Am I in a Destructive Relationship?


I will use masculine pronouns for the destructive partner the sake of simplicity, though destructive partners are often female.

There are a number of MO’s a narcissistic or socio/psychopathic partner employ in a destructive relationship, as a response to your needs, complaints, or issues in the relationship.  One is that you are kept off balance.  You may be feeling desperate and alone a lot in the relationship because your partner has become more distant, disengaged, angry, and rejecting (sexually and/or emotionally).  Perhaps he has even become abusive.  But, if you complain too much or bring up suspicious behavior, you may find he has turned back into the lovestruck partner who wooed you in the beginning, being attentive, engaged, “making love” to you, or giving you gifts.  This makes you wonder if you were wrong about him distancing, or your suspicions.  You begin to doubt your perception as any trusting partner would, and become confused.  He is counting on your trusting nature to do just that.

Another MO of the destructive partner is to never take responsibility for a relationship issue.  If there is a conflict, or you bring up a need or complaint, or question a suspicious behavior, he may use escalated anger to stop the conversation, or turn the problem around to something you have done wrong, or say you are being “needy, paranoid, crazy.”  He may dismiss what you have to say as ridiculous, stonewall with silence, or walk away.  He will never admit wrong or have remorse for a behavior that has caused you hurt.  His blaming behavior may cause you to examine yourself, wonder what is wrong with you.  This is because you are willing to take responsibility in the relationship, as a responsible partner would, and he is counting on this.

Another MO of the destructive partner is to act like a victim.  He may complain you are being too demanding or harsh, and you may feel guilty, because he appears to be so wounded by what you just brought up.  You might feel compassion for the “wounded boy” that you can sense in that moment, because you know he has come from an abusive or sad childhood.  You never wanted to be another person who abandoned or hurt him.  On the contrary, you wanted to be the one person who really loved him, hoping your love could help heal his wounds.  In a healthy relationship, safety and compassion does reciprocally help heal childhood wounds.  But, this can’t happen with a person who is not really present.  He is actually emotionally disconnected from his childhood wounds, and has created a false self, or facade.  He can’t reciprocate, and he is counting on your compassion to keep him as the victim and you as the guilty party.

Another MO of the destructive partner is to create (consciously or not) the illusion that he is experiencing the relationship in the same way that you are.  During the beginning romantic phase of the relationship, during sex or fun times, being parents together, you felt emotional connection with your partner that has deepened over time.  When there were no emotional demands, and nothing was threatening his false self and sense of control, he may have felt attachment or even brief spurts of empathy.  Remember, narcissists and socio/psychopaths by definition lack true empathy.  [They are, however, able to fake empathy and emotions!]  The work of a committed relationship – the demand for emotional intimacy – would always be threatening to their false self and sense of control (and deep down they know they are incapable of it).  Empathy and compassion is what causes you to act lovingly, to consider his needs and emotions before yours even when it’s hard, and to do everything in your power to make the connection right.  This he cannot do.  So, when you think he feels love like you do, what he actually feels is a sense of control or power, or attachment to domestic or financial security, looking good, or a cover.  Unfortunately, this is not love.  But, he is counting on you to think it is.

As the destructiveness of your relationship becomes apparent to you, it is hard to wrap your head around what has happened.  You can’t fathom that your partner was not who you thought he was all this time. This person who supposedly has loved you has hurt you more than anyone else ever has.  He has felt comfortable hurting or taking advantage of you, lying and deceiving you for perhaps many years – many years that now seem to have gone up in smoke.  Many years that you believed you were investing your love in a life together.  Perhaps his greatest deceit of all was to encourage you to believe that you were loved.

A person is not one’s potential, words, nor image.  A person is what they do.

Love is not its potential, words, nor feelings.  Love is action.

To get better clarity for yourself or your therapist about whether you’ve been in a destructive relationship, you may open and download the questionnaire from our Resources page.


Comments ( 152 )
  • Jewel says:

    I don’t know where to start. I have been in a relationship with a narcissistic for 3 years. It has been an emotional roller coaster. He left me 8 times in a year. I am so glad that I can tell someone here what has happened. I started avoiding friends because if I told people about him leaving they would tell me that I was crazy to stay with him. I know that I have been but it is like he has had some sort of control over me. I am a well educated people that have never understood why women stay with men that beat on then but yet, here I am now, with a man that has lied to me and has made me feel I am going crazy. I think one of my friends began to believe him. He would call her pretending to love me and say, “I wanted to talk to you about Jewel. I’m really worried about her and wonder if you have seen the same things. I love her but she seems to be getting paranoid. I don’t know if it is hormones or what?” And of course he will sniff a couple of times to pretend he was getting emotional. I had a friend tell me, “He is crazy about you. He loves you so much.” So do you dare think I would tell her what is going on? She would not believe me. I can always tell when he is about to discard. He lies about so many things and with so much detail that he seems so believable. I found an email that he wrote to another woman saying that he stays with me because I am unstable, have bi polar and is feels sorry for me and is concerned at what I would do if he left. I am not bi polar but he wins her over as someone that is very caring. He is very good at transference. When he says mean things to me he is really describing himself. It is really strange. For example he always has 2 phones with different numbers, numerous email accounts to hide his other lives. He is a master of deceit and he seems to enjoy it like a game. Once when he knew that I was finding out some things about him he sent me an email saying that he knew about all of my different emails and that I was on a dating site. I have one email account and was not on a dating site. He was. I have never been with someone like this and am so glad that I have found books about this because I have not been able to figure this relationship out. Nothing made sense to me and he kept telling me that I was imagining things and that I was making my own self unhappy. When I caught him on a dating site and printed out his profile he sent me and email saying that I hacked into his email and created an account on a dating site. I found myself explaining to him that I didn’t do that. I feel so foolish that I have gotten myself into this mess and I am trying to get out. This last time I saw a pattern of what had happened last year. He would be doing things with me that would indicate he was planning a future with me but then I found an email of where he was telling a friend that he was moving back to CA and I also found an email of where he was getting an estimate for a moving company. Last time I took him back and we went into counseling (at his suggestion) and I thought we were going to discuss the fact that he had hurt me by spending 4 days with a woman that he met on a dating site but instead he pulled out all kinds of emails that I had written to show the counselor. I was so angry because he had set me up! He has said and did some things to me and I was so angry then he sent a very calm email that didn’t even sound like him. He set me up to sound like a crazy woman. I remembered when we met I thought it strange that he had tapings of his wife (before she was his ex) of where she was yelling to him calling him a liar and saying that she hated him and you could hear him talking very calm in the background. He was setting her up also to let his next victim or target here to feel sorry for him and earn his trust. I am so angry at myself today. He was planning a discard a few weeks ago but I found out about his plans and made him leave right then. He wasn’t expecting that. He cursed me out calling me every name in the book and lying saying that I caused all of it and that I put his profile up on that dating site. When he finally half way confessed he didn’t say he was sorry but blamed it all of me. Then when he left I needed to ask him some things about moving some of his things that he left and he gave me the silent treatment. He sent an email saying that I was harassing him. I came home and my doors were unlocked. He said he didn’t do it and that I was paranoid. But he refuses to give me my keys. He has moved a long way away from me now and I have had my locks changed. As crazy as it seems, I miss him. We had a very passionate love life when it was good. We went on a trip for 3 weeks without any problems. He is handsome and spent money on me (but later reminded me of it). He has been gone for almost 4 weeks. I went total NC 3 weeks ago and have been so proud of myself. In 3 years with all of the discards I have never gone that long. He will block me but then will unblock me but today I messed up and I feel like screaming. I went on a date. I have always been faithful and I thought that by doing that I would convince myself that it was truly over. I have not been with another man for 3 years but him. Well the date was a disaster and it left me missing him. Today is his birthday. I sent him an email with 2 words: Happy Birthday. I ended my NC that I have worked so hard to do. I didn’t know if he would respond by cursing me out or by the silent treatment or try to reel me back in. When he isn’t quick to try to get me back it means he is with someone else. He is. He sent a very short response saying thank you and asking how I was. I feel so sick to my stomach. I read the book When Love is a Lie and it has helped me to get this far but I don’t know how to date again. I get lonely and think about him. I am waiting for the other book about spinning and hoping it will come soon. I don’t know what to do. It is like an addiction. I knew sending him that email was wrong and that it would make me feel worse but I did it anyway. I feel terrible.

    • admin says:

      Hi Jewel. Everything you have described is SO classic for a narc/socio/psychopathic person. They like to have a caring person so they can present themselves to the world as wonderful – in your case a caretaker for a mentally ill spouse – you. And that serves a double purpose of taking your credibility away from you so your friends believe him, and it also isolates you. Anyone in these relationships feels like they’re losing their minds from all the manipulation and lies, and often their health, and we always blame ourselves. But we don’t realiZe the extent of the person’s mastery at what they do. It’s common to miss the person after leaving because you were attached. But you have to realize they were not attached to you in the same way. They are not capable of love. You were a cover or only as good as you could make them feel. But inevitably they are gong to feel trapped and threatened by a committed relationship, and you will be sacrificed and discarded. The good times, the passionate sex were a shallow foray on his end, which once the excitement is gone, he’s disengaged. And the good times were also manipulation a when he needed to reel you back in. The stab at therapy was useless – never works cause they’re not connected to their emotions and therefore lack empathy. They usually make a show of it for awhile and/or try to control it and ally the therapist. Please join our next online chat (click on it in the Services section for info) or come to our live group in NJ if nearby. If there’s anything else I can do to help let me know.

