When Your Character Disordered Ex Defames and Makes Trouble for You

Sometimes, just when you think your long relationship nightmare is finally over, the character disordered person you’ve managed to separate from begins causing you no end of trouble.  From spreading lies about you to your relatives, friends, and acquaintances, to engaging in several tactics to make things as difficult as possible for you, your ex can become just as ominous and troublesome a presence in your life as he or she was when you were together.  This often leads you to wondering whether you will ever be truly free of their destructive influence.  And while there’s no simple prescription for successfully overcoming these issues, there are some general principles you can adopt that if you adhere to faithfully, will, over time, help you claim a new, freer, and more empowered life.

As I point out in Character Disturbance, the most severely disturbed characters come in two forms:  narcissists (non-aggressive egoists), and the various types of aggressive (aggressive-narcissistic) personalities.  And these personality types don’t take the notion of “losing” very easily.  For narcissists, it’s too big an insult to their monumental and pathological pride to think that someone they viewed as not only their possession but also their “extension” has claimed their own life.  And for the aggressive personalities, the thought of someone else “winning” and therefore sabotaging their endless quest for domination is simply abhorrent.  So when you leave one of these impaired characters, you can almost always expect that there will be some kind of hell to pay.

One of the more insidious consequences of being in a toxic relationship is getting into the habit of focusing externally and investing precious energy attempting to control things in your external environment.  I’ve counselled hundreds of individuals who found themselves constantly wondering what their character-impaired partner might do next, what mess they might create, what might have to be done to appease them or minimize the damage they might do, etc.  And these individuals eventually not only desensitized themselves to destructive habit of focusing externally but also in the process became deluded that they’d somehow achieved a level of control over the dysfunctional behavior of their partner and other things over which they had no real control.   And as I first suggested in my book In Sheep’s Clothing and have written about in several blog posts (see, for example:  Toxic Relationship Aftermath: Doubt, Mistrust, and Paranoia?, Aftermath of a Toxic Relationship Part Two, and Toxic Relationship Aftermath: A Wrap Up), focusing time and energy on people, places, things, and outcomes – all of which are not really possible for you to control – is the perfect recipe for frustration, anger, anxiety, and eventually, depression.  It’s the surest pathway to the loss of personal power and any sense of joy in living.  For these reasons, I’ve always stressed how important it is to embrace some key principles for re-directing personal energy into areas where you have the power to make a real difference.  Those same principles can be applied when your ex trashes your reputation or engages in other behaviors to make your life difficult.  They include:

When it comes to addressing reputation issues:

  • Don’t try to counter or refute every falsehood.  Prioritize.  Some things are big deals, and others aren’t by comparison. Focus on the bigger issues.  And don’t waste your time trying to disprove a lie.  It’s almost impossible to prove something said about you isn’t true. Simply affirm that the lie is not true.  Let your own integrity and history of reliability and trustworthiness lend credence to your assertion.  And if you find someone in your inner circle who’s either inadvertently or deliberately helping to spread falsehoods, confront the situation directly, affirming what’s true and what isn’t and making a simple, direct, benign but firm request that the person stop enabling the spread of destructive gossip.
  • Don’t engage in counter-trashing of the character of your ex.  Some folks waste an awful lot of precious emotional energy striving to “out” what they believe to be their ex’s true character.  They want the whole world to know the kind of person their ex really is and it riles them to think that their ex-partner has been so successful in the art of impression management that many are bamboozled.  But rather than try to expose your ex’s true character, focus your energy and attention on what you really want folk to know and appreciate about you.  Don’t engage in counter-character assassination but merely attest to the integrity of your own character.  In time, it will become crystal clear not only who your genuine friends are but also what kind of folks (i.e. those who can truly recognize and appreciate nobility of character) you really want to have within your inner circle.
  • If you have made some mistakes or done some things you’re not proud of, “own” them and do your best to make amends where possible.  It’s important to be the person you want those closest to you to think you are.  Do your best not to make the same mistakes over and over again.  Strive to be regarded as a person who has not only learned from past mistakes but also has grown and matured as a result of those mistakes.  And don’t be afraid to be known as someone who will readily admit shortcomings.  This gives you much greater credibility when refuting lies.

When it comes to the crazy behavior of your ex:

  • Remember that no matter what you say or do, in the end you can’t control this person.  You might delude yourself into thinking that you can control the outcome of events and even his or her behavior by the actions you take, but in reality, when it comes to someone else’s behavior, only they have the power.  So when you take action, make sure you’re not trying to control someone else or the outcome of events but rather simply serving your own best interests. Decide what your limits are and what actions you’re prepared to take to defend your boundaries, then enforce those limits and boundaries.  Then, as hard as it is to do so, let the rest go.  Divorce yourself from the notion that you can control anything more than than your own behavior.  What you’ll find is that in time, you will feel more vital and empowered and your ex will feel increasingly powerless to control you.  
  • Don’t be a doormat either.  Don’t throw up your hands and say you can’t do anything to improve your situation.  And don’t let anger, bitterness, and resentment get the better of you.  Sometimes you can get inordinately “hung-up” at the thought that you’re having to pay the price of working so hard to make things better in your life while your character disordered ex seems to be getting away with murder, just like always.  But to really move forward, you must resolve to do what’s no doubt a very difficult thing to do: drop the anger like a hot potato.  Accept the nature of the difficult task ahead and get to work at the business of personal empowerment.  Making peace with the “cost” of a self-directed life inevitably lessens the burden of your ordeal and frees up much-needed energy for the challenge at hand.

Admittedly, what I’ve give here are general principles, but they are trustworthy and reliable guidelines.  I have a voluminous set of case histories that attest to how these principles have been applied with powerful results.  Perhaps as the discussion among the readers ensues on this issue, the principles will gain some additional validation.  And depending upon the nature of the discussion, there might be a follow-up article or two on this topic.


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114 thoughts on “When Your Character Disordered Ex Defames and Makes Trouble for You

  1. Many reputation managers recommend fighting fire with fire. Why is that?

    Also, sometimes calmly speaking your truth can be very healing.

    1. I can think of an “exception” that’s not so much fighting fire with fire as it’s reclaiming your rights and protecting yourself and others: If someone’s been abusing you and you need to go to someone for help with gathered evidence that this person not only has intentionally caused harm, but is dangerous, possibly to other people as well.

  2. Good stuff! De Becker recommends one other thing… not reacting at all to their provocations so they get bored and go away. (Of course, that depends on the nature of the provocations, some are more serious than others. De Becker gets paid a lot of money for being able to tell the difference between real danger and mere — though massive — annoyance.)

    1. That makes sense. The person who is defaming another persons’s character is usually the least qualified in terms of “standards” to judge others.

      1. That’s exactly what my ex husband has done to me. Ruined my rep my career and even made me out to be a horrible mother. He is a liar. And I want justice

        1. Your ex husband ruined your rep, career, and made you out to be a horrible mother? may I ask how? does he have a mental or personality disorder. If he continues, seek legal help. defamation and slander have strict consequences, because of the internet is so widely available and due to social media. If has ruined your career, you have every right to seek legal action against him.
          It would nice if he moved far away… or maybe he will just die. just joking

    1. Yes, or also can you forward me to any information on helping children cope with a parent who is character-disturbed? I’m dealing with a person who uses the children as a weapon to hurt me. They are being greatly impacted, each in different ways. The oldest is emotionally abused and reaching out to boys at school for emotional comfort, the middle is withdrawn from me and angry with me and protective of her father, and the youngest is defiant and determined to have his way. Any information you can point me to, to help them through this is greatly appreciated.

      1. I have the same problem as the person above. The father of my children is emotionally abusing my oldest and defaming my character to both of them. I can’t get into everything because it would take pages and pages. But I’ve started to question giving up custody as they are teenagers and don’t need me as much as they use to. I don’t know what would hurt more.

        1. They need you EVEN MORE as teens and can be emotionally hit harder buy what you ex says and does. Don’t give up on them they need you! Your first jib above all else is to protect them. You can’t do this if you’re not around.

    2. It seems some comments can easily drown as only a limited amount of recent comments are shown. Just posting this to help your comments stay afloat, Mario and Kay.

    3. Forgive him, and forget him, other than than knowing that some people are in your life to show you what NOT to do. I offered my resentment to God, and I had the blessing of being unable to cheat knowing what that would do to my children. It was a gift bigger than fortune. My children respect me, love me, and try to do their best for me. That is only by the grace of God.

      I also had the blessing to eventually walk in my father’s shoes and understand that his cross had been bigger than mine. I was very judgemental of my father, but eventually realized he had more character than I. My father redeemed himself, and I have no doubt he is in heaven thanks to my loving mother.

