Mental Illnesses and “Disorders” – The Autistic Spectrum

As I’ve written about previously (See: Mental Illnesses, Diseases, and “Disorders”), how we currently define and classify the various mental “disorders” can sometimes create a fair degree of confusion about their underlying nature.  That’s primarily because we afford labels to conditions not on the basis of what we might conjecture to be their underlying pathology but rather based solely on behaviors we can objectively and reliably observe.  So, for example, when we observe that a youngster has difficulty focusing his/her attention on important tasks and sustaining attention in the midst of distracting influences, we apply the label: “Attention Deficit Disorder.”  The label carries with it no inferences about why the child is attention-deficient (in fact, such a deficiency can be due to a wide variety of factors) but rather only affirms that the child does indeed have difficulty focusing.  And, in our age of treating primarily symptoms as opposed to addressing underlying pathology, intervention for this kind of “disorder” most often involves providing medication that has been found to enhance attentional capacity.  While these methods of labeling and intervening have some pluses, they also have some significant shortcomings (I’ll have more to say about this later in the series).

One area where I think we’re making some real headway in how we conceptualize mental disorders involves the developmental delays.  As I first suggested is true of conditions like character disturbance, we have recently come to realize that many conditions, especially autism, exist along a continuum of intensity and severity.  It would be nice to be able to neatly pigeon hole every developmental anomaly into a distinct syndrome, each with a known and distinct underlying pathology.  After all, that would make it much easier to know how to best intervene or what we would have to look for in an eventual cure.  But alas, complex creatures that we are, it’s not as simple as that.  Still, the fact that we now recognize that folks who once appeared on the surface as merely as socially “odd,” shy or withdrawn may in fact have a milder form of a primarily biologically-rooted condition known to impair a person’s capacity to relate, points us in a much better direction with respect to how to help.

I’ve known many individuals who fell at very different places on the autistic spectrum.  On the surface, some seemed simply highly introverted or shy. Others appeared particularly obsessive-compulsive.  Still others appeared eccentric.  Some even appeared puzzlingly stubborn.  Many of these individuals had been given many different labels and diagnoses before it finally became clear what the underlying reason for their difficulties really was.  To complicate matters even more, because every individual has a personality, and because the extent to which constitutional vs. other factors might play the larger role in shaping personality, no two “spectrum” children are exactly alike.

Several years ago, an attempt was made to distinguish children who displayed the social development delays that accompany autism but not language delays (I acknowledge this is a bit of an over-simplification) by applying the label Asperger’s Disorder.  But we’ve recently dropped the disorder as an official category, recognizing that when it comes to autism, the picture is really much more complicated than that.  And as we grow in our awareness of the kinds of problems that can occur in social skill development and language acquisition even for a person who is only mildly (and often unrecognized as) autistic as well as how to best intervene, many fewer youngsters are likely to experience the kinds of distress they once did in their academic and social settings.

Things get really complicated when a person with some degree of developmental delay also has some character disturbance.  I’m acquainted with one case of an individual who is extremely high functioning on the autistic spectrum.  And because she was gifted with very high intelligence, she was able to secure an advanced degree despite chronic social difficulties in school.  Given her social skills deficits and her characteristic rigidity, working with her would have challenging enough, even in the absence of character issues.  But she also just happens to be a narcissist through and through, and her haughtiness, disdain for others, insistence on always being right, etc., makes those around her want to pull their hair out at times. Given her lack of social awareness, and given the concrete nature of her thinking at times, she also can’t seem to either appreciate the dysfunctional nature of her ways or modify them.  There’s a dynamic interaction between her innate tendencies and deficits and the style of relating she developed and came to prefer, and it’s a really toxic mix.  It also poses a really impressive challenge for intervention.  Even the experience of repeated social failures has not been enough to motivate her to seek or sincerely invest in treatment. Because she’s prone to externalize blame and to falsely assess herself, she can’t even appreciate how broken she is – not at any level of awareness.  It’s a truly tragic case, especially when you consider the degree of personal failure it’s likely to take before she finds sufficient motivation to change.  And even if she does find that motivation, given the nature of her other impairments, she would face an even more uphill battle than most narcissists do in making necessary course corrections.

Next week I’ll be discussing some of the more commonly diagnosed behavior and impulse-control “disorders.” And this Sunday’s Character Matters program will be specially devoted to the spirit of the season.

116 thoughts on “Mental Illnesses and “Disorders” – The Autistic Spectrum

  1. Hello Dr. Simon, You have really added a lot more to autism than I have every imagined. I have young family members with it, probably for sure one and possibly another child. One has had a great deal of difficulty with communication, auditory processing and difficulty learning to read. He is progressing with help from special classes in school. The other child seems to have no problem talking, sometimes he doesn’t catch on to everything said but he likes people and communicates well and sometimes overwhelms others with his persisting to have them listen to his interests. They are still in elementary school but because they are in special needs classes and as they grow older they are realizing that they are different than other kids. They both have different issues both having trouble learning to read. They both have good family support.

  2. I’ve pondered some things here relating to these matters, even though I haven’t directly connected them to these thing.

    This article answers better than I articulated in the first place. Thank you!

  3. Dr. Simon,

    Are you familiar with Dr. Amen who has the brain SPECT? Would it be helpful to do this before treating a patient to assess where the problem is coming from?

  4. Dr Simon,
    Your site and your books have been soooo helpful to I can’t even express how much they helped me! Your work is just amazing, really. I finally stopped blaming myself for being in abusive relationships.
    The character disturbed guy who caused me great pain with his lies, irresponsibility and manipulations was diagnosed with ADHD as a child. I felt very strongly connected with him when he shared that with me. I thought we were so similar and he just needs to be understood. He even used his “disorder” as an excuse so many times (I have memory problems, I don’t remember what I told you last night, don’t punish me for it, I didn’t tell you we’re dating now (just strongly implied it, funny how you don’t remember but you’re so sure you didn’t say that)).
    I strongly suspect I’m on the autism spectrum and have a high functioning Asperger’s disorder. I had great difficulties at school, was bullied, taken advantage of and used by people pretending to be my friends. I was trying very hard to make friends (that’s what I kind of disagree with in your book Character disturbance, there you say people on the autism spectrum don’t want social interaction when many CRAVE it, just don’t know how. However, since despite my total lack of social skills and ability to read non verbal cues, I was finally successful in making friends after 20, because underneath I’m a kind and nice person who wants the best for everyone. I assumed that was also the case with the CD guy I was dealing with and felt so guilty for confronting him. I thought he was really sincere. Well, he wasn’t. His excuses for lying were just dumb and as I was reading your book, it seemed like he had specifically studied the techniques to manipulate me. I was always trying to understand him, to help him, not to pressure him and upset him. I am obviously extremely neurotic but I’m working on that too.
    I have acquired many social skills now and I can say that inability to understand cues is much easier to fix than inability to care about other people and lack of morals. I will do my best to never let another CD take advantage of me again (they started preying on me quite early, in middle school, thank you so much for giving me the knowledge how to finally deal with them). Thank you so much, really, this site is a life saver.

    1. Probably Autistic……….you could have written my story both about growing up and your CD experience. I have ALWAYS been different and for so long, until fairly recently actually, took it on myself because I just didn’t fit in seemingly anywhere exactly. Spathtard (my CD) sure filled that hole and made it seem like we were meant to be together forever. It felt so good to have someone who seemed to accept me the way I am and it was like crack cocaine to me. Then he destroyed me systematically, played on my attachment to him.
      I am sorry for what you have been through and can relate to everything you said.
      I don’t think people with neurotypical brains can understand how hard it it for someone who does not have a “normal” brain to sort things like manipulation out. It seems like there is just always so much on the table getting through normal experiences and life in general let alone when someone is intentionally playing with your brain and heart, fuel to the fire.
      My BEST wishes to you for a better future. I’m glad you found your way here Probably Autistic!

    2. Probably Autistic, well said. Great that you’ve found this info.

      Myself I’ve known some people that also could as well have read a handbook on how to manipulate people. I’ve spoken relatively little of them so far, mostly about one I met during my army training.

      I’ve known one man, who I’ve heard from some of my friends has gone on to become even worse. He hasn’t been in my life, thankfully, and hasn’t shown any interest. Good so.

    3. Hello and welcome to you, Probably Autistic. I am probably borderline Asperger’s myself, I can relate to your frustration at trying to be friendly, only to be either ignored or pushed away. For me, study of body language has been a great help. There are quite a few books available, I’ve bought and read 5 or 6 of them. The one I’ve found to be most helpful was written by Joe Navarro, titled What Every Body Is Saying, c.2008. It has lots of photos showing exactly what the author is discussing. It may also help you to change _your_ body language so that you appear more confident and so are less likely to be bullied or taken advantage of. Keep reading and studying, sometimes progress seems slow, but now that you have a better idea of where you would like to go, progress will come. Peace and hope from Elva

      1. Oh, wow, thank you very much, all of you!
        I have actually made quite a progress with my social skills, I read books, watched videos, asked friends, learned how to make the most of my appearance. I strongly recommend the books of Cialdini on influence, really helpful! I am actually now quite popular. In the past, people used to say I’m weird, now they’re telling me I’m unique. I have also always been very open to people, very trusting, never losing hope despite being hurt so many times. So while this has helped some predators brutally take advantage, I have also made some very strong and meaningful friendships. When I met the CD guy I had made already a lot of progress in relationships, plus I could already spot the obvious predators (like a guy trying to get me drunk or a colleague trying to make me do all the work for them), so I was kind of confident. But boy, I had no idea what I was getting into. He seemed so compassionate, so insecure, so hurt. I forgave way too many things that are just unforgivable. It just hurt so much. I was wondering what I had done wrong this time. Why doesn’t it seem to work? It must have been my fault, right? Well, the only thing I did wrong was always looking for what I had done wrong and giving him way too much credit. I’m so happy that it is over now.
        Now I am much more picky about who to trust, who to like and who is allowed to be my friend, my best friend and my boyfriend. I am still the same friendly open and kind person but I let near me only those who deserve it.