      • Jewel says:

        Thank you. I watched two movies here recently that has helped me. One was the old movie “Gaslight” and when the woman in the movie realized that he wooed her to marry him and then tried to make her think she was going crazy for her money, she said, “This was all a lie. From the very beginning it was all a lie.” That is what has been really hard for me. I can’t talk to anyone about this because they will not understand. We were not married but engaged. When he was married he lived a double life. He would always have a second place telling his wife that it was an investment property that he was fixing up. She was a doctor and stayed busy. Then he would go on a dating site like Ashley Madison to meet women that would go with married women. He had a couple of phones and emails. Then with me, as it got close to the wedding it was postponed. Then he told me that he was helping his friend in CA, I live in SC , to start up a business and he would be gone a few days. Then the next thing he tells me is that he will be coming home every other week. I found another phone, email address, and saw that he was on 3 dating sites putting CA as his address. He also purchased a place there to live. When he came home every other week, he showered me with gifts. He seemed happy. He had started living his double life. When I confronted him he denied everything telling me I was crazy and then when I presented proof he cursed me out and called me names like I have never been called before. It was honestly like the man hates me. He still responds that way in emails like I have done something to him but I think he is angry because I messed things up for him. I know that he cant love but he was getting something from me, ego filled or whatever and I had messed that up. He could no longer have that double life. He spent money on me and treated me like a queen sometimes but it was always in front of people so that when things went wrong with us no one would believe me. They all said that he loved me and I needed to work things out so I just stopped talking to people. He bought me a car but for some reason wanted to give it to me at work even though I had seen it. He proposed to me in a restaurant and had flowers delivered there and he bought me a huge diamond ring even though I liked the small one better. The day after he gave me the ring he stormed in my house cursing me out and pulled the ring off of my finger. I thought he was going to break my finger. We had gotten into an argument but I couldn’t understand how he could go from love to hate like that. Now I know. There was no love. My friends just think this is like other normal break ups. Maybe the guy is a jerk or did some bad things but both were in the wrong and you wish happiness for both. THIS IS NOT LIKE THAT. This is something totally different and I don’t blame them for not understanding because 3 years ago before I met him I didn’t have a clue about this type of person. Now that I found him out, he hates me even though he was the one that cheated. He wants me to say that I imagined it all and to say that I was totally at fault. I was so proud of myself and then I had to do something stupid and wish him happy birthday and then he responded today saying that he may talk to me at the first of the year but that he was going to have to cut communication because I was holding on the anger. His email didn’t even make sense so I have blocked him but I don’t know how long I will do this. His sister said that although she sees him he cut her out of his life years ago and then re enters. She says he abandoned his other family and then tries to come back. She says he has a pattern of living a double life and for me to not try to understand crazy and move on. She says that the behavior that I described was identical to what his family had described and that he will never admit that he was in the wrong.. His son is in therapy and refused to let him come to his high school graduation. His daughter is getting married but she has her future husband to ask her grandfather for her hand in marriage. I couldn’t understand why they were all mad at him and his sister says it is because he lies to them about things all of the time. One time with me he lied and said he was curled up in bed at that moment crying over me. He was sitting in a hotel with another woman at that very moment and told her he was texting his daughter. It is like he enjoys doing that being able to tell the total opposite of what he is doing. Even though me and the other woman may never find out, it is like he is doing it for his own pleasure. It is like he takes pride in getting lying and doesn’t feel the least bit guilty about texting me while being with another woman. I don’t know where to go from here. I have tried to date and I feel like it would make me feel better but I haven’t had much luck on the dating site. No one will compare to what we had. It was so intense and when he played the role of someone that loved me, he was good at it. I feel alone, depressed, having trouble concentrating at work, and I just don’t know what to do to make myself feel better. My daughter has put me on anti depressants and wants me to see a counselor that specializes in this. I have found one but don’t have the energy to go right now. Knowing his love was all a lie makes me feel so stupid. I gave every bit of the love I had to him and I feel like such a fool. The other movie that helped me was the Tina Turner movie, Whats love got to do with it. I believe that everything that Ike Turner did for Tina in the beginning that made her feel loved was all about him. One thing that baffles me is I cant understand why this man wanted me. I had no money. I don’t understand what he was to gain from it and what his purpose of being with me if he didn’t love me was. I have read about the “supply” but still don’t understand but I do know that no one woman will ever be able to fulfill that supply. I don’t know where to go from here. I don’t see me ever getting over this…….ever.

        • Jewel says:

          I am still confused about these crazy people. I used to think of sociopath as people that raped, killed, and got into illegal behavior. To be the way these men that people are posting about , the NP, if they can’t love or have no empathy, what keeps them from going on the be like what I just named? They rape us of our soul which is just as bad but what separates them from the others? Also, someone please help me to know what to say to friends that don’t understand. He invited them to a surprise birthday party for me and gave me gifts that they saw so they couldn’t understand why I told him to leave so I finally began to tell that he cheated on me and if I start dating again and meet someone nice that wants to know about past relationships, do I just tell that he cheated? It was soooo much more than that. But if they don’t understand what a NP is, will they think I am out of my mind with what I describe. If I find someone one day that really loves me (real love) I want to explain to them the hurt, pain, embarrassment, etc…..that I have endured for 3 yrs. It wasn’t just about cheating even though that was bad. Should I tell people what he was like and can I do that without scaring people away because they think I am paranoid?