  3. Mario — you’ve taken the first step in recognizing that you need to be away from your father. A bit of your background would be helpful — for example, how old are you, are you in the same city as your father, are you employed, or whatever other bits of information you feel you could share without losing your anonymity. What character disorder is causing the problem? How old is your father? Without a bit more information, it’s hard to know what would help you, or what advice would be useful. Best wishes from Elva

  4. Dr Simon, this article is very good and I intend to post a link to it at our blog, but I’d like to ask you one question:-

    Sometimes it is possible to ask the courts to grant you a protection order against the person who has been abusing you. Would you construe this as the victim trying to control the abuser’s conduct? Is it the right or good thing for a victim to do? Or is it focusing too much on trying to control the behavior of the character disturbed person?

    1. There are many times when a protection order is not only warranted but necessary. And in those cases, seeking the protection order is not primarily for the purposes of “control,” because, in fact, many abusers violate these orders. Rather, when necessary, it’s just another affirmative step the potential victim can take to not only improve their safety odds, but also to have legal recourse when court-ordered sanctions are violated (as they often are). But even more important than a protective order is a viable safety plan with ample family/community support. Ending an abusive relationship is the most dangerous time for a victim. That’s why the safety plan is so critical and why, in the end, it’s often much more effective than any restraining order.

  5. Excellent article and advice – one suggestion if it isn’t too difficult to change?
    All this rings true for other kind of relationships – friends, other family members, but even employees or more formal relationships. Basically – ANY time you have to tangle with a CD! Thank God I’ve never been married to one but I’ve had to manage or be managed by them in the workplace. And all of these things apply. I’ve had to go through the ‘reputational damage’ issue with employees, when it affects a whole organization and not just one person and their personal life.

    Do you think you could change the title therefore away from ‘Ex’? I know it doesn’t matter for those of us who already visit regularly and read everything anyway. But it would bring in a new audience of desperate people – I’m thinking of people I know struggling, say, with being defamed in a professional context – who might not find it in a search if it’s only tagged this way. And then they won’t discover your books and this blog and get a lot of help!
    (I know most people here are in personal relationships and suffering intensely with that, but I come from having this only in work contexts in the last 20 years – a different kind of hell, maybe not as personally horrific but with different horrors like ‘being responsible’ for keeping this person from damaging many others for whom you have a legal duty of care.)
    Having colleagues in other institutions going through the same thing, they might not find this information in an internet search if it is too exclusively focused on love-relationships. (so-called ‘love’!)

    1. Thanks. And thanks for sharing your thoughts. I might just make the change you suggest, but for a couple of reasons (meta tags, keywords, etc.) I don’t think I’ll do so just yet.

  6. When there are children involved and therefore forced involvement because of father’s “rights”, how do others protect the moral development and esteem of the children? I have already had one order of protection which actually escalated the ex husband and made it worse for my kids.

      1. Michael and Kelly,

        Orders of protection are not handed out mindlessly. There are clear reasons behind having them granted. All parents, good or bad have rights, and they can sure lose a good portion of them by behaving badly. I see it happen frequently, as it should be. It has nothing to do with being a feminist and equality. She’s trying to protect her children from a father who is damaging. And Kelly, it’s hard to protect your kids from a mal intentioned parent. Ongoing counseling would be a start.

        1. Lucy, you must be high. My ex wife had 3 Dv arrests, a felony (terroristici threats) and only the day after the Sherriff’s were looking for her again for more viloent behaviour; she made false allegations about a non-violent occurance 45 days prior, that she already was paid for $20. She file a false tro and served me with less than 3 days before the hearing. She broke the law in every way, but since the judge did not have time to read the case and we were called first, I made the mistake of mentioning that I did not feel I could get a fair hearing on this matter as I was just served. The judge; with his panties in a bunch , threw the book at me. I was the one ordered into ‘battering class’s, and she got a 3-year tro. I have NEVER touched a woman or child in any such way and took pride being a single father raising my older two children from the time they were 4 and 6 till their 20’s. All my children are sweet, considerate, loving and smart kid’s. I am and forever will be so proud of them all. With that being said, I failed to tell you that I am currently awaiting a dual heart/ liver transplant and more at Cedar-Sinai Hospital. I am afraid that I will pass before my children know the ‘real’ truth and the affect all this will have in their adult life’s with their own children.

          The judge was later reprimaned due to the fact he neglected to offer a continuece or time to retain cousel per the court trnascripts I orrdered. Now my narcisstic, vindictive ex and family have completely aliennated our twin’s against me and again she disappeared with our children for over 200 days this time. She has violiated all court orders of visitation, even after being warned several times from the new judge and yet; all you feminist bullshiters, liars and crazy ex’s all pander to the idea that all us good and deserving father’s don’t care and all you same parential alienators have no clue as to the emotional abuse you cause your own child by playing the same games . Every child deserves a father and YOU , by making a child too scared to ask about someone they love makes you a piece of shit. I’m sorry but I am so sick of hearing you whiners. It doesn’t help and nobody cares. Since that day in court, within one week, she sent a nude pic of me to our daughter’s 12-13 yr travel ball team and parents, anonamously, but I had the DA Cyper Forensic expert and AT&T all prove to the court she did this , yet she still says I made it up ,even after one suspect came forward and admitted his role in this.

          I don’t even have the room to share all the other bull crap she has pulled even though this whole time she was having an affair with the guy she claimed to me and our children, was a stalker. Turns out he is more than that because after several background checks showing him having over 52 criminal/ traffic incidents on his young record, even an arrest for 5 counts of child sexual abuse and felony asasult. Yet, I am the one that was beat down by her, my office and work all destroyed all because she went on my computer and saw that a woman friend in another country said she loved me.

          The ex has told the twin’s I have abandoned them, didn’t want them and that I left them for a 16 yr old street whore in Brasil, plus many more lies . This is all from her, her mom, sisters and cousins that all live with them .One bright spot is my daughter, will hear my message from me nightly and would sneak into the bathroom and call me right back. That was until now ,as all phones are now blocked. I could go on, but even I am tired.

          All an all, I am a good and loving father. Don’t get me wrong. I am human and I make mistakes; but I have taken responsiblity for those, even for her affair because I was led to believe it was my fault till I found out later this was going on well before my friend , Ley, confessed her feelings.
          Doesn’t matter though. What she, her family, the courts and judges don’t seem to look at is what is in the best interest of the children. The harm that is being done and has already been done. None of them care, nor are they even qualified to be in Family Court. The first judge in our court matter never practiced Family Law. He was a probate attorney and Real Estate attny and took the position to gain a judgeship position. Regardless, none of it matters and it never ends.

          Anyway, I do apologize. I vented . Lucy, I didn’t mean to target you. I am just so sick of it all. I know my children love me and it hurts that I can’t even defend myself to them . My ex, her family and the courts don’t realize that being pushed out of my twin’s life’s is a whole special kind of hell. Dad’s don’t just love their children every now and then. It’s a love without end. thank you

          1. Robert,
            You surely are right about biases against men, biased judgement the moment a woman files a complaint against man, or parental (mainly father) alienation after getting favourable (mainly biased) custody rights.
            But still, I think you have simply painted with broad brush. Most physical family violence cases against men are true. So, vilest of woman use false violence case as weapon against man. You got one such in your life, but trust me not everyone is like that.

            In my opinion, parental alienation is much bigger and widespread problem. It is an aftereffect of a nasty divorce. There are few people who show maturity with impressionable children, and avoid the temptation of maligning other especially after a nasty court battle.

            PS: You sure made a mistake indicating to judge that you feel judge cannot do justice. One must always say “Yes! Master” in front of judge, and only then try to influence him to see your point of view. Something that is hard to do with finesse. 😉

          2. Robert my son got a divorce from in my mind one of the meanest women who ever walked. Long story short so far she’s failed several drug tests showing marawane cocain herowin calanapin and what not in her system and yet the judge gave 50/50 custody to her she doesn’t live with my grandson she lives 65miles away only comes to her parents house to see him maybe every 2 to 3 weeks for maybe a day or two my grandson is 9 going on ten now he hates staying with her parents would much rather stay with his dad and us as my son is currently living with me I built them a new house on twenty acres of land but I never signed it over to them because of evidence I found out that she was seeing outher men not one mind you but two. I never told my son this never but they got a divorce shortly after the birth of my grandson she dropped the baby off on my wife who was just in disbelief she said to me well I guess you and I have a little boy to raise he needs our help I said it seems that way as his mouther has left him my son decided to stay at our house helping to raise him while he worked after one year she comes back with her parents leading the charge court order in hand constable with her took the little boy from us we went to court for 8 long years only to have the attorneys and judge play the money game to the tune of over 145 thousand dollars that I gave my sons and our attorneys I’m sure God’s prepaired a special place in hell for judges and fucking lawyers! It seems that in our system women can do anything they want and the law won’t do anything to them! My grandson says to me one day pappy I will leave them and I don’t ever want to see them ever again! He was quesstioned by the judge and he told the truth about how his mouther lied about living with him about getting him school clouthing and such !after he told the truth his mouther and grandparents on her side took him home and beat him with a belt for telling the truth if you danail are reading this and have figured out it’s ME [CONTENT DELETED BY THE ADMINISTRATOR] so Robert you’re not the only one putting up with the impossable I’ve been told I don’t have a long time left so I was thinking maybe I can solve this thing the fucking judge wont

          3. While I did not have this entire comment deleted, I must advise you not to post content that is either deliberately inflammatory, generally offensive, or unnecessarily crude or provocative. This blog is widely read and highly regarded for its integrity, which I must protect. So I deleted some content and made some mild modifications of other content. Please be mindful of the nature of the content of your comments in the future.