      2. Oh, I also used CBT by David Burns and Albert Ellis, it was so helpful! However, one thing I have discovered on my own. Labeling the CD a jerk, asshole, etc, really helps you move on. So as much as they say labeling is bad, it can be quite helpful a technique,especially for those who are always looking for the fault within themselves

        1. Probably Autistic, I agree with you 100% about labeling the jerk a jerk. These JERKS are very addicting and target you at your most vulnerable places, hook you really hard and really deep. Without the appropriate anger response and recognition of who they really are (nobody) and WHAT they really are (Jerks and losers), it’s so easy to stay hooked and fall prey to further manipulation by them. You have to call a spade a spade ( a spath a spath) so you can begin the withdrawal process and use your anger a fuel to move you away and forward. Blach! I wouldn’t even speak to him EVER again.
          Hang in there!! 🙂

          1. Exactly! Well, I didn’t call him all that in his face, just in my head and also on pieces of paper and while talking with my best friends (unlike him, I do have close friends). I did explain to him why I no longer want any contact with him but I was polite (albeit cold and straight to the point, no sugarcoating).
            I find Dr. Simon’s strategies for dealing with such individuals extremely helpful. I would love it if more examples of how to talk to them could be included in his book.

          2. Probably Autistic, the best way to talk to them is NOT to talk to them. It’s a waste of time, energy and air. 🙂

      3. Probably Autistic, it’s wonderful that you’ve made such progress.

        As for books, you mentioned Cialdini’s Influence. That’s a great one, read it myself once. I also recommend Games People Play by Eric Berne. It’s the viewpoint of transactional analysis into some “games” people play with each other, unwittingly.

        I also can recommend Dinosaur Brains by Albert Bernstein. Totally not what it sounds like. 😉 It’s about how lower parts of a brain(limbic and reptilian brain) can mess things up.

        On a similar note you may also like Emotional Vampires and Emotional Vampires at Work, also by Albert Bernstein. They’re about different kinds of noxious people and strategies to make it despite them. Many useful concepts are also handled, like “What part of a brain does this fanatical fervor come from? Who really benefits from this ideology?”

        Wayne Dyer’s Pulling your own strings has its own view into interpersonal victimization that is worth reading over and over.

        I also recommend reading this link:

        It’s by an ex-teacher of TM-cult and it’s about mind control. Scary subject, showing how suggestible mind can be.

        As for molding your own mind yourself, another book to recommend is the Power of Story by Jim Loehr.

        I hope you and others benefit from these recommendations.

          1. It is. I am now reading “Thinking, fast and slow” by Kahneman, the Nobel prize winner. He mentions “Dinosaur brain” too, he calls it System 1. Truly fascinating. I’m also reading “Give and take” by Adam Grant, I’m so happy to finally see written by a scientist that givers can be successful! He also gives some useful advice how to recognize takers and some of them are definitely CD.
            I just find myself not feeling guilty for rejecting selfish and CD people any more. It’s still against my nature and requires a lot of effort but it’s worth it.

        1. Thank you, Puddle.

          What’s funny is that when I was very young(about 11 or 12) I’d run into many articles handling these kinds of matters, including some referencing Dr Simon’s.

          Then years went by and I found these all again.

          1. Well J, you are very well read, amazingly so. So, you have a lot to share with people because of that. It’s a significant contribution because there is so much to wade through.

          2. I remember one time I had come home from away at a friend’s and was out in the garden. I looked over at Spathtard and he was doing that stare. I asked him “what are you looking at me like that”? Dead stare, lost in whatever he was thinking and manufacturing in his twisted reality. Absolutely creepy to think about it now.

        2. Great! Thank you!
          This is a really amazing community, it’s rare to find so much support online!
          Dr. Simon, have you thought of publishing in Psychology Today? Your work might become more popular and reach more people who need your help!

  5. Dr Simon,

    Brainwashing cults are run by exploiters and predators(sometimes fanatics).

    Is it feasible you’d have a broadcast with some cult expert(for example, Steven Hassan)?

  6. That man I knew at the beginning of my army stint seemed deficient both in maturity and social skills. I doubt he was autistic in any way, but he acted as he pleased, even after training corporals and officer candidate told him to clean up his act. He was two-faced, lied for no reason and, when someone of equal rank said something he didn’t like for any trivial reason, told them to shut up.

    He would also get very confused or suspicious if asked some innocuous questions as if he suspected others of trying to come and get him.

    He had a creepy way of staring. When I was first in the same room as him(about 16 men in each room), my bed and his happened to be opposite each other. When we’d been told to stand, I noticed, in my peripheral vision how he just stared at me, face semi-expressionless. I don’t know what he aimed to do with that. One of my pals later told me this sinister man had also sometimes leaned against a doorframe and followed whoever happened to be on their way to bathroom, stare drilled and head following mechanically.

    Sometimes I’d hear some people speaking how Sinister Man had suddenly said something ambiguous which apparently was meant to be insulting. To one he’d come and asked whether he’d ever been in a circus. When another guy asked what he meant, Sinister Man said: “Isn’t that obvious?”

    He seemed to have anxiety over some trivial matters. One guy had gone to a fitness room(not a gym). Sinister Man was there. He asked: “Did you just happen to come here or were you sent as Company for me?”

    Sometimes Sinister Man would drop odd statements out of nowhere with no understandable context, like “We all get born, live, s**t and die.” I guess they made sense only to him.

    So much of this guy stayed ambiguous, not that I’d wish to see him ever gain. Now, I could also contrast him with another two-faced guy, who has great social skills and never seems to worry about anything, on the other hand.

    1. J……….this sounds like “The Predator stare” I have seen Spathtard do it to me and others but didn’t understand at the time. AND, looking back, a couple other are do wells did it, understanding past encounters in retrospect. Like at the time you get a weird feeling about it and now it stands out in your memory loud and clear but like so much of what and who they are………in the moment it gets brushed aside and lost in the shuffle. I like your names for these guys! “Sinister man” is a keeper!!

      1. That’s almost weird how they can be so much alike. All these little things that relate but a person wouldn’t pick up on without forums like this. My husband will often just be sitting there staring at me. It’s really creepy. When I tell him it’s creepy he acts offended. He’s even stated that he stares at me because “he loves me so much”. That it is somehow my own insecurity that I’m being creeped out. So when I’ve asked him to not stare like that he said he sees no reason to stop since it’s my issue not his. I’ve often felt guilty for feeling creeped out and just put up with it. But maybe it isn’t my issue. I think instead of just overcoming some insecurities implies by him I will trust my feelings about it and go to a different area of the house where I won’t be stared at

        1. Sheri, Staring at somebody when you know it makes them uncomfortable is a subtle control play. I would find it mildly unnerving, as would most people. Subtle games like this highlight why it is a good idea, if you can, to put as much physical space between you and him as you can, even if you have to share the same house. Try to keep guilt out of it. It gives him too much latitude in the manipulation arena.
          My heart goes out to you. What a tough row to hoe!

          1. Thank you, things are still difficult. However, now that I’m seeing things with “new eyes” there have been differences and changes for me. For me, at this stage, a large part of empowering myself is just keeping myself informed. Dr. Simon speaks of CGT, which I truly believe is not only a great thing for the abuser, but it has been highly beneficial for me. For as long as I can remember in this relationship I’ve carried the guilt for a lot of things that I had no need to feel guilty about, especially those things like standing up for my rights and needs and legitimate wants. After 21 years of accepting the way he has “guilted” or “shamed” me it is like I’m having to retrain my brain, learn new thought patterns – to not accept his invitations for guilt and shame is new for me, so I am at the stage where it is often in my head, but hasn’t yet reached deeper – it will though, each incident I can evaluate with truth on my side. It is a process though, some days it’s good and some days not.

            You are right with the staring, for me I kind of knew it all along, one of those gut feeling things. But learning to trust my gut feelings is also a process that I need to train myself in.

            Often just learning that something like this “staring” thing is common, it helps verify and remind myself that my gut feelings are real and I can trust them.

          2. Sorry. It was a typo. I meant CBT. My counsellor has helped with techniques to retrain my thinking to no longer accept his version of reality. To reality check myself. To only own what is mine to own. Etc

        2. Yep……..I dated a guy who would do this staring thing….like while I was eating. Just so wrong! I mean who does not get that it is rude to stare at someone like that. They don’t care. I would watch him do this to other people when we were out. I’m surprised no one said something to him. I am a people watcher big time but I know when enough is enough…….he would just lock on and not let off. I saw him do it to men, women, um,,,,,,,,,a 12 year old girl! No Lie……..really bizarre.

        3. “When I tell him it’s creepy he acts offended. He’s even stated that he stares at me because “he loves me so much”. That it is somehow my own insecurity that I’m being creeped out. So when I’ve asked him to not stare like that he said he sees no reason to stop since it’s my issue not his.”
          Omg, I could never say anything like that! When people told me they were uncomfortable with me staring, I was apologizing or if they were discussing it between themselves, I was listening and thinking how to change it. For some other issues I may have said “but whyyyy??” but it was a desperate attempt to make sense of the situation and what I had done wrong. I really wanted to know why and very few people were willing to explain.
          The CD guy would sometimes say things like “what? Did I do something wrong? Did I not say the tight thing?” and that made me think he is like me so I gave him the benefit of the doubt way too many times. Well, maybe in some situations he did mean it but he was a CD liar. Just because he’s not all bad, doesn’t mean he’s not bad enough. He was just in no way a good guy despite having some good qualities. That’s what confused me the most but it finally makes sense.

        4. Sheri…I know the stare too! He had variants on the stare he had though. One was an ice cold stare, it was like he was staring right through me. I have never in my life seen anyone stare like that…makes me shiver just thinking about it. (That might be that predator smile you’re talking about Puddle, I still see it and it was evil).Another one was similar but it was a mocking stare one where he’d just have this sinister smile/sneer on his face. Who the hell knows what he was thinking. He would also have this doey eyed stare…”look at me I wouldn’t hurt a fly” if you know what I mean. Ugh! And he’d say a similar thing if questioned…”why wouldn’t I stare you’re a beautiful woman”. It makes me queasy just thinking about it.