          • admin says:

            Hi Jewel. Sure why not tell people? People need to learn. A sociopath historically has referred to someone breaking the law but it can also describe someone leading a double life or involved in physical, sexual and emotional abuse in a relationship. Whatever you call them – NPD, sociopath, psychopath – they all share the same traits- lack of emotion, lack of empathy, lack of insight, lack of conscience. That movie “Gaslight” is where the term “gaslighting” comes from. Everyone who gets involved with them gets victimized because the only way they can be in a relationship is the role of dominance and control. I hope you can join our next online group. You’ll find it supportive

        • AnnettePK says:


          I’m not sure if you’re driving the car he gave you, but he may have put a tracker on it.  You may want to have it checked over.  He may also have put spyware on your computer or phone.

  • admin says:

    The Challenge of Being Thankful
    By Jennifer Young, LMHC, Director of Survivor Services
    The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction and Public Pathology Education
    During this month of Thanksgiving it is certainly
    appropriate to evaluate what you are thankful for. Now
    that might be a little challenging considering the wreckage of a
    pathological relationship, so be thankful this article has
    arrived in your inbox! We would like to offer some reminders
    of the blessings of surviving a pathological relationship:

    Be thankful for your new filter. What the psychopath has given
    you is the ability to spot.That is a gift. Many people don’t know
    what pathology looks like and,as a result, they move forward despite
    the patterns of behavior that are present. Once you move toward
    a psychopath it’s like you’re a fly in a web…stuck. The ability to spot
    the spider and the web keeps you far, far away from danger. If you
    made it out, then knowing the power of pathology is a gift. You
    have a new filter to lay over your own perceptions and understanding
    of the world and this filter will ultimately keep you much safer.

    Be thankful for the peek deep inside at ‘who’ you are. We know
    that pathology is soul-stealing. It grinds you down to the bare bones
    of who you are and what you believe. It is a terrifying, maniacal,
    devastating process. There is no doubt that going through it is likely
    one of the worst experiences of your life. What is left when you leave
    is your foundation. There might even be a few cracks still there. But
    no doubt you are seeing things about yourself that you didn’t know
    existed or that you had forgotten about. As you look back on the
    moments of manipulation, you undoubtedly see what was done to your
    values, your worth, and your beliefs. But through this careful evaluation
    you can reaffirm where you stand and what you stand on.

    Be thankful for understanding love in a whole new way. Love is
    not fantasy. Love is not a task. Love is not excitement (it’s pretty boring).
    Love is not adrenaline or fear covered by excitement. Love is steady,
    unconditional, joyous and gentle. Sometimes we learn lessons by not
    getting what we need, and pathology has done that for you. You
    now know what love is NOT. Your love is real and your capacity for love
    is real. In a sense, that was never the problem. Feeling love is never your problem… but being able to put a lid on your intense bonding so that you
    can trust what you felt about his/her lack of love is the problem.

    Be thankful for your own humanness and your ability to bond and love other healthy people. Your ability to connect and bond to
    him makes you human. You may be questioning, “How could I have let
    this happen?” Or blaming yourself for “falling in love with a psychopath.” Well, thank goodness that you love, thank goodness that
    you bond and thank goodness that you have empathy. You know what it
    means if you can’t do those things, so the alternative is much better. You
    CAN love and you CAN bond so that means you CAN do it again. Maybe
    not right now…but you CAN do it. Be thankful that, with some tweaks to
    your filter, there is hope for love again. You are NOT irreversibly damaged.

    Be thankful for your Super Traits. So, those things that psychopaths
    manipulate in you are your biggest assets. Do not get it twisted–your
    Super Traits saved you. Your excitement-seeking, compassion, trust,
    loyalty, resourcefulness, helpfulness, and sentimentality (among others)
    played a role in getting you out. Take a minute to think about how each
    one of these traits helped you. In the end, did your compassion for the kids
    take over? Did your resourcefulness help you find the facts or did your
    sentimentality remind you of who you were before? They will be the things
    that drive your recovery if you let them. You can strengthen them by
    combining the feelings of the Super Traits with what you know about

    Be thankful you are safe and alive. Pathology is dangerous. Your pain–
    emotional and physical–is real. But here you are. There is nothing better
    than the awareness of our aliveness. Feel the power of being present here,
    now. In any given moment, pathology can bring a sense of danger and fear. Certainly hyper-vigilance can set in, if you allow it. But the alternative is much more powerful. Embrace the moments of safety and security. Create an environment which strengthens your sense of safety. In that space, your aliveness will grow.

    Being thankful for pathology is a stretch–a stretch toward healing. It is a
    necessary step in recovery. You may not be there yet and that is OK. Don’t
    rush yourself. However, take this opportunity to open the door to the idea.
    If you are there and can feel the thankfulness then take it in. “I fall, I rise,
    I make mistakes, I live, I learn, I’ve been hurt but I’m alive. I’m human,
    I’m not perfect but I’m thankful.”

