live in the past it only steals more of ourselves and our future here and now from us. Speaking for myself, I must always stay on guard, because I have the caretaking nurturing tendencies the CD look for. I look for those characteristics I missed in the past and also have changed the way I will give in to easily.

      But for many it is not so cut and dry. For those that go forward it is a wonderful thing and I hope others like us will help those who need that extra help to be in a place of peace. All the info out there and blogs like this really make a difference.

      Thanks for calling attention to this topic again.

  93. This is a testimony that I will tell to every one to hear. I have been married four 4years and on the fifth year of my marriage, another woman had a spell to take my love away from me and my husband left me and the kids and we have suffered for 2years until I met a post where this man Dr Nosa have helped someone and I decided to give him a try to help me bring my love back home and believe me I just send my picture to him and that of my husband and after 48hours as he have told me, I saw a car drove into the house and behold it was my husband and he have come to me and the kids and that is why I am happy to make every one of you in similar to meet with this man and have your love ones back to your life. His email: drmosaspellcaster@gmail .com

  94. Emilia whyte,

    Someone, being yourself is deluding yourself and believing a lie! Only God can intervene and the CD has to ask God in all humility for forgiveness then be contrite.

    It is my suggestion you take your wares of selling BS someplace else. This blog is about truth and character and love for our fellow man.

    In my humble opinion!

  95. My husband left me to be with another woman. and wanted him back. i was jealous and it made us argue all the time until he vanished away, I was desperate to get him back, I wasted so much time and money on getting my lover back after I have tried almost all possibilities to have him back and nothing worked. I became lonely for 2 years. To make it short, I found a spell caster Mr Robinson buckler by accident. I don’t know how I found him and i cant remember. But, when I first saw the good testimonies about his wonderful work and after reading the Testimonials, I decided I had to try and give it one last shot. After the spells, a miracle happened, my husband came home. it was awesome, anyone who needs help, His email is :robinson.buckler @ yahoo. com He is the best

  96. Hello Everyone, I am from Brazil. With total satisfaction of a work well done, i am here to use this great opportunity, to thank the great and powerful man behind the success and excellence of my relationship whose name is High preist tokubo. Here is my brief testimony. After getting my ex Husband back to me within a short period of two days, I decided to thank him over the internet by letting the whole world to know about his mighty powers, and how helpful he is in any kind of problems that you must be going through in your life today. You too can contact High priest tokubo now, on his private temple email below: highpriesttokubo@ gmail. com
    Thanks Again Great One, for your amazing works and powers.

  97. My husband of 22 years that I finally left once the kids were off to college says that he “gets it” now. He understands what he did was wrong that he has found Jimmy Evans Christian Marital Ministry. Can he change or is this more of his manipulative behavior and all he wants is his “family status” back?

    1. Do You want Him back? I ask why didn’t he seek help BEFORE you left? Does he show remorse in his actions? Is his change only words? Do you enjoy him company? Do you even like him?
      I’d say focus on what makes your life peaceful and enjoyable now. Are you finding peace of mind? Do you want to disrupt it?
      Personally, I don’t think people change. I think a once manipulator always a manipulator and they are untrustworthy. Good for him – he gets it. It doesn’t mean you have to go back to being his toy.
      Sorry if I sound harsh. I’ve been through the mill with a CDN.
      It’s difficult to leave, very difficult. But you did it, you left. What is in it for you to backtrack back into his life again?

      1. Shirley, Lucy,

        I can’t remember if it was you Lucy, that he pulled the going to church thing. This is and I hate to say a con that is pulled regularly when all other designs to pull you back in have failed. Not that it can’t happen, the chances though are very rare. Change, true change, takes years and I mean years.

        I have known many that have wanted to believe this lie that the CD tell and many that did believe them only to be drawn into a worse nightmare.

        I think Lucy is giving you very concise, constructive advice.

        Blessings

  98. I don’t think they can change. They give “lip service”.

    Years ago when I was very young and married to a CDN I was so naive but I had a standard of respect and how I was suppose to be treated by anyone not just him. I had an upbringing of respect and my parents showed it to each other always.

    When my marriage broke up my ex-CDN spouse asked “if I see a psychiatrist for help would you consider taking me back?” I told him I’d have to see. Later after a few sessions with the CDN the psychiatrist asked to see me privately, we talked for awhile and he said ” I think you are an intelligent young woman who has a long life ahead of her and I suggest you run not walk from this marriage, don’t look back”. Can you believe it? I replied by saying to the psychiatrist “my husband is going to ask me about what has happened here today and what you’ve advised me to do, what am I suppose to say to him?” and he said “tell him exactly what I said”. My husband went ballistic. This transpired in 1977!

    I never took my ex-CDN spouse back, never regretted it and he never changed, he just found people who had a vulnerability, mistook his charm for love and believed his lies. These CDNs don’t change.

    But, it never ends, CDNs are everywhere. I have to believe that if I treat people the way I want to be treated it tends to weed out the people I sense are not for me. So be it. I need to move along whether it be family members, friendships, co-workers or strangers. As much as my knee jerk reaction is to react I just
    don’t. It took awhile to get that through my head but through this forum it’s been a rule I’m going to live by.