          1. Yes, exactly … I can relate to the different stares. I don`t know about you but when his responses would sound so sweet and loving, I would think I didn`t have a leg to stand on for a legitimate reason why it would bother me so much. Sometimes I`d try to convince myself that it was his weird way of trying to get attention, or I would try to write it off as `just one of his quirks`, etc. I`d (over the years, when it would come up) wonder “What`s wrong with me, not wanting him to look at me?” It’s funny, those big things or obvious things are often not the hardest to deal with, often it’s those subtle little things, and their subtle way of manipulating the situation by saying everything they do is because of love, etc. etc. that seem to be the most crazy-making. It’s often those little things that I couldn’t put my finger on, felt weird in some way that couldn’t be explained, it’s those things that seemed to make me doubt myself. How he would act so hurt or offended that it his staring bothered me, and just wouldn’t stop. I accepted that it was some insecurity on my part and just tried to work on myself more, be more accepting, etc.

            It’s often when light is shed on some of these smaller issues I can tell myself – ‘there really was nothing wrong with me, it’s okay to not want to be stared at.’

            It’s such a little thing, but you know it’s often the little things all added on top of each other, for years and years, that can cause the most damage.

            It’s just such a relief to allow myself (without guilt) that it’s not me, that it’s okay to not want to be stared at (or whatever), and how it’s truly him being the disrespectful one if he continues to do it. I know I can’t stop him from doing it, but I also know I can walk away … telling myself it’s normal to feel the way I feel, that it’s his issue not mine.

            Hearing other people’s experiences really help me remind myself every day that I am not crazy, that I have a legitimate right to not like something and it doesn’t make me “the bad or disrespectful wife”. That’s it’s not my issue to work on, which frees me up to truly work on that which are my things to learn, change, and grow.

            Thank you, again I know it’s such a little thing (the staring) but reading these things have really brought me such a huge relief. Seems silly, but it’s like each time I read some little things I relate to it’s like more light comes into my life and frees me just a little more.

          2. Sheri, your likes and dislikes NEVER need to be explained or justified to ANYone. Aside from “him”, if you are uncomfortable having someone stare at you you don’t have to explain it. Please don’t stare at me, I feel uncomfortable. That is who you are and someone who respects and cares about you will honor that without any problem. Imagine………you are in a car with someone driving too fast, you are uncomfortable and say so. Can you imagine this person not slowing down?? Actually Spathtard would do this. I am uncomfortable in a car with someone else driving (or me for that matter) at night going fast. I have a serious paranoia of a deer or animal jumping out from the side of the road. That is me! Now most anyone would respect that and say “oh sure,,,,no problem! I’m sorry if I made you afraid”, right? I shouldn’t have to ask repeatedly or justify it. Maybe a brief explanation but no justification required! SO many examples!!
            We are all different.
            And the rest of your post is just SO on target and in alignment with what I experiences…..”the little things”, so many of them just impossible to explain.

          3. Wow. I can even relate to the driving thing. For me it’s not passing at night and slowing down in snow storms or icy roads. Even though I don’t like highway driving I find myself offering to do it more and more. I just feel more safe.

          4. Yes Sheri I felt the same way. I would be uncomfortable thinking that something wasn’t right but then he’d say something loving or that I was too sensitive or how could I not believe how much he loved me! That it hurt him when I didn’t believe him. So I would feel guilty. I’ve also read recently where these people drop bombs in that they say strange things that reveal their true selves because they can’t keep the mask up all the time. He used to do that all the time. I would look at him and think who is this man?? Sometimes he would realise and change the subject and at others it was as if he didn’t care or I wondered if he just wanted to frighten me. There’s no doubt he enjoyed seeing me fearful, that seemed to energise him. I wonder why I still keep reading about all this stuff, at times it gets too much and I just want to forget a move away from it all. Still I feel this need to really know what I was living with and understand it all. It’s those subtle things that tend to haunt you over and over and cause the self doubt. The emotional manipulations. You know I saw a recent picture of him, and I felt sick with fear, I was shaking uncontrollably ( that’s how he still has me and that’s why I need to know what I was dealing with…it’s like if I know I can feel stronger in my own self belief) anyway he looked like a middle aged THUG!! Really old and had that cold stare! I honestly thought how on earth did I get involved with him and marry him… it didn’t make sense at all. I cried myself to sleep thinking about how he made me feel that I was never good enough for him! Yet he would do the most loving things. This same man proclaims himself a good father and yet has discarded his only child completely. Sorry have gone off but you’re not silly, never silly. If you’re uncomfortable you are for a reason. Take care Sheri 🙂

          5. Oh gosh Puddle is there a clone factory out there somewhere that makes these “things”, makes you wonder?? 😉

          6. Sometimes it’s unbelievable the damage that’s done by all “those little things” I’ve been learning a lot about “conditioning” which I think is similar to gaslighting. I think a lot of those things take years to get over.

            When you write: “I wonder why I still keep reading about all this stuff, at times it gets too much and I just want to forget a move away from it all.” I can really relate, I’ve actually started putting a limit on the amount of time I focus on this type of thing and try to balance it with other things that are just about me. For me I sometimes get angry, I think to myself, ‘Why is it me that is doing all the reading, changing my responses, working through this stuff, when it’s HIM with the character issues.’ Oh well, such is life! However, reading this material that Dr. Simon writes, all the comments, reading material by others that are similar to this … they truly have been my life-line; just to read it and know I am not crazy. It’s seems like every situation or confrontation concerning things he did or didn’t do, he could twist up, did it out of love, etc; if he is unable to do that then he could so subtly end up twisting the conversation and somehow by the end of it the blame was all put on me and somehow the main topic/problem was forgotten. These articles, etc, have truly helped open my eyes. But you are right, sometimes it be nice to just leave it all alone. For me, sometimes I wished it were back to the stage where I was still naive and in the dark, the knowing is sometimes exhausting.

          7. this experience has left a seemingly indelible mark in my life. Yes, I do many other things than focus of p-paths but it’s hard when I’ve just been targeted again. Also, I can’t tell you how many things just pop into my mind on a regular basis. Yesterday I prepared a food that we always ate together. many times a day I say a word or a phrase that he used to say or we used together. I can’t even use certain terms of endearment with my friggin dog because he used to use them with me or her. When they (people who are in recovery) say that being with one of these types “slimes you”, it is no exaggeration. Like slug slime that is almost impossible to get off your hands when you touch one.

          8. Puddle, I might be misinterpreting what you are saying, but how I relate is that I still miss that person who he was pretending to be, I’ll get the moments where I’ll think of something that in a normal relationship would be a “fond” thought of him, the only thing that helps me realize I’m missing the person he was pretending to be, that even these fond memories I can now pinpoint the underneath falseness or manipulation behind them. That is why focusing or “remembering” who he really is is important so I don’t get (funny expression that I like and I’m going to start using) “slimed” again.

            It’s funny, I’m living in the same home, the emotional detachment is lonely. It’s the loneliness and lack of affection that is very difficult some days. But I also remind myself, that often the affection I used to get had an underlying motive, and in all reality, the loneliness was always there, it’s just feels more present now. But somedays, it’s this loneliness that gets me to almost “give in” to those sad puppy eyes that he knows how to use so well, or his pleading for “just another change, everyone deserves another chance.” But, alas, I need to stay strong, confirm in my mind that he’s gotten a lot of chances, undeserved ones at that, and I have been very clear that second (third, fourth, too many too count) chances are only healthy to give if they have been truly warranted … and I am sticking to that!

            But the loneliness, that is the hard one! The memories of “who he was not, who he is not, and who he shows he truly won’t work at being” those are the ones that can really hook a person.

          9. I hear you loud and clear Sheri. I agree and see everything you are saying. I’m not clear as to why you think you might be misinterpreting? I think the only thing that may have been different about where I was going in what I said is that the slime lingers. I no longer miss him but i do find the whole thing sad beyond description. I just hate it that things still remind me of the POS. That feels like a solution I will never wash away. I have dated many many people and have mostly nothing but fond recollections when I say something I “learned” from them, a phrase, a word, etc. Even bad relationships……..I’m friends and on good terms with just about every guy I have even dated and if I’m not in contact with someone I used to date or hang out with it’s because they are just people I had no business with in the first place. A drinking lifestyle lends itself to a lot of baggage that needs to be shed. This encounter is just SO different than anything from my past. I try to think…………who do I wish i would have NEVER met, never dated, etc. Spathtard is THE ONLY ONE! In 55 years! And I’ve had some bad relationships before him! There is no one in my past, ok maybe a couple but in a totally different way, that I would not speak to today. He is it, in a league of his own and It feels like a curse to remember or be reminded of anything to do with him. To make matters worse, we spent a huge majority of the time in MY house, in MY kitchen, in MY bed. So his solution is everywhere and things are still surfacing. Just gross. I’ve cleaned, cleansed, purged, burned………I’ve done everything I can to get him off of and out of me and the toxic slime remains, like a nightmare I can’t wake up from. That drivable scum bag was in my home, I shared my home with that POS and he defiled me and my home.

          10. Puddle, you know I don’t cook the things I used to for that same reason…I just can’t, his words or something will come back and haunt me. I don’t listen to music anymore, and if I do it’s something that is so far removed from what we’d listen to together. Sheri I miss so many good times we had but they were peppered with so many bad and there have been times I’ve wished that I could just have the good man (even though it was false). Still I don’t want to go there again…he was never a good man NEVER and he will NEVER be! It’s left up to us Sheri to get the help we need, they will never get help! Mine in the end refused he didn’t see the point of what he said was the back and forth but he also said that he was frightened of what might come out! I wasn’t sure what he meant by that at the time but I have a feeling he knew what he was and didn’t want to be revealed. You’re right Puddle it is a slime that can’t be removed, that’s why I had to leave everything behind and start again somewhere fresh! Living where it took place the triggers were too many, I knew I’d never get back to any sense of the person I could be. Yet the slime is there like a coating and they get right into the core of you and twist.The loneliness is tough at times but I guess like you Sheri I do come back and keep reading it does help even though it can be all consuming at times. We don’t speak of him much anymore in our home…he’s a ghost that haunts both of us I think on some level.