          4. mike,

            You are absolutely right about “It seems that women can do anything they want and the law won’t do anything to them!”
            … and lawmakers all over the world are not done yet.
            Problem is not as much as law itself. It is the implementation. It is the system. Also, I think most women do not misuse, but that may vary from country to country. Maybe, most women do not use the law when they actually should have. When few of them do use, they tend to go all the way.

            “if you danail are reading this and have figured out it’s ME know this I will shoot you very dead if it happens ever again and the courts can do with me what they want but you will be gone out of his life forever!!”
            It is a rigged boxing match, not a physical one but a mental one. She is allowed hammer etc, whereas you are given a foamed glove, and obviously biased system plays the referee. You have most of your life in front of you, and your son has all his life in front of him. Keep getting your small blows on her, and she will give up once she finds another easy way out. Form a support group, or go solo. If your son already sees her for what she is, then it is just matter of time before he just walks out of her net. Though I will not outright reject your choice of fast settlement, but something like that will be too extreme that is applicable only to rare cases. Trust me that your situation is not very uncommon. I will sooner or later find myself in your situation. People, including kids are lot more resilient than what you think. They follow their basic nature, and need to believe that there is light in the end of tunnel. Give them bit of support and they will pull through.

      2. I think this person is inquiring about just the father of her children, and because she claims he has a character disorder, she believes he is abusing his rights are being abused, hence the scare quotes around “rights” when she describes his access. She’s afraid of that person, and so she sees his rights as “rights” he should not have.

        I think she is implying that the court did not look closely at the father’s history and issues, assigning him access based only on an over-generalized of parental rights, rather than taking into consideration any problems and trying to work within his rights while still protecting the children. In other words, his rights as man with children were in fact awarded, and the mother is asking that the court look closely at the individual situation.

  7. Im going through this now whilst my fiance battles a narcissistic personality exwife in court. Its been an eye opener and one that has left me many times shacking my head in disgust at the lengths some people go to to “get back” at their ex’s. She is your classic type and is even blaming and pulling away from her own children in the process (leaving us with having them 24/7…all teenagers too!) I suspect its because her current boyfriend dosnt want the hassle of having her children stay with them and so instead of taking personal responsibility and saying, I cant have you because BF said no…she is projecting onto them and setting them up and making out that she cant have them because they treat her soooo badly! SHE is the one treating them so abysmally!

    Her son who is 14 displays emotional manipulative attributes similar to her…and its defiantly causing issues at home living with us FT 24/7 without a break. If I had a guess…I would also say he is displaying classic signs of a narcissist personality disorder as well…sigh..

    1. Your life will revolve around that child. He needs specialized help and so much work. I have been going through this with my step daughter for 16 years. I thought she would grow up/out of it. She is 22 now and is a pathological liar, manipulates her father all the time and has created so much drama and chaos for so many years it has become our normal. Her mother is horrendous and her father (my husband) is the abusive person this article speaks of. I told him I was done if he was not prepared to get professional help. Of course he said no..all our problems are my doing in his delusional eyes. So now I have him defaming me to friends and family and all I want is a peaceful parting. He is afraid I am going to out him and his abuse, so he is now working on getting people in our lives to believe I am some sort of lying, crazy, unreasonable person..and ironically, that is what he is. I have a road of yuck ahead. Stay strong and get some counseling from a person that specializes in blended families. Good luck and God Bless you.

    2. Be careful. It usually takes two. I have too many friends who were duped by their partners with a history of victimization by exes, or whatever.

      My very smart, pretty, TV presonality friend married a divorced man, “victim” of his ex and children. She explained her strange choice that she knew “he was a dedicated family man and it wasn’t his fault”. She suffered horribly, and eventually realized he was a sex addict and a fraud.

      He ended up being her “victim” after she left him as well. She always had a nurse Betty personality that wanted to help people, but she was always smarter than most. No one is immune.

  8. My husband and I have had a rocky marriage for years, sometimes worse, sometimes better. The more I would try to be submissive as I had been taught, and as fit my nature as a pleaser, the worse it would get. Over the years, and as the kids got older, and after I went back to work, it gradually improved.
    However, now I have stage 4 cancer. During six months of chemo, he was mostly wonderful. However he was obsessed with trying to control all my appointment cards and then we would get into arguments about dates and times until he finally produced the card only to find what I wrote on my calendar was right. (Kind of weird – one time he was even refusing to let our grown daughter see them when she was trying to arrange to be at some of my appointments and treatments to give him a break because he had been telling everyone how hard it was on him while he had to work, too.) But, most of the time during chemo and immediately after surgery, he was great. Then, like turning off a light switch, he suddenly withdrew all affection from me, still seems to be repulsed at even touching me, moved into the guest room at my surgery and over a year later is still there until “I get well” (remember – stage 4 cancer – that means never) and becomes extremely angry if I try to talk about any of this and if I tell him I am hurt, then I am ungrateful. He is so controlling that he would not even discuss allowing me to go to my brother’s funeral even though the oncologist said OK. He is hostile about my church (or any church for that matter – they are all evil and worldly and “not doing their job” and all ministers are “in it for the money”) and it really bothered him that they kept offering to help. He really seemed to prefer that I make a 100+ mile round trip daily on my own than accept rides from the ladies at my church, but I accepted help from them anyway the second time I had radiation. The first time I tried to do it his way and was getting so sick from the radiation that a childhood friend who lived the clinic intervened and she and her husband told him I was going to stay with them the rest of treatment and amazingly, he backed down instead of fighting.
    I don’t have the emotional or physical resources to handle much more of this. I don’t have the financial resources (income and insurance) to leave. He has tried to convince my doctors and our kids that I am having serious emotional problems. I went to a counselor for a while and she helped me a lot and reassured me that I am not the emotional mess he says I am and that I have legitimate complaints about his behavior.
    Right now, all I see to do is pray, try to focus on the good gifts God has given me, and try to keep the kids out of it. (He lost a lot of credibility recently when he opposed the baptism of our grandson and I rebelled and went to the service. So, if I live long enough…..)

  9. Hi Dr. Simon,

    I married a guy 17 years ago, who I believed to be close to perfect. He was my brothers childhood friend. and everyone had always spoken about him in awe. His character traits (or should I say act) where of someone very calm, levelheaded, humble, responsible, intelligent, high achieving, concerned, caring. Always seem to have glowing reports from work. I myself am quite severely dyslexic with attention deficit although my intelligence is total fine. I am highly sensitive, I think it might be a trait of the dyslexia (one of the symptoms often stated is, strong sense of justice) strange hey? Lately there is some talk that dyslexic is on the opposite side of the spectrum to autism. Anyway, early in our marriage my husband Paul was not meeting my emotional needs. If I were not dyslexic, I would’ve got out then. Unfortunately I was afraid of not coping financially on my own. So because I thought he just didn’t understand, and because he was always on time, and didn’t mess me around. I remained in the marriage. The symptoms I experienced from Paul my husband were. Financial abuse always complaining about how much I spent on groceries, whenever I bought for the house or clothing for us it was always wrong. Going through my cash slips. Interrogating me about them. Never smiling or being happy. Creating a foreboding atmosphere in the house. Where I felt like the naughty child that was going to be punished at anytime. Not looking me in the eyes when he spoke to me, instead looking down the passage behind me, looking at the floor etc. no eye contact. Overriding me when I try to set boundaries for my children. Constantly invalidating me. e.g. when I made a statement, on a topic and telling me I had the wrong end of the stick, or it didn’t quite work like that. Always criticising never complementing. Brutal honesty. Blaming me for everything. Not answering me when I spoke to him. Or his responses to do everything where capricious. Not allowing me to put any structures in place. Treating me with the same amount of affection as distant relatives. Withholding love and affection. Siding with anybody that hurt and then making sure he became closer to them, therefore making me angry with them, then blaming me for not getting on with anyone. Setting up surreptitious scenarios that caused me immense pain and suffering. Telling me when to go to bed, what time to make dinner, what to have for lunch, how to wash the dishes. Finally as I struggled to pull things right, causing me to become very emotionally upset. Then making me out let him a psychological problem. I was actually started to believe it myself at one stage. Turning my once loving family on me at a time when I need really needed there help with his pathological liars telling them I was emotionally unstable, and he was the long-suffering one. Between my father and call contacting my ADHD psychiatrist, with stories that I was emotionally unstable and they feared for my children. Then we even talking about trying to get me institutionalised and all my wife signed over to my husband (I think this is called gaslighting) calling the police on. When I had never so much as haven’t had a speeding ticket. And all along I struggled to get our marriage therapist or my psychologist to believe what was going on. My husband Paul is so manipulative don’t I fear he will turned my own teenage children on me. The last few months have been total torture for me. I have lost over 10 ponds in weight. Believe I have PTSD symptoms just from this traumatic experience.