    1. You were fortunate to have an awesome counselor. I’m glad it worked out for you. Sounds like you came out of it healthy and strong.

      1. Thanks Lucy for your comment,

        I did come out of it with a healthy mind and I’m strong. On reflection I was such a naïve shy young woman and the ex CDN exploited it to the hilt, but experiencing him made me into the wiser extrovert I am today.

        I’ve been married 33 years (34 Jan. 1st) to a man who wouldn’t know how to manipulate if you gave him a how to manual but he was married to a CDN too whom he had children with and one of them is attracted to covert-aggressive manipulators. By god what an insidious disorder this is and it’s through researching the SDIL’s behavior that I found this site. It’s helped a lot to be validated here.

  99. Good day,,,,
    Read my testimony!!! Getting ex back after a breakup. Am Cora L. Sanchez 30 from UK, my boyfriend of a 2year just broke up with me and am 28 weeks pregnant. I have cried my self to sleep most of the nights and don’t seem to concentrate during lectures sometimes I stay awake almost all night thinking about him and start to cry all over again. Because of this I end up not having energy for my next day’s classes, my attendance has dropped and am always in uni and on time. Generally he is a very nice guy, he ended it because he said we were arguing a lot and not getting along. He is right we’ve been arguing during the pregnancy a lot. After the break up I kept ringing him and telling him I will change. I am in love with this guy and he is the best guy I have ever been with. I’m still hurt and in disbelief when he said he didn’t have any romantic feelings towards me anymore that hurt me faster than a lethal syringe. He texts me now and then mainly to check up on how am doing with the pregnancy, he is supportive with it but it’s not fair on me, him texting me as I just want to grieve the pain and not have any stress due to the pregnancy. i was really upset and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr Ahmed can help solve marital problems, restore broken relationships and so on. So I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a spell for me. 22 hours later, my boyfriend came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promise never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. I and my boyfriend are living together happily again.. All thanks to Dr Ahmed. as it is a place to resolve marriage/relationship issues, do you want to be sure if your spouse is being faithful to you or Do you want your Ex to come back to you Contact.:
    E-mail: Ahmedutimate@gmail.com , call/Whats-app: +234816015382
    save your crumbling home and change of grades its 100% safe.
    I suggest you contact him. He will not disappoint you.

  100. i left an abusive marriage and im left to pick up the pieces. it’s not just the isolation… its living thats hard. I see abuse in everything in everyone, more than my abuser and i know it comes from me being in his head and seeing through his eyes. I still find myself living in the habits of abuse. I always wonder when the next attack will come, i welcome it just so i can get it over with and when it doesnt happen, i think what’s wrong with him. Inside of me, I get mad at him bc I’m still walking on eggshells, watching… waiting. I see glimpses of abusive behavior, a tone that may not even be there, hurt feelings that turn into defensiveness from something i said wrong and i shut down, prepare for the numbness thats inside of me and everything is quiet. the quiet before the storm and still im waiting. i know if people know, they will think im crazy but i think I’m crazy. i see myself living life against my will, always going through the motions doing only what will please them just to prevent an attack. i see people watching me and i hear his voice, see the
    way they are looking at you. i dont understand why I am more mad at others than him, for looking at me that way, for a punishment that never comes. Without it, there will be no relief for me and i have lived for this relief. i know i have this problem but even worse is the fear that it will be used against me. I dont know how to pull myself from this darkness bc it was always him that took the lead to forgiveness. I know that my way of preventing future attacks is different from others. It always comes back to complete isolation. The only place i feel safe is inside of me, knowing that when i speak or laugh no one knows that im the one struggling. The only place i feel safe is in the lie, that I’m okay.
    i live in 2 worlds where i am raw and broken but i laugh and play and touch and hug and my daughter wonders why I am sad and cry when we are alone.
    Sometimes I don’t know what to say that isn’t wrong. Sometimes I feel like there isn’t any version of myself that doesn’t mess everything up. My habits of abuse are forced on myself by me. I still tell myself that I don’t matter and try to move on. I spend my days in the fog of someone elses shadow of importance. I’m starting to see glimpses of my reality in which i know that i don’t always feel more than others. “don’t look at me that way” I start to say as he rolls his eyes and says, “ok, I won’t look at you.” But I want him to. I want him to see me, not this broken person who stays silent. I want people to understand that what i have been through hasnt broken me because I’m still here. my mind may not always be clear but I’m still fighting. I’m fighting to wake up every morning, put one foot in front of the other even as I make my way to work. I’m still fighting with my kids as tired as it makes me feel. When someone actually does take the time to look at me, I’m afraid that I will become what they see. I don’t want to become the person they see… I want to be me.