      2. Hi again, Puddle — was just browsing further in the Martha Stout book, The Sociopath Next Door, and spotted this passage on p. 118: “And then Luke looked at me, looked me right in the eyes, and it was as if I’d never met him before in my life. He looked that different. These were the creepiest eyes I’ve ever seen, like beams of ice–it’s really hard to explain. And I realized, all of a sudden, that in Luke’s mind this was all some kind of a control game. It was some kind of a game and I had lost, big-time. I was stunned.” As Dr. Stout says, pay attention to your gut feelings. Get away if possible. Peace and hope from Elva

        1. Hi Elva, There is also a book I have mentioned on her about why your gut feelings can not be trusted. “Dangerous Instincts” It’s fascinating and i need to get back to it and Finnish it. I HIGHLY recommend it!
          I can relate to this excerpt you posted Elva. There were plenty of times I felt so upside down because he seemed so different. This happened in many ways though and he could “fix it” very quickly and skillfully. He was a master POS manipulator and played me like a cheap fiddle. Bully for you Spathtard…… least you are good at something.

          1. Hi Puddle — googled for the book you are talking about. reviews are mixed. I do sometimes get bad gut feelings about various customers (“this one will be a problem if I accept this job.”) I have a number of law enforcement customers (local police, sheriffs deputies, highway patrol, local FBI) and try to discuss this with them when I get a chance. Every one of them says if I get a bad feeling about someone, try to get rid of them. I should mention that I’m right across a busy interstate highway from a motel that is part of a national chain. It was last spring that local P.D. carried out a SWAT drug raid there, complete with snipers w/rifles posted on the rooftops. There was also, for a while, a meth lab in a house 1 block away. There is constant vandalism all around. One burglar tried to get into a house through a doggie door, got himself stuck, was nabbed. There are home intrusions all the time and meth labs scattered here and there throughout the valley. You would not think there would be a problem if you just drove through, it looks like a peaceful small town.

            I keep studying the Navarro book on body language — Navarro was an instructor for the FBI. Every winter 1 or 2 ne’er do well types come in here to ask if I would like to have my sidewalk cleared of snow. They look around and say “Nice shop.” Cash box is not in sight. One guy came in and gazed around, said I thought this was a 2nd hand store. I said, no, like the sign on the front says, I do alterations and mending. Then there was the guy who came in, said he had a massage clinic in the small town at the other end of the valley and wanted to rent space in my place in order to expand down here. Since this is also my home and there is NO extra space, NO!!! That one really raised the hair on the back of my neck. If you have a legitimate business and want to expand, you go to a rental agency or a realtor to find space, you don’t randomly go into a business in a small house looking for space. I googled him, found some “interesting” stuff about him, typed up a full report and turned it over to my FBI customer (probably not his jurisdiction, but knew he would pass it along if necessary). He agreed with me that it was very odd. I figured that maybe the guy thought he could sell drugs under the radar of local PD. (NOT FROM MY HOUSE / SHOP YOU DON’T!!!). And then there are the local homeless population, I see them go by all day, bedroll strapped to back along with backpack. I cannot EVER afford to let down my guard,so I am ready in case of trouble. The police know and tell me I am wise to be always alert. Since I’ve been studying body language, I think I am doing better at “reading” people. I would rather be safe than sorry. Please understand I’m not averse to reading another book about safety, but not sure the one you are suggesting would tell me anything more than what I already have learned. Anyone who comes in with an over-the-top compliment about me, which is not appropriate for developing a business relationship (probable covert-aggressive), or someone who starts off with his/her version of a “pity party” (probable sociopath)– I scrutinize these with extra care. Well, peace on earth to men of good will, and hope, from Elva

    2. Actually, in the past people have been unnerved by me staring. I didn’t do it on purpose, I just often had no freaking idea how long and where to look. I was even told that I’m eyeing someone up when I was just trying to pay attention and be respectful. I had no idea I was being provocative. I also used to look at other people because I had no idea how to act in a certain situation so I was trying to learn. Some people found it very uncomfortable and I always felt guilty after they told me that. I tried not to look but then I obviously wasn’t making any connection with the other person. It was God damn confusing to learn how and when to look at other people (living in another culture helped BTW, the rules are different in different cultures and at least someone explains them to foreigners but nobody explained to me the rules at home). Actually, I have always cared deeply about other people and always tried to help them but in many situations it looked quite the opposite. So be careful before jumping to conclusions based on a certain behavior. Well, not too careful, there’s simply no excuse for lying, don’t make my mistake and give rotten people too much credit.

      1. I can really understand what you are saying about being careful not to jump to conclusions about what is motivating people. It seems like (correct me if I’m wrong) that when you would stare it was truly a matter of not knowing and truly trying to learn to make appropriate contact with people, which to me seems reasonable. It also seems like you are truly trying to adjust what you do as you go and truly do care whether it is making others uncomfortable. Which to me seems like a really good quality to work at, when someone’s behavior is making others uncomfortable and others address it, I think it is how that person responds. You seem to be able to empathize with how that affects others and are willing to realize and understand – learn and grow, which I think is great. I truly hope that others that know you well can also empathize with you and help you out with your willingness.
        I think what I am learning, in my situation with my hubby, that in that case it is okay to trust my instincts. In this situation, he was not willing to take any responsibility for his staring (actually, just last night, he thought I was sleeping and he was peeking through the door staring at me – weird and creepy, and the funny thing is just recently he said he would stop staring, but when I confronted him on it this morning he made up some excuses) He actually says that he just likes to look at me, that if I “loved” him it shouldn’t creep me out. I don’t know but, if you knew the staring was creeping someone out, even if the reason was good, wouldn’t you attempt to altar it.

        1. Yes, you are right! Thank you!
          Don’t put up with your husband! He doesn’t deserve it. I know how I react when people tell me clearly they don’t like something and it’s not like your husband! He deserves no understanding, he deserves total coldness and emotional unresponsiveness from you. Be polite but detached. It’s amazing how relieving it is., it just feels good. You feel freedom and now you are the one who makes the rules and has the power. And there’s nothing a CD hates more than loss of power.
          I have noticed some CD guys become much more careful with you if you

          1. Sheri, Probably Autistic, The stare I am talking about is purely an evil hateful PREDATOR stare. There is NO mistaking it for someone staring because they are curious or interested…….it is predatory. Almost compulsive. I could stare at Spathtard while he was staring at someone else and he was oblivious to me even watching him and he would do this weird thing, rubbing his forefinger and thumb……….it’s really indescribable but the best likeness to it I’ve ever seen is a picture that used to be on Love Fraud. com for something, don’t remember what but I don’t see it there anymore.

        2. Sheri, Chills went up my arms when you stated he stares at you in your sleep. This is extremely disturbing. I would lock my door, on top of this site go talk to a counselor at the women’s shelter. Be very careful. DO NOT engage with him! The prior comment Burn-Shit-Die he I believe he is telling you what “life” means in his empty barren canvas.
          I found there are several stares. Usually, they are watching their prey. The stares are usually meant to control, but many times they are lost in space. As time goes on and the people on this site are very astute, read, read, read no 2 CD are exactly alike, but then they are. Knowledge is power just don’t educate him.
          Listen very careful to his conversations, I shouldn’t say that they are above conversations unless its about them, rants let him rant, but listen very carefully, a lot of useful information can be gleaned from what they say and may prove helpful if you decide to leave. For a person that claims they want to change, say “sure” lets go see Doc Simon, I bet you never hear from them again.
          Absolutely, love the term “Slimed” thanx needed a deep belly laugh. There is deep wisdom and knowledge from experience on this site. Nothing has convinced me more that Satan is alive and well than the CD individual and they are in epidemic proportions.

          1. Sheri, I hadn’t read what you said about him staring at you when he thought you were asleep and I am with Julieanne that is creepy! I had an experience that I haven’t shared before because it unnerves me so much and don’t want to upset or frighten you by telling you but your comment just brought it back (though to tell you the truth this one is never out of my mind…it’s always there). I was in a deep sleep and something happened…I can’t exactly explain it well only to say that I suddenly felt like I couldn’t breathe and that someone had put their hand over my mouth and nose. I was trying to call out to my ex but couldn’t speak because of the pressure over my mouth. When I finally started gasping for breath I opened my eyes…my ex husband was kneeling high up on his knees his hands resting on his thighs just watching me. When he realised I had come to he immediately lay down and turned away from me and pretended to be asleep. I don’t think he realised I had opened my eyes and saw this. I was terrified I believed someone was trying to kill me but I couldn’t believe at the time that it would have been him. (don’t ask me why?) He did not try to comfort me even though I was in complete distress, he kept pretending to be asleep when I told him about it in the morning he would not meet my eyes. My first thought was he did it but didn’t say anything. A couple of days later he implied in a joking manner he did do it! I remember the fear I felt that day it was like it gripped at me but being in the confused state I was in I never knew what to think. Never the less the next violent attack left me in no doubt as to his intentions. That was it, I knew I had no choice but to leave.
            As I said, I don’t know if I should have shared this but my gut tells me he did that to me and I should have trusted my gut! In essence that is what I want to say trust your instincts and don’t take any chances. Living in fear is no way to live.

          2. Tori, your experience sounds horrifying.

            I know this sounds naive (and maybe it is). I get more of the sense, since he peeked through the door for a few seconds, went away, came back and peeked through the door for a little longer, went away for awhile), that it was more like a two year old checking if his mommy was sleeping to he wouldn’t get caught doing something he’d get in trouble for.

            I have never felt any type of physical threat from him, however I know it’s highly possible, especially when the intended target is no longer able to be controlled by the emotional abuse and manipulation. One thing that leads me to not fear physical abuse is the children’s age and “what other people would think” for him, image is everything, he also really likes to “act the victim – poor, poor pitiful him” when anything might go wrong in his life, or if others are not responding to his manipulation the way he wants. And even though he claims he can’t help it and that he just doesn’t have any control over what he does at times, I know that is false, that he is very controlled in everything he does – he is about control. At this point, I think he would control those tendencies to keep his image up, that when/if the time comes for the marriage to end, he wants the outside world, and especially my/his family and our children to truly believe “he did the best he could” and I’m just being unreasonable, etc. etc. For him, I think when it comes down to it, his best way to “win” would be for me to lose my kids, family, church … I think it would make him happy to walk away thinking he won these things and left me with no one who would believe me, everyone patting him on the back telling them how sorry they were for him and helping and supporting him. Confirming in his mind that he had no faults in the marriage, he would throw in just enough admittance of what he did in such a sorrowful way, how hard he was trying, etc. I’m sorry I rambled, it’s this part of him that scares me the most. How he can subtly, and slowly turn others against me and built their trust in him, it’s almost so insidious that for someone who isn’t aware of these type of characters there is no way to detect it.