  • Lu says:

    I have been with a man I believe has characteristics associated with narcissism and a sociopath. We have been together for over 21 years and share two children (now teenagers). We have had a very unhealthy relationship. He has cheated on me numerous times and  blames me every time claiming I was not emotionally there for me. I am currently unemployed (1st time in over 18 years beside when I was on maternity leave) and he tells me my education (I have a Masters Degree) was a waste and points out that I wasted so much time attending university for nothing, he puts down  all my friends and family, and lies to me all the time and then explains he had to lie when he is caught. When I try and defend myself or argue with him he turns it into my problem…he tells me I either accept his behaviours, addictions, beliefs etc..or he will leave our children and I stranded because it is not his problem I cannot find a job..he makes fun of me because of my culture (I am Aboriginal) and says really rude things about my body. He pressures me to sleep with him daily and states it is abusive or wrong to turn him down…when I want to leave he tells me he gave me an std and then I get checked and I am clean and he points he just said it to upset me. He has been doing this for years and I want out but now that I am having difficulty securing employment I have no choice but to stay. He says I am the crazy one because I get upset or cry often when he treats me this way…is it me? I don’t know what to do anymore. 🙁

    • admin says:

      Hi Lu. I am so sorry for what you have put up with for 21 yrs. You’ve been the victim of abuse and gradually dehumanized. It is a very painful helpless place to be in. Let’s be very clear: IT’S NOT YOU! This man uses you to abuse as a way to feel powerful, dominant, in control. He needs a victim. You happen to be the convenient one who is attached to him and bound to him, and are stuck there at the moment. My advice is to seek therapy perhaps, and/or seek healing from healers. Include ways to ground yourself on a daily basis – in other words, begin to reconnect with yourself – whatever that may be for you (e.g. yoga, exercise, prayer, meditation, soothing activities, nature, cuddling pets or wrap in a comforting blanket or bathrobe, or whatever. Imagine a container around yourself, and start to stay inside your body, focus inwardly – become aware of what you feel in it, honor it. I created an app to help with this called Mind Warrior (in Apple Store and Google Play). This is the beginning of reclaiming your lost self and empowerment. Support is also important. Talk about it with family and friends, journal (works in the brain like a conversation with someone). Join our online group this Sunday 11/9 at 8 pm EST if you can. It can be a lifeline. (See instructions by clicking on “live chat support group” under the Services section. It is completely anonymous and private. I hope to see you there! Take care. Mary

  • David says:

    Every day I ask myself this question: when will I be ME again?
    I have a memory of him and I during our most destructive phase that continues to haunt me. I remember it as though I am watching it happen to someone else, from up above, looking down at myself- sobbing on the floor, exhausted and soul-less, begging him to “please… please… stop… please… just stop… please… you’re hurting me… it hurts… please just stop hurting me… I can’t do it… it hurts… why can’t you stop… please… please stop…. stop it you’re hurting me” as he cut me over and over with the most vile insults he could think of and a SMILE on his face… But that’s not why I’m writing… I wonder why I put those words here instead? Maybe I’m not ready to look for me maybe there is no me to look for I’m lost searching for myself and people don’t even believe me. They think I’m exaggerating. They think he is so sweet. They don’t know how he manipulated me every single moment we were together for a year and made my expectations so low that I was begging for basic humane treatment… just be nice to me or how I was AFRAID to speak or defend myself because every word I uttered he would use to hurt me later and why didn’t I just “sit down and shut up” anyway and now when someone makes the slightest accusation or blames me for anything I attack so quickly I’m scaring people away because I can’t take being told I did something I did not! I didn’t cheat on him or lie to him or abuse him but every day he accused me of those things and it drives a person crazy because I couldn’t even defend myself anymore because he didn’t care about the truth and everything could be denied and I wanted so badly to hurt him but I loved him and my friends just kept saying I should leave him but I COULDN’T and no one believed me like how can’t you leave? But I knew he could be nice and I promised to stay with him cuz if I left then I WOULD be a liar and then he would win so I stayed and I believed him every time he begged forgiveness because it sounded so true and then we would be an hour into back together and he would do something I asked him not to do many months before just to get a reaction and we’d be back again me screaming acting like the lunatic while he smirked and planned his next move and called me over-emotional. Once as we lay together I caressed him while he fell asleep and sang a song to him called Jupiter “my hands are two travelers…they’ve crossed oceans and lands…. yet they are too small…on the continent of your skin.” Three months later because I confronted him about cheating on me with his neighbor named Jake he said “you really are less than intelligent than I, but that’s irrelevant. I didn’t have sex with jake. I just wanted to show him Jupiter from my bed.” I cried so so hard then and now people can’t understand why I’m so defensive and my self esteem is non existent and all I want to know is did he steal the real me for good? I don’t even remember who I was but it wasn’t this person I wanted to get a tattoo when I left him that would read “ego sum etium” which is Latin for “I am, again” but I’m not me again yet and I’m scared I won’t be ever again. Am I lost for good?