  101. Wanda, you didn’t mention how long it has been since you left him. Unfortunately it takes time.
    I was in an abusive marriage for 41 years – intense emotional abuse – where I know now he really wanted me to go crazy. I actually signed myself into a psychiatric hospital a few years ago and spent 3 days there. I now know he is the one that should have gone – not me.
    I was driving myself crazy trying to make sense out of something that made absolutely no sense. Dealing with everyone telling me what a wonderful husband I had and how much you loved me, while the whole time he was messing with my head.
    I left him a little over two years ago. It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do because I loved him and he was all I had known. I had trusted him for several decades and it’s very hard to readjust your thinking and realize you should never have trusted someone that you really loved. It sends your whole world and everything you’ve known out of whack.
    My divorce was final three months ago. But, I still have doubts and I definitely have trust issues. For many years he tried – and succeeded – in convincing me there was something wrong with me and convince family and friends the problem was me. I didn’t know what to think and I was getting no support. It takes a while to relearn your thinking – and that’s what you’re going through now – don’t rush it.
    You will be ok. Cry if you need to – you deserve to. And laugh when you’re with friends – you deserve that too. It’s all normal after you’ve been through something like this. But, it will get better.
    You mentioned that he was always the one that apologized. That’s cruel, because it put the doubt in your head whether something happened that you really should or shouldn’t forgive him for. That’s part of their game. Right now you may not be able to see that – but you will.
    It’s very sad and lonely to be where you are right now. Right now you’re grieving for yourself, your relationship and your daughter. You are grieving for the life you have tried to make work and have realized you can’t – it’s out of your control – it will never work.
    I can relate to what you’re saying so much. The last decade has been hell for me and leaving him two years ago didn’t really make it easier – but now, i’m saying the light and my future without him. And for the first time since I was very young I’m excited about my opportunities.
    I’m sending you a big hug because that’s what we all need right now – we were just getting it from the enemy before. It was apologies and hugs that hurt us.

  102. Dear Jean and Wanda
    I could have written both of your posts. It’s so sad we’ve all suffered in this way. I’ve been through exactly the same as you. It has been 18 months since I left after finally getting proof of his infidelities (which he still denies although he now lives with her?!). I left with our children (now 16 & 12) and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done… but also the wisest. For years I was gas-lighted, made to think I was mentally ill, and doubted all my own thoughts and instincts. I couldn’t trust my own gut feelings as he constantly said they were wrong.
    But I have survived and each day I grow stronger. The financial legal battle that ensues drags me down – emotionally and financially. There are days when I hear new revaluations which give insight in the truth of the past – these leave me very low for a few days. I take to my bed by 8pm and cry. But despite this I try to see the positive – that it reinforces to me that all the manipulation, lies, control, adultery and bullying he did were not just in my head, they were real. The must frustrating thing is no one else saw it. I can see now he was a sociopath with a definite narcissistic streak. How I didn’t see if for 20 years, I don’t know. Blinded by love maybe. Or maybe I just didn’t want to see it. Who knows?
    What hurts is everyone thinks he’s a charmer. Why would anyone believe me about his control and bullying? So I said nothing, just suffered in silence. I now know he told people I was unhinged… even my own children and my GP. Neither believe him and can see him for what he is, thankfully. My main worry is he is now gas-lighting our 12 year old. My exH is now rewriting history to cover his own stupid lies and mistakes but he’s prepared to convince a 12 year old that his memories are wrong. E.g: during his fortnightly access, He has left our 12 year old son for hours and hours at a time (so he can go and see his woman) on his own in a house 20 miles away from anyone, with no phone or way of contacting me or anyone else. What if there was a problem? An accident? When I became aware that he’d done this, he was sent a stern solicitors letter saying that it was stupid thing to do and if it happened again he may lose access to see his son – his response was to say that our 12 yr old had lied, made it up, even though we have proof of who was where and when. He even told our son he must have imagined it! This really upset my son. He came home very upset. The boys grandfather was even told that it was all imagined by our son, when e grandfather confronted him about the incident. Our 16 year old hasn’t visited for over 8months now as he can see what his father is really like and would rather not be near him.

    But saying all that, I have many more good days now than bad days. I am slowly re-building my self esteem. I’m trying to find out who I am, now I haven’t got him telling me. He made me feel fat and ugly. (At my largest I was a uk size 12 after I had my children). I am a small size 8 but he would tell me I was fat. I can see my stupidity in believing him now… but I could see it before.

    It’s a revalagiin to be able to choose my own clothes, music etc. And friends. I can now spend time with who I choose to. I wasn’t allowed before.

    I think it will a long time before I am ever to trust anyone again. I hope I will be able to one day. I am incredibly lonely sometimes but saying that, I also enjoy moments of solitude, as in that I do not have to justify myself to anyone – if that makes sense.
    I don’t want to be a victim anymore. But a survivor.

    My children are the love of my life, and they remain my total priority. They’ve given me so much strength over the last 18 months. Without their support and that of my best friend, I’m not sure where’d I’d be right now.

    We will all get through this, that I am sure of. It will be a bumpy road but we are better off without these worthless men. Our future is brighter without them. Big hugs to you both. Xxx

  103. Jean,
    Glad your still posting, will try to pick up your posts later. Lucy and I really were concerned for you.
    (((Hugs)))

  104. Dr Mack is the best Man to contact if you want to restore a broken relationship, Email;dr.mac@yahoo. com and your relationship will be restored just in 3 days

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