            So for now, I know that his image is one of the most important things to him, he really likes to have complete control over how others view him, and he really likes to be seen as this great husband/father/employee/christian, etc.

          3. Sheri, You are VERY on top of this from the sounds of things…….you describe him exactly how i would describe Spathtard……..his “poor me, I tried so hard and couldn’t do anything right” attitude. Just so on target girl. They care what others think about them BIG time because there who game revolves around what others think about them. I’ve always wondered what Spathtard would think if he knew how many people in this community find him to be creepy and weird and a drunkin a-hole momma’s boy pathetic loser. He has to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find companionship here OR BS some people with his mask of being a helpful nice guy by doing the bare minimum. I don’t know how they pull this off……..

          4. Tori,,,,,,,,,,,,,Horrible. So the average person does not GET how affected your mind is in these situations. I’m just so glad you are OUT OF IT!! 🙂 The terror you must have felt being with someone who can do something like what you describe.
            I never felt “afraid” of Spathtard until after it was over and I remembered things only in a proper context now and I have no doubt that he wanted to harm me in some way. He would have never hit me because he didn’t want to go to jail for DV again.
            Sometimes I feel so stupid for not dumping his worthless-ness so much earlier but I was just THAT hooked and so confused by the ups and downs and inconsistency. I wanted to be loved and the companionship was something valued so much………..empty calories. I can relate to what Sheri said about feeling lonely with him in spite of his constant presence though. He just was so not there even when he was there………an empty shell. BLACH!

          5. Puddle and Sheri, I am SO GLAD to be OUT of it!!! 🙂 I’d love to say happy and over the moon but that’s not exactly so YET!! Thank you for your support I get so frightened sometimes admitting to what I lived with!! 🙂 I was shaking and cried so much after saying that…now even. He was so insidious such a creep! There are many who would not believe it and some who (particularly his family) who refuse to believe it though I know they must know. Knowing that someone who was supposed to love you is capable of such a thing is…well I don’t think there are words to describe it! That and other things are why I wonder if I’ll ever really be able to have another relationship. It breaks down everything inside you, that you could trust another person or even really love someone again.
            Sheri the impression management you describe was how my ex reacted when I left. It was like he went into damage control of his own self!! Everything you say he did…told me I didn’t know how much he loved me, that he was only doing his best for me though I just refused to see it…that he was a good loyal and faithful husband, a good father, a good provider. I just didn’t appreciate him. He was the real victim of all this and that has been his mantra throughout. You know his first question to our son after he hurt me was “do you hate me?” No sorry to him or me for that matter. No real contrition ever!! It was all about him and how he was seen by others. I can’t believe this is still so much on the surface for me… here I was thinking I’d made so much progress…sorry!
            Anyway, Sheri as Puddle has said you really seem to know what you’re dealing with and that does give you an advantage…if that’s the right word! It arms you with knowledge that I wish I’d had earlier.
            Puddle I was like you too…it’s so natural to want to be loved and to love…and when he came in like this most romantic loving person I thought WoW!! I was swept up into all the confusion that followed. I’d love to bring his false facade down for all to see, I really would!! I don’t know how they live with themselves but then they don’t care a jot do they!

          6. Jeeeez Tori, it’s hard to believe anyone is capable of that. Talk about something that messes with your head? What a horrible way to get you eyes opened to what he really is all about. How disorienting and what a shock it must have been. I feel it just reading what you wrote.
            ((((((SUPER hugs to you))))))
            You have nothing to fear here. We are all behind you and beside you.

          7. Tori, I’m not sure how long since you left the relationship you were in, when I read: “I can’t believe this is still so much on the surface for me… here I was thinking I’d made so much progress…sorry!” I sounds like you have experiences a really traumatic experience, there will be good days and there will be not so good days. Just to remember that we’re all allowed to have those bad days, so don’t be sorry, when those bad days comes, let them, then do something great that will lift your spirits. Just don’t discount the progress you have made because of memories or fear. I think this is a great place to be able to share those fears or even self-doubt.

            I guess, for me, every now and then, I do just let myself cry …. It may not be helpful, but I think we all deserve a bad moment once in a while. Something my counselor had suggested to me. Find a safe place, and allow myself to be angry, scared, cry, sad, etc. Then tell myself “enough” and use a coping tool to “pull out of it”, whatever works for you.

            I understand where you’re coming from, some days I doubt my progress, I expect myself to know exactly how to react, or to be doing better than I am. When I seem to go backwards, I get hard on myself, I tell my self alot of “should-of’s”.

            For me, I think you deserve to cry, you earned the right to be scared, angry, whatever it is you’re feeling in the moment, it doesn’t discount any progress that you have already made. Sometimes I feel like I take two steps forward, and then three steps back … and then I remember that since I’ve taken steps forward before, I know I can do it again.

          8. Oh Puddle, as always thank you 🙂 xx Messes with your head is so right, on so many levels. Thanks again and for being there, makes a huge difference. (((Hugs back at ya))) 🙂

          9. Sheri thanks for your lovely words. 🙂 You are so right… Sometimes it comes as a complete surprise to me when this unravelling happens. It’s been a little over a year now since I left and last year was the most harrowing emotionally etc… Sometimes I wonder how I managed but I would think all survivors feel like that, for the most part you’re a zombie on auto pilot. Anyway this year is one to start off with a clean slate completely. I still get counselling regularly and they tell me similar that it will get better over time and it has. Dr Simon’s books were the first ones I bought on the subject and boy it was an eye opener!! It was just through searching that I was led to them and I am so thankful for that and for all the support! So yes, thank you for your kind words and I will dust myself off and get back up!! We all deserve to cry for what we’ve all been through and it is all part of the healing. Thank you Sheri your words mean so much and keep going strong! 🙂

          10. Tori…………after my melt down at his Mommy’s house I called her the next day to apologize for disrespecting her home by having a fight with Spathtard at concert loudness (even though I totally know he set me up for it). she asked me what in the world got into me and why I go that way………I was trying to “protect” Spathtard….trying not to be a blabber mouth and tell all, I only said……..”you don’t know how he is, how he can be”. She said, “well I’ve only seen him like that a couple of times”. OK…… WHAT? Like how his exes have told her he is? I’m sure his ex-wiveS have filled her ear with plenty of Spath reports and I’m sure he scapegoated them just how he has me. I KNOW she knows something?? This crap that he spews is so SO off base about me wanting to harm him and God only knows what other lies he has filled her head with. My brother lied lied LIED to my mother to manipulate her out of countless amounts of money, he had her convinced someone was going to kill him and them at one point if he didn’t give them X amount of money………….which she dished out to him. I found a letter she wrote, a “to whom it may concern, if anything should happen to us” letter. Horrible pain and stress he caused her/ them. Sounds like Spathtard is not far behind and he is 20 some years older than my brother was when he did that to my mother/ parents if not more.

  7. Really interesting article. My husband was likely on the continuum you describe, Dr.Simon. I was always aware he was different somehow. He was also highly principled and very sympathetic, though had a tough time with empathy or anything resembling reaching out to anyone he did ‘t have a strong cerebral connection with. He was often, ‘not there’ during conversations. It was socially a bit awkward but he just found it impossible to take or even fake an interest in anything he was ‘t interested in.

    Spectrum people are pure gold. You just need one experience with a schmoozy, stealth manipulative CD to fully appreciate the refreshing social awkwardness of people who are often the polar opposite!

    Probably Autistic, anyone who values honesty and truth and assumes others are operating from the same premise and are ‘hurting’ being abused, or suffering from a neurological malady (when their primary problem is anything but) is at such a disadvantage with CD’s. Nice you were able to figure it out and move on!

    1. Schmoozy would describe that “another two-faced guy, who has great social skills and never seems to worry about anything”. The sound ain’t quite right for him, of course, because he can be so casual. I guess I could call him Viper.

      I have so much to tell about Viper, but I have some hurries now. Going to tell more as soon as I can, though.

    2. Oh, thank you so much! I’ve actually had some ex bosses and very close friends tell me I’m pure gold (but quite rare), it was so heart warming to finally be recognized. I’m craving to hear these words from a lover too (some guys did tell me but I didn’t like them in this way and of course, I didn’t believe them until recently). I so wanted the CD guy to recognize me and to at least say thank you. His total lack of gratitude and appreciation was just killing me. And the more I was encouraging him, being attentive and listening, the more he was being neglectful and critical of totally minor stuff such as a certain gesture I did that no one else ever found problematic. I just couldn’t make sense of it all. It didn’t make any sense actually.

      1. Probably Autistic, I’ve come to learn that one of the surest ways to KNOW you are being manipulated is when things don’t make sense, when you feel like you can’t keep up with what is going on, can’t keep track of it, feel like you are in a house of mirrors, etc. I kept trying to figure it out, understand WHAT was wrong but now i see in hind sight, there was no figuring it out because as soon as you START to figure it out the target moves and shifts and moves again.

  8. It has been quite difficult to piece up info about Viper for some reasons. He hasn’t been in my life for a long time(thankfully). Also, he’s picked quarrels with some fights, who are nearly as two-faced as he is and there have thus been many rumours about him, with some truth to some. Of course, then there’s the fact that I’ve just passively pieced this together as I’ve heard things from friends I have every reason to trust or confirmed some things some other way.

    Puddle, you speak a lot about different insidious details about Spathtard. The sheer lack of mindfulness he seems to exhibit is vaguely similar to Viper. To make it clear, Viper is NOT a sociopath nor do I think he’s a malignant narcissist. I’m not even sure if he’s all that actively covert-aggressive. I’d still he lies toward the more virulent end of the spectrum. He IS good at covering his tracks and making up stories. A few of my former pals I hadn’t seen for a long time have disconnected from me, which I’ve noticed only some time afterward(not that I spent all that much time with them, but it’s a shame not to be in touch anymore). I’ve talked to few people, who’ve seen through his friendliness and want nothing more to do with him.