    There are a few things I’d like to ask, I know we can’t diagnose him from this, to my knowledge he has never been involved in criminal behaviour but apparently started felt fire in Africa as a child. Which had to be put out by the Firefighters however I believe bed the scenarios he has put me up to where sadistic and vindictive. Also premeditated. Do you believe this person to be more narcissistic, or psychopathic? Also we are going into mediation very soon now. Do you think there is any value in insisting that he gets evaluated for a cluster B personality disorder. Just to make the authorities away of the problem I believe these disorders are very difficult to diagnose correctly. And if you believe this could be done. Is that they anybody you know near Charlotte North Carolina who you would recommend for this evaluation. I just want some way to try and guard against the manipulation on going.

    1. A lot of the issues you and some others mention are in my opinion, gender based. He is a man, obviously he is an unhappy man. Your comment of “not meeting my emotional needs” is a red flag. No adult should depend on others to make them “satisfied”. There is a chance that your husband truly believes those things about you and your best bet is to control what you can, yourself. Focusing your energy on your husband allows him to hurt you and manipulate you more.

      My husband went through a horrible time in life and experienced all of those behaviors. I tended to coddle him during difficult times, but after endless cycles of doing so, I stopped. He was monstrous. Although I understand he felt abandoned, the psychological abuse was so bad, I couldn’t be around him anymore. I had a good Catholic mother, and because of her example I tend to endure anything before doing something that might harm my children. I don’t depend on others to make me happy and focused on my own issues and improving myself. This made him angrier, but in the end, he learned to look to God for strengh, and not imperfect people like myself.

      My husband, like most men is an amazing man, and an occasional monster. I try to focus on the good, and quickly forget the bad. Remember that your husband is somebody’s son, he is God’s son.

      I can’t control my husband but I can control myself. I choose to treat my husband as I would want my son to be treated by his future wife. I choose to try and be the spouse I would want my son to have. From my experience in life that is usually how it works, and I don’t want my actions to come back and haunt me in any way.

      Bottom line, focus on improving your own life and your relationship with God. Forgiveness will truly free you from manipulation. Treat everyone around you with love despite their flaws, and everything else will fall into place.

      1. Michelle Pastor, the Bible has many references to how a man should treat a woman and a woman should treat a man. I’m sorry I can’t provide them but I’m pretty sure it does not condone monsters us abuse anywhere. Tolerating abuse is not a sign of self respect or self care. I don’t get the feeling that you truly understand the nature of a covertly manipulative and abusive entanglement or the damage it does.
        If what you are doing works for you that is wonderful but to imply that every person in an abusive relationship should do the same is very narrow sighted.

        1. You are right that only you know your situation. If your husband is ridiculously abusive, you should leave. It is possible that is exactly what he wants. He doesn’t want to be the bad one. Plenty of men and women do that to get out of relationships without going down as the bad one.

          If anyone thinks that being the victim shames their partner into submission, they should understand that it only makes them incredibly vulnerable to an admiring stranger. Being the victim, wether manipulation, or real, is the fastest way to make that happy go lucky lady, ridiculously attractive. My point is simply take control of yourself. Your husband can’t control your happiness.

          Me personally, I would make sure it was understood that I gave it my all for the family that I love. Even if I didn’t love my husband, I would do my best to ensure that my children understood that I would give my life for them. I would be that person pushing my unpleasant partner to leave. Being an emotional mess never works. Just saying.

    2. you cant manage or control narcissism. dont get counseling or therapy, just stop being so narcissistic and arrogant youself, and get the flock out

  10. anyone out there who has dealt with an ex wife with what i would say is manipulative personality disorder and verges on borderline personality disorder? this is time of year is when she cycles toward the worse.. uses my kids as leverage.. all towards the goal of making me mad. i show no emotion via text and email and she avoids in person conflict like the plague. i am readying myself to take her to court over visitation abuse. any help would be appreciated

  11. For the most part try to ignore it. People who want to believe it are not your friends. Your friends know better. Don’t get baited into showing anger and ranting back – they are masters at pushing buttons and making others look crazy.

    In most cases the people who pay any attention to such a person are hardly (if at all) better than the person telling the distortions and lies.

    There is NEVER anything that you could say that will make the “crazy person” say, “You’re right, I’m sorry. I’ll start telling everyone the truth”. These people refuse to “let go” and they are purposefully trying to get to you, and often are seeking pity for themselves as “the victim”. Given enough time and circumstances, others will see them for what they are and your life will hardly be blemished.

  12. Thank you Dr. Simon for writing this article. I find it comforting to know I’m not the only one dealing with a manipulative-narcissistic ex…from 14 years ago mind you. It does take an emotional toll; but, only if I allow it. In your words, I’m going to “drop the anger like a hot potato”. I cannot control him; but, I can take charge of how I deal with it. I choose happiness. I choose to be healthy: mind, body and spirit.
    I have two beautiful and healthy children that need a strong mother to guide them and I’m with a man that loves me and my children unconditionally. I have nothing to fear and so many things to be thankful for.

  13. I would like to know if you have survival strategies in dealing with this person, my current status is separated for some time now, issues serial cheater never intended to be married and monogamous, blames me for all. Scenarios vary from:
    -lying about his funds
    -lying about wanting to spending time w the children (toddler age)
    -plays the martyr in many occasions: I provoked, it was my fault
    -uses manipulation and other methods to lower my self-esteem
    -uses the “i love you” phrase, although it means nothing

    I dont know how to deal with the High’s and low’s and although I have removed myself enough, he still finds a way to take me down.

    At this time I am learning a lot about the disorder and I need to find a way to communicate but not be emotionally engaged as it completely takes a toll on my body.

    1. I think in time you will disengage and the powerful urge to defend yourself against his childish nonsense will dissipate. Learning as much as you can and keeping yourself away from him as much as possible will help you tremendously. Try putting every response in the form of a question and justify nothing to him. Do not get trapped in answering his questions or defending yourself. Don’t allow him to pull you in. Worse case…… Don’t say anything but “I’ll have to think about that”. Practice your pat responses on paper and most importantly out loud so they are readily available when you need them!!

      1. So true and very well said. I think this advise is good to remember to use with any of the CD we may encounter. I will write this down and memorize less I forget and start to be drawn in. Thank you!

    2. Lost Wife, when someone says they love you and you are pretty sure they don’t mean it, ask them what they love about you or what they mean by “love”. I did this once to a soon to be ex-boy friend and he looked like someone who was about to get hit head on me a train. Deer in the headlights.
      I actually did think Spathtard loved me…….sometimes but that is why the whole mess was so confusing and damaging. I doubted myself when I thought he loved me and when I thought he didn’t love me. He loves me, he loves me not. He loves me, he loved me NOT! But I loved him so much in spite of that annoying, nagging feeling that he was so good at quieting. I was addicted to him, no doubt about it.

      1. Puddle, gosh I know those thoughts! ((hugs)) And the doubts. They kept circling and sometimes I thought yes…then others no. There is the huge red flag, questioning love. Yet they play the love card so well. My ex would say all the time that we had a love between us that no one else could possibly understand. Sounds like something out of a movie doesn’t it and I’ll admit my ego liked that I suppose. What a hook, swallowed the bait whole for so many years. I read about the whole addiction and trauma bonding and I always think yes yes yes… it’s all there and yet there is always something else and at the core it was love and family. Family meant so much to me, the whole love, marriage, children building a home and growing old together. So I stayed because that was the dream and that’s all it was a great big illusion that I kept trying to make a reality and couldn’t do it. That’s the biggest hurt giving all your love to someone who didn’t deserve it, who sucked it out of you like a vampire until there is nothing more to give. Then he leaves you like an undead being who has to find life again.

        1. Tori, The bottom line is, if you don’t feel safe you probably aren’t, easy to say now! But in the moment and in the madness that they create, you cling to the boat even though it’s full of holes and quickly filling with water.You are madly bailing while they are drilling more holes and watching you bail.
          It is so completely like an addiction. It doesn’t matter how bad it is for you or how sick you get from doing it, you still want more and you will continue to want more until you hit bottom(discard or depletion). You will continue to try to climb on to the sinking boat right to the point it slips below water.
          {{{{Love and HUGS to all of you!!}}}}

          1. Hi Tori and Puddle,

            They say love is like an addiction. I think it’s as much the other way around. Addictions (for some) are like love. That soothing calm, the oceanic floating feeling of being connected approximates love to some degree. Of course real love can’t be replicated, in a way that doesn’t cause some terrible backlash. It is so important that in all of our dealings with others we remember that we are all striving for this perfect feeling, this bliss, this feeling of being nurtured, cared for, protected and held. We can do that here, through text alone. I am trying to apply this to my dealings with others now. (Auto spell check just changed ‘others’ to ‘otters’. So glad I caught that! LOL.). Those on the forum here are probably a bit ahead of me, in this respect, so am not preaching. I have found that reading Dr.Simon’s articles and absorbing his message and point of view is softening my character, kind of helping to heal me. I am more aware of my character flaws and working to understand them and change…but all gently gently.