    • admin says:

      Hi David. It sounds like you have been to hell and back. Of course you’ve lost yourself in this destructive relationship with a psychopath, and I am sorry. Those on this site know exactly how you feel – traumatized and broken, and will probably have a problem with trust for awhile. I’m glad you’re out. I would recommend getting therapy for PTSD (EMDR, hypnosis, sensorimotor psychotherapy, energy body work, massage, yoga, exercise and martial arts are a few ideas). Also check out the Mind Warrior app that has an icon on this page. I created it to help those with PTSD. This takes time to heal, but you’ll find your new self again. Keep talking to those who understand. Join our live chat on this website on Aug 10th at 8 pm EST. Go the Services section on the home page, and click on “live chat support group”. It will bring you to the chatroom as a Guest#. I hope to see you there. Take good care. Keep writing as much as you need to. Mary A

    • SuperDuperLove says:

      Your partner sounds like the woman I married – its a mess, isnt it? I am 6 years after separation and recently discovered the wife of my kids is a socio, and also my mother..! Knowledge is truly empowering – congratulations for finding this site and this info and it means you are STRONG! you are about to learn about this person inside and out and THEN you will be armed to deal with them effectively and navigate yourself out of the situation of CONTROL – take care, stay strong, you are an amazing and gifted person – they sniff us out and attack because they are jealous monsters that only wish to devour out of their own frustration of not being able to love or feel loved like we do – we see the world in color and they see in black & white. Godspeed!

    • Free2BeMe says:

      David, what you are describing sounds very much like the PTSD that I have been diagnosed with. Mine is a result of childhood abuse exacerbated by my thirty-one year relationship with a man that seemed like the boy next door that everybody adored, who was wearing a mask and mirroring my integrity and honorable personality. He was an emotionally abusive fraud.

      The first step in managing PTSD is awareness, understanding that certain situations are triggering you. Other’s lack of understanding about what you have and are enduring frustrates you and can trigger inappropriate behaviors. KNOW that PTSD is manageable even though during times of high stress, it is challenging. If I am not mistaken, the stress is dumping Cortisol into your system, which amps up adrenaline.

      Even if you cannot afford diagnosis or treatment, there are some daily things you can do to help you deal with some of the anxiety. I keep a tea mixture on hand that is made of lavender, chamomile and Lipton decaffeinated tea bags. I sweeten with agave or stevia because sugar ramps me up. I sip on this throughout the day. It is not a bad idea to back away from caffeine. Exercise, even just a short walk, will help you to balance your chemicals. Also, meditation or using the Binural Beats app on your phone might help.

      Please do not allow you PTSD to make your pain worse. Trauma through victimization has many side effects. Do not get down on yourself. Beating yourself up for the mistakes you have made will not help you. The previous sentence was one of my ‘Do what I say, not what I do.’ sentences. Lol. We are all a work in process.

  • Tina says:

    I have never been on a site like this before but I need support. I live in the uk and there doesn’t seem to be any support for narcissistic destructive relationships. I am trapped in one, have been for 7 years now with a man who lies constantly, cheated when we was in a relationship and now still controls my emotions at work even though we are no longer sleeping together. He Damond’s friendship and used emotional blackmail to ensure he keeps me as a source . I am so confused and angry with myself for allowing this to continue,I want to be free from him but keep getting sucked right back in. I’m sorry if this is not the right place to post this but I am desperate to understand what’s happened so I can move forward without this leach draining life from me daily

  • Ima B says:

    Hello! I wanted to let folks know about a great book I just finished reading. Title: The Human Magnet Syndrome by Author: Ross Rosenberg. This is an absolutely fantastic book for those of us who are codependent with a partner who is an emotional manipulator (narcissist, sociopath, psychopath). This book really puts the attraction dynamic and the dysfunctional relationship that follows into an easy-to-read very insightful and informative format. I went to a seminar he held in Illinois yesterday and gained even more understanding about “what to do”. I wish I could say my road ahead will now be so much easier, it won’t. However, knowledge and insight are very powerful tools to recovery. This book does a fabulous job of helping us understand what has happened and why. I do have a question as well. Is it possible for someone who is codependent to also be a narcissist? I am wondering because that is the latest “cruelty” my husband is bringing in to our dysfunctional dynamic. IN therapy he covertly and overtly calls me a narcissist. The covert ways are by describing me as though I am him and he is me. I would love some feedback about this. I’m thinking that it might be a typical behavior once the codependent partner starts to change and understand that, in fact, her partner might be narcissistic, sociopath, etc. and has the courage to bring it up in therapy.