    Some people unfortunately refuse to grow up and what I’ve heard of Viper fits with many nasty things he said to me and did to trash me in others’ eyes. Because he’s good friends with some guys, who are also good pals with some of my pals, I am careful about speaking about him with my pals. He could get an excuse to trash me even more, with the excuse of me “spreading rumours” about him(as I know he would say).

    I have spoken with one of my pals, though, generally about character-trashing as a thing that could happen to anyone(it takes sense of context). I have talked with that pal about many, many things and know he can watch things from many angles. If he heard rumours about me, he’d know to doubt them.

    I remember walking during my last senior high year when I saw Viper smoking with four other men taller than him. I didn’t recognize him at first. He acts really noxious, petulant and jerkish(to get the idea, [[ watch Manhunter with the original version of Manhunter played By Brian Cox. As cringe-worthy as Sam Vaknin’s crude verbal assault in I, Psychopath]]). One of the guys gets angry: “Lay it off, (Viper)! You’ve been notified of that thousands of times.” Viper just mutters something, puts out his cigarette and walks inside.

    Now, that bit about Cox’ Lecter gives a limited view of what he’s like. Viper is subtler and can be affable. He’s not even overly schmoozy. He’s believable. If I didn’t know what he was like, I’d fall for his act, too. So many passages from ISC, Character Disturbance, Bully in Sight, Stalking the Soul and Verbally Abusive Relationship are almost like they were written with him as a model.

    One man was in a same circle of acquaintances as one of my friends(I have many different separate circles myself, just to keep you on track). This man was going to a lesson. So was Viper, as it would happen. In an empty hallway, they bumped into each other, nothing worse. Of course, another man had taken some steps when Viper turned around and shouted angrily. Combative hypervigilance seems to be his thing. Another man apologized in confusion and went on his way.

    Later Viper followed the man into a forest. Viper made his presence known: “Remember how you bumped me?” Then this other man did something thoughtless. What shouldn’t you do if you’ve been followed by someone, who seems intent on assaulting you? At least don’t remind them of some embarrassing incident. This man had heard of a time when Viper had assaulted me in junior high(It was for me having enough and telling him to stop bullying a classmate. I only felt the first three punches he landed on me. I’d been all “Now I’m getting beaten up, fine”, but apparently self-defense instinct was there. Viper lay on the ground in almost no time at all. I was mouth open and he really played the marder afterwards, but luckily some classmates and other-class boys were witnesses for what really happened). Viper had spread many different own versions of this incident, of course. So had some others, apparently. This other man seemed to have an impression I was autistic, for he said: “I see. You got beaten up by that autistic boy.” As you’d guess, Viper flew into rage and beat that guy up. As the guy lay there, he warned him that he had no witnesses and if he were to “snitch”, his friends would have an alibi for Viper. My friend later heard all this from the another guy.

    Viper, having participated in a local youth association, had met a girl, who also was a friend of this same friend I mentioned. She’d fallen for him thanks to his charm, sense of humour, intellectual variety and well-spokenness. It had been okay for some time and Viper repeated a few times how great a catch she’d gotten. He did seem averse to meeting other people, because “shared time between two is the one that matters”.

    It started getting downhill at some point. Viper would get irritated if she disagreed with him over some things that were actually pretty trivial. He’d criticize her, again, for trivial things. Sometimes he was just vague, evasive and uncommunicative and threw pseudo-philosophy at her, stuff like “It’s hard to know the meanings of things sometimes, because frames of reference are pretty deceptive. Any one thing can be re-interpreted infinitely and none really matter.” Oddly, as she told me and our shared friend all this, I’d read Hirigoyen’s Stalking the Soul and thought: “How familiar does that sound?”

    Viper would nitpick and belittle under the guise of advising and bringing things to her attention. There were many times when he neglected to do some things like take out the trash or go to a store and he’d claimed he’d misunderstood, not understood, not heard or not told at all.

    Once he was away for several days without informing her. He’d come one night. When asked, he dodged the question completely and said some guys he knew tried to sell him drugs. She happened to know one of those guys, who then told her what had really happened. Viper had gotten tipsy(not drunk, just tipsy) and then, with these half-familiar guys present, gotten rowdy in some semi-public area. These guys told him to behave themselves and one passerby did, too, only to get cussed at, so the other guys left.

    When she confronted Viper with this info, he said: “What are you being paranoid about? Or do I follow what you do?”

    Some time after that, Viper had gotten combative over more and more things. There was name-calling, victim-playing histrionics how she treated him unfairly and made things “more difficult than they needed to be”, disparaging comments like “You, my love, have trouble letting go of things”, shaming/guilting ploys like “Why do you get angry so often?” and much more than I want to list here. It escalated into physical violence. She was not to question him or “pick a fight with him”.

    She eventually left, although he did seem to anticipate it. He got an alibi from a female friend(who’s one of the few friends of his, who actually knows what he’s like). The female friend, a viper in her own right, backed up his claim that the girl was psychotic and had been stalking him, though they didn’t have any evidence of stalking. My friend didn’t have any conclusive evidence, unfortunately, as for Viper’s guilt(note that I use the word in a different sense; Viper surely didn’t feel guilt).

    It’s incredible that a guy like Viper can escape responsibility slickly like thanks or that anyone knowingly and willingly goes along with it with no problem at all. Incredible.

    Good news, the girl has gotten therapy and is way better. Her other friends and relatives have been told about Viper.

    I hinted about this site to her way back then, even told her I post here. Also warned her about some other sites not to get involved with and avoid(like those of Sam Vaknin). She thanked me gladly. Haven’t seen a sign of her here, though.

    I’ve gone to take a shower. Sinister Man is tame compared to the Virulent Viper.

    1. Hi J,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
      “Puddle, you speak a lot about different insidious details about Spathtard. The sheer lack of mindfulness he seems to exhibit is vaguely similar to Viper. To make it clear, Viper is NOT a sociopath nor do I think he’s a malignant narcissist. I’m not even sure if he’s all that actively covert-aggressive. I’d still he lies toward the more virulent end of the spectrum. He IS good at covering his tracks and making up stories. A few of my former pals I hadn’t seen for a long time have disconnected from me, which I’ve noticed only some time afterward(not that I spent all that much time with them, but it’s a shame not to be in touch anymore). I’ve talked to few people, who’ve seen through his friendliness and want nothing more to do with him.”
      You know I can see how anyone would question the severity of a person’s character disorder/ disturbance UNLESS they have been targeted by said person in a way that REALLY drives it home on a personal deep level. This Viper dude? Without knowing him personally, he sounds like an a-hole and if this is the level of his development as an adult? He more than likely _IN MY OPINION_ is severely disordered. I may be wrong and this is my opinion but he sounds like a Spath to me. anyone with such a blatantly undeveloped character just doesn’t give a damn about anyone but themselves and their twister self justified wants and fleeting desires =equals= psychopath or psychopath-et which i am going to call a Psychopath Lite like “Bud Lite” the beer. Lite beer doesn’t have as many calories (empty calories) as regular beer but if you drink enough of them you still get fat and drunk. To me he sounds like a Spath. He sounds totally controlling, power hungry and manipulative those three things together don’t paint a picture of any redemptive qualities and if there appear to be any it’s more than likely just part of his mask.

    2. Dear J………..WHY in the world do you think this Viper is not a socio/psychopath? As I read what you have described, I’m checking box after box after box! 🙂

    3. A human being can be a horrible person to be involved with without being a sociopath or a malignant narcissist.

      It’s simply that he gives himself the permission to act as he pleases. He’s pretty good at covering his tracks.

      1. From all I’ve seen and heard of Viper, he isn’t predatory, per se, and doesn’t seem to do anything out of sadism.

        Most of his misbehavior isn’t blatant. He got rowdy in a semi-public area because he got angry at the other two guys for disagreeing with him on something(not really specified what).

        He’s certainly a bully and a pathological two-faced (or eight-faced?) liar, though.

        1. Hi J — sociopaths / psychopaths exist on a spectrum, just like we (me) who are on the autism spectrum. They are not all violent. I’m looking at Martha Stout’s book, The Sociopath Next Door. on p. 109 is this paragraph: “When deciding whom to trust, bear in mind that the combination of consistently bad or egregiously inadequate behavior with frequent plays for your pity is as close to a warning mark on a conscienceless person’s forehead as you will ever be given. A person whose behavior includes both of these features is not necessarily a mass murderer, or even violent at all, but is still probably not someone you should closely befriend, take on as your business partner, ask to take care of your children, or marry.”

          I’d say that his bad – mouthing of you is sociopathic. I’ve known a couple of people who were “low-grade” sociopaths, lies, contradictions, so that I finally just didn’t believe anything they said. One guy told a business supplier that he was a wounded veteran in a wheelchair and had trouble getting to a bank. This got passed on to me by a third party, who asked me if it was true. I said absolutely not, he is NOT in a wheelchair, and a bank branch is located immediately across the street from his shop. So, I agree with Puddle, Viper is a sociopath, though apparently not a mass murderer or a serial killer. If it quacks like a duck …. etc. Peace and hope from Elva

          1. Elva,J,
            Most psychopaths fly under the radar and are not even physically violent, but are totally oppertunistic and when a situation presents itself they take advantage and feel perfectly entitled to do so.
            Again, I don’t think most people who are not personally involved/ targeted by a psychopath can evaluate a Spath. Keep in mind how many actual serial killers, the worst of the lot and the minority of psychopaths, present to the general public as normal, nice guys,,,,,,,however, in retrospect, all the missing pieces fall together and you get the full picture.
            I don’t know this Viper but a significant number of things are making me think SPATH. Maybe I’m wrong but…….
            And, it sounds like you made him uncomfortable J, you stood up to what did he do? He scapegoated you ( bad mouthed). So typical.

    4. I think we might be getting tangled in details, ladies.

      Let me clarify a few things here. We both were teens when we were in the same junior high. He later went to a different senior high, the same where some of my pals went.