          2. LisaO, Dr. Simon is such a good example to us all but I especially appreciate the moderate way he addresses problems. I’m pretty much in awe of it actually! I have a long way to go in that department. I think you have a mix in your approach and it usually seems like a good mix, certainly leaning strongly towards the compassionate, understanding and amazingly perceptive and validating side! You always put my feelings and experience in much better words than I can even find for them. It alway makes me feel so good to read your words and think, YES! Like that!

    3. Lost Wife,

      Going through similar problems as you are, what you can do is have as minimal contact with him as possible. No contact is best. The games will never end. His tactics will not end. The lies won’t end. He will probably get even worse. I, myself have big trouble disengaging because I become furious. No contact or as minimal as possible is the only way I can survive it.

    4. I’m not sure of what your situation is but I’m very familiar with dealing with this kind of phociapath. If you message him text/email always read it again before you send it go off for a few minutes if you have to then come back read it again before you send it. Or I found cutting all ties changing my number blocking all social media sights I personally needed to cut him out of my life whilst I was emotionally involved because I knew I would get caught up in his manipulation and I couldn’t live like that anymore despite how much I loved him or rather the character he pretended to be I hated the nervous paranoid emotional wreck he made me into questioning my own sanity ! I made the mistake of not keeping any evidence he sent so if you do have any keep it. Ask for a harassment order if he’s still contacting you. Regarding the children and contact get a communication book or a diary don’t explain or go in to detail about anything just keep it simple and let him know the things a real concerning father should know I.e dates times hospital appointments. Get a friend or family member to do handover and make it clear that’s all their their for not to pass on messages. If you have to do a handover arrange to do it at a police st get their 10 mins earlier explain to the officer and ask them if they can keep an eye out to what’s going on. Join a gym or fitness class trust me after a few weeks you will gradually get better it’s better then putting anti Ds in your body. The worst thing is trying to explain to someone what our exs are like to someone who’s never experienced dealing with these type of people in fact the more you metion it the more the lies theve made up about you sound realistic. Any conversation you have get in wrighting. He said she said doesn’t count as evidence. I know it hurts like hell now but your greving over someone who never really egsisted he’s waisted so many years don’t let him waste anymore. Never let your guard down as it states theirs no cure so if he says he has you know that’s impossible. Hope this helps anyone who’s dealing with anyone similar

  14. I know Puddle, I think he loved me in the only way he was capable of love, but at least we can truly love. Don’t beat yourself up, I still ask why too, but at least we could walk away and learn. For them and what a waste, they stay stuck forever in toddle time, the eternal victims. I was having a conversation with a nice fellow and he told me about his experience with a woman he wanted further commitment from. Interestingly, he asked her to stare into his eyes for five minutes and tell him what she saw. He said she couldn’t answer him. He said its as though she had no words and was clueless about my request. I said you got your answer, she wasn’t capable. He is glad he moved on.

    1. BTOV…….. I very often can’t find words for what I see and feel and experience. It’s like it’s on some other level that doesn’t translate into words. Sometimes I feel like a baby, like when they get all excited and happy and squeel with delight because they don’t have the words yet to express what they are feeling?
      Sadly, I used to look into his eyes and I’d tell him he had the kindest eyes……….I think I interpreted boyishness for kindness, clearly I had it ALL wrong!!

      1. Oh Lord, Puddle,

        This man was repairing core wounds that went back to infancy, gently coaxed out innocence, wonder, the delight of feeling safe and nurtured. Just a theory, the kindness you saw in his eyes was your own mood reflected back and amplified. It was your own sweetness you saw in his eyes. It’s possible he was mirroring your eye movements, too. The sadist who targeted me did that. It was unusual, extremely bonding. Made him seem super kind close and familiar. I did a google search and found out it’s a hypno-technique. He was intrigued by hypnotism, NLP. Should have been a red flag. But alas…hypnotic techniques can disable our defenses. This was one slick operator. But, as is the way with most of these people, life ends up composting their dreams, their sturdy facades get put through the chipper. And my auto spell check just changed sadist to sawdust– very apt. What life hands them is worse than the death penalty. They are rewarded, in the end, with nothing but themselves and that doesn’t amount to a hill of beans or a little pile of dust.

        1. LisaO! LOL……….yeeeeeeeeees…………sawdust……….chipper……..hmmmmmm…..
          Oh sorry, never mind!! I remember him watching me eat right from the beginning and he would take a bite when I did and then this other ppath I now know is a ppath would predator stare me when I was eating! What the H? I’m telling you he zeroed right in on my inner baby and I’m sure that is what the holding me was all about. I loved in and purred like a kitten. I couldn’t get close enough to him and he never seemed to tire of having e close to him………….ok, now I’m crying. What a genuine prick!

        2. just all so sick LisaO. I feel like such a fool because I really did make an ass out of myself in SO many ways for him! I just couldn’t even begin to list them!!!

          1. You made an ass of yourself, like you didn’t understand what he was so you put up with WAY too much? Of course, when someone is ‘mending wounds’ by tearing them apart and crapping in them, it’s profoundly confusing. We’re not acting like asses, we are just being human and exposing all of our vulnerabilities in the process. I feel I have to write a work of fiction based loosely on my experience just to convey the absolute horror of being targeted by someone who is highly emotionally sadistic and very stealthy. Truly, people can’t get it unless they experience it. The P stalked forums looking for women undergoing psychotherapy for trauma, professing a strong desire to help! He was a lay expert in the area of PTSD. When he found out my childhood injuries revolved around fear of being abandoned and feeling I didn’t exist, he started to control me by going silent. Think you feel like an idiot? Why would anybody even speak to anybody who did that to them, out of the blue?

            I really hope he was after my husband’s money, as that at least makes sense. It’s immoral and awful, but it’s something within the realm of understanding. The other — that he did it for fun, testing his skills at hypnosis and NLP on me, at the same time, is beyond my comprehension. That kind of sustained cruelty…I just don’t get and I am glad I don’t.

          2. I made an ass out of myself trying to keep my new found favorite drug in my system. It’s hard to say exactly what was happening and when it started for me.
            I hear you on the “after your husbands money part”. If it were that, you could walk away any say,?what an ass and a jerk but there is no clear ending to this type LisaO because it’s so alien and bizarre. Like I told you, a psychopath is summed up like this, someone who delights in doing harm and I might add, pulling one over in the process. Harming animals, setting fires, calling in bomb threats, lording their self entitled power over others. But here’s the “funny” thing, without someone or something to control or harm they are powerless. Spathtard was a weak willed, ineffectual hack!! He said a very interesting thing to me one time towards the end, a “tell” I’m sure now. He said ” I don’t think you feel in control unless things are out of control”. I remember at the time thinking, WHAT? Who are we talking about? Granted, I do list towards being a person who needs to feel like I’m in control but that is mostly out of necessity because of my mental processing issues and the need for order. But what he was saying had nothing to do with that!
            A really good quote along those lines is “Power over others is only weakness disguised as strength”.
            I am almost certain that there is a huge tie in with these types and the whole mother issue. I’ve heard and seen time and time and time again, some variation on the messed up mother/ son dynamic. I’m not saying it is THE only piece of the puzzle but I fo believe it’s a strong component.

          3. I apologize for jumping in between. Never call yourself an ass for having loved. To love in the form you loved spath is a beautiful trait. I believe there is a mother connection and a very big one too. Just don’t have time right now to go into it.

          4. I hear you BTOV, and I do see that the reason I made an ass of myself was due to conditions that he created. Under normal conditions I do lean towards the insecure side but usually know and am able to put my foot down and say no, enough, f’off etc. I actually did in the beginning with Spathtard. He was able to do, as LisaO says, an end run around my normal defenses.
            All I can say now is at least he’s good at something!

          5. Puddle, I don’t think you should ever call yourself an “Ass.” I need to think about this today, if some of you other ladies could help to find a better word for “Ass.” I think it is to demeaning. You loved and were honest, you would have given anything of yourself to make your relationship work, that is not an “Ass.”. For now have a wonderful and blessed day.

          6. BTOV, I see what you are saying and maybe the word “ass” isn’t the right choice but I don’t know what would be. Knowing what I know now, i don’t feel as much shame over it as I initially did, that is true.