    • admin says:

      Hi. Thank you for that information. The book sounds informative. The narcissist telling the partner that s/he has the qualities of the narcissist is VERY common and typical behavior. It may be because narcissists blame and externalize everything on others so it makes sense that they are projecting their own behavior on their partner. There’s probably a lot of truth to what you say about this kicking in when the partner starts to change or speaks of leaving or especially if you say they’re a narcissist. Then their perception of being the victim would really intensify. Yes a narcissist is actually codependent too but in an opposite way. S/he needs the affirming feedback of the partner or others in order to feel good. If you don’t constantly give the narcissist this affirming feedback, you will quickly be dismissed, trashed, abused or replaced. They don’t have a true sense of self. They present as whatever is needed to meet their need in the moment. They are not aware of any of this. If you were to bring it up in therapy, brace yourself for retaliation. Confronting them with their behavior is only likely to show them what they need to do to keep you but not going to work in the long run. Honesty, connection to emotion, and empathy are required to effect a truly different lasting response in a relationship. You do the math! I will email you info on the next online chat as the announcement text part of the website is not working right.

    • Mike says:

      Ima, I have experienced the same situation with projection by a past partner .. it caused me mass confusion but also allowed me to label their issue and learn more about it. She basically “gave me the answer”
      PS – I have read that book and agree it was very helpful.

  • admin says:

    Hello all. The next online live chat will be July 20, 2014 from 8-9:00 pm EST! I am posting the date here as something is wrong with the ability to change the text announcement on the chat page. I will also be emailing all interested people.

  • Stacie says:

    Please tell me where to find the online support group; I need help!

    • admin says:

      Hi Stacie. I am going to schedule one to take place in the next couple of weeks. It will be posted on the site, and emailed to you. Hang in there! Mary A

  • June says:

    I have been living this story for 14 years and am grateful to find this site. Right now, I am in the process of traversing a very difficult and painful divorce and though it will end very soon, the pain and hurt I feel, the enormous rage I feel towards him for duping me, and the ceaseless refrain of “WHY???” I keep uttering (to myself and to others) is overpowering me. I am obsessed with knowing why – even though I know I won’t find the answers – almost as much as I am obsessed with destroying him. “An eye for an eye”, as they say.

    Sadly, this is so unlike me. I am a loving and forgiving sort, but I can’t do this with him. The feelings of sheer, undeniable hatred, betrayal and fury I have towards him for all he has done, for him nearly destroying my sense of self, for isolating, threatening, intimidating and lying to me is bringing out the absolute worst in me. As far as I am concerned, he deserves to be paid back, while I need to win even though I intellectually+ know there are no winners in this scenario. Sadly, I know I have to move on and forget him. I know that this is not about me really, but rather is about this bi-polar, BPD, and NPD man I now regret marrying, but the pain keeps overtaking my mind, spirit and body and I want to see him crawl…through the fire, through the blood and the tears.

    I gave him everything I had, stood by him through every single maniacally insane episode he created in our lives, and I get this? A man that wanted me to sign a lifelong separation agreement with lifelong demands so laughable 4 lawyers I shared it with told me NOT to sign it. I wasn’t intending to do so and didn’t and it angered him more. When he amped up his demands and intimidation tactics to the point of making me hysterical, he thought he got to me, thought that I would give in. I didn’t. Somehow, even in the midst of all of this, my own core strength and inner will protected me enough not to cave in. With quiet stealth, I fired back and filed for divorce. He didn’t see it coming. I heard that he thought he had me “in the bag” but he didn’t. I guess he isn’t the smartest person in the room anymore. Poor dear.

    I supported him, a fact that disgusts me but was done out of abject fear, and I cared for him even in the midst of all of this madness. And yet, there is this person in me that knew his game all along. He counted on my being the same vulnerable June I always was. He counted on me desperately needing to be defined by him or with him as his wife. He counted on me to believe in his lies, as much as he counted on me to cave in and give in like I had done for so long. Truth is that he never really knew me or my core strength, as I am by far more stubborn and fixed than he is. He thought that I would believe in his lies and would actively think he was telling me the truth he was concocting: “We will get back together again, honey”. He didn’t count on me being a master of my own Chess game.

    He did not know that I have spent the last year collecting and copying data about him (a veritable plethora of files). He didn’t know that my own computer skills would help me to find out about his current girlfiend (she is more vulnerable that I was when we met, and I know she will be his next victim), one that he has had for the past year, or that I also know of the women he has been with since he left me. He didn’t know that I and so many others could see through his proclaimations of celibacy while he accused me of having affairs or that his threats – through me – of my friends (male and female alike) were just more ways to intimidate me. He didn’t know that he has left so many haters in his wake, those that didn’t actually know me would reach out and warn me.

    I will fight this fight. I will stand up and be strong. But I am tired, honestly. And really, when you strip away my willfulness, all I want to do is cry. The damage is done. The question is if I will ever heal myself enough to move forward again.

    This is why I am here. This is why I am reaching out of the dark night of this abyss, crying for help, crying for someone to tell me I will be okay.

    Thank you for reading.