      Piecing it together, he was brash and some described him as “comedian-like”, though most of his jokes were juvenile(typical of teens). He was full of himself alright, though it wasn’t obvious. He wasn’t at his peak and it looked to me like he just simply got comfortable with bad-mouthing some people. So he wasn’t oddly enough actively covert and I don’t think he had any agenda, but I did notice when he did start honing his responsibility-avoidance tactics(though I didn’t know exactly what it was, I sensed it).

      My social skills weren’t anywhere near as great as they are now. There WAS another boy, who had similar problems, but I couldn’t find common ground with him.

      At one point he even got enthused to get brash with many others. There were many in our class, also, who would act like jokesters, not focusing on learning(some of them did grow out of it and mature), even without Viper(Viper was just one among many and had no special status among them or anything).

      It was once that I walked into a class before a teacher even was there. He was there badmouthing me for all kinds of exaggerated and made-up reasons. He seamlessly turned to me and continued. I told him it’s childish and he should grow up. After the schoolday was over, I made a “mistake”. There were a few boys I knew from another class hanging out in a nearby swimming Place. I went to greet them and we chatted for a moment. Viper apparently had followed me, since he assaulted me and told me he’s going to beat me up. He was very embarrassed when he failed to do that. Also, another boy, such an eight-faced jerk, had bet 5 euro that I would beat him, BEHIND MY BACK. Viper didn’t even pay those 5 euro, as I knew from hearing the eight-face whine to others a few times. This same Viper, who’d been all combative, played the marder about how horribly he “was assaulted”. Like I said, I luckily had witnesses. One boy, who Viper badmouthed me to, actually said “Bulls**t!” (Yes, it’s weird when Finns have a normal conversation then suddenly switch to English for a sentence or two for no reason.) Viper then changed his story to us having agreed to a fight, which I was outraged by. As a side effect, less and less people came to be a pr*ck to me just to bolster themselves at my expense(immaturity, you know).

      Some people just refuse to grow up.

      Also, I say I haven’t told this to a pal of mine who is in contact with him because he WOULD get encouraged to spread lies about me.

      Unscrupulous, irresponsible characters are many types, not just sociopaths. Such mentalities are hugely varied, too. The important fact that he is a liar and a bully, who doesn’t care to change.

      1. J, I will agree to disagree. He sounds like a p-path Spath to me. EVERYTHING you have described, without one redeeming factor including his violence at a young teen age spells a budding p-path to ME. And he escalated to violence with a woman? In this case, it doesn’t mater what he is……he is trouble and someone to be avoided and I would say you are fortunate to have this jerk out of your life!! 🙂

        THIS is funny!! “Like I said, I luckily had witnesses. One boy, who Viper badmouthed me to, actually said “Bulls**t!” (Yes, it’s weird when Finns have a normal conversation then suddenly switch to English for a sentence or two for no reason.) ” I’m afraid our colorful language has become universal but sometimes just so appropriate!

      2. It seems to be that he’s more of a covertly passive-aggressive type. What I described are details and I think what they are are automatic behaviors he’s learned somewhere along the line that he nonetheless knows he has and doesn’t want or care to change.

        It’s good that he hasn’t been interested in me.

        When he had “lost”(which he actually said to some boys and girls of our class), he mouthed things like I am no longer welcome to HIS house(his parents’ house really, which I only visited twice briefly). HIS house? Not that I’d wanted to talk to him anymore(and he did stop being nasty towards me and reduced behind-the-back badmouthing from what I heard from some girls in our class and some boys from another one), but that little detail stuck in my ear. HIS house?

        I don’t really care if Viper’s a sociopath, serial bully, malignant narcissist, Neo-Nazi skinhead reject, poor man’s version of the Manhunter -version of Lecter or poor man’s version of Sam Vaknin. He makes the kinds of choices that lead him to being like he is, that is, deceitful, entitled and immature.

        Sinister Man at least seemed to have some actual mental health problems(little as I’m sure what they were).

        1. J, a lot of his behavior doesn’t sound covert or passive. He sounds pretty in your face aggressive and overtly so! Yes………he also sounds like he has an entitlement issues among others……..HIS house. Oh………..that SO reminds me of Spathtard during a fight once,,,,,,,,,he got all in a huff and told me to get out of HIS house. I kept repeating, “it’s not YOUR house”! Finally he said, “OK then get out of my mothers house”! I wish I would have had a picture of his highness all puffed up and looking SO powerful sitting on his bed in his undies like a 4 year old with his arms crossed, peeking out from mommy’s skirt (in his mommy’s basement). It’s just such a pathetic memory I could almost feel bad for him. oooooops!! LOL, I accidentally typed mamory first instead of memory.

        2. Sounds sulky.

          As for Viper, I pretty much told about moments HIS highness has been not-so-passive. I’ve gotten the impression that he’s in “slumber” the most of the time. He’s still also got that combative hypervigilance, as evidenced by beating up a guy, who just bumped to him by accident. Just because he’s in “slumber” doesn’t mean he’s improved.

          He can choose to be more subtle or keep a low profile. I’m saying he has also been pretty overt on some occasions. Some brazenness, isn’t it?

          Viper is relatively clear-cut to me compared to someone like Sinister Man, who’s an ambiguous enigma.

  9. Hello all — just popping in to wish everyone a prosperous and happy NEW YEAR!! Everyone can use a laugh now and then so google for teddy bear porcupine pumpkin. Short video shows the porcupine chowing down on a mini pumpkin, “talking” with his mouth full. Back story on this little guy is that a west Texas rancher found him as an abandoned new born, still had umbilical cord attached, out in his barn, no mom in sight. Little porky ended up at Zooniversity in Dallas, required intensive care to survive, imprinted on humans so cannot be returned to the wild. But he is now an ambassador, can be (carefully) held, is not afraid of anything or anyone.

    Sounds like you all are making progress, I know some days are better than others, but when you look back 6 mo. or a year ago, your progress is apparent. I remember it took me several years to get through the aftermath of my divorce, but I am so much better now, except for getting older, arthritis in shoulders is a nuisance. Anyway, cheers and Happy New Year to all. Peace and Hope from Elva

    1. HAPPY NEW YEAR to you too Elva and everyone as well.
      And to Dr. Simon, I hope you are feeling better and mending well from your surgery,
      Happy New Year!

    2. Elva, That porcupine video is the absolute sweetest thing I have EVER seen and what a story! Just SO sweet!!!! Thank you!

  10. Thank you for this article Dr Simon, as it puts a lot into perspective as sometimes I wonder if personality/character gets lost in the disorder as in people pass off some of the bad behaviour as part of the disorder itself when it can be a separate issue.

    I also wanted to say Happy New year to all… hoping this year brings peace to all. Thanks Elva and Puddle for your greetings and I will just have to check out this porcupine! 🙂

  11. Dr. Simon you said:

    “Things get really complicated when a person with some degree of developmental delay also has some character disturbance. I’m acquainted with one case of an individual who is extremely high functioning on the autistic spectrum”

    I agree it’s the combination that makes it really tragic and complicated. Their thought and behavior patterns are so rigid that it’s terrifying. As you said: “it’s a really toxic mix.” There’s nothing cute and quirky about it. It’s not a pretty picture. My experience is that it can be dangerous. And it doesn’t get better.

    In a few cases and in varying degrees its different, disabled and disordered all rolled into one. The line between what they won’t do and what they can’t do is extremely blurred and tangled. The old nature vs nurture debate. Also, consideration has to be made of environmental organic brain dysfunctions.

    You can teach common decency and respect but you can’t teach feelings. If they are delayed there’s hope that they can rewire and learn ways to move further along. But if they are stuck then that might be the best they can do.

    As for rewiring the brain, the word rewire seems to be the new buzz word for learning. Not really anything new. We rewire our brains and grow from cradle to grave. Intellectually and emotionally we can push our brains only to the point that has been God given or to the point that the brain hasn’t been damaged. As we read and learn about the dynamics of abuse we are learning and absorbing new ideas, thoughts and patterns of perceiving and understanding, aren’t we rewiring?

    No question about it, abuse is abuse whether the abuser fully understands what they are doing or not. Although the combination of a character disturbance and a developmental delay certainly adds a thought provoking and another dimension to the understanding of behavior, character, personality etc. Whatever, it’s certainly a terrifying, never ending, nightmarish roller coaster ride for family and love ones and has a direct effect on the welfare of others and society.

    A developmental delay does not make one immune to character issues. When we allow/enable bad behavior to hide behind a label, the label becomes a mask. We’re dancing with fire and we’ll get burned.

    Won’t or Can’t…..It’s just not a pretty picture.

    Dr. Simon you’re acquainted with one case, does that mean that it’s a rare combination? I have a gut feeling that this combination is more common than we realize and that it’s flying under the radar.

    It’s important to note that I’m discussing a developmental delay combined with a character issue. It’s the combination of the two that is my subject of discussion.

        1. What a complete mess it would be to get tangled up with a bully like this in a work environment. I always think of that first(?) vignette in Martha Stout’s book, The Sociopath NextDoor. The administrator of the psychiatric hospital.

    1. While I mentioned my familiarity with one case and used it as an example, there are many cases where different syndromes and personality/character disturbances combine in unique ways. That’s why I have ALWAYS assessed personality/character issues FIRST, because those issues will not only impact the other problems but also will persist long after the various other conditions are addressed.

  12. Hi Suzy, Look into FASD, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. There is so much connected with this won’t vs can’t issue you are describing but in particular with FASD, even though a person who’s brain is damaged by exposure to alcohol in utero can change somethings, there is a problem with consistency. it has nothing to do with a lack of desire to change or be different but the ability to attain and maintain that change in a consistent and predictable way. I don’t know how to explain it really but it is like you just can’t count on yourself. I spoke with a woman who is an expert in the field and she said that an FAS brain works 50 times as hard to do 1/10th of what a normal brain does.
    ANYhow, my point in mentioning this is that is a very under recognized condition. Under diagnosed, under understood, etc. My guess is that there are many people in this world who have it to varying degrees and they don’t know they have it because they might not have any of the physical characteristics that are the tell tail physical signs or may have outgrown them in their teens.
    I listend to a speech by a neurological researcher from Canada about FAS brains and he said that in contrast to brains that are damaged from strokes or TBI, FAS brains are far and away less “plastic”( able to rewire) than a normal brain. in varying degrees, it really is a can’t not won’t condition but I don’t use that as an excuse to not try. Unfortunately from the outside it is very difficult for someone to know just how much effort is being made and much easier to see when I fall short.
    I found your comment very interesting Suzi, and would like to add this…… very difficult for ME to clarify the line between can’t and won’t more ofter than not but I basically live in a constant state of confusion, frustration and exhaustion and my experience with Spathtard (and now this contractor) as multiplied that in a way that I myself find hard to believe or describe. For me, so much of life is like being lost but also mute and not being able to ask for directions.

    1. Hi Tori — kudos to you for being brave enough to tell about your really bad experiences with your ex. That took real guts and you probably could not have done that 6 months ago. You have made a great deal of progress, I know sometimes it seems slow, but you are getting better (I had nightmares too, for several years). Anyway, to get a better start on the new year, take a look on youtube for trololo cat. short and guaranteed to give you a laugh. And if you need more laughter, check out youtube videos about maru sliding in boxes. Here’s to a better New Year for all of us!! Peace and hope from Elva

      1. Elva thank you 🙂 It does take a toll on you, and what it does to your mind even when you don’t realise it…it’s always there on some level. But I thank you for the links those pussy cats were delightful, thoroughly enjoyed them! I loved Maru the sliding box cat…he is the cutest! I’m with you a great new year for us all!! 🙂

  13. Hi Puddle-
    I understand the damage done from FASD and that there are things that you can’t do. Because of your good character you’ve taken responsibility.

    The case that Dr. Simon is discussing is different because she also has a character disturbance and narcissistic personality. It’s the specifics of the developmental delay and the total mixture that is as Dr. Simon says: “a dynamic interaction”. The mixture is extremely difficult if not impossible to work with.

    Puddle you said:
    “Unfortunately from the outside it is very difficult for someone to know just how much effort is being made and much easier to see when I fall short.”

    But it’s an unfair judgment by a person who I call a know-it-all, busy-body. That’s why it is so important that we learn as much as we can. The more we know, the better we understand ourselves and how to protect ourselves. Unfair judgments by others are to be ignored because you know otherwise. Puddle you know the truth.

    All this hard work each of us has to endure. It’s so exhausting. Maybe we don’t have to try so hard. It’s OK if we do nothing but breath some days. It’s OK if we stop to rest, but we must not quit.

    The greatest sin of all worded another way is when one can go to sleep at night and sleep well when love ones are upset and can’t sleep.

    It’s devastating. It’s tragic.

    1. Suzi, Thank you for your understanding first of all 🙂 It means a lot to me because it’s so infrequent that I find someone who is able to “go there”.
      You say……” Unfair judgments by others are to be ignored because you know otherwise. Puddle you know the truth.” Yes, I know the truth but I still have to live with judgements that are uneducated and unfair. I have often tried to explain to other people but similar to a Spath experience, the words i come up with are inadequate. I think it’s so hard for someone to really know anyone’s inner experience without a great deal of exposure to that person and really WANTING to know. I have a friend up here who I told about my suspicions of FASD before I was actually diagnosed and she flat out said……No you don’t! I was just shocked but it’s not the first time she has invalidated me and won’t be the last. When I told Spathtard his response was that we all have problems we didn’t ask for……….ok, mute point with him since he IS one of the problems I didn’t ask for! LOL!
      I will never EVER understand the intentional harm these people do. I have hurt others, and my halo certainly has been less then gleaming during times in my life but I know my intentions were never anything remotely close to wanting to harm someone, always reactions to being harmed, manipulated, invalidated, etc. That is why initially it was so hurtful to be scapegoated by Spathtard as someone who said I would have him killed……a TOTAL twist on something i said as a joke and that he had acknowledged as a joke on several occasions when I told him I was not going to listen to that line of BS anymore. So he turns a joke into a tactic to garner sympathy from who knows who besides his mother and sister. Just insane and it is slander. When someone to saying something like that against your character and good nature, it’s hard to just know inside yourself that it is not true. Fortunately more people than I realized at the time see through him and have a VERY low opinion of him. Wish I would have known THAT when I got tangled up with him.
      You sound like a lovely person Suzi…… Thank you again for your kind and wise words.

    2. Suzi, I wonder is some some disabilities “become” a character disorder because the parent(s) treat the child in a certain way because they have a disability. Like they over compensate. I do know one child who has Aspergers and his parents have created a monster. Overtime the kid does anything either he or his parents or both chime out “He has Aspergers”!! In this way it might have actually helped me having not been diagnosed as a child with FASD because I was still expected to do many of the things my brother got a free pass on because he was ADHD. I don’t know……….the damage of not having it diagnosed probably out weighs the good but one doesn’t necessarily cancel out the other either.

      1. Sorry…………….”Overtime the kid does anything either he or his parents or ” I meant every time the kid does anything (out of line)……..

  14. Hi J

    Oh my goodness that link you gave, the lists are almost endless. It’s mind boggling how one person can have such a glomeration of negatives. Well reality is the truth and the truth is that it pretty well sums up what I’m dealing with. No wonder I’m exhausted.

  15. Hi Puddle,

    You said:
    “When someone is saying something like that against your character and good nature, it’s hard to just know inside yourself that it is not true”

    Yes it’s soul crushing when someone is assassinating our characters. You can counsel yourself by reminding yourself over and over what you know is the truth. It’s one of those things where you are teaching, perhaps we can call it rewiring, your brain to think different. Keep it simple. The truth is always more simple that their spinning web of lies. Focus on that which is the truth.

    Practice, practice and practice some more. It takes time so be patient with yourself. Eventually your feelings will follow your truthful thoughts. Then what others say will have less effect on you. The goal is to teach your thoughts to lead and guide your feelings.

    You know that abusers use our emotions, our compassion and empathy as their weapons. They hold us hostage to our feelings. They actually think our emotions are a character disorder. Yep, they think we’re crazy. They’re game is to dismantle and destroy; divide, conquer and control our conscience. The greatest revenge is not letting abusers see that you give a damn. Fake it until you make it.

    I’ve finally gotten to the point where I don’t give a hoot what others think because they aren’t my friends. They don’t pay my bills, they don’t offer any support, and they certainly haven’t had the experience of living with the nutters. If given the chance all they do is take and take. They don’t share and they don’t give. You know, those typical no-it-all, busy-bodies. Now Puddle, you and I don’t have time for that kind of foolish person[s]. We must use our time and energy to keep the fools far away from our hearts. Always protect your heart!

    You know what I use to fight battles? I use my feet and walk away. With the exception of the breadwinner.

    And you said:
    “I will never EVER understand the intentional harm these people do.”

    I can’t wrap my brain around it all either. It’s a difficult thing for good people to grasp. I’m sure that if I hadn’t lived it that I’d probably be questioning a lot of my own stories. Especially since the devil around here is the poor little me, angel out in public. The stories I could tell I couldn’t make up if my very life depended on it. Unbelievable.

    Humans are pack animals, we need each other. And we need to share our sadness and our happiness. Sharing our sadness we divide it. Sharing our happiness we multiply it. Think about how you feel after you’ve shared something good or bad with a trusted friend. Good becomes better and bad becomes less. Although we have to be very careful who we share with….very careful. We need the validation but only from those who can be trusted. Trust is a honor, something that is tested and earned, it takes time.

    We all make mistakes, golly we just can’t help it, we’re human. I’ve certainly made a lot of mistakes and poor choices. Two biggies was I didn’t pick my friends wisely and I learned to tolerate the intolerant.

    Despicable garbage is despicable garbage no matter what it is called!

    1. Suzi, you make me smile! You have a way with words! 🙂
      So ………. Most things I don’t care what he would say, I’m not typically a person who spends a whole lot of time worrying about what others think about me. That is not entirely accurate because I do care to not hurt or harm other people and if I have said or done something against that I want to know. This is different. I don’t know how to put it though. Let me also say that I’m not there anymore and have not been for a long time. It really bothered me at first, maybe for more than just him lying about me and this slanderous BS. When he did that, my eyes opened to who and what he really was and it was such a jarring, multi dimensional shock that EVERYthing was amplified in a way I will never be able to put into words. Nothing to do with that POS matters to me anymore Suzi. I’m not even sure how long it’s been since all that happened but it’s a long time now.
      Right now I’m thinking I probably would be getting to a point of close to complete repair ( or as close as possible) if it wouldn’t have been for another couple things that have happened on top of the mess with him.
      Is so nice to know you understand Suzi. I’m sorry for what you have been through that makes that true.

  16. Puddle,

    When raising our children can we over compensate?

    Can we pamper them to much?
    Can we be to protective?
    Can we be too eager to please?
    Can we be to giving?
    Can we give them much food?
    Can we give them to much stuff?
    Can we be too lenient?
    Can we make too many excuses?
    Can we make it to easy?
    Can we mix up a diagnosis with character?
    Can we simply be too much of a good thing?


    Giving to much can be as equally damaging as not giving enough. Just like water and oxygen are both good things although too much is dangerous.

      1. If a person is in need should I offer:
        1- $10 cash?
        2- $10 worth of food?
        3– a empty wallet?

        A helping hand or a hand-out.

        1. Don’t know Suzi………recently I gave a friend who helps me sometimes a gift card. I was eager to know what he had chosen to get with it and he told me he went to this store with his mother and used it to pay for a couple things she was getting. Something about the felt weird but I’m not sure if i’m right to feel weird about it. I think no matter what you give to another person, it should be a gift from your heart and what happens after that has nothing to do with what your intention was. If someone tells me they are having $$ problems I try to not offer anything unless they ask. It seems that when I jump in and volunteer to loan money it always turns into a problem. So many things like this end up being a one way street. I don’t know……..things like this are VERY confusing to me.

          1. I’m so sorry, I should of made myself clearer. It’s a question for critical thinking. There is no correct answer because every situation is different. It’s the same line of thinking as your teaching a man to fish example. “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime!”

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