          7. Puddle, The word “Ass” is a degrading term to describe oneself after the hell we went through. You were a companionate person who gave freely of yourself. Yes in so many instances we used poor judgment and did many things and to much to and used many wrong ways in order to try to preserve and cope, in the relationship that does not make you and “Ass.” If you were an “Ass” you would not be here sharing your story and reaching out. We will find a more appropriate word which will benefit us all. Regardless of everything, I was not an “Ass.” Other adjectives yes, but not that.

          8. Just to be clear, I’m not saying I AM an ass, but that I made an ass out of myself for him. It’s true. I think back and my stomach turns over all the things I said and did for that idiot. I feel like I made an ass out of myself and that doesn’t mean I AM an ass. The situation evoked assish behaviors and choices from me! The good news is that now that I’m away from his manipulative games, I’m no longer acting like an ass but he still IS an ass and always will be!! LOL!

          9. Let me tell you, I’ve made an ass out myself in other situations, all around drinking. Acting the fool, no control, dishonoring myself. You weren’t there and I was and I do know when I make an ass out of myself. It’s ok, I’m not offended by it now, I see it for what it was. I’ve acted like an idiot at times which doesn’t mean I’m an idiot. Semantics.

          10. AND, I don’t feel like I acted like an ass for loving him. It’s other behaviors, things I did and said trying to “keep him” when clearly he was in covert discard mode.

          11. Puddle, I agree he was the ass, you, maybe foolish. I say this in respect to this: I loved mine in the way the way I loved my children, I would do almost anything for them, were they always good choices, yes and no, were they poor, sometimes, was I full of love and humanity, yes, and at times to much. For having loved to much call myself an “ass” never. As I look back I was used in so many ways I had no conception of at the time, so very naïve and innocent in my thinking. I can look back and think what a fool I was, but I don’t. I know that I was sincere and genuine in my thoughts, words, deeds, feelings and trust. He was the liar to himself and to me. I look at it in what can I take from this experience and be the best I can be. Grow, Grow, Grow, and look back that I have made it through the worst years of my life and now these will be the best years of my life. I hope that I may find someone to share these years with, but if I don’t that’s OK too, because I feel comfortable in my skin so to speak. This is just my feelings on this. Being who you are blessings (good things)will come your way.

          12. It’s ok BTOV, we were the innocents. They were the perpetrators.
            I can’t say I WAS an ass or that I WAS a fool but I acted like an ass because that’s what he orchestrated. They love to bring you down to their low level but it’s only temporary and once we recover we spring back while they stay mired in their own filth.
            In my own way, I grovled before him and that was foolish but not in light of the covert mind and heart screwing he was in the process of pulling off. I was like a tire that he had let the air out of but still trying to move the car. It makes me sad because I know where I was coming from 100%. No tricks, no fakery just clueless that any human being would ever be such a pretender and empty fake.
            Let’s not get caught up in this BTOV. I think we are on the same page and most importantly,,,,,, I’m not saying anyone IS an ass. Not me, certainly not you, it’s them.

          13. Puddle, I don’t think we are getting caught up in this. The more one says here the more validating, and those very tiny things that were overlooked then come to light. I was so clueless too. Where it became more obvious, when I knew something was very wrong is when he and would say blatantly started to define reality. He honestly was that arrogant and thought I was that malleable and stupid. I am the crazy you know. I know what happened, so I sat back and listened and watched. One other thing I did was tape record the conversation and played it for some real competent individuals. Now I had a better idea that it wasn’t all me. When I didn’t react in the fashion set forth Boy O Boy was the heat on. I have learned a lot from this exchange, Thank you

          14. BTOV, you are right, each exchange does teach me something no matter what the subject seems to be about. It stirs memories and new reflection reveals another layer. By “not getting caught up in it” I only meant the “ass” part because I knew what I meant and I felt like we were not on the same page in some way. I appreciate your input BTOV and you really do have some good ideas and food for thought. You seem to really grasp this.

          15. BTOV, you said…….
            “Where it became more obvious, when I knew something was very wrong is when he and would say blatantly started to define reality.”

            Spathtard did this right from the get go but I didn’t understand what was going on. I would turn myself inside out trying to say what I had said more clearly so he didn’t misunderstand ( so I thought ).
            Again, once the curtain was pulled back and he threw his mask on the floor during the discard, I figured out that he knew what I meant all along but was toying with me and undermining my strength (in so many ways).

          16. Puddle, First I would like to say I respect everyone’s right to disagree, but a good dialog of good banter can open doors of understanding. Especially, sometimes when one doesn’t get it it may be the 20th response and “Bingo” the light goes on. Yes, now I know he was doing it from the start in very wee increments. Many of the things very good ideas and ways to do things, ways to avoid mistakes and errors, but that is how one learns many times by trial and error. His intentions at times were caring but the more he did it it was to transform me into the perfect Stepford wife. In the end it wasn’t even covert which it was for years and many times I believe in the beginning it was even intentional though it is still hard to believe. I don’t think everything was at first but then there were times for a brief moment that will haunt me forever. It was only for a second, it was like the smug devil of Satan himself. Then times there was a caringness to it that I believe was real. His learned way of survival to get needs met starting as a very young child. There is so much that can be said but in the end the mutation of pathology became more sadistic in nature. Still looking to fill that inner void and I am sure the haunting voices of unfulfilled validation from both parents. Very sad indeed, but still a choice to become and take the road of the CD manipulator instead to mature and act like a man. This may sound very odd, I had absolutely no idea what he was doing. It all took place very subtilely over a long period of time. During all this I had no idea of what I was dealing with, and as time passed it got worse. He doesn’t fit into Spaths Mo but at the same time is as sick and twisted, the term best suited is demented. How warped can a mind be to sit and plot. Its so sad so many people have lost their way. My strength comes from my faith. See where this conversation went. I surprised myself I said so much. Blessings

          17. Puddle, The reason you had to keep turning yourself inside out hoping he would understand is or at least I feel in my case, they can hear us, but its not what they want to hear. If its not their idea, or they didn’t think of it first or its not in their words its no good and yes, the jealousy. Then, too, in many things they just don’t get it because their brain can’t comprehend in some instance’s and then there is selfishness and envy which all play a part. The deadly sins, that is why and its hard to understand and at times admit, but oh so evil. Because in their end game it is meant to conquer and destroy. The justice in it all is, they destroy their selves, and if we haven’t found our true selves and potential, now we have the opportunity too. I know and have run into so many people with this sickness, that is what is truly scary but then, its the sign of the times we are in.

  15. Yes, I know what you are saying, those beautiful blue eyes, but now know there was something missing. Perhaps you are relating to your inner child and relating on that level. It’s hard to believe the CD is emotionally stuck in emotional infancy. Your inner child is healthy and perhaps finally even though an adult enjoying some of those feelings you were never able to express. Its not essay when it applies to your personal experience. As an outsider it is easy to see the retardation in the CD’s development of emotional development , emotionally stuck in infancy. I guess we were treating them in a way like we would love our child and want to see them happy. Does that make sense. I know all of this is such a shock. I guess its the same type of shock they would experience if they could get out of toddle time long enough to honesty look at themselves and act like an adult. And, I do believe it is possible, they just don’t want to. At least we have the courage to keep doing the work to be the best we can be and humbly admit our shortcomings and act like decent grownups. Its hard work isn’t it. I think too, there is so much here to consider, digest and absorb. You have the capacity for deep understanding and insight, look what you have learned form your experience with the CD. Never put yourself down, I have learned a lot from your posts. Lots of thoughts to digest. Did Spath have any words when he looked into your eyes?
    I think perhaps you had it right just not the right person. I understand your experience, sorrow and loss. Thank you for your posts and blessings.

    1. Aw, BTOV, Thank you for you kind words, thoughts, understanding and validation. It was so weird with him………….sometime I felt like I was with a MAN, like a father figure in a way. Other times like a boy, now i see that. I think I was just so thoroughly confused on all levels and I did and said all the wrong things across the board. I do believe they excel in putting you in a position to fail. They LOVE to bring you down to their level.
      Just all so confusing still…….
      But, yes…..he would look me in the eyes and say he loved me but it never FELT right. I can’t explain how complicated it all was, how real I thought it was but at the same time how precarious it all felt but it was all moving so fast and in different directions up and down and sideways. He did tell me things BTOV but I don’t think any of it was real. He would tell me things and cry but I don’t know what to think of any of that, you know?
      Many blessings to you BTOV!

    2. I can still see him as a MAN and as a toddler…..I think I loved the combination of energy, just not the side affects. On 180 (another site) they had a picture of this young boy statute throwing a temper tantrum and OMG……..it looked just like him to me.
      During one of the big final break up meltdowns, I fired that off to him and told him F’off…..Mommy will kiss and make better. this was after a particularly cold and callous f’you fest that he bestowed on me over some ridiculous made up atrocity I had inadvertently committed…….gas-lighting extrodinare.

    3. Btov, you got it. It is hard work to work on ourselves! Something the CD are unable to do, apparently. Or unwilling? I think Dr. Simon would say they are unwilling without the right incentives? What do you think?

      1. LisaO you and Puddle made some very interesting points. And, Puddle I can totally understand what you are saying, it is hard to put into words, I think because it is so abnormal an confusing. All this touches the inside of your being and soul to depths not many understand unless they have been there and then too many others don’t want to do the work and find answers. Let me think on this for awhile. If I forget remind me to come back here. I think the more I understand be it however crazy it helps me to make peace and hopefully, never fall for another ruse of the CD. Acceptance of our loss and through our tears and agonizing pain we grow to new heights that we may never had reached, had we not experienced this.

    4. Hi Puddle, I found the post, It the one where I begin, First I would like to say: Its about the third one up.

    5. Puddle, The post I couldn’t find is the one 3 up from this one. Just wondering if you had anything to add, or comment on in regards to your situation. Thanks.

      1. BTOV, hi! I actually re-found these post sometim yesterday(?) but didn’t have time to post on them then something else came up, etc. I’m going to copy and paste them to myself to read thoroughly and will comment. Sorry it’s taking me so long 🙁

        1. BTOV, I read both posts and your experience sounds text book, no? I used to find it sad too but not anymore because like you said, they CHOOSE the dark path and delight in being on it to cause destruction to those they envy and despise. This is the thing that seperates my brother, at least in this one way…… To the best of my knowledge he does not seek out to intentionally harm others. He has a twisted and warped way of thinking and behaving a lot of the the time and is beyond manipulative but different.

          1. BTOV,LisaO, Tori. Et al! I’m loosing travck of posts I’m afraid. I just wish you all well and just can’t keep up with replies. (((((( Huge Hugs to all! )))))

  16. Btov, Puddle, I managed to get through this and not become embittered. Neither of you have either, nor apparently most who arrive here. That’s the trick, to not change for the worse, to retain and try to nurture the inner child who entered center stage through this drama. We don’t want those damaged little tykes, formerly known as ‘us’ to make an occasional cameo appearance in our lives. We want to invite them to stay and play and keep us from getting brittle, bent. The degree to which we have access to that spontaneity, joy and innocence is the degree to which we can be hurt. We have retained something very precious. Let’s never let it go!

  17. Oh girls, reading all your posts I can identify with so much and the making of an ass of myself though as BTOV says not an ass just loving too much! Reading all this about the confusion of their round about ways of talking, looking at you and the strange things they say. I have had the craziest of days. First I had to contact my ex about a call I shouldn’t have got…won’t go into details but I was not impressed…then he called back…well the rational talk took me completely off guard. It reminded me all too well of how he could be, apparently suddenly all is well and I should forget about how he’s treated me because that’s not really him, he’s been in a mess! OMG!! “Danger Will Robinson…Danger!!!” It turns out as I think on it a prediction I made has once more come about…legals over there is only one avenue left…so he’s after child access!
    So now I feel like…well I don’t know right now because I feel just a tad vulnerable so yeah silly me engaged more than I should have.
    Just lately I really felt like how or would I ever have another person in my life…nothing serious of course just these thoughts I have in the alone times as we do…What happens?? Suddenly a man appears…well not suddenly I have spoken to him a number of times but not with any intentions but today he’s so talkative and helpful to the point where I thought Oh interesting!! I thought he seemed like a nice clean cut fellow and then he tells me about his life…the red flag was not a flag it was a huge red blanket!!! Waving in front of me not unlike the story my ex told me when I met him! ARGH! So there I am nodding making the sympathy noises while inside my thoughts are… NO NO NO not even going there!
    Don’t know why I am sharing this but I thought are these characters everywhere and why me! Obviously, I have a little more work to do on myself this single world is still too hard to navigate!

      1. Tori, Thanks for sharing. I know how you feel, am I now going to be alone the rest of my life, I ask this question too. With your X watch out, be very careful, remember they are Jeckyl and Hyde’s and will try to reel us in with their false self long enough to knock us off guard to get what they want. The other man, and remember we are all broken, did he do the work to correct his character flaws. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life and would not want to be judged for them. I am very changed from all my life experiences. I wished I were who I am now at 20. I know what I could had done with my life and I could have gone a long way. But that is history now, so what can I do with my life now to make this a better world. Question, does that mans actions indicate he has changed from what he tells you about his past? Watch him very closely for – “tells” what are his priorities and what is his life walk now? As Dr. Simon says “Its all about character.” If you don’t see it Puddle is right “Run like hell.” This is and I repeat a tactic so to speak to get a CD to not want to be around me, I just start to talk about God or play religious tapes. I find it doesn’t get them angry I rejected them, its more about them in their own world they think they rejected me. Then they nicely go on their way. I’m sorry I am laughing now. To have to think of all these insane things to deal with another person, what insanity, but then it is what it is.
        Tori, what is nice about here is you can open up and get real good input, take it or leave it, good support and a life jacket too, so its good that you have a place to speak your mind before losing your heart. And yes, these characters seem to be everywhere. Hugs and blessings.

        1. Thanks BTOV for your balanced view on this new guy. I know at this time in my life anyone who comes into it will have their share of baggage and scars. Although I have to say it was that kind of thinking that got me involved with my ex…allbeit I wasn’t armed with the knowledge I have now and the love bombing was intense. This is quite different and I am thinking he’s a little lonely himself and thought he might be more engaging and see what happens. Although he probably should have thought it out more me thinks! It’s funny he’s not at all the type I would go for really and that’s what everyone has told me go for the opposite and yet…yeah he could well be a victim himself but boy oh boy would I take that chance…don’t think so! We all know these CD’s have a radar that says… bingo there’s one, a vulnerable, nice person. So I’ve got that in mind too! It’s just sort of weird that on a day I was thinking about whether or not I’d be alone for the rest of my life…my ex wants to be friends again and this guy is just there! Now if I was a an new agey I’d be thinking what is the universe telling me right now! Ha ha! Probably RUN AWAY and keep doing your own thing! I won’t judge this fellow too harshly but I think keeping him at arms length is probably the best bet. I feel this little episode along with not being able to revisit my old town is one that says I am in no way ready to go down that road yet. Hugs to you all for your supports and blessings. xx

          1. Tori, I think Puddle answered you correctly, your just not ready, I have had the same experience and that is indication to back off and heal some more. I would put as much distance between the X and you as possible. I want to dream and believe its not what it is. Trust your gut and I think these gals here have some astute insight for us that we cant see ourselves. Just as we are able to be their eyes and senses of experience too. The other fellow, might be a nice guy but doesn’t have the gained knowledge that you have and is somewhat clumsy so to speak. Be true to yourself and be above all “you”. I would keep a physical boundary and other boundaries well defined for quite some time. If he’s any good, he’ll wait around and if not, so what, you have you and your integrity and lost nothing, not even time, it will have made you all the wiser. Take care and blessings

  18. Thank you all! I just finished the book – Characters and did I have the biggest Aha moment. For the last 7 years I have been confronted with all of the tricks and manipulations described. It wasn’t until last year when things became physical that I thought something was wrong. The cheating, the lying, hiding, making excuses for not spending time together. Oh’ the excuses of why he wouldn’t share his bank account. The book is amazing at describing what they do, I would like to know how to deal with them. I will need to arm myself with more ammunition and we will be in this for the long haul.

    Custody battles
    financial decisions
    split of the marriage

    blah blah

    1. Hi Lost Wife, and welcome. I hope you read all Dir.’s books and if you can, start reading all the posts on this blogs. You will also find many people refer to other reading material that is germane to your situation. If not ask, and I’m sure someone will try to give some good input. As far as the divorce be very careful and I hope he doesn’t read your entries on the net. Property division depends on how long you were married and in what state. Do not let him know or confront him with anything if you are planning on leaving.

      1. Thank you! We already filed and he moved away…. Thank God! I however think that I should have planned my move in secret, I didn’t know he was a Narc and have learned the hard way of who he is. Since I don’t fall for his falseness anymore he punishes me and the kid. I couldn’t understand why someone would do that, I thought it was he was mad to loose me (ha) and his anger towards me was because he loves too much (although he cheated the whole time). Now I know that he was just trying to manipulate me to back down, crazy to look at it this way. Manipulation by cheating and financial strangulation. We are now in the divorce and things are worse, hence my comment about planning. For all women who plan to divorce a narc, I would say – don’t do it until you have at least a year of savings and money for a lawyer. Be methodical and precise otherwise he will do everything in his power to outsmart you.

  19. Yes, that is true. But there are still ways not to react and try to save on your end. I feel for you, I have been there and its not over. On the run now, hope you keep posting, everyone is very supportive and have a tremendous amount of knowledge they will willingly share. This truly is a safe place here with Dr. Simons oversight.

  20. Great article. The most difficult thing for me is that my vindictive narcissisic ex husband has convinced my step children and their mother that I am crazy and too unstable for them to have contact with me. I finally got brave enough to divorce him when I became sick of him not working, spending all the money I made on himself instead of bills, and cheating. He would say I was crazy everytime I tried to talk about these issues. And when I filed for divorce he started his smear campaign to anyone who would listen that I was a crazy until a year passed before our divorce was finalized. As a result of his lies the step daughters that I love will not speak to me. It is heartbreaking but I know I have to let them go, although I hope that one day they will remember that I was never the person he portrayed me to be and contact me. So I will respect their feelings and move forward with my life.

    1. That kind of thing’s always saddening(except to those, who aren’t “human”). Your post conveys how strong you’ve managed to find the way to handle it, though, which is great!

  21. How to start? I am the spouse of a man who’s ex you have perfectly described: “…these personality types don’t take the notion of “losing” very easily. For narcissists, it’s too big an insult to their monumental and pathological pride to think that someone they viewed as not only their possession but also their “extension” has claimed their own life. And for the aggressive personalities, the thought of someone else “winning” and therefore sabotaging their endless quest for domination is simply abhorrent. So when you leave one of these impaired characters, you can almost always expect that there will be some kind of hell to pay.”
    Pay we have. She is an organizer for a Divorce Separated Support Group in Raleigh and thinks we don’t know about the lies she posts there, or she just doesn’t care. The worst part is that she is also alienating his adult children with her vitriol. So frustrating!

  22. I read these stories and finally I feel like I’m not alone anymore. I’ve been split from my ex for the last 9 years, had 2 kids by him and in the process have re-married a wonderful man that loves my 2 kids and we share another child. I still sometimes think – that maybe it was me – maybe it was my fault. The lies from the very beginning about owning property, having money, etc. Then finding out it was all a lie, the cheating, verbal and mental abuse. When I had just had our first child – we were evicted out of our property as he had not been paying rent – when I went to look for him at work – they informed me he hadn’t worked there for months. It all just carried on and on until I said – enough. The poor women after me also went through the same – ended up in hospital, but he told everyone it was her. Had another 2 kids with her as well. I’m constantly fighting with him – we share custody over the kids. So he’s constantly there and I can’t get rid of him. I feel like his dragging my whole life down. Now he’s moved in with another women and my first instinct is to tell her to be careful – I just don’t know. I don’t know how to deal with him – it’s like he honestly believes his own lies. How do I deal with him – how do I protect my kids from him – as he’s constantly lying to them as well.

    1. Lilly,

      I’d try to find a good family therapist because these are family issues now, with you and the kids being involved.
      If he is affecting the kids’ emotional health and well being you could possibly have his visitation changed to supervised visitation, but of course that takes lots of money, effort, time and many times you come out losing anyway. I think counseling would be a good start. You will all have tools on how to heal with the jerk.
      As far as the new wife, that’s not your problem. You’ve got enough of your own stuff to deal with. And she’ll stick up for him, resent you, then they will both take it out on your kids during visitation. I would not touch that one. Poor girl.

  23. Just kick the wife out of your life if she don’t care respect you any more trying to become dominant when u see she is making you slave just get rid of her soon.

  24. I just came across this recently when a friend forwarded me a post written by my boyfriend
    who happened to mention me on social media with a link to this site. He is claiming I am character-disordered and abusive and creating a huge sob story about good and noble he is and how strong he is “having to be in the face of adversity.” Considering we are living together and were not fighting or unhappy to my knowledge I found this very surprising and upsetting. All of our mutual friends and coworker’s and my employer saw it. And people that didy know me very well or at all talked behind him and he embellished to them even further with lie after lie. I was shocked needless to say and at first questioned myself and my behaviors to be sure there was not any truth in his statements. There is not. Finding this site was just what I needed though because it didn’t take long for me to realize thy all of the things he claimed I did to him were actually things HE did to me! I am blown away reading through this site because I can identify with so much of it. I always kind of suspected he was narcissistic but never realized until now how manipulative he really is. When we do argue, everything is always my fault and generally everything is all about him and his needs. He is a very unemotional person unless he is angry or trying to “win” people over with kindness. most people saw through his post that knew me at all and some even defended my honor but it was amazing seeing how someone like that would try to use such a helpful tool to paint an ugly picture of someone else publicly! I’ve could never imagine defaming him on his social media despite how I feel about his behavior toward me! It certainly was eye-opening to his real character.’Regardless thank you for having this site. It is giving me peace of mind to read it as I move forward and is a great resource for people

  25. I constantly get blamed for everyone’s problems, my ex husband and I broke up 8 years ago, we went though a lot he had a rare illness, I took care of him, his family was anything but helpful. The whole situation was awful for everyone. He dumped me and moved on with in weeks. He’s now remarried and I contacted him to tell him about our shared 14 year old dog having to o be put down.He immediatley brought up every wrong thing I’d ever said or did, blamed the whole demise of the marriage on me. I ruined everything, the business, etc. I kept telling him we all made mistakes him me, his family friends. It’s not solely my fault. All he did was attack me and brought up shit that happened 10 years ago. I never fought with him in court about anything, I actually walked away with very little. I moved away and started over as it was hard watching him move on so quick and has said I was just running from my problems and everyone knows it’s my fault. How can someone that says they are happy and moved on still harbour such hate for me. I thought after all this time we could have a conversation see how each other doing in life. I’m hurt and it sounds like he’s still sitting around bashing me.

    1. J
      So you have close ones blaming you for everything? How does it feel to have such power that you can control one’s life? (sarcasm) Don’t ever believe you are the cause of everyone’s problems.
      It sounds like to me you have moved on nicely. We have to reach a point where we believe in ourselves and not listen to other’s critical judgments about how we live our life.
      Xs tend to harbor hate. I’m trying to divorce, going through litigation hell, and my STBX hates me. He’s the one that’s done a tremendous amount of financial and emotional damage, yet he for some reason blames me. I don’t care what he says. I know who I am and what I’ve done. His words are meaningless to me.
      Aren’t you glad you cut contact with the X for so long? See what happens when you think they are “normal” and try to have a conversation. Geez. Same ole same ole. I’m sorry you feel hurt. Somehow, I’m no longer hurt by those words – because I know what a creep’s mouth they come from. Don’t doubt yourself because of his tongue. Believe who you are. His words are nothing. You hang in there J.

  26. My dear friends I swear with my life and God knows this testimony is a reality testimony because i can not deceive or lie to you guys because you are humans like me and because of this i am giving me testimony on how high priest tokubo have brought a smile into my life so that you also can be helped by high priest tokubo like the way he have helped me because this is the most wonderful thing i have ever experience and i need to share this great testimony..I visited a forum here on the internet on the 8TH October 2016, And i saw a marvelous testimony of this powerful and great spell caster called High priest tokubo on the forum..I never believed it, because i never heard nor learnt anything about magic before.. No body would have been able to convince me about magical spells, not until High priest tokubo did a marvelous work for me and restored my marriage of 6 years back to me and brought my spouse back to me within two days just as i read on the internet..i was truly flabbergasted and shocked when my wife kneel down begging for forgiveness and for me to accept her back.. I am really short of words and joy, and i don’t know how much to convey my appreciation to you High priest tokubo you are a God sent to me and my entire family.. And now i am a joyful man once again..contact him now on.[ highpristtokubo@ gmail com ]

  27. My husband left me for another woman three months ago and ever since then my life have been filled with pains sorrow and heart break because he was my first love whom i have spent my entire life with. A friend of mine told me he saw some testimonies of a spell caster called Prophet Lucky that he can bring back lover within some few days, i laugh it out and said i am not interested but because of the love my friend had for me, she consulted the great priest on my behalf and to my greatest surprise after 2 days my husband called me for the very first time after three months that he is missing me and that he is so sorry for every thing he made me went through.He came back to me and now we are happy together. I still can’t believe it, because it highly unbelievable. Thank you Prophet Lucky for bringing back my lover and also to my lovely friend who interceded on my behalf, for any one who might need the help of this great priest here is the email address: luckyspelltemple @gmail. com or His Website: https://luckyspelltemple.wordpress.com

  28. I ordered a love spells from dr.mac@yahoo. com because my man was acting like he didn’t want to be with me anymore and spending less time with me, this led to broke up and i ask Dr.Mack to make my Man love me again which he did and in the next 24hours after the service of Dr.mack, my man came to my house to beg for forgiveness and ask me to accept him back. “Everything happened so fast.

  29. I live in india and have bern through the hell caused by a psycho girl. She managed to defame me to the last extent. And even tried hurting my relatives.
    Its becoming really difficult to hold my ground up and decide what to do.

    1. Rafi,
      Just take a right and just position, and hold your ground. Rest will fall in place around you, and she obviously will vanish well before it ends.
      It will help to breath-in and breath-out exercise few million times, preferably at slower meditation rate.

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