    • Boopsiekisses says:

      Hi June, you said you needed someone to tell you it will be ok, well it will be ok, it will take some time but it will happen. I have been exactly where you are at one time, I had to accept that he never loved me, he’s not capable of love. I have been through the 5 stages of grief, I’m in the acceptance stage,, I finally got it. It was like mourning a death, everything’s an illusion, everything, only when in the relationship you don’t see it yet. By the time you realize everything, you are all screwed up yourself. Dam these sonofabitches, they gotta rot in hell. Karma a bitch, they will get theirs, but right now just focus on your healing and recovery June, and good luck to you, you shall overcome this. Promise… Love and peace

      • SuperDuperLove says:

        June – love your post. I was married and have two kids with a female socio – my mother is also a socio. God bless you all and thank goodness for this site and others who feed the good and spotlight the evil cockroaches hiding in the dark, so full of themselves, they are – yet they stand on a house of cards, they are their own worst enemy – yet they think they control the world – HA! Take care, stay strong & keep posting on this site – every post my strength grows with an incredible and familiar feeling of solidarity! – SDL

    • Jennifer says:

      Wow June….Good for you! You are an incredible writer and eloquently spelled out the the temporary demise of your spirit and joy….I appreciated reading your truth and it probably helped many others besides myself…someday you will gain a foothold, (as I will too) from the destruction caused by the people who supposedly LOVED us…thanks for sharing…stay strong and keep your chin up!

    • Free2BeMe says:

      June, my heart breaks for you as I read your message. My four year emotionally cruel and legally abusive divorce appears to be wrapping up at this point. We shall see. I have been married for thirty-one years and am finally beginning to understand that I was deeply in love and committed to a man that did not truly exist.

      My awakening came when I read a book, “The Secret Life of Captain X”. This book so paralleled my life that it left me astonished and propelled me towards the truth of what I might have been living in. It seems that I may just now be entering the grief stage of all of this.

      This book has helped me tremendously because it helped me to see that I have been victimized and that I am not alone in the victimization. It is happening to far more people than I understood. I am not alone. There are others out there that understand.

      I am beginning to see that my emotions must be similar to those of a addict. For a while I woke up each morning not wanting to go on. I learned that I have to take it day-by-day, some days hour-by- hour. It hurts so badly to understand that I have been emotionally, psychologically and financially raped; while, for the last four years, the lawyers and judge watched and enabled. The good news is that even on my rough days I no longer have the addictive thoughts of ending it all.

      As I read your post, I could feel your pain. I am sorry that you too are enduring this. I believe we will heal by putting one foot in front of the other, taking it day-by-day. Please do your best to also believe this.

      • SuperDuperLove says:

        Just was chatting with you and few others in the latest chat (9/29) – my PC was slow and I didnt catch many of the questions you and others asked – I just re-read it and noticed I didnt see alot of questions towards me as well as your comments and experiences – so I wanted to ensure that you knew that I lend my support to you and your difficult and unimaginable situation. I know it is so hard, and draining, and they are relentless – with so much energy, while we give our all just to make ends meet, day to day. They get all the energy from lacking all emotions!! Just think if we didnt have any either – we wouldnt care what they did to us, we would simply start over and never look back. Imagine that. I will take two, please! Welp – I just wanted to lend my support to you, thanks for being so sweet in the chat towards me – I know we are all very special people, because sociopaths always pick the most kind and empathetic, God fearing/loving people – with huge, giving hearts! Hang in there. Contact me anytime you need strength or just an ear to listen. I would love to form a nice wealth of wonderful new and REAL friends, who understand the unique flavor of Hell we are living through. We must not let the evil win, we must pull together. Have a great evening, Free2Bme!! Great screen name, BTW.. 8) TAKE CARE!!

        • Shelley says:

           Up until 2 years ago I was considered totalk  be a very strong woman. Strong minded, and I myself can say I never let anyone push me around, bully me or change who I was. 3 months into my last relationship I heard several times thye same question from several people.  “What is wrong with you” Why you letting that idiot treat you so bad?”  I can’t even explain and I do not understand how I let one person break me down and hurt me over and over, physically, mentally and emotionally. And lets not forget financially wrecked me, socially turned people against me telling them I was doing the things to him that he was doing to to me. I was constantly having to defend myself. I have been away from him for 2 months and no contact at all for only a month and the worst part now, after learning more about his mental disorders and behaviors, I realize that my mother is just like him and always has been but I feel she has gotten worse over this past year and I am really having a hard time with losing two ppl that I love so much I’ve decided to wash my hands of my mother and have realy been mourning her loss as if she has died. My whole like she has kept me stuck and making me insecure and feeling like I don’t fit in and very unloved. I need help please, I have tried commiting suicide and I can’t seem to snap out of this I isolate and all I do is cry and cry Please help
          Thank you

  • admin says:

    Hi Monique. I know you’re in love and attached to this guy, but he doesn’t seem to care about you. I know that’s a harsh reality, but realizing it will help you to heal and move on. He isn’t capable, drug problem or not. Save yourself and get support. Forgiving is neither here not there. Letting go is part of the healing process but rarely it’s the first thing you can do when you’re full if hurt, loss and anger. I’ll be posting an online group soon if you don’t live I’m Jersey. Take good care